Why I might vote Yes next time

Tom-HarrisFormer Glasgow MP Tom Harris, a staunch No campaigner in the 2014 Scottish independence referendum, explains why in the event of a second referendum he might vote Yes.

 

It doesn’t take much to proclaim a “constitutional crisis” these days, does it?

Holding a referendum and then the people disagreeing with the government is, we are informed, a constitutional crisis and not, as more naïve observers might claim, “people choosing to vote in a certain way”.

A Prime Minister choosing to resign between general elections is, apparently, “a constitutional crisis” rather than an event that tends to happen fairly frequently and without much noticeable upheaval.

Different nations and regions of the UK providing a different answer to the question on a referendum ballot paper might be considered an inevitability, given the diverse nature of the UK. But no, in 2016, such an event is – you guessed it – a “constitutional crisis”.

It was the SNP, and no one else, who decided that what they termed “a material change in circumstances” would provoke a second independence referendum. This was primarily to reassure Sturgeon’s party membership that her ill-judged and oft-quoted remark about the last indyref being, well, the last one for at least a generation, could be got round.

Our former First Minister, Alex Salmond, then proclaimed that the renewal of Trident – supported by both Labour and Conservatives at the 2015 general election and therefore always guaranteed to go ahead whatever the result – would constitute a material change of circumstance. And then Alex announced that if Boris Johnson succeeded David Cameron as Prime Minister, that too would constitute a material change in circumstances justifying another referendum.

Without the EU referendum result, it was only a matter of time before Alex decided that David Mundell looking at Nicola Sturgeon “in a funny way” would constitute a material change of circumstance, a “constitutional crisis”, if you will.

But the EU result happened, so here we are. The SNP manifesto – you know, the one that failed to secure a majority of SNP MSPs at Holyrood in May – admitted that the Scottish Parliament has no power to call such a referendum. That’s less a manifesto commitment and more a complaint about the Scotland Act endorsed explicitly in a referendum of the Scottish people in 1997 and implicitly by them in another referendum in September 2014.

This is what it actually said:

“We believe that the Scottish Parliament should have the right to hold another referendum if there is clear and sustained evidence that independence has become the preferred option of a majority of the Scottish people – or if there is a significant and material change in the circumstances that prevailed in 2014, such as Scotland being taken out of the EU against our will.”

Well, of course the SNP believe the Scottish parliament should have the right to hold another referendum – what power does the SNP not believe Holyrood should have? That’s always been the party’s position – it has always wanted every power currently wielded by Westminster on our behalf to be devolved. It’s odd that it felt the need to restate its view in such terms in a manifesto.

Because as it is written, it is very definitely not a promise to do anything, even in the circumstances so explicitly outlined, namely Scotland being taken out of the EU “against its will”. It is merely a statement of opinion.

This is important, because the clever people who wrote the SNP manifesto knew exactly what they were doing. They were being deliberately vague, trying to give the impression that the party would definitely hold a referendum in certain circumstances while retaining the get-out that “we never explicitly promised we would.” And they’re right.

Because there are a number of obstacles in the way of a second indyref when, as is inevitable, the First Minister admits to the failure of her efforts to rewrite the founding treaties of the EU to allow Scotland to remain a member of the EU while the rest of the UK Brexits.

The first is that the expected bounce in the polls in favour of independence wasn’t as high as she had hoped. But that may change, and any unionist would be foolish to count on that not happening.

The second, rather more important, obstacle is the one flagged up by that manifesto commitment. If, as the SNP admit, it doesn’t have the authority to hold a referendum, then who does? Why, the UK government, of course. It’s why the Edinburgh Agreement had to be sought last time; without it, mandate or no, Alex would not have secured his referendum.

And circumstances are very different now, two years on. The biggest difference with 2012, when David Cameron gave the OK to the SNP’s demands, is that today, in 2016, an independence referendum is in the very recent past. Salmond and Sturgeon may not have meant what they said about the “once in a generation opportunity”, but you can’t blame everyone else for taking them at their word.

Secondly, Sturgeon failed where her predecessor succeeded. There may be a majority of MSPs in favour of independence, but less than half of them were elected on the manifesto containing the suspiciously vague complaint detailed above. That will be noted in Downing Street.

But let’s just assume that the backbone that’s been roaming restlessly across the country for the last two decades looking for a unionist to take residency in gives up, and the UK establishment capitulates to the SNP again, as they have repeatedly done in the recent past. Let’s assume they agree that, given the EU referendum result in Scotland, a second referendum is at least a possibility.

Last time round, in 2012, a deliberate calculation was made that if Salmond got his way on all his demands – on the timing, the wording of the question and the franchise to be used – then a defeat for the nationalists would kill of f the issue for good.

How did that work out, I wonder?

So, Michael Moore, the then Scottish Secretary, capitulated to every one of Alex’s demands. We’ll see if Prime Minister May approaches this whole question in the same conciliatory (or defeatist – take your pick) way.

So, assuming the First Minister even wants another referendum – and that’s a big assumption if the polls don’t go the way she would like them to – and assuming Theresa May accedes to that request (an even bigger assumption, I would suggest), UK ministers would at the very least be ill-advised to adopt the approach of 2012.

If they agree a referendum at all, they should insist on getting their own way in other areas. First, indyref2 must be held after the UK leaves the EU, so that the question posed to Scotland includes all the new obligations it would have to assume as a new member state of the EU – adopting the euro, surrendering freshly-won powers over fishing and agriculture, and making a sizeable donation to the EU coffers, courtesy of Scottish tax payers.

Second, it seems sensible and logical to insist that the franchise for indyref2 should be the same one that resulted in this so-called “constitutional crisis” (or “result” – take your pick). In other words, no one under the age of 18, no EU nationals – exactly the same franchise used on June 23 and at general elections.

And third, the question should be decided by UK ministers. I would suggest “Do you agree that Scotland should remain part of the United Kingdom?”

I’m looking forward to getting my “Yes” posters printed. Any SNP members out there want to buy my “No Thanks” mug?

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67 thoughts on “Why I might vote Yes next time

  1. Unsurprisingly Tom Watson’s take on whether his countrymen and their parliament are “allowed” to have a referendum on independence is about as reliable as his commitment to the union. I very much doubt the Scottish Government, or long standing Yes supporters, will be taking his unsolicited advice seriously. The franchise, timing, wording of the question are entirely a matter for the Scottish people to decide, through their representative in Holyrood. Westminster’s input is neither required nor wanted.

    The Edinburgh Agreement set a precedent; realpolitik dictates that this will be replicated for #indyref2. To do otherwise opens up a Pandora’s Box that suits neither side. Despite Mr Watson’s assertions there is no legal or constitutional consensus on whether Holyrood has the power to hold referendums or not. This lack of clarity explains Cameron’s willingness to negotiate the Edinburgh Agreement in the first place; if unionists had really considered their case so compelling, they would never have compromised. The solution reached for the 2014 indyref is an indication of the weakness of the unionist case, not its strength.

    Even if one discounts the fairly obvious argument that the right of self-determination applies to Scots just as it does to any other people, it is clear that neither the unionist establishment nor the pro independence Scottish Government wanted a legal solution to the question. Further, there is vanishingly little evidence that the courts would have been keen to intervene in an area that can and should be decided by political means.

    Since there is more joy in heaven over a sinner repented, Tom’s Damascene (if somewhat belated) conversion to the cause of independence is heartily welcomed. Despite what many British nationalists assert, the nationalist movement always has (and I suspect always will be) a broad church with room for lots of different opinion; Tom and the many other post-brexit converts should however reflect that asserting “our” independence is in the gift of Westminster, and that British government ministers get to call the shots on whether 16 & 17 year olds or EU nationals get to vote, when the vote is held or what the question is a quaint notion that will get all the consideration from the wider movement that it deserves!

    1. Dear Dear, In such a rush to be the first raving Cybernat to get his misinformed bile in that you couldn’t even get his Surname right (i’ve screenshotted your stupid mistake in that respect but not of all your others ) or did you just copy and paste this comment from another completely different article elsewhere ? If so ..pitiful effort.
      A referendum Bill was passed to allow the first Indyref to be held in Law and a second will need to be passed through Westminster Parliament in exactly the same manner as the first one. Why is it Nationalists are so poorly informed by so many “Facts” ?
      http://www.parliament.scot/parliamentarybusiness/Bills/61076.aspx

      1. Ha, brilliant!

        Andy Ellis appears to harbour a chronic obsession with all matters constitutional, to the point it blinds him to simple details like the name of the person he sets out to traduce. I’ve seen a number of his other dogmatic rants online and they’re all the same. For his ilk, no matter the question, the only answer is independence.

        What a closed mind!

      2. Eh the link you provide shows the bill which would be passed through the Scottish Parliament not the Westminster Parliament which didn’t debate nor vote on any Scottish Independence referendum.

        I honestly believe you’re being deliberately stupid in order to click bait? Why? we wouldn’t be on here to begin with if we required inhouse morons to prompt us.

    2. You clearly didn’t read the article. He is looking forward to voting yes to the questions “Should Scotland remain part of the United Kingdom?”. No Damascene moment. Sorry to disappoint.

  2. “Second, it seems sensible and logical to insist that the franchise for indyref2 should be the same one that resulted in this so-called “constitutional crisis” (or “result” – take your pick). In other words, no one under the age of 18, no EU nationals – exactly the same franchise used on June 23 and at general elections.”

    Nah, we’re so much better than that.

    You happy with this out and out Tory propagating these views on your site Dunc? Sheesh.

  3. ” This was primarily to reassure Sturgeon’s party membership that her ill-judged and oft-quoted remark about the last indyref being, well, the last one for at least a generation, could be got round.”

    It was not an ill judged remark it was a forecast which was deliberately taken by the opposition and media to mean a certainty and a statement of intent. No single person has the authority legitimacy legality or democratic mandate within a functioning democracy to determine what the future desires and wants of the people of a Nation should be at any given time. Our so called leaders and politicians are Civil servants their job is to serve not dictate.

  4. I cant get a picture out of my head. Its of Tom Harris. He’s looking in the bathroom mirror of a morning and, Fonz like, Tom smiles at himself shrugs and walks away.
    First of all, I have not read this article. I don’t need to because this comment is not about the content of the article. This comment it is about the author and his self opinionated vainity.
    Once again we have Tom Harris, at a time that his party Labour appears to be destroying itself from with in, ruminating over of all things, what he might do in the event of a second Scottish referendum.
    Unlike other people Tom Harris never seems to have any doubts about himself or his beliefs. (OK I scanned the article). Here are three phrases from his article I find interesting and that I think are telling;
    “It was the SNP, and no one else, who decided that what they termed………….”
    “Our former First Minister, Alex Salmond, then proclaimed that the renewal of Trident…………….”
    “The SNP manifesto – you know, the one that failed to secure a majority………………..”
    Tom Harris appears fixated by his perception of the mistakes of others. You will never read or hear him examine his own thoughts on the reasons for his failures or those of his party. I see this same flaw in other politicians, and it is worthy of note that they are usually Labour politicians. Yesterday, the same day as the Tories appointed a woman as our next PM (from a list of two woman) Harriet Harman wrote an article in Left Foot Forward titled ‘Theresa May must Deliver for Woman’.
    But it is the context of this article and Harriet Harman’s that make these essays so strangely out of place. The Labour Party appears to be in its death throes. Wiped out in Scotland. Its core voters in its heartlands of England and Wales are now UKIP supporters. Its leader is despised by his MPs. There is a coup on going to oust Corbyn as leader as I type. Yet Tom Harris and Harriet Harman not only feel it unnecessary to make any comment they choose instead to point out the mistakes of others.
    So my question is, do politicians like Harriet Harman and ex politician Tom Harris not realise how articles like this and the one yesterday are received? Voters don’t like to be insulted. In in this case I can put Tom Harris’s mind at rest; his reasons for why he might vote yes next time go beyond the point of insulting. They are somewhere on the scale between obsessive delusion and just plain weird.

  5. “Without the EU referendum result, it was only a matter of time before Alex decided that David Mundell looking at Nicola Sturgeon “in a funny way” would constitute a material change of circumstance, a “constitutional crisis”, if you will.”

    Eh no Tom The SNP don’t have to spin or weave excuses or make up mandates.

    The Westminster establishment can always be relied upon to provide not only the legitimate mandate for Scottish Independence but the absolute necessity for it as well. Your own potential conversion is testament to that don’t you think? The history of Westminster is all about providing mandates and necessity when it comes for Nations to remove themselves from its authority. Its just taken Scotland longer than most to see it.
    That’s a shameful legacy we will have to cope with.

    1. “The SNP don’t have to spin or weave excuses or make up mandates.”

      Hahaha Hilarious … “Alex Salmond: North Sea oil ‘worth £300,000 for every Scot’ http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/scotland/10198532/Alex-Salmond-North-Sea-oil-worth-300000-for-every-Scot.html
      ————————————————————————————————————–
      “Salmond says ‘we’re keeping the pound'”
      http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-scotland-politics-28691840

      yet previously “Salmond in call to dump the millstone of the pound”
      http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/12207577.Salmond_in_call_to_dump_millstone_of_the_pound/
      ——————————————————————————————————————
      “On almost every critical point raised during the debate about Scotland’s future, Salmond was deliberately misleading. I’m not just thinking of his claim that he’d received legal advice reassuring him that an independent Scotland wouldn’t need to reapply for membership of the European Union. When the Information Commissioner ordered the Scottish government to respond to an FOI request to disclose the advice it had received, Salmond’s ministers spent £19,452.92 of public money appealing the decision, only to admit later that the ‘advice’ was a figment of Salmond’s imagination. So the First Minister misled the Scottish people on this point and spent taxpayers’ money to try to conceal the fact.”
      http://www.spectator.co.uk/2015/05/nicola-sturgeon-protests-too-much-about-alistair-carmichael/

      We knew not to take the above comment seriously when we read “Westminster Establishment” yet the SNP Scottish Establishment were seen on TV sitting in the Royal Box at Wimbledon enjoying all the “Privileges” that Westminster is willing to share with them. So many deluded people in Scotland nowadays.

      1. Andy Have you yet to learn that delusion and self deceit are not the answers to anything? Since NS Oil and don’t forget the Gas were discovered and exploited the UK Government has raked in hidden and undisclosed 100s of billions in not just crude revenues but also sales and VAT of the refined products.
        To say it would be worthless to an Independent Scotland is to be stupid moronic pitiful and pathetic.
        Don’t you get pissed off with people who use stupidity as an argument?

        Of course we can keep the pound it belongs to us! Nobody can take it away!

        The Pound can become a millstone or a huge asset at any time due to its fluctuating value and uncontrollable markets but you don’t see that as a problem for the UK anymore than you see the fluctuating value of Oil and Gas because yer being stupidly dishonest.

        Every so called critical point brought up by Project fear has occurred as a direct result of Scotland remaining as part of the UK. We have experience project fear BECAUSE we’re still part of the UK.

        If you’ve got nothing but your own self delusional drivel to offer then offer nothing and kid on to the world you’re better than you are.

  6. “Last time round, in 2012, a deliberate calculation was made that if Salmond got his way on all his demands – on the timing, the wording of the question and the franchise to be used – then a defeat for the nationalists would kill of f the issue for good.”

    See here you make Scottish Independence from the authority of Westminster to sound like ones mans ambition and campaign. Come on Tom again you yourself are testament to the fact that it is a “GROWING” movement.

    1. “Growing movement” …yet SNP lost its majority in Holyrood ? How could that possibly be ?
      A large proportion of the LEAVE vote were SNP and Indy previous voters.

      1. Again with the stupidity! The vote for the Scottish Government increased again to its highest levels ever! They don’t have a majority in seats in spite of getting more votes than last time because the system is specifically designed to prevent any party getting a majority of seats.

        What is wrong with you?

        1. There are none so blind as those that refuse to see. No wonder Labour is doomed in Scotland. Incidentally where is Kezia at this horrendous time for the Labour Party?

      2. They didn’t lose their majority the votes went to another Pro Indy party. Not that our parliament is designed to allow a majority it’s set up to ensure it doesn’t happen. A large proportion of Leave voters were SNP? Did you count them yourself or are you just assuming you know what SNP voters do?

  7. “But the EU result happened, so here we are. The SNP manifesto – you know, the one that failed to secure a majority of SNP MSPs at Holyrood in May”

    Very disingenuous Tom. It wasn’t the manifesto which failed to secure an over all majority but a very specific electoral system designed to prevent parties from gaining overall majorities. The fact that the SNP managed to break that system before with a smaller proportion of the vote only shows the system like all systems is flawed. In other words nothing is perfect.

    1. Erm you mean exactly the same system that allowed the previous SNP Government a majority in the previous Holyrood term ? How is it only a flawed system when it doesn’t produce the result you want but when it does its a “wonderful system” ? The system didn’t change over those two terms …many of the Electorate just voted differently, which shows it isn’t flawed at all.

      1. How can it not be flawed when it was specifically designed by Labour and the Lib Dems to ensure no single party gains overall control by number of seats? When the SNP gained a majority in seats?

        That’s a design flaw!

        Nobody is this moronic unless they want to behave this way deliberately.

      2. Who actually ever said it was a “wonderful system”? I can’t find that phrase anywhere on this page other than in your post. Did you just make it up?

  8. “Well, of course the SNP believe the Scottish parliament should have the right to hold another referendum – what power does the SNP not believe Holyrood should have? That’s always been the party’s position – it has always wanted every power currently wielded by Westminster on our behalf to be devolved. It’s odd that it felt the need to restate its view in such terms in a manifesto.”

    And why not Tom? In what way would Westminster wield any specific power of authority over Scotland in a more sympathetic beneficial progressive manner than a Scottish Parliament would? Would you always trust Westminster to put Scotlands interests above all others in all things more than you would trust a Scottish Parliament to? A Conservative Westminster Government relative to an Independent Scottish Labour Government for example?

    Really Tom?

    1. Well a Westminster Government might consider the wishes of all Scots where Sturgeon and company only consider the views of their own followers alone. The SNP DO NOT speak for the whole of Scotland and never will.

      1. Who has ever spoken for the whole of Scotland ever? We are in this contemptible unworkable criminally corrupt union because a very tiny minority of privileged and patronised Uncle Tam crooks allowed themselves to be bribed and seduced into committing an illegal act of Parliament against the sovereign will of the people and state.

        Again you offer nothing but trolling stupidity because the reality is there is nothing to answer with but trolling stupidity.

      2. No government will ever speak for everyone. It is a logistical impossibility. Of course they consider the views of their followers that is why people vote for them in droves. If they didn’t listen then they would be exactly the same as Labour in its current form. It doesn’t matter if you agree with everything the SNP does or none of what the SNP does. What does matter is that we remain a democratic country where we can have votes and referendums and anything that we want. Political interference in democracy resulted in a divided Scotland. The only reason No voters are upset is the made up vow and its subsequent fall out are still fresh in our memories and they won’t be able to use the same tactics again.

  9. The ‘staunch No campaigner’ Tom Harris neglects to mention that he was the chair of Scottish Vote Leave anywhere in this article. He writes as a spectator, rather than as one of the individuals who was instrumental in getting us where we are now. Raising his position in the leave campaign in the article might necessitate a mea culpa from Mr Harris, but that would undermine the smug condescension that informs the rest of his article.
    Cards on the table, I voted Yes in the Indyref, Labour in the general election of 2015 and Labour in Holyrood in 2016. I also voted to Remain. Of course Tom Harris wants to downplay the result of the referendum and deny that it represents a constitutional crisis. Labour has one Scottish seat at Westminster, the SNP are by far the most vocal opposition there and they will simply use any recession, financial penalty or revision of the Barnett formula as grist to their mill in pursuing independence. Mr Harris has assisted them in their endeavours, as did Labour in their conduct of the Indyref in 2014. Labour won the referendum and lost Scotland. Leave have won the referendum, but they will lose the UK.
    Whether Mr Harris wants to admit it or not, a significant aspect of the No vote in 2014 was over fears that Scotland would be out of the EU. We are, as has been said repeatedly, where we are- on the way out of the EU. Where Tom Harris wanted us to be.
    Mr Harris notes that that the SNP have been ‘deliberately vague’ as to their position post the EU referendum. Perhaps I should post the clip from the BBC post referendum programme where Tom Harris defended the lack of any post referendum planning on the part of Leave as people would have picked apart their proposals in the same way that the SNP’s white paper was i.e there would have been an informed discussion on the fundamental decision that the UK as a whole was making. Now Tom Harris wants the informed political debate for Indyref 2 he was instrumental in avoiding in the EU referendum. He also wants to disenfranchise the under 18s who were so energised in the Indyref, those same under 18s who did not vote in the EU referendum. The referendum which had such a narrow majority that those young people who did not vote might have made a difference to. Withdrawing the vote from those who previously had it is simply indefensible.
    Tom Harris wishes to pretend that a referendum in which 62% of Scots voted to remain in the EU, while the rest of the U.K. voted narrowly to leave does not represent a constitutional crisis. A political event which has resulted in the resignation of one PM and the succession of another, without an election, a result which represented a fundamental failure of the British political establishment in terms of planning for a vote to leave, with a Labour Party opposition unable to represent the interests of its voters in Westminster as it fights an internal civil war between Blairites and Corbynites in the midst of the sixth year of futile and brutal austerity where food banks are the new normality and a situation in wjich we are by all accounts heading into yet more unprecedented, but predicted financial chaos. A disaster manufactured by a Westminster political establishment in chaos, but according to Tom Harris this does not represent a constitutional crisis.
    I look forward to Tom Harris campaigning for yes to remain part of the U.K. Then I and any other person who feels that a Westminster Tory Party- unrestrained by any EU regulations on working time, childcare or any of those other aspects of the EU which mitigate the wilder excesses of right wing Conservatives – is the responsibility of people like Tom Harris. People who campaigned to get us where we are now: out in the cold, hanging on to a smaller, meaner, less tolerant, rump UK that I maybe will not feel so bad about leaving. I look forward to being able to hang Tom Harris’ role in getting us where we are round his neck in Indyref 2. I look forward to Tom Harris defending the disenfranchisement of the young people who were so energised and included in the Indyref. At least Kate Hoey has had the good grace to look hunted, Tom.

    1. Hardly a constitutional crisis at all. I wonder how many Scots only Voted “Remain” to try to engineer a second “Indyref” ? After all Salmond and co made plenty of issue of it. I also saw plenty of SNP supporters on Social Media saying they WERE going to Vote REMAIN as “it was the only way” they thought of getting Indyref2 asap…so perhaps the SNP did “skew” the EU ref Vote by encouraging this for their own reasons other than actually staying in the EU ?

      1. Yes, That must be it. That’s why Scotland voted Remain. We really wanted out, but saw this tsunami of disaster as a way to ensure a second independence referendum. Such insight. It’s a wonder the Labour Party isn’t doing so much better in Scotland… or anywhere, actually.

  10. I voted no in 2014. If she call another iref on their own spurious terms, I will vote iscot, just to watch them finally be forced to take responsibility for their idiocy.

    1. Brilliant. At least they won’t run for the hills like Cameron, Farage, BJ and the rest.

    2. So just for personal revenge for the UK leaving the EU (14% of all Scottish trade) you would Vote for Independence (70% of all Scottish trade) instead…yep that’s real clever isn’t it ?

      The EU Referendum did not have Scotland on the Voting paper, it was a whole UK Vote.

      What makes you think that Sturgeon is such a good judge of whats right and whats wrong anyway ? This says that she isn’t https://www.sundaypost.com/news/scottish-news/sturgeon-almost-resigned-over-defence-of-convicted-fraudster/

  11. Can I just point out to people that Tom Harris is NOT intending to vote for Scottish Independence. The whole article makes plain his antipathy towards that cause. The “YES” he intends to vote for is to the question he himself has constructed, “Do you agree that Scotland should remain a part of the United Kingdom”, NOT should it be an independent country.

    1. Do you seriously think the question will just be the same as the last time ? No it won’t , it cannot be allowed just to be a box ticking exercise, People need to think carefully about what they Vote for so focus on the question and thought is required.

      After all Indy WOULD make us poorer as a nation so if that’s what people want they need to be forced to actually think about that question. How about ” Do you wish to Vote for an Independent Scotland accepting that it will mean more Austerity and Higher Income Tax for Scots than the rest of the UK” rather than the SNP’s continual hiding of this fact from Voters. It needs to be an open and honest question this time so Scots know exactly what they are getting on the Tin.

      http://rattle.scot/how-to-answer-the-9-billion-question-over-independence

      1. Some one merely points out something others appear to have misconstrued and you feel the need to chime in with the usual “Scottish cringe” too wee, too poor, too stupid nonsense. Your obvious joy in expressing contempt for your country is quite sad really

  12. What a pile of clickbait. An article designed to antagonise. Much like the PLPs current behaviour.

    Yes voters (you remember; the ones that want to overcome the democratic deficit and have an Independent Scotland) need to ignore the baiting by die hard unionists. There is plenty of room for proper debate on the pros and cons of independence and I’m looking forward to knocking on doors again with lots of additional support from those that know that we were let down by the Better Together campaign.

  13. Short version: “THE UNION AT ANY COST!”

    There’s nothing here other than mindless hatred of the SNP; equally mindless devotion to the structures of power, privilege and patronage which define the British state; and a bitter contempt for democracy that appears to be an increasingly common trait among the British political establishment.

    Tom Harris represents both the kind of politics we hope to leave behind when we restore Scotland’s rightful constitutional status.

    1. Not surprised to see your usual diatribe here , spending your whole life spreading false propaganda wherever you can IS what you do after all. Here is a lesson on why spending £8.6billion WOULD NOT make Scotland better off , unlike your manic wishful thinking writings on the same subject http://chokkablog.blogspot.co.uk/2014/08/83bn-better-off.html

      It takes some gall to go around other peoples blogs attacking others yet many of the ones you have your fantasies published on have the comments censored and commenters then blocked to stop anyone from pointing out what complete garbage you write.

  14. Thanks, Tom. Your diatribe clearly explains why UK Labour in Scotland were decimated in SE2015.

    Keep up the good work!

  15. I intended writing a long reply outlining the many flaws and subjective assumptions in this article. A mendacious article that relies on semantics and obfuscation to such a degree that if it were any more crushingly disingenuous it would punch a hole in the space-time continuum.

    However, on reading it, it occurred to me that it was an article that could easily have been written by the likes of Ruth (line in the sand) Davidson or her Tory party colleague Alex Johnstone. At no point does Mr Harris reference the Labour Party (not even the Scottish branch) in his opposition to the SNP’s stance, though he does reference many Tories. It appears Mr Harris has effectively admitted Labour are nowhere on this issue. They are irrelevant.

    He effectively acknowledges that Scotland’s future is between a Tory vision of splendid isolation as a peripheral “region” within the post-brexit UK (which he campaigned for) and the SNP’s vision of independence as a full member state at the heart of the EU.

    Is Mr Harris perhaps positioning himself for a conversion? Not to independence, but to the Conservative Party? Unlikely no doubt (would they have him) but given recent political shenanigans, I wouldn’t rule it out.

    1. You mean could it actually be possible for someone in Politics to actually speak their own individual mind instead of just just parroting the Dear Cult Leader and confusing the “SNP” with “Scotland” all the time ?
      . The SNP MP drones and the Dear Cult Leader do not Speak for Scotland ..only for themselves.

  16. A wee suggestion if we should ever be unfortunate enough to be dragged into indyref2: on such an important proposed constitutional change the level of the bar to achieve change should be two thirds of the entire electorate need to vote for the change. Those in favour of the status quo should not be required to vote.
    I don’t expect the Nats to go for that but we can be sure they would if the question being asked was; Nationalist political parties should be outlawed due to their treasonable intention to undermine and split the nation state……..sure that would get them clamouring for a two thirds level for acceptance.

    1. Ah! The old “when you fear you are going to lose, change the rules” ploy, backed up (or undermined) by a ludicrous comparison. Just how pathetic and desperate are unionists going to get?

    2. Bit disingenuous when all it took was a majority of bribed officials to get us into the criminally worthless corrupt Tory driven disunion in the first place.

      By Westminsters own criteria we should have been Independent by default as soon as a pro Independent Government won an election in Scotland.

      And still you people offer nothing but stupidity.

  17. Their appears to be a common thread projected by both Tom & Andy, and that’s their both sides of the same earsehole.

    It must the idea of Indy-2 that’s making them start their bogus shit-stiring so early, must be very nervous, eh.

  18. Poor Tom. I felt quite sorry, between snorts of laughter, for Harris, draggin’ his wee mutt round the front room.
    He was fed up —–of politics, his constituents, the Roma, Labour, folk wi’ cars etc—-everyone but the Tories, apparently. So he joined forces with George Galloway, Farage and a hole bunch of loony tune Tory little Englander separatists. What an @rsehole!
    I see Corbyne will be on the ballot. Someone hand Harris a big hankie!

  19. The SNP followers are far from happy, as they’re starting to realise that Nicola Sturgeon is not going to deliver independence any time soon.

    In the 2015 General Election the SNP were banking on using a minority Labour Government as a Trojan horse and thereby extorting a second independence referendum. Sturgeon came on far too heavy and scared the rest of the UK into voting Tory as they didn’t want the SNP running the UK Government.

    Therefore in the 2015 General Election, the SNP didn’t deliver another independence referendum or a “Stronger Voice for Scotland”; all they brought in was another Tory Government.

    Sturgeon knows she hasn’t the power to call another independence referendum. The penny is starting to drop with the SNP followers and they don’t like it, they have been led up the garden path.

    Nicola Sturgeon is a modern day “Grand Old Duke of York”.

    1. I suppose, if you keep telling yourself these things, then, in your own head, they will become true. However, in the real world, it will always be delusional nonsense. People aren’t stupid, even if Labour think they are.

    2. “Sturgeon came on far too heavy and scared the rest of the UK into voting Tory ”
      Wow! That’s a keeper that one. Such is the power of Nicola in the UK. Sheesh!

  20. Tom – I don’t think it is helpful to be mocking and dismissive about leaving the EU, and the inevitable calls for another referendum. It’s a pretty major change in circumstances.

    As far as I am aware the vast majority of Labour supporters in Scotland wanted to stay in – not just SNP voters. And many of them will be voting for independence next time if we don’t end up in the single market, especially when you consider the situation that Labour finds itself in. The lack of effective opposition to the Tories if the party doesn’t sort things out.

    At least Kezia is looking at all the options for Scotland to retain our place. We are an outwards looking country, and losing our EU rights and protections will be a huge blow.

  21. He says that he’d vote Yes to a Conservative government defined referendum question of “Do you agree that Scotland should remain part of the United Kingdom?”

    He’d also want the UK Conservative government to define the franchise to exclude under 18 year old a day to exclude non-UK EU nationals living in Scotland.

    And he’d want all of that to happen only when the Conservative UK government have already withdrawn Scotland from the EU and we have to try and renegotiate our way back in.

    Basically it is an anti-Scottish, anti-democratic, racist and ageist, pro-Tory, unionist shit stirring clickbait.

    No wonder Labour are dead in Scotland !

  22. Fair play, I fell for the headline and dived in head first. I’ve always like Tom’s style in the way his puts forward his arguments even if I don’t always agree with his point of view.

    I don’t know if it was intentional or not but Tom’s position of being on the winning side of the EU referendum actually makes independence less likely, as opposed to more likely.

    With all the chaos and economic problems coming our way from leaving the EU, there is going to be very little public appetite for more uncertainty and upheaval.

    The SNP still haven’t answered the currency question or had to reduce Scotland’s deficit. I voted Yes in 2014 but I knew there was very little chance of the public at large taking such a leap into the unknown.

    Scotland could have been a very successful independent country if we had had control over the oil resources in the 1970s and could have used the tax revenues to buffer us from some of the impact of managing the decline of traditional industries.

    But the SNP weren’t offering us a time machine. They can’t go back and undo the unholy mess the Conservatives have left Scotland in, with a legacy of poverty, addiction and generational unemployment. We are where we are.

    Leaving the EU is going to plunge Scotland into an even bigger economic mess and the only way out I can see is emigration, for those of us lucky enough to have the money or skills to do it.

    If you are in any doubt as to the economic chaos we are facing, think on this. Every single leading politician that was advocating a Leave vote has had to stand down when faced with any reasonable scrutiny of their position. They don’t have the courage or ability to face up to the absolute mess they have left us with.

    1. Drew, you appear to have forgotten the unholy mess “labour left Scotland and the rest of the Uk in, after the last time they were in power. But don’t worry no-one else has.

      1. I actually think the record of the last Labour government was pretty good. I didn’t support opening up public services to private operators but Labour did put more money into health and education and investing in communities across the UK, cities like Glasgow, Sheffield, Newcastle, Leeds and Manchester.

        Going to war in Afghanistan and Iraq were major blunders but many governments in British history have stumbled its way into some kind of disastrous conflict overseas so that’s not exclusive to Labour.

        However the peace process in Northern Ireland, devolution for Scotland, NI and Wales, the minimum wage and reducing child and pensioner poverty were major achievements.

        1. Drew , why do you not mention Labours other major achievement for that time, recession, recession, recession.

          Your parties policy’s put millions out of work, your party was so far up the bankers earse’s you couldn’t see them wrecking the economy thou it was right in front of your face.

          Do you honestly think no-one remembers labour last disaster in government, you should we’re all still paying for it.

          1. For the record Davy I am not in any way affiliated to the Labour party and have never been a member.

            I have voted for most of the main parties in Scotland apart from the Conservatives.

            The Labour party in government between 97-2010 did some good things and some bad things.

            To not recognise they achieved anything good is extremely short sighted.

            If there is every an Indyref 2, to win, we are going to have to win over No voters, many of whom vote Labour.

            Your comments are exactly the type of blinkered thinking that makes this less likely to happen.

  23. It is this refusal to see what is going on and the blind obedience to Westminster that is destroying the Party in Scotland. Do you people never learn? This isn’t just a blip with everything going back to politics as normal. What with the Corbyn fiasco and this refusal to change with the Scottish electorate then total obliteration is inevitable. The party is on the brink of a split and Kezia goes missing. Which side is so called Scottish Labour going to take?

  24. Really? At this point in time when immigrants from the eu (and elsewhere) are worried about their future and security , Labour Hame hosts an article calling for the disenfranchising of EU immigrants in a vote crucial to them?

    Maybe trolling the “nats” is more fun than supporting the rights of immigrants. But it is shameful to see it be a higher priority for a supposedly Social Democratic Web forum.

    And that is without even touching the rest of the (thankfully) Ex-MPs reactionary and offensive mutterings.

    Labour Shame indeed.

  25. Came on here hoping to hear something interesting from the other side, instead it is a rant about the snp and independence. Scottish tories and labour seem to endlessly crititque the indy movement about harping on about it, yet you are just as guilty, until I hear something that resembles a strategey for Scotland or alternative vision for independence from the opposition, you are a lost cause and will endlessly fail in holyrood. Sick of hearing about the snp they don’t own Scotland or represent the only possible vision of independence.

    Additionally why the hell do you want to now exclude anyone under 18 and EU nationals from a potential indyref vote, the latter by the time we leave the EU will have been through a lot to stay here through brexit, this is how you reward them, exactly the kind of progressive policy I have come to expect from labour, what a joke.

    1. Are you under the impression that everything posted on this site represents Labour policy? You are very confused in that case. Each article is the opinion of its author, nothing more.

      1. Come on Duncan, labour policy is confusing, remember your leader has just recently stated she is standing up for the people who want to remain in the union and the EU.

        Spot the flaw !!!!

      2. I get that Mr Hothersall, but when the contributors are all (I assume) Labour Party members, and often hugely influential figures to boot (such as Tom Harris above and Kezia herself), people can be forgiven for believing the views expressed are at least being talked about within the Party as a whole. Even if it is not yet policy.

        1. Not all contributors are Labour members, no, but most are. The point is that LH is a platform for debate. Nothing in the Opinion column should be chartered anything but opinion!

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