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Archive for the ‘analysis’


Out of the quagmire 885

Posted on January 14, 2019 by

UK politics is stuck fast in the mud, going nowhere, and the casualties are mounting. Whether on Brexit, independence or anything else, we’ve all become so dug-in to our positions that some people – naming no names – have forgotten where the battle lines are or what their political war was even about in the first place.

For 30 months now, the Yes movement has been trying to answer the question of how to get a second indyref. The SNP has a triple-locked democratic mandate based on Scotland being dragged out of the EU against the will of its people, but as strong a moral argument as that is it unfortunately runs straight into a brick wall of reality: the constitution is reserved to Westminster.

Equally we’re consumed by the ongoing Brexit trainwreck, which has no apparent escape route from a poisonous stalemate paralysing the UK’s politicians and leaving nobody in control as the country heads for some very hard buffers.

As the self-imposed Brexit deadline looms, Theresa May is running out of options. Her deal is a dead duck. When it inevitably fails, there are two possible scenarios: a second EU referendum of some sort (nobody can agree what the options would be), or a general election.

Neither the Tories nor Labour want another referendum because both parties want Brexit to happen, so another election is the more likely. But all the polls suggest it would deliver much the same hung parliament as we have now, solving nothing.

Last week, SNP MP Joanna Cherry QC gave a speech to a diverse pro-Europe group that includes former Green leader Caroline Lucas, pro-indy commentator Lesley Riddoch and Tory MP Dominic Grieve. And as she waxed lyrical, with a twinkle in her eye Cherry slipped in reference to a hitherto-undiscussed plan that offers an escape route for everyone.

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The broken telescope 539

Posted on December 29, 2018 by

An alert reader spotted this today:

Because with Scottish Labour, lying is for life, not just Christmas.

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Embarrassment Of The Year 467

Posted on December 19, 2018 by

Okay, it’s only the 19th of December, but we don’t think there’s any chance of this one being beaten by the time it’s 2019.

As expected, Labour bottled the chance to call a vote of no confidence in the UK government today, refusing to support a motion tabled by four other opposition parties last night and thereby guaranteeing the Tories at least another two months in power.

Their official stated reason is that the only way to avoid a disastrous hard Brexit is to call a vote of no confidence in the Tories next month when it’ll (somehow, magically) be more likely to succeed, trigger a general election, get (somehow, magically) a Labour majority and then go to the EU and negotiate (somehow, magically) a better deal from them than the Tories have done.

Which makes this a bit of a beamer:

So if it’s “very clear” that there can be “no more negotiations” (and therefore no better deal), and Labour is going to vote against Theresa May’s deal (which Labour says it is), and if Brexit is going to happen (which Labour says it is), then the only possible conclusion left is that Labour’s official policy is now to crash out of the EU with no deal, and absolutely everything the party is saying in public about Brexit is a lie.

So at least everyone now finally knows where they stand. Even if, as is so often the case nowadays, it’s only because Labour told the truth by accident.

Bluffs and calls 97

Posted on December 19, 2018 by

This was the Daily Record’s front page on Tuesday:

It wasn’t true. Corbyn DIDN’T, in fact, table a vote of no confidence in either the Prime Minister personally (a meaningless and non-binding gesture even if she’d lost it) or the government. But tomorrow he may actively prevent one.

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Independence for England 520

Posted on December 16, 2018 by

The great frustration of the current Brexit shambles is that we’re being told there are no viable options. But that isn’t true. This site has already put forward one perfectly workable proposal, and here’s another.

Before the 2014 referendum on Scottish independence, Scotland was told that if they left the UK, they would automatically leave the EU, leaving the rUK as the successor European state.

Scotland, it was said, would be cast out of Europe, immediately and automatically and without negotiation. Brussels agreed with Westminster on this interpretation.

This outcome of independence was said by Westminster sources to be a legal certainty, with no possibility of avoiding the consequences of being bounced out of the EU. The EU could not rescue Scotland and no treaties would exist to do so.

And that leads to a logical conclusion: if England (and perhaps Wales) decided to leave the UK instead of Scotland, leaving Scotland as the successor state in the EU, the same would be true.

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The Handmaiden’s Tale 206

Posted on December 14, 2018 by

It should now be abundantly clear to any rational person that time has very nearly run out to avoid a no-deal Brexit.

Theresa May has been sent swiftly home from Europe with a skelped arse and told that any further negotiation is out of the question. But she’s insisted that the meaningful vote in the UK parliament on her Brexit deal won’t now happen before Christmas, which in practical terms means before mid-January.

That means that if Labour wait until the deal is thrown out before they call a vote of no confidence – which is their current position, so far as anyone can tell what their position is – then by the time the government falls it’ll already be February.

(Under the Fixed-Term Parliaments Act, after a successful VoNC there are 14 days for someone to try to form an alternative administration before an election is called.)

Add in the six weeks minimum that are required for an election campaign and you’re halfway through March, literally just a few days before the UK will automatically crash out of the EU with no deal.

Even if a couple of months extension of Article 50 were to be granted – and we’re not sure who’d be asking by that stage – that’s plainly nowhere near enough time for a new government to come up with anything the EU would agree to.

(Remember that the withdrawal agreement was supposed to be done and dusted by October in order to give the EU six months to ratify it. Their patience with the UK is plainly at an end, and it’s hard to see them agreeing to drag the whole mess out for another year or more, which would be the realistic timescale.)

“And that’s all very well”, readers might be thinking at this point, “but that’s a picture of Kezia Dugdale, an insignificant backbench Holyrood list MSP. What the bloody hell’s it got to do with her?”

And the answer is that it’s all her fault.

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Return Of The Terror 646

Posted on December 10, 2018 by

On one level you have to feel a bit sorry for Scottish Unionists. Having believed until very late in the day that they’d win a crushing victory in the 2014 indyref and put the matter to bed for a century, they’ve never been able to relax since.

And this week the fear has them well and truly in its grip.

The hapless Scottish Secretary demonstrated the lack of self-awareness for which he’s famous when he said at the weekend that the thing he warned would threaten the Union (a defeat for the PM’s Brexit deal) was going to happen on Tuesday, at which point – having said he’d resign if the Union was threatened – he’s made it absolutely clear that he ISN’T going to resign.

And he wasn’t alone in the panic room.

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The Great British Bin Fire 385

Posted on December 06, 2018 by

Brexit isn’t really this site’s remit, which is why we’ve been relatively quiet in recent weeks as the UK’s shambolic exit from the EU hogs all the news and Scottish politics has been relegated to a largely-dormant backwater in the press.

Yes supporters don’t speak with one voice on the EU, and while we’re in favour of it we’ve long said that the indy movement can’t really move on until the fog clears and we know for sure what Brexit’s going to look like. Deciding whether to be part of the EU should be a decision for an independent Scotland to make, not a precondition.

But dear lord, this is such a mess it needs to be examined.

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The internationalist brigade 89

Posted on December 06, 2018 by

We all knew this already, of course. Last year we commissioned a poll from Panelbase which found an enormous 41-point gap between Yes and No voters on immigration. But it was still nice to have it both confirmed and laid out so clearly by Sir John Curtice on Good Morning Scotland earlier today.

(About 1h 55m in. We’re having some trouble recording sound on our new PC at the moment, we’ll get you a proper audio link as soon as we’ve figured it out.)

“Support for the Yes movement is associated with being more likely [around 50% more likely, in fact] to have a positive view about immigration.

So we’re certainly confirming that Scotland does have this rather unusually civic nationalist movement. It’s not a movement that says you have to be born in Scotland for us to value you, it is something that does seem to be relatively open-minded.

On the other side of the coin what we’re discovering – and the reason why in the end Scotland why doesn’t look any more liberal than England and Wales – is that when you look at those who vote for the Conservatives or for the Labour Party, for the Unionist parties, they emerge as being less favourable towards immigration than are Conservative and Labour voters south of the border.”

It’s worth keeping to hand the next time some witless Scottish Labour goon tries to tell you that independence is bad because it’s “separatist” and that voting for the Union is the international-solidarity option. Because that’s a flat-out lie.

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Taking the strain 284

Posted on December 03, 2018 by

We’re on about Day 79 of NoScottishPoliticsNewsGate (today’s big “EXCLUSIVE!” in the Herald is something we told you about last Friday, and was also an “exclusive” in yesterday’s Scottish Sun), so we found ourselves getting diverted by something else in the papers this morning.

The Scottish Daily Mail had a piece on the cost of train journeys from Scotland, and living in Bath you don’t need to tell us how scandalously expensive British railways are compared to almost any other country in the Northern Hemisphere.

But the Mail is the Mail, and it couldn’t help distorting even an open-goal of a story like that until it had almost no relation to reality. And it’s a very useful illustration, should anybody need yet another one, of how this country’s newspapers vastly mislead their readers without actually technically lying.

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Articles without faith 397

Posted on December 01, 2018 by

At a time of unprecedented political chaos and uncertainty, just about the only thing you can still count on is that for any given situation, senior Labour figures will issue proclamations both firmly in favour of it and stoutly opposed to it, usually the same day.

So the stories below, which are respectively from today’s Scotsman and today’s Times, won’t come as much of a shock to anyone.

But against the odds, we think we’ve made some sense of it.

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Pretending to be stupid 797

Posted on November 25, 2018 by

All political discourse is plagued with genuine imbeciles, of course. But what’s far more depressing is when educated and normally perceptive people merely act like imbeciles for money, such as the case of Alex Massie in the Sunday Times today.

Because for the last two years, commentators who ought to know better have insisted in presenting Scotland’s choice as between Brexit or Brexit plus independence, and solemnly concluding that the uncertainties and risks of the latter being piled on top of those of the former prove that independence is no solution.

And we don’t care to have our intelligence insulted in that way.

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