From My Parallel Universe

Thank you, Johann for the biggest laugh on the last day of the year. Reading the end-of-year bromides from our political leaders, I was absent-mindedly sipping my tea when I came across this.

Johann Lamont urged Scots to conduct the debate respectfully, especially as the eyes of the world would be upon them. “Will they see a healthy and invigorating debate about how we best cooperate and engage with our neighbours and exercise power to make a difference?”

My eyes widened in amazement. “Or will they see a bad-tempered debate, mired in bitterness and grievance? Will they see a divided country that has turned in on itself?” Now I was spraying English Breakfast across the IKEA kitchen tops. Johann accusing others of grievance and negativity…just picture in your mind that glowering face at FMQs, those sidling eyes, the pointing finger and hear that doom-laden, threatening voice.

Did she really say that? Has she seriously looked back at her leadership  and thought it could be characterised as anything other than sour, negative and at times, insulting?

Oct 2012 Approves Salmond being called “barefaced liar” by Paul Martin.

April She refers to First Minister in chamber as “Wee Eck”.

Oct Labour leader Johann Lamont was twice asked to withdraw claims that the SNP Government was “dishonest”

Nov  “It would seem we have a fool here who has no plan B on the currency.”

More than half her questions have been about independence yet she says that is Salmond’s obsession. Remember her stunt of having elderly patients with a grievance in the chamber and blaming the First Minister personally for their treatment, not the highly paid hospital managers. Talk about cheap and manipulative.

Add in Johann’s notorious description of nationalism as a virus and the Soviet-style expunging of her “something-for-nothing” speech and…oh, you get the point. Perhaps most disturbing is the way she mirrors the very characteristic she accuses Salmond of…self-delusion and a failure to acknowledge wrongs. I can’t help thinking there is more to Johann than we ever see and if only she could adopt on a day-to-day basis the tone she strikes in her New Year message, we could have a thoughtful debate to be proud of. But how long will it last? Until the first FMQs of 2014 is my bet.

I didn’t think Salmond himself had much to say except a theme that will recur…that this is the chance for change, don’t miss it. Don’t wake up the day after and regret it.

But Alistair Carmichael was best of all. He said to take care to think this through and check all the facts before you vote and not to act on a hunch but to use your head. Hear, hear. He said there was confusion over EU membership – you’re in the Cabinet Alistair, get them to write to Barroso for formal legal advice. Also, can you tell us if we will still be members after a UK referendum on the EU? He said there was doubt about the currency. Give us a definitive statement, Alistair. Is Osborne saying No or is he saying Maybe? Please clarify. He also says there are doubts about the costs of independence. That is true but he could clarify the costs of Union? The Institute for Fiscal Studies – much respected – says there will be tax rises after the next British election. There are more cuts of £47 billion planned which cannot be sustained without rises. Can you tell us how much those rises will be?

Lastly Alistair has confirmed my thesis outlined in Generation X – that this is not just about independence and that voting No is a positive vote for the UK as your country of preference over Scotland. He says: “A No vote to remain part of the UK should not merely be viewed as a rejection of independence. It should be seen as a positive and historic endorsement of the UK that generations of Scots have helped to build and improve.” There it is…the definitive statement. Vote for the UK because it takes precedence over Scotland. Vote No and effectively declare that Scotland is the second of your choices. You put Britain first and Scotland second. You are a proud Scot whose allegiance is to Britain. Now we’re getting somewhere. (I knew Alistair would be good for the debate).

By this time next year, the phoney war will be over and the first steps to a new Scotland under way…what a Hogmanay it will be.

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37 thoughts on “From My Parallel Universe

  1. Johann who? 😉

  2. “..that this is not just about independence and that voting No is a positive vote for the UK as your country of preference over Scotland..”

    What a gross misrepresentation of an argument.

    This debate will get evermore bitter if the SNP continue to make these kind of them against us arguments.

    The argument should be whether it is in Scotland’s best interests to remain in a political union with the rest of the UK.

    Not whether those who think it is in Scotland’s best interests to stay in the UK put the UK ahead of Scotland. That quite frankly is infantile nonsense.

    • In which case, are you finally prepared to put forward your own vision of the future in the UK. Or possibly and miraculously the mystical positive reason to stay in the Union? Sadly I doubt it. Your job is just to ask questions and cause as much confusion as possible is it not?

    • Derek There should be a warning above all your blogs. ‘ Put down all liquids and food before reading’ 😉 Thanks for brightening up 2013. Your blogs are honest, intelligent and very very funny. All the best for 2014.

    • “Infantile nonsense” Grahamski? As in the infantile nonsense you repeatedly post in your mostly anti-SNP, anti-Scottish Independence rants?

    • We need a positive case for the Union then Mr Ski

    • Are you really that thick ? – if so away and post elsewhere. This crap seriously betrays that you are not as erudite as you seem to think.

    • But there is no rational basis for the belief that it is in Scotland’s best interests to remain in a political union with the rest of the UK.

  3. On the other hand I thought the ending of Alex Salmond’s New Year speech (, from about 2:00 minutes in, was very subtly provocative. He was of course imagining a different parallel universe. One where we’d be voting as an independent country to join with whatever it was that Westminster were offering by way of a Union.

    Hah. (The eyes sidling.)

    All the best for the New Year, Derek and I look forward to further bulletins from you in 2014.

  4. Nicely put Grahamski;

    “The argument should be whether it is in Scotland’s best interests to remain in a political union with the rest of the UK.”

    Well; I have looked at the arguments and I recon it is NOT in Scotland’s best interest to remain in a political union with the rest of the UK.

    I’ll be voting YES!

    • Mr Evans

      And it is your right to think so.

      However, to turn the issue into whether you put the UK or Scotland first is both tawdry and infantile.

      And does nothing for the debate but drag it into the gutter.

      Let’s hope the SNP up their game in 2014.

      In the meantime have a great Hogmanay and I hope 2014 brings you and yours peace and good fortune.

      • Grahamski
        I would understand your indignation if I hadn’t been watching the behaviour of the unionist parties inside the Scottish parliament (think edinburgh trams fiasco and Calman) over the years and FUD in the Scottish press (England gets to experience FUD on immigration) over the past year. I too would like to see a mature debate but I can lay a £ to a penny we aren’t going to get it anytime soon

      • Pretty clear who the uneducated infant is here and the tiresome name ends with ski

      • Well, if the SNP and the other elements of the Yes campaign can up their game even further there’s no doubt about which side will win in September.

  5. Each and every time I see Johann Lamont I think of Tam O Shanter.
    “Where sits our sulky, sullen dame,
    Gathering her brows like gathering storm,
    Nursing her wrath to keep it warm.”!
    I certainly would not like to take home an opened paypacket to her!
    BTW the Darling boy was born in London.
    Loved the piece

  6. The man of many statements but no answers has appeared again! A personification of probably the most corrupt, dishonest and hypocritical branch of a political party in Western Europe calling itself Scottish Labour. Johann Lamont asks for “respectful debate” – fabricated rape case was worse than disrespectful! Name – calling, disrespect for our Parliament and the presiding officer. Like many former Labour supporters the more I read Scottish Labour politicians and, it has to be said, their supporters, the more sure I am that I have made the right choice to leave these pseudo Tories and the real Tories out of my life!

  7. Grahamski Falkirk

    “However, to turn the issue into whether you put the UK or Scotland first is both tawdry and infantile.”

    I disagree. That IS the whole question right there.

    Do you put Scotland first or the UK?

    If you put the UK first then you deny Scotland’s right to be a country and to interact in the global family of nations with her own voice. We will forever have another country doing our talking for us.

    For me and many others it is a no-brainer.

    Scotland first.

    • I put Scotland first and believe it is in our best interests to maintain the political union with the rest of the UK.

      That is not me putting the UK before Scotland merely that I believe it is in Scotland’s best interests to remain in the UK.

      Just like I believe that it is in the UK’s best interests to be part of a wider union – the EU.

      UKIP argue that I put Brussels before my country by supporting the UK’s continued membership.

      Does that UKIP argument sound at all familiar?

      • You are not putting Scotland first.

        You are putting the UK first.

        You say you believe that it is in Scotland’s best interest to stay in a Union that has put Scotland in the unenviable position of having some of the worst child poverty in Europe and lowest life expectancy in Europe. That’s in our interest?

        Just what is it about the UK that is so good for us in Scotland? Having nuclear weapons to threaten people with? Having a large ‘defence’ force to attack other people with? Having huge amounts of Scotland’s wealth stolen and squandered by the people who govern our country as a region?

        I want to remain in Europe, but I want to do it as Scotland not as the UK.

      • I put Scotland first (?) – no you don’t. Your one of Britains little helpers, you dont give a fig about Scotland or her people. End of.
        Shared allegiance rubbish. The Brits are welcome to your type, their glorious empire ran on the fuel provided by your type.

      • It’s generally a good idea to have a rational basis for beliefs.

      • The logic of your argument here is the EU should have all powers except those they decide should be devolved. Is that what you want?
        That would put the UK in same position to EU as Scotland is to UK currently

  8. I believe the referendum question being asked is “Do you agree that Scotland should be an independent country”.
    Nothing about breaking up the UK or the British Labour party or anything else related to So called British identity.
    Of course,in making this decision,identity is a major factor and since the majority of Scots identify themselves as being primarily Scots then the outcome is most likely a Yes vote.
    Also,Scots are going to have to consider whether they wish to remain Dependent on handouts from London or not.
    These,I think are the major considerations.

    • Quite. I don’t need lessons from Grahamski or anyone else about where my loyalties should lie. By contrast, however – since this is obviously where the discussion can reasonably take place – like many others I am waiting to hear what it is that persuades people such as Grahamski that “it is in Scotland’s best interests to remain in a political union with the rest of the UK.” All the arguments I come across suggest exactly the opposite.

  9. Tempsbizarre – you will get no answer to that one – there isn’t one. Maybe you could excuse them for enjoying the UK pretence at importance and the bizarre adoration of Royalty that infests some of this island – indeed maybe some of them live in hope of a bauble – and that’s even those that describe themselves as “socialist”! “I put Scotland first” he doth protest. Well, I put people first regardless of the fact I want Scotland to run itself. Maybe the socialists among us would realize that at least we could get rid of “food banks” and of course the Red Cross operating in UK for the first time since the war. Scotland’s independence is rUk’s only hope!

    • Yes, I agree with what you say. Indeed, as illustrated by the New Year broadcast that I mentioned earlier, the absurdity of the proposition that an independent Scotland (were it so) might consider joining the present system of government in Westminster as part of the UK could only be countered – such is the nature of absurdity – by an act of faith.

  10. The only question on the referendum ballot – ‘Do you agree that Scotland should be an independent country?’ – is not really the best question to ask according to ‘G’ and his cohorts. Oh, well then, let’s drop it and ask something along the lines of ‘The argument should be whether it is in Scotland’s best interests to remain in a political union with the rest of the UK.’ Or, maybe let’s not bother.

    Funny thing is – the official and one and only question in the referendum ballot paper specifically does not mention the ‘UK’ or ‘union’, it asks only about Scotland, so if ‘G’ and his erstwhile cohorts are truly ‘Scottish’ as they claim, no doubt ‘proudly’ to be, their preferred answer to the ‘offishul’ question, can only be ‘YES’. Tough love, eh?

    Doncha really think It really silly to try and insert your own question, after you had the chance to improve the lot of ‘a political union with the rest of the UK’ by offering a Devo-Max question, but turned it down flat! Sh** truly happens! Whoooops-a-daisy!

  11. Like many, I’ve thought for a good while now that the ‘jam tomorrow’ arguments would evaporate after the vote (should NO prevail) and control; of the political agenda had passed back to Westminster. I assumed that it would be on the basis that the referendum was a positive affirmation of the status quo. But even so, I’m a bit surprised to see that view so literally stated by Carmichael.

    Vote NO, get nothing.

  12. Another good article Mr. Bateman. I hope in 2014 Presiding Officer Tricia Marwick really ups her game, so to speak, and cracks down hard on those like Lamont and the desk thumpers behind her, who are seemingly intent on dragging FMQs down to the “bear-pit” antics of Westminster’s PMQs. My own opinion is that either Christine Graham or Margo MacDonald should have been elected to the position. I can’t imagine Lamont getting away with defying either of those two formidable ladies, when ordered to withdraw any of her playground level insults to the First Minister!

  13. Grahamski,
    I bet when you were at school, that you sided up with the school bully,because you were too insecure
    In your self to stand up for yourself , and now that you have “grown-up” that thought still lingers with
    you. (Or to put it another way, is it not about time you grew a testicle or two!!).

  14. Grahamski – The Battle for Falkirk has left you and your party in the worst possible state with a MSP who was rejected by the good Labour folk of Airdrie and Coatbridge as your PPC.

    I have watched you post for over two years and not once have you made any indication as to what is the positive benefit of this increasingly London centric ‘Union’ to Scotland. Project Fear has turned into Project Farce and the polling figures are clearly so bad even Boris Johnson is now worried that Better Together has made a complete Horlicks of the campaign. All that Tory money stuffed into Better Together and the polls are already running against them.

    Where is the Better Together presentation requested by the Electoral Commission so the Scots know exactly what a ‘No’ vote will mean? The one Better Together were supposed to have published by the 23rd December?

    The problem of relying on ‘jam tomorrow’ is Scots have read that particular label including the tiny little small print that says contents of ‘jam tomorrow’ will be very different to what it states on the jar.

    If you are the best Better Together can come up with … well is it any surprise the polls are turning against you?

  15. Oh David McCann that is so apt!
    A good New Year to all, when it comes

  16. Grahamski: political union with the rest of the UK has taken Scotland, in recent times, into conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.
    Financial union with the rest of the UK,in recent times, has caused Scotland to face a substantial debt burden that analysis, going back but a few decades, demonstrates would not exist had Scotland been financially independent.
    Could you oblige and explain why political and financial union with the rest of the UK is beneficial.

  17. “to maintain the political union with the rest of the UK”

    The people of Scotland, or England, have never had a say in the existence of the “political union” except to endorse it at Westminster elections. Westminster permitted Scotland to have a limited-issue Parliament at Holyrood (Scotland Act 1998). In our desire for a Scottish Parliament, we paid insufficient attention to the list of “reserved matters”. Few Scots knew, or cared, about the powers that Westminster retained, not the least being the power to create (or remove) the Scottish Parliament.

    By holding a referendum (question, data and franchise decided in Scotland), we have shown that, with the support of the people, Scotland has the right to dissolve the political union. Why should a “political union” exist without the stated will of the people?

    But of course there were those who did not want the referendum, who did not want to test the will of the people.

  18. A very happy New Year to all.

    It is worth remebering that characters such as this Grahamski and Hothersall et al are simply cogs in the Unionist machine established over the past 306 years to deny Scotland it’s voice, and to lie and lie again and again to cover up the fact that Scotland is a viable country. It is how imperialism has worked since the begining of time. England has had some fantastic masters at this game, not least the Romans and Normans who enslaved them and assimilated them with much of their culture and idealism. It is their knowledge of their dna and history that causes the spitting and sneering we can witness in the likes of the DT and the Daily Heil when Scotland is discussed. They seeth with bitterness and envy at our ancient culture and traditions. Features they tried so hard to deny us over the centuries. Over the past one thousand years there has been one country that has tried again and again and failed to subdue Scotland and that is England. They have failed and 2014 will finally seal their failure for ever. Alex Salmond has made much of Scotlands modern political history and he is about to write himself in to the history books of our country for ever. It is that fact that keeps the bile flowing from the troll mentioned. The hatred oozes from him like a putrid pluke. When you see these people, the best thing to do is to completly blank them. Not only does this infuriate them, but it denys then the oxygen of publicity.

    It has long since been proven that Grahamski emanates from daan saath, since his moniker first appeared in The Herald, from which he was quickly banned, he then migrated to that other rag The Scotsman which is now on life support. On that forum he invented a wee pretend friend called Meths, whom he used to go for imaginary pints with in places he found on Google. They would exchange couthy wee quips and in jokes, mostly around the weeks footie fixtures. When genuine punters from Falkirk fronted them up for a meet it would go very quiet for a few weeks and then begin again. It was amusing if incredibly childish drivel.

    But his best was pre 2011 Scottish election when he boasted about his nightly canvassing, at time when he was also seen posting on the forums. How he was receiving incredible feed back for Labour and tha the was confident due to his own private polling that there was to be a Labour landslide. My sides are still sore.

    He is a troll and a complete and utter fraud, ignore the fool.

  19. Seeing as we now have 33% more dentists under the SNP, shouldnt JoLa take advantage of this and get her gub fixed … wouldnt stop the crap she comes out with, but at least she wouldnt look so bad!

  20. Hi there, I check your blog regularly. Your story-telling style
    is witty, keep doing what you’re doing!

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