Bateman on the Box

I was interviewed by Kurdish television about Scottish independence (they’re not exactly disinterested in the subject themselves) and found myself articulating ideas I hadn’t really thought through. No surprise there, then. It’s when you’re confronted by questions, a mic is thrust under your nose and a camera lens is widening to get in your plooks, that you tend to come up with stuff. Idea after idea pops into your head and you try gamely to connect them into a coherent whole. All the time you’re wondering if this makes any sense in Kirkuk.

The crew were happy and I know why, having done the same job myself. I gave them four complete answers they could use without an edit, each no longer than 90 seconds. There’s nothing like getting useable material in the can, even if you don’t believe a single word of it. So I’m going to be big in Erbil, top item on Reporting Kurdistan, I shouldn’t wonder. I picture Jackie Bird in a headscarf.

My argument boiled down to basics – that this was no longer about nationalism struggling for expression through independence. That was kind of the point in indyref1.

Rather it was the failure of London and unionism to adapt to Scottish demands in a changing world. Scotland had expressed itself pretty clearly both in 45 per cent Yes (while losing) and then by electing SNP members to almost all the Westminster seats. A rational and proportionate response to those results would have been an offer of substantial powers to meet the national aspiration. That, I said, would have satisfied many Scots even those who longer term wanted independence. Instead severely limited areas were devolved, notably a single, and politically toxic tax power.

The mandate was ignored while the loss of the SNP’s Holyrood majority was welcomed as a sign of failure and was used to justify retention of real power in London. They will only concede as little as they can get away with it and only after threats. There is no sense of mutual respect or mature politics at play.

Now the very basis on which the original referendum was mostly settled – EU membership and economic stability – has been destroyed. Where once the choice, put simply, had been between a known entity and the unknown, now it was between two unknowns.

Britain’s future, in foreign relations, international influence, security, social protection, environmental safeguards, quality of goods, workers’ rights, European travel and residency, was now uncertain after the EU vote. What is certain, and is still to a degree unquantifiable, is the blow awaiting the economy in lost jobs, future prospects, markets, investment, inward migration and our likely subjugation to more powerful mercantile forces in the US and China. Our national output will fall and as the IFS makes clear today, the national accounts will be hit further on top of Osborne’s still-to-come spending reductions which will heap higher debt on the Exchequer leading to more savage service and benefit cuts.

The union’s broad shoulders are sagging. Its deep pockets have holes in them. Yet the vainglorious message of British superiority trumpets on. The UK – the Ragged Trousered Propagandist.

Just last night in the Commons the voice of Scotland’s MPs was closed down in favour of government mouthpieces in the debate on Article 50. Hardly anyone actually cares what happens in the Great Hall of Westminster Public School for Privileged Boys but it’s another sign, if you need it, of institutional contempt – not to the SNP but to Scotland. And it may be that the announcement of a date for the next referendum will signal the return of the 56. For what is the point of retaining membership of a club that disdains us, one whose snobbery overrides any concept of representative democracy?

We are ignored and must learn to follow where the wise of Westminster will lead. We are being hauled out of our markets despite the European birthright we earned as early travellers long before the creation of a spatchcock United Kingdom. We, along with sparsely-educated UKIP voters and English fundamentalists, now have an international reputation as xenophobes and anti-Europeans. We are incorporated into the British image of intolerant isolationists and buddies of Trump.

The decision now is which uncertain future do we choose? Are we to join Kezia and Ruth’s suicide embrace of Brexit Britain or are we brave enough to believe in ourselves and take the hand of our European partners? A retreat from cooperation and collectivism into Little Britain dominated by global powers? Is that who we are?

Or does this more closely meet your idea of Scotland: This thoroughly modern market economy features high-tech agriculture, up-to-date small-scale and corporate industry, extensive government welfare measures, comfortable living standards, and high dependence on foreign trade. It is a net exporter of food.

That’s the basic info box from Wikipedia if you Google Denmark. The UK the majority voted for last time is fading fast and it’s clear the Tories will take us down with them. They have no interest in our fate and believe, as I do, we handed all the power over us back to them in September 2014. Our last chance is approaching. The choice is no longer independence or status quo, it’s a modern, supported society integrated with our neighbours versus a frontier scramble for work and security in a declining economy.

How the Kurds wish they had our opportunities. Writing in the Independent Gary Kent says: It is evident to me that, after a century of misery and a decade of failed federalism in Iraq, Kurds in Iraq need sovereignty. It is seen as fundamental to their survival in allowing them to borrow on international markets, buy arms, and attract investment to rejuvenate their economy and to turn quantity into quality in everything from education to governance.

The time to fear the future is passing. The really worrying thing is the willful catastrophe that MPs vote for, even those who realize the damage it will do to the national interest. When the talks begin in a few weeks it will quickly become apparent that Scotland has no voice and no interest to be protected as far as the UK is concerned. The question is just how much of this can soft Nos take before they see the game is up?

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36 thoughts on “Bateman on the Box

  1. The description of Denmark could, so easily, be about Scotland. I found the text of Forbes.com not wikepedia.

  2. I work in the City (I have noted before). Nobody here will suffer. Everybody here thinks its insane. Willfully stupid in fact, and their interest in Scotland is waning more and more, there will be no joyous ‘please stay’. Much more likely a ‘go, you lucky fools’.

    People in Scotland have to remember – maybe 80% of people in England don’t give a toss about Scotland. Its not ‘nasty’ – its simply a large amount of ignorance and a small amount of animosity. “Why are they moaning? We give them everything … (taken from Daily Mail and BBC daily snacks)”.

    The ones interested are the ones to gain. The revenue streams – oil, power generation, whisky, the grousemoors? Why? Oh, we store their nukes.

    When we do go, they had better be ready to pay for what they need. We had better be ready to take control and use it for the good of Scotland.

  3. A good article as always, but here’s the flipside: what if Brexit works?

    For argument’s sake, let’s assume it does, a whole raft of powers head up to Edinburgh, and the Scottish people nod in agreement.

    What then for the independence movement?

    Because these cold hard points need to be made: The SNP’s majority may not last forever, the Scottish people may be happy with FFA, and of course, if Brexit works, and it’s a big if, Indy could be put on the back burner for a few years.

    I feel at some point, the SNP will have to get their skates on and call another referendum.

    History waits for no man…

    • Aye in yer dreams

      • I was wondering when you’d make an intellectual contribution to this debate.

        I grew up in a Scotland utterly dominated by the Labour party and trade unions. I never thought I’d see that end in my lifetime, but here we are…

    • For Brexit to “work” it will need maybe 10-15 years minimum and for the EU to fall apart and become a free market only.
      I think it really has disaster written all over it. The Norwegian relationship with the EU would have been a sensible strategy to follow for the UK.

  4. People in Glasgow have to remember – maybe 80% of people in Fife don’t give a toss about Glasgow Its not ‘nasty’ – its simply a large amount of ignorance and a small amount of animosity.

    Could you not say that about anything ?

    Question
    People that DO give a toss, what do they do differently, pay their tax ? go to work…..if you live in the UK , you work, you pay tax , your tax is distributed through the land. to fund various “projects” you may not agree with, still you do it all the same.

    And some who who does not give a toss, does exactly the same.

  5. Yeah, I think the 56 will withdraw very soon. This Union of equals, “stay and lead us”, is now exposed as one one of the biggest of the Better Together lies, and we are not short for choice. I think the noise coming from WM backs up the UK Gov assertion in 2014 that Scotland was “extinguished” in 1707 and incorporated into a greater England. We are a region! You can see that attitude in media, in debate and forums. Was quite amazed at the time at the lack of outrage from Scots at this assertion, bar yessers of course. From my part, one last push for Indy and if Scots fail to back up their ELECTED Gov, and side with the right wing LabCon Better Together mob again, then me and my wee family will be for the off. We will be taking up our entitlement to our Irish passports and moving to a boomtime Ireland as business and jobs relocate there following this Brexit shambles. We will not stay and be branded with a “British” passport, with the stench of xenophobia, a pariah state, insular, wagons hitched to a racist, dangerous loon of a US president. Would like to be more positive, but little seems to have changed in polls, no matter what UK Gov does or with this Brexit. If we lose again SNP should disband, leave “Scots” to it, forever branded a laughing stock, a spineless nation of 90 minute patriots, as someone once said. One last push, doubt there will be another chance in my lifetime.

    • Rather similar to my thoughts on the matter, Bunter.

    • I agree with you! Hopefully you won’t need those Irish passports.

    • Spot on.

    • You’re lucky. What about us poor sods who aren’t entitled to an Irish, or any other passport. We can’t afford to loose. Let’s try to make sure we don’t.

    • Would like to be more positive, but little seems to have changed in polls, no matter what UK Gov does or with this Brexit.

      You must have missed the poll putting independence at 49 per cent then. I don’t think it has ever been that high, bar a completely rogue poll in the 1990s. But this one is after a independence referendum. I don’t really get the negativity to be honest, when campaigning started in 2012 for the first independence referendum, support was around the 25 per cent mark for independence. Things take time to change in Scotland. We just need to be cautious at the moment and size up the situation imo.

  6. We cannot be oblivious to our democratically elected representatives being treated in a manner which brings to mind the British state at its arrogant, imperialist worst.

    We cannot be impervious to the insult of being dealt with, as a nation, in a way that is disturbingly reminiscent of the conduct of the British ruling elites towards those peoples whose inferiority was assumed to be as much part of a divinely-ordained ‘natural order’ as the righteousness of outrageous wealth secured by overwhelming military might.

  7. I’ve always thought that the best way for the UK Government to stifle the demand for an independent Scotland is to ensure we’re as economically successful as possible and with maximum autonomy to manage our own affairs. That way people wouldn’t think independence was worth it. The second best way is to impoverish Scotland, to make it really difficult for us to be economically successful and to make managing our own affairs very, very complicated. That way people will be afraid to vote for independence in case things get even worse. Sadly the UK Government seem to be completely wedded to option 2. Will it work? Time to find out I think.

  8. This is the third post around the internet I have read today suggesting that withdrawal of the 56 might not be far off.

    The more I think about it, the more it makes sense. Not just because of the issues you raise (why attend the club that disdains you so) but because, if a second referendum campaign is coming, it makes sense to have all those effective communicators and campaigners at home. Why would, for instance, Mhairi Black waste her time (and skills) down there being ignored when she could be at home winning more people over? Their experiences of the last couple of years will also have given them invaluable knowledge about how certain things work that they can utilise in their arguments.

    I watch with interest…

  9. Soft NO’s are fed the line by the MSM that the conduct directed at Scotland’s MP’s is because they are SNP not because they are Scottish
    Don’t know for how long that line can be held, but fact is among soft NO’s and the politically disconnected in Scotland, of which there are many, unease exists about Brexit and economic consequences. Until these hit the pocketbooks of the politically uncurious among us, in the form of higher inflation + unemployment, abuse directed at SNP MP’s will be tolerated sadly.

  10. While I can well understand the growing anger at the contempt shown by both the tory government, and the Westminster parliament, to our 56 S.N.P M.Ps, I do not think for one minute that we should withdraw.
    Yes, they will never win a vote, but their constant presence is a thorn in the side to the unionist parties.
    And as such, they will get a mention in the M.S.M, O.K, not much of a mention, but they will still be about working hard to defend, as best they can, Scottish interests.
    I believe Nicola is playing it just right, because as the shambles that is Brexit rumbles on, it can only become more of a disaster than it is right now.
    I’m as impatient as the rest of you, mainly because I’m getting on a bit, but after September, 2014 I want to make sure that this time we reach our goal, and vote to become an independent country.

    • Well said, Alex. I’m pretty sure none of us from atheist to the devoutly religious on here consider themselves to be a saint.
      The behaviour of the WM Woofers over the past few days, and the increasingly bellicose language of Unionist Twitters, MSM shit stirrers, and LisTory MSP rabble rousers, is designed to ‘test the patience of a saint.’
      Like Janus, our Pro Independence WM MPs must face both ways: look backwards at the sorry events which have led to the systematic emasculation of Scottish power and influence in this so called Union of ours.
      Devolution was seen as a quick Polyfilla job, to fill in the cracks appearing in the corrupt system.
      We have come a long way since the ‘I like that’ Dewar days.
      Our ‘devolved administration’ has matured into the only ‘Government’ that many a ‘man on the Coatbridge omnibus’ recognise. WM is a ‘foreign’ government now.
      And the shenanigans over the past week or so has more than established that we don’t matter; to the 85% English MPs and the Three Unionist parties, that is.
      ‘Fratricide’, gonna buy me a gun. annexe Edinburgh, Faslane and Aberdeen, scream the Unionists, a sure sign that they know that when the Brexshit hits the fan, Scotland will opt to remain within the EU via Indyref 2.
      Looking forward, our MPs must ‘stay in the tent’, while actively campaigning during the Indyref 2 Campaign.
      The ‘keep your enemies closer’ of Corleone fame.
      We need to have as much info on Brexit, and the inevitable Unionist Better Together Project Fear 2 as we can get.

      Walking out of Westminster might feel good, but sitting among them while they plot the demise of Scotland feels even better.

    • I’m not so sure that the SNP MPs should stick it out for much longer at Westminster. In the VERY unlikely event that Thersa May suddenly starts making some concessions to Scotland, once Nicola has a fully documented set of rebuffs to all our requests, from amendments to the Scotland Bill to Scotland’s role in Brexit and the lack of any latitude that is being accorded N. Ireland, Gibraltar and the City of London and probably more of the same with the Great Reform Bill, what’s to be gained by sticking around? To many soft Unionists (the sort we want to persuade to Yes), to stay might well be seen as a humiliating loss of face, while withdrawing would not only cause constitutional uproar, it would sent a neon-light message that Scotland is very definitely not in a ‘partnership of equals’ and earn the SNP respect for having the courage of their convictions.

  11. I never understood why the UK was considered a no-risk option in 2014, when Thatcher’s government after the 1979 vote provided so many examples of the kind of things Scotland could enjoy if we voted No.

  12. Indy 2 is our last lifeline to decency, self respect, and ultimately our salvation…without it there seems no light ahead, only hard right conservatism. Ukippers, and anti eu sentiment..all of which are rejected by most scots…it’s a stark choice..unionism, a tawdry relic of a bygone era which is increasingly irrelevant to a modern, outward looking Scotland .or an independent nation, serving all who choose to make it their home..wm will never willingly give up Scotland’s extensive contribution to its financial well being…and have the power to use underhand tactics if necessary…it’s a mixture of hope we can achieve self determination, and praying the soft noes from Indy one have seen enough of mayhem, farage and the right cabal of little England and know our future doesn’t lie down that path…

  13. ” I picture Jackie Bird in a headscarf ” …… oh! dear Gawd, what a horrible apparition !!!!!!

  14. I believe that it is self evident truths which ultimately inform public opinion.
    Thanks to the propaganda from the London establishment and it’s press pack,they have so far managed to obscure the end of the UK “union” from some Scots.
    Not for much longer however.
    The body language and clearly expressed outrage from our Scottish MPs lately suggests that their patience with a hostile English parliament is getting pretty thin but they are going to have to thole it for a wee bit longer.
    They are being treated by the English establishment in the same way as French,German,Canadian or any other “foreign” representatives would be i.e. ignored as being irrelevant because they do not represent English interests.

  15. Can an oppositional parliamentary system work if the opposition doesn’t oppose? Puts a three-line whip on collaboration, in fact? With enemies like Labour, who needs friends, eh?

    I can’t find definite numbers, but it looks like the SNP had ten minutes’s say in an eight-hour debate? Is that wrong? Even The National isn’t framing that story. I googled “snp brexit debate”, and pretty much every result is a report headlined “Alex Salmond Angry”.

  16. Do we really want three more centuries of Westminster arrogance and ignorance directed at Scotland? The time for action is fast approaching. Time to end this debilitating union with England.

  17. There’s no need to go into the nitty gritty of what might or might not happen when you explain the need for independence to someone. The point is that we decide, Scots, the People of Scotland. Not the English government.

    After independence if:
    you want EU membership? Vote for a party that stands on delivering it.
    you want to live in a green utopian state? Vote for a party that stands on delivering It.
    you want to live in tax haven? Vote for it.

    The point is, YOU get to choose, not the electorate of a foreign country whose parliament affords our representatives literally no democratic influence at all.

    Are Scots really that selfish and shortsighted that they cannae see that?!

  18. The only reason I can think of for the 56 to exit WM would be to declare Independence, otherwise I feel it would be a colossal own goal, handing WM, their media chums and the rich who control the mainstream parties a field day.

  19. Since Corbyn voted with the Tories the union is dead for Labourites north of the Tweed. Even Kezia voted with the SNP at Holyrood indicating opposition to Article 50 and taking a wee, albeit, feart step away from the “main office”.
    It is still incomprehensible that she calls independence an even bigger disaster for Scotland than Brexit! That is a non sequitur.
    Still, the brainwashing – SNP baaaad – still grips her sub conscious mind, goodness knows what grips her conscious mind!?
    However, one thing is certain. The EU will not be brought into pro -Brit support at next Ref2. The tory-hooked might still get a few Spanish renegades to make noises. Last grasp at the straw.
    But Westminster has burnt its boats with the EU. One does not expect much accommodation from Brussels. Given May’s pal, Trump, aims to destabilise the EU by trying to get wee bilateral deals with the member states, No 10 is persona non grata.
    They key in next zIndyref2 is Slab abd Labour for Indy and the faction in the LibDems that put down motions recently supporting a relook at Indy.
    These are the perceptive soft No’s. As the yoon party leaders from Lab and LibDems have de facto written off the Scottish branches, the diverging politics north and south of the Tweed continues.

  20. 48 hours is indeed a long time in politics.
    Mike Russell ‘owned ‘the Select Committee scrutinising the SNP Alt EU proposals. Michael Gove made a complete fool of himself. Russell was in fine form.
    I’d love to see Dugdale or Rennie trying to defend Brexit now. Scottish GDP to suffer a £9 billion hit, 80,000 jobs lost, families £2000 pa worse off, no freedom of movement, immigration, on which Scotland relies for economic and social stability controlled by WM, and the Good Friday Agreement torn up.
    We can and shall stop this madness.
    Ken Clarke voted with the SNP FFS. The world truly has been turned on its head.

  21. Ot but I watched the rugby match Scotland v Ireland and heard the anthems being sung and felt ashamed as the Scottish anthem was being sung as some of the ones singing it could not even vote for their countries independence the words that fought and died for is a claim the Irish could sing with truth but not the Scots who only had to vote for it but couldn’t

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