A huddle in a befuddled muddle

You would imagine that by some fifteen months after the Brexit vote, that some sort of clarity would have emerged by now about what was going to happen after the UK had left the European Union. But no, this is Britain. This is the country of muddling through. Only this time the muddle isn’t getting through anything at all, it’s just a directionless disaster. If you thought Brexit was a confused mess last week, this week it’s got even worse. It doesn’t look like it’s about to get any less confused any time soon. The entire project is as tragic as that driver who crashed and wrote off his £200,000 Ferrari just an hour after buying it, only without the sense of Schadenfreude. In fact that’s a pretty good description of Brexit. The Leave campaign told the public that it was going to get a bespoke and hand-made luxury Brexit, and then as soon as they’d bought it they ended up with a car wreck.

Earlier this week we discovered that there’s no such thing as a Brexit which is good for the whole country, which is what the Tories keep promising. It turns out that there is in fact no such thing as a Brexit which is good for any part of the country. A study this week from the London School of Economics showed that there is no Brexit which is good for any part of the country. The study showed that Brexit would seriously damage the economies of all the cities of the UK, and Scottish cities would be particularly hard hit. Scotland voted against Brexit, and Scotland’s going to be hardest hit by it. Those 13 Tory MPs who were elected by Scottish voters because they didn’t want another referendum are going to be as much use protecting Scotland against the worst of Brexit as an Orange Walk protects the Vatican. Thanks for that, Tories.

Now Liam Fox would most certainly disagree that Brexit isn’t going to be good for the country. Although we should do what Liam insists and refer to him by his proper title, which is Dr Liam Fox the Disgraced Former Minister for Adam Werritty. Liam Fox would insist that Brexit is a good thing, and we must certainly concede that Brexit is good for Liam’s career, at least until the chlorinated chickens come home to roost. Anyway, Liam’s career isn’t a significant part of the country. It’s not even really a part of planet Earth. Mostly it exists in Liam’s mind, as he strides the world making imaginary trade deals with dictators and Donald Trump and chlorinated chickens.

Brexit represents the greatest realignment in British economic and foreign policy since WW2, and none of the UK parties has the foggiest idea of what they want to achieve from it or how they’re going to implement it. Around every corner lurks some new intractable issue which threatens doom for the entire project. The Tory response to this is to insist that because they’ve got a British made duvet over their heads none of the bad things are really going to happen even if duvet is a French word that will be repatriated once new immigration rules come into effect. Labour for its part manages to be even more confused and contradictory than the Tories. This is a political achievement of quite some magnitude. The only contest that either Labour or the Tories are winning is the contest to see which has bigger clown shoes. If anyone does have a clear idea of what the Labour party stands for with Brexit, could someone please let the Labour party know.

Meanwhile the Lib Dems do at least have a coherent position on Brexit, insofar as they want another referendum because people aren’t getting what they were told they were going to get. Sadly the Lib Dems are not coherent as far as a Scottish referendum is concerned. The Lib Dems are opposed to another referendum because if people aren’t getting what they were told they were going to get, that’s just jolly bad luck and Scotland should just put up and shut up. Second referendums are only permissible for things that the Lib Dems actually want. So there is a coherence here, it’s just a selfish and self-serving one.

After a confused and confusing week during which the UK government managed to tie itself in knots over a post-Brexit immigration policy, and the EU chief negotiator said that it seemed unlikely that talks could progress to a post-Brexit deal as the British were still not engaging with the basics of the divorce, things got even worse by Friday. The new Irish taoiseach Leo Varadkar said that border checks between the Republic and Northern Ireland will not be acceptable after Brexit. The Irish government does not think it’s its job to design a new Irish border for the benefit of British Brexiteers. According to the Irish, if the UK wants to restrict freedom of movement, then the UK will have to introduce immigration checks between the island of Ireland and a whole and the rest of the UK. The UK caused this problem, the UK can deal with it.

The idea that there should be immigration and border checks between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK goes down as well with the Conservatives’ new best friends in the DUP as the suggestion that talks between them and the other Northern Irish parties to form a new government in Stormont should be mediated by the manager of Celtic. Sadly for the Conservatives and the DUP, the Irish government has a veto on any Brexit deal. They will most assuredly veto any deal which sees the reintroduction of a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic. The Tories are now caught between Dublin Rock and the Hard Face of the DUP. It now looks as though the only way in which an open border between the two parts of the island of Ireland can be maintained is for the whole of the UK to retain freedom of movement. See what happens when you partition the countries you’ve exerted your rule over, British imperialists? It comes back and bites you on the Brexit bum. Now it’s Ireland that’s able to lay down the law to Britain, because Britain is isolated and alone, and Ireland has mates.

We’re only a couple of months into the Brexit process, and the entire thing remains a confused and angry mess. All of this was brought about by the arrogance of British exceptionalism, by Little England nationalism masquerading as a great power, by racism and xenophobia stoked up by right wing politicians, and by the party political manoeuverings of the Tory party. This is not the Britain that was sold to Scotland in 2014. We were promised the broad shoulders of the UK, we were promised the safety and security of one of the world’s biggest economies. What we got was a huddle in a befuddled muddle. The winning sides in both the Scottish referendum of 2014 and the EU referendum of 2016 will go down in history as the biggest political liars in British history, and their lies will bring about the downfall of the UK.


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53 comments on “A huddle in a befuddled muddle

  1. The first sign of madness is hairs growing on the palm of your hands.
    The second sign is looking for them.
    Ah, the old ones are the best.
    As usual, Paul, you don’t miss and hit the wall.
    Madness stalks the green lanes of Old England, and for some reason, no one is screaming Blue Murder.
    But it’s the summer holidays. England is playing S Africa at clickey ba’.
    Radio One will have a Road Show on a beach somewhere.
    BBC Breakfast will have helpful tips on how to keep your little terrors occupied now that the school holidays have started, except where you are in the Northern Colony, and the kids will be trudging back to skool in two weeks time.
    The madness of May and WM is starting to get very frightening.
    We really are being dragged into a Jonesboro suicide pact. That’s if we drink from their poison chalice.
    Indyref 2 within the two year timescale is inevitable now.
    Great words, WGD.

  2. […] Wee Ginger Dug A huddle in a befuddled muddle […]

  3. astytaylor says:

    Christ on a bike. I only hope that enough Scots wake up in time to vote “Yes” in the next independence referendum.
    Bring it on.

  4. It really amazes me just how utterly clueless and directionless the UK is at the moment. Britannia has gone from ruling the waves to rowing around in the fog with one oar. I think that, should it happen, for Scotref to win it just needs to sell a definite, clearly defined direction, a shining ship of contrast to which the people of Scotland can be tempted to board.

  5. A paddy in fife says:

    Bullseye as usual wgd

  6. Gavin C Barrie says:

    “The wining side on the 2014 Indyref and the EU Referendum will go down in history as the biggest political liars in British history”. Aye OK, but who writes the history? The common people or the Establishment?

    The problem for we Indy supporters is that people are resistant to change, unless they are in, let’s call it, dire straits or, threatened by the prospect.

    “My house is paid for; I ‘m a member of my local council golf club; I have an allotment; I drive a small car, low road tax; I have a modest company pension.
    Whenever such people realise that their comfortable, modest way of life is under threat is when they will panic towards Indy. And so the consequences of Brexit, as negotiated, rather than the forecast is what will move such people out of their comfort zone.

    I’d reckon every member of our local SNP branch is comfortably off financially, yet they support independence, why? Egalitarianism? Pride? Self esteem?Independent of mind as a philosophical principle? A total absence of the Cringe factor? And we seem to be around +40% of the population.

    And finally Ruth Davidson disgusts me, as does the slavering media jumping to her call. She did Two years in the TA – who joins the TA? Opted out of the two week, yes two week TA officer training course – it takes 5 years for an apprenticeship, 3 years for a degree, 2 weeks to become a TA officer! A member of the Tory party for a handful of years, and now sits in the Conservative/UK government cabinet.
    Political prominence, and power does seem dangerously easy to achieve.The “comfortably off really should contemplate on that. Easy achieved, easy removed.

    Meantime Teresa May declares she will not meet our First Minister.

    • Marie Clark says:

      WHY is Davidson sitting in the Conservative?UK Government cabinet. She is not an MP, so why the hokey hang is she there?

      Not casting aspersions at you Gavin, genuinely asking the question.

      • Alasdair Macdonald. says:

        There is no requirement that a cabinet minister be a member of one or other of the houses of Parliament. For a considerable time now, members of the cabinet have being either MPs or Lords and ‘outsiders’ such as Digby Jones or Gus Macdonald were elevated to the Lords after they joined the cabinet. However, in our ‘unwritten constitution’ the Prime Minister, with the consent of the Queen can appoint whomever she/he wishes.

  7. Macart says:

    This has political, economic and societal catastrophe written all over it Paul.

    Y’know I get it, I really do. The whole government approach to the media is intended to avert panic, not to mention preserve a few careers. How and ever, it really is a case of that horse has well and truly bolted. That stable door is hanging by a thread on its hinges, seein’ as how the cuddy kicked the living bejeebus out of it in a blind panic and legged it asap.

    Just to recap where Scotland’s population is at though… We voted remain.

    The only country in the union to do so unanimously across all wards. Our government, respecting the vote of the UK majority, yet determined to protect Scotland’s interests whilst also honouring the result of 2014’s indyref, put together an expert commission to examine routes where retaining membership of both unions was at least a possibility. The results of this commission’s work were assembled as a proposal and delivered to 10 Downing Street where Treeza, in her arrogance and feeling a bit empowered sitting at the head of a then Tory majority, duly binned them out of hand.

    So much for respected partnership. Oh, and no mean feat of diplomacy on the part of the Scottish government to walk away from that incredible display of arrogance and ignorance without taking the proposal out of the bin and slapping the entire Tory cabinet round their collective kissers with it.

    Personally, I’d reckon that were most of the readers of this site involved and had said report in their hands, the ‘right hon’ ministers would have required the services of Harley Street’s finest proctologist.

    As everyone is fully familiar with the political and economic course of events since that fateful day, up to and including the soundbite spring of ‘Now is not the time’ and an early summer of ‘Strong and stable’, we’ll skip to the good bit.

    The Scottish government has more than fulfilled its duty of care and respect for the results of both 2014 and 2016. They have done so in the face of the most appalling catalogue of political and media assault in living memory. They have been baited, smeared, insulted, and lied about on a daily basis, whilst honouring in spirit, word and deed both of those results. They have done so despite the fact that they did not create or invite the ensuing constitutional crisis. They have done so because we asked them and didn’t shirk even in the face of all of the above.

    Their response? Once again measured and based on competency, procedure and protocol, the Scottish parliament debated and voted to proceed with the forwarding of legislation to hold a second independence referendum at a time when the UKs Brexit negotiations and their probable repercussions are known to the Scottish electorate, yet before the finalisation of the Brexit process.

    In short? It will be for Scotland’s population to decide their own future. We won’t be dragged by any government. Not the arrogant halfwits of Westminster who dropped the entire UK in this omnishambles and most certainly not the Scottish government.

    We decide.

    Which is pretty much how it should be, in my opinion.

    • A stirring post, Sam.
      Mike Russell received a terse rep;y from Davis on one side os an A4 rejecting the SG Proposals to remain within the UK but also having access to the EU single Market.
      We call it ‘the bum’s rush’ here in the West Central belt.
      Back in your box, Scotland.
      Now it is proposed that NS must meet with an unelected New Laird, and Mundell the Mighty, and will be denied access to May and her Brexiteers.
      They could not be more insulting to the citizens of Scotland if they tried.
      I include the Yoon Gang at Holyrood in this condemnation.
      They are not even paying lip service to fighting Scotland’s corner any more.
      Bought and sold for English gold.
      They know that they are pushing us to the edge: we shall soar, not plummet to the rocks below, as, I fear, England and Wales will, and they can take Dugdale, Rowley, Rennie, Cole Hamilton, Davidson and Professor WATP Two Jobs with them..

      • Macart says:

        The insults aren’t even subtle anymore Jack and the intent of deliberate provocation less so.

        This is about forcing the Scottish governments responses whilst imposing and enforcing a pecking order in a ‘partnership’. It’s about undermining Holyrood. The insistence that the primacy of Westminster parliament and government is all. We are technically and currently, a willing partner to the treaty of political union and the experiment of the Scotland Bill. Nothing would delight Westminster government more than a rash SG giving them the excuse to either radically curtail devolved powers or remove them altogether. What is in the gift of Westminster etc.

        A majority of the Scottish electorate bound our government to act only through the powers and legislative competences of devolved legislature and only a majority of the Scottish electorate can release them from those limitations. They can’t take the same actions to defend Scotland’s interests as a fully empowered and independent government simply because we are not an independent nation state.

        For example. Does anyone recall the UK government asking the EU’s permission to hold a referendum? Only a fully empowered state could do that. One that has access to the competence of responsibility for international relations/foreign affairs.

        I cannot stress enough that people should look at devolved and reserved powers to understand just how restricted our government actually is. Just how restricted we made them (by we, I mean the general electorate). If Scots suffer from austerity, from Brexit, from Westminster legislation? It’s because we tied ourselves to that legislative authority and only we can release ourselves and our government from it.

        It’s always been in our hands.

        If people want to avert the worst effects of austerity ideology, Brexit, the seemingly endless assaults on our rights and our government, our services and our institutions… they can. All they need do, when the opportunity arises, is apply pen to paper when asked. It’s as simple as putting a mark in a box and they can fully empower a Scottish government to act as necessary.

        • In a nutshell, Sam.

        • Alasdair Macdonald. says:

          The famous ‘unwritten constitution’ of the UK in practice means that those in power can make it up as it goes along to suit its own purposes. However, everyone else must ‘follow the rules’, even though these rules have just been made up to stymie what others plan to do. They have little substance, but, the media never examine this, but push the ‘illegality’ line.

          It is often hard to comprehend why more than half of our fellow Scots continue to support the UK. I know many opponents of independence and, on the whole, they are intelligent well-educated, decent, compassionate people, with whom I get on well. Yet, when it comes to discussing independence, we are usually talking past each other. Often it comes down to an assertion – of ‘too wee, too poor, no very good’ type – which has been adopted as an axiom, a chiel that winna ding. Every refutation evokes a pitying, ‘Ah, but ….’ reply. Maybe, they feel the same about me.

          Such a response is not restricted to independence. It is pretty standard when any significant change is proposed. Many of us are unsettled by the uncertainty of change. This is why Project Fear was so successful. Messrs Cameron’s and Osborne’s version of Project Fear in the EU referendum failed, because, for 40 years the mainstream media had continually poured out negative propaganda – big lies and small lies, a continuous drip-drip-drip – that subconsciously many of us came to believe it, especially as like any huge organisation the EU has big flaws. The lies in these instances harmonise with the flaws. Radical change often falls foul of ‘the perfectionist fallacy’ – it has to answer every issue raised – whereas, the status quo’s faults are accepted because we are used to them and have worked out accommodation strategies.

        • Robert Graham says:

          So Simple and yet it cant break through this wall of stupidity and fear , it is truly baffling how people cant see the ” Bleedn Obvious ” , Friends and relations in the USA could not believe we voted “NO” in 2014 , i still cant believe we didn’t cross the finishing line ,
          My first words when i realised the result were f/n cowards bloody useless cowards , it was within touching distance , and the words of Jim Sillars ” between the hours of 7 am & 10 pm we the people are Sovereign , well the people for the most part are stupid , i meet them daily and even after pointing out they were well and truly mugged it still hasn’t registered , they continue to be in total denial and wont admit the truth , fool me once comes to mind here , if they do the same again they are beyond help and deserve everything they get , which as usual will be f/all .

  8. bringiton says:

    The Tories are very keen on their borders.
    When we said we were leaving them,they threatened a closed armed border with customs checks etc.
    Now that they are cutting themselves off from Europe,they are trying to do the same with the EU except maybe not Ireland,Gibralter and the Channel Islands.
    The Tories need borders to feel that they are important and in charge of something.
    In Europe they were always an anachronism and pretty well irrelevant to mainstream thinking.
    Now they can go back to their castles,moats,fox hunting and tax evading ways without any pesky European courts to keep them in check.

  9. Contrary says:

    It is truly astonishing just how remarkably incompetent the uk government has been. Early on I watched some committee meetings where they questioned David Davis – and was horrified at his behaviour, his obvious incompetence, his arrogance, his personality so very much NOT suited to negotiation. But they let him continue.

    I did ask a real live Brexit supporter what he thought of this obvious incompetence, to which he replied ‘everything will be fine’. Sigh. I just think of them, collectively, as a self-destructive mob, and not caring about anyone else. Apologies if you support Brexit, but I think it is your group that should be insisting on a decent level of competence – it really isn’t going to happen otherwise. Everything will NOT be fine, unless you make it fine, it is not the same world as it was 40 years ago.

    Brexit is such a rediculous, unnecessary and harmful thing to do, I am permanently in open-mouthed incredulity over the why, in the first place, and the how they are going about it, in the second. But if people insist that they really do not want to be part of the EU, then at least do it properly!

    But then, there are some good lessons there for making sure our transition to Scottish independence is as seamless as possible – get a lot of the groundwork and planning in first. Assume it will happen, and prepare for that outcome, and expect no help from any Unionist administration.

  10. Andy Anderson says:

    I have been following the Brexit negotiations as much as is possible. The main conclusion is EU professionalism and a heap of haphazard UK muddling. Most info is on line from the EU, nothing visible from the UK. What a load of useless bastards.

    I agree with all of the sentiments above. If we plan and have a vision with specific supporting info we can win. We need to explain the transition to freedom.

    • Marconatrix says:

      I’ve not followed proceedings in anything like the detail you seem to have, but a single image sticks in my mind which is iconic of your conclusion. That image of ‘their’ team facing ‘our’ team across a long table. Them each with a stack of documents before them, our shower without a single sheet of A4 between them. Time I think to send them homewards to think again?

  11. Andy Anderson says:

    Forgot to mention I think that Ireland can be a crutch issue.

  12. Gavin C Barrie says:

    That Ruthie will be sitting in the UK Cabinet is what I’ve read elsewhere. Outrageous if true, yes. It is in Teresa May’s gift I suppose.

    And so I will pose my question again. Who among the UK parliament – May, Gove, Davis, Fox, Corbyn etc. etc. etc., would you hire for your business, at your risk? And at Holyrood – Dugdale, Davidson, Rennie, Baillie?

    A few of the new Tory MSPs do look like steady hands, but probably too task orientated, and lacking the cynicism, to be politicians of the stature of …. ho ho ho…. of Baillie and Rennie etc.

    Our destiny is the hands of the above. Still unconvinced about independence?

  13. Melvin says:

    Ireland is the key to our independence,we must continue to support them and their sensible stance on a border. The UK will be forced to provide a border force in the UK ports to send back any pesky Europeans trying to get into their Tory nirvana.

    If you wrot a book about Brexit it would be called ridiculous and stupid black comedy.

    Boris was in New Zealand this week, what an idiot, harking back to days of empire and good relations with NZ. Learning some Maori words and murdering them…lols

    He really should just join the circus, come to think of it, every time I see Boris ,I think of Lou Costello from abbot and Costello. Full of stupid one liners and talking gibberish.

    The kiwis are all excited about selling increase volumes of lamb and milk to the UK with a trade agreement. The crazy thing is the UK are planning to use the NZ trade agreement team to negotiate for them…..lolz . It is incredible that the UK has come to the point where they can even negotiate a trade deal with help. The UK government has become an Assylum for Idiots.

    The Brexit negotiations , are winning the case for independence and they haven’t even got anywhere near the result , which will be a resounding deafeat for the British govt.

  14. hettyforindy says:

    Thanks for this article. It’s going swimmingly isn’t it, not. The people of Scotland, the ones who think they are best off in the UKok, are in for a huge shock when Brexshit really kicks in. Of course they will blame to SNP when things start to fall apart, when food prices go up massively, and when there are shortages of food, fuel, power cuts, and of course when they have to pay much more just to go for a weekend break to any EU country than they do now.

    Thing is we know that the poorest will suffer and bare the brunt of the damaging and destructive effects and consquences of this terrible UK britnat, backward vanity project.

    I hear that Farage has aquired German passports for his daughters. We can be sure that the gits who instigated Brexshit will be off like a shot, leaving the most vulnerable to suffer. No doubt about that.

    So, can some people in Scotland really think it’s OK that Scotland will, once again be, ‘hardest hit’? Do they really accept that? What an utter utter disgrace, having been told the only way to stay in the EU was to vote against independence in 2014, in 2016 to vote to stay in the EU by a massive majority, then to be told you (Scotland) can’t be included in any of the so called Brexit negotiations! Then, to be told you will suffer, more than the rest of the UK because England voted to drag you out of the EU, but who said they loved you in 2014. Nothing to do with Scotland having major resources that er, England wants to continue siphoning away, while sending a few crumbs back and be grateful sweaty Jocks! Those crumbs have gone stale and are already going mouldy.

    Scotland, do you like moudly bread, do you like paying way over the odds for your basics? Noticing prices of some basic goods creeping up, especially vegetables, bad quality ones at that! Our ‘local’ supermarket seems to be stocking a lot more crap and has much less choice in some foods already. Only two types of this, or one of that, with everyday veg and bread costing an arm and a leg. Luckily we grow some of our own in the summer, but if you don’t have an allotment or garden, or sunny windowsill, better go out and wild forage!

    So, can anyone living in Scotland, whether born here or not, really think that it’s ok to be treated like the s**t on England’s shoes, again? If so, they must be truly barking mad. Either that or they are living in a fantasy world, a dreamworld, and deluding themselves that either ‘Brexit might not happen’, or selfishly hoping that it won’t be a total disaster, for them.

  15. jdman says:

    I have a question,
    When we lose our duvets will we have to go back to our grandads old trenchcoat?

    • I think that you’ll find that old Brits my age call it an ‘eiderdown’, jdman.
      Come Empire 2, the ‘continental’ will be dropped before ‘quilt cover’ too. newely elevated Baroness Davidson of Cortstorphine has been appointed as Minister of
      the Department for Expunging Foreignness from English National Dialects (DEFEND). The Department is already setting up its HQ in Millbank.

      ‘Ballet’ will henceforth be ‘Dancing on Toes’, which is not to be confused with ‘stepping on toes’, which is another matter.

      ‘Cul de Sac’ will disappear, and replaced by the more brusque and British, ‘Dead End’.
      And so on.

      Post Brexit English will return to its no nonsense, Anglo Saxon, no frills, means what it says, says what it means, roots.
      Sir Paul has agreed to rewrite the lyric of ‘Michelle’ and will perform the purer English version for the first time at DEFEND’s launch at a mass rally in the Royal Albert Hall in the autumn.

      It will be an offence, punishable by an on the spot fine to converse in a foreign tongue in public.

      The vast retail units vacated by IKEA in April 2019 will be requisitioned by the rebranded Department of English Enterprise, and in a spirit of Collaboration, the DUP has agreed to introduce legislation banning the use of pallets as bonfire fuel, and excess supplies will provide the raw materials for Work Fare DWP claimants to craft good sturdy English furniture instead.
      English wood for English stools.
      There’s a power of work to be done to ‘take back control’ doncha know?

  16. jdman says:

    I wonder what Jock Scot and Ninja penguin can do with the word Schadenfreude?🤔
    maybe work it into the tune of william Tell?😂

  17. Cairnallochy says:

    Big story in the Independent today about Scottish soldier who had his legs blown off in Iraq has been refused treatment at the specialist amputee unit in Birmingham because he is normally resident in Scotland. The hospital are arguing that the SG has to come up with the necessary funding.

    Better Together indeed.

  18. gus1940 says:

    Brilliant – Nail well and truly bashed on the head.

    If only this and many other WGD articles could be magicked to appear in the metropolitan Colonialist media.

  19. Robert Graham says:

    This very English Brexit is just one more thing thats been done in this country to suit one nation on this island , They get the Government they vote for , who in turn intact policies to suit them , even the negotiations that involve us , eh dont involve us , we are not even invited to observe.

    This whole Union is baffling , it dosnt and never has worked in the interests of the smaller partner namely ” US ” yet we are surrounded by either very dumb people who dont give a monkeys what politicians are getting up to behind their backs and mostly in secret , or people who are doing very well and will do anything to keep it that way , the first thing is to keep the idiots in the dark and terrified that things will get much worse if they even think about leaving this Scabby Union .

    I really hope most of those who were scared shirtless into voting “NO” in 2014, I hope just for once they get the bigger picture they see through the lies , they try to see the work the SNP have and are doing to protect them from a rabid tory government , this despite all the media distortions & Lies .

    • Contrary says:

      It sounds good to a certain extent, easy, not costly, quick. But, I see nothing on the site that addresses the possibility of coercion, I do not know how all these other ‘modernised’ voting systems deal with it, and there is no mention of which countries do. Effectively a polling booth ensures that you are alone and that no one sees your vote – that secrecy, and public environment in which you do it, is there for a very good reason. You are seen to have voted of your own free will, alone. No one should ever be looking over your shoulder. You can come out and lie through your back teeth and no one is any the wiser. This is important. You can never be forced into voting a certain way against your will.

      voting online? Where are you doing it? Who is checking what you are writing? how do you know that person isn’t being blackmailed or bullied into making a different choice? Is it not bad enough the Tories do the rounds to help out people in care homes to vote, can you imagine how helpful they will be in assisting older folks registering online? And showing them which box to tick? I wonder how many employers or others with influence (people trafficking? Pimps?) a big sum of money can buy. And the one thing the Tories have is money. Ye gads, can you imagine you had money to throw at it,,, what if you knew someone had big gambling debts, or just poor – hardly like that’s rare these days – how long would their strength of belief in self determination hold up to being able to feed the kids for the next year, or to keep them out of jail?

      I really do not think I could ever fully trust results from this kind of system. They have addressed ways to combat online hacking, but completely ignored the people factor as though everyone is a nice fluffy honest citizen. I know this is a register and not a vote system, but if it gets attention from certain factions,,, meh.

      • AnnieM says:

        Yes, I take your point, but it’s to see how all the registered voters feel. In an election nobody knows how you vote, but only a percentage (often not big) of registered voters actually do so.

      • Contrary says:

        The way I read it was that this register would be open to full scrutiny by the UN, the implication being that it would act as official petition to the UN to show we do want independence. A step up from a petition – and good, that is a path that is a perfectly respectable way to go about it. To ignore the potential for coercion in skewing the results shows a lack of foresight I think. Maybe it is that any skew will not affect the overall results that much – I don’t know because the issue isn’t addressed.

        There are so many polls and elections about these days that people, while voting on other things, are told it means this or that about Scottish independence, mostly untrue. For the general voting public, any system that is going to seriously be used to achieve that independence will have to be official, properly advertised, and say absolutely what the end result will be.

        Ach, I don’t know. I would put my name on it, but that’s because I already know my answer. What about the people bombarded daily with the media telling them not to get ideas above their station, and that Scotland is a basket case? With no positive campaign to give them the opportunity to think again? I have a niggly feeling that something like this could be used, if it did not show a majority result in favour, to stop any future referendums, so any aspects of it that may be open to corruption may cause more harm than good. Maybe??

      • Contrary says:

        I am a bit scatty these days, so apologies, I should say that I have only been commenting on that specific article, but did do a quick investigation of online voting in general a while ago, which is where I picked up this specific concern of maintaining secrecy of voting. There are various trails, round the world, and Norway did a study on it – I can’t find the information now, but here is a short comment on it: https://thevotingnews.com/international/europe/norway/

        • AnnieM says:

          That’s interesting. I note that they list postal voting alongside online as something that could be tampered with (something which some people think happened in 2014).

          It’s a difficult problem, which is beyond me to resolve, but one that has to be addressed for Indyref2 IMO, because we just have to win this time or we’re in the deep doodoo.

        • Contrary says:

          It is indeed very interesting, the one stumbling block is the privacy rule for both online or postal votes, or any other alternatives. Seems to be that postal votes, in general, are such a low percentage of the overall vote that it doesn’t affect voter confidence. They should do away with the potal vote system, certainly for referendums, to my mind. For people with mobility problems, why not have mobile polling stations? Are there any other reasons someone might need a potal vote?

  20. pool9 says:

    Is the UK really going to jettison the EU is the question.

    As the awful truth of Reality and its Consequences dawn on our hapless Conservative leaders and their various Loyal Lapdogs, will they be able to follow through with leaving the EU?

    What happens to London is key to their calculations – if London cannot maintain its status as a banking hub superior to that of Frankfurt and other European exchanges, then London, and the money it generates, will intervene heavily to adjust UK policy. If London can remain in the elite of exchanges, then the UK may be allowed to float itself into the Atlantic.

    Which will have the worse political consequence – leaving for real and suffering the most likely catastrophic aftermath, OR rolling over, groveling, and asking to rescind article 50 and beg to just stay in the club? With of course some great rhetoric about being ‘persuaded to stay’ and having obtained great ‘democratic bargains’ for all of the EU, in the form of changes to the way (say) the commissioners are elected? Or even just promises to review said elections.

    Nothing Westminster does cannot be undone by Westminster. Ultimately the ill-informed referendum, in which nobody demonstrated an actual plan, just incoherent visions, was just consultative, not binding. If the cost is too high to go ahead with leaving the EU, then Westminster can turn its back on the referendum, and the act implemented in its aftermath to leave. They can both be legally repudiated by Parliament. Especially a newly elected Parliament, different in composition to the one that passed the leaving law in the first place, which, handily enough, we just happen to have. Isn’t that convenient?

    It won’t be popular. But if by then actually leaving is potentially more unpopular, or simply more damaging financially to vested interests than can be tolerated, it will happen. Maybe with a promise of another referendum in 5 years after the hoo-hah has died down. (Read:never.) This would have an added bonus of removing a recent central argument for Scottish independence – the fact that Scotland voted to stay and is being dragged out against its democratically expressed will. Of course Scotland could also be scapegoated for the whole thing – staying in the EU to preserve the Union, blah de blah – which will allow the Leavers to vilify the Scots all the more.

    But I think it might still happen (the decision to roll back art 50, if at all possible, by any fig-leaved legal means that can be found), if the consequences of leaving become intolerable even to the most hardened of conservative minister and his or her financial backers. Losing money, power and influence could do the trick. Running the risk of serious electoral revolt and having some dodgy actual lefties get in could also provide impetus. Or the prospect of losing Scotland and its resources. That last ship has sailed, I fervently hope, but not in the minds of our great Brexit negotiation team, they might still think they can pull a cunning wheeze and hold onto a country that has woken up to their ineptitude. I think not.

    Anything is still possible in this farce. Including backing down from Brexit, should the alternative look worse.

    • Marconatrix says:

      I’m inclined to agree with you, and certainly do hope they’ll call the whole thing off. How they’ll dress it up and spin it, I can’t imagine, but I’m sure they’ll find a way, and ditch a few deadweights in the process no doubt.

      IMO it would be nice if in order to placate the 27 we have to give up some of our special opt-outs, as honestly I’d rather be ‘all in’ or ‘all out’ than the UK’s present ambiguous status.

    • Andy Anderson says:

      It may occur however article 50 in itself has no provision to allow this. Legally once you initiate this act you must go in two years.

      To change your mind all 27 countries would need to agree. Based on the UK’s moaning past any one could veto and we would be staying out. Maybe Spain over Gibralter or Ireland. Who knows.

    • Cnoc Orr says:

      A very good post (Pool9) it has articulated what has been dawning on me this past wee while.
      Like ( Oh look a squirrel )
      More like ( Oh look a Brexit ).

  21. How about the Tory “plan” to leave the E.U is going perfectly? Their quite deliberate policy to alienate the 27 member nations is progressing precisely along the lines it was designed to do, and within a short space of time, the discussions will reach an impasse, which was the Tories plan all along.
    The “negotiators” can then return to dear old England, hailed as heroes by a compliant media, who will portray them as standing firm in the face of “totally unreasonable demands” from johnny foreigner”.
    The consequences of this scenario actually happening will mean a U.K Government have intentionally inflicted an economic catastrophe, the like of which we have never seen before, on the people of the U.K.
    I always understood the first duty of any Government was to take care of it’s people, all of it’s people, not just the privileged class, but the mass of the population, including the vulnerable, the sick, and the poor.
    And yet these intellectually deprived idiots, and that goes also for Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition, are quite determined to pursue policies which will adversely effect all of us, no matter our station in life, or where we live in the British Isles.
    These actions by the most cruel, incompetent, Westminster administration in history, are going to affect all of us, and for future generations of Scots to come, even although we do eventually become an independent nation once again.

    • ockletycockletywitch says:

      I absolutely agree with your comment. Successive UK governments over the last few decades have forgotten (if they ever knew) that their job – that which we the people elect and pay them to do – is to protect OUR best interests, not to further their own gain and their own power. They have completely lost sight of the all-important factor – which is that THEY work for US, and not the other way around. They need to be brought to realise these simple facts – and that right smartly!

  22. Les Bremner says:

    Where are the Civil Servants in this? Why do Westminster’s negotiators not have briefing documents in front of them?

    We are actually in a dictatorship or, perhaps more accurately, a population dictated to by a group similar to the former colonels’ regime in Greece.

    Oh secours mon Robert.

  23. gus1940 says:

    What seems to have been conveniently forgotten is that Leave only won by 52 to 48 and that at that time the general opinion was that the majority of MPs supported Remain (OK there has been a GE in the interim). Perusal of the media and listening to the Brexiteers one would get the impression that the whole UK is marching in Unison cheering them on in their omnishambolic campaign to Leave The EU.

    Also ignored is the fact that Leave won primarily by appealing to the inherent xenophobia of most English by zeroing in on Immigration while ignoring completely the implications for the economy should the UK leave The EU and the chickens for that are rapidly nearing the roost..

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