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Merry Christmas, England 518

Posted on December 25, 2018 by

There’s a digital edition of the Times out today, but the normal Scotland section doesn’t make the cut. (There’s normally an Ireland section too – although it doesn’t get billed on the Contents list – which is also missing today, and there’s never a Wales section for some reason.)

Maybe if we all keep really quiet they’ll completely forget we’re here and not Brexit us either. Have a good one, readers.

The stupidest year in history 225

Posted on December 23, 2018 by

We can think of no better illustrative metaphor for the brain-withering idiot festival that was 2018 than page 16 of today’s Sunday Mail, which in the space of a single inch of newsprint predicts both SNP gains at any new general election, and then SNP losses to the exact same Labour and Tory parties that the editorial on the left excoriates as incompetent, “deluded” and “moribund”.

We wish we could rationally hope 2019 will be any better.

Satan’s Little Helper 307

Posted on December 22, 2018 by

The alliance of silence 171

Posted on December 19, 2018 by

It’s fair to say, readers, that Wings Over Scotland is somewhat cynical about the UK and Scottish media. It’s pretty much our thing. Very little about it behaving maliciously, untruthfully or incompetently genuinely shocks us. But today is one of those rare days.

Votes of no confidence in a UK government are even more uncommon. The last one was almost 40 years ago. They’re extremely dramatic and newsworthy events. So it’s a little odd that one has been called this afternoon and the British state broadcaster has absolutely nothing to say about it, even on its politics website.

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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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Coming through the field 247

Posted on December 18, 2018 by

To anyone observing Scottish politics with even half a keen eye, it was obvious from very early on that former athlete Brian Whittle was one of the stupider and nastier elements of the 2016 crop of new Tory MSPs, having been thrashed by more than 12,400 votes in the election but foisted on taxpayers anyway via the list system.

(Trivia fact: Whittle is Holyrood’s most comprehensively rejected MSP. Nobody else in the 2016 election was beaten by such a big margin but still ended up in Parliament. He makes Murdo Fraser – who lost Perthshire North by 10,353 in his seventh defeat on the trot but still got a seat – look like a beacon of popularity by comparison.)

Indeed, an interview in today’s Holyrood Magazine reveals that Whittle is SUCH a dim bulb, he didn’t even realise that if you got elected as an MSP you had to actually go and do the job.

But astoundingly, that’s not even nearly the dumbest thing he says in it.

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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 top table 353

Posted on December 15, 2018 by

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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Not out 429

Posted on December 12, 2018 by

This is the 5,000th post since Wings Over Scotland began in November 2011, which is just shy of two a day, every single day, since then. We wanted such a landmark post to be something serious and significant, but in light of the utter brain-melting futility of trying to write anything sensible about politics in the UK today that won’t be overtaken by ridiculous events within seven minutes, screw it, we’re going to this instead.

So we’ll see you all later this evening for the result of Theresa May’s confidence vote. What’s the worst that could happen?

No, really, we’re asking.

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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In England’s Dreaming 181

Posted on December 05, 2018 by

We now have the verdicts on Brexit from three of the UK’s four nations. The Scottish Parliament, speaking for the Scottish nation, voted overwhelmingly this afternoon to reject both Theresa May’s draft agreement and leaving the EU without a deal.

And it wasn’t alone.

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