A LETTER FROM MUNGUIN
Now, let me put it as simply as I can.
Yes, we Scots had our referendum and bit by bit we got a majority to favour independence. But then your old boss, of whom more later, too scared to come to Scotland himself, sent his friend Gordon Brown to sell us a pack of nonsense about federalism and respect and equal partnerships, etcetera ad infinitum. So you won. Félicitations!
You’ll doubtless remember, Murdo, that during that referendum campaign, alongside threatening that jobs would be lost if Scotland left the UK… you know, like UK tax office jobs and passport office jobs (which have closed anyway; off to Croydon), and UK forces’ jobs moving to England (which they have done anyway), and pensioners losing their pensions (which was an out and out lie and would never have happened, even Iain Duncan Smith had to admit), you also told us categorically that we would be out of the EU if we were out of the UK.
And the Tories told us that would be a disaster. Indeed so did Labour and the Liberal Democrats. Presumably 62% of the Scottish population agreed with you. Of course, I don’t know how you personally felt about the EU, but your boss and your bosses boss were adamant. It would be a catastrophe for Scotland.
Anyway, when the result was announced and we had indeed, as you point out, lost, the First Minister resigned and Scots accepted the referendum result. Sad but resigned.
But we all know that the promises that Brown made on behalf of Cameron and Miliband were not kept. The vow was as solid as the Liberal Democrat pledge not to increase student fees in England. And on top of the previously mentioned items, the shipbuilding that had been promised in the heat of the referendum debate had been toned down and put on hold.
At the time of the referendum in 2014, the polls generally showed that the likely outcome of the 2015 British election would be a win for the Labour Party. But to make sure that the Tories wouldn’t lose seats to UKIP, your boss’s now departed-to-richer-pickings-and-a-life-of-leisure boss, promised a referendum on Britain’s membership of the EU. That would put at risk something so important that, you’ll remember, Murdo, we were told it would be a disaster if we lost it. (Indeed at some point Cameron mentioned a third world war if I remember rightly.) But anyway, it would stymie UKIP, so what the hell. Having, against expectations, won the 2015 election, Cameron had little choice but to announce that a referendum would be held on Britain’s membership of the EU.
In the meantime, there was a General Election in Scotland. And in that Election, various parties had, in their manifestos, a commitment to another referendum if Scotland were taken out of the EU against its will. Among these parties were The SNP and the Green Party. You may also be aware that, although the Ruth Davidson Party did well in these elections, they ended up with fewer than half the number of seats of the two parties which had a second referendum in their manifestos.
Your boss’s ex-boss lost his referendum, although he never thought for a second he would (people like him don’t lose things, not with Eton and Oxford and being related to the queen on their CV), and so, like the ex-First Minister, he resigned. In his case, in favour of the lucrative after-dinner circuit. Initially the new prime minister said that she recognised that Scotland had voted very differently from the UK and that she would listen to what the Scottish government had to say. The Scottish government prepared a highly detailed document on withdrawal, proposing special conditions for Scotland so that Scotlands voice to stay in both the UK and the EU could be heard and its wishes respected. Within an hour of its release, it had been dismissed by your Westminster colleagues.
Once again the respect promised was found to be wanting in substance. England voted narrowly for withdrawal, so “shut up Scotland (and Northern Ireland and Gibraltar), we really don’t much care what you want. And as for the lies we told during YOUR referendum… well, get over it. This is a great opportunity for Britain and America to take over leading the world again”. Hmmmm.
So yes, Murdo, there will be another referendum. Because that is what the Scottish people voted for.
Just in passing, though, I think that when you throw stones, you should be mindful of the fact you live in a glass house. (Who’s your orange faced mate, by the way?)
Lord knows Scotland is far from perfect, Murdo. In probably every single respect it could be better. But a criticism from someone who belongs to the party that has broken the social security system and presided over thousands of deaths of people denied benefits, that has overseen a health service cracking and at breaking point and a prison service where the prisoners appear to be in charge, not to mention the potential catastrophe that is Brexit, and a long list of other faults, is ill-placed to criticise.