The Sun Has Got His Hat On

Sorry not to join the general lament but I return from a few weeks in France with renewed optimism about independence.

The infantile squabbling of the governing party in London is a pitiable sight. Their wilful myopia to the unfolding tragedy of Brexit is a new low in post war mismanagement. (Even in the mayhem of Iraq, Blair at the time appeared decisive and determined).

We are witnessing in real time the breakdown of a government subjugating national interest for internecine turmoil.

Week by week their failure even to develop a plan is confirmed. Now there is the growing likelihood of a long-term transitional arrangement with Brussels being necessary to stave off the worst effects of withdrawal. The angry hordes who voted to leave and who have no understanding why we can’t just ‘resign’, will be maddened that those who promised swift closure and instant funds for public spending have failed them. And still the highly-charged door to immigration will be remain open…

We are now in a phase of history when, because of the ineptitude of that cowardly clown Cameron, everything that can go wrong, does go wrong. The so-called government he bequeathed has no touch let alone political elan. The juxtaposition of billions for a London Crossrail system with withdrawal of upgrading for essential rail services to Wales, the West country and the English north is a prime example. To anyone outside the metropolitan bubble it is nothing less than a government saying F**k You to the rest of the country. As taxpayers’ billions pour into overheated London, the provinces are deliberately left in spartan penury. More than half of transport spending now goes to one corner of the country, a total of £1500 more per head. That’s a figure you don’t hear repeated with the same emotional venom applied to higher Scottish spending.

I have also experienced a morbid pleasure in watching the promises and vows of the pre-2014 British campaign bomb before our eyes. Recall with grim satisfaction how we were told with solemn sincerity that companies would leave an independent Scotland…then read how, daily the finance sector is transferring staff out of London and opening alternative offices in (independent) Ireland and Holland. See how even the horticulture sector which is dependent on outside labour, is now planning to move wholesale its production to Eastern Europe where the workers are.

Remember how the Scottish currency would lose its value without the unshakable strength of the UK behind it…then see the volatility of sterling since the Brexit vote. Prices in the shops would go up…that’s happening now while wages stagnate.

Hear again the echoes of the Alistair Darling threats of doom for the economy…before googling today’s news of ‘notable’ slowdown and ‘grim’ forecasts.

Revisit your memories of Unionists scoffing at how we would be perceived in the world – ‘wee Scotland out on its own’ – then check out what even our American allies are writing about us losing our collective mind. Read what Europe regards as fantasy imperial posturing by a rickety, class-ridden country. They are laughing at the UK – the Eddie the Eagle of European nations.

And, how could we forget? We were told by the wise and statesmanlike Darling that voting Yes would remove us from EU membership which would be catastrophic. How did that one go?

The only thing Darling got right was moving on to the board of Morgan Stanley to continue trousering yet more of the private sector pounds that were his trademark as an MP.

In other words the case made for the Union just three years ago is in ruins today. In a second campaign what threats could they make that would be credible? What could they say that wouldn’t have the voters rolling in the aisles? Who indeed could replace the wooden, angry Darling as front for the British state this time? Which one of the Tory Brexit buffons would Scots listen to? When it comes to more than a simplistic shouting match, could Davidson, a mouthy zealot from the right wing, rally a majority?

And, crucially, whose side would business be on this time? Interesting to see among others, Struan Stevenson, leader a pro business pro Union group, putting his name to the 60-strong letter asking for Brexit to be re-thought.

Because the question now is: What happens when the Tories take us out?

If the EU is truly crucial to national interest, to jobs and investment and growth, what does a Unionist businessman do when confronted with downturn, loss of contracts, shortage of revenue, falling share value, loss of market share, redundancies, restricted borrowing and extra administration and costs? Does he go down with the UK ship? Or does he finally accept the logic adopted by other small nations and embrace his own country’s European destiny?

It is becoming a no-brainer. And if business swallows its doubts about independence as the least worst option, how long will it take for the politicians to catch up?

There is a risk of course in any extended interim deal for the UK becoming the new norm and taking all the heat out of the issue. If that happens and people get used to just drifting along still in the EU but not of the EU, the independence case could suffer the same fate. It could go off the boil.

That’s where effective campaigning comes in because such deal would extend the period over which Scotland can plan and hold another vote before the UK slams the door on membership.

The option are there. The times are volatile. The Union is flaky. The threats are demolished. The disaster is unfolding.

And we are still here. Committed. Determined. And optimistic.

(Well, I am. Must be my holiday)

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33 thoughts on “The Sun Has Got His Hat On

  1. Good to have you back Derek – the whole place has gone a bit nuts while you were enjoying the ‘bonne vie’

  2. Thanks for your optimism, it’s nice to read something upbeat after all the indy infighting and navel gazing I’ve witnessed these past few weeks. I think tempers are fraying in the indy camp because there’s nothing happening right now – all we have is mainly a waiting game. And it feels very uncomfortable.

    I think everything you say is true, but what bothers me is whether Europe cares enough about Scotland to ensure we get indyref2. It seems clear that the Tories won’t allow it (and no amount of democratic outrage or moral pressure will force their hand – these Tories are shameless).

    I hear the EU backing Ireland to the hilt in the Brexit talks (rightly so), but do we think they will extend any help in pressuring Westminster on our behalf?

    I’m worried that once we’re out of the EU, transitional deal or not, it will be too late for the EU to care much about Scotland. And I don’t think there is any limit to what Westminster will do to persecute and destroy the indy movement once they have us in a corner.

    I hope though I’m just being overly pessimistic!

    • Bunny not sure there’s much EU can actually do to help us because we are not independent at the moment. I do think that SNP will force the issue or have a referendum regardless of WM. It’s stressful not knowing. Hopefully we will be enlightened soon.

    • I sincerely hope britnat Westminster does try to ban indyref2.

  3. Thank goodness you’re back!

  4. George S Gordon

    Welcome back indeed!

    I’m going for a wee break myself shortly, to a cottage in the exotic village of Jemimaville (don’t laugh, it’s on the Black Isle).

    I was going to sulk there for a week, but you’ve cheered me up no end.

  5. Great to see you back.
    I agree Brexit is turning out to be pretty disastrous , with no clear plan, and no one in charge, A few years from now, I believe there will be billions spent with no perceptible gain save some tokenism at a border post.
    Quite why Scoexit, with 52-48 result, and a few years unpicking of ties, building new ones, with elections, resignations and all the other interruptions that democratic countries have, quite why , it will all go swimmingly after “independence ” is not clear to me, or I suspect a large portion of the Scottish people .

    Who will decide there has been “enough change “, for a generation or so.

  6. Iain Anderson

    So good to encounter a wee bit of optimism !

  7. Mr Bateman, I’ve long respected your viewpoint and your common sense on Scottish independence, even though I don’t agree with all of it (Scotland’s membership of the EU for example) but I fail to see where this optimism is coming from.
    The Yes movement seems to have splintered into the Judean people’s front, and the rest of Scotland? I don’t think they care about any catastrophe about to be inflicted upon them.
    They seem to revel in it in a way that only the Scottish national character could.
    They proved that in 2014 and again in this year’s GE when they returned 13 Conservative MPs in Scotland.
    We had one women in Aberdeen who was deeply concerned about Tory benefit cuts and the impact on her disabled son, but voted Tory anyway, because she didn’t like Alex Salmond…

    Let that sink in for a minute, Mr Bateman. This is the mentality that the Yes campaign is up against.

    As you rightly pointed out in a previous column, if Scotland won’t stand up for itself, then why should anybody else e.g the EU?

  8. And on a strategic level, the SNP, IMO, are operating under two deeply flawed assumptions:

    1. That the SNP have all the time in the world to push for another indy ref

    2. That Brexit will be a disaster.

    On point 1, 2016 and 2017 should have been a warning shot across the bows, that the SNP’s majority is clearly not going to last forever. The longer they are in government, the more chance they have of suffering another election defeat that will reduce their number even further. It’s natural that the electorate grows bored of one particular party holding the reigns of power for too long.

    On point 2, instead on being pro-active, the SNP are reactive, and are fatally assuming that Brexit will be a disaster, but if it is not, what then?

    It’s not impossible that the Tories might cobble together a half-decent deal to appease the Shires, and Scotland gets bought off with some new powers for Edinburgh that do enough to buy off a few soft Yes supporters, and indy is on the back burner for a few more decades.

    The SNP’s don’t scare the horses approach didn’t work in 2014 and it clearly didn’t work in June 2017.

    The idea that if you improve maths and English results in Scottish schools, build some bus stops in Dundee, and then the population will swing round behind Indy in gratitude, is risible nonsense, and has been these past 10 years!

    Scottish self-determination is a real thing. You are either for it or against it, and the SNP’s all things to all men approach is taking us backwards at a rate of knots.

  9. Heads will be nodding furiously in agreement with every word of this the length and breadth of the land – the Yes movement requires real leadership and direction so that we can rebuild the case for Indy & make #ScotRef the issue that breaks May and forces a legitimate and winning second Indy referendum.

  10. Welcome back, Derek.

    Been saying for the last couple of days that the Yes movement in all its wonderful hues and character must focus. That means not just overall as a movement but individually. Disciplined thinking means looking at the destination – independence – and gearing ourselves up for the campaign.

    The UK government’s incompetence and arrogance is laid out before us for all to see – who, with any sense, would trust them to manage to steer the UK through a post-Brexit wilderness or to put the interests of all people in the UK at the forefront of their minds.

    They know that previous arguments will not work. They know we see them for what they truly are. I think they will use force and subjugation to push against independence because they have no arguments left, and we must be ready to hold firm. That means everyone pulling together in the same direction. An unstoppable force that will not bend or break or give in. That means being acutely aware of the tactics that the UK state will use – online trolling, media lies, infiltrations into the Yes movement (even more than currently) and all the sabotage they can muster.

    We want our country back. That is the goal.

  11. Imagine having a Government that had a clear policy on Brexit, clearly campaigned against it, gave numerous alternative possibilities rather than simply accepting Brexit, worked with European leaders to put the position of the country as clearly as possible, then offered a whole alternative to Brexit, but instead folk said, Nay we’ll go with the one fully described in the article above, even if we don’t vote for it and never have in decades (because it is the opposite of all we want).
    Imagine what fuck-brained, gormless, witless morons we would appear and be.
    No we wouldn’t do that.
    No? Wait while I laugh til I puke.

  12. Derek, you are the voice of reason for ordinary buddies like me. Good to have you bac

  13. …k! Aargh, fat finger symdrome! I think you have your finger on the pulse of Scots in a way that many Indy websites don’t. Please keep writing and inspiring!

  14. PS of moderation can make sense of my half-asleep posts I would be grateful.

  15. If not of!!!

  16. Many thanks, Derek. We were missing your chutzpah!

  17. Welcome back Derek, sharp as a tack as usual!

    ‘We are witnessing the breakdown of government subjugating national interest for internecine turmoil’.

    Absolutely brilliant comment. Spot on.

    However I see little sign that the worm has finally turned with the voters. Most are in a state of denial about Brexit. Complacency rules. They are like cattle, content to graze idly in the fields of their masters, unaware that their lives are not their own, or the future that awaits them, and clinging blindly and docilely to their spiritless dependency.

    I hear comments like ‘It won’t be that bad’ or ‘nothing will really change, they’ll work out some kind of deal’ and it now seems that the prolonged transitional arrangements will be just that. Allowing some kind of fudge and the government to avoid instability in return for slow, long term decline. Allowing the government to escape responsibility for disaster, masking its incompetence.

    Allowing the government to avoid revolution and social collapse.

    Worse, Jeremy Corbyn doesn’t want the single market. Those who look in vain for some sort of salvation in a Labour government will be sorely disappointed if they ever get one. By the time of the next election Corbyn will be nearly 70 and might not be in shape to lead the country. The Labour Party is also beset by internecine turmoil. The Blairites may be rallying round him now that he has had some success but they are still there waiting to stab him in the back the minute he stumbles. He has not reformed his own party, never mind the country. He too is rolling back on election promises. ‘I never said I would cancel student debt’ ‘I never said stay in the single market, I promised a deal that would deliver no less than the single mark delivers’, etc. How on earth he can deliver on such promises if he ever becomes leader of an impoverished Britain outside of the EU is

  18. …unclear. My Cocaine’s dismal account of the woman in Aberdeen who voted Tory despite her fears for her disabled son of Tory cutbacks, because she didn’t like Alex Salmond, is typical of the trusting, cattle-like docility of cows who won’t leave their pen even if the gate is left open. That is what we are up against.

    • I wish I could say I was making it up about that woman in Aberdeen, but sadly, she exists, and here’s the link to The Guardian article:

      https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2017/jun/10/alex-salmond-nicola-sturgeon-snp-conservatives-scottish-independence

      It’s people like that who make you despair about this nation’s future…

      • I wonder about these supposedly former SNP voters now voting Tory, I really do. I wonder if they lie to newspapers. Or if newspapers get them to lie. There is a Brexit dimension to this. The SNP’s apparently unflinching and dogmatic support for Remain clearly alienated swing voters in the NE.

        There is irony in the fact that the lady in question said she was for Leave, as it was reported the other day that Aberdeen – where she lives – is projected to be the worst affected city in the U.K. by Brexit.

        Although I voted Remain, I can see some advantages to an Indy Scotland being in the EEA rather than the EU. I feel the SNP should have hedged their bets a bit and stated that though it supported Remain overall, that it did not look askance at Leave either, and felt that there were advantages and disadvantages either way, and that it should be for the people of an independent Scotland to find finally decide. I think it should have investigated what the objections of SNP Leave voters were, and attempted to address them.

        Salmond’s success politically was due to his squaring such ‘impossible’ circles, by bringing everyone who supported Scotland into the one big tent, whether they were to the left or the right of the political spectrum. His successor seems less adept at that. He was more of a listener, she is more of a teller. He would subtly change the narrative by listening, then posing questions and ideas back to those he’d listened to. In that way he shaped the narrative but brought diverse people with him.

  19. Assuming that Westminster fails to block a second indy referendum,the story from the unionists will be,”Brexit shows us how divisive and disruptive separation is”.
    “Better to stick with the UK single market than take a chance on new arrangements with the EU”.
    The sheep will always stick with whatever HM press tells them to do and that will not be to remain in the EU.
    Rule Britannia.

  20. And given that the SNP are running around like Basil Fawlty: don’t mention the referendum, and given that the Greens and the Scottish Left have gone in a huff, because nobody voted for RISE, I’m amazed that anybody still backs Scottish independence.

    If we’re not careful, this could end up being a shower!

  21. Thanks for bringing the sun with its hat on back! It’s been dull and dreary for a wee while!

  22. As someone who has supported Independence since my teens (the 1960’s) I refuse to be cast down by the current stooshie within the Independence movement. I am a worker at the wet end of the movement – street stalls and leafleting and canvassing in the wind and rain – and I talk to ordinary Scots.

    While a few are blinkered and narrow minded, more are up for a reasonable discussion. Let those who spend their life on Twitter continue to twitter amongst themselves; I will continue to talk to people in the street and try to change minds.

    I am also optimistic that business will look at its own self interest and come around to supporting independence.

    So there!

  23. There must be fantastic opportunities for business if Scotland becomes independent within the EU. Think of all the UK businesses which would relocate their HQs to Scotland.

  24. Richard Duncan (Formally YESGUY)

    Welcome back DB

    Its been a long month with nothing to do but read about more in fighting .

    YOU lead the YES movement Derek . Speak for us and help get the message out to all the fearties .

    I admire you and have followed your blog for years. You are an example of the talent we have here . Some may not agree with you but few doubt your honesty. I could never trust the buggers at the top of the last YES team.

    They were weak and left us defenseless hardly seen on telly or radio.

    I would follow your lead everytime .

    Can we no make this happen 🙂

  25. You mean Independence hasn’t already gone off the boil?

  26. Distance, rest, fresh perspective.

    Does a body good. 🙂

    Well said Derek.

  27. There will be a hard brexit. There will be a second independence referendum. Meanwhile enjoy the britnats in Westminster frothing at the mouth as their so-called united kingdom disintegrates.

  28. What an excellent piece, Mr Bateman, and some sorely needed optimism for those of us ploutering about in the mire of internecine nastiness which has dominated the Indy movement this week. Thank you – you have a new follower.

    • Fine and upbeat piece Derek, unlike some of the navel gazing which has dominated the online indy chat of late, most of which was about the definition of gender.
      What gender has got to do with independence, I cannot fathom, but he ho, who am I, an ordinary independista, who cares not a whit what gender you call yourself, as long as you share my passion for an independent Scotland!

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