Robert Hoskins urges the Scottish Labour leadership not to endorse a second independence referendum without at the very least requiring any final deal to be subject to a confirmatory vote.

So Christmas has come early for Scottish nationalists everywhere as the SNP’s dream scenario of a hard right Boris Johnson 5 year premiership plus a hard Brexit have at last become a long-hoped-for reality. To welcome in this joyous news the SNP have ratcheted up their grievance machine to warp factor 10.  Scotland is now apparently ‘imprisoned’ in the UK against our will, states the emboldened First Minister. The minor detail of only 45% of the electorate voting for the SNP has apparently escaped her attention. But the post-election kneejerk clamour for a second independence referendum has reached a crescendo of intensity thanks to a further endorsement which has come from unexpected non-SNP sources that previously were not supportive of it.

It is beyond belief to find leading lights in Scottish Labour aiding and abetting this hysteria less than a week since Scottish Labour lost 6 MPs in what can best be described as a gut-wrenching unmitigated disaster of a result for the party. It is one thing for Labour members to analyse what the hell has just happened and seek a solution, but it is quite another to unthinkingly endorse a replication of the one-vote-only 2014 independence referendum as a template for IndyRef2.  The First Minister must be cock-a-hoop to have prominent members of Scottish Labour already signed up unquestioningly to endorse her vision of a re-run of the 2014 referendum.

The SNP already have their gardening wing signed up for a rerun; they do not need a democratic socialist endorsement of it as well. It is astonishing that high profile Scottish Labour people are already appeasing the nationalists’ cry for another independence referendum by pressurising the leadership to change policy. Does Scottish Labour actually want to enable the SNP to frame the indy debate as Scotland v the Tories?  There will be no upticks in Scottish Labour’s horrendous opinion poll rating by endorsing a rerun of IndyRef because there is no majority support for it in the country. Make no mistake, like those unionists who voted for the SNP to stop Brexit and woke up on Friday 13th to find that their votes were now an endorsement for a referendum instead, Scottish Labour’s support of another referendum will be misused by the First Minister as an endorsement for independence.

I stand four square behind Richard Leonard’s apparent resistance to this position. Under no circumstances should he concede to the pressure from MSPs such as Monica Lennon who wants the Scottish Parliament if necessary to endorse a second independence referendum before the next Holyrood election. To be clear, I am not against having a second independence referendum. My endorsement of it however is qualified. Firstly there has to be an unequivocal commitment in the SNP manifesto and an SNP majority for it at the next Holyrood election. But that is nowhere near enough. The SNP should pay a price for an official Scottish Labour endorsement, and that price should be Richard Leonard signing Scottish Labour up to a confirmatory vote as a crucial part of IndyRef2.  

Regular readers of Labour Hame may be familiar with my recent articles on the crucial importance of including a confirmatory vote in any second independence referendum.  The whole point of a confirmatory vote of course is that it gives the electorate the final say on any deal signed off by both Westminster and Holyrood.  Most importantly, a confirmatory vote would force the SNP to produce a White Paper which would tell the electorate in advance of the vote by just how much our economy would have to shrink to pay for the economic consequences of voting for independence: the loss of the block grant; the current £12.6 billion fiscal deficit; the £120 billion population share of UK debt; the £5 billion in interest payments required to pay off that debt at £6 billion per annum over 20 years; the £1.5 billion start up costs necessary to create the institutions required to support a new country; the £40 billion of currency reserves necessary to fund our own currency which is the SNPs preferred option; and the capital flight of Scotland’s banking industry.

In short, a confirmatory vote enables the electorate to compare the final deal with the promises made before hand in the SNP White Paper and empowers them to give their final verdict on it.

It had irked me greatly that no political journalist (or politician for that matter) had challenged the First Minister on a confirmatory vote.  But take a bow SKY TV’s Sophie Ridge. Sophie has just become the first ever journalist to ask Nicola Sturgeon that very question.

For those of you who are already familiar with the above catastrophic economic consequences that would inevitably arise if there was a vote for independence, Sturgeon’s answer would come as no surprise to anybody as it was entirely predictable. She of course said that a confirmatory vote was not part of any plans because apparently people knew exactly what they were voting for because it was explained in such great detail in the accompanying White Paper, Scotland’s Future.  That answer takes chutzpah to a new level as what of course she failed to mention was that the White Paper calculated that the independence project would be paid for by the tax receipts raised from a barrel of oil being priced at $113.

The final deal sealed on ”Independence Day” on 24th March 2016 would have seen the Scottish economy falling off a cliff as the price of a barrel of oil had plummeted to $43. Is it any wonder that the First Minister does not want a confirmatory vote to be attached to any second independence referendum? Having watched how uncomfortable she was during that interview I suspect that the First Minister would rather endure a course of unanaesthetised root canal treatment  than ever concede to a confirmatory vote. 

I have always argued that a Confirmatory vote kills achieving independence by means of a referendum stone dead because the feeble economic case underpinning it would be brutally exposed and not be able to withstand public scrutiny. I find it fascinating that Blair McDougall – Head of Better Together – the 2014 Remain in the UK campaign, has recently revealed that his team had factored in a detailed response to the possibility of  Salmond throwing a confirmatory vote curved ball to the electorate which could have transformed the vote in favour of Independence, especially as two thirds of undecided voters stated that they would vote to leave the UK if they could be sure that their economic circumstances would not be adversely affected. Why then did he not offer it? The answer to that is obvious. That offer might have easily won him the first vote but he knew that vote would have been overturned had the electorate been exposed to all the negative economic consequences of independence which were not outlined in his White Paper.

Every day since the Brexit result the Scottish electorate has been subjected to the very real threat of Sturgeon detonating the IndyRef2 bomb. This threat has markedly intensified as a result of the general election. Could it be that a confirmatory vote is the only political device that exists which can successfully disarm an independence referendum time bomb and remove the perennial threat that a successful Leave UK vote poses to the Scottish economy once and for all?  Sophie’s interview has identified that there is no way on this earth that the First Minister would attach a confirmatory vote to any offer of IndyRef2, so Scottish Labour should now call her out on it.

Richard Leonard should seize this opportunity to reboot Labour’s faltering constitutional position by committing to a confirmatory vote being attached to any request made by the SNP to hold a second independence referendum if they ever acquire a majority mandate for it at the next Holyrood election. 

Signing  Labour up to a confirmatory vote not only endorses best practice as outlined by the Independent Commission on Referendums, it also completely transforms Labour’s position on the constitution from one of weakness to one of strength.  Signing up to a confirmatory vote opens up so many new attack lines for Richard Leonard to use which were not available to him previously. Sturgeon should now be told in no uncertain terms  – if she doesn’t agree to a confirmatory vote irrespective of how many majorities she gets at Holyrood for it there will never ever be a second independence referendum granted under a Labour Government.

Richard should also ask why the First Minister is so obviously petrified of a confirmatory vote? Could it be that she would be forced to reveal to the electorate in advance of the first vote what the disastrous economic consequences would be for their standard of living? Do not underestimate the power of the economic argument against independence to cut through to the electorate, especially as so few people are aware of it. A confirmatory vote would also allow Labour to attack the Tories and Lib Dems for not allowing the SNP another referendum if they win a majority of seats on a fresh mandate at the next Holyrood election.

Sturgeon’s response to Sophie Ridge’s confirmatory vote question has provided Labour with a potential game-changing weapon, one which enables it to out manoeuvre all the other unionist parties by being the only party that can now force the SNP to finally take IndyRef2 off the table once and for all and get on with the day job of running the country.

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51 thoughts on “No IndyRef2 without a confirmatory vote

  1. Richard your idea of having a confirmatory vote is just another all be it an official version of the previous North London Metropolitan elite mantra during and after the Brexit referendum that the Labour Leave voter’s in the North East of England where to wee and stupid to know what they voted for with Brexit, as we know what followed in the general election was the wipe out of the Red Wall of labour seats in the North East of England and a Boris Johnson Tory government. Trying to treat the folk’s in Scotland in a similar fashion will in my opinion have similar dire consequences for What’s left of the Scottish Labour Party.

      1. Hi Ted,

        I see where your coming from with the old Nationalist grievance ‘too wee, too stupid, too poor”. I would argue that Sturgeon is banking on this. The last thing she wants is for you to do your own independent research into the non existant economic case underpinning independence (an excellent website which is endorsed by a slew of economists can be found here https://www.these-islands.co.uk on this very topic} Because if you did do your own research you would find that a vote for independence is a vote for austerity on stilts. My case for a confirmatory vote is that Sturgeon will try to scam you and the rest of the electorate by producing outrageously optimistic financial outcomes in her 1ndy 2 white paper which may very well get a 50% + 1 on the initial vote. The sign off deal between Westmnster and Holyrood will expose the fact that those optimistic promises bear no resemblance whatsoever to the final deal. Are you seriously arguing that the electorate should not have the final say n this by means of a conformatory vote? If the SNP were so convinced that their economic case was indeed bulletproof- they would be guaranteed a majority at first vote, nor problem. I wonder why they are so opposed to it?

  2. A very misleading article. The author does not make clear that the whole point of having a confirmatory vote is to ensure that if the Scottish people actually dare to state in a referendum that they want to be in full control of their country’s future, the UK government will have a way of overturning this decision by making the process so deliberately awkward and costly that the people will be forced to change their minds.

    I would have more respect for the author if he merely stated that he believed that supporting the idea of Scottish independence should be made illegal.

  3. Its a long shot Robert, but it just might work.
    By the way, switch the lights off when your finished.

  4. Why not to the whole hog, and add a 40% rule?

    Are you against those naughty “foreign types” getting a vote—just like the Cameron EU referendum?

    How about 16/17years olds? Its their future, unlike “oldies” with their diminishing brain cells/grasp on reality.

    The Scottish economy is a reflection of UK economic control over many decades. Scotland, ruled directly from London, had the lowest economic and population growth, of any country in the whole of 20th century Europe. Under devolution, we simply have no economic levers to alter our fiscal circumstance.

    We can see how well other small countries do, including Ireland (the highest growth rate in Europe?) and Norway–a country with the misfortune of not having London to “help it” exploit its shared oil field. Scotland, according to McCrone would have been as wealthy as Switzerland, IF (big IF) it had had control of its own assets. Instead we are apparently, with the support of Scottish Labour, an economic basket case, while London is now the wealthiest region in Europe (in the midst of an impoverished UK).

    I cannot see the constitutional point Scottish Labour are trying to make. They are against Scotland even having the right to determine its own form of government, even though they once sighed of on the Claim of Right. They have no alternative to Scotland being ruled by a right wing, racist, lying, misogynistic, populist liar, perhaps for many years, other than some pie-in-the-sky BS.

    We can only conclude that Scottish Labour think their belief in British nationalism overrules any damage done by Tory governments, to Scots and Scotland.

    I think the Scottish electorate came to the same conclusion.

    1. Hi Gavin

      Firstly, I am just one of 30,000 Scottish Labour Party and do not claim to represent Scottish Labour. Secondly I’m not a British Nationalist. – I voted Remain in the EU and don’t think Scotland is any different or better than any other part of Britain. My point in arguing for a conformatory vote (which none of your comments have addressed) is that it holds the Nationalists to account to provide a detailed economic case to the electorate before the first vote. If you believe that the Nationalists have a credible economic case i really can’t see why you would not support one.

      1. “30,000 Scottish Labour members” …. 《stifles guffaw》!!!

        In your dreams Robert. Judging by the income Scottish (sic) Labour receives from members the real figure is a small fraction if that. Of course that could all be cleared up if they actually published figures instead of just claiming various numbers as it suits. But that is never done. Perhaps because the numbers would not add up without arbitrarlly adding in people who have no idea they are “members”. Such as myself who received a ballot paper (unused) for Corbyn’s leadership election despite never “joining” the Labour Party. Yet more wishful thinking on your part 🙂

  5. If you want a reason for why Labour got trashed last Thursday please read this article.

    Scotland deserves better than this but it’s not going to get it from Scottish labour.

    “It appears my comments on the last two articles have been blocked” why ? Or does the figures make too uncomfortable reading for labour.

    1. Hi Davy

      Arguing for a Confirmatory Vote for any further Independence Referendum is why ”Labour got trashed”. Really?

      1. Yes really, because it’s the same type of bollocks that has lost Labour seats and popularity for years.
        A total disregard for the needs of Scotland and all for the needs of labour.

        1. Davy,

          The reason that a conformatory vote is essential in any future Indy ref is that Sturgeon will attempt to scam you into believeing that there is a viable economic case for independence. There quite simply isn’t. Even the SNP’s Growth Commission stated austerity on stilts for 1st 10 years at least after independence. I can’t believe that you would truly inflict that on yourself, your family and fellow Scots. A CV enables the electorate to compare Sturgeon’s economic promises outlined in her pre 1st vote white paper to the reality in the sign off deal. The nationalists have no answers to replacing the £10 billion fiscal transfer (Barnet Formula) we receive every year. Sorry Davy that’s the hard brutal facts about independence there is no economic case which doesn’t end up in making us all poorer. You can scam the electorate once by making dishonest economic promises – a CV prevents the Nationalists from doing it twice,

  6. Talk about unprincipled opportunism. This is an article written by an author who is derermined that the Scottish people must be saved from themselves and is willing to take whatever position is necessary to achieve that …. whatever the cost to his own credibility. It is about as sad as it gets.

    1. Hi Bungo

      Wrong again. The Scottish people have to be saved from SNP deception if there is any Indy ref 2. You see Bungo – the SNP have NO viable economic case for Independence – it’s eyewatering austerity from day 1 of Indy I’m afraid. All the grievances in the world is not going to change that fact.. The whole point of my article is that it is entirely possible that the SNP could scam the electorate on a first vote into believing their economic promises in terms of replacing £10 billion black whole as a result of losing Barnett, reducing £12.6 billion fiscal deficit etc etc. But when that final deal would be signed off between Westminster and Holyrood it would be austerity on stilts. Surely even you Bungo wouldn’t want to inflict that kind of misery on your fellow Scots? Donkey ears – the feeling of being scammed is how a furious Scottish electorate would feel as the economic promises made before the 1st vote bore no resemblance whatsoever to the final deal. It is only fair that any indy ref 2 comes with a conformatory vote.

      Think about this Bungo. If the nationalists were supremely confident that they had a water tight oven ready economic case that would withstand the most rigorous of scrutiny they would have signed up to a conformatory vote 5 years ago. And you know what? They would have won the first vote and would have been trounced in the 2nd.

      1. Utter, wilfully ignorant, contrived b*llsh*t. And by the way, it’s “confirmatory” not “conformatory”. If you’re going to promote a shamelessly self serving attempt to stymie your country achieving independence, at least learn the correct nomenclature.

        As to your implication that Scotland is an economic basket case;
        (a) that hardly backs the case for the Union as it can only have come about under the Union.
        (b) the GERS “deficit” that underpins it is not, according to leading international experts (rather than some tame Labour stalwart in a minor Scottish position), the starting point of an independent Scotland which would have different priorities and powers available to it. For instance (and you have never addressed these points when put to you) not having to pay £bns towards paying off the “continuing” UK’s stunningly huge national debt and taxing the North Sea at a realistic level (instead of giving mega-rich multi-national oil companies money to extract the oil and sell it at a vast profit). Those two points alone would all but (if not wholly) wipe out the notional GERS deficit without a single penny of austerity.

        1. Hi Bungo

          Jaysus where to start with this! First try and keep it civil rather than slagging off typos. I see you are a GERS denier. If that is the case there really is no point in me continuing debating with you I’m afraid. It would seem you are impervious to any rational argument with regards to the viability of an Independent economy.

          Bungo have you ever engaged with any of the evidence out there that reinforces my position – that there is no economic scenario for an independent Scotand which does not result in austerity max? If you have not you are indulging in tribal politics where you are deliberately going out of your way to keep your belief alive by avoiding any challenge to it. Can I suggest it’s time you should challenge it? Can I suggest you start with Kevin Hague’s website chokkablog?

          https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B9i7kxf8EcbbTjBySFVOdmpsbjA/view

          Do you not find it a tad odd that both Sturgeon and Salmond both waxed lyrical about the veracity of GERS in 2014 when it showed Scotland was putting more into the tax pot than it took out in spending? Salmond called GERS the ”kite mark standard” back in 2014. Fast forward five years to now when they show that Scotland spends £12.6 billion more than it raises in taxes it goes without sying that Sturgeon’s endorsement is not so fullsome.

          1. And still you do not address the points put to you. Simply ignoring them and implying that anybody that does not agree with you is an idiot.

            Two things from your last post;

            (1) I have not “denied GERS” as you strangely claim. I have merely pointed out that the “deficit” it describes is dependent on an independent Scotland following Westminster financial/economic policies. And I then gave you two simple remedies to it that you have repeatedly ignored. I wonder why?

            (2) How could I not have seen the multitudinous “too poor” unionist wailings that beset the internet and media sphere. They are truly literal exponents of the “dismal science” …. or are they? While I have read the views of some of the planet’s most notable and highly regarded financial experts who disagree with your simplistic view of Scotland’s finances, the people you would have me believe instead are a minor academic Labour stalwart and an amateur blogger with no financial background or qualifications. Really!!!! I think I’ll stick to Nobel prize winners and international experts rather than believe your Scottish (sic) Labour “chums”.

            It is not me that has retreated into a bunker, only listening to those who agree with me. I have looked at the various views, opinions and (importantly) examples and find your blinkered negativity wanting. It is you who cannot (or will not) see beyond the status quo and seek to entomb us all in the depressing “naw we can’t” silo you and your “chums” have built around yourselves.

            Here’s a little “even-handed” analysis that does not back either of our views completely but should, hopefully, allow you to glimpse a different Scotland from your bunker;

            https://www.channel4.com/news/factcheck/factcheck-has-scotland-subsidised-the-rest-of-the-uk

  7. Robert the crunch will come when Nicola asks for section 30 and Boris says no .I say we stand behind the Scottish Government and parliament

    1. Well said David. Some would have us renege on the Claim Of Right and the “sovereign will of the Scottish people to determine the form of government best suited to their needs”.

      If we don’t stand our ground, Scotophobes like Boris Johnson will pish all over us for years to come.

      1. Hi Gavin

        Yup a mandate and a majority at 2021 Holyrood plus a confirmatory vote attached – I would have absolutely no problem with that

  8. What is it with Robert Hoskins and Alastair Osborne and their obsession with a second referendum?
    Your party is tearing itself apart. You have no leader. One MP in Scotland. Constituencies across England are now conservative for the first time ever.
    Labour is in an existential crisis never experienced in its history. An internal struggle for power at the top to an internecine dirty war at the grass roots. If Len McCluskey backs the winner again and keeps his people in place the British Labour Party may well not survive. Thats not me saying it that is Ian Murray, Labours only Scottish MP.
    So why no debate on Labourhame? Have you all given up?

    1. Richard–some in Labour think they have loads of time–that the media will always keep a chair warm for them, so long as when they deliberate, they choose a Blairite path and veto Scots having a say in their own future. A.K.A. The British Way.

      They should have some regard to the Scottish example, which may not yet be played out. In England Labour are so far lucky voters have no alternative. There is a big electoral gap now between Scotland and England (and Wales). Its hard to see that changing.

      Its only a few weeks ago that Boris was suffering the biggest Commons defeats ever—yet a 1.2% increase in Tory votes has given them a huge majority in parliament—even though more people voted against them than for them. Labours preferred voting system.

      Boris cannot possibly keep his promises. The finances don’t add up. But he will have five years to slew the system his way, threaten broadcasters, Judges and cow anyone else who opposes him. This is a revolution right now.

    2. Hi Richard

      With the greatest of respect what has your response got to do with any 2nd referendum having a conformatory vote which was the whole point of my article?

  9. I’ll try for a 3rd and last time, Robert – if this one is ignored like my previous 2, then you’ll have lost any respect I had and Labour hame will have lost a reader of the blog. What I wrote was, that as a former Labour voter ( for most of my life-and I’m 81 ), the main article was evidence enough of why my vote and thousands of others has now gone elsewhere. Andy – Labour no more.

    1. Ho Andrew

      Sorry I haven’t read and can’t see any of your 2 previous responses to my article. My article was about ensuring that the Scottish people have the final say in any future Independence Referendum. Sorry my article didn’t meet your expectations

  10. I am sorry to say that if the views of the likes of Robert here prevail in Scottish Labour circles then it is utterly doomed. The Labour vote here will be reduced to a small hard core who put our precious union above a fair society.

    1. Hi Michael

      So Labour is ”utterly doomed” because I have argued very strongly that if there is another referendum their should be a confirmatory vote attached – really?

  11. No Richard I although gutted have not given up this is worse than 15 .We now have a situation where we went back to 1 Scottish MP .
    Boris has a majority that big he can and will do what he wants week 1 changes to employment Laws proposed the power to change EU laws like government departments to be abolished refugee children in Europe make it more difficult for them to join their UK families if you resign or lose your seat that’s ok Boris will put you in the Lords and you can keep your cabinet seat We fight on all of it .
    In Scotland we now argue for full power to be devolved we back the Scottish Government when they ask for power to hold an Indy ref we can then campaign against but above all we protect our parliament that is the Scottish parliament and people. And protect devolution I hope I am wrong but if Boris can do what he wants in Westminster what will he do to us if we let him .

  12. Given the experience of the 2014 and 2016 referendums it is clear that a one off referendum with a simple majority is no longer a valid way of deciding constitutional issues.

    1. Absolutely Richard. Isn’t it interesting that all the Nationalist debate around Indy ref 2 is about when not what would it look like, They are assuming (wrongly) that it is going to be a rerum of the one vote Indy ref 1

  13. As for the shadow Scottish Secretary being MP for Rochdale better to have left the position unfilled if Ian Murray did not want it assuming he was asked

  14. The language of the article disappoints me. Debate is abandoned for another round of party political rock throwing.
    England has moved Right politically. That has been their choice and they have made it very clear that they embrace it. Under a Westminster regime with FPTP we will now have a Tory regime for at least a decade. We will very likely have a hard Brexit and move towards closer alignment with the USA.
    Beyond the next decade the best we can hope for will be a return to “turns each” at Westminster. The Labour and Tory Parties once compromising knowing that if they don’t then the other party will undo the policies when they come into power.
    I have not read any discussion on the merits or negatives of Independence. Neither has increased Devolution been outlined. Nor has a Federal system been discussed. Zero discussion about balanced representation and an end to FPTP

    I only hear “we need to keep doing the same”

    1. Hi Julia,

      We have published numerous articles, some by the self same author, which talk in depth about the merits and negatives of independence.

    2. Hi Julia
      I don’t think federalism is on the cards – there is no stomach for it in England – and It would require a certain amount of balkanisation of England for it to work. I think the Blair government tried to kick this off by offering voters in the North East England region an elected assembly after devolution for Scotland and Wales but they turned it down. The other two regional (North West England and one other) referendums were never held but I cannot recall why. Federalism has in some way been superseded by the idea of elected Mayors – an idea that was to allow the Tory party to have the opportunity to gain a foothold in areas where Labour was traditionally strong. I think it would need to be a confederation or at the least full fiscal autonomy for Scotland with very few reserved areas but that is a different discussion.
      Can I point you to a very good article by Robert where he gives a detailed economic argument against independence (there are rebuttals in the letters accompanying it):
      http://labourhame.com.lynx.mythic-beasts.com/where-is-the-economic-honesty-in-the-independence-debate/
      and also my own article which is pro independence:
      http://labourhame.com.lynx.mythic-beasts.com/is-it-time-for-labour-to-back-independence/

  15. Happy Christmas and a guid new year to one and all.
    I cant wait for 2020 to come.
    IndyRef2 is vastly over rated. The main event will be The Battle for the Leadership. XX rated.
    Duncan, Alastair and Robert come out from behind the settee. I’ve bought you some complimentary tickets.

    1. Hi Richard,

      Back at you with greetings. I agree that the leadership will be a far more important event than Indy ref 2 – that much we can agree on. My vote will be for the candidate who’s best equipped to:-
      Gut the team surrounding Corbyn – completely!
      Halt further democratisation of the party
      Reverse trigger ballots
      Tackle antisemitism
      Consolidate policy around the positives from the manifesto (yes there were many).
      Reach out and unite the party
      Listen to what those voters who have left us are saying
      Have the X factor

      Thinking Lisa Nandy but have an open mind. Ian Murray for deputy.

      1. Robert,
        I dont think Len McCluskey sees it that way.
        The Labour Party has a real problem with McCluskey. Corbyn has allowed him to place his people at the top of The Party machine and they are not going to relinquish their hold on the levers without a fight.
        If McCluskey (and McDonnel) (and Lansman is not going to go away) manage to manoeuvre their (puppet) preferred candidate into position, to take over from JC then nothing on your list will happen because Labour will always be in opposition.
        It looks as if it will be ian Lavery, (he is not adverse to, how shall I put this, ‘union support’).
        I always new that the close relationship between The Party and the unions (these days that is UNITE and UNISON) was unhealthy. But it was only over the last few years of Corbyn’s rule that I realised just how dangerous (for the LP) that relationship was. McCluskey doesnt want Labour to win he just wants to control Labour.

        1. Hi Richard

          Agree with all of the above. I’m hoping that those Corbynistas who chapped on doors during the election have been well and truly taken aback by the negativity surrounding Corbyn and are open to changing their minds. If we elect a continuity Corbynista as leader well Labour are well and truly fecked I’m afraid.

  16. Hello Robert – you know where I stand on independence and I am totally against the confirmatory vote idea but I have a query that I hope you could answer for me – and I am serious here this is not mischievous. If there was a vote FOR independence and then after the passage of time a deal was hammered out between Scotland and the remaining parts of the UK, if this was put to the people and it was turned down in another referendum are you suggesting that what should follow is another negotiation between the Scottish Government (who would have a mandate for independence) and the rest of the UK? OR do you suggest that we go down a series of meaningful vote referendums until we find what is acceptable to the people? OR are you saying that there should be another referendum on the principle of independence? After all, in fairness, you are saying that the confirmatory vote is predicated on the deal not the principle.

    Surely, you must accept that if people vote for something with all the evidence laid before them, then it is up to each and every one of them to assay that evidence and make their own personal final decision? I do not believe for one minute that the Labour Party, the Conservative Party and the Liberal Democratic Party are going to keep quiet about their view of the economic future for Scotland if it becomes independent. I cannot see a referendum on Scottish Independence being held with all three unionist parties staying mute, can you? At that time, I am sure the SNP and the Greens will put forward their economic forecast and it is up to the public to assay these differing views alongside the other numerous benefits of independence and the hobbling nature of continuing subservience to the increasingly right wing political milieu generated by the UK government and media, and make their decision. If they still decide to go for independence then that should be enough for anyone who would describe themselves as a democrat.

    Don’t you agree?

  17. Merry Xmas to you Wynn,

    Thanks for your query. As far as I am concerned if a mandate for indy ref 2 can be achieved by means of a Holyrood majority, that mandate would last only for the duration of the vote. So if the referendum was indeed a two vote event, the mandate would end after the polls closed after the Confirmatory vote. If Quebec is a template, I would fully expect the Nationalists to lose. As I have argued many times on here as there is NO viable economic case for Independence I fully expect with 100% certainty that the Nationalists would convincingly lose the second vote, but I fully acknowledge they might indeed be successful on the first vote. To be brutally honest I would expect the SNP to try and scam the electorate by publishing an overtly optimistic economic prospectus as to how Scotland would fare when independent. A prospectus that would bear absolutely no resemblance to the reality of the sign off deal. I fully expect that after having lost the confirmatory vote that the spell that Nationalism has had over the Scottish electorate over the last 12 years would be broken and the SNP star would be finally on the wane.

    1. Hello Robert and Merry Christmas to you too. I am slightly disappointed in your reply but not surprised. I think the Labour Party will be going nowhere but further to the margins with this approach. You still use the same economic arguments against independence without waver. It is as if you are happy to accept whatever Westminster throws at us. Is there nothing that can dissuade you from this? If the jackboots of Johnson’s intolerance for immigrants took on an ugly side would that make the economics less powerful or would you stick to the ‘it’s too risky’ approach? What does it take?

      A quick look at the economics: there IS actually a viable economic case for Independence – even the IFS (no fan of independence) says “…it is important to realise that our projections are calculated on the same basis as GERS*, which allocates to Scotland a population-based share of spending on things like defence and interest payments on the UK’s national debt…independence could have implications for the validity of these assumptions. independence would allow policies to grow the Scottish economy more quickly, such faster growth would tend to push up revenues and reduce Scotland’s deficit. Independence would also, in principle, give the Scottish Government more freedom to tax and spend more or less, which could have implications for the Scottish budget deficit.” *GERS as you know is purposely weighted against Scotland’s economy.

      Take oil for a quick example. As a socialist I wonder why you are happy to let a country like Norway make money from oil whilst in the same sea, using the same technologies, the UK has put in a privatised system that suits business interests not the population. Have you ever looked at why this is? Have you ever asked yourself why you are happy to continue with this and to delude yourself with figures based on poor economic management by the UK government? The record of the UK and oil is decades of oil wealth but no oil fund and using oil wealth to destroy industries and wage unnecessary wars.

      You often talk about the fall in oil prices and its detrimental effect on Scotland’s economy but it was the UK Government who decided to cut Petroleum Revenues Tax in 2015 from 50% to 35%, and in 2016 reduce it further to 0% – yes zero! In Norway taxation levels remained at 78% yes seventy-eight NOT fifty, not thirty-five and certainly not zero. And you are happy with that sort of management? Might not the Scottish Government in an independent state do a bit better than zero? Say even one per cent?

      I would remind you that the national debt of the UK is at 1.78 TRILLION – that’s a big load of financial mismanagement in anyone’s books. You cannot blame the SNP for that.

      Independence offers the possibility of a better future there is NO possibility of a better future in the UK unless of course you are happy with right of centre politics. Socialism is dead down there – Corbyn was the last flash of flame from the fire. Labour will move to the right of centre as it has nowhere else to go if it wants to stay relevant

      As regard to the confirmatory vote as I said surely its up to the public to assay the different prospectuses of an independent Scotland’s economy in order to make their decision. A confirmatory vote is unnecessary and as Henry D Davidson says above it will only encourage a Johnson-esque government to make the process deliberately awkward and costly – that is the opposite of true democracy.

      1. Hi Wynn

        Thanks for getting back to me.

        The most memorable contribution to this year’s political discourse for me was Rory Stewart. During the Tory leadership debate he was biding his time letting Bojo bluster on about how utterly fantastic Brexit would be and the amazing benefits that would follow as a result of the UK leaving the EU, whilst providing absolutely no scientific evidence whatsoever to substantiate his claims. Rory was next up and he said that Bojo’s contribution reminded him of his wife telling him when he was clearing up the front room that the rubbish bin wasn’t big enough to accommodate the humungous amount of detritus collected.. Rory said ”Believe in the bin” ”Believe in the bin” . That metaphor sums up nationalism perfectly for me. Wiith the greatest of respect to yourself, the SNP’s prospectus for independence is based on – hope, aspiration, we could do this – we could do that – if only. There is no other political ideology more powerful than nationalism. That is why I am reluctantly coming to the conclusion that a stake will have to be applied to its very heart in terms of another referendum defeat like Quebec to finally loosen the grip that it has on 45% of the electorate.

        1. Hello Robert – that’s a shame. To see so blindly and to wreck the hopes of many at the same time. Its also a shame that you had to use Rory Stewart as your touchstone but I will forgive you that as its Christmas.

          1. Hi Wynn

            Exceptionalism – the belief that your country is different from and better that everyone elses based on no evidence whatsoever should be called out be it Scottish, English or British. Political bluster – making political prognostications that have no basis in fact should also be called out. As I said Rory’s ”believe in the bin” methaphor encapsulated both perfectly for me and is so true when applied to the case for Scottish Independence.

            Shall we leave it there? As you seem to be a believer and I am not.

          2. Hello Robert – Sorry, I have to take issue over this notion of ‘exceptionalism’ that you have. It is not the first time you have used the term and it is easy to use terms to create the illusion of a ‘truth’. So I cannot let you insert that ‘truth’ into my mouth. First, I can assure you most categorically that I do not think my “country is different from and better than everyone else’s”. I don’t think there are any in the nationalist movement who do.

            You might be confusing ‘exceptionalism’ with self-determination:
            “…by virtue of the principle of equal rights and self-determination of people enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations, all people have the right to freely determine, without external interference, their political statute and to pursue their economic, social and cultural development, and every State has the duty to respect this right in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations.”

            Your argument is based EITHER on an understandable revulsion of ‘exceptionalism’ as displayed often by UK governments (but mistaken in the Scottish context) including Blair’s Britpop era “a music and culture movement in the mid-1990s which emphasised ‘Britishness'” that had as its signature Britain’s superiority (at least in pop music, fashion and money laundering) OR that you willingly baulk at the idea of the break up of a union for no real reason but a bitter dislike of another party as sort of ‘political sectarianism’ (excessive attachment to a particular sect or party).

            You might as well say that countries as different as East Timor and Canada were just examples of exceptionalism.

            No, Scotland is NO better than anywhere else but it can forge a better future by itself rather than being shackled to a nation with a different political psyche. The trouble with Scottish Labour, sadly, is that many of its members have more sympathy for the views of the Rory Stewarts of this world than pushing for a progressive movement in Scotland.

  18. Merry Christmas every one watched a documentary the first Silent Night about how it came to be written beautifully sung .
    It included a bit I had forgotten the most famous football game in history the 1914 Christmas game started when German soldiers were heard singing Silent Night in their trenches .The British joined in .
    Both sides got out and mixed the programme had photos of soldiers exchanging presents and a photo of a German and British soldier having a smoke together .
    Wonder if any research has been done into what really happened programme said cease fire lasted until New Years day

  19. Thankyou for your reply Robert
    On another programme Lucy Worsley letters from home from both sides it went right along the front estimates 100thousand joined in

  20. How about a confirmatory vote for the general election result on 2nd thoughts maybe naw haha

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