WHAT A MUDDLE, AND GONE WITH THE WIND

When it comes to saying something stupid, you can always trust Muddle. According to him, the new Tory MPs from Scotland are going to represent people who voted no to independence.

And there was me thinking that they were obliged to represent ALL the people in their constituency, old and young, black or white,  Scottish or English, unionist or independentist, Tory or Liberal, whatever.

Maybe Mr Muddle could supply a list of alternative MPs who will be available for people in these Tory constituencies (including his own) who are supporters of a free Scotland. And hopefully, he will bring ‘his influence’ (snigger) to bear to overturn the rules that say that MPs may not deal with issues from people from without their constituencies.

In the meantime, Mrs May proved that once you have become known as an incompetent clumsy, useless idiot there is simply nothing that will go right for you. She should ask Gordon Brown. He knows all about that.

WHAT? JUST WHAT?

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It’s like Scotland had voted the same way as England and Wales and wanted to remove itself from Europe. When, in fact, it voted 62-38 to remain in Europe.

It’s perfectly true that in 2014 the Scottish people voted to remain within the UK. They did so based on a promise from David Cameron, conveyed through Gordon Brown (because Cameron knew he was unpopular in Scotland, and no one would believe him) that we would have the most powerful devolved parliament in the world with as near to federal powers as it was possible to get in a union like the UK’s where one member comprises 85% of the population.

Now, you really only have to look around the world, to Canada, the USA, Denmark, Germany, Australia, India, Belgium… and so on, to see that that is utter rubbish.

 

The powers that we were promised were watered down firstly in the Smith Commission (with 6-4 unionist-independentist members), and then further by the Tory/Liberal Democrat, largely English Cabinet before being sent to Scotland. When a bill for more powers came before the UK parliament, no amendments put forward by recently-elected Scottish MPs were accepted. All were outvoted by UK MPs.

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And of course one of the most specific warnings at the time of the Scottish referendum was the threat that were we to leave the UK we would be thrown out of the EU, and that that would be a catastrophe. Some young people, with a view to travelling, studying and working in other EU countries may very well have been swayed by these threats (as may well have been businessmen and others).

No one is asking the Scottish people to make a decision on the outcome of the Brexit negotiations before they are completed. (Although, given that there will be no referendum on the outcome of the talks, no one in Britain will be given a voice.)  It has been made clear that negotiations are to be finished by October 2018…in 18 months’ time. Now is not the time. After the negotiations are completed IS the time, before Scotland is dragged out of the EU against its will.

One might ask why the will of 55% of the Scottish people in 2014 is more important than the will of 62% of the Scottish population in 2016.

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The Scotland Office says that leaving the EU gives us a unique opportunity, and then continues with some drivel about being fairer and more united and outward looking. Seriously, that is insulting after the warnings we were given about how disastrous it would be to leave the EU.

The UK will not be united. There’s about a 50-50 split, and two of the four integral countries of the union are opposed to leaving and will be badly affected by it.

The UK will not be fairer. A good deal of the fairness which exists here is down to EU law. It’s already been suggested by people like Mr Fox that Britain will have to deregulate business so that they can take advantage of opportunities. A trade deal with the US will demand that we work to their standards (which are far less rigorous than the EU’s). The Human Rights legislation of the EU will be binned and our access to European courts will be removed.

It won’t be stronger, and I have no idea why anyone would think that isolating yourself would make you more outward looking. I’d have thought that with people no longer able to travel, study, live, work anywhere within the large and getting larger EU, we are likely to become even more inward looking that we have always been.

But why am I surprised? The Scotland Office has never represented the will of the Scottish people. How could it, run as it is by the Tories who managed to get only one seat out of 59 in our country in the elections of 2015.

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Oh, and how many times are you going to repeat Mrs May’s latest catchphrase “Now is not the time”. Presumably the time is when Scotland has been dragged out of the EU; EU people have left to make a better home for themselves and can no longer vote and people with dual nationality have moved to the other country to which they are attached.

Still, it’s better than the “Brexit means Brexit” and “Brexit is red white and blue” that she came up with before.

FORGET IT WAS BLAIR. LET’S CONCENTRATE ON THE QUESTIONS RATHER THAN THE PERSONALITY

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There can be little doubt that if you wanted a cause to succeed in Britain, one of the very last people you’d chose to be the cheerleader for it would be Tony Blair. (But then no one chose him; he just did it.) He undoubtedly has some fans left, although I think most of them form the hard-right-wing of the Parliamentary Labour Party. Outside of that, I suppose George W Bush likes him, I’m sure that Jim Murphy is still a fan and Mystic Meg look alike,  John McTernan, is bound to be lurking somewhere in his slipstream, making prophecies from hell.

But with something as important as Brexit, it might have been comforting if those arguing against Blair had a little more to dish out than personal insults (not that I’m averse to anyone handing Mr Blair his backside on a plate).

Here then, are some questions that another Blair fanboy, Alistair Campbell, has come up with and had published in the European. I lift the text from their website (see link), unaltered and without their permission or Mr Campbell’s. (OK, I’m no fan of Alistair either, but this is good stuff. Credit where it is due.) The illustrations are mine.

So, without further ado, questions to those who are leading the cheers for Brexit: 

1. Do you accept that many people who voted Leave did so without knowing the full terms of Brexit?

2. Do you accept that it is open to the people to change their minds if they decide Brexit will in fact harm their own and the country’s interests?

3. Do you accept that there is no monopoly on patriotism and that there might be a patriotic case for wishing to reverse the referendum decision, if enough people feel it will be damaging to the UK?

4. Do you agree the government approach can now Be defined as “Brexit at any cost”?

5. Do you accept that people are entitled to be concerned at the scale of that cost, economically and politically?

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6. Do you accept that the financial cost of withdrawal, the UK having to pay for previous EU obligations but not benefit from future opportunities, could be as high as £60bn?

7. Do you agree with the Prime Minister’s and the Chancellor’s former views that maintaining our partnership with the biggest political union and largest commercial market on our doorstep fulfills rather than diminishes our national interest?

8. Is there not something surreal about the Prime Minister and Chancellor now claiming hard Brexit is a huge boon for the country when during the campaign they said the opposite, in Hammond’s case with real conviction?

9. Do you accept that politics, not economics or the genuine national interest, is now driving the Hard Brexit chosen by May?

10. Are you seriously saying the PM’s vision of Britain as a “great open trading nation” is best served by leaving the largest free trading bloc in the world? Might her vision of Britain as a bridge between Europe and the US be more realistic if we remained part of the EU?

11. In what way will her call for a fairer capitalism be met by moving to a low tax, light regulation economy?

12. Do you accept that if the right-wing ideologues pushing a hard Brexit so Britain becomes a low tax, low regulation, offshore hub have their way, we will need huge tax and welfare changes? Were they voted for in the referendum?

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13. Will this approach in fact lead to less not more public money for the NHS?

Less not more protection for workers?

14. Is it not the case that the UK government could make these changes now, but wouldn’t because they know they do not have public support for them?

15. Is there any chance at all that Brexit will lead to £350m a week more for the NHS

16. Please define the “big argument” that Tony Blair argues is missing from this pursuit of hard Brexit, and how it will benefit Britain economically.

17. Do you agree that of the many arguments put forward for Leave in the referendum, only immigration and the ECJ (European Court of Justice) are still really being pursued?

18. Do you accept that the Leave campaign deliberately conflated the ECJ and the ECHR (European Court of Human Rights)?

19. Can you confirm that that ECHR is not and never has been a EU body?

20. Can you name any laws the UK has not been able to pass because of the ECJ?

21. Can you confirm that of net immigration into the UK in 2016, over half was from outside the EU?

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22. Do you accept that as May wants to keep those EU immigrants who come with a confirmed job offer, and students, this leaves around 80,000 who come looking for work without a job?

23. Do you agree that of these 80,000, roughly a third comes to London, mostly working in the food processing and hospitality sectors; and that the practical impact of Brexit on our “control” of immigration is on analysis less than 12% of the immigration total?

24. Do you agree that most of the immigrants we are talking about in this 12% work hard and pay their taxes?

25. Do you think the biggest constitutional, political, economic and social change of our lifetime is merited by such numbers as set out in questions 22 to 24?

26. Do you accept that the immigration most people worry about – that of people determined to challenge our security and way of life, in the name of a perverted view of Islam – is not affected by Brexit?

27. Do you agree that the post Article 50 negotiations are going to be as complex as any we have experienced, covering a vast number of areas?

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28. Do you accept, as a matter of fact, that the single market covers around half of our trade in goods and services?

29. Do you accept that leaving the Customs Union may adversely impact on trade with other countries like Turkey?

30. Can you confirm that we will need to negotiate the replacement of over 50 Preferential Trade Agreements we have via our membership of the EU?

31. Do you accept that EU-related trade is actually two thirds of the UK total?

32. Do you accept scientific research and culture are both going to suffer as a result of Brexit, and indeed already are?

33. Are you content to have the WTO as a fall back strategy should we fail to reach a satisfactory deal within two years?

34. Do you accept this too has enormous complexity attached to it; that we would need to negotiate the removal not just of tariff barriers; but the prevention of non-tariff barriers which today are often the biggest impediments to trade?

35) Do you agree that the fall in the value of sterling against the euro and the dollar as a result of Brexit is an indication that the international financial markets believe we are going to be poorer?

36. Do you accept that therefore the price of imported goods is up and so will be inflation?

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37. Do you agree that the single market and enlargement were huge foreign policy successes for the UK?

38. Do you agree that the single market has brought billions of pounds of wealth, hundreds of thousands of jobs, and major investment opportunities for the UK?

39. Do you agree that enlargement has enhanced EU and NATO security?

40. Do you accept that in the early 21st century, most countries are seeking to forge rather than break regional and economic alliances?

41. Do you agree we can do more on issues like the environment with others than alone?

42. Do you agree that the route taken on and since June 23 has helped revive the argument about Scotland leaving the UK?

43. Do you accept that the failure to address the question of how to maintain EU freedom of movement without a hard border between Ireland and the UK is destabilising the peace process?

44. Do you accept the government is obsessed with Brexit, and has no choIie but to be so?

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45. Do you accept that the scale of government focus on Brexit is having a detrimental impact on their ability to deal with other issues, such as the NHS, education, the new economy, crime, prisons – and, er, immigration policy?

46. Do you accept there is a cartel of right wing newspapers skewing the debate in the broadcast media, and whose support for May is contingent on her pursuing a hard Brexit policy?

47. Do you agree that had the business survey mentioned by Blair said the opposite – namely huge confidence in Brexit – it would have led the news because the cartel would have splashed on it, not ignored it?

48. Do you accept Brexit has divided the country across its nations, regions and generations, contrary to May’s claim to have 65million people behind her?

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SO, WHAT EXACTLY IS MUNDELL’S HIGHLY PAID FUNCTION?

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I mean, why exactly is he there?

Intellect? Looks? Charm?

WelI I’ll leave that up to you to decide.

But, here’s an idea. Standing up for Scotland in a largely English cabinet?

Well, no, whatever else his raison d’être, it’s absolutely not that.

Here’s some of a  “Good Morning Scotland” interview.

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Just so as we are sure, let’s check it through one more time:

Q: Aren’t you a Scottish Secretary to defend the interests of the Scottish people?

A: No.

OOOOOOOOOOK

RANDOM THOUGHTS

david-lammyDavid Lammy, Labour MP for Tottenham, has said that he will vote against Article 50 in the forthcoming debate in the UK parliament.

He gives the following reason:

“75% of my constituents voted to Remain. We have a parliamentary system and this is a parliamentary vote. Shouldn’t I represent my constituents? My constituents voted overwhelmingly to Remain, so I will represent my constituents in Parliament, not someone else’s constituents.”

Makes sense to me. i hope that all MPs decide to represent their constituents.

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suzanne
Suzanne Evans, Ukip wants democratic control of judges.

If you listen to political programming then you’re going to hear a lot of stuff you consider to be stupid. Let’s be honest, many politicians (from all parties) talk rubbish.  But this takes the biscuit. Not only is she stupid, but she is dangerously stupid. Controls on the judges, other than those imposed by the law? I think not.

The legal system is far from perfect, in Scotland or in England, but the last thing we need is politicians interfering with it. Just where would it end?

Judges are controlled by the law. The law is controlled by parliaments. Parliaments are democratically elected (under whichever system the people accept).  That’s close enough for me.

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Eight military bases in Scotland are to close according to the UK defence secretary (or maybe his press person, because he appears to be auditioning for a part in “The Thick of It”). Remembering that we were told scornfully that the Scottish military would be tiny partly because we’d be too small and too poor to actually have much of a military, and partly because no one would want to serve in it because it would never go to war. Make of that what you will.

. “if Scotland had voted for independence it wouldn’t have had a military footprint at all”

(Apparently, as you can see, Mundell is still selling us the line that an independent Scotland wouldn’t have a military footprint. If that means not going around the world causing strife, death, famine, destruction and general misery, then I’m all for it.  Jeez, can’t these people see that there is more to a country than being a big military power and having bloody clout?)

Anyway, I digress. I’m also reminded here of the tax offices that would move to England were we to be independent (and did anyway but this time NOT being replaced with Scottish tax offices).

jackiebaillie
And there’s an expert talking…

I was wondering, given Jackie Baille’s love of quoting exaggerated figures on Faslane, if she’d like to give us her estimate of the number of jobs that will be lost to the Scottish economy because the UK seems to believe that the only military capacity it needs is American-controlled Trident submarines?

It’s all about taking back control, huh?

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BREXIT MEANS…ERM…

brexitSo, it appears that Brexit means Brexit, but only if parliament agrees.

The English High Court has given a judgement, and on a strict reading of the law, three judges have found that May cannot use royal prerogative and must put the matter to parliament.

Judges (even if they are gay…the Daily Mail, turning seven shades of purple with indignation at the judgement of an all-British court, pointed out that one of the judges was homosexual, as if that meant that his law degree and years of experience were worthless) are bound to interpret the law as it is written. And that seems to be the way that the law is written.

So where does it go from here?

brexit1David Brexit has said that the government will appeal to the UK Supreme Court, which has the power to uphold or overturn the ruling of the High Court. After that, it would be unlikely that the UK government could take the matter further.

An intelligent reading of the subject is given by Craig Dalzell here.

It seems to me that, given that the election of MPs predates the referendum, and that the referendum was a one issue question,  the referendum results might be taken as a more reliable indication of the will of the people on the matter, and consequently  MPs would be foolish  to vote against the way that their constituents voted. This would mean, of course, that every MP in Scotland, including Mr Mundell, should vote against Brexit.

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Voting to a party whip, or on one’s own conscience would be inadvisable. It would give the impression that the opinion of an individual MP was more important than that of their constituents.

I also think that giving parliament the right to overturn a democratic vote on a single subject might set a dangerous precedent for the future. Clearly, this is significant to me as far as a Scottish Independence referendum is concerned.

brexNigel Farage sounded, to put it mildly angry, in a tweet which read:

“I now fear every attempt will be made to block or delay triggering Article 50. They have no idea level of public anger they will provoke.!”

For once I agree with him, although you can’t help but laugh at the irony as far as he is concerned, as illustrated in a response from James Melville:

“British laws for British people. Taking control back. Parliamentary sovereignty. Isn’t that what you wanted?

It’s a vexed question, with sensible arguments on both sides, and it is worth repeating that judges make decisions like this, not based on common sense, but on a strict reading of law.

I’d be interested to hear your opinions, as ever?