Carrot and stick, but mainly stick!

A guest post by Samuel Miller

It was inevitable really (sigh).

Last week, as we are all well aware, UK government had a near biblical meltdown. Politics UK style and government were, by any standard, reduced to a near *shambolic mess. (*Way too big a list to go through folks, so just see the previous post)

As I was saying, what came next was entirely predictable and inevitable. That being, Scotland’s regular reminder of how vital and cherished blah, blah. Internal market, waffle. SNP baddery, boo hiss. Released, of course, side by side with examples of how uniquely unsuited we are for, and how completely maahhhhd we’d have to be to consider, self government. Obviously! Mind you, I’m not entirely sure your average policy wonk or supporter of political orthodoxy has yet grasped the true meaning of union or unity in that lot. Which is…

UNITY: NOUN: oneness, being one or single or individual; due interconnection of parts; harmony between persons etc; thing forming a complex whole;

Personally, I’m still not feeling that whole harmony between persons, parliaments or governments at the moment and seeing less and less evidence of oneness across the board by the day. Also, I’m fairly disinclined to feel said unity or oneness with any Tory’s definition of Britishness and/or government. Just sayin’.

No. What Scotland’s electorate got instead was a debate in parliament about ‘strengthening the union’. (see under – reminding the natives of better togetherness. Also? 2014 was the end of democracy and the changing of your mind… FOREVER!). Worth considering, but you’d have thought the Government of the United Kingdom, and those parties who are pro Westminster system, would have and should have, put more thought into that whole strengthening unions and partnership thing a while back? Y’know, BEFORE throwing the populations of these islands into the constitutional and economic mincer of austerity ideology and Brexit. Seems a bit thought-LESS actually. Maybe that’s just me though. (If you want a blow by blow of the debate? Go HERE)

The cherry on top came from Secretary of State for (something or other), David Mundell, speaking in Edinburgh:

Fair do’s. Mr Mundell did get this partially, (and I do mean partially), correct. A ‘no deal’ scenario being bad for Scotland really can safely be filed under who knew(?) though. In fact Brexit, in all of its scenarios, is a bad thing for Scotland. We know this because the impact assessments of both UK gov and Scotgov apparently agree on this point. However, the whole ‘preferable to breaking up the United Kingdom’ bit is most DEFINITELY arguable. Especially since it was the practice of politics, the parliament and government of the United Kingdom which, also arguably, placed the populations of the UK in this predicament in the first place. Or were they not really in charge of making these decisions? Big boy did it and ran away perhaps?

We also had a ‘think tank’, (see under – NOT exactly pro Scottish self government organisation), release a paper which conclusively proves that pro UK government supporters don’t think being a self governing, independent nation state is a good idea for Scotland. Unless it’s their idea of a United Kingdom independent nation state, in which case that’s a good idea. Different strokes I suppose. Worth mentioning though, that a lot of people paid attention to pro Westminster think tanks last indyref as I recall. How did that work out for Scotland’s population so far d’you think? At the end of the day, I’d say you pays your money and pick your think tank. I’ll pass on yet another doom laden black hole prophesy/economic cataclysm for Scotland thanks. Anyways, I’d say the horse has already actually kinda bolted on that one under the current UK government.

Finally we come to the bribe. Oh, and it’s a beaut. A UK spaceport to be based in Scotland no less. Unless of course we become independent and then it won’t happen at all. DAMN THAT INDEPENDENCE! Frankly, I’m struggling to see what the building of a spaceport has to do with the principle of Scotland’s population governing themselves? Again, maybe just me, but prioritising the kind of government we want. Prioritising the correct administration, the needs we wish to see attended to and the care we wish to see applied by that government might be considered fairly important.  Goes a long way to determining the teeny matter of the kind of country we want to live in. Also, I’d say those points are all a bit more pertinent to the debate than a sometime, (mibbies never), bribe.

The reality of Westminster government and the bestest union in the history of unions, appears to be somewhat different from mainstream political narrative though. Today the self same parliament, which yesterday discussed means of strengthening the union, is taking the Scottish parliament to the Supreme Court to determine who has the right to claim and exercise otherwise non reserved powers returning from the EU upon Brexit taking effect. Those would be your powers by the by. But still, it’s for our own good, partners and family of nations, leading with… etc. Not such a friendly family after all then?

You’d be forgiven by this point for holding the opinion that those defending their preciousss, preciousss, seemingly do so by intimidation, misrepresentation, belittling and abuse of power. Let’s face it, they do have the soapbox and they do have the access. Who is there to stop them from enacting such abuses?

Other than you perhaps?

In my own opinion, the parties of Westminster’s political class and their practice of politics are a byword for exclusion and alienation of demographics. Clearly they seem to believe only in a status quo which favours party or personal interest over duty of care. The UK’s evolving (cough) constitution? A serving suggestion open to interpretation and semantic amendment by turn and/or expedience. Long standing agreements and pledges apparently are for lesser mortals and a moveable feast for the UK’s government, (ask the devolved administrations or the EU about that).

On the basis of what most of us have seen and experienced over the past four years. Just why should those alienated by Tories, Labour or any other pro Westminster party, vote for their vision of government? Their idea of what they laughably call unity or identity? Why for instance, would any EU resident in the UK vote for continued Tory government after what they’ve witnessed in the past few weeks alone? A government that has betrayed their trust and even now is using their futures and their rights as a bargaining chip in a demented negotiation process.

Readers might also be forgiven at this point, for observing that there is little stability, safety, or hope for a socially just society to be found in a UK government of any stripe. There is however Brexit and a never ending austerity ideology. There are alarmingly increasing levels of societal, cultural, ethnic and religious alienation. There is an ever widening wealth gap. There are also increasing levels of poverty and the prospect of more yet to come. There is the very real threat of self imposed national and international isolation. That’s the reality of Westminster government today and I’m seeing no good reasons or argument to believe it will change going forward.

Seems to me in fact that there’s very little carrot on offer, but quite a lot of stick.

You can, as ever, make up your own mind on that folks. Just as you can, IF YOU WANT, change your mind on a past decision. Make a new, more informed by time and events type choice and maybe, just maybe, avoid a fair chunk of the unfolding omnishambles we see before us today.

Worth a thought.

40 comments on “Carrot and stick, but mainly stick!

  1. Andy Anderson says:

    Your reasoning is sound Sam as is the history of recent events. Events that a future historian will I am sure call the mad time of constitutional decay.

    Last night I was chatting to a friend who is as yet undecided on whether to back independence or not. I used some of your points to enhance his limited knowledge of recent times. I think he was flabergasted at the chaos as the MSM media is not reporting hardly anything. People like him are I find all to common.

    Breaking down belief systems takes care and time. Recent events are helping no end.

    I am amazed that Hunt the numptie has started to blame the EU. How low will these people go? The EU leaderships must be frustrated with WM.

    • Andy in Germany says:

      @Andy Anderson: Blaming the EU was always the idea: Crash and Blame. The people running Brexit always knew this was the only option and planned for it by making impossible demands of the EU (“You have to ignore the rules the EU has for dealing with each other and with non-EU nations, and if you don’t you’ll be responsible for everything that happens in the UK afterwards…”), and will keep that lie going from now on.It’ll be the “EU” that will be blamed for the erosion of rights and destruction of social security etc that will come after Brexit,just like it was Scotland/the SNP’s fault for the problems caused by 300 years of English rule.

  2. Andy in Germany says:

    “Why for instance, would any EU resident in the UK vote for continued Tory government after what they’ve witnessed in the past few weeks alone? A government that has betrayed their trust and even now is using their futures and their rights as a bargaining chip in a demented negotiation process.”
    Tory answer: “That’s okay, they can’t vote so we can ignore them.”
    Ditto those of us with UK Passports in Europe…

    • Macart says:

      Have you seen the latest breaking news from this farce?


      They are so not ready for this.

      • Anne Martin says:

        Just when you think it can’t possibly get any worse ………… it does!

        I still have lots of friends living here in Spain who not only voted leave (crazy!), but still think that everything will turn out fine. They are convinced that the Spanish will not kill the golden goose and that they need the money the Brits bring to them, both as residents and tourists!

        Well, we have lived here for 12 years now and if we have learned anything it’s that the Spanish government are experts at shooting themselves in the foot. A bit like the UK government come to think of it!

      • Andy Anderson says:

        No wonder turncoat Benn is concerned. This is another biggy to add to the list. Dearer travel insurance for me then. Bastards.

      • Andy Anderson says:

        This will be used against us if we go for freedom as they will say that applied to us if we join the EU. OK if we go EEA.

      • Dave Hansell says:

        Whilst I happen to be of the view that the risk to some pensions is èl Brexit looking at this article again reminds us of the argument often highlighted by Wings about the blatant dishonesty and propaganda of the vast majority of the Corporate media.

        Look at the words in the headline and focus on the key word – “WILL”.

        Scroll down to the reports text and suddenly the “WILL” has become a “COULD.”

        No wonder John Cleese’s exasperated the other week.

  3. Kenzie says:

    “How low will these people go?” You mean you don’t know, Andy? 🙂

  4. chicmac says:

    Tomorrow I begin the personal plan I outlined sometime back.

    I have ordered 10 copies of The National per day for the next few weeks, enough to cover my leaflet patch.

    Each will have the following paper rings around it so the recipient will know it is not simply a paper boy mistake.

    “This is a complimentary copy of The National.
    If you decide you like it, it can be bought from your local newsagent or an identical, but much
    cheaper, digital version can be downloaded on line at https//www.thenational/subscribe/”

    I am hoping that around 10 out of the 300ish in my patch will become paying readers so that when my daily order stops there is minimum disruptive effect on on going sales demand. This it
    not at all an important consideration for my solitary effort but I live in hope that significant numbers of other leaflet patch activists might follow a similar plan, enough to reach a significant portion of the population, in which case such disruption minimisation becomes important.

    It will cost me about £240 and some well spent time and energy, and I realise not everyone has that to spare.

    • WTG, Chicmac! That’s a brilliant idea and I hope and trust it will make a few fold sit up and take notice.

      • *folk* not fold. Doh!

        • chicmac says:

          Thanks A’bh
          Of course, I have no idea how many on my patch might decide to start buying it. 10 may be optimistic or it might be more or less, even zero.

          I guess some feedback might come from the local newsagent re dead tree copies, digital? well that would require staff from The National to investigate new Kirrie subscriber figures.

          • Andy Anderson says:

            I think I may do this. Although unlikely I would not wish to duplicate your efforts. Just checking that you do not live in Dunning.

    • Macart says:

      Bunnet doffed Chic. 🙂

  5. Brilliant piece, Sam. Nary a word with which I did not agree.

  6. Tomorrow, Sam, when Tony Blair’s ‘Supreme Court’ determines that we haven’t had a devolved government Up Here for two decades after all, and it’s just a parish council, and on Thursday when the EU27 shred WM’s White Paper and remind the Brenglish of the Four Chevaliers of the Eupocalypse, SM, CU, FoM, and the ECJ, war will break out.

    Or so Jeremy Hunt seemed to infer when he met his German counterpart, Herr Koodingivaschit.

    He announced to Europe that I, and you Sam, and all other WGD’s, and at least 62% of Scots residents would blame Europe, and the UK would just not speak to the EU ever again, so there.
    Two big days in quick succession.

    Of course they are blaming Europe and the Bad SNP and Greens for their abject incompetence.
    I need a holiday in Sri Lanka.
    To which Sri Lankan Department do I apply for my free £50,000?

    There is no government in England now, and it shows.
    Great wee mini rant, Macart.

  7. chicmac says:

    Jack, the ‘Supreme Court’ constitutional backstop rouse was born in Canada in the 80s, ling before T. Bliar.

    • The ‘backstop rouse’, may be this summer’s early morning yoga exercise, chicmac.

      Ruse or no ruse, if it had Blair’s stamp on it, it was spawned in North America somewhere.

      Ling may your lim wreak, chicmac.

      Supreme indeed.

  8. chicmac says:

    ling, even

  9. chicmac says:

    Aargh, did it again, new KB, long even.

  10. diabloandco says:

    I like your thinking Sam , always do and always did.

  11. Rebecca says:

    Great piece as ever Sam. I agree with every word. What an unholy mess this utterly incompetent band of Tory shysters have got us into.

  12. Guga says:

    Regarding the current action in the so-called “Supreme Court”, This court is merely an extension of the English colonial Privy Council, with additional powers to interfere in criminal proceedings that were solely the prerogative of the High Court of the Justiciary.

    This new colonial court consists of two Scottish judges and nine English judges so, as usual, Scotland will be kept in its place (subservient), especially in regard to matters in dispute between Scotland and our colonial masters.

    The English government’s power grab will, no doubt, go ahead, and the Scottish government will be reduced into deeper subservience. Whether that will permeate into the consciousness of the Scottish people, I do not know, However, this, and the general shabby treatment we get from the English government, should be enough to raise the ire of many Scottish people and wake enough of them up to help us get rid of the colonial shackles.

  13. Macart says:

    21st century UK.


    • Andy Anderson says:

      This backs up a report from the Resolution Foundation a few days ago which highlighted the fact that low income families are £100 a year worse off now than they were in 2003 if inflation is removed from the data.

      21st century UK indeed.

  14. Ealasaid says:

    Great summary of events Macart.
    I must admit I was not watching the debate on ‘strengthening the union’ very closely, but am I right in thinking that there were very few (if any) present who were not actually Scots? What message does that send to Scots in this Union and how is it supposed to strengthen it?
    Seems they are not about to stop shooting themselves in the foot any time soon.

  15. Ealasaid, I didn’t tune in either.
    it was a slot filler to while away demob happy time.
    Iain Murray thinks that the greatest threat of a No Deal Brexit is Scottish Independence?
    What a stupid selfish little toad this man is, some may say, but not me.
    I couldn’t possibly comment.
    Nursey kids in England are to get poorer quality milk to cut costs.
    We have such a thing?
    What makes some milk of ‘poorer quality’?
    We are on the brink of French Revolution Uprising Down There in Britland.

  16. Contrary says:

    I had poor reception for watching the farcical ‘strengthening the union’ debate, so missed much of it, but it seemed to range from fantasy opinions, to attacking the SNP for anything and everything (which, you have to wonder, how that can that be interpreted as strengthening anything, when they are our representatives), to outright lies. The Scottish Tories were unpleasant and aggressive.

    I have also watched some of the Supreme Court hearing re: the uk government being unhappy with the Scottish government being far more efficient and practical than them. Obviously it was in legalese so I could only pick up so much from what was being said, but one of the arguments by Keen (pro-uk) was that the continuity bill (Scottish effort to get something in place for withdrawal legislation, several months before Westminster could be bothered) would be in violation of EU law !! Absolutely astonishing. Our man, Wolffe, made the point that: you have to pass a bill before you enact it, and you can delay the enactment making it law until it is needed – in this case, the Continuity Bill (CB) would not become act until after leaving the EU, so EU law does not apply, so the CB cannot be in violation of EU law. I can’t fault that logic, and the judges panel did not argue the point, so I would hope that point was a win. (Seemed a bit of a vacuous argument from the UK side to me).

    What I also found out was that the UK withdrawal Bill has made NO provision for human rights and social security continuity after leaving the EU. At least, that’s what I picked up from what was said: Wolffe put forward that the CB is not in violation (clash of competencies between parliaments) of the U.K. Withdrawal Bill, as an entire thing, because of various paragraphs and subsections, so each of the provisions would have to be examined individually – he looked a bit reluctant – almost cringing even – while presenting this, which is understandable once I saw the protests from a couple of the judges, they were not happy at that concept at all; ‘line by line?!’. Hm. Well, one of the judges admitted they were just going to have to do it, so maybe all is good there. Anyway (I’m rubbish at summarising, sorry!), Wolffe suggested that provisions in the CB that are identical to those in the withdrawal bill don’t clash, so do not need examined, and those that address issues not covered in the withdrawal bill also don’t need examined. And his example for the latter was that the CB included for the transfer of EU universal rights & social security (or similar, I cannot remember the exact terms), to be amended as required (blah blah, lots of discussion on when and what etc), while the UK withdrawal bill has no such provision,,,, jeezo, thank the gods for the Scottish government and the SNP sensibility on this. It is not something you accidentally leave out of your legislation, surely? No human rights? Westminster is serious about ignoring all the EU and UN conventions on universal rights by the sounds of it.

    We have spent so long relying on the EU to shield us from the full horrors of Westminster rule, and then the Scottish government and the EU to shield us, with Brexit and the dismantling of devolution looming, we are at real and imminent risk of have no shield, and it doesn’t look pretty!

    This is a totally impartial and unbiased account of the proceedings, of course.

    • Contrary says:

      Just remembered, the provisions that the UK withdrawal bill missed out included anything to do with environmental stuff too. Bunch of charlatans, so they are.

    • Contrary, check out the time. I’m just in from the rubadubdub, where we met and plotted the downfall of our English UberLords.
      There are folk working in Scotland who have to go cap in hand and beg food from a Food Bank.
      I will not tolerate this any longer.
      Apparently the dead tree scrolls give Mum 2B Davidson column inches to muse on how hard being a mother will be.
      This woman and her party are killing tens of thousands according to the experts.
      They’d love us to snap and take to the streets.
      They have plenty of experience is damping down a colonial uprising.
      THey will hang themselves without any help[ from us.
      Jeez, I’m wrecked and rubber.

      • Contrary says:

        Haha, I am sure you solved all the world’s problems last night Jack.

        I know, the situation we find ourselves in is frustrating, and you just want it to be over, for us to be wholly separated from the English elitist rule right now. But it takes time to do things right, and to do things at the right time. I think historically the Scottish people have always been divided, a contrary people that will never wholly agree with each other on anything, but this latest Scottish enlightenment is continuing apace, we just need to keep exposing the lies and the propaganda, keep finding new ways of looking at things to convince a majority of folks independence from a rotten union (uk) is the right way to go. You and I both know that self-determination is the natural way to be for any nation, and a small nation can survive the uncertainties and ever-changing global structures better than the big monoliths of countries. We could be lithe, adaptable, successful. But, different folks need different types of arguments to convince them, and it will happen.

        I say the Scottish enlightenment because I think we have had the opportunity to cotton on the the western media con before many others – the ‘Scottish’ media has become so extreme in their bias since the run up to 2014, we have to be disbelieving of anything they say now. But I believe it is the whole of the western media that plays to the tune of certain people and groups – mainly the financial institutions, maybe only them. I’ve been reading about Bill Browder, a hedge fund manager, (and pathological liar, sociopath) – and his demonisation of Russia. It is interesting, is it not, that the arguments for sanctions on Russia and NATOs continuing encirclement of Russia seems to purely be human rights issues – but we don’t hear about sanctions on Saudi Arabia or Israel, whose human rights abuses are magnitudes worse. Also, Russia actually appears to be helping the likes of Syria, rather than trying to destroy it.

        How is this relevant to scotland? Just that many of things I’ve been reading show just how corrupt the uk government is, that they are doing Brexit for their own monetary ends, that they plan to make England openly the money laundering capital of the world. The reasons for anti-Russian rhetoric, austerity, growing acceptance of fascist policies, is because the financiers are in trouble – they need a war (why has the US been perpetually at war, of their own making, for decades?) and people starving to ‘grow the economy’ because capitalism does. Not. Work. Capitalism is an extremist ideal, just as communism is, that can never work, could never work, unless we were all robots. Anyone tells you capitalism is the best, tell them they are a fanatic. You cannot have a functioning democracy alongside capitalism. Let’s just not go there, let’s not have endless wars just to fund elitist financiers that say they need to ‘grow the economy’, let’s not live in endless austerity, let’s have an independent Scotland that has a healthy mix of private and social industry, that cares about community. And let’s not believe the complete bullsh-t boll*x that we are told about how independence would mean austerity – that’s not how economies work. Yes we are better to be in the EU for a start to keep free trade stuff going, but we will be in no way confined to that decision. The point of independence is we can make ANY decision for the future.

        Whoops, rambled on again, and sounding rather propaganda-like myself 🙂

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