Category Archives: Brexit

Thin ice

very thin ice
very thin ice.
You’re standing together with your partner on the shores of a river covered by thin ice.

“I bet life is much better on the other side,” he says. You don’t really think it’s looking much better than the side you’re on, but more importantly you’re pretty sure the ice is too thin.

“Nonsense, the ice is fine,” insists your partner.

“I don’t want to do this,” you exclaim.

“We went through this two years ago when you nearly left me,” he shouts. “I would let you have a bit more spending money if you agreed to stay with me, and I’m saying we’re crossing this river!”

What do you do? Do you do everything you can to prevent him from attempting to cross the river, and if you can’t, will you stay where you are?

Or will you follow him out onto the ice with the intention of going back if the ice starts breaking up?

Or will you stick with him through thick and thin?

This is what Scotland’s choices after the Brexit vote look like to me. We can try to convince the Westminster government that leaving the Internal Market is barking mad and a Norwegian solution is the only safe way to do a Brexit. And if they do opt for a hard Brexit in order to restrict immigration, we’ll hold a second independence referendum.

However, some people seem to think it would be better to bide our time and wait to see what Brexit will be like before holding a second independence referendum. To me, that’s the equivalent of walking out onto the ice with your partner in the hope that you can get back to safety later if it doesn’t work.

And of course the Unionists just want to stay with England, no matter what they do and what the consequences are for Scotland.

I blame the spin doctors

Hypocrites and liars #1
Hypocrites and liars #1.
People have started talking about the post-factual society, mainly in despair. Basically voters have stopped listening to “facts” and will now form their opinion based on feeling, which is for instance why England voted in favour of Brexit in spite of practically all serious politicians and academics being against it.

It’s a natural development, however. When politicians started hiding behind spin doctors and got extremely good at never answering a question with a straight answer, at the same time as the media stopped doing costly investigative journalism and started reprinting press releases most of the time, things started falling apart.

Politicians and spin doctors might truthfully say that they never actually lie, but if they cover up their intentions up in so much spin that only the 2% of the population actually understand what they’re saying, they might as well be lying. For instance, if a politician makes it sound as if they’re about to restrict immigration, does it really matter they’re actually saying they’re unable to do so for many good reasons if hardly anybody gets it? If the vast majority of voters believe that the politician said they were going to restrict immigration, what will they think when the politician admits five years later that immigration figures are up instead? That the politician was lying, of course.

(Because of all grants academics have to apply for these days to keep their job, it’s now sadly also often hard to get a straight answer out of them, and similar things apply to most other people in the media.)

The result is, of course, that most voters sadly think that politicians are lying bastards and that you cannot trust a word they say. And of course, in that situation you might as well listen to the ones that are fun or say something different.

Also, if you think of politicians as part of the elite, you can even get the idea that if they’re all in favour of something, it must be a secret elitist plan, and so it must necessarily be in the interest of the rest of us to vote for the exact opposite.

The problem here is that Brexit will most likely be a complete disaster, a wasted decade (if not a century), a source of xenophobia and missed opportunities, and in general just the opposite of what normal people need. The elite will be fine, but it’ll be harder and dearer to go on holiday abroad, there will be fewer jobs, and nobody will stop the Tories from taking away our human rights. In this case the voters ought to have listened to the politicians and to the experts, but how were they to know they’re weren’t just spinning.

I blame the spin doctors. They created this post-factual society.

We live in a real world, however, and eventually the chickens will come home to roost.

I really worry what will happen in England once the Brexit voters realise that they’re the ones who’ll have to pay the bill. Will there be more racist attacks? Or even riots?

I just hope Scotland will get out of the UK before the Brexiters realise what they’ve done. Time is short.

The United Kingdom must be competent, or it is nothing

Crew of the HRESS Nevergonnagetbuilt
Crew of the HRESS Nevergonnagetbuilt.
I grew up in Denmark with the impression that the UK had great politicians and civil servants. Very old-fashioned and conservative ones, yes, but very well-educated and competent.

Having lived here since 2002, I would now perhaps revise my earlier impression and add that they were often bastards, but at least they were competent bastards.

To a large extent, that explains why Scotland for so long was reasonably content to be governed by Westminster. The decisions they made on Scotland’s behalf might have been reactionary and horrible, but at least they were made by competent people and presented elegantly.

However, ever since the morning of Brexit, the UK has been the laughing stock of the world. Scotland is now universally regarded as having better, nicer, cleverer and more competent politicians that the rUK.

This must be the final nail in the coffin of the UK. The United Kingdom must be competent, or it is nothing.

Scotland is my home

There’s an article by yours truly on Bella Caledonia today:

It felt like the sun had broken through the heavy clouds of an unexpected storm when Nicola Sturgeon made her statement the morning after the Brexit referendum.

As a New Scot and EU migrant, her direct message to us brought a tear to my eye – and I know many Scots, old and new, felt the same. It was such a contrast to the UK politicians and media that didn’t seem to care about us.

Read the rest here.

Reverse Greenland

Lots of people are currently talking about Scotland (and perhaps Gibraltar) doing a Reverse Greenland, which means that the UK would leave but Scotland (et al.) would remain within the EU.

I don’t think that’s particularly likely for the following two reasons:

  1. A Greenlandic solution doesn’t mean that Greenland is independent in all areas where the EU is representing Denmark. Instead, Copenhagen is ultimately in charge of these areas (unless they’re devolved, of course). In other words, if Scotland achieved a Reverse Greenland solution, Westminster would for instance have to conduct their own trade policy for England while representing Scotland in Brussels at trade summits. It would lead to a lot of conflicts of interest at Westminster, and I don’t think Brussels would like this at all.
  2. As Craig Murray has pointed out, there’s no legal basis in the EU treaties for having a territory of a non-member state as a member: “The European Union is an institution which is based on treaties which have legal force. There is nothing whatsoever in any of those treaties, and nothing in any existing arrangement with any state, that makes it possible for part of a state, even a federal state, to be inside the EU, when the state itself is outside. […] The Greenland case is not in the least comparable because its relationship with the EU is based on the fact that it is an autonomous territory of an EU member state, Denmark. That is completely different from the situation of an autonomous territory of an EU non-member, which the UK will be.” I presume this means that the only way it would work would be if the UK remained a member, and England and Wales then left the EU (like Greenland). Given the size of England, I really can’t see this happening.

However, I think it’s absolutely correct and proper that Nicola Sturgeon explores all options before calling a second independence referendum.

Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity

EU referendum result: Prime Minister’s statement
EU referendum result: Prime Minister’s statement.

I used to think that David Cameron was secretly trying to engineer a Leave vote. There were so many signs, e.g., (1) making demands from the EU that could never be met, (2) disenfranchising EU citizens and long-term British residents in Europe, (3) holding the referendum just after the Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish elections (leading to a lot of election fatigue in these areas), and (4) also holding it during Euro 2016 (when national pride is always running high).

However, the way he didn’t do any Brexit contingency planning and simply threw in the towel now makes it clear that he just was naïve and arrogant enough to think that he’d achieve a Remain vote no matter what.

I’ve even seen it mentioned that he bragged to Juncker that he was going to achieve a 70% win for Remain, which was clearly delusional.

Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity!

Thanks, Nicola!

I was distraught this morning. Non-metropolitan England had voted in great numbers for Brexit, and the British TV channels hardly mentioned Scotland at all.

Shortly after 11 o’clock, however, Nicola Sturgeon started her press conference, and one of her first sentences was this:

It’s hard to express in words how much this meant to me. It brought a tear to my eye. Thanks, Nicola!

And then she proceeded to state in no uncertain terms that it’s very likely there’ll be a second independence referendum soon (I loved her choice of flags, by the way):

This gives me a lot of hope. Scotland might never leave the European Union, but simply leave the broken British one instead.

We need to make this happen!