The Chips Are Down

I do love a guilty pleasure…a glass of wine before 5pm, crunchy salt on skinny chips, reading the Press after an English football defeat. Beating them all right now is the sound of British bleating that the Union might actually be working for once and the family of nations voting enthusiastically.


Indignation! Incredulity! Induced hysteria! Every bulletin in a tight BBC voice – ‘Alex Salmond says he will vote down a minority Tory government’ – and every headline – ‘SNP will sabotage British democracy’ – has me mimicking that Salmond Smirk behind my hand.

What pleasure to see the metropolitan clique flapping like headless chickens and hear them reveal what the Union truly means to them – Jocks in a Box.

They thought they were hammering the lid shut on September 19 but, God Bless Old Scotia, the peasants revolted and came out kicking, rusty claymores in hand, chanting: ‘You want us to stay? Well, here we come.’

And they don’t like it up ‘em. Forget all that stuff about lots of devolution if we stay; this time Scots are not waiting for the Establishment to dispense it, but we are ready to take it from them for once by using the very thing they have used against us – the authority vested in Parliament. They have no defence in a democracy except to wail ‘It’s no fair’ which adds to the fun because it leads them into all that deeply embarrassing and anti-Unionist crypto-xenophobia – exactly the kind of wretched name-calling Nationalists were accused of when we were supposed to be narrow-minded, parochial and anti-English.


When I hear their disgust at the idea of Scots having influence ‘over England’, I think of Carson, the butler in Downton. He had a way of conveying the haughty disdain of the nobs too polite to say it out loud and he could silence a footman with an arch of his eyebrow.

I’ve always known that the London elite didn’t mind us at table so long as we stayed below the salt but the latest outburst of squaking at the exercise of our rights as British citizens says they’d prefer us just to stay below stairs.

The funniest part of course is that this is what the Union is about with all constituent parts contributing, the only difference being that this time it won’t necessarily be the Big Two (overwhelmingly England) deciding who wins. You couldn’t have a better example of the concept of Union and I doubt if it has happened in the previous 300 years. That the top brass in London give the Scots the clearest message that their votes shouldn’t count as much as England’s is a kind of Nationalist Comedy Festival feeding the idea that, if you have a grain of national dignity left, the Unionist gig is over.

I feel for those who don’t want in power a party dedicated to breaking up Britain, but isn’t that to deny the very result delivered by Scots in the referendum? The SNP lost. They are not heading to Westminster to raise the saltire but to rearrange the existing Union – as expressly required by the No campaign.

And what to Unionists say to the likely addition of the DUP to the existing Coalition partners if the Tories and Lib Dems don’t have the numbers? It’s true they don’t want to break up Britain but they had links to paramilitaries, notably the UVF, who killed British citizens in Northern Ireland. Is the party of Ian Paisley more welcome to influence a British government than social democratic Scots?


It’s is Pythonesque and it’s a luxury we rarely get to know we have upset them so much and that Labour are floundering so badly. It may not last – who knows – but you can’t deny it’s a lot of fun. I see the time now is dead on noon. Too early for the vino?

(I’m heading off to Edinburgh to interview Alex Salmond for Newsnet and to chair a public meeting about his book. It will appear on the site later.)

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39 thoughts on “The Chips Are Down

  1. Brilliant Derek. It’s upsetting to see so many people so upset isn’t it. The horror. the horror!

  2. Steve Asaneilean

    Amazing how democracy can scuttle the complacent when they forget what democracy really means.

    Bring it on.

  3. Maybe even time to revisit Rousseau “A democracy is only a democracy when its elected representatives are not sitting!”.

    He obviously didn’t envisage so much influence (dare I say power?) coming the way of the “losers”.

  4. But isn’t it funny how to our Unionist pals in London and their fan club in the metropolitan media it has been perfectly OK for the last 308 years for English MP’s to use their massive majority to impose what they wanted on Scotland whether or not it was to the advantage to Scotland and the Scottish people.

    Now with the prospect of SNP MPs holding the balance of power after May they cry Foul and say it is undemocratic even though on their own The SNP, even if they had a full house of 59 Scottish MPs, would be unable to get anything through the house.

  5. Possibly for the very first time in the history of the Union,England may not get the government it votes for.
    Should the Tories have the majority of seats but are defeated by a minority Labour party being supported by Scottish MPs,the right wing English press will be baying to have Scots excluded from their parliament.
    I doubt they will be able to stomach 5 years of their beloved Thatcherite policies being rolled back and will be demanding that Scotland have a rerun of our independence referendum.
    What fun!
    Thanks Derek.

    • Actually, England in 1964 voted narrowly for the Tories (plus the National Liberals – Tories in all but name) and Harold Wilson was Prime Minister of a Labour government with a majority of 4. The election of 71 MP’s from Wales and Scotland was the deciding factor.

      • You’re right Alastair. But isn’t it interesting that we have to go scurrying around the history books to find these examples. Scotland’s votes have made a difference twice since the war. Hardly a model of democracy in action.

        It was also pointed out on WoS that the 1951 Parliament gace the Labour more MPs than the Tories, but the Tories in coalition with other parties formed the government. So another nail in Jim Murphy’s lies about “the largest party”.

        • I’m afraid that’s completely inaccurate, aplinal. Churchill’s Conservatives won 321 seats in a 625-seat House giving them an overall majority of 6. Atlee’s Labour won 298 seats, the Liberals won 9. The interesting point to note, however, is that Labour won a greater share of the popular vote (49%) than the Tories (48%). Murphy recently conceded the last time the largest party didn’t form part of the government was 1924.

          • Brian Nicholson

            I think it is important to clarify the 1951 Westminster results and totally refute the lies being told by Jim Murphy and Labour.

            The 1951 Westminster results were as follows:

            Labour 295,
            Conservative 264,
            Scottish Unionist Party 29,
            Liberal National Party 19,
            Ulster Unionist Party 9,
            Liberal Party 6,
            Independent Nationalist 2, and
            Irish Labour 1

            …. a hung parliament.

            The Conservative, Liberal National, Scottish Unionist, and Ulster Unionist Parties formed a coalition and governed with 321 seats.

            Labour actually won more of the popular vote (13,948,883) than the governing coalition
            ( 13,717,850)

            Now for the cherry on top, the Labour Party gained MORE seats than the Conservative Party.

            In 1951, the party with the largest number of seats in Westminster DID NOT FORM THE GOVERNMENT!

  6. Katrine Paterson

    It is fun Derek, to see how one man and a wee lassie can cause such havoc without setting foot in the building. The big boys are tearing each other apart.
    Didn’t their expensive education teach them any manners? The speaker should have booted them out.

    • Katrine , you are so right …..Cameron could not have tied any harder to keep us within the Union ,by coming up to Scotland and making his so called heart felt plea and of course those crocodile tears , when he said , please don’t go Scotland we love you and want you to stay ”We are Better Together as a Union ”…This as his speech to the Sottish Widows in Glasgow in the week leading up to the Indy/ref …

      Now he and the other Westminster party’s don’t want Scotland to have any say in hat happens in not only Westminster but the running of the country …..So it’s OK to take all our tax revenues , but for goodness sake WE in Westminster don’t want you to say anything , just get back into your box and shut up ….Our answer to that is simple ….NO WAY ….we in Scotland do not want to alienate any one in England ,what we DO want is to have our freedom from Westminster and the Political Union that does not and has never worked for Scotland …So as opposed to what the English media keep saying about the SNP gong to take over in Westminster , ha ha …This is the furtherest thing from the truth , pure media hype ,from England ….We in Scotland want to be treated as equal , as as said we would by Cameron and co if we stayed in this Union , Unfortunately ,the House of Lords are NOT even going to recognise the Command Paper for the so called VOW…They are talking about diluting this Command Paper even further , what WILL be left ….NOTHING …..Just a quick history lesson , The Acts of Union 1707 ..this was between the Kingdom of Scotland and the Kingdom of England , this Act was signed by the Nobles of Scotland and the ordinary people has NO say and were up in arms against this …Therefore this Union never did anything fro the Scottish People and never will ….

  7. Well we got our first Devolution referendum on the back of 11 SNP members of Parliament, will be interesting to see what a wheen of them will get. The British Establishment hate not being in control and they got a firm hand on Labour many many years ago. They will not be able to do the same with the SNP which is where the worry comes from.
    An excellent post Derek.

  8. A few points.

    1. As regards the possibility of the DUP having a role in a future government, note that Northern Ireland no longer forms part of the territorial integrity of the UK, by the Good Friday Agreement. The UK agreed to give up its claims to the six counties in return for the right of the population to hold a plebiscite on their membership of the UK and in return for a power-sharing agreement meanwhile. So far the population are content to be British. But that could change.

    And if the DUP are invited into London government, might that not prompt Sinn Feinn to at last take up their seats? Perhaps to support the SNP and Plaid?

    2. On a historical note, there was a fever pitch of Scottophobia reached when Lord Bute briefly became Prime Minister under George III for 11 months in 1762-63. He had been a family friend of the royal family after a chance meeting at the races some years before and became the tutor to the young princes. George trusted him and appointed him PM. This prompted journalist John Wilkes into writing a torrent of abuse aimed at the Jocks in The North Briton, a newspaper dedicated to Scottophobia, and riots broke out in London. Scots weren’t supposed to ever be that influential, and the cry went out, ‘Wilkes, and Liberty’!

    David Hume and other London Scots were disgusted by the outpouring of Scottophobia. The Union endured and things calmed down after Bute resigned.

  9. Derek, where have you been all my life – wine before 5 pm, salty skinny chips, I don’t watch sport but derive deep pleasure seeing the English getting cuffed, but most of all, I enjoy your politics and your posts.

  10. Bugger (the Panda)

    “Below the salt”

    I am having that on my trips to the dining tables of Washington DC.


  11. Their outrage and spitting hatred knows no bounds. How dare the Scots purloin democracy for their own ends! There’s something deliciously comic about it all. But, I’ll not be forgetting the insults, the impudence and the put downs. I want out and the sooner the better .

  12. “You want us to stay? Well, here we come”.

    Boy that is some catch phrase!

  13. all very well,.but I sincerely believe we were cheated on the 18th by MI5 or similar,the evidence is pretty damning.I believe the SNP missed a trick,which shouldnt be repeated
    How can we stop them from fiddling the election on the 7th

    • We have to monitor the Postal Vote. That is the only real process that could be interfered with. I had concerns about the PV long before the referendum and expressed these often enough on line. I do understand that “politically” it is difficult for the SNP to suggest anything was amiss – the media would tear them apart – so I do hope that the 100k members are willing and able to do plenty of watching and waiting on the day – cameras at the ready!

      • I agree with you 100% here…..PV’s especially are too easily tampered with….but I’m sure there are very many other methods of vote rigging the establishment could stoop to, if it had decided it wanted a particular outcome in a given election/ referendum.

  14. Well said, Derek. If the notion arises just pour yourself a glass and enjoy!

  15. Ma hearts pumping piles n piles of urine over their predicament.

  16. Hi Derek,

    We had a great night in Edinburgh.

    Alex and yourself were great and it was a pleasure to meet you both.

  17. Ayem it’s fun but no consolation for the big prize. Ach well just have to wait a wee bit longer

  18. Any reason why I still have a comment in moderation from yesterday Derek? Could it be the links in the text?

    Anyroads, here is my post again minus the links.

    Well they wanted engagement, now they’ve got it and boy they don’t like it much.

    You said it all Derek.

    Once you peel back the layers of hypocrisy and sound bite politics you really are left with the naked truth of the Westminster system. Those and such as those.

    Scottish representation were always regarded as place people, intended to keep UK legislation past at Westminster on the move. Enablers fully absorbed by the system and establishment, rewarded for their service with ermine and pension. A two party duopoly taking turn about to service the needs of the few, not the many. Well its out there now for all to see, their democracy is what they say it is and any undue outbreaks of popularly mandated democracy will be stepped on from a great height.

    In Scotland we initially chose the SNP at Holyrood because they offered a different vision of how our parliament should be run. They governed well and were voted in as a majority government as a reward. They continue to govern well after eight years and as a reward the Scottish electorate look set to send down a fair chunk of SNP MPs to represent our interests at Westminster as a reward.

    Let’s be clear on that though. We know who the SNP are and what they represent. We also are aware that on this occasion they are clearly not standing on a ticket of independence. They are standing on a ticket of holding Westminster to account for the pledges and statements made during the referendum, to win the best deal they can for our sakes and protect our interests as a nation partner.

    The party and establishment wonks know this is the case in Westminster. They know it and they are afraid of it. Why? I mean they did intend to keep their pledges right?

    Or did they?

    Nation partners? Stay we love you?

    Apparently not so much at the moment.

    The missing links were on two occurrences earlier in the week – Firstly the HoL report which basically stated that there were grave consequences to be considered in even passing Smith’s piss poor proposals and that they need not simply consent. Secondly Mr Carmichael failing to secure the permanence of Holyrood under law. Or in other words and as I understand it, Gordo’s promise to enshrine Holyrood’s permanence is blown oot the watter. Westminster can still at any time repeal the Scotland Act. Devolution is and always has been power retained.

    • Brilliant Derek.

      Cannot get enough of your blog. Always up to date and that wry humour. You enjoy your wine. Life’s little pleasures are the only thing stopping us from going mad.


      As per usual you speak for me Sam. With Stu taking a breather on Wings i usually look for your comments. You always have something interesting to say. Your comment here echo’s my sentiments exactly. Big thumbs up.

      I am really enjoying this election. It’s not so intense as the referendum but it is sometimes so funny with the sheer panic in WM.

      Sooner or later the English will wonder what all the fuss is about and when they see what the SNP represents they will be green with envy. I pity them. they are far too easily manipulated by the press and TV.

      Ah well , they will soon have a new Govt and boy are they in for a fright.

      I consider myself lucky to be alive and taking part in what’s turning out to be the most politically and historical times of our long union.

      We knows it’s finished.
      They know it’s finished.
      We know that they know it’s finished.

      Carry on screaming Westminster. We’re listening …. we just don’t give a toss.


  19. Enjoying reading the press after an England football defeat : no offence mate but you cant really get more parochial and anti english than that surely…or can you?

  20. jacquescoleman

    “reading the Press after an English football defeat.”

    Especially the ENGLISH Press. Heaven.

  21. Enjoy a generous glessie Derek. Great summary thanks. Today’s ‘Nat’ letters page is an additional absolute zeitgeist of how matters stand, even to the notion that the North of England are so inspired by Scotland, equally anti WM & obviously feel that (for them) the very least they need is for the GB to go right back to factory settings.

  22. My Schadenfreude is blooming, as I uncork my bottle of vino & salt my chips. Thank you for this analysis. My main areas of concern are, as others have said, that we need to secure the permanence of Holyrood by law.
    Also, to prevent electoral fraud. The new voting system being brought in, may yet rob people of their right to vote. Can we bring in more international (& neutral) observers to monitor on polling day & during the count?
    Also, we cannot become complacent & underestimate our adversary. That the Westminster govt has held onto its Empire for so long, is testimony to the ruthlessness & cunning hidden beneath the James Bond, even foppish exterior. And anything which threatens the UK’s “special relationship” with the USA will find itself under attack. So I think we need to become peaceful warriors & look to the long game – though I think oor Alex & Nicola have been in training for some time. Slainte!

  23. Bugger (the Panda)


    Did you tweet that Stuart Campbell is wanted by the Scotsman to be their Editor?

    If so, was it joke or maybe someone had hacked your Twitter account?

  24. John R.(Jinglin's)

    Derek thought this might be of interest to you….This was a reply i got from Willie Samuel ex Labour Cooncilor Edinburgh District Council after i copied and pasted your article on my Facebook Page… Willie Samuel, I would have commented on the Blog. But Derek moderates out comments that he doesn’t agree with. I am struck by the change in tone. During the referendum I was consistently told that it had nothing to do with Salmond and the SNP. Derek himself had much to say about that. Now it appears that being Scottish and being SNP are the same thing.
    The English Tory media are talking up the SNP with a view reducing the Labour vote in England. Be careful what you wish for. You may get it.

  25. Wow. What complete hogwash based on a (deliberate?) misdirection.
    The first error is the classic nationalist racist fallacy – equating the SNP with Scotland. The SNP is not Scotland. Even though with first past the post the SNP may get most seats – Most Scots will not vote for them.
    This is a direct variation of the “No True Scot” Logical fallacy. This is the kind of thinking that has directly led to the surge in racism and racist attacks in Scotland since the SNP came to power – White Brits are now as just likely to experience a racist attack in Scotland as people of Pakistani ethnicity. ( The SNP’s own figures – not mine).
    Certainly, it’s nothing to be proud of.
    It also misses that an increase in the proportion of SNP MPs does not at all change the total number of Scottish MPs at all, but as for influence – one key result of an SNP surge is to practically guarantee there are no Scottish MPs in the Cabinet.
    Yes, with tactical voting they could weaken the UK by threatening to collapse a government – but how, exactly, does weakening the UK of which Scotland is a part, and of which rUK is Scotland’s biggest trading partner , benefit Scotland?
    As for bringing in Northern Ireland… One question – who have killed more Scottish soldiers on the Streets of Belfast?- The DUP or the Republican Separatist Nationalists?
    But what you miss completely is the elephant in the room, “the BIG lie” that the SNP are selling, which is clear when you look at their strategic needs logically –
    • The SNP dogmatically want independence, whatever the consequences.
    • The SNP want to increase Support for Independence.
    • When Scotland is thriving within the Union, support for independence falls.
    • The *only* way the SNP can increase support for independence is to make things worse for Scotland.

    It is more in the Unionist parties interest for Scotland to thrive within the union than it is the SNP’s – how else can you explain that they suggest full fiscal autonomy when it would cut Scottish funding by £6.6 Billion?

    • Second sentence in and I’m a racist…bit of a giveaway. Forgetting the rest of the tirade, the first point is just plain wrong. I never confuse party with people. But throughout the referendum thats exactly what Unionist did. I interviewed Unionists Ben Brogan (Telegraph) and Fraser nelson (Spectator) who both said their side made this mistake of attacking the SNP by referring to ‘the Scots.’ Now it is much worse as they fulminate over an SNP bloc of MPs. routinely, it is Scots holding the balance of power not just the SNP -all across the media – that they object to. They talk of Scots having influence (over the government of England) when they really mean the SNP. So you can stuff your racist insults. It is only you who mentions racism – very revealing. (And the latest figures are DOWN). Thanks for contributing.

      • Well, thanks for the reply, and I appreciate racist is an emotive word, but it’s more directed at the notion of nationalism itself than you personally. Again, though, I can see the word-smith’s deft use of a logical fallacy. It is a straw-man argument focus on that one word while by your own admission “ignoring the rest”. Nationalism puts people of one nation above all others, it is discriminatory by definition. Is there anywhere in Europe where an uprise in Nationalism hasn’t been accompanied by a rise in racist sentiment? The increase in racist attacks, and the increase in racist attacks on “White British” are on the Scottish governments own site. Now we have that settled; why not address rather than “ignore the rest” of the points raised ?

        • In Fact, skip to the end – The Elephant in the room.

          • The SNP dogmatically want independence, whatever the consequences.

          • The SNP want to increase Support for Independence – to 60% before calling another referendum.

          • When Scotland is thriving within the Union, support for independence falls.

          • If the SNP use “progressive influence at Westminster to improve the whole UK” then support for independence will fall.

          • The *only* way the SNP can increase support for independence is to make things worse for Scots.

          Do you admit that the elephant is there; or are we still not talking about it? 😮

  26. “And they don’t like it up ‘em. Forget all that stuff about lots of devolution if we stay; this time Scots are not waiting for the Establishment to dispense it, but we are ready to take it from them for once by using the very thing they have used against us – the authority vested in Parliament. They have no defence in a democracy except to wail ‘It’s no fair’..”

    MI5/6 , a politicised Whitehall, plus the media wing of the establishment isn’t defence Deek ?
    In a time of crisis, the default is Blue Tory. All the bluff, bluster and blunder means nixie, if Camerons lot scrape through.
    And they will.

    On a cheerier note, the Scottish cohort will still run rampant at Westmidden.
    A dose of irn bru flavoured ex-lax !
    A tonic for the (unwritten) constitution.

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