An excellent article from one of my favourite contributors Breeks. I have not the slightest doubt he is entirely right about this. We must ask why not one of the SNP elected MP’s or MSP’s argued this case. Not one! The essence of the Northern Irish Backstop was very simple.  The Good Friday Agreement wasContinue reading "THE MISSED OPPORTUNITY AND IT WAS A HUGE ONE!"


An excellent article from one of my favourite contributors Breeks. I have not the slightest doubt he is entirely right about this. We must ask why not one of the SNP elected MP’s or MSP’s argued this case. Not one!

Photo by Dylan Bueltel on

The essence of the Northern Irish Backstop was very simple. 

The Good Friday Agreement was an Internationally recognised peace treaty which explicitly stated there would be no Border infrastructure returned to Northern Ireland as a condition of the Treaty. Brexit however, removed Northern Ireland from the EU, turning the Irish / Northern Irish border into the frontier of the European Union, which required hard border infrastructure which was a specific violation of the Good Friday Agreement.

Thus the Irish Backstop was a big problem for Westminster, because they had the option of a Brexit which expressly violated the Good Friday Agreement, inviting sanctions and pariah status for the UK precisely when the UK needed new Free Trade Agreements. The alternative, the only alternative was to devise a solution of establishing a border where no border was allowed to exist. 

This line in the sand was treated with typical disdain by the British Government, but they discovered to their cost that both the EU and the US were resolute in their determination to defend the Good Friday Agreement, and thus, the Irish had their backstop.

The “solution” was the Northern Irish protocol, which removed the necessity of a border in Northern Ireland by creating bespoke status for Northern Ireland which to all intents and purposes kept Northern Ireland in the EU, and shunted the EU’s hard border nominally into the Irish Sea, which greatly disturbed the UK Government because it brokered the high possibility of a United Ireland, and also violated Article VI of the Treaty of Union which required, “ same Allowances, Encouragements, and Draw-backs, and be under the same Prohibitions, Restrictions, and Regulations of Trade, and liable to the same Customs and Duties, and Import and Export”.

So, to summarise, the Irish “won” with their backstop, there is no Border in Ireland, and the UK Government had to devise a workaround which essentially meant No Brexit for Northern Ireland. 

Ireland flatly refused to entertain a UK Brexit which violated an International Treaty, and the International Community backed them to the hilt.

So why didn’t Scotland follow Ireland’s lead, and refuse to entertain a Brexit which violated the Treaty of Union, and further still, violated the Claim of Right and Constitutional sovereignty of Scotland? Why didn’t Scotland rise up to defend it’s sovereign interests and the violation of it’s own International agreements? The reason is simple. Nicola Sturgeon capitulated, and subjected Scotland to the humiliation of standing outside in the corridor, keeking through the keyhole, while Brexit negotiations were ongoing. 

All Sturgeon had to do was point out that Scotland’s Brexit defied the will of Scotland’s sovereign people, and thus defied the Claim of Right, and then Scotland would have had it’s own Scottish Backstop, and the Westminster Government would have been required to devise a Brexit which didn’t violate the Claim of Right or the Treaty of Union. Scotland’s sovereign choice to remain in Europe would have been respected. 

However the Scottish Backstop would have been even stronger, because had it halted Scotland’s Brexit by respecting the Claim of Right, the EU’s hard border would have to be running from Gretna to Berwick, and thus Scotland’s non-Brexit would have violated Article VI of the Treaty of Union. 

The reality is, a Scottish backstop would have been a sovereign veto over Brexit happening at all, and the Westminster Government humiliated by having to capitulate to the sovereign will of a Scottish Nation and abandon Brexit, which would have fundamentally changed the hegemony of the Westminster Parliament, and it becomes very difficult to see how the Treaty of Union could have survived after Bonnie wee Scotland subjugated the will of English and took away their Brexit. 

How fortunate for Westminster and disastrous for us, that Scotland had a constitutionally illiterate thunderdunce like Nicola Sturgeon “defending” Scotland’s interests, who couldn’t even think of Scottish Backstop when the Irish were drawing diagrams and showing them to her.

In 2016, Independence lay in the palm of our hands. It really, really, did.

A small answer to wullie too… Far from confused or negative, I believe Leah Gunn Barrett has a crystal clear grasp of the situation which would put many an Independence supporter to shame. I would listen again Wullie, and maybe listen to Iain who’s on the Scottish Nation Congress Steering Group.

It’s a funny thing, (not pointing any fingers at you Wullie), but Scotland, for a place so open an welcoming to people from all over the world holds a special disdain for Scottish diaspora who return here with a foreign twang in their accent. Most famously there was Sheena Easton virtually booed off stage in Glasgow. But I saw similar ridicule for a College tutor who’d spent five years in Canada. God forbid, if I spent any time abroad, I’d have to walk around with a bucket on my head just in case I picked up a wee twang myself and could never again risk opening ma gob in Scotland.

The whole world knows Sturgeon is a Scot the moment she pronounces the word “wurruld”, but I cannot think of a person I would trust less on just about anything. Is there not something schizo about a nation which can mourn the Clearances and the loss of our kin, being so sniffy about our diaspora and their descendants having a foreign accent? Maybe it’s a colonisation thing we will all need therapy for. 

But it isn’t just Scotland. I spent a couple of years in London, (don’t worry, head was in a bucket the whole time), and I spent some time in digs with an Irish fella who confessed it broke his heart to watch his kids growing up with cockney accents. I had few words of comfort because it was indeed a terrible thing to hear and you couldn’t pretend otherwise. “Well at least it’s not Birmingham” was the best I could do.


Breeks politics is very similar to mine ( I hope) as he is always ready to quote humour and real life examples to amplify his articles. My word of hope is this, the Claim of Right provided the ideal tool to defend Scotland during Brexit. The fault that it was never used lies entirely with the Scottish Government of the time BUT the Claim of Right is going nowhere and there are now growing organisations intent in forcing it front and centre in the Independence battle. Our challenge is to create the opportunity to use it at the best possible time in the future. Events dear boy, events is our future focus. We must be ready. We must have a plan AND we must ensure we have quality and determined politicians at the front. So extensive change is a must.

I am, as always


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