Not so precious after all


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Well that must be a kick in the teeth, he tittered. It must be hard being a Scottish Tory. There you are, on your knees and faithfully licking the boots of the British Conservative establishment, and it only goes and kicks you in the gob. A poll of Conservative members carried out by YouGov has found that almost two thirds (63%) of Conservative party members would prefer to see Scotland become independent than for Brexit not to happen. Only 29% thought it was a price not worth paying for Brexit. If the don’t knows are removed a whopping 68.5% of Conservatives would prefer to give up on Scotland than to give up on Brexit. For all that the Tories in Scotland bang on about the precious union, it seems that a large majority of their pals in the rest of the UK are saying, “Precious doesn’t impress us.”

It must be even more galling for the Ruth Davidson acolytes to discover that Scotland is even less popular with Conservative members in the rest of the UK than Northern Ireland is. That’s Northern Ireland with its history of violence, bombings, kneecappings, and a far worse sectarianism than exists in Scotland. 59% of Conservative members would be happy for Northern Ireland to leave the UK in order to ensure that Brexit happened, significantly less than would be happy to see the back of Scotland. For all that the Tories and their Better Together pals harp on about the bonds that unite us, it seems that right wing voters in the rest of the UK don’t share the same sentiments. Scotland’s just too much hassle for them.

The same poll found that 26% of Conservative party members would be actively happy to see Scotland leave the UK, whereas only 20% expressed a similar sentiment about Northern Ireland. Ruth hen, they’re just not that into you. What this poll means is that a future Conservative PM could decide to cut his losses as far as Scotland is concerned, and not stand in the way of Scottish independence in order to boost the strength of the Conservatives in the rest of the UK – and crucially he wouldn’t suffer any negative consequences from his party’s supporters for doing so. The Conservative and Unionist Party isn’t the Conservative and Unionist Party after all, it’s the Conservative and English Nationalist Brexit Party.

The only thing that Conservative party members thought would be worse than Brexit not happening would be Jeremy Corbyn as Prime Minister. That’s the only outcome that could result in a majority of Conservatives preferring Brexit not to take place. That’s how tribal, partisan, and short termist the Conservative party has become.

How can Ruth Davidson still claim that her party is the party to defend this so-called Union when her own party members are so willing to throw it under a bus in order to achieve the nakedly English nationalist goal of Brexit? She can no longer make a pitch to Scottish voters who still oppose independence that a vote for her party is a vote to strengthen the UK, when a large majority of her own party is ready to get rid of Scotland if it proves expedient.

This is the light that the Conservative leadership candidates’ statements about refusing to allow another independence referendum needs to be seen in. They’re only saying it because they seek the backing of Scottish Tory MPs. But after Scotland wipes out the Tories in the next Westminster election, which all the polls are pointing to, that will no longer be a consideration. It is now all the more important that the independence movement ensures that Scotland once again becomes a Tory free zone in Westminster elections.

Coming as it does on top of the unearthing of pronouncements from the leading candidate for the next Conservative Prime Minister that being Scottish should rule you out from ever being Prime Minister, this seriously undermines what’s left of Conservative arguments against independence.

But it gets worse.  Today, another old newspaper column was unearthed by Wings Over Scotland, this time from Michael Gove – who said this week that under no circumstances would he facilitate another independence referendum. Yet in the 1990s he himself wrote about the bankruptcy of arguments for the union. He thinks that there is no argument for the union, but he’s still determined to prevent Scotland having a say on deciding its own future. That puts his hypocrisy on the drug issue into the shade.

The Scottish Tories only have themselves to blame of course. For decades their strategy for fending off the independence movement has relied upon negativity. The core of this strategy has been telling Scots that our country is poor and it relies upon English subsidies. The GERS figures were introduced in the 1990s precisely in order to make that argument to the electorate in Scotland.  It was a means to fend off demands for devolution. The same exercise in miserablism has repeated itself on a loop ever since, reaching a crescendo during the independence referendum campaign when serried ranks of anti-independence campaigners lined up to lecture us about the fiscal transfer. We were expected to believe that Scotland is the only impoverished entity in the universe which Conservatives throw billions of pounds at out of the sheer goodness of their hearts. Because willingly giving away free money to poor people is totally in character for them.

Not everyone in Scotland was convinced, but plenty in England were. There were and are many Scottish independence supporters arguing that Scotland is perfectly viable financially, indeed that this country would be better off managing its own resources. But that’s a message that rarely broke through into the traditional media, certainly not in the rest of the UK. Somehow the Scottish Tories seem to have thought that voters in England wouldn’t notice their insistent message that Scotland is ripping England off and that Scotland should shut up and be grateful. But they did. How could they not?

The Scottish Conservatives could have spent the past couple of decades building a positive case for the UK, but all that their relentless negativity has produced is a deep well of resentment in England. Now they’re seeing the consequences. They’re reduced to professing their love to a UK that doesn’t love them back. It’s like one of those songs that moody teenagers mope to in their bedrooms, only the video stars Ross Thomson and David Mundell. Which is just disturbing.

Scotland needs to ask itself what it is doing in a so-called Union with another country which is happy to dispose of us if Scotland stands in the way of an English nationalist wet dream. It tells us not only that Scotland is not valued, more importantly it tells us that the people who are about to choose the next Prime Minister of the UK do not want Scotland to have any say, any influence, or any effect, on the shaping of Brexit. In their eyes the UK is not a partnership of nations. It’s England and its appurtenances. Scotland’s role is to make English nationalists feel that they’re not really nationalists at all. We’re just a bit of colourful tartan decoration, and we can be got rid of if we start to insist on having some political substance.

I don’t want to live in an appurtenance, I want to live in a country that shapes its own destiny. The union is already dead. We’re just haggling over the funeral arrangements.

22 comments on “Not so precious after all

  1. wullie says:

    yeah, well. They are going to get their no deal ukexit and still hold on to Scotland, that’s for sure

  2. Mike Lothian says:

    So I had to google appurtenance

  3. Welsh Sion says:


    Boris Johnson – 126
    Jeremy Hunt – 46
    Michael Gove – 41
    Dominic Raab – 30
    Sajid Javid – 33
    Rory Stewart – 37

    • weegingerdug says:

      Four Scottish Tory MPs voted for Boris Johnson.
      Ross Thomson, Douglas Ross, Colin Clark, and Andrew Bowie
      Six voted for Gove
      David Mundell, Stephen Kerr, David Duguid, Kirsten Hair, Luke Graham, and Bill Grant
      John Lamont voted for Jeremy Hunt
      Paul Masterton voted for Rory Stewart
      Alistair Jack refused to say who he voted for.

  4. Bob Lamont says:

    Nailed it again, that YouGov poll should certainly open a few eyes…

    • Robert Harrison says:

      What you hoping for a miracle im waiting for the English slaves aka the unionists to say thats fake news.

      • Bob Lamont says:

        The only miracle will be if any fake news working north of the border with little or no challenge in the southern media..
        All those years of sponger stories are returning to haunt them in the same way “Brexit is the promised land” will in due course… That’s the danger of propaganda…

  5. Scotland should not bother about an independence referendum. The Scottish people being sovereign, as confirmed by the vote in the Westminster Parliament in July 2018, should tell the Scottish Parliament to repeal the Treaty of the Union of the Scottish and English Parliaments. The treaty was signed between the two countries. Either one can repeal the treaty if they so wish without permission.

  6. Terry callachan says:

    We should be making the funeral arrangements for the demise of the United Kingdom but Westminster won’t let scotland go they keep drip feeding us giving us enough of our own money back each year to keep us alive but even that’s not enough for them they will if they get away with it ,take every drop of blood we have until there’s nothing left.

    Well know what ?

    We’re fighting back , we will survive , we want life, we want progress and improvement and if one thing is for certain it is that Scotland can reach the top and be the best when it puts its mind to it.

    Scotland is finished with the United Kingdom
    We’ve had enough of being lied to , being cheated and downtrodden as if we don’t matter.
    Scotland does matter ,we want Scotlands children and Scotland’s future to be strong reliable and well organised with rewards and progress for everyone.
    Scotland will never ever ever have that being tied to England .

  7. Welsh Sion says:

    From Nicola Sturgeon’s speech to Reform Scotland tonight:

    “It is surely deeply concerning that the Conservative party is even contemplating putting into the office of prime minister someone whose tenure as foreign secretary was risible, lacking in any seriousness of purpose or basic competence and who, over the years, has gratuitously offended so many, from gay people, to Africans, Muslim women and many others.

    But while that, for now, is a matter for the Tories it does further illustrate the different political trajectories of Scotland and other parts of the UK. And it raises the more fundamental question of whether the UK and therefore devolution, in its current form is capable of accommodating those differences.

    I have to be candid and admit I’m not a neutral observer of these matters but it does seem to me that these days, the unionist offer to Scotland amounts to not much more than: ‘Your views don’t matter, do as you’re told and, if you don’t like it, tough, we’ll do it anyway.’

    Brexit starkly illustrates the point. The votes of people here have been ignored. The Scottish government’s attempt at compromise was rejected. And voters in the Scottish parliament opposing Brexit and a subsequent power grab were disregarded.”

  8. John Lamb says:

    The Treaty of Union could be declared null and void. However such an action can only be taken after a plebicite in Scotland secures a yes majority. It’s the only way the house-jocks will (reluctantly) accept the decision.
    And so its indyref2 or… an opportunity might be coming with a general election.

    • Welsh Sion says:

      Off topic.

      I make my peace with John Lamb in the hope that he’s not a descendant of *this* John Lamv (See final part of ‘Military career’.) Of course, he could probably point as an ancestor of mine being on the losing side at Stirling Bridge, I’m sure – so honours equal.

      In fact, I do have ‘Not Proven’ ancestry linked with the losing side (again!) at Culloden, but as stated, ‘Not Proven.’

      Anyway. Enough of a brief excursion into history. This John Lamb and me are steadfast in the commitment to the independence of our respective countries. And our common enemy is now Westminster and its acolytes.

      Yours, Dros Gymru / For Scotland.

  9. Millsy says:

    Just wasted an hour of my life listening to the 5 Tory wannabees talking absolute bollocks about what they will do if they are anointed as PM .
    God help us all !
    The only one who was half sensible was wee Rory – but he has as much chance as being PM as David Mundell has of resigning in the morning !

    • Neil Anderson says:

      “wee” Rory is as dangerous as they come. You apply the diminutive at your peril. A Tory is a Tory, and nasty to the core.

  10. Cubby says:

    I always thought that there are probably more people in England who would like Scottish independence than people in Scotland who would like Scottish independence.

  11. Craig P says:

    Scottish unionists! Only Jo Swinson can save you now.


  12. Welsh Sion says:

    Interesting reading for indy supporters:

    In this Policy Brief, Fabian Zuleeg examines the effect of Brexit on the independence debate in Scotland, and considers under what circumstances – and conditions – an independent Scotland could join the EU.

    In the end, if Scotland has become independent in a constitutional manner and is willing to go through the appropriate accession process, follows European principles, and is willing to commit to all the obligations that come with ‘regular’ EU membership, it would go against EU principles if the EU treats an independent Scotland different from any other accession hopeful.

    [Links to a .pdf]

  13. […] It’s interesting that the mood down south with respect to Scotland has polarised since the 2014 independence referendum. Gone are the days of “I’ll be sad if the Union breaks up” and “Please stay and lead” and in its place there is “Please Scotland, get out while you can” and “Let them go, the subsidy junkies”. It seems that years of trying to tell Scotland that we can’t afford to leave the Union has finally backfired in the sense that voters outside of Scotland are losing the will to hold us here. […]

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