Lift Thine Eyes

The SNP favour the Norway option which I can’t stop thinking of as a Monty Python sketch in a pet shop involving a dead parrot. ‘That’s a Norwegian Blue, sir.’

Alex Neil thinks we should embrace Brexit along with UKIP, the Tories and, now I see, the Labour Party. So it’s about taking back control. You know, like the lunatics taking over the asylum. There are side dishes of EFTA and EEA to complete the whole dog’s breakfast. I have no idea how we expect the public to sift through this and make sense of it without clear leadership.

We need to go back to basics and remember that if we’d voted to become a proper country we wouldn’t be in this mess at all. Oh sure, we’d be in a different mess of a post-vote new order with currency questions and deficit problems – except of course that’s exactly what we’ve got anyway by ducking out of making the big decision. Almost every one of Better Together’s predictions of doom after a Yes vote are coming true after a No vote. Caveat emptor.

We could now be safely inside the EU club as an aspiring member state waiting to take the rUK’s place instead of watching helplessly from the sidelines pleading to be heard. This is our reward for being good British citizens and depending on the experience of the UK to do the right thing. Vote No to stay in the EU – except when we change our mind in which case you’re out along with us. And, by the way, this is going to hurt.

There was always a risk in designing the Yes case as a silver bullet. Voters know life isn’t like that and, as I keep saying, we should have given a more realistic picture of post-referendum Scotland. Because even with forging new partnerships, seeking funding and rebalancing our commitments, we would still look at today’s Brexit mess and feel a sense of relief that it didn’t apply to us. Indeed Brexit without Scotland would have added impetus to the process of entering us on to the Brussels club membership. There would be urgency to settle our case before EU talks started with London. It would also have turbo charged the discussions between Edinburgh and London paving the way for Scotland leaving the Union. Downing Street would be under pressure to settle the Scottish issue quickly before moving on. Meanwhile we would have the support of friends in Brussels where we would be on the front line of maintaining the European ideal in the face of the separatists.

Too late now, of course. Except it is a reminder of what our case is and has always been – independence. It has become the word that dare not speak its name as we wrestle with accommodations, trade deals and customs unions. We need to remember the cause is greater than the compromises. I am a committed European but if you ask me to vote for independence outside the EU, I vote Yes. Equally I expect anti Europeans to back independence in the EU if that’s the option.

It’s hard to think of anything worse than being an afterthought in a xenophobic Tory Little England outside the European mainstream, begging for deals with Trump while the national debt balloons and the deficit grows. I can’t see how remaining locked in to London and a political system in which even the opposition has given up, is beneficial. It surely is the unyielding Unionists who are cult-like in adherence to the suicidal incompetence of Johnson, Fox and Davis who are making the UK a laughing stock. For many of us the British government failed to speak our language a long time ago but we still heard echoes of our view in the Labour Party. Yet the meandering contradictions and sophistry of Corbyn’s regime denies us even that.

Revealing, I thought, that the never previously shown Better Together film appearing on the internet through Buzzfeed doesn’t reference Scotland at all. It is entirely focussed on Britain with a commentary making absolutely clear that the UK is the Unionists’ country, not Scotland. It is about retaining the UK hegemony in which it implies Scots only play a part for the charity available. There is no attempt to portray any difference or variation or native distinctiveness – just Our Britain. It shows how Scotland continues to be enveloped in the maw of collective British identity and in their mind deserves no distinct recognition.

We didn’t want to press too hard for indyref2 because the SNP wanted to go forward with the other parties arguing for our place in the single market. That was a wasted idea with pygmy politicians voting down anything the SNP propose and to hell with public interest.

Whatever you think of our railways, the current Ruritanian row demanding a resignation as if it would change anything, signifies an opposition bereft of realism let alone ideas. When the country faces the looming implosion of Brexit, wouldn’t a real politician apply his energy to finding a unified resolution before it’s too late?

It’s hard not to conclude that even after a Yes vote the same Lego legislators would spend their time on diversions and fail to do their duty to the voters and the nation.

From now on I’d like to hear independence again used as the ultimate option whenever an aspect of the Brexit business is raised. Yes, we could possibly have a different deal with the EU inside the UK. Or…we could take what is ours and work directly with European neighbours to deliver the goals of a united Europe. We’re in danger of combing through the minutiae looking for morsels when by lifting our eyes we can see the whole horizon.


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37 thoughts on “Lift Thine Eyes

  1. I doubt if this would be a popular view in these parts, but I cannot understand the SNP’s opposition to Brexit – it only helps Scottish independence. They should be rolling out the red carpet for it, not sticking their noses into the Supreme Court case, and getting their tuppence worth.

    That sets a dangerous precedent, because it could allow Unionists to thwart indy 2 with a challenge in the courts, especially with a narrow result for Yes…

    And if the SNP know whats good for them, they won’t table amendments to any bill activating Article 50. Yes, vote against it to reflect Scottish wishes, but no amendments, because in the event on an Indy ref 2 bill, all it takes is Tory backbenchers causing mischief, and we’re back to 1979 with all the bells and whistles attached.

    And they would be perfectly entitled to do so: Parliament is sovereign, Scotland voted No in 2014, blah blah blah…

    I hope the SNP top brass are thinking long term on this…

    As for the EU itself, have we forgotten how Barrosso stabbed us in the back in 2014, or the furore over minimum alcohol pricing, because it was against EU law?

    A Scottish government, elected by the Scottish people, struggling to pass a flagstone policy, because it went against something decided by unelected pen pushers in Brussels?

    I’m with Jim Sillars on this one – out of Westminster, out of Brussels. That’ll do me…

    • Brexit is going to be an absolute economic disaster for the UK in the years ahead. I have no idea why some people think it is a good thing.

    • You’re right that selling a third way, the ‘Norway option’ will require good leadership but I’m confident we have that.

      I actually think that the EFTA route could be the easiest sell to Joe Public. No Eurozone currency bogeyman, no deficit obfuscation, no Spanish veto bluster, no ‘trading Westminster for Brussels’ sovereignty shite. We get access to the single market, we still benefit from free movement of people, no commitment to joining the single currency (even if that commitment is only on paper). We can always vote on EU membership later if we feel the need.

      Four countries to convince rather than 27. Four countries who would be less inclined to diplomatically keep their mouths shut during Brexit negotiations or a second indyref. An EFTA green light before the referendum could snuff out many of the unionist scares.

      Keeps the Yes who voted leave happy and surely it would be enough for many of the Nos who voted remain? No?

    • In the days of the treaty of Westphalia, the size of countries was limited by the range of a horse and cart, or of a relay of horses.

      These days, we have communication and transport technology that make the world much smaller.

      The natural result of this is that individual political entities can be much bigger.

      In a world where the major players are the US, China, Russia, India and Europe… we have the choice of joining the US, or joining Europe.

      I don’t know that the US is going the right way.

      • “In a world where the major players are the US, China, Russia, India and Europe… we have the choice of joining the US, or joining Europe.”
        Oceania, Eurasia, and Eastasia?
        It borders on the trite to bring up Orwell’s ‘1984’,here, but we seem to be heading that way.
        Eurasia was described as the old Soviet Union, and continental Europe, and preached Neo-Bolshevism.
        Eastasia comprised China, Japan, Taiwan, Korea, and Oceania, the Americas, the UK, Iceland, Australia, NZ, Southern Africa. The British Islands were referred to as ‘Airstrip One.’
        The ‘disputed territories’ (the rest, India, Indonesia, Hong Kong, Darwin,the Polar Regions and so on) were in a state of (reported ‘Wag The Dog’ ) perpetual war with two of the three Superpowers allying together to fight the other, but these alliances constantly shifting. War is Peace. The Inner Party, made up of the elite, the Outer Party, highly indoctrinated, and the Proles, politically inactive drudges.
        Beginning to sound familiar?
        We are breaking away from Europe, forging closer ties with the US, and perpetual war rages in the ME, with Prez Trump of Oceania forging an fresh alliance with Putin’s ‘Eurasia’.
        The SNP’s historic victory in the 2015 UK GE, Sturgeon’s SGE victory this year, are not considered to democratically reflect the political will of the people; Mundell Davidson, Dugdale and Rennie have consigned these tremendously significant pro Independence votes to incineration via the Memory Hole (I know,I’m hanging on to the 1984 analogy like grim death); they never happened, so spake the Ministry of Truth via McDougall and McTernon.
        A second Independence Referendum is inevitable now, and the Third Rate Unionist Up Here know that.
        I plump for joining Eurasia, every time.
        I expect the Thought Police to be at my door any minute now. Room 101 holds no fears for me. I’m a Bankie supporter.

    • Dave McEwan Hill

      Your opening sentence is extraordinarily naive

      • Barosso was not representing the EU. He was representing himself and his NATO aspirations. I thought everyone knew this. Everyone except you it seems.

  2. As the Prime minister of Norway said, to be in EFTA you have to be an independent state. .EFTA countries have agreements with the EU. Ergo, Sturgeon’s approach is correct. Explore options, analyse the fine detail, understand how EFTA operates especially how it interfaces with the Nordic Council of which Norway is a member.
    During the brexit campaign, the Leave side were trumpeting (no pun intended) the merits of EFTA and said the UK could rejoin, only to be rebuffed by the Norwegian PM who said that the size of the UK (possibly meaning England) would imbalance EFTA as it is made up of smaller countries.
    Peer Gynt, in Ibsen’s dramatic poem of the same name, has Peer, in his time as a man of the world and successful business man, say how he has learned from different nationalities. From the English, he says:
    “med skjerpet sans for eget beste” – with a sharpened sense to get the best for oneself!.
    Independence is not off the agenda; the emsm at BBC Scotland, just jumped to that conclusion as they are probably not aware of the nature of EFTA; their gaze only stretches to London and Westminster!!
    As you say, waiting to be listened by a Tory Westminster is futile. We strike out on our own behalf to explore possibilities.
    So far, May and her cronies have no concept of how to start and what they are aiming for. She seems to be conducting a dialogue with herself these days.

  3. Steve Asaneilean

    I cannot understand the nonsense I see that people who voted Yes last time around might vote No in indyref2 because they want BREXIT.

    It’s a shameful position to hold. Whether or not Scotland stays in the EU or not is a decision for the citizens of Scotland alone. It’s clear at present that two thirds want to stay in.

    It’s outrageous that we should be pulled out of the EU on the back of a Tory bun fight by a Government with one MP in Scotland and barely a fifth of the Scottish vote.

    If you want an independent Scotland outside the EU you work your socks off to get independence first – and if we can do that on the back of a BREXIT mess then that’s fine with me.

    Then once we are independent you can argue your case for leaving the EU and let your fellow Scottish citizens decide.

  4. I agree with Steve. Let’s get independence sorted out and move on from that.

  5. “With a sharpened sense to get the best for oneself”.

    Says it in a phrase really. Do any of you believe that all of the EU negotiators are of saintly character and will be immune to “persuasion” by those with a sharpened sense. Those with a sharpened sense stuffed us in Indyref, and the Brexit ref by simply lying to achieve their goals, and protect their interests. Unscrupulous sure, but they won. Are there none with a sharpened sense in the EU? Barrosso, is his sharpened sense dulled?

    We have 56 of 59 MPs at Westminster; an MSP majority for independence at the Scottish Parliament. A 62% mandate to retain our EU membership. Think about it, how would persons of a sharpened sense to get the best for oneself(s) proceed?

  6. I find the concept that a supporter of Scottish independence would vote No in any reasonable circumstances to be utterly bizarre.

    • Agreed. My Cocaine is a unionist troll. There are SNP Yes voters who voted Leave in the EU ref, because that is what they genuinely believed was the better option for the UK but who have emphatically said they would vote Yes again even if it meant staying in the EU. These are people who have their priorities right. Get independence first, then we can discuss the rest, including our future relationship with the EU.

      Much of what is wrong with Scotland’s relationship with the EU is because all the dealing Scotland had with the treaty negotiations were done by England (aka UK) on our behalf, like the fishing rights for instance. Negotiated away by England who didn’t give a stuff that it would hurt a major industry in Scotland, because fishing in England was not that important.

      • A Unionist troll because I don’t like the EU? Clearly, you didn’t read my post from start to finish.

        • I’ve read umpteen of your posts from start to finish and you clearly hate the EU first, second, and third before any other consideration including Scottish independence. Ergo you are a unionist. The most polite thing I can say about your position is ‘confused’.

  7. Also, Derek, I feel that Brexit would never have happened in the wake of a ‘Yes’ vote for Scotland. The British Nationalists would have had their rosy fantasies cut down to size.

    • Totally agree. If Cameron had ‘lost’ the Scottish independence referendum in 2914, do you think for one minute he or his advisors or any of the europhiles in the Tory party would have allowed an EU referendum? Would the Tories have been re-elected in 2015 if they had ‘lost’ Scotland?

  8. Personally I don’t respond well to threat or blackmail. I’d hope the same could be said of the Scottish Government.

    Someone says to me I won’t vote for independence tomorrow because I don’t get my brexit, I’m not going to argue the point with them. They’ve made a choice and a statement. One that I’m not interested in.

    I’m an internationalist. I believe in Scottish sovereignty and world interdependence. I don’t particularly care whether its EFTA or EU TBH. An independent Scotland, just like any nation on earth, needs friends, markets, allies and YES, unions. How and ever, that would be unions where you deal face to face as equals and not as third party also rans who get to sit down and eat their cereal whilst the adults discuss important stuff.

    When Winnie Ewing said ‘stop the world, Scotland wants to get on’? That pretty much captures how I feel about where we should be at. Independence isn’t the end of the journey, its the beginning.

    Like Derek, I’d be voting for independence regardless of where we find ourselves and yes I think its about time to start getting loud about it.

  9. Wow, you are on fire this morning Derek! A clear sighted analysis.

    As you say, Nicola Sturgeon has done her utmost to accommodate No/Remain voters and all she got out of it was David Davis’ phone number. The nuclear option must now be triggered.

    Gina Millar has done more for liberty and for Scotland than any politician south of the Tweed and the news that the government is being advised not to appeal against the High Court ruling on Parliamentary authority on triggering Article 50 in the Supreme Court, as the SC is likely to confirm the constitutional position that Holyrood does in fact have a veto on Brexit – at least as far as Scotland is concerned – is further evidence (if you ever needed it) that the UK’s interest is not Scotland’s interest.

    Yet as you say, and as Iain Docherty makes plain over the trains fiasco, Scotland’s opposition contains pygmy politicians who can’t see past their bitterness and spite.

    But they are hardly exceeded, except in duplicity and weakness, by UK MPs, of both the UK government and the opposition, who have no plan whatsoever for Brexit.

    And the media! Why isn’t it railing about the costs of Brexit? Why is Farage everywhere, a man with no mandate anywhere in the UK?

  10. I think much of Derek’s postulating about where we would be had we voted for Indy and rUK Brexit is simply that.

    I propose that if we voted for Independence:

    *The rUK would have been in such a state of flux the promise to hold a referendum on the EU should the Tories gain a majority would not have been made.

    *The Tories would have been unlikely to gain a majority in the 2015 GE anyway. They would not have been able to use the ‘Salmond will pick your pocket’ crap and they would be entering the election as the party that oversaw the dissolution of the Union, something the rUK were quite fond of.

    Of course there is a bitter irony for many better off NO voters – particularly our English friends, neighbours and colleagues – who wanted it all their own way. In their world they would continue to enjoy the more inclusive attitudes they enjoyed in Scotland, not have their friends and family in England as foreigners* and retain the status quo and cosmopolitan links to the EU that were serving them well. And besides, cuddly Ed M was a shoo-in for PM and wouldn’t mistreat the less well off whos dreams and aspirations they were destroying.

    Instead they have hastened the lurch of England to the right, saw the UK being taken out of the EU and tethered us all to this horror for the foreseeable. The only slim solace I take is that they have shafted themselves as well as me and my kids.

    *copyright Scottish Labour

  11. I think the EU in/out referendum would still have happened because the anti immigrant rhetoric in England is worse today than I’ve ever seen it in my lifetime. People keep coming up with reasons why England voted out, including the Brussells making the rules thing, but when you get right down to it, it’s all about immigration and taking control of the borders, and that was never going away whilst in Europe.

  12. After reading through these comments, I can only conclude that a lot of people are still struggling to comprehend the elephant in the room: the Scottish people are not serious about independence.

    If they were, they would have voted for it overwhelmingly in 2014.

    They would not be sitting on the fence hedging their bets over the economic impact of Brexit, weighing it up against an Indy Scotland…

    It’s all very well for people to say that Scotland got dragged out out of the EU against its will, but the Scottish people made the decision in 2014 to let another country make the decisions for them…

    This is what happens…

    People can call me a Unionist troll all they want, but I’m not living in an echo chamber any more, and some dissent and deviation from the pro-EU, pro SNP line back in 2014 could have done the independence movement a world of good, rather than preaching to the converted…

    I am convinced the EU is a corrupt racket, and I’m glad we’re getting out.

    Barrosso taking up employment with Goldman Sachs, a institution that did so much to damage Greece, whilst Barrosso was the top man at the EU, tells me all I need to know about Brussels…

    The SNP have been too timid during their time in government and for pushing for indy 2.

    The Tories are on the ropes, Labour are a shambles, never again will this opportunity arise, and yet the SNP are pussy-footing around European capitals trying to muster support from an organization that sent them packing in 2014!

    And where is the push for more powers now we’re leaving the EU?

    There is a plethora of powers that can now be devolved to Scotland.

    Where is the push for this?

    It would be a far better strategy than sticking your nose into a Supreme Court case, and as Peat Worrier has already demonstrated, the SNP are on a hiding to nothing anyway…

    By all means criticise Westminster and Brexit, but I would urge people to keep an eye on the pro-Indy side as well…

    Just because we believe in a common goal, doesn’t mean to say we shouldn’t offer critical voices critiquing that common goal…

    • The history of Norwegian independence is quite interesting. Decades before North Sea oil, they were dirt poor, but they voted overwhelmingly in favour of independence, because they believes in old fashioned things like self-determination, democracy etc etc

      In fact, to the best of my knowledge, every country that gained independence seized that opportunity the first time of asking., India being a prime example, nobody having to ask them twice, and Gandhi not urging his followers to hold off just in case the UK’s EEC membership might provide a financial boon for India’s economy…

      And then we come to Scotland. Clearly, a majority of our countrymen and women have no interest in Scottish self-determination, otherwise they would have voted Yes in 2014, regardless of the economic argument, just like Norway did over a 100 years ago…

      Instead, the people we need to win over are sitting on the fence, weighing up Brexit and Scottish independence, hedging their bets, seeing which one will benefit their wallet the most…

      It’s only natural that people will look after themselves, that’s life and politics…

      But the point I’m making is this: the self-determination argument won’t win indy ref 2, it will be cold, hard, economics…

      With the Tories on the ropes, the economy tanking, and Labour as useful as a return ticket for the Titanic, there will never be a better opportunity for the SNP.

      Having narrowly lost their majority a few months back, it must surely dawn on them that they won’t be in power for ever…

      And say if Brexit is a success, then the fair weather Indy supporters will plump for the status quo…

      The SNP can’t hang around forever…

      They will have to grasp the nettle on indy ref 2 sooner or later…

      • If you’ve given up on Scotland, Scots, Scottish independence, why do you bother coming here?

        Faintheart! You’d never win a war, would you?

        PS the Norwegians weren’t dirt poor in 1905. And they had been independent for nearly a century by that time, since 1814.

        • One of these days, people might actually start reading what I write. Nowhere does it say that I’ve given up on Scottish independence.

  13. Does anyone have any idea where Labour think this is all going?

  14. On yer marks… etc

    Its gonnae get awful loud very shortly.🙂

  15. Well, well said Mr Bateman. Clear the fog of EFTA, special arrangements and this and that and looking for scraps from London, and we can see independence will let US the Scottish people choose what happens. I wholly agree it needs shouted loud.

    Instead of clinging on to London, in some pathetic attempt to get some kind of scraps, we need real leadership. Point the ship in the right direction. No shirking. No ‘but, but what if’s…’ Now is not the time for shrinking violets, and wishy washy ‘compromises’. Play the Westmijnster game and their is one guaranteed outcome – WESTMINSTER WINS.

    Many, many people I know are in utter despair in their wait for the Scottish Government to start doing something. The door for Scotland is unlocked, all it needs is one good hard push. So why are we still sitting on our hands waiting, watching as banks relocate to Dublin and Frankfurt, when they could be coming to an independent Scotland within the EU.

    Westminster has repeatedly and very loudly and clearly stated in public over and over again, their will be NO separate deal for Scotland. So, let’s move on. Stop pretending we’ll get somewhere playing the Westminster game (for that is what it is – albeit a very damaging one).

    Time for independence, and a lot less of this frankly pathetic shilly shallying. It’s called leadership.

    • It’s ironic isn’t it – the rasion d’etre for the SNP these last 70 years, is obviously Scottish independence, but now that an open goal opportunity presents itself, they’re not sure what to do…

  16. Slovakia split from the Czech Republic on the simple agreement of both governments – when there was only something like 40% public support in Slovakia for independence.

    There too, as May’s government is demonstrating, there are good reasons to keep the offence you cause while separating to a minimum.

    I like the way the court manoeuvres are going. Right now, galling as it is, I don’t see another referendum as a slam dunk or anything like it. Who wants to give Rupert Murdoch another chance to defuse momentum, and the BBC and the rest of the print media another chance to carpet-bomb public opinion?

    There were plenty of excellent arguments for independence in 2014 – we on the ‘Yes’ side knew them. They were suppressed.

    If the media were even 50/50, public opinion would be easy:

    2011 census

    National Identity

    62% of the total population stated their identity was ‘Scottish only’. That proportion varied from 71% for 10 to 14 year olds to 57% for 30 to 34 year olds.

    The second most common response was ‘Scottish and British identities only’, at 18%. This was highest in the 65 to 74 age group, at 25%.

    ‘British identity only’ was chosen by 8% of the population. The highest proportion stating this identity was the 50 to 64 age group (10%).

    How many political news reports in Scotland still carry quotes from the UK parties, and don’t bother asking the SNP? My guess is it’s harder to lead if you’re not allowed to speak to your followers.

    Either way, courage without judgment is a good recipe for getting yourself killed.

    All the delays over Article 50 are deliberate and play on everyone’s frustration. Until they trigger it, the public won’t know Brexit is real. That’ll be the time to look again at the polls… if events haven’t come Scotland’s way before then.

  17. My cocaine for what it’s worth I agree with everything you say and I am not a troll either

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