“Northern Ireland is in the unbelievably special position. A unique position in the entire world, the European content, in having privileged access, not just to the UK home market which is enormous, 5th biggest in the world… but ALSO the European single market. Nobody else has that. Noone.
When I go round the world and talk to businesses, they know that. They go, ‘wow, that’s interesting,’ if you guys get this sorted we want to invest in Northern Ireland”
This is a direct quote from the British Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak.
I’m having to rub my eyes once or twice here… did we not all have that a few year ago?
Correct me if I’m wrong, but is this no the precise reason why 62% of us here in Scotland voted in favour of remaining in the European Union as opposed to leaving… it may also be the precise reason why so many Scots voted against leaving Britain’s political union in 2014.
We were, after all, told that the only way to secure our British, European Union membership was to vote against the SNP’s proposals.
We ignored Mr Salmond all those years ago. Him and his campaign team asking how this guarantee could be so assured given the Brexit vote that was to follow. Perhaps he didn’t shout it loud enough.
Or maybe we didn’t want to listen?
Maybe our entrenched imposter syndrome that gets to so many Scots, in a knee-jerk psychological fashion, rejected the idea of a radical change in whatever part of the brain it operates.
Maybe the Southern English accent that dominates the voice of Westminster and surrounding media outlets, once unquestionably trusted with the chequebook, really did just get at our anxiety… probably amplified by the amount of booze consumed by so many Scots in the weekends leading up to the vote.
What? Some guy fae Linlithgow and a wee lass fae Irvine leading a whole country on their aen? Surely no. Canny be right. It’s that mob fae Eton that deals with all the dosh.
Or maybe it was the shoogly peg Scotland stood on wae the currency. Salmond claiming ‘it’s just as much ours as it is yours’ didn’t wash with the public… in fact, you literally had the rest of the UK laughing in our faces at that very reasoning.
‘Goan try and take it from us then,’ they said. I dare ye.
And in that moment, every Scot reminisces about those bullies on the links that chored yer ball. They’ve taken it. It’s theirs now. Have a pop at taking it back, see what happens.
Maybe it is just Scots' psychology.
In saying that… all the way along we were promised a rosy settlement of devolution. It wasn’t all so bad. They aren’t bullies taking our ball away, they’re our pals asking us for a kick about.
We were merely told: right… dinnae be hasty. We’ll give you more powers, we’ll let Scotland make more decisions. We’re a team here.
Let’s not wreck the currency agreement or the postal service or how we divvy up the army… we’re all playing on the same patch ae grass whether Scots like it or not, so we might as well work the gether on some things.
And Christ, dinnae put your EU passport in jeopardy. It really isn’t worth it.
It’s all a big hassle that isn’t worth having.
So, a lot of Scots said right we’ve made our feelings clear… let’s get behind sorting a better deal for us within the UK: We want more fiscal powers so we can make uniquely progressive decisions for our society. We want a proper say in foreign affairs, so carry on like the Iraq War doesny happen again. You’ve won yer case on the currency… let’s see what we can muster up in the years to come on a pedestal you’d be in dreamland to even try and replicate: the one put up for us by the Bank of England.
Well, in fairness, you’d be delusional to pretend all Scotland’s problems in governance and decision-making lie south of the border… but on all these specific accounts, we’ve been absolutely shafted.
We’ve now had fewer decisions made in Scotland, we’ve been dealt a Conservative UK Government sending airstrikes into Syria against our will (the earthquake in recent weeks might’ve humbled them or even rattled their conscious a wee bit, mind you) and a wildly mismanaged economy. Everyone’s paying more for everything.
Labour may be quite right to point out that change is coming… but what sort of change? How come we’re not getting the so-called sensible, middle-ground political settlement Scots were promised and now, for whatever reason, need to ask for cap in hand?
If 56% of Northern Ireland can get their way, why can’t 62% of Scotland?
We’re the only country that’s been judased here. England and Wales asked for it. Scotland didn’t.
And against that will, you’ve essentially said to all businesses looking to set up in Scotland… you’re probably better getting the trunks on and swimming over to Ireland.
Genuinely though… why would a business now not set up in, say, Belfast as opposed to Glasgow? Why would anyone invest in Scotland?
We’ve been impeded by Southern Englanders that don’t like the idea of immigrants living amongst us… and because of this, they’ve strengthened the borders against immigrants legally coming up here despite us desperately needing them.
Maybe that would be an unfair generalisation these days, but public opinion polls would've told you that trend 7 years ago. Let's tell the truth.
All the while, UK immigration has actually increased with a lot of them risking their lives to arrive illegally, on a wee dinghy, across the Channel to… you guessed it… Southern England.
Our economy and NHS are suffering as a direct result of that decision and nobody has benefitted from it.
And just to rub salt in the wound… those that championed this dysfunctional arrangement to happen have, this morning, travelled over to Ireland to boast a ‘special deal’ which, near enough by the letter, reinstates the set-up everyone else was able to enjoy as recently as in 2019.
All on our doorstep. Right in our face.
So, this leaves us with two options: Either, we pray to the heavens above that the next UK Government will reverse all this decision-making and give Scottish people what they were initially after. Pray that Westminster will be radically transformed by a more proportionally representing voting system so that circus-worthy decision-making isn’t left unaccountable by ‘safe seats.' Pray that corruption and lies can’t be hidden behind an ‘ethics advisor’ employed by the very people they’re meant to be assessing…
And, by the way, I’m speaking as if that’s a monumental ask… 55% of us voted for a reformed, European Scotland to remain in the British political union & 62% of us reaffirmed this by saying ‘naw’ to separating with Brexit… this is a generally rare level of consensus that has been utterly disregarded.
So we pray for this… or we separate entirely from the UK, join a long queue back to the EU, with an uncertain answer at the end of it given the divided opinion, that will remain divided for political reasons, on what Scotland’s deficit would be and how the Spanish would react with their concerns. Not even mentioning being left with a divided public which is, at times, fiercely grounded in hatred and bile.
Either way, shout it from the rooftops… Why us? Why is it so unreasonable to ask for a level-headed government that functions solely to help people out? Why do we have to pray for things in a modern democracy?
Least the 184,000 people that voted DUP are happy. That's who the deal was meant to please, right?
I mean… more people were involved in Scottish football matches in the past week, if we were to put that into perspective. But aye, delighted for them.