THIS WEEK’s article from Yours for Scotland regular columnist Mia. It is a longer article than normal as it deals with a very important issue affecting Scotland today. In my judgement well worth the read. On 23 June 2016 Scotland was trapped in a referendum where all chances for Scotland to win had been deliberately removed.  ThatContinue reading "JUDAS KISS? "


THIS WEEK’s article from Yours for Scotland regular columnist Mia. It is a longer article than normal as it deals with a very important issue affecting Scotland today. In my judgement well worth the read.

On 23 June 2016 Scotland was trapped in a referendum where all chances for Scotland to win had been deliberately removed.  That referendum is the excuse why Scotland finds itself out of the EU today, watching our own laws being rewritten to stop us returning. 

The more you look into this, the more it becomes evident this level of vandalism on Scotland’s democratic rights could have never taken place without cooperation from those who were elected precisely to stop assaults like this, happening.

It seems this referendum was strategically designed to do two things.  First, to act as a tool to frustrate Scotland’s intention to remain in the EU.  Secondly, to give England MPs a veneer of legitimacy over their blatant assault on Scotland’s Claim of Right.

The EU referendum was undemocratic by design because its objective was never to find out what Scotland wanted. Its objective was to hide what Scotland wanted, because only by silencing Scotland this UK union can survive.

Considering England has more than 10 times Scotland’s population, it was evident that without democratic safeguards, Scotland’s vote was going to be completely drowned by England’s. This was obvious even to a child, so it could not have escaped MPs either.

On 9th June 2015 Sturgeon had the opportunity to demonstrate how much of a pro-independence leader she was and how much she respected Scotland’s democratic rights.

Turned out that it was either very little, she was totally out of her depth, or she had already secured her bounty up her sleeve, therefore all what the SNP MPs might have been meant to do that day was to make voters in Scotland believe they were fighting to keep Scotland in the EU, rather than enabling the precise opposite.

On 9th June 2015 England MPs voted to decide if an EU referendum was going to take place. This was the first crucial parliamentary vote that would sentence Scotland to exit the EU against its will.

Before that vote took place, Mr Salmond tabled an amendment asking for the EU referendum bill to be rejected because, among other things, it lacked a double majority provision to prevent any nation of the UK being dragged out of the EU against their will. 

As it could have been predicted England MPs crushed Mr Salmond’s amendment and voted overwhelmingly for the referendum to go ahead, without any democratic safeguards for Wales, Scotland or NI.

Plaid Cymru MPs chose not taking part in the vote. This was, in my view, the route any political party refusing to legitimise an assault on the democratic rights of Wales, NI and Scotland, should have done. Most SNP MPs however, took their seats in parliament that day, and by doing so, in my view, legitimised the vote on behalf of Scotland as a “UK” vote. 

Mr Salmond also presented a bid on the 16th June, asking for a quadruple lock, which, if passed, meant the UK could only leave the EU if the four nations voted for Brexit.  But, by then, the horse had already bolted. Once the SNP MPs had legitimised the vote on the 9thJune, predictably, the bid was crushed by England MPs.

By voting against Mr Salmond’s bid, England MPs were, in practical terms, giving themselves the absolute right to force any UK nation to leave the EU on England’s saying so. In my view, our SNP MPs legitimised that assault on Scotland’s Claim of Right by taking part in the vote and, once again, making it a “UK” vote.

Only somebody very naïve could have ever thought this bid was going to survive if the strategy taken to enforce it was simply to apply to the democratic principles of a deeply undemocratic establishment thriving on silencing Scotland, imperial baubles and patronage.

Just a glance at the opinion polls at the time tells you Mr Salmond’s bill was rejected for practical reasons. Every single one of the 7 polls conducted in Scotland from February 2013 to May 2015 was very, very comfortably for remain (1). With polls like that, if Mr Salmond’s bid had been passed, Brexit would have not stood a chance. 

These polls suggest whips knew there was not consensus in the UK, therefore if that referendum was ever meant to be a democratic plebiscite, it should have never been allowed to proceed as a “UK” vote without the safeguards Mr Salmond was asking for. But it was never meant to be democratic. It was meant to be a tool to justify the self-harming removal of the UK from the EU for the sake of the new EU tax avoidance laws.

England MPs did not vote for a “UK Wide” EU referendum that day. What they were voting for was to give themselves the right to force Brexit on Scotland, Wales and NI. In other words, that day it was clear the result of the EU referendum had already been decided even before we approached the polls. The willingness to drag every nation out of the EU independently of what their electorate wanted, tells us the only acceptable outcome of that referendum for England MPs was to keep Scotland welded to England while the latter left the EU. 

It is not credible that 56 pro-independence MPs were duped into legitimising this vote by taking part in it without knowing what they were doing. The fact that an amendment was presented by Mr Salmond on the day and also a bid a week later, suggests the SNP already knew the referendum was an undemocratic trap. This is supported further by the commitment in the 2015 SNP manifesto itself to request a “double majority requirement”, whereby each of the four nations of the UK would have to vote for Brexit before the UK had to leave the EU.  The above was published by Brooks in The Guardian on 20 April 2015, and she inserted a comment immediately after this acknowledging that it would be very unlikely such proposal would ever be accepted. So everybody and their dog knew this bid would not be accepted if the SNP MPs just were going to ask for it nicely, following Westminster’s rules.

So what was the purpose of this futile political posturing by our SNP MPs?

There is no doubt the SNP “missed” one of if not “the” greatest opportunity for a constitutional stand off right there. This was just a month after Scotland handed 95% of its Westminster seats and over 50% of the vote to pro-indy parties. It was at a time when the SNP also held the majority of the seats in Holyrood. Flexing Scotland’s muscles and a stand-off was the proper thing to do if they had any intention to keep Scotland in the EU.

A constitutional stand-off would have made the unelected English establishment face a very, very difficult choice: either the integrity of the union or avoiding new EU tax evasion laws.

I suspect such standoff would have either stopped Brexit keeping Scotland in the EU, or would have put us on course for imminent independence.  Any of them far better outcomes than the precarious situation we are in today thanks to the inaction and complacency of a loser in control of the SNP and thanks to her having spectacularly failed to capitalise on each and every single opportunity in 7 years to deliver independence.

That SNP MPs had been whipped to vote against the bill might have just been political posturing for the benefit of the membership. This seems to be supported by Alyn Smith’s address to the party conference in November 2014.  According to The Guardian,

“Alyn Smith MEP moves to a topical motion on an EU referendum. He says he thinks a referendum is inevitable. SNP MPs will try to amend any legislation to ensure that all nations in the UK would have to support a decision to leave the EU” (2). 

Mr Smith is referring to the amendment and bid presented by Mr Salmond.  Please note the words “SNP MPs will ‘try’ to amend”. Given the democratic deficit of Scotland in Westminster, telling someone that the SNP “will try” anything in Westminster is the same than saying the effort was going to be pointless and a waste of time.

This address by Mr Smith to the conference was six months before the general election 2015, and yet, from the Guardian article it seems Mr Smith thought an EU ref would be inevitable. I wonder how he could have known that.

If you look in Wikipedia, around 149 polls were conducted from the 1 August 2014 to the 14 November 2014, the day of the SNP conference. Only 12 put the conservatives ahead for the GE2015 (3). Labour opposed the referendum. So, how did Mr Smith know on the 14 November 2015, the tories were going to win 6 months later so an EU referendum would take place?

If Mr Smith was already talking about “trying” to amend legislation to make the referendum democratic, it can only mean the SNP leadership already knew, 7 months before the vote in the commons the referendum was going to be a disgusting undemocratic trap. If they knew this, then they knew that playing Westminster’s game by sitting in England’s parliament to cast a vote against the bill was going to be futile, so why did they chose that path?

On the 31st October 2014, that is just one and half months after the independence referendum, and two weeks before the SNP conference of November 2014, Peter Kellner, president of YouGov, published an article suggesting the SNP was on course to get a majority in the 2015 GE (4). Considering Scotland’s democratic deficit in Westminster, it stands to the obvious, that a much more effective way to stop the undemocratic EU referendum bill would have been refusing to take their seats and using the SNP majority to deny legitimacy to the EU ref bill vote on the 9th June as a UK vote, unless the safeguards to make it democratic were in place.

If already in October 2014, it was known the SNP was on course for a landslide, doesn’t it stand to the obvious that if Sturgeon really wanted Scotland to remain in the EU she would have immediately protected Scotland’s back by securing the inclusion of independence in the manifesto instead of just including her version of Gordon Brown’s Devo Max, rebranded as “full fiscal responsibility”?

On 20th April 2014, when introducing the SNP GE 2015 manifesto, Sturgeon said this (5):

The pledge I make today to the Scottish people is this:

If you vote SNP on May 7th, we will make your voice heard more loudly than it

has ever been heard before at Westminster. We will stand up for Scotland’s interests and always fight your corner

Well, on the 9th June 2015, less than 2 months after she delivered those words, nor the SNP voice nor ours was heard in Westminster, we were silenced.  On that day, the SNP did not stand up for Scotland’s interests either.  By legitimising with their participation the vote as a “UK vote”, and by allowing Scotland’s voice to be crushed, they in fact stood up against the interests of Scotland.

On that day we and our MPs should have learned a lesson:

Scotland’s voice can only be heard for as long as you are shouting OUTSIDE Westminster and refusing to legitimise it as the “UK” parliament and the votes of England MPs as “UK” votes. The minute Scotland’s democratic representatives enter Westminster, Scotland will be silenced due to an unsurmountable democratic deficit specifically designed to ensure only England’s voice is heard.

That day, it was proven to everybody that soundbites like “Stronger in Westminster” or “louder voice at Westminster” or “standing for Scotland in Westminster” are nothing but deceiving fallacies.

The only way Scotland could have retained its voice that day was by our MPs refusing to take their seats, refusing to legitimise that vote as a UK vote, and using the weapon of independence to hold Westminster to ransom. Weapon that Sturgeon had already swiftly removed as a preventative measure on the 20th April 2015, leaving the SNP politically toothless and unable to fight for Scotland to remain in the EU.

On the launching of the 2015 manifesto Nicola Sturgeon also said (5):

the SNP would always support independence. But this election is not about independence. It’s about making Scotland stronger

Supporting something is not the same than actively pursuing it. The 2015 manifesto did not include a mandate for a referendum either. It contained an awful lot of nice things, but that only a political party with control over the England MPs could actually deliver, so that manifesto was in fact a mirage. Even Sturgeon’s version of Gordon Brown’s Devo Max was a mirage as it would have to be voted by the England MPs which actually crushed it a few weeks later. The only thing that a majority of SNP MPs could have ever delivered is Scotland’s independence, and that was precisely what Sturgeon left out of the manifesto, rendering our 56 majority of SNP MPs totally worthless. Removing independence from the manifesto did not make Scotland stronger, it made it much weaker.

Was this a strategic blunder of astronomic proportions, or was it a deliberate move by Sturgeon to help Brexit take place by keeping Scotland trapped in the union?

Well, by October 2014 it was already predicted the SNP was going to win by a landslide in May 2015. At that point the new manifesto saying a vote for the SNP was not a vote for independence had not even been released, therefore it is safe to assume all those people that were going to vote for the SNP already in October 2015 were going to do so assuming their vote would count as a vote for independence.  This means the claim that removing the independence from the manifesto was what increased the vote simply does not fly. It does not sound therefore like a strategic blunder. It sounds more like a strategic move to remove the wheels of Scotland’s political vehicle for independence to stop it going anywhere while the undemocratic EU referendum was put in law.

So, after looking back to all this, frankly, I do not know how we can be expected to still believe Sturgeon ever had any intention for Scotland to remain in the EU.

From where I am standing it very much looks like by the 20th April 2014 Nicola Sturgeon had already sold Scotland to the brexiteers and tied the hands of the SNP MPs at the back (metaphorically speaking) to stop them attempting to keep us in the EU. By the 9th June, the participation of the SNP MPs in the EU ref vote in Westminster, sentenced Scotland to leave the EU some four years later.

It is my personal opinion that if the SNP had been really acting to keep Scotland in the EU, they would have not wasted time presenting any amendment/bill in Westminster that everybody knew England MPs would trash.

I think the 56 MPs should have revolted on the 9th June, refusing to take their seats, threatening with denying legitimacy to the vote as a “UK” vote so the EU could not interpret such vote as constitutional under the requirements of A50, unless, either an amendment that ensured Scotland could not be taken out of the EU against its will was immediately added to the bill prior to the vote, or the Union was ended to allow England to pursue its future out of the EU and Scotland hers in the EU.

The SNP had majority in both parliaments, meaning they could give their position strength by starting to pass an Act to end the union in Scotland’s parliament, making it impossible for the UK to ever use that referendum as an excuse to trigger A50 constitutionally. In other words, had they wanted, they could have brought right there and then, the whole Brexit charade to an irreversible halt unless the union had ended.

They had enough justification for such approach. For starters, forcing Brexit on Scotland with a rigged referendum was forcing absolute rule over Scotland which contravened Scotland’s Claim of Right, one of the pillars of the Treaty of Union and therefore unconstitutional. Secondly, such revolt would send the message that abusing Scotland as if it was England’s possession was no longer acceptable, surely something any nationalist worth their salt would want. Thirdly, it would have left no doubts as to who holds power in Scotland, an opportunity to draw a line on the sand any serious nationalist would jump at. 

With her piss poor strategy, Sturgeon lost us that day our EU membership and the first best opportunity to flex Scotland’s muscles to become an independent state. She also lost us our dignity as a nation and by removing independence from the manifesto, the credibility of the SNP MPs as anything other than politically worthless pawns now seemingly whipped to work against Scotland.

In retrospect, the realisation that just a handful of evolution denying DUP MPs had far more balls to fight for NI than all our 56 SNP MPs combined ever had to fight for Scotland, is deeply embarrassing.

I have always wondered if the votes on the 9th and 16th June had been staged because the decision of the UK leaving the EU might have already been made some time before with the blessing/compliance of the SNP. In November 2013 there was an STV televised debate between Nicola Sturgeon and Alistair Carmichael (6).  Nicola Sturgeon said:

The risk to Scotland’s European membership is not independence, it’s the In-Out European referendum that the government of which you’re a part is proposing.”

“you went on television Sunday and in direct response to a question, you said you couldn’t guarantee Scotland’s continued membership of the EU if we stayed as part of the UK because there’s going to be an In-Out referendum.

“We could find ourselves in the position where the UK as a whole votes to come out and we (Scotland) vote to stay in but we get taken out against our will. You can’t possibly defend that.” (6)

8 years on, you notice immediately these:1. She already seemed to know, 3 years before it happened, that there was going to be a EU referendum.  Again, how? If you look in Wikipedia not one, let me repeat this again, not a single poll put conservatives ahead in 2013. According to Wikipedia, we are talking about an excess of 400 polls conducted in 2013 (3).2. She already seemed to know the EU voting intention of Scotland was different to England’s3. She already knew the EU referendum was going to be a trap and  the intention with that EU referendum was to force Scotland out of the EU even if voting against leaving the EU

What this tells us is that Mr Salmond’s amendment to the bill of the 9th and his bill of the 16thhad been set to fail from the point of its conception.  It was designed to go nowhere. Considering that by 2013 Sturgeon and Carmichael seemed to already know an EU ref was going to take place , if you are a cynic like me you would have started to wonder by now, if they might have already known as well what the result of our indyref would be in a year’s time from that TV debate.

If it was true what “better together” were telling us that Scotland would pushed out of the EU if it left the UK, then, considering the UK is a 1:1 bipartite union, if by becoming independent Scotland would leave the EU, so would England. 

If England was to leave the EU on the event of Scotland becoming independent, then there would be no point for such EU referendum.  Surely the pertinent referendum would be for England and Wales to decide if they were going to “re-join” the EU. Therefore the assumption that has to be made here is that if all these politicians were so fixated on the EU referendum it had to be because a) they already knew the tories were going to win even before the election had taken place, and b) they already knew yes would fail in indyref even before the ballots had been printed.

You don’t need to be an economist to realise the only possible way England could afford leaving the EU is if it had at its disposal Scotland’s market, revenues and assets. What this means is that if the “better together” were telling us porkies and ending the union would not mean Scotland leaving the EU, then it stands to the obvious that if Scotland had become independent in 2014, England would have never been able to even contemplate that EU referendum. Trying to exit the EU on its own, without Scotland’s market and assets as a life jacket, and with a hard border between her and Scotland, Ireland and France would look like economic suicide for England.

It does not matter if better together were telling the truth or not because, in both cases, it seems that it would be only within the context of “no” winning in 2014 and Scotland remaining in the UK that such EU referendum would have ever made any sense at all.  In other words, Brexit was hinging completely on Scotland remaining in the UK.

So, how badly did the UK establishment, the tax havens and the taxdodgers wanted Brexit? Enough to justify rigging our indyref, by faking a no vote? In how many other political events in Scotland since that EU ref took place the UK establishment might have stuck its dirty hand in to ensure Scotland remained welded to England so Brexit could take place?

Considering in June 2015 Sturgeon had control of 56 MPs, which represented the 95% of Scotland’s seats, it is simply not credible that Scotland was simply dragged into this trap without her consent. The only thing she had to do was to whip the MPs to boycott the vote, refusing to accept it as a whole UK vote.

Looking at all this retrospectively, the only plausible conclusion is that we are out of the EU today not because we were trapped in a deliberately undemocratic referendum.  We are where we are because Sturgeon and the SNP did not stand up for Scotland and let our voice be heard OUTSIDE Westminster. They chose to enter Westminster and whisper inside so 600 England MPs could mute us in order for Brexit to take place.

What lessons can we learn from this trip to memory lane?• To never again trust a political “leader” who tells us they will make Scotland’s voice stronger IN Westminster, or their party will be stronger for Scotland IN Westminster.  Considering the huge democratic deficit, if a politician tells us something like that we should wonder if what they really mean is they intend to use our vote to continue legitimising England’s MPs abuse, exploitation and silencing of Scotland.• To never again trust a political party whose leader, MPs and MSPs claim to “support” independence but they have removed the pursuit of independence from the party’s manifesto. • To never again trust a political party whose leader claims to pursue independence but they are not serious about independence enough to include in the party’s manifesto and constitution a majority of pro-independence MPs or MSPs as a mandate to immediately end the union. • To never again trust any pro indy-politician who claims a particular vote “is not for independence”.  We should immediately interpret that as a warning that such leader might be planning to remove the main weapon of the party to keep Scotland trapped in the UK while England MPs force on Scotland something nasty.

If there is something I think we should be thankful to the current loser in control of the SNP for, is to have demonstrated to us that the only way for a political party to give Scotland the opportunity to choose its own future is by stopping any of its MPs entering Westminster to legitimise as ‘UK’ votes what is at all practical effects, England MPs’ voting to force absolute rule over Scotland.

Clearly Sinn Fein had the right idea.  It is just a real shame it is taking Scotland’s MPs so bloody long to acknowledge they have been wasting seven years of Scotland’s precious time because playing Westminster’s game by Westminster’s rules equals to accepting Scotland will always lose.

References:(1) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Opinion_polling_for_the_United_Kingdom_European_Union_membership_referendum(2) theguardian.com/politics/blog/live/2014/nov/15/snp-conference-nicola-sturgeons-speech-politics-live-blog?page=with:block-54676e44e4b049b4b226cbe8&filterKeyEvents=false#liveblog-navigation(3) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Opinion_polling_for_the_2015_United_Kingdom_general_election(4) https://yougov.co.uk/topics/politics/articles-reports/2014/10/31/labours-scottish-nightmare(5) https://web.archive.org/web/20220122222255/https://www.heraldscotland.com/news/13210531.full-nicola-sturgeons-snp-manifesto-launch-speech/(6) https://www.theneweuropean.co.uk/brexit-news-westminster-news-nicola-sturgeon-scottish-independence-debate-brexit-6863294/


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