What’s really important

Never mind a screening of Braveheart, which in the cosmic scheme of things is as important as the crumb content of David Mundell’s beard, there’s stuff happening which really matters. Now, unless you’ve been hiding in a cave for the past two years, you may have noticed that the UK is just weeks away from needing to have a deal on leaving the EU that is acceptable to the EU, only with the two main UK parties having spent most of the past two years proving themselves incapable of reaching a deal with other parts of their own party, it’s still far from certain whether an EU deal can be reached.

Today, The President of the EU Commission Jean Claude Juncker made it clear that the EU cannot accept the British government’s Brexit proposals as they stand. He said that the Chequers proposals could be a starting point for a future relationship between the EU and the UK, but reminded the British government that it cannot pick and choose which parts of the single market it wishes to be a part of. He reiterated that the EU fully supports Ireland in its attempts to secure an invisible border and will not let it down.

Time is running out, so you’d think that if you were a grown up British politician who really did prioritise that national interest that you keep banging on about, that this would be the time to concentrate your efforts and energies on pulling your head out of whatever orifice it’s been stuck in since June 2016. Sadly, this is British politics we’re talking about here, so if you’re a member of the Conservatives’ European Research Group, the most important and crucial thing that the UK really needs right now is another Conservative leadership contest. Because there’s nothing more important than the internal politics of the Conservative party. Last night the ERG met to research the one thing it spends even more time researching than Brexit, which is researching how to get rid of Theresa May.

According to some reports, the ERG is planning to try and unseat May following the party conference next month. The meeting last night was described as febrile, with the sole topic of discussion how to best bring about a leadership election. It’s just a pity that they haven’t devoted a tenth of the time and energy that they have plotting against other Conservatives to actually coming up with a credible Brexit plan of their own. Their proposals for Brexit essentially boil down to the assertion that the EU needs the UK more than the UK needs the EU. But then we’re talking here about people who think that Boris Johnson would make a great Prime Minster.

The ERG’s proposals for the Irish border are equally fantastical, and largely consist of foot stomping that a minor little province and the concerns of the natives are being allowed to get in the way of Great British daydreaming. The ERG believes that the border issue can be solved with clever technological woo. They have no answer to the question of just how these technical solutions are going to be invented, built, and implemented in the few short months remaining between now and Brexit, when the British government has done precisely bugger all in the way of preparations so far.

Over the past few days, a particular Scottish Tory MP has been popping up on our TV screens in order to enthuse about his support for the ERG like one of thae wee nodding dugs in the rear window of a car. Yes, people of Aberdeen South, it’s your very own Ross Thomson, doing his bit for Britain by getting stuck into the mess that his Brexit obsessed party has made and making it even worse. Thanks Ross! In a time of national crisis we can always rely on you to pop up like a happy little puppy who only wants to show its owner how proud it is of the pee stain it’s left on the new rug.

The list of MPs who attended the ERG meeting last night hasn’t been made public, but at least four Scottish Conservatives are known to be supporters of the group. As well as Ross, there’s Alister Jack of Dumfries and Galloway, Stephen Kerr of Stirling, and Colin Clark of Gordon. All of them signed a letter from the ERG in February, calling on Theresa May make a “clean break” from the EU. A clean break is Tory party code for ripping up all the civil and employment rights the EU guarantees, and leaving the customs union, the single market, and reality so we can all go and live in a fantasy universe where the UK still has an empire and where people don’t think that Jacob Rees Mogg is a cross between a funeral director and the evil landlord baddie from a Regency costume drama. Ross Thomson didn’t sign the letter, but later released a statement saying that he had planned to, only he’d chewed up his crayon.

When the cohort of Scottish Conservative MPs were elected in the 2017 General Election, we were personally assured by Ruth Davidson that they were being elected as representatives of Ruth Davidson’s Scottish Conservatives™ and that they were going to vote in a bloc to defend Scotland’s interests within Theresa May’s precious Union. We were told that the Scottish Conservative MPs were going to be answerable to Ruth. And hasn’t that worked out well. We were treated to the sight of wee Ross on Channel 4 news this week cheerfully claiming that he was fully supporting both his leaders by plotting to undermine them.

Naturally the Scottish media is all over Ruth Davidson and her stand in Jackson Carlaw to explain why it is that Scottish Conservative MPs whom we were assured were going to stand up for Scotland within the Union and do their Remainer boss’s bidding are now enthusiastically attempting to bring about a Conservative leadership election and paralyse the party of government at the precise time that it needs to get its act together in negotiations with the EU in order to avoid a cliff edge Brexit. Oh no, wait. There’s an SNP bad story instead.

We’re being let down by the British political establishment. We’re being let down by the British media. The British state is a state of dysfunction in a state of denial. This is happening because we have a political class which can’t be properly held to account. That is the biggest argument for Scottish independence. In an independent Scotland with a written constitution, our politicians will be constrained in what they can do, and will be answerable to us, that’s what is really important.

Hope Over Fear Rally – I won’t be speaking at the rally on Saturday. There was an innocent mix up with emails which I was happy to clarify last night, but unfortunately it had slipped my mind that I have a family commitment on Saturday and so after all I can’t make it to the rally.


 

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25 comments on “What’s really important

  1. Andy Anderson says:

    You have a good handle on the chaos in Westmonster here Paul. It is actually very worrying as this will affect us all.

    Some numptie Conservative MSP two days ago was saying that we will have a good Brexit Chequers deal so no need to worry. I suspect he still believes in the Wizard of Oz. Idiot!!

    • Jim Morris says:

      Reasons to be Brexit: truth not speculation – 1. EU Finance Bill 2019 becomes law on April 1st 2019. Among the clauses an end to EBTs and all other tax avoidance and tax evasion schemes. Tax authorities will go after last six years of earnings first, and then extend their interest to the last 20 years.
      2. What did you not understand about 1?

  2. Alasdair Macdonald says:

    Why are we not surprised that BBC Scotland has not been interviewing MPs from the Ruth Davidson Party about the plot against the PM? Mind you they have gone pretty heavily on a midwives ‘shortage’ so that gives them an attack on NHS Scotland. Also, THE COLONEL will soon be requiring midwifery services, so, the BBC must ensure that is dealt with. We know of course that Ms D has no aspirations to succeed Mrs May and the fact that the metropolitan media – left, probably even more than right – have been drooling about the possibility for a couple of years and she has a book serialised in the Sunday Times and she might/might not be headed for the Lords and a cabinet post until Mrs M is deposed, then the Matriarch will be found a safe seat (Maidenhead), The peerage rejected ‘in a brave modern woman-of-the-people gesture’”Neow is nort the taime”.

  3. 2p3rf3ct says:

    You should be here, with me, an office full of ‘EU’ropeans. They stare aghast at England, and I mean England .. at the politics in play, at the mess.

    Note – they know they can escape – while we are stuck – ‘we’ being the UK folks, but we Scots know better.

  4. Macart says:

    Have to say, watching the kerfuffle over the past couple of days has been nothing short of jaw dropping. Literally after Mr Barnier threw the PM’s office a bone, the Tories have turned on each other like a sack of rabid ferrets.

    As for the behaviour of cabinet ministers toward the SNP representation and the Scottish government? What can you say? All the access in the world for the thirteen placeholders and their cadre of Brexit cheerleaders. Representatives of yer ackchul Scottish government and the largest contingent of MPs from the Scottish benches, not so much.

    A Tory’s idea of equal partnership is wearing pretty thin at this moment.

    They’re not even subtle about it either. They’re taking the Scottish parliament and people to court. Their ministers are ignoring our mandated government and UK representation. Their press has opened an all out anti Scottish government assault and their place holders are actively working against the mandate and will of Scotland’s electorate over Brexit.

    I can think of a few words to describe those actions and partnership isn’t one of them.

    Anyone feeling the love, the oneness and the unity we were promised? Or does frustration, outrage and a growing sense of horror sound more appropriate?

    • Robert Harrison says:

      He threw them a bone alright extending the negotiations till the end of November now instead of next month like was originally scheduled I know the eus trying take the moral high ground by doing that but this is English politicians who are so blockheaded there collective iq is smaller than the black ball number on a pool table for crying out loud.

  5. Iain McCord says:

    It does seem to be a determined effort to ensure a No Deal Brexit. And if May capitulates it’ll be one. If she doesn’t then they’ll bring her down to force another leadership election. If she does then some Remainers might force her out as a last ditch attempt at gaining at least a semblance of a deal. Not sure how a party without a leader would survive a vote of no confidence though.

    Meanwhile you’ve got reports of UK ministers trying to make deals with individual EU member countries despite the restrictions on them doing so being one of the reasons put forward for leaving in the first place. Either they know it won’t happen or that that reason was bollocks in the first place

  6. It’s difficult to recognise the positives from Brexit for Scottish Independence, when Brexit is going to be such a disaster for us all. It looks like, albeit the polls are moving in our direction, the real impetus for independence will only really come, for many Scots, with personal experience of full frontal Brexit.
    The pound is going to plummet with any Brexit. With a No Deal Brexit, the English pound is going through the mincer. The values of our houses and savings are going to plunge. Prices are going to rocket. Watch for the BBC telling us our exports will be cheaper, because of the fall in the pound. As usual, the BBC lie for the interests of the UK state. Our exports won’t be cheaper, because the raw materials we import to make the products will rise proportionately. That’s, if they even get through the ports. Anyway, if we are dealing under WTO rules, with no longer the protection of EU trade deals, these countries will enforce large tariffs on our products, to protect there own manufacturers. The EU e are planning for a No Deal. The British don’t have a plan.
    We are standing on the sidelines watching this madness. This train wreck isn’t our doing. We didn’t want it, but my God, we’re going to pay for it.
    There are no benefits at all, to any Brexit. But a No Deal will finish the UK. The Tories are locked in to a Catch 22. The Chequer’s Deal is too soft for the ERG. It has been thrown out by the EU as being illegal anyway. Illegal, in that it breaks EU rules.
    As Theresa May is in a weak position in Parliament, she could go for an Election to gain more support. Didn’t work last year, however the EU would probably give her the time, if she agreed to stay in the Customs Union and Single Market and of course free movement. If she agreed, that would cleave the Tory party apart.
    While they’re fighting with each other, the ports will be in meltdown, along with importers and exporters. Hundreds of thousands of people losing their jobs.
    If anyone is looking for an argument to convince a swithering Independence supporter, try this one.
    It works for me.
    “Scotland, has taken more oil out of the ground than Norway. However, Norway has a £1 trillion oil fund, invested throughout the World. And, Norway has a £131 billion a year return on that investment.
    Scotland’s budget from Westminster is £32 billion per year.
    Scotland’s oil fund stands at £0. It’s return on its oil fund is £0”.
    So Norway from its oil fund alone has £131 billion a year. Scotland has a total austerity budget of £31billion a year. How did the ruk show its gratitude to Scotland for our generosity?
    Why didn’t Norway, like us, give all of its oil money to next door neighbour Sweden? Greedy bsatards.

  7. Andy Anderson says:

    I agree with your forecast Marlon. We are all going to suffer initially.
    This although grim will help us get our freedom. Once we are free, ideally for me in the EU it will start to improve although an economically damaged England will still affect us for years

    Despite this I will be happy knowing a better future awaits.

    Hopefully our future governments will have the balls to run things differently.

  8. When we attain Independence, investment will flow like a river into Scotland. Like normal nations, we can also borrow if need be, to tide us over initially. We will have a Triple A rating and the good will of the other 27 nations in the EU. We will become the real powerhouse of the North, as foreign investment inevitably flows out of an itinerant England into Scotland. We will become the gateway also between America and the EU. Glasgow and Greenock will become bustling centers of trade and commerce. Over on the East coast, we will also require ports equipped to deal with container ships and ferries, to cope with the flow of trade with the EU. Leith and Dundee will become wealthy EU ports, with top of the range jobs for their people.
    We just need to try and weather the storm first.

  9. Tol says:

    Paul,

    Its even more disastrous and terrifying for Scotland than you lay out. This is not arriving at Brexit badlands through misadventure – Instead, this has been by design.

    If you expect an outcome but it doesn’t match what you are seeing…look at what Westminster is really doing.

    Ports = NO
    Irish boarder = NO
    Trade negotiation = NO
    Citizens’ Rights = NO
    Gibraltar = NO

    Killing Devolution = YES
    Erasing Scotland the brand = YES
    Expanding Westminster’s “Scotland Office” bureaucrats (over 3000 and counting) = YES
    Henry VIII powers = YES
    Removing SNP say on legislation = YES

    This has been misdirection on a massive scale. Westminster has been preparing ….just not for ports or any logical “Brexit” things. It has been preparing a devastating legislative framework able to re-centralise power and squeeze every last drop of value out of the working and middle classes.

    I fear Scotland is being set up for the great dispossession…

    • hettyforindy says:

      I fear you are spot on there Tol. Given the contempt towards Scotland’s majority party both in Scotland and in WM, it is verging on a soft coup. If WM has any plans, yes it is likely to dismantle Holyrood the moment their destructive, backward brexit is done and dusted.

      It’s hard to be optimistic, but many more people already see thw riting on the wall, and will choose an independent Scotland.

      What’s so disturbing about Brexit as well is the sheer distraction from actually improving lives for people, working on somehow stalling climate change, and halting the selfdestructiveness of the human race.

      This Brexit is all so unnessary, futile and destructive, and most of all driven by greed of a few very rich, selfish troughers.

      • Tol says:

        @hettyforindy

        So true.

        I suspect we are seeing the last days of the peace dividend that created the UK social state post WWII.

        What took hundreds of years of brave mass movements and finally the sacrifice of 2 consecutive generations to get to a point where the public could pry the right to a decent existence from the monied class. It chills me that the baby-boomers and their children have squandered it all to pull up the ladder…even after being warned of the dangers so early on.

      • Iain McCord says:

        Nope. Far better that they gut Holyrood and pretend it fills our desire for some autonomy.

        Think of how EVEL works. The Scotland’s MPs are excluded from voting at key stages which means that regardless of how much sense they might talk they will be ignored in any debates leading up to those votes. Which means that laws that might be made more suitable for both Scotland and the rUK aren’t tweaked.

        Then there’s the masterstroke. The SNP and others still get to vote those laws into statute. If they oppose them it causes bad blood. If they abstain or are outvoted then they’re just whinging Jocks.

        And then having excluded Scotland on the basis that those areas are devolved and perhaps before the ink even has time to dry the whole Westminster Supremacy thing will kick in and as those laws are such a jolly good idea it’ll be decided to extend them to Scotland. It’ll be rushed through Westminster as all the debate needed has already taken place.

  10. Clapper57 says:

    As usual you articulate your point with a finesse that surpasses anything the chattering classes within both the YES and NO movements could express.

    You , and those like you, give me much needed hope where ,without your well expressed and honest opinions, I and many others would be without any real hope for the future.

    Thank you

  11. Illy says:

    I seem to have been banned from Wings (probably because I was vocal about trans* issues), so I’ll say it here, since it’s important to get this message out, and no-one in the Wings comments (or Stu) seem to have made this connection:

    Link Taxes kill Search Engines.

    Google either fights this or dies.

  12. Dan Huil says:

    Excellent article. It’s amazing, considering Westminster and britnat media lies, how far we have travelled towards regaining our independence in the last few years. Keep fighting.

  13. Cubby says:

    The rally on Saturday. I was looking forward to seeeing the weeginger dug again and the guy the dug looks after. Never mind I can still look forward to seeing the movie Braveheart unless of course someone rides up on their high horse and pulls the plug on it.

  14. Cubby says:

    As my favourite Tory Bampot Ross Thomson is a member of the ERG ( European Research Group) I thought this is a boring and inappropriate name for this group of MPs.

    My suggestion : We Are Not Kidding Europe Really Sucks.

  15. Christopher Bruce says:

    I find it deeply distressing that people seem to think that Scotland will still have an opportunity to call an indy referendum after Brexit.

    It won’t.

    The game will be over.

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