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Wings Over Scotland

Scots eat cake, demand cake

Posted on August 14, 2012 by

We’ve only ever been ashamed to be Scottish once in our lives – when Craig Levein sent out our football team in a 4-6-0 formation in Prague. But there are occasionally other times when our fellow countrymen can be a source of a certain degree of embarrassment, and one of them was highlighted in, of all places, the local newspaper of the small English market town of Bourne this week.

Bourne is located in the East Midlands, a few miles north of Peterborough, and quite why its local paper is reporting Scottish independence news is a mystery to us, but Monday’s edition of The Local carried a story titled “Games bolster independence support”. It was based on a survey reported in the weekend’s Sunday Times, but picked up on a detail that none of the Scottish media chose to notice.

The survey put support for independence at 35%, just 9% behind the Union on 44%. But curiously, of the same respondents, 58% wanted Scotland to have its own Olympic team, with only half as many – 29% – wanting Scottish athletes to continue to compete under the Team GB banner at future Games.

That’s a whopping 23% of people who want Scotland to have the trappings of a proper nation, but aren’t prepared to accept the responsibilities. Almost a quarter of the population who want to act like a real country, but lack the courage to actually make it happen, who want a wee pretendy Olympic team to go with their wee pretendy Parliament that doesn’t get to make the really important decisions.

We don’t think it’s very productive to insult Scots whose political views differ from ours, so we don’t. You’ll scour this site in vain for any attacks on the Scottish people for voting Labour or being against independence. But when we see a huge chunk of the nation who clearly DO want independence, but are just too feart to actually vote for it, it’s hard not to wince a little at your own people’s lack of courage.

In 2014 Scottish voters will have to decide once and for all whether they’re Arthur or Martha, and they can’t have it both ways. Voting “No” in the belief that Westminster will then just voluntarily hand over a bunch of meaningful extra powers out of the sheer goodness of its heart, at exactly the point when we’d have given up all our bargaining chips, is naive bordering on outright stupid.

(Particularly given that the chances are it would be handing those powers to the SNP, which currently sits even further ahead in the polls than it did in May 2011 and whose support encompasses far more than just the people who back independence.)

Scots can’t have their cake and eat it, because – to borrow a highly apt phrase from our previous life – the cake is a lie. We hope they realise that before it’s too late.

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24 to “Scots eat cake, demand cake”

  1. MajorBloodnok says:

    On the subject of Portal’s cake, let’s adapt the words of one psychotic machine (GlaDOS) to another (SLab) with reference to the Olympics:

    This was a triumph!
    I’m making a note here:
    “huge success!!”

    It’s hard to overstate
    My satisfaction.

    Better Together:
    We do what me must
    Because we can.

    For the good of all of us.
    (Except the ones who are dead).

  2. Cuphook says:

    This is just the sort of thinking that was evident in the year before the last election. Respondents to polls expressed great happiness with the policies of the SNP but then said that they would vote Labour, or rather the polls said that they would. It was obvious though, even in 2010, following trends online and speaking to people in real life, that the SNP were going to win big.
    While there’s a lot of work to be done before the referendum I’m quite confident that opinion is shifting and the electorate are receptive to the arguments put forward for independence.

  3. UkFacepalm says:

    The Bourne paper is part of the Johnston Press stable, so even stories of the utmost irrelevence to the readership of its multiple titles, are generally syndicated from Caithness to Cornwall. Its (ahem) “flagship title” The (ahem) Scotsman ran it here:

  4. Jimbo says:

    Well it’s a good thing that the English public are at last being informed of what’s happening up here – provided it’s done in a balanced way.

     A serious concern of mine is the possibility of a violent attack being made on a member of the Scottish government or on a pro independence supporter because of the hatred, engendered within those in society with the capacity and potential for violence, being stirred by the political hate rhetoric from the likes of Alan Cochrane at the Telegraph.
     It’s happened in the USA because of political hate rhetoric. I sincerely hope not, but it’s probably just a matter of time before it happens here because of the constant venom and bile being poured upon the SNP by people who should know better.
     Balanced journalism and honest debate are being sacrificed as the Unionist camp becomes more desperate to preserve their position of privilege, and their fear of the Scots nullifying the Treaty becomes more intense. A venomous pen is a very dangerous thing.

  5. Sneddon says:


    Most of the people writing these bile filled articles write them safe behind the keyboard or online.  In my 20 years down south never had any bother in relation to this sort of thing.  In fact most people are  quite ‘right on’ about it.  They are as hacked off with wastemonster as we are and are envious we have an alternative.  Mind you my exclusive circle probably did not include rabid mouthed empire loyalists.  Most of my political *ahem* “discussions’ were with labourites and fibdems .  Of course there is always the odd nutter but tbh they tend to elected labour MP’s (sorry… I’ll get my coat)

  6. Morag says:

    Last night on TV I heard a rather surreal discussion in which pundits were saying wasn’t it marvellous that there would be a “Team GB” in Rio and that Scotland wasn’t going to have its own team, and wasn’t togetherness just super-terrific and so on.  I sat there thinking, did I miss a memo or something?

    So far as I know there has been no statement from anywhere that Scotland would join a “Team GB” for 2016 if we were independent by then.  Who could make such a decision?  If we’re not independent, then I would imagine that attempts to field our own team would be politically thwarted before they got off the ground, so it’s hardly worth discussing.

    Does anyone have the foggiest idea what they were on about?

  7. James Morton says:

    The of course you have this brainfart from yesterdays man –

    Any time they try to lift the argument out of the usual negativity it’s always this vague and gossamer thin “shared values” without ever being able to express it in concrete terms. The negativity (and there is a helluva lot of it) has all the subtlety of a ball-peen hammer. Their positive arguments are reduced to meaningless abstract sentiments.

    Slab thought they would win because their own polls told them it was so. Hell even Ruth Davidson once wrote an article thinking there would be a cameron bounce in Scotland and that the Tories would sweep the boards, based on a very small poll ran by yougov. The Tories were soon dealt a reality check, but poor old slab kept plodding on with Capt Dreech at the helm, not realisng what the real lay of land was like until literally the last 4 weeks of campaigning.

  8. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    The claim is that it would take far more than two years to have Scotland recognised as an independent nation by the IOC, particularly as the independence negotiations themselves would take up much of that time, so the earliest we could have a Scotland team in practice even in the event of a Yes vote would be 2020.

  9. Krafty Kris says:

    I was trying to find the exact question they asked online but couldn’t find it. The statement is
    “29% believe Scottish athletes should compete for Great Britain after independence while 58% say Scotland should represent itself.”
    I’m not sure whether this means that if Scotland gains independence, 58% believe that we should compete separately. Do you know how the question was worded?

  10. MajorBloodnok says:

    So the IOC are so glacial that the UN will have recognised Scotland but not them?  Another Unionist scare story it would seem (and scraping the bottom of the barrel too).

  11. uilleam_beag says:

    In the interest of clarity, I feel it’s worth pointing out the question on a Scots Olympics team for 2016 was predicated with the assumption that it followed a yes vote in 2014. 

    Of course, that means the 1-in-3 Scots of a Unionist persuasion want to have their cake and eat it, by remaining in Team GB (and thereby laying claim to medals won by non-Scots athletes) even after the country gains independence. 

  12. DougtheDug says:

    There’s always been a disconnect between playing with the trappings of a nation and actually wanting a Scottish nation amongst a large segment of the population.

    It ranges from Highland Chiefs and Lairds strutting around at Highland Games and piping competitions in kilts with eagle feathers in their bonnets like Home Counties red indians to Anyone but England football supporters who don’t vote SNP.

    Even good old unionist Alan Cochrane got in on the act quite recently with his rant about how good Scottish banknotes are not accepted in England.

    I’d look on it as an opportunity. Despite the fact that that Scottish nationalism has been deliberately separated from Scottish culture over the years by the British Establishment the Scots who still want to be recognised as Scottish in sports and culture are a good base to build on.

  13. molly says:

    Listening to different phone ins and discussions, I kind of get the impression there is a fair amount of people in England just as bewildered and a bit lost about the order of their world and how impotent they are to have any impact .
     We forget we ‘knew’ Gordon Browns personna or John Reid or George Foulkes before they went to Westminster, we’ve lived through their ‘rise’ to the top and English readers must wonder why when Scots dominated Westminster ,we never seem happy,we now want Independence
    .I personally think thats why the Olympics for some was so important, its the perception of thats how things should be,something to take pride in and back amongst the top guns- I might be way off the mark but it is interesting ( in a very sweeping general way ),how the media presents ‘England’ as a natural .thats their place at the top table, yet only now are you starting to discern a quiet Scottish confidence .
     My husband always maintains “it was Argentina that did it “, the impact on the Scottish psychy where hope was turned into boasting was turned into humiliation ,has made Scots very cautious bragging about big ambitions and thats why I think many people will keep their own counsel until they get into the polling booth.


  14. Morag says:

    The claim is that it would take far more than two years to have Scotland recognised as an independent nation by the IOC, particularly as the independence negotiations themselves would take up much of that time, so the earliest we could have a Scotland team in practice even in the event of a Yes vote would be 2020.

    Ah, thank you, that makes rather better sense.  Is it a credible claim though?  I’d have thought that a Scotland that voted for independence in 2014 would be clamouring for its own team in 2016, and that reality would prevail over IOC foot-dragging.  Is this naive?

  15. Gaavster says:

    Surely, upon dissolution of the Treaty of Union, England (or rUK) would also have to get some sort of special dispensation from the IOC as the UK would no longer be a member…

    Why should they qualify for succession member status and we have to ‘ask’ for it?


  16. scottish_skier says:

    “That’s a whopping 23% of people who want Scotland to have the trappings of a proper nation, but aren’t prepared to accept the responsibilities”

    If you have a look through the results of the Scottish Social Attitudes Survey 2011, confidence is the biggest factor. Among people who describe themselves as ‘very confident’ about Scotlands future, 85-87% are ready to vote Yes. For those who are ‘quite confident’, its 55-57%.

    Give people the confidence to vote yes and they will, for independence is in the hearts of many. That’s why polls never show a consistent majority for no, although the press like to ignore that aspect….   


  17. Aplinal says:

    On the IoC, I seem to recall that when Montenegro gained independence fro Serbia & Montenegro, they were representing themselves in the following Olympics less than two year on.  So the IoC CAN move if the willingness is there.  And why shouldn’t it?

  18. scottish_skier says:

    And I might add one thing.

    Fear can work to a certain extent. However, only if people really believe the stories which make them fearful. If they in any way doubt these stories, then they doubt their own fear.

    Imagine the person in the ballot box who wants independence, but is a little scared. They will look at that paper and wonder what might happen if they put an X next to yes. Will the sky fall in? No. Will Scotland explode? No. It could he hard at times yes, but any harder than the UK? They know what will happen if the vote No – nothing will change at all. Change is a powerful thing, and voters find it very attractive.

    And then the other factor comes into play. That person sees themself as but one vote. How could one vote make a difference, I mean its not as if that one vote will change the outcome?

    So, with a slight nervous feeling, but excitement too, the hand hovers, then places an X next to Yes. Just one vote – can’t do any harm…

    However, all over Scotland, other people thinking the same do the same.  

    Remember, the unsures/don’t knows have no love for the union and a good proportion of the no’s don’t either.  Only around 1/3 of Scots want the status quo (that’s your 29% for Team GB BTW).   


  19. James T says:

    To be honest, I can see all arguments here. For the people of Northern England, they must be absolutely fearful if Scotland should go its own way. To them, it must be the ultimate nightmare. To know that from 0 to 100 miles from the Scottish Border to Luton, they will feel abandoned, and they must fear for the future for the Counties. For that, I have massive sympathy for the Northern English.
    As to those Scots who want the ‘best of both worlds’ ie would like a Scottish Olympic Team, but yet remain in the UK, I hope as we proceed towards the Referendum, that proper information will be put to them to let them know, and allay most of their fears that we will survive, and that we will ALL have a good future. We might have teething troubles to begin with (a bit like leaving home for the first time, but after a while, you get into the swing of life), so it would be with a new Scotland.
    As this site has said on quite a few occasions, the summer of ‘Britishness’ is over. There is nothing else on the calendar until the General Election in 2015. If the SNP can keep clean, get its info over in a proper and calm way, and keep up a positive argument, and not get dragged into a gutter fight (which I also fear), then I think quite a few of these folk may decide ‘okay, why not, if most folk are going for it’. Here’s hoping !!

  20. James T says:

    To be honest, it might be possible for the IOC to accept a Scotland Team for 2016 if Scotland did gain its independence in 2014. We are a rich and stable nation with a population of 5.4 million. The only problem I can see is the administration side of it all for the IOC.

    With only 2 years between the 2 events, its possible that the IOC may want a GB Team to remain as GB for the 2016 games, If Britain did break up, then yes, one day, there would be a Scotland Team, but what would the rump of GB call itself. It can’t call itself GB as GB is meant to be Scotland and England. Great Britain came into effect with the Acts of Union, so GB would be technically wrong. And having a country called GB, when half of the British Isles is Independent (Scotland and Ireland) would be nuts !! Can’t see ‘Team EW & NI’ working !! Would the ‘rump’ come up with a new country name?

  21. kevybaby says:

    I think if the vote is yes, but for whatever reason the IOC want a team GB for the 2016 olympics I would love to see the scots in the team compete with some gusto and do their absolute best to give Team GB a proper send off. Would show that we want to do different things politically but we’re still friends and still prepared to battle it out together as a team when required.

  22. Appleby says:

    I’d imagine it would be possible for the Scottish athletes to go for the “independant athletes” category too. It seems hard to believe that the IOC would be so glacial in pace it wouldn’t be able to handle this properly with two years warning.

  23. Adam Davidson says:

    I can totally understand some people’s reluctance to commit to a Yes vote. It is massive step especially when we are all bombarded by the negative propaganda. Tosecwho assume what iscreportedviscmostly correct don’t know to question it. Especially if they read so called qualities. 

    Onthe other hand, In the three years prior to the devolution vote, the average poll result stated 47% for devolution. Of those that voted 74% voted for it. if we get a similar pattern in 2014 then job done.

    But! We need to get the word out. The message still isn’t out there enough.  

  24. Doug Daniel says:

    I was arguing something similar in this piece at Bella Caledonia. The Better Together idea of “the best of both worlds” is just childish greed. If Scotland votes no in 2014, I would feel utterly embarrassed to see my fellow countryfolk continuing to insist that we should get to be part of the UK, but opt out when it comes to certain things. English people don’t understand why we deserve this special treatment, and frankly, neither do I.

    If we vote no in 2014, we owe it to England – the country we have effectively pledged to remain in a relationship with – to finally make a commitment to them after 300 years of refusing to be “tied down” so to speak. That means no devolution, no separate health, education and law systems, and no separate football and rugby teams. Effectively, it means admitting Scotland is nothing more than a region of a country called Britain, because quite frankly, continuing to pretend we’re a nation when we don’t have the balls to make our own decisions is utterly juvenile, greedy and pathetic.

    This is what the referendum should be: IS SCOTLAND A COUNTRY, YES OR NO?

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