What a State

I may be alone in this, but I think the point that was most striking about Obama’s intervention was how it proved what the Yes campaign has said all along – that it’s only with the power and standing of a state that you get recognition.

How did his remarks come about? He was buttonholed by the Prime Minister at the G7. Is Scotland separately represented there…?

One national leader always displays respect for another – even small ones – because they form part of international alliances and the wider diplomatic community. One head of state, or national leader, is theoretically equal to another in that they represent their people and country.


We have no such status. In the international arena, we are invisible. Indeed, the British government’s own legal advice says exactly that – in terms of international law Scotland does not exist.

There is no Alex Salmond present at almost any of these summits – he was at the D-Day commemoration and Jack McConnell was at the Gleneagles G20 – and he is an outsider, a leader of reduced status, as is the country he speaks for.

How much easier is it to come out against a region of a state than against a state itself?

On the other hand, had Scotland been independent and had bilateral relations with the US and head-to-head meetings in the UN and the EU, its status would require to be respected and only in extremis would we be subject to critical comment from the likes of the President – as Putin is now discovering.


Our diplomats would mingle with each other and share information, alliances and understandings are formed and criticisms can kept mostly private.

It is because Scotland does not qualify as a member of the club of states in our own right that we can be dismissed by the others. Normally, the member state would object when part of its territory was criticised but in this case, we have no protection because our state is working against one side of our domestic debate. We are left defenceless.

Indeed it’s not so long ago we had more striking proof of this when Cameron stood beside Obama in Washington and first listened to Obama weighing against the Scottish government’s freeing of Megrahi and then joined in with his own deprecation of the decision.

Whatever Cameron’s opinion, I think it was incumbent on him to find language which at the very least supported the right of the Scots to make that decision. We are after all part of the United Kingdom. We were left, yet again, defenceless to the rhetoric and politicking of the big boys. Being part of the UK is no defence when our leaders oppose our views.

The lesson is easy enough. If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.

I notice too that there is a growing strand among right wing Unionists which uses the election of UKIP as a starting point to engage in their perverse indulgence of denigrating their own people. First we had their whoops of delight that the small-minded anti foreigner party could pick up a seat here thus, in their logic, proving Scotland was as anti immigrant as anywhere else. Victory!

Indeed it was noticeable at the referendum debate in East Kilbride on Friday last that the Unionists now throw at the audience the assertion that Salmond wants a million immigrants. He doesn’t of course, in that I can find no such figure attributed to him. Our net immigration appears to average about 22,000 a year and he’s said we might look for another 2000 a year. It was, I think, Labour itself that claimed more were needed to avoid a pensions crisis – possibly adding up to a million by the middle of the century. That’s 2050, in 36 year’s time. That would be, if remotely true, 37,000 incomers a year on average, or an increase over a generation of 15,000 a year on current numbers. This is an arbitrary figures dreamt up by Labour, remember and I don’t believe that shocks even doubtful Scots when immigration adds to our economy the way it does. But we should be wary of ‘one million immigrants’ statements because it is unquestionably a dog whistle gambit aimed at bringing racism into the debate.

On Twitter there is now a similar perversion over the Iraq war which they are pleased to present to us as ‘not illegal.’ This is the same type of revisionism which tries to portray Scots as just as racist and just as bellicose as anybody else. (You see the trend – don’t get above yourself, don’t aspire, just accept that you’re no different and you don’t need a separate government). Not that they’re anti-Scottish, of course.

So, if we ignore Kofi Annan’s statement that it was illegal, the accepted world view outside of the culpable Security Council, Hans Blix, the Dutch government’s unanimous report and the advice to the Blair government by all 27 attorneys in their Foreign Affairs Office that war on Iraq was unlawful, they have a point. No court decreed it illegal. Which court would that be?

The information about the legal advice was disclosed at the Chilcot inquiry by the testimony of Foreign Affairs leading legal advisor, Sir Michael Wood, who added that the reply from Prime Minister Tony Blair’s office was chastisement for putting their unanimous legal opinion in writing.

Sir Michael testified that Foreign Secretary Jack Straw preferred to take the legal position that the laws governing war were vague and open to broad interpretation: “He took the view that I was being very dogmatic and that international law was pretty vague and that he wasn’t used to people taking such a firm position.”


The pattern of the right wing Unionist assault is to absolve Britain from culpability. It is to be written off as a left wing nationalist agenda when ordinary people ‘know there was no illegal war and Saddam had it coming anyway’. Further, of course, the Scottish Parliament voted in support of war – well done, Johann – so Scots also endorsed the ‘legal’ invasion which wasn’t all that bad at all

In fact, that vote under a Labour/Lib Dem administration demonstrated exactly why we need to escape the reach of Westminster. It was imperative that Labour MSPs supported Blair in his endeavor for the sake of the party when any poll of Labour members would have been massively against war.

These are desperate days in the campaign. The pressure is ratcheting up and we must remember what this about. We ARE a nation. We deserve our own government. With it we will create a non-racist, peaceful and prosperous country. No illegal wars. No discrimination. No penalising the poor. No nuclear weapons. No House of Lords. No blank cheques for bankers.

Oh, and no killing children with drones, Mr President…

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40 thoughts on “What a State

  1. Well said!

    If we are to be a country and not a region we must vote Yes.

  2. Any thoughts on the BBC being used by Cameron to plant the question that Obama answered? Just an accident, shortage of resources, no conspiracy at all etc?


  3. Only dopes would vote Nope, weve got to get free from this horrific regime, I look to Edinburgh as my government not the Wastmonster in London.

  4. Scotland is a nation and the people who live and work here are as capable as anyone else to run their own affairs. Alex Salmond insisted we are not oppressed, but I think constant denigration with a barrage of misinformation, lies and scares is tantamount to oppression,

    The Scottish Government stood up to Cameron, Westminster, Obama and America over the Megrahi release. That did not go down well. Scotland is not supposed to have teeth.

    Hopefully we can stand up for ourselves during the next 100 days so that we can stand tall on September 19th.

  5. One only wonders if Obama takes his information on Salmond and Yes Scotland from Cameron. If that’s the case, the ‘Yes’ side will be painted as communist Putin-lovers.

    • Hello Statgeek,

      enjoy your work on UKpollingreport and your own site.
      Hate to be presumptious but are your views on Indy hardening towards a Yes? Any words of polling comfort from a polling pov?

      • I was a firm “don’t know”. Now I am a “soft yes”, based, mostly based on how Westminster and the MSM behaves. Illogical, I know, but we all have our reasons, and mine are no more silly than some.

        When I reduce it all to its basic levels, I come back to ‘better the devil you know’ or not, and I’d rather take the chance on something other than the devil. :))

        Polling? It depends on who you listen to. Try to read all sides of the debate, and see what the trend is. Some will say that Yes is advancing. Some will say the polls are static. Few say that No is advancing. Perhaps that’s slightly telling in itself. That’s all in my humble opinion, of course, so do your own thinking, and let no one tell you their facts. Find your own! :))

  6. Great article Derek.

    This Obama carry on twisted by the BBC only hammers yet another nail into the unionist coffin. Most folk are now aware of the lies and distortions peddled out by them.

    I thought Megrahi’s release was on compassionate views and the understanding that he was acting for his state, in real terms he was a foot soldier.

    i don’t believe he should have been released, but that’s just my opinion. He had little compassion for his victims therefore shouldn’t expect any in return .But the fact was he was acting for the state (Libya) and therefore the state is guilty.And that didn’t stop the UK Govt selling him arms etc. (double standards eh?)

    Anyway loved the podcasts and will listen in regularly from now. The guests were great and format was nice and relaxed. Well done to you all.

    As for Scotland , well it’s in the hands of the voters now, the bt lead is getting smaller each week and that’s encouraging . Long may it continue. keep up the great work and get the message out , Hope over fear and spin any day.

    • A relatively minor point, in the scheme of things – I thought there was some conjecture Megrahi ‘took the rap’ rather than being actively involved.

      Keep up the good work in pushing for the YES vote – I do hope not to be suicidal on the 19th!

      • Another “minor” point is that all the recent evidence indicates clearly he WASN’T even involved. So an innocent man was sacrificed so that Libya could “rejoin” the economic world. I read somewhere recently that al Megrahi’s family WILL pursue a new trial. Good. perhaps some truth will finally come out.

  7. At the top of O’Connell Street in Dublin stands the monument of Charles Stewart Parnell, who famously said: “No man has a right to say to his country, thus far thou shalt go and no further.”

    How right he was. We must remember these words and use them when challenged.

  8. Mr B,
    I saw the G8 on screen. There they all were talking about how to improve the world. The sad thing is it is they who have destroyed it. Not one of the people there has got a clue about what to do to help it recover from their wars and their economic incompetence.
    You make a good description of how it could be if Scotland was a part of it all. If we were to become eligible, the folks in the club would have to change their letter heads and remember our phone number. What an inconvenience that would be, and I have to say, I am disgusted with how they have treated Russia.

    • May I say that I agree with you 100%. The so-called World Leaders are really just boys in the band and I’m glad I won’t be around to see the final destruction of the World.

  9. Margaret Brogan

    I do so agree with your description of what we will not have, it’s amazing what a YES vote will help us achieve.

    Don’t let us forget that in spite of all the hope for Obama, he has been able to do so little because his country is far too big to be democracy. There is no excuse for indiscriminate drone strikes and targeted political assassination.

  10. Ultimately this is no different to any other outsider telling Scots how to run the country we live in.Its ignorant,disrespectful and clueless as to what is actually gone on in the UK for the past 40 years.The Americans respect Thatcher and love the Royal family.That’s enough to tell me they are only interested in the Swinging London version of British and Scottish history.By Americans I mean the media and politicions.

  11. I hear that on Friday evening, Derek, you were with Linda Fabiani against a Tory nonentity and East Kilbride MP ‘Thick’ Mick McCann. Pity that the news about McCann’s mentor and predecessor Adam Ingram didn’t break until the following morning.

    For those who haven’t heard, Blair’s Minister of Armed Forces Adam Ingram (along with former Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon) have been named in a report referred to the International Criminal Court in the Hague. The report provides evidence both colluded in covering up the torture and illegal detention of Iraqi civilians in the period 2004-06. In 2007 Ingram had to apologise to the Commons for misleading the House over these issues.

    Ingram – like his protege McCann – was a Labour bully-boy. At the 2005 election Rose Gentle stood against him in the East Kilbride constituency. Rose was the mother of Gordon Gentle a 19-year old soldier who died in Iraq due in part to poor equipment for which Ingram was the minister responsible. He refused all invitations to hustings where Rose was present but, flanked by McCann, at the count he strode past her with the remark, “There’s Saddam’s little helper.”

    This shining example of New Labour compassion spent his final term in Parliament securing sinecures and feather-nested directorships, one of which was for a company dealing arms on behalf of the Gadaffi regime. Another was for a subsiduary of a company to whom he awarded a highly controversial £1.5 billion defence contract.

    The ICC may investigate but I would be truly surprised if Ingram or Hoon are brought to book. Too short a step to Blair, and neither the UK nor the US could countenance that particular exposure.

    Scottish Independence won’t solve everything, but it could help ensure we’re never again dragged into illegal, imperial wars. And if the SNP have got any sense, they’ll make damn sure the draft constitution of an independent Scotland sets out that elected officials will be held to the highest standards of transparency and accountability – publishing annual reports of attendance, voting, employees, attendance and giving constituents the right of recall.

    Equality of genders and sexuality, equality before the law, strict limits on funding of political parties tied directly to ratified annual membership. Promotion and protection of free expression should be enshrined too – and, above all, an assertion of the sovereignty of the peoples of Scotland.

    The bidding war for the financial benefits won’t be the clincher come September; people believe the side they want to believe or, indeed, treat both sides as so much noise they always hear at election time: “Vote for us and you’ll be quids in!”

    But a constitution… accountability… equality… sovereignty… BT have nothing to bid against that. Nothing.

    That, I believe, might be a clincher.

  12. The Scottish George Orwell, middle name "Jockholme"

    Indeed, just what does Obama know about international politics?? How dare he even mention Scotland, after all, he is just the president of the United States of America. And the U in USA, well … that reminds us of the United Kingdom, so we will have to negate his very existence.

  13. You can take Adam Ingram out of the Orange Order, but you can’t take the OO out of ….

  14. I’m glad you mentioned the drones, Derek.

  15. I noticed that when Darling made his stupid and ridiculous statement comparing Alex Salmond to the erstwhile dictator of North Korea he claimed that Alex Salmond had blamed “English television coverage” of UKIP being beamed into Scotland for UKIP’s winning of the EU seat, when in fact Alex Salmond claimed it was “BBC coverage of UKIP”.

    Now Darling used to be a lawyer so would have been trained to choose his words carefully so we can assume therefore that his choice of words was no accident.

    Therefore I think we can safely assume that Darling was trying to stir up trouble between English and Scots with his claim.

    I also read somewhere that Andy Burnham, the shadow Health Secretary for England pointed out that the BBC coverage of UKIP was disproportionate in the lead up to the EU elections and that in his view the BBC needed to take a long hard look and reconsider what they had done.

    This cannot have escaped the attention of Alastair Darling and the Westminster controlled media, yet it didn’t get a condemnation from Darling or the media as that appears to be reserved for Scotland’s First Minister no matter what he says.

    On another note I see that SKY NEWS tonight are trying to promote a referendum programme they are running tomorrow with a “revelation” that Andy Murray and Britain’s worst ever PM Gordon Brown are ashamed of Scotland’s First Minister waving the saltire at Wimbeldon after Murray’s win last year.

    Why Murray waited a year to make his comment is a mystery given that up till now he has wisely refused to comment on the referendum.

    Gordon Brown on the other hand we know claims he is a “North Briton” and not a Scot so no surprises there.

    What is so sad coming from both of them is that they both appear to be ashamed of this nation Scotland.

  16. Sir Chris was wrapped in a Butcher’s Apron and given a bike shed in Manchester. Wonder what they promised Andy Murray?

  17. Mr. Bateman,

    ‘….British government’s own legal advice says exactly that – in terms of international law Scotland does not exist.’

    This is the statement that MUST be broadcast to all Naysayers and ‘proud Scots but…’.

    O/T – success to you and all associated with your new venture.



  18. Couldn’t agree more Derek. Mr Obama’s intervention (if you could call it that), underlines two things which all Scots should take great note of. Firstly, this is the real world of international politics where diplomatic speak amongst the world’s leaders is constantly open to misinterpretation and misrepresentation. From one word ‘unity’ an entire media chose to spin a narrative completely ignoring style, content and most importantly caveat. No one looked too deeply in the press at his phrase ‘on the surface’ or explored the wisdom of the fairly unambiguous ‘Ultimately these are decisions to be made by folks there’. Strange, but true, the press instead of waxing lyrical about a clear and concise message of support in Westminster governance spun an entire two or three days worth of anti independence narrative out of ONE lonely wee word.

    Secondly where was our voice in the middle of this? On any of these world issues, whenever a country truly needs representation. When a decision needs taken over our young service men and women’s lives, when the great and the not so good discuss our natural resources as bargaining chips on the tables of geo politics. When the issues that drive the economies of nations are discussed, who speaks with our voice?

    Is it a Scottish Prime Minister or foreign minister elected by popular mandate of the people of Scotland to represent their views and wishes? Or is it more likely to be what? A Scottish member of the Westminster establishment, at best representing the views and wishes of, well basically the Westminster establishment?

    Who would you rather see discussing our interests with the worlds leaders? A UK PM you didn’t vote for or a Scottish one that you did?

  19. Great comment DR EW

    in fact many great comments. I have a belief that we will win the vote but are gonna have to put up with more and more drivel daily.

    The negativity by the BT mobs are taking it’s toll. The one thing i know for sure about my fellow Scots is they DON’T like being told what to think. It’s the rebel in all of us and although some BT commentators know this and have tried to change the lead up to debates , it all goes back to the scares and smears and that will only work in our favor. Westmidden is an out of date old fogey’s club , bullying and scaring as the go and it’s pretty easy to see the the effect it has on NO voters. Even they are fed up with it all.

    Let them carry on as they are as it will benefit the YES vote

    And watch the state these buggers down south get into when they realise they have lost. It’s gonna be messy and then any of the unsure will see for themselves what a wasted union we have had.

  20. I have heard too many apologists for Andy Murray over the years.As a tennis player I respect him.As a person he is just a dull character. He said some time ago he would wait and see how things were going before he decided whether he was for yes or not.So in other words he is a man of straw who goes whatever way the wind blows.In other words he wants to appease his Wimbledon luvvies by being British and not Scottish.He has now come out with the ridiculous statement:”I don’t know who I will play for aif Scotland gets independence”.Whit a Scot born and bred is not sure what nationality he is.Come off it Andy you are now just being silly.But if you favour the union just say it and people will be dissapointed but respect your decision.I just think Murray is scared of being himself in England.Now what does that tell you!

    • It tells you who puts the butter on his bread.

      • Derek, you may be one of my all time heroes,

        but I think you ought to be on the same time as everyone else.

        My post at 8.33 am is registered as 7.33 am.

        Thank you – in advance.

  21. OUCH Andy Murray is now on my official “PLONKER” list the wee shit.

    “Oh am no sure where i come frae ”


    • I wonder if the athletes were offended by Cameron waving the union flag at the Olympics?


      The FM is a well known sports fan be it football, golf, racing or tennis. He’s stood on the terraces and marched with the tartan army. He’s always carried his saltire on his sleeve as it were. Had he not been in the post of FM he’d still have been madly waving that flag at a Scottish success. Were I Mr Murray I’d have thought it a good thing that I was receiving moral support from my country’s leading politician, but there’s no pleasing some folks (shrugs).

  22. Yes Guy no doubt we will get accused of monstoring Murray.But its the stupidist thing I have ever heard.If he was from France and lived in London he would still be French!what’s the difference.The only reason he plays under GB is that the tennis is set up that way its not his nation or country he is playing for.He plays for himself under the GB identifier.As for the Davis cup.He is the only good player in GB so Scotland might enter a better team.Anyway I am now thinking that Murray is a really plonker if a Hibs fan is not sure what nation he comes from.Doh!

  23. I heard someone saying on the radio that Salmond should leave the flag at home at the commonwealths.Please help me out.The commonwealths are in Glasgow ? Glasgow is in Scotland am I right,Salmond is Scotland’s first minister he is supporting team Scotland..have I missed something.Lord coe made an area of himself claiming Glasgow 2014 was a British event.Absolute garbage Scotland entered as a separate nation.Who is paying for the games?Sport Scotland and the Scottish government.Its not team GB its team Scotland.Coe and co want to deny Scotland’s existence.Arrogance personified.

  24. Yeah, I’m disappointed by Andy Murray’s remarks about Alex Salmond and the flag. Did he really have to say that? Is he maybe a bit uncomfortable about asserting his Scottishness having lived in England for so long. Remember, it was the English he were so horrible about him or has he totally forgotten about that.

    • Maybe he didn’t say any of it ,maybe he has ben edited .

      I can’t help but think of the abuse he got and still gets from some quarters over his “anyone but England ” remark – and that abuse despite the interviewer attempting to intervene on his behalf for several years.

      Is it possible that the media are trying to lead folk into baying at young Mr Murray so that they can give us another ” cybernats attack Wimbledon champ” headline? One of those ” faux outrage ” efforts with some exhibit “A” comment which will no doubt include ” Braveheart”

      The MSM have shown themselves to be a devious ,manipulative bunch of bastards so far ,I have no reason to suspect that they have changed their ways.

      • I think you may be right regarding the agent provocateur stuff. Apparently what Andy said was that he didn’t like the negative reaction afterwards, an ambiguous statement at the very least.

  25. Maybe they gave Andy more cream in his strawberry?

  26. Yes but there is nothing to think about.You are either Scottish or you are not.Why is he not sure?Would a Frenchman not be sure of his nationality because he played in the Ryder Cup as part of Europe and lived in Spain.I think Andy is a man of straw.

    • I’ve never been a tennis fan. I just supported Andy because he dared to sport a saltire wristband. After Andy’s cringe I now feel the same about tennis as I do about cricket. He can drown himself in a sea of Butcher’s Aprons for all I care and Dunblane can paint his gold pillar boax blue.

      He and Sir Chris can tandem, off to the sunset as far as I care. I have more respect for the two black panther athletes who dared to give the clenched fist on the winners podium. They suffered badly for that moment of defiance. We seem to be breeding spoiled self centred careerist sports persons these days.

  27. What is Gordon Brown planning? Could he possibly be considering a move to YES………dreams of the PM of Scotland……. perhaps?!!!

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