Wullie Rennie’s magic wand

Poor Wee Wullie Rennie. He’s terribly upset that a party dedicated to the proposition of Scottish independence won’t rule out independence as an option in order to deal with the assault on Scotland’s democratic wishes that is the Brexit vote. Wullie doesn’t actually have any other ideas on how it might be possible to square the circle of a Scotland that wants to remain in the EU but a rest of the UK which wants to leave it. He’d prefer to live in a fantasy world where he can have a Scotland that remains a part of both the EU and the UK, but he doesn’t have the foggiest idea of how to bring that about. Possibly by magic.

To be fair, coming up with a practical and realistic plan on how to bring it about isn’t Wullie’s job. He’s only the leader of the fifth largest party in the Scottish Parliament. Wullie’s job is to come up with justifications for why there needs to be another EU referendum as soon as possible so the inconvenient 2016 vote can be overturned, but the result of the 2014 independence referendum needs to be set in stone forever. That’s the kind of mental gymnastics which have ensured that Wullie is the leader of the fifth biggest party in Holyrood.

The United Kingdom is going to leave the European Union. The Conservative government in Westminster is not disposed to make special arrangements which would allow Scotland to remain a member while the rest of the UK leaves, and the EU isn’t disposed to do so either. That doesn’t leave many possibilities outside of Wullie’s fond imaginings for Scotland to retain its EU membership.

The only ways that Scotland can remain a member of the EU would be if the UK as a whole changes its mind and doesn’t leave after all, or that Scotland becomes independent. That’s it, those are the only possibilities. The possibility that Scotland can remain a member of the EU while remaining a part of a UK the majority of which has left is as remote from reality as a statement from Alistair Carmichael about a Scottish Office leak. But the possibility that the UK won’t leave the EU after all is almost as remote. That would destroy the Tory party, but the best developed instinct in British politics is the Conservative instinct for survival. We’re in this mess in the first place because the Conservatives put their interests of their party before the interests of the country, and we will remain in this mess because it’s in the interests of the Conservative party to wade through the sewage of Brexit rather than avoid it.

We currently have a majority Conservative government in Westminster, but its majority is a mere 12 seats. If Theresa May decided that she wasn’t after all going to press the Brexit button and renege on the EU referendum result, she wouldn’t have a majority for much longer, and the Conservative party would dissolve into the kind of infighting, splits, and plotting which we more usually associate with the parliamentary Labour party. The difference being that when Tory plotters wield the knife they don’t usually miss. Meanwhile there would be a howl of outrage from the 55% of English and Welsh voters who supported Brexit in the referendum and the only beneficiary would be UKIP.

Reneging on the commitment to go ahead with Brexit would destroy the current Conservative government, and would destroy Theresa May’s career. She knows that too. That’s why the joke isn’t a joke after all. An Englishman, a Scotsman, and an Irishman walk into a European bar, and they will all have to leave because the Englishman says so. That’s how the UK works. When there’s a conflict of interest between what Scotland wants and sees as being in its interest and what England wants and sees as being in its interest, it’s going to be England which wins. That’s simple electoral arithmetic.

We’re now in a situation where what Scotland votes for and what the rest of the UK votes for are in conflict almost more often than they’re in agreement. And that’s particularly true of the big questions, like questions about the future direction of the UK, about Trident, about the kind of society that we want to live in. The UK is only viable as a political entity as long as its constituent parts are in broad agreement, but for Scotland and the rest of the UK that ceased to be true a long time ago. Scotland and the rest of the UK march to different drums. Scotland votes for parties that are opposed to Trident, opposed to austerity, opposed to leaving the EU, but we’re getting all those things anyway because that’s what the rest of the UK votes for.

Wullie Rennie, and the Labour party in Scotland, can hide their heads under the duvet and pretend that it’s possible for Scotland to remain a part of both Unions, but that’s not going to happen. They’d prefer to see Scotland dragged out of the EU while they carp helplessly from the sidelines than do anything useful and productive to avoid the situation. Not even the prospect of a UK that’s outside the EU, exposed to the wildest excesses of the Conservatives austerity fetish, where public services are slashed to the bone and Tory party’s private business cronies are the only winners will wrest the Lib Dems or Labour out of their SNP bad comfort zone.

In both the 2015 and the 2016 SNP manifestos, Brexit was specifically stated as a trigger for another independence referendum. The Scottish government is doing all it can to secure Scotland’s place within the EU, but when both the UK government and the EU rule out any possibility of Scotland remaining a part of both Unions, it would be wrong of the SNP not to pursue the mandate on which they were elected. The Lib Dems went back on their manifesto commitment to resist student fees, and it didn’t turn out well for them. The SNP won’t be taking advice from the leader of a party which ignored its own manifesto commitments and reduced itself to irrelevance. All Wullie has to offer is a wave of a rolled up copy of a Lib Dem press release which he’s mistaken for a magic wand.

There won’t be any blog updates until Thursday as I’m off with the dug tomorrow to do a talk for Common Weal Moray at the Inkwell, Francis Street, Elgin. On Thursday evening I’ll be doing a talk for a local SNP group at the Crown Inn, 19 Links Place, Burntisland, Fife. Then on Monday 8 August I’ll be speaking at an event hosted by SNP Bathgate at 14 Glasgow Road, Bathgate. All three events start at 7pm. Come along, meet the dug, and buy a book!

Audio version of this blog, courtesy of @lumi_1984 https://soundcloud.com/occamshaver/wullie-rennies-magic-wand-wgd-1st-august-2016

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37 comments on “Wullie Rennie’s magic wand

  1. michael bain says:

    Can arrange a Milngavie/Bearsden evening for you (enjoyed meeting on sat)

  2. Wullie Who?
    Insignificant little man.

  3. Albawoman says:

    I was at the rally on Saturday and saw that the desire for independence still burns bright with the marching folk.

    There will be many thousands of activists experienced and organised this time round.

    Wee wullie’s heart does not lie in independence….actions speak louder than words Wullie. 2014 and all that Wullie.

    I agree that Nicola Sturgeon will have little choice democratically than to call for a referendum when all avenues have been closed.

    The folk on Saturday will,along with many others, be out there at least trying democratically, to shape a future for our children and grandchildren. I doubt Wee Wullie will be there with them.

    Missing you already!

  4. madjockmcmad says:

    The yoons, as usual, are not listening …. Brexit mean the Hobson’s choice of EFTA ….. all the EU regs, all the EU costs, no negotiating rights and freedom of movement anyway ….. all this and everyone else and their dug saying no trade deals ……

  5. Alan Finlayson says:

    Hello Ginger Dug I read most of your posts and agree with much of what you say, that’s not to say I agree with all of it. This Brexit situation seems to have got everyone’s kilt in a twist and for the life of me I can’t see why. As an SNP member and a Scottish Independence supporter the Brexit referendum result is what Scotland would have liked as the 2014 result, i.e. independence from a remote bureaucratic regime in order to run it’s own affairs. Nicky has stuck her foot in the Euro door before it closes, fine, but we should see how an independant UK gets on before we hand our independence back to the bank managers of Europe again. The 2014 and 2016 referendum results stand whether we like it or not, the only legitimate way forward is to hold a further independence referendum but with the added question of do we want to stay in an unreformed EU as before or as a single market. We can’t have our independence cake and eat it, out is out, in is just relegating us all to a bigger version of London control but this time from Brussels. Scotland can go it alone successfully, it’s the only way for us to get a fairer country and a more prosperous one. Prior to voting in the EU referendum I was unable to see which side was the best to vote for, nothing I could see directly benefitted me by being in the EU, maybe big business got a good deal and we got a new stretch of motorway but there was nothing for people. I voted to leave for two other reasons, Junker refused reform for EU and if we left it was said it would be th end of the seats at the top table for the Empire sabre rattling UK governments. I’m happy being out and it will take a lot to persuade me to vote back into that mess. One regards Alan Finlayson

    Sent from my iPhone


    • douglasclark says:

      Alan Finlayson,

      I don’t think that 2014 had anything, much, to do with Europe.

      If I may quote you:

      ” i.e. independence from a remote bureaucratic regime in order to run it’s own affairs.” which would be a decent definition of Westminster, would it not?

      What would you recommend as a world position? Should we join the non-aligned states? Should we become members of EFTA or ex-regio members of NAFTA?

      So many choices, so few that are realistic.

      Me, I’d stay with Europe for old fashioned ideas like trying to ensure no WW3.

      Your mileage, obviously, varies.


      • Jim Morris says:

        To be democratically an equal part of a democratic union called Europe seems to me preferable to be the dominated part of a Dominion which was formed without any democratic process being involved.

    • Macart says:

      You may want to read this:


      and visit this:


      and this:


      and this:


      Then of course there is this:


      and finally –

      173,000 EU nationals living in Scotland – now Scottish citizens – our citizens.

      Any future indyref is not a rerun of the EU referendum. It should surely be about democratic deficit highlighted by the EU referendum and the protection of the rights and interests of ALL our citizens regardless of point of origin.

      • Anne says:

        I want to thank everyone who takes the time to post links to information and articles that they`ve found interesting. I would probably miss many of them otherwise.

    • davidbsb says:

      I spent half an hour there writing a big lump about the EU benefits. But fuckit. If you believe anything you read in a newspaper, or any utterance from a Brit politician after our own Scottish experience then I’m wasting my time even trying.

      Your EU passport gets you fast tracked through customs – have you watched Americans filling in forms at a crowded airport. Have you spent an hour in an asian airport while they treat you as just another foreigner? You can hire a car without a translated driving licence. You can back out of the timeshare deal you changed your mind on. You can fly home on a bucket airline with a case full of whatever took your fancy and no upper taxable limit. And thats just 5 things.

      The EU isn’t about bananas. Its about employment contracts, its about safe common product standards, its about environmental protections and wildlife conservation. Its about clean beaches and drinkable water. Its about common patents, its about free movement of citizens and goods and money. And thats just a bit of the story.

      Aye there are downsides. But it is not all downsides. And if we engaged whole heartedly with our neighbours we could do much to improve on those.

      My favourite No reason is the democratic deficit. And this in a country with an appointed/inherited/divinely introduced second chamber? Ha ha ha. Good one.

    • Orlando Quarmby says:

      “As an SNP member and a Scottish Independence supporter….” – Yeah, sure you are.

      • My thoughts exactly, Orlando.
        Alan Finlayson’s logic escapes me. He is an independence supporter? Yet if we had voted to leave the UK in 2014, and subsequently held our very own Brexit, then the 62% Remain would have won the day.
        I’m sure as a democrat but anti-EU, he would have accepted that Scotland Remain.

        Now with every promise from the Unionists to get a No vote in 2014 broken, and yet again the democratic deficit of remaining in the UK results in Scotland being ‘outvoted’ by WEngland, and therefore dragged out of the EU, against ‘the overwhelming will’ of the citizens of Scotland, Mr Finlayson is OK with that.
        This is a ‘material change’, another broken promise by the Unionists,the trigger arguably for a second Independence Referendum.

        But not for Mr Finlayson:- ” I’m happy being out and it will take a lot to persuade me to vote back into that mess. ”
        So he won’t be voting YES the next time?
        Sorry can’t get a sense of a man who voted for Independence in 2014 here.
        Of course he didn’t.
        Unionist troll at work.

        • Angus Davis says:

          Someone enters an opinion different from yours and you accuse them of lying about their beliefs. There’s lots of SNP and other indy supporters who are anti EU. The SNP are not Scotland, and on this matter they don’t represent us all.

    • Dan Huil says:

      One thing’s for sure: corrupt stench-ridden Westminster will never do what’s in the best interests of Scotland. End the union with England then deal with the EU.

  6. 2p3rf3ct says:

    Excellent analysis. Consolidates what I expect of the Tories at least. Labour and Lib … I couldn’t care less. They either support Scotland or support England!

  7. liz g says:

    Alan Finlayson
    One benift of the EU not often mentioned is the citizenship it’s self.
    Why would anyone be willing to give that up.
    Or in Scotland’s case have it removed.
    Why should everyone else’s kid’s get to bing bong all over the Continent,working,learning,living, loving and having as much choice as possible to shape their future.
    But Scottish kid’s unless from a relatively affluent background are stuck on this Island competing with each other.
    Why should their options be restricted,how does it improve their outlook to no longer be Europeans.
    Also there are rights that come with being a European Citizen why should you me or anyone else just give them away.
    I would much rather have Rights and not need them than need them and not have them.
    We are equal to every other citizen in the continent,but are being forced to give up that status for what?
    If you can think of a good reason for agreeing to this I would love to hear it,and would also like to know what do I get in return,how exactly will the loss of my citizenship rights improve my life?

    • Liz G,
      ‘Alan Finlayson’ is no doubt one of McTernan’s or MacDougall’s wee team of Unionist trolls.
      The ‘I voted SNP the last time but never again ‘ ploy has been tried before.
      Naughty giggling anonymous schoolkids’ malevolence is, and was the last time, the hallmark of Project Fear/Sneer.
      There is nothing left in the Unionist Black Ops tank.
      BAE Frigates, Scotland not in the EU, passports, Trident, civil service jobs, the Finance Quartier fleeing Independent Edinburgh.
      England and Wales are leaving the EU. Now it’s a reality.

      WEngland will be forced to erect Trump guard towers on its borders, the Isolationists will need to aapply for visas to visit EU countries, WEngland passports at the cost of tens of millions will be required even for a week in agite in Normandy, work permits for WEngland citizens will be forced to apply for work permits to work in EU, 10% tariff hike in prices for WEngland citizens’ favourite French wine, Belgian chocolate, and 1.2 million ex pats in Spain France and Italy will be forced to sell up at any price and move back to WEngland because their pensions are paid in plummeting pounds, will no longer be ‘protected’ by the triple lock, thus cutting their income in retirement by a third.. Oh yes, and they no longerwill have free access to EU countries’ free Health Services.
      I see Mundell has not been given a seat at May’s Economic Group’s table.
      I wonder who they’ll send out for the sticky buns and who will top up the tea urn?
      I have a sense that the Darlin’ Duds of May, Johnson, Fox and Davis, have already dismissed Scotland and the wishes of the citizens of Scotland from their minds. They are negotiating the Exit of England, more specifically the SE of England, and the Holy London Empire, oh. and that colony Wales, too, but, though, mind. As ever, they have no interest in the needs and wishes of the people of Scotland.
      On the other hand, the Remain camp need to spell out exactly what a disaster leaving the EU would be for Scotland. Chapter and verse, along the lines of the bullet points that you list in your post.
      WIIFM. What’s in it for me?

      • Sorry abt the jumble of incoherence during this speed clack. I need to edit more.

        • hettyforindy says:

          Good comment Jack. One thing I read about UKok immigrants in EU countries, is that they will be able to stay in those countries, but not sure about health care? Consecutive UKok unionist Westminster governments avoided signing article7, or some aspect of it, re the EU, which guarantees residency for EU citizens or ex pats living in EU countries.

          Apparently, the UKok gov can throw out people from other countries in the EU if engexit happens, (unless they have been here 5 years already) but UK folks can stay in EU countries if they are already there. Might be time to think about a wee move, just in case.

  8. The Rennie: The SI international unit measure of political irrelevance

    O.E.D. 2266 edition – The Rennie: The SI international unit measure of irrelevance, named after an obscure, diminutive, 21st Century Scottish politician who became an object of ridicule for jumping up and down in frustration that no one took him seriously.

    You’ve got to admire Willie’s chutzpah. This is the guy who presided over the LibDem’s effective extinction in Scotland. He and his hommies in Holyrood are the smallest party in Holyrood, comprising less than 4% of the membership of that legislature. He is given an inordinate amount of ink and broadcast face-time by the MSM relative to his and his party’s political significance.

    It’s all practiced bile and flimflam from oor Willie. Melt him down and you’d have 9 stone of brass neck and a half pint of nippy sweetie.

    • He’s still got his job as model for the cartoonists at DC Thomson producing the Oor Wullie comic strip to fall back on.
      Jings, crivvens, help ma’ boab !

    • mealer says:

      Willie Rennie has stated his current position and I don’t think we can ridicule it when everything is currently still on the table.

      • Dan Huil says:


      • 2p3rf3ct says:

        On the table: EU.

        Last meal: Exit UK = leave EU. Didn’t eat.

        Next meal: Exit UK, stay in EU. Full buffet.

        Rennie: how do I use this spork?

      • Like Groucho, Rennie abides by the ethos:- ‘These are my principles. If you don’t like them, I have more’.
        There is no ‘current position’ ,Mealer, whoever you are. One of McTernan or MacDougall’s trolls?
        The Lib Dems in Scotland are a minority group, whose influence and, to be frank. opinions, do not matter. Rennie is beyond ridicule.
        Yet the Unionist Press give him big headlines.
        It is as laughable as it is sinister.
        What are the Flat Earth Party’s views on Brexit?
        The public demand to know.

  9. Dan Huil says:

    Rennie is a disgrace to Scotland. Same goes for liar Carmichael. Just two more reasons out of many to vote Yes next time.

    • I’ve just checked. There are 110 Lib Dems in the House of Lords, FFS!
      Battered into political humiliation at the last UKGE , there are only 8 of them left, and the Scottish GE there are only 5 of them, yet there we have Lord Ming Campbell, Lords Purvis and Stephen, and Bruce ‘Lording’ it over us, while Liar Carmichael will be forever political poison, lurking somewhere on the backbenches, keeping his heid doon.
      Cyril Smith, Clement Freud, and a long sorry list of Lib Dem disgraces and scandals over the decades, yet we are expected to pay attention to what Rennie has to say about anything?
      His ‘current position’ is that he is leader of none.He has no position.
      Herald Scotland is beyond redemption.

  10. O/T but relevant to the continuing madness of Herald Union’s/Scotland’s journalism.
    An MSP SNP wallah tweets that he didn’t get his euros from Barrhead Travel because their founder Bill Munro backed a No vote.
    It’s a while since I’ve dipped into the HS Forum comments. Jeezus.
    A bunch of flea brained BritterTogetherNats hurling one liner insults at the Independence posters. Oh how the standard of comments reflects the Fall and Fall of this once Great Thunderer.
    For the record. Bill Munro, founder of Barrhead Travel, but by September 2014, a non-executive director directly intervened to all staff at their workstations by e-mail:-

    he said: “In response to an increasing number of questions from Barrhead Travel employees regarding my views on the referendum, I decided to share my opinion which is that independence would not be good for Scotland, its business or customers.”

    His email to 697 staff, sent on February 24 and made public yesterday, said: “For Barrhead Travel and most, if not all travel companies, it will be a complete disaster, especially with branches in England and Ireland.

    “Thirty-seven per cent of our business comes from England and we would not be able to trade outwith Scotland due to Scotland being outwith the EU and English regulations for at least three years.”

    Mr Munro, who is now a non-executive director, concluded: “The devil is in the detail and as the weeks pass and more is discovered the magnitude of the impending disaster should there be a Yes vote becomes ever more apparent.”
    In other words he threatened employees, that they would lose their jobs if they voted Yes, because:-
    “Thirty-seven per cent of our business comes from England and we would not be able to trade outwith Scotland due to Scotland being outwith the EU and English regulations for at least three years.”
    What now, Mr Munro. Or is it ‘Sir’ or ‘Lord’ Munro, by now? I cannot keep up.
    It is a contravention of an individual’s Human and Employment Rights for their employer to attempt to influence their political choices. But Munro knew that. The Brit MSM knew that. But all democratic bets were off as UKOK turned their big propaganda Guns on the YES movement.
    Well, MR Munro, have you e mailed your employees describing the disaster which will befall them now that WEngland is about to drag Scotland out of the EU?
    I don’t shop at the big Supermarkets any more, nor M&S, nor would I use Barrhead Travel, simply because by adding faux credence to the lies, bullying, threats and false promises surging from Better Together and the Unionist Dirty Tricks Brigade, the Establishment Big Businesses were part of the Great Project Fear/Smear campaign.
    Bill Munro was saying to the 45%, you are too wee , too poor, and too stupid, to go it alone, and applied the usual bully boy threats that England will visit vengeful Armageddon upon Scotland, if his employees voted YES.
    And he wants our custom given the Post Referendum betrayals, and broken promises? .
    BAE jobs on the Clyde under threat, HMRC Scottish civil servants facing the sack as a new Super Centre opens in Crawley, WEngland is leaving the EU, and we face twenty years of a Tory Government for which we did not vote. Happy now, Mr Munro?
    If any of my employers had tried to pull such a stunt on me, I’d have sued the pants off them.
    How I vote, the philosophical and moral pathway which I tread is my business and nobody else’s.
    If he were a born again evangelist, would it have been ok for him to enquire by e mail if his employees has discovered Jesus yet? Of course not.
    I hope someone who still subscribes to HS and posts there reads this and cuts and pastes the man’s own words onto their Forum.
    He threatened to shut up shop in Scotland and move to Merry England lock stock and barrel.
    I bet he’s glad he didn’t now.

    • The Tories have got themselves in a right mess with this Brexit nonsense.
      Smart money? May will backtrack, and take the flak.
      I can’t see WEngland exiting, can you? Snao GE next May?
      There is too much to lose, and frankly, nothing to gain.
      The ex-pats in Europe have already lost 20/30% of their pensions, and there must be serious doubts in many cases if they can survive on what’s left.
      It is one almighty clusterfeck, right enough.
      I’m lovin’ it.

      • ‘snap’, not ‘snao’…

      • Macart says:

        I suspect they’d love to find a way out, but ‘frankly’ I’m struggling to see how? It would tear the tory party apart and give UKIP a huge boost. Pretty sure the Brexit voting public may throw a bit of a strop to boot. In short … political and societal chaos.

        Best they can hope for is to cut a soft Brexit lite deal with the EU and that’s if they feel like playing ball. I suspect though, a number of the EU members will want an example made of the UK brexit. PM May is in a helluva jam and no mistake.

        • I suspect that the Masters of the Universe will come up with a solution, Macart.
          Freedom of movement and work is the biggie.
          WEngland will negotiate a interim restriction, and agree to lift the ban, behind closed doors when the dust settles and the UKIPpers are once more engrossed in Big Brother, and I’m A Celebrity Magazine Nobody On Ice Dancing Comely And I’ve Got British Talent. It will be a long time before I have excised the image of the incredibly fat, but whiter than white, wee woman sitting in her NW kitchen confiding in her friends that she was voting Leave because the ones she really hates are ‘the negroes’.
          WoS is tearing the MSM to bits today. Our ProudbutScot Forth Estate is indeed the nation’s fifth column. Torrance is a joke.
          Do we have no recourse to a governing body anywhere to stem this Third Reich/Stalin level of propaganda and lies?.

  11. Robert Graham says:

    wullie and the rest of the useless MSPs representing labour-tory-lib dems many who were elected on the list system of this incomprehensible de shit voting system dont have a clue how to run a country and are only there to snipe and carp at the SNP administration .
    who knows what they stand for but everyone and their dug knows what they are against and thats everything and anything the SNP propose .

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