Among all the cantrips in the weeks up to Halloween Operation Yellowhammer has emerged yet again; to remind readers, this is the panic created by the Government and its toadies to get a deal of any sorts through the House of Commons or be faced with a No Deal scenario. This will be forced on it by a greedy dictatorial EU – well that is their interpretation.
Mrs Theresa May was the one who decided to move Section 50, think that is the section, and then had to go bonnet (ladies do not wear caps!) in hand to the EU to agree the terms of leaving. She kept getting knocked back by MPs, who did not like the terms she agreed – remember the UK did not get thrown out of the EU, but “decided” to leave and wanted to set the terms, ie we are going but we will decide the club rules! Typical arrogant Tories.
It should be remembered that Mrs May’s deal was rejected three times by the Westminster Parliament, one of them in the biggest defeat for any Government in history. The deal this week is worse than them.
Mrs May whose response to any request for a second Scottish Independence Referendum was “Now is not the time”, not a very imaginative saying, but Scotland deserved another Referendum. We accepted the result of the last one but with the qualification “unless there is a material change in the way Scotland is governed” – I paraphrase.
As one of the threats in the 2014 Referendum was that Scotland would then be thrown out of the European Union, quite naturally we were aggrieved. None of the things we were promised materialised, and the solemn Vow turned out to be a creation of the Daily Record with Unionists’ pictures attached. The then Editor of the Record has now retired, I think, and come out as a Yes voter!
This week the game goes on; Bullying Boris is responding to the stipulation that he asks Brussels for an extension by sending a photocopy of the request, unsigned, believing that this will be acceptable.
So, he sends an unsigned cheque and will bleat if it is not accepted? If anyone sent me an unsigned cheque I would immediately return it – the Court of Session has not yet ruled if he has broken the Law so at present he is not in the pokey.
The general public, like myself, are getting fed up with the situation, and wanting it settled, which gives the bully hope, but any deal is going to lead to massive disruption – so Leave has not had any effects as yet. In the North East of England there is a heavy demand for Leave, and Labour MPs are getting pressured to agree the deal. What their reaction will be when the car factories are transferred to various countries in Europe and they are left unemployed and broke? This will happen, I think Nissan has already been in touch, their Sunderland car factory is the largest in the UK. Due to costs and tariffs they may transfer it to Spain.
There has been a lot of speculation on the effects which is why Westminster came up with Operation Yellowhammer; we all remember the Tories forking out £30 million of our cash to pay for non existent ferries, and to upgrade ports that could not handle cargo ships. Rumours of shortages of food, fuel, medicines are also being forecast. Thankfully we will still have energy since they cannot sell the wind, or the waves for that matter. I wonder if they got any of our money back – gone a bit quiet, or maybe I just haven’t noticed. They have not got any money back from the DUP, who now accuse Mr Johnson of bad faith anyway.
The Good Friday Agreement is getting short shrift from the Tories; Mr Johnson has agreed to a Border between Mainland Britain and Ireland down the middle of the Irish Sea, something which he swore would never happen. I was initially puzzled as to why the Irish Taoiseach agreed, but the hysteria of the DUP told its own story. There will be no land border between Britain and Ireland with walls and Customs Posts, this will be transferred to, we think, Cairnryan and various ports in England and Wales. (Oil companies are leaving cut down rigs in the North Sea, but they are in the wrong place.)
Mr Johston’s plan seems sensible, but it also weakens the notional Border between Northern Ireland and Ireland proper, which will likely wither away. Northern Ireland was kept as a part of Britain after the war started by the Easter Rising in 1916; this resulted in Britain keeping the North. I always found it puzzling as to why in the British Isles Catholics were denied votes, jobs and housing.
It was manifestly wrong and absurd and we in our younger days knew very little about it. My paternal grandparents came from Ireland, County Cavan, which was in Ireland proper. My father was born in Dundee and my mother in West Calder, West Lothian, her parents originally from Ireland, but I never bothered to find out about my antecedents. When the UK partitioned Ireland in 1926 there was a civil war when Westminster split the country.
Also during the Second World War there was no conscription and this continued on to National Service. I never knew this at the time I did my National Service, because the Enniskillen Fusiliers were serving in Kenya at the same time as I was – 1953-55. We called them the Penicillin Fusiliers due to their predeliction to venereal disease. I think they must all have been Regulars.
I first visited Ireland in 1982 with a caravan; I was apprehensive as cars and other vehicles were being searched by police before we embarked. While in the queue to board I asked a policeman if he wanted me to open the car boot. He said “No, you’ve got an honest face”, perhaps with a car and caravan bearing SNP symbols it was OK?
We disembarked in Belfast and headed South, when passing through Newry we passed over a “sleeping policeman” one of the biggest I had ever encountered, and just beside a heavily sandbagged police station. I had to go eventually to a garage in Ireland to get my tow bar fixed .
We arrived at the Border Post fairly early in the morning, (I spent as little time as I could in the North). The Post was pretty deserted, and I had to wait until an official appeared. When he did appear he asked me for the caravan number; he told me I would find it on the towbar cover. When I went back he produced the form and said “Do you have a pen?” and filled out the form.
I was a bit wary about travelling to Ireland as my car had a British registration number and both car and caravan had SNP stickers but I had no problems in either Northern Ireland or Ireland proper. This was before the Good Friday Agreement when the Troubles were in full swing; the only place we felt uncomfortable was Dundalk, a Border town.
On our return journey we were waved through the Border Post, but came across many soldiers with guns as we passed through Belfast. When we visited Ireland some years later for a friend’s son’s wedding we decided to spend a week in Ireland, there were no Border Posts and we only knew we had crossed the Border when the petrol price changed from pounds to euros. The wedding was in Armagh and the reception in Ballycastle, 50 miles away! It was great!
This somewhat long-winded tale is to illustrate the difference the Good Friday Agreement made.
At present we do not know where we stand, and as Mr Johnston has made his statement -out by 31st October, no ifs, no buts, no maybes – my interpretation.
However when Halloween has come and gone there is still a mass of negotiation to be gone through we will be off the cliff and looking in vain for the parachute.
It should be noted that Westminster has steadfastly refused to listen to any comment from Scotland. Ruth Davidson conveniently decided to spend more time with her family, but I note that she has been in touch with Tony Blair for when a Second Independence Referendum comes along. Wonder who will finance the Scotland in Union campaign?
Alyn Smyth SNP MEP, has written to Donald Tusk asking him to grant an extension to Section 50 and Aileen MacLeod SNP MEP has written to Michel Barnier in the same vein; this is because Boris Johnson is determined to force over 100 pages of amendments through Westminster in 3 days . Many a slip between cup and lip, so Mr Johnston may come a cropper. He slings off a funny remark – dead or in a ditch- and expects it to be taken as Gospel.
The Generation Game
In the newspapers we keep reading about this “generation” claim at the time of the Referendum ;it was not written into any paperwork, various opponents keep bringing it up, but when challenged they do not reply.
However this has reared its head again about the 2016 Brexit Referendum, where Alistair Carmichael, former Secretary of State for Scotland (a LibDem) has admitted that Nick Clegg said the 2016 Referendum was a “once in a generation”; Mr Carmichael said it was “a misjudgement rather than a lie”. The exchange occurred when Alistair Carmichael former Liberal MP was being interviewed on Talk Radio by Mike Graham. Mr Graham tried to clarify the matter ”You’re telling me that Liberal Democrat lies are OK, everybody else’s are not?” “Getting pejorative like that doesn’t really help the debate” replied Carmichael.
It looks as if the “generation” game has been mixed up between referendums – by the LibDem leader Jo Swinson. She is adamant that a Scottish Referendum was a “once in a generation” but that a Peoples Vote, ie second Brexit Referendum, was legitimate. We also remember Mr Carmichael falsely accusing Nicola Sturgeon of telling the French ambassador she wanted a Labour government – at least I think it was what was alleged, whatever it turned out she was not guilty but Mr Carmichael got rapped over the knuckles by either David Cameron or Nick Clegg – I don’t remember the exact details but Carmichael was caught out and had to retract.