About that equal partnership…?

A guest post by Samuel Miller

Over the run up and course of the first independence referendum a great deal was made of equality, partnership and latterly of a union family by some weel kent faces.

“Today we are equal partners in the United Kingdom. With independence Scotland’s budget would have to be approved beyond the border. That’s not freedom. That’s not independence. That’s serfdom.” A. Darling 2012

“And speaking of family – that is quite simply how I feel about this. We are a family. The United Kingdom is not one nation. We are four nations in a single country.”  D. Cameron 2014

(As an interesting exercise, when reading the entirety of Mr Cameron’s speech via the link supplied, try replacing Scotland with UK and UK with EU where relevant.  Then try not to have an irony overload.)

Over the weekend a couple of stories have received some coverage which shed a bit of a different light on those statements from our recent past. Bear in mind those statements were made by the man who would lead the Better Together campaign and the then Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, David Cameron.

The first story concerns Trade Secretary Liam Fox. Aye, apparently Mr Fox feels including representation from devolved legislatures on certain decision making processes might be a tad problematic for UK trade. Mainly because…. reasons. OK?

Although, given Mr Fox’s recent enthusiasm for a trade deal on imported food stuffs, you can see why said devolved legislatures may have a concern or two of their own and not least on the constitutional front.

The second piece, very much on the topic of partnership, was lead story of the Sunday Herald found HERE. Oh, and yes it concerns oil. That stuff which is a positive boon for other countries, but for some uncanny and unfathomable reason is an absolute curse for Scotland. Having said that, I’m reasonably sure the reader can draw their own conclusions as to the nature and the source of those problems (cough). There has after all only ever been one steward managing the resource since its discovery.

The point of the exercise is trust. Statements and pledges by parties and leaderships toward populations are either worth something or they’re not. Management of the affairs, interests and resources of those populations is either fit for purpose and reflective of those statements and those pledges or it is not.

Now that’s not to say extenuating circumstances don’t play their part in the affairs of politics. Events can sometimes, and I do mean sometimes, interfere with a leadership’s ability to deliver on their pledges. How and ever, when those pledges are proven to be systematically undelivered and undeliverable, the average bod must then consider the intent behind the original statements. Most especially when you consider there are comparable examples and standards to examine out there in the wider world. You know it’s entirely possible that some other nations may have different and indeed more desirable methods of running their politics and caring for their society. Curiosity and puzzlement are also entirely understandable when you know for an absolute certainty that others somehow manage their affairs on a given issue with some degree of success. The average bod may also justifiably ask on such occasions, why can’t we?

It’s up to the readers of course at this point, but given HMG’s and Better Together’s record of delivery on the spirit and substance of their promises to date? They may perhaps be forgiven, (after a little light reading on links provided), for questioning the intent behind the statements and the record behind the rhetoric, also perhaps the nature of the politics and political process which drove them.

What kind of country do you want to live in?

53 comments on “About that equal partnership…?

  1. […] Wee Ginger Dug About that equal partnership…? A guest post by Samuel Miller Over the run up and course of the first independence […]

  2. donald6 says:

    Scotland is akin to a poor relation, with a hidden inheritance, incapable of looking efter itself, whilst England, a dysfunctional distant relative, is given the power of attorney and ripping her off.

  3. AnnieM says:

    After reading that very long and passionate oration by David Cameron, I can wholeheartedly agree with one sentence:

    “Scotland is a proud, strong, successful nation.”

    Enough said.

  4. The Slovenian PM Milo Cerar, population just over 2 million, has reiterated the ‘fantasy’ assessment of David Davis’ ‘position paper’ on special border trade freedom of movement and trade arrangements with the Republic of Ireland,
    James Brokenshire(?) is on SKY news ‘painting a picture’ of this utterly unbelievable and arrogant proposal to negotiate a separate deal with Ireland by May’s Brexit team.
    The mental set appears to be that although the Republic of Ireland is a member of the EU, that there is some sort of ‘special relationship’ between the UK and Eire that would prompt the Irish to break from the pack of 27 and ‘do a deal’ with England and Wales in defiance of their Treaty obligations to the European Union,
    England and Wales voted to leave the EU: Ireland didn’t.
    The Irish suggested that if England want a customs post they had better build it themselves.
    Out Trumping Trump. Only the wily Irish, eh?

    What Davis and the British Nats are attempting to do is to play the ‘divide and conquer’ card, that hoary old Imperial gambit which served the Brit Empire well when they were bullying natives in mud huts.
    Ireland is not a colony of England, but the Blue Tories behave as though it is.

    PM Cerar of Slovenia, a country even ‘too wee-er’ than Scotland has stopped the Mighty English in their tracks.
    No cherry picking; no negotiations until the EU is good and ready to talk.

    Liam Fox is wandering the globe inviting world markets in to the UK which will of course threaten the livelihoods of Scots producers of our own excellent home grown produce: bleached chickens from Kentucky, Argentinian beef, NZ Lamb.
    We stand by and let them at our peril.

    • Alastair Gunn says:

      There’s definitely a mindset amongst some (though granted not all) Brexiteers that not only should Ireland leave the EU, thus proving somehow that the UK was right to leave, but also afterwards that being a small country it would obviously fall back into the UK’s “sphere of influence”!

      Now I’m just guessing here, but I think if presented with that scenario the response of the average Irish citizen would be a firm “No!”? 😀

      I think the Westminster approach to the Irish border is going to be to reach for the UK government’s go-to excuse of the last decade & a half – namely it’s the EU’s fault! They have the sense to realise that installing any kind of border security is likely to desperately unpopular (to put it mildly!) and require constant maintenance, so they propose a very soft border but not on terms the EU can/will accept. The EU will then require a hard border which the Republic of Ireland will implement – and then Westminster can talk about how they wanted a soft border, but the EU insisted on a hard one!

      • Alastair,
        Worry not.
        “Now I’m just guessing here, but I think if presented with that scenario the response of the average Irish citizen would be a firm “No!”? ”
        The woman who brings lightness of being to my every waking moment is Irish.
        She is spitting teeth over this.
        I’ll miss her when Ruth Davidson deports her,if she’s not to busy vewtting rape victim claimants.
        Of course, after the EU 27 tells Davis and Brokenshire are told where to stick their proposals, will that be the end of the CTA, and as a consequence will the Irish be treated in the same hostile xenophobic manner as other EU citizens working and living in Scotland, and in my case married to Scots?
        What’s that old harmless OBF ‘folk song’ sung from the terracings?
        ‘The Famine’s over, why don’t you go home?’

        The Scottish Government is excluded from all of this posturing exceptionalist Imperial nonsense of course, and Dugdale, Davidson, and Rennie have no power or authority to ‘sloganeer'(loved that, eddjasfreeman) or tell us Scots what their London British Nationalist bosses are planning for us Scots post Brexit.

        It’s Over in October for May. I may get a T shirt printed.
        Over in October.
        We face the prospect of unwrapping Christmas presents in Brit Nat Limbo, with the world and his uncle laughing their heads off at May Johnson Gove and Davis.
        They really don’t have any solutions to the almighty mess in which they find themselves.
        UK GE in October?

        • I really must edit before I send…anger makes thumbs of my fingers when I type.

        • Alastair Gunn says:

          The Tory+DUP deal theoretically binds them for 5 years but, AIUI it has a “review period” after 2 years when all the extra money for NI will have been allocated so I’d guess on a GE in 2019 unless either the Tories start thinking they could win GE before then or the DUP have a hissy fit and throw all the toys out of the pram? (Or if the Tories think they’ll lose at that point and the DUP can be bribed, sorry, incentivised appropriately then it may last longer.)

          As for having a solution to this almighty mess, well Westminster doesn’t really *do* solutions does it? They just tend to create a temporary short-term fix for whatever the issue is. You can see this all over the place :-

          * The UK could’ve had an oil fund, Tony Benn argued for one but was overruled in cabinet producing a short-term gain but a longer term problem.
          * Devolution. They could’ve produced a workable ‘Federal UK’ (Australia & Canada both show that a federal country with Westminster-style governance is possible), but instead we’ve had a series of bodges that are if anything driving wedges between the various parts of the UK.
          * Defence spending. Particularly the RN, though also true of the other services, which instead of having a steady replacement of older ships thus maintaining production capability and keep costs down, gets stops & starts, leading to increased costs and reduced numbers! (Though strangely no reduction in taskings?)

          … and that’s just what I can come up with of the top of my head!

          The UK is fundamentally broken, and there doesn’t seem to anyone interested in fixing it! Obviously we’re not, but you’d think the Unionists would be!

          • xsticks says:

            I’ve always been of the mind that the reason they never set up an oil fund is that if Scotland ever managed to overcome their fear of independence we would have had a claim on at very least a share of the oil fund. They decided it was better to spend it on London and piss the rest of it up the wall paying unemployment benefits for all the industries they closed down to break the unions.

            Sorry Scotland we blew your inheritance. And your children’s inheritance. And their children’s inheritance. Well, not really sorry at all. Tough shit as they say.

    • Marconatrix says:

      “… the Brit Empire … when they were bullying natives in mud huts. Ireland is not a colony of England …”
      Maybe not, but they still live in mud huts. Surely they do, don’t they? Isn’t that common knowledge? Down in the Big House on the Thames?? No???

      • benmadigan says:

        Ireland is not a colony of England …” Actually it wasn’t then and certainly isn’t today.-

        Ireland was sorta incorporated into England, as Scotland is today. (Acts of Union).

        Before Independence Irish people having the right to vote voted for Irish MPs to sit in Westminster ( as Scottish MPs and Unionist MPs from Northern Ireland do today).

        People from “real colonies” like India were never allowed to send MPs to Westminster.

        They had a revolution in America over this lack of representation a long, long time ago!!!

        • Marconatrix says:

          I wonder how the Irish declaration of Indy, and all that followed would have played out it they hadn’t picked the middle of WWI to stage it? Would the UK government have acted so brutally and draconianly without the excuse of being stabbed in the back during a very bloody conflict elsewhere, and without the benefit of extensive wartime powers, to intern suspects etc.? Which then set off the whole cycle of violence? This is worth thinking about in the context of what options are open to Scotland and the Scottish government should WM remain intransigent.

          • Yes – “Timing is everything …” That and of course the fact that one of the leaders of the Easter Rising went off-message and told everyone outside Dublin that the revolution was off! I’m currently watching a three-part documentary on the subject on TV Ontario and you can imagine how it resonates.

            • Marconatrix says:

              Someone brought up the American negro civil rights protests elsewhere. It reminded me that a similar movement, modelled on the American experience was what kicked off the NI troubles at the end of the 1960’s. Not quite the outcome they were looking for I think.

              • Les Bremner says:

                Any bid for freedom is always countered by firm resistance from the Establishment. American Civil Rights, Kenya, India, Burma, etc. are but a few which spring to mind.

                So far, moves towards Scottish Independence have been measured, paced and using the existing legal frameworks. I would hate it to become otherwise, no mater which side starts it.

                • Jan Cowan says:

                  They need not think that the Irish people have forgotten the cruelty inflicted upon them by the British…..just mention the Black and Tans and it all comes flooding back. These arrogant WM government ministers ought to live in Ireland for a short spell. With luck they might learn a little humility.

          • benmadigan says:

            the irish parliamentary party had, after years and years, finally negotiated a Home Rule Bill (Devo max, small fry compared to independence) but enactment was suspended by the outbreak of WWI.

            The IPP encouraged men to join up to fight for Britain on the grounds that “we’ll get Home rule when we win”.

            It was all just too much for many Irish, particularly as conscription was fast coming down the line.

            Would the UK government have acted so brutally and draconianly without the excuse of being stabbed in the back during a very bloody conflict elsewhere, and without the benefit of extensive wartime powers, to intern suspects etc.?

            yes of course – “Insurgency in NI” as the British termed it, was subjected to internment without trials, special courts, shoot to kill policies, no inquests, British army massacres of innocent people like Bloody Sunday, ballymurphy, the new lodge, Springhill etc etc for 30 years

            • donald6 says:

              Labour stood and cheered in the House at the news of James Connolly’s execution strapped to a chair. They also supported the partition of Ireland still support the Border,

              • We can hope for the best, be prepared for the worst, and hope that what actually happens is closer to the former than the latter. Moral high ground is good to have too, if you can hold on to it.

            • Marconatrix says:

              If you’re right then there can be no hope of getting an independent Scotland without violence. Do you really hold such a pessimistic view?

  5. For many former Unionists, fully comprehending the extent to which they had been duped and betrayed must have been absolutely shocking, a true Road to Damascus moment. Many current Unionists must instinctively be shying away from even thinking about it, and anything related to it, because the enormity of it is just too much for them to contemplate. Others react to the challenge to their belief systems by becoming aggressive and shouty, sneering and sloganeering, calling those who do not share their propaganda-driven ideology liars and mad people, and ever more vehemently denying the nature of the reality we share.

    That is the effect that a Big Lie has: absent an unquestioning and compliant mindset, it creates internal conflict, and a conflict with us Unbelievers and Infidels too. It leads us sceptics to question our own sanity sometimes as well, because it makes us feel so out on a limb into tinfoil hat territory. For us, though, a spot of reality-checking, even in the full awareness of our own cognitive and confirmation bias, reassures us rather than the reverse.

    The propaganda, which has only improved in its pervasiveness, if not its effectiveness, over the past 300 years, is also responsible for the Cringe it has always induced among some of our people. The cost in terms of their – our – self-esteem and self-confidence in particular, and Scotland’s mental health in general, may be unquantifiable, but I’m sure we all know at least one person who is badly affected … always apologizing for being who they are, unshakeable in their belief in the Unionist Narrative of Failure and its “Scotland couldn’t survive on its own” corollary.

    We can hope that independence will help cure the Cringe over time, and I would be surprised if there were not a significant improvement in our public health indicators generally as a result of that alone.

    The Big oil Lie is a blatant example of the overall “too wee, too poor, too stupid” propaganda strategy, falling primarily under the “too poor” rubric and backing up “Scotland couldn’t survive on its own”, just as the Narrative of Failure plays to “too stupid”. I do not regard the Cringe / the propaganda as an excuse for the poor-quality, unprofessional journalism on evidence from the Unionist side, but I do regard it as explanatory and indicative of the attitudinal problem affecting all those who persist in their adherence to the UK State ideology, and as the result of it, because adherence to that Unionist ideology requires a suspension of the rational approach to our shared reality.

    When I say “suspension of disbelief”, I mean exactly that: to take the State propaganda seriously, suspension of disbelief really is required, and more: the spectacle, the false portrait, must be mistaken for the reality. In the theatre, in the pomp and circumstance surrounding the Royals, in the State opening of Parliament, and the many other State ceremonies involving a lot of dressing up, Believers see the glory and majesty of the British State and Empire, of a thousand-year-old unbroken tradition, and the exceptional nature of Britishness. We Unbelievers look at the exact same things and see the fiction, the Ruritania, the worn and faded trappings of a bygone age that never truly existed, and the ugly realities that lie behind the movie set façades.

    • Yet another editing failure on my part. To the end of the penultimate paragraph, add “, a suspension of disbelief”.

    • bringiton says:

      The present arrangements with England are not normal in any sense.
      Scotland has been an independent state for far longer than being under London rule.
      Depency is neither desirable nor normal

    • The con that is the Royal Family is as shallow and blindingly stupid as Michael Cain’s ‘Crown Prince’ con man Lawrence Jamieson in Dirty Rotten Scoundrels.
      Steve Martin as his ‘socially inept’ brother Ruprecht, the result of generations of in-breeding is finely drawn.
      In the 21st Century, thinking rational human beings believe that the Windsors, or Saxe-Coburgs, or whatever they call themselves these days, have the Divine Right to Rule over us, and we must doff our caps, tug our forelocks, and curtsy in their presence, while walking backwards from a room heads bowed while in their exalted company.
      And we bung them a Social Security giro for tens of millions each year for the privilege.
      Like I observed before, the Royals are like Saddam Hussein, Col Gaddafi, Papa Doc, Idi Amin.
      It seems that HRH’s portrait is everywhere, and every hospital bridge, battleship and Conference Hall is named after her.
      The Officers’ Mess throughout the land have a portrait of their Commander in Chief.
      And they call this precious UK of theirs a ‘democracy’?

      • It occurs to me that I could get locked up in the tower for preaching sedition. It’s been a good life.
        Off with my head!

      • Selkie says:

        and she’s nae very bonny either

      • Nobody rose to the bait, or should that be bate?
        I am neither here nor there with the Royals launching ships and stuff, and if some of us want a queen post Independence, well and good.
        I have sense that some of us, contributors and readers on here, may have had a wee ‘I wish he hadn’t said that’ ouch! when they read my anti royal rant.
        I firmly believe that there are many YES voters who want to retain a Royal figurehead, just as there are many who want a mixed economy post Independence, and some who would have us all wear hessian sandals and eat veggie sausages and ban cars from the road.
        The ties that bind us are elastic but firm.
        We demand a return to Self Determination, a government of the Scottish people, by the people and accountable to the people.
        What form our resurgent society and economy takes will be up to us, the people, at the first genuinely democratic election in Scotland for 300 years.
        I note that the FPTP system is coming under renewed criticism.
        Surely we can do better than that in Independent Scotland?
        Moment of mischief over. God Save the Queen and all who sail in her!

        • No … even with my “born in England” hat on, and my overcoat of a family who “served King/Queen and country” in both war and peace … I declined (politely, of course) to rise to the bait, Jack. My hubby is a fervent republican whereas I am not averse to a Monarch as titular head of state. You only have to look at some of the Republican heads of state extant today to realise that we are not necessarily ill-served by our monarchy!

          Historically speaking, the British monarchy is Scottish before it is English – James VI etc. so I don’t necessarily see the point of ditching the institution when we are an Independent nation. But that will be for the whole “broad church” of Scotland’s people to decide when the time comes, and I will be happy to accept whatever decision we arrive at.

          • Well said, Wendy. My father and uncles served ‘King and Country’ for the whole of WWII, I had a nephew also who patrolled the streets of Belfast, and my American cousin was a photographer in the US Forces during the Viet Nam Tragedy.
            My mother used to watch The Trooping of the Colours ..on a black and white TV, and would hear nothing derogatory about the Windsor Clan.
            We live in changing times, Wendy, and in my dotage, I resent privilege and status designed to ‘keep us all in our place’, that’s all.
            You are correct of course.
            Emancipated Scotland will decide what form of government we adopt.
            Tease over, honest, well, for now anyways.

        • Jan Cowan says:

          I want that lovely new hospital in Glasgow re-named, Jack. Why not simply “Glasgow University Hospital”?

      • Jason Smoothpiece says:

        Stop you right there talking down our royal family sir.

        You seem to forget the great work the royal family do for us for example…..

        That’s not the point

    • Well said! An excellent analysis of Government by “Big Lie” – if I may, I would like to reproduce this elsewhere.

  6. diabloandco says:

    I wish I hadn’t read that puking speech – quite ruined my breakfast.
    Though I must say I did enjoy the bit about how WE should realise the detrimental things involved in his big, long list and how that certainly did not bother him with regard to the EU referendum and allowed it to be high jacked by the liars , bigots and racists.
    No wonder the bugger was whistling away when he resigned – dumping that load of ordure on the simple minded .clueless bunch we now have in power.

    • and Clegg resigned, and Osborne resigned and Miliband resigned, and Darling got ermine and a job with the Man and Danny Alexander got a knighthood and works for the Man, and Brown works for the Man and Goldie is a Baroness, Balls got dumped, and Cable fell and then rose again, and and…

  7. Tatu3 says:

    How on earth did so many Scots fall for that speech from Mr Cameron? I have never read it before. So many falsehoods and lies. And two days before the vote, was that legal?

    • Les Bremner says:

      Of course it wasn’t legal. Paragraph 29 of the Edinburgh Agreement of 2012 is specific.

      However, in law breaches need to be challenged, and a person accused of the breach. Not surprisingly that was not done.

  8. mogabee says:

    The probability that NI/Ireland will be the death of UK is …nope, can’t quite find the best words to use in this context, so LOL will suffice.

    Great post Sam yet again.

  9. Robert Graham says:

    unless they are blind deaf and cut off from events in the outside world , surely by now even the staunchest supporter of this union must see this situation is not working ,something is not right ,
    Why are we constantly overruled , ignored , and never invited to their party , this whole brexit mess is and has been entirely controlled the the biggest bully in the playground England , they always get what they want , what they demand , while the mugs here look on and never have a voice or opinion thats listened to .Being outvoted 10-1 will never see a change . Ever .
    I wait with bated breath the point when the Penny finally drops , and the light goes on .

  10. Excellent piece, Sam. Having read all the links (some for the first time) I find it harder and harder to understand why anyone in Scotland can still “believe” in this fictional ‘Union’. This is not – and never has been – ‘Union’, it is colonial rule, pure and simple.

  11. Albis says:

    When one partner treats the other with disrespect and contempt, that is no basis for a union. When one partner cannot be trusted, that is no basis for a union. When one partner lies to and bullies the other, that is no basis for a union – marital or political. And it is outrageous that the people of Scotland face having their rights as European citizens forcibly removed from them by the people of another country.

  12. emilytom67 says:

    Who the eff thinks that the royal family are a power of good,Philip and his dodgy associations in the vice dens of London,Andrew close pal of Epstein serial paedo,Charlie dubious character,one of the only decent ones Di gets bumped off,ffs waken up.

  13. benmadigan says:

    “And speaking of family . . . . we are a family”
    Back in the day George V was reported to have asked “Why do the Irish want to leave the family?”
    So that’s their view. From our point of view it’s the family from hell!!!

    Here are quite a few posts on this Dysfunctional Family of nations. You might like to start here with No 1


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