As predicted by nobody (except those who were paying attention) the European Elections were a resounding victory for Remain-supporting parties in Scotland – who won every single voting area, as well as more or less matching the EU referendum result of 62% of the vote – and an unmitigated disaster for them in the rest of the UK.
And amidst all the hand-wringing and caterwauling about what on earth the UK Remain Camp can do to solve this crisis, they actually exacerbate the problem in the process.
Folk who’ve followed my blog for a while will know I campaigned for Remain in 2016, back in those heady days where I was assured by the High Heid-Yins there was no chance Leave could possibly win, that it was all a waste of time, and even if they did win, it wouldn’t actually end up happening, because nobody actually wants the UK to leave the EU. They’ll also know that I’m willing to disagree with fellow SNP supporters who want an independent Scotland outside the EU on the basis that the people of Scotland have voted consistently in favour of remaining and remain-supporting parties.
So how do you think I feel when I see fellow EU supporters engaging in disingenuous spin like this?
Voters aren’t idiots. They know when people are being economical and obfuscating with the truth – and excluding not just the Opposition Party, but the UK Government Party from the “Leave” parties is fooling precisely no-one.
The Coalition Party has to take much of the blame for the lack of trust folk have in the Remain Camp. After all, before the election, they were happy to group both the main parties in the Leave camp:
I can’t believe I have to say this, but you cannot simultaneously claim that the two main parties are both committed to the UK leaving the EU, but not committed “enough” to count towards the Leave total. We’re not going to get anywhere if we aren’t straight with the electorate. It is, to put it mildly, a flip-flop of truly Davidsonian proportions.
The Coalition Party has form on this sort of thing (not least when it turned out voting for them in 2010 was actually a vote for David Cameron to be Prime Minister), and to be perfectly frank, I question their commitment to the EU given the ample, brutal experience of their “commitments” to accessible education, social security, civil liberties, electoral reform, and their own manifesto during the 2010-2015 Government.
This is because they are not addressing the root cause of all these problems. The Remain Camp – or, rather, the Coalition Party, who of course have claimed victory despite coming a fairly distant second UK-wide & a far 3rd in Scotland – insists on pursuing a losing strategy. Their entire argument for a second EU referendum is dependent on respecting the 2016 referendum – a referendum which we now know was hopelessly compromised by gerrymandering, dark money, disinformation, and fraud. Instead, we have the ludicrous situation where a non-binding referendum is being treated as if it was binding, except in the somewhat important dimension that if it was binding it would have been voided. Such double-think may be second nature to the Coalition Party’s elected representatives, but it’s a grievous insult to their voters.
All the other arguments are wishful thinking at best and insulting at worst. “The public’s changed their mind” suggests the public are fickle; “the public didn’t know what they were voting for” suggests the public are thick; “the winning side haven’t kept any of their promises” seems only to count for UK referendums and not others that they insist on respecting. The only way we can seriously deal with the Leave vote is acknowledge the fact that it was utterly fraudulent, hold a public enquiry, gut the entire sordid antiquated mess that is UK democracy, and hold those responsible firmly to account.
So why aren’t the Coalition Party doing this? Because they’re as deep in the mess as the main parties are. Their continued participation in the House of Lords, their own history of hypocrisy and campaigning indiscretions, and the appalling Steel/Smith scandal which they hope to simply brush under the carpet should be enough proof of that.
Said it before, I’ll say it again: we’re long past the point of no return for the UK. As soon as they decided they were OK with excluding EU nationals & 16 & 17-year-olds from a referendum that would affect them more than anyone else, the UK Parliamentarians made their bed. They’ve had 3 years to acknowledge that the EU referendum was won on the back of actual, lawbreaking fraud, and act accordingly. Switzerland’s Supreme Court just ordered a re-run of a 2016 referendum on family tax breaks, because “The incomplete and intransparent information by the government violated the freedom of vote. Keeping in mind the close result and the severe nature of the irregularities, it is possible that the outcome of the ballot could have been different.”
The vote for the UK to leave the EU which unambiguously won in England & Wales on Thursday, tainted as it is by billionaires pretending to be champions of the Common People, was a vote for change. Voters looked to each of the main parties, and found them greatly wanting. They felt the UK Government Party were dragging their feet on leaving after they droned “Brexit Means Brexit,” & they felt the Opposition Party were too busy fighting their own leadership to really… oppose. Even the Coalition Party could only manage a fraction of the 6-week-old hedge fund masquerading as a party, because the memories of voters still won’t shape the betrayals of 2010. The Main Parties – and that includes the Cable Cohort – are treating these extraordinary times as if they were just another election, rather than the wide-ranging assault against democracy that it is.
We, as a society, used to know how to deal with this. When fascists marched the streets of these isles, they were outnumbered and outmatched by fierce opposition who knew exactly where they could take their “genuine concerns” and “different ideas.” When politicians lied, journalists held them to account, even if it meant risking their careers or livelihoods. When a scandal was uncovered, it was investigated and debated responsibly – not in haste to make it in time for the coveted Early Bird First Scoop, regardless of the damage inaccurate or false reports could do.
Look at Joe McCarthy. Here was a man who went from an unremarkable senator to chairman of the Senate Committee on Government Operations in 6 years. Within the space of a decade he wielded incredible power in the U.S. Government, who directed policy and actions that affected millions of lives. While he is most frequently synonymous with anti-communist sentiment (his definition of communism apparently being anyone left of the Republican Party), he also led campaigns against homosexuals, civil rights, pretty much anything he deemed “Un-American.”
Yet there was defiance. Fellow senators, starting with Margaret Chase Smith on 1st June 1950, started to question McCarthy’s techniques. Broadcasters like Ed Murrow broadcast brave, powerful statements against his rhetoric, culminating in the famous “No Fear” speech on 9th March 1954:
The final, devastating destruction of McCarthy at the US Armed Forces hearing received broadcast wall-to-wall coverage in April 1954, with Joseph Welch’s statement in particular cited as checkmate:
McCarthyism, and all the evils that surrounded it like flies on a vulture, declined almost as quickly as it rose. It’s a story that I fear won’t be repeated with Nigel Farage. Instead of intrepid, independently-minded Ed Murrows, the UK media is bloated with Farage’s fellow-travellers, with even the supposedly impartial BBC completely at his mercy. Instead of tough lawyers like Joseph Welch, we have prevaricating cowards and ministers who think appeasement and compromise is possible with people whose clear purpose is the wholesale destruction of a democratic institution. Those few who try – the Gina Millers, the Alistair Campbells, the A.C. Graylings, the Chukka Umannas and Anna Soubreys – are frustrated by their own parties’ complicity in the Great Game of British “Democracy.” In some cases, they themselves are not entirely blameless.
Scotland is as different as it’s ever been. Scotland has a chance to do something about the rising tide threatening Europe, just as our fellow Northern European nations Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Ireland, & the Netherlands (plus our Mediterranean pals Malta and Portugal) and sent the far-right anti-EU parties packing. It wasn’t a good night for the bigger countries – Germany, France, Hungary, Italy, Poland – whose “centre-right” appeasers crumbled against the determined right-wing onslaught. Just like the UK.
Scotland cannot save England & Wales from themselves. Scotland can’t even save itself while it’s part of the UK. The best we can do is join our fellow Northern European neighbours, & show them how it’s done.