Beware British perfidy

Pete Wishart is undoubtedly correct when he says that the next independence referendum will not resemble the first one. But his analysis may not go far enough. He notes the economic, social and cultural impact of Brexit on Scotland, and the fact that Scotland is almost certainly going to be subject to an imposed right wing Westminster regime for as far into that dismal future as anybody can look without risking their mental wellbeing.

He recognises that Ruth Davidson has won the contest to be ‘Queen of the British Nationalists’, relegating Kezia Dugdale to the status of a lickspittle courtier. He clearly foresees the problems that this will cause for the anti-independence campaign in the next referendum. In electoral terms, Ruth Davidson’s strategy of targeting hard-line unionists among British Labour voters in Scotland was very successful. But it means British Labour in Scotland is no longer credible as a front for the British nationalist effort to preserve the union.

Not that there is any doubt about the British parties in Scotland standing shoulder-to-shoulder in the campaign to deny the sovereignty of Scotland’s people. It’s just that this campaign will be explicitly led by the Tory branch of the British political establishment instead of merely being financed be them. Not even the ominous blob that is Gordon Brown’s bloated ego will be big enough for Ruth Davidson to hide behind.

Pete Wishart is well aware of the seriousness of the problem all of this poses for the British establishment. But he fails to ask – or studiously avoids? – the obvious question to which this analysis leads.

How might the British state seek to deal with this problem? What steps might they take to obviate their difficulties? Given what we learned about the nature of the British political establishment during the first independence referendum campaign; in the light of what we witnessed in the British Leave/Remain battle; being aware of how recent UK administrations have behaved in every aspect of its activities, can we really afford to be complacent about their intentions towards Scotland?

Perhaps the UK Supreme Court’s confirmation of British perfidy and duplicity with regard to the the Sewel Convention should serve as a warning. It may well be that, having got away with that display of casual contempt for the Scottish Parliament and people, the British establishment will be emboldened to attempt further measures to rid itself of this troublesome pocket of democratic principle and basic human decency. Is it not at least possible that the right wing regime in London might now seek to further curtail the powers of the Scottish Parliament and the capacity of the Scottish Government to adequately represent Scotland’s interests?

Not so long ago, EVEL would have been unthinkable. If the Westminster elite is prepared to go to such lengths to sideline a relatively tiny number of MPs, how much further might they go in their efforts to subdue the tide of democratic dissent risen in Scotland? Devolution was supposed to kill the independence campaign ‘stone dead’. It didn’t! A No vote in the independence referendum was supposed to prompt the disintegration of the SNP and the evaporation of the Yes movement. That really didn’t work! So what might they try next? Surely we can’t assume that they won’t do anything.

It may be, of course, that the British state is intending to rely on the power of its propaganda machine. Unionists can be absolutely confident that the media will be at their service. If there is scrutiny of the unionist arguments – which there must be – it will not come from the mainstream media. It never did before. Why imagine it might now? But will this be considered enough? And will there not be a concern among thinking unionists (there must be at least a couple) that, as in 2014, the British side might win only to be obliged to watch the SNP walk away with all the prizes other than those that were taken by other pro-independence parties.

The British establishment is worried. It is scared. I have long warned that it is terrified enough do something really desperate. Up to and not excluding suspending the Scottish Parliament.

I have long warned that the British establishment was seeking a means to lock Scotland into the union by creating a legal/constitutional bar to further referendums. I have not the slightest doubt that the Smith Commission was seen as an opportunity to slip in some measure that would effectively abolish Scotland’s right of self-determination. I have no absolutely no illusions about the willingness of the British parties in Scotland to collude in such a ploy.

The election of 56 SNP MPs put paid to plans for subverting the Smith ‘reforms’ to the British nationalists’ malign purpose. But Brexit offers another opportunity.

My message here is that, while we can have total confidence that our First Minister, our Government, our Parliament and our SNP MPs will do everything in their power to defend Scotland’s right of self determination, we must be prepared to back them to the hilt in this endeavour. It may be that getting #indyref2 will turn out to be more difficult than winning it.

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27 thoughts on “Beware British perfidy

  1. Willie John

    ‘suspend the Scottish Parliament’? Why half measures, just abolish it altogether and enact EVAL (English votes for all laws)!

  2. Martin

    My take is that the british nationalists/estabishment is fairly confident of winning an indyref2. There was no real ‘bounce’ in support for indy following the brexit vote and there has been no slow build up of support either. By rights we should, by now, be a nation in open revolt about brexit, about austerity, about the contempt our elected representatives and national parliament are held in by Westminster. But we are not.
    Why is this? I think the answer lies partly in the the nature of our debate – peaceful, rational, liberal discussion, and partly because our political leadership has chosen the path of reasonable engagement with Westminster, within Westminster, and with Whitehall. What undoubtedly started out as a demonstration of mature politics and competent government is starting to look like a willingness to be trampled on and ignored. I think it is time for a change in tactics. MP’s should stop being co-operative and supportive of the very processes that are being used to humiliate us. There should be 56 Alex Salmonds from his first term in parliament, lying ministers should be named as lying ministers, we should be showing our anger and focussing it on the tories and the westminster establishment. The one thing that is absent from politics at the moment is emotion and that needs rectifying. I for one look forward to seeing a sargeant-at-arms manhandling Chris Law from the chamber.

    1. Philip Maughan

      I agree. the recent deplorable example of the speaker John Bercow shouting down Ian Blackford’s question in the Commons with ‘too long, too loud, we don’t want to hear it man!’ is a further example of the disdain with which Unionist politicians regard the SNP MPs. I believe it’s getting close to the point where SNP MPs should refuse to serve in Parliament, like Sinn Fein MPs do. As to Bercow’s remarks, they should be printed on tee shirts along with a Yes logo and distributed widely.

    2. ben madigan

      in Northern ireland SF adopted the same behaviour pattern in Stormont for 10 years – reasonable engagement, attempt to make the institutions work and so on.

      They gave up in the New Year – reportedly because the party grassroots wouldn’t stand for it any more. And is basically refusing to resusitate the NI Assembly – bar far-reaching changes.

      The SNP seems to be on a similar sort of trajectory, but on a much shorter timeline, due to events.

      https://eurofree3.wordpress.com/2017/01/25/shut-up-and-eat-your-brexit-englands-decision/

    3. @jaggythistle

      It is the snp,s approach which has brought many fair minded people
      to change their vote to yes .
      Act responsible and we shall eventually prove we can govern and run our country for everyone
      This will take time,be patient

  3. Andy McKirdy

    Spot on Peter, they will do anything and everything to keep their last colony including rigging the ballot if all else fails.
    I have often wondered, with only suspicion and anecdotal evidence to back me up, that maybe we won the first indyref and the rigging of the postal votes, 800,000 of them, got the Brits their result. Everything since in electoral results, convinces me that my suspicions are valid.
    We must not allow, wherever possible, any machinery of the British state, to play any part in the Referendum when it comes.
    The media, civil service, security services, the aristocracy and all aspects of government including all opposition parties are arms of the “establishment” and as such enemies of our independence and should always be dealt with as such!!!!!

  4. Melville Jones

    We should be prepared for this government, led by a woman who couldn’t organise a booze up in a brewery, to do anything to stop us becoming an independent country.
    However, they also have no idea of how Scotland works, and on that basis, they will, as usual , probably make a mess of anything they try to do!

  5. bringiton

    At least we will not have to deal with the pretendy union arguments,that has been fully put to bed by the courts in England.
    It will be either England’s way or ours as far as the future of Scotland goes.
    Either we have a real parliament in a real country or a pretendy one in someone else’s.
    Agree,the London establishment cannot allow another referendum to take place in Scotland,because they know they will not “win” this time.
    We didn’t make enough of their desperation to hold onto Scotland at all costs as a counter to their redistribution of wealth nonsense.
    Tories only redistribute wealth from the poor to the rich and anyone who believes their nonsense about generosity should stick with the childrens’ books and leave real politics to the grown ups.

  6. Bugger le Panda

    UK has not learned from the history of Ireland and is heading down the same cul de sac.

    That does make them easy to predict

  7. Kev

    I hope, that in the unlikely event Westminster refuses indyref2, the 56 just call a universal declaration of independence and reconvene/install itself in the old Scottish parliament as an elected second chamber of an independent Scotland, after all what is Brexit England going to do they’re going to be too busy with the minutiae of getting the best trade deal from the EU, which we’d be welcome into,(I’m thinking like eastern bloc secessionits here, we already meet the criteria we’re currently in it)

  8. David Mooney

    I’ve been saying his for years (long before IndyRef1). The British establishment will simply not allow Scotland to be independent. They have too much to lose.

    They know if Scotland gains independence the English economy will collapse. Scotland’s natural resources have been underwriting the UK debt mountain for decades.

    I agree with Peter. In fact I expect May to at least delay approval for IndyRef2 – if not try to prevent it altogether. I believe one of the main motivations for Brexit is to prevent the EU from protecting Scotland’s national interests when Tories dissolve the Scottish Parliament when Brexit is completed.

    Interesting times ahead. I just hope it isn’t as bad as I expect it to be.

  9. East Neuker

    Don’t rule out that they would use force. They’ve done it before and they would do it again. Armed plain clothes MOD police under English control are on the streets of Scotland, outside of military bases, right now.
    I saw at first hand the actions of English police in the Fife coalfield during the miners strike, and now the apologists for the UK government just laugh it of and deny it, even here.
    The British state is not to be trusted,

  10. Big Jock

    We will get another referendum. However it must not be run by the electoral commission, it must have EU observers. And every vote counted must take place in Scotland not Newcastle. Not to mention every ballot box must have two witnesses following it.

      1. David Mooney

        Again I totally agree. We must never stop talking. We have to (and be seen to) explore every possible democratic and legal process.

        The problem is the SNP are playing fair and by the rules. Unfortunately the British establishment aren’t.

        So when all diplomatic and democratic efforts have been exhausted – what do we do? Maybe then it might be time to play dirty. It’s either that or give up. Are any of us willing to give up?

        The Tories don’t and never have respected democracy. It’s getting close to the time that we need to use their own corrupt antidemocratic system against them. I’ve outlined my thoughts on what could be done before so I won’t repeat them here.

      2. Sam

        ScotsCanuck. Aye beware posters

        Wondering if time for talking is running out
        Or suggesting
        Desperate times call for desperate measures

        Comments like this should be removed.

  11. Jas

    The thing I remember about Indy 1 was settling down to confidently watch the results come in only to be faced with huge smiles on Ruth Davidson’s face. She and her Unionist chums knew they had won before the count was made. How come? Did they recruit someone like Darren Brown, or was it much more mundane than that?

    1. ben madigan

      that’s what struck me too, jas. As soon as I switched the programme on, before any result was announced, i saw them and said to myself “We’ve lost. How do they know?”

  12. ScotsCanuck

    ….. the old saying “when push comes to shove” springs to mind.

    However, be aware that in the ’70’s and into the 80’s the British Security Services covertly placed “operatives” into SNP Meetings who agitated for armed revolt and physical violence.

    Fortunately, they took their brief with a wee bit too much enthusiasm and were quickly identified as “Agent Provocateur’s” .

    Don’t for one moment think they won’t try that ruse again …. probably with a wee touch more finesse !!!

  13. stewartb

    A few proponents of desperate measures popped up recently on Wings and got a firm response from regular contributors – restating a commitment to legal, peaceful and democratic processes only!

    We need always to be aware of and alert to the harm that the agent provocateur can reap, to efforts to retain soft Yes voters and to attract soft No voters from 2014. And what a gift to a hostile media, in places already fear mongering over “ulsterisation”, to report on an independence movement beginning to contemplate ‘desperate measures’.

    Let’s stay calm, retain patience despite the frustrations we surely feel, and don’t blow this. Personally, I’m content to see the First Minister and her senior colleagues play out their strategy over the next 12 months or so: candidly, I don’t see any other legitimate game in town.

  14. Corrado Mella

    We can advocate calm and peaceful, democratic transitions within the political realms until we’re blue in the face (maybe with a Saltire across it).

    But remember that Scottish Independence goes beyond the SNP and other political parties, it’s a real grassroots movement.

    It is unrealistic to think it can be artificially regimented to flow between the banks of democracy when one side is actively burrowing holes and creating dams to its natural flow.

    It might come to a point when human nature takes over, and people turn.

    Don’t give the impression we should be held responsible if Independence supporters take to the streets. We are not, the SNP is not; but those that poke the lion do so at their own risk.

  15. Sam

    We can go for Independence at any time we chose. Our 56 MP’s stand down forcing bye elections. They then stand again on an independence msnifesto.

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