Bubble from a goldfish’s mouth

Remember during the heady days of the independence referendum campaign when we actually had a referendum that people were interested in? Scotland is responding to this EU referendum in much the same way as we respond to invitations from Nicholas Witchell to pop along to M&S to get in our supplies for a street party to celebrate the non-achievements of a member of the royal family. We silently turn over and watch something else on telly instead while the piles of bunting and the royal memorabilia are as avidly sought after as an EU referendum leaflet bearing the grinning mug of Boris Johnson.

I’ve never been entirely sure why we are always being called upon to celebrate the royal family, as the royals are extremely good at celebrating their own non-achievements without any input from the rest of us. Very much like Boris Johnson, come to think of it. You only needed to look at the chest-load of medals worn by Prince Edward at his maw’s birthday bash to realise just how good the royals are at giving themselves undeserved pats on the back. He was in the Royal Marines for barely more than a fortnight and he still managed to be awarded more decorations than George Square at Christmas.

During the independence referendum the future of Scotland was the main topic of conversation in pubs, amongst friends, amongst families. People were interested and engaged. The future of the UK whether within or outwith the EU has got people interested and engaged too, but only to the same extent that they are interested and engaged in wondering how it is that Prince Edward managed to accumulate more bottletops on his chest than you’ll find in an entire branch of Oddbins despite having a military career that consisted of turning up for basic training and then phoning his maw in tears. Actually, probably less interest and engagement, if we’re going to be honest.

The reason for the lack of engagement is because this referendum is seen as a bun fight between different factions of the Tory party. On the one hand it gives us the sight of George Osborne attempting to pose as the champion of the poor, which is as convincing as Dracula posing as an advocate for veganism. On the other we have arch-privatisers like Boris Johnson trying to make out that he’s the champion of the NHS, which is like asking John Wayne Gacy for his views on child protection.

It’s not so much that Scots have no interest in the outcome of the referendum, whether we remain members of the EU or are taken out of it is a pretty big deal, but there’s little popular engagement with the campaign in Scotland because people know that however Scotland votes will make little difference, if any, to what happens once the results are in. The vote will be decided elsewhere. Scotland as always gets to sit at the back of the bus while other people argue about which cliff they want to drive it over. That’s what it’s like being Scottish within the UK, powerless to influence your own fate.

Our role in this referendum, insofar as Scotland figures at all, is as another scare for the remain campaign to threaten middle Englandshire with. If the rest of the UK votes to leave the EU but Scotland votes to remain, we could end up with another independence referendum. The truth is that voters in the rest of the UK give as much of a toss about that threat as Scots do about the recent invitation to host a royal themed street party. And that’s what I really don’t understand about Scottish Unionists, they want us to remain a part of a polity in which we’re not only unimportant, but one in which no one cares about us, no one is interested in our opinion, and in which there is in fact considerable hostility towards us.

In this heady mix of utter lack of interest steps Michael Gove, the Tory party’s half man half goldfish, who had to run away to the south of England in order to find people who’d vote to give him a career in politics. Now he’s poked his head north of the border in order to try and gee up the flagging support for a Brexit campaign that’s the bastard offspring of the Tory right and UKIP. In a re-run of the highly dubious promises made by the Better Together campaign during the indyref, Mikeyfish is telling us that in the event of a Brexit Scotland ‘could’ get more powers over immigration which ‘could’ allow families like the Brains to remain in Scotland. The Brain family are facing deportation to Australia because the Home Office changed the scheme which allowed families to remain in the country on work-study schemes, a scheme in which the Scottish government had a limited amount of input.

But we’ve heard all this kind of thing before. Scotland ‘could’ be allowed some powers over immigration in the same sense that Davie Cameron told us that Scotland ‘could’ get devomax if we voted to remain as a part of the UK when he swore blind that nothing was off the table in terms of devolution options.

Scotland ‘could’ get more control over immigration right now, but Mikeyfish and his Tory pals actually took away what little control Scotland had. The Brain family are facing deportation because the Tory run Home Office took away what little leeway Scotland had in considering immigration cases. It has nothing to do with the EU. The idea that a triumphalist British nationalist right that has just won a referendum to leave the EU is going to concede anything at all to Scotland is as plausible as George Osborne’s newly found incarnation as St Francis of Assisi with his vow of poverty and his commitment to the poor. The only vows of poverty you can believe from Tories is that working class people are going to be impoverished. Although to be fair you can also believe that Unionists will vow absolutely anything to Scotland when they’re hoping a vote will go their way, and you can also believe that as soon as they’ve got the vote that they want Scotland will go back to being ignored and sidelined. There’s as much substantive content in Michael Gove’s and Unionist promises as there is in the bubbles from a goldfish’s mouth.

Meanwhile Scotland’s future is uncertain and at risk, and there’s bugger all we can do about it. That’s what we face as long as we’re a part of this United Kingdom.

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34 comments on “Bubble from a goldfish’s mouth

  1. As I remarked on W.O.S this morning, whoever wins, Scotland, and its people, wil still be ignored, while Westminster continues its plundering of our riches.

  2. Tinto Chiel says:

    “The vote will be decided elsewhere. Scotland as always gets to sit at the back of the bus while other people argue about which cliff they want to drive it over. That’s what it’s like being Scottish within the UK, powerless to influence your own fate.”

    Do you think if you displayed these words on every billboard in Scotland for a month some No voters might finally get the message, Paul?

    I can’t forget that, for the first time in over 300 years, the people had the chance to assert their sovereignty for those 15 hours on the 18th of September and then over half of them threw it away.

    Hard to take. And now we could be on the verge of Bojo staging what is in effect a right wing coup which we are almost powerless to prevent.

    Will we ever hear the sound of Yoon pennies dropping?

  3. Simon Taylor says:

    Insightful as ever…..and deeply depressing.
    I wasn’t aware we Scots were so into masochism but sure as eggs is eggs we’ll take a position which is set to cause our country most damage and hurt.
    For example why in the name of God do my fellow SNP voters wish to vote Leave ?
    The logical approach surely would be to vote the diametrically opposite to middle England ,maximises the Scottish Remain vote , and use that as a powerful lever in negotiations with the EU and / or Westminster moving forward.
    Like it or not Scottish Independance will not be won in a straight referendum.
    It would come through gradual division and erosion of the UK structure both politically and economically. It will take time but it will happen.
    Actually now I’m not so depressed.
    Let the English take us out the EU.
    It’s just another baby step on the road to Scottish Independence

  4. Irma says:

    I have no hope that my vote will make any difference in UK terms, but if enough of us ignore Jim Sillars (always the best thing to do anyway) and vote Remain while the UK votes Leave, it will get very interesting quite quickly.
    I have been watching with quiet enjoyment while Tories claw each other to bits, lie as fast and as far as they can and split their party irrevocably. If they think for one moment that this genie is going back in the bottle, that’ll be another fun treat to look forward to watching.
    It’s like that old Aesop’s fable about the scorpion getting a free ride across the river on the frog’s back. It couldn’t resist stinging the frog and, when asked why as they both drowned, said ‘It’s my nature’. Cameron couldn’t wait to start lying and spreading Project Fear, it’s his nature. None of them can resist lobbing another log on top of the pyre of what was their party, only they’re so intent on telling the biggest fib that they can’t smell the smoke, never mind see the fire.
    It is going to be tricky to come out of this mess with a decent future for Scotland but if we’re careful and work hard, we can do it.
    Pass the popcorn….

    • Robert Graham says:

      with all due respect dismissing Jim Sillars as some kind of nut is a disgraceful remark about a man who has more insight as in the way the EU politics operate than any here , he at least tried to analyze the failures of the YES Campaign and how to correct them in the future . And was bang on the money as many were at the time but were dismissed regarding the use of the Pound that was pounced on and shredded by the media and the NO Thanks side .

    • Paul Wilson says:

      It was Sillars that came up with the “Independence in Europe” thing I wonder if he is going senile?

  5. Irene Danks says:

    Having said, Paul…and I agree that it’ll be Mittelengland wot wins it, but there’s that small, perfect little hope that the result is really tight and…I’m hugging myself with glee at the prospect…the votes in Scotland swing it for remain!!! I don’t know what would be better…the sound of 5 million people collectively pissing ourselves laughing, or the Daily Mail and its readership spontaneously combusting!

  6. […] Wee Ginger Dug Bubble from a goldfish’s mouth […]

  7. Jan Cowan says:

    I’m afraid Edward’s a sad little man. He appeared delighted with his trinkets but at least his wife had the decency to look embarrassed. ( What a boring life she must endure.) No need for me to watch the dreary performance on TV. I got the info from one pic on twitter.

    Oh for the day when we leave behind WM with all its money-grubbing unionists presently hanging to our coat-tails. Only then will the sun shine daily on Leith.

  8. BampotsUtd.wordpress.com says:

    Reblogged this on Bampots Utd.

  9. […] Source: Bubble from a goldfish’s mouth […]

  10. Macart says:

    Pretty much.

    This isn’t our conversation or our primary constitutional problem. Vote out and see super right wing Tories negotiate a settlement ‘on our behalf’, or vote in and for the near future, enjoy continued negligence under Camo and Osborne. Choices, choices.

    One thing which will NOT happen is Scots discussing the merits or pitfalls of the EU for themselves or dealing with the EU first hand for themselves to determine what those advantages or otherwise may be.

    Hell of a decision, but it’s one we’re forced to make, so make it we should.

    Vote your conscience, but get out and vote. Stay engaged, however awful the choice is, but make the effort. An awful lot more than which Tory gets to rain on your parade will be at stake.

  11. arthur thomson says:

    There is not the remotest chance in hell of the UK leaving the EU, no matter how many people vote to leave.

    What is certain is that there is going to be a change from the cosy right wing consensus that has included all three British Tory parties. There is going to be a rude awakening for politics in rUK and that has been very much needed for years. Whatever the result of the vote, the English plebs in particular will – rightly, in my view – be very angry at how their perspective is viewed as irrelevant if it doesn’t accord with that of the political parties. And remember, the problems that have been shelved for the EU Ref have not gone away. It is going to be very messy.

    Meanwhile, in Scotland, the SNP will get on with the job of making things better and showing the Scottish electorate what good governance looks like. They will keep on putting forward a positive message and the differences between Scotland and rUK will become clearer to all.

    Call me an optimist but I see it as a win win whatever the result of the vote turns out to be.

  12. John Edgar says:

    We have one vote in this Bre/Engxit intervention by squabbling Tories. And that vote is to remain. Keep Farage, the Little and the Large Englanders with the Schadenfreude- result IN.
    The polls indicate it is too close to call.
    If it swings just Remain in England, even so the Engxit Tories will split from the party, the Engxit former Labour voters will grumble and politics dahn sath will implode! That is our tactic. Even then the leaders of the blue and red Tories dahn sath will be replaced – mutinies are rumbling.
    If Brexit does happen and we vote to remain, then the divergence between Scots and English politics are diverging. Wee Willie Rennie of the LibDems will see that as divisive, but he is a yoon. He will not see it as the democratic will of the Scottish people.
    But that is the yoon default line. Slab and failed Slab MPs will see it ad keeping Scotland in the Union with Tory governments smitten with Ukipitis. Hence, there is only one Slabour MP! Slab never seems to learn anything! And their union branches in Scotland take the yoon line!
    Such is the turmoil in the Northern and Southern yoons that they are flummoxed.
    Still, all certainties within the parties of entitlement at Westminster are fading.

    • Janet says:

      In other words, we put the Europe issue to one side and analyse it from a purely Scottish perspective. I like that.

      Sillars can say what he likes against Europe but once we’ve set up Indy Scotland, we can deal with the Europe question as we see fit.

      The Treaty of Rome contains an exit mechanism. But there’s no easy out from Britain, just a hard slog.

      So on the 23rd, vote REMAIN. Watch the Daily Mail implode. Enjoy.

      • John Edgar says:

        Janet, that is it in a nutshell! When we are independent, then we will have full sovereignty to decide for ourselves. First steps first. Rise and others who want different policies and social radicalism, that is fine, but we must not stay linked to Westminster. If that means a remaining in the EU until we are fully sovereign as other countries in the EU, then so be it.
        We think strategically first. There is no chance of social justice through Westminster.

  13. John Edgar says:

    Cameron at No 10 is considering a variation of the Vow, according to the Guardian, namely, a pledge from the other EU heads of state to consider a review of the free movement of people! Accordingly, “cold water” is being poured on it.
    Scotland needs people to come here. Is there not such a thing as purdah?!
    As I said earlier, the yoonists dahn sath are flummoxed.

  14. Dave Oh What says:

    Nice one re; the ‘safe in our hands’ motto; aye, like giving an otter a job on a trout farm.

  15. hettyforindy says:

    Great article, I do like your turn of phrase!

    Spoke to someone yesterday who said her dad, aged 98, a Yesser, and SNP supporter, is now a bit confused as his EU vote could be like ‘supporting Davie cameron’. So I had to say whichveer way you vote, it’s a tory vanity project, so best vote for Scotland, and that could be what you think is best, for me that’s to stay in the EU, at least for now.
    Worst thing would be if it turned out more support for leave, or very low turnout in Scotland, We need people to vote, with a majority to stay in the EU.

    English Eton boys decided on this referendum, let’s hope whichever way it goes that it takes them down a few pegs.

  16. maxi says:

    Uk will never be allowed to leave. Surely everybody knows that, well the ones with working grey matter that is!

    • I Clark says:

      You’re the second poster here to make a statement like this without providing any evidence. The onus is undoubtedly on you to provide evidence for such a provocative and counter-intuitive statement. At least the other poster didn’t gratuitously insult people. Care to explain your conspiracy theory? On second thoughts, don’t bother.

  17. MI5 Troll says:

    I had been feeling a bit low for a few days after the Orlando atrocity but your half man half goldfish quote has put a smile back on may face again.

  18. Not Convinced says:

    IIRC we where promised “the maximum possible devolution”? Now opinions can and obviously will differ as to what is the maximum possible devolution but surely the best case scenario for explaining the current offer is that either they where lying then or they’re lying now?

    i.e. Either they didn’t give us the maximum possible devolution then, and hence have more to offer us now or they did give us the maximum possible devolution then and hence have nothing more to offer now.

    Of course the more likely explanation is that they where lying then and they are lying now but you’d think there’d at least be a way to spin it such that it could be claimed they where telling the truth both times?

  19. Joe Kinnear says:

    Folks in an SNP ‘our dear leader can never be wrong’ bubble might be interested in thinking beyond the cliché that Brexit support is just a bunch of racists/xenophobic folk. Oh and Nicola and the SNP are keeping things really positive “course vote for the interest of Goldman Sachs or evil Tories will kill your first born etc”.



    The SNP leadership have been disgraceful in refusing to engage in any intelligent or intellectually serious discussion of the EU.

  20. Peter says:

    I reckon there’s ‘election fatigue’ after indyref, ge15 and sp16. Plus , much as I hate to say it , I think the SNP EU campaign has been very poor. What happened to ‘making the positive case’? It’s just endless attacks on Boris and Farage and warnings of doom.

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