By Abu Haimi Abu Hassan
(Munguin's man in Malaysia)
Pre-script: Kindly ignore the rambling nature of the post and grammatical/spelling mistakes. Fasting sometimes does this. Abu. (It isn't rambling and there aren't any more errors than in the average Tris post (fewer possibly) ...Ed.)
1.1 The United Kingdom (UK), in a referendum on 23rd June 2016, voted to leave the European Union (EU). Unsurprisingly Scotland overwhelmingly voted to remain in the EU by roughly a 2:1 margin.
1.2 The next step forward, both by the UK and Scottish Governments, hinges on what will be done with the referendum result. Will the UK government honour the result or find a sneaky backdoor way to ignore the same? As such, what will be the effect on Scotland, Scottish Government and Scots?
2. THE BRITISH STATE/UK ESTABLISHMENT
2.1 It is quite clear to those in Scotland that the British State is spectacularly imploding from within and the establishment is running around like a headless chicken. The impact Brexit had really spooked the establishment.
2.2 This is because both the Remain and Leave campaigners thought that the Remain vote would be a shoe-in, or that it, at the very least, would scrape through.
2.3 Neither side had prepared any plans should there be a Leave vote. That was why Boris, Gove et al were very sullen looking on the day after, as if there was a Remain vote, when they should have been jumping with joy. The ludicrous backpedalling from the Leave campaigners merely strengthened this belief.
God knows what more promises will be broken.
This also confirmed what a majority of Scots thought; EU Referendum is a proxy for Tory leadership bunfight and, mostly, an English affair.
2.4 The only people who are happy with the Leave results are Kippers and ideologues who are resolutely Euro-sceptic because they never subscribed to the idea itself. As will be further explored below, the only party that will benefit from all of this is UKIP.
3. EUROPEAN UNION
3.1 The EU project is essentially to encourage free trade within Europe via the free movement of people and goods. This fact is very much understood and appreciated by the UK political class of all colours.
3.2 The biggest fallacy pedalled by the Leave campaigners was this; free trade is possible without free movement of people. All the examples of nations outwith of the EU quoted by them actually subscribe to the free movement of people principle, OUTWITH of the EU and policy decision-making.
3.3 EU has its vested interest in keeping the UK out. I don’t think the EU rates other secessionist/ exit movements highly as a concern generally. I think the EU is more worried about its ability to promote free trade. If the UK Brexit deal is going to cause more problem rather than solving free trade encumbrances, UK will definitely be kicked out of the EU unceremoniously. EU will not want to lose a single Eurocent over taxation if it can be helped.
3.4 We in Scotland must face the possibility that Norwegian-type special deal will never be on the table. As Angela Merkel put it in her recent speech, free trade must be accompanied free movement. There is no such thing as one or the other.
3.5 Imagine this scenario: Scotland is accorded an associate status within the EU. Without a properly policed land border, it is very possible that the English will cross into Scotland and enjoy the benefits of being in EU without having to pay anything for it. If I were an EU policy advisor, I’d just recommend for the EU to throw the whole damn lot out. It is what they wanted anyway. It will cause a headache to sort out what is applicable to Scotland and what is not to England.
3.6 The reverse-Greenland option is fundamentally different because Greenland wanted get out, not remain in the EU. It is easier to remove somebody/thing within the organisation rather than to co-opt the same. In the Greenlandic case, there was a clear demarcation of what will not be applicable rather than what will be (Mostly likely a majority of EU law will not be applicable). I am quite sure the Greenlanders were quite happy to be subjected to the least possible amount of EU laws. Again as per 3.5, it will not be workable.
3.7 Lastly, there is the wee problem of Nigel Farage. He managed to insult the entire EU parliamentarians/officials in one shot very recently and is expected to be involved with the Brexit negotiation when the time comes. Ho ho good luck with getting anything done at all, with that kind of good will.
4. POLITICAL PARTIES
4.1 All parties’ decisions will now be subjected to the realisation of the Leave vote. Any party denying this realisation in one form or another will suffer a political annihilation of epic proportion. What is happening in England is the same to what had happened in Scotland after the Indyref, except it will veer to the hard right or extreme right. The democratic deficit suffered by English communities outwith of M25, which was caused by socio-politico-economic neglect by the successive UK governments, has found its outlet via this Leave vote and its champion the Kippers. UKIP is now a major political player in England and a lesser extend, the UK . How major its part will depend on how other political parties react to the Leave vote. I will outline below.
4.2.1 The Tories brought this Referendum upon themselves and now the will harvest what they have sown. The next Tory leader will inherit the poison chalice that is the Leave vote. For them it boils down to a simple binary choice: Will the new leader trigger the Article 50 negotiation? A substantial bulk of Tory MPs including those in the leadership contest think it is plausible to delay the Brexit negotiation substantially, elect a new leader who is Europhile, push for a second referendum (which may or may not result a Remain vote anyway), totally ignore the Leave vote by nullifying it in the Parliament or call for a General Election to elect Europhile (Tory) MPs.
4.2.2 If the Leave vote is not realised by the Tories by whatever methodology, expect the Kippers to launch a very successful grievance politics campaign and there will be at least 50 UKIP MPs elected in the next GE (which must be held latest in 2020 as per the Fixed Term Parliament Act). The Tory MPs will be reduced to more or less 250 MPs, if they are lucky. It must be remembered there was quite a number of Tory constituencies where UKIP came second.
4.2.3 If the next Tory leader does realise the Leave, all the lies and economic-doom-and-gloom will materialise. The economic uncertainty that wiped out trillions of dollar during the couple of days after the Leave vote was a taste of what to come when the UK actually leave the EU.
4.2.4 The UK subscribes to a neoliberal capitalist economic model. The economic objective is to make as much money in the shortest time whatever the cost may be. If the market decides it is in its best interest for it to pull out of the UK due to Brexit, it will do so faster that you can say adieu/adios/ tschüß. The economy will simply collapse, particularly when the UK is no longer a manufacturing powerhouse. Even if the UK were so, the loss would be acute. The electorate will punish the Tories, especially when the Tories themselves claim leaving the EU will bring economic prosperity. As for lies, I am going to quote “£350 million for the NHS” one.
4.3.1 Let me state this clearly: UK Labour is a party founded to represent the working class and the labour movement in the UK. This is its existential raison d’être. Whether it subscribes to a left or right ideology is another question. The mistake people make in relation to UK Labour is to equate it to left ideological position. It so happens it was the left that defended the workers. That was it. Why Labour is haemorrhaging the working class support boils downs to the simple fact that Labour was/is no longer defending the working class effectively. The rot started with Margaret Thatcher destroying the working class and was acerbated by Tony Blair abandoning it. This is where UKIP steps in.
4.3.2 Jeremy Corbyn is the only person capable and trying to reverse UK Labour’s fortunes. He had succeeded in increasing UK Labour’s membership, overturn the Tory government’s positions and successfully campaigned in the recent local elections in England. What he has failed is to convince the Parliamentary Labour Party (PLP) that his position is the correct approach for UK Labour’s next General Election strategy and policy generally. Even though what he is trying to convince are essentially Tory MPs in a UK Labour guise. Hell mend them.
4.3.3 The PLP thinks by overthrowing Jeremy Corbyn and install one of its own, it can win the next General Election. There are two small problems. One, most of them campaigned for Remain and probably will try to annul the Leave vote, whereas UK Labour’s traditional support base overwhelmingly voted Leave. Secondly and particularly in the North, UKIP candidates has been snapping at the heels of UK Labour (as per 4.3.1). This fact is aggravated by voter apathy. Now with UKIP triumphant, what makes you think that the North will vote for UK Labour in the next General Election, especially with the current crop of self-serving Blairite MPs? At the current rate the UK Labour is going, I am quite sure UK Labour MPs will be reduced to 150 MPs. If they are as lucky as the Tories, which I don’t think so.
4.3.4 It is better to have Jeremy Corbyn as the leader of UK Labour in case Scotland becomes independent due to Brexit. He may be reasoned with at the very least. Unfortunately this will not be the case.
4.4 SCOTTISH NATIONAL PARTY (SNP)
4.4.1 The SNP is a party caught is this crossfire. As we speak, it seems that the SNP is the only party having a plan regarding to Brexit. Our political fate within the UK, again, was determined by the rUK despite Scots voted clearly for the opposite. Thus I think the SNP and Scottish government have no choice but to fight for what is best for Scotland. Even if it means we have to have another independence referendum. Whatever that was promised in the first Indyref is now all but broken and no longer applicable.
4.4.2 In the next General Election, the SNP should fight for a single issue: Scotland independent within the EU. The General Election is going to be sooner than later because of the current political impasse. Chances are the SNP will be doing a clean sweep of all seats. Should the second referendum come and the result is favourable, all the SNP MPs have to do in Westminster is to notify the Speaker that they as the political representative of Scotland have decided to annul the Treaty of Union. And walk out of Parliament. Nothing speaks louder than action. Whether it is legal and/or constitutional becomes a formality. At that point, the Union is dead and nothing can be done to resuscitate it.
4.4.3 I am of the opinion that the referendum be held in May 2017 together with the local election. This should ensure a high turnout and hopefully we all can get rid the last obstacle to independence, the Labour/Unionist-controlled local government.
4.5.1 UKIP has the most to gain from the Leave vote in any event. The Leave vote has strengthened the party and emboldened its supporters. In any political scenario thereafter, expect UKIP to be represented in Westminster.
4.5.2 UKIP’s fortunes hinges on the realisation/non-realisation of the Leave vote. If the main political parties accede to Brexit, the Tories will veer to the extreme right. Naturally UKIP will be their political partners, whether in coalition or otherwise. Where will their seats come from? The North for two reasons; a) the North will punish UK Labour for holding out to Remain vote/EU when they had emphatically rejected it, or b) if UK Labour were to ape Tories/UKIP and stick to right wing policies as what they are doing now, the voters will reject the poor copy of Tories/UKIP and go for the genuine article. Either way UKIP will make significant gains.
5. THE NEXT GENERAL ELECTION
5.1 This brings us to the next General Election. It is very, very close. I don’t think it is feasible to for this Parliament to complete its term in 2020. The political meltdown will demand a fresh election in order to solve the impasse the UK is suffering now.
5.2 The Tories would want it for three reasons; a) the new leader wants a fresh mandate, b) for the Remain campaigners, if they can screw the Leave vote, or c) for the Leave campaigners, simply to crush UKIP.
5.3 The b*****ds Blairites MPs will support this because; a) now they think they are electable, and b) same as reason b) in 5.2. I hope they will be swept by a UKIP tsunami. They deserve what they have plotted for.
5.4 The non-entity that is the Lib Dems most likely will support it because they think they might be in for a revival. Ha ha.
6. THE ENGLISH (AND PERHAPS SOME WELSH) EXODUS TO SCOTLAND
6.1 When the time is up, some English (and some Welsh) folk will realise that it will be in their best interest to pack up and move to Scotland. Especially if it is likely that Scotland will be independent. I think those who can afford to do so are preparing for it already.
6.2 Businesses will follow suit too. There is no point doing business in a country encumbered by red tape. Again the reason stated in 4.2.4 is applicable. Already we are seeing businesses leaving the UK.
6.3 Scotland should foresee this and be prepared to accept the new incomers. England’s lost is Scotland’s gain.
7.1 I am quite sure the Scottish government has an inkling of what is to come in these few years ahead. Most likely it has known that it is not feasible for Scotland to remain in the EU whilst the UK is outwith.
7.2 I think Nicola Sturgeon is on a charm offensive in order to make the idea of independence referendum/Scottish independence palatable in Scotland and in the EU. The moment the numbers is reasonable and businesses firmly behind her, the second indyref will be called.
Please enjoy this short YouTube video on the Icelandic national football team. I hope this is what Scotland will be after she becomes independent.
Áfram Ísland! Saor Alba!