Breaking up isn’t always hard to do

Opponents of independence have got a new argument against independence. It’s not much of an argument, but then the British establishment is increasingly clutching at ever more desperate straws. The argument goes that Brexit has shown how difficult it is to leave a union, and therefore Scottish independence is likely to be even worse as Scotland is small and weak.

This argument is very like that other Brexit related argument against independence, which goes that we’d only be swapping control from Westminster for control from Brussels and that wouldn’t be independence at all. Serious people who really ought to know better have made this particular argument, but the truth is that if you really don’t understand the difference between the amount and quality of control exerted over a country by membership of the EU with the amount and quality of control exerted over a constituent part of the UK by Westminster, then you’re really making an open declaration of your political illiteracy and ignorance. If you think that those two things are the same then you really ought to refrain from commenting on either.

It’s like equating the wildlife roaming in a national park with animals locked up in cages in a Victorian zoo. It’s like saying, “Oh well, a national park isn’t *really* free is it. It’s got boundaries. So let’s just keep the animals locked up in cages.” And it is indeed true that being a part of the UK is very much like living in a Victorian zoo. You’ve only got to look at the House of Commons to appreciate that.

This latest argument, that leaving unions is oh so terribly difficult and so we shouldn’t attempt it is just like the previous nonsense argument in that it’s equating two very different phenomena. Hint, just because different things are called unions doesn’t mean that they are identical political beasts.

Leaving the EU has proven to be extremely difficult for the UK for a number of simple reasons. Firstly there’s the complete and utter unpreparedness of the British establishment. All the way through the Scottish independence referendum, independence supporters were told to come up with a Plan B, yet here we are two and a half years after the Brexit vote and there’s still precious little which passes for a credible Plan A from those who want Brexit.

This approach to international negotiations isn’t new for the UK. For centuries the UK was the big boy and could get its way by force or the threat of force. It didn’t need to learn how to negotiate. That lack is still very much a feature of how the UK deals with the rest of the world. When writing in his memoires about negotiations about Northern Ireland between Westminster and Dublin in the 1980s, the then Irish taoiseach Garret Fitzgerald wrote that the British delegation would make a proposal, which the Irish would consider, then the next day the British would suggest something totally different. Fitzgerald wrote that at first the Irish delegation thought that the British were engaged in some clever Machiavellian strategy to wrong foot the Irish, but after a couple of days they realised that it was just that the British didn’t actually have a clue what they wanted. The UK has approached Brexit negotiations in exactly the same way.

This lack of preparation and clarity has been compounded by the unrealistic expectations of the Brexists. They believed that they could continue to enjoy all the benefits of EU membership without any of the downsides. We see that in discussion of freedom of movement, it’s entirely about preventing EU citizens from moving to the UK. Brexit supporters are silent on the fact that this means that UK citizens will no longer be able to move to the EU. They demand free access to EU markets, while at the same time insisting on their right to negotiate trade deals with the rest of the world and import chlorinated chicken. And above all they want to leave the customs union and the single market and control immigration and the UK’s borders while at the same time being bound by a treaty obligation to maintain an open and invisible border with the Irish Republic. Brexit is the political pursuit of mutually incompatible goals by people who were utterly unprepared to begin with. No wonder it’s proving so difficult.

Unlike Brexit, independence isn’t a political novelty. There are many tens of countries all around the globe which have declared independence from the UK, indeed three of them are currently EU members. There is a tried and tested path towards independence. Other countries have done it. Indeed the very EU state which is creating the greatest reality check for the fantastists of Brexit is the Irish Republic, a country which itself declared indepenedence from the UK. It is one of the greatest political ironies of our age that the British border artificially imposed by the UK across the island of Ireland is now the instrument of the downfall of the UK’s imperial fantasies.

Another difference, one which should not be underestimated, is that Brexit has taught us that the only political grown ups in the room is the Scottish Government and SNP MPs in Westminster. They’re the only ones who have had a principled and realistic view. The Scottish Government published a series of impact papers looking at the effects of Brexit on the Scottish economy while the UK government was desperately trying to pretend that there were no studies at all. Scottish independence would be approached with the same realism. We might not all agree on the details but there is no lack of planning. There is no lack of discussion. There is no lack of preparation.

Breaking up is only hard to do when you have no idea what you want, when you have unrealistic expectations and beliefs about yourself, and when you have traditionally relied upon threats and bullying instead of negotiating like a grown up. In Scottish independence negotiations it will be the Scottish delegation which knows what it wants, which has a realistic set of expectations, which has a plan, which has friends and allies in Europe, and which will be the grown up in the room.

The greatest difference between independence and Brexit is that Scottish independence is not based upon a delusion like that of the British exceptionalists who have driven Brexit. Returning a country to the normal and usual state of affairs for a nation is a very different proposition from trying to attain an impossible dream based on a fantasy of imperial power and glory.

Scottish independence is not an attempt to pursue mutually incompatible political goals. It’s not about the quixotic pursuit of special favours, special deals, or an unrealistic and nostalgic vision of Empire 2.0. Brexit is the attempt to establish and assert British exceptionalism. Scottish independence is the attempt to establish and assert Scottish normalcy. Scottish independence means making Scotland into a normal European state just like all the others.


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61 comments on “Breaking up isn’t always hard to do

  1. Gordon McNeil says:

    “It is one of the greatest political ironies of our age that the British border artificially imposed by the UK across the island of Ireland is now the instrument of the downfall of the UK’s imperial fantasies.”

    Indeed so. As my old Irish granda used to say: “Ireland will be Ireland when England’s buggered up” – and he meant ENGLAND.

    He migrated to, lived, worked and married in Scotland – loved this country, Scotland, and simply couldn’t understand why we wanted to stay in Union with unscrupulous, mendacious oppressors.

    He lived and died a proud Irish and Scottish republican – and a good protestant christian.

  2. bringiton says:

    One of the main differences between the European Union and England’s Union is that the European one allows states to pool and share resources for the common good and most importantly have a say in how that happens.
    Whereas…..

  3. Andy Anderson says:

    Well put Paul. To me this is just another Project Fear 2 item that is easily answered. Just another negative vibe from idiots.

  4. Lizzie55 says:

    I am increasingly getting the impression that the snp are becommeing much more reluctant to go for independence. I know I’m not the only person who believes this. The Westminster government is in a massive mess and the brexit impact is likely to have a seriously detrimental impact on the Scottish people. For that reason, amongst other reasons, we need independence. The Tory government have ignored Scotland, will inflict further austerity on us and have acted through court proceedings to ensure we will have less powers in our parliament. There are so many other items that would lead any Scott to think enough is enough it’s time, let’s recall our MP,s and MEPs and go for independence forthwith. But, the snp are hell bent on fixing the UK. I am seriously confused and angry. Why are we not making a big play to be out of this union as quick as is possible. Over the last 6 weeks I have watched as the snp talk less and less about independence and more about a people’s vote. Does anyone else feel independence is disappearing and the snp are the main cause.

    • Andy Anderson says:

      I think many of us like you see the chaos and want to go for Independence.

      I however think that the issue is communication and not a loss of will by the SNP for our cause. If not for them we would not be where we are now. They are working with Yes groups and carrying our opinion surveys. Indy is 100% the SNP goal.

      I think they need to answer our need for confirmation from them. My view is they will kick everything off next Spring once they see what happens in London.

      Opinion polls say 53% would vote Yes if Brexit happens and 57% if a No deal Brexit. Hence the wait. If Brexit does not happen we will be at 47% Yes which is not enough for us to ensure a good positive margin for Yes which we need to take the No vote with us democratically.

      • Lizzie55 says:

        If we are at 47% yes without a campaign I would say we are as good as it’s likley to get and this is an excellent place to start a campaign that will gain at least 10%. If the snp wait too long to start the Indy process they will loose votes. We need certainty that Scotland has a different path, right now this is nonexistent. I can see the advantages of a general election but can’t see any advantages of the snp supporting a people’s vote which may get rid of brexit but will also get rid of many Indy voters as well.

        • Marconatrix says:

          Doesn’t the NI mess demonstrate that Scottish Indy would be much simpler and cleaner were the rump-UK to remain in the EU? Otherwise there’d need to be a hard border at Gretna etc. ???

          • Moonlight says:

            There is no doubt that having a land border with an EU member state is a lot less complicated than having miles of razor wire and a few crossing points.
            However, if need be, bring on the razor wire.

    • Luigi says:

      It’s not the SNP stalling, Lizzie, it’s Theresa May. There are several different battles going on in the constitutional war that have to be concluded before Nicola can pull the trigger. If she goes now, May could quickly react to revoke/postpose Article 50, which would cause huge problems for independence. May will not go first if she can avoid it – however the clock is counting down and she will have to move early January at the latest.

      It is excruciatingly frustrating. We are so close, but we cannot afford to trip up this time. One final domino has to fall (HoC vote or revocation of Article 50) before we can move.

      RE: Communication – yes definitely room for improvement. The SG and SNP could be working on this – something to encourage the troops. Even a stunt or something outrageous to grab the attention of a hostile media (intent, it seems on ignoring the “Scottish Question”). Even inviting ridicule and outrage – the important thing is to seize the narrative and prevent them ignoring us.

      Over to you, SNP. Do something. 🙂

      • Lizzie55 says:

        I completely understand all the uncertainty, but why is Nicola openly asking for A50 to be belayed. Surely this just extends the uncertainty. I firmly believe the snp should be focusing on the needs of the Scottish people and Indy than supporting an anti Westminster Tory bid on brexit. We are loosing where we should be heading and replacing it with fighting battles we don’t need to be part off ….it’s simply a distraction from the getting us out of this mess.

      • Moonlight says:

        37 of 39 newspapers and the BBC will miss report, or omit and withold. I await a cunning plan for communication with the electorate.

        • Ibus says:

          I think this as well. We need to be patient.
          Look what happened when they knew the steps we were taking to protect q ourselves. They went and legislated against us.
          By not giving any kind of notice about the Indy plans, Nicola and the SNP are preventing Mayhem etc for taking steps to thwart us.
          I repeat, we need to be patient. If we’re getting dispondent about the lack of news, then the tories will believe that they have ‘won’ and be as vigilant.
          Nicola will not let us down.

    • Lizzie the Scottish Government has a clear mandate from the people which was ratified in our Parliament that if we were dragged out of the EU against our wishes then another independence referendum would take place. Although it seems in all likelihood that that is precisely what will happen, it hasn’t as yet. The material change has not yet taken place. I believe the SNP are quietly readying in the background waiting on the starting pistol being fired. Our MP’s in Westminster have as much as told those who will listen that we are not going down with their ship. In the meantime they are trying to ensure we don’t have a financial basket-case for a neighbour when we leave. Please be patient
      Thank you Paul for all your recent posts you have the gift of being able to express what we are all thinking. Best wishes for Christmas to you and all your followers.

    • Alasdair Macdonald. says:

      One line of argument deployed by the unionist parties and their attack dogs in the media is that the SNP is seeking to undercut the UK at every possible opportunity, so that as things get worse, people in Scotland will switch to supporting independence.

      To you, me and other readers of this site it is a specious argument. However, it serves to bolster support for NO. I am sure that you, as I have have discussed things with NO supporting friends, who, despite having each assertion and myth debunked will come up with, ‘Ah, but, whit aboot…?’

      As things stand with the various Supreme Court rulings, it is clear that the LEGAL strength appears to lie with Westminster, since it makes the laws. This does not mean that it has the moral case, nor that we cannot have other laws.

      This is a very fluid and chaotic period, with both major parties flailing around seeking SELF PRESERVATION. What the SNP is trying to show is that it is clear headed, acting for higher motives, has been proved right and can indicate plausible ways forward. Tactics are important as are strategy and vision. Because of the unpredictability there is gain from showing calmness and constructiveness. There are people elsewhere in the UK who are seeing in Scotland a better nation. However, the media do not report on them.

    • Martin Edmunds says:

      I sort of get where you are coming from Lizzie. This echoes my feelings about the Scottish parliament, in my opinion far from being a step on the road to independence it has been a hinderance. The Tories and latterly Labour who in all honestly both care little for devolution have used it as a convenient stick to beat the SNP with over the last 10 years … there is no doubt that their mantra of accusing the SNP of ‘ignoring the day job’ because its all about independence worked a treat for the Tories at the last general election .. even though anybody who looked at the evidence could damn it for the lie it was.

      If it was up to me the SNP would revert to a stance of saying …’look, this party exists to make Scotland an independent nation and if you vote for us that’s what you are voting for’ …. Don’t refute the Tory and Labour jibes, it is possible to prove that you are doing a decent job of running Scotland, with your hands tied behind your back, while at the same time acknowledging and being proud of the fact that what your one and only goal is is to make Scotland an independent nation .. as it should be.

      • It may be argued, Martin, and others on HERE, that NS and the Scottish Government are behaving democratically, to reflect the will of the Scottish People as a whole, rather than just that element, clearly in the majority now, and growing diurnally as the Brexit clock ticks down to DefCon 1, who support Self Determination and not necessarily the same political strand, Remain in the EU.
        .

        It would take remarkable political neuroplasticity of the scale which saw Professor Two Jobs WATP Adam Tomkins’ trip to Damascus convert the wee confused unelected Jobs For The Boys clearly emotionally tortured soul from Republican Socialist to Right Wing Free Market Monarchist Bigot Heartless Blue Tory, to convince a considerable portion of the Scottish electorate that Scotland’s future lies in reverting to Statehood, an Independent nation, governed for the people of Scotland, by the people of Scotland, accountable to the people of Scotland, to reflect the will of the people of Scotland, which is clearly to continue as a Social Democracy, within a mixed economy where its citizens are treated with respect, dignity, compassion, and inclusiveness.
        In such a society, it is possible to reflect the will of all the people, but not at the expense of others.

        Critics of Independence already charge ‘Nicola Sturgeon’ with Brexit wrecking because ultimately her goal is to ‘break up the precious Union’.
        This charge is easily refuted at the moment because ironically the Scottish Government is the only political body making any sense at the moment in setting out a future vision for the UK within the EU.
        Many of us want to remain within the EU, most with a passion.
        There were nearly a million Scots who didn’t.
        55% did vote to remain within the UK four years ago now.
        Events, dear boy, events.
        Things do change, and by god have things changed with regard to the broken promises of the Vow, and 4 years of WM systematic erosion of the Scottish Parliament’s powers,and since the summer of ’16, the descent into madness and suicide that followed the NHS £350 million on the side of a ‘bus.
        As Paul points out in his usual perceptive prose, the Yes Movement has a plan; a vision to offer the electorate when the Indyref 2 starting gun is fired.
        Even at the 11th hour, the Brexiteers have no plan, vision, or ‘what’s in it for me’ to set before the UK electorate.
        There will be no Indyref 2 Project Fear worth bothering about.
        Can you imagine Blair McDougall, or Lord Darling of Houseflipping, or Jim Murphy the EggMan, or Ruth, Mundell or Murdo lying to our pensioners, averring that the oil is running out, that there will be a ten year queue to get back into the EU, that we would have a £15 billion deficit every year which generous England now covers?
        Of course not.
        We have gotten our act together.
        No more BBC ‘debates’ chaired by Glenn Campbell or Gordon Hang On A Minute Just To Be Clear What You Are saying Brewer.

        The Medium is the Message, and through WGD, Bateman, Grouse Beater, the vast network of the Yes Movement,and others, we now control the airwaves and the public forum.

        I fully expect England to ultimately fuck it up, and crash out of Europe, or mount a second EU Referendum and vote narrowly to Remain, sparking civil and political unrest Down There for decades to come.

        In either scenario, crash out of the EU on No Deal, or vote Remain with a massive grudge, ‘Then is the time’ to launch Indyref 2, which means, within the next two or three months.
        Sturgeon is First Minister serving all the people, and doing a stunning job by any reasonable person’s account.

        But we are reaching Breaking Point. The Doomsday Clock is running down to Eurmageddon.

        Softlee softlee catchee monkee, Martin.
        There is no mileage in breaking ranks now of all times.
        Stand fast, mes braves.
        Le jour de gloire est arrive.

        • Martin Edmunds says:

          I wasn’t suggesting breaking ranks mate. It is what it is at the moment and we don’t have long to see how Brexit pans out. IMO the SNP are right to support a second referendum for the simple reason that it wont happen, the Tories wont let it. But when all is said and done it absolutely spikes the guns of those unionists who would batter the SNP for demanding a second indy ref, which is undoubtedly what would happen if they hadn’t supported a second Brexit referendum.

          The SNP at least being seen to try to minimise the disastrous effects of Brexit absolutely strengthens their position when a no deal Brexit arrives. They cant be blamed for it, but it makes their assertion that independence is the cure look a lot more backable.

          Its a pretty sound strategy in my opinion … all we have to do is sit back and wait for the Tories to continue with their monumental screw up until the time is right to strike.

        • cubby says:

          Murphy was also a house flipper.

    • steelewires says:

      I too am feeling a bit disillusioned with the SNP. it’s trying to rescue England, and it is England that would be rescued, not Scotland, is not why I joined the SNP. Also the Gestapo-like treatment of Grouse Beater makes me very angry. I’ve had to deal personally with Antisemitism, and an article I wrote about a case was used in the Supreme Court of Canada in support of the victims. There was nothing Antisemitic in Grouse Beater’s article. Casting him out of the party is a Gestapo-like abuse of power. I’m so disgusted I may quit the SNP and join the Greens.

      • Clive Scott says:

        As long as you vote Yes to indy when it comes it matters not in the slightest what party you are in. Nicola has been tramping the streets and knocking the doors for indy since she was a teenager. With respect, I think she has a deeper understanding of the current situation than anyone posting on this or similar sites. I trust her judgement.

    • Liz g says:

      Aye ye were sayin aw that on one of the last threads too…
      Did anybody feel that way?
      Paul disnay seem overly concerned!

      Mibbi we should stay the course unless and until someone like Paul indicates something is amiss??

  5. orri says:

    Brexit is like the referendum on the monarchy in Australia that didn’t lead to a republic in that those seeking abolition didn’t have a coherent plan on what to replace her with as Head of State.

    Unlike that though leaving the EU has far wider reaching implications and the anarchy involved in not having a clear destination isn’t going away soon.

  6. […] Wee Ginger Dug Breaking up isn’t always hard to do Opponents of independence have got a new argument against independence. It’s not […]

  7. Weechid says:

    Saw that argument coming a mile off. I sometimes wonder if the Tories are doing things to deliberately make independence seem harder than it should be. Maybe I’m just paranoid?

  8. Contrary says:

    Sigh, another vapid ‘reason’ for staying in the uk – you wonder what their real reasons can be at this stage when every single ‘reason’ they have has been shown to have no foundation. Another excellent article thank you Paul.

    I am going to post a comment I made on another blog site, it’s a long one slightly edited so I apologise for taking up space in advance. I would not normally declare any particular support for any political party, but I feel it’s important to reflect on why there are more and more people stating how disenchanted they are with the SNP:

    The SNP have been making a huge effort to visit other countries and get them onside, Nicola Sturgeon is very well received abroad, we just don’t get to hear about it. I haven’t heard of many visits to Africa, but certainly the SNP have been upping the global awareness of Scotland being a distinct country over the past few years. I am sure Craig’s option (UDI) isn’t the preferred option of the SNP, but I doubt they would rule it out – if there was a known majority opinion to have independence. Big on democracy, the SNP. Unlike the feudal UK wide parties.

    The main problem isn’t the SNP, it’s the misinformation, the missing bits of news, the trolling etc that means we are unlikely to get a large majority in favour of independence at any one time. Why would anyone want to be ruled by another country? It doesn’t make sense. People need to give up with the cognitive dissonance, it isn’t good for their health, the U.K. isn’t good for our health, anyone’s health.

    To my mind, the attacks on Nicola Sturgeon and the SNP, the dissatisfaction that’s being spread and shared, is down to MI6 doing their job. They are trying to push the SNP into holding a referendum at the wrong time – enough public pressure and dissatisfaction and they might do it. Good tactics. What makes everyone think they aren’t going to hold an independence vote of some kind? Who is it that is actually frustrated and desperate to know when it’ll be, or what form it’ll take? The unionist parties and supporters perhaps?

    Do you really believe that the SNP are playing party politics, or could it be that they are acting in the best interests of Scottish people, as they do in nearly all their actions? Why would the current actions be so far away from their norm? Whose beliefs are you holding? The SNP might not always get it right, but their principles have stood the test of time, and I for one don’t believe they are suddenly throwing that away for seats in the lords. They might not get this one right either, it’s a cesspit of political manoeuvring after all, but I’d personally prefer the democratic political option in the first place.

    All the MSM already hates the SNP, and with broadcasting being a reserved matter, I’m not sure taking the hardline and pissing off the BBC is going to be that fruitful – the media is a closed bubble. It would be nice to see the SNP with more backbone, but what you’d get as a result I doubt would be pretty. How do they get any air time? Rock and a hard place. Walking the line. It’s a hostile environment for the SNP and they hold their own in interviews pretty well despite that. If our own guys can’t give them a break, well, they’ve got no chance. They are politicians, and the SNP is a political party, THEY have to play by the rules. The rest of us don’t.

    None of the criticism I hear quite stacks up. (‘Get them doubting. Get them suspicious and distrusting. Get them riled up and panicking. That’ll push the SNP to make a move and we can slam them.’ Is how I imagine the tactic session going). If they’d tried to UDI back during the famous walk out? I doubt they’d have had enough backing. Now, Apparently a LibDem MP came out in favour of an independence referendum this week, saying it in the HoC. That’s a change.

    It would be cheaper, quicker, easier to have England at least in the customs union, come independence – so why shouldn’t the SNP campaign for it? I’ve no argument against a hard border mind you, and indeed if it’s going to be a wall, I have some ideas on the architecture – might as well make it a tourist attraction too – and it would be great as an infrastructure project to boost the economy & a ton of jobs.

    Every day that passes there is a boost to support of independence, starting the campaign too early would be detrimental, and not kowtowing to unionist demands to do it now shows backbone. Alex was pushed into doing the first referendum by the unionists, badgered, and my my they got a surprise, he certainly rose to the challenge. All bets are off after Brexit, Westminster has to show its hand, so the clamouring will get louder up til then I should think.

    (I know some of it seems out of context, but I think there are enough people here feeling the doubt to make it relevant enough as a general reflection…)

    • Contrary says:

      Everyone, I am sure, will have been reading Prof John’s blog, but in case you missed my comment published by John, here is a link

      https://thoughtcontrolscotland.com/2018/12/15/more-on-the-mediation-of-alex-salmond-from-tus-resident-contrarian-contrarian/

      In the comments I mention as well reasoning why I find the mass-dissatisfaction in the SNP suspicious (yeah yeah, I know, totally weirdo thing to do, commenting on your own article). I do recommend anyone with the time to watch the you tube video of After Dark from 1989, in particular things that Tony Benn says about parliament, the secret services and democracy. Well, I find it fascinating looking back, and insightful that Westminster has not moved on since then, gone backwards even, and the secret services have even more power and politicisation, and are held less responsible, from then.

    • Well put, Contrary. See my reply to ‘Martin, and others, above.
      They’d love us to announce a Unilateral Declaration of Independence.
      They’ve already earmarked 3,500 troops to instigate Martial Law on the 30th March ’19.
      If we ‘walked out’ of the Broken Union before then, they would send an Expeditionary Force North, take over our Government and Key Institutions, just to get match fitness for the Real Thing in April when England erupts.
      This is no hyperbole.
      The lunatics, Red and Blue maniacs have taken over the asylum.
      If anyone Up Here needed convincing, yesterday’s ‘Stupid people’ Points of Order insanity was surely final proof that WM has completely descended into a Whitehall Farce.
      I fully expected Brian Rix to enter in full tennis whites toothily asking the slobbering horde:- ‘Any one for Tennis?’
      You are correct, Contrary.
      We must hold our nerve at the most crucial juncture in our history.

      Lovely piece of prose BTW.

      • Contrary says:

        Thank you Jack, you are very kind! Haha, ‘in tennis whites… slobbering hordes’ – no hyperbole at all!!

        The EU and the U.K. Government seem to be playing a giant game of chicken at the mo – who will blink first I wonder. As a negotiating tactic, it’s abysmal, and I have no doubt the Westminster public school elitists will be arrogant enough to follow through – no accountability in Westminster. I am happy to see calls for revising the political system, but there aren’t enough, and Scotland is lost to them already anyway, all we really hear now are the dying bleats of a lost cause from unionists.

        It’s the insidious messages from within that may cause the greatest harm (aside from the MSM). I was trying to imagine why I would start thinking the SNP would sell out – we are all getting frustrated, not just those openly voicing dissatisfaction – and looked for evidence, and found none, and could not imagine why they’d suddenly change behaviour, or why I would believe so – that’s how your catchy memes take hold though, they sound half way feasible and take advantage of fear and panic. Who is more likely to sell us out, the SNP, or the Westminster government?

        Who is causing the fear and panic to make us more receptive? I am actually suspicious that the Tory government might be treating Scotland and its parliament so badly on purpose to get this reaction (obviously they don’t think BBC Scotland is peddling the fearmongering well enough) – let’s have it backfire on them eh? We’ve all done wind-ups, fun isn’t it, pushing someone’s buttons, getting them to react, makes you feel superior? The U.K. Gov’t has a lot more resources to do that on a massive scale. We need to keep asking for an indyref, yes, keep pushing for it, but we’ve got to trust that the SNP will know better than us when the right time is to do it. Be confident and be sure.

        But also, I don’t believe I have the luxury of not backing the SNP, I certainly won’t be watching devolution crumble and I see no other rallying crusaders out there with any clout to take on the independence campaign to conclusion. For now anyway!

    • cubby says:

      The use of the term UDI is inappropriate. Dissolving/terminating the Treaty of Union is not UDI.

      • Contrary says:

        The comment was originally on Craig’s blog, and no it wasn’t about UDI – this time – precisely, I quickly put that in for the paragraph to make some sense here, as it wasn’t particularly relevant to the purpose of the comment. Either lack a certain amount of democracy, there still should be a poll of some kind to ensure a majority decision, so thought it would do. I am not criticising Craig for putting these ideas forward. I was commenting on one of his criticisms, but mostly making a response to quite a few of the people commenting on his blog.

    • Artyhetty says:

      Totally agree, it’s a known tactic. Sow seeds of doubt, and meanwhile rile peopel into making the demands that are not good in terms of timing or tactics! Well said, good comment and very much something people should be aware of.

  9. It should not be a vote for independence, the vote should be to repeal the Treaty of Union. The claim of right, which states that the Scottish people are sovereign was voted unanimously by Westminster Parliament in July this year confirming the claim.

  10. FM says:

    Some comments here are very odd.

  11. Patience is a Virtue says:

    Source: BBC News 18th May 2017: Conservative manifesto summary: “Forward, Together: Our plan for a stronger Britain and a prosperous future”

    Source: the Guardian 2017:one in every 200 people in the UK are homeless according to Shelter -estimated at 307,000.people, and the news today that in 2017 there were from official figures thet around 600 deaths amongst those that are homeless.

    £1 Billion to be paid (at least that is what they have been told) to the DUP by the Conservative Government to secure DUP votes and thereby the Conservative Government majority..
    There is if course ‘no magic money tree’ -except when it comes to propping up a Conservative Government – when there is a singing ringing tree of money. Of course we are all equals in the UK and no one Country or Province should be treated any differently to any other – especially and particularly NI, but hey exceptions can be made if needs be

    It is not clear due to modern usage of Billion whether this is a UK Billion
    (£1, 000,000,000,000,000( or a US Billion (£1,000,000,000) but given that to date the money has yet to be paid (presumably because as Stormont is still not sitting – some issue to do with … the DUP and money ?) and hence amongst ‘the Backstop’ and other issues the Conservative Government have already signed up to (not in consultation with their DUP colleagues they said they were giving 1 £billion to) the DUP do not,understandably, feel that a certain part of this bargain has been honoured.

    Perhaps in this utopian UK where after 300 years of pooling and sharing resources (see 307,000 homeless above) a genuine start could be made to actually pool and share resources where they are needed – so to aid simple arithmetic if 300,000 people (round figure) are homeless
    if £1 Billion was allocated to this issue with immediate effect, to build the necessary homes/support that would be £333,333,333 (US) and £333,333,333,333 (UK) to address the needs of each ‘UK’ homeless person.

    Perhaps our MPs (all parties) could start by addressing and ensuring the needs of their Constituents as a priority…. Christmas break first though.- no ‘urgent’ business to speak of .

  12. ‘Tis the Winter solstice; 21st December, the shortest day of the year and the longest night.
    I have a running joke with a dear friend of mine, a gruff Yorkshire man, who refers to anyone South of Doncaster as a ‘soft Southerner’.
    Each year, I telephone him on the 22nd of December to declare that Spring has sprung! Because on that day we are on the downward slope towards crocuses and daffodils and a warming sun marginally nearer us with each passing day..
    He suffers from the Leeds version of SAD; but has the warmest heart buried deep inside his no nonsense brash exterior.
    He wishes us Independentistas luck and can’t wait until we eff off..or words to that effect.
    30 years ago, we were younger men then, we were doing a piece of work on the Fylde coast.
    I managed to ‘requisition’ a site car to head home to Glasgow for Christmas, instead of lugging my gear on the train via Preston.
    Today marks the 30th anniversary of the Lockerbie disaster.
    I was caught up in the aftermath the day after, as we crawled through the terrible debris and carnage on the M74 North.
    There was a Sierra estate still smouldering as we travelled at snail’s pace through Lockerbie.
    I am writing this in memory of the poor souls who had their lives cut tragically short that day.
    I got home eventually, but Christmas was cancelled in our house that year.
    30 years on and we still haven’t established the truth.
    I remember Blair in a bedouin tent shaking hands with ‘Mad dog’ Gaddafi.
    The Colonel had agreed to halt his WMD programme and admitted being responsible for the Lockerbie bombing.
    So that was all right then.
    Nothing has changed in 30 years.
    The British State decides, and we the proles have to accept it.
    The Oligarchy Rule, democracy is a sham.
    May ignores a Contempt of Parliament Ruling, and refuses to acknowledge the authority of the HoC, because she can.

    This is the darkest of days for us all. But tomorrow is brighter.

  13. Piotr says:

    Thanks Paul.
    Breaking up is not hard to do, when we are clear and WE will be clear.
    To those, many of whom I have met, that say trading one fat controller (the UK) for another (The EU) is not true independence the following may be worth a shot. Imagine the UK was organised as the EU. Talk it through. The difference between the EU and the UK quickly becomes apparent. We are talking breath-taking radical constitutional change here. Then ask which arrangement they would prefer, given a choice.

  14. Gavin C Barrie says:

    Terrific article. I’m also encouraged by the comments – constancy to purpose, faith in our leader Nicola Sturgeon, and a developing realism of what the term Perfidious Albion implies.

  15. M Boyd says:

    I think it’s time for Nicola to step aside. My ideal choice for new leader would be Angus MacNeil. He consistently advocates an early exit from the UK.

    • Andy Anderson says:

      I to would love to get out of the UK ASAP.

      However not yet, imagine kicking of a formal campaign in March only to have a UK general election announced in the middle of it. That would probably kill our referendum. We need to get past March to see how Brexit develops, is it No Deal or a Blind Brexit (EU withdrawal bill agreed but no idea about Trade) and does it look like a GE.

      We know from two recent opinion polls that support for Indy is partially affected by Brexit (53% if Brexit goes ahead or 57% if no deal, only 47% if Brexit does not happen). I have stated this before and get replies saying “look at the jump in support in 2014”. This is not 2014, the ability to convert people to Yes is harder now than then as it includes many with no interest in politics, who are frightened of change etc. Anyone of us who has continued since 2014 to convert people knows this as a fact.

      I believe that the earliest we can launch a campaign is late summer 2019.

  16. […] via Breaking up isn’t always hard to do […]

  17. Paul, I’ll leave it for you, and Sam, to fill your boots tearing to bits the McDonnell and the Marxist/ Momentum/ Commie/ Clunking Fist Broon/ Arlene/DUP alliance which is suggested will oust the Blue Tories but take Scotland out of Europe on any old Brexit .
    Is there anyone Up Here admitting to supporting Jezza and the Red Tories now?
    They’re in bed with the loons and fundamentalists now.
    January is going to be a hoot.

  18. bringiton says:

    Presently,I believe,there are a number of countries queuing up to join the European Union.
    How many are queuing up to Join England’s Union?
    Outside the Irish and Scottish unionists,no one else in the entire world is interested.
    Who would sign up to a “union” where all decisions are taken in London and in return for which you get a share of £2 trillion debt and the austerity that goes with it?
    Answers from Scottish Unionists are required.

  19. diabloandco says:

    ‘Scottish Normalcy’ I really like that.

    Merry Christmas Paul and when we are ‘ normal’ how about standing for parliament??

  20. Alba woman says:

    Excellent comments on an excellent piece…good suggestion diabloandco re Paul and Scottish Parliament….top class representative he would be

    • WGD could replace Murdo and nobody would notice.
      Strike that…there would be the sound of a beating heart in The Queen’s eleven chair. That would be a start.
      A quick Christmas Present List:-
      The Blue Tries A heart
      The Red Tories A leader young enough to remember what he went up stairs for.
      The Yellow Tories Haemorrhoid cream to relieve the pain of years on sitting on the fence.
      The Yellow Tories A leader young enough to remember what he went upstairs for. (A stocking filler.)
      The Blue Tories Scottish Branch Office Name badges for List Placemats who rise without trace to speak at FMQ
      The Red Tories Scottish Branch Office A Leader who can read without his lips moving. (It would save us all a lot of trouble.)
      The Yellow Tories Scottish Branch Office Hen Broon as leader; Oor Wullie needs to retire to the backbuckets
      Ruth Davidson An extra year’s maternity leave so that she can avoid answering any question about Brexit until Nick Soames retires and she is shooed into his seat.
      Kezia Dugdale A Christmas special ‘I’m a celebrity Get Me out of here’ highlights DVD so that she can relive her greatest triumph ever.
      Fluff the Magic Mundell A reason for being on this planet.
      I could go on, and on, and on, and on, and on….

  21. romiveda says:

    What will th extent of support from “allies in Europe” amount to, one wonders, with Scottish Parliament closed down ……… ?

  22. patricknelson750 says:

    “Scottish independence means making Scotland into a normal European state just like all the others.”

    Preferably a normal state like Norway, Iceland, Switserland and Lichtenstein where people don’t have to put on yellow vests and risk getting shot by armed police for trying to protect their way of life from the anti-worker globalist neoliberal policies that unbridled big business interests have foisted on the EU.

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