Guilty Until Innocent

blipfoto scotland2_0By Mike Small

How far ‘the country’ has moved to the right is sampled only in glimpses. Yesterday the Independent, home to Mark Steel, and today Frankie Boyle and long thought of as bastion of Liberal England, published an extraordinary editorial confirming that it’s not just the shrill voices of Kelvin Mackenzie and the tabloid right that consider the SNP illegitimate, beyond the pale and untouchable.

The paper, which was born out of a sense of frustration at corporate ownership of the media and the need for impartiality, was reduced to whispering threateningly for you to vote Conservative.

In a piece mis-titled ‘In defence of liberal democracy’ they write: “At stake is the very idea of majority government, the union with Scotland, and membership of the EU. In other words, British democracy itself” before adding:

Britain has entered a long period of relative decline, as emerging powers such as China and India acquire greater influence. To splinter our country, either through Scottish independence or withdrawal from the EU, would be fatally stupid. Moreover, the reputation of politics, following the Iraq War, the expenses crisis, and the financial crash, has sunk to a rotten low; and whoever forms a government in the coming days must at all costs be legitimate. That is not a question merely of numbers and seats. Rather it is a question of authority, and the ability to reflect the temper of the people.

Reflecting the ‘temper of the people’ means, specifically locking-out one group of people, namely, us.
Tying themselves in excruciating knots of absurdity – and having previously told their readers they wouldn’t tell them how to vote, they conclude:
For all his talk of no deals with the SNP, Miliband is bound to rely on that party to get his legislative programme through. This would be a disaster for the country, unleashing justified fury in England at the decisive influence of MPs who – unlike this title – do not wish the Union to exist. If that were to be the case while Labour were the second biggest party either in terms of vote share, or seats – or both – how could Labour govern with authority? They could not. Any partnership between Labour and the SNP will harm Britain’s fragile democracy. For all its faults, another Lib-Con Coalition would both prolong recovery and give our kingdom a better chance of continued existence.

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The Independent gives the lie to the idea that a paranoid cultural revulsion is confined to the tabloids. They argue: “This title casts no vote. But we prize strong, effective government, consider nationalism guilty until proven innocent” – wonderfully, beautifully unaware of their own nationalism and semi-detached from the unfolding realities.

We’d expect the Financial Times to support the Conservatives but you have to admire the chutzpah of their writer today talking of Labour being “preoccupied with inequality”. Who’s that you say? It’s Jonathan Ford, Chief Leader writer for the FT.

He’s seated in the middle, front row in the picture above. It’s the Bullingdon Club 1987. He doesn’t look overly preoccupied with inequality.

These are the people pontificating about ‘legitimacy’.

Credibility or Legitimacy?

The narrative being peddled by the Conservatives and their allies (or classmates) is that any government formed even with the tactic or tactical support of the SNP is illegitimate, and that Cameron would therefore be compelled to stay in office to ‘save the Union’.

It’s an odd logic that votes cast in Barra are less legitimate than those cast in Bermondsey. Elected MPs, and their parties, gain legitimacy not by virtue of what they stand for – but by the fact that they were elected by their constituents. That’s how democracy works. At least that’s how it worked the last time I checked.

Cameron and Clegg are drifting into some very dangerous waters if they are arguing that Scottish votes are worth less than English ones. There’s extraordinary hypocrisy going on if ‘legitimacy’ can only be reached by electing pre-approved candidates and parties. I detest the fact that David Coburn was elected as a UKIP MEP. But he was. I have to suck it up (and argue against his repellent politics).

It’s odd too that a Labour government supported by the SNP would lack legitimacy but a govt without a single MP in Scotland somehow has credibility?

We are close to a right-wing coup, in which a Conservative government clings onto power without a majority in Britain or a mandate in Scotland (or Wales) citing the Independent’s desire for ‘stability’ and ‘effective government’.

A Way Out for Ed Miliband

A different perspective springs from Iain Macwhirter in the Herald who lays down a compelling argument for an entirely different scenario (‘Would Ed Miliband really turn down the chance to be prime minister?’). He outlines how Miliband will be compelled to No 10, even if he doesn’t want to be.

Here’s the scenario. Taking the New Statesman’s latest poll, here’s the numbers: Tories 273; Labour 269; Lib Dems 27; SNP 56.

On these numbers any Queens Speech would be rejected. The only circumstances would be if Miliband urged his party to abstain. He’d then be in a situation where he’d been offered a chance to hold office and rejected it and let Cameron back in. If that were to happen and he’d ushered in a further £12 billion austerity cuts, it would mean not just the end of Scottish Labour but the end of Labour. Has Labour moved so far to the right that it would do this?

I believe that some key senior individuals within the party have, but most of the party hasn’t. If they do this on the basis of tribal hatred of the SNP they could destroy the party, and the Union, in one fell swoop.

Bring it on, as someone once said.

But there’s a get-out-of-jail for Ed Miliband as he worries about ‘legitimacy’. Here’s how he can re-spin it.

Another dose of Tory-style austerity will crash the Union with certainty. The £12 billion glint in Gideon’s eye is a recruitment officer for a Yes vote across Caledonia.

The only way to ‘save the union’ is to respect the voters and embrace the SNP’s surge as the expression of the legitimate (and unprecedented) democratic will of the people.



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77 replies

  1. Folk have discussed the possibility of a ‘grand coalition’ between the Tories and Labour. For many reasons, I doubt this could happen as an official coalition.
    However, I can see one of the Tory parties governing as a minority, with unofficial support from the other Tory party when needed. I think that this narrative is being prepared with the various statements about not working with other parties.

    • Yup,
      Cartels have a habit of rejecting external competition,one way or another!

    • Such a grand coalition wouldn’t last long Tories and Labour are the fastest shrinking parties no matter where you look in these islands.

      MPs from every shade and origin will need to work together to govern the country. Perhaps the next parliament will be so diverse we’ll all be blessed with fewer new laws and less central government.

  2. Iain Macwhirter’s analysis seems irrefutable. Labour, with 20 or so seats short of a majority at Westminster, will just have to tough it out. If Miliband has anything of a leader in him, he could build a programme of protection for public services and constitutional reform (House of Lords, voting system), and gather support from the Lib Dems as well as the SNP, SDLP, and any Greens. Ukip would support on a change to the voting system too, plus a few enlightened Tories.

    It’s David Coburn, by the way, although this doesn’t improve him.

  3. Shouldn’t that be, Guilty until proven Scottish?

  4. I live in New Zealand, where with MMP (mixed member proportional representation) coalitions and looser alliances under a “confidence and supply” agreement, are now the norm. Atypically, this last election, National squeaked in with an overall majority. I think the problem is that the UK political system in Westminster does not, or refuses not to, understand coalition politics. It was never supposed to happen under FPTP. No-one in the political establishment likes this interruption of the previous cozy two party state, it’s resented, and the new parties in Parliament are resented too. But in the final analysis, if Ed Miliband is given the numbers in Parliament to form an arrangement with the SNP to allow him and Labour to take over the government of the UK, he will do so. It is literally unimaginable for a party leader to decline the prize of premiership if it can be grasped. Even now, his spin doctors will have worked out the weasel words he will use to justify this. The most urgent thing that this election should precipitate is a re-examination of proportional representation for Westminster. A Royal Commission should be set up to examine this. What is happening now under FPTP is even more undemocratic than what we’ve had up to now – for instance, which MP in Westminster will be representing the interests of the 50% or so of the electorate in Scotland that didn’t vote SNP?

    • Their hatred of Scottish self-determination is simply too much for them; red and blue tories will come to an arrangement just as they did during the referendum campaign. They will do anything, even the unthinkable, to hold on to Scotland – their ‘strategic’ colony.

      • So true Darien,the rancid bile that is being stirred up and pointed our way will surely wake everyone up to the Westminster train of thought.

    • There is a petition on change.org at the moment to push for proportional representation. If you feel strongly on this matter, it would be a good idea to sign it. I already have.

  5. Wow. I have to admit I’m slightly taken aback: “unleashing justifiable fury”. Just… wow.

    I had to go online and read this in full, just to check (no offence, Mike). That’s the kind of phrase I’d expect from The Telegraph or the Mail or Murdoch’s toilet papers but even for them to put it in an election editorial would be at the far end of the mouth-foam scale… but from The Independent? I’ve actually bought that paper!

    Context is everything, hence my horror. Context is, of course, what is sadly, glaringly lacking from The Independent’s leader column.

    My son lives in Lincoln and has told me the anti-Scots vitriol has dialled up significantly over the past few months. Last autumn he had to thole all the “Ah, you Jocks bottled it” banter, then it was “You lost the bloody referendum, why can you just accept it?!”, but now it’s more “Don’t think you can come down here ruling us ‘cos we’re not having it!”. Sat with his girlfriend and her (lovely) parents in their social club the other week, he got an unprovoked mouthful from an apparently quite sober patron at the bar who told him in pretty strident terms that “Your lot are selling out Labour for a bunch of Nazis.”

    What can you say to such irrationality? What does it say when even The Independent is stoking “the temper of the people”.

    It says this is going to get a lot worse before it gets better.

    • It’s worth reading the comments underneath the Independent’s editorial. Looks like they are going to loose a lot of readers, having abandoned their founding principles. Remind you of anyone?

      • Good, if they lose readers, it means there are fair minded people who can see through the disgusting racist commentary. I hope the solid No voters can see how much this Union values them and their opinion.

        Sky news had an embarrassing moment with Adam Boulton doing one of those graphs that build a coalition, and his female guest started saying she thought the comments of not working with SNP were just awful, and how could anyone say they were not legitimate. Must admit I started laughing, because Boulton was apoplectic trying to shut her down, spluttering etc.

        The referendum was bad enough, but now we are told we are illegitimate, like the embarrassing little gingers born out of wedlock! I’ve never seen so many responses on line that are just – I want out.

        • There are many good people in England Valerie who will see through this nonsense. My father was an Englishman and an absolute gentleman, who loved Scotland and was happy living here. However, there is also much hatred and plenty of racism in England, as there is here. This is always irrational and that is why it disturbs us so much. You cannot reason with such people.

          I will be down in London on exam business shortly and fully expect some nonsense to come my way. I will be ready for it with the usual reasonable, but acerbic answers. I am no shrinking violet when it comes to this. I will be supported by many colleagues and my friends down there, whose sympathies lie with our predicament.

          The MSM are very much culpable for the anti-Scottish hatred that has been stirred up, both up here and down South. However, the Westminster parties and their so-called leaders are just as culpable. They are utterly shameful. The Murphy’s, Brown’s, Carmichael’s and their branch parties etc etc, aid and abet them, with their patronising, deceitful and arrogant behaviours. They are also utterly disgraceful and they have fought a disgusting campaign in my opinion. Their actions are self-serving.

          Let us not forget the many good people in England and Wales who do not feel this way and be thankful for them. These are the folk, together with many in Scotland, who are likely to take issue with the Independent, which should now change its title, lest it be charged with utter hypocrisy, amongst other things. I agree – good if they lose readers.

          We should also be encouraged by the good example of such as Nicola Sturgeon, Alec Salmond, John Swinney and Patrick Harvey, as well as the Leaders of Plaid and the Greens, who demonstrate excellent leadership qualities. These leaders, their parties and the Scottish people are very much legitimate.

          We shall be much clearer on Friday where our journey is taking us next. However, we can move forward with hope. For the moment, ours is a gradualist approach, unless some momentous event causes us to take a faster route.

          Like you – I want out.

      • That is the answer Wul. Don’t buy this paper and don’t subscribe to it on-line.

  6. “It’s an odd logic that votes cast in Barra are less legitimate than those cast in Bermondsey”.

    No, it’s not about that.

    Let’s be clear about what Scottish voters are voting for.

    The constitution of the Scottish National Party (you’ve all seen it) is absolutely clear. The aim of the Party is Independence for Scotland, that is the restoration of Scottish national sovereignty by restoration of full powers to the Scottish Parliament.

    The Scottish National Party’s purpose is to separate ‘Scotland’ from the the rest of the UK, and leave the Union.

    Therefore any voter who votes for the SNP is voting for the ultimate aim of the separation of Scotland from the rest of the UK and leaving the Union.

    After securing a mandate to do so through a manifesto commitment on the back of which the Scottish National Party gained overall control of the Scottish Parliament, in September 2014 there was a referendum in Scotland asking the people “Should Scotland be an Independent Country?”

    The result at that point was a clear ‘No’.

    Since then there has been a surge in both voting intention for and membership of the Scottish National Party.

    It looks like the Scottish National Party are going to have a very clear majority of Scottish seats in this UK general election.

    It is possible they might even gather a majority i.e. +50% of all votes cast in Scotland.

    A majority of seats – and votes.

    Therefore, after choosing in September 2014 to remain part of the United Kingdom, it would appear that the people of Scotland have changed their minds. The people of Scotland now wish to leave the United Kingdom.

    So what we have here is a piece complaining that the legitimate democratic will of the people (of Scotland) is going to be ignored and thwarted.

    I anticipate my question to the Scottish people on 8th of May will be: why are you still here?

    It is perfectly clear that in their support of the Scottish National Party, the legitimate democratic will of the people of Scotland is to leave the United Kingdom.

    Therefore in the event that the Scottish National Party secures a majority of Scottish seats – and votes – then immediately after the election, the Scottish Government must respect the legitimate democratic will of the people of Scotland.

    I expect – no, I insist – that immediately after the election, the democratically legitimate government of Scotland make a unilateral declaration of independence.

    If the results of the election pan out as expected in Scotland, with a majority of votes and seats for the Scottish National Party, then the will of the Scottish People will be very clear.

    It is time for you to go. Now.

    • Yawn to the same old crap that this is centred on Independence.

      Up until now, Scotland has been so under represented in this so called union, that they all but forgot we existed until the Referendum. Now, the people of Scotland, see that they were conned, cajoled, and lied to for so very long, and they have had enough. We were told, last year by project fear, that we must remain in the union, that we were loved(!) and even, yes even have an equal say in what happens in that so called union. Remember the vow? Did you hear about the Smith commission?

      Well, now we want to have a say, after all, we were told you wanted us to stay. Independence is the goal for many, though not all, but ultimately, for the foreseeable future, as part of this fabulous union, the aim is to be fairly represented within the walls of Westminster, as promised, not a few short months ago.

      Many many people, voted YES last September, many feel they were robbed, the postal votes being sent to London to be counted, and some possible dodgy dealings. Yes the difference between voters was significant, but not that huge in actual fact, even then. It was not a fair, democratic process either.

      The ones flapping about since then, unsure of themselves, (maybe because they knew they lied and scaremongered and that they relied on msm propoganda) are the unionists.

      We would be happy to go, as you say, but for now, we need a say in how our country is run, that is as rightful ours as it is yours.

      • ”Many feel they were robbed, the postal votes being sent to London to be counted, and some possible dodgy dealings.”

        If Westminster can fake a dodgy dossier to get us into the Iraq war, ”suicide” Dr Kelly, cover up and block the investigations into the Greville Janner, Cyril Smith MPs pedophile rings, then MI5 rigging a referendum is small fry.

      • “Yawn to the same old crap that this is centred on Independence.”

        – The ruling Party in your Government’s sole aim is Independence. So this is centred on independence.

        “Up until now, Scotland has been so under represented in this so called union”
        – What? Scotland returns (59) MPs to Westminster, and since 1999 has also had the benefit of devolved powers to a devolved administration. Just because (I presume) all of those MPs have not been the ones (SNP) you wanted does not mean you have been ‘under-represented’. If anything, given that Scottish MPs have been able to exercise influence and vote upon laws and matters pertaining to the rest of the UK that don’t affect Scotland, if anything you have been OVER-represented. (That situation is going to be resolved).
        Now, the people of Scotland, see that they were conned, cajoled, and lied to for so very long, and they have had enough.

        – About what, pray tell?

        We were told, last year by project fear, that we must remain in the union,

        – No, voters were exhorted on both sides to make one decision or the other, and it turned out that voters decided not to vote for Independence. You talk about what you call ‘project fear’, I’m more concerned about the false prospectus generated by the SNP’s nonsensical white paper ‘Scotland’s Future’ and the nonsense generated by the SNP / Yes Campaign propaganda machine.

        that we were loved(!)

        – I don’t love you. I didn’t tell you that you were loved. I told you that the case for independence was a false prospectus. And, that it would be idiotic to disrupt the interconnected, integrated frictionless economy of the UK, which is also part of the wider trading block of the EU. (rUK is the market for 70% of your goods and services, and Yes voters were voting to leave the EU)

        Remember the vow?

        – Yes, I remember it clearly, and I clearly saw that there was very little if nothing in the ‘vow’ that hadn’t been said or promised before.

        Did you hear about the Smith commission?

        – Yes, which provides more powers than most other federal arrangements in the world. Which despite the SNP being involved in negotiations and signing this off, the SNP and Sturgeon now refuse to test out to see if they satisfy voters, instead insisting they are insufficient or useless. Like a child given a new toy, who without even trying it out saying that it’s no good, its broken.

        Well, now we want to have a say, after all, we were told you wanted us to stay.

        – No, I want you to go. Now.

        Independence is the goal for many, though not all,

        – The aim of the SNP is independence. It is in the constitution. If you vote for the SNP you are voting for independence.

        as part of this fabulous union, the aim is to be fairly represented within the walls of Westminster, as promised, not a few short months ago.

        – As above, you already are, always have been. And you’ve been given even more preferential treatment through the Smith Commission (which you refuse to even test out / denounce as useless, even though your SNP signed it off)

        Many many people, voted YES last September, many feel they were robbed, the postal votes being sent to London to be counted, and some possible dodgy dealings. Yes the difference between voters was significant, but not that huge in actual fact, even then. It was not a fair, democratic process either.

        – YAWN at the desperate, childish conspiracy theories.

        The process was entirely fair, and no-one; no-one involved in the process, including the SNP, have complained about the process or the outcome.What was undemocratic about it? You got the question you wanted, in the format you wanted, there was a free and open debate and there have been no complaints about any irregularity.. You never tire of trumpeting what an engaging, empowering, enlightening process it was etc. etc. etc.
        That’s the thing about democracy for some people. When you (think) you are going to get the result you want, it’s all empowering and enlightening. Then when people don’t vote the way you want them to, then it’s all a fix.
        The only people complaining that they were ‘robbed’ of the result they wanted are angry bitter conspiracy theorist nutcases like you.

        The ones flapping about since then, unsure of themselves, (maybe because they knew they lied and scaremongered and that they relied on msm propoganda) are the unionists.

        – Just to clear, I’m not a ‘unionist’. I support Scottish Independence; I want you to leave, now.

        We would be happy to go, as you say, but for now, we need a say in how our country is run, that is as rightful ours as it is yours.

        – It is. Why not take that right, instead of waiting for someone to hand it to you? As this website states “Freedom is something you take”. You can have your own say in how your country is run by having your own country. That is what the anticipated +50% of voters voting SNP are saying they want.
        You can do this by having your government, the SNP, making a unilateral declaration of independence on May 8th.

        And then you can do whatever you want.

        What’s stopping you?

    • One Baw, you presume a lot in saying “Let’s be clear about what Scottish voters are voting for,”

      People voting for a particular party do not necessarily agree with ALL (or indeed any) of its principles. They vote for different parties at different times, in different circumstances in order to achieve a desired result.

      I think some of the projected surge in SNP votes may come from a strong desire to be heard and represented and have real influence in the UK parliament. It may not necessarily be a vote for full independence. (Remember, we are not being asked about independence now. That was last year)

      If you are entering a negotiation or debate, you try to do it from a position of strength.

    • Nope, independence is not in the SNP’s westminster manifesto. Working with other parties for the mitigation of the unremitting economic violence of neo-liberal austerity is. New game starts in 2016, if SNP include another referendum in their Scottish parliament manifesto. You could just as easily say that the Tories (Conservative and Unionist party) have no right to representation in Holyrood because they were against devolution…

      • Excellently put Jake! What is so hard to understand?
        Note the use of the collective ‘you’, as in ‘you lot’. Always a Freudian giveaway.
        This is a General Election and not a referendum.
        Sometimes I despair.

    • The Empire would still be an Empire with your logic.

      Political Parties in a democracy work within the legal framework until they can achieve majority support for change.

      The main issue is a fairer society. You attempt to achieve this via Westminster. If unsuccessful you try a Federal construction and then proceed to Independence and take full control.
      At present we have a large group of voters who will accept greater devolution. However failure to deliver will push them towards Independence.
      The SNP will only attain their goal if the current Westminster attitude persists.

      Self determination is a legitimate objective. You do not win the arguement by using the language of David Cameron towards elected Scottish MPs who are implied to be somehow less than the “unionist” variety.

    • “Let’s be clear about what Scottish voters are voting for.”

      Yes, let’s: the SNP have been extremely clear that the vote on 7th of May is NOT a vote for independence, it is NOT a vote for another referendum, it is NOT about independence at all. It IS, however, a vote for greater representation and devolution – something which was not offered to the people of Scotland, and was indeed ruled out by the Prime Minister.

      Are the SNP ultimately in favour of independence? Obviously. But they’re also very clear about the circumstances in which independence would take place. This election does not fulfil those circumstances.

      The thing unionists simply cannot seem to grasp is the SNP are more concerned about representing the desires of the majority of NO voters than any of the Better Together alliance – the Devomax/Home Rule promised prior to the referendum.

      Maybe that’s why it’s believed 250,000 No voters are voting SNP in May.

      • “Yes, let’s: the SNP have been extremely clear that the vote on 7th of May is NOT a vote for independence, it is NOT a vote for another referendum, it is NOT about independence at all”.

        That is neither here nor there. As I’ve clearly spelt out, and as you well know, the aim of the Scottish National Party is to secure ‘independence’ for Scotland and separate it from the United Kingdom.

        This is clearly and simply set out in the SNP constitution, and anyone voting for the SNP should be aware of and understand this, and have familiarised themselves with that document.

        The SNP is about independence and Scotland leaving the UK; voting SNP is voting for independence and leaving the UK, whether that happens tomorrow, next week, next year or whenever.

        “It IS, however, a vote for greater representation and devolution – something which was not offered to the people of Scotland, and was indeed ruled out by the Prime Minister.”

        What? When? The Smith Commission is going to provide substantial further devolution of powers, which are greater than those found in most other ‘federal’ arrangements in other parts of the world?

        Of course, your SNP (who took part in the negotiations, were party to the agreement and signed it off) continue to complain that these powers are insufficient, useless, and they won’t even try them out to see the extent to which they satisfy Scottish voters subsequent to the referendum and the No vote.

        Because, of course, as I’ve set out, the SNP are interested in independence, and independence only – as per their constitution.

        And as I’ve said, it now seems, if the SNP gather both a majority of seats, and votes, that people have now changed their mind, and that a majority of people, in voting for the SNP, have made their aim and their only aim independence, and separating Scotland from the UK.

        Therefore, the legitimate democratic will of a majority of people in Scotland is clear – they want to leave the UK.

        Therefore I insist that the Scottish Government administered by the SNP respect the will of the Scottish people, and immediately after the election, make a unilateral declaration of independence.

        “Are the SNP ultimately in favour of independence? Obviously. But they’re also very clear about the circumstances in which independence would take place. ”

        Yes, they’ve said that it will not be ‘their decision’, it will be the decision of the people of Scotland.

        It looks like the people of Scotland are going to vote by an absolute majority, in seats and votes, for the SNP, whose purpose is to secure independence for Scotland, and separate Scotland from the UK.

        The people of Scotland will have made their decision.

        Therefore, what are you waiting for? What’s holding you back? On May the 8th, the question I will ask the Scottish people is ‘why are you still here?’

        The only choice open to the Scottish government if they are serious about Recognising the legitimate democratic will of the Scottish people is to unilaterally declare independence shortly after the general election.

        Of course, what you, and people like you really want, is to have it both ways, to have your cake and eat it.

        You had your referendum. You lost. There has been a surge in membership and voting intention for the SNP. Many nationalists now bleat that if there was another referendum ‘tomorrow’, you would now win by a slim margin.

        OK then – the will of the Scottish people is settled. And there should be a unilateral declaration of independence after the general election.

        “The thing unionists simply cannot seem to grasp is the SNP are more concerned about representing the desires of the majority of NO voters”

        No, the thing that you refuse to accept, and possibly many uninformed and ignorant SNP voters cannot grasp, is that as per their constitution, the purpose of the SNP is to secure independence for Scotland and separate it from the United Kingdom. That is what they are voting for.

        “Maybe that’s why it’s believed 250,000 No voters are voting SNP in May.”

        I’m sure there are many ‘No’ voters who from a ‘democratic’ point of view, they are thinking ‘I voted No because i wasn’t convinced. So convince me next time and / or i think the SNP will make a better government than the other options.

        I am equally sure there are many ‘No’ voters who are uninformed, or do not get, having not read the SNP constitution, that voting SNP is voting for independence and separating Scotland from the rest of the UK.

        To secure independence for Scotland and separate it from the United Kingdom.

        Notwithstanding either of those scenarios; if a majority of votes and seats is secured by the SNP tomorrow, then the legitimate democratic will of the Scottish people is clear.

        And I want you, and the Scottish Government to respect that legitimate democratic will.

        I want – no, I insist – that the SNP Scottish Government makes a unilateral declaration of independence on or about May 8th.

        It is time for you to leave.

        • “The thing unionists …”

          Oh, and what’s this about ‘unionist’ ?

          I am not a unionist – quite the opposite.

          I want you to leave – now.

          • Naw, Mr Baw, Sturgeon has always been clear she does not hold with UDI. We are part of this Union, for now, so we will elect 59 MPs, and hopefully wring the best deals we can to protect, and encourage the best interests of Scotland. If those MPs happen to be a good cohort of SNP, then this country will benefit from them acting in our best interests, rather than previous decades of Scottish MPs acting in their own or London’s interests.

          • I don’t give a f*ck what Sturgeon ‘holds with’.

            If a majority of Scottish voters (votes and seats) are with the SNP, whose aim it Scottish independence, then Scottish voters view on how the interests of Scotland are best served is very clear.

            They can be best served by Scotland being an independent country.

            History is irrelevant. Lets focus on the present.

            Leave. Now.

          • You are politely asked to leave, NOW!
            You have no place on this forum!
            We know exactly what you are.
            Our time to leave the Union will be when it is CLEARLY the will of the Scottish people.
            I really would like it to be straight away, but as others have stated, we deal in democracy within a legal framework. I know it will be very difficult for you to comprehend that, Wan Baw.

        • One Baw,
          You have a very flawed understanding of democracy: “voting SNP is voting for independence and leaving the UK”

          You can only vote for what is actually on the ballot paper. Tomorrow’s ballot paper will ask: “who do you want to represent you in the UK, Westminster parliament?’ That’s all.

          It matters very little what you think. You don’t live in Scotland and have no say in it’s voting system. Use your own vote wisely.

        • Of course SNP stand for an independant country but we did not win that vote.. Therefore we are part of the westminster establishment so therefore we do have a say in what happens and every right to vote on what is being proposed for our country.. I think you will find that all SNP politicians have said that they will not vote on English matters unless it had a direct knock on effect to Scotland. Also Nicola Sturgeon has said that as part of this union she will fight for what is right , not just for Scotland but for the whole of the UK. Saddest thing is that the media and Westminster are so busy viifying the Scots that they are creating a great divide in this so called wonderful union.. And the thought that Scotland should have any say in the United Kingdom absolutely fills them with horror.. Sorry but Westminster cannot have it both ways. We are either part of this union or we are not. Its ok for England to vote in a tory government and we have to live by it but when the boot is on the other foot and we send our representitives down to Westminster we are suddenly illegitamate and cannot possibly have a say in how this union works. And make no mistake about Holyrood we only have the powers that Westminster is agreeing us to have not the powers that we need to run our country the way we see fit. So sorry the better together campaign got it wrong and we are righting this wrong so i am afraid the rest of the UK is just going to have to live with it.

      • No doubt you are correct on SNP process and current objectives, alharron. However you ignore one key factor: independence is principally a matter for the Scottish people and will happen how and when the people decide. The SNP may be captain of the ship, but the ship owner (i.e. the people) determines the destination and time of departure (from this bankrupt/corrupt UK).

  7. Pinned Mike

  8. Just a test to see if my non inflammatory remarks are yet again made to disappear into the ether once more or awaits days to get moderated or otherwise, whilst others can virtually answer each other in real time. Ah well, if your face doesn’t fit. I never was one for cliches, I always believed in having an Independent mind. More bloody fool me. Worse than the Masons. I won’t be back.

  9. Cliques not cliches. Not that it matters as far as this goes as it will neither be answered or made public. Can I ask you a question? Just what the bloody hell have I supposed to have written to be erased from existance time and time again by Bella Caledonia? If this is the way you treat a lifelong Independence supporter, a member of CND and an active Anti Racist and Sexist to boot, I really wouldn’t like to piss you off.

    Or is it a case of, we have many people who support the SNP and Independence now, (like I do), that we can ignore certain people on a whim, that may have 5% disagreed with whatever we printed 3 years ago.

    If this is correct, then this is the Stasi all over again.

    Free speech is ok, if someone agrees with me 100% of the time, otherwise sod off and shut up. Is that it? Is that what I’ve been missing?

    I want a Future Scotland to be truly free democracy, not a Fascist Dictatorship where dissenting voices are silent. If I wanted that future, I would be a Unionist.

    • Not sure what you are on about, but if Bella has decided to erase your comments, then that is to do with ownership of the site being exercised, nothing to do with free speech!
      It could also just be a computer glitch. I can see your name 3 times on this thread.

    • It looks as though everything is all right now white rabbit. Now calm down and give us more of your thoughts. Listen to Valerie.

  10. ACT ONE
    MILIBAND gets the chance to give the Queens speech (285 seats to Posh Dave’s 279). He makes NO concessions to the SNP. And dares SNP to vote against. What do the 48 SNP MPs do?
    Abstain? Labour loses. Vote FOR the SNP loses face! Vote against LAB?
    ACT TWO
    Cameron is given a chance LAB & SNP vote against and the Cons lose.

    ACT THREE New elections or LAB deals with SNP?

    • Almost, but acts 1 and 2 are reversed – cameron gets first go as sitting PM, which will fail as SNP will vote against him. Labour then try – SNP can either support (if Labour just ask),or, more likely, when Labour insist they don’t want the support of the SNP, abstain. Labour then either have to negotiate with (not just ask) the SNP, or essentially call a motion of no confidence in themselves and trigger another election. Or, you know, they could try respecting the democratic choice of one of the constituent nations of the UK, and just not be dicks about it

    • Said play would not happen for the following reasons:

      1. When there’s no overall majority, the incumbent has first shot of forming a government – this means Cameron.

      2. SNP can easily vote for a Queen’s speech, then vote down any individual piece of legislation with relative impunity thanks to the Fixed Term Parliament Act (thanks Dave)

      3. SNP losing face vs. SNP possibly letting the Tories in? Aye, I’m pretty sure they’ll happily take the former as opposed to committing electoral suicide.

  11. Old Battle needs to read the 2011 Act, what happens if Ed or Dave loses a vote on the Queen’s speech or a budget for that matter? Well nothing, they only need to step down if there is a vote of no confidence, then someone else has a turn.

    A second election? Well that’s scheduled for the first Thursday in May 2020. It can only be brought forward by a two thirds vote of the Commons, 434 votes. This can only be achieved by Labour and the Tories. If they can agree on that they may as well agree on a Grand Coalition.

  12. If we vote to send 56 Labour candidates then that’s legitimate, but 56 SNP candidates is illegitimate? Are Scots only allowed a vote if they do as they’re told?

    • This is democracy during slavery. The British Establishment will soon choke on it’s hypocrisy.

      • It has NEVER left behind the acts of the empire. Hope and glory and all that crap!
        There has never been complete democracy in the UK, rather more like a controlled pseudo-democracy. Feudalism still reigns.

  13. What is it the Mafia say”keep your friends close and your enemies closer”.

    Come what may, the union is doomed, no matter what!

    What is probably happening behind the scenes in tory central office is how to ditch Scotland without being seen to do so, Boris will be at the forefront of this, exact means to be determined.

    To keep Scotland in the union against her will by ratcheting up the rhetoric is counter productive, the unionists have learned this, or have they?

    The future picture is murky, as is unionists politics on Scotland. The SNP can counter this with transparency, honesty and putting Scotland first. Conducting politics in this manner is alien to westmister politicians and civil servants and key to SNP securing our ultimate goal.

  14. People who are opposing a Labour-SNP Coalition partnership because it would revive the issue of Scottish independence and put the Union under fresh strain, could learn a lesson from Canada. The Bloc Québécois is a federal political party in Canada devoted to the protection of Quebec’s interests in the House of Commons of Canada, and the promotion of Quebec sovereignty.

    In the 1993 federal election, the Bloc Québécois won 54 seats (out of 75) in Quebec, sweeping nearly all of the francophone ridings.

    The Bloc won four seats in the 2011 federal election, fewer than the 12 required for official party status in the House of Commons, and by August 2014 had been reduced to two seats due to resignations and expulsions. It remains a registered political party, but is currently tied with the two-seat Green Party and the Forces et Démocratie as the smallest party in the House of Commons of Canada.

    My point is that the election of the Bloc Québécois in Canada did not result in the breakup of my country, and Quebec ultimately gained more powers within confederation. The fear-mongering surrounding a possible Labour-SNP Coalition partnership may not be justified.

    Full disclosure: Since January 2012, I have been reporting voluntarily to the UN’s human rights office, in Geneva, on the welfare crisis for Britain’s sick and disabled. [Fellow Canadian Leilani Farha (@leilanifarha) is the UN Special Rapporteur on adequate housing; see http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/Housing/Pages/LeilaniFarha.aspx. You can tweet her on UK housing issues or e-mail her at the UN’s human rights office: srhousing@ohchr.org; she does follow my Twitter account.]

    (Montreal, Quebec, Canada)

    • Samuel,

      I read yesterday that the average disabled person in the UK is now £6,000/yr worse off under the Con-Lib coalition.

      Can that really be true?!

      If so, that is a truly massive reduction in social security for vulnerable folk. (Most “shock-horror” stories about the “threat” of tax increases talk about “hard working families” losing perhaps £850-£1,200 /yr)

      So what does the UN think of our septic little isle?

  15. If Scotland held the balance of power in Westminster it need not be aligned with anybody, but if it wished could destabilise both major parties, which inevitably would lead to perpetual elections.
    I’m pretty sure they would pay what ever was required for Scotland to be restored as a Sovereign Nation again. Name your price Scotland.
    Under these circumstances it would actually be better for Scotland if the Conservatives were in power for then they could veto anything they proposed, or force the Labour party to align with the Conservatives { again} for the sake of the nation. Or have another election.
    An example would be passing the bill for the renewal of Trident.
    A non aligned Scotland actually owns Westminster and England.

    • I don’t agree with much of that at all, sorry to say

      I think you have missed the fact that the tories and labour agree on a great deal: therefore on many issues they will vote together. There will be no shame in that, nor any price to pay. There is no doubt, for example, that they will vote together to renew trident.

      SNP can have a maximum of 59 MP’s. To the extent that England or the rUK is homogeneous, it follows that the SNP will have very little power at all, even if that maximum were achieved. It does not seem to me that this is tantamount to the SNP “forcing” labour to align with the tories: that is what they want to do, and the SNP just doesn’t come into it.

      I do not see any reason to believe that this is much to do with the union qua union, at all. I do not think that Scotland as Scotland features much in the mainstream parties’ thinking at any time. For the conservatives the secondary issue is oil and revenue: for labour it is probably seats. But for both the primary issue is the neoliberal project they have pursued for more than 3 decades.

      They have worked together to persuade the electorate that the centre ground is very far right of where it actually is; to silence the voice of the left by narrowing the terms of the debate to the point that TINA is widely accepted. They have been successful in making it appear that there is widespread agreement: I do not think they have been successful in making that reality, though it is more real than it used to be in some ways

      As I see it, the people of the UK have not moved very far from the post war consensus, in terms of the spread of opinion and the core values held. The actual situation in the country has moved much further, however, and it has done so slowly and very, very quietly, They have been boiling a frog since about 1980 and we are only now realising that the water is by now very hot indeed.

      The language has not changed completely. It is certainly true that they have othered the poor and disabled etc, so creating an “underclass” in the public mind. And it is depressing how far they have succeeded: I did not think that villifying the disabled would ever be acceptable in this country. I was wrong about that. But they still talk of full employment and of fairness and all that kind of thing. Hypocrisy, it is said, is the tribute vice pays to virtue. It is clear that the vicious realise they have not wholly persuaded us to their way of thinking. But to me it seems they have convinced themselves they have succeeded far better than they have.

      Because of that delusion, they are genuinely shocked to find that a party which takes the “hurrah words” seriously can command a great deal of support. Only now are they realising that what initially seemed to be a purely scottish phenomenon, based on ethnic nationalism or crazy socialism or something, is in fact nothing of the kind. A great many people in rUK, hearing the same arguments, will also find their voice. For that thread exists in numbers all over rUK, so far as I can tell, As in Scotland, people in rUK looked to the labour party to represent that strand of opinion: but it does not any longer. In Scotland we have had a long time to see how far that is true, because we have the open contrast which allows comparison. That has not been true in england to date, and only now are the electorate there becoming aware of it. I do not expect that the change will happen any quicker there than it did here: and it has been a very long time coming in Scotland (why it took so long is a total mystery to me: but there it is)

      But this seems to me to be the root of editorials such as that in the independent. The fear they have is not of Scottish independence: it is not of Scottish MP’s having too much power. Rather the fear is that the change we see in Scotland is infectious.

      Because they were complacent they have not really developed a strategy to deal with it: and so they are floundering about trying to make sure the electorate do not listen to the siren voice singing “it does not have to be this way”. That is the significance of the manufactured of fear of the Scottish tail wagging the UK dog, or so it seems to me. They are trying to ensure that the voters do not hear, or will not listen to, the alternative which gives the lie to their neoliberal stories. Suddenly they have become aware that what has happened in Scotland could happen anywhere: and that is an existential threat to tories and labour alike. It is also a direct threat to the media: because they drive the neoliberal lie and once TINA is rejected their agenda becomes very clear indeed.

      A large block of SNP MP’s will not have much power: but it will have immense influence and it is pushing at an open door, so far as voter are concerned, I think.

      Let is not expect quick change or delude ourselves that we will have great power to demand concessions and a better deal: in the short term we will not. But the SNP are used to playing a long game, and it happens that the time is right, for the neoliberal story is falling apart, as was inevitable, since it is rubbish,

      The main parties at Westminster will get their act together and they will mount better opposition in the future: for now they are in disarray for they have not conceptualised what they are about, I don’t think. The media will also become more effective over time, in opposing this movement. But the arguments are sound and so they will not succeed, or so I believe. Not if we have a solid grasp of what we are in favour of, and why. So we must have clear understanding and an engaged electorate who are equipped to see through the hurrah and the boo: able to check the plutocratic rubbish of abstract numbers against their own direct experience; and to vote for their own interests and ideals, rather than those of the banks

      • I agree that the Westminster hegemony is threatened by SNP representation becoming larger on the basis of a threat to its narrative of austerity and right wing neoliberalism

        However underpinning the hysteria generated by the ‘Mother of all Parliaments’ and its msm which speaks as one is English Imperialism.

        How else can you explain the unconscious racist narrative spouted by such as the Guardian and other previously designated left/liberal organs?

        They appear to have lost collective control of their senses in the ludicrous and vicious attacks on the Scottish electorate now being disseminated.

        However,this was predictable to anyone who was not blind to the historical and political,social and economic differences that have always existed between Scotland
        and England.

        There has always been a colonial servant and master relationship between the two. The war years only disguised this.Our trade unions;our political parties; our legal system and even our churches have always been subordinated branch offices.

        As in any Empire, colonials on the make have helped maintain the facade of ‘Britishness’ in reality synonymous with Englishness.

        As Thatcher,the arch English nationalist destroyed Scotland’s industrial base,the bogus reality of British national solidarity either class based or politically uniform was revealed.

        Unions,Politicians and big business stood by as Scotland was devastated.Remember Labour’s Feeble fifty’,remember the poll tax imposed a year early, remember a fraudulent referendum result.

        England only rose when it was it’s turn to suffer the poll tax.Scotland historically led change, think of the ‘English’ civil war.However,when we initiated change,we hung around,got ignored ir worse.This time,let’s get in and stir it up and get out.

        The English are due another civil war,let’s make sure we are on our own by the time they come to their senses!

        • I do not disagree with your points about imperialism and British/english nationalism. But I think it is a mistake to put that centre stage. It is true that Scotland was deliberately devastated, as you say: but then so was the north of england, and wales: I cannot speak for NI because the situation is complicated by other factors there and I don’t know enough about it.

          Imperialists always divide and rule and they don’t much care where the fault lines lie: they merely identify and exploit them. I think it frankly laughable to pretend that such outlets as the Guardian ever were left or liberal: at the very best they were “useful idiots”

          The problem facing the Westminster parties is not one of national identity: that is in fact their current solution to the problem they do face. It is not the SNP or the Scots who are promoting a racist narrative. That would be the tories

          It is funny to hear the MSM giving credence to the prospect of a “weak labour government propped up by the SNP”, which is being trumpeted by the conservatives who led a coalition just ended. Obviously that coalition was a “weak conservative government propped up they the Lib Dems” and if the story was as they would like us to believe there would have been the terrifying “instability” over the last 5 years. But there wasn’t. That is for several reasons. Most importantly the lib dems are also part of the neoliberal project, so there was no real disagreement within that coalition. Secondly a minority within a coalition does not have any power. It is comical watching the lib dems trying to pretend that they made a real difference to what happened over the period of coalition, while at the same time trying to claim that they are necessary for stable government. All their principled dissent was played out behind closed doors, is what we are asked to believe: in reality there was no substantive dissent at all.

          It is obvious that a labour minority government propped up by SNP votes would be no different if a coalition were formed: that is why the SNP have rightly refused that. A vote by vote arrangement is anathema because it allows the minority party a little more power and a lot more influence. At bottom all they have is that the SNP want to “break up the UK” but the reality is that independence is not on the agenda in this election: the real problem is that the SNP would use that influence to challenge the neoliberal orthodoxy: and that is what is utterly unacceptable. The narrative of unionism is a convenient one, because it distracts from that. Nothing new in colonial thinking there, methinks.

          While I personally do want independence, I am conscious that a great many Scots would prefer a better UK. I honestly believe that if the SNP can effectively open the debate to a wider range of alternatives it may set back the cause of independence for quite some time. To that extent there is a surface plausibility to the tale that they will wreck rather than cooperate, if you believe that they get up every morning with the sole aim of achieving independence. However I do not actually think that is true. I am prepared to accept that independence is the means not the end, and I agree that in the current climate we cannot ultimately achieve the kind of society I wish to see while we stay in the union. But I am also prepared to accept that I may be wrong. If that turns out to be true, so be it.

          I do believe that the SNP want a better society for everyone, and that while we remain in the union that is what they will work for. They will not succeed in any short time frame, and I think that failure will strengthen the case for independence: but it will not be done through wrecking tactics as the MSM would have us believe: it will be done through sincere efforts to give voice to the progressive strand in the population, and through the elite’s response to that.

        • Lochside, I can also see the parallels between the current situation and the situation in the 1630s when Scotland led the way in overthrowing the old order, first in Scotland, then in persuading England to do the same.

          Hopefully this doesn’t lead to the modern equivalent of being invaded by Cromwell!

      • “Rather the fear is that the change we see in Scotland is infectious.”

        I rather think you have hit the nail on the head here, Fiona.

  16. It seems likely the SNP will win the WM election,in terms of getting more decisive authorization for indy in scotland .As many have said, UKLabour will probably lock them out of policy influence via a de facto grand coalition.Obviously the SNP has other policies besides independence.The fact that these will probably not ever be received seriously in english media or WM system leads back to indy. Only the SNP leadership can be sure if this was expected ,or even hoped for, in order to gain decisive support for independence. Regardless, it is not a trick but a real demonstration of the case for independence.

    Perhaps Scotland will be accidentally able to do a few things for many in the english public before it leaves or is effectively pushed out of the ‘union’. Scotland losing indyref this time gives people now living in england but likely to experience less social, economic & racial discrimination if they lived in scotland (ie.especially families needing welfare, migrants), &/or people who want to live in a potentially more progressive society whether themselves affluent or not, time to leave & resettle in scotland. Without meeting the official requirements of a separate state. Any significant level of migration of people out of england into scotland is also likely to help a future Yes vote.

    it seems many well off english people who supposedly hate welfare ‘reforms’ will still vote tory, while well known former revolutionary russell brand & ubiquitous ‘left’ journo owen jones advocate Labour. there is no mass left leaning press or media in england,& scarely the remnants of a pro democratic liberal media. there seems no hope of high profile left political alliances or progressive change in england any time soon.

    anything scottish MPs can do to help democratize the WM electoral system, such as end the Lords,break open the 2 party system by voting reform, will offer future generations in england some hope.i expect the english media & much of the public will be ungrateful for any attempt at democratization but connections can also be made, as the SNP’s strategy has already shown.

    England is sadly really without options, but Scotland has many.

    • So who would you vote for if you lived in England? I was surprised at Russell Brand advocating voting at all and then supporting Labour. But like you say the English don’t seem to have many options.

      • ” Mockney Cockney Geezer ” Russell Brand is a suspect character, perhaps a shill, he dated Jemima Khan daughter of Billionaire Sir Jimmy Goldsmith who was friends with the Rothschilds. You know someone by the friends they keeps…

      • I thought Russell would go for the Greens. Perhaps he thinks his vote will count for more with Labout. However, he sounds like a Green to me.

    • Until people in England and Wales starts putting their faith in progressive parties and small regional parties, they have few options. Some courageous individuals are already doing this. Who knows, it may gather momentum. Hope over fear.

  17. Fiona reply The Conservatives are advocating retaining four submarines, whilst the Labour party has a preferred option of three. What happen if the Conservatives are in office and Labour hold to their
    preference of three. Do they vote it down? Or if Labour in office same thing, do the Conservatives agree to three?

    • If the conservatives are in office labour will do what they always do: they will pretend that their miniscule difference is very important; they will make a big fuss about it and seek to persuade us that we have real choice; and then they will vote with the tories (who may, for their own reasons, go with three or with four, depending on their assessment of the mood of the electorate). If the outcome is 4, labour will seek to say that the cost is too high and that the tories have taken the money from the poor, but the parliamentary arithmetic rendered them powerless to prevent it. The tories will say that they had to make “hard choices” in a dangerous world. If the outcome is 3 labour will claim they have made progress in moving to a safer world by curbing the worst excesses of the hawks; and the tories will claim again that they had to make “hard choices” but that the compromise is the epitomy of British values. Or some other rubbishy narrative which pretends that we had a democratic debate of the highest order, with a sensible outcome

      That is not choice, it is political theatre. It is what I mean by the narrowness of the debate. The unquestionable assumption is that we must have trident, and the option of not having it is not open to us. The apparent choice is predicated on that assumption and there is only a debate about what follows from that premise. This is replicated over many issues and it is the central problem. What is shocking to the elite, and gratifying to the rest of us, is that the SNP and PC and the Greens are being heard, and what they are saying is that we need not accept that premise at all. That is what horrifies the neoliberals. And it is nothing to do with Scottish independence at all

  18. “temper of the people”-read “tantrum of the elite”

  19. It’s odd too that a Labour government supported by the SNP would lack legitimacy but a govt without a single MP in Scotland somehow has credibility?

    It may have escaped your notice but the current Govt have one MP and their coalition partners have 11 MPs in Scotland, this still doesn’t give them credibility though imo

  20. This useful website details the seats that the Conservatives need to hold and the ones the SNP should take, given certain swings in vote. Useful for Election night.
    http://ukpollingreport.co.uk/blog/archives/9377

  21. The independent has a readership of around 3k (give or take) So, we can be reasonably sure that Scotland is not the intended audience for this article. Its aimed at labour. Its the tightening of the screw forcing Miliband to distance himself even further. The irony is that the monstering of Scotland and its place in the union, doesn’t even register with them in this defence of the union. Its a convenient bogeyman thats being used to chase up votes for labour. Scotland is not really part of the UK. Geographically yes, as a collective pro-noun? sure why not. As an actual partner? Oh hell no. Even if you voted no, the message is loud and clear…you are not welcome here.

    The snatched defeat from the jaws of victory. At this point one wonders if secretly they had hoped they would lose last year.

    • No! They only want us in for our resources. They don’t really want us.
      If it were otherwise, they would gladly let us go. We more than pay our way.
      In fact, we prop the whole edifice up.

  22. the independent is owned by a russian billionaire with a vested interest in the status quo and the continued unchallenged london supremacy, so no great shock really

  23. Ignore obe wan baww

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