Dodging the bullet

It is a measure of just how appallingly the UK Government is behaving that politicians such as Philippe Lamberts are driven to use such parliamentary language. Only a few months ago, it would have been all but unthinkable for an MEP to call the British Prime Minister ‘clueless’ and imply that she was behaving in a manner not wholly in keeping with democratic principles. Such is the extent to which Theresa May and the Mad Brexiteers have trashed the UK’s reputation that it is now considered acceptable, if not de rigeur, for European politicians to openly insult them.

It would be gratifying to hope that being chastised in such uncompromising terms would give UK ministers and their slobbering, snarling, xenophobic cheerleaders pause for thought. Alas, that’s not how it works. British nationalist politicians are too persuaded of their innate superiority to be anything other than totally impervious to any criticism. And, rather than prompting sober reflection, Philippe Lamberts’s rebuke will serve only to confirm the prejudices of Europhobes and provoke paroxysms of indignant outrage.

Philippe Lamberts is undoubtedly correct. Theresa May is clueless, in every possible sense of that term. But his suggestion that the devolved administrations should be directly involved in Brexit negotiations is something that Nicola Sturgeon and her counterparts should treat with the utmost caution. Not that it’s going to happen, mind you. The ‘One Nation’ British nationalist ideology now driving the UK Government’s agenda precludes the devolved administrations being treated with anything other than contempt. But supposing Theresa May was disposed to allow them a token role, our First Minister would be well-advised to find herself otherwise engaged.

The only possible reason for the devolved administrations being brought into the process this late in the day would be to ensure that they were associated with an outcome which cannot be other than calamitous. Nicola Sturgeon doesn’t have to be part of the negotiations to be blamed for their failure. But, as with the Smith Commission, being involved makes it easier for the British establishment to deflect criticism after the event. Denouncing a team’s performance is inevitably more problematic if you were on the team – even if only nominally.

So, how does Nicola opt out? If this hypothetical invitation to join the UK’s Brexit negotiating team arrives, how does she decline without appearing hypocritical?

Fortunately, the rigidity of ‘One Nation’ British nationalism makes the British political elite quite predictable. The First Minister need only insist that she would be putting Scotland’s case in the Brexit negotiations, and the imagined invitation would be immediately withdrawn. After all, as far as the British state is concerned, Scotland doesn’t have a case.

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11 thoughts on “Dodging the bullet

  1. Douglas

    Well put, I agree our FM needs to be careful about this but I doubt if it would happen.

    If the UK continue to be so foolish and rude, might the EU look for other ways to occupy their time by talking (informally off course) to someone who does talk sense (NS)?

    This might seem far fetched but what if the UK Govt start trying to trade assets (fishing, farming, oil etc) that the EU cannot be sure will remain theirs to barter away? Would it not make sense for them to insist on getting the Scottish Govt to confirm that the assets are going to remain available and that trading them is agreed (or not)? If I were an EU negotiator I’d want to make sure that anything promised was deliverable.

    Just a thought.

    1. Peter A Bell Post author

      You make a good point. It is, I’m sure, something that our European neighbours will be taking due account of. We have to wonder, however, if it has even occurred to Theresa May’s mob.

      1. Mike McCreadie

        On that front…. if the EU wanted to turn the screw and REALLY put the boot in they could do it very easily – by releasing, unprompted, a new EU guideline along the lines of “Incorporation of Seceded Territories”.

        Scotland would know what it could expect from the EU on gaining Indy (remember; David Cameron was too scared to even ask that question of the EU in 2014). It would absolutely light a fire under David Davis’s arse.

        Instantly, UKGov would be even further onto the back foot – no policy position and half the bargaining chips. It would slide DD’s negotiating position onto cow pat glaur.

        As I say though, the EU would have to really want to put the boot in. They would effectively be humiliating the UK by saying “look what we can do to you on a whim”. I’m not sure they would want to go that far with an ally, even under the circumstances.

    2. m biyd

      As Peter says good point. Clearly the British government can’t conclude Treaty terms which a Scottish Government can make implementable. The British have been there before Sykes Picot/Balfour declaration, India, Ireland etc result partition and chaos.

  2. bringiton

    At one point,I stupidly assumed that the Tories wanted out of Europe in order to control immigration.
    Now it is clear what the main objective was.
    The Tories want out of Europe so that they are no longer accountable to courts not under their control.
    Fortunately for them,Phony Blair and his fellow Scottish Britnats made sure that our Scots law was accountable to the Westminster parliament through their Supreme Court,otherwise the Tories might have had a bit of trouble getting us to agree.
    Now they don’t need us to agree.

  3. John

    I think we should take the radical step of withdrawing all of our MP’s from Westminster as well.

    If we are a nation, we shouldn’t be trying to run another one. We need to get as far away from this made in UK debacle, as soon as we possibly can. Our MP’s can accomplish nothing there anyway, and are merely punching bags for the British establishment. We should save them the trouble.

    I am mystified why the leadership of the SNP refuses to take some decisive political action that can improve the odds against us. Sitting on your hands, providing good government, can only get you so far.

    The Parti Quebecois tried this strategy, in the 70’s and 80’s. Although they came within a hairs breadth of success in 1991, their second failure was their undoing. Secession now is a dead duck in Quebec. I see a similar pattern developing here in Scotland.

    If Corbyn can survive to the next UK election, his old school socialism will lure many back to the chimera that is UK Labour. They can only increase their vote at the next election. They can hardly fall further.

    Expecting Independence to drop into our laps, wrapped in a bow, shows a lack of imagination and a dangerous complacency. Its past time we had some inspirational leadership on the political front. The People need a rallying cry right now. What is the leadership waiting for?

    1. Peter A Bell Post author

      Is somebody “expecting Independence to drop into our laps”? If so, there’s little sign of it. What I see is a massive grass-roots Yes movement working hard in all manner of ways towards restoring Scotland’s independence. Where is this complacency so many feel compelled to caution against?

  4. jake

    The FM doesn’t need to dodge any bullet, all she need do is re-state that she is the First Minister of Scotland, that she represents Scotland, that the people of Scotland rejected Brexit, and that she will act in accordance with the will of the Scottish Parliament. If the Prime Minister requires a Scottish perspective she should consult her Scottish Secretary whom she appointed to do just that job. If the Scottish Secretary isn’t up to the job then sack and replace him. If it’s the job of Scottish Secretary that is inappropriate to her needs then she should consult the Scottish Grand Committee.

  5. Angus Skye

    You are totally correct in your assessment that the token involvement of the Scottish Government would be yet another poisoned chalice. However, it would be very difficult for NS to turn down any offer of involvement as it is something the SG has been complaining about since the beginning of this farce.

    If that offer comes along and if NS accepts it (how could she not?) I would hope that the full terms of involvement, which would certainly not include any vote/veto, are made crystal clear, along with SG reservations as to the extent of its involvement.

  6. grizebard

    The suggestion of Scottish involvement in the Brexit negotiations has indeed to be treated with great caution. Recall the SNP involvement post indyfef1 with the Smith Commission. Need I say more…?

    (…Unless the only point of a Scottish contribution would be to negotiate the terms of Scotland remaining in the EU in the event of a successful indyref2 prior to 29.March.2019, that is… )

  7. Dan Huil

    An offer of “associate citizenship” for British people post brexit was aired last year in the EU parliament. Don’t know what came of it. Worth another look?

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