Taking Johnson’s bullheadedness by the horns

bullheaded
It’s being reported in The National today that the SNP councillor Christopher McEleny, leader of the SNP group on Inverclyde Council, has called on the Scottish Government to give the British Government a deadline for another independence referendum. He has suggested that Boris Johnson should be given until Easter to accept demands for a Section 30 order, and that if he refuses after the deadline then alternative steps should be taken.

He’s right, perhaps not on the details of the timing, but certainly on the general principle. Boris Johnson is not going to accept demands for another independence referendum unless it is made clear to him that the political cost of refusing is greater than the political cost of agreement. Johnson is most certainly not going to accept calls for another independence referendum when support for independence is at 50% or over in the polls. The more that support for independence grows in the opinion polls, the greater the incentive Johnson will have to refuse agreement for another referendum – all the more so if he believes that he can continue to refuse and see the Scottish Government do nothing in response. He will have nothing to lose by refusing and everything to lose by agreeing. We’ll just see the same arrogant fnaugh-fnaughing from him from now until Jacob Rees Mogg develops a taste for hip hop. Actually sorry, that’s unfair on Jacob. We now know that Jacob is an ordinary person just like everyone else, because he tweeted a photo of himself in his office eating crisps. Although the photo also apparently shows that he shares his office with Death.

Anyway, it’s simple logic. The only way to make sure that Johnson agrees to cooperate is by giving him a reason to. That means giving him something to lose, which can be achieved by ensuring that he sees there is a political cost to refusal. Eventually the Scottish Government has to make sure that Boris Johnson understands that the only hope in hell he’s got of resisting Scottish independence is to win another independence referendum. Yes, of course we need to continue to make the case for independence. Yes, of course we need to keep building public support for independence. And yes, of course the more that we successfully do these things the more likely it is that there will be majority support in Scotland for alternative strategies. But we are still left with the core issue – at some point, Johnson’s refusal to agree to another referendum must be tackled head on.

The good news is that according to the much misrepresented opinion poll which was published this week, it appears that there is already a solid majority of support within Scotland for another indepedence referendum within the next few years. There is already a clear majority of support for the view that a decision about holding another referendum should be for the people of Scotland, not the British Prime Minister.

There are a number of ways to force Johnson’s hand, all of which are perfectly legal and constitutional despite the media’s favoured framing of “illegal” or “wildcat” referendums. Naturally the anti-independence media is very concerned to create a widespread public opinion that the only legal route to independence runs through Boris Johnson’s agreeing to a Section 30 order. But that’s not true, and the Scottish Government must first and foremost ensure that the Scottish public understands that it’s not true, that Scotland is not and will not consent to be a passive victim of Boris Johnson’s political convenience.

One of Chris McEleny’s suggestions is for the SNP manifesto for the Holyrood elections to contain a clear commitment to hold a consultative referendum even in the face of a refusal from Johnson. A yes result in that ballot would then give the Scottish Government a mandate to start independence negotiations with Westminster.

Critics of this position have argued that a consultative referendum without a Section 30 order risks putting the independence movement back. They say that it would be boycotted by the anti-independence parties, and could be ruled illegal by the courts. It is highly likely that one of the anti-independence parties in Scotland would indeed take legal action against the Scottish Government if a consultative referendum was to be announced, but that legal action wouldn’t represent a reverse for the independence movement at all. If the consultative referendum was ruled legal, then the anti-independence parties would have no grounds for a boycott. That would be a clear win for the independence movement.

However it would also be a win for the independence movement if a consultative referendum was ruled illegal. In that case it would prove that the oft-stated claim that Scotland is a free partner in a voluntary union was a lie – and that in turn would simply provide a cast-iron justification for a plebiscite election instead. Those whose position was fundamentally undermined by a ruling that a consultative referendum was illegal would be those who claim to be unionists. They’d then be forced to justify how they can continue to claim that Scotland is a voluntary member of a union when Scotland is not allowed to decide for itself to continue in that union, after the people of Scotland had expressly voted for a Scottish Government with a policy of holding a consultative referendum. And crucially, they couldn’t use legal means to block a plebiscite election.

The point that needs to be made is that the key to independence unlocks a door in Holyrood, not Number 10. All routes lead to a vote on Scottish independence, and the more that Boris Johnson and his enablers in Scotland continue to block or forestall that vote, the more difficult it’s going to be for them to make a case for the UK when the vote finally – and inevitably – happens. So it’s a good idea to give the British Government and its little helpers in Holyrood a deadline. At some point, Boris Johnson’s bullheadedness must be taken by the horns.

The British nationalists and their enablers must be forced to acknowledge that their continued block on the democratic will of the people of Scotland comes with grave consequences for their own parties and their own position. The longer that they continue to act as a fatberg in the pipe, the more the pressure will rise and the more likely it becomes that they’re going to be swept away down the drain of history. They need to understand that the deadlines that they’re given are deadlines for their own efforts to prevent independence, and it’s their own intransigence which will be their undoing. The clock is ticking on the British nationalists’ attempts to prevent independence.


The dug had to go to the vet yesterday to have a tooth taken out – a procedure which requires a general anaesthetic in dogs. It went fine and he’s home now and fully recovered, although he spent most of yesterday evening being especially grumpy and unsteady on his feet.

His only issue is mild arthritis.  He’s started on an anti-inflammatory to help with the joint pain, and I have also started giving him a daily supplement which is supposed to help joint function.

The good news is that the vet did a blood test and was very pleasantly surprised to discover absolutely nothing of any note. She remarked that this is extremely unusual in a dog of Ginger’s age.  He is an exceptionally healthy dog for his 13 years and apart from his mild arthritis he has the constitution of a much younger dog.  So we can expect that he’s going to be around for a good few years to come.


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44 comments on “Taking Johnson’s bullheadedness by the horns

  1. Oliver Drake says:

    Good news about the dug!!

  2. Sheryl Hepworth says:

    Good one Paul! Pleased to hear that Ginger is fit and well. My Siberian is 14 now and also getting a bit wobbly and stiff but when it snows… he tries to be a puppy again. Regards to Ging and Peter. Keep trucking pal!! We need you more than ever now!

  3. grizebard says:

    I very much like the notion of an indyref deadline. Ups the political ante, and gives a definite point on which to focus, instead of all this apparent aimlessness and passivity.

    “fatberg in the pipe” – priceless!

  4. Bob Lamont says:

    This 👆 totally concur 🤣

  5. PortJim says:

    Unfortunately, use of the terms “illegal” and “wildcat” is not restricted to BritNats. There are those senior people in the SNP, who should know better, who come out with the same loaded terms.
    Their motivation seems to be to slow down progress to Indy. Quite why, I don’t know. If we go much slower we will be going backwards.
    I loathe conspiracy theories, but I am starting to wonder whether “the party”, and possibly their political career, has become more important than the goal (Indy, lest we forget) to some.

  6. […] Wee Ginger Dug Taking Johnson’s bullheadedness by the horns It’s being reported in The National today that the SNP councillor Christopher […]

  7. Good news Paul, every faith in Andy’s Prophecy.

  8. andyfromdunning says:

    I think that Chris McElney is spot on as is your appraisal of the idea. We do need to be in the front of the debate.

    I hope that the SNP take note and get tough Now.

    Regarding Ginger glad it is good news. Our two old cats have similar joint issues, we have found that food with ‘green lipped muscle’ does help.

  9. John Rutherford says:

    I agree in principle with all the points made. My one area of doubt is the mention of Unionists being forced to justify Scotland being in a voluntary Union if the consultative ref is deemed illegal.
    Most Unionists aren’t bothered whether the Union is voluntary or not. They would support it even if it was compulsory. Regardless if the English PM was Boris Johnson, Adolf Hitler,Mother Teresa or the Tooth Fairy!
    Its ingrained in their DNA that Scotland MUST be ruled by England.
    Great News about the dug! Bless him!

  10. Craig Macinnes says:

    Great news about Ginger! How’s the book coming along Paul, the one dealing with individual topics concerning independence? We might be needing it pretty soon.

  11. Robert says:

    There’s nothing majorly wrong with that plan, except replacing the word “Easter” with “the end of this week”. If this is a serious proposal, move as soon as possible to the next stage.

    There’s zero reason to think Boris is going to do anything differently by Easter than he is right now. There’s not going to be any new election mandates to wave, no new sources of pressure to leverage.

    So I have to believe that anyone who thinks that merely giving Boris more time is liable to be a successful strategy is either badly misreading the situation, hopelessly naïve, or has their own agenda for playing for time.

    Unfortunately, overall the SNP don’t appear to be radiating the impression that they want to do much about it right now, I’m afraid to say.

  12. Ken2 says:

    Leave the Tories to their mess. Watch them crumble. No one will vote Tory. Then have another IndyRef. Just wait for the airport queues and higher unemployment. Deja Vu. The Tories had to get rid of Thatcher for closer ties with Europe.

    Support for SNP/Independence increasing. 55% want an Indy Ref within five years. The best time to have an IndyRef is when it can be won.

    If the Irish had waited five years. There would no have been illegal Partition.

    Partition 1923. Universal Suffrage 1928. The Irish could have voted for Home Rule/Independence. Instead of nearly 100 years of troubles and bloodshed. The Irish can vote to reunite.

    The outcry about education standards falling by less than 1%. Or increasing. No mention of that.

  13. Cubby says:

    I think it is time the SNP showed that they mean business by stating that for all future elections -Scot parliament and GE – a vote for the SNP is a vote for independence. Not a vote for a referendum – been there done it and it is ignored.

    A majority vote is a vote for independence and the termination of the Treaty of Union.

  14. Robert graham says:

    For the first time in a while a viable plan to really piss off Bawjaws is starting to emerge, I agree totally with your sentiments voiced in this article Paul .

    I am getting more than a bit concerned with the personal attacks on Nicola Sturgeon from so called Independence supporters , knock it off its only helping one side you are being used to undermine the only party that can deliver Independence

    o/t I hope Nicola bins the long detailed answers to questions that aren’t listened to from any and all the unionist parties, and I hope she pays particular attention to Rennie and his party and their abject failure to act when predators were or still are active in his party, give the Clown both barrels ,
    This would of course be after Carcrash got it about food banks & Tory government actions , and oh I can’t remember the shop stewards name anyway his personal involvement in costing Glasgow council tax payers Millions and the women involved having to actually sue his union.

    Lastly best wishes to yer wee dug who you probably count as a loved member or your family .

  15. Alt Clut says:

    It’s becoming very difficult not to agree with some variant of what you suggest Paul.
    I’ve kept thinking ‘surely the party leadership’s strategy can’t be as one dimensional and lame as it appears ?’
    Trouble is there’s not a scrap of evidence from them to suggest different – which leaves them as a rabbit in the headlights.
    Some variant of what you say looks like it’s going to have to be the way. Maybe a (non Wings) list party, maybe a plebiscite election, maybe a “consultative” referendum before that.
    Parallels with Ireland a hundred years ago go through my head every day. Nobody sane wants that but we can’t go on like this for much longer without serious fracturing of all that we’ve built.
    Time to move forward !

  16. susan says:

    I find it very disturbing that some people consider it bad form to bring up problems with the SNP and its leadership. Speaking one’s mind is healthy, this IS a democracy after all, not a totalitarian dictatorship. Or is it?

  17. John d says:

    Astute as ever regarding future challenges to who has the right to referendum.

    Glad your dog is fit too

    The SNP are not the independence movement. They are the mayor vehicle in the convoy but if they stall , should be reminded they can be refuelled or by passed and if they deny or obstruct then they should and will be moved aside.

    My favourite dug ,Yoda, had his balls cut off last week. His feeder , a Masonic type , reckons it was for his benefit due to an anal gland problem. I’m still not sure it wasn’t because Yoda was still without shagging . A known cause for his condition. His Masonic feeder, not home keeper , he still lives with and off his mum at forty, needs his non productive knackers cut in my opinion. But apparently that’s different.

  18. […] https://weegingerdug.wordpress.com/2020/02/26/taking-johnsons-bullheadedness-by-the-horns/ ” The English nationalists and their enablers must be forced to acknowledge that their continued block on the democratic will of the people of Scotland comes with grave consequences for their own parties and their own position. The longer that they continue to act as a fatberg in the pipe, the more the pressure […] […]

    • Contrary says:

      Thank you Petra! I haven’t looked in on this blog for a while, and doing so now was quite shocked to find Paul completely unaware that the question on a referendum is going to be tested in judicial review already – with the UK government having been served notice already as well. Bit shocked that no one else said anything! Good that you remembered, ta.

      • Cubby says:

        It may well be proved to be legal but will the SNP call a referendum if that proves to be the case?

        • Contrary says:

          Well. That is a question. I believe a positive outcome will force the SNP, politically, to hold the referendum – or this would be case under ‘normal’ circumstances. The political acumen shown in the past years, and in particular this year, has, shall we say, been somewhat lacking, so I wouldn’t like to be expecting that exact outcome. There is still the Covenant though, and we could start thinking of… Well, I’m formulating more ideas that might be useful, maybe.

  19. Petra says:

    The latest from Professor John Robertson. Oh and I see that he has a dug too!

    https://talkingupscotlandtwo.com

    • Bob Lamont says:

      Particularly taken by his piece on the drugs issue in England, on which he made some very salient points. Such pieces which will never be aired by PQ of course as it doesn’t have an SG-Bad or SGvWM slant to milk….

  20. Macart says:

    Good news on the dug. 🙂

  21. Macart says:

    On topic. Same.

    The Scottish Government have done their bit. They’ve followed the electoral process, abided by the laws of both lands and worked as a government to the spirit and word of devolved legislature.

    Some people may wonder though, what is the point of carrying on in this pursuit if the (so called) significant other does not abide by said spirit or word, the accepted rules of our democracy, the electoral process or even simple good faith? What do you do?

    Weeelll, another bod might say that when beating them at their own rigged ‘game’ isn’t enough, then you set your own rules and your own timetables. 😎

  22. Melvin says:

    The Tory Turkeys that call themselves MP,s are not going to vote for Christmas .They know they will be stuffed at the indyref . They have no positive message for the Union only ignorance and collaboration with media to keep Scotland dumb and stupid. This strategy is also failing and demographics are on our side. It’s only a matter of time before it’s 60% support. In five years the over 65 will also be pro independence.

    Brexit is quickly becoming a disaster ,the economic impact of the Coronavirus and the realisation that the money printing is heading to troubled waters. As the Chinese say may the British government live in interesting times.

  23. Welsh Sion says:

    Off topic

    They can’t help themselves, can they?

    Lead news story on BBC website today:

    “Two more coronavirus cases confirmed in England”

    Follow the link … and … :

    “Coronavirus: Two new cases confirmed in UK”

    Is it any wonder this interchangability gets the backs up of us in Cymru/Wales, Scotland and elsewhere?

  24. Dave tewart says:

    Aye WS.
    Listened to a R4 programme on the incidence of Sepsis deaths in englandland, 53,000 a year, says the presenter. This seems very high and was probably actually the number of patients reported and not the death rate.
    Then goes on to say rUK figures are similar.
    How confusing is that?
    Did he mean the total is similar for the whole UK?, or did he mean the rest of us? Wales, Scotland and NI have the same number. IF so then that is a huge problem IF 50million of a population has a death rate of 53,000, and the other 10 million have a death rate of 53,000 what are they doing about it.
    It’s the casual use of the interchangeability that gets to me.
    The Sepsis rate in Scotland is around 4,000 deaths a year from our government’s figures.
    Hard to get the Welsh figures as it appears to be included in the english figures.
    It is also the way they report these issues, we’re in the middle of a virus scare and the media hype it to strange levels, don’t panic Pike from Dad’s army.
    Sepsis is the reaction of our immune system to an attack where the response is responsible for death of the patient, not a funny but the research into it is really underfunded.
    We can have a Trident replacement at huge expense but drug consumption rooms are a distraction, so says a minister in the government in Glasgow.

    • Welsh Sion says:

      So many of these ‘statistics’ (unlike Donald Trump, I can actually say the word correctly, despite not being a native user of English) are based on that mythical entity EnglandandWales. It’s amazing that others actually know we exist on that basis – present company on WGD, excluded.

  25. Thepnr says:

    I’m not sure that any Unionist party in Scotland would take the Scottish government to court if they announced that they were going ahead with a consultative referendum without a Section 30 order. As you point out they may well lose such a court case and that would be the worst result of all for them to have that referendum ruled by the courts as legal.

    So you have to ask why they would risk such an outcome? Wouldn’t actually calling for a boycott of an “illegal referendum” suit them better? What if Unionist run councils refuse to cooperate in a consultative referendum?

    Despite the potential obstacles from non-participation by Unionist councils, it still might be possible to have a referendum without their assistance but that might make a boycott by Unionist voters much more likely. If Yes won the referendum with 99% of the vote but less than half the electorate took part the obvious question that has to be answered is What next?

    • grizebard says:

      Although the returning officer for an election is often (invariably?) a local authority executive, in their electoral role they are neutral and independent of the local political regime, whatever its nature. So the organisation would proceed in any case. The counters all used to be volunteers (often from banking and thus accustomed to counting) but nowadays it’s all done by paid temps, I think, so no problem there either.

      The only way that Unionists can “boycott” a referendum is to try to persuade other people not to vote. Not a good call, on top of their agenda of disenfranchisement. Could very easily backfire.

      What most people seem to overlook is that such resistance as there may be to an indyref2 isn’t principled and deep-seated, it’s more a “do I really have to bother about another interference in my busy life?” thing. Democratically pathetic, maybe, but not intractable. They can be engaged once a referendum is live. Only the diehard BritNat core might boycott. Or maybe not, if they thought their cause could still be won. Paradoxically, the more likely a win for indy, the more likely a lower BritNat turnout. But then, after a tipping point, everything changes.

  26. Petra says:

    Boris Johnson won’t agree to Indyref2 going ahead no matter what, IMO. Cost of refusing or not. He’s not going to go down as the numpty that gave the green light to the breakup of the Union.

    “A Yes result in 2021 would give the Scottish Government a mandate to begin independence negotiations with Westminster.” What would that Yes result have to consist of? A majority of politicians but not people? A majority of people but not politicians, especially if a second Independence Party scuppered the results? And I wouldn’t put it past Westminster to refuse to negotiate regardless of the outcome.

    Thepnr also makes the point of us winning with less than half of the electorate taking part. As he says what next? Not being recognised by the UN and the EU?

    And of course (as planned) there’s the looming court case which would or should rule out setting the deadline for Easter. Add to that there’s the potential of a coronavirus pandemic looming also which will impact on our economy, access to foodstuff et al. The BritNats will more than likely use that too to tell NS to back off. Baad Nicola.

    I’ve also noticed a few BritNats stating that Nicola Sturgeon said that she wouldn’t make a move until Brexit was clarified, as an example that the outcome (by December) would highlight if a hard border was required or not.

    My post comes across as being completely negative I know, however I’m really just trying to be the devils advocate, whilst I’m aware that we can’t go on like this. A deadline should be set for the end of May (even if the AS case is ongoing) and by that time we should have the result of the Keating case. Nicola Sturgeon should announce that she’s dissolving (or whatever she has to do to hold an election in 2020) her Government in October citing that they feel that they are being prevented from representing the wishes of the Scottish people, especially in relation to Brexit. The subsequent election focusing on independence only. She should also announce the election will be *heavily* monitored by the international community to add some additional gravitas to the proceedings.

    If this doesn’t sound reasonable we’ll just have to wait until May 2021.

    Meanwhile all literature relating to independence should be sent out ASAP, such as the SNP prospectus and the WBB. Genuine independence supporters online should start holding those that are trying to undermine the SNP and our chances of winning to account. You know who you are!

    And of course all systems go with the Yes movement.

    Looking forward to this being ripped to shreds, lol.

    • andyfromdunning says:

      Spot on Petra

    • Bob Lamont says:

      Not at all, entirely logical, but I wouldn’t hold much store by the Salmond case or coronavirus, there will always be something Pacific Quay & Co will dream up and milk to death.. Kind of expecting the bogus facemask story to expand to warn of their deliberate theft by nationalist pigeons converted to the dark side by contaminated water and listening to Jimmy Shand records, along with witness reports of Jackass staunchly defending the stock by waving his Union Jowels at them to the Tory incantation of “shoo” (as read from his script)…

      Quite like the idea of forcing a plebiscite early election simply to see Leonard go into apoplectic shock, but not sure if the SG arrangement makes it that easy, but crucially the solid numbers have to be there.
      Nothing like an “Oh feck” moment to concentrate minds though, or in Rennie’s case, sphincter…

  27. Petra says:

    Buy the National today (everyday) and do us all a favour by passing it onto a waverer or no supporter. If not drop it into your local library.

    http://www.thenational.scot/news/17461406.this-is-what-westminster-doesnt-want-you-to-read-the-mccrone-report-in-full/

  28. velofello says:

    The EU and the UK are in the warm-up stage of their fight. The SNP should be preparing for an Autumn referendum by which time the essence of the Withdrawal Agreement should be known.

    The Uk’s objective (mantra?) is to Take Control of Our Borders. A fine catch phrase – a Tory specialty – and then what? Freedom of move gone. Necessary compliance with EU standards, for food, manufactured goods standards or lose EU market access. Concede on EU fishing access to Uk waters or lose EU market access.

    The Eu’s objective will be to ensure, that the UK outwith the EU is without advantage to the UK, otherwise it risks the integrity of the EU. Member states questioning why be a member? Why pay a membership fee to the EU?

    What an absolute mess.

    And Scotland on completion of the Withdrawal Agreement will be fully within the control of Westminster.The SNP MPs should be adopting a part-time attendance at Westminster. Spend a substantial time weekly at Holyrood, showing two fingers to Westminster, and accustom Scotland’s people to a sense of political independence.

    And plan for an Autumn referendum.

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