Finally, Theresa May has managed to unite the UK. Everyone thinks her deal is rubbish, even the guy who was supposedly in charge of negotiating it. The Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab has resigned, so Raab C Brexit is now Raab C Exit. Fellow Brexist Esther McVey has taken time out of her busy schedule of torturing benefits claimants and kicking away the crutches of disabled people in order to issue a statement saying that she’s resigning from the government because this deal is unfair and unworkable. So very much like Universal Credit then, but that didn’t seem to exercise what passes for her conscience.
The Brexists have dumped an enormous pile of crap all over the UK, and now they’re walking away whistling that it’s got nothing to do with them. They don’t want to clean up the mess that they have created. And now God knows what’s happening. Will there be a no confidence vote? Could be. Will Theresa May survive the week as Prime Minister? Who knows. Will there be other government resignations between the time I start to write this blog article and finishing it? Quite possibly. Will there be an early General Election? Maybe. Will the government’s Brexit deal make it through the Commons? Almost certainly not. Are we staring at the prospect of crashing out of the EU without any deal at all? It’s more likely now than it was yesterday.
The only certainty amongst any of this crapfest is that Scotland will continue to be marginalised and ignored by Westminster.
Sorry, two certainties. There’s also the certainty that a wad of wet toilet paper in a hurricane would offer greater protection from the storm than Ruth Davidson and Fluffy Mundell, both of whom have issued meek statements backing the Prime Minister despite the fact that the Brexit deal trashes what Ruth and the Fluffy one were themselves touting not 48 hours ago as their red lines.
There was no mention at all of Scotland in the 585 pages of Theresa May’s Brexit deal. Not one. Not even in passing. No recognition that Scotland even exists as a distinctive part of the UK, never mind any attempt to take into account Scotland’s needs and interests.
There are those opponents of independence who’ve been bumping their gums on social media that the Scottish government is being unreasonable and merely seeking grievances to nurture by pointing out that Scotland hasn’t been mentioned at all in the lengthy Brexit deal document. What about mentions of England or Wales? Eh? Eh! There weren’t many of those either. They crow, as if that was making some sort of harrumphage point worth making.
There’s the point, and then there’s opponents of Scottish independence missing it by the approximate distance between Ross Thomson’s ears. Which quite coincidentally is also an astronomical unit of measurement for the distance between the Earth and the furthest observable galaxy. The point is that England and Wales voted for Brexit. They’re getting what they voted for. Scotland on the other hand voted to remain a part of the EU by a considerably larger margin than it voted to remain a part of the UK. Scotland is not getting what it voted for. England and Wales didn’t have independence referendums in 2014 during which they were assured by the very same people who are taking the UK out of the EU that they only way that they could remain a part of the EU was to remain a part of the UK. That was Scotland. That was the Scotland that those same people swore blind was a valued and equal partner in a family of nations whose needs, views, and interests would always be respected and valued by the UK. That’s the point.
That’s why the omission of a single mention of Scotland, the Scots, or Scottish in the Brexit deal document is such a disgrace. It is additional proof, as if further proof was necessary, that the winners of both the Scottish independence referendum and the EU exit referendum won on the basis of lies and false promises. It is additional evidence making the case for another Scottish independence referendum, a case that was already unassailable.
Adding insult to injury this deal is, as described by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, the worst of all possible worlds for Scotland. It offers special terms to Northern Ireland which it refuses to grant to Scotland, putting Northern Ireland at a competitive advantage against Scotland. Northern Ireland will be able to attract businesses and investment which seeks access to the UK as well as to the EU, but Scotland won’t. That was a red line for the Scottish Tories, but now they’re telling us it wasn’t a red line after all. More a pale pink. Possibly mauve. But invisible under normal lighting conditions anyway.
Neither does this deal offer the protections and guarantees sought by the Scottish fishing industry, which was the only industry in Scotland that the Tories cared about all of a sudden. The UK will remain bound by the EU’s Common Fisheries Policy until 2020, and after that, according to the draft deal’s opaque language, the UK will cooperate with the EU “for the conservation, rational management and regulation of fisheries” in a “non-discriminatory manner”. Which looks suspiciously like kicking the issue into the long grass and when it does come slinking out it will look very like the Common Fisheries Policy with another name. The protection of Scottish fisheries was the ONLY benefit from Brexit that the Scottish Conservatives were committed to, and they couldn’t deliver. Westminster will always sell Scotland out when other interests are at stake.
An opinion poll out today shows that if there is a General Election soon, the SNP are likely to make substantial gains. In that election the SNP cannot shy away from the issue of independence. There can be no mealy mouthed “Stronger for Scotland” slogans and attempts to say that the election isn’t about independence at all. The British nationalist parties will never allow the SNP to get away with a claim that a vote for the SNP isn’t about independence, especially not with the overwhelmingly anti-independence media in Scotland. The SNP has to own the issue of independence. It has to be proud of it. It has to make the case for it every single day. Then the party can come out the other side of a possible early General Election with a cast iron mandate for a referendum, or even for independence itself.
This entire sorry British mess proves that the UK doesn’t function in the interests of Scotland. It doesn’t function in the interests of ordinary people wherever they are in the UK. And in fact it barely functions. The case for independence is now stronger than ever. The silence in the Brexit document about Scotland illustrates how pathetically inadequate that the UK is at representing the needs of this country. We are now arguing that if the people of Scotland want a government that acknowledges Scotland’s existence, we need independence. That’s how poorly the UK works for Scotland, and how desperately this country needs to choose its own path in Europe and the world.
You can help to support this blog with a Paypal donation. Please log into Paypal.com and send a payment to the email address firstname.lastname@example.org. Or alternatively click the donate button. If you don’t have a Paypal account, just select “donate with card” after clicking the button.
If you have trouble using the button, or you prefer not to use Paypal, you can donate or purchase a t-shirt or map by making a payment directly into my bank account, or by sending a cheque or postal order. If you’d like to donate by one of these methods, please email me at email@example.com and I will send the necessary information.
Please also use this email address if you would like the dug and me to come along to your local group for a talk.
Gaelic maps of Scotland are available for £15 each, plus £7 P&P within the UK for up to three maps. T-shirts are £12 each, and are available in small, medium, large, XL and XXL sizes. P&P is £5 for up to three t-shirts. My books, the Collected Yaps Vols 1 to 4 are available for £11 each. P&P is £4 for up to two books. Payment can be made via Paypal.