The elephant and the bin bag

In an earlier piece this week I remarked that the current behaviour of Satan’s little helpers the DUP, following their historic defeat in the recent Northern Irish Assembly elections demonstrated the fundamentally undemocratic nature of British nationalism in both Scotland and Northern Ireland. British nationalism is a dogma which disguises itself with a veneer of respect for democracy, but in reality it is a majoritarian, not a properly democratic form of politics.

Majoritarianism is the belief that the majority community should be able to rule a country in whichever way it wants, by disregarding the wishes and needs of the minority. This can easily be confused with democracy as long as the majority community is indeed the majority, but the moment that majority community loses its former dominance, its true anti-democratic nature becomes apparent.

This is what is happening in Northern Ireland just now as the DUP, aided and abetted by the Conservatives in Westminster tries to destroy the Northern Irish Protocol despite losing the recent election to Sinn Fein and despite the electorate of Northern Ireland voting for a Stormont with a large majority of parties which support the Protocol.

The DUP is unable to accept that it no longer represents the majority of the population, ever since the British carved Northern Ireland out of Ireland in order to create an artificial Unionist majority in the north, it has been an article of faith amongst Northern Irish Unionists that they are the majority community. They are emotionally and psychologically unable to accept that this is no longer the case. This is why the DUP and the even more frothy and extremist TUV which split from the DUP in 2007 because it objected to the DUP sharing power in Stormont with Irish nationalists believe that they are justified in bringing down the Assembly because the voters of Northern Ireland had the temerity to make Sinn Fein the largest party and to give an absolute majority to parties supporting the protocol.

British nationalists in Scotland have a very similar view of themselves and the same majoritarian and anti-democratic tendencies. One prominent and particularly zoomy Scottish Unionist group on social media even calls itself “the Majority,” unsurprisingly this betokens a conceptual inability to comprehend that its brand of hard line unionism may not in fact be supported by a majority and an equal inability to accept that there is a majority in the current Scottish Parliament for holding another independence referendum. Holyrood’s pro-independence majority and the mandate which it possesses for another independence referendum must be delegitimised, sidelined, and discounted, because to accept its existence means accepting that the Unionist “majority” may not in fact be a majority after all.

Mainstream opponents of Scottish independence are usually careful to maintain a veneer of democratic accountability. However former Scottish Conservative MSP Adam Tomkins let the mask slip in a recent article for the Herald newspaper. Tomkins has been something of a loose Scottish Tory cannon ever since he was ousted from his front bench position in the Scottish Tories following the putsch orchestrated by Ruth Davidson which unseated Jackson Carlaw and replaced him with Douglas Ross.

In the piece Tomkins tacitly acknowledges that the Scottish Parliament has both a mandate for another independence referendum and the majority needed to pass a Bill in Holyrood in order to legislate for a second independence referendum. He goes further than most of his unionist colleagues by admitting that if there is another independence referendum then Yes side would win. He says that Yes would win because of public anger about Brexit, the British Government’s mismanagement of covid, Westminster’s failure to reform and for the corruption and contempt which characterises the Conservative government.

However this is where Tomkins reveals the fundamentally anti-democratic nature of British nationalism in Scotland. He believes that it is this certainty of a yes victory which makes it imperative both that the British Government refuses to permit another independence referendum and that any Bill which Holyrood passes in order to facilitate another independence referendum should be struck down by the UK Supreme Court as unlawful. The message from this prominent Scottish Tory is clear: “Scotland you can’t be allowed to have an independence referendum because you’ll only use it to vote in a way that British Unionists won’t like.”

Tomkins dismisses the outrage that this undemocratic and authoritarian move would invariably provoke as “political noise” which the British constitution will “quietly deal with”. I suspect that Tomkins in his legalistic arrogance gravely underestimates the political ramifications and consequences of what he is proposing.

The Scottish constitutional debate cannot be resolved by the law because it is a political problem not a legal problem. That public anger with Westminster which Tomkins gives as the reason why he believes Yes would win the referendum will not go away because Westminster resorts to legal chicanery in order to evade the democratic verdict of the people. It will only intensify and deepen the anger. Tomkins is proposing the wrong tool for the wrong job. What Tomkins is advocating is like suggesting that you can dispose of an angry elephant by stuffing it in a bin bag and chucking it in the bin. You’re just going to end up with a shredded bin bag and an even angrier elephant.

What is being acknowledged here by a former Scottish Conservative front bencher is that the traditional Scottish Unionist conceit that the union between Scotland and England is entirely voluntary is a fiction and that there is no democratic path by which the people of Scotland can express their desire for another independence referendum. He is saying that another referendum is entirely the gift of the British Prime Minister, who will only grant one if he or she is certain that it will produce the result that British nationalists desire.

Tomkins is making it plain that the entire basis upon which the people of Scotland have accepted the Union since the introduction of the democratic franchise is a lie and that Scotland is after all a mere possession of England with no right to self-determination, and any choices that the people of Scotland make about the future of this country are subject to the veto of a Prime Minister from a party which has not won an election in Scotland since the 1950s. He proposes to use the law to trap Scotland into the UK forever, irrespective of the will of the people of Scotland.

This is deeply undemocratic, and politically unsustainable. Its chances of success rest upon the implausible likelihood that having closed down any democratic route to another independence referendum, independence supporters will simply swallow their deep misgivings about another major milestone on the UK’s journey to undemocratic authoritarianism and say, “Well that’s just fine then, let’s give up on this whole independence malarkey,” because people who demonstrably have no respect for democracy have told them that they have made it unlawful because they are afraid of the verdict of the people.

What Tomkins proposes would not generate mere “political noise”, it would create a political earthquake that his precious union would be unlikely to survive. You cannot use the law to patch together a political union that has lost the confidence of the people, it’s like trying to stuff an angry elephant in a bin bag.

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50 comments on “The elephant and the bin bag

  1. Christopher Rosindale says:

    Adam Tomkins has just joined George Osborne in admitting the truth about Tory fears regarding Indyref2.

    Last January, in his then position as its Editor, Osborne published an article in the Evening Standard, in which he stated that Scottish Independence would essentially destroy England’s current sense of identity, and leave it reduced to a small, weak, irrelevant country struggling to find its new place in the world. Though this article largely passed unnoticed by many in the Yes community, it should be widely read as the most revealing statement made, so far, by a senior Tory on why Boris Johnson’s ‘government’ is so afraid of allowing Indyref2.

    Now, another ex-Tory politician, Adam Tomkins, has put even more flesh on the bones of this subject by actually admitting, like Osborne in a written public article, that the Tories know that they will lose Indyref2, and so face the prospect of England being forced into the crisis which Osborne describes. Admitting that the young will swing it this time is also very significant, as the core Unionist voters are the over 65’s, who will spend the next decade or so declining in number as they increasingly die-off. Not even the Tories can prevent this from happening, so by repeatedly kicking the Indyref2 can down the road they are, ironically, only making it more likely that they will lose it….

    7 years ago, while out campaigning in Dumfries for the then Tory candidate for the Dumfries and Galloway seat, Finlay Carson, I clearly heard the late Tory MSP for Galloway and West Dumfries – and former Holyrood Presiding Officer – Alex Ferguson, admit to one of his colleagues, Ivor Hyslop, that the SNP/Yes “will win the next one.” He was referring to Indyref2. I no longer have anything to do with the Tories, in utter revulsion at Brexit and Johnson’s behavior as PM, but this comment has always stayed in my memory as it clearly demonstrates just how scared the Tories are of Indyref2.

    Osborne and Tomkins have now, between them, proved why, and we should understand what they are saying. Because what they are also doing is gifting us a way forward to extract a Section 30 order out of Johnson’s ‘government.’ What the SNP should be doing is promoting Scottish Independence as good for England, by freeing it from the need to co-operate with the rest of the Union on everything, and thereby allowing it to be itself, with its own identity, not stuck in the artificial British identity created by the Union. In the last 24 hours, Peter Hitchins has published an article calling for England to secede from the Union…. An article that I sent to Paul on Twitter last night.

    If we can successfully promote English independence to a large enough chunk of the English electorate, the Tories may permit Indyref2 to avoid their vote splitting on the Union. This was the tactic used by Nigel Farage to force an EU membership referendum, which David Cameron fell for out of fear that the Tories would lose seats to UKIP if he didn’t agree to such a vote…. So the Tories have precedence for putting party before country if preserving the latter comes second to preserving Tory Party unity on the issue.

    Which, let’s be honest, it always does……

    • Welsh_Siôn says:

      For those who missed the gist of the Hitchens piece, see below:

      England should declare independence from Wales and Scotland argues Peter Hitchens

      18 May 2022 2 minute Read

      England should declare independence from Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, journalist and commentator Peter Hitchens has said.

      Writing in the Daily Mail, he said that England should get ahead of the independence movements elsewhere in the UK and “leave them instead”.

      He said that any party that put English secession from the UK in its General Election manifesto would “win a smashing majority”.

      However, he added that it would not constitute independence as England had never been dependent on the rest of the UK, and would simply be a restoration of England as a stand-alone nation.


      • Melvin says:

        Hahaha, that would be a day worth celebrating, Iam pretty sure that we could agree to that proposal. Then the rest of us could apply as individual members to the EU and have a great celebration as we declare the UK bankrupt and defunct

  2. Hamish100 says:

    The brit unionism mindset and Putin’s inability to see that peoples democratic wishes are allowed to change are so similar.
    Demographics and the failed larger state imposing its will may encourage independence in Scotland and the reunification of Ireland. Russia and England seem unable to see that things have changed.

  3. Absolutely spot on Paul. We really are seeing the true ugly face of British nationalism.

    As I’ve commented before, there is no dictatorship in existence where people can vote freely. If they can, they will vote against the government again, and again, and again. They will take to the streets, protest etc, until they get what they want. This looks really bad on the TV, hence dictators always have to rig/cancel elections, arrest people for protesting, put boots on the ground etc, and basically try to keep the elephant in the bag by increasingly excessive force.

    There is no country on earth where democracy is ‘peacefully’ suppressed. Dictators would love that. Would make their lives so easy.

    Right now, Scots don’t believe that England would ultimately stop iref2. They can’t believe their fellow residents of the Isles would do that to them, especially as there was a free vote in 2014. They believe it’s just brinkmanship from London, with the SNP using it to boost themselves but ultimately not rushing into iref2 because it’s not clear indy is yet the settled will.

    If it actually came to pass, and the UK government tried to block a referendum in court before the eyes of Scots, it would utterly destroy support for the union in Scotland, and make independence impossible to stop. Even boots on the ground would end up a failure. What are they going to do? English troops rounding up Scots and jailing them? Shut down Holyrood? Disband Police Scotland? You’d have 3/4 Yes overnight. You’d see civil disobedience and if English troops turned violent, then an SRA would appear. The only case where war is acceptable is to liberate a country from an unwanted foreign invader.

    ‘Foreign’ English troops went down really well in N. Ireland didn’t it, and the majority of the population of NI wanted them there! Imagine if most in NI had not? If you want to see what foreign boots on the ground look like in terms of the effect on the natives, see Ukraine. If you are not wanted, they will never give up trying to kick you out.

    Most Scots (3/4) are not in principle opposed to indy. They voted for devo in 1999 as they’re Scottish or more Scottish than British. That’s where their loyalties lie. Best let them decide freely on their own future for anything else is unthinkable. Which is why I expect we shall have our iref. If it is the clear will of Scots, the international community will make sure of it.

  4. JockG says:

    I would not be so confident as Mr Tomkins about the supreme court striking down a second referendum as that really mixes up law with politics something the courts are reluctant to do. I strongly suspect if the question did go before the supreme court they would try and fudge the issue rather than giving a clear ‘yes or no’ answer

    Something very similar happened a few years back in Canada where they considered the legality of Quebec becoming independent. The Canadian Supreme court acknowledged that there was no clear legal mechanism for that but went on to say it was really a political matter not a legal one. To quote from the judgement:

    “The Constitution is not a straitjacket. Even a brief review of our constitutional history demonstrates periods of momentous and dramatic change. Our democratic institutions necessarily accommodate a continuous process of discussion and evolution, which is reflected in the constitutional right of each participant in the federation to initiate constitutional change. This right implies a reciprocal duty on the other participants to engage in discussions to address any legitimate initiative to change the constitutional order. While it is true that some attempts at constitutional amendment in recent years have faltered, a clear majority vote in Quebec on a clear question in favour of secession would confer democratic legitimacy on the secession initiative which all of the other participants in Confederation would have to recognize……Although there is no right, under the Constitution or at international law, to unilateral secession, that is secession without negotiation on the basis just discussed, this does not rule out the possibility of an unconstitutional declaration of secession leading to a de facto secession. The ultimate success of such a secession would be dependent on recognition by the international community, which is likely to consider the legality and legitimacy of secession having regard to, amongst other facts, the conduct of Quebec and Canada, in determining whether to grant or withhold recognition.”

    The full text can be found here:

    Notwithstanding the above, the current UK government is not concerned with legality so some kind of legal/political confrontation may occur if we have a Tory majority at Westminster post 2024

  5. Dr Jim says:

    Ukraine is defending itself against an aggressor who wishes to remove the right of their country to Independence, I believe that’s the relevant issue here, Scotland voted for that same right in a democratic election, the right to ask the people of Scotland what they want, and the people answered in the affirmative

    The UK government never at any time told the SNP that asking that question in an election was an illegal act, because if it was then why if they were so confident they were legally correct did they not remove the SNP from power and outlaw them as terrorists or some other adjective, the only reason they didn’t is because the SNP must be right or the Unionist party would not have even bothered with their campaign of attempting to win by claiming they could stop such a referendum if they won the election

    • Hell hath no fury than a people who want independence from a foreign power and are being refused it.

      You’d think the Brits would have learned this given the number of times their ‘Great’ army has been kicked out by ‘turnip farmers’ ((c)Truss) and the like.

  6. yesindyref2 says:

    Ah well you see, it’s all about Jacob Rees-Mogg, errrr, I’m sorry, I meant Albert Venn Dicey.

    The question is – can any of us move on from the Victorian Britain we all knew, errrr. or our ancestors knew and, errrr, well, knew (get DOWN Serf), so well back those hundreds of years ago, and move into modern parliamentary democracy, where we get the government we Claim by Right.

    • yesindyref2 says:

      I don’t suppose any of us follow many of the many links, life’s too short, so here’s from that about Dicey:

      He treated Parliamentary sovereignty as the central premise of the British constitution.

      Dicey became a Liberal Unionist and a vigorous opponent of Home Rule for Ireland and published and spoke against it extensively from 1886 until shortly before his death, advocating that no concessions be made to Irish nationalism in relation to the government of any part of Ireland as an integral part of the United Kingdom.[14] He was thus bitterly disillusioned by the Anglo-Irish Treaty agreement in 1921 that Southern Ireland should become a self-governing dominion (the Irish Free State), separate from the United Kingdom.

      Dicey was also vehemently opposed to women’s suffrage, proportional representation …

      This is the guy who is still at the heart of the UKSC and its judgements, though there have been moves against such dinosaur beliefs. This is the guy that would oppose “Home Rule” for Scotland if he were still alive. Ooops. Did I say “still alive”? He is indeed still very much alive, in the archaic leather-cover bound non-democratic entity known as the UK Supreme Court.

      And THAT is what we are fighting against for our Independence.

  7. Statgeek says:

    Doing some back of a cigarette packet sums.*

    If it was 1955 that the Tories last won an election? Consider these factors:

    – One had to be 21 to vote in those days (born before 26th May 1934) – i.e. would now be at least 88
    – The majority of younger voters tend not to vote Tory, traditionally
    – Life expectancy in Scotland being worse
    – Just under 50% of voters didn’t vote Tory
    – How many of those younger Tory voters moved South, or abroad for better jobs, or sunnier retirement?
    – And the traditional shy Tory inclination when polled publicly

    I wonder how difficult it would be to find a Tory in Scotland that voted for the Tories in 1955 now?

    Living memory is a very long-winded thing, because just one person can keep it alive. But here’s the thing. Majority-winning Scottish Tories must be an endangered species now. And they won in a time when two English parties took 70 of the 71 seats in Scotland, and 622 of 630 seats in the UK.

    They haven’t won a seat in Northern Ireland since 1970 (nor has any other main English party), when Unionism became the predominant default position of former Tory voters.

    In Scotland they won 12 seats in 2017, the highest since 1983, and a result of largely tactical voting. Even that result of those heady Thatcher days was just 29% of the seats. In Wales that year, they managed 14 of 38 seats (37%). They managed to get 14 seats in 2019 again, but of a total of 40 (35%).

    So every 30-35 years, the Tories manage to pull a big victory. (i.e. not a victory, but a better defeat than the usual fare of crushing defeats) out of the hat.

    If it was a conjuring act (and it usually is, with help from the obsequious media), the audience would have booed them off stage, never to be seen again. Anyone can get it right once every 35 years, if that’s their trade craft.

    So to sum up, the Tories are nowhere in Northern Ireland, more than ever, now that the Unionists are feeling betrayed. In Scotland they are losing ground on the 10% of seats they won, and only a tactical vote (a negative vote, devoid of hope, but full of fear) can save them. In Wales, they may or may not do well. Wales has been largely assimilated by its neighbouring population, due to simple numbers. Wales’ best hope might be how things go in the other nations of the UK, and Westminster will be sure to make things go badly, to keep people voting with fear over hope (tactically).

    *Started as a quick post and mutated into a min-essay. Sorry bout that. 🙂

  8. JP58 says:

    It has been obvious to me that the chances of Westminster agreeing to a second Indy Referendum are inversely proportional to the possibility of the Yes side winning.
    2014 Referendum only granted because Cameron thought with Yes at 33% when Referendum agreed that No would win handsomely and destroy SNP in process.

    • I doubt any country in the world now expects Scotland to seek ‘agreement’ from England given England can’t be remotely trusted to stick to international agreements; something the countries of the EU and the USA are learning when it comes to Northern Ireland. Currently England is like Russia or Belarus; it cannot be trusted on trade nor peace deals.

      In any event, iref2, like iref1 and the EUref will not be constitutional, but simply ‘political’ (consultative). Whether we vote Yes or No, it would change nothing in law, and not legally oblige either the Scottish or UK governments to act upon it.

      It is already the law in Scotland that the Scottish government can hold consultative referendums on any matter it wishes, at the time of its own choosing, with the franchise of its own choosing; namely all legal residents over the age of 16. This is in the Referendums Act (2020).

      While the implications of a Yes vote would have no legal ramifications, they would have serious political / democratic which could not be ignored. The result would need to be accepted and acted upon as required, just as the EU ref was. It can’t be ‘ignored’ much as unionists think, as dictators the world over would love that. So much easier than the whole brutal crackdown stuff which looks so bad you have to keep lying about it all and pretending you do accept democracy.

      The reason Spain sent troops into Catalonia was because they could not let the vote happen as if it did, and the result was a clear Yes on a large turnout (unlikely, but not outwith the bounds of possibility), they could not ignore it and just go for sangria. I’m sure they really wished they could, rather than having to resort to the ugly scenes we all saw in an attempt to make the result not representative (by preventing people voting and taking away ballots, ergo it was not free and fair). It worked, but ultimately, only damaged Spain and did nothing to further support for the union in Catalonia. The politicians jailed are free (under pressure from the EU), the right-wing government that put them in jail is out of office, and the Yes movement is still there at the same strength.

      It’s even worse for England as Scottish identity is much more prevalent in Scotland, with 3/4 Scottish if forced to chose (hence the Yes to devo in 1997 and support for devo max). From what I can see in Catalonia from national identity data, while pro-indy catalans are much more active in terms of marches etc, people of Catalan and Spanish identity are almost evenly balanced there. That was a major factor in Spain feeling it could get away with what it did. It’s not the same in Scotland. Spanish federal troops entered a Catalonia where half the population is Spanish so the former were not ‘foreign’. In our case, it would have to be English troops entering a Scotland where only fraction of the population is English, with just 1/4 British if forced to choose. English troops in Scotland would be like Russians in Ukraine. A very different situation to Catalonia.

      And while Scots seem much less active than their Catalan counterparts, people should not think that will always be the case. If England tried to impose direct rule on Scotland, you can be damn sure you’d see a revolution. The streets can fill with people very suddenly in such situations. If people can freely vote for indy etc, then there’s no need for that so it won’t happen. But take that right away and they rise up very quickly.

      • Pogmothon says:

        “Aye hame office is it ????
        That’s ma newbies hoose.
        Your no fi here aboots ur we.
        Ye’d best gaun awa back t’ the game office, fur thur’s naybudy fi this hoose gaun wi ye”
        Awa wi ye afore ye erin yersel a gid clout on the lug.

        • Pogmothon says:

          I hate sneaky auto text American or English spelling.

          Ye canna even correct it in the next post, cos it seeks in again.

      • Was that directed at me Pog? 🙂

        Am fae Carrbridge, Lauder noo. Far ye fae yersel?

  9. Alex Clark says:

    I don’t believe the Westminster government will challenge a referendum bill that is passed by a majority in Holyrood. I doubt they can believe that it is a certainty the Supreme Court would find in their favour. Then what have they actually “won” if the Supreme Court rules that a referendum on Independence is only within the gift of Westminster to bestow?

    I think that looks very much like a loss to me as well as it solves nothing and shows everyone in Scotland, the UK and the rest of the world that Scotland is to be held in a “Union” from which it can never leave unless the UK government give their permission.

    That just doesn’t seem plausible to me and looks like the death of the Union right there and then as there can be no “Union” where one partner to that Union is effectively a hostage to the larger partner.

    Instead, they might reject it right away, state that they will not accept it as written and demand that they negotiate changes that are “fair” to everybody. That’s when they will want to change the question, change the date, change the franchise all sorts of crap while they but time to get international opinion somehow more in sync to their position.

    Of course, it might be nothing like that at all but if it is I would hope the Scottish government sticks with the bill as published with the same date and question, only then might a challenge to its legality arise but by then because the bill has already become law then it can be challenged by any Tom Dick or Jock and it won’t be the UK government taking the Scottish government to court.

    Whatever happens, it must all start to happen in a short space of time and the start of that can’t be very far away now if the Scottish government are to stick to their timetable of a referendum in 2023 they need that bill published and passed in Holyrood very soon.

    • JP58 says:

      The current Tory government’s behaviour to EU,Ireland (North & South) & Scotland shows all the hallmarks of Anglo British exceptionalism and they deal with other countries with an arrogance based on ignorance of these other countries.
      To expect them to behave with anything like good faith is naive.
      The Scottish Government, like the EU and Ireland, must however act with both integrity, resolve and patience thus showing others what the UK government is like. Johnson and his minions are like all arrogant bullies cowards at heart and will cave in when enough pressure is brought to bear on them.

      • Alex Clark says:

        I certainly don’t expect the Westminster government “to behave with anything like good faith” and I thought my post was clear on that. Like you, I expect the complete opposite of “good faith” when it comes to dealings with Westminster.

  10. Not-My-Real-Name says:

    Great piece Paul….yet again.

    Yesterday Mhairi Black gave a wonderful speech in the HOC …it highlighted many of the concerns we and others have noted including the sheer incompetence and bad policies/decisions made by this ultra right wing Tory UK government and where she rightly included the statement that :

    ” Fascism… It arrives under the guise of respectability and pride that will then be refused to anyone that is deemed different. It arrives through the othering of people… the normalisation of human cruelty”

    If you have not watched it then please try and do so.

    It is very much to the point and also clearly said from the heart which makes it so much more powerful and it also ,after hearing it , makes it abundantly obvious that Scotland staying within their UK is an option that will ultimately be to our, and future generations, detriment…..and much worse too….same for Wales and NI too.

    The obvious passion, integrity and sincerity in what she says shines through……compare and contrast her speech with the many trite and sycophantic speeches made by Scottish (INO) Tories in the HOC……only then will you clearly see who speaks for Scotland and it’s people and who speaks ONLY for their Tory party HQ……

    Well done Mhairi….another great speech….alas to a near empty HOC as they don’t like to hear the truth in there ……..

    Because………….LIES seem to be THE preferred GO TO option and are used constantly via Tories (of all colours) FOR their survival in their UK to benefit THEM alone as politicians…… while actively working AGAINST the people (constituents) and respective country within their UK that they are supposed to serve as MP’s for…..

    Sorry I cannot link speech onto here as I am useless…but I am sure it is on her Twitter account if someone else can perhaps link it onto here… is wonderful …..and only she can make such a great speech that truly connects with so many people……

    • Welsh_Siôn says:

      Can’t give you the video just yet but here’s the text from Hansard, NMRN:

      Mhairi Black
      (Paisley and Renfrewshire South) (SNP)

      For a party that prides itself on the economy, the Tories have a shocking record of running it. Our economy has the slowest growth in the G7. We have greater regional inequality than almost any other developed nation. Food banks now do the job of Government in providing for families—families that are more often than not in work.

      The Government could start solving this crisis by providing solutions, such as closing tax-avoidance loopholes or creating a windfall tax for energy companies. Instead, we get endless Bills paying lip service to a manufactured culture war. The priority is not the economy. It seems to be things like protecting freedom of speech, yet the Tories are the ones who banned schools in England from using sources that are not overtly pro-capitalist. They are cracking down on freedom of assembly and protest. They are privatising Channel 4, when the Culture Secretary did not even know that Channel 4 receives no public money, so the argument is not financial. When we consider, as the hon. Member for Rhondda (Chris Bryant) touched on earlier, that the Culture Secretary was once Toggle showing location ofColumn 761a key focus of a Channel 4 documentary about the influence that Christian fundamentalism has on UK politics, it becomes even more concerning that this decision is political and personal. It is not professional.

      Most terrifying of all, however, is that the Government literally want to get rid of the Human Rights Act. That begs the question: for whom do they think rights have gone too far? Do they know how scary it is to sit at home and wonder if it is you—is it your rights that are up for grabs? We have witnessed Windrush. Our economic strategy is to open our doors to the rest of the world when we need their hard work and then chuck them out 50 years later without a word’s notice. We tell our own citizens that their safety cannot be guaranteed in Rwanda, but we are perfectly happy to ship asylum seekers, people fleeing war and persecution, over to Rwanda as though they are cattle to be dealt with by someone else and despite knowing that the plan costs more than it will ever save.

      This is just little England elites drunk on the memory of a British empire that no longer exists. We have the lowest pensions in Europe and the lowest sick pay. We pretend the minimum wage is a living wage when it is not. We miss our own economic targets time and again. We are happy to break international law. We are turning into a country where words hold no value.

      Over the last 12 years, I fear we have been sleepwalking closer and closer to the F word. I know everyone is scared to say it for fear of sounding over the top or being accused of going too far, but I say this with all sincerity. When I say the F word, I am talking about fascism—fascism wrapped in red, white and blue. You may mock and you may disagree, but fascism does not come in with intentional evil plans or the introduction of leather jackboots. It does not happen like that. It happens subtly. It happens when we see Governments making decisions based on self-preservation, based on cronyism, based on anything that will keep them in power, when we see the concentration of power while avoiding any of the scrutiny or responsibility that comes with that power. It arrives under the guise of respectability and pride, which will then be refused to anyone who is deemed different. It arrives through the othering of people and the normalisation of human cruelty. I do not know how far down that road we are. Time will tell, but the things we do in the name of economic growth—the warning signs are there for everyone else to see, whether they admit it or not.

      • Melvin says:

        She is bang on the money, I have been saying this to everyone , I know. Read the tenants of facisim and then look at the Tories, they are exactly the same. Mussolini would be proud, that his ideology has taken hold of the British state.

    • Alex Clark says:

      Here it is NMRN from her twiiter account.

      • Dr Jim says:

        Every word she said is right and correct, fascism is sneaked into societies always under the guise of patriotism
        I’ve lost count of the number of times we’ve been told voting SNP is unpatriotic to *the country*
        by the one political party with the three names, Tory Labour Liberal Democrat
        The Tories will make the rules, Labour will enforce them and the Liberal Democrats will pretend to object to them while simultaneously voting for them

      • Welsh_Siôn says:

        It is also available (for now) on Youtube (4 mins 37 secs).

    • Alex Clark says:

      Yes, an excellent speech that tells it like it is.

  11. Not-My-Real-Name says:

    Thanks Alex and Welsh Sion……

    Love her speeches……her maiden speech was a cracker too….unlike Tory Lucy Frazer’s ,who is on BBC QT tonight,…her distasteful and ill considered (spiteful) maiden speech backfired on her big time (imagine having to apologise over your maiden speech ….how very Tory )….

    Cromwell enslaving Scots how contemptuous could you get…..I mean what kind of mentality would conceive such a speech as acceptable anytime never mind your introduction, via a speech, into yon supposed Mother of all parliaments aka their HOC …..yet it now seems so much like the kind of speech expected as a typical speech from a TORY….Oh but tis us the Indy peeps who are supposedly anti English ……projection much !

    Have a nice evening both of you…and everyone else on here.


  12. Bob Lamont says:

    BBC Scotland’s head of news and current affairs now officially in the huff…

  13. Dr Jim says:

    BBCs channel 9 interviews MSP Jenny Gilruth the transport minister about trains

    “It’s your fault it’s your fault it’s your fault, admit it admit it, hurry up and admit it, the Scottish government own it so admit it, c’mon effin admit it”

    MSP Jenny Gilruth smiled and mentally said “We don’t own the effin train drivers ya unionist propagandists” but with her mouth she said “I hope the union and Scotrail get back round the table and negotiate an amicable agreement to get the trains up and running again” then MSP Jenny Gilruth said mentally “why don’t you ask the effin train drivers to keep to the deal the effin signed up to, or maybe talk about the Tory Labour union plan to bugger things up the minute the Scottish government took over”

    Don’t worry MSP Jenny Gilruth transport minister we all know who the guilty parties are that are holding Scotland to ransom

    Apparently Brookings, Joe Biden John Kerry Nancy Pelosi Ursula von der Leyen and most of Europe knows too, because of course that’s one of the main reasons the BBC blacked out Scotlands First Ministers visit to Washington DC

  14. Dr Jim says:

    It also turns out that Ukraine TV showed more coverage of Scotlands FM in Washington DC than the BBC in Scotland
    Those folks are in the middle of the most horrible war yet their broadcasters could find the space and time to to cover the event
    Wherever you were in America there was a news channel on which Scotlands FM visit could be seen

    This is not neglect importance or significance at work by the BBC this is top down fascism at work

  15. Alex Clark says:

    But ferries…

    Hinkley Point C delayed by a year as cost goes up by £3 billion

    The revised operating date for the nuclear power station is now June 2027 and the budget has increased to £25 billion as Covid delays are blamed.

  16. Alex Clark says:

    This is quite extraordinary reporting by the BBC in Scotland but not surprising.

    Two thirds of under-22s not signed up for free bus travel scheme

    Fewer than a third of those eligible for free bus travel under a Scottish government scheme have been issued with passes, figures show.

    The scheme, which launched in January, has been criticised for its “confusing” sign-up process.

    Of the 1,008,197 people aged five to 21 who can apply, only 317,920 have received their passes.

    Transport Scotland said it acknowledged some parents and young people had found the application process “complex”.

    For starters only people aged 16 and over can apply for a free bus pass and if a pass is wanted for someone under 16, which is 2/3rds of the age group between 5 and 22 who qualify for one then it is the parent that must apply.

    It’s obvious to me at least that the only young people that will want to use these passes are those that have to travel some distance either to school, college, university or work.

    That simply does not apply to 90% of those who are under 18 but if it does then they will already be provided with free travel to school if they live in a rural area some distance from the school they study at and the rest will have applied for a pass.

    This is purely just another attack on a Scottish government policy that is not available anywhere else in the UK and is of great benefit to those that now have free travel, especially those in the small towns and villages that have to travel to one of the cities for University or College or those traveling to work some distance from home.

    The simple unavoidable fact is that everyone 21 or under who wants free travel in Scotland already has a pass.

    A pathetic attempt by the BBC at Scottish Government are BAD BAD people.

    • Bob Lamont says:

      I’m certain I saw this same framing floated a few weeks back by one of the Opposition, “criticised for its “confusing” sign-up process”, “Fewer than a third….have been issued”…

      Aside the SNP BAAD value, as recent events amply demonstrated what occupies a news slot is also being manipulated to determine what is omitted.
      Articles can be days old (eg Natalie McGarry) but edited to be “hours” old, thus ensuring that anything they would rather the public not discuss is quite simply ‘crowded out’.
      Another tactic is to allow Comments on a purely Opposition led propaganda gambit permitting the “Nicola ate my hamster” brigade to descend in force, vent spleens and uptick each others comment – It never happens where the REAL public may have an opinion on matters of greater import.

      eg – “Anger over ‘devastating’ cuts to ScotRail services” is occupying prime slot on both the Scotland and Scotland/Politics web-pages, Comments open – At the current time it is allegedly 4 hours old, yet the earliest of the 1392 comments is 14 hours old….
      As Dr Jim noted upthread on “Channel 9”, this is the latest “It’s SG’s fault” game, the news where you are is not the news where we are…


  17. Melvin says:

    The Scottish government need to bring forward the bill, immediately and see if what Tompkins is suggesting is in fact British policy. To keep Scotland as a colony, this opens them up to the UN for sanctions and will result in them backing down. I really hope Tompkins is right and they try this.

    To be honest we have known for decades, that the unionists think like this, HATE all things Scottish and wish we were crushed . I use the word hate, knowing that they really do hate their own people.

    The British people have been filled with propaganda for decades with racist ideology against Scot’s, everything from BBC comedy to the Houses of Parliament. The constantly jibe our people and then blame us for our natural defensive response to the abuse.

    • I use the word hate, knowing that they really do hate their own people.

      We are not their people. We are Scots and they are not.

      Those that would have Scotland enslaved are British nationalists. Not Scottish in any way. They can’t even be really described as Scottish unionists. If they were Scottish, they would respect Scotland’s right to decide as the bulk of the population does.

      That is why they can be so disparaging about Scotland, it’s people and culture, even arguing that these don’t really exist… that Scotland is just a region of their UK/Britain. It is a deep racist hatred for a minority people (in the UK*), whom many British feel superior too and feel they have a right to rule over like we are serfs.

      Once you understand this, you understand why they can be so disparaging about Scots. It’s because they’re not Scottish. Doesn’t matter that they come from Scotland… were born and grew up here… the land they grew up in is Britain in their minds, and Scotland just Yorkshire or similar.

      It’s a sad fact. Of course we Scots would love for them to feel Scottish in the same way the Irish would like the British in NI to feel Irish as well (I quote Mary Loo MacDonald calling unionists their ‘brothers and sisters’ in a victory speech). But they don’t want to. They will partly accept us as ‘North British’, but only if we give up our Scottishness completely, and stop talking about Scotland as a country / nation with the Scots a people.

      *Scottish nationals (free choice national identity) comprise just 7.6% of the UK population in the, mainly concentrated in Scotland. This is only slightly more than those who describe themselves as Asian.

  18. Bob Lamont says:

    I quite enjoyed Sara Salyers explanation of convention under English Law having obscured Scots Law and matters of “constitution”

  19. It’s brexit Brengland you are dealing with. Can’t be trusted. It’s not a friendly nation. It’s a lying, cheating one.

    Boris Johnson and I agreed on Northern Ireland. What happened to that good faith?

    By Leo Varadkar

    The EU’s flexibility has been met by the UK government talking about scrapping the protocol and breaching international law

    Leo Varadkar is Ireland’s tánaiste (deputy prime minister), and was taoiseach during Brexit negotiations

    Seriously; this is why the Scottish government ultimately don’t care about a Section 30 any more. It would not be worth the paper it’s written on and the world knows it. They’ll politely request knowing the answer is likely no, but that’s just going through the niceties.

    The international community is not going to need Scotland to seek ‘agreement’ for indy, particularly not from a country that does nothing but break such agreements.

  20. Not-My-Real-Name says:

    The enigma of a NON Union..

    If we are , according to Unionists, truly supposedly Better and stronger together then what is it that makes that a fact from a Pro Unionist perspective.

    Scotland (and Wales) are presented by Unionists as THE weak links in the Union when Unionists state we, Scotland and Wales, are NOT economically viable to survive alone as independent countries…..this is always highlighted and focused upon in all of the constitutional debates yet this same assertion or rather assessment is never applied to England.

    So are we then to assume that according to them it is only with the inclusion of England in their (non) Union with us that makes their (non) Union Better and Stronger ?

    If that is their opinion then surely the most logical and financially viable conclusion for England and it’s people would be that they would be both Better and Stronger as an independent country free from the (non) Union they are currently part of (dominating)….and according to THEM a Union where THEY are currently having to subsidise other countries more within that (non) Union than their own country (England)…..thus surely it is to their own detriment to REMAIN in this so called (non) Union.

    YET strangely…the current Tory government (and other Unionist political parties) campaign relentlessly to try to ‘SAVE’ this (non) Union, spend a Hell of a lot of money in trying to ‘SAVE’ it and have even set up a specific Union Unit to focus on the ‘SAVING’ of it …….for whose benefit ?…Not theirs surely given the argument they use in the (non) fact that they constantly present….. as in us supposedly needing THEM more in order to provide us, Scotland and Wales, with economic security as supplied by THEM in a (non) Union ??????

    Gordon Brown has also set up some ‘new’ Think tank ‘Our Scottish Future ‘ (so who is funding THAT I wonder ) to try and save the (non) Union …well we , in Scotland, KNOW what our future will be if we listen to Gordon Brown…..ruled by Tories at WM THAT will be our future….as no one wants either HIM or indeed wants HIS Labour party in power no matter WHO they choose as their leader….in THEIR parliament at WM).

    So what, for them, benefit(s) does England get from being a part of this (non) Union ?

    I see Peter Hitchens is raising something no Unionist wants raised as in ‘Why England should leave the UK and declare an English secession’….” Declare” he says….once again a sense of entitlement as in we , in Scotland, must ASK but THEY can DECLARE…..secession.

    “ Why then is England seemingly so afraid to go it alone” ?…..

    “ Who, in their opinion, would England need to get permission from should they decide to want independence from the (non) Union “ ?…well No one according to Peter Hitchens apparently….

    “Why , in a so called (non) Union, does Scotland and Wales need permission from England yet according to one Journalist, Hitchens, England only need to DECLARE secession from the (non) Union “?

    Questions Questions Questions…….they, Unionist politicians, will not provide the answers to these questions but clearly at some point MORE people in England might ask (based on Unionists politicians declarations of our, Scotland and Wales, supposed weak input as part of THEIR (non) Union) why are we staying in this (non) Union if THEY get more out of it than us ?

    Keep going Peter Hitchens because through YOUR statement and article in a Unionist newspaper you might just rock the boat that Unionist politicians are trying so desperately to keep steady for THEIR benefit while lying that is is supposedly MORE for OUR countries, Scotland and Wales, benefit to remain within THEIR (non) Union…….

    BETTER and STRONGER together BUT for whom ? (for Scotland and Wales and indeed currently also for NI tis very much a Rhetorical question and a question that THEY, Unionists, will NOT EVER answer …honestly)

    • Not-My-Real-Name says:

      Have added this comment onto next thread by paul today…. with additional comments as does refer to Peter Hitchens….happens to us all….Lol…we add a comment then new thread started ….hopefully Paul does not mind….or other people either….


  21. yesindyref2 says:

    Tom Gordon in the Herald discovers that, despite the assertions of anti-Indy protestors that Sturgeon is pulling Harvie’s strings and the Greens are puppets of the SNP, it actually isnt true and yes, the SNP and Greens ARE two separate parties with different policies on things:

    THE Yes movement split over whether to join Nato if Scotland becomes independent has deepened

    Meanwhile, Scotland’s only Labour MP thinks that, just as Labour and the Tories (and that other party), all think and act exactly the same, so should the SNP and Greens. He is of course disappointed that they don’t:

    The idea of a joint prospectus on independence is made a mockery by the SNP and Green inability to agree on a cornerstone principle of foreign policy.

    Well quite, we should all be clones of Boris Johnson same as what he is!

    • Bob Lamont says:

      It’s the same tripe Glenn Campbell launched over NATO (allegedly being about the FM’s US visit), division and disagreement not just within SNP but between them and the Greens…
      They’re desperate to derail the Indy train with any Pitchfork v Torches game they can find….

      • yesindyref2 says:

        I’d say Glenn Campbell is an SNP sleeper. Just after an election where people have had to choose between different parties based on our different viewpoints, he tells everybody that different parties have different viewpoints.

        Well, who’d have thunk it?

        I actually doubt if there’s any Unionists left at Pacific Quay!

  22. proudcybernat says:

    Unionists – They only sing when they’re winning.

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