The broad shoulders of a headless chicken

The United Kingdom that Scotland was promised it could be a leading part of doesn’t exist. It’s as fictitious as the ghost in an episode of Scooby Doo, an artificial phantasm invented in order to distract from the real goings on. Most of you reading this will be as shocked by this relevation as you would be on discovering that it was the creepy janitor wot done it. And in fact it was the creepy janitors of Westminster wot done it in this children’s cartoon that they’re pleased to call the government and parliament of the United Kingdom.

The big selling point of the Better Together campaign during the 2014 indyref was stability and security. They asked repeatedly and pleadingly, only with far less cuteness than the pleading eyes of a fluffy puppy because there is no universe in which Gordie Broon could be mistaken for cute, why give up the stability and security of the broad shoulders of pooling and sharing Britain for the uncertainties of a tiny little Scotland that’s still in kiddy sizes. You’re safe in the UK, you know what you’re getting, why give that up for all the uncertainty of independence when the SNP can’t even tell you how much a first class stamp is going to cost in 2020?

In the UK you’ll not only be sure and certain, but you can lead! And some even trotted out the tired old divorce metaphor and told us that we’d be like the wife who had threatened to leave but had changed her mind so now we’d be able to call the shots. We’d be in a strong position to get everything we wanted. And just look at all the pretty baubles that were on offer. Shiny shiny. There’s superdoubleplusdevomaxiest, more superpowers than the entire canon of DC comics, jobs galore, oil booms, investment, pensions you can trust, ensuring the NHS would be well funded and in public hands, a triple A credit rating, securing our EU membership, and they’d even throw in a blanket and some beads and mirrors. It was a veritable Generation Game conveyor belt of Unionist goodies, and they even threw in a cuddly toy in the shape of Fluffy Mundell. Good game, good game.

Two years down the line we know what we’re getting. We’re getting bugger all. The jobs that we were warned would be lost if we voted Yes have been lost or are threatened anyway. All we’ve actually managed to get is the stuffed toy, but even the stuffed toy is really the beardy voice of the Tory cabinet in Scotland and not the voice of Scotland in the Tory cabinet. The only Scottish voice that’s welcome in a Westminster Tory cabinet is a voice that is wheesht. Everything else that Scotland was promised has gone the way of Davie Cameron’s career, which fell off the end of the conveyor belt into the bottomless pit of Westminster’s unkept promises and lost opportunities.

Why risk the stability and safety of the big boys and girls of Westminster, with their experience and their nous and their contacts and their understanding of the world, and trade it for a little government in a little country which doesn’t even have a proper news programme. And then the Brexit axe fell and we saw that Scotland was meant to rely on the broad shoulders of a headless chicken. No one in the British establishment had a clue what to do. The Tories went into collective meltdown and Labour turned in on itself. We saw that all they care about is their own careers.

Remember the face of Bawjaws Johnson the morning after the Brexit vote. There he stood, like a teenager who’d been caught behind the bikesheds with his troosers round his ankles and his right hand fully occupied. That’s the face of the British establishment in a crisis. That’s what Scotland is supposed to be better off with.

We know what we’re not getting. We don’t know what we’re going to get except that it’s unlikely to be either good or anything that we’d have freely chosen. We’re not getting the security of our EU membership, but we don’t know when the Brexit button is going to be pushed or what will happen when it is. Although it’s a safe bet that it’s not going to be pretty, because if Brexit really was going to usher in the sunny uplands of a bright and confident UK bursting full of economic opportunities, job creation and international cooperation, conditions that would ensure the reelection of any government that brought it about, you might imagine that they’d be in a hurry to get the process started.

What’s going to happen to the grants and subsidies that Scotland received from the EU? Will the UK government make up the difference? No one knows for sure. Which means that they probably won’t. Meanwhile our renewables industry faces an uncertain future along with the rest of Scotland. If we stay in the UK our only option will be to put out the begging bowl and hope that Westminster tosses a few coppers our way. But we already know that they’re only interested in tossing themselves.

Two years since the promises were made, and within two years they’ve all turned to dust. The only government in the UK that actually has a plan is the Scottish Government. Westminster isn’t going to secure Scotland’s place in Europe, it’s not going to secure Scottish jobs, it’s not going to secure Scotland’s economy. Scotland will have to do all these things for itself. We stand at a juncture in history, we can choose between the uncertainty and instability of a UK that doesn’t know where it’s going, that doesn’t know what it stands for, which is turning its face against the world, or we can choose an outward looking Scotland in which we build security and stability for ourselves. Today the Scottish First Minister is in Germany seeking to build alliances and forging contacts with other EU nations as a first step to securing Scotland’s future in Europe. From Westminster there is only a self-serving silence.

That’s the choice that’s facing Scotland in this summer of uncertainty. We can continue to rely on the broad shoulder’s of the headless chicken of Westminster where planning and foresight are alien concepts, or we can create a future for ourselves with our own hard work, our own vision and our skill, talents and intelligence. Never has the phrase “it’s a no brainer” been more appropriate. A new Scotland will be born from the advice of a thousand Scottish maws, “If ye want something done, dae it yersel.” Let’s dae it oorsel.

Audio version of this blog article, courtesy of @lumi_1984

This will be the last blog post until August 24 as my significant other is visiting from the USA and we’re going away together for a wee holiday.

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31 comments on “The broad shoulders of a headless chicken

  1. Dan Huil says:

    Polls continue to show a massive lead for the tories over Labour in England. This isn’t going to change in Labour’s favour for many many years – if at all.

    Vote No next time if you want decades of tory rule from Westminster. Surely most Labour supporters in Scotland can now see the futility of this rotten union with England. Vote Yes next time if you want to live in a country which benefits all the people not just the very rich.

  2. jimnarlene says:

    Enjoy your holiday and say hello, to your significant other, for me.

  3. Irma says:

    Have a lovely time, with a nice paddle, and take your bucket and spade… but this being Scotland, wear your dufflecoat. xxx

  4. liz says:

    ‘Broad shoulders of a headless chicken’, brilliant!
    Enjoy your holidays, it’s well deserved

  5. I hope that if you’re off to Europe on your break, you bought your Euros a couple of months ago.
    The traditional ‘first fortnight in August ‘ English ‘Fair’ is about to finish. Thousands will return from the Costas with horror stories about their egg ‘n’ chips and pint of Stella costing them more…
    Have a great break, you’ve more than earned it.
    Winter of Discontent coming. Rest Up. We need you fit and fightin’.
    Great piece with which to sign off .
    A bientot. Hasta la vista.

  6. benmadigan says:

    Have a great holiday Paul and Peter

  7. […] Wee Ginger Dug The broad shoulders of a headless chicken […]

  8. Macart says:

    Its coming right down to that stark choice. Who do you trust to administer your government and what kind of country do you want to live in?

    Anyroads, you have a great time on your break.

    We’ll find something to get up to. 🙂

  9. Robert Graham says:

    well not for the first time you have nailed the whole sorry saga since Sept 2014 , just how many times are people here going to get stuffed and lied to before they waken up even now i believe half the country thinks the Vow was delivered and the rest of us are just moaning can people really be that f/n stupid ?

  10. Ian says:

    And they would have gotten away with it if it wasn’t for that pesky Nicola Sturgeon.

  11. Ian Gould says:

    thanks for a great inspiring night in Bathgate, enjoy your break

  12. Alastair Gunn says:

    “… if Brexit really was going to usher in the sunny uplands of a bright and confident UK bursting full of economic opportunities, job creation and international cooperation, conditions that would ensure the reelection of any government that brought it about, you might imagine that they’d be in a hurry to get the process started.”

    As always, you raise good points and in a humorous way! However the segment I’ve quoted above is very telling IMHO. Now a certain delay was inevitable, even acceptable, given that the Tories had to have their leadership “contest” and then May had to gather a cabinet, and agree a general approach to the issue. Consulting with the First Ministers of Scotland, Wales & N.Ireland obviously a good idea in this process, and talking to Jeremy Corbyn and Tim Farron also worthwhile so as to gather as many opinions about what people are likely to want / able to put up with from “Brexit” … But you’d really think they’d have pulled the trigger by now!

    • Marconatrix says:

      They have no desire to pull the trigger, the referendum was only ´advisory´ after all and most MPs are for Remaining. They will simply delay as long as possible in the hope that it will all somehow blow over.

      Sooner or later another ´burning issue´ will arise (or be contrived) to distract the masses. Meantime some kind of figleaf will be devised to get HMG off the hook. With luck it might simply be some sort of EU reform that was actually in the works anyway.

      • Les Bremner says:

        According to Wikipedia : A referendum (in some countries synonymous with a plebiscite — or a vote on a ballot question) is a direct vote in which an entire electorate is asked to vote on a particular proposal. This may result in the adoption of a new law.

        Note the word ‘may’. It MAY result in the adoption of a new law.

        Since Westminster operates government from the top down, they have simply sought advice from the people whom they rule. They see no need to act on that advice, but simply add it to other pieces of advice.

  13. […] Source: The broad shoulders of a headless chicken […]

  14. diabloandco says:

    Cherokee Prayer Blessing

    May the Warm Winds of Heaven
    Blow softly upon your house.
    May the Great Spirit
    Bless all who enter there.
    May your Mocassins
    Make happy tracks
    in many snows,
    and may the Rainbow
    Always touch your shoulder.

    Have a great break!

  15. Craig says:

    Seems Westminster weren’t just lying prior to the referendum they have been fiddling the books in the North sea as well…check this out…

  16. John Edgar says:

    Now Wee Norway may not let Brexit UK back into EFTA as it will shift the balance away from the smaller nations!!
    Another nail in the hopes of Nicola Sturgeon, oops, Theresa May the Nay!
    Suddenly, Westminster is no longer cock of the walk.
    Its place at the top table is melting away.
    UKOKed noo. Article 50, when will we see it being invoked?
    The nawbags must be hoping for another Indyref2 to salvage something from Engxit. Shrivelled shooders noo,

  17. 1314 says:

    Is Boris Johnson not left handed?

  18. Dave oh what says:

    Great blog, best wishes for a well earned break – rest and come back stormin…Dave & Co

  19. ScotsCanuck says:

    aye …. we must strike for Independence now !! ….. Wastemidden has raped Scotland of everything but hope … and that IS next. It is now or never because if not now, then nothing will remain. Soft NO’s if your reading this (and it’s a safe bet you are) …. you know in your heart you’ve been lied too regarding the promises made by the Remain Campaign and that what Paul is saying is true. There’s never any shame in saying …. “I was wrong because the information I was given was wrong …. but I can make it right” …. and that is where we are right now, a lot of folk in Scotland just need a wee bit o’ encouragement to say “aye” and we who believe need to reach out and make that connection. We can & will do it !! ……… happy Hols Paul, hope you & your partner have a great time.

  20. David Agnew says:

    Standing on the shoulders of a headless chicken, we get handed a pig in a poke marked awesome powers, only to find it empty except…an IOU for the pig.

    The UK…ripping the absolute pish out of Scotland for 300+ years

  21. Iain Ross says:

    “The UK…ripping the absolute pish out of Scotland for 300+ years”

    Aye that is indeed the case but try telling that to the people I work with. Most of them are just not interested, sad but true. As ever they are going to be the problem and without a balanced media (yeh right) it is going to be a struggle.

    Don’t want to sound negative but we all need to keep this in mind over the coming months.

    • Auld Granny says:

      Unfortunately too many of them just don’t care. I keep coming across the “I’m all right Jack” mentality but the majority of the No voters I know truly believe that we just aren’t good enough.

      Our Nation is still full of unconfident cringers who will happily sacrifice the rest of us to make their self fulfilling prophesy come true.

      • Robert Graham says:

        Yes agreed with you no wonder ” no thanks ” had it so easy when we are surrounded by let’s face it idiots, I am reminded of a woman during September 2014 just before the vote it was an interview in a hairdressers and she was asked her opinion of the choice in the vote her reply was before hurrying out the shop was ” oh I don’t have enough information ” my first thought was you wouldn’t know what to do with more information Mrs , and if you mention politics the usual pat answer is oh politicians they are all the same when you try to explain no they are not the eyes glaze over , Indy ref 2 is not going to be easy

        • that’s why the INDY side need to ensure the FUD (Fear Uncertainty & Doubt) is all about the UK this time around.

          The majority of people are emotional decision makers, not rational decision makers: they vote how they feel, and in IndyRef1 they were feart for their pensions (and on and on). The FUD needs to be focused, as Paul says, on how many promises were broken and how deeply uncertain and scary the British future outside Europe will be:

          Trade? Who knows but the UK is a NET IMPORTER so that puts us as the wrong end of that negotiation!

          The Pound? Definitely weaker still (and as a commenter mentioned above, this will be starkly obvious to anyone who has gone abroad since Brexit).

          NHS? The writing is on the wall in rUK for more privatisation, and that will directly affect (reduce) Scotland’s devolved budget impacting our ability to provide services.

          Pensions? With a weaker pound, and poorer investment rating, the UK’s ability to grow the Pension Fund is becoming ever more challenging – there are already moves afoot to increase the retirement age, and to make contributions higher, to change the contribution rules to make it harder to “earn” a full pension, as well as reducing the automatic index-linking of pensions (se also: value of Sterling)

          Scotland, conversely, is a NET EXPORTER – of energy (Oil & Electricity from renewables), of food, of luxury goods (whisky, etc), of manufactured goods (computers, etc). It is also hugely influential as a research hub (four world-class Universities means we produce research significantly above the level our population would suggest), and has a fundamentally different perspective on the social safety net, on education, on law, and on policing, among many others.

          There are a LOT of positive messages that needs must be pushed relentlessly (we ARE Scotland – Exceptional Alba) alongside the FUD about the UK (as above).

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