The Great Wall of Bull

I’d never heard of Kevin Foster and I’m willing to bet that despite the fact that most of the regular readers of this blog take a keen interest in politics, they’ve never heard of him either. However Kevin is the latest no-mark Conservative politician to come to Scotland to tell the benighted natives some scary stories in the hope that we’ll stop worrying our tiny wee Caledonian minds with thoughts of this independence lark.

Kevin is apparently the Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Immigration, which means that he’s a very junior minion to Priti Patel at the Home Office. His duties presumably include things like helping to deport desperate migrants rescued from leaky dinghies in the English Channel so that his boss can smirk about it in the House of Commons.

On Wednesday Kevin was in Linlithgow, where there are not many desperate migrants in leaky dinghies on Linlithgow Loch whose difficulties Kevin’s boss could smirk about, so instead in order to score some nasty party points he warned journalists that the SNP’s plans for an independent Scotland as a part of the EU and the Schengen Area would necessarily mean the creation of a hard border with the rest of the UK requiring passport checks. He described this as the creation of the “Great Wall of Gretna”, probably because he fancied this as a snappy phrase that would generate some newspaper headlines in an overwhelmingly anti-independence press which would uncritically repeat his claims. Then just maybe the next time Kevin’s name was mentioned people wouldn’t go “Who? Never heard of him.” Although it’s likely that they’ll still do that anyway.

However Kevin’s claims could far more accurately be described as a Great Wall of Bullshit. The SNP does want an independent Scotland to become a part of the EU, but joining the EU does not necessarily entail becoming a part of the Schengen Area. The Schengen Area comprises 26 European countries which have officially abolished all passport and all other types of border control at their mutual borders. Ireland, Croatia, Bulgaria, Romania, and Cyprus are all EU members but none is a part of the Schengen Area. All except Ireland are committed to joining the Schengen Area eventually but there is no hard and fast timetable for them to do so. Switzerland, Norway and Iceland are not members of the EU but are all members of the Schengen Area. Ireland is a member of the EU but remains a member of the Common Travel Area along with the UK, the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands.

It’s important to understand the difference between the Schengen Area and freedom of movement for European citizens throughout the European Economic Area. The Schengen Area means no passport checks or controls on the mutual borders of member states. Freedom of movement means a European citizen has the legal right of entry into another European Union (or EEA)state and the right to settle and work there without having to apply for a special visa. However if you are an EU citizen crossing into a country that’s a part of the Schengen Area from a country that is not, you will still be required to show a passport, however you cannot be turned away at the border and do not need to prove you intend to return home.

Before any new state can join the Schengen Area it must gain the unanimous agreement of the existing members. Cyprus has indefinitely delayed the implementation of its membership of the Schengen Area pending the resolution of the dispute with Northern Cyprus. Ireland chose to opt out of the Schengen Area because it wished to maintain passport-free travel with the UK, the only state with which Ireland shares a land border.

There are no passport controls in operation for Irish and UK citizens travelling between the two countries. You do not need to have a passport to enter the other country. However, you must show identification in order to board a ferry or an airplane, and some airlines and sea carriers will only accept a passport as valid identification.

The two key points to note here are that joining the EU does not entail automatically becoming a part of the Schengen Area at the same time, and that as the cases of Ireland and Cyprus prove, the EU is perfectly willing to take the individual circumstances of states into account when it comes to membership of the Schengen Area. The Scottish Government has said that in the event of Scottish independence it would wish for Scotland to remain a part of the Common Travel Area with Ireland and the rest of the UK.

This would mean there would be no need for passport checks on travellers crossing between Scotland and England or travelling between Scotland and Ireland. Since Scotland’s only land border is with England, the EU would not have an issue with this. The EU is not in the business of using the Schengen Agreement, an agreement designed to remove passport checks and border checkpoints, in order to impose them needlessly on a country which has no land border with any member of the Schengen Area. It is rank scaremongering of the worst kind to suggest otherwise, which means it’s a safe bet that the Conservatives and their allies will assert it’s going to happen.

If there are to be checks on border crossings as a result of an independent Scotland rejoining the European Single Market and Customs area and restoring the right of freedom of movement throughout the EU to citizens of an independent Scotland, these would only necessarily be checks on commercial traffic which could be carried out away from the border itself. If Scotland remains a part of the Common Travel Area along with Ireland there would be no passport checks on individuals crossing the border and Scottish citizens would retain the right to travel to, settle in, and work in the rest of the UK, without the need to show a passport at the border, just as Irish citizens have the right to do now.

Dr Kirsty Hughes an expert in European law who founded the Scottish Centre on European Research, described Kevin Foster’s claims as scaremongering, and called him a hypocrite, saying: “Putting barriers between Britain and the EU – and barriers within the UK between Britain and Northern Ireland – is what Brexit did. Unlike Brexit, an independent Scotland would be independent in the EU – ie re-joining an almost half billion person market, not retreating into third country isolationism like the UK.”

One thing is certain, we will be seeing a lot more Conservative scaremongering and hypocrisy in the months ahead.

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74 comments on “The Great Wall of Bull

  1. David Howdle says:

    Thank you for your interesting article. However we should be paying a lot of attention to border issues. I live near Dumfries and I can tell you that border issues feature large in pro/anti independence conversations. There is a real fear that independence will bring border problems. That is a big factor in why the south of Scotland is blue!

    • John Muir says:

      Aye.

      I know a lot of No voters here in Edinburgh, and none of them ultimately opposes Scottish self-governance. The border looms large for them. They hate the idea of London being any further away than Glasgow; which of course it is, but not in their hearts! The same is true, but honestly much much less so, for the rest of the rUK. And none of them cares or thinks about Ulster at all!

      Trouble is: if we’re a true EU member state, and England remains outside the common market, the border between us will be an external frontier, needing the same paperwork and checks as the English Channel does now. I’ve always joked that if there’s going to be border infrastructure, it’s on England, seeing as we’re the more open to the world. But as an EU member state, we would be required to administer that frontier.

      The border in Ireland shows what a mess this can be. And that’s with a special exemption from the EU! Scotland’s border wouldn’t be as contentious as the one in Ireland, but it would be an external border at the edge of the common market. It won’t be invisible. It will be real.

      • grizebard says:

        The border will not be invisible for for trade, there’s no getting away fromthat, but not for movement of people, as Ireland within the EU continues to demonstrate with the Common Travel Area. And this is the aspect to which people like those you mention pay attention. The facts won’t stop the scaremongering, I suppose, but there’s a danger for the BritNats in threatening on behalf of England, because people might begin to wonder why they are so desperate to keep us in the hands of people whom they also claim dislike us so much. The abusive relationship fully exposed.

        As for trade, richly ironic that the propaganda on this front is from the very same people who said the diametric opposite over Brexit and Northern Ireland.

    • Christopher Rosindale says:

      Precisely David, the Tories have cynically weaponised the border issue in the South of Scotland for electoral gain since 2015, and it keeps paying off.

      There is only one way to counter this, and that is by presenting a clear future for Southern Scotland after leaving the UK. There is no way of avoiding the fact that Independence would, to some extent, break-up a closely integrated, cross border community which has existed down here for more than 300 years. Many people currently do not want that, and are fiercely opposed to it.

      As a key member of a campaign group dedicated to the re-opening of the Dumfries – Stranraer railway, I can suggest a solution where that railway, and the Cairnryan ferry port, create a new, hugely important transport corridor between ferries connecting Scotland with Ireland, France, Spain and Northern Ireland and Edinburgh (using a new rail link on an old trackbed between Annan and Kirtlebridge). This would place Galloway on a busy trade route between Ireland, Mainland Europe and Edinburgh/Glasgow, which may easily offer more potential than the existing cross-border trade does.

  2. dorancaird says:

    Thank you Paul. A long,detailed and accurate summation. I don’t know how you have the patience. Keep getting stronger. We need you.

  3. Alex Clark says:

    We can be certain that the erection of “a hard border” between Scotland and England will be one of the main plays of Project Fear 2 in the next referendum.

    It will be much the same as the last time but with arms and legs added on because we are now out of the EU. Margaret Curran will still be wailing at how she doesn’t want her children living in England to become foreigners and we will still be told that the people living in an Independent Scotland would not be able to watch Dr Who!

    That’s the ridiculousness of it, these claims are fairy tales at best made up to scare the little children and facetious lies at worse that are meant to confuse and worry the elderly and less well informed.

    It doesn’t help that the BBC and other TV channels are only to willing to broadcast such disingenuous crap, for that is what it is, but so too will their willing lackeys in the print media. It will be up to the likes of us then to point out this rubbish and it helps very much when experts such as Dr Kirsty Hughes is willing to stand up and say so.

    Next time around, despite the lies continuing I don’t think they will have such an easy ride. We are wiser now and people including No voters are a lot more sceptical which is an opportunity for the Yes side. Our job is to point them in the right direction and expose the lies.

    That’s how we will win, convince the doubters and we are home and dry.

    • Golfnut says:

      I agree Alex, a hard border with Scotland is an empty threat, they can’t afford it, oil and electricity, food, Trident. The 350,000 jobs Scotland’s oil industry supports in England, the myriad of different revenue streams used to facilitate the removal of Scotland’s wealth gone at a stroke of a pen and a few bricks. Won’t happen, at least from their side but just might from ours.

    • grizebard says:

      All true. It will be a major plank of Bitter Together destabilisation propaganda and scaremongering. Border uncertainty turned up to 11. Yet out of the mouths of the very same Brexiteer types who glibly assured us that all would be perfectly well with a newly re-erected border with the EU, not least with the land border in Ireland.

      If there was an Ignoble Prize for state-sponsored fork-tongued duplicitous wind-vaning to suit the needs of the moment, these English Tories would clean up. Maybe we should invent one during the next indyref just to ram home to everyone how contemptibly untrustworthy their every pronouncement is.

      Happy-feely-sunshiny campaigning is fine, but we will need to cause some serious gloves-off reputational damage to these dissimulators as well. Not least from trustworthy neutrals like Kirsty Hughes. So this first reaction from her is a good sign. We will need more, though, willing to stick their heads above the parapet when the indy debate gets serious.

      Ordinary folk may ask for “more facts”, but when they’re drowning in deliberately-generated floods of informational white noise, what they’re really asking for is reassurance from people they trust. We need to have that well in place for when the time comes, and not just over borders.

      • iusedtobeenglish says:

        I think you may be onto something with the Ignoble Prize. It could easily go on a billboard as a series.

        A picture of a very fancy cup in top left corner, awarded to – picture of person saying whatever it was.
        Then ACTUALLY + THE TRUTH

        It could catch on!

    • Drew Anderson says:

      Margrit will only ever have “foreign” grandbairns if she makes the leap; unlikely.

      Nothing will stop anyone born a UK citizen (ok, subject) from maintaining their status as a UK citizen unless they choose otherwise.

      So Margrit will only have furringranweans if she, personally, surrenders her blue passport.

      • Alex Clark says:

        I don’t disagree, but it was her that said it herself on Radio Scotland GMS in May 2013.

        “My son, for example, who went to university in England, I think I’d be uncomfortable with the thought that he’s now a foreigner.”

        That’s the kind of rubbish though that they hope to get away with.

        • grizebard says:

          It’s true, though for those of us who have relations in other countries as well as in England, it’s actually a rank insult. Why are we supposed to treat some of them as more privileged than others? That old exceptionalism again.

          Possible angles of attack:

          + Constantly repeat: “Common Travel Area, Common Travel Area…”

          + Counterattack by turning Labour’s usual victim tactic against them, act the hurt and injured party, accuse promoters of the Magrit Ploy of being beastly and over-reacting, tendentiously scaring all our poor relatives for no reason. “Ham” it up. Divert the issue into all about our badly hurt feelings instead.

          + Constantly remind people of the Abusive Relationship. Move the topic off “poor suffering lost relatives” and on to the Forbidden Subject. Get that meme firmly embedded in the public consciousness. Quote writers on it, especially English and neutral commentators. While the BritNats are weeping their crocodile tears, appealing to our tender feelings and cynically plucking at our heartstrings, make sure that people understand that their puppetmaster and our supposed “friend” the English Establishment is shamelessly robbing us blind. And has done for years. There is no solidarity, it’s a one-way sham to cover outright theft and exploitation.

          • grizebard says:

            Oh, and

            + Constantly repeat: “Dual Nationality, Dual Nationality…”

          • iusedtobeenglish says:

            I’d add:
            “That Michael Gove says his mum’s terrified about not being able to see her grandkids. If my son held the 2nd highest position in ukgov and was saying that to me, I wouldn’t be the one who was terrified…!

  4. […] Wee Ginger Dug The Great Wall of Bull I’d never heard of Kevin Foster and I’m willing to bet that despite the fact that […]

  5. Statgeek says:

    They might be careful what they scaremonger for. Many Scots, hearing that a hard border might go up between England and Scotland might be encouraged. Just saying.

    • Dr Jim says:

      It is funny though, right through the pandemic when loads of folk have been calling on Nicola Sturgeon to close the borders England has been outraged saying their are no borders
      It seems England likes the idea of having their own borders to control but not keen on anyone else having them, or is it just that they like telling folk what they can and can’t have or do what they say when they say it

      It’s an empire thing, they just can’t get used to not ruling folk, we need beam out technology for when they speak, press a button and they’re zapped back to the bridge of the Tory party

    • iusedtobeenglish says:

      Myself, I’d think a canal would be more practical.

      Through access for shipping, clear boundary, easy to control the roads. There are only – what is it? – 26 roads anyway. Not sure if there are any residential areas SSSIs etc though…

  6. Colin McCartney says:

    while not a supporter of borders, it brings to mind a “rabid nationalist” who was a postmaster at Lamington in South Lanarkshire in the 1970’s. He was all for ” building a wall” and was generally laughed at. However with the passing of time, COVID, the treating of Scotland as an English playground and the general disrespect of the differences between the ideals of Scotland and England, I fear his eccentric ideas might be gaining traction. PS in most other ways he was a generally good guy and a hard worker for Indy.

  7. bringiton says:

    It all sounds very Trumpesque.
    A wall to be built at the behest of a big neighbour against it’s smaller one with the smaller one expected to foot the bill.
    Politics of the playground and just more infantile posturing by the morons in London.

  8. James Mills says:

    Building a Wall ? More fantasy ! They can build it next to the Bridges that Bojo the Clown has been promising , and they can park the new HMS Britannia next them with all the fantasy warships that were promised to be built on the Clyde .

  9. Hamish100 says:

    It seems the Irish and Northern Irish have got more rights and benefits than Scotland who voted to remain in the EU.

    • grizebard says:

      NI also voted by a majority to remain in the EU, don’t forget. The people there (of all traditions and none) have suffered under dud leadership that is blinkered without equal, and if its representatives were only to open their eyes they would quickly realise they’ve been cynically misused by the London Tories for their own divergent purposes ever since partition. The people’s only real advantage is that another government – that of the Irish Republic – has their backs.

      And of course the (southern) Irish have more “rights and benefits” (if not an NHS), that’s what by definition being an independent country confers! A complete no-brainer, you might even say…

  10. Dr Jim says:

    The English government say they don’t want barriers to trade then they leave the EU which puts up 27 barriers to trade, Scotland does around 50% of its trade with England but if Scotland takes control of our own country and rejoins the EU England insists they or we will be forced to put up a border creating a barrier to trade, in Northern Ireland Englands Brexit created a barrier to trade and all the way through this England keeps insisting it’s everybody else who’s creating the problems and definitely not them

    There’s a pattern here folks and it boils down to if the world doesn’t do what England says then the world’s the problem, to coin a phrase from Rocky Balboa, Englands government is mentally irregular

  11. Welsh_Siôn says:

    Yesterday at Westminster.

    https://nation.cymru/news/uk-gov-refuses-to-release-secret-polling-on-attitudes-towards-the-union/

    UK Gov refuses to release secret polling on attitudes towards the union

    14 Jul 2021 2 minutes Read

    The UK Government has refused to release secret polling on attitudes towards the union, following a legal order to make it public.

    Michael Gove’s Union Unit used emergency Covid funds in order to conduct the polls and a tribunal ruling last month gave the Cabinet Office 28 days to hand over the relevant documents.

    However, Gove’s department decided to appeal the decision just as the deadline set by the panel expired.

    Plaid Cymru MP Liz Saville Roberts has said it was a “gross misuse of public money” to use the fund for the political research, which including looking at attitudes in Wales.

    […]

  12. Art McGuinness says:

    Maybe Foster is just another example of a tory politician who doesn’t know what he is talking about. Can it, like them, really be so simple?

  13. Bob Lamont says:

    Excellent and well titled article Paul, the National had to be a touch more cautious in choice of title https://www.thenational.scot/news/19442812.scottish-independence-kevin-fosters-great-wall-gretna-claim-rubbished/

    Doubtless a Gove inspired wheeze which backfired, obviously not on him – Foster’s involvement with the Home Office means he more than most was acutely aware he was lying, but his ‘great wall of Gretna’ interpretation of the Tory “hard border” was beyond ridiculous.
    Having travelled extensively across and beyond Europe’s “borders” I have only encountered one wall, in Israel.

    Alister Jack et al have been trying to push this “hard border” scare nonsense to defend their seats along the Borders, yet what surprises me is any credence afforded it.
    – The wet border for trade in specific goods to NI the Tories are making such a pig’s ear of in no way affects the CTA, people movement is unaffected.
    – Travel beyond Schengen is always subject to ID checks, but since Ireland and the UK were never in Schengen because they had the CTA, nothing would change.

    If and when an independent Scotland joins the EU, possibly by then London will have grown up and be behaving like adults or by replaced by those who can be.

  14. Welsh_Siôn says:

    Headline generator for you.

    “Walls? Balls!”

  15. James Mills says:

    Rather than suggesting that a Great British Wall be built ,costing billions if actually brought to fruition , the UK Government should be more concerned with Great British Poverty
    ( but won’t be ).

    Talking Up Scotland , today , has the evidence showing that the UK is a world leader ( in Europe , anyway ) having higher levels of Poverty than any country in N. W. Europe .
    And this is BEFORE the cut to Universal Benefit which the billionaire chancellor is planning in September .

    The monies squandered on Covid non-contracts , on tarting up Westminster , nuclear weapons , Brexit , increasing number of Freeloaders in the HoL like Truthless Davidson , would have resolved much of this problem .
    But we are all aware that Poverty is not and NEVER has been a priority for a Tory Government .

    After all , the POOR don’t donate to Party funds , the POOR don’t offer free holidays to MPs and PMs , the POOR don’t provide lucrative jobs-for-the-boys (and girls ) when they give up ”public service”, and Food Banks are NOT the type of banks that offer sinecures to departing Tory MPs as David Cameron can confirm .

  16. Capella says:

    All nation states have borders. Scotland is a nation state. Scotland has borders. Who decides how porous our border is matters. Allowing Westminster to control that has proved to be disastrous in dealing with a pandemic. More subtle damage is being done through BREXIT.

    Remember the “No Borders” astroturf outfit from 2014. Have the band got back together again?

    Or, perhaps the Westminster government plan to return to dynastic states ruled over by the royal family, the Windsors. That didn’t work very well in the past which is why there are so many republics. Should Scotland become a republic then?

  17. Bob Lamont says:

    OT – A comment elsewhere caught my eye – The subject was proportion of the population vaccinated whereby Covid risk was dramatically reduced, widely accepted as 70%.

    “70% was on the Alpha version. Expert expects that with the Delta version, we need over 80%. Here in DK we go for 86%, which requires the 12 years to be vaxxed also.”

  18. JB says:

    Quite apart from John Muir’s comment wrt the border for trade / good, there is a small detail of the CTA (for people) which may be being missed.

    Even while UK was in EU, it entailed Ireland having an aligned and coordinated immigration policy, there were a few instances where that did not align, one famous instance resulting in a court case[1] giving details of the CTA operation, but such disparities have since been removed.

    So the choice for an independent Scotland is CTA or independent immigration policy, if Scotland’s RoW immigration policy is more relaxed than rUK, then travel from iScotland to rUK will involved ID checks on the English side. One always has to remember that a border has two sides.

    Now one could argue over how effective those ID checks would be, but that is a different point. Who would wish to man facilities at the Carter Bar, or even handle the few nearby forrest roads which pass through Kielder?

    If that came to pass, then probably delays on southbound trains at Berwick, or else no stops between Berwick and Newcastle, and a similar situation on the west coast mainline.

    [1] http://www.bailii.org/cgi-bin/format.cgi?doc=/ie/cases/IEHC/2011/H491.html

    • Bob Lamont says:

      Why should it be an either/or ? HMG and ROI immigration policies could not be more glaringly different and yet CTA survives to this day….

      Even in such a bizarre scenario as requiring ID checks, the train would in reality be no more delayed than a ticket inspection, or for vehicles no more than driving to Ireland.

      None of it is rocket science, it is political propaganda game of whatbootery…

      • JB says:

        Actually it was the ‘short stay visa’ coordination which started a few years ago (pre Brexit referendum) which I had in mind, This started with a shared scheme for Indian and Chinese visitors, with the intention to widen it over time. Plus stuff like this:

        https://workpermit.com/news/ireland-visas-blocked-over-uk-entry-fears-20201110

        The trains are not currently stopped for a ticket inspection, and on the long trains it tends to take quite a while to complete. I imagine a full check would not be completed between Dunbar and Berwick, and Alnmouth is not far beyond there.

        Anyway, even if they did come to pass, I don’t see such checks as being anything to fear, annoying though they may be.

        The other alternative would be for ID cards to be required in rUK, and since that has been a repeated theme in the civil service, maybe it’ll happen instead. We had them started until the coalition government scrapped them.

        • Bob Lamont says:

          “The trains are not currently stopped for a ticket inspection” – That was my point, the time to complete is a manpower problem only, cross border trains across European borders do such checks on the move, but we’re talking nonsensical comparison which will never arise, Bloody Stupid Johnson and Pritti Lucretia Patel won’t be in charge by then.

          ID cards are a strange English driven privacy issue, I’ve often wondered if those who object most or have others object loudest are the only ones with something to hide, it is not just IDS (he of pretendy hyphenation) who has a bogus CV…
          – Everything from your car registration to driving licence number to passport to National Insurance is connected somewhere to you the individual, your entire history is available to any who need to know, period.

          Nowhere I’ve ever been has a problem with ID cards, and if you want inspiration look to what tiny broke Estonia developed from scratch – citizen keys fit for the 21st century, Estonia gained massively and lost absolutely nothing. Perhaps a clue where an Indy Scotland might go once free of the Iain Smiths and Minister for the 18th century.

          It’s time to look beyond the scaremongering.

          • Welsh_Siôn says:

            Drakeford says that those crossing the border on public transport will have to wear face masks. Cue wailing and gnashing of teeth to the east of Offa’s Dyke. Will this be policed?

            Further, in order to get from the North of Wales to the capital in Caerdydd/Cardiff (some 175 miles) the train crosses the border about 5 times. (“You wears you face mask on. You wears your face mask off. |You do the hokey cokey and you end up in Bangor”.)

  19. Dr Jim says:

    When Boris Johnson keeps pummeling out his expression of *Levelling up* and being *Square* with the people does he mean those actual things or is he just firing out Masonic references to his supporters, asking this question for those of us non secret friends and brothers who are *Keeping an eye on these things* all seeing or not

  20. Hamish100 says:

    I see our local labour leader on the Politics programme on bbc1 . This is the start of bbc pushing him onto our TV’s on a regular basis. Interesting that he is in the bbc studio. Is he meeting his real leader next?

    • Dr Jim says:

      Apparently he says he can *fix* Scotland from that dastardly bad divisive Nationalist SNP if Labour in London is ready to win a general election and he’s getting all the help he needs from the Abla party with Kenny McAskill naming the FM as *Princess Nicola and Sturgeon the betrayer*

  21. Rod says:

    I don’t think this is difficult. Paul lays out the rational argument in his usual style and with the authority of someone who has actually lived in a country with significant land borders, but as for all “project fear” arguments you also need a visceral response. Rational argument doesn’t work against fear. But fear does..

    If the UK government decide in a fit of pique to impose a border for goods with Scotland that is their right. But if they do so then they have to impose the same border with Northern Ireland – otherwise the freight would just route through the island of Ireland.

    If they impose one on people that is also their right, but that has nothing to do with independence.

    They could do it tomorrow and the mere fact that a member of the Westminster Government is talking about it means that there are already plans to do it. It just needs to appeal to the voters that the incumbent government wants to cozy up to and they will do it in a twinkling.

    Does it seem feasible ? No. But ask yourself: did it seem feasible back in the time of IndyRef1 that Scotland would be yanked out of Europe? No – it seemed equally ludicrous. Remember, we have no way of telling how what the future brings or what will be politically expeditious to a Wetminster Government.

    The Westminster government has a previous for doing what we didn’t vote for *and* for imposing internal borders.

    Unionists making such ludicrous statements about the Gretna Wall need to be asked what constitutional guarantees are there NOW that Westminster would never impose the border even while we remain in the UK. They are talking about it, so they are planning it.

    • Dr Jim says:

      The English government plays on the fears of some Scottish people who don’t understand what they have, because folk have always believed England to be the powerful nation because of their successful propaganda to make them think that way it’s difficult to dissuade them of that view and point to the facts that England is not in as powerful a position as they think, England is in fact very vulnerable

      Without Scotland to prop England up they are in fact financially and geographically disadvantaged in pretty stark terms, many people in Scotland don’t understand for example that Scotland has the largest territorial coastline and waters in Europe, and with that comes the international law of control of air sea and sky, so the threats of impositions of any kind of restrictive nonsense by England will only come before Independence not after because England like every country on earth needs trade and friends so England will bluster, threaten, make noise, but in the end they’ll deal because they’ll have no choice but to or they’ll choke themselves into a little corner of going nowhere because they’ll be surrounded by Europe on all sides and even someone like Boris Johnson will not be as stupid as to cut England’s nose off to spite his daft face

      Scotland is the last brick that holds up England’s wall of pretence

    • grizebard says:

      One should never be complacent, since while we’re in the UK we’re permanently vulnerable. But two things should be kept in mind:

      + This is the Big Bluff. Lacking anything else, and with a trail of broken promises behind them, they’re falling back now to trying to convince people to back down by threat of force majeure. Any amplification of that bluff – as manifested by those suffering from remanent Cringe – works for them and against us.

      + The bluff is an empty threat, because it can be called. If they are foolish enough to try to enforce this stuff, it would blow up politically in their faces. It would undermine whatever remains of the faded reputations of their wimpish wing like Federal Broon and Puir Henry, and fatally expose the abusive relationship for all to see. They can’t win with threats when people reject the legitimacy of those uttering them, and the more they threaten, the more that absence shows. Once a majority of people realise the London puppets are posturing without support, it’s game over. We’re pretty close to that now.

  22. Dr Jim says:

    The National Federation of Fisherman’s Organisations have admitted now that even the most *vociferous of supporters* in the Tory parliamentary party have gone very quiet and abandoned them since the signing of Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal with the EU

  23. Hamish100 says:

    They will still vote Tory though.

  24. Golfnut says:

    Just finished watching a short Netflix documentary series on ‘ How to become a Tyrant ‘ the usual culprits used as examples, Hitler, Stalin, Idi Amin, Gadaffi, Saddam and of course North Korea. No mention of the homicidal psychopaths of the British empire. Any way, just check out the similarities to what’s happening now in the ukok

  25. Hamish100 says:

    So bbc Scotland pushing Keith Starmer again. Laura Kuenssberg bbc ( daddy major sponsor to Labour Party) cooing along. Nice wee positive advert.
    1/2 of the 12 public members May vote labour

    Oh! He is coming “up” to Scotland in August. He’s in the North at the moment— sorry North of England.

    Bread and butter issues to attack the snp. If labour wants full fiscal powers to tackle poverty, housing, education Scotland needs independence.

    They don’t get it, do they?

    • Dr Jim says:

      Indeed Hamish, a lovely free party political broadcast from the BBC for Labour there, and perpetuating the lie that in order for Labour to win in England they have to win in Scotland

      Scotland’s votes have made no difference to whichever party wins a general election and forms the English government in 60 years, that’s one of the main democratic points of gaining Independence for Scotland because our votes don’t count in a first past the post system where Scotland’s votes are outnumbered 10 to 1

      England could vote for a monkey on a stick and that’s what Scotland would get

      Brexit should’ve made that obvious to anybody thinking of ever voting Labour, they had no policy then and they have no policy now except what the voters in England want, and they wanted Brexit, and still do

  26. It is time.
    Enjoying the posts, Duggers.
    PK certainly knows how to kick start a lively natter.

    Can we start the Road to Freedom by organising a mass boycott of all goods branded with the butcher’s apron?
    Later.

    Turning over the soil, weeding the patio, staring up in bemusement at this great big golden orb that appeared in the sky from nowhere and shows no sign at the moment of going away.
    Is it an alien craft monitoring our airwaves?

    If so, they shall conclude that England is run by mad fools with Poundshop mop head ‘wigs’.

    From now on I shall refer to WM as the English Parliament; for that is what it truly is now.

    Johnson was speechifying in the Midlands (that’s the ‘mid-lands’ of England btw, to all weather presenters reading this) and his strangely framed ‘levelling up’ in England, moving dosh from London to ‘the regions’ (of England) involves cleaning up graffiti, doing something with High Streets (in England) , and building houses.

    He urged English folk to drop him a line suggesting how they could ‘level up’ in their area.
    The man is a doddering fool.

    It is little wonder that junior Tory Boys come North (that’s Scotland to thee and me) and spout such fascist colonial nonsense about building walls at Gretna.

    Can we introduce an IQ test for all political hopefuls?
    ‘Near, Dougal.. Far away’.

    This tomato plant is not going to water itself you know.

  27. Alex Clark says:

    The sheer cheek of this pair.

    A former Tory Chancellor is setting up a for-profit social housing firm with a former political strategist who masterminded Boris Johnson’s London mayoral victories.

    Lord Hammond of Runnymede is working with Sir Lynton Crosby on a new enterprise, London-based Municipal Partners, which would lease homes to local authorities with a shortage of social housing.

    Their grand plan involves buying up ex-council houses, giving them a lick of paint and then leasing them back to the council (at a profit) to rent out as social housing.

    There is no doubt that the money used to buy these council houses will all be borrowed, the costs of borrowing the money and a profit for Hammond and Crosby and the costs of the business will have to be paid by the councils leasing them, this scheme is too ridiculous for words.

    This is simply obscene and any councils stupid enough to take part should be taken to court by their electorate.

    https://nation.cymru/news/former-tory-chancellor-setting-up-for-profit-social-housing-firm/

    • James Mills says:

      Well , they all fell for Gordon Brown/Labour’s PFI scheme to make the rich even richer , so I wouldn’t hold my breath on this one .

      • Alex Clark says:

        Good point, this is PFI on steroids.

        The transfer of wealth from the “have-nots” to the “haves” continues at pace. It is the Tory way, so much for leveling up.

  28. Dr Jim says:

    Maybe once the NO voters in Scotland realise they’re not considered British unless they vote how England wants them to, then if they do that they’ll be raised back to British colonial status which is a step above Scottish status

    But they’ll never be English because they’re the real British, it’s not really complicated

    The Unionists wave the redesigned English flag and call it the Union flag but of course the colours of the Union flag are the Red and White of England and the Royal Blue of England that Scotland was told was there to represent us, yet if it was to represent Scotland why was it not the Blue colour of Scotland’s flag the Saltire which is the colour *Pantone* the colour of a blue sky
    I remember clearly being told by one Unionist representative they couldn’t incorporate the colour Pantone because it would *fade away* to easily and I thought well there’s a grand excuse I can laugh at for the rest of my life

    When it becomes expedient for the Unionists they will say flags aren’t the important thing, and they do that when they’re losing the argument in an attempt to move on to another attempt to convince us we’re stupid but don’t understand that we are, but the English will help us to get back to normal because they are a forgiving and “generous people” ( ” “Margaret Thatcher) But if flags aren’t important why does every country in the world have them, respect them, and hold them up as a symbol of their nationhood and why does England keep inventing more of the damn things than anybody else and plastering them wherever they can as a symbol of their … well whatever the hell they are

  29. Alex Clark says:

    This is how to tackle a shortage of social housing, not with dodgy schemes designed to profit the already wealthy but through government investment of public funds. This was just announced today.

    Council areas across Scotland are to share more than £3.2 billion in grant funding over five years to deliver more affordable homes.

    Local authorities will benefit from an increase of more than £541 million on the previous five year allocation – an uplift of more than 20%.

    Housing Secretary Shona Robison said:

    “We have already delivered more than 102,000 affordable homes since 2007. Building on this, our aim is to deliver 100,000 affordable homes by 2032, with at least 70% of these for social rent.

    https://www.gov.scot/news/affordable-homes-funding/

  30. Jan Pietryga says:

    just to inform everybody that Petra passed away today.

    • Alex Clark says:

      I am deeply sorry to hear that, She was a tremendous woman, very intelligent and strong. She will be dearly missed and is a great loss to us all.

    • Welsh_Siôn says:

      What Alex said.

      So sad she won’t be around to see Scotland’s independence.

      She was always kind when commenting on my posts – even when we had many a friendly josh on some matters.

      The world would be a better place for having more Petras. And I know her only from on here.

      RIP and respect and condolences to her family.

    • Capella says:

      This is such a shock. I had no idea Petra was ill. Please pass on my condolences to all her family and friends. She will be very much missed on this site as she posted so many great links.
      Very sad news.
      Thanks for letting us know.

    • weegingerdug says:

      Oh no. I had no idea she was ill. I am terribly sorry for your loss – she was a much valued contributor here and will be sorely missed. Please give my deepest sympathies and condolences to her family.

    • Golfnut says:

      I am so sorry to hear this, sad for her family and sad for us, her fellow travellers on the road to independence. She will be sorely missed. My condolences to all her family.

    • iusedtobeenglish says:

      I haven’t been ‘here’ very long, but I valued Petra and her contributions.

      I can only echo what others have said and say how very sorry I am for your loss.

  31. Eilidh says:

    I am so very sad to hear about Petra I only know her from her posts here which were always enjoyable and interesting. She will be missed. Condolences to herfamily

  32. ronaldgray61 says:

    So sad to learn of Petra’s passing. A great loss to Scotland.
    Ron Gray

  33. Jan Pietryga says:

    thanks to everyone

    • Not-My-Real-Name says:

      So very sad to hear this news .

      Petra was a lovely woman and was very supportive to many on here, including me, and I will remember her fondly for that and also for her many informative and worthwhile contributions on this site.

      Condolences to her family and friends.

    • Macart says:

      Just heard the sad news. Condolences and deepest sympathies.

      RIP Petra.

  34. P Harvey says:

    Petra was an inspiration to us all – in the way that she posted and her dedication to independence
    She will be greatly missed on her
    Condolences to her family and friends

  35. P Harvey says:

    Here

  36. trispw says:

    Can I add Liechtenstein to the list of Schengen countries.

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