When a blow is not a blow

Here we go again. According to assorted reports in the Unionist media, especially its frothier end (which these days is getting more frothy than a capuccino made with fairy liquid) Scotland’s got no chance of remaining in the European Single Market because Spain says no. This is, apparently, yet another major blow for Nicola Sturgeon and hopes of Scottish independence because absolutely everything that happens anywhere is a blow for Nicola Sturgeon and hopes of Scottish independence. After all, this week because Network Rail’s works on a number of Scottish railway lines overran, it was a blow for the SNP even though Network Rail is entirely owned and controlled by a UK government which refused to devolve responsibility for it. We had assorted Scottish Tory MSPs tweeting hilarious pics of lethal disasters and asking if Humza Yousaf was responsible when it was in fact the Tory transport minister in London whose resignation they should have been demanding.

But don’t believe the hype. What we’re really seeing is yet another jamón fisted intervention from a Spanish right wing administration which makes Ian Paisley seem like a man who was ready to say Yes to anything and a desperate Unionist media that is losing the argument against independence and is clutching at whatever straws it can find. The latest Hispanic intervention is really a blow for the UK and for the chances that the United Kingdom can remain united. Spain’s intervention makes the chances of a second independence referendum more likely. It’s an example of the same pig-headed and unthinking intransigence which is driving the cause for Catalan independence.

If Madrid’s goal is to discourage the Scottish independence movement, they’re doing a spectacularly poor job of it. But then, if you’re familiar with the Partido Popular you’ll realise that shooting themselves in the foot and doing a spectacularly poor job is their Unique Selling Point. The only jobs that the Partido Popular do well are those which involve collecting cash in brown envelopes. And even then the only part that they do efficiently is the picking up the envelope bit. The Partido Popular thinks that it can discourage independence by saying no to everything, without realising that what’s it’s saying no to would actually make a second independence referendum less likely.

Earlier this week a Spanish MEP, Esteban Gonzalez Pons, was reported as saying that the Scottish Government’s attempts to secure a special deal for Scotland are impossible. Esteban has previous when it comes to ramming a stick into the spokes of the wheel of Scottish aspirations. He was the member of the Partido Popular who met with Ruth Davidson and other members of the Conservative party back before the first independence referendum in an attempt to build a pan-European anti-independence alliance amongst the right wing parties represented in the European Parliament. After meeting with Ruthie and some other Tory figures at the Conservative party conference in Birmingham in 2012, he announced he’d be visiting Edinburgh in the December of that year to plot further with the Scottish Tories, and also claimed that he’d be meeting with representatives from the Labour party.

Anything that the Spanish government says about Scotland in Europe is seized on by an increasingly desperate Unionist media. Except of course when what the Spanish government says isn’t helpful to the Unionist cause. That’s what happened a couple of months ago when a far more important and influential Spanish politician, the Foreign Minister José Manuel García-Margallo, said that he thought that within four to five years the UK would return to England’s sixteenth century borders because he thinks it’s highly likely that Scotland will hold a second independence referendum in order to preserve its EU membership. He’s a far more important figure than Esteban Gonzalez Pons, he’s got far more power and influence, yet the Unionist media was silent about his remarks, just as they were silent about his threat a couple of days previously to veto Brexit if the UK intends to include Gibraltar in it.

The most recent comments are directed squarely at any attempt by the Scottish Government to negotiate a deal that allows Scotland to retain access to the Single Market while the rest of the UK leaves. Gonzalez Pons was talking specifically about a Scotland which remains a part of the UK. He also said that although he was speaking in a personal capacity and not as a representative of the Spanish government, his views were those of his party. However his party is a minority administration in Spain, it requires the support of other parties in order to pass any laws. Meanwhile in this latest supposed blow for independence the Spanish MEP said nothing at all about the status of an independent Scotland. It just suited the Telegraph and other Unionist outlets to gloss over that point in order to present the statement as a reverse for Nicola Sturgeon. Gonzalez Pons said absolutely nothing about the EU membership of an independent Scotland, and most categorically did not threaten to veto membership of the EU for a Scotland which had just voted for independence.

The Unionist parties can avoid a second independence referendum. All they have to do is to recognise that Scotland voted to remain a part of the European Union and grant the outcome of that Scottish vote the same respect that they’re always demanding for the outcome of the referendum in 2014 – a referendum which they won in part by promising that a No vote was the only way to ensure the safety and continuation of Scotland’s membership of the EU. Yet the Tories and their right wing allies in Europe are cutting off all the avenues that allow them to escape another independence referendum. They’re the ones ruling it out. They’re the ones insisting that Scotland’s vote only needs to be respected when it suits them. They’re the ones demanding that Scotland only has a part time democracy. They’re the ones who have created the conditions for a second independence referendum, and everything they’ve done since only makes that referendum more likely.

When that referendum does come about, the Scottish Government will be able to say in all honesty that it’s the duplicity, intransigence, and obstinacy of the Unionist parties which have brought Scotland to this point. And they’ll be aided and abetted by a right wing Spanish Government which fondly imagines that it can discourage Scottish independence by ruling out the only way in which the UK Government can have both its Brexit and its Union.

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17 comments on “When a blow is not a blow

  1. Shagpile says:

    Why am I thinking about Gibraltar after reading this article WGD?

    It’s not as if Spain has a veto on Scottish independence. Even less of a veto if the result of Scottish independence finds Scotland a member of EFTA rather than the EU.

    The Spanish rubber ducks can tow their fishing fleet to less stormy, friendlier waters I’m sure… perhaps the Philippines or Gulf of Mexico… problem solved, oh, hang on… por favor?

  2. emilytom67 says:

    Is that the same Spain that is a financial basket case and all but going tits up,no it can,t be can it.

  3. Illy says:

    There is a *very* good point in here:

    It is entirely within Westminster’s power to stop the desire for a second indyref. They just seem hell-bent on running away from those options as fast as they can.

  4. […] Wee Ginger Dug When a blow is not a blow […]

  5. Sheena Wellington says:

    Yep, the unionists will clutch at any passing straw in the fond hope that we won’t notice that it bends, twists and has no foundations!

    We really enjoyed your talk in Dundee last night. I would have come up to shake your hand but I’d waltzed out without my purse so couldn’t buy the latest book,(Himself has an aversion to carrying cash at the best of times) and I didn’t want disturb you when there were people buying and Government Ministers consulting you…. managed a wee chat with the Dug though!

  6. Macart says:

    No deal whilst we’re part of the UK?

    Fair enough.🙂

    Wonder how that Gibraltar stance is coming along for the PM? Is she willing to cut the Gib loose to keep Spain sweet? Will she have any choice in the matter? How about the fate of all those ex pats across Europe? Then of course there’s the constitutional cloud of a certain court challenge on the very near horizon.

    So many questions, so little time for Ms May.

    Tick tock.

  7. Dan Huil says:

    It’s just the same old britnat Project Fear guff we experienced in IndyRef1. It’s all they have.

  8. bedelsten says:

    Whack a mole. No sooner does one yooney tunes Heterocephalus glaber (mole rat) emerge blinking into the media, get rebutted, disparaged and ridiculed, to disappear underground again when another one pops up and the process is repeated. Trains, pensions and Spain this week. It is getting a bit repetitious and tiresome and I suppose we will have to endure.

    No surprise that Gibraltar fails to be mentioned in the unionist media – any veto Spain may wish to use would surely be to leverage single market access to Gibraltar for the Spaniards who work there and the Gibraltarians who trade with Spain. If an exception is made there, it will be difficult to deny the same for Scotland. What fun.

    I see the dug and its minder mentioned in the Grauniad. Libby Brooks says Paul’s popular blog has propelled him into the midst of the alt-commentariat, whatever that is. The plug will have not done the readership figures any harm.

  9. […] blogged earlier today about a report in the Telegraph about some comments made by the Spanish Partido Popular MEP […]

  10. Bill Dale says:

    I didn’t know that Libby B had the Gaelic – nice of her to acknowledge that WGD is part of THE commentariat😉

  11. Macart says:

    Paul, have you seen THIS?

    http://www.gov.scot/Resource/0051/00510602.pdf

    On yer marks… etc

    Its gonnae get awful loud very shortly.🙂

    • weegingerdug says:

      Funnily enough I’d just started reading it when I saw your comment. It’s a busy day here!

      • Macart says:

        Dry as dust all that legality and not exactly a page turner in the traditional sense, (more of a sci fi fan masel), but a real beezer of an ending.

        Its Friday night and a cheeky wee dram and a pair of slippers beckon.🙂

    • The Scottish Play says:

      ……but this blow. Might be the be-all and the end-all here.

      • Macart says:

        the play’s the thing…

        I suspect we’ll soon find out just how much the treaty of union, its word and spirit, means to the UK parliament. The submission and the court will put the articles of union to the test.

  12. Tatu says:

    A good article, except that Jose Garcia Margallo was sacked from the Spanish Government at the beginning of November. He has been replaced by pro-Europe diplomat Alfonso Maria Dastis Quecedo. Although what this will mean for Gibraltar and Scotland I don’t know.

    http://www.thelocal.es/20161104/pm-names-new-cabinet-and-drops-gibraltars-thorn-in-the-side

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