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Samizdata quote of the day

But Scottish nationalism is a blind and unreasoning beast, appeals to logic and sentiment will get us nowhere, and we should recognise this fact. If one seriously believes that the Scottish people are being oppressed and having their democratic rights trampled by the Evil English, or that they somehow lack their due influence in our nation’s government despite enjoying political devolution and autonomy far greater than that enjoyed by the UK’s most populous home nation, then a sensible discussion cannot be had.

Samuel Hooper

41 comments to Samizdata quote of the day

  • Mal Reynolds (Serenity)

    The best democratic government is one that is closest to its populace. Let Scotland have its independence. Aside from democratic considerations it will hopefully make them shut up with their inferiority complex and incessant whining.

  • Paul Marks

    Mal Reynolds – the Scots have already had a referendum on “independence” they voted “no”.

    They will get another vote (most likely) when the United Kingdom becomes independent – which (due to the absurdly slow way these are things are done by the those in office) will not be to the end of March 2019. You can then ask for a referendum – and it I am fortunate I will not be around to agree or disagree with you.

    By they way independence was not the real policy of Scottish National Party. They supported rule by the European Union – neither Brussels or Frankfurt (or Berlin – which really decides things in the E.U.).

    Actually I have some sympathy with your view about government being local (consistent with national defence). But it was never really on offer in Scotland.

    As I so often find I have to say (in relation to Ulster and elsewhere) “rule by the European Union is NOT independence”.

    It is a good thing I am such a kind hearted, even tempered and tolerant soul – otherwise I might get tired of having to repeat the obvious. And I am not wildly popular with the IRA and so on as it is.

    By the way, I am told (although I do not know for sure) that the E.U. is becoming less popular in Scotland – perhaps someone has looked at a map and found out that Brussels is actually further away from Scotland than London is.

  • Brian Swisher

    I am reminded of an exchange in Josephine Tey’s “Daughter of Time”, where Grant’s sergeant remarks that the only two historical dates he knows are 1066 and 1707.

    “Why 1707?”

    “That’s the year we got the Scots tied to our tails.”

    “Better than having them at your throat every five minutes.”

  • Jib Halyard

    The Scots may very well vote Leave in the next referendum, regardless of whether or not it is the sensible thing. If nothing else, 2016 has been a stark reminder that reason is no obstacle to an emotionally satisfying electoral outcome.

  • Mr Ed

    Every good Englishman should visit, as a delight and a reminder, the Northumbrian stronghold of Chillingham Castle, a robust border fortress, but a few miles safely south of McMordor.

    Welcome to Chillingham Castle

    This 12th century stronghold, just twenty minutes from the seaside and the home of Sir Humphry Wakefield and his family, became ‘base-camp’ for the 1298 conquering attack on William Wallace by “Hammer of the Scots”, King Edward 1st. Wallace had raided the previous year, burning the women and children to death in the local abbey. The Castle was given permission to add battlements by King Edward III in 1344 (See the actual License in the Castle). The Elizabethans added ‘Long Galleries’ and Capability Brown designed the park in 1752. The glorious Italian garden was laid out in the 19th century by Sir Jeffrey Wyatville, fresh from his royal triumphs at Windsor Castle. Royal visits from 1200s to this century, and winner of many architectural awards.

    This ancient and remarkable fortress is the home of Sir Humphry Wakefield Bt., his wife The Hon. Lady Wakefield and their family. Since 1246 the Castle has been owned by one continuous blood line with the Earls Grey ruling the Castle for the founding centuries. Those Grey Lords built the Castle’s alarming dungeons and torture chambers, as well as the beautiful parklands and gardens

    It may yet see its finest hour, should we fortify the border again.

  • Laird

    OK, off topic, but I’m going to yet again raise a complaint I have many times before: On my computer screen, if I scroll down through all the postings currently on display, there are no fewer than seven with the title “Samizdata quote of the day”. And when I scroll down the “Recent Comments” list on the right, the only way I can differentiate among all those SQOTDs to determine if it’s a comment I’ve already seen, is to hover each one individually to see which posting number it refers to.

    Why is it so difficult to append either the posting number (i.e., 840 for this most recent one), or simply the date, to the SQOTD title? That way it would be easy to tell them apart. Come on, guys. As far as I know you each assign your own titles to your posts. You don’t have to wait for Perry to mandate this (which he seems disinclined to do); you can do it yourself. Even a few of you doing so would be an improvement. Please?

  • I welcome opinions on the following hypothetical, were Sturgeon to get her vote (it seems she may not) and win (I’d bet against).

    If the Brexit referendum result had been closer, Scots voters would have tipped it to Remain. If Remain’s total had exceeded Leave’s total by one single vote, we would all have remained in the EU – and Sturgeon would have demanded that that Scot-decided outcome be respected by all. But because a Leave majority was obtained, Sturgeon says the majority vote does _not_ bind all; a subunit (Scotland) that voted to remain can refuse to be “dragged out of the EU against its will” even though the majority voted to leave.

    She has therefore tied her party to the rule: in a vote for remaining in an existing union, the majority binds all. In a vote for leaving that union, any subunit within which the majority wants to remain can disregard the overall majority.

    Sturgeon was never one to admit that sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander, but the decision is not hers. In the last indyref, the leave areas were a tiny fraction of Scotland’s geography: the city of Dundee, and Glasgow plus environs. IIRC, less than one hand-count of Scotland’s 32 voting areas had a leave majority; while populous, they were not extensive.

    We all know polls are unreliable and anything can happen, but I don’t think even Sturgeon herself has any realistic expectation of a huge win. Any scenario even she can be crediting is a 50%+one-vote style victory, barring bizarre events.

    Therefore, given Scotland’s political geography, she is looking at most of Scotland’s 32 areas voting to remain. If Remain get even 50% + 1, her own rule says that all Scotland stays in the UK. If she gets 50% + 1, her own rule says she gets to rule in glorious independence over one very unwealthy and unviable east coast city (with FWIW no claim to any oil), and some of the western central belt (also FWIW with no claim to any oil), plus such marginals as she may pick up.

    Sturgeon will never admit this, of course. But if, for example, the whole of the Scotland’s borders, east coast (less Dundee) and north, plus Orkney and Shetland, plus some western areas, vote to remain (very conceivable even in a 50%+more-than-one-vote outcome), then majorities in these remain areas might see no reason to humour Sturgeon’s pretensions, while the British government and public might have strong practical and emotional motives for letting her stew in her own juice. (There is, very obviously, precedent: some of Ireland is outside the UK and some is inside it).

    The more likely this outcome seems as the aftermath of a narrow natz win, the more unlikely such a win would become in the run-up to the vote.

    Finally, this relates to – possibly depends on – another hypothetical: the feeling in those who vote against her that this second “Once in a lifetime! So why isn’t she dead?” vote is illegitimate. “What do you call a man who won’t take no for an answer? A rapist. What do you call a woman who won’t take no for an answer? Nicola Sturgeon.” How far motivating her base with talk of a second vote may come at the cost of motivating her anti-base to say it doesn’t bind them will be the background to what I speculate on above.

    So my question: has Sturgeon made a mistake in espousing this approach to remain-in-union/leave-union referenda?

  • Brian Swisher (March 17, 2017 at 6:46 pm), Josephine Tey was the literary pseudonym of Elizabeth MacKintosh of Inverness. Long before I knew this, I had realised that the occasional digs at the Scots in Josephine’s books meant that she was herself Scottish.

    I had a very revealing conversation about her some years back with a Scot, keen on detective stories, who had some natz sympathies (though far from the most extreme one can find). She chanced to complain about Josephine Tey’s anti-Scottish prejudice. When I pointed out that Tey was Scots herself – that Tey’s jibes were the jibes of an insider about her own culture – the response was incredulity. This, to me, obvious fact had completely got past her. I found it a very revealing mistake. More often in Scots than in English, you will find the kind of person who resents national criticism so much they cannot recognise insider criticism.

    Finally, here (from memory) is another Tey quote: Grant and his cousin discuss a minor character in the “The Singing Sands” who is a nat visiting the Hebrides.

    Laura: “He has another problem: his Glaswegian accent.”

    Grant: “Yes, it is pretty repulsive.”

    Laura: “No, I mean that every time he opens his mouth, his audience is reminded of the possibility of being ruled from Glasgow.”

  • Mr Ed

    The thing that the SNP perhaps do not realise is that the ‘Give-a-Toss-o-meter’ in England is barely flickering. Ms Sturgeon is just tiresome, the only thing most people in England would care about is that she shuts the door on the way out. The ‘threat’ to England is to become the Dominican Republic to her Haiti, rather than a Union of the two, and we will keep our Welsh friends by our side, and hope we can somehow slip off without Northern Ireland realising (until the money stops).

  • Duncan S


    You ask,

    How far motivating her base with talk of a second vote may come at the cost of motivating her anti-base to say it doesn’t bind them will be the background to what I speculate on above.

    In the run up to the 2014 vote, many Scots, who would go on to vote ‘No’, kept their heads down and their counsel to themselves as all around ‘Yes’ stickers appeared on every available surface.

    My aunt in Aberdeenshire was one such ‘No’ voter.

    On Wednesday this week, as she messaged me regarding the anti-referendum petition, which had just hit 100,000 in under 48 hours, she signed off her message thus :

    ‘It’s war this time’.

    Mr Ed,

    The majority in Scotland would rather that Ms Sturgeon fecked off to Haiti.

  • J.M. Heinrichs

    Wouldn’t Darien be more suitable?


  • lucklucky

    Really so now Scotland independence is something bad? If they want to take responsibility for their country what is not to praise?

    That thousand Scotlands flourish all over the world. We need more and more San Marinos, Monaco, Luxembourg, Singapore etc etc…

  • Really so now Scotland independence is something bad?

    For folk in Scotland? Yes probably if it is with the SNP in control. For rUK? Not so much. As Mr.Ed wrote: “The thing that the SNP perhaps do not realise is that the ‘Give-a-Toss-o-meter’ in England is barely flickering”

    If they want to take responsibility for their country what is not to praise?

    If the SNP manage a plurality (which I doubt), ‘they’ might want complete responsibility but the large unionist block tends to think they have rather a lot of responsibility already.

    We need more and more San Marinos, Monaco, Luxembourg, Singapore etc etc…

    Yeah, but not sure we need another Venezuela though.

  • Eric

    Really so now Scotland independence is something bad? If they want to take responsibility for their country what is not to praise?

    That would, maybe, be praiseworthy if it were true. But if this referendum passes it will be because the UK left the EU and they want to be part of the EU. The Scots are afraid the milk will dry up in this teat and they’re switching to another.

  • lucklucky (March 18, 2017 at 1:05 am): ” If they[Scotland] want to take responsibility for their country what is not to praise?”

    Does the same apply if Lothian wishes to do this, and/or Orkney and Shetland, and/or Aberdeenshire, etc.? If it does, you are indeed consistent – consistently wrong IMNSHO – but you are not on the same page as Sturgeon.

    Eric (March 18, 2017 at 2:20 am) shows one answer to your question. Another of the many answers to it is shown by the fact that, in 1945 the ruler of Eire, one de Valera, called on the German ambassador in Dublin to express his and (he alleged) his country’s official and public regret at the death of the ruler of that country, one Adolf Hitler. Two weeks earlier, he did not make any similar call on the US ambassador to express any regret at the passing of the ruler of that country, one Franklin Roosevelt. The kind of Scottish government the natz want has its raison d’être in hostility to the rest of the UK, so will suffer the same temptations to behave badly towards it that the Eire government did in WWII.

    The following quote from Churchill’s victory broadcast in May 1945 notes some (not all) earlier examples of this temptation to behave badly. Churchill recalled the dark days that began in late 1940 when the approaches between Ulster and Scotland were the only ones wholly uninterdictable by the Nazis after they held the continent from France to Norway. “Owing to the action of the Dublin government, so much at variance with the temper and instinct of thousands of Southern Irishmen who hastened to the battle-front to prove their ancient valour, the approaches which the southern Irish ports and airfields could so easily have guarded were closed by the hostile aircraft and U-boats. This was indeed a deadly moment in our life, and if it had not been for the loyalty and friendship of Northern Ireland we should have been forced to come to close quarters or perish forever from the earth. However, with a restraint and poise to which, I say, history will find few parallels, His Majesty’s Government never laid a violent hand upon them, though at times it would have been quite easy and quite natural, and we left the Dublin government to frolic with the German and later with the Japanese representatives to their hearts’ content.”

    As extensive records – and some embarrassing photographs with swastikas – show, the natz of Scotland were of the same mind back then. Perhaps more importantly, the natz of today define themselves in opposition to England, so we should anticipate similar behaviour in any future emergency.

  • Mr Ecks

    The simplest way to deal with this is to say NO.

    Why should they get a second referendum anymore than the Remainiac gang?


    1–The SNP is itself divided. I understand numbers of them don’t want to “escape” England to be handed over to the EU right away.

    2-The SNP are on a decline. Their arrogance –terrace chanting bans/jail sentences + a Commissar for every child–are showing sensible Scots what life is going to be like with the SNP forever.

    3-The EU won’t want a basket case. They will want the Euro and Scotland will have a lot of real austerity to go thro before it qualifies to join. If the people are made aware of that then that will also change matters.

    4-The likely condition of an “SNP Forever” Scotland will be semi-Stalinist. East Germany on the Clyde. Any Scot with nous or ambition will emigrate –very likely down Dr Johnson’s “High road that leads to England”

    That said there is a demented socialist core to Scotland–not enough to win last time–whose overriding emotion appears to be mad hatred for Fathcher and English Torys.

    Such people seem demented enough for anything no matter how crazed if it hits at their foes. “From Hell’s Heart” etc. The Wrath of Clan” indeed.

    If a scheme was proposed for all Scots to commit suicide –Jim Jones style–in the hope that a plague would arise from the rotting corpses strong enough to also wipe out England, the SNP has followers in their ranks who would not shrink from the deed.

  • Stephen K

    “Good evening. This is the Scottish National Broadcasting Service – the voice of Free Caledonia. We hope you enjoyed that showing of Braveheart. This evening at 8pm the Eternal Leader will make her daily address to the nation, followed by a showing of Braveheart. At 7pm, the Scottish National News. But before that, we have a treat for you: a showing of Braveheart.”

  • JohnM

    Let the Scots have there referendum.

    If ‘NO’, the the poison dwarf is done for and we will (I hope) not hear any more from her.

    If ‘YES’, I give it 5 years and she will have the biggest defeat possible, as Scotland will be bankrupt.

  • The idea of spitting up Scotland after a successful (for the SNP) vote is probably likely.

    The same thing would probably happen in California if they voted themselves out of the US.

    Sadly we might very well see some version of Bosnia circa 1992-1998 in both places.


  • Taylor (March 18, 2017 at 4:30 pm): “The idea of spitting up Scotland after a successful (for the SNP) vote is probably likely.”

    The more likely it is seen to be, the less likely that any vote will happen or, if it does, will succeed.

    “The same thing would probably happen in California if they voted themselves out of the US.”

    The civil war established clear precedent for what the federal government can do to any state attempting to secede. As you say, geographical subregions of California would refuse to secede, necessitating federal military deployment into them to protect them from state coercion (probably in fact, but in any case providing justification for deployment into the area). At that point, why exactly would Trump resist this wholly legal and precedented opportunity to reduce California to his will, expel all the illegals there, and enjoy a decade or so of ‘reconstructing’ the state?

    Just as Sturgeon has (IMO – Niall Kilmartin, March 17, 2017 at 8:51 pm) put herself in a false position, so a Californian who thinks that Trump is so wild, crazy and dangerous that they must secede would appear simultaneously to think Trump is extraordinarily un-vindictive, self-abnegating and/or controlled by people who are if they imagine he would not or could not do that.

    I note however there is precedent for that confusion. Leading secessionists in 1860 argued that the north would gladly let them go, relieved to be rid of them, while simultaneously fearing what the federal government would do to them if the continued to admit being subject to it.

  • AmyH

    Looking at Scotland from a distance, it seems what they want is not freedom but the most lucrative dependency they can manage. I could be wrong seeing this as I am from the US, but I cannot help but feel that my Hunter ancestors must be spinning in their graves at what one of their homelands has turned into.

  • Kevin

    Just follow the history of Quebec from 1965 to say, 1992, and you have the basic plot line. Spare yourselves much tedium and as a bonus, deny oxygen to rentseeking politicians and journos who will not give up until long long past any reason for 3 seconds of your time.

  • Derek Buxton

    I had to laugh at the Brown, Gordon of that ilk, saying that “they would take control over agriculture, fishing and the environment”. A bit odd really, as PM for a period he would naturally have been told in secret that they are all under the rule of the EU not Nation States.

  • Snag

    Sturgeon’s position in short:

    The 1.66m who voted to Remain in the EU referendum must have their voices heard, but the 2m who voted No in the Indyref must be disregarded.

  • Derek Buxton (March 19, 2017 at 11:28 am) is right. That EU control was the reason why the Moray and Nairn brexit vote was 49.9% leave, 50.1% remain.

    (That area would have been a healthy leave win had not every single party in Scotland pushed the ‘Scots should vote remain to avoid a second indyref” idea. This is currently is my number one example of ‘the experts are clueless’ – but if you know a worthy rival, feel free to say.)

  • Paul Marks

    Lots of good information – Niall (and others).

    Just because I am not commenting does not mean I am not reading.

  • Fred Z

    Scots, Quebecois, no difference, clever extortionists both.

    We need to ignore them but cut their subsidies in the hope they will grow up.

    Although it may be that your Scots are more like our Canadian aboriginals, who are also adept at whining their way to the taxpayer funded trough.

    George MacDonald Fraser referred to the Scots as the last barbarian tribe of Europe.

    We have been extorted into patronizing minorities who may in fact have been poorly treated in the past. So what do we now care what someone’s granddad did? The point now is that the patronizing is damaging the recipients. Free shit is bad shit.

  • John Galt III

    The best that Scotland ever produced left centuries long ago for America, Canada, Australia and elsewhere. What’s left is a sorry little, statist hellhole with bagpipe music.

  • Maximo Macaroni

    If the Scots leave the UK and stay in the EU, what happens after Nexit and Frexit etc.? Can they whine their way back into the UK or do they have to freeze in the dark and have only oil to eat?

  • Mr Ed


    After the UK’s ‘Joxit’, in England there will be calls of ‘(Re)-Build the Wall’ and statues of Hadrian will appear. Scotland will end up as a kind of Trans-nistrian Republic, or perhaps they will find their McMilosevic (if they haven’t already) who will make the rest of us tremble, until we realise that they don’t have an army and have renounced nukes (well NATO nukes) on principle.

  • lucklucky

    “Does the same apply if Lothian wishes to do this, and/or Orkney and Shetland, and/or Aberdeenshire, etc.? If it does, you are indeed consistent – consistently wrong IMNSHO – but you are not on the same page as Sturgeon.”

    Of course. Freedom only exists if secession is a right.

    “Yeah, but not sure we need another Venezuela though.”

    Freedom implies people might make bad decisions including destroying freedom.

  • Julie near Chicago

    Aye, there’s the rub, lucklucky.

  • NickG

    Scotland’s secession from the UK would have one clear collateral benefit; it would unambiguously resolve the West Lothian question.

  • Andrew Duffin

    I am sure that when the linked article says “there is no mechanism either for a region to remain part of the European Union when its parent member state secedes, or for a seceding region to claim automatic, continuous or even expedited EU membership on the basis of the former parent country’s membership” it is stating the exact bureaucratic truth, in terms to the EU treaties and everything else.

    But does anyone believe, that, presented with such a massive chance to put sand in the gears of Brexit, Brussels would not in fact find a way?

    I do not think the barriers to Scotland rejoining or even remaining in the EU are anywhere near as real as many people think. The treaties can be bent out of shape in any way the ptb wish – look at how they got Greece into the Euro, if you want an example.

    This, imho, is why Mrs. May will not allow a new referendum in the short term: she’s afraid that if the Simply Nasty Party get their way, the EU will immediately fall into line, and her problems will become even worse.

  • Andrew Duffin (March 20, 2017 at 12:26 pm): “does anyone believe, that, presented with such a massive chance to put sand in the gears of Brexit, Brussels would not in fact find a way?”

    The very-unhelpful-to-natz statements Andrew refers to have been made. The dearth of corresponding countervailing statements is significant. Andrew is absolutely right that:

    “The treaties can be bent out of shape in any way the ptb* wish”

    The Eurocrats have never obeyed their own rules. If there were consistent political will, remarks about how, “Of course, negotiations could begin, things could be worked out” would have been made, and no rule would matter, any more than it does in any other euro-case. It was because Sturgeon knew this that she made her absurd trips to Europe over the last few months. It is because there is no such clear EU will that her “meeting with a German minister” turned out to be an unofficial luncheon that her co-respondent denied had any significance, etc., etc.

    Ten years ago, the EU might well have played this game, though even then it would have faced internal pushback. Today, the EU is under a lot of stress, and can see that pandering to the natz is a great way to be under more. The Greek budget figures are less alarming than the putative Scots ones. The hostility of Spain is intense, and they are only the most obvious case: there are latent ethnic and irredentist issues all over Europe (a parliament based in Belgium cannot easily avoid knowing this).

    Andrew is surely right that some Eurocrats are furious about Brexit and long to punish us. On the EU side of the Brexit negotiations, there will be a power-struggle between “Punish them!” (rationalised as ‘we must not let it look attractive for others’) and “Let’s not cut off our nose so the British have to endure our ugly face.” Because the Spanish and others have such an interest, and the IndyScot budget figures look so bad, the natz are an obvious sacrifice on the altar of intra-EU compromise over this. That is my guess FWIW. My evidence is the clarity with which the rules have been stated and the absence of similarly-clear “we could work something out” remarks.

    * ‘ptb’ is a new one on me; I can of course guess Andrew’s meaning

  • Lee Moore

    there will be a power-struggle between “Punish them!” (rationalised as ‘we must not let it look attractive for others’) and “Let’s not cut off our nose so the British have to endure our ugly face.”

    And the likely result is that they’ll never manage to agree on anything, hence there’ll be no exit agreement, just bye !

    The extra good news is that the harder the EU tries to punish the UK for Brexit :

    (a) the even harder will be the task of the Remainers to somehow chisel us back in, and
    (b) the quicker our trade patterns will adjust to bypass the local backwater

  • Paul Marks

    Independence is not on offer.

    The Scottish National Party want rule by the European Union.

    Brussels is not in Scotland.

  • Julie near Chicago

    Niall, usually capitalized: “PTB.” Powers That Be.

  • Laird

    Speaking as a complete outsider, with no dog in this fight, I’m fascinated by the discussion between Andrew and Niall. I am very interested in the thoughts of people on the ground as to the internal machinations of the EU regarding Brexit and related matters. Thank you.

  • Nicholas (Unlicenced Joker) Gray

    Stephen K., shame on you! You forgot ‘Taggart’! ‘Braveheart’ followed by ‘Taggart’, ‘Braveheart’, ‘Taggart’ etc. Almost watchable TV.

  • The Pedant-General

    ‘It’s war this time’.

    Absolutely. In 2014, the “No” campaign was stitched up by the need to campaign for a “No”. It was usually turned into something nice and friendly like “Thanks, but No thanks!”

    This time it will be “No. Fuck OFF”
    It really will. It was nasty in 2014. There was a real undercurrent which kept No voters heads down and voices subdued and which was, I suspect, why the pollsters misjudged it. This time, I strongly doubt that the No vote will be as meek.