Tag Archives: David Cameron

Popular Misconceptions No2: Scots Knew There Would Be An EU Referendum

On Question Time last night a lady piped up with her opinion which received rapturous applause from the audience in Bognor Regis: Why are the Scots demanding a referendum now, because when they voted in 2014 they KNEW there was going to be a Brexit vote.
It’s not the first time I’ve heard this stated. It’s nonsense of course and anyone with decent powers of recall or even better, access to google should be able to establish a few basic facts. But let’s give the good lady from Bognor the benefit of the doubt and say she wasn’t following the situation in this country as closely as we were here and look at just why she’s mistaken.
Joanna Cherry MP had a decent stab at addressing all the points put to her and to be honest it could have been an hour long show with just Ms Cherry, David Dimbleby and the audience of Bognor Regis, but the question above was one she didn’t respond to and in my view should have.
In the lead up to the September 2014 referendum Scots were being told by the print, radio and television media and by Labour politicians that if they voted No a Labour government was just round the corner. That if they voted No, in less than a year they could sweep the coalition from power and that Ed Miliband would become a Prime Minister who would hold Scotland in high regard. Indeed Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson deliberately played down the Tories chances of returning to power to reassure Scots voters that they should vote for the union. I was one of many warning that this wasn’t the case; that Ed Miliband was unelectable and that the Tories would not only take power but seek to emasculate Scotland in the process. I was correct on every single point.
From The Guardian, September 2014
“Ruth Davidson, the Tory leader in Scotland, highlighted fears of a yes vote when she told a cross-party referendum debate on STV on Tuesday night that the Tories are on course to lose the UK election. This was seen as an attempt to reassure wavering voters who are more likely to vote for independence if they believe the Tories will win the UK election, according to the former Labour first minister Lord McConnell of Glenscorrodale.”
“Citing unguarded remarks on Monday night by Ruth Davidson, the Scottish Tory leader, that the Conservatives were unlikely to win the general election, Miliband will insist that Labour would win in 2015 – a year earlier than Scotland could become independent.”

But I digress. In the lead up to September 2014 the Tories were having internal rows and were under pressure from UKIP and David Cameron was floating the idea of an EU referendum to quiet the unruly within the party and to stop wavering voters from switching to UKIP. The EU referendum bill was actually introduced to the UK parliament in October 2014, just over a month after the Scottish referendum. It passed its first hurdle then floundered, before David Cameron included it as a manifesto pledge for the May 2015 election, and it was confirmed as going ahead later that month.
So in the pre-Indyref campaign the possibility of an EU referendum was certainly there, but it was being played down in Scotland by the Tories, Labour and the Lib-Dems, with all three campaigning on the same message: voting Yes was a sure fire way of taking Scotland OUT of Europe.

At the Labour Party (Scotland Branch) conference in March 2014, Margaret Curran made a conference speech in which she said:
“Because Alex Salmond knows Scots don’t really want independence.
What they want is a Labour Prime Minister and a Labour Government.
And rest assured, Conference, Alex Salmond know that his biggest threat is Ed Miliband is throwing David Cameron out of number 10.”

While the main thrust of the No campaign was squarely behind the Project Fear approach the one positive aspect that they did try to sell was a tenuous house of cards. If any one aspect was removed it all fell apart. Everything hinged on No winning, then hapless Ed Miliband winning the general election, so that there would be no EU referendum. Even the dog’s in the street could see that Ed was the weakest link in that chain, yet he was talked up by Labour as the best of both world’s. And still no one was willing to admit what anyone with any sense could see: that he was a short term solution to a long term problem, and that even had he by some miracle won that the Tories at some point would be back, vindictive as ever. The plan fell at the second hurdle and left Scotland facing another Tory government.
As we saw afterwards, once Scotland was secured within the union, focus returned to Europe. The Conservatives, ran their campaign with two major themes; that they would deliver a referendum on EU membership (which Cameron fully expected to win) and that Ed Miliband would be a puppet Prime Minister worked from the back by Alex Salmond. Having told Scotland it would be a valued and equal partner, within months Scotland was the enemy within, and while Labour tried to blame their loss of seats to the SNP for their defeat, simple mathematics showed that Labour had been roundly defeated by over a hundred seats and even had they retained their Scottish seats would still be languishing effectively a million miles behind the Tories.
Having brought in English Votes for English Laws which stripped Scottish MP’s of some voting rights the UK parliament has now moved to reduce Scottish MP’s by scrapping 6 seats. With a now tried and proven system in place for the election in the form of whipping up anti-Scottish sentiment and insinuating that Labour will (if they remain as one party) enter coalition with the SNP to deny the English electorate their rightful government, we have a recipe for Tory government in Scotland for years to come. So if there’s a way out of Brexit and from another lost generation of Tory rule, I’d grab it. Margaret Curran might think otherwise though…

 

Edited to add: Murdo Fraser caught red handed trying the same line with Andrew Neil today…

Davidson plays down Tory chances
https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2014/sep/03/calls-to-postpone-uk-general-election-scots-independence
Tories commit to EU Ref
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-15390884

http://www.scottishlabour.org.uk/blog/entry/speech-to-scottish-labour-conference-by-margaret-curran-mp#sthash.89QQqAx2.dpuf

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Post Referendum Letters: 27/12/14 (Advertiser)

Airdrie and Coatbridge Advertiser

Dear Sir,

Whenever I read Coatbridge MSP Elaine Smith’s contribution to the Advertiser I find myself double checking that it is not Elaine C Smith who has written it. It’s always full of unintentional (I hope) comedy. Last week Elaine (not C) Smith called on all the parties in Scotland to put the referendum behind them and work together for the good of the country. I’d love to say that would be fantastic, but actions speak louder than words. Only a few days previously the manager of the Scottish Labour branch Jim Murphy declined to join with all the other Scottish party leaders in signing a letter to UK Prime Minister David Cameron protesting at the closure of the Aeronautical Rescue Coordination Centre in Kinloss. Even Ruth Davidson of the Tories joined in to protest against Tory cuts, yet Jim Murphy cannot bring himself to unite for the common good and to save jobs and services in Scotland. Two years ago the Tories put Search and Rescue services into private hands and now the asset stripping and rationalisation that was warned of has arrived. Privatisation of anything which will raise a few bob was begun under Thatcher and has carried on under Labour. Labour have not reversed one privatisation initiative, and have even introduced a few themselves, so you would think it odd that Elaine Smith would hark back to the tale she told some time back that the SNP had privatised the railways. This tall tale was put to bed both in this paper and in the Rail Maritime and Transport Union news where Jeff Kirk of Edinburgh No1 Branch stated that he was “astonished” at Mrs Smith’s claims and pointed out that Labours pre-referendum proposals were “exactly what the Scottish Government had done”. He further pointed out that public ownership was outlawed by a 1993 act which Labour had never repealed during all their time in power. This is not likely to change either if a Labour does by some freak chance gain power at Westminster in May 2015 as they fully support the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) which as it stands will allow multinational companies to sue governments who block their bids to run almost any public service they choose to. At present the Scottish Government who have no power in this carve up are asking for guarantees to exempt the NHS, but what chance is there against the power of the UK Government, whether controlled by Red Tory or Blue? The fact is that Labour will say one thing in opposition, but do the opposite when in power. The late, great Groucho Marx once said “Those are my principles, if you don’t like them I have others.” Jim Murphy looks to me like a true Marxist in that respect, but while Groucho was funny, Mr Murphy is anything but.

Yours Sincerely, 

James Cassidy,

Post Referendum Letters: 20/09/14

 

To: The Airdrie and Coatbridge Advertiser

Dear Sir, 

So Scotland voted No. 55% of the electorate said they did not think we were good enough to run our own affairs. Or did they? There’s an element in there who would vote No regardless of any argument. There’s an element who voted No out of personal greed, the “I’m alright jack” brigade. There’s an element in there who voted No out of fear of losing their pensions, or out of fear of losing their jobs. I can at least say that the Yes campaign didn’t need to resort to the tactics of fear. We had no need to go to the streets of Airdrie and lie to people that their pensions were at risk if they voted Yes, or threaten activists that they would have their benefits stopped. Over the course of this campaign I have gone from a person who commented by letter or online to someone who started delivering leaflets round the doors, to someone who stood on the streets of Airdrie and told the truth about Labour’s lies, while our MP looked on in silence. Her silence spoke louder than I did, and it’s some consolation that the people of Airdrie and Coatbridge and the rest of North Lanarkshire said Yes. Along with Glasgow, Dundee and West Dunbartonshire, all suffering in part with great social deprivation, we at least can hold our heads up and say we were smart enough to see through the lies, and put working for the common good ahead of personal need or greed. We were smart enough not to believe the “jam tomorrow” promises of the Unionists. Already they have disappeared like a puff of smoke. The Three Stooges, Milliband, Cameron and Clegg vowed that if we voted No on 18th September that they would publish a motion that would go before the UK parliament on 19th September, and that all three parties would agree on that motion. I’m writing this on the 20th. No such motion was forthcoming. Ed Milliband has already backed out of any agreement. Our imperial masters have spoken, we are getting hee-haw.

The actions of 1979 have repeated themselves, and next year Scotland will again punish Labour. David Cameron will go to the polls as the man who saved the union, against an inept Labour leader exposed as a liar who reneges on a deal. More Tory rule and an in/out referendum on Europe await us. Will it take another round of Tory beatings before Scotland finally has the balls to say Yes, or will we instead send them a message in 2015 by winning a majority of Scottish seats and declaring our independence regardless? 

Yours Sincerely,

James Cassidy

 

 

The Referendum Letters

In the run up to the Scottish independence referendum I wrote a number of letters to mainly the local press, although there was also also some to the national press as well. I’ve decided to put these all in one place and will collate all of them on here. Some may refer to letters, responses or replies which were made in the press, so the full context will not be available. Had I been a compulsive hoarder I would have these tucked away. If there are any compulsive hoarders out there who have the originals…can I have a copy?

The letters which I will be adding will be the versions saved in my files. The vast majority were published, mostly with no or minor editing from the publishers.

During the referendum I also contributed to may online discussions and created a number of images which were shared on Facebook. I think it may be interesting to see this laid out in order. Hopefully I’ll get around to that. This is a work in progress…