Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Here's hoping Scotland 'Takes back control'

The phrase 'take back control' will no doubt be reasonably familiar to people - even if it's not remembered fondly by some of us. It was a key slogan of the leave campaign in last years referendum on EU membership. And though i was on the opposing side in that campaign i certainly wouldn't try to deny the effectiveness of that slogan in garnering support for the leave side.I'm not sure if it was the somewhat sinister Dominic Cummings or former Taxpayer Alliance luminary Matthew Elliott who dreamt the slogan up but as political slogans go it's surely got to be up there with Saatchi's infamous 1979 'labour isnt working' poster for simplicity and impact. It's not easy to encapsulate an entire political movement's aim in just 3 simple words but that's what 'take back control' did (the fact it was all bollox and the last thing many of those involved in the leave campaign wanted was ordinary people having more 'control' over their everyday lives is alas now neither here nor there).

Wouldn't it be a delicious irony however if the Yes campaign in the forthcoming indie referendum in Scotland pinched the leavers slogan for themselves and asked the scottish people to 'take back control' when Theresa May permits the people of Scotland to decide their own future. It would mean a slogan created with the express aim of enabling Britannia to 'rule the waves' again would be being used to help consign the very same 'Great Britain' to the dustbin of history. Think without the Cross of St Andrew emblazoned on it the flag so beloved by Tories and british neo fascists alike - the union jack - would be rendered redundant overnight (mind you my country Wales has never been represented on it anyway). And it would surely mean the last Night of the proms - with all its 'pomp and circumstance' - would have to be cancelled as the Proms groupies would have nothing to wave.

I'm not sure the people who have masterminded the surge in support for Scottish self government in recent times need any advice from people like me incidentally but it's fun to speculate all the same.


But what we do already know is that there wont be a repeat of the 2014 'Better Together' campaign, which successfully hoodwinked enough people in Scotland into voting NO three years ago. It seems that the bitter divisions which have since opened up between the respective parties in the intervening years has made working together to thwart those pesky scot nats this time round an impossibility http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/nicola-sturgeon-scottish-independence-referendum-jeremy-corbyn-labour-better-together-a7630291.html

Obviously from the standpoint of those of us hoping for a yes vote this time the fact the opposition will be fragmented and disorganised can only be a good thing. And it's also likely to mean that anyone hoping for a repeat of the kind of dramatic late interventions we saw in 2014 is likely to be disappointed. Unless maybe messrs Nigel Farage, Boris Johnson and Ian Duncan Smith could stand in for Cameron, Clegg and Miliband? (remember them). Given that Farage, Johnson and Smith are held in utter contempt by most people in Scotland lets hope they do. I'm not sure who could double up for the 'son of the manse' aka Gordon Brown next time but i understand UKIP financier Arron Banks has some time on his hands  https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2017/mar/14/ukip-donor-arron-banks-says-he-has-quit-party-to-set-up-ukip-20

But what's been most staggering about Nicola Sturgeon's Monday morning announcement is the wider impact it's had. The first consequence was that Theresa May had to cancel plans to begin the process of brexit this week. But perhaps of even more significance has been the impact the announcement has had in Wales and the north of Ireland http://www.express.co.uk/news/politics/778670/Nicola-Sturgeon-independence-referendum-Wales-Northern-Ireland-vote. Already this week there have been two calls from leading figures in Sinn Fein for a referendum on Irish reunification. Only a few years ago a referendum on uniting Ireland would have seemed a pipe dream but now - as a consequence of brexit - it's being widely discussed and taken seriously across the 6 counties.

And in Wales too this week there have been calls for a 'national conversation' about independence. But such calls haven't come from the obvious candidates - like the Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood - they have even come from someone like the respected and labour leaning welsh journalist Martin Shipton http://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/politics/what-another-scottish-independence-referendum-12736430.amp. And during a radio programme on BBC Wales on Monday the host - well known Broadcaster Jason Mohammed - commented his show had never received so many texts from listeners saying it was now time for Wales to consider Independence. It's clear then from the events of this week that the Brexit vote last June has unleashed a genie - a genie which the British state can't control and which shows no sign of going back in its bottle. And it would again surely be a delicious irony if a campaign - the leave campaign - which was seemingly all about restoring Britain's past 'imperial glories' and ruling the world's seas could well end up leading to the break up of dear old blighty.

Speaking of 'Rule Britannia' i'll conclude with a performance from the aforementioned and now gravely endangered 'Last Night of the Proms. All i will say is that if watching vommit inducing stuff like this doesn't convince a majority of people in Scotland to vote yes next time round then i dont know what will.

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