Don’t mention the….

I’ve been trying not to write anything for a week or so in case I become obsessed with referendums.

It’s a condition all us separatists suffer, unlike sensible people from Unionist parties who never mention the subject.

It does get a bit repetitive, though, doesn’t it? I do think a lot of the public resistance to the idea of indyref2 is just an expression of ennui rather than opposition to independence itself. People just don’t want another any time soon and would probably prefer if nobody talked about it at all to give them a break.

The first one didn’t resolve anything – not for long. And the EU version has brought the worst cataclysm on the country since the financial crash – and will have longer lasting consequences.

Whichever way a second indyref goes, the fall-out is going to be spectacular. Either we enter a prolonged period of readjustment to statehood with attendant dilemmas over debt, currency, EU membership and extrication from England or we go down as an emasculated province of isolationist, cut-price Britain. You can hear the public inquiring: Are there any other choices?

And the answer I’m afraid is No. That is the stark choice, the unavoidable reality that looms. No wonder so many recoil at the thought. You’ll need a full stomach when the time comes because, whatever your preference, the vote is only the beginning. Best to treat the intervening months as a really long downie day.

Perhaps that’s why there is mounting talk of ditching the referendum idea and going back to the original basis of the democratic case – the election of a majority of MPs. Wouldn’t that be sweet? We’d be there already – with a stonking majority. With the MPs returned, the SNP government declares the country independent. For those of us frustrated and not a little humiliated by lectures from sub-Trump pipsqueaks who give every impression of despising the country they serve, the prospect of a quick dash to freedom is tempting. It has an ideological basis that is hard to dispute (putting aside pro and anti preferences). Among its flaws though are that there was no specific claim made by the SNP prior to the 2015 election. Sturgeon said: A vote for the SNP is not a vote for another referendum. It is a vote to have Scotland’s voice heard at Westminster.

I’m not sure withdrawal of MPs would constitute our voice being heard. The supposition behind an SNP vote of course is always going to independence but you’d still need to declare in advance that withdrawal was possible depending on circumstance – many non-indy Scots vote SNP and deserve to be represented.

But beyond all these nuanced issues there is one overarching matter that can’t be willed away. An independent state only really exists insofar as it is recognised as such by other nations.

If governments elsewhere don’t accept your mandate to be a sovereign state, it doesn’t matter how loud you shout or how many flags you fly. Throughout the modern independence claim period the world community – including Spain – has made clear that if the existing state –the UK – acknowledges the existence of Scotland as a separate state (presumably after an agreed democratic formula) then they too would follow suit. Other countries look to the existing state and government – the British government in London – for their lead. Unless London makes clear that part of the UK territory has gone through a proper process to turn itself into an autonomous entity, it is most unlikely any partner nations would recognise the new status. A breakaway province unilaterally asserting nationhood would be a bastard creature which many would see as symbolizing a threat to the world order. The first thing Washington, for example, would do, is phone London for clarification. Without getting the nod, the US would sit on its hands. Most of the rest of world opinion would follow that lead. Only in extremis, such as London breaking with international norms of state behavior, would the international community look more favourably – in other words, after a recognized democratic process such as a referendum, when London refused to accept a Yes majority.

This scenario would hardly be helped by street protests by Unionists provoked to action and refusing to accept the decision.

All of which adds to the sense of being caught in a trap while the doors to escape are nailed down. I have yet to hear a coherent explanation of what the Unionists expect to happen to Scotland after Brexit. In their scenario, we are fixed in a straightjacket with London and, never mind how we voted, heading out into the depths of space, destination uncertain. Are we to believe that, whatever the London Brexiteers decide, there is no Scottish solution. We must trust the Tories and accept whatever they bring back and lump it? Our destiny is forever in their hands and, if the universal view of the forecasters is correct, accept reduced circumstances, curtailed travel and isolation – the end of our shared European social democracy as we are ripped out of union with our partners to become a free-booting, low tax entrepot?

The first referendum was for many Can we afford to be independent? The second will be Can we afford not to? In the first we were told we had too much to lose, the future was uncertain. It was safer with sensible Westminster in charge wrapped within the comfort blanket of the EU. Look at us now. This isn’t just a threat to the idea of Scotland the nation which so many are happy to dismiss. It is a direct attack on jobs and prospects, living standards, university education, public services sustained by immigrants, the environment, food safety – even air safety. The very things that middle class Scots held more dearly than their country in 2014 are now at risk, according, not to Nationalists, but the New York Times, the Institute for Fiscal Studies, the Resolution Foundation, the European Commission and every recognized commentator outside the loony Leavers.

This is where voting No has got us. Repeating the mistake would be an act of economic suicide for ourselves and our children.

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51 thoughts on “Don’t mention the….

  1. Great post as ever Derek – very different circumstances of course, but is Kosovo not recognised as a state by the majority of UN members after declaring UDI, despite not being recognised as such by the existing state (Serbia in this case)?

    • I am currently living in that part of the world (Macedonia) and NO Kosovo is not yet fully recognised. There are approximately 110 UN Members that have recognised it as a state, but that is insufficient for formal UN membership, which is still 2/3 I think. Of the UNSC USA, UK and France recognise it, but Russia does not and China is fudging for more time.

      A UDI Scotland might well face the same situation, one in which Spain at least would not recognise it and veto EU membership on that basis.

      • Thanks. Some more details if anyone is interested….

        As of 1 December 2016, 110 UN member countries recognise the Republic of Kosovo, while 83 do not. It is not a member of the UN, but is a member of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Bank, International Road and Transport Union (IRU), Regional Cooperation Council, Council of Europe Development Bank, Venice Commission and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. Kosovo has gained full membership in many major sports federations. Within the European Union, it is recognised by 23 of the 28 members and is a potential candidate for future enlargement of the European Union. In November 2015, Kosovo’s bid to become a member of UNESCO fell three votes short of the two-third majority required to join. 21 countries maintain embassies in Kosovo.The Republic of Kosovo maintains 24 embassies and 28 consular missions abroad.

    • Derek – go look at how over the last 100 years how the new counties circa 130 of them I think got Independence and how readily they were recognised. The MP option is valid democratic and much more frequent than referendums (I think about 5 only)

      • Indeed. But they were all surely elected on the basis of ‘vote for me and we become independent’? The current crop of Scottish MPs and MSPs were not elected on that basis so can’t claim that mandate (however much I wish that wasn’t true).

        Whether we should go down the route of another referendum or whether we go down the route of all SNP MPs, MSPs & MEPs standing down, triggering bi-elections and standing for election on the basis of ‘vote SNP for independence’ I don’t know. The fact that a precedence has been set for using a referendum to determine the answer to the question has to be taken into account and with the vote being split nearly 50:50 (and not in our favour) then it is hardly democratic to declare UDI without asking the Scots public what they think.

  2. As always Derek. Spot on. Great piece

  3. If Scotland has or can find a legal mechanism to put a foot in the Brexit door, a negotiated separation could soon follow.

    As for the Tory plan to turn the UK into a Singapore… what’s the plan to turn Europe into the China that it gets rich off? Boris: “hey closed-off old Europe, we can be your agent to the world”. Europe: (falls off chair laughing).

    It’d be ironic to be led into Trump’s sphere of dystopian influence by the nationalism-haters, that’s for sure.

    • Correction: supposed nationalism-haters.

    • I agree that Brexit could be a game changer. Brexit is commonly seen as lunacy on the continent, and who knows, a clever arrangement (successor state, whatever) might slip Scotland in under the usual thresholds.

      And the Spanish government seems to have hardened its views on an independent Scotland and would probably veto it. Finally, although the Catalan referendum could be as early as June or September, we won’t be EU members in time to vote you in!

  4. As I recall no referendums were necessary to declare sovereignty among the former states of the Soviet Unio or Warsaw pact nations. All that was necessary was the democratically declared will of the populations and the obvious disintegration and degeneration of the Soviet system (obvious parallel there).

  5. Excellent Derek. To extent, the full economic horror of hard Brexit will become clearer in the next 12 months. Devaluation is already happening and American economist Jim Rickards of Agora Financial is predicting a further flash crash of the £ when Article 50 is triggered. Inflation is also rising.

    Suddenly the savings and pension pots of the UKOK suburbs will look very shaky. A financial crash is coming and the UK only has a pathetic 300 ton gold reserve. The ECB has 8,500 tons backing the Euro.
    My guess is that the UK economy will detonate, Brexit just makes the bang bigger. When it does we will all be heading for the exit.

    • Do those 8,500 tons include German gold allegedly deposited in Fort Knox? Because Americans are not terribly good at counting and have refused for years German parliamentary demands that their gold holdings be audited.

      • Germany has been repatriating it’s gold from USA in recent years. An audit has not been forthcoming as you say and they don’t trust the USA. Others countries are doing same. Rumour is the USA has sold off some this gold underpin dollar hegemony in the last decades.

  6. What do you mean by “extrication from England”, when did we become part of England?

  7. Spot on, Derek. Scottish independence was desirable in 2014, but it is now absolutely essential if we are to preserve our national self respect and provide ourselves with the opportunity to create a prosperous and civilised country. Our children and grandchildren will never forgive us if we fail and allow ourselves to become a northern province of an inward looking, impoverished, and viciously right wing UKIP lite England.

  8. Adroit and perspicaseous as ever Derek. In fact this choice has been inevitable since the Tory Right seizure of power and UK Labour’s abidication of responsibility,

  9. @blunttrauma, @jeans-jacques. @alasdair1983 – each of you in a diffent way seems to ignore Derek’s main point that a new nation state called Scotland is only truly independent if recognised as such by other established states. There was a will to do so in the UDI examples quoted by @jeans-jacques and @alasdair1983 if for no other reason than the previous owner-operators were recognised as evil and/or bankrupt.

    Sorry to tell you but none of the other western powers care enought about “l’il ole Scotland” to support UDI as most of them don’t undertsand or care about the complexities of the 18th century union and have much more important things to worry about. So, @blunttrauma, it’s a recognised democratic vote or bust

  10. Couldn’t agree more.

    People are tired and afraid. They have every right to be.

    I’m also sure referendums constantly being touted by the unionist parties is a very intentional strategy to poison the well. The only time the prossibility has been mentioned by the Scottish government has been as a response to the Brexit vote and only as a contingency of protecting Scottish interests, both economically and in terms of the civil and human rights of Scotland’s citizenry.

    The unionist parties and I’d reckon a fair number of the more clued up support know, they KNOW, their union has let the Scottish electorate down badly. They also know that without some rapid and radical strategy there will be a cost attached to that let down. Right now their stargey appears to be constantly attacking the idea of a referendum in any and all respects. Sicken people of the idea by saturation and negative association.

    It won’t matter. I doubt it can be avoided and we will have to chose one of the two scenarios you mention ATL. What we cannot, IMO, let the establishment politicians or their meeja chums get away with though, is the idea that this has in any way been brought about by the actions of the Scottish government.

    It is the catastrophic failure of Westminster government to honour its pledges which has brought us to this point. It has been the actions of Conservative government, catastrophic Labour self harm and their idiotic power politics. It has been the runaway narrative created by the political class and their media which has divided society and populations across the UK. Its been all of that and a good deal more besides. All of which necessitates a break with Westminster politics as it is practised.

    Scotland voting to remain in this one sided partnership could not and cannot save the political union, mainly because the the establishment of the larger significant other doesn’t give a damn about the meaning of the words union or partnership. They certainly don’t give a damn about the effects of their politics on the populations of these islands.

    We may however save something of the social union by voting to become independent. We CAN do something about that and hopefully fairly soon.

  11. If, as GA Ponsonby suggests, all of the SNP’s Westminster MP’s resign at some point – GAP says, when Indyref2 is blocked, but it could be when Article 50 is triggered, say – and stand in the subsequent by-elections on the issue of independence, how does that look?

    Could May’s government get away with insisting internationally on fulfilling its “voter mandate” whilst denying Scotland’s?

  12. Scotland can’t stop article 50. However Holyrood has the power to stop the great repeal act. This act is the dissolution of the EU . It requires Holyrood consent. Without this article 50 would be a car without petrol.

    However I suspect the trade off for allowing another Edinburgh agreement , Will be Holyrood agreeing not to block the great repeal act. This is Scotland’s trump card in the event of Westminster trying to prevent indy ref 2. Holyrood would go on strike and May’s government would have to resign. It’s why indi ref 2 is going to happen and on Holyrood’s terms.

    • Yeah, I still think it’s better to force some negotiation before there’s a referendum.

      In practice, given Westminster’s refusal to pre-negotiate, the 2014 vote was a vote on whether or not to start independence negotiations. (It’s possible there was a better chance of success in framing the Yes campaign that way; we’ll never know). It’s always going to be easy to whip up a fear campaign when there are so many unknowns. It’s definitely better now, IMHO, to structure independence as a two-step process – 1, settle the broad terms with other parties, particularly Westminster and the EU, and 2, vote on that package. It’s a more sensible approach and it’s more democratic.

      To me, whether or not another referendum is needed again, or the best way, to force Westminster to the table is a separate question.

      Meantime, I certainly like your attitude. I’m going to keep dropping in to SCFF to follow its commentary on the constitutional questions. Aileen McHarg seems to know what she’s talking about.

      http : //www.scottishconstitutionalfutures.org/OpinionandAnalysis/ViewBlogPost/tabid/1767/articleType/ArticleView/articleId/9786/Aileen-McHarg-Article-50-Parliamentary-Authorisation-and-the-Sewel-Convention.aspx

      Where else is good to look?

  13. For Brexit, I think that we are indeed “fixed in a straightjacket with London”. A few days ago Tony Blair said that the government had only enough bandwidth for Brexit and the other functions of government were in neglect. I felt a sudden realisation that “bandwidth” might form a complete explanation for UKGov Brexit strategy.

    They have decided that they have only enough Brexit bandwidth for one uniform Brexit. From a resource and competence point of view, you can see the argument for that. Hence there is no room for differential settlements (for Scotland / N. Ireland) or for low priority exceptions. The monolithic approach will naturally be driven by the interests of the weight of population, and industries deemed to be priorities. So, it won’t be far from something that could be labelled a best English Brexit.

    Will the package be a lot more damaging to Scotland that it need be (if important, but feasibly negotiable differentials could be included? Yes. Does UKGov know and appreciate that? Yes. Do they care about that? No. And, politically, why would they? It’s not as if there is anything much to lose in MP numbers. And if they look at how this might play out in influencing an indy2 referendum on a 2018-19 timescale, then damage to Scotland’s economy, provided it is counterbalanced by overall UK gains, is probably helpful to the sort of unionist campaign that would be run.

  14. I will give you another scenario. Taking what Mundell said on QT last Thursday at face value, Westminster accedes to some of the demands from the Scottish Government, but not all of them – to muddy the waters, you understand.

    Nicola Sturgeon will then have to place a value judgement on the how the Scottish electorate will respond to this already complicated situation where the Unionists already paint the story of Indyref 2 as an unnecessary difficulty in what is a difficult situation.

    I suspect that the course the SG will have to take is to major on the democratic deficit of Scottish representation at Westminster, but also to point up the major disadvantages of not being a member of the EU. This will not only be a concern for exporting businesses, but it will hit our lifestyles, The more we can feed off the bad news coming out the Article 50 negotiations the better and the more that bad news illustrates the loss of all the previous advantages we have had within the EU the better.

    Within the EU itself we need the Dutch, French and Germans in that order to show common sense and demonstrate the solidarity of the original purpose – to use trading nations as a means of securing the peace. Hopefully Wilders and Le Pen will be shown the door. There are already signs that the Dutch are going that way.

    Hopefully also there will be more of the Scotland-friendly noises coming out of the EU. That is down to Alyn Smith and Ian Hudgton to promote.

    • I agree with what you say, Bill, about getting more Scotland friendly noises coming from the EU. I think there will be. As far as more “vows” from Westminster I believe most folk in Scotland, including many Noes, will never trust another vow from Westminster ever again- and rightly so.

  15. I’m all in favour of getting away from this corrupt Union, but I remember 2014 and José Manuel Barroso sitting on Andrew Marr’s sofa and sticking the boot into the Yes campaign at the bidding of Call Me Dave.

    I’m still uneasy about this rush to embrace the EU and I doubt if I’m the only one, especially after the debacle of minimum pricing and EU law.

    Scottish people elect Scottish government. Scottish government policy blocked by law made in other country…

    Right…

    What’s the plan for winning round yes supporters who voted for Brexit?

    Will they be cancelled out by EU supporting Remain supporters joining the Yes campaign?

    • I don’t see anything wrong in the EU “using” Scotland as a negotiating counter after Article 50 is invoked, as long as they tell Holyrood in advance and realize Scotland, in a similar way of counter, will be “using” the EU in its fight for independence. This could happen without any firm commitment from either Scotland or the EU concerning EU membership or otherwise of an independent Scotland.

      In my opinion an ideal situation would be the EU saying to Scotland if you vote for independence before brexit is completed, and we’ll take as long as you want negotiating, we will offer Scotland continued EU membership in its current non-Euro form even if that membership is dependent upon another EU-membership referendum in an independent Scotland.

      • You could be right Dan.

        Or could there be an offer that would appeal to both leavers and remainers in the indy camp? Sort of a holding position with options?

        Though I doubt there is the will, or smarts, in either the Scottish nor EU governments to leverage that to both sides advantage, I am sure.

        Besides, it’s devious and smidgen conniving. Problem conspiratorial too.

        So obviously neither would do that.

  16. Am becoming more encouraged by middle class No voters who see the life chances of their privately educated offspring being thwarted by Brexit. They felt threatened by Indyref1 – Brexit is not a threat but something real that directly impacts on their comfy existence and numbers are talking up switching to Yes come Indyref2.

    • You’ve hit the nail on the head. I work along side some very wealthy and privileged Edinburgh folk and some who the average person would consider “very well to do”. Most were pro union in 2014 and mainly Tories, but Brexit has them in a total spin. Most are strong pro EU and pro European. Many are now re-assessing the situation and have come to the conclusion that independence is the only way forward. They don’t want to lose EU privileges. They are pragmatic enough to accept that they have a better chance of shaping the country they want to live in from outside the union and smart enough to realise that, post Indy, Scotland’s political landscape will likely change.
      So yes, I have hope that many of the more educated and wealthy in society may change their mind. Let’s hope we are right.

  17. For a sizeable amount of No voters – perhaps even a majority – “Scotland’s future” is of little concern except insofar as Scotland is ‘saved’ from the ‘Nats’. What’s at stake for them, pure and simple, is their British identity. Oh they certainly *claim* it’s about economics, yet ask them about Gaelic road signs or the Scots language and you’ll get predictably furious responses. Ask them what the economic plan for Scotland actually is should the ‘Nats’ be defeated once and for all and you’ll get vague to nonexistent answers. This is because the basis of their belief system is not economic at all, but cultural. There is nothing, literally nothing, that Westminster could do to Scotland that is so extreme that it would override their ‘Britishness’ and make them vote for independence.

    They insist they’re ‘proud Scots’, and maybe they are. But the Scotland they’re proud of is one that sits down, shuts up and does what it’s told by Westminster. A Scotland that seeks to protect itself against London’s excesses – except through ‘British’ means – has to be resisted at all costs.

    In other words, they’re only proud of Scotland when (and because) it is British. And yet we’re the ones who’re apparently engaging in the ‘identity politics’. We’re the ‘nationalists’.

    • Correct! These ‘proud Scots’ are exactly the same as those proud to be from Yorkshire or Cornwall or some other region of England, though at least those others would also admit to being ‘proud to be English’ as well (and why not? The English are a fine people; I just happen to be a Scot, not English). The ‘proud Scot-buts’ are just like those of us from Skye, Inverness, Perth or Stranraer who are proud of our local origins and our Scottishness. The difference between them and us though is that we recognise that were we hail from is a part of Scotland which is a part of the UK whereas as they haven’t quite come to terms with admitting that they view Scotland as a part of England rather than the UK.

  18. England has only one plan: kissing Trump’s bum long enough to make England the 51st state of the USA.

  19. Terence callachan

    I do not agree.Scotland can declare itself independent without approval from England.We do not need Englands approval to be recognised by other countries.
    As for unionist marches I once again point out that 12% of the people living in Scotland are English so a third of those protesting would likely be English people who for one reason or another are living in Scotland and I do not think it is reasonable to expect Scotland to be guided by their preferences.

    • Whilst I wholeheartedly embrace your enthusiasm and strength purpose, I desire to arrive in iScotland with the biggest ever cheer from every part of Scotland AND the fewest feeling cheated.

      It’s hard to risk all when your opposition will stoop to any level, but it’s by stooping they lose sight of the destination.

    • ‘12% of those living in Scotland are English’….’I do not think it is reasonable to be guided by their preferences’. Please think carefully and don’t use this language. It can be twisted into ‘blood and soil’ nationalism. I’m sure that is not what you intend.

      There are many ‘English Scots for Indy’. Most folk who come from England (and other places in the world) are here because Scotland is where they feel they belong. It is where they feel at home emotionally -and politically. To be Scottish by choice is as powerful as to be Scottish by accident. Some of the strongest voices for Indy don’t necessarily roll their r.

      Many are ex No voters and now have a vital role explaining and supporting other No voters to rethink.

      We must welcome all who call Scotland home and are committed to building a better Scotland.

      (I was born in a former colony, to Scottish parents and grew up in Hertfordshire, there was no Mid Hertfordshire SNP branch -otherwise I would have joined).

      P.S. As the horror unfolds ‘down south’ we can expect political refugees -and should welcome them as kindred spirits.

  20. Dave McEwan Hill

    In political terms a referendum is the most suitable way to establish a majority support that indicates to the UN and the rest of the world a position and legitimises it. However a UK general election or a Scottish parliamentary election in which a party supporting independence and fighting that election on that single issue and achieving a majority of the vote on it also provides the legitimacy that would allow Scotland to achieve independence by a vote in its Parliament. Other countries have gone to independence by a parliamentary vote

  21. What a doomy and gloomy article. Just as well you’re not writing as much. if that is what you are thinking.

    “…we enter a prolonged period of readjustment to statehood with attendant dilemmas over debt, currency, EU membership and extrication from England”

    If we are doing that I for one and most of Scotland’s young people will be doing it with a song in their heart and a skip in their step.

  22. Not to make mischief but, while America might not recognise Scottish independence, maybe Russia would…

  23. Very interesting article, found myself widely smiling at “downie day” – haven’t heard the word downie for nearly 20 years.

  24. Derek. firstly, we are a nation, in treaty with England. A country can be changed by conquest,renamed, or by rising sea levels of global warming. A nation exists as a people. You say UDI might cause unrest. Where is the unrest over the IndyRef1 result? We resolved to fight another day, for sure, unrest is not apparent. Do you consider then that the Yoons in response to UDI would cause unrest, witness the scenes at George Square following IndyRef1?

    You say – I’m not sure withdrawal of our MPs would constitute our voice being heard by other states. And that an independent state/country ( that expression again) can only exist insofar as it is recognised as such by other states? I repeat, the Scots nation exists.

    Decades ago in engineering studies we contemplated on free body diagrams, on which no forces were applied, the body being in equilibrium. Then we applied a force and studied the reaction.

    Consider Scotland, a nation self-sufficient, indeed in surplus, of it’s consumption needs of food, water,oil and gas, energy. a nation in equilibrium? So apply an external force is applied to upset the equilibrium – what force do you reckon most likely? And how could the Scots nation respond?

    Seems to me that retaining our resources to our nation and seeking mutual security against external forces a via cooperative like the EU is the smart way to go.

  25. Just to cheer everyone up, when out canvassing, we’re finding the number of switchers from No to Yes increasing. From a drip to a trickle for the time being, but we’ve now got sufficient data to state it as a thing that’s happening. Can’t speak for other parts of the country of course….Also, returns suggest that among Yes Leavers, the Yes hasn’t changed except in a very few cases.

    • That’s what we want to hear, kininvie! None of that down-at-mouth nonsense! We’ll have our independence before long – for sure.

  26. Derek, think you’ve been under your downie a bit too much.

    As ever very incisive on the scenario ahead: the circumstances of the next Indy ref will be extremely difficult- the unionists will do everything to frustrate and invalidate it

    But we have the power of the people wanting and voting for independence, as well as the huge advantage of a positive committed campaign taken up by thousands and thousands of people inside communities throughout Scotland. The other side now have nothing in comparison but overbearing negativity

    Sure we have to play it v adroitly tactically and strategically in order not to be outmanoeuvred. That’s going to make it nerve-wracking though I know
    who I’d favour in a battle of wits between Westminster and Holyrood.

    Now, get up, standup – stand up for your rights! See you on the campaign?

  27. “ourselves and our children”. With no independence and Brexit it’s going to be mainly the ‘ourselves” group who are left, along with a lot of Tories.
    All the “our children” will be looking for a way to get off this island.
    I think with some stretching and a bit of licence the age group who will be included in that “our children” will be any who are under 60.

  28. Derek,

    Most of us have gone all continental, in the quilt department. Nobody has an eiderdown theses days. So the rest of us have duvet days. Besides, downie really has other not so pleasant connotations!

    Other than that, great read.

    • I agree with Derek’s view that the options are now binary: either go for Independence or be treated as second-class citizens in a debt-ridden, politically-blinkered UK ruled for the forseeable future by Tories who are hell-bent on maximising their grip on power.

      Today’s news that the UK Government will focus on strengthening the UK Union sounds ominously like one of my nightmare scenarios: the devolved assemblies will be dissolved permanently. Westminster has the power to do this (as recently confirmed by the Supreme Court decision on the Sewel Convention) and it can be explained by simplifying UK governance, consolidating and confirming the supremacy of Westminster, making huge savings and never a mention of the massive resultant democratic deficit for the majority of UK residents. This obviously translates into May maximising her grip on power.

      A few years ago I saw the blurb for a Swedish politico-crime film which read: “..a ruling elite so convinced of its right to govern that it could no longer distinguish between self-interest and the national interest…” It might have been for a movie but could have been written for the UK political establishment.

  29. “the world community – including Spain – has made clear that if the existing state –the UK – acknowledges the existence of Scotland as a separate state”

    Er, with Scottish Independence there would be no UK, any more than their is a Czechoslovakia or USSR.

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