Sir Tom Hunter’s arguments against indyref2 aren’t worth the paper that headlined them

hunter-brexitThat The Herald sees fit to award Sir Tom Hunter’s ‘Indy Warning’ its front page comes as no surprise to those of us who observed its descent from quality newspaper into Yoon rag during the indyref.

Much of that was due to the ill-conceived decision to employ the discredited Magnus Gardham as its political editor.  Gardham is now in the employ of the colonial Scotland Office where he sits at the feet of that political goliath David Mundell.

But what of Sir Tom Hunter?  Well according to The Herald the businessman doesn’t see any sense in the holding of a second independence referendum, at least not right now.

Below is a relevant section from The Herald.

“I really do think it would be the wrong thing to bring up another independence referendum at this point. I’m not saying never, just not now.

“There’s enough uncertainty for us all to deal with. I can’t quite understand why the government want to take us out of the one union which is our biggest trading union but keep us in another one.”

He flatly dismissed suggestions that the overwhelming vote to Remain in the EU in Scotland has boosted the case for independence.

“I actually think the reverse – with this uncertainty about Brexit,” he said. “No-one really knows what it’s going to mean from a commercial point of view. There are going to be so many things to be worked out that to add Scottish independence on top would be foolhardy.”

Hunter reveals a surprising lack of sophistication in his thinking.  There is no account taken of the political ramifications if Scotland, having voted to remain in the EU, is dragged out anyway.  There is also a failure to appreciate the basic requirements of an elected government, that it honours its manifesto commitments as best it can.

Let’s take each of his claims in turn:

I really do think it would be the wrong thing to bring up another independence referendum at this point.  I’m not saying never, just not now.

Note Hunter uses the phrase ‘bring up’ rather than ‘hold’ another independence referendum.  What Hunter appears to be saying is that the prospect of another independence referendum should not be posited at this moment.  That it should wait until some unspecified time.

There’s enough uncertainty for us all to deal with.

We see here the justification for removing the prospect of a second independence referendum.  There is, says Hunter, enough uncertainty for us all to deal with.

What Tom Hunter fails to acknowledge is that the prospect of a second independence referendum is not something that has been casually thrown into the mix by a mischievous SNP administration keen to capitalise on the Brexit vote.  It was a pledge given to the people of Scotland in a manifesto on which the SNP administration was elected.

If Nicola Sturgeon capitulated to the demands from Unionists and now Sir Tom, then she would be reneging on a major plank of her election campaign.  She would be governing, not steered by the promises she gave to the people, but on the whims of Unionists and those unelected media hogging tycoons that parrot their rhetoric.

I can’t quite understand why the government want to take us out of the one union which is our biggest trading union but keep us in another one.

The Scottish government doesn’t want to take Scotland out of any so-called ‘trading union’.  It wants to restore Scotland’s sovereignty.  It wants to join those other sovereign nations at the EU table allowing it to negotiate, with Scotland’s interests the only guiding principle.  It wants a partnership with the rest of the UK based on mutual respect.  It wants to keep those trading links with the UK that already exist.

Is Sir Tom Hunter really arguing that an independent Scotland would somehow cease trading with the rest of the UK?  How does Sir Tom imagine that the UK will manage after Brexit?  Will trade with the continent cease?

The ‘biggest trading union’ phrase is eerily similar to the ‘four times the trade of the EU’ argument made by Unionists opposed to a special Brexit deal for Scotland.  Nobody has yet produced figures to back up the claim.  Similarly, nobody can produce figures showing how much Scotland exports to England that is in fact destined for other countries.

Of course, Nicola Sturgeon’s Brexit proposals would result in the prospect of indyref2 being removed for the foreseeable future.  Does Sir Tom back the First Minister’s call for the UK to remain in the single market, or in the event this is not possible, for a special deal for Scotland?

He flatly dismissed suggestions that the overwhelming vote to Remain in the EU in Scotland has boosted the case for independence.

“I actually think the reverse – with this uncertainty about Brexit,” he said. “No-one really knows what it’s going to mean from a commercial point of view. There are going to be so many things to be worked out that to add Scottish independence on top would be foolhardy.”

The full impact of Brexit on backing for independence will not be known until the UK leaves the EU.  The scheduled triggering of Article 50 next March may provide pointers.

That said, there has been a marginal increase in support for independence since the EU referendum back in June.  This isn’t surprising given that the democratic will of the Scottish electorate may well end up being ignored.

Hunter’s argument, that uncertainty caused by Brexit will harm independence, defies logic.  Should a second independence referendum be called then the choice facing Scots won’t be more uncertainty but merely a choice of which uncertainty voters prefer.

Assuming Theresa May rejects the First Minister’s Brexit proposals out of hand then the Scottish government will invite the Scottish people to choose one of the following two options.

1.    EU exclusion against your will, with all of the practical problems it brings, coupled with years of rule under an increasingly right-wing Conservative party.

2.    An independent Scotland in the EU as a full member but with continued trade with our nearest neighbour.  Remember that Ireland [In the EU] and Northern Ireland [Out of the EU] will have no border and will continue trading.

Many of the arguments used against independence during indyref1 have now disappeared.  Lies have been exposed and promises broken.  The pledge that a No vote would protect our EU membership was perhaps the cruelest lie of all.

Speaking back in April, just before the EU referendum, Sir Tom Hunter said the following:

“If poll results of November 11 last year were correct and England voted 54 per cent to leave; Scotland and Northern Ireland would be dragged along.  Equally, if it’s only 51 per cent in England, we drag the majority of the population with us…Does this lead to another constitutional crisis and meet Scotland’s First Minister’s material change definition? Probably yes.”

So according to Sir Tom, we now have a constitutional crisis and the First Minister’s material change has been met.  To do nothing is what would be foolhardy.

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8 thoughts on “Sir Tom Hunter’s arguments against indyref2 aren’t worth the paper that headlined them

  1. Lochside

    Tom Hunter may be a millionaire, but like his mate David Murray he’s no genius. He got very lucky after selling pairs of sannies out the back of his van, JJH Sports came along and bought him out for a couple of hundred million…right time right place….the shellsuit was in the ascendant.

    But he has reinvented himself as a ‘philanthropist’ and ‘mentor’ and having listened to his Mount Olympian musings many times I have concluded that he makes Henry McLeish sound as intelligent as EInstein and as honourable as Nelson Mandela.

    As you state Mr P…Magnus Gardham, State agent is at the helm of the dying ‘Herald’ steaming it full speed towards the iceberg of oblivion. No-one I know buys it any more. A mouth on a stick, paid up loyal supporter of the Brit establishment Hunter is on its front page purely to impress people dumb enough to believe someone with a platinum credit card knows fuck all about politics. Next week, no doubt it will be Jakey Rollinit, the torn face literary giant disseminating her take on North Britain’s future.

  2. Ian

    “But the crucial fact of post-truth politics is that there are no more referees. There are only players.” David Roberts

    It isn’t Tom Hunter’s opinion that irritates me – he is entitled to it as much as you or I. Rather it is the sanctimonious, patronising claptrap about him self-stating that he is independent, neutral, an honest broker, above and beyond taking sides, not influenced by any agenda.

    1. Clydebuilt

      Ian, and the Herald proclaims it’s “Comitted yo providing impartial coverage of Scotland’s affairs and ones not endirse any political party” Aye That’ll be Right

  3. Breastplate

    An independence referendum would give an exact measurement of the will of the people regarding Scottish sovereignty.
    To not have a referendum would be a continuation of uncertainty.
    Tom Hunter is quite clearly wrong.

  4. Clydebuilt

    Tom Hunter’s arguments aren’t worth much…….. neither’s the paper they are published in…..

    Has there been one letter published exposing the lies were supposed to swallow re: Syria

  5. Andy McKirdy

    He’s a Del Boy, made good, and another Titled Union Toady and the unenlighted will hang on every word.
    He’s another example of a very well off Scot who equates the sovereignty of their nation with a business deal.
    Anyway I’m sick fed talking about his type, Thatcher would love him; me, me, me and fuck everyone else.
    Happy and healthy festive season to all of you out there fighting the good fight, our time is near!!!!

  6. Gordoz

    Totally agree that Mr Hunters interventions are about as helpful as a Henry MacLeish and about as regular & welcome Gordon Broons.

    We all know why the msm bother but really he guy should stick to his charity work for the limelight.
    Continuing down this anti Indy road will lose a lot of goodwill.

    What an idiot

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