Did I Mention…?

It ain’t mannerly, I know, but the more I ponder where we are with Brexit the more I’m tempted to say told you so. Just this once, mind, to get it out of the way. Didn’t we warn that voting No two years ago was handing back sovereignty to whoever held sway at Westminster…that however much you worried about the meaning of Yes, the one thing we knew was that our power as a nation would be returned to the Crown in Parliament and the British state, and, as it turns out, the Bloody Tories.

The fragrant Theresa couldn’t make it any clearer. She will decide our fate. One nation indivisible. In together, out together. Or, as John Cleese might put it: Shut up, you uneducated scheme scum and take what’s coming to you.

This is what Union means now…purringly polite camera opps at Bute House with wee promises as conciliatory accessories added in – of course we’ll listen and consult – followed by: Grow up, chumps. You had your chance. If we are to go down we will go down united. It’s a kind of economic and political suicide pact.

I’m afraid my first thought on hearing her speech was a grim tale of my father’s. He was instructing wartime rookies in parachute jumping when two panicked, grabbed each other and fell to earth still in deadly embrace.

Isn’t there panic in government? Are they beginning to understand what this all means in negotiations, both in principle and practice, in law and statute, in endless unpicking and repackaging while hoping, desperately behind the bravado, that others will smile kindly on us? At least in the indyref we had a plan. Not tested – how could it be – but worked out scenarios, sage advice from renowned experts and years of debate. There was a white paper. There was time and resource for it all to be challenged. God, was it challenged.

And this time? We had a bus with a false spending promise which was ditched within 24 hours. Inside was a bunch of flat-earth free-traders and quasi racists – who now call our civic, internationalist, left-leaning movement divisive nationalism That was a mistake. A stupid, provocative, inexcusable error sold for a cheer from the English (divisive nationalist) audience. Do any of the knee-jerk anti-Nats in our politics or journalism seriously think that acceptable? Is there no depth to which they will not descend as they defend the insults to their own voters and readers?

This is all being done it seems to defend our borders – defend them from the workforce our economy needs. We will bar east Europeans with a work ethic and a need for hard cash from doing the jobs the more demanding and lazy Brits reject. Wages in Huddersfield will rise overnight. Asda shelf stackers will do a three-day week for the same money. Zero-hour contracts will become pensionable employment. And Mike Ashley will box trainers on the Christmas Eve late shift. According to a minister, British youngsters will swing their knapsack, whistle Westering Ho’ and march off to the cabbage fields of Lincolnshire. They will breathe the British country air and hail the healthy life…drop a poached hare or two over the vicar’s hedge to fill his pot. Look, there’s Matron cycling to the bridge club at Rose Cottage. Latvians? Poles? Na. We’ll get our own young folk to dig our own veg. The ruddy-cheeked Land Lads and Lassies of merry England will feed the nation with home-grown, hand-dug produce. Don’t you doubt it.

But it’s also becoming clear that while the unskilled who shore up the UK by paying in more in taxes than they take out, will be stopped at the border, other European incomers won’t. It’s already being floated – by the British Chancellor – that bankers should be excluded from any embargo on free movement. Oh yes. Essential workers must be exempt, just as in wartime when the factories had to keep running. Thus, the financial institutions which corrupt our economy and bankrupted businesses, destroyed investments, jobs and pensions for millions, who are again paying themselves Monopoly money, must not, cannot, be treated like the worker drones of industry. They are, as we know from nine years of debt and crippling austerity, the Masters of the Universe. Come, brothers and sisters of Mammon and feed here. Let this be your sanctuary.

And it isn’t just the Tories. The Labour Lord Thingy of London, Sleekit Sadiq (Sorry, I’ve been reading the Sun) is meeting government ministers to ask that London more widely be exempt from immigration restrictions after Brexit. It is, after all the only place in Britain making money so can’t be treated like the provisionals in the sticks who only cling to the purse strings. When London can draw talent from around the world, including those pesky Europeans, it would be suicidal to prevent them adding to prosperity with their energy and ideas. (Which of course would be wasted north of Watford.)

So the lobbying is heavily under way to make sure, in that special British way, some people can continue to benefit but, things being what they are, sadly not all. Not even Scottish universities which have campaigned long to let overseas students work here after graduating, are being entertained. There is a British pilot scheme but no Scottish university is included. Seems someone wasn’t listening after all. Shame.

On the told-you-so theme – just to be insufferable – Pat Kane is right to query why we haven’t got an indy-leaning research institution relentlessly digging and innovating on a Scotland of the future. It’s a good question which I asked in 2011 when the SNP won the election. I tried to get funding to get it going and have returned to the topic from time to time. Nobody wants to do it or they don’t think it’s worthwhile. I don’t really know. We have Common Space and occasional academic work but there is no unimpeachable, independent, think tank taking seriously the prospect of an independent country. So we have less of the hard work and modelling done and fewer respected sources with which to fight. And there it is.

Did I say told you so? (Sorry)

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42 thoughts on “Did I Mention…?

  1. Another great article Mr Bateman, but I’ll be honest with you and other posters: a small part of me couldn’t give a damn about Scottish independence anymore.

    Why, because if we have another campaign, I don’t know if I can suffer two more years of:

    Am voting no cuz a dinnae like Alec Sammin.

    I’ve got more in common with a bus driver from Aldershot than I do with a nationalist from Auchtermuchty ( or similar pish from ‘socialists’ who’d rather see the Tories sink this nation than go it alone)

    Yes, I know Westminster lied to Scotland about its oil and robbed us blind for years, but I’m still voting No.

    My Great Grandfather fought in the Battle of Kybherr pass and killed 80 Germans, so I’m voting no…

    An SNP cooncillar didnae say hallo tae me in July 1987 ( or round about then), so I’m against independence (I kid you not!)

    These are the type of statements I listened to for two years in the run up to 2014…

    For the sake of my sanity, I don’t think I can handle a re-run…

    I wish everybody else the best of luck with fighting for Scottish independence, but I may sit this one out…

    They wanted Westminster rule, they voted for it, they got it.

    Let the bastards suffer – it’s what they wanted, after all.

    • My mother used to tell me if a thing is worth having, it’s worth getting.

      Faintheart.

      • That may be, but looking at independence movements the world over, i.e nations that got their independence, nobody had to ask them twice.

        Gandhi never told his countrymen to hold off, because Britain might get EEC membership in 1973, which might improve India’s economy.

        The USA was bankrupt and impovirished after their American revolution, but they never looked back.

        And in 2014, Scots were asked: do you want to run your own country, or do you want somebody else to do it for you?

        We know the answer. So if they weren’t interested the first time of asking, what’s to say they’ll be interested the second time?

        There is no greater prize than independence and self-determination, but our countrymen and women were not interested…

        BREXIT, EU membership, broken promises, they’re neither here nor there, because the fundamental question still remains.

        Everything else is background noise.

        • If you believe that something is right then you don’t ever give up on it. We are dealing with very powerful levels of indoctrination over three centuries.

          Gramsci called it ‘hegemony’, where an imperial power so penetrates the mindset of a subject people that they follow the dominant narrative of subjugation and inferiority even against all the evidence to the contrary or that it is against their own interest.

          Or as Tom Nairn said ‘our captivity is self-captivity’.

          Gandhi whom you quote said much the same, that Britain did not ‘take’ India, but ‘we gave it to them’. His task was to convince Indians that British power was only because Indians allowed it, and that they were not ‘too wee, too poor, and too stupid’ to self-govern.

          As a Yes voter I have always accepted there were valid reasons for voting No. If you were British, for instance.

          Why on earth would you vote to split up your country?

          But I do not believe most Scots are British. We are Scots and Scotland is a different country.

          You cannot give up on fighting for what is right, liberty, self-determination, self-realisation. Either these things are worth having or they are not.

          Choose.

          • I completely agree with you – liberty, independence and self-determination are worth fighting for.

            But if you ask somebody the same question 100 times, and the answer is No 100 times, is it worth asking them the same question 101 times?

            A lot of people are fretting about EU membership, or sitting on the fence wondering if an indy Scotland will make them a fiver better or worse off.

            To me, that suggests they were never serious about independence in the first place.

          • Did you guys read the story of Daniel Hannan, “The man who brought you Brexit”, in the (spit!) Guardian?

            https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2016/sep/29/daniel-hannan-the-man-who-brought-you-brexit

        • Apropos your later comment. (cos thur wis nae opportunity fur reply….)

          1 We huvnae asked the question 100 times, jist the wance so far.

          2 Wuv been colonised longer than India.

          3 India is a far-flung land. Scotland has been England’s next door neebour for, em… forever! (In terms of human existence, ye’ll unerstaun.)

          4 “A lot of people are fretting about EU membership, or sitting on the fence wondering if an indy Scotland will make them a fiver better or worse off.”
          Dae ye really believe that? Or ur ye jist sowin” doubt?

          5 “To me, that suggests they were never serious about independence in the first place.” Did the folk that had thon idea in thur heeds vote fur independence at aw?

          Ah think yer a troll. Whit dae ye say, Your Cocaine?

    • I’ve never said this in print before because it is utterly depressing. Given what I have heard and read, I don’t for a moment think, for the majority, that is “what they wanted”. Don’t give up of Scotland’s people, but, we’ve got to establish and insist on a secure way to achieve an honest vote.

    • I have met some intelligent, educated computer literate folk who said they couldn’t vote for either Nicola or Alex because they looked like ‘wee frees’.
      This is the level that some will go to to justify their No vote and some are beyond reach.

      But those who voted out of fear or ignorance or a belief that we are partners in this union, should be shown Ruthie’s’ thieves’ comment, Nick Clegg’s article where he said – Dave didn’t give a toss whether Scotland stayed or went and John Cleese’s ‘half-educated tenement ‘ tweet – I know it was about folk like Fraser Nelson but managed to include all Scots.

      Then they might realise the contempt the ruling classes have for us, it could open some eyes.

      As for setting up a group, I am willing to help in any way I can,filing, collating evidence etc, as I am also retired and have time on my hands.

      • I remember showing a NO voter a Sunday Post article about Dennis Healy admitting that Westminster pulled the wool over Scotland’s eyes when it came to North Sea Oil.

        There was a lot of grumbling and disbelief from the NO voter, but did it change his mind?

        Did it hell.

  2. Mr Bateman – You’re spot-on about the lack of good information in presentable form to fire into the debate from the front foot, instead of continually trying to play catch-up.

    There must be coherent evidence that Scotland exports more per head than England, and that a signiificant chunk of “England’s” exports are from Scotland, including, but not limited to “Scotch”.

    The lack of world-wide container trade ports limits the visibility of Scotland’s real trade with the world, and exaggerates the importance of England.

    There is more than £4 billion of Scotland’s assets in the so-called “Bank of England” with which to back a Scottish currency instead – and reduce the strength of the “English” currency at the same time.

    An independent country can run its own currency without depending on the value of sterling.

    It’s really significant that the country with – allegedly – the biggest deficit in Europe, worse than Greece – is the one that stupidly lets Westminster run it, despite the North sea oil and the benefits of “pooling and sharing”.

    Indeed , looking at the table that is supposed to show that we are too poor, too weak shows that if we had been without any oil like most normal countries, and ran our own affairs, like normal countries, however stupid we were we couldn’t do worse than Westminster has done with the Scottish economy.

    There is evidence from 1900-1920 that Scotland contributed more than it spent. The figures were then suppressed in case they provoked claims for home rule. I suspect that until the Welfare State the figures would be the same. Even after, until the deliberate de-industrialization and massive unemployment paid for by Oil Money Scotland would pay its way. The big con was to deny the geographical source of the Oil – again to suppress the demands for home rule/independence.

    With Brexit we are again being persuaded by the Tory Media and the BBC to buy a poke with no pig.

    We can’t afford to be too tired to take this on, so the SNP need to up their game, talk to and get others on side and make the fight winnable. It’s worth pointing out that Scotland is the only country in the world that’s too scared to be independent, partly due to poor communication.

    • The old chestnut that Scotland sells 4/5 of its produce to the rest of the UK needs to be refuted.
      Every Asda, Sainsbury, Morrisons and Tesco in Scotland is owned by a London based company.
      An Asda in Glasgow, sells produce from Scotland, sold to Scots, yet their profits head South to the parent company. Same applies to other goods, services, banking, insurance policies and so on.
      Are goods and services produced/provided in Scotland for Scots classified as ‘trade with the rest of the UK?’ I don’t think so.
      If it is recorded as part of the 4/5 trade with the rest of the UK, then it is clearly wrong. Can anyone enlighten us?
      We need a strong multi-disciplined team unpicking the broad brush too wee too poor mantra of the Better Together and MSM fearmongers.
      We have 56 very capable MPs now. Perhaps they can turn their guns on the BT mob during the next 18 months or so.

      OT. WATP Professor Adam Tomkins the bigoted sectarian political failure in my constituency avers that he would fail a first year law student if he argued the legal case for Scotland remaining in the EU as an independent nation.

      Does this bigoted bumptious arch right Tory still hold a chair at the Law Faculty in Glasgow University?
      Is he trousering Full Time back door LisTory MSP wages, while working full time for the Uni?
      If I were a Sellick supporting pro Scottish independence student, and this man were marking, or has marked any of my papers in the past, I’d be demanding an enquiry.
      We must keep our powder dry, until we can see the whites of their eyes.
      We are in no rush. By Christmas 2018 the full horror of Brexit will be revealed, and our No pensioners will at last realise that they face a Tory WM government for the rest of their lives, and all the cost cutting which that entails.
      They are goading us to go for it too early? Fat chance. Let’s sit back and watch the magic of Boris, who thinks that Africa is a country, unfold.
      Perhaps by Dec 2018, several hundred thousands may have ’emigrated’ to Scotland, in dread of a Tory Isolationist future Yet To Come.
      We have waited this long.

    • You’re spot on about the container ports. I happened to drive passed Hunterston at the weekend and it’s crying out for the investment to turn it into what we need. Sure the roads would need upgraded around it too, but it’s another of those natural resources with which we’re blessed. Link it with the nearby Prestwick Airport and make that part of Ayrshire our freight zone. Is it possible that Hunterston has never been developed because it would interfere with the submarines?

  3. Well someone will have to do it – Alex Salmond declares that the positive case wins the argument – but some of us will have to take on a Project Fear mantle and portray the coming losses of whatever with Brexit.

    Trident and illegal wars didn’t cut it with a section of No voters in Indyref1, maybe personal losses to one’s pocket with Brexit will – university fees; privatised NHS; travel visas?

    • As well as the vow, the actual outright lies to pensioners, the only way we could stay in the EU was to vote no, aye, that vote was won on the most flimsy, false lies ever. No thanks for the next Scottish independence referendum, it is a whole new ball game now.

    • My feeling is that the corollary of the positive case for Scotland needn’t only be a negative case for staying in union, but rather a negative case against Britain.

      The BBC is forever pumping an “isn’t Britain fantastic” message into people’s heads – but there’s plenty of criticism to be made.

      Attack, not defence.

  4. Have shared, and asked friends on facebook/twitter to share, great to read this article so much to do and follow, hardly get time. You are right indeed to just even touch on the several headed creature that is the WM run, destructive yookay. They are still bullies and Scotland is the s**t on their shoes, except of course for our resources and land, which they take freely, day in day out, while making Scotland pay.

    What they do get away with hardly bares thinking about, shafting Scotland big style, and telling us we are crap at the same time. So not brexit light, or soft, or hard, just brexit as according to how the london masters want, it could hardly be more corrupt.

    Wonder what the 27 EU member states think about all this, the picking and choosing, the favour seeking, me sir, me sir. All very english isn’t it but it won’t wash, the EU member states do not function in the same bullying manner, with class privilege, unlike UKOK. They must be laughing their socks off right now at UKokians, fighting for a place at the privilege table, or at risk of going under.

  5. Bloody brilliant Derek.

    I hope are dear Green friends are happy to have given succour to those who made it all possible ( – previous post)

  6. Another belter Derek.

    No, there are no depths etc.

    Our media are entirely complicit in the current narrative, invested and compromised. They’ve been selling HMGs wares to the public for decades.They couldn’t give a monkey’s about Jock or Jeanie Public and have demonstrated this abundantly over the years. In my opinion they are now entirely over invested and can no longer back away from their entrenched positions. They sink or swim with Westminster politics and the political affiliations they have made over the years and THEY KNOW IT.

    They’ll get worse over the coming months Derek and you can better believe it.

    Along with their bestest buds in parliament, they sold our arses into indentured servitude in this union and not one of them lost a single nights sleep over it. Those who did have a change of heart, or at very least acknowledged the democratic vacuum in their profession during the indyref, stood up and were counted at the time and precious few there were. Dear God, so very few, it would make a stone weep.

    The media were guardians and watchdogs alright, just not on behalf of the public.

    HMG, Better Together and the media went after our parents and grandparents with vows and threats and ‘uncertainties’. They intimidated, they begged, they misled and misrepresented. They used fear and appealed to a loyalty from an age and a UK long gone. An age, if truth were told,that never was in the first place.

    Those bastards went after our most vulnerable at every level and never missed a beat.

    The day the ‘VOW’ appeared in the Record was the day my last flying fuck left the building.

  7. Unfortunately brexit is all about England they don’t see any further than that.The UK was eroded when England started to take over A so called Union of Equals that has gone on since 1707.The bigger partner has always won.It’s time to get out while Scotland has any assets left.Leave Little England to it’s death throws at the hands of the wider world which has moved on.Let English degeneracy lead it into the mists of time.Time for them to learn English exception and entitlement is nothing but arrogance.They are committing a form of national economic suicide and are determined to take us with them.

  8. Not reported anywhere but on the Ethernet, Ruth Davidson, fresh from her giggling schoolgirl Skype political heavy petting with a disturbingly louche Gordon Hang On A minute, Just To Be Clear Brewer, declares to the attendant media in an English Art Gallery that Scots are vandals and thieves, while announcing that she has ‘aspirations’ to be FM of Scotland in 2021.

    To quote Brewer from an earlier love in with Dugdale, in what logical universe does Davidson inhabit, that she can come out with racist stereotyping like this, and not expect a backlash from her fellow Scots?
    Stay down there, Davidson.
    You are in your spiritual home.
    You’ll not be missed by us half educated social status craving tenement dwellers.

    • Thanks for that, broadbield. I’ve added my tuppence worth there.
      She should resign in shame.
      And she can take those two bigoted sectarian LisTory boys, WATP Professor Adam Tomkins and The Queen’s Eleven Murdo Fraser with her.
      I am heartened that more than 50% of Scots citizens profess to have no religious affiliations at all.
      Nasty little bigots, and Uncle Toms.
      They seem to actually hate Scotland.

  9. On the told-you-so theme – just to be insufferable – Pat Kane is right to query why we haven’t got an indy-leaning research institution relentlessly digging and innovating on a Scotland of the future. It’s a good question which I asked in 2011 when the SNP won the election. I tried to get funding to get it going and have returned to the topic from time to time. Nobody wants to do it or they don’t think it’s worthwhile. I don’t really know. We have Common Space and occasional academic work but there is no unimpeachable, independent, think tank taking seriously the prospect of an independent country. So we have less of the hard work and modelling done and fewer respected sources with which to fight. And there it is.

    I have commented on Pat Kane’s article on Bella Caledonia. Derek, I think you are right to highlight it, obviously Pat Kane is doing it as well which is good. I would urge you to persevere with it because it was obviously a weak spot during the referendum.

  10. You wrote provisionals Im sure you meant provincials.😁

  11. Great article, Derek. It’s all true. I’m depressed.

  12. Re: the think tank – How much would be required for a crowdfunder?
    Would Prof John Robertson be interested in heading it up?
    Would any media outlets publish the results?

    • In answer to your questions: don’t know, quite possibly and no, not at all likely. (My opinion only, of course…)

  13. Kristian Flucker

    Mr Bateman, a fantastic article as per usual. However, I was under the impression that Common Weal was a left-leaning think tank that specialised in researching new methods or organisation and governance for a socially just independent Scotland. Is that not the case?

    • Kristian Flucker

      Cancel that. I’ve just read Pat Kane’s article in Bella Caledonia and I now understand the difference.

  14. As someone who has spent the past 5-6 years doing research (not on independence, though, but history!), I’d love to use the skills I have gleaned to help in the kind of enterprise Derek mentions (it’d be a way for me to make myself useful to the indy movement too, it has to be said). But I am not really known (far less respected) so would probably be lucky to be a junior researcher! Perhaps the problem is that the people who would fit the criteria (skills plus gravitas) just aren’t there (because they don’t support independence….or because they are comfortable, and just don’t want to get involved).

    Like the above poster says, there are some (like Prof John Robertson) who do have all this….but have had to go through a lot when the other side tried to discredit them (and even ruin their careers) and this may put others off. Bit tragic, but I am sure people exist who could run such a thing, and do a grand bloody job of it!

  15. I’m up for it. I’m in the book, and at 69, can make as much time available as necessary’, without a fee, other than a supply of hot steaming tea and doughnuts..
    There must be many like I, who can contribute the experience of a lifetime working and eking out a living on these isles across a range of disciplines, professions, crafts, who would lend considerable expertise, energy, and low level knowledge in political, social, economic, legal, health, and welfare areas to flesh out Plan A/B/C, White Paper 2, or whatever.
    The clock has already struck thirteen. Unleash the doves of Peace and Freedom.

  16. I think May is playing a hard calculated game of political brinkmanship.

    She is trying to provoke Sturgeon into going for an independence referendum that she is not prepared for and may well lose.

    Sturgeon needs to up the ante and try and dominate the narrative, get media attention to make the indy case. So far she has been trying to placate the No voters, leaning over backwards to let them have their cake and eat it, be in the UK and EU.

    As many above have pointed out, her case must be to show that not only is leaving the EU against Scotland’s national interest (62% already agree on that) but – more importantly – that staying in the UK is not in Scotland’s interests either, as Britain does not give a s***t about us.

    Why should they, when Labour, Tories, LDs, the British parties – have no purchase here?

  17. Aye Ruthies little jest not to be outdone Fluffy try’s another “the SNP don’t have a Devin right to rule ” Aye well Fluffy that would be the voting publics fault then eh! This parallel universe these Tories inhabit is getting stranger by the day, according to all the speakers at their propaganda festival Britain is doing just swell, while conveniently failing to notice the bloody big iceberg we are heading for, and the almost crippling debt mountain that is almost beyond belief in peacetime, dear god these people are in La La Land and they don’t even notice it , they being wrapped up in their own little world

  18. Pound plummeting today.

  19. I voted for Scottish independence (for the record, I was 65) because I felt that there must be a better way. Two years more of UK membership has convinced me that independence WILL be a better way!

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