Except for viewers in Scotland

Yet again we’ve got a leading Brexist appearing on a politics show on the telly in order to inform us how dreadfully unfair it is of the EU to put conditions on the unicorns and cake that the UK expects from Brexit. This time it’s David Davis, who fancies himself as the Action Man of Brexit, small, plastic, hollow, lacking balls, and a figure of 1960s schoolboy fantasies.

Appearing on the Andrew Marr Show on Sunday, David opined that, “There is no other treaty in the world I’m aware of where a sovereign nation undertakes to join up and can only leave when the other side says so.” To which Scotland went, ahem. I’ve got a Treaty of Union to show you. Andrew Marr was quite happy to wade into the Scottish independence debate in 2014, but surprisingly he failed to point out the obvious to David. Well, I say surprisingly.

It is a safe assumption that although David has his political disagreements with the current government, none of them are because he feels that the British government which is refusing a referendum for Scotland is guilty of a degree of hypocrisy a mile wide. He is presumably quite content that Theresa May insists that it’s her right and her right alone to decide whether the people of Scotland can excerise their democratic voice on the future of this country. The UK didn’t have to ask the EU for permission to leave the EU, but Scotland is expected to ask the UK government for permission to even ask itself about its own future.

You don’t have to search very hard to find other examples. There’s Michael Gove, who complained during the EU referendum campaign, “Our membership of the EU stops us being able to choose who makes critical decisions which affect all our lives.” But the UK has a seat at the top table of the EU, it returns MEPs to the European Parliament. In certain aspects of EU policy it has a veto, and its list of opt-outs from those EU policies which it dislikes is legendary. As an EU member the UK has considerably more power to affect the course of EU policy decisions than Scotland has to affect the policy decisions of the British government.

Then there’s Michael Forsyth, the political failure who lost all his party’s seats in Scotland in the 1997 election and who was then bumped up to the House of Lords by his pals so he can still influence our laws and have a role in public life. Michael appeared in a TV debate during the EU referendum and in all seriousness complained about the unfairness of our laws being made by people we didn’t elect whom we can’t vote out of office. Really Michael. You don’t say.

Or how about Boris Johnson, who complained that Theresa May’s Brexit deal was unacceptable because it turned the UK into a vassal state of the EU. By which he meant that the UK would be forced to accept what the EU chose to impose on it without being able to influence the EU’s decision making process. So just like Scotland within the UK then, in an analogy he didn’t make.

It’s not just Tories. A former UK Prime Minister stood before an invited audience of hacks in London in November 2018 and said, “the situation will have been seen to have changed since 2016, and the people should in the end have the final say.” Or there’s a certain children’s author who wrote, “The whole point of democracy is the freedom to change your opinion when the circumstances change.” Except for viewers in Scotland.

It would be nice if the Scottish media made it their business to put the contradictions to British politicians, and demand that they explain why it’s such a dreadful thing that the UK gets dictated to by the EU whereas Scotland getting dictated to by Theresa May is just fine. It would be nice to know why they’d be outraged when there was a UK government with a mandate to hold a referendum to leave the EU which had to ask the EU for permission to hold it, but when there’s a Scottish government with a mandate to hold an independence referendum it has to ask permission from Theresa May. Permission which she is refusing. Pointing out the hypocrisy and demanding our rulers in Westminster explain themselves is the job of a media whose role is to hold power to account, but the self-appointed role of the British media in Scotland is not to rock the UK’s boat while finding aspersions to cast at the SNP.

The hypocrisy and sense of British exceptionalism is off the charts. The American conservative writer William F Buckley Jr. once said of an opponent, “I won’t insult your intelligence by suggesting that you really believe what you just said.” The problem we have in Scotland is that the Tories really do believe what they just said. It’s hard to argue with self-serving stupidity when a person’s job and reputation rest upon them failing to grasp the point. Their hypocrisy insults our intelligence while they have no intelligence to insult.

British exceptionalism means there is one rule for Britain, and another rule for everyone else. That’s clearest of all in the UK’s treatment of Scotland. All those terrible impositions, all those insults to democracy, all those restrictions on sovereignty, which Brexit supporters complain about with respect to the EU, every one of them they are happy to impose upon Scotland. They talk about a union when it suits them, but they act as though Scotland is not a nation. For the British nationalist, Scotland is not a nation and has no more rights than an English county council. British exceptionalism means that the UK demands its rights, demands respect, but it doesn’t recognise that others have the same rights and require the same respect. Except for viewers in Scotland.

But we’ll leave the last word in British exceptionalist hypocrisy to Theresa May herself. The Prime Minister told the House of Commons in December 2018, “Ultimately any union that involves the pooling of sovereignty can only be sustained with the consent of the people.” Except for viewers in Scotland.

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37 comments on “Except for viewers in Scotland

  1. Bill Purves says:

    To see how oil and gas was bad for Norway, google, Norwegian Petroleum, exports of oil and gas.

  2. Craig P says:

    Scotland voted to keep the union and so the current setup does indeed have the consent of the people. The fact that polls indicate that is still just the case is surely one of the mysteries of the modern age but surely, soon, the tipping point is coming…

  3. Margaret Noakes says:

    Nail on head as always.Complete bunch of hypocrites.One rule for Great Britain and feck all for Scotland

  4. Muscleguy says:

    Unfortunately Albion is forever perfidious and continues to complain bitterly about the mote it sees in others’ eyes while oblivious not just to the beam but the enormous forest in its own.

    I had the advantage of growing up in a former colony with an education system and media which informed its people about colonial excesses. When the Kanaks in New Caledonia revolted back in the ’80s lots of us in NZ, not just the Maori and Pacific Islanders were cheering them on. Our media told both sides of the story and gammon faced overweight, entitled, Far Right supporting white settlers did not come across as sympathetic.

    I see even France is allowing an independence plebiscite there. It has allowed them in Corsica as well.

    Ms May would rather be associate with unreformed fascist Mariano Rajoy of Spain who sent the paramilitary police in to stop a vote in Catalunya. Northern Ireland would be a cakewalk if she tried that in Scotland. Ungovernable would just be the start. Does May really want to govern Glasgow in rebellion?

  5. Anne says:

    Paul, check the end of the 4th paragraph if you will. I think you left out the end of a sentence.

  6. Andy Anderson says:

    There are lies, dammed lies and politicians.

    Hate nearly all of them. Truth, facts, they have no idea. Self interest rules OK.

    Totally frustrated

  7. jfngw says:

    The media response has never been to highlight the democratic choice of Scotland. It has been to attack the Yes movement and echo the ‘we’ve said no, why won’t you listen’ mantra position that is being taken by British Nationalist parties.

    Their balance is that supporters of the union will be 75% in any debate, no matter how high independence support is. They will find vox pops from Yes cities that appear to have no Yes supporters and are mostly Brexit supporters.

  8. bringiton says:

    I seem to recall during indy1 ref David Davis saying that it was up to the people of Scotland to determine their future.
    One of the few Westminsterites to say so.
    When they talk about the integrity of THEIR union,they really mean England continuing to control Scottish resources.
    A year past December,they were all set to ditch the part of their precious union that actually costs them money (NI) until the DUP put a stop to it.
    Yes,they really need us,or rather our resources.

  9. ScotsCanuck says:

    Aye …. nailed it again

  10. A. Bruce says:

    Excellent article as always. The Daft Davis quote “there is no other treaty in the world I’m aware of where a sovereign nation undertakes to join up and can only leave when the other side says so” should be made into a poster and plastered all over Scotland.
    Hope you’re feeling better again Paul; I’m missing the Dugcast.

    • weegingerdug says:

      I’m definitely on the mend, thanks. Still not 100% but am getting there.

      • benmadigan says:

        Hang in there Paul. It took me 2 weeks to fully get over my recent bout of flu

        • Muscleguy says:

          Ditto and I’m a pretty fit distance runner but I’m still 53. This year’s was worse than Swine Flu. That knocked me flat but only for a day. This year I was in my bed for 5 days. It was quite horrible.

          Unfortunately I can no longer have the flu vaccine. I had a nasty allergic reaction to my last one over a decade ago now. It closed my throat, fortunately only on one side but the flu is nothing compared to anaphylactic shock.

          I’ll just have to keep myself as fit as usual and hope.

      • Cubby says:

        All I can say is that you are producing very good stuff for someone who is poorly.
        Very impressed I am.

  11. Alba woman says:

    They need somewhere to park their nuclear weapons and keep their seat in NATO blah blah…….The weapons need to go along with them pronto….Bairns not bombs.

    • Illy says:

      That’s not the tactically savvy attitude to take.

      If the nukes are still in Scotland on independence day, then they belong to Scotland.

      If we take that attitude, then there are several possibilities for what happens:

      * Westminster removes them before Scottish Independence so they can keep them – YAY!

      * Westminster doesn’t remove them, so we can decommission them *safely*. (Who would trust Westminster to not fuck up the Clyde with nuclear waste? Especially post-defeat?) – YAY!

      * Westminster rents them and the base off us for an extortionate amount for a while. MEH, we can find a use for the cash.

      Whereas is you say the nukes are theirs, then they’ll drag their feet removing them, and we’ll not only still have nukes near Glasgow, but we won’t get anything for them, and they’ll probably spill nuclear waste in the Clyde on the eventual removal. Westminster are nothing if not spiteful.

      • Muscleguy says:

        We only rent the missiles, they come from a common pool with the American version and periodically a sub will cross the Atlantic with just missiles and swap them for reconditioned ones from the pool.

        It’s the warheads which are British. Those stay in the bunkers above Coulport (you can see them on Google Earth) or get sent to Aldermaston for reconditioning and maintenance on those sinister convoys.

        If nothing else, getting rid of those spare warheads sharpish (they can build extra bunkers at Aldermaston pretty quickly) will get rid of those convoys. The first SNP government seriously looked at Transport powers to see if there were any grounds for banning them but sadly not. In large part by design I suspect. Those pesky Reserved powers strike again.

        But post a Yes vote we can reasonably demand rUK turns the soil at Aldermaston or wherever for bunkers and move the spare warheads long before the subs move to a new base.

        And let us not forget the rusting nuclear hulks at Rosyth. Some reactors have been defuelled but not all and unlike the US and Russia we haven’t removed one. Most likely because WM doesn’t want to spend the money required to lift them out of the water and cut them up on land, likely in a purpose built shed to limit spread of radioactive material.

        When the unions who are being very sensible, talk about no safe means of reactor removal having been found this is what they mean.

        That job can just as easily be done in England than in Rosyth and rUK should be made to put them on barges and move them somewhere else as well. That is definitely a problem iScotland does not want to be left with.

        Those rusting hulks can be seen on Earth as well.

  12. Douglas Blair says:

    Still find it sad that there are still so many Scots willing to choose continued austerity and constraints to our country’s freedom which could deal with the scourge of poverty.

  13. Marconatrix says:

    “[They] insult our intelligence while they have no intelligence to insult.”
    One to saviour and maybe quote IMO. Thank you WGD 🙂

  14. JockG says:

    The unpalatable truth is that Davis reflects the attitude of many people south of the border towards Scotland, not just Tories. That is to say, they do not think of Scotland as a country in its own right. Rather they view it as being a territory of England

  15. Wullie says:

    Asking permission from England will look really great for future generations of Scots. A nice bit of history to continue the cringe. To hell wi that.

  16. Robert Harrison says:

    We can use all there old lines against them come indyref2 show how much a dictatorship to Scotland this UK union has been like how Westminster has 650 seats total yet England holds 533 of them how austerity was imposed on Scotland by an England conservative government against Scotlands will how Brexit and every other UK business matters has always really been about England and no one else because this England dictatorship is exactly what it is so don’t be scared to point it out just because some England supremacist like Boris Johnson would start the anti English card that half the problem with our side to afraid of being labeled a racist by the real racists the bbc usually bring on there politic shows.

  17. Robert Graham says:

    o/t – just , After a lot of thought there is no other conclusion i can come to ,

    A lot of Scots are just plain dumb ,the evidence being how long this useless Labour lot were in power and despite all the evidence they still hang around like a bad smell , what will it take for these people to waken up from this coma they are in ? .

    The latest one from the shop steward ” free bus travel for all ” , does our media ask eh – who pays for this Mr Shop Steward ,like heck they do and the Labour voters swallow this tripe I Give Up .

    • Moonlight says:

      I don´t think the Scottish people are just plain dumb, but they are just plain uniformed. Those who participate here and on Wings etc are well informed, but we are not a majority. I frequently despair at calls to the SNP/SG to strongly rebut the constant lying and misrepresentation and omission to which the Scottish people are treated. They do, through their own website and some excellent blogs.
      None of this information is carried by the MSM or the BBC or STV. Therefore the average person, who reads their paper whilst having a break or slumps infront of the TV in the evenings does not get the postive reports which contradict the bile flowing from the MSM.
      Until one or other of the papers breaks ranks, and one will if it sees it as being in it’s commercial interest , there is little chance of spreading the facts by means other than word of mouth.
      Let’s not put down our own people, let’s criticise the environment, created by the Tories, in which we live.

      • astytaylor says:

        It’s a constant challenge, right enough.
        But the status quo should always be challenged.
        Love ,
        Auntie Establishment

      • Illy says:

        The amount of trans-hating posts on Wings actually makes me cry.

        Stu is an arse, he just happens to be on our side most of the time. Does he still live in Bath?

    • WM says:

      I would not say that lots of Scots are plain dumb, just that they are not as interested in politics, but even those of us that have a lifetimes interest took decades to convince ourselves that Tony Blair’s mob were the last straw.It is not easy to admit when you are correct. The labour party can not represent millionaires in London and the South of England as well as people visiting food banks in the rest of England,Scotland,Wales and N Ireland. There is only one answer for Scotland, the rest will need to find their own answer bring it on.

  18. Velofello says:

    Well maybe, just maybe Davis didn’t misspeak but in fact deliberately by his statement – “a sovereign nation undertakes to join up but can only leave…etc…’ he was giving a lead to Marr to discuss Scotland, which Marr ignored. Davis did us a favour, suitably in contrast to Hunt’s “Of course a S30 will be refused”.

    Easier to get forgiveness than permission – so why ask for a S30 and invite refusal?

    Laws are for the guidance of the wise, and the obedience of fools.- the world is watching, I doubt that it’s opinion on legality will be an issue for IndyRef2.

  19. I’m sure that Paul is about to write a piece centring on the AG’s statement in the HoC today.
    We now have the mandate to hold a ‘legal’ Indyref, from Cox’s Cod piece.
    Fill yer boots, Paul.

  20. markrussell20085017 says:

    Bizarrely, I hope JRM and UDF Sammy hold their nerve and give Theresa the opportunity to claim her P45 in the next couple of hours. Ten Hunt or Liddington as interim PM – and when their request for an extension to Article 50 is politely but firmly refused, England will have its Metanoia. Bring it on…

  21. Welsh Sion says:


    Theresa May’s Brexit deal has been defeated in the Commons by 391 votes to 242, a majority of 149.

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