Beware The Tories Bearing Gifts
The Minister For Preserving The Interests of Westminster in Scotland said unequivocally there is no way Scotland can be in the EU after Brexit. If the YES supporters stop shouting at the screen they may realise that, properly played, this is a gift to the Independence movement. If Scotland will be out of the EU after Brexit, whatever happens, the voters who swung from YES to NO in order to leave the EU will have no reason to vote against Independence while the soft NO voters who swung to YES will be feeling betrayed and angry and impelled to vote yes as their only realistic chance to get back into the EU will be to campaign for it in an independent Scotland.
If the YES movement can persuade the Scottish government to pledge that Independent Scotland will be able to decide on membership of the EU, Single Market, Customs Union etc after Independence, either via an election or a referendum, arguing that Independence is a material change justifying such a move and citing Westminster’s imposition of an EU referendum as precedent the game may well to be over. If it makes half the soft NOs and half the NO-Because-I-Hate-the-EU crowd vote yes and half the rest abstain then a YES vote is very likely.
Or it may be designed to split the Independence movement by encouraging those who hate the EU to stay with the Union.
While the Tories and their “Labour” lapdogs give the image of stupidity and blunder after blunder we should be careful not to drop our guard or we may be like the boxer who scorns an apparently inferior opponent and is then knocked out or worse by a sudden attack.
More Broken Promises
The minister for Westminster In Scotland also said Scotland would not have a separate immigration policy after Brexit. This contradicts a “promise” made by the cold hearted rabbit known as Michael Gove a few weeks earlier. Another apparent gift as the businesses that depend on a supply of EU nationals, for example Hospitality, realise their wage bill will rise unless they undertake the more expensive process of recruiting from cheap labour countries outside the EU, for example Syria, some parts of Africa a few remote islands in the Pacific or even Mexico. With the pound likely to fall still further and the UK sliding further and further down in the world economic ranking (India recently overtook Britain in this ranking and refused British Foreign Aid calling it peanuts, not referring to the cartoon) the number of suitable countries is rapidly shrinking.
Smell The Fear
The apparent fear of the May Government that Scotland may demand another independence referendum may weaken my earlier opinion that the PM has decided that if it is a choice between Brexit and the United Kingdom then the United Kingdom must go. Hope however is something that cannot be eradicated from Human, or indeed Tory, nature and she may feel she can still manage to achieve Brexit, thus preventing a UKIP landslide in 2020, and preserve the Union, if only in formaldehyde, thus letting her divide the opposition using Labour’s visceral hatred of the SNP and unwillingness to oppose the Tories on the 95% of policies they share.
Recently Theresa May’s cabinet spent most of its time discussing the threat of the UK breaking up and only a few minutes on the alleged threat from Russia. If they were really serious about retaining the Union they would have had a well formed plan, reviewed for flaws by a group of children aged between 5 and 15, and a detailed strategy for keeping the union, just as they did with Brexi...t.
Instead there is waffle about engagement and listening, with their tea boy, the lone Scottish Tory MP, delegated to tell the Jocks the promises made a week or two earlier about devolution of EU powers to Scotland will not be fulfilled, how they cannot trust the SNP and Greens and can’t have anything especially Fishing, Immigration and whatever else pops into his mind, looks around in horror at the boundless empty space surrounding it, considers the possibility of dying of loneliness and immediately does a daring WW II style escape through his mouth.
Tories And SNP are trapped
To be fair to the PM she seems to be between the Independence Devil and the deep Red White And Blue sea. To stem the current support for Independence would mean investing a lot into Scotland, giving Holyrood many more powers, revitalising Industry and Commerce in Scotland and legislating replacement of all EU subsidies by UK subsidies. That would be take money from the budget for useless dangerous toys like Trident and enrage the section of the electorate, and her own MPs who believe Scotland is getting too many goodies. If however she softens her stance on a hard Brexit she risks increasing support for UKIP and of UKIP either forming the next government or being a coalition partner. Careless whispers may revive the undead corpse of UKIP too feed once more on the blood of immigrants, in competition with her heartless and inefficient government.
Perhaps, then, all the Tories can do is pretend to care about the Union.
Equally Nicola Sturgeon is at least partly trapped. Tying independence too closely to EU membership may alienate those who hate the EU more than they want independence but back pedalling on EU membership would alienate many others. Sixty two percent of Scottish voters in the referendum voted to stay in the EU and ignoring that would be to go against the same “will of the people” that is brandished by Brexiteer lemmings whenever their ideas are challenged by reality.
Trust Nothing the Tories Say
Independence supporters must now scrutinise everything the Tories do and say and see how they can spin that into an argument for Independence, ideally stated in such a way that Unionists read or listen almost to the end before realising they have been led into a position where they can only, logically or emotionally, support independence. At the same time Independence supporters must look at every apparent blunder or gift as a possible trap.
Independence Is Certain: a YES Vote Next Time is Not.
Independence is inevitable: support for the SNP who are the main Independence party has slowly been trending upwards since its foundation with an apparent boost after the reopening of the Scottish Parliament and another after the 2014 referendum defeat. There seems to have been a shift away from unionism by some of the mainstream newspapers, though this may be more because of a pro EU stance than a shift towards independence, a number of prominent Labourites have publicly declared support for independence and the Tory tea boy in Scotland was told on television recently, farmers in his constituency have swung from NO to YES suggesting that every group that voted NO because they wanted to keep EU subsidies should be targeted by the Independence movement.
Similarly everyone with a spouse from another EU country is a prime candidate for swinging to a YES vote, since after Brexit the Tories will probably raise the £18600 per annum a British citizen must earn to be able to have their spouse live with them in the UK dramatically, perhaps requiring that the sum must be a net not a gross income. The step after that will be to revoke the British citizenship of naturalised EU and Non-EU nationals married to British citizens. Labour will of course support this- their Pavlovian reflexes will not allow anything else
Ideally the influencers in such groups, those who can sway the opinions of other voters should be targeted most carefully.
As I argued elsewhere, Independence can still be delayed, perhaps for a generation, if the campaign is misplayed now. And then Scotland may well be at the mercy of the Tories for what will feel like eternity. The situation is beginning to feel like a chess endgame where one side must lose rather than the other side winning.
Enthusiasm and Passion are great, but right now they need to be allied with caution and wariness to the verge of paranoia.