Where We Are, And Where We’re Going

bettertogethereu-1

“So that’s it, then? We’re leaving the EU, the single market, the customs union, all that.”

“That’s right.”

“But Scotland voted Remain.”

“No, the UK voted Leave. Scotland voted No, therefore, chose to abide by UK-wide decisions – including the EU referendum.”

“Voting to stay in the UK doesn’t mean voting for Scotland to be treated as a region, and have its democratic mandate ignored.”

“Well, you should’ve voted Yes then, shouldn’t you?”

“But you told us that voting Yes meant we would be leaving the EU.”

“That’s right.”

“So if we wanted to stay in the EU, we were to vote No.”

“Yup.”

“So we voted No, but ended up being taken out of the EU anyway.”

“Aye.”

“So if we voted Yes, we’d be out of the EU. If we voted No, we’d be out of the EU. So you’re basically saying that Scotland has no way of staying in the EU, even though we voted 62% to Remain?”

“Correct.”

“Even though dozens of EU ministers, officials, and politicians have outright stated that if Scotland wanted to stay, it could stay?”

“Ah, but Spain and Belgium-“

“If Spain, Belgium, or any of the 27 countries were serious about preventing Scotland from retaining or regaining EU membership, then why are so many EU politicians, ministers, and officials saying Scotland could stay? Why would they say Scotland could stay if there was a possibility we could not?

“Ah, but the deficit-“

“The same applies. If the deficit was a barrier to Scotland retaining or regaining EU membership, then why are so many EU politicians, ministers, and officials saying Scotland could stay?

“But, but, all the separatist movements”

“Everything you say – anything you say – does not address that simple question. If Scotland could not retain or regain EU membership – whether it’s because of vetoes, deficits, or fears of separatist movements – then why are so many EU politicians, ministers, and officials saying Scotland can stay?

“Why don’t you respect democracy? The UK voted to leave the EU, and you don’t want to: Scotland voted to stay in the UK, and you want to Leave!”

“If England & Wales want to leave the EU based on a vote compromised by a gerrymandered franchise, that’s their business – just as if Scotland, Northern Ireland, and Gibraltar want to Remain in that same vote. The people of Scotland voted for a party with an explicit manifesto commitment to hold a second independence referendum in these exact circumstances.”

“But we were voting as Britain, not England, Scotland, Wales & Northern Ireland!”

“That’s not what you told us during the independence referendum: it was all about being a Partnership of Equals; of Scotland leading, not leaving, the UK; of solidarity with the people of England and Wales without sacrificing our distinct Scottish identity. By saying we’re voting as if Britain is one nation, you’re refuting your own arguments about this “family of nations.””

“So you’d just swap London rule for Brussels rule?”

“The EU doesn’t pretend to be a country. The UK didn’t have to get permission to hold a referendum. Brussels didn’t control the UK’s media coverage through the entirety of the campaign. Stop trying to pretend the UK and the EU are the same – otherwise, why would you favour one and not the other?”

“Why are you so against British independence, you hypocrite?”

The UK has never been anything but independent. Don’t confuse empire and dominion with sovereignty and self-determination.”

“Och, why don’t you just get on with it and hold indyref2 already?”

“Don’t mind if we do. You’re welcome to join us.”

Let’s Do The Time Warp Again

therealalancochrane

Let’s play a wee game.

I’m going to take some statements, like this, from The Telegraph’s latest editorial:

After the Brexit vote last June, Miss Sturgeon said another independence vote was inevitable; now she has backed away because she knows she would lose it and scupper the separatist cause for generations. If she really has the interests of her fellow Scots at heart then she would drop this empty threat and help Mrs May deliver a Brexit in the interests of the entire nation, Scotland included.

Some of these statements may have been taken in the past year, in the wake of the First Minister reasserting her existing position regarding a second independence referendum, and her direct interaction with several prominent individuals in the European Union. Some may be from prominent supporters of Scotland as part of the UK; some may be from supporters of Scottish independence. Some of them may have been altered to replace Alex Salmond with Nicola Sturgeon, and are taken not from this week, but years ago.

Can you tell who said these things, and when?

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Rough Wooing

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In December 1543, Henry VII of England declared war on the kingdom of Scotland, ostensibly because King James refused to break with Roman Catholicism as Henry did. In actuality, it was the just latest in a series of attempts by would-be Kings of All Britain to annex or outright destroy the other nations of the isles.

William Ferguson was uncompromising in his appraisal of the war:

Henry VII went berserk and resolved to read the Scots a bitter lesson, one that seemed all the more necessary as England once more stood on the brink of war with France. On 10th April 1544 the Earl of Hertford was accordingly instructed to ravage Scotland where he was to “put all to fire and sword, burn Edinburgh town, so rased and defaced when you have sacked and gotten what you can of it, as there may remain forever a perpetual memory of the vengeance of God lightened upon them for their falsehood and disloyalty. Hertford doubted the wisdom of such orders, but his mild protests were brushed aside; and though Henry VIII’s last campaigns against Scotland are usually jocularly dismissed with the Protector Somerset’s under the nuckname of ‘the Rough Wooing’, they were in fact the most savage and devastating of the numerous English invasions of Scotland. In the course of them many of the leading towns of Scotland were sacked and burned, and so were the chief border abbeys and many churches. English policy was simply to pulverise Scotland, to beat her either into acquiescence or out of existence, and Hertford’s campaigns resemble nothing so much as Nazi total warfare – ‘blitzkrieg’, reign of terror, extermination of all resisters, the encouragement of collaborators, and so on.
Scotland’s Relations with England: A Survey to 1707

The conflict was initially called the Eight (or Nine) Years’ War, but Henry’s proposal that his son Edward should marry the infant Mary led to its popular modern name – the “rough wooing.” Because of this particularly horrid period in Anglo-Scottish relations, I have an instinctive aversion to the very term “wooing.” I can’t hear or read it without wincing, because for me, it is not a term that evokes love or romance, but political machinations and bloody conquest.

But that’s just me. I realise not everyone reads or hears the word “wooing” and immediately thinks back to the Anglo-Scottish Wars, the weirdos.

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The 1st of Chaos, 3183

It’s 1st of January 2017, or the above date in the Discordian calendar, which seems altogether more appropriate given the topsy-turvy way the world’s been of late. A lot of Scottish/independence-related anniversaries will be coming up for 2017:

There are likely many more I’m forgetting, but it’s nice to mark them after all the anniversaries of the past few years.

The Reverend Stuart Campbell has boldly proclaimed it will be “the most tedious year in Scottish politics” since Wings Over Scotland began. After a series of frighteningly accurate predictions, not to mention the utterly depressing predictability of the media and the other political parties, only a fool would challenge such a track record.

Let the fool step forward! (The fool is me, by the way)

But that can wait. For now, let’s enjoy the hopes and dreams for the future, before we get back to work.

Wasted Years

Be like the Hairy-Chested Yeti Crab of the Hydrothermal Vents

Be like the Hairy-Chested Yeti Crab of the Deep Hydrothermal Vents of Antarctica

2016 was the worst, so the meme goes. So many deaths, so much political upheaval, so many things that just went wrong. My 2016 was not unlike any of the other 32 years of my life so far: good things happened, bad things happened, some great, some terrible. But there’s always something I remember each year.

So, as with last year, I’ll look back on the top posts of this year – 16 this time, in order of publication, while linking to some of my personal favourite posts.

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