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Scottish nationalists can’t bear reality The SNP must give up on independence

The SNP is addicted to fictions (Ian Forsyth/Getty Images)


March 30, 2023   5 mins

For the past 13 years, I have lived on the banks of a wild river that forms part of the Anglo-Scottish border. Liddel Water was once the eastern boundary of the Debatable Land, a 50-square-mile enclave of wooded gorges, rough upland pasture and bogs impassable even to the sheep whose corpses still litter the landscape.

In the late Iron Age, the Debatable Land was a remarkably stable buffer zone between three Celtic tribes. It survived as an independent territory until the mid-16th century, when it became the last part of Great Britain to be brought under the control of a state. In what now seems an impressive act of international cooperation, the Debatable Land was divided equally between Scotland and England. The English deported the most troublesome inhabitants of their half to Ireland; the Scots enlisted a wily local warlord who helpfully hanged, drowned, burned, denuded and dismembered the autarkic groups that made up the local population.

I published a book about this neglected relic of a self-governing British statelet just in time to include the battle for Scottish independence and its aftermath. It gave the normally genteel process of promoting a book a missionary thrill. It also had the strange effect of fictionalising the place I call home. The ideology of nationalism requires a drastic compression and repackaging of the mass of people, geography and history that constitutes a nation. It politicises the very landscape, trivialises local ways of life and promotes ignorance of the country it purports to represent.

As the Manchester-born son of Scottish parents, I knew all about English ignorance of Scotland. Several visitors to our home on the border shared their surprise at discovering that Carlisle is not in Scotland and that Hadrian’s Wall is not the national border. I could understand the Scots’ frustration with oblivious, snooty, Scots-baiting politicians and commentators (the kind who attached sub-racist labels such as “dour”, “canny” and “thrifty” to an entire population). But I was surprised to find similar ignorance in Scotland.

On a rainy night in the spring of 2018, I gave a talk in one of the few council areas of Scotland in which a majority had voted for independence. In the bowels of the Mitchell Library in Glasgow, a red-faced man glowered at me as I spoke. His wife appeared to be egging him on to do something. When the time came for questions, I pointed him out to the chair, and then the pent-up question burst forth: “Where is this “Debatable Land”?”

I began a minute description of its bounds, but this enraged the man even more. “I’m not answering your question, am I?” “Well,” he shouted triumphantly, “I’ve never heard of it! And I was born in Dumfries!”

In normal circumstances, it would have been a mystifying remark. The man had never heard of the land 20 miles from his place of birth which had been a major foreign policy issue for English and Scottish parliaments for more than a century and which appeared to have made a mockery of the very idea of nationhood. Therefore, he denied its existence.

The evidence that Scottish borderers had once belonged to neither nation often evoked intense scepticism, as did the well-established fact that few neighbouring nations in Europe enjoyed such long and mutually profitable periods of stability and peaceful cooperation. The bullish brand of nationalism peddled by Alex Salmond had fostered a state of heroic indignation in which historical truths were a matter of personal choice. It was succinctly expressed on local radio by a nationalist representative of Scottish farming interests. Tired of being proved statistically wrong, he brought the discussion to a sudden end: “Well, I don’t care about arguments anyway. I’m a nation­alist, and that’s that!”

Nine days before Nicola Sturgeon unexpectedly resigned as First Minister of Scotland, Salmond accused her, in a tub-thumping Burns Supper speech in Dundee, of undermining 30 years’ of hard campaigning. She had “damaged the independence movement” with “some daft ideology imported from elsewhere”. This was a reference to what Salmond contemptuously called the “self-indulgent nonsense” of her gender recognition reforms. Commenting on Sturgeon’s resignation on The World At One, Salmond adopted a more oleaginous tone. In his view, the First Minister should have “[separated] the case for independence from the day-to-day business of government”. “The articulation of the fundamental case for independence,” complained the deposed leader of the SNP, “has sometimes got muddied and lost in the business of government.’

This is the populist fantasy of a sacred cause existing in stainless purity far above the mess of daily administration. Nationalism had conjured up a culturally coherent race of non-English Britons battling angrily to free itself from the condescending Auld Enemy. The independence campaign had relied heavily on a brazen simplification of Scottish history. Divisions in Scottish society of which many English people are unaware were obscured and erased.

As little as possible was said on the subject of religious sectarianism: the old antagonism of teuchters (Gaelic-speaking Highlanders) and Lowland Sassenachs was rebranded as a conflict of tartan-wearing city-dwellers and “posh” Edinbourgeois. Some campaigners, envisioning independence as the cause of a despised proletariat, argued that southern Scots with a Morningside or a Kelvinside accent were constitutionally English. The nationalist incarnation of Robert the Bruce was unrecognisable as the ambitious Anglo-Norman landowner whose father was born in Essex and who invited two of his combatant English friends to breakfast after the Battle of Bannockburn.

It was oddly exciting to witness the bonfire of facts to which Scottish history was subjected. One fact proved particularly controversial. In the 16th-century, in the Debatable Land and neighbouring parts of England and Scotland, cross-border marriages had been the norm, despite being punishable by death. Contemplating the copious written evidence, but reluctant to accept that interbreeding had been so prevalent, one Scottish academic historian described reports of those marriages as “scaremongering”. A key concept in the nationalist campaign, “scaremongering” means “unfairly rebutting an ideological argument by using brute fact”. Curious to know whether the modern border had interfered with this tradition, I drew a map of these cross-border marriages and showed it to passengers on the 127 bus, which starts in the Scottish village of Newcastleton and ends 24 miles later in the city of Carlisle. Several passengers were able to mention long-married couples to whom the border meant as little as it did to their ancestors.

The 127 bus follows the route of the defunct North British Railway. On Tuesdays and Fridays, it runs along the southern edge of the Debatable Land before plunging down to the river Liddel and the border with England. On the eve of the Scottish Independence Referendum, when polls suggested a narrowing gap between “Yes” and “No”, the mood on the bus was untypically sombre.

Politicians far away in Edinburgh and London were planning to impose changes of some indeterminable but certainly inconvenient nature. They talked about the Border in ignorance of the people who lived and worked on either side of it. Many of them even confused the borderlands with the vast administrative division called “Scottish Borders”, which ends at the outskirts of Edinburgh. In this impoverished, agricultural region, the main concern was the “day-to-day business of government”, as former First Minister Salmond dismissively calls it.

Here, though the accent changes abruptly from one side of the river to the other, nationality is hardly ever mentioned. When the border was closed during the Covid lockdowns, it seemed a ridiculous, arbitrary measure, as though a dream of ages past had solidified in the present. Whenever I mentioned the book I was writing, no one thought it odd that there had once been an independent enclave whose inhabitants considered themselves neither English nor Scottish. Some people thought it “not a bad idea”.

Nationalist ideology struggles to integrate debatable lands like this one. Humza Yousaf has taken charge of a party which has become addicted to its fictions. By introducing its gender recognition reforms in the knowledge that the High Court of Justice would probably quash them (as it did), and deciding to treat the next general election as a “de facto referendum”, it was acting out a fantasy. The best hope for Scottish nationalism now is to separate itself from the cause of independence and to fight for a less lop-sided and unrealistic United Kingdom.


Graham Robb writes about French literature and history. His latest book is France: An Adventure History.


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William Shaw
William Shaw
1 year ago

You say you “gave a talk in one of the FEW council areas of Scotland in which a majority had voted for independence.”
Thank you, this is almost the only time I have seen this truth expressed in print, as this map of the results shows

https://millamap.com/1
Nicola Sturgeon was fond of talking about the will of the Scottish people. She obviously ignored everyone who wasn’t from Glasgow, West Dumbartonshire, North Lanarkshire or Dundee, i.e. almost the entire country.

Last edited 1 year ago by William Shaw
Alphonse Pfarti
Alphonse Pfarti
1 year ago
Reply to  William Shaw

Very true. Yet she accused England and Wales of dragging Scotland out of the EU against its will. Had there been even the tiniest Yes majority in the overall vote, the populations of Greater Glasgow and Dundee would have effectively dragged every other district out of the UK. I tend to see Glasgow and the surrounding area as in some way parallel to Northern Ireland, where the descendants of the Planters take a different view to that of the Catholic majority that exists across the whole island. Glasgow has a significant population of Irish Catholic descent who wish to separate from the UK. Not all pro-independence types fit this as you have the woke youth vote also, but my guess is that they tip the balance in Glasgow.

Warren Trees
Warren Trees
1 year ago

As an American, I can’t help but lament over the fact that if a population of 5 million people living on 1/3 of a rather small island can’t get along somehow, how on earth can places like continental Europe or the United States ever do so?

Brian Burnell
Brian Burnell
1 year ago
Reply to  Warren Trees

Interesting comment.
However the peoples of continental Europe have never got along somehow. Recent history was a repeat of their failure to get along somehow spanning centuries. Compared to them, the Anglo-Scots thing is just a playground squabble. We aren’t actually killing each other, as I seem to recollect our American friends doing not too long ago.

William Shaw
William Shaw
1 year ago
Reply to  Brian Burnell

True but don’t be too smug. Remember we had our own civil war under Cromwell.

Guy Aston
Guy Aston
1 year ago
Reply to  William Shaw

When the Civil began, Cromwell was no more than an MP. During the war he rose to Lt.General of Horse under Lord Fairfax. It as only after Charles I demise that he really obtained a grip on power.

Peter Joy
Peter Joy
1 year ago
Reply to  Guy Aston

Yes. He was an important but secondary figure until the First Civil War had ended.

Peter Joy
Peter Joy
1 year ago
Reply to  Guy Aston

Yes. He was an important but secondary figure until the First Civil War had ended.

Guy Aston
Guy Aston
1 year ago
Reply to  William Shaw

When the Civil began, Cromwell was no more than an MP. During the war he rose to Lt.General of Horse under Lord Fairfax. It as only after Charles I demise that he really obtained a grip on power.

William Shaw
William Shaw
1 year ago
Reply to  Brian Burnell

True but don’t be too smug. Remember we had our own civil war under Cromwell.

William Shaw
William Shaw
1 year ago
Reply to  Warren Trees

It’s even more lamentable than you probably realise.
Many in England have Scottish relatives and vice versa
 mother, father, grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins.
The Scottish Nationalists are dividing kith and kin, setting them against each other for their own political ends.
Their aim is to destroy a shared existence of close to 300 years.

Last edited 1 year ago by William Shaw
Brendan O'Leary
Brendan O'Leary
1 year ago
Reply to  Warren Trees

We get along fine. There just happens to be a party of opportunists whose only tactic is trying to convince us that we don’t.

Brian Burnell
Brian Burnell
1 year ago
Reply to  Warren Trees

Interesting comment.
However the peoples of continental Europe have never got along somehow. Recent history was a repeat of their failure to get along somehow spanning centuries. Compared to them, the Anglo-Scots thing is just a playground squabble. We aren’t actually killing each other, as I seem to recollect our American friends doing not too long ago.

William Shaw
William Shaw
1 year ago
Reply to  Warren Trees

It’s even more lamentable than you probably realise.
Many in England have Scottish relatives and vice versa
 mother, father, grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins.
The Scottish Nationalists are dividing kith and kin, setting them against each other for their own political ends.
Their aim is to destroy a shared existence of close to 300 years.

Last edited 1 year ago by William Shaw
Brendan O'Leary
Brendan O'Leary
1 year ago
Reply to  Warren Trees

We get along fine. There just happens to be a party of opportunists whose only tactic is trying to convince us that we don’t.

William Shaw
William Shaw
1 year ago

Even Edinburgh and the Gallic speaking Outer Hebrides voted against breaking up the UK.

Last edited 1 year ago by William Shaw
Alphonse Pfarti
Alphonse Pfarti
1 year ago
Reply to  William Shaw

Don’t forget that the Outer Hebrides are split between the Catholic south (Uist, Barra, etc.) and Protestant north (Lewis/Harris). Edinburgh had one of the highest No votes in the country – nearly 70% as I recall.

Alphonse Pfarti
Alphonse Pfarti
1 year ago
Reply to  William Shaw

Don’t forget that the Outer Hebrides are split between the Catholic south (Uist, Barra, etc.) and Protestant north (Lewis/Harris). Edinburgh had one of the highest No votes in the country – nearly 70% as I recall.

Gee Whiz
Gee Whiz
1 year ago

An Italian-American (born in the US but many first cousins still in Italy) friend once told me there are towns in Italy where one dialect is spoken on one side of the dividing road and another dialect on the other side. After what, 700 years? Says a lot about the “melting pot” in Europe, or at least small towns in Italy. I suspect folks got along ok…but managed to preserve their tribe’s traditions.

Warren Trees
Warren Trees
1 year ago

As an American, I can’t help but lament over the fact that if a population of 5 million people living on 1/3 of a rather small island can’t get along somehow, how on earth can places like continental Europe or the United States ever do so?

William Shaw
William Shaw
1 year ago

Even Edinburgh and the Gallic speaking Outer Hebrides voted against breaking up the UK.

Last edited 1 year ago by William Shaw
Gee Whiz
Gee Whiz
1 year ago

An Italian-American (born in the US but many first cousins still in Italy) friend once told me there are towns in Italy where one dialect is spoken on one side of the dividing road and another dialect on the other side. After what, 700 years? Says a lot about the “melting pot” in Europe, or at least small towns in Italy. I suspect folks got along ok…but managed to preserve their tribe’s traditions.

Gordon Black
Gordon Black
1 year ago
Reply to  William Shaw

These 4 areas, as well as majority independence voters, also have the highest concentrations of republicans in Scotland.

Alan Healy
Alan Healy
1 year ago
Reply to  Gordon Black

Irish Republicans .

Alan Healy
Alan Healy
1 year ago
Reply to  Gordon Black

Irish Republicans .

Alphonse Pfarti
Alphonse Pfarti
1 year ago
Reply to  William Shaw

Very true. Yet she accused England and Wales of dragging Scotland out of the EU against its will. Had there been even the tiniest Yes majority in the overall vote, the populations of Greater Glasgow and Dundee would have effectively dragged every other district out of the UK. I tend to see Glasgow and the surrounding area as in some way parallel to Northern Ireland, where the descendants of the Planters take a different view to that of the Catholic majority that exists across the whole island. Glasgow has a significant population of Irish Catholic descent who wish to separate from the UK. Not all pro-independence types fit this as you have the woke youth vote also, but my guess is that they tip the balance in Glasgow.

Gordon Black
Gordon Black
1 year ago
Reply to  William Shaw

These 4 areas, as well as majority independence voters, also have the highest concentrations of republicans in Scotland.

William Shaw
William Shaw
1 year ago

You say you “gave a talk in one of the FEW council areas of Scotland in which a majority had voted for independence.”
Thank you, this is almost the only time I have seen this truth expressed in print, as this map of the results shows

https://millamap.com/1
Nicola Sturgeon was fond of talking about the will of the Scottish people. She obviously ignored everyone who wasn’t from Glasgow, West Dumbartonshire, North Lanarkshire or Dundee, i.e. almost the entire country.

Last edited 1 year ago by William Shaw
Chris Wheatley
Chris Wheatley
1 year ago

Reading this is a little scary. I used to think politicians were self-seeking and misguided. That was worrying.
Now I see that politicians are self-seeking, misguided and thick. There is no hope, is there.

David McKee
David McKee
1 year ago
Reply to  Chris Wheatley

There is always hope, but only if we hold them to account. As they say in NATO, “The price of freedom is eternal vigilance. “

David McKee
David McKee
1 year ago
Reply to  Chris Wheatley

There is always hope, but only if we hold them to account. As they say in NATO, “The price of freedom is eternal vigilance. “

Chris Wheatley
Chris Wheatley
1 year ago

Reading this is a little scary. I used to think politicians were self-seeking and misguided. That was worrying.
Now I see that politicians are self-seeking, misguided and thick. There is no hope, is there.

Richard Abbot
Richard Abbot
1 year ago

The SNP exists specifically to avoid reality. It was birthed by dreamers, is run by the delusional and is weaving a nightmare for Scotland.

Ben Jones
Ben Jones
1 year ago
Reply to  Richard Abbot

Dreamers, yes, but the ball was subsequently picked up by enthusiastic supporters of (apologies for introducing Godwin’s law) spicy early 20th Century German ideology of a certain sort.

William Murphy
William Murphy
1 year ago
Reply to  Ben Jones

Yes, there’s a hugely enjoyable video on the Scottish supporters of the Adolf Fan Club…..

https://youtu.be/IOzf5XXftrU

Alan Healy
Alan Healy
1 year ago
Reply to  Ben Jones

It is no coincidence that the SNP was founded in 1934 .

William Murphy
William Murphy
1 year ago
Reply to  Ben Jones

Yes, there’s a hugely enjoyable video on the Scottish supporters of the Adolf Fan Club…..

https://youtu.be/IOzf5XXftrU

Alan Healy
Alan Healy
1 year ago
Reply to  Ben Jones

It is no coincidence that the SNP was founded in 1934 .

rob drummond
rob drummond
1 year ago
Reply to  Richard Abbot

The article says “ Humza Yousaf has taken charge of a party which has become addicted to its fictions” I think thats right and will ultimately be his downfall aa it was Sturgeons.

Jerry Carroll
Jerry Carroll
1 year ago
Reply to  rob drummond

Compounding matters is that Yousaf, a Muslim, is informed by his religion that it is okay to lie to infidels. This no doubt will influence his politics as well as his relations with the overwhelming majority of voters.

Last edited 1 year ago by Jerry Carroll
Jerry Carroll
Jerry Carroll
1 year ago
Reply to  rob drummond

Compounding matters is that Yousaf, a Muslim, is informed by his religion that it is okay to lie to infidels. This no doubt will influence his politics as well as his relations with the overwhelming majority of voters.

Last edited 1 year ago by Jerry Carroll
Ben Jones
Ben Jones
1 year ago
Reply to  Richard Abbot

Dreamers, yes, but the ball was subsequently picked up by enthusiastic supporters of (apologies for introducing Godwin’s law) spicy early 20th Century German ideology of a certain sort.

rob drummond
rob drummond
1 year ago
Reply to  Richard Abbot

The article says “ Humza Yousaf has taken charge of a party which has become addicted to its fictions” I think thats right and will ultimately be his downfall aa it was Sturgeons.

Richard Abbot
Richard Abbot
1 year ago

The SNP exists specifically to avoid reality. It was birthed by dreamers, is run by the delusional and is weaving a nightmare for Scotland.

Arkadian X
Arkadian X
1 year ago

Thank you for the informative article.
I had never heard of the “debatable land”, except for Alex Massie’s newsletter, but I didn’t know what it was referring to with that name.
Compelling reading. Thanks.

Michael Marron
Michael Marron
1 year ago
Reply to  Arkadian X

Me neither.I immediately ordered a copy of Mr Robb’s book from my local library. Interestingly, East Sussex libraries alone have ten copies.

Richard 0
Richard 0
1 year ago
Reply to  Michael Marron

Would strongly recommend the author’s ‘The Discovery of France’ – a unique take on French history. He’s a very good writer and not afraid to take on the myths on nationhood.

Arkadian X
Arkadian X
1 year ago
Reply to  Michael Marron

So have I (8 copies here).

Richard 0
Richard 0
1 year ago
Reply to  Michael Marron

Would strongly recommend the author’s ‘The Discovery of France’ – a unique take on French history. He’s a very good writer and not afraid to take on the myths on nationhood.

Arkadian X
Arkadian X
1 year ago
Reply to  Michael Marron

So have I (8 copies here).

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
1 year ago
Reply to  Arkadian X

I too not heard the term “debatable land “assume it is the same as the Scottish Marches, land of the Reivers and tall houses,
Incidentally, I understand that, following the Act of Union, which bought an end to their way of life, the Reivers played a significant role in the development and consolidation of the Empire

Last edited 1 year ago by Ethniciodo Rodenydo
David Fawcett
David Fawcett
1 year ago

Oh yes, the Reivers. As a gentleman from Carlisle told me, the Reivers gave up rustling cattle from the English and fighting each other, and took up Imperialism and Rugby Union.

David Fawcett
David Fawcett
1 year ago

Oh yes, the Reivers. As a gentleman from Carlisle told me, the Reivers gave up rustling cattle from the English and fighting each other, and took up Imperialism and Rugby Union.

Michael Kellett
Michael Kellett
1 year ago
Reply to  Arkadian X

I can also highly recommend George MacDonald Fraser’s ‘The Steel Bonnets’, which gives a very readable and fascinating account of the history of the Debateable Lands.

Michael Marron
Michael Marron
1 year ago
Reply to  Arkadian X

Me neither.I immediately ordered a copy of Mr Robb’s book from my local library. Interestingly, East Sussex libraries alone have ten copies.

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
1 year ago
Reply to  Arkadian X

I too not heard the term “debatable land “assume it is the same as the Scottish Marches, land of the Reivers and tall houses,
Incidentally, I understand that, following the Act of Union, which bought an end to their way of life, the Reivers played a significant role in the development and consolidation of the Empire

Last edited 1 year ago by Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Michael Kellett
Michael Kellett
1 year ago
Reply to  Arkadian X

I can also highly recommend George MacDonald Fraser’s ‘The Steel Bonnets’, which gives a very readable and fascinating account of the history of the Debateable Lands.

Arkadian X
Arkadian X
1 year ago

Thank you for the informative article.
I had never heard of the “debatable land”, except for Alex Massie’s newsletter, but I didn’t know what it was referring to with that name.
Compelling reading. Thanks.

AC Harper
AC Harper
1 year ago

Humza Yousaf has taken charge of a party which has become addicted to its fictions.

It has been said that humans tend to settle on Sacred Myths as part of their world views. This could be a religion that has wandered far from its roots, a philosophical concept like the Enlightenment or Post Modernism, or political parties that regularly reinvent themselves to keep their chance of gaining power. Perhaps even scientific ideas that escape proper scrutiny like Covid, CRT, Climate Change or Net Zero.
Often none of these Sacred Myths are completely wrong or completely correct… just that making them ‘Sacred’ satisfies the emotional needs and armours them against criticism. Scottish Independence may be one of those Sacred Myths.

Last edited 1 year ago by AC Harper
odd taff
odd taff
1 year ago
Reply to  AC Harper

Yes. It’s very similar to the nostalgia for the “Old South” in the southern states of the US.

Linda Hutchinson
Linda Hutchinson
1 year ago
Reply to  AC Harper

All nations and regions have their myths, and often they do have some historical truth even if, as is often the case, it is very little. Myths only become dangerous when they do become sacred, then they cannot be gain said, to do so would make you anti-them and anti-their country. Myths are great for dressing-up and having a local festival, for joining people as one, for giving one a feeling of belonging, but most of it is not true and myths are not history. Particularly, myths should never be used for making political decisions or for becoming exclusionary; unfortunately when nationalists, of any stripe, get hold of them this is often what they use them for.

Last edited 1 year ago by Linda Hutchinson
Linda M Brown
Linda M Brown
1 year ago
Reply to  AC Harper

In world views/sacred myths, it is easier to convince people to believe a lie than have them refute the lie once the truth is presented.

odd taff
odd taff
1 year ago
Reply to  AC Harper

Yes. It’s very similar to the nostalgia for the “Old South” in the southern states of the US.

Linda Hutchinson
Linda Hutchinson
1 year ago
Reply to  AC Harper

All nations and regions have their myths, and often they do have some historical truth even if, as is often the case, it is very little. Myths only become dangerous when they do become sacred, then they cannot be gain said, to do so would make you anti-them and anti-their country. Myths are great for dressing-up and having a local festival, for joining people as one, for giving one a feeling of belonging, but most of it is not true and myths are not history. Particularly, myths should never be used for making political decisions or for becoming exclusionary; unfortunately when nationalists, of any stripe, get hold of them this is often what they use them for.

Last edited 1 year ago by Linda Hutchinson
Linda M Brown
Linda M Brown
1 year ago
Reply to  AC Harper

In world views/sacred myths, it is easier to convince people to believe a lie than have them refute the lie once the truth is presented.

AC Harper
AC Harper
1 year ago

Humza Yousaf has taken charge of a party which has become addicted to its fictions.

It has been said that humans tend to settle on Sacred Myths as part of their world views. This could be a religion that has wandered far from its roots, a philosophical concept like the Enlightenment or Post Modernism, or political parties that regularly reinvent themselves to keep their chance of gaining power. Perhaps even scientific ideas that escape proper scrutiny like Covid, CRT, Climate Change or Net Zero.
Often none of these Sacred Myths are completely wrong or completely correct… just that making them ‘Sacred’ satisfies the emotional needs and armours them against criticism. Scottish Independence may be one of those Sacred Myths.

Last edited 1 year ago by AC Harper
rob drummond
rob drummond
1 year ago

A less “lop-sided” UK there is indeed. The amount of cash (Barnett Formula) The English (and yes it IS The English) pays to Scotland is incredible. It helps to finance Scotlands 22% budget deficit.

Should The English have a vote on Scotlands independence? Perhaps.

rob drummond
rob drummond
1 year ago

A less “lop-sided” UK there is indeed. The amount of cash (Barnett Formula) The English (and yes it IS The English) pays to Scotland is incredible. It helps to finance Scotlands 22% budget deficit.

Should The English have a vote on Scotlands independence? Perhaps.

Milton Gibbon
Milton Gibbon
1 year ago

While this chap definitely is on the same side as me in pointing out the flawed reasoning behind independence it does make me a bit uneasy that he is using a similar tack as the ScozNaz to identify his own region as being “independent” of the British and a potential Scottish/English states. The author doesn’t seem to think that the Gaels or Highland culture was independent of the state well into the 18th century. It is this same twisting of facts he so decries – I hope it was tongue in cheek. If it was then well played. It was an interesting article either way.

The reason I support the Union is that for me British national identity has a much more all-encompassing outlook which makes allowances for the various regional feeling of, for instance, Scots, Cornish, Welsh and differing strains of Irish. The best example of this being Brexit. The nationalisms which follow on from this identity are by necessity more narrow – the SNP’s anti-english mob or Welsh language extremists. Both those groups genuinely don’t like their fellow countrymen who disagree with them and believe them unable and it undesirable to take part in a national conversation.

Last edited 1 year ago by Milton Gibbon
Milton Gibbon
Milton Gibbon
1 year ago

While this chap definitely is on the same side as me in pointing out the flawed reasoning behind independence it does make me a bit uneasy that he is using a similar tack as the ScozNaz to identify his own region as being “independent” of the British and a potential Scottish/English states. The author doesn’t seem to think that the Gaels or Highland culture was independent of the state well into the 18th century. It is this same twisting of facts he so decries – I hope it was tongue in cheek. If it was then well played. It was an interesting article either way.

The reason I support the Union is that for me British national identity has a much more all-encompassing outlook which makes allowances for the various regional feeling of, for instance, Scots, Cornish, Welsh and differing strains of Irish. The best example of this being Brexit. The nationalisms which follow on from this identity are by necessity more narrow – the SNP’s anti-english mob or Welsh language extremists. Both those groups genuinely don’t like their fellow countrymen who disagree with them and believe them unable and it undesirable to take part in a national conversation.

Last edited 1 year ago by Milton Gibbon
Ray Andrews
Ray Andrews
1 year ago

Humza Yousaf

Sorry for being a phobe but I can’t help but wondering what business a Muslim (probably) has leading a party founded on the notion that the Scots need to separate from the English due to several millennia of grievances. What interest does a Muslim immigrant have in that? Surely the Caliphate will not be concerned with such things? Surely all the old divisions will be wiped away as one and all submit to Allah just the same?

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
1 year ago
Reply to  Ray Andrews

McAllah…

james goater
james goater
1 year ago
Reply to  Ray Andrews

Nothing phobic about that very relevant query. Perhaps Mr Yousaf, in his avowed desire to partition the United Kingdom, thereby gaining independence for Scotland, is taking his cue from another prominent Muslim who, through a similar “partition” in 1947, also managed to carve out a country independent of its far larger neighbour? Mr Jinnah would be impressed! Just a thought.

John Solomon
John Solomon
1 year ago
Reply to  Ray Andrews

“….and all submit to allah just the same.”

Except of course, in the real world they all submit to allah each in their very different ways. Hence the arabic (and now essentially muslim) proverb “I against my brother : my brother and I against our cousin : my cousin, my brother and I against everyone else.”

Samia Mantoura Burridge
Samia Mantoura Burridge
1 year ago
Reply to  Ray Andrews

He is not an immigrant. He was born in the UK. I see nothing odd in somebody who was born somewhere developing nationalist feeligs for that somewhere. Not that I particularly like the guy. He comes across as somebody with shallow values, who goes along with the fashionable ones if he thinks this will benefit him. On his religion, how can anyone tell how genuine he feels on this either, or what his personal interpretation of Islam might be? I have seen no evidence for the claim I have seen people make on this site that he thinks it is permitted to lie to non-muslims.

Peter Joy
Peter Joy
1 year ago
Reply to  Ray Andrews

Like the rest of them, Ray, from Sunak to Hunt to Cameron to the Sturgeon-Murrell clique and their MSPs at Holyrood, politics is just a business to him.

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
1 year ago
Reply to  Ray Andrews

McAllah…

james goater
james goater
1 year ago
Reply to  Ray Andrews

Nothing phobic about that very relevant query. Perhaps Mr Yousaf, in his avowed desire to partition the United Kingdom, thereby gaining independence for Scotland, is taking his cue from another prominent Muslim who, through a similar “partition” in 1947, also managed to carve out a country independent of its far larger neighbour? Mr Jinnah would be impressed! Just a thought.

John Solomon
John Solomon
1 year ago
Reply to  Ray Andrews

“….and all submit to allah just the same.”

Except of course, in the real world they all submit to allah each in their very different ways. Hence the arabic (and now essentially muslim) proverb “I against my brother : my brother and I against our cousin : my cousin, my brother and I against everyone else.”

Samia Mantoura Burridge
Samia Mantoura Burridge
1 year ago
Reply to  Ray Andrews

He is not an immigrant. He was born in the UK. I see nothing odd in somebody who was born somewhere developing nationalist feeligs for that somewhere. Not that I particularly like the guy. He comes across as somebody with shallow values, who goes along with the fashionable ones if he thinks this will benefit him. On his religion, how can anyone tell how genuine he feels on this either, or what his personal interpretation of Islam might be? I have seen no evidence for the claim I have seen people make on this site that he thinks it is permitted to lie to non-muslims.

Peter Joy
Peter Joy
1 year ago
Reply to  Ray Andrews

Like the rest of them, Ray, from Sunak to Hunt to Cameron to the Sturgeon-Murrell clique and their MSPs at Holyrood, politics is just a business to him.

Ray Andrews
Ray Andrews
1 year ago

Humza Yousaf

Sorry for being a phobe but I can’t help but wondering what business a Muslim (probably) has leading a party founded on the notion that the Scots need to separate from the English due to several millennia of grievances. What interest does a Muslim immigrant have in that? Surely the Caliphate will not be concerned with such things? Surely all the old divisions will be wiped away as one and all submit to Allah just the same?

Steven Campbell
Steven Campbell
1 year ago

I’m a closet Scot, descendant of the people who were sent to Ulster, then off to America. Appalachia for the most part, then my family wound up in Texas. I have always enjoyed the history of Scotland and the Reivers, as portrayed by a book of the same name by George McDonald Frazier.
With this heritage I have always thought of Scotland as a loose amalgam of tribes who on occasion came together to partake of their favorite pastimes, fighting, drinking, dancing and cursing the English.
An incident in Vancouver, B.C. affirmed this impression. Several years ago, on my many travels, I stationed myself at the bar in a place called, O’Doul’s. The lovely bartender, with distinct Scottish accent told me her name was MacGregor, recently moved to Canada and loving it. I got my drink, a Glenlivet, and was enjoying when I noticed a group of men speaking with a distinct Scottish brogue. I told the young bartender that I’d like to buy them a drink, so she went and told the gentlemen. The answer I received was telling.
“I’ll not be taking no drink from a Campbell”.
The young MacGregor lass came back to me with the message and advised me that I might just want to pay for mine and go out to dinner. The men were MacGregors and were in no mood to be in the presence of a Campbell, no matter how far removed from Scotland.
I tell this story because I think that perhaps the myth of Scottish unity and independence might just be the death of that region. Or maybe it was just me.

Linda Hutchinson
Linda Hutchinson
1 year ago

Being descended from a McDonald, I quite agree with those chaps 🙂

Cathy Carron
Cathy Carron
1 year ago

Me too! MacDonald and Robinson. My maternal grandmother’s side landed in the Philadelphia area mid-1700’s and were royalists, so like many others fled north to Nova Scotia, Canada during the Revolutionary War (USA). My DNA tests 27% Scottish…which I attribute to being feisty & ornery. (I am also a ‘Roscommon’ (Ireland – 23%) McDonnell paternally – which make me unrelenting all around LOL)

Last edited 1 year ago by Cathy Carron
Alphonse Pfarti
Alphonse Pfarti
1 year ago
Reply to  Cathy Carron

Well, I have ancestry on both sides. Does this make me a beacon of hope or a hopeless outcast?

Last edited 1 year ago by Alphonse Pfarti
Linda Hutchinson
Linda Hutchinson
1 year ago
Reply to  Cathy Carron

My McDonald ancestry is from my mother’s side, she was from North Uist

Alphonse Pfarti
Alphonse Pfarti
1 year ago
Reply to  Cathy Carron

Well, I have ancestry on both sides. Does this make me a beacon of hope or a hopeless outcast?

Last edited 1 year ago by Alphonse Pfarti
Linda Hutchinson
Linda Hutchinson
1 year ago
Reply to  Cathy Carron

My McDonald ancestry is from my mother’s side, she was from North Uist

Roddy Campbell
Roddy Campbell
1 year ago

Watch your back.

Cathy Carron
Cathy Carron
1 year ago

Me too! MacDonald and Robinson. My maternal grandmother’s side landed in the Philadelphia area mid-1700’s and were royalists, so like many others fled north to Nova Scotia, Canada during the Revolutionary War (USA). My DNA tests 27% Scottish…which I attribute to being feisty & ornery. (I am also a ‘Roscommon’ (Ireland – 23%) McDonnell paternally – which make me unrelenting all around LOL)

Last edited 1 year ago by Cathy Carron
Roddy Campbell
Roddy Campbell
1 year ago

Watch your back.

Gordon Black
Gordon Black
1 year ago

Correction – it was the MacDonalds that the Campbells massacred, not the MacGregors.

Roddy Campbell
Roddy Campbell
1 year ago
Reply to  Gordon Black

Look it up. It’s a bit more nuanced than than that.

Roddy Campbell
Roddy Campbell
1 year ago
Reply to  Gordon Black

Look it up. It’s a bit more nuanced than than that.

John Huddart
John Huddart
1 year ago

Actually George MacDonald Fraser OBE FRSL, born 2 April 1925 in Carlisle Cumberland of Scottish parents. died 2 January 2008 in Douglas Isle of Man.

Last edited 1 year ago by John Huddart
Linda Hutchinson
Linda Hutchinson
1 year ago

Being descended from a McDonald, I quite agree with those chaps 🙂

Gordon Black
Gordon Black
1 year ago

Correction – it was the MacDonalds that the Campbells massacred, not the MacGregors.

John Huddart
John Huddart
1 year ago

Actually George MacDonald Fraser OBE FRSL, born 2 April 1925 in Carlisle Cumberland of Scottish parents. died 2 January 2008 in Douglas Isle of Man.

Last edited 1 year ago by John Huddart
Steven Campbell
Steven Campbell
1 year ago

I’m a closet Scot, descendant of the people who were sent to Ulster, then off to America. Appalachia for the most part, then my family wound up in Texas. I have always enjoyed the history of Scotland and the Reivers, as portrayed by a book of the same name by George McDonald Frazier.
With this heritage I have always thought of Scotland as a loose amalgam of tribes who on occasion came together to partake of their favorite pastimes, fighting, drinking, dancing and cursing the English.
An incident in Vancouver, B.C. affirmed this impression. Several years ago, on my many travels, I stationed myself at the bar in a place called, O’Doul’s. The lovely bartender, with distinct Scottish accent told me her name was MacGregor, recently moved to Canada and loving it. I got my drink, a Glenlivet, and was enjoying when I noticed a group of men speaking with a distinct Scottish brogue. I told the young bartender that I’d like to buy them a drink, so she went and told the gentlemen. The answer I received was telling.
“I’ll not be taking no drink from a Campbell”.
The young MacGregor lass came back to me with the message and advised me that I might just want to pay for mine and go out to dinner. The men were MacGregors and were in no mood to be in the presence of a Campbell, no matter how far removed from Scotland.
I tell this story because I think that perhaps the myth of Scottish unity and independence might just be the death of that region. Or maybe it was just me.

Richard Rolfe
Richard Rolfe
1 year ago

Very interesting piece; a map would have been useful though.

Jack Martin Leith
Jack Martin Leith
1 year ago
Reply to  Richard Rolfe

Richard, the Wikipedia page Debatable Lands includes a map.

Jack Martin Leith
Jack Martin Leith
1 year ago
Reply to  Richard Rolfe

Richard, the Wikipedia page Debatable Lands includes a map.

Richard Rolfe
Richard Rolfe
1 year ago

Very interesting piece; a map would have been useful though.

Andrew Carr
Andrew Carr
1 year ago

My family are border reivers, part of the Clan Carruthers from Mouswald Dumfries area. Many were sent to Ireland by king James, I have ulster dna. Eventually my side of the family settled in the Carlisle area, my home town. Last week in the Surrey hills (where we now live) we encountered a woman from Edinburgh. We chatted about ‘home’ and she said – ‘where is Carlisle’, it’s Northumbria isn’t it. I was in shock- great article
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clan_Carruthers
https://www.timetravel-britain.com/articles/country/reivers.shtml

Last edited 1 year ago by Andrew Carr
Andrew Carr
Andrew Carr
1 year ago

My family are border reivers, part of the Clan Carruthers from Mouswald Dumfries area. Many were sent to Ireland by king James, I have ulster dna. Eventually my side of the family settled in the Carlisle area, my home town. Last week in the Surrey hills (where we now live) we encountered a woman from Edinburgh. We chatted about ‘home’ and she said – ‘where is Carlisle’, it’s Northumbria isn’t it. I was in shock- great article
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clan_Carruthers
https://www.timetravel-britain.com/articles/country/reivers.shtml

Last edited 1 year ago by Andrew Carr
Peter Joy
Peter Joy
1 year ago

It’s quite true, of course, that the SNP promotes a childish, dishonest and grotesquely over-simplified narrative of Scots history (including in Scots schools, which have btw plummeted down the international tables on Sturgesu’s watch, possibly a deliberate policy). The Declaration of Arbroath, 1314, Culloden and the Clearances – that’s about all the kids get now (and, frankly, about all that the dim-faced hafwits of the SNP apparatus have ever heard of anyway), and the whole idea is to groom them as loyal SNP ballot-fodder (votes at 16, too!). So there’s no room for the rest of mediaeval and early modern Scotland, the Reformation and the Kirk, the Covenant, the War of the Three Kingdoms, the Killing Time, the Darien Scheme, the Calvinist lowlands’ contempt for the Catholic highlanders, the Scottish Enlightenment and ‘North Britain’, the Scottish radicals, Irish immigration, the Scots’ huge role in the Empire, the postwar history of a Britain in which the State ran the major industries – particularly in Scotland – and half of Scots MPs were Conservatives.
That said, Mr Robb (who wrote an excellent book on The Discovery of France, plus another passably good one on The Debatable Land mentioned here) lets his visceral, Europhile loathing for nationalism blind him to its positive features: love of and loyalty to one’s country, culture and community and the social cohesion and security that brings. Also to one of the basic driving forces of Scots nationalism, which is a yearning for functioning democracy, a sense of agency, an escape from the incompetent, corrupt rule of Westminster (sadly now replaced only by the even more incompetent and corrupt rule of the Sturdgeon-Murrell junta in Holyrood, still firmly in place following the ‘election’ of their chosen sock-puppet Himza Useless).
And Mr Salmond was not ‘deposed’: he resigned, under no pressure to do so, in 2014 after a creditable seven years as First Minister and – following the spectacular failure of the Sturdgeon-Murrell clique’s MSM-backed attempt to fit him up on fabricated charges (thank God for the jury system) – and is now leader of the Alba Party, a party that is actually aiming at independence, rather than the decades more of corrupt devolutionist whining and nest-feathering at the expense of Southern taxpayers offered by Murrell, Useless and the rest of their worthless, shameless shower of SNP hacks, carpetbaggers and grifters. .

Last edited 1 year ago by Peter Joy
CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter Joy

What a splendid description of ‘modern’ Scotland, I thank you.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter Joy

What a splendid description of ‘modern’ Scotland, I thank you.

Peter Joy
Peter Joy
1 year ago

It’s quite true, of course, that the SNP promotes a childish, dishonest and grotesquely over-simplified narrative of Scots history (including in Scots schools, which have btw plummeted down the international tables on Sturgesu’s watch, possibly a deliberate policy). The Declaration of Arbroath, 1314, Culloden and the Clearances – that’s about all the kids get now (and, frankly, about all that the dim-faced hafwits of the SNP apparatus have ever heard of anyway), and the whole idea is to groom them as loyal SNP ballot-fodder (votes at 16, too!). So there’s no room for the rest of mediaeval and early modern Scotland, the Reformation and the Kirk, the Covenant, the War of the Three Kingdoms, the Killing Time, the Darien Scheme, the Calvinist lowlands’ contempt for the Catholic highlanders, the Scottish Enlightenment and ‘North Britain’, the Scottish radicals, Irish immigration, the Scots’ huge role in the Empire, the postwar history of a Britain in which the State ran the major industries – particularly in Scotland – and half of Scots MPs were Conservatives.
That said, Mr Robb (who wrote an excellent book on The Discovery of France, plus another passably good one on The Debatable Land mentioned here) lets his visceral, Europhile loathing for nationalism blind him to its positive features: love of and loyalty to one’s country, culture and community and the social cohesion and security that brings. Also to one of the basic driving forces of Scots nationalism, which is a yearning for functioning democracy, a sense of agency, an escape from the incompetent, corrupt rule of Westminster (sadly now replaced only by the even more incompetent and corrupt rule of the Sturdgeon-Murrell junta in Holyrood, still firmly in place following the ‘election’ of their chosen sock-puppet Himza Useless).
And Mr Salmond was not ‘deposed’: he resigned, under no pressure to do so, in 2014 after a creditable seven years as First Minister and – following the spectacular failure of the Sturdgeon-Murrell clique’s MSM-backed attempt to fit him up on fabricated charges (thank God for the jury system) – and is now leader of the Alba Party, a party that is actually aiming at independence, rather than the decades more of corrupt devolutionist whining and nest-feathering at the expense of Southern taxpayers offered by Murrell, Useless and the rest of their worthless, shameless shower of SNP hacks, carpetbaggers and grifters. .

Last edited 1 year ago by Peter Joy
Tom Lewis
Tom Lewis
1 year ago

“It survived as an independent territory until the mid-16th century, when it became the last part of Great Britain to be brought under the control of a state.”

I would quibble with this, given that Clans, in the Highlands, continued until well into the 18th Century. Clans, or tribes, being autonomous, or semi-autonomous, groupings, in places where the rule of central authority has no, or little, grasp. The death of which, was the building of roads (not battles) off of the back of the Jacobite rebellions. Quite understandable though, why an author might want to ‘big’ up, and take pride, in his local area (speaking as a descendant, probably, of one of those people banished to Ireland).

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Tom Lewis

The Battle of Dalnaspidal 1654, completed the Cromwellian Conquest of Scotland.
Had the Commonwealth continued we would have heard little from the Highlands, controlled as they would have been from the great fortress at Inverness.
However thanks to the treachery of Monk they ‘revived’ only to be destroyed, as they so richly deserved at Culloden ninety or so years later.

Chris Wheatley
Chris Wheatley
1 year ago

And stood against them proud Edward’s army
And sent him homeward to think again.

Gordon Black
Gordon Black
1 year ago
Reply to  Chris Wheatley

…and he thought again and came back and blootered us ,,,

D Glover
D Glover
1 year ago
Reply to  Gordon Black

No, his son Edward III did, at Halidon Hill, 1333.

D Glover
D Glover
1 year ago
Reply to  Gordon Black

No, his son Edward III did, at Halidon Hill, 1333.

Gordon Black
Gordon Black
1 year ago
Reply to  Chris Wheatley

…and he thought again and came back and blootered us ,,,

Tom Lewis
Tom Lewis
1 year ago

I confess, I know very little of Cromwell’s, or his fan clubs, efforts in the North of Scotland, something I should remedy, sooner rather than later. I suspect even Cromwell would have struggled to dominate the Highlands, not because it wasn’t possible, given the brutish times, but because, as with the Romans on, it just wasn’t worth the candle, financially or politically.

Peter Joy
Peter Joy
1 year ago

Yep: Worcester, Dunbar, Inverkeithing and then that: the New Model Army repeatedly went through Scots forces like a hot knife through butter.

Last edited 1 year ago by Peter Joy
Chris Wheatley
Chris Wheatley
1 year ago

And stood against them proud Edward’s army
And sent him homeward to think again.

Tom Lewis
Tom Lewis
1 year ago

I confess, I know very little of Cromwell’s, or his fan clubs, efforts in the North of Scotland, something I should remedy, sooner rather than later. I suspect even Cromwell would have struggled to dominate the Highlands, not because it wasn’t possible, given the brutish times, but because, as with the Romans on, it just wasn’t worth the candle, financially or politically.

Peter Joy
Peter Joy
1 year ago

Yep: Worcester, Dunbar, Inverkeithing and then that: the New Model Army repeatedly went through Scots forces like a hot knife through butter.

Last edited 1 year ago by Peter Joy
CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Tom Lewis

The Battle of Dalnaspidal 1654, completed the Cromwellian Conquest of Scotland.
Had the Commonwealth continued we would have heard little from the Highlands, controlled as they would have been from the great fortress at Inverness.
However thanks to the treachery of Monk they ‘revived’ only to be destroyed, as they so richly deserved at Culloden ninety or so years later.

Tom Lewis
Tom Lewis
1 year ago

“It survived as an independent territory until the mid-16th century, when it became the last part of Great Britain to be brought under the control of a state.”

I would quibble with this, given that Clans, in the Highlands, continued until well into the 18th Century. Clans, or tribes, being autonomous, or semi-autonomous, groupings, in places where the rule of central authority has no, or little, grasp. The death of which, was the building of roads (not battles) off of the back of the Jacobite rebellions. Quite understandable though, why an author might want to ‘big’ up, and take pride, in his local area (speaking as a descendant, probably, of one of those people banished to Ireland).

Reginald Duquesnoy
Reginald Duquesnoy
1 year ago

As a Frenchman, I enjoyed your books on France, though apparently “Serious historians”(?) found fault with them. But discovering France on a bike over many years seems a most meritorious and appropriate method to me.
I will not venture in on the thistle debate. Qui s’y frotte, s’y pique!

Reginald Duquesnoy
Reginald Duquesnoy
1 year ago

As a Frenchman, I enjoyed your books on France, though apparently “Serious historians”(?) found fault with them. But discovering France on a bike over many years seems a most meritorious and appropriate method to me.
I will not venture in on the thistle debate. Qui s’y frotte, s’y pique!

Samuel Gee
Samuel Gee
1 year ago

“I could understand the Scots’ frustration with oblivious, snooty, Scots-baiting politicians and commentators (the kind who attached sub-racist labels such as “dour”, “canny” and “thrifty” to an entire population). But I was surprised to find similar ignorance in Scotland.”

But then you just did that yourself by implying that Scots were more informed than the English and were surprised by their ignorance on this matter.

It’s tricky this stereotyping stuff innit?

Samuel Gee
Samuel Gee
1 year ago

“I could understand the Scots’ frustration with oblivious, snooty, Scots-baiting politicians and commentators (the kind who attached sub-racist labels such as “dour”, “canny” and “thrifty” to an entire population). But I was surprised to find similar ignorance in Scotland.”

But then you just did that yourself by implying that Scots were more informed than the English and were surprised by their ignorance on this matter.

It’s tricky this stereotyping stuff innit?

Richard Slack
Richard Slack
1 year ago

Speaking to those I know in Scotland the opinion would be “If the Tories will the next General Election then independence is the only course of action” on the grounds that an independent Scotland might make mistakes but that is better than suffering from other people’s mistakes.
There is an irony here. The old Scottish Tory Party was either “all lairds and baillies” or bound up with the orange protestant vote. Under people like Ruth Davidson the (and with the assistance of proportional representation) the Scottish Tories had made something of a come back but they Scots are two canny to be conned by the boosterism of the likes of Johnson.

Brendan O'Leary
Brendan O'Leary
1 year ago
Reply to  Richard Slack

The SNP has been saying that at every general election.

Brendan O'Leary
Brendan O'Leary
1 year ago
Reply to  Richard Slack

The SNP has been saying that at every general election.

Richard Slack
Richard Slack
1 year ago

Speaking to those I know in Scotland the opinion would be “If the Tories will the next General Election then independence is the only course of action” on the grounds that an independent Scotland might make mistakes but that is better than suffering from other people’s mistakes.
There is an irony here. The old Scottish Tory Party was either “all lairds and baillies” or bound up with the orange protestant vote. Under people like Ruth Davidson the (and with the assistance of proportional representation) the Scottish Tories had made something of a come back but they Scots are two canny to be conned by the boosterism of the likes of Johnson.

Hilary Lowson
Hilary Lowson
1 year ago

To be honest, I did once vote for independence but knowing what I do now of the SNP & their slavish acolytes I would not do so again. Why did I vote that way? Well, I thought it would send a message to a complacent SE England, mono-focussed on London, the home counties (whatever they are?) and the so called metropolitan elite. It felt like a sort of tail wagging the dog dynamic…especially when learning how the spoils of oil had been distributed. That is if we believe the tale that Scotland should’ve been as rich as Kuwait had the spoils been divvied up fairly.
However, I was shocked, genuinely and deeply, when I realised how many Scots had never been to England other than to hang around Heathrow, Gatwick or Luton enroute to warm holiday destinations. Thus, their assumption that the ‘posh rich English’ (yes, that is a common descriptor) were everywhere, playing cricket, hunting, mocking Scots accents, having separate bank holidays (while the Scots had to work), talking posh, refusing our bank notes & other confused & confusing stuff – too much to mention – but some based on fact, some, like in this article, based on wishful thinking, misunderstanding of history & ignoring the bulk of England that’s not the ‘home counties’. That’s not to say grievances are not real or valid but also, it should stated, with political will, could be very easily resolved. That’s what is needed to preserve the union. As a US gent wrote earlier, it’s absurd that this tiny rocky, Atlantic archipelago cannot sustain us all in unity and some sort of harmony. And quickly before we’re a laughing stock, if we aren’t already, or before the SNP bankrupt us.

Hilary Lowson
Hilary Lowson
1 year ago

To be honest, I did once vote for independence but knowing what I do now of the SNP & their slavish acolytes I would not do so again. Why did I vote that way? Well, I thought it would send a message to a complacent SE England, mono-focussed on London, the home counties (whatever they are?) and the so called metropolitan elite. It felt like a sort of tail wagging the dog dynamic…especially when learning how the spoils of oil had been distributed. That is if we believe the tale that Scotland should’ve been as rich as Kuwait had the spoils been divvied up fairly.
However, I was shocked, genuinely and deeply, when I realised how many Scots had never been to England other than to hang around Heathrow, Gatwick or Luton enroute to warm holiday destinations. Thus, their assumption that the ‘posh rich English’ (yes, that is a common descriptor) were everywhere, playing cricket, hunting, mocking Scots accents, having separate bank holidays (while the Scots had to work), talking posh, refusing our bank notes & other confused & confusing stuff – too much to mention – but some based on fact, some, like in this article, based on wishful thinking, misunderstanding of history & ignoring the bulk of England that’s not the ‘home counties’. That’s not to say grievances are not real or valid but also, it should stated, with political will, could be very easily resolved. That’s what is needed to preserve the union. As a US gent wrote earlier, it’s absurd that this tiny rocky, Atlantic archipelago cannot sustain us all in unity and some sort of harmony. And quickly before we’re a laughing stock, if we aren’t already, or before the SNP bankrupt us.

Louise Henson
Louise Henson
1 year ago

‘The nationalist incarnation of Robert the Bruce was unrecognisable as the ambitious Anglo-Norman landowner whose father was born in Essex…’
I have pointed out in the past that Bruce was not in any real sense a Scotsman but an ambitious yet pragmatic Norman/Englishman who succeeded because of those charactersistics. No other King of Scots ever managed to bind Scotland into a single nation; unlike Bruce they were not willing to embrace their enemies for the sake of the national good. And although the nats insist Bruce was born at Turnberry his birthplace is not actually known and could just as easily have been Hertfordshire or Essex, like his father. And he certainly spent much of his youth at the court of Edward I. It was the Anglo/Norman culture, not Scots, that shaped him.

Louise Henson
Louise Henson
1 year ago

‘The nationalist incarnation of Robert the Bruce was unrecognisable as the ambitious Anglo-Norman landowner whose father was born in Essex…’
I have pointed out in the past that Bruce was not in any real sense a Scotsman but an ambitious yet pragmatic Norman/Englishman who succeeded because of those charactersistics. No other King of Scots ever managed to bind Scotland into a single nation; unlike Bruce they were not willing to embrace their enemies for the sake of the national good. And although the nats insist Bruce was born at Turnberry his birthplace is not actually known and could just as easily have been Hertfordshire or Essex, like his father. And he certainly spent much of his youth at the court of Edward I. It was the Anglo/Norman culture, not Scots, that shaped him.

Frank McCusker
Frank McCusker
1 year ago

Why “must” they?
All these historicist justifications one way or another are all nerdy academic bollocks which have no bearing on real world political dynamics. 
If a region wants to go it alone, have it at and best of luck.
There’ll always be some sensible-shoes type telling you about their derived realities, and about how immutable things are, and what you mustn’t do.
I disagree profoundly with Brexit, but I’d always defend the right in principle of any Brexiter to go it alone.
Rank hypocrisy to tell the Scots they can’t do similar.  

Michael Davis
Michael Davis
1 year ago
Reply to  Frank McCusker

Nobody’s denying Scotland their independence if they vote for it. Unfortunately fairness requires a gap between votes. If we have a vote every year Remain has to win every year. Leave only has to get lucky once., probably by giving babes in arms and pets the vote
That is why you can’t have a Neverendum,

j watson
j watson
1 year ago
Reply to  Michael Davis

It’s an interesting point – how long between referendums on same issue might be reasonable? Context perhaps that currently max term between General Elections is 5yrs.

Chris Wheatley
Chris Wheatley
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

The Welsh Assembly pays for about 6 YouGov polls every year to ask the independence question. One poll gave 30% Yes and they all wet themselves.

Dustin Needle
Dustin Needle
1 year ago
Reply to  Chris Wheatley

The trouble with Opinion Polls is that they are like the equivalent of a protest vote. They generate way too much hysteria. The “X” in the box on polling day is the one where you concentrate your mind on loss of UK transfers, change of currency for your pension pot and the reality that within the EU your voice will be shouting for attention amongst other poor nations.
As for j watson’s point – a once in a generation test seems reasonable, but some track record of competence in a devolved situation must surely be a pre-requisite? Obama’s cheap Brexit dig about “not letting a friend drive drunk” seems particularly apposite when talking about Scottish Independence.

Andrew F
Andrew F
1 year ago
Reply to  Dustin Needle

So let’s have your test.
Tell Scots to have 5 years without Barnett formula money and then have referendum on independence.
Happy to bet that support will be well below 40%
What we have now is permanent grievance of Scots about xyz while being well overepresented in uk public life.
I had experience of it while working in computer security.
All the Scots very keen on independence till you pointed out that they would have no job when it happened.
Because no sensible UK government would employ foreign nationals in security sensitive area.

j watson
j watson
1 year ago
Reply to  Andrew F

Obviously not a practical approach that would get agreed but certainly something in the sentiment.
Three related and prompted thoughts – firstly cold logic not always the driver and I sometimes think the more England tells Scots what’s best for them the more likely the emotional response of ‘we’re off then’.
Secondly a v obvious parallel with Brexit here. Perhaps your approach should have been trialled with that too. Slightly different issues but the same principle.
Finally re: security – the position of our Nuc sub fleet and Faslane would be a major issue post any Scottish independence. We don’t have clear-cut English alternatives easily sellable to the new co-location residents. But one in amongst many defence/security imponderables.

j watson
j watson
1 year ago
Reply to  Andrew F

Obviously not a practical approach that would get agreed but certainly something in the sentiment.
Three related and prompted thoughts – firstly cold logic not always the driver and I sometimes think the more England tells Scots what’s best for them the more likely the emotional response of ‘we’re off then’.
Secondly a v obvious parallel with Brexit here. Perhaps your approach should have been trialled with that too. Slightly different issues but the same principle.
Finally re: security – the position of our Nuc sub fleet and Faslane would be a major issue post any Scottish independence. We don’t have clear-cut English alternatives easily sellable to the new co-location residents. But one in amongst many defence/security imponderables.

Andrew F
Andrew F
1 year ago
Reply to  Dustin Needle

So let’s have your test.
Tell Scots to have 5 years without Barnett formula money and then have referendum on independence.
Happy to bet that support will be well below 40%
What we have now is permanent grievance of Scots about xyz while being well overepresented in uk public life.
I had experience of it while working in computer security.
All the Scots very keen on independence till you pointed out that they would have no job when it happened.
Because no sensible UK government would employ foreign nationals in security sensitive area.

Dustin Needle
Dustin Needle
1 year ago
Reply to  Chris Wheatley

The trouble with Opinion Polls is that they are like the equivalent of a protest vote. They generate way too much hysteria. The “X” in the box on polling day is the one where you concentrate your mind on loss of UK transfers, change of currency for your pension pot and the reality that within the EU your voice will be shouting for attention amongst other poor nations.
As for j watson’s point – a once in a generation test seems reasonable, but some track record of competence in a devolved situation must surely be a pre-requisite? Obama’s cheap Brexit dig about “not letting a friend drive drunk” seems particularly apposite when talking about Scottish Independence.

Chris Wheatley
Chris Wheatley
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

The Welsh Assembly pays for about 6 YouGov polls every year to ask the independence question. One poll gave 30% Yes and they all wet themselves.

Frank Carney
Frank Carney
1 year ago
Reply to  Michael Davis

A question I often ask but don’t usually get an answer to: if there is a country, formally constituted and recognised, which encompasses 67 million people, why do 5.5 million who happen to live in one relatively small portion of it get to decide the future of that entire country? Shouldn’t the other 61.5 million also have a say in its future?
In my view this is not a debate about ‘independence’. That is a misnomer since we are actually talking about the dissolution of a legal union. It is about separation not independence. Rendered in that, more accurate, way it might make the SNP’s position a little less mystical and a bit more…sobering.

Last edited 1 year ago by Frank Carney
j watson
j watson
1 year ago
Reply to  Michael Davis

It’s an interesting point – how long between referendums on same issue might be reasonable? Context perhaps that currently max term between General Elections is 5yrs.

Frank Carney
Frank Carney
1 year ago
Reply to  Michael Davis

A question I often ask but don’t usually get an answer to: if there is a country, formally constituted and recognised, which encompasses 67 million people, why do 5.5 million who happen to live in one relatively small portion of it get to decide the future of that entire country? Shouldn’t the other 61.5 million also have a say in its future?
In my view this is not a debate about ‘independence’. That is a misnomer since we are actually talking about the dissolution of a legal union. It is about separation not independence. Rendered in that, more accurate, way it might make the SNP’s position a little less mystical and a bit more…sobering.

Last edited 1 year ago by Frank Carney
Dougie Undersub
Dougie Undersub
1 year ago
Reply to  Frank McCusker

The argument for Brexit, i.e. sovereignty rather than immigration, certainly applies to Scottish independence. So, as a Leaver and a Unionist I have to address that apparent disconnect.
It’s actually quite easy. England and Scotland have a centuries long history of cooperation and achievement. The UK and continental Europe have a history of ever shifting alliances and conflicts.
Not to mention the practical difficulties. If it’s been hard to disentangle us from 45 years of EU membership, imagine how much more difficult disentangling four centuries of intermarrying, intermingling and interlocking of our economies and institutions would be.

Dustin Needle
Dustin Needle
1 year ago

Thanks Dougie, well summarised. I too have similar contradictions.

Peter Joy
Peter Joy
1 year ago

Well, actually England and Scotland have ‘a history of ever shifting alliances and conflicts’ (Scotland invading England on multiple occasions in support of France) that dates from pre-Norman times right up to 1746.

Last edited 1 year ago by Peter Joy
Dustin Needle
Dustin Needle
1 year ago

Thanks Dougie, well summarised. I too have similar contradictions.

Peter Joy
Peter Joy
1 year ago

Well, actually England and Scotland have ‘a history of ever shifting alliances and conflicts’ (Scotland invading England on multiple occasions in support of France) that dates from pre-Norman times right up to 1746.

Last edited 1 year ago by Peter Joy
Michael Davis
Michael Davis
1 year ago
Reply to  Frank McCusker

Nobody’s denying Scotland their independence if they vote for it. Unfortunately fairness requires a gap between votes. If we have a vote every year Remain has to win every year. Leave only has to get lucky once., probably by giving babes in arms and pets the vote
That is why you can’t have a Neverendum,

Dougie Undersub
Dougie Undersub
1 year ago
Reply to  Frank McCusker

The argument for Brexit, i.e. sovereignty rather than immigration, certainly applies to Scottish independence. So, as a Leaver and a Unionist I have to address that apparent disconnect.
It’s actually quite easy. England and Scotland have a centuries long history of cooperation and achievement. The UK and continental Europe have a history of ever shifting alliances and conflicts.
Not to mention the practical difficulties. If it’s been hard to disentangle us from 45 years of EU membership, imagine how much more difficult disentangling four centuries of intermarrying, intermingling and interlocking of our economies and institutions would be.

Frank McCusker
Frank McCusker
1 year ago

Why “must” they?
All these historicist justifications one way or another are all nerdy academic bollocks which have no bearing on real world political dynamics. 
If a region wants to go it alone, have it at and best of luck.
There’ll always be some sensible-shoes type telling you about their derived realities, and about how immutable things are, and what you mustn’t do.
I disagree profoundly with Brexit, but I’d always defend the right in principle of any Brexiter to go it alone.
Rank hypocrisy to tell the Scots they can’t do similar.  

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
1 year ago

Don’t try and dance The Gay Gordon… you’ll be executed…

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
1 year ago

Don’t try and dance The Gay Gordon… you’ll be executed…

Alphonse Pfarti
Alphonse Pfarti
1 year ago

I thoroughly enjoyed this article. Despite some knowledge of the Border Reivers, I had never heard of the Debatable Land. Rather enjoyed the author noting all the well worn tropes of dourness, meanness, etc., before presenting his own encounter with another well known Scottish stereotype: the belligerent simmering oaf with a bright reid coupon.

Alphonse Pfarti
Alphonse Pfarti
1 year ago

I thoroughly enjoyed this article. Despite some knowledge of the Border Reivers, I had never heard of the Debatable Land. Rather enjoyed the author noting all the well worn tropes of dourness, meanness, etc., before presenting his own encounter with another well known Scottish stereotype: the belligerent simmering oaf with a bright reid coupon.

Phineas Bury
Phineas Bury
1 year ago

An irony is that the Scots who were moved to Northern Ireland now want to stay in the UK whereas the SNP want to leave. They share the desire of the Irish Republic to be in the EU which in turn encourages a united Ireland a la Windsor agreement.

Gordon Black
Gordon Black
1 year ago
Reply to  Phineas Bury

Yes, a million or so constitutional monarchists in Ireland with British fealty and a million or so republicans in Britain with Irish fealty … Swap?

Alphonse Pfarti
Alphonse Pfarti
1 year ago
Reply to  Gordon Black

Excellent idea.

Alphonse Pfarti
Alphonse Pfarti
1 year ago
Reply to  Gordon Black

Excellent idea.

Gordon Black
Gordon Black
1 year ago
Reply to  Phineas Bury

Yes, a million or so constitutional monarchists in Ireland with British fealty and a million or so republicans in Britain with Irish fealty … Swap?

Phineas Bury
Phineas Bury
1 year ago

An irony is that the Scots who were moved to Northern Ireland now want to stay in the UK whereas the SNP want to leave. They share the desire of the Irish Republic to be in the EU which in turn encourages a united Ireland a la Windsor agreement.

Adrian Smith
Adrian Smith
1 year ago

The key outcome of the study of history should be to avoid repeating its mistakes in the future. It should not be about correcting past perceived injustices, which are always just a matter of perspective.
Thus the key question should be: could / would an independent Scotland effect the “day to day business of government” to produce better outcomes for the people of Scotland than being part of the United Kingdom?
Fortunately though its leadership of a devolved Scotland the SNP has answered that question very clearly: NO!
All the nonsense about minor differences in COVID rules were a pathetic attempt to prove the answer was yes and the self ID disaster was more of the same distraction therapy from the largely self inflicted real day to day problems in Scotland for which the SNP has no answer and has just made worse.

Adrian Smith
Adrian Smith
1 year ago

The key outcome of the study of history should be to avoid repeating its mistakes in the future. It should not be about correcting past perceived injustices, which are always just a matter of perspective.
Thus the key question should be: could / would an independent Scotland effect the “day to day business of government” to produce better outcomes for the people of Scotland than being part of the United Kingdom?
Fortunately though its leadership of a devolved Scotland the SNP has answered that question very clearly: NO!
All the nonsense about minor differences in COVID rules were a pathetic attempt to prove the answer was yes and the self ID disaster was more of the same distraction therapy from the largely self inflicted real day to day problems in Scotland for which the SNP has no answer and has just made worse.

Chris Parkins
Chris Parkins
1 year ago

If the Scots do ultimately vote for independence it will be a decision based on feelings and emotion, regardless of how many facts demonstrating how much worse off they will be are presented. Just like when the English voted for Brexit.

Andrew F
Andrew F
1 year ago
Reply to  Chris Parkins

Possibly, but UK was net contributor to EU coffers.
While providing employment opportunities for unemployed of Europe.
Scotland is heavily subsidised by English taxpayers like me.
So, completely different situation.

Andrew F
Andrew F
1 year ago
Reply to  Chris Parkins

Possibly, but UK was net contributor to EU coffers.
While providing employment opportunities for unemployed of Europe.
Scotland is heavily subsidised by English taxpayers like me.
So, completely different situation.

Chris Parkins
Chris Parkins
1 year ago

If the Scots do ultimately vote for independence it will be a decision based on feelings and emotion, regardless of how many facts demonstrating how much worse off they will be are presented. Just like when the English voted for Brexit.

Benjamin Jones
Benjamin Jones
1 year ago

I had heard of the Debatable lands. I caught a TV programme about it late one night while I was laid up on the sofa with a broken foot. There are a few videos on YouTube on the subject about this fascinating subject.

Benjamin Jones
Benjamin Jones
1 year ago

I had heard of the Debatable lands. I caught a TV programme about it late one night while I was laid up on the sofa with a broken foot. There are a few videos on YouTube on the subject about this fascinating subject.

James Kirk
James Kirk
1 year ago

i’ve been to Scotland enough times that I don’t recognise the picture the MSM paints to the world. I’ve been in far less friendly parts of England and Wales. There’s a meme doing the rounds with two images, 1960s Peter Fonda and Denis Hopper on two big Harleys vs 2020s two rather weedy ‘sensitive’ male specimens sharing an electric scooter. Is this now Scotland?

James Kirk
James Kirk
1 year ago

i’ve been to Scotland enough times that I don’t recognise the picture the MSM paints to the world. I’ve been in far less friendly parts of England and Wales. There’s a meme doing the rounds with two images, 1960s Peter Fonda and Denis Hopper on two big Harleys vs 2020s two rather weedy ‘sensitive’ male specimens sharing an electric scooter. Is this now Scotland?

Julian Hartley
Julian Hartley
1 year ago

This morning, I had no idea that Graham Robb existed. Now I do, and how good it is to have such a person living and writing with us!

dmull1314
dmull1314
1 year ago

I can’t believe this was written with complete seriousness

Roddy Campbell
Roddy Campbell
1 year ago
Reply to  dmull1314

Expand please.

Roddy Campbell
Roddy Campbell
1 year ago
Reply to  dmull1314

Expand please.

dmull1314
dmull1314
1 year ago

I can’t believe this was written with complete seriousness

j watson
j watson
1 year ago

Scottish Nationalism and drive for Independence has so many similarities to the Brexit/Take Back Control psycho-babble inflicted on the UK. The same historical rose tinted distortions and ignorance. The same juvenile understanding of democratic deficits and the functioning of the modern world. The same naivety about repercussions. The same focus on the wrong things important to the daily life of folks. The same desire to punch someone to blame on the nose only to realise to realise you’ve just punched yourself by mistake.
The intriguing thing is the Scots had just enough sense to not vote for it last time, whereas the English charged straight ahead with their equivalent in 2016 and into the subsequent mire. SNP been grappling with that evidence of subsequent shambles ever since and no chance of Scottish majority not recognising this obvious lesson. At least one Brexit dividend.

Ben Jones
Ben Jones
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

Ah, the interminable Venn diagram of the Remainer, whereby everything (and I mean everything) overlaps with the pantomime villain of Brexit.

stephen archer
stephen archer
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

The downticks seem to represent the irrational mentality of the Brexiteer/Remainer chasm. I see nothing in the comment to warrant the clicks when what is said seems reasonable in terms of comparisons.

Michael Davis
Michael Davis
1 year ago
Reply to  stephen archer

Maybe it’s the abuse directed at Brexiters

j watson
j watson
1 year ago
Reply to  Michael Davis

Pointing our fallacies I appreciate can be interpreted as abuse, esp if wanting to paint oneself as a victim. Which given the preponderance of strong advocating Brexiteers who also pretty anti-woke/anti snowflake is a remarkable psychological concurrence.

Last edited 1 year ago by j watson
stephen archer
stephen archer
1 year ago
Reply to  Michael Davis

That’s a very broad and misleading definition of abuse, having read his text again, and I’m not one or the other. My downticks just exemplify the pathetic nature of some commenters. And while I’m at it, what happened to the ÂŁ300M the UK was going to save and plow into the NHS?

Last edited 1 year ago by stephen archer
j watson
j watson
1 year ago
Reply to  Michael Davis

Pointing our fallacies I appreciate can be interpreted as abuse, esp if wanting to paint oneself as a victim. Which given the preponderance of strong advocating Brexiteers who also pretty anti-woke/anti snowflake is a remarkable psychological concurrence.

Last edited 1 year ago by j watson
stephen archer
stephen archer
1 year ago
Reply to  Michael Davis

That’s a very broad and misleading definition of abuse, having read his text again, and I’m not one or the other. My downticks just exemplify the pathetic nature of some commenters. And while I’m at it, what happened to the ÂŁ300M the UK was going to save and plow into the NHS?

Last edited 1 year ago by stephen archer
Peter Joy
Peter Joy
1 year ago
Reply to  stephen archer

Have another then, ducksplash.

Michael Davis
Michael Davis
1 year ago
Reply to  stephen archer

Maybe it’s the abuse directed at Brexiters

Peter Joy
Peter Joy
1 year ago
Reply to  stephen archer

Have another then, ducksplash.

Sam Hill
Sam Hill
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

I’m not buying this. If here your argument is that is was wrong of David Cameron (and Parliament) to proceed with a referendum on the assumption that REMAIN was the only possible outcome then I’m with you. If your argument is that there was no reasonable expectation that the UK (or any other state) would leave then I would gently posit that you need to rethink. What other possible purpose is there to A50 if not to envisage a state leaving. Indeed A50 makes no requirement that a state have a reason to leave. Those who worked on the basis that the EU was permanent are as guilty of naivety as was David Cameron. That referendum could have been held at just about any point since 1992 and would have resulted in a LEAVE outcome. In a democracy it can’t just be glossed over – if anything it is ‘juvenile’ to gloss over it.
The error I think you make is in the use of this term, ‘democratic deficit.’ There is indeed no democratic deficit in the Finer type Man on Horseback sense. There is however a very real constitutional deficit. That constitutional deficit where anything any anything can be irreversibly brought into the ambit of the EU institutions and EU integrationist interests irrespective of future electorates’ wishes was one of the stronger LEAVE arguments.
The euro of course showed and continues to show how far from theoretical the risks of the constitutional deficit are. Neofunctionalism it turns out was right all along.
You talk about the, ‘repercussions.’ This in my view highlights one of the more serious problems of the EU we have. This was essentially capitalism being fantastic for those with capital. Even if the economic argument had not been thoroughly aired during the referendum it would not change the fundamental point. The EU is ‘good for the economy’ in the sense that term is a proxy for, ‘good for those who own and control the economy.’ What the EU has been about for decades is the pursuit of what may be termed an ‘open agenda.’ Open to barely-regulated flows of people, capital, goods and the like all reified by a cadre of people who have the lightest of brushes with a ballot box. I have, of course no doubt that the politicians who signed those treaties had in mind the idea that it was all permanent and worked on that basis. It is I suspect telling how few of them ever spelled that out explicitly to the voters.
There is no reason that Scotland can not go independent. Large parts of Eastern Europe went independent in far tougher circumstances than Scotland will ever face. Whether Scotland is ready for the single currency and all it entails is rather another question.
But please – ‘psycho-babble.’ These were very serious questions and the high handed dismissal of very real problems over decades as psycho-babble is exactly what got REMAIN into trouble in 2016, and very rightly so.

Chris Wheatley
Chris Wheatley
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

Quoting Michelle Dewberry yesterday, “There is little bit of sniffiness coming from those people (Remainers) who think that the population was too thick to understand.” She went on to say that people refrain from voting because the issues don’t involve them personally. In the case of Brexit they came out in their droves and defeated the clever bas**rds who knew better. ( I changed the words slightly because it was TV programme after all.)

Last edited 1 year ago by Chris Wheatley
Brendan O'Leary
Brendan O'Leary
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

Scotland has more direct say into the governing of the UK then the UK ever had into the EU, whose parliament is largely window dressing.

Ben Jones
Ben Jones
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

Ah, the interminable Venn diagram of the Remainer, whereby everything (and I mean everything) overlaps with the pantomime villain of Brexit.

stephen archer
stephen archer
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

The downticks seem to represent the irrational mentality of the Brexiteer/Remainer chasm. I see nothing in the comment to warrant the clicks when what is said seems reasonable in terms of comparisons.

Sam Hill
Sam Hill
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

I’m not buying this. If here your argument is that is was wrong of David Cameron (and Parliament) to proceed with a referendum on the assumption that REMAIN was the only possible outcome then I’m with you. If your argument is that there was no reasonable expectation that the UK (or any other state) would leave then I would gently posit that you need to rethink. What other possible purpose is there to A50 if not to envisage a state leaving. Indeed A50 makes no requirement that a state have a reason to leave. Those who worked on the basis that the EU was permanent are as guilty of naivety as was David Cameron. That referendum could have been held at just about any point since 1992 and would have resulted in a LEAVE outcome. In a democracy it can’t just be glossed over – if anything it is ‘juvenile’ to gloss over it.
The error I think you make is in the use of this term, ‘democratic deficit.’ There is indeed no democratic deficit in the Finer type Man on Horseback sense. There is however a very real constitutional deficit. That constitutional deficit where anything any anything can be irreversibly brought into the ambit of the EU institutions and EU integrationist interests irrespective of future electorates’ wishes was one of the stronger LEAVE arguments.
The euro of course showed and continues to show how far from theoretical the risks of the constitutional deficit are. Neofunctionalism it turns out was right all along.
You talk about the, ‘repercussions.’ This in my view highlights one of the more serious problems of the EU we have. This was essentially capitalism being fantastic for those with capital. Even if the economic argument had not been thoroughly aired during the referendum it would not change the fundamental point. The EU is ‘good for the economy’ in the sense that term is a proxy for, ‘good for those who own and control the economy.’ What the EU has been about for decades is the pursuit of what may be termed an ‘open agenda.’ Open to barely-regulated flows of people, capital, goods and the like all reified by a cadre of people who have the lightest of brushes with a ballot box. I have, of course no doubt that the politicians who signed those treaties had in mind the idea that it was all permanent and worked on that basis. It is I suspect telling how few of them ever spelled that out explicitly to the voters.
There is no reason that Scotland can not go independent. Large parts of Eastern Europe went independent in far tougher circumstances than Scotland will ever face. Whether Scotland is ready for the single currency and all it entails is rather another question.
But please – ‘psycho-babble.’ These were very serious questions and the high handed dismissal of very real problems over decades as psycho-babble is exactly what got REMAIN into trouble in 2016, and very rightly so.

Chris Wheatley
Chris Wheatley
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

Quoting Michelle Dewberry yesterday, “There is little bit of sniffiness coming from those people (Remainers) who think that the population was too thick to understand.” She went on to say that people refrain from voting because the issues don’t involve them personally. In the case of Brexit they came out in their droves and defeated the clever bas**rds who knew better. ( I changed the words slightly because it was TV programme after all.)

Last edited 1 year ago by Chris Wheatley
Brendan O'Leary
Brendan O'Leary
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

Scotland has more direct say into the governing of the UK then the UK ever had into the EU, whose parliament is largely window dressing.

j watson
j watson
1 year ago

Scottish Nationalism and drive for Independence has so many similarities to the Brexit/Take Back Control psycho-babble inflicted on the UK. The same historical rose tinted distortions and ignorance. The same juvenile understanding of democratic deficits and the functioning of the modern world. The same naivety about repercussions. The same focus on the wrong things important to the daily life of folks. The same desire to punch someone to blame on the nose only to realise to realise you’ve just punched yourself by mistake.
The intriguing thing is the Scots had just enough sense to not vote for it last time, whereas the English charged straight ahead with their equivalent in 2016 and into the subsequent mire. SNP been grappling with that evidence of subsequent shambles ever since and no chance of Scottish majority not recognising this obvious lesson. At least one Brexit dividend.