Nicola Sturgeon is preparing legislation for another referendum on separating Scotland from the rest of the UK. She will, of course, require permission from the UK government to implement it. Nationalists will hate that, but it is the law. Ms Sturgeon is now assembling her troops at the foot of the hill. Some of these followers are becoming excited by the prospect of another campaign and another vote. If all Ms Sturgeon does is to follow the example of the Grand Old Duke of York, who marched his troops to the top of the hill and marched them down again, she will find that a substantial section of her supporters is, at the very least, restless. Ms Sturgeon is caught in a bind: her party is not much interested in government. It is a campaigning party with one aim: the break up of the UK. Anything else is as incidental as it is inconsequential.
The SNP has developed a formidable campaigning machine, using agit prop tactics familiar to those involved in far left campaigning. The Bolsheviks used these tactics, exploiting the medium of the poster to great effect. With 87% of the Russian population illiterate at the time of the October Revolution in 1917, the vivid and expressive poster with a brief slogan was a major weapon in the Bolsheviks’ propaganda armoury. The SNP uses a similar modus operandi, although there tend to be more words on their posters. Of this more anon.
For Sturgeon, the question of a second referendum poses an existential problem. Of course she wants to hold one – contrary to what she said during the previous referendum campaign – not least because her entire adult life has been consumed by this cause. But the experience of recent years has made her cautious. The sheer fact of the loss in 2014 is one reason. Another loss would consign the referendum question to the dustbin, where it should already be languishing after the 2014 vote. More personally, the fact that Alex Salmond resigned early on the morrow after the vote, just as David Cameron resigned early on the morrow of the EU vote, poses a serious warning. If she holds another referendum and loses, she will be expected to resign, toute suite. Bringing an end to her career is the thing Nicola Sturgeon fears most of all.
The tension between Sturgeon’s caution and her simultaneous need to keep the SNP masses on the boil is becoming acute. This is why the SNP continues to lie comprehensively about the area that was its Achilles heel in 2014: finance and the economy. The GERS figures are accepted (by some but by no means all SNP supporters), if grudgingly. They present a clear case for remaining in the UK. So the SNP has to lie about Scotland being ‘bled dry’ by Westminster, even while the GERS figures demonstrate that Westminster actually cushions Scots against the hardships their economic performance, were they on their own, would entail.
It is because the SNP is getting somewhat desperate, knowing that the support for separation is not there and that another referendum on it would go the way of the first, that some of its followers, and even representatives, have revived the spurious list of ‘English’ assets paid for by Scots. The most asinine of these is the refurbishment of the London sewers. Scots are said to be paying several billion pounds for that. The truth of the matter is that Thames Water (a private company) is raising the money for the project from its own customers. That should be enough to stop this downright lie from being propagated, but just watch – it’s coming to a leaflet or billboard near you. The same is said about HS2 (for which Scots pay a 2% share based on assessed benefit) and Crossrail, for which Scots do not pay – they are compensated through the Barnett formula. Further it is alleged that Scots paid a population share of the London Olympics. This is another lie: Scots did not pay for the London Olympics.
Another thoroughly dishonest claim by separatists is that the GERS figures don’t show the full value of Scottish exports because those exported through an English port are classed as ‘English’ exports. This is, quite simply, a black lie. The earnings are attributed to Scotland. The further trick with exports is to claim that when exports (especially whisky) pass through English ports the ‘export duty’ collected is claimed by the Treasury, thus depriving Scotland of valuable revenue. Now, listen very carefully: I shall say this only once. THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS EXPORT DUTY. That means that there is not ‘whisky export duty’. That means that the English are not depriving us of revenue from ‘export duty’. Because – and I will say it a second time – there is no such thing as ‘export duty’. As Fraser Whyte (who knows a lot more about this than I do) says at https://whytepaper.wordpress.com/2015/08/25/meme-busting-whisky-and-the-non-existent-export-duty/: ‘It is an illusion created by nationalists to manufacture an unwarranted grievance in an effort to dupe voters into saying Yes (or voting SNP)’.
Yet only at the weekend Sandra White, an SNP MP, was circulating rubbish of this kind. Those who were canvassed intensively by the SNP before the 2014 referendum now believe these lies as ‘facts’. They are evidence-proofed by the lies the SNP told them and cannot now be swayed. This is particularly because the SNP and its close ally, the Wings over Scotland blog, have further ensured that their supporters will read and believe only output from sources approved by the SNP/Wings (aka Stuart Campbell). If there are any nationalists who still have an open mind, I recommend to them the following factually-based and factually-accurate blogs:
https://whytepaper.wordpress.com Fraser Whyte’s ‘The Whyte Paper’
http://chokkablog.blogspot.co.uk/ Kevin Hague’s ‘Chokkablog’
http://rwbblog.blogspot.co.uk/#! Neil Lovatt’s ‘The Red, White and Blue Blog’
For those who doubt the legitimacy of the GERS, here is an article by an economist with a track record of support for independence: https://www.commonspace.scot/articles/9162/margaret-cuthbert-what-gers-and-brexit-reports-tell-us-about-scotlands-economy
Finally, an illustration of how supporters of separation simply make things up, in their quest to discredit the union. The claim in the black panel is nonsense.https://pbs.twimg.com/media/Cq9p8e2WcAA9Xes.jpg:large