Spitting Yoonatics


Oh to see Spitting Image back on our screens again today and see them depict the Yoonionist Yoonatics for what they are.

The madness and MAYhem of 2016 has no signs of abating in 2017. In fact by all intents and purposes the MadYoons disease seems to be getting worse rather than Better. But at least they can say that they are Better Together, or Together Stronger, or Better Stronger Together, or any combination they choose of their Yoonified Madness.

We have had May and her cabinet spending 90% of their time discussing how to stop Scotland from demanding another independence referendum rather than focus on the pigs ear of Brexit negotiations which they are hell bent on. No doubt when Theresa May comes up to Scotland this week to the Conservative and Yoonionist bash she will be spouting out how bad the SNP are and how Scotland should not ask for another Independence referendum but are better jumping off a Brexit Cliff.
Meanwhile Ruth the Mooth will be bombastically using her war metaphors and grinning like a Cheshire Cat while indicating that she is a good fluffy Tory with Scotlands best Interests at heart.
Fluffy Mundell will be his usual fluffy useless self and will be left counting the staples in the office and coming up with new tourist brochure ideas.

Millions of pounds of investment in HMNB Clyde will bring jobs, transport, leisure & business growth to Helensburgh,

Pack up your picnic baskets and go for a swim with the Cuddly Nukes and get yourself a radiation sun tan.

Meanwhile Corbyn dropped everything, including Labours safe seat in Cumbria to hot foot it North along with Londons Mayor to support motor mouth Kez in her wee get together in Perth to tell us….SNP Bad…. but not before leaving instructions for the Labour Lords debating the Brexit Exit Bill to not oppose the Conservatives as usual, otherwise they would get whipped in that Kinky Westminster style they have.

Mayor Khan did his Suzie Quatro act of Khan the Khan ….OOOO racist!!!!
To tell all Independence minded Scots that we were ALL racist by demanding Independence. How very dare we!
Funny how this card was never used when India and all the other former British Commonwealth colonies were accused of divisive racism when they sought their Independence.

Strange how it seems that a Better Together campaigner then immediately got print space in the Guardian to tell us how racist we Scots have always been and how dare we complain about Khans charge….She after all was a Black Stirling Uni PHD student studying racism and knew Better how Bitter and Racist we Scots are.
Then she disappeared off twitter once she was found out to be a long standing Better Together campaigner. No doubt claiming us of hounding her by our outrage at her outrageous comments

Bad Bad Bad Divisive Scots!

Kezia meanwhile comes up with her totally Autonomous Party wheeze of resurrecting Gordon Browns You can’t believe its not Federalism Vow!
Labour will have a Convention she says… Labour will introduce a Federal Scotland which is far better than stupid Independence..
Only a couple of things that she forgot, other than we aint about to be taken in by that nonsense again. Jeremy her Boss doesn’t support federalism. Labour would actually need to be in power to stand a chance of making it happen. And crucially….England needs to vote for it!!

Here is oor motor mouth kez getting asked nicely about her wheeze on Sunday Politics.. I am sure you will agree she makes perfect sense….If you can work out what on earth she is actually saying in her carefully crafted argument.

On second thoughts…who needs Spitting Image when we have Real Life Spitting Yoonatics.

Posted in Brexit, politics, scotland, YES2 | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

When Polls don’t work

I am always sceptical about polls, and for very good reasons.
They can be fun, they can be informative to an extent, but are open to manipulation depending on what questions are asked, who they are asked of, and how questions are asked.
There are companies who make a pretty good living out of asking peoples opinions on all sorts of things from what foods people like to buy, to political polls on how people intend to vote.
The political pollsters such as YouGov, PanelBase, Ipsos Mori etc will use different methods of polling. Some use face to face polling, some telephone and some online polling. Preferably 1000 people are asked, and the responses weighted according to age,sex, previous political voting, and status.
Some people who have registered as willing to respond to polling will be asked on numerous occasions for their opinion. Some people may never have their opinion sought at all, namely those who are not on the internet or on the phone.

While such polling has proved to be relatively reliable in the past, there have been occasions particularly in recent times that they have got it disastrously wrong!
A week before the Scottish Independence referendum it was reported that YES had taken the lead..a few days later the opposite happened.
The Leave campaign was thought to be losing the Brexit vote, and yet it won.
Trump was never supposed to win the presidency, and was behind Clinton all the way.

So when I continually see polls telling us that Scots are not any more, or not much more likely to support Independence than they were back in 2014, I regard such polling with extreme skepticism. Particularly so when SNP sent nearly every Scottish MP to Westminster, and still with the Greens are in the majority  in favour of Independence in Holyrood.
Nor can i see how support for Independence should not have grown significantly in the face of a Draconian Isolationist Tory government and Brexit where 62% of Scots voted against leaving the EU.

Yet these pollsters all tell us that little to no movement has been made in support of Independence? I just do not buy it!

Couple this with the council voting intention polling done by Panel Base for Wings over Scotland.
It says that in favour  SNP: 47%
Conservatives: 26%
Labour: 14%
Lib Dems: 5%
Greens: 4%

If that lot was accurate and transferable according to Independence supporting partys then those in favour of Independence would amount to 51% and those opposed to 48%

The rub is though that not all who support SNP at elections do so because of Independence, but rather more trusted governance, and not all who are Torys, Labour and Libdems are opposed to Independence.

What we can tell from this though, is that support is being polarised. The massive downturn in Labour support coincides with ultra unionists switching to the Torys and a tiny minority moving to UKIP who have gone from 0% to 3% .

Increasingly as Labour flounders around like a dying fish deprived of water, we are coming down to a polarised head to head in the battle for Scottish opinion and Independence.
It is a straight fight between YES and the Torys.

The other kind of poll is a biased poll.. Now there can be many reasons for bias, and generally those that are supportive of one outcome over another will make their views known in order to sway how their poll turns out. These types of polls are also limited to the reach and constituency the poll has.. Typical of this type are newspaper polls for their readership.
A perfect example of this type is the Daily Records recent poll which was included in a page which gave in no uncertain terms the editors preference on how that poll should turn out in the Record View..

SNP can’t answer crucial questions as they beat drum for second independence referendum

There are two big problems behind the SNP’s proposal for a referendum in 2018, says Record View.

The SNP drumbeat for a second referendum is getting louder with each passing day.

Many voters across the UK see indyref2 and a move to independence as inevitable.

The SNP  want to present a referendum in 2018 as a choice between two uncertain, risky futures – one in a UK outside the European Union and one in an independent Scotland facing the world on its own and knocking at the door to get back into the EU.


But there are problems with this – the first being the delusional proposition, put forward by Alex Salmond that it is the terms of trade with Europe, rather than the currency we would trade in, that is important.

Delusional?? Surely the fact that we can trade takes priority over what currency we use for trade? If we can’t trade then it doesn’t matter what currency we use, it may as well be jelly beans..or the pound considering how that is going!

The currency question still looms large for the Nationalists. Pretending the problem doesn’t exist won’t make it go away.

Then there is the hard economic question of which is more important – trade with the UK, which is worth several times more than that with the rest of the EU, or the hope, and it is no better than that, that better terms can be struck with Brussels on behalf of Scotland.

That raises the question of what the SNP would be willing to concede to the EU, because European politics is transactional more than political, although, of course, loaded with political consequences.

Again utter nonsense from the editor..
Whilst the figures show that 4x as much of Scotlands goods go to the UK, these figures do not show how much of that is in transit ongoing to the EU and the Rest of the World from English ports rather than going direct.
Nor does making trade an either/ or matter make any relevance.
Nor does it take into account that the rUK trades more to Scotland than Scotland to the rUK…and are they seriously trying to suggest that Scotland in the EU or on in EEA would not be done business with? Total Bunkum.
They also paint negotiations between Scotland and the EU as being only one way, all Scotland conceding with nothing in return. Again ignoring completely that the EU would very much want Scotlands contribution and access to our substantial resources.

Only then after all that negativity do they introduce their poll:

The last time I looked today… 71% voted for YES
and …..29% voted for NO


But does that mean anything to me? Not really
It just shows that over the 1000 who have voted in their poll so far the vast majority were Independence supporters.
The only really worthwhile polls are the ones in which we actually go to the ballot box in.

And so with that in mind…. If you want Independence, If you want your party representatives to be likewise….Get off your bahookies and make dam sure you go ans vote! Vote for only parties who are in support of independence, and n0t even 4th 5th 6th choices in favour of anyone else! Just don’t enter these!

Lets make bloomin sure that Labour and Torys cant pauchle things so that they run our councils!

Posted in Brexit, EU, Europe, independence, politics, scotland, Wings over Scotland, YES | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Fuk U


(Kezias Labour and Ruths Torys joined together in Union)

Kezias Labour is Red
Ruths Torys are Blue
We both Love you Scotland
So we want to Fuk U

It is St Valentines day, so in the spirit of Love and togetherness both Ruth and Kezia hot footed it to London yesterday to make speeches about how much they loved Scotland so much that under no circumstances should they be attending to their constituents needs 350 miles away, but should address them all from the real seat of power in London.

Joined at the hip they were once more in the spirit of Bitter Togetherness.
Oh Scotland we Love you!
But only as long as you do what our masters want.
Don’t be daft..you seriously do not want another referendum!
These nasty Nats are full of grievance and complaint, you don’t want to get into bed with them…
They will drive you into penury and separation if you let them get their way.
Let us truly Fuk U instead!

No…. I am not using sweary words today…. This is a true representation of what they were saying.
Fuk U is short hand for Kezias wheeze about having having a Federal UK Union.

Here is a taster of what they both said:

First up Kezia..

Kezia called for a radical reshaping of the UK into a federal state with Scotland

taking control over fisheries, farming and social rights now covered by EU laws.

She said the UK needed “a new political settlement” to prevent it splitting apart over Brexit and to tackle an erratic and uneven distribution of power between its regions and nations.

It would be underpinned by a new act of union designed for a post-Brexit era, to replace the treaty signed by England and Scotland that unified their parliaments 300 years ago.

This new structure would be designed in part by a new “people’s constitutional convention” of civic and political groups that would mimic the Scottish civic convention that helped frame the 1999 devolution settlement, which led to the creation of the Scottish parliament.

“This would mean a radical reshaping of our country along federal lines where every component part of the United Kingdom – Scotland Wales, Northern Ireland and the English regions – take more responsibility for what happens in their own communities, but where we still maintain the protection of being part of a greater whole as the UK,”

I could go on…..but we have heard it all before,It is the VOW reborn… and I can’t put it better than Linda Fabiani

“Labour has been promising a supercharged, powerhouse, federalism-max for years – and consistently failing to deliver it. In fact it was Labour politicians that specifically blocked the powers over the minimum wage they are now asking for,”

“Kezia Dugdale is always quick to accuse others of obsessing over the constitution, but Scottish Labour’s default answer to bad polling numbers is to promise powers that they don’t deliver. Billions of years from now I half expect Labour politicians to be staring into the dying sun calling for a constitutional convention.”

Ruth on the other hand was back on War footing, using words of violence to stir up the worst of her Knuckle dragging supporters..
She accused the SNP of copying the tactics of the leave campaign and seeking to “weaponise Brexit”and claimed  nationalists were “cranking up the grievance machine in an attempt to push people towards the exit door” after the vote for Britain to leave the EU.
Davidson said the vote to leave the EU had weakened the case for Scotland leaving the UK.

Citing Scottish government figures showing exports from Scotland to the UK are worth four times those to the EU (£49.8bn compared with £12.3bn), she said voting for independence in response to Brexit would be akin to “stubbing your toe to then amputate your foot”.

“If everyone in Scotland agrees that free trade with Europe is important – and we do – it is literally impossible to deny that trade with the rest of the UK matters four times as much,” she said.

“But rather than accept that logic, the same old nationalist contortions are applied. It is already cranking up the grievance machine in an attempt to push people towards the exit door.”

Of course this nonsense of you must choose who you trade with is utter nonsense from the Torys…and their Scottish Office have been bumping out this garbage for weeks now.
The UK according to Theresa May wants to trade with the EU and the rest of the world, are they seriously expecting that out of spite they would not trade with an Independent Scotland which they export to, more than Scotland does to them,and is their biggest market.
The EU which Theresa May keeps spitting the line out about Scotland wouldn’t be part of, are making it increasingly clear that they want Scotland to remain.

The European Parliament’s chief Brexit negotiator has said that Europe “cannot afford” to lose Scotland.

Mr Verhofstadt said: “Europe hasn’t forgotten that a large majority of the Scottish people voted to remain. “We need the Scottish people and their firm European beliefs. Scotland has shaped European civilisation, through iconic figures such as David Hume, Alexander Fleming and Adam Smith and does so today by being at the forefront of defining and strengthening European values. “We cannot afford to lose that.”

So there we have it for this St Valentines day… Love is all around.
The toxic abusive controlling spiteful love of the Unionists and the grateful appreciative love for Scotland from Europe and the rest of the World.

Happy Valentines Day.


Posted in Brexit, EU, Europe, politics, Theresa May | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

Only One Argument for Independence

Over much of the coming year in amongst all the hoo ha over Brexit and the many debates surrounding a second Independence referendum, Including when it will be called and when it will take place, there really is only one argument that needs to be made for it.

Do you wish to have self determination or not?

In  that question lies the answer.

For Scotland to have self determination it means that we ourselves get to decide what we want and what we do not want. It puts an end to the grievance politics of Scots voting one way and being landed with the complete opposite of what we wish for.

If the British government wants to have a hard brexit and we do not, we have no say on the matter.
If the British government want to retain nuclear weapons in Scotland, and we do not, we have no say in the matter.
If the British government wants to impose increasingly draconian measures against the poor and punishes them, and we want to enable and encourage them to better, we have no say in the matter.
If the British government want to restrict human rights and apply ever stricter control on what we can and cannot say, and we want to encourage more socially just measures, we have no say in the matter.
If the British government wants to sell of the NHS to Trumps pals, we can do nothing to stop them.
We can never have a say, because we have only a fraction of political representation in Westminster.

The list of where we have no say is considerable. As proven by the Supreme Court recently the Sewel convention has no weight in law, so they can even dispose of what limited powers they do loan us with devolution.

So forget arguing about Europe, currency, borders and everything else…. These are all matters for us to decide once we have Independence. They are meaningless arguments without that freedom to choose.

To use the Brexiteers simplistic message….. We need to take back control!

In Scotlands case it really is as simple as that… We have to take back control and we need to make our own choices!
With self determination comes responsibility, and whatever we may decide at least it is our choice and our choosing, nobody elses.

Choose Scotland, Choose Independence, Choose Right!

Posted in independence, scotland, YES2 | Tagged , | 5 Comments

British Government Minister says Scotland should declare UDI

In an interview yesterday in Italy British government defense minister suggested that Scotland should forget another Independence referendum and go straight to a universal declaration of independence.

The following from Reuters:

“Defense Secretary Michael Fallon said on Thursday that there was no need for a second referendum.

“We don’t see any need for a second referendum in Scotland,” Fallon told reporters at a joint news conference in Rome with Italian defense minister Roberta Pinotti.

“The Scottish government should get on with what it was elected to do which is to improve school standards in Scotland, to tackle the problems of the Scottish health service and above all to revive the Scottish economy where unemployment is now rising. Those are the priorities for Scotland, not a second referendum,” Fallon said.”

Concentrating on these issues as a priority, improving education, Scotlands Health care, reviving the Scottish economy, and improving employment and commerce would all necessitate in properly achieving having the economic and tax levers, and full autonomy free of interference from elsewhere.

So thanks Mr Fallon ..we don’t need another referendum, good of you to say so. Bye now!

#Blogging like the BBC


Posted in Brexit, politics, scotland | Tagged | 2 Comments


Bill reported, without amendment (Standing Order No. 83D(6)).

  • On a point of order, Mr Deputy Speaker. The Government’s refusal to accept a single amendment means there will be no Report stage. The programme motion means there is no debate on Third Reading. I am informed by the Library that the last time that combination happened was the Defence of the Realm Act 1914, which was about the first world war. For this to happen on any Bill would be an abuse; for it to happen on this Bill is an outrage. What is it about the procedures of this place that allows a Bill of this constitutional significance to be railroaded through in this disgraceful fashion?

  • The House agreed to a programme motion, and that is what has been adhered to. What I would say is that the point is on the record; you have certainly pointed out the last time this happened. There are other channels where I think that conversation ought to go and to be taken up, but I thank you for that.

  • On a point of order, Mr Deputy Speaker. This House has nobly represented the will of the British people in a referendum, and that is why the Bill has passed as it has.

  • May I just say to the hon. Gentleman, who is a constitutional expert, that he will recognise that that is also definitely not a point of order?

8.01 pm

More than seven hours having elapsed since the commencement of proceedings on consideration, the proceedings were interrupted (Programme Order, 1 February).

The Deputy Speaker put forthwith the Question necessary for the disposal of the business to be concluded at that time (Standing Order No.83E), That the Bill be now read the Third time.

Division 161

8 February 2017

8.01 pm

The House divided:

Question accordingly agreed to.

Bill read the Third time and passed.

  • Order. Ms Gibson, it is very good to hear the choir. I personally do not mind singing, but I certainly cannot allow it in the Chamber, because before we know it we could hear other tunes, and I do not want to get into that—and some of those on that side of the Chamber have not quite got the voice that they might have on the other. I do not want a sing-off within the Chamber. It is very good of you, and much appreciated, but if we could just leave it for a little while: it has been a very tense week already, and I do not need any extra. Thank you.

    And so there we have it..Game Over and Game On!

    The Torys with Labour assistance have rammed the Exit Bill through the Commons Committee Stage in jig time, totally doing away with normal protocols, and as Alex Salmond noted, the only time that such a thing had happened was at time of extreme national emergency at the outbreak of the 1st World War.
    Not one single amendment was passed, and in the process in their undue haste they trammeled all over The devolved administrations, the Belfast Agreement, and the rights of European Citizens in this country.
    Such was their determination that nothing would stop them driving themselves and everyone else over the Brexit cliff edge, that even if they consigned everyone to Hell that would not have stopped them.

    The Bill now makes its not so jolly way to the House of Lords..or The Other Place as they call that.
    Those unelected denizens will waffle over it for much less time than they would generally be inclined to do, and pass it back to be finally passed into Law in good time for Theresa May to action Article 50 at the end of March

    The only real certainty we are left to ponder, is when Nicola Sturgeon will make her official announcement in calling the new Independence referendum?

    I have for quite a while now had a hunch that it may well be when Article 50 is officially actioned. However it may be later than that, but still this year i think when it will be called, possibly but not any later than this Autumn.
    I think Nicola is possibly enjoying leaving them sweating and havering over it like the sword of Damocles hanging over their heads.
    Better to wait a wee while to really let the implications of Brexit start to hit home to the population, and it wont be too long before it starts to be felt.
    Also one doesn’t want to interrupt your opponent when they are making a fool of themselves, nor your foe when they are causing themselves damage without you having to lift a finger.

    I know that such tactics will infuriate the more impatient among us, but this is not a game, it is crucial that the timing is right, and high stakes politics requires strategy and planning, before execution at the precise moment in which to act.

    In the meantime, I am perfectly sure that our MPs will continue to pester and infuriate Westminster to distraction.

    They concluded last night with whistling and singing the Ode to Joy, Europes National anthem…but perhaps it was an Ode to Joy knowing that Independence is in the offing.

Unlike some people, sites and organisations I am not comfortable crowdfunding, or in it to make money. I have gladly given off my efforts for nothing and always will do in order to see Scotland Independent.
However, I have put a donate button in case anyone feels generous and appreciates what I do and the hours I spend writing and researching. So if you feel like throwing a few pennies this direction, please do.Thanks.


Posted in Brexit, EU, Europe, independence, Nicola Sturgeon, politics, scotland, Theresa May, YES2 | Tagged , , , , , | 4 Comments

Cherry Bites Back!


If the Westminster establishment and the Torys thought that they were going to get off lightly for denying Joanna Cherry voice the other night, they soon realised today that Joanna is not at all as sweet and soft as the fruit she shares her name with.

Tonight, unless something remarkable happens will see the Exit Bill  passed through this committee stage, with the Torys having prevented all amendments from being accepted, and having stifled debate as much as possible.
However today Joanna managed to remind them and the public of the paper presented by the Scottish governement for negotiation with the Tory government.
What follows is Hansards account of that portion of events. Including Joanna getting right into them for attempting to put her down, and telling them in no uncertain terms of the opposition the Scots parliament, the Scottish Government, MPs and MSPs to a hard Brexit without proper consultation, and the reported rise in those in favour of Independence…  We might call this little lot a Cherry Bomb on Westminster.

  • This group of amendments is about the UK’s priorities for the negotiations on withdrawal from the European Union. I will talk about Scotland’s priorities. The Scottish National party has tabled amendment 54 and new clause 141 on the situation of Gibraltar, in which we deal with the fact that the Bill has omitted to include Gibraltar in its remit, which is rather curious given the great love and affection that Government Members have for Gibraltar.

    Those of us who are members of the Exiting the European Union Committee were very impressed by the evidence given to us a couple of weeks ago by the Chief Minister of Gibraltar, Fabian Picardo. He emphasised that Gibraltar’s main concern is to preserve its sovereignty and connection with the United Kingdom. Unlike some of us, he is very happy to be part of the red, white and blue Brexit that the Prime Minister talks about. It is important to take Gibraltar’s concerns into account.

  • Will the hon. and learned Lady give way?

  • The hon. Gentleman, to whom I will give way in a moment, has a long and admirable commitment to the people of Gibraltar and their interests. He has also tabled amendments on the matter, including amendment 29, which I am sure he will tell us about in detail in due course. It would put upon the British Government a requirement to consult Gibraltar before triggering article 50.

  • I will not make a speech now, as I hope to be called later. I just want to emphasise that there is an important need to protect the interests of Gibraltar. As the hon. and learned Lady said, the Bill does not refer to Gibraltar, but it was specifically mentioned in an amendment when the legislation to hold the referendum was agreed. The people of Gibraltar voted in the referendum. Surely the Bill should be amended to reflect the need for Gibraltar’s interests also to be considered.

  • Absolutely. I have with me a letter from the Deputy Chief Minister of Gibraltar, who says that he

    “can confirm that the clause on the application of the Article 50 Bill to Gibraltar would be politically useful to us here. It would also follow on logically from the original consent that we already gave to the extension of the actual UK referendum Act to Gibraltar.”

    I will come back to that in more detail in a moment.

  • Before my hon. and learned Friend moves on, I think it is important to back up the hon. Member for Ilford South (Mike Gapes). Gibraltar’s connection to the United Kingdom and being British should be reflected in this House. I have visited Gibraltar, and hon. Members should think seriously about supporting his amendment because it would send a signal to Gibraltar that it is respected here, and by Members on both sides of the House. Please listen to the hon. Gentleman.

1.45 pm

  • Indeed. I totally agree with my hon. Friend. The Deputy Chief Minister of Gibraltar also said in his letter:

    “I understand that this amendment mirrors a number of others which have also been tabled seeking to make clear its application”—

    that is the application of the Act—

    “to Gibraltar in the same way. This would strengthen Gibraltar’s case to be mentioned in the Article 50 letter.”

    Of course, Scotland shares with Gibraltar a desire to be mentioned in the article 50 letter.

    The big priority for Scotland is that the British Government take into account the Scottish Government’s request for a differentiated deal for Scotland. We tabled new clause 145, which would require the British Government to commit to such a differentiated deal before triggering article 50. That amendment has been held over until today, but we will not push it to a vote because we are prepared to give the UK Government one last chance to respond to the document, “Scotland’s Place in Europe”, which was laid before the British Government before Christmas, some seven weeks ago.

  • Will the hon. and learned Lady give way?

  • I will when I have finished my point. No formal response to “Scotland’s Place in Europe” has yet been received. The hon. Member for Lincoln (Karl MᶜCartney) is a member of the Exiting the European Union Committee, as I am. We heard detailed evidence about the document this morning from the Scottish Government Minister responsible for negotiations with the United Kingdom. It is a far more detailed document in its proposals than anything the British Government have been prepared to produce so far.

  • I thank my hon. and learned Friend for giving way; as a fellow member of the Brexit Select Committee, I hope that she would treat me as a friend, rather than as just an hon. Member sitting on the opposite side of the House. I do not disagree with her when it comes to Gibraltar and maybe even Scotland, but we are acting on behalf of the whole UK. If there were to be a list in the article 50 letter, are there any other places, such as the Isle of Man or Jersey, that she would like to see included on it? Would she like to see a long list of places?

  • The hon. Gentleman is obviously not aware that the arrangements that apply to the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands are rather different than those that apply to Scotland, because they are not in the European Union. Perhaps he would like to read “Scotland’s Place in Europe”, which would explain that to him. Some differentiated agreements do, in fact, exist within the wider UK and Crown dependencies. Gibraltar is in the European Union, but not in the customs union. I will return to the matter of Gibraltar in due course.

  • My hon. and learned Friend will remember this direct quotation from The Daily Telegraph:

    “Theresa May has indicated that…she said she will not trigger the formal process for leaving the EU until there is an agreed ‘UK approach’ backed by Scotland.”

    Surely Government Members do not intend for the Prime Minister to break her word of 15 July last year.

  • I am sure that Government Members would be loth to encourage the Prime Minister to break her word—[Interruption.] Conservative Members are shouting, “No veto.” We are not asking for a veto. This document is a compromise whereby Scotland could remain in the single market while the rest of the UK exits it. Perhaps hon. Gentlemen on the Government Benches who are shaking their heads and mumbling about vetoes would like to get their iPads out and look up the difference between a veto and a compromise; it is rather a radical difference.

  • Several hon. Members rose—
  • I will make some progress and then I will take some more interventions, perhaps from people who have not yet spoken.

    The Scottish Government have made a proposal, and we are waiting for it to be taken seriously. The signs that the compromise put forward by Scotland will be taken seriously by the Government and, indeed, by this House have not been promising so far this week. Not a single amendment to the Bill has been accepted, despite the numerous amendments tabled by all sorts of different groups of Members, many with significant cross-party support. Even yesterday, when the Government were forced into announcing a significant concession, they were extraordinarily reluctant to commit that concession to writing. We all know that it is because they do not want to amend the Act: they have fought tooth and nail through the courts and in this House to avoid the sort of scrutiny that those of them who seek to leave the European Union have been trumpeting for years. They tell us how fantastic this wonderful, sovereign mother of Parliaments is, but we are berated for having the effrontery to attempt to amend a Bill. It is preposterous.

  • Will the hon. and learned Lady give way?

  • No, I will not give way. We heard ample from the right hon. Gentleman the other day.

    This Bill is being railroaded through this House with scant regard for democratic process. Here is an example: on Monday, when we were debating the proposals that concerned the devolved Administrations, including Scotland, only one of my hon. Friends got to speak. When I attempted to double that tally, I was told to sit down, shut up and know my place. I do not mind being insulted and affronted in this House, but what people need to remember is that it is not just me; it is the people who elected me who are being insulted and affronted when I am prevented from speaking about proposals on which my name appears.

    Government Members are extraordinarily relaxed about the effect this sort of thing has on Scottish public opinion. I do not know whether they take the Herald newspaper—it is rather difficult to get hold of in the House of Commons—but if they do, they will see that today’s headline is “Support for independence surges on hard Brexit vow” .

  • Will the hon. and learned Lady give way?

  • No, I will not.

    Backing for a yes vote in another independence referendum has risen to 49% on the back of the hard Brexit vow, and that is when no referendum is even on the table and we are still seeking our reasonable compromise. Hon. Members should make no mistake—it gives me great pleasure to say this—that the barracking by Government Members and the preventing of SNP MPs from speaking in this House play right into our hands and result in headlines saying that support for independence is surging.

  • On a point of order, Mrs Laing. On Monday, I spoke about the amendments on devolution arrangements. I seem to remember that I took many interventions, including from the hon. and learned Lady. She was not, therefore, prevented from speaking; indeed, I seem to remember that the person in the Chair at the time—[Interruption.]

  • Order.

  • Opposition Members should let me finish making my point of order to the Chair. The person who was in the Chair made great efforts to facilitate the hon. and learned Lady’s speech, but there was then a kerfuffle when she objected to the amount of time she got. How can we put the record straight about the fact that she had a fair opportunity on Monday?

  • The right hon. Gentleman does not need to put the record straight, because it is a matter of record. I have myself looked in Hansard, and by the simple use of my arithmetical powers, I have worked out how many people managed to speak, for how long they spoke and what contributions they made. Now, the hon. and learned Lady is asserting that she was prevented from speaking. Because there was a time limit on the debate and the hon. and learned Lady came quite late in the debate, there was not an awful lot of time left in which she could speak. But I think that, in saying that she was prevented from speaking, the hon. and learned Lady is making a rhetorical point rather than an arithmetical point, because her contribution to the debate has been considerable. She will note that she has been given the opportunity very early in today’s proceedings to speak, and I look forward to hearing her speak to the amendments to which she has put her name, and that is what we should stick to.

  • I am very grateful, Mrs Laing, for your clarification. Indeed, I am speaking early today, because I am leading for the third party in this House, and it is my right to speak early in the debate.

  • The right hon. Gentleman is terribly anxious to make an intervention. In order to put him out of his misery, I would very much like to hear what he has to say now.

  • I am very grateful to the hon. and learned Lady. She was waxing lyrical about the importance her party places on Gibraltar, but when I was listening to the evidence from the Chief Minister of Gibraltar, he was rather more committed to the continuance of the United Kingdom than the Scottish National party, which does not seem to be committed to it.

  • That is called democracy. The people of Gibraltar vote for parties that wish to remain part of the United Kingdom; the people of Scotland vote for parties that wish to be independent—that is a statement of fact. I am very happy to endorse Gibraltar’s right to self-determination—just as I am happy to endorse Scotland’s, or indeed any nation’s, right to self-determination.

  • Just on a point of clarity, it should be understood by both sides that Gibraltar is not in the United Kingdom. Gibraltar does not want to be in the United Kingdom. It wants an association with Britain, which is very different. The United Kingdom dates only from December 1922. Britain is little bitty older than that. Gibraltar does not have a Member in this Parliament because it is not in the United Kingdom. It has an association with the United Kingdom. It is independent of the United Kingdom. That is something I would quite like for Scotland: British, but not in the UK.

  • I am very grateful to my hon. Friend, who, like the hon. Member for Ilford South (Mike Gapes), has a long association with Gibraltar, for clarifying the situation for those who appeared not to be aware of it.

  • Will the hon. and learned Lady give way?

  • I will not at the moment, thank you.

    I will come back to Gibraltar in a moment, but I want to continue on the subject of Scotland’s priority in these negotiations. The document I am holding—“Scotland’s Place in Europe”—puts forward a highly considered and detailed case to the British Government. As I said, we are still waiting for any kind of considered or detailed response. This morning, the Exiting the European Union Committee heard evidence from a number of Scottish legal experts, in addition to the Minister, Mike Russell. We were told by Professor Nicola McEwen that the proposals in this document are credible and merit examination.

    What the Scottish Government are asking for from the British Government is no more than the British Government are asking for from the other 27 member states of the European Union, and that is for there to be consideration in negotiations of our position, and our position is somewhat less substantial than the position the British Government want to put forward in Europe.

  • Will the hon. and learned Lady give way?

  • I am going to make a little progress, and then I will give way.

    The Scottish Government are looking for a response to this document, and that is why we are not going to push new clause 145, which has been held over to today for a vote. A meeting is taking place this afternoon of the Joint Ministerial Committee, and we are still prepared for the time being to put faith in the promise the Prime Minister made, which my right hon. Friend the Member for Gordon (Alex Salmond) has just reminded us of, about Scotland’s wishes being taken into account. However, Members of this House should make no mistake: we will expect the Prime Minister to deliver on that promise. We will expect—just as Gibraltar does—to have our position put forward in the article 50 letter. If that does not happen, and the Prime Minister breaks her promise, we will hold another independence referendum, and on the back of the Herald headline, things are looking pretty good for that at the moment—we are at nearly 50%, and not a single word has been uttered yet in the campaign for a second independence referendum.

  • I will not give way to the right hon. Gentleman for the time being, but the hon. Lady was going to raise a point.

  • The hon. and learned Lady referenced the evidence session we had this morning with her colleague from the Scottish Parliament. Does she agree, however, that there were a number of unanswered questions in the Committee, including on what regulations Scotland may be subject to if it were in the European economic area; what the impact might be on the trade relationship with the rest of the UK; what the controls at the border might be, and what they might need to look like if Scotland had free movement but the rest of the UK did not; and what payment might need to be made by Scotland, including how much that would be and where it would come from? There was some confusion over those points.

  • I do not agree with the hon. Lady. The transcript will be available shortly, and when hon. Members read it they will see that my colleague who is a Minister in the Scottish Government repeatedly told Members that the answers to the questions they were asking were in this document. It was rather surprising that one member of the Committee admitted that he had not read the document but berated the Scottish Minister for not having answered questions that are answered in the document he has not read. I hope that the British Government are studying this document, as there is perhaps quite a lot to learn from it.

2.00 pm

  • The hon. and learned Lady very touchingly says that her document is a compromise document. Do not she and her party understand that a compromise document is one on which she and I agree, and I do not agree with it?

  • I have got some news for the right hon. Gentleman: when the United Kingdom Government go to negotiate with EU’s 27 member states about exiting the EU, they will be looking for a compromise. At the moment, the UK Government are looking for things that the EU member states are not willing to give, but that is not preventing them from going into a negotiation—that is how negotiations work.

    I urge the right hon. Gentleman to read this document. If he had read it, he would know—I had to correct him on this earlier—that although Norway is in the single market, it is not in the common fisheries policy. What Scotland is looking for in this compromise document is an arrangement similar to that of Norway. I visited Oslo recently. The Norwegians seem to be doing pretty well on the back of that arrangement—it looks as though they have a prosperous and successful economy.

  • If the right hon. Gentleman had made the same pledge as the Prime Minister made, I would expect him, as a right hon. Member, to have kept to it. I saw the evidence this morning, and I heard the Scottish Parliament Minister, Mr Russell, give the example of Liechtenstein and Switzerland. Liechtenstein is in the European economic area; Switzerland is not. They have a frictionless border—let us put it that way—just like the border the Prime Minister promises for Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

  • Indeed.

    Many of the questions that hon. Members in this House raise with the Scottish Government and with the Scottish National party about how these matters might be managed are answered in this document, which is the product of research and consultation that has been going on in the many months since the Brexit vote. While the British Government have been going round in circles trying to decide whether they want to be in the single market or in the customs union, the Scottish Government have been looking at a considered compromise and answer to the dilemma in which we find ourselves whereby the majority of the people of Scotland wish to remain part of the EU but the rest of the UK wishes to exit.

  • A few minutes ago, my hon. and learned Friend made a really important point about Norway and the benefits that could accrue particularly to my constituency from a Norwegian-style deal that would help our fishing interests, but also protect the interests of our fish processors and all the people who depend on export markets, most of which are in the EU at the present time.

  • Indeed. It is no secret that of the minority of people in Scotland who voted to leave the EU, a significant proportion was made up of people working in the fishing industry, including fishermen, because, as we heard earlier, they have received such a bad deal over the years as a result of inept negotiations by the British Government on the common fisheries policy—negotiations that Scottish Government Ministers have been kept out of. The great advantage of this compromise proposal for fishermen is that, while coming out of the common fisheries policy, they would still have access to the single market. When I was in Norway, I saw a presentation about how the Norwegian fishing industry is progressing on the back of such an arrangement, and, believe you me, it is doing significantly better than the Scottish fishing industry.

  • Several hon. Members rose—
  • I give way to the Chairman of the Committee on Exiting the European Union.

  • Is not the fundamental difficulty with the document’s proposal about the possibility of Scotland remaining in the single market the fact that there is absolutely no evidence that I have seen thus far—perhaps the hon. and learned Lady has—that any one of the other 27 member states, never mind the British Government’s view, has indicated that it would consent to such an arrangement, given that all the other parallels, the Faroes aside, relate to countries, which is not the case in relation to this proposal?

  • I am grateful to the right hon. Gentleman for raising this issue, because it highlights the reason I am belabouring this point. For Scotland to get the compromise deal that we are proposing, the United Kingdom Government first need to accept it as something they would then put forward to the other 27 member states. The other 27 member states are waiting for the United Kingdom to put its money where its mouth is and come to the table and negotiate. They need us to put our own house in order before we do that. [Interruption.] Government Members may not like it, but the Prime Minister made a promise to involve Scotland in the negotiations and to look at all the options for Scotland. We are withholding our right to force our amendment to a vote today in the hope that the Prime Minister will be as good as her word. People in Scotland are watching and waiting.

    This document has widespread support. It has the merit of uniting leavers and remainers because it has a compromise that appeals to both sides.

  • Does the hon. and learned Lady agree that in the event that Scotland was in the single market and England, Wales and Northern Ireland were not, industry would move from England and Wales to Scotland to have tariff-free access to the single market? Similarly, industry would move from Northern Ireland to southern Ireland, ripping open the peace process, which, although it was denied earlier, will indeed be ripped open.

  • The SNP’s position on the peace process has been made very clear in this House: we would wish to do everything to support it.

    Moreover, we do not wish the rest of the UK to suffer as a result of coming out of the single market. That is why the principal suggestion in this document is that the whole United Kingdom should remain in the single market. I am terribly sorry on behalf of Members representing English and Welsh constituencies that the Prime Minister has now ruled that off the table, but I am sure those Members will understand why we, representing Scotland, must try to see whether we can get a compromise deal for Scotland.

  • Does the hon. and learned Lady recognise that if the Government did accept that they could negotiate a separate place for Scotland within the single market, that could equally read across in respect of Northern Ireland, and would be particularly compatible in terms of the strand 2 arrangements and upholding the Good Friday agreement? In many important ways, it would go to the heart of upholding the peace, not upsetting any basis for it.

  • Indeed. As usual, the hon. Gentleman makes his point with great force and great clarity. The difficulty is that in the Committee on Exiting the European Union this morning we heard from experts who have been observing the process of so-called negotiations between the British Government and the devolved nations in the Joint Ministerial Committee that these negotiations lack transparency and have not really made any significant progress. That is a matter of regret not just for Scotland, but for Northern Ireland and for Wales.

  • Is my hon. and learned Friend as surprised as I am, given the apparent suggestion that it would be to Scotland’s economic advantage to be in the single market, that we are debating leaving the EU in the first place? Surely what is good for Scotland would be good for the whole UK in this respect.

  • Indeed. We made it clear in this document that we felt it would be to the advantage of the whole United Kingdom to remain in the single market. Unfortunately, the Prime Minister, in what my right hon. Friend the Member for Gordon (Alex Salmond) has described as a very foolish negotiating tactic, has ruled that out from the outset.

  • I am going to make a bit of progress because I am conscious that a lot of other people are wishing to speak, and, as I said, I want to move on to deal with our amendments on the topic of Gibraltar.

    As the hon. Member for Ilford South pointed out, Gibraltar was covered by the European Union Referendum Act 2015. Section 12(1) of the Act extended to the United Kingdom and Gibraltar. There was an overwhelming vote in Gibraltar to remain. When Fabian Picardo, the Chief Minister of Gibraltar, gave evidence to the Committee on Exiting the European Union, he explained that Gibraltar already has a differential agreement whereby it is in the EU but not in the customs union. This has been working well for the people of Gibraltar. They would like to be involved in a Brexit deal that guaranteed continued access to the single market. They do not want to be forgotten. In the letter I quoted from earlier, the Gibraltarian Government support these amendments to get Gibraltar brought within the ambit of the Bill so that Gibraltar’s interests can be taken into account in the triggering of article 50.

    Will the Minister tell us why Gibraltar was omitted from the Bill? Was it, God forbid, an oversight—if so, the Government now have the opportunity to correct that, with the assistance of the SNP—or was it a deliberate omission of Gibraltar from the ambit of the Bill? If it was a deliberate omission, how does that sit with assurances that the British Government have been giving to Gibraltar that its interests will be protected?

    The hon. Member for Ilford South will speak with greater knowledge than I can about Gibraltar. The purpose of the amendments is to ensure that Gibraltar is not forgotten. We feel that there may have been an oversight, so we are attempting to provide assistance. However, if there has not been an oversight and the omission is deliberate, we need to know why and hon. Members need to consider whether it is appropriate to rectify the situation.

    A number of other amendments would ameliorate the Bill. The hon. Member for Sheffield Central (Paul Blomfield) spoke ably from the Front Bench about new clause 2 and other amendments. I find new clause 2 to be slightly disappointing, because it does not enumerate the interests of Scotland as a particular consideration to be taken into account. We are not going to push new clause 145 to a vote, because we are hopeful that today’s Joint Ministerial Committee might have a fruitful outcome.

  • I am grateful to my hon. and learned Friend for taking Scotland into account. I hope that the promise made by the Prime Minister on 15 July will have greater gravity than that made by the previous Prime Minister on 10 September 2014, when David Cameron said on “Channel 4 News” that if Scotland voted to remain in the UK, all forms of devolution were there and all were possible. Yet when it came to the Scotland Bill—by this time, my hon. and learned Friend was a Member of Parliament—none of the amendments were taken, showing that none of the forms of devolution were there and none were possible. We have had one broken promise by the previous Prime Minister; let us hope that this Prime Minister can keep her word.

  • Order. I give the hon. Gentleman a lot of leeway, but it is this Bill that we are discussing right now. We cannot go on to previous Prime Ministers and previous Bills. I am sure that the hon. and learned Member for Edinburgh South West (Joanna Cherry), whose legal expertise is among the best in the House, will find a way of saying what she wants to say.

  • I am bringing my remarks to a conclusion, Mrs Laing, because I am conscious that others wish to speak. I want to make it clear that the SNP broadly welcomes many of the amendments, including new clause 100, which would secure women’s rights and equality. We believe that the EU is about more than just a single trading market; it is also about the social ties that bind us and the social protections that it guarantees.

  • On equality and protection, does my hon. and learned Friend agree that what we have seen since we were elected to this place does not fill us with any hope that this Government, when they have their great power grab, will uphold the protections that the EU has brought? We will fight for our citizens’ rights.

  • I agree with my hon. Friend. That concern is shared by Members of many parties in this House. We support any amendments that would underline the social aspects of the EU. For example, new clause 166 centres on the rights of young people, who benefit so much from the important ability to live, work, travel and study across Europe. Of course, the SNP fought for 16 and 17-year-olds to get the vote in the referendum, but that was not to be. Perhaps the result would have been different if it had been allowed.

    Later today, we will vote on amendments carried over from earlier in the week, including the SNP’s new clause 27, which would protect the rights of EU nationals. I think that the widely shared view in the House is that we ought not to trigger article 50 until we have given EU nationals living in the United Kingdom some assurance on their rights. Furthermore, the Exiting the European Union Committee has received evidence from representatives not only of EU nationals in the UK, but, perhaps more importantly for some Members, of UK nationals living abroad. The witnesses felt that a unilateral declaration of good will from the British Government—who, after all, caused the problem by holding the referendum and allowing the leave vote to happen—to guarantee the rights of EU nationals in the United Kingdom would be met by a reciprocal undertaking from other member states, as opposed to using individual human beings as bargaining chips. [Interruption.] If the right hon. Member for Hitchin and Harpenden (Mr Lilley) wants to intervene I will be happy to take that intervention, but he obviously does not; he just wants to shout at me from a sedentary position.

    Finally, before Second Reading, I raised a point of order about the Secretary of State’s statement on section 19(1)(a) of the Human Rights Act 1998. He said that, in his view,

    “the provisions of the… Bill are compatible with the Convention rights”.

    I am not usually in the habit of giving out free legal advice, but I am happy to do so on this occasion. If the Bill proceeds and we trigger article 50 without taking any steps to protect the rights of EU nationals living in the UK, the British Government could find themselves facing a challenge—and possibly claims—under the Human Rights Act on the Bill’s compatibility with articles 8 and 14 of the European convention on human rights. I know that many Government Members do not hold any great affection for the ECHR, but when we exit the EU we will still be signatories to the convention and the British courts will still be bound by it. I offer the Government a helpful word of warning: if they want to save taxpayers’ money, they might want to think carefully about addressing that issue before they are met with a slew of legal claims.

2.15 pm

  • EU-national workers in science and research are key to research and industry in our society. We should be begging those world-class researchers to stay. We should be bending over backwards instead of using them as bargaining chips, because we are damaging good will and how they feel valued in our society.

  • Indeed. My hon. Friend takes great interest in teaching, research and science, which was her own field before she came to Parliament. Many Scottish universities, including Herriot-Watt and Napier in my constituency, are extremely concerned about the brain drain that could occur as a result of the failure to reassure EU nationals living in the UK about their rights. With that, I repeat my support for the SNP’s amendment 54 and new clause 141 in relation to Gibraltar



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