Tag Archives: Scottish independence

Writing About Brexit: Brexit Day

EdinburghEye on Ko-FiThis was first posted on Facebook on 31st January 2020, with support from my Ko-Fi network.

Boris Johnson says that midnight Brussels time, 11pm in London, when #Brexit begins, represents “a new dawn”.

That would be the new dawn in Singapore – as the “low key celebration” begins in Number 10 Downing Street, the sun rises at 6:55am Singapore Standard Time.
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Writing About Brexit: Scottish independence now?

EdinburghEye on Ko-FiThis was first posted on Facebook on 22nd January 2020, with support from my Ko-Fi network.

The democratic case for a second Scottish referendum on independence is pretty clear.

In November 2014, 55.5% of those in Scotland who voted – a shade under 47% of the total electorate, given an 84.5% turnout – voted for Scotland to Remain in the UK. This following a campaign by Labour, the Tories, & the LibDems, which pushed very strongly by both direct and indirect campaigning, that if Scotland became independent, Scotland would no longer be a member of the EU.
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Writing About Indyref2020 and Brexit

EdinburghEye on Ko-FiThis was first posted on Facebook on 20th December 2019, with support from my Ko-Fi network.

I did not listen to the live debate in the House of Commons today. The Withdrawal Agreement bill passed second reading 358 votes to 234 – a majority substantially larger than the 80-vote government majority.

In part this is because I genuinely didn’t feel I can face it – after all, we already knew how it ends, wiith a majority of 80 Tory MPs. I am going to follow what has happened in other ways (there’s always Hansard) and write it up at some point before we return to the Withdrawal Agreement debate in January.

Yesterday I skipped listening to the indyref2020 debate in the Scottish Parliament to listen to the Queen’s Speech instead. The result in Holyrood was as predictable as today’s debate will be in Westminster: the SNP and the Greens together have a majority for the independence referendum, and they outvoted the Labour, Tory, and LibDem MSPs against it.

There is a good Twitter thread about the debate by Sara Sheridan, a Scottish writer.

All that remains is for Boris Johnson to grant a Section 30 order, or – if things get sufficiently extreme – for Nicola Sturgeon to go ahead without one.

“Sufficiently extreme” is my speculation, and I’m thinking on the lines of major food and drugs shortages following no-deal or very hard Brexit: no-deal Brexit is now unlikely, and hard Brexit isn’t going to happen til 31st December 2020. The Scottsh Parliamentary elections will take place in May 2021, and if SNP and Green again have a majority, there isn’t really a democratic reason to reject a second indyref.

One coherent argument against indyref2 – or against EUref2, which won’t now happen – is that Boris Johnson will simply summon his team of dishonest-social-media-makers and run a hidden campaign urging people not to vote.

To be clear:

In my opinion, regardless of whether a referendum is legislated to be legally binding, it gains moral authority in itself and in international law if turnout is equivalent to or higher than your average general election, and the result shows a very clear majority for independence – and especially if the result shows the majority of the electorate voted for independence. We had that kind of overwhelming result when Scotland voted to re-establish our Parliament with tax-raising powers: and the 2014 referendum got a strikingly-high turnout (much higher than the turnout for the 2016 referendum).

So Boris Johnson’s simplest method of destroying the validity of a Scottish referendum would be running online campaigns under the table convincing people not to vote, and then pointing at the low turn out as a reason not to honour the referendum result.

This might work.

Or it might not.

Because it *doesn’t* work against grassroots campaigns where people know something isn’t so and can say so loud and clear.

You’ve probably never heard of Marky Booth. At least, I never had. He is, self-described, a young student – early 20s – who graduated Edinburgh University with a First in Politics and International Relations and was a research asisstant for the SNP. He was active in the Scottish independence youth movement when at university and mentions going to Young Scots for Independence karaoke nights. While living in Wales he did some research work for Wings Over Scotland and ran a site called independence dot ws which he then handed over to someone else called Michael Wright to run for him. Independence dot ws has a gofundme link asking for donations. Marky Booth was unexpectedly anti-trans and anti “the woke brigade” in the independence movement – I mean unexpectedly for a supposed-21-year-old, since the rejection of LGBT rights and equality is a very, very generational thing.

Archibald Cameron, who blogs as The Mammoth Whale, discovered that none of this was true, and he did it by asking. No one in the Edinburgh SNP branch or elsewhere remembers or is able to find any trace of a research assistant named Marky Booth. No one recognises the photos. No one in the Edinburgh independence youth movements remembers Marky Booth: no one who went to the YSI karaoke nights ever met him. The photos with a background all look American. There is no degree in Politics and International Relations offered at Edinburgh University. His photo of his fiance’s hand with a ring on it is a stock photo and when asked to provide a timestamped photo of himself he said he was ill, said he had checked into hospital, said he’d made a suicide attempt, and then deleted his account.

Some of this could have been done anywhere by anyone. But what’s telling – and particularly Scottish – is that the community Marky Booth claimed to belong to was available for questioning and didn’t know him. This would apply to any well-connected community, of course. (To my fannish friends. think if someone out of nowhere suddenly claimed to be a BNF/SMOF who’d been to all the Worldcons and done lots of work for fandom: if they did, there would be so many fans around who really *had* gone to those Worldcons and knew people who knew people and would be able to say, definitely: Nope, we never heard of you.) But the point is: Scotland is a small country. Edinburgh, as we Edinburghers are fond of complaining to each other, is a remarkably small city. People know people who know people who know people.

Last time – in 2014 – the campaign for and against independence was very much a town-hall meeting, face-to-face argument campaign. It took place online too – Stuart Campbell, of the late Wings Over Scotland account, made a career out of it. But Stuart Campbell, greatly though I dislike him, was upfront and clear about who he was and where he was living.

Marky Booth may be “really” a man in his forties called Michael Wright who lives in Aberdeen. If we ever find out, it will be because of the gofundme account: which was indubitably set up by a Michael Wright. When you ask for money under a false identity, the police may be interested enough to investigate.

I am more hopeful that, when indyref2 happens, we will be able to see off the bots and the fake news than I am that Labour and the media are prepared for Boris Johnson running yet another lying Facebook campaign when he decides to call the next general election. So long as Labour is tearing itself apart over whether it was Corbyn or Brexit that lost them all of those voters, they’re not going to have a campaign strategy to counterattack the lying social media.

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Brexit Day: independence for Scotland

The EUref results map

EU Referendum Results Map

Yesterday, the Scottish Parliament voted by majority both for the government’s resolution to hold a second independence referendum, and for the Scottish Green Party’s amendment, that sixteen-to-eighteen-year-olds and EU citizens should be able to vote in the second independence referendum.

Labour, the Conservatives, and the Scottish LibDems all voted for Scotland to Brexit.

Today, Theresa May invokes Article 50, and the UK begins its two year departure from the EU. On Friday 29th March 2019, short of some fairly major political upheavals in the Conservative Party, the UK will no longer be a member of the European Union.

According to report, Theresa May believes that in eighteen months time, the UK’s Brexit deal will have been fully negotiated and voted on by the EU Parliament. Whether she is right or not in that assessment, we will certainly know by that time whether or not the UK is likely to have a Brexit deal, or if the UK is likely to leave the EU with nothing but unpaid debts and no deal at all.

No deal at all, means an end to the Good Friday Agreement in Northern Ireland: it means the the multiple essential agencies dealing with atomic energy, prescription-drugs regulation, etc, will cease to include the UK as from 29th March 2019 with certainly quite a gap before the UK can set up any replacement.

“No deal” means that millions of EU citizens currently legally resident in the UK, may become illegal aliens who can, if they refuse to leave their familes and homes when told to do so, quite lawfully be taken to centres such as Dungavel, locked up, and deported. “No deal” means the beginning of the end for the City of London as a financial centre: an end to the car industry in the UK: and all the food we import from the rest of the EU will become a lot more expensive.

Theresa May is likely to see as a “bad deal” any deal that includes requiring the UK to pay its full debts owed on leaving, and above all, a “bad deal” that requires the UK to be part of the Schengen Area or equivalent in freedom of movement.

But Scotland voted by majority to Remain in the EU. The only way this can be achieved, is for Scotland to become an independent country and rejoin the EU.

The second independence referendum for Scotland is likely to be held sometime in October or November 2018.

I voted No in 2014, believing that the SNP government had not properly thought through their plans for independence. I plan to vote Yes in 2018, or whenever the next independence referendum should take place.

I think Theresa May has three choices with regard to our independence referendum.
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Guest Blog: Constitution First

Whit Noo This guest blog is by Stewart Robinson: “a time served Civil Servant, which should not be held against him! He is married with one daughter and lives in East Lothian, where his hobbies include overthinking everything and grinding his teeth.”

Stewart Robinson writes: During the indyref campaign I made lots of new friends, all sharing the same passion for independence, but I have to share my thoughts with my new friends in the knowledge that some of you will not wish to remain my friend after you read this post. I respect all opinions, even those I cannot agree with, but I will understand if you cannot live with mine.

To begin with, I think we must accept that we lost the vote fair and square. Yes, there was BBC bias. Yes, there were scare tactics from the Better Together side, but we also got our point across often enough. Sadly though, our case just wasn’t strong enough to convince the wavering voters to support the idea.
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Unrepresented by media

Scotland's FutureLike most bloggers, I started because I felt I had something to say that wasn’t being said in the mainstream media.

George Monbiot is a Guardian columnist: I respect and admire his writing in general.

But with regard to Scottish independence? I wish he’d shut up.

There’s nothing personal about this. I wish all of the politicians, columnists, and other People Paid To Have An Opinion would get their know-nothing nebs out of our referendum.

Should Scotland be an independent country?
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Too close to call?

The highest turnout for a national election in Scotland in the past fifty years seems to have been the February 1974 General Election, where over 78% of registered voters voted.

Glasgow Herald 1979The turnout for the devolution referendum in March 1979 was 63.72%: 51.62% of those voted Yes to a Scottish Assembly, 48.38% voted No, a majority for Yes of 3.24%. But, according to the terms of that referendum, set down in 1978, the Assembly had to get over 40% of the electorate – there were 3,747,112 registered voters, so they needed at least 267,908 more votes for Yes to be allowed to win. 1,359,540 people were registered to vote and didn’t – the turnout was 63.72%, with only 0.13% rejected ballots.

The UK General Election in May 1979 got a turnout of 76.84% – that is, 532,198 more registered voters turned out to vote three months later than in the Assembly referendum. To win an Assembly under the 40% rule, the campaign would have had to get a higher turnout than average for 70s General Elections, and maintain its 51.62% share of the vote.
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A man, plan A, a canal – currency union!

Alex Salmond, Glenn Campbell, Alastair Darling, ScotDecides / BBCindyrefA No majority appears the most likely response on 18th September, and a very high turnout. Those are neutral facts.

Alex Salmond won last night’s debate – he was more skilled rhetorically, and has only one weak point that Alastair Darling can use. As Darling had used that weak point well in the previous debate, Salmond had evidently taken counsel with his speechwriters and devised several excellent rhetorical responses to Darling’s factual and accurate criticisms of the SNP’s plans. They both bellowed at each other a lot and I doubt if their shouting-across-each-other attitude convinced anyone. That’s my opinion.

As the audience interrogation exposed, Labour’s failure to oppose the Tory/LibDem destruction of the welfare system and privatisation of the NHS, was their worst weakness in trying to campaign for Better Together.

Why I’m voting No:
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Filed under Currency, Economics, Indyref White Paper, Politics, Scottish Politics

Cybernats, Cybernaws, Clare Lally

Daily Telegraph front page headline on Clare LallyLast night on Twitter the front cover of the Daily Telegraph was causing a great deal of uninformed stushie.

Clare Lally is a notable campaigner and a full-time carer: she has two daughters, one with severe disabilities, for whom she is the primary carer with her husband Derek. In 2010, she was voted Tesco Living’s “Mum of the Year” in 2010. She was interviewed by the BBC 2011 electoral campaign as part of the launch of Manifesto for Carers: she’s also a Carers Champion.
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A better nation…?

Scotland's FutureWhen I published Leaning Towards No, I expected reaction from Yes voters who’d been hoping I would come down on their side of the fence.

I wasn’t expecting the reaction to be so supportive of the SNP. From the reactions, [hardly anyone]* who plans to vote Yes intends to challenge the SNP’s plans to install devomax “currency union” in place of our present devolved system, and while some actively support the plan, many simply don’t see changing the SNP’s policy as possible.

*Not quite “no one”, as I initially wrote.

It therefore seems likely that – much to my annoyance and disappointment – I really don’t have any choice but to vote No. I don’t support devomax. I never did. I won’t vote Yes to have devomax replace status-quo devolution, and that’s what the Scottish Government’s White Paper says is going to happen.

Let me go through the various objections I’ve received to this, beginning with the silliest. (None of these are direct quotes from anyone, so if you recognise yourself in them, it’s purely coincidental.)
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Filed under Currency, Indyref White Paper, Scottish Constitution, Scottish Politics