A man with no plan

It’s been a fun filled fantastist week for Scotland’s not so merry band of Unionist politicians as they rush to deny that there can possibly ever be another referendum, except an EU one in the case of the Lib Dems, but in the meantime they’re getting on with Project Fear Mk II just in case. This week’s big scare is that in the event of independence there will be a hard border with England that will make the Berlin Wall look like the hedge that Fluffy Mundell is dragged through on a regular basis. You won’t be able to go to the Metro Centre in Newcastle without being strip searched by those big burly men that Ruth Davidson is always warning about. You know, the ones that only exist in her own imagination. Scotland will have a hard border imposed upon it, but Ireland won’t. Because, reasons.

Mind you, after a hard Brexit you won’t want to go to the Metro Centre in Newcastle for your shopping, because goods and services in rUK will be a lot more expensive than they will be in Scotland, what with the tarrifs that will be imposed on Westminster’s trade negotiators – that would be Liam Fox. Most countries would cheerfully impose a tarrif on Liam in an effort to discourage him from bringing Adam Werrity along. On the other hand, the pound sterling will by that time be trading around about parity with the Albanian Lek, which will make rUK really cheap for Scottish shoppers. So you know, swings and roundabouts.

The whole thrust of a Unionist scare campaign is that there’s only ever negative consequences for and independent Scotland. The rest of the UK sails on blissfully unaffected. But that’s not what would happen in the real world. If there is to be a hard border between an independent Scotland that’s a part of the EU and an rUK that isn’t, the party whose interests are going to be most prejudiced by that arrangement is the rUK. Because it also means a hard border between the rUK and the rest of Europe and woeful effects on the economy of the rUK.

No freedom of movement of people, no freedom of movement of goods and services, the EU has been explicit on that point. There will be no negotiations on access to the single market without free movment of people. Westminster can stamp its foot all it likes, but it’s not the one with the strong hand. A hard border means no passporting of financial services that the City of London depends on to do business with Europe, and that will put an end to London’s position as one of the world’s leading financial centres. All that will be left will be laundering money for Mexican drug cartels and hiding the ill gotten gains of Russian oligarchs. Which to be honest, isn’t hugely dissimilar from what’s going on just now.

Scotland may very well do most of its business with the rUK for now, but after a hard Brexit and trapped behind a hard border with trade tarrifs and a plummeting pound the economy of the rUK is not going to thrive. That will provide a shrinking and weak market for Scotland. We’d be fools to tie ourselves to that. The rUK comes off far worse in the threats that the British establishment makes against us, but it’s only ever the negative effects on Scotland that we’re invited to consider. The truth that Project Fear Mk II doesn’t want us to think about is that it’s even more in the interests of the rUK to avoid a hard border.

Meanwhile, over in Toryland, Murdo Fraser has been demanding that the SNP come up with a plan to make the best of Brexit. It’s a bit like a dog owner who allows their mutt to crap all over your doorstep then chaps on your door and demands to know what you’re going to do about cleaning up the mess. The real reason that he’s wanting to know what the SNP plan is for making the best out of Brexit is because the Tories don’t have one. Murdo’s a man with no plan. There is an SNP plan however, it’s just that it’s a plan that the Tories don’t like. That plan would be to gain independence and leave Westminster to stew in its own dysfunctional juice.

Labour in Scotland does have a plan. They announced this week that they’re going to become the most autonomous Labour party in Scotland in the history of autonomy. You know, what they told us that they already were back in 2013, then again in 2014, then there was that wee relapse with Johann’s branch office moment then they were back to being autonomous again with Jim and then Kezia. Labour in Scotland wants itself to have more autonomy than it’s prepared to allow Scotland to have, which is a peculiar position for a party which was prepared to allow the least amount of devolution possible during the Smith Commission negotiations – even less than the Tories. There’s a word for that sort of thing, and that word is hypocrisy, and that’s one of the reasons why Labour’s support in Scotland is flatter than a hedgehog on the M8.

Kezia’s new found enthusiasm for Labo-Max if not Devo-Max is probably not unrelated to the fact that Jeremy Corbyn is about to be reelected by party members. And the signs are he’ll be reelected with a crushing majority. His supporters will then have their eye on deselecting MPs who were seen to be disloyal. One of whom is Kezia’s ally Ian Murray. Kezia’s autonomy proposals have a whole lot more to do with ensuring Kezia has autonomy from Jeremy Corbyn than they do about giving Scotland greater freedom of movement. You might call me cynical for thinking that, but then I’m nowhere near as cynical as the Labour party.

Even the Lib Dems have been at it this week. Not that anyone’s really noticed, or indeed cared when they did notice. The want another referendum on the whole EU thing, because that’s totally different from wanting another referendum on independence. Or something. Truth is, I wasn’t really listening. The problem for the Lib Dems is that no one else was either.

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31 comments on “A man with no plan

  1. You couldn’t make this stuff up.

    First the Tories want the SNP to sort out the mess the Tories created.

    The (Not ) Labour in Scotland became more autonomous than the autonomy they claimed they had already which is just bollocks. You are either autonomous or you are not. It’s a dichotomy not a gradation.

    Then Willie Rennie said people didn’t have the full truth during the run-up to the Brexit vote so they should get a second bite at it. But that the voters of Scotland who didn’t get the full truth in the run up to 18/09/2014 shouldn’t get a second bite at all, ever, so there. Just shut up and accept your lot no matter the change in circumstances.

    Yet astonishingly over 50% of the electorate voted for one of these hypocrites in May.

  2. […] Wee Ginger Dug A man with no plan […]

  3. Maria F says:

    “It’s been a fun filled fantastist week for Scotland’s not so merry band of Unionist politicians as they rush to deny that there can possibly ever be another referendum”

    The only possible way the three unionist parties could have any moral and ethical ground whatsoever to refuse another Scottish Independence referendum is by delivering each and every single one of the promises made by the Better Together campaign before the 18th September 2014 and in full, and that of course including remaining in the EU and becoming ‘the most devolved country in the world’.

    Until that time comes and for as long as Tories, Labour and LibDems continue failing to deliver on those promises, Scotland can claim as many referendums as it likes. It is not Scotland who has failed on its part of the agreement, is it? No, it isn’t. It is the three unionist parties who have failed in delivering.

    Every product you buy in this country is bound by guarantees: if it is not fit for purpose or it doesn’t do what it says in the tin, you can claim your money back. The referendum is no different.

    As we stand in September 2016, two years on after the first Scottish referendum, the bulk of those promises have not been delivered so the Unionist parties have failed spectacularly on their part of the deal: this could be constructed as a breach of agreement.

    The blame for the threat of a second independence referendum should fall fairly and squarely on those that due to their spectacular incompetence (because they weren’t lying, were they?) failed to deliver on their promises, one by one, and that means the three Unionist parties: Tories, Labour and LibDems.

    It is therefore time for Tories, Labour and LibDems to stop wasting their energy in shouting against independence and start investing all that energy in addressing their spectacular failure in delivering ALL what they promised in exchange for a NO vote to put things right.

    It is only upon delivering all those promises that the Tories, Labour or LibDem made that they will have any moral and ethic right to deny us a second independence referendum.

  4. Geach says:

    Two points if I may be so bold.
    “Scotland will have a hard border imposed upon it, but Ireland won’t. Because, reasons.” Are you saying that in your opinion rUK would not impose a hard border on us if Scotland became independent and in the EU?
    Secondly “If there is to be a hard border between an independent Scotland that’s a part of the EU and an rUK that isn’t, the party whose interests are going to be most prejudiced by that arrangement is the rUK.” So are you of the opinion that a hard border between Scotland and rUK will affect rUK’s trade with the EU more than it will hurt Scotland’s £48.5 billion trade with rUK, and that the trade we export to rUK will not be affected ?
    How so?

    • weegingerdug says:

      My opinions are given in the article above. The rUK cannot impose a hard border on one EU member, iScotland, while retaining an open border with another, the ROI. The economy of the rUK will be severely damaged if it decides to impose hard borders with EU member states. That means that Scottish trade with the rUK will be severely impacted because the rUK economy will shrink. iScotland however, will have opportunities to replace that trade that the rUK will lack, because we’ll be members of a large trading block. That means iScotland will be in a better position to recover than rUK.

      • Brian Fleming says:

        Surely much of Scotland’s trade with England is actually exports to other destinations that pass through English ports and is not recorded as Scottish exports due to what the UK gov. fancifully calls their balance of payments statistics. I’d like to see a proper breakdown of Scottish and English exports with the through-English-ports exports properly attributed to Scotland, not recorded as trade with England.

    • davidbsb says:

      I would suggest that the “settlement” of the recent Irish troubles is partly at the expense of acquiescence in the cross border criminality of some of the players. A hard border there would very likely result in renewed direct confrontation with the Colonial administration – as it would disrupt the money making which keeps those players currently preoccupied.

      It would be both vindictive and counterproductive for a hard border to be put in place between Scotland and rUK. The biggest losers would likely be English ports re-exporting Scottish goods. Particularly if ferry links were re-established from Scotland to the mainland. You don’t seriously expect a country which imports everything and anything from everyone to actively stop importing Scottish goods alone?

      I note that Norway has an open border with the EU, and I have crossed from Switzerland to France and to Germany myself with only cursory checks.

      Its just a silly scare story. I would suggest to counter it we would need to just join the Schengen arrangement and if rUK has an issue with people sneaking across from Scotland to rUK, that’s really their problem, not ours. Eire is not in Schengen.

    • Aucheorn says:

      We do already have a hardish border with the EU.
      You can pass freely from country to country until you get back to the UK, then even the dogs get checked. I’ve been told it’s not unusual for goods to get held up at places of entry. Then again that could just be the penny-pinching of Westminster.

  5. ron gillies says:

    Just heard, airily on radio four that there has been no detrimental effect on business confidence in the UK since brexit but what happened to the uncertainty?

    • That’s because there’s been no Brexit yet. Everything is plodding along just as it was before the referendum and until article 50 is triggered, that’s how it will stay. After article 50 is triggered, that’s the time to be wary of what’s going to happen.

  6. Patience is a Virtue says:

    BBC News full today of how ‘unaffected British Industry is’ over Brexit (which of course has yet to happen)…. whilst conveniently failing to highlight that…..

    ‘GBP/EUR exhange rate plunged below the key level of 1.16 on Tuesday afternoon, and struggled to hold above this level… due to news that there was ‘zero chance’ of Britain leaving the European Union while maintaining access to the EU’s celebrated single market.’

    Possibly not an interesting or relevant enough news item to broadcast to the masses.

  7. Keep it up, Paul. I commented on this mess over on WoS. I’ll spare you all here.
    Sanderson of the Clyde in the Colonial Herald today:

    “ASSURANCES that Brexit will not lead to a hard border in Ireland do not necessarily mean the same rule would apply to travel between an independent Scotland and England, leading academics have warned.”
    The ‘leading’ academics who increasingly live in the privileged cloisters of university La La Land, gathered at a ‘sell out’ Constitutional Convention Conference, chaired by the ubiquitous, but stiil in ‘a muddle’ Henry McLeish (how do I get the cushy wee numbers?), and Professor Nicola McEwen came up with this wee gem.

    She is no stranger to anti Scottish pearls of dizzdom.
    Northern Ireland is special, apparently, because of unsaid, circumstances.
    How to we guarantee CTA between Free Scotland in Europe and Fortess England?
    David Torrid of the Colonial Herald had the solution.


    We split into two warring factions.

    The Scottish Defence Force, the SDF, and paint the kerb stones in our ‘hoods red white and blue, fly Union Jacks from every lamp post.

    The Scottish Republican Army, the SRA, who will fly Saltires from their lamp posts, and daub blue wode on their faces.

    The next bit gets trickier.

    For the next two decades, we permit psychopaths from both sides to kill about 4000 of us, and ambush and kill hundreds of police and soldiers, blow up hundreds of buildings, impose a reign of terror on ghetto-ised communities, and finally declare a cease fire and hammer out power sharing détente.

    Are these the special circumstances pertaining to Northern Ireland to which ‘leading academic’ Professor McEwen refers, in a stultifying specious argument to try to justify Project Fear II’s closed borders nonsense?

    The Unionists are having an extremely bad week.
    Onwards , Paul, Another great piece of Unionist debunking.

  8. Macart says:

    I can’t! I just cannot… take any of them seriously anymore.

    Conservatives, SLAB, Libdem. They all want you to consider them worthy of forming government.Of governing capably for ALL of the population. That they care what you think, your concerns, your needs, your aspirations.

    When they’re not riding buffalo and asking what the SNP are going to do about screw ups their own parties have introduced to the populace. You may find them trolling the population via twitter, or careering down wean’s slides and kicking them off bouncy castle’s. Their other pastimes include unleashing their media attack dogs to insult, run down and manipulate their own electorate.

    Now with the Scottish electorate of sixteen years ago, one that was still sick with apathy and utterly marginalized, that may have raised only a dark mutter of ‘thir awe the same’. Today? Today I don’t think these brainless, arrogant and ignorant articles who pass themselves off as politicians, our public servants, our would be ‘betters’ realize just how much rage and contempt they are raising against themselves.

    Do these halfwits actually think the contempt and insult they visit daily on the Scottish electorate won’t be returned many times over at any opportunity given to the public? The route of travel of their voter base has moved in only one direction for some considerable time now. You’d think they’d have taken the hint to mend their ways and mind their manners, but no. Day in, day out they assault the government the public have mandated to carry out a duty and call it holding to account… FFS! Seriously? Again, day in, day out they either personally insult and troll the public via the media or they have their media do it for them.

    So what do they expect? That we owe them some respect? That we should thank them? Reward them? Do as wur telt?

    Maybe just me, but I’d guess that if you abuse someone’s trust, their good nature and their hospitality. If you insult their intelligence or opinions on a regular basis, then at some point I’d expect them to turn round and put you on your arse.

    Worse, they may simply laugh at and ignore you.

    But then you’d have to credit someone with enough good sense and humility to take that on board (shrugs).

  9. Sandy says:

    What are these ‘libdems’ that you speak of? Genuinely puzzled.

    On the borders question, how do you possibly make a hard border with Scotland but no hard border with Ireland work? Don’t you just end up with a very popular ferry service from Stranraer to Liverpool via Dublin?

  10. benmadigan says:

    England’s point of view is “we don’t care and you don’t count”
    In campaigning and voting for brexit I am quite sure the English politicians and people didn’t care tuppence for Wales, Northern Ireland or Scotland. We don’t exist for them.
    As far as what i am going to say Wales voted leave and doesn’t count (I am deeply sorry for the Welsh nationalists). ( Think what a message it would have sent to theEU and the world if Wales had voted remain like Scotland and Northern Ireland).

    NI voted remain. Safeguarding its position it has its special internationally-registered treaty with the Republic of ireland (full EU member) as guarantor and EU and the ECHR legislation carefully woven in. Furthermore as an independent state within the EU, the ROI can veto whatever it likes in the EU-UK Brexit negotiations. Hence no talk of a hard border in ireland because it would surely be vetoed as no one in Ireland wants it.The ROI’s further demands with regard to NI remain to be seen

    So how do you make a hard border with Scotland but no hard border with Ireland work?

    That may not happen but it’s up to Scotland. You could have soft borders everywhere as things are today or soft Scottish/NIreland/ROI borders with all countries having hard borders with England/Wales. or hard borders everywhere.

    Scotland desperately needs an Independence victory in its Indyref2 to make its voice heard in deciding whether there will be a hard/soft border between Scotland and England, between Scotland and NI/ROI. And more importantly in deciding on all the other things Scotland needs and desires and deserves.

    A victory in Indyref2 is essential if the Scottish Govt is to protect Scotland’s interests

    • Marconatrix says:

      I agree absolutely with your comments regarding Wales. A loss for us, but a tragedy for them. Assimilation by England seems the likely outcome unfortunately.

  11. Scots Wa Hey says:

    Autonomy = self-Govern self-Determination independent self-sufficient Homerule

    None of which Labour want for Scotland

  12. Cloggins says:

    I think we can now safely abandon the terms UK and Britain and replace it by England and Scotland. Lets get used to it, it is unavoidable anyway.

    • Some of us already have, Cloggins.
      I spent decades booking into quite literally hundreds of hotels all over the UK , Ireland, and Europe, and described my nationality as Scottish on the registration card.
      England is, and always has been, another country. I am certain that all my relatives, friends, and ex colleagues, who number in the thousands, consider themselves to be English, and that their country of birth is England.
      This is the Great Better Together Lie. They assert and B Great Britain is one country, or a nation of four countries, or some such inane sophistry.
      Britain and England in their mental set are interchangeable. The rest of us mere colonies.
      We are repealing a political construct, the Act of Union, that’s all.
      We are not ‘separating’, or splitting up ‘Britain’.
      We are exercising our sovereign right, and reclaiming Self Determination, an independence of sorts, to form a government of the Scottish citizens, elected by Scottish citizens, accountable to the citizens of Scotland, Scottish Administrations which can be replaced or returned to power by the citizens of Scotland, not the citizens of our neighbour to the South, England.
      No need to get an ouch every time you make the distinction.
      We cringe no more.

  13. Silver19 says:

    Superb article, I loved this line “There is an SNP plan however, it’s just that it’s a plan that the Tories don’t like. That plan would be to gain independence and leave Westminster to stew in its own dysfunctional juice” now I would just love to see Westminster stew for eternity in it’s own dysfunctional juice but not just any ordinary dysfunctional juice it has to be putrid, out of date, puss filled, vomit inducing dysfunctional juice with added orange chunks 🙂

  14. Paul Wilson says:

    I was silly enough to watch Rennies slavers at the Brighton conference and boy was I glad that I did I found out that the SNP never actually won the Scottish election the Liberal Democrats did according to Rennie 5 seats beats 63 silly me in my universes the opposite is true.

  15. bjsalba says:

    Would a hard border be such a desperately bad thing? How much of what comes up from England and Wales is actually manufactured there?

    The UK is the second biggest arms manufacturer in the world, but none of it (except Trident which is American anyway) is sent up here so that will not be a problem.

    I’ve read often enough that we (the UK) import over 60% of our food. I suspect that what is grown in here in Scotland represents at least our proportional population share of the 40%. I’m sure we could manage to bring the rest directly into Scottish ports.

    There might be a few teething problems at the beginning, but I am sure it would not take long to get things sorted.

    It would bring more jobs here too.

  16. Iain says:

    I saw a Liberal being earnest and brutally frank on TV last night. So I switched off.

  17. Dave oh what says:

    Hard border? Foxache. We are already dreading the thought of having to apply for a visa to visit my partner’s grandson near Berlin. Today we have just returned to Abdn after a (combined) total of almost 4 hours of queueing at Rhodes airport last night & then Border control & baggage reclaim at Glasgow on arrival in the early hrs this morning. WHAT will travel be like after Brexit wrecks it completely?

    • bedelsten says:

      It is possible that the Rhodes customs / border control people will, post Brexit, subject UK visitors to a more rigorous passport inspection process thus increasing the delays even further. You can sometimes see this when, for example, Russians tourist passport holders are being processed. It would be marvellously ironic if, as happened this holiday, several flights from England and Scotland arrived and departed within a short space of time (this is to make life easier for the package holiday companies) but, post Brexit with Scotland remaining in the EU, there would be two queues – for EU and non-EU citizens.

  18. John says:

    Great post as usual Paul , I love all of this turmoil that is going on in all the Unionist Parties at the moment , it’s great fun watching from the side-lines . So glad we have a leader who has her head screwed on , unlike the rest of them .Surely , just surely , the people of Scotland must be taking some of this in . The Scottish electorate must be getting the message that what we have in Westminster is a government in total chaos , chasing it’s tail (no pun intended !) , headless , leaderless , aimless . Labour in the south imploding ,Labour in the north thinking it has autonomy from Labour in the south (nae chance comrade ! ) Lib. Dems , a complete irrelevance , not even worth a peek at their side-show .

  19. Robert Graham says:

    Possibly starting to PLAN as if we were independent , forget the Tory Border have a study done regarding our ports and Airports and the present shortfall in facilities to gear up for export , perhaps someone Mr Alf Baird comes to mind for his input there is a wealth of experience in people visiting here who have years of experience that the present government could put to good use , just a thought

  20. Patience is a Virtue says:

    I see Kezia had her finger on the button again… but smehow failed to register her vote … and, surprise, surprise, she explains … it was all the fault of the BAD SNP! .

    And the News from the BBC just now trying to tell us we will have more powers under Brexit under -the control from Westminster (but wait do we not have Home Rule??)…than under an Independent Scotland within the EU… I think we could take a punt with the latter and be pleasantly surprised … unless of course you think the former is doing a job of managing things… either way… Independence.

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