The paradoxical truth of independence

Brexshit just gets worse and worse. According to Universities Scotland and the Research Council UK, Brexit could leave Scotland as intellectually impoverished as the Labour party’s Holyrood front bench. Academics who are EU citizens won’t want to teach or study at Scottish universities, and Scottish students won’t be able to study abroad so easily. Because if you are a European citizen who fancies your intellectual barrow, you’re going to go where there’s a decent prospect of funding and resources, and that won’t be British universities after the Tories wrench us all out of Europe and into a land of dumbed down fleg wavers where Michael Gove will count as an expert. He’ll receive a professorship so he can lecture us about how facts are overrated. British universities will no longer benefit from European funding, and that will devastate many fields of study. But the Tories will be happy, because who needs world class universities anyway. They only encourage people to think critically.

4500 EU citizens work in universities and colleges. They currently have no guarantee of their status. They don’t know whether they’ll be allowed to remain in the UK. Liam Fox is happy to treat them as bargaining counters whose fate is to be held hostage to the fortunes of Tory negotiations. But human beings aren’t a passive pile of plastic chips in the possession of the reckless Brexit gambler in the EU trade casino. Liam Fox and David Davis don’t possess them. Human beings can and will walk out with their own two legs. Faced with the uncertainty in their personal and professional lives that has been created deliberately by arrogant politicians, people will make their own arrangements. And it’s Scotland’s universities and the universities of the rest of the UK which will suffer.

Brexit means Brexit, and that means Scottish students and students from the rest of the UK will be trapped with the inanities of a xenophobic backward looking Britain where the social attitudes of the 1950s count as progressive. Our students will no longer be eligible to participate in the Erasmus programme, which allows students to study in European universities. Travel broadens the mind, but that’s precisely what our Tory masters don’t want. They want us narrow minded, inward-looking, and parochial, all the better to swallow their nostrums. When you still think that you can’t drink the water abroad, you’re less likely to think that other countries have anything to teach us.

Brexit means Brexit, and that means that research programmes in Scottish universities will no longer be eligible for EU funding. One of the most worrying is funding for research programmes in IT, over 30% of which currently comes from the EU. Scotland’s world class reputation for innovation and invention, not to mention our £3 billion plus computer games industry, depends upon our expertise in IT. Also facing the axe are archaelogy, philosophy, classics, and law. We’ll be left as a country that doesn’t know its own past, doesn’t know what the future holds, and which won’t have the philosophical or legal resources in order to think about and challenge our position.

The fate of Scotland’s universities is the fate of Scotland post-Brexit. It will leave us diminished, isolated, and underfunded. Brexit is the ultimate in dumbing-down, the last word in the idolisation of wilful stupidity. According to the Scottish government, Brexit puts 80,000 Scottish jobs at risk, it’s going to cost the Scottish economy over £11 billion a year by 2030. But there will still be plenty of programmes on the telly with Great British in their title, and that makes it all OK. Mind you, as you struggle to make ends meet and avoid being sanctioned by a benefits system which has institutionalised cruelty, you won’t be able to afford your BBC licence fee anyway.

Scottish universities fear that the effects of Brexit will be devastating. Brexit is the insitutionalisation of dumbing down, and will make it even harder for us to challenge the decisions taken by the UK government because we’ll be alone, adrift and impoverished. Far from taking back control and restoring the sovereignty of the British parliament, Brexit in practice has resulted in the ever increasing concentration of power in the hands of whoever it is that happens to occupy the post of Prime Minister. And the current occupant is an unprincipled politician who will espouse any position in the pursuit of power.

Britain is becoming a nastier place, a crueller place, a place where compassion is regarded as weakness, where learning for its own sake is disparaged. The Brexiteers aren’t taking Britain out of the EU because they want to make this a kinder and more gentle country, they’re doing it because they want to expose us all to the howling gales of powerful corporations, to unleash the worst excesses of capitalism onto a population which has neither the energy nor the resources to resist. They want to strip back social progress our parents and grandparents fought and struggled for.

There is a way out. There is an escape. Scotland doesn’t have to face this fate. It can be possible for Scotland to remain a part of the EU. If we hold an independence referendum and vote for independence before the rest of the UK formally leaves the EU, Scotland can potentially inherit the UK’s membership. Because it’s in the gift of the other EU states to decide who they choose to recognise as the inheritor of the UK’s status as an EU member state should one part of the UK choose to leave and another part choose to remain.

If we want to save the best of Britain, the NHS, our public services, a social security system that actually provides security for those in need, decent pensions for our older people, a respect for different cultures and an openness to the world, the only way to do it is for Scotland to become an independent country. Scotland can be that part which preserves the positive and progressive values that once characterised the British state. It’s only by becoming an independent country that we can preserve and continue to develop those good and positive aspects of the British state that many No voters in 2014 were afraid of losing. We’re going to lose them if we remain a part of the UK. The paradoxical truth is that if you want to preserve the best of British, you need to vote for independence.

Audio version of this blog post, courtesy of Sarah Mackie @lumi_1984 https://soundcloud.com/occamshaver/wee-ginger-dug-30th-oct-2016

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32 comments on “The paradoxical truth of independence

  1. […] Wee Ginger Dug The paradoxical truth of independence […]

  2. Macart says:

    The sad bloody truth of it is that few currently see it coming and even fewer will believe it until it hits them.

    Our ever rightward media have been spoon feeding the public the sugar coated version of brexit. ‘Course they neglect to mention just who brexit benefits most, or that brexit will remove their rights, hit them directly in their weekly shopping and expose them to the type of society Paul has outlined ATL. No, that would never do.

    Mushroom media. Keep the public in the dark and feed them on a diet of shit. They let us down and badly at that. Begs the question though? Just what are they for? The answer appears to be to preserve the interests of the UK establishment and state system.

    Some questions for the reader may be, do you believe that establishment is worth preserving? Do you believe the state and society their self interest and their narrative has created worth living in? Finally, just what KIND of country do YOU want to live in?

    Brexit/Austerity UK where you have ZERO influence on government and legislation or an independent Scotland where you have the opportunity at least to build better for yourself and for future generations.

    You’d think that a bit of a no brainer.

      • Macart says:

        The choice is indeed that stark and May has already reneged on her sound bite. She has moved from: “I have already said that I won’t be triggering Article 50 until I think that we have a UK approach and objectives for negotiations – I think it is important that we establish that before we trigger Article 50.” to the exclusion of all legislations from brexit negotiating team, the flat refusal to entertain exceptional or differing circumstances for those countries within the UK which voted to remain. That is, no reverse Greenland deal for either Scotland or N.I. and only limited input from her own SoSfS.

        In short, sit doon, shut up and eat your cereal. There never was any intent of central government to entertain other legislative input and certainly not from the significant other signatory of the treaty of union. With brexit a looming reality and no firm idea of negotiating position in place and certainly an increasingly hardline message coming from EU representatives, Westminster cannot afford to lose a single yard of shoreline, tax base or resource as a lone voice in the WT marketplace.

        Its an all or nothing hardline stance with all ‘home’ based legislations and somehow hope it all just works out with folk successive governments have spent a lot of time alienating and antagonising.

        But apparently it’s the FM who is reduced to bluffing….

        Uh huh!

        • benmadigan says:

          Too true macart – we can only look forward to a very, very hard line campaign – but our very survival is at stake here. Hope our people begin to realise just how high the stakes are!

  3. Brian Powell says:

    Ah, but remember we have been told again and again by Slab that Scottish Universities serve only the rich, and don’t deserve the support they get from the Scottish Government.
    University academics voted no, they didn’t vote No (but with the following provisos), they just voted No.
    St Andrews University students, for example, apart from the honourable ones who said it wasn’t for them when they didn’t live in Scotland, voted No. Some gleefully posing in front of the No signs at the polling stations.
    And we still get the thick shits going on about will the SG still charge English students when they don’t charge Scottish students.
    Remarkable, so many brain dead in Universities.
    By the way, thinking of brain dead, where are the Slabbers these days, when all this is happening?

    • Brian Powell says:

      I should add, poor old Wales, voting for Brexit, but no special treatment for their Universities.

      Though surely Oxbridge, Bath and Imperial College will refuse the obviously discriminatory privileges they are being give.
      Erm, only kidding.

    • Anne says:

      Well Kezia is in New York to support Hillary Clinton! I Nothing better to do I guess, like her day job.

      • Whitburnsfinest says:

        Hey, don’t knock it. At least we can be rid of her for a few days. Maybe she’ll decide to stay….

        • Worry not. The Dead Tree Scrolls will have photies of her warmly shaking Clinton’s hand all over Tuesday’s editions. News Where We Are TV stations will have a wee feature morning noon and bedtime on how wonderful she is.
          Meanwhile back at the day job….
          Paul, Ruth Davidson and her Red and Yellow Better Together allies are determined to drive us back to 1945, exhausted impoverished, isolated and ruled by an elite Oligarchy.
          None of them is arguing against Hard Brexit. They are content to return this country to the lowly status of a helpless add on of England.
          I watched QT for the last time on Thursday. England has indeed become a foreign land now.
          ‘We must all get 100% behind Brexit now.’ Audience applause.
          Ken Loach had the saddest look on his face throughout this BBC Propaganda mechanism for the Far Right.
          I will not allow an English Tory Oligarchy to close Scotland, my Scotland, to the world.

          • Anne says:

            I wonder if Hillary even knows who she is.According to WOS McTernan is with her in South Carolina, but Clinton has been in Florida all day.Ach well at least her accent won’t be a hindrance as naebody understands her at hame either.

            • Meanwhile, Anne, The Daily Raggard headlines with a non story about that political Failure, James Kelly’s ‘record’ 3200 strong petition to scrap the Offensive Behaviour at Football matches legislation.
              I’m sure that the institutional bigots WATP Two Jobs Professor Adam Tomkins, and The Queen’s Eleven Murdo Fraser, two other chancers whom the electorate rejected but who still managed to get on the Unionist £1200 a week gravy train, back him all the way with this piece of trivial nonsense. Scotland is on the brink of either the fatal disaster of Full English Brexit, or choosing life, Self Determination, and continuing membership of the EU, and these small minded little numb nuts pander to the lowest of the low, the Billy Boys and the Up The Ra brigades.
              How does Adam Tomkins get away with claiming a MSP wage, and his University stipend as a professor of law at the same time?
              Are we that far gone that the Elite Up Here can do anything they like with impunity?
              I’m sure that he has a plausible explanation that doesn’t include: ‘other MSP’s have two jobs?’

              • Whitburnsfinest says:

                Yeah, but it’s easy votes, isn’t it? You could get the watp crew to follow follow (heh) by waving a sock on a stick. They’ll literally believe anything if you say the queen or King Billy wants them to. Lowest common denominator is exactly right.

                Also, I literally laughed out loud at ‘dead tree scrolls’. Brilliant🙂

                • Graham Rae says:

                  What actually totally astounds me about Dugdale is the insane level of self-projection involved here. Wee Kez nips off across to America to revitalise her dead party; just like her to go to a country whose political system is lying in ruins and is basically a banana republic, to do so. But she clearly thinks, on some level, that she is just as important as Clinton (“This is how the big woman does it, I’ll copy her! I will win!”), another female leader, and can learn a lot from her and her campaign.

                  It’s utterly tragic delusion. This woman is completely lost at sea. I would be surprised if she lasts until the end of the year as leader of the much-depleted party she is ostensibly head of, especially when she nips off at inopportune, extremely important moments (“Awww, the NHS event will be fine withoot me.”) to America at the taxpayer’s expense to stroke her own deranged ego. People tend to notice and remember these things, and her coat is on an extremely shaky peg in the leadership stakes as it is.

            • Jon in Chicago says:

              I can tell you that no one here knows who they are, and even fewer will care. They are complete non-entities who will have a less-than-no effect on our election (which Hillary will almost certainly win with +300 electoral votes).

              Their only actual accomplishments will be racking up a few thousand airline miles for whatever their frequent flyer programs are.

  4. Willie Hogg says:

    It is becoming clearer by the day that the choice is not yes or no to independence but do we want to continue in our relationship with Europe with increased responsabuilitie for ourselves or to leave and take whatever the ruling elite want to give us.

  5. Marconatrix says:

    ¨When you still think that you can’t drink the water abroad …¨
    Are you saying we can? If I´d only known that years ago, I might actually have gone abroad …

  6. Whitburnsfinest says:

    Former Erasmus student here. That really breaks my heart.

    Also, are the tories trying to reverse the Scottish enlightenment or something?! That’s what they seem to be doing. Good grief. I’d like so have some strong words with whoever voted for these people.

  7. stewartb says:

    On access to EU research for Scottish universities post-Brexit, it is not just about the UK or Scottish governments making up for lost funding over the short to medium term. Finance is important but there is much more at stake.

    It is the potential loss of longer term access: to networks; to ‘easy’ to form trans-European collaborations; to influence in framing major EU research agendas, including on research of relevance to the future of our key industries. Its being on the outside of the EU’s community of research, technology, innovation and commercialisation policy and ideas/practice developments. Its about less access to exchange of research staff etc.

    We already do have contacts/collaborations with the rest of the world – as does the rest of Europe- but our access to the research community in Europe cannot but be harmed relative to the status quo.

    What is the UK government planning to do in order to ensure continuing access for Scottish researcher to the European research community? Short term commitment to making good any financial shortfall on existing programmes is far from sufficient for the longer term.

  8. AnnieM says:

    It has been suggested by an English paper here in Spain that the perfect win-win solution would be for England to leave the UK, leaving Scotland and Northern Ireland in the EU (and Gibraltar). Wales could choose whether or not they wanted to stay with England, or leave the UK with them. This would give everybody what they want without all this complicated negotiation!

    • douglasclark says:

      So sensible, thus bound to fail!

    • Global Nomad says:

      AnnieM, I have read a few stories like that and signed the odd petition for it aswell. After thinking about it, does that mean we would have to negotiate their settlement with regard to the National Debt (Pop. Share). They could be told no currency union with the rUK and all the rest of the bullshit that they peddled in 2014. They wouldn’t be allowed access to the BoE as a lender of last resort and would have to set up their own central bank (doubt that would be too difficult for them with their mates, the Rothschilds).
      One thing that would be for certain is that we could just box up the trident missiles and send them back to the good ole US of A as they are on loan to the UK of which we would be the successor state.
      I have to admit its making my head sore thinking of the different connotations in that regard.

  9. douglasclark says:

    Just to say that Newsnet Scotland and I think you should be on Derek Bateman’s love in for the BBC,

    Watch this space.

  10. tris says:

    In Dundee we have a fair number of European students studying at our two universities. Without them I suspect that some of the courses will be so undersubscribed that they will have to close. I can foresee redundancies among lecturing and probably ancillary staff.

    We also benefit from a large amount of funding from the EU.

    Each one of the European students, be they from France or Finland, Belgium or Bulgaria, brings money into the city. Parents send money in Forints, Euros and Krona to pay rents and buy food. Some more than others, but they all do it.

    Worryingly, as you say, our kids will no longer be able to take advantage of Erasmus. 20 years ago I was able to study in France. It changed my whole outlook. I learned so much that I could never have learned had I stayed here, just by living and working in a foreign country, in a foreign language under different systems.

    But you are right. The Brits probably don’t want our kids to be broad-minded, educated people. Folk like that think for themselves.

  11. Walter Hamilton says:

    Did you not get the E-mail from the BBC, its all good. Our GDP is up, and even 25% knocked off the value of the pound, that’s good too, the pound was far to strong and holding back exports, and we all came up the Clyde on a bike

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