The season of good will

A guest post by Samuel Miller

This’ll be short and sweet, so pay attention at the back. 2017, the year where Brexit, austerity legislation, societal disenfranchisement and the empowerment of the nastier side of right wing demographics started to really deliver on it’s inevitable payoff. The economy of the UK, so far as the vast majority are concerned, is doing a swirly in the lavvy and is on the verge of disappearing round the U bend. The politics of the UK have meanwhile descended into a farce resembling nothing so much as a group of cartoon chimps on a sugar rush throwing poo at each other whilst the rest of us wait for something resembling a competent central government to make an appearance.

All of this as the UKs former closest trading partners and international political allies, decide whether it’s worth their while, or even whether they can be bothered, holding out yet another lifeline to the ungrateful boneheads who used them repeatedly as media scapegoats only to tell them to take a hike in a moment of colossal self harm. Safe to say, things have pretty much gone as a lot of bods in the YES movement feared back in 2014. So close to their worst nightmare they become desperate maybe?

Quite the year to be sure and another beaut promising to follow in 2018. You can see why frustration, recrimination and not a little desperation might creep into some people’s thinking. Some may start to wonder on the reasons why they were deprived of a different resolution three years ago. Who voted no to self government and why? How can they be persuaded or… ignored? Been more than one conversation over the past year on incomers v natural born, aged v youth vote, rich v poor etc., and there’ll probably be more as 2018 proceeds and things get a little more desperate (which they will). For many, it won’t just become an imperative that there is another referendum, but that it must be won at all costs. All costs though? Right or wrong? Fear’ll do that. Pretty understandable and all too human.

How and ever, people should perhaps consider that economic ineptitude, bad or punitive legislation, resultant poverty and loss of life chances and rights, much like natural disasters, don’t care where you were born. They don’t care what colour you are. How you worship. How old you are. Who you love, or indeed what part of spam valley your bungalow rests on. Just like the natural disasters of flood, fire and quake they’ll impact your life regardless. Once enacted, they don’t discriminate. Only people do that.

Some people will never change their vote of 2014. For good or ill, no matter how bad it gets and no matter the suffering of others around them, they will vote out of loyalty and belief that their system and worldview will come right in the end. They are entitled to that choice and that opinion. They are also welcome to it.

Here’s some political reality though. If Scotland and its electorate are to become self governing and make our own choices in the near future, we’re going to need some of those who voted no in 2014 to change that vote.  Around 6% would do, but I’m greedy and would prefer more. A great deal more. Oh, and residency is the criteria for voting eligibility. You live in Scotland. You pay your taxes in Scotland. You contribute to life and community in Scotland, then you get to vote on Scottish matters. Call it the Karmic balance to those disasters which don’t care who you are. Voting based on residency is a human being’s way of saying we don’t care who you are, your opinion matters. Does it make winning a YES vote any easier given voting breakdowns from 2014 onwards? No, not really. Then again, no one said winning the right to govern yourself was ever going to be any easy thing. In some parts of the world and throughout history, it’s been downright dangerous.

In my own opinion? Vote by residency is also the right thing to do. Scottish self governance… I’d say it’s not simply winning it which matters, but how you win it. The foundations for the society you want must be solid. The establishment parties and their practice of politics really should be a heads up as to the shit storm you build up over time when winning by any means necessary. When you divide and rule. When you win without care or consideration for others.

Seems to me that Brexit, austerity, fractured society, political elitism, bigotry, intolerance, exceptionalism and isolationism might be seen as reason enough NOT to repeat their mistakes? You govern for ALL in your care, or maybe you shouldn’t be governing? Just a thought.

What we see in the UK today is a direct result of the politics of societal division. Me? I’m more of a hugger. I’ll hold my hand out and welcome folk from any point of origin or walk of life who want to work for a more socially just Scotland.

In the season of good will and given all that 2018 may bring our electorate, it’s maybe worth remembering that a little good will and understanding can go a long way.

Are we there yet?

A guest post by Samuel Miller

2017… It’s a bit of a badly written disaster movie, isn’t it? What is it they call them? Mockbusters? Politics and its institutions falling apart and brought into disrepute near daily. Economy teetering on the brink of brexitmageddon. A society constantly having their frustrations, anger, fears and uncertainties stoked by the next horror headline. Headlines mainly supplied by policy wonks looking to snag a vote for their agenda du jour, or a motivated meeja themselves looking to make a quid and support their party sociopath of choice. Oh, and after two referendums, the winning slim majorities and campaigns of both tainting the whole of UK society with the nasty stank of intolerance, exclusion and isolationism. Just to add a degree of difficulty we really, REALLY, needed in our lives about now. As for trust? In any major institution of central government? Do NOT get me started. It’s more than taken a kicking in the recent past. Welcome to Brexit/Austerity UK. The inevitable destination of the politics of me, masel’ and I.

No, I’m not seeing many laugh out loud moments in this particular mockbuster script either.

People aren’t born to hate or fear you know? No, that gets taught. It’s what you experience. It’s driven by outside forces in your life. It is also what I find most unforgivable about politics as it is practised UK style. Democracy cynically managed. Democracy undermined. Democracy and identity defined by the powerful, managed to favour a parliament and political class, then re-branded and marketed for public consumption. Politics and government for the population made worthless. The tail wagging the dog as it were.

Establishment parties in our own system made it ‘OK’ to hate someone. They ensured that the politics of greed, envy and self was the norm. The messages they sent out through their media chums made it acceptable to demonise and disenfranchise whole demographics for political gain, that the ends justified the means. The normalisation of the worst in our natures. Parties with decades of Westminster entitlement, preaching loyalty and unity, paying lip service to tolerance, whilst telling people who to exclude, hate and punish. Dehumanising your intended victims is where it starts. Where it ends? Historically… rarely any place good.

This past year in politics has been one long Q.E.D. moment. Lot’s of folk, especially in the media, telling us who to include on their exclusion list. Well, big whoop! They’ve succeeded beyond their wildest dreams. So, how is Brexit working out for everyone? Everybody just peachy in Better Together’s pooling and sharing union of equals? Is this the vision of the UK going forward you thought it would be?

Put it another way. If you’re poor, disabled, a supporter of Scottish self government, a person of furren origin living in the UK, furren in general, a remainer, or any number of other ‘minority’ groups*, are you all feeling the lurve of one nation unity about now? Do you feel wanted, included, significant? Do feel as if your views are valued, respected… heard even? (*Yes, I know. Not really insignificant minorities. Pretty much fairly major demographics)

If you don’t. If you feel that the language and practice of our political class has been less than honest or caring. If you feel the rhetoric and publicity generated by the mainstream media has been less than conducive toward the creation of a cohesive and tolerant society,  then where does the buck stop? The source of the message? The ever so willing messenger, or those the message is aimed at?

Back in August 2016 I posted the piece Who needs a sword (fades to wavy lines);

“The written word is powerful. People can be moved to acts of great kindness and humanitarian aid, or they can be moved to acts of intolerance and great inhumanity. They can be motivated to feel true empathy, humour, regret, hope, aspiration even. Or they can be made to feel doubt, uncertainty, anger, fear and hatred. In the hands of a true wordsmith it is a tool or a weapon that can influence the emotions and opinions of individuals and populations alike for good or ill.”

As I said, the whole year seems to have been one long Q.E.D. moment. Right wing politicians and media have gone to town on major demographics of the UK in pursuit of Brexitmageddon. The reborn ‘kinder, more honest’ Labour party have gone to war with seemingly everyone else in politics whilst searching for political relevance and a long lost soul. The Libdems have sat on the sidelines and learning from their betters, now speak fluent hypocrite demanding a referendum ‘do over’. BUT NOT FOR YOU SCOTLAND! Seems you’re either not far right enough for some, or you’re not left leaning enough for the other, and both extremes would still sell their granny for a sniff of the big chair. Their hypocrisy on tolerance and inclusion, loyalty and unity is basically a complete insult to any reasonable human being’s intelligence. In reality their idea of ‘unity’ is to seemingly shout at you a lot through their respective meeja channels, demand your loyalty, your compliance and a blind acceptance of their respective narratives. Apparently speaking to you like a human being and earning those things through actions are for lesser mortals.

Maybe just me, but given their respective narratives, strategies and ideologies, I’d say they’re going about this whole reaching out and unity thing in the wrong way.

The casualties, as per usual, are a general public who simply want a meal on their table at the end of the day and a roof over their heads. A public who want their servants to do the jobs for which they are amply paid, ensure that they are cared for and just as importantly… be respected and listened to. Doesn’t seem much of an ask, now does it? Seein’ as how we kinda do pay the wages and all. Most folk don’t want to hate anyone. They don’t want war or strife, or argument with their neighbours. Life’s hard enough thanks. They just want to cut along with their lives in relative peace and security. What they have though, is a system of government, political parties and a practice of politics which drives their opinions and emotions through fear, uncertainty and doubt on a daily basis. Who does that to the people in their care? (answers on a postcard etc.)

This ‘practice’ has done incalculable damage to the constituent parts of the United Kingdom. It has fractured society, outraged partners, alienated friends, dragged an economy to the brink and generally scared people shitless. When people are scared, they get angry, frustrated. They look for targets to unload their fears and frustrations upon. Cue the never ending cycle of spin, misdirection and scapegoating. Something the current Scottish government and the wider YES movement are all too familiar with.

So, are we there yet? Have we hit rock bottom with no way out? Well, no. No we haven’t hit bottom yet (hard to believe, I know), but there is a way out before we do.

Politically, all the electorate of Scotland have ever needed to do is empower and mandate a willing Scottish government to seek a dissolution of a treaty. Take their powers back from those currently misusing them and start doing what all normal countries do. Live. Make choices. Screw up sometimes and be a credit to the world at others. Do what grown ups do. That example stands a chance of starting something better throughout these islands. No more than that, but a chance nonetheless. Aspire to be better than we are and as good as everyone else.

On a personal level? I’d say that so long as you remember what caring and tolerance is really all about. So long as you refuse to be defined or pigeonholed by some political sociopath, or an out of control media, then you retain the power to choose. You can choose to not walk on by those in need. You can choose not to hate on demand. You can choose how you live. You can choose to think for yourself. You choose.

Sounds a bit like self determination really.


Normal sarcasm will be resumed after the artisanal baps, filled with (organically reared) turkey, have been consumed. All the very best of the festive season readers.


Good for the goose…

A guest post by Samuel Miller

(Alternatively titled: Karma in action)

This’ll be a short one.

I’m guessing that by this point most readers will be aware of Prime Minister May’s very own bad hair Monday? No? Well it turns out our intrepid PM toddled over to Brussels with a proposal which her best buds in the DUP hadn’t really agreed to. This would be Treeza’s bid to kick start the phase 2 Brexit talks and hopefully avoid economic carnage for the United Kingdom of London. Oh and the baying of the UK public for Tory and more particularly, her blood.

Let’s face it, Cammo dropped a complete and utter wreck of a situation in Ms May’s lap and absolutely nothing has gone right for the new PM from that day forward. I’d feel sorry for Treeza, but, y’know, a. Tory and b. Tory PM. (shrugs)

Aaaanyroads, back to the meat of the matter. The proposal, so far as we’re led to believe, would allow that “the British government would commit to maintain the full alignment of single market and customs union legislation that might potentially create a border.” The DUP, for their own reasons (not going there), didn’t like this idea and before the PM could even finish her pre lunch aperatif, the anchors had been applied and the proposal removed from the table (Did it even make it as far as the table?). So far, so straightforward.

Now it gets interesting, because as you’re all no doubt aware, the very fact that Northern Ireland had been granted an exceptional status deserving of a custom brokered solution made a few bods sit up and take notice. Not least us obviously. Now comes the bit we’ve all been expecting from pretty much day one. The looming constitutional crisis.

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan made a pitch for exceptional status as did First Minister of Wales Carwyn Jones. How and ever, it should be pointed out to Mr Khan that London is not a country, it is a city within a country. A country which voted for Brexit. Equally Mr Jones should be aware that Wales also voted for Brexit. I have every sympathy for their position and only the most reclusive hermit living in a cave in Cape Wrath could fail to have noted that the economic ramifications of Brexit are going to be fairly grim to say the least.

No. I’d say there are only three bodies that Ms May will have any real worries over in the immediate aftermath of this remarkable clanger. The DUP natch, since her government relies on their… support? The hard line Brexit lobby of her own party and of course…

… First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and the Scottish Government.

Whichever way you cut it. Northern Ireland required an exceptional status to square a circle and one was drafted to suit, even if currently rejected.

Scotland, unlike London, is a country and unlike both England and Wales did vote to remain. The whole current situation is so convoluted, with parties, cliques within parties and cliques within cliques, the permutations for outcomes at this point would give a mathematician a migrane. Reminds me of something…

Cue the popcorn.


Our host should be returning in the next couple of days so this will be my final post. As always, I’d like to thank the readers for bearing with my rambling and for all the great comments. See you below the line.

They’re not using what now?

A guest post by Samuel Miller

There’s another theme running through unionist political releases of recent times which may bear a little closer scrutiny. Basically, that Scottish Government, critical institutions and services are seemingly always on the brink of catastrophic failure/crisis. More crucially, that the Scottish Government has the powers to deal with these crises, but for some unknown reason they choose not to use these pooowwwweeerrs to fix stuff.

“Our parliament is now more powerful than ever, with all the powers it needs to reverse Tory austerity. – But despite this, our services are still facing £327 million of cuts.” Kezia Dugdale (former) Labour in Scotland leader, January 2017

“Despite the Budget falling on international women’s day, 86 per cent of the austerity policies of Theresa May’s government fall on women. And Nicola Sturgeon could act to help stop this, but she refuses to stand in the way,” John McDonnell (Labour shadow chancellor) March 2017

“The SNP government has the powers if it wants to use them to mitigate the effects of austerity, they chose not to.”  Jeremy Corbyn (Labour Leader) August 2017

“The Scottish Parliament was delivered by Labour to be a bulwark against Conservative cuts, not a conveyor belt for them.” Richard Leonard (current) Labour in Scotland leader, November 2017 (‘delivered as a bulwark’… Uh Huh! So, not home rule as a point of principle then.)

Plausible? Would the Scottish government refuse/neglect to use their office and powers to alleviate hardship? This goes beyond the usual too wee, too poor, too stoopit meme we’ve seen endlessly regurgitated over the years into a whole new territory of shark jumping surely?

There is also a unicycling pachyderm in the room of course with this argument, but our media never quite seem capable of pointing it out to Scotland’s general public for consideration. (Spooky, I know). We’ll get back to that pachyderm shortly.

So, are the current Scottish government sitting on their hands when it comes to using the powers of Holyrood and devolved government to make life better for Scotland’s electorate?

Well, if you listen to the right wing meeja, then you’re constantly bombarded with accusations that Scotland’s citizenry enjoy a great deal more relief than other parts of the UK. Oh, and all at everyone else’s expense too. Over the past decade: exemption from tuition fees, free care for the elderly, bus passes for pensioners, free prescriptions, freeze on council tax, infrastructure investment in roads, *useless* (sark) second bridges, investment in child care and just for Mr Leonard, retention of Scottish water in public hands (cough). All pretty easily verified either on the SNPs own site HERE or if you felt like generally just catching up on what the Scottish government are up to then visit the Scotgov site HERE.

Still, if we want to keep it simple on the whole ‘not using the poowweeerrrs’ theory. Perhaps Labour’s leadership(s) could explain away mitigation of the Bedroom tax, the creation of the Food Fund, introduction of the Scottish welfare fund or the Banning of fracking. Maybe they could also throw some light on Scottish government intervention in threatened closures including TATA steel, BiFab, INEOS Grangemouth?

Maybe just me, but it appears that the current Scottish government have been fairly busy exercising powers and mitigating problems created by others. In fact it appears the Labour leadership’s sweeping accusations don’t appear to be holding much water at all.

How and ever, we’ll stick with just a couple of points to question. Perhaps Labour heid office are merely confused as to the nature and function of devolved government. Firstly, the Scottish government and devolution. Devolution in general surely isn’t a ‘bulwark’ against the depredations of any damn thing. Devolution is about exercising a degree of autonomy on budgeted administrative competences in specific areas agreed between a central government and a devolved legislature. A devolved legislature is power granted/gifted, not ceded. That’s point one.

Secondly, central government (that would be yer Westminster UK government), kinda get paid to deliver effective primary legislation which surely should NOT require mitigation by anyone and least of all by devolved legislatures who have zero control of their own economies and are allocated budgets which are expected to pay for other things. Why should a population pay taxes to central government for, y’know, governing and then expect their devolved government to mitigate for poor legislation from a budget (handout) that’s become a moveable feast? Basically paying twice just to either get by, or get things right.

Still, just to dot the i’s and cross the t’s, lets be very clear on reserved and devolved powers here, or what our handout is expected to pay for.

Devolved = what we pay for and have some control over

Reserved = what we also pay for, but have no control over

Back to the unicycling pachyderm in the room.

This Labour meme of a Scottish government not using devolved powers to alleviate austerity passed down from nasty Westminster government. Putting aside the points just made and the links to varied sources, there is only one reason Scotland’s government is forced to mitigate or offset any damn thing today. There is only one reason that Scotland’s electorate have to worry about or suffer any ill effects of Westminster legislation at all really.

We are not currently an independent nation state.

Labour and more particularly Labour in Scotland, may recall they were quite insistent that Scotland remain party to the political union of parliaments. I certainly recall that Labour leadership, (past, the then current and future), were only too happy to lead the charge in fronting the case for Betterthigetherness in Scotland during 2014’s indyref. Weel kent Labour faces fell over each other to apply both carrot and stick (mainly stick) to Scotland’s population throughout the entire debate. They also appeared none too worried about working alongside Mr Cameron’s Conservative party, or Mr Clegg’s Libdems along with many another pro union grouping besides. Are they now implying that the system of government they worked so hard to endorse to Scotland’s electorate isn’t quite up to scratch? That they’re passing down *gasp* needlessly punitive or highly inept legislation? Shocker!

Personally speaking though, I’m finding this current narrative of Labour’s hard to take. In my book, you don’t get to dump in someones living room then demand they clean up your mess. You certainly don’t get to endorse a political union, impose a system of government and a practice of politics, then moan about how bad its all turned out to those who didn’t want it in the first place. Or indeed, how badly their representatives are supposedly handling the shit pile you’ve helped dump in their laps.

Just so Labour is aware? You also don’t get to rewrite history.

You know readers, it’s not hard to find evidence that reaffirms your world view in this day and age. If you want to hate a thing, you simply read or watch information streams where you know you’ll find like minded bods telling you stuff you already believe to be reality. Some folk call it living in a bubble. The YES movement are accused of this all the time as most readers of pro indy sites are aware, but we’re not the only ones. The mainstream party political orthodoxy and the media are no less of a bubble and yet should require just the same scrutiny by each and every one of us.

The real test, again as many in the YES movement are aware, comes when you venture out to ask questions of your own belief of a narrative and of the people and institutions you have invested your trust in.

Just sayin’ like, but there’s a lot of YES voters out there today who weren’t always independence minded. These people still check out the mainstream media and its narrative near every day too, they just look at what is being said through new eyes and are prepared to consider the alternative viewpoint. Doesn’t seem such a difficult ask, but in this day and age it’s most certainly a radical and refreshing concept.

Something for the political class to consider. The days of mushroom farming the population may well be numbered. Tick tock.

For what it’s worth

A guest post by Samuel Miller

Back in May of this year I wrote the post Survival of the fittest. In that post I outlined what I considered to be my own personal summary of the challenges faced by UK society and the nature of the forces ranged against the YES movement, or indeed any movement seeking a fairer, more just system of government. Basically my thoughts on why we are where we are.

I pointed out what I felt were a couple of reasons for that and as a refresher, here’s the second one: “The second reason we are where we are? That would be the fault of the electorate. You get who you vote for. You get the society you contribute to – or don’t, as the case may be. For generations the populations of the UK bought into the big lie of our governance, that it gave a shit, could be trusted, was just the way it was meant to be. We allowed ourselves to be reduced to ‘ists’, ‘isms’ and labels (Makes that whole dividing thing so much easier). We allowed our system of government to take our best and brightest, make over their idealism and turn them into ‘weel kent’ faces we would vote for, perpetuating the cycle of legislative abuse. Worse, we allowed them to tell us who to trust, who to vote for, who to alienate and who to hate.”

For the removal of any doubt. What people are up against today hasn’t become any less frightening:

Poverty, Hate Crime, Austerity UK, Democratic Deficit, Brexit, 

Constitutional Crisis, Eire/NI, Legislative Abuse, Food Bank Growth

That wee list could be endless. You could literally cut and paste linked examples all day and I haven’t even touched on the usual subjects of ‘politics as it is practised’, the meeja, or a host of individual policies and scandals over recent years. If people are looking for something that needs to be opposed. If they’re looking for baddies under the bed, or something to get outraged about, then there are plenty examples to be found. There are people and causes who need help in the here and now. Entire populations of these islands, fractured demographics, oppressed minorities. Y’know, human beings.

Me? I’m easily offended and outraged really. A big softie with the accent on the soft bit, which spookily gets softer and wider the older I get (cough). I get offended when those we literally pay to care for our wants and needs abuse the trust we place in them. I am also somewhat miffed when those we empower put their own population in harms way for the sake of party political advantage or pure greed driven self interest (see under any campaign ever, but more recently both the EU and Scottish independence referendums). When they steal from us, abuse their positions, sign our names on the dotted line for illegal wars, or selling arms to others for their wars and abuses of human rights.

I am particularly offended when I see families in 21st century Scotland go without. When they have to make a choice between feeding the weans or paying the bills. I get offended when those least able to defend themselves are preyed upon by empathy free bastards in government who won’t know a day of hardship in their pampered, besuited, public expense fiddling, thieving, entitled lives. Those … people…, who know full well what they do and why they do it, are a special peeve in my book.

Basically, I get offended by people who harm others because they can, or because it benefits themselves. There’s a name for them. No, don’t tell me. It’s on the tip my tongue. It’ll come back in a moment. To be fair though, you could probably use several descriptors forming extended sentences, so fill in your own preference (though not in comments, m’kay? There may be young impressionable folk under fifty reading).

The buck still stops in the very same two places though. It stops with your system of central government and with YOU. The one we have currently feeds off the other’s compliance, acceptance and division. It needs that mix to continue doing all of the above examples and keeping itself and its patrons in the style to which they’ve become accustomed. That and being nearly totally unaccountable to those in it’s care.

Now you can have a system of government, practice of politics and an establishment which demands your compliance, your loyalty and your obedience. Yes you can. You can have a system that uses intimidation, fear and uncertainty as political strategy and practice against its own population. You can live on a media diet of celebrity get me tae f*** out of here and vote this way because the other team’s ‘the wrong sort’ too. You can continue to be told who and what you are by folk you’ve never met, nor walked a mile in your shoes. You can stay on your knees and get kicked repeatedly for daring to think you’re as good as.


Or you can stand up and TELL them you’re as good as. You can have a system that earns your vote, your loyalty, your appreciation and is obedient to the mandate you give it. You can have a government which offers care and aid to all of your population without favour, where and when it is needed. You can have a system of politics that rejects the tools of intimidation and fear because that’s how you want it. You can have a government that’s within the reach of the toe of your boot when it steps out of line, or when it’s politicians feel like dipping their sticky digits into the public kitty.

That choice is entirely up to you.

In the run up to Scotland’s 2014 indyref, many pro indy writers and bloggers wrote of what they feared was the future of a Scotland which still remained a UK partner. Throughout the YES movement we all had some pretty dark thoughts on the potential of that no vote given the nature of UK politics tbf. Back then it was on the horizon, something waiting to happen, but which we hoped would not. Personally, even in the aftermath of the vote, I hoped we were wrong, that the worst wouldn’t, couldn’t happen. Well, it’s here now and happening all around us. I also very much doubt it’s even close to the worst of the hardships and challenges our electorates have to face.

It’s not rocket science. We do this together. We work together to fix this, or we lose more than you can possibly imagine. We dump the rosettes, the petty grievances, the chips on shooders. We win by celebrating our differences and knowing that we are accepted by each other as a whole package. That’s kinda what it means to be a community, a population. We come from every walk of life imaginable and these days a fair few points of origin, but we ARE Scottish citizens. We are Scots. Think about that for a second. Really think about what it means and what it could mean.

You either govern for ALL, or you’re not fit to govern. Equally you either want a system of government capable of that, or you don’t deserve one.

I’ll leave it to readers to make their own minds up of course, but I know what I’d rather have.


Who knew?

A guest post by Samuel Miller

A recurring theme running through the press these days is that the EU just keep coming up with unreasonable demands.  Indeed the narrative from certain quarters of government and the meeja paints a picture of beleaguered UK diplomats and ministers bravely fighting off unfair demands and tactics from dastardly furren agencies intent on punishing the UK because… reasons. So, not the more logical explanation of panic stricken politicians, hopelessly out of their depth, in a catastrophic situation of their own making and looking for a scapegoat at all then?

Y’know, it’s even been recently touted that Brexiteering high heid yins in cabinet are set to go off in a major stroomph because these unreasonable furriners don’t understand how this whole Brexit business should work (mainly in their favour dammit). Seems they don’t like the idea of having to put any possible new rules in place whilst they’re seeking to ditch the existing ones and that’s just not cricket. As I recall and so far as I know, whilst you’re still a memberor aspiring to trade with the EU, then you still have to adhere to their rules, but without voting rights or input to relevant bodies. 

So, yes. Yes it is a pain and I can even understand the frustration of having to administer any new legislation during this negotiation period, but there is a more important question here. Given that the Lisbon Treaty A50 is pretty clear on an exiting member’s voting rights and participation on voting bodies, why weren’t the government prepared or apparently aware of this possible eventuality? Did they actually think the EU would just stop legislating for its members because of Brexit?

As has been highlighted in a previous post: From the EU’s perspective, they aren’t going anywhere. They didn’t force anyone to do anything and didn’t kick anyone out, but they do have rules (as does any club). So far as they are concerned, those rules help ensure and facilitate peace, trade, access and rights between all of its member states. The remaining twenty seven nations agree to live by those rules and enshrined at the core are the four freedoms

Is it just me, or is there apparently a breathtaking lack of self awareness by UK government and sections of the media over Brexit? It’s either that or, and this may come as a shock to some readers, it appears some are being more than a little disingenuous on actual facts surrounding the nature of Brexit, its possible repercussions and the processes involved (cough).

Surely then, it is entirely reasonable for the continuing body to expect that you adhere to their rules whilst you are still a member, seek access to trade agreements, transitioning to exit, or are still locked in a negotiating process? Does it not also seem reasonable that the continuing body expects the rights of its member citizens, currently in your care, receive due consideration? Isn’t it reasonable that all the leaving member’s financial commitments are settled appropriately, to each party’s satisfaction and that a pressing issue which may have dire repercussions for current and former members achieve a desirable resolution?

On that note…

Just when your expectations of the Conservative government’s handling of Brexit negotiation outcomes couldn’t be any lower, they always seem to find new and interesting ways of limbo dancing under a tick’s bum with inches to spare. It’s a talent few would aspire to, but an absolutely essential trait when you’re a minister responsible for… something or other. Right down there with the empathy bypass, telling you the order of … things and backstabbing for the career minded. (There’s probably more you can add to that list, but for the sake of brevity and all that.)

So naturally, not to be outdone on the art of stroomphing and in an astonishing (sark) ‘hold my beer’ moment, International Trade Secretary Liam Fox has said that basically the Irish border issue should not be settled until after there has been a trade agreement with the EU. This, of course, flies in the face of the three issues which the EU have contended needed immediate attention from pretty much day one. Those being: Settlement of outstanding financial commitments, the rights of EU citizens and naturally the border issue between Eire and Northern Ireland.

I mean, what’s the worst that could happen when you use people who have home grown political and economic issues as bargaining chips in a trade negotiation? In fact, what’s the worst that can happen when you ignore agreements, assurances and guarantees given to members of your own political union?  Personally I’d say that the situation both for Northern Ireland and Scotland should never have arisen, but then I would. Bearing in mind the UK was the member who initiated the entire process, not the EU, you’d have thought UK gov would have prepared contingencies for Northern Ireland and Scotland. You’d have thought their electorates and their standing constitutional settlements and agreements might have merited some consideration before the whole thing kicked off, but apparently not.

All together now… WHO KNEW?

Seriously though, I believe the government and elements of media need to perhaps take another look at the combative/competitive tone they currently are intent on selling the public. The whole ‘them against us’ language doing the rounds may just have a down side is all ah’m sayin’. Certainly some of your actual diplomacy may not go wrong at this point. Seein’ as how, Brexit or not, the neighbours are still the neighbours and you may, at the very least, want to be on friendly chatting terms with them. It may also be helpful if the political class in general would, (just for once), come clean with the true state of affairs regarding Brexit. Not saying those impact reports (minus the redaction), wouldn’t come in handy for the public about now or anything, but y’know…

At this juncture, many would argue the damage has already been done. The UK’s economy, equally arguably and to put it mildly, is somewhat challenged over ongoing austerity and looming Brexit measures back to back. The government’s reputation on the international stage is not in its best shape ever and the practice of politics in the UK has seemingly descended into jingoistic, soundbite and media-driven, farce. In as little as three years since Scotland’s indyref, the nature of party politics as it is practised have brought the peoples of these islands to the brink.

Might be worth the movers and shakers asking themselves, do they really want to pursue a politically combative and societally polarizing strategy? Do we really need to make a potentially volatile situation any worse than it already is?

Their choice of course, but on track record to date? I’m guessing another ‘who knew?’ moment will be along in the very near future.

All you hoped for

A guest post by Samuel Miller

Two referendums in two years, the backgrounds of which this site and many another have gone over pretty extensively. Two winning campaigns roundly criticized for their negativity, lack of clarity, lack of honesty and ultimately their ability to deliver on their pledges and assurances. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but I’m sure there’s a pattern forming.

Brexit is an unqualified and unquantifiable mess right now and that’s before the UK gets to the nitty gritty on how it plans to earn a crust in the world with a much reduced circle of trading partners and basically sweet fanny adams to trade with other than superb jam. The blame game is in full swing across the media at this point as you’d expect, with both sides claiming intransigence and only one of course being right. From the EU’s perspective, they aren’t going anywhere. They didn’t force anyone to do anything and didn’t kick anyone out, but they do have rules (as does any club). So far as they are concerned, those rules help ensure and facilitate peace, trade, access and rights between all of its member states. The remaining twenty seven nations agree to live by those rules and enshrined at the core are the four freedoms. They break those rules to accommodate the UK’s wish list and what point the EU?  So, no. No I can’t see them breaking the rules, that every other nation in the EU adhere to, in order to sort the economic, political and societal headaches which the UK brought upon itself. The simplest of questions – Why is that supposed to be their responsibility? Their responsibility is to the European Union and the remaining twenty seven member states surely?

But, y’know, the UK is back in control and it has sovereignty and … stuff. The world will queue at our door to do business (even though we told it to fuck off for being too furren) and the EU won’t just cut us loose because they need our trade (even though they’re furren too and we decided we didn’t want to play with them anymore). They’ll come round to what we want. Wait and see if they don’t.

That is the common perception of the Brexit vote you know? That it was, if not driven by, certainly tainted by more than just a hint of xenophobia, isolationism, protectionism and selfishness. It doesn’t matter whether, as a leave voter, that was your driving issue or not. THAT is how the Brexit vote is perceived and not just in our own press. You look at the comment sections beneath any Brexit story in today’s UK media (though dear God, do NOT go anywhere near the Mail comments) and it’s hard to argue otherwise. There’s a lot of that attitude on display.

‘Course no one seemed to consider the economic repercussions much during the campaign. Just what effect removing entire demographics from the tax and investment base might do to the UK economy? No one thought much about those furren firms who based their manufacturing units and their brass plaques in UK cities specifically because of those existing trade agreements or because they wanted access to EU markets. I don’t suppose it crossed many horizons either to think about research facilities, university programmes, subsidies, grants, even low paid industrial or rural economy jobs many wouldn’t do themselves. The perception is that few even considered the wider effect on society. On people, human beings.

Is it all they hoped for so far d’you think? The movers and shakers of the Brexit campaign/narrative. Is the reaction from the EU, the individual nations of the EU and near half of the UK’s population what they expected? It’s not done yet. Not by a very long way.

Across the UK there are around three million people of continental origin resident. Some 190k (119k from accession states), of those are resident in Scotland. About now, they have every reason to feel more than a little concerned. They have more than a little reason to feel betrayed by UK central government and the wider UK population. They absolutely have more than a little reason to wonder what comes next? They just had the ground ripped out from under their lives and their belief in some things they thought to be certainties has been more than a little dented. Those feelings sound familiar to anyone in the YES movement?

These people are Scottish citizens, new Scots if you will, but Scottish citizens. Individuals, families, people who have done us the honour of selecting our nation to either work or settle in. They chose us. They chose this nation and this land to make their home. It doesn’t stop there though, does it? What of nationalities from all over the globe who have chosen to make Scotland their home? People who have chosen to become Scottish citizens. How do you feel about Westminster parliament deciding who your friends are? Who gets to stay? Who gets told to leave? Who has rights and who doesn’t?

Don’t know about anyone else, but I’m not entirely happy on being labelled a bad host. I’m definitely not big on turning away friends or those in need. Maybe that’s just me though.

Scotland, Scottish citizens. Quite a concept, eh?

Maybe something to think about.


This will be my last post before our host and the dug return from a much deserved break. I’d like to take this oppurchancity to thank all the readers for bearing with the site and myself over the past couple of weeks. Your great comments and patience with yours truly are very much appreciated.