Something fishy

iscot_promoBritish Nationalists make a big fuss about getting out of the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP). What we don’t hear from the likes of David Mundell is any detail on what is to replace the EU quota system. We know that there will have to be a quota system. We know that this new quota system will continue to involve negotiation with the EU. The UN Convention on the Law of the Sea requires countries sharing maritime borders to jointly manage shared fish stocks. The EU and the UK share more than 100 fish stocks.

We know that existing independent coastal states such as Greenland and Norway continue to be effectively bound by the CFP. The latter negotiates annually a quota swap just as EU member states do under the CFP. The former institutionalises the CFP quota system in exchange for various concessions.

All the evidence, then, suggests that the new UK quota system is unlikely to represent a dramatic departure from the CFP. Which leads one to wonder why Mundell and other British Nationalists attach so much importance to getting out of the CFP. They certainly aren’t explaining their reasoning. We can be certain that it has nothing to do with what might best serve Scotland’s economic interests. Mundell has made it abundantly clear that his overriding priority is the preservation of the Union at whatever cost to Scotland and its people.

This being the British state, and Mundell being a Tory, might we find a clue to their motives in a recent Greenpeace investigation which found, among other things, that –

Five families on the Sunday Times Rich List own or control a third (33%) of all Scottish quota. When taking into account minority stakes, companies wholly or partly owned by these families hold close to half (45%) of all Scottish quota.

Not for the first time, we find something very fishy about Mundell’s attitude. Ask yourself, how easy is it to believe that this man and the regime he represents are looking after Scotland’s interests? Or that they are concerned with the welfare of ‘fishing communities’? How much easier is it to believe that their sole concern is to preserve the structures of power, privilege and patronage which define the British state. How easy is it to believe that, whatever replaces the CFP afer Brexit, it will be part of the corrupt British political and economic system which serves the few at untold cost to the many?


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By their own words shall ye know them!

back_in_boxWe really should encourage David Mundell to speak more. It seems that every time he opens his mouth he unwittingly allows us another telling insight into his repulsive British Nationalist ideology.

As we are all surely aware by now, British Nationalists have an attitude to democracy which we might describe as ‘quaint’, were it not for the fact that this term does not adequately convey just how dangerous that attitude is when combined with real political power. Look at how Mundell responds when Mhairi Black points out that, “Sixty-four per cent of Scottish voters now want to see immigration policy devolved to the Scottish Parliament.” It is clear that he genuinely supposes a massive majority of the the Scottish people can be outweighed by an organisation representing a few businesses operating in Scotland. What nearly two-thirds of Scotland’s voters want is of absolutely no consequence. The demands of big business must always take precedence.

This is British democracy. Or should we better call it ‘demockracy’? Because it bears no resemblance whatever to what I’m sure most of us would think of as true democracy. It is this ‘demockracy’ that the British political elite intends to impose on Scotland as they sweep away the distinctive, progressive political culture which we have begun to develop since the Scottish Parliament was reconvened.

But it is in those rare moments of honesty that British Nationalists inadvertently give away most about the true nature of their ‘One Nation’ project. David Mundell really means it when he says that he wants to protect Scotland’s place in UK. He really does want to preserve Scotland’s subordinate status within an archaic, dysfunctional, anti-democratic political union. He is being perfectly sincere when he states his desire and ambition to lock Scotland into a Union which is, in essence, no more than a constitutional device by which the people of Scotland are denied the full and proper exercise of their sovereignty.

Does Mundell declare a commitment to Scotland? No! Does he promise to serve Scotland’s interests? No! Does he undertake to honour the democratic wishes of Scotland’s people? No! Does he state that he will respect the authority of the Scottish Parliament – the only Parliament with democratic legitimacy in Scotland? No!

His oath is only this, “I will defend our United Kingdom until my last breath.”

Perhaps the most honest thing that David Mundell has ever said is a declaration of his undying devotion to the British state and his contempt for the needs, priorities and aspirations of Scotland’s people. Rarely do we hear so explicitly expressed the mindless British Nationalist dogma of ‘The Union At Any Cost!’.


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The most dangerous man in Scotland

mundell-bulldogIs David Mundell the most dangerous man in Scotland? You may be accustomed to thinking of him as the comically disgusting character, Baron Snackbeard, absently nibbling chunks picked out of his whiskers as he lounges on the lush green leather benches of his Westminster club. Or perhaps you’re more inclined to see him simply as Theresa May’s yapping wee lapdog. Or maybe as Ruth Davidson’s sidekick – the bumbling Laurel to her bumptious Hardy. But it might be wiser to regard Mundell as the British establishment’s obedient bulldog set on Scotland to seize it and hold it and shake it into submission.

I have written previously about how we should attend well to the words spoken by politicians. How we should be wary of too readily accepting their utterances at face value. How we must “be mindful of the wider political context as well as being attentive to the precise form of words used”. What, then, should we make of the following comment from David Mundell.

So I want to use this opportunity to say to Sturgeon, it is time to end the constitutional uncertainty that we have lived with for the past four years.

It is time for Scotland’s two governments to work together in the best interests of the Scottish people. It is time to move on.

Let’s gloss over the discourteous manner in which Mundell refers to Scotland’s First Minister. Although we should recognise, in passing, that this disrespect is purposeful and part of the ongoing effort to diminish and delegitimise Scotland’s democratic institutions, we can hardly dwell on every such instance. The next phrase, however, warrants closer attention. It is an illustrative example of a remark which may seem totally innocuous or even quite sensible, but which may take on a darker meaning when viewed in the light of current political reality. Surely ‘uncertainty’ is a ‘bad thing’. Surely ending uncertainty is a ‘good thing’. Surely it is perfectly reasonable to state that “it is time to end the constitutional uncertainty that we have lived with for the past four years”. But, as always, the key to rewarding analysis is to ask the right questions.

Is constitutional uncertainty necessarily a bad thing? Given that it is fundamental to our democracy, shouldn’t the constitutional settlement always be subject to scrutiny? Given that the constitution is about political power and where it lies, shouldn’t we heed Tony Benn’s urging and constantly interrogate the powerful demanding to know what power they have; how they obtained that power; in whose interests they use that power; to whom are they accountable for the the exercise of that power; and how they can be deprived of that power?

What constitutional uncertainty is Mundell referring to? Whose uncertainty is he talking about? Is he referring to the precariousness of the British state? Is he talking about the unease felt by by those whose purpose is to lock Scotland into a ‘One Nation’ British state? Does his remark reflect only the fears of a British Nationalist ideologue?

We can, I think, safely assume that Mundell is not referring to the constitutional uncertainty occasioned by Scotland being dragged out of the EU against the democratically expressed wishes of the people. He’s not talking about the distress caused to EU nationals living in Scotland. He’s not talking about the concerns of those who are being forcibly stripped of their EU citizenship with no satisfactory explanation as to what status is to be imposed in its stead.

It is not Mundell’s intention to draw attention to the uncertainty caused by Brexit. When he refers to constitutional uncertainty he is talking only about the fact that, while the 2014 independence referendum provided an indisputable result, it did not produce a decision. It did not resolve the constitutional issue. And the blame for that rests, once again, with the British political elite.

While it was perfectly clear that a Yes vote meant independence by way of a reasonably well described process, there was no indication whatever of what a No vote meant. Initially, it was said to be a vote for the status quo. As the referendum campaign progressed, however, all manner of stuff was hooked onto the No vote – up to and including ‘The Vow’.

In practice, a No vote meant whatever the British establishment wanted it to mean. This turned out to be pretty much the opposite of everything that had been promised. And something very, very far from the status quo that was originally offered. Thus, the referendum produced an indisputable result, but no decision. Because the No option was effectively undefined, a No vote in the referendum could not settle the issue. There was nothing to settle on.

How does Mundell propose to end the constitutional uncertainty which does trouble him? How does he intend to prevent us asking those five questions? How does he plan on fixing Scotland’s constitutional settlement so that he and his fellow British Nationalists can feel secure in their status and power?

We know the answer to this. We know, because the likes of Mundell and Davidson have been unabashedly explicit about their anti-democratic intentions. We know that their malign ambition is to deny Scotland’s right of self-determination. We know, because they’ve come right out and told us, that they mean to deprive the people of Scotland of the right to choose the form of government best suits our needs.

When David Mundell speaks of ending constitutional uncertainty he is talking about nothing less than stilling the beating heart of Scotland’s democracy.

Mundell also says he wants “Scotland’s two governments to work together”. Fine words! Until we juxtapose the expressed sentiment with the actual behaviour of the British state towards the Scottish Government and the Scottish Parliament. But first let’s ask some more questions.

Does Scotland actually have two governments? That rather depends on how one defines the term ‘government’. If democratic legitimacy is a criterion, then we have only one government. The term ‘government’ is generally understood to mean the group of people with the authority to govern a country. But if we stipulate rightful authority, then that must rule out people who obtained power against the wishes of Scotland’s voters;  who use that power against the interests of Scotland’s people; who are not answerable to Scotland’s electorate; and who cannot be removed from power by Scotland’s democratic processes.

Democratic legitimacy derives solely and exclusively from the consent of the people. Only the Scottish Government enjoys the consent of Scotland’s people. That consent has been consistently and decisively denied to the people David Mundell represents. Those people cannot claim rightful authority. In terms of our definition, therefore, they cannot be regarded as a government. For want of a better term, we might justifiably call them a ‘regime’.

What does Mundell mean when he says “work together”? What does recent history tell us of cooperation between the Scottish Government and the British regime? Is such cooperation likely, or even possible?

When answering these questions people will probably tend to reflect on the way in which the Scottish Government has been excluded from the Brexit negotiations. But we see the British regime’s contempt for Scotland’s elected representatives very plainly in EVEL. And in their insistence that there is ‘no demand’ for a new independence referendum despite electoral and parliamentary mandates. And in the Brexit power-grab. And in the UK Supreme Court action against the Continuity Bill. And in David Mundell referring to our First Minister as ‘Sturgeon’.

In fact, we see in pretty much every aspect of the Scottish Government’s dealings with the British regime a lack of respect which ranges from the thoughtlessly casual to the mindlessly hateful. There is no basis on which to “work together”. The British regime will not allow it.

Mundell isn’t asking for cooperation, he’s demanding compliance. As a British Nationalist, he is absolutely committed to concept of parliamentary sovereignty. He is intellectually incapable of doubting the supremacy of Westminster. He cannot question the British ‘right to rule’. He is the loyal servant of established power.

When Mundell talks of “the best interests of the Scottish people” we have to ask what definition of those interests he has in mind. Who decides what Scotland’s best interests are? Who is entitled to decide? Who speaks for Scotland? Is it the Scottish Parliament, with its democratic legitimacy? Is it the Scottish Government, with its rightful authority? Is it the First Minister, with her mandate to speak and act for the people of Scotland?

Or is it the corrupt and incompetent British political elite at Westminster? Is it the chaotic cliques and fractious factions and puffed-up personalities of the British regime? Is it the likes of David Mundell, who presumes to govern without consent?

Mundell has no doubt. He is unshakably persuaded of the righteousness of his ‘mission’. He is implacably opposed to anything which threatens the established order. And that is what makes him so dangerous. Mundell represents authority without consent. He represents power without accountability. He represents a British regime which is resolutely determined to destroy Scotland’s democracy and install a shadow administration that is neither elected by nor answerable to Scotland’s people.

Davidson is a distraction. She is the British media’s poodle. Mundell is the one to watch. He is the British state’s bulldog.


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Just another Jock

mundellOf course Mundell would prefer a ‘no deal’ Brexit to independence. Even the best Brexit imaginable would be a national disaster for Scotland. Independence would be a personal disaster for Mundell and his ilk.

Just think what the dissolution of the Union will cost the likes of Mundell. The British state would be broken. The system of patronage which allows easy access to status and power for a privileged few would be massively compromised. The good days would be over. Especially for British Nationalists in Scotland. The trough would be very much smaller. Scottish Unionists like Mundell wouldn’t even be allowed in the queue.

Perhaps a select few might be found sinecures in the rump UK. But they would never be permitted anywhere near real power. The positions they enjoy at present depend entirely on their performance as faithful servants of the British state. They will take the blame for the failure of the British Nationalist ‘One Nation’ project.

Independence would mean the end of Mundell’s political career. He would find himself rejected by the people of Scotland even as he was snubbed by his former masters in the remnants of the British state. British Nationalists will be as unelectable in Scotland as Scottish citizens will be in England. Even with genuine reconciliation, it is unlikely that Scottish voters could ever bring themselves to trust those who have shown themselves so willing to sacrifice Scotland on the altar of British imperialist pretension.

Doubtless there will be a few theatrical conversions to Scotland’s cause among Unionists desperate to salvage something from the ruins of their political careers. But why would the people of Scotland give a democratic mandate to those who have treated them with utter contempt and exhibited such total disdain for democracy? How could we trust people who, having proclaimed the inevitability of Scotland failing as a normal country, would have a vested interest in working to ensure they were proved to have been correct?

I suspect, however, that being spurned by Scotland is something that Mundell would consider a trivial matter. Being scorned by the British state is what will really hurt. Independence will be a personal catastrophe for Mundell because, to the ruling elites of the British state, he will become just another Jock.


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If the Union offends thee…

ian_blackfordAlong with Mike Russell, Ian Blackford is emerging as one of the heroes of Scotland’s independence movement. Unquestionably, this is because both these individuals are unafraid to reflect in their rhetoric some of the indignation and anger felt by people across Scotland and beyond.

What may seem strange to some is the extent to which the British establishment seems oblivious to and/or disdainful of this outrage. The British political elite appears genuinely incapable of appreciating how its behaviour is viewed in Scotland. Either that, or they simply don’t care. Or maybe there is some awareness, but it is countered by powerful denial. I suspect there is an element of all of these at work.

There are certainly those in the British political parties who simply cannot understand why anybody would challenge the authority of the British state or question the efficacy and desirability of British governance. To them, the British ruling class is a natural phenomenon, much like the winds and the tides. They take for granted the British ‘right to rule’ just as they do the air that they breathe. when Ian Blackford and Mike Russell talk about the deficiencies and failings and offences of the British state, they might as well be speaking the Gaelic for all the British understand of what they say.

Some, no doubt, are just as aware of these deficiencies, failings and offences as Blackford and Russell and the rest. But, from the arrogant and perverse perspective of British exceptionalism, getting away with these things is a mark of superiority. They not only don’t care about the harm they do, they revel in it. Gross abuse of power and abysmal incompetence are, like the elaborate raiment and ornate headgear sported by aristocracy, the ostentation which signifies status.

Then there are those who simply blank out the discomfiting reality. We see all to clearly in aspects of the Brexit fiasco the astounding capacity for denial that exists within the ranks of the British political elite. If they are capable of deluding themselves about how that whole bourach is going, it’s easy to see how David Mundell might have convinced himself that he really does speak for Scotland and that we all respect and admire him just as we love and adore Ruth Davidson.

What this all adds up to is a British state which is sick to its core. Chronically sick. Terminally sick. From Scotland’s perspective, ending the Union will be like amputating a diseased limb.


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Face off!

There is a tone of bemused incomprehension in David Mundell’s remarks concerning the Scottish Government’s position in the current wrangle over powers. He simply cannot understand why the Scottish Government refuses to bend to the will of the British state. The concept of a fundamental principle is totally lost on him. Accustomed to a political culture in which supposedly cherished precepts are reduced to mere trade goods, Mundell is obviously deeply perplexed by the SNP administration’s disinclination to do business.

Mundell clearly supposes that a vote of the Scottish Parliament might be bought with a meaningless ‘concession’. As a mark of the British political elite’s contempt for Scotland, this would be bad enough. But the assumption that the Scottish Government might be had so cheaply may signal something arguably far worse than mere disdain for Scotland and its people.

Most of us, it is safe to assume, recoil in disgust from the uber-patriotic ideology encapsulated in the expression, ‘My country! Right or wrong!’. How much more repugnant is this kind of mindless exceptionalism when it relates, not to a country, but to a particular ruling elite and the political system by which it maintains its status. A certain commitment to the land one calls ones own may be normal, even admirable. But unthinking devotion to a select group and dogmatic belief in this group’s righteousness is the very essence of extremism.

David Mundell is genuinely shocked that anyone should challenge the authority of the British political elite with which he identifies. He is sincerely baffled by the SNP’s refusal to accept the supremacy of Westminster and their insistence that the will of the Scottish Parliament must be respected. He must know, at some level, that the ‘concession’ being offered by the British government is as worthless as the tawdry beads and shiny baubles with which European imperialist colonisers sought to purchase the servitude of indigenous peoples. But Scotland is supposed to be grateful for whatever it receives. We have no right to anything. Whatever the British state may offer is to be accepted with humility. The value of the ‘concession’ lies, not in its effect, but in the fact that it is being proffered at all by our superiors.

The SNP isn’t playing the British political game of token opposition readily bought-off with some trinket. They were supposed to follow the example of British Labour in Wales and meekly accept Westminster’s authority to seize devolved powers in return for a totally unconvincing assurance that this would be temporary.

The dispute between Westminster and Holyrood is not mere haggling over powers. It is a truly momentous clash of political cultures. On one hand we have the openly anti-democratic ‘One Nation’ British Nationalism so ably represented by David Mundell. On the other, we have a political culture based on fundamental democratic principles such as popular sovereignty and the right of self-determination being defended by the SNP. The latter is alien and incomprehensible to the former.

Depending on who prevails, Scotland’s democracy will either survive and prosper, or be crushed out of existence. Mundell and his fellow British Nationalists may be incapable of appreciating the Scottish Government’s stance, but they certainly recognise the threat posed to the established order by the wave of democratic dissent rising in Scotland.


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Break the rules

mundellDavid Mundell seems to have a knack for revealing the British state’s true purpose. He doesn’t appear able to conceal the British Nationalists’ contempt for Scotland – and for democracy. Or maybe he just doesn’t care who knows. Perhaps he and his associates are sufficiently confident of their power that they see no point any longer in subtlety or subterfuge. They are set upon rushing northwards to crush those rebellious Scots, and it doesn’t matter that we know they’re coming, because we can do nothing to stop them. Or we won’t even try.

One can understand this confidence. After all, Scotland has accepted British rule for centuries. We’ve let the British state use our wealth and our resources and our people and allowed ourselves to be convinced that we should be proud of our sacrifice, content with the impositions and grateful for the governance which, by the British state’s own account, has left us depleted and impoverished and stripped of the capacity to be a normal nation.

David Mundell feels perfectly justified in declaring that Scotland is “not a partner of the United Kingdom; Scotland is part of the United Kingdom”. He can readily claim that this is what we voted for in 2014. He can claim whatever he wants about the meaning of that No vote because it was a vote to give the British state licence to define what it meant. Thus, it was a vote to allow the British political elite to do whatever they want with Scotland. No wonder David Mundell thinks he needn’t take the trouble to sugar the pill. No wonder he doesn’t feel the need to try and persuade us we’re being embraced when, in fact, we’re being crushed.

The fate of the Scottish Parliament was sealed back in 2007. When Scotland’s voters took control of their Parliament from the British parties and handed it to the SNP, the British establishment realised that the devolution experiment had failed. Rather than killing the independence cause “stone dead”, it had enabled Scotland to develop a distinctive political culture. Rather than being an instrument of the British state, as was intended, the Scottish Parliament had become the locus of a new politics. Rather than serving British interests, Holyrood was finding and implementing measure tailored to Scotland’s needs. Rather than being slave to the British state, the Scottish Parliament had become the servant of Scotland’s people.

This could not be tolerated. If Holyrood could not be brought back under the control of the British parties, it would have to be crippled or destroyed.

Those who scoffed at warnings about the British state’s malign intent no longer have any reason to doubt it. David Mundell has been brazenly explicit about the fact that the British state already considers Scotland to have been absorbed into a ‘Greater England. He makes it perfectly plain that, even if Scotland wasn’t ‘extinguished’ by the Union, it has been massively diminished by the subsequent actions of the British political elite.

Now, in the face of a rising tide of democratic dissent, this British government has decided to finish the job and formalise Scotland’s status as part of a British state which is ‘indivisible and indissoluble’. To do this, they must first render the Scottish Parliament powerless. Or get rid of it altogether.

We know this because David Mundell and others are openly boasting about it as if there’s nothing we can do to stop them. But behind the facade of bluster and bravado and mach posturing, they know differently. They know that they only have the power we allow them. They realise that they only have authority over us so long as we recognise that authority.

The British establishment is very aware that, should we choose to challenge that power and defy that authority, the whole edifice will crumble. They are afraid. And well they might be. Because there are growing indications that the people of Scotland have had enough.

We will not rescue Scotland from this British Nationalist onslaught by adhering to rules devised to limit or entirely disable the exercise of our sovereignty. Their rules. The rules the British establishment devises and manipulates to keep us in line. The rules which David Mundell cites as if they were iron laws of nature.

If Scotland is to continue to exist as a nation, we need to break those rules. And we need to do it now.


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