Tough Love

Like millions of other people, (John Smith) knew that loving your country and at the same time wanting to be part of something bigger does not make you any less Scottish…

That’s right, Prime Minister, and that’s what I think about Scotland in the EU.

However, you have neatly sidestepped the one thing that defines us as a country – and every other country in the world. It’s called independence. Sovereignty. Self-determination. Home rule.


What you haven’t explained is how a person can love their country but think it isn’t worthy of running its own affairs. If you deny your country the right to be recognized as a nation with its own government like all the others, you diminish your country, no matter how much you love it.

As your own legal advice explains, the British view of Scotland is that it was merged into greater England/Britain 300 years ago and in terms of international law, it literally does not exist. If I said that of England – that there is no England to belong to, it was taken over by Britain and has no separate legal identity of its own, would you agree? Would Conservative voters in England stand and applaud if you told them to keep English identity as a comfort blanket but accept that being an Englishman was now impossible in reality because they are all British?

There’ll always be an England – except in international law. How does that sound? What would your reaction be if Alex Salmond sallied into Oxfordshire and told your constituents they had the same status in the Union as Scots, that the parliament was moving to Edinburgh and their national budget would be set there with monetary policy based on the Scottish pound? Sorry, we’re dropping God Save the Queen but we’re sending you the words of Flower of Scotland…?


Unimaginable, of course. But why? Because England and its champions have assumed the superior status in Union for the last three centuries and conflate the country the Union created, the United Kingdom, with their own England. The two are indissoluble, immutable, indivisible. British sovereignty IS English independence. It requires no further explanation. There is no demand for an English parliament precisely because they have one already. It’s called Westminster.

It leaves us with a problem, though, doesn’t it? We surrendered our independence in order to join together in equal partnership in a new country. We didn’t sign up to be subsumed and to be told the currency we share isn’t shared at all but belongs to the bigger partner. I don’t imagine the Commissioners, those that weren’t bribed, in 1707 thought either that mutual respect would descend through the centuries into juvenile jibes that Scots are paid for by English coin or are incapable of organising themselves to run their own affairs. I doubt if they’d believe a fifth of our children 300 years later would live miserable lives in poverty with little chance of escape or that the parliament we signed up for would so rarely reflect our national view.

What is a country without its sovereignty? When you use the word country, does it not carry the implication of independence, whatever bilateral alliances it has or membership of groupings pooling sovereignty? Of course it does. Only not in Scotland’s case where all the trappings of a country from a parliament and a government to flags and emblems define us rather than the power to run our own affairs.

The idea of joining together to share is a fine one, when you are able to do so from a position of national power – as all 28 members of the European Union do. They share, they pool but they retain their independence.

If Scotland puts the Great into Great Britain, why are we in need of your Treasury subsidies? What Great country doesn’t pay its own way? Your government has dedicated itself to proving that Scotland would be significantly worse off without your feather-bedding and your own supporters sneer that Scotland would have been bankrupted by the banking crisis so are you aware of how insincere it sounds when you praise us as if the past never happened…

And, on the same note, when did a Labour politician become one of your heroes? I do remember you lauding Margaret Thatcher but John Smith? Isn’t that another rather recent conversion? I suspect you’re working hand-in-glove with Douglas Alexander now and having your lines written for you. To be blunt, I’m not convinced that Smith resonates outside the Labour payroll the way they like to think. He had strengths for sure and debating armoury in the Commons was high among them, but I don’t think Scots warmed to him the way they did Dewar. (Perhaps that’s the next lost leader to be paraded).

Smith is your flag-bearer and another Labour man, Darling, is your spokesman. I suppose that’s the Union at work, eh? Cross-party and inclusive, working to keep the system in place that allows you to decimate public spending down to 1948 levels, allows Atos to make profits out of declaring cancer sufferers and war veterans fit for work, forces people out of their homes, caps benefits no matter the size or troubles of families, deliberately plans to make children worse off, forces people into food banks but won’t take European money to pay for them, more than doubles the number of working families in need of top-up benefits and prioritises nuclear weapons renewal… Labour and Tory hand in hand defending the indefensible. That is Great Britain. It is the unholy alliance of right wing zealots penalising working people with the self-righteous Labour Party contorting itself to regain power only to deliver more of the same. Love your country by crushing the people who make it?

I read of people in England ‘fed up with Scottish bleating’. Well, I am too. I’m sick of making the same arguments again and again and getting nowhere. Time to stop complaining and time for action.


You hold John Smith’s hand and proclaim your love of Scotland. I’ll hold the hand of my fellow Scots and demonstrate my love of Scotland on September 18. We show our love of country by bestowing on it all the power and dignity of self-government…and then reversing the despicable policies the British state has imposed. Liberty, egality, fraternity…they all spring from sovereignty. It is the power to act that creates the freedom and equality and the care for others. We can’t wait any longer.

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75 thoughts on “Tough Love

  1. Heady, powerful, liberating stuff, Derek. More power to your word processor!

  2. WOW! Shared.

    • Also shared on three different FB pages. Mr. Bateman, sir, I salute you. I haven’t heard things so clearly put in all the diatribe combined. WELL DONE!!

  3. Amen to all that.

    Great stuff.

  4. Very powerful and says what so many of us feel

  5. Oh Bravo! If ever anything needed saying, this is it. Well done you.

    • Les Wilson (Islay)

      Does anyone remember Monklandsgate, when John Smith’s constituency was mired in a nepotism scandal? I seems we’re encouraged to remember Labour’s lost leader, but not the sins of the deeply flawed party he represented.

  6. Now that’s a post.

    I am sick to bloody death of being told how to think of my country. I am more than sick of being told who I am and what my motivations are for voting YES in this referendum by twisted party wonks looking to get their shoe in the door of the HoL.

    Scotland is a country without the power to determine its own course, but make no mistake we are a country. We have a defined border, a thriving distinct culture and an ancient history. Our NHS, Law and Churches are already very separate entities and needless to say our political tendencies already veer wildly away from the neoliberal experiment as practiced by Westminster’s establishment.

    We only require one thing and one thing only to underline the fact that Scotland is a country.

    A YES vote on September 18th and the return of full political sovereignty to the Scottish electorate.

  7. In the spirit of your French revolutionary theme, Je suis d’accord complètement. This and your preceding article are absolutely spot on target.

    • Ouis! Liberte, Fraternite, Egalite,. If I may be permitted a personal indulgence, my Aunt, who died earlier this year at 84 was a noted scholar who ran tours around the French exhibits at the Burrell Gallery. She was delighted to see that Scotland finally had the gumption to look to a future and not the past. She would have been a Yes. Now where is the David to depict Carnot, Danton and Robespierre. This is a historic time, and needs to be recorded. Cameron the Bourbon, only not as tasty as the biscuit.

  8. Liberty, egality, fraternity — maybe we should make that our chant. This post puts into words how I feel. I’m fed up being a second class citizen in Greater England, and even more fed up with Tories in alliance with LabLibDems parachuting in to tell me how rubbish I am, and how I need folk who know absolutely nothing about me or my country to look after my interests and tell me what to do.

    This is not about Alex Salmond, this is not about the SNP. This is personal. And a hell of a lot of us feel the same. These lectures from above are all about destroying our sense of who we are, our confidence. Let’s just hope those still intending to vote No can gather together their remaining scraps of confidence to put their cross in the Yes box.

  9. Superb! Best blog yet and thank you greatly for it.

  10. iheartScotland

    Powerful, passionate and true.All power to you Derek.Thanks.

  11. I applaud you Mr Bateman. This article is just pure brilliant!

  12. Oxygen for the battle ahead. Thank you, Derek.

  13. We’ve had the scare stories, now the love bombs. Next it will be the guilt trip… just as a regular break up goes, when the other party doesn’t want the partner to leave

  14. excellent post; exceelent comments – now can we get these words spread far and wide – we need to step up the clarion call to ALL Scots and that includes the ‘Poud but…’ version.

    we need a YES on the 18th – just sorry I can’t help, as I am excluded but, hope to be back next year to be of some assistance in building our Country, until I shed this mortal coil.

  15. sorry – just noted spelling errors – glad this is not on ‘Wings’

    ‘excellent’ and ‘Proud’

  16. Maurice Taylor

    Excellent Derek. I wish I had the gift you have. More power to your elbow. Shared.

  17. *NOW* You’re hitting your stride Derek. Must be all that public speaking that’s honing your ascerbic observation.

    I was never a great fan of either John Smith or Donald Dewar. I believe they always put the labour party first, british state second and Scotland as an afterthought. Just have a look at Smith’s biog to see how in thrall to the establishment he and his family were/are. I don’t think it’s any coincidence that Sarah is about to start at your old employers and the british establishment is bigging John Smith up to the nines.

    It is all part of the *big* game they are playing. These are not little random things that are happening. The Vote No Borders, the Commonwealth Games ticket “fiasco” (see, you can’t even run a ticket sale never mind a country), you can’t print Scottish pounds, etc, etc. This is all part of a much bigger campaign run by WM, the Civil Service, the BBC, MI5 and all other organisations in thrall to the british establishment. It is co-ordinated and very clever.

    Be under no illusions what we are up against here. The whole british state up to and including the Crown.

    • Agree with your comment re. John Smith and Donald Dewar, but this seems to be the Labour Party all over. Party first, then the voters way down the to do list. I also agree with the fact that we are taking on the British State, we have to acknowledge that but one thing is they really are not that good at it. Why do you think the Americans watch them so carefully.

  18. been following your blog for some time now, but the first post thats moved me to comment.

    very well written and captures the feelings of many. we’re somehow allowing the debate to be rules by short term technical issues rather than the heart of the matter.

    im also not able to vote, I only wish your sentiments could reach a wider audience for a timely reminder of what’s really at stake here.

  19. And just to back up what I was saying Stuart Cosgrove on John Beatties program decrying the bbc for ‘using’ the ‘tickets fiasco’ as somehow demonstrating we couldn’t manage as an independent country. EXACTLY. 13:18 15/05/14 approx.

  20. No disrespect to John Smith’s memory but how desperate has it got when a Tory prime minister uses a former, now passed on, Labour leader as a main theme in his latest speech to the Jocks. I have a very open mind about John Smith, he might have been the best PM we never had but then again he might not. This is our Scotland and this is the here and now and you cannot say with absolute certainty what those who have passed on would have said or done. Would John Smith have been a yes voter? … Naw, probably almost definitely naw but proove it!

    I’m living in the present, I know enough of the history but the circumstances of the present and my desire for a better future for my country are what makes me a YES. Let’s move on.

  21. I’m sure John Smith was a great leader of the Labour Party and a great constituency MP for Monklands but, no disrespect to him or his family, that’s all in the past and we are looking to the future and how to create a country worth living in rather than a romantic ‘historical’ themepark. I’m at a loss as to why the pro-dependence side are constantly talking about the past, whether it’s celebrating the start of WW1, reliving the days of their empire or now discovering the memory of John Smith.

  22. Warmed to Donald Dewar? Not me Derek. I think perhaps you knew him and liked him – I’m told that he was personable and amusing in company, I didn’t know the private persona but his public one is evident and that’s the way i judge him.

    Together with Tony Blair, he arranged, by order in council, to remove 6000 sq miles of the North Sea from Scotland by virtue of re-drawing the border – a breath-taking piece of chicanery. I don’t care how engaging he might have been but that is an act against Scotland which lives on and which he intended should live on. It was waiting to go off like a delayed action explosive device in the event of Scottish Independence.

    After independence, it is something which will have to be undone in negotiations and the rUK can perhaps use it as a negotiating chip gifted to them by that undemocratic act of Donald Dewar and Tony Blair in 1999. So thank you Donald, for being so prescient, but on whose behalf?

    • There is no internationally recognised legal basis for shifting the marine boundary and taking over 6,000 sq miles of sea bed with all that lies beneath it.

      What there is here, is Westminster’s assumptive power play writ large, but it has no basis in international law and it will be tossed out when challenged. Do not grace it with meek acceptance – it is an action that is wrong, was wrong and will be proven wrong.

      • I actually agree with you that it has no standing in law and should be swiftly dismissed by anyone on the Scottish negotiating team. However, it could well be used as a spoiling device by rUK to hinder negotiations while ostensibly waiting for ” clarity ” from international adjudication. It could have no standing obviously because of international ramifications.

        However, what I was actually getting at were Dewar’s intentions. It would look as if he intended it to cause at least some mischief in the event of what were then only possible future negotiations for independence.

        I think that it takes a particular kind of mind and one that was bent on giving every possible advantage to the UK at some future date. When this was done he probably thought that independence was pretty unlikely yet still he connived at this with Blair.

        It was like the proverbial Bad Fairy at the christening hatching a spell to try and blight the future. The Bad Fairy’s spell usually misfired but the intent to cause mischief was still there.

        He was only being a politician after all but i just dislike the soubriquet awarded him of being the “Father of the Parliament “.

  23. Brilliant post. Following Gideon’s shroud waving, we now witness David Cameron resurrecting the ghost of John Smith. Who knows what John Smith would be advocating in current circumstances. If he had any integrity, he would be leading Labour for Independence. Let us not forget one of his enduring gibes at John Major: that whenever he cast about for a weapon to attack the opposition, he invariably selected the boomerang.

  24. The pen is indeed mightier than the sword. Thank you Derek, that made my day.

  25. Rosemary Champion

    Can I have a half pint of whatever you’re drinking, Derek? Fabulous stuff – you’re on a roll!

  26. Ian Brotherhood


    You are cordially invited to the Counting House, George Square, on Friday May 30th, anytime after about six-ish, to meet some of the ‘vile Cybernats’ who regularly comment here, and at Wings, Bella, NNS etc.

    (They’re a rum lot, but you’ve been around the block and I’m sure you could handle them!)

    • If that’s an open invite, I’m sorry I am still stuck in Australia. Don’t get me wrong- I love what I do in the public service here, but I would rather be doing it at home. And if I did it for ‘Scotland’ now, I would be based just outside London.

  27. Cag-does-thinking

    Words indeed for our times. If this was a speech we’d all be on our feet clapping bravo. Fine piece Derek.

  28. Smith was an impressive politician but he’d be for dependence, no question. Absorbed into the green leather of the Commons, the flummery of the royals and the great offices of state bought him body and soul as surely as they’ve bedazzled millions of others over the centuries. Dewar I met on a few occasions and found him personable, witty and intelligent, and pretty unimpressed by all the nonsense mentioned above. Nevertheless, he was Labour Party to the soles of his big banana feet and all that entails – so determined was he that the Scottish Parliament building should not be a “Nationalist shibboleth”, that its design was chosen for thes virtue of being anti-emblematic. The seeds of its troubled construction were planted with that statement (trowelling by Kirtsy Wark). That it has transcended this speaks volumes for what is possible within even a limited vision. Time now to say ‘Yes’ to expanded horizons.

  29. Great post Derek. It’s very telling that the right wing Tory / UKIPers scoff at being members of a Federal Europe. These people do not want to share anything. Their policy is to rule, not share.

  30. Brilliant stuff Derek, the Burgundy seems to be working wonders! Keep it up and enjoy each and every glass.

  31. DB (well everything else gets initials why not you), I feel exactly the same but just couldn’t put it into words.

  32. When i finished read your piece Derek I was speechless. That was one of the most moving and powerful reads i have come across. Brilliant , powerful, emotive and bloody true. This will be quoted in years to come i have no doubt.

    Thank you sir for reminding us all what this referendum means. You have spoken for us all. This has been posted everywhere and will no doubt show on the number of hits you receive .

    Can someone put this on YEW CHOOB and Facebook . Everyone in Scotland and indeed the world can read this and i bet will stir emotions of Scots everywhere.
    It is the time to take our country back.

    Again thank you..

  33. How many real Scots (not proud ones) are going to step into the booth on the 18th Sep. and effectively vote their country out of existence?
    No means Scotland is not a country but the most northern region of Westminsterland and we will have to contine with decisions about our lives being made in England.
    WE Scots have never been asked about whether we like this situation or not but should we decide that we do,then we will be treated with the contempt we deserve by Westminster and our proud Scots can look forward to enhanced career prospects as a reward.
    Excellent stuff Derek.

  34. Brilliant Derek just brilliant

  35. Brilliant piece. Just posted on Facebook. Well said JGedd about Donald Dewar signing 6000 square miles of North Sea oil to Westminster. Have never liked or respected Dewar after that. Could you imagine a Frenchman doing that to his own country. And why were the BBC and the main newspapers silent about this story???????

  36. kishorncommando

    Thanks Derek, can you make a start on the Scottish Constitution for us.
    Even better can someone put your words to music, awesome.

  37. Well said Mr Bateman…your improving with age. Excellent and just keep doing what your doing!

  38. ha Derek just a wee quickie to thank you again.

    Showed your page to a undecided voter (leaning to a No sadly) popped the kettle on and made a cuppa while he had a read.

    His face red when i came back .

    “Who is Derek Bateman”
    “a cybernat” i said “are you ok ”
    “aye … how….. ”
    “you look a wee bit red ”
    “Aye i can feel my cheeks glow………. What else does he write?”

    He sat on my pc for over an hour and is away home to show his wife and two bairns who are old enough to vote . I never asked anything just left him on your page.

    But your words have swayed the stubborn bugger after years of my trying.

    Thank you.

  39. Derek, I wanted to jump up and cheer! Talk about setting the place alight – that was a brilliant piece of writing. Thank you, a thousand times thank you!

  40. Brilliant article. I must admit I’m a wee bit jealous because I would have loved to have written it myself.

  41. We’re going to do this.

    Spoke to two women at my work today who were both in the no camp less than 4 months ago. Both are now firmly of the view that we must vote Yes for a fairer and better society.

    I entioned to one colleague that she should watch a wonderful speech by a consultant breast surgeon Dr Philippa Whitford on the fate that awaits NHS Scotland if we vote no. I couldn’t believe it when she turned to me and said I’ve already seen it and it’s shared on my Facebook.

    We are getting the truth out there and people are turning to the voices of Dr Whitford and Denis Curran and ignoring the scaremongering of Westminster.

    If you haven’t seen Dr Whitford’s speech then please take some time to watch it here:

    • I think I am just a little in love with anyone who cares so much, can speak so well, and has such courage

  42. Derek, that, without doubt, is the best piece of writing I have ever read in relation to our quest for independence. The truth, the fire, the passion in your words, made them jump off the page. Thank you.

  43. Interesting Newsnicht tonight with Better Together BBC, funder of the CBI, working in tandem with SLab to damage the Scottish Gov. Brewer losing the plot with Ms Fox and then throws in an accusation that the Scottish Government funds private polls with taxpayers money.

    Don’t believe people will continue to fund this vile organisation. Why are the journalists not taking action over the BBC/CBI fiasco.

  44. You’re up there with the Kelpies.

  45. Did anyone see the chap on Question Time (from Coventry) who said that were Aberdeen to be in England, then they wouldn’t be having this conversation
    (about independence). There wasn’t a word after he spoke.

    I thought to myself ‘that wasn’t in the script !’

  46. Dr JM Mackintosh

    Derek – Thank you.

  47. Thanks Derek, got my loins going. Should be pinned up outside the BBC at Pacific Quaye. Would you consider a job as president in a free Scotland? I’d vote for you.

  48. And on the subject of tough love check out this performance by Mr Cameron. An exercise in evasion and hypocrisy if ever there was one.

    Note especially his answers on further powers and debating Alex Salmond. He looks more than a tad uncomfortable.

    Nailed on National TV.

  49. Thank you Mr Bateman ,most excellent !

    I have one wee disagreement , I always thought of Mr Dewar as Ichabod Crane , really didn’t care for him much.
    John Smith appeared a very solid citizen but never got the chance to prove himself.

  50. Great stuff – speechless

  51. Best yet Derek.

  52. A great article I agree with all you said well done

  53. Andrew Martin

    My comment is still ‘awaiting moderation’. How does one get past this stage and have it either accepted or rejected?

  54. Powerful stuff, I bet you felt pounds lighter after getting all that out

  55. Thank you Derek. Another fabulous blog.

    I can’t wait for September 18th. If I hear another unionist politician moan about Scots wishing to leave the United Kingdom I’m going to blow a fuse! Without the Kingdom of Scotland there is no UK. It says much about their mind set, so clearly expressed by you, of their fundamental lack of understanding about what the union is, or the parts which make it up.

    As I pointed out to someone recently, if my wife divorced me I wouldn’t go around calling myself the rest of Mr and Mrs Clark.

  56. Just read this – INSPIRING!

  57. as P.G. Wodehouse said, it’s not hard to tell the difference between a sunbeam and a scotsman with a grudge

  58. Brian Menzies

    Derek – I am so glad that I was pointed to your article from a Facebook friend. Great writing.

  59. Have read a few of your articles tonight. Very impressed. Will point naysayers in this direction for an eduction.

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