We’ve been watching the news all morning, and there’s only one sane response.
The people (of England) have spoken, and their elected representatives are freaking out all over the shop.
Several senior Labour and Liberal Democrat MPs have openly called for the result of a democratic referendum to be overturned by Parliament against the wishes of voters. The Prime Minister has quit, the Chancellor is expected to follow on Monday, and half of the Labour shadow cabinet is apparently doing it as we speak, after Jeremy Corbyn fired Hilary Benn for planning a coup.
(Apparently including Ian Murray, the shadow Scottish Secretary who’s also the only Scottish Labour MP at Westminster, putting the party in the farcical position of having to find itself a spokesman on Scottish affairs who either sits in an English or Welsh seat or is an unelected lord.)
Labour MPs are also demanding Corbyn’s head, in essence for the crime of his being hugely popular with the party’s membership for reflecting the old-fashioned left-wing ideology and views that they actually believe in, rather than the “moderate” neo-Tory position of Blairite parliamentarians. Corbyn shows no sign of going.
Two opinion polls, meanwhile, suggest that support for independence has taken the lead in Scotland, where Nicola Sturgeon is quietly and calmly making arrangements with senior European officials to hold discussions about ways to keep Scotland in the EU – with the backing of Willie Rennie just in case any of the talks take place on a bouncy castle or a slide.
It’s been suggested that the Scottish Parliament could in fact block any attempt by the UK to leave (though it seems unlikely). Britain faces a future without Milky Way Magic Stars. UK politics, to put it mildly, is in chaos. So what the hell’s going on?
We were startled to see an old face make a bit of a comeback to the Scottish political scene this evening, when BBC Scotland dug up the former “Better Together” campaign director Blair McDougall to urge Scots not to do anything hasty in the aftermath of the UK’s Brexit vote.
We thought we’d just leave it here for the record.
So it’s all over for the United Kingdom.
Scotland (overwhelmingly) and Northern Ireland (less so) have voted to stay in Europe while England (decisively) and Wales (narrowly) have voted to leave. Northern Ireland has its own choices to make, but Scotland must now hold a second referendum.
Chances, that is.
Yesterday the UK as a whole voted to leave the European Union, while Scotland voted to stay in. Unless something is done, Scotland will be dragged out of the EU against its clearly-expressed will – the margin for Remain was two and a half times the margin for No in 2014.
The temptations for Yes voters are almost overwhelming. The rage that many of them feel is genuine and fully justified. Scotland was lied to remorselessly and relentlessly throughout the indyref campaign, threatened and bullied and cowed into staying in a fantasy UK bearing no resemblance to the one we now find ourselves in.
The sheer irony of the UK plunging into exactly the sort of calamitous uncertainty we were told would befall an independent Scotland would test the character of a saint.
And for everyone whose restraint is being stretched to the very limits of its endurance today, we have a two-word message: George Square.
If we’d seen this sooner, we’d have bet every penny we owned on Leave:
The game just changed, readers. We’ve been up all night. We’ll have some analysis for you in a few hours. For now, spend a few moments pondering who the “narrow nationalists” and “separatists” in the UK are.
We know it’s early doors, but we’re going to state with some confidence now that this is the Tweet Of The Night:
Yes, that really is Tim Stanley, leader writer of the Telegraph, complaining about being up against the British establishment in a referendum. (In which Leave was supported by, among others, the Sun, the Daily Mail, the Telegraph, and the Daily Express – the #1, #2, #4 and #6 best-selling newspapers in the country – along with around half of the MPs of the governing party.)
For extra fun, we might collect some of his indyref tweets later. But to the very best of our recollection, he didn’t consider the Yes campaign’s 45% – which really WAS achieved against the entire British establishment, without a single daily newspaper’s support – as a “moral victory”.
But, y’know, we’ll check.
One of the more intriguing aspects of the EU debate has been the claim made by former Labour minister Tom Harris that a vote to leave the EU would transfer a raft of new powers, including over fishing and farming, to the Scottish government.
(Part of a fairly major volte-face by Harris on who should control what in Scotland, but let’s not get into that right now.)
On the face of it, this is a perfectly feasible possibility, since devolution was set up on a “reserved list” basis – any issues not specifically reserved to Westminster are devolved to the Scottish Parliament. In theory this would indeed mean that powers over farming and fishing would revert to Holyrood automatically upon exit from the EU.
But it’s not quite as simple as that.
Alert readers will already know that the closest thing this site has to a position on this week’s EU referendum is that supporters of Scottish independence living in Scotland should vote Remain.
(And even that view is conditional on whether you consider Scottish independence the most important political goal of your life. If it’s more important to you to be out of the EU than out of the UK then clearly you’ll be voting Leave and there’s nothing we could say that would change your mind.)
But what if you happen to be a supporter of Scottish independence who DOESN’T live in Scotland? What then?