The false choice

As the Commons continues to be deadlocked over Brexit, and a no deal crashing out looms, the blame game has got into full swing. So at least MPs are able to agree on something. They’re all able to agree that it’s not their party’s fault. Brexcrementalists blame the EU and remainers. Theresa May blames the House of Commons. David Mundell who hasn’t resigned yet and Labour’s Ian Murray blame the SNP.

What is worrying is that the Conservative party leadership is quite likely to go for a no-deal Brexit as their least-worst option once May’s deal is finally declared so dead that not even the voodoo zombie spells of the Prime Minister can revive it. By least-worst that does of course mean that it would be the least-worst option for the Conservative party, not the least-worst option for everyone else. For the rest of us, a no-deal Brexit would be chaotic. It threatens jobs. It threatens the supply of vital medicines. It threatens all our futures. Yet it’s the most likely outcome because it’s the outcome which does least damage to the Conservative party. Bugger the rest of us.

The Conservative party doesn’t want another referendum because they fear that Brexit would be lost and angry leave voters would reject the party in a subsequent election and their own overwhelmingly leave supporting membership would flounce off en masse to Nigel Farage. They don’t want a snap General Election because there’s no conceivable manifesto on Brexit around which the party could coalesce. They don’t want a long extension to Article 50 because then the UK would have to participate in the European elections and the Conservatives would get thrashed. They don’t want a closer relationship with the EU because then they can’t pose as being tough on immigration and it makes it harder for them to threaten Scotland with a hard border in a future independence referendum. They don’t even want a customs union because then the UK can’t make its own trade deals with Mauretania and they’ll be accused of betrayal by the right wing press.

This mess is now and has always been about the narrow party interests of the Conservative party. It’s a shockingly reprehensible state of affairs. They are quite prepared to trash the entire UK in order to preserve their own party advantage. They’d accept no-deal because the careerists in the cabinet with their eye on the leadership know that the Brexit extremists in the party membership would be happy with it, and that’s the wildly unrepresentative electorate which will choose the next Prime Minister. They’d accept no-deal because it’s got more support amongst the party membership than any other option. But mostly they’d accept no-deal because then they’d be able to blame everyone else for the disaster that their own selfishness and short-sightedness had created. They’ll blame remainers. They’ll blame the EU. They’ll blame Labour and the SNP. The only certainty remaining in British politics is that the Conservatives won’t accept any responsibility for a calamity that they themselves created.

Theresa May didn’t have to invoke Article 50 when she did. She rushed into it in order to give the Conservatives an advantage in the English local elections held the following month, and Labour foolishly went along with her. It was then and has always been about the short term political advantage of the Conservatives. Then she wasted two years with her Brexit means Brexit nonsense, and her refusal to engage with anyone except the right wing of her own party. She imposed entirely unnecessary red lines in an attempt to placate the Brexit extremists, and she treated remainers, Scotland, and the fraught issue of Northern Ireland with utter contempt pandering to the bigots of the DUP and refusing to listen to anyone else.

Everything is to be sacrificed on the altar of the narrow result produced by the 2016 referendum. The government chooses to turn a blind eye to the mountain of evidence that the campaign for leaving the EU was corrupt, deceitful, that it was founded in lies, in the omission of important facts, and that it promised a fantasy that could never be achieved. All we hear from this government is that the result must be honoured, even as it trashes the result of the Scottish referendum of 2014 when Scotland was promised that it would be an equal partner in a union, and that it must vote against independence in order to remain a part of the EU, and the referendum of 1997 when the people of Scotland voted for a devolution settlement that the British government has unilaterally undermined. Some referendum results and promises are clearly more important than others.

Yet even if some deal can be cobbled together, or Brexit delayed further or even if Article 50 was by some miracle revoked, the political future of the UK will be defined and deformed by Brexit for decades to come. Those who oppose Scottish independence bewail the political divisions caused by the indy debate. Yet if Scotland remains a part of the UK we’ll have both those divisions plus the divisions of Brexit. That’s our future as a subordinate North Britain. There’s only one way to make it all stop. There’s only one way to change the narrative, there’s only one way to end the UK’s blame game. That’s with independence.

The entire system of governance in the UK, the government, parliament, the unwritten constitution, and the wildly unrepresentative voting system, all of them are unfit for purpose. Yet even now, even as this crisis unfolds, there is no discussion about how to tackle the underlying issues, and no serious appetite in England for constitutional reform. Why should anyone want to live with a government which treats its citizens like this.

Why should Scotland want to live as part of a state which treats its citizens like this? We have a different choice. The choice facing Scotland is not the choice of Theresa May’s dead deal, or no-deal and crashing out of the EU. The choice facing Scotland is not a false choice between options which suit the Conservative party. The choice facing Scotland is whether to keep putting up with this, or whether to determine our own future.

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13 comments on “The false choice

  1. bringiton says:

    In a normal democratic country,when a government pursues policies designed to harm the economy,decimate public services,create food and medical shortages etc the electorate would vote them out,pronto.
    This is what we need to impress on No voting Scots,not what currency we are going to use or how will we defend ourselves etc but the fundamental democratic right to get rid of a government which does not act in our interests.
    Of course,you need to accept that Scotland is a country before any of that can kick in.

  2. mogabee says:

    Is the end in sight? I feel as if I’ve been muttering that for weeks!

    Good article with all the machinations laid out for all to be disgusted at yet again. May said openly that her intention was to leave with or without a deal and she hasn’t the wit to deviate.

  3. Andy Anderson says:

    An accurate and depressing analysis of the U.K. What a mess.

    I talk to people all the time on issues and get a clear view of extreme Brexit frustration at all politicians and also more importantly people are opening up to Indy. There are the naysayers of course.

  4. Charles McGregor says:

    We must also remember that while the Tories may well be responsible for the outcome of Brexit, the real surprise of the 2016 campaign was the swathes of Labour constituencies in the Midlands and North of England which voted leave.

    Labour’s lack of persuading their own constituencies in those areas was the main reason leave won the referendum. If their leader was not himself a Euroskeptic and had actually been visible during the campaign then Brexit may well not have happened at all.

    Incidentally, if remain had won, the Tories would have imploded almost immediately and Corbyn would have been PM so he is also an idiot.

  5. Breaking news, but not for viewers in Scotland.
    May is to invite Commie Corbyn (there are 7 of his lot representing Scotland) to agree her WA because her Blue Tory comrades, including the Baker’s Dozen Blue Tories, have slapped her down at every turn.
    Scotland’s 35 MPs aren’t getting an invite, nor the Yellow Tories, the Greens and the Welsh and Irish Colonials.
    Why didn’t she hire Scott Brown to laugh in our faces?
    As I have patiently argued before, we wait until the Brexshit hits the fan, then we announce Indyref2.
    Not long now’ a matter of 10 days by the looks of it.
    I sense the frustration permeating every excellent sentence, Paul.
    We are expected to sit on our hands while a hoary old Commie Islington Allotment gardener and a quite clearly deranged xenophobe PM in name only fall out officially, then be dragged out of the EU on No Deal in ten days time against the ‘will of the Scottish People’?
    There’s nothing for it; as one of the Filthy Rich, I’ll just buy a villa in Tuscany and hire G4S to transport my gold bullion and artworks to my vault in Switzerland.
    It’s almopst the end of the road for that poor battered can.

    • Saor Alba says:

      Scott Brown is a Scottish nationalist Jack. He would not laugh in our faces. I have met him several times and he comes across as an intelligent, reasoned, caring and polite person.

      • My irony was lost, I fear.
        I was attempting up to the minute farce,Saor.
        The world and its dug are laughing in England’s face right now.
        Give England its independence, I say.
        We are heading for No Deal Exit on the 12th April. Blame it on the boogie, anybody, anything, but an incompetent bunch of self centred English (and their Irish Welsh, and Scots puppets).
        There will be no GE, no Revocation, no Norway Plus.
        The EU 27 have agreed May’s ‘Deal’ which is:- out of the EU, No FoM, No ECJ, no Single Market, no Customs Union on EU terms.
        Get in stocks of powdered milk flour, and Tea bags now.
        Dock leaves and rain barrel water will come in handy in the loo.
        The Brexit Farce will exercise the minds of historians for generations.
        England has lost its collective mind.
        When do plots of building land in Free Scotland become available when we ‘take back control’ of the fifth of Scotland’s land mass used as McDisney grouse moors at the moment?
        London will erupt first.
        Surely to god we shall opt for Independence now?
        PS I’ve dropped ‘the Laird of Yoker’ handle.

  6. Macart says:

    Seems Trezza and Jezza are to meet and sort things out between them. The PM and her dishonourable opposition…. Uh huh! Take it you caught PM’s statement earlier? It was like playing Brexit bingo. An avalanche of soundbites and slogans which still amount to a scattershot approach to scapegoating.

    To date we’ve had three meaningful votes and two rounds of indicative votes. By meaningful, they mean not meaningful at all. Oh, and by indicative, they mean exercises in utter confusion and naked politicking. You can see why Mr Barnier was looking more than a little peeved this morning tbh. Can’t honestly say as I feel any sympathy for the biblical screw up they’ve created between them myself at this point.

    Their parties. Their practice of politics. Their manipulation of narratives and public perceptions created the UK we see today.

    Their choice.

  7. Terry callachan says:

    Sad but true.

  8. Mary McCabe says:

    This may seem heresy, but I’ve had another look over Theresa May’s deal. It seems to me it’s the best out of a rubbish lot. It’s something we could maybe build on. This is how it might work.

    As I understand it, it leaves us in the customs union and leaves Northern Ireland …sort of partially….till some vague time in the future….in the single market. What we would have to do them is argue (repeatedly all over Europe and disruptively within Westminster) that we’re entitled to the same deal as Northern Ireland got. After all we voted much more comprehensively than Northern Ireland did to stay in the EU. Is the UK Government really openly saying that unless you threaten violence your votes count for nothing?

    Some day (especially if a Labour minority Government which needs SNP votes is elected) this constant irritation could pay off and they’ll move the “Irish border” down to Gretna.

    Once the rest of the world ges used to trading with us in a different way from the way it trades with (isolationist and xenophobic) England, it will be a relatively short step (both internally/psychologically within Scotland and externally to the rest of the world) to fully recognised independence.

  9. Dave tewart says:

    Wonder if the maybot and corbyn alliance realise that If the tory party has run out of talent to run a country like england and red tories are necessary, wny not just ditch the troublesome Scots.
    They get their way, Independence for Englandland.
    Why hasn’t untruthful ruthie been brought out of maternal retirement?
    Crash out still on the cards for 12th April.
    Yes Jack we now need to stock up.
    The Panto season has been brought forward to Easter, something for the weans to watch after the snow boarding in the park.
    Euro election planning under way according to Barklay.

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