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Captain Britannia: Nigel Farage is the Union’s Useful Secret Weapon

27 May 2014

11:53 AM

27 May 2014

11:53 AM

Your enemy’s enemy is not necessarily your friend. That is something forgotten too easily. Nevertheless, though he may not be your friend he may, for a time at least, be your ally.

And so it came to pass that Nigel Farage is, for the time being, Labour’s new best chum. In Scotland, that is. The Tories are quite pleased with him too and, if anyone could find them, perhaps the Liberal Democrats would be too.

Of course, officially, there is much tut-tutting and hand-wringing over Ukip’s success in Scotland. We’re all supposed to be simply appalled that these fruitcakes have won a seat in the European parliament. Terrible stuff.

Come off it. These are the lamentations of a crocodile. Secretly – and sometimes not so secretly – Unionists are delighted by Farage’s success in Scotland. He was supposed to be Alex Salmond’s useful nutter; instead he has become the Union’s secret weapon.

It is hard to see how the euro results could have gone better for the Unionist parties. (Unless, granted, you’re a Liberal Democrat.) The Tory share of the vote held up (17 per cent is these days a decent result), Labour’s share increased by five points and the SNP was contained, held below 30 per cent of the vote. If this election was supposed to put a spring in nationalist steps it failed to do so. Yes, the Nats topped the poll (as everyone expected they would) but they had high hopes of a third seat and those hopes were dashed. Only narrowly, it is true, but dashed all the same.

A third SNP seat would have put a very different spin on everything. The Nats would have ‘momentum’ on their side and destiny would be calling them to rally again in September. Scotland would be on the march, you see.

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Instead, however, the SNP was checked. It won but it did not win decisively. Most importantly, as Adam Tomkins correctly observes, Ukip’s success demolished a central part of the nationalist narrative justifying independence.

That story runs that Scotland is a couthy social democratic country but England is a vicious place populated by heartless neoliberals and it is crazy to think that places with such different — and diverging! — political cultures could ever be part of the same country.

Ukip were supposed to prove that. They were supposed to do very well in England but very badly in Scotland. That success south of the border would then be used – leveraged, if you like – by Salmond to substantiate his claim that Scotland and England should no longer share a country.

Well, Ukip did well enough in England. But they did just a little bit too well in Scotland. True, their level of Scottish support lags some way behind their support in England but you can no longer say their Caledonian support is entirely negligible or credibly maintain there’s no place for UKIP in Scotland.

(There are many reasons why Ukip’s support in Scotland lags behind their support elsewhere but one – among several – is that in Scotland there’s already a nationalist party for people who think the Tories and Labour are just the same).

According to Salmond, however, it is all the fault of the beastly media. If the press hadn’t paid so much attention to Ukip none of this would have happened. Blaming the press, of course, is a sure sign a politician has nothing sensible to say.

But, hey, perhaps this is why the SNP’s campaign was in large part obsessed with Ukip. ‘Vote SNP to keep Scotland Ukip-free’ was pretty much all one heard from the nationalists in the campaign’s latter days. So perhaps Mr Salmond should be blamed for Ukip’s success too.

I don’t suppose the glee with which Unionists have greeted Ukip’s Scottish success is terribly edifying. But it is understandable. Unionists have been on the defensive for many months now and needed to catch a break. Nigel Farage has given them just that.

And, of course, in some respects Ukip’s success should not be terribly surprising. A third of Scots say they wish to leave the European Union (though it is a less salient issue in Scotland than elsewhere) and two thirds favour restricting immigration much more sharply than is presently the case. In terms of policy preferences (as opposed to political identification) Scotland is not so very  different to England.

This is inconvenient for the nationalists but there you have it. Improbable as it may seem, this has been the Union’s best few days in a long, long time.

Ukip are awful but, gosh, they can be rather useful too. Salmond’s outrage – bluster, if you like – tells you that. The SNP won the election but in a larger sense they lost it too. Such is the fine line between success and failure.

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Show comments
  • SFTB

    This is absolute pish, even by Alex’s usual standards of one eyed reporting.
    The converse case is made so easily by showing Farage as a deeply divisive and unpopular representative of the Unionist Vote that his partial success will propel thousands of undecided into the Yes Camp.
    Of course, both points of view would be juvenile projections of the author’s own fantasies and would not merit space in a serious publication.
    But in a propaganda vehicle???
    Let’s have a more grown up debate and leave suggestions that No campaign voters, not all of whom wear the Unionist label lightly, are “gleeful” about Farage, to those who want to debate at the level of “Your maw’s a…”

  • Jambo25

    The difference between the levels of support enjoyed by UKIP in England and Scotland actually grew last week. The Scottish and English political systems are still drifting apart. A lot of Scots aren’t all that happy with the EU and immigration but both tend to be down our list of priorities compared to the feeling in England.

  • Iain Hill

    All of this on 3% of the vote? Come on! Pretty desperate.

  • ohforheavensake

    Alex… sorry to come back to this, old trout: but you know that Ukip MEP you’re talking about?

    Well, according to the Herald, at the time of the election he was listed as resident in London-

    http://www.heraldscotland.com/politics/wider-political-news/ukips-coburn-london-based-despite-scots-seat-victory.24329841

    However, according to this blog (which does reference his Twitter account, so we can check it) he claimed that he moved to Scotland just before the cut off date for the poll, which would mean that the information he gave was incorrect. Which is a criminal matter.

    http://www.heraldscotland.com/politics/wider-political-news/ukips-coburn-london-based-despite-scots-seat-victory.24329841

    So he might have broken the law over this election. He’s not that impressive, is he?

  • JPJ2

    A deliberate piece of propaganda untroubled by the truth.
    UKIP polled around 30% in England and around 10% In Scotland.
    UKIP came first in England but fourth in Scotland.
    This reduces your article to the shameful by typical unionist distortions which shame you and many other unionists in the media. You besmirch your profession.

    • Denis_Cooper

      Not to worry, Scotland will catch up eventually.

  • andagain

    We’re all supposed to be simply appalled that these fruitcakes have won a seat in the European parliament.

    Although if they all are a bunch of fruitcakes, it’s hard to think of a place where they might fit in better…

  • Smithersjones2013

    Ukip are awful but, gosh, they can be rather useful too.

    Massie is awful but, gosh unlike UKIP there are very few uses for him although given his facial hair he might prove a fair to middling automatic bog brush (if he can be persuaded to repeatedly stick his head down the toilet).

  • Kaine

    I see the comments have become a fight between the kippers and the snipers. Just let me get the popcorn…

    • Alistair Gray

      Kippers and snipers is good, but what about kippers and snippers?

      I see the kippers snoring in a chair in the European Parliament, while the snippers quietly cut along the dotted line at Carlisle.

      • the viceroy’s gin

        I see the snippers voting to remain affixed to the suckling teat of socialist government, and the kippers replacing a defunct Cameroon party within the next 10 years.

        • Alistair Gray

          I think it’s the City of London which is affixed to the suckling teat of oligarchic capitalism.

          And the kippers are just the same old wine in a new jar, only a little bit fruitier.

          • the viceroy’s gin

            I agree, the Londonistan socialist nutters are similar to those others, and are doing the same things as the rest of the teat sucklers. That’s why the snippers will stick to them, like, well, suckling pigs.

            The kippers aren’t of that ilk though.

  • CharlietheChump

    Less talk. Just go.

  • CraigStrachan

    Yes, the SNP have hit their ceiling, and the Yes campaign has no momentum. Never really has had. A big, braw Naw is inevitable. The question really is how the SNP fights the 2015 and 2016 elections after such a rebuff.

    • scotcanadien

      You wish!

    • MichtyMe

      As the party that work to secure devomax, that will continue to provide competent administration and is unconnected to the metropolitan elites. Could even be back with a larger majority.

      • CraigStrachan

        Yes, I can see how they might run as competent administrators of devolution. But wouldn’t they need a name change to reflect the new priority? How ’bout “Scottish Devolution Party” – SDP?

    • Alistair Gray

      After a No vote …

      The basic problem of a clapped-out, discredited Westminster will remain.

      Another right-wing government will sit in London, intent on cutting Scotland’s allowance, selling the UK’s public assets to their mates, borrowing money against our future taxes to line the pockets of London’s bankers, and squeezing the poor ’til the pips squeak.

      Further devolution will be kicked into the long grass.

      The independence movement will get louder and louder.

      The Scottish Labour party will get hammered into a cocked hat for letting all this happen.

      The SNP will be in power for a generation, permanently at loggerheads with Westminster …

      • CraigStrachan

        Or, more likely, there’s the Quebec scenario where even the PQ don’t dare campaign on another sovereignty referendum.

        • Alistair Gray

          Maybe. But I think Quebec is a rather different situation.

          Unless or until a reformed Westminster can command the loyalty and respect of the Scottish electorate, the Union will remain indefensible, and the pressure for independence will not go away.

          • CraigStrachan

            Yes, Quebec is different in that cultural differences with the rest of Canada are underscored by the question of language. Scotland is much more integrated, culturally, with the rest of the UK.

            • Alistair Gray

              I agree.

              The issue in Scotland is 20% identity and 80% Westminster competence. It still won’t go away though!

              • CraigStrachan

                You think Holyrood scores highly in the competence stakes?

                • Alistair Gray

                  Yes I do.

                  But I don’t mean the competence of individual politicians; I mean the suitability of the institutional structure.

                  Holyrood is a modern democratic parliament. Westminster is a clapped-out anachronism which functions as little more than a vehicle by which the City of London asset-strips the public sphere.

                  Holyrood is elected by PR. It has a quite different make-up from Westminster. It is not dominated by two identikit parties. It has far better representation of a range of views. Its policy making is generally collegiate and co-operative. Parties like the Scottish Socialist Party (a few years back) and the Scottish Green party, and independent MSPs, can have real influence in a system like this. As a result, it is much harder for Holyrood to be captured by narrow corporate interests, as has happened with Westminster, now owned by the completely corrupt City of London.

                  Holyrood is far more respected by the Scottish electorate than is Westminster by the UK electorate. On its record, it is a better platform for democracy than Westminster.

                • CraigStrachan

                  Hmm. Resorting to legal action and spending public money to prevent the publication of advice that never actually existed seems a lot like an episode of Yes, Minister to me. Which is to say, pure farce, Westminster-style.

                • Alistair Gray

                  Agreed :)

                  I’m not saying Holyrood is perfect, or any better than the general run of modern European parliaments. The problem is that Westminster is much worse.

                • dougthedug

                  That’s because you don’t know why it was done.

                  It’s a principle in Westminster that a government not only does not have to reveal the content of legal advice it doesn’t have to say if it has received legal advice or not as the case may be.

                  Unfortunately Labour MEP Catherine Stihler didn’t think this applied to Holyrood and wanted to know if the Scottish Government had received legal advice.That’s what the case was about.

                • CraigStrachan

                  Oh, but I do know why it was done. It’s obvious. It was done in an effort to spare Alex Salmond’s embarrassment at being caught out telling porkies about the content of the advice.

                • dougthedug

                  You shouldn’t believe what you read in the papers, especially when it’s about the SNP.

                  Here’s the result of the investigation into the matter held by Sir David Bell KCB which clears Alex Salmond and the Scottish Government of any breaches of the Ministerial Code. Letter from Sir David Bell

                • CraigStrachan

                  Ah, yes, what episode of Yes, Minister would be complete without Sir Humphrey saving the day?

                • dougthedug

                  A good reply if Sir David Bell had been a Civil Servant.

                • CraigStrachan

                  So he’s not a civil servant. Is he perhaps a retired judge?

                • dougthedug

                  At the time he was Principal of Reading University. You did read the letter?

                • CraigStrachan

                  If he’s not a civil servant, and not a judge, what qualifies him to determine whether there was a breach of the ministerial code? And who asked for his opinion in the first place?

                • dougthedug

                  Since you’re too lazy to do your own research here he is.

                  PS. He was Vice-Chancellor not Principal.

                • CraigStrachan

                  Thanks, but you didn’t answer the question about who asked Sir Humphrey Bell to give his opinion as to whether Alex Salmond breached the code. Could that be because the answer is, er, “Alex Salmond”?

                • dougthedug

                  Do your own research. Google it.

                • CraigStrachan

                  I did. It appears Bell is in fact a retired civil servant, a former permanent secretary no less. (Do you suppose Sir Humphrey stopped being Sir Humphrey when he retired?)

                  And, yes, Alex Salmond hand-picked him to give the opinion he wanted.

                • dougthedug

                  So you’re saying David Bell lied?

                • CraigStrachan

                  Och, no. I’m saying Alex Salmond had a pretty good idea what Bell’s answer would be before he asked him the question.

                  You, however, seem to have been engaging in a wee bit of obscurantism above when you wrote “if” Bell “had been a civil servant”. In fact a civil servant is exactly what he had been.

                • dougthedug

                  I’m saying Alex Salmond had a pretty good idea what Bell’s answer would be before he asked him the question.

                  Since Alex Salmond had done nothing wrong I’m sure he did.

                • CraigStrachan

                  Well, Alex Salmond was caught in a lie. He then handpicked retired civil servant Bell to be the one to say it was a white lie, a lie without consequence, which he duly did, like a good little Sir Humphrey.

                • dougthedug

                  I supply documentary evidence that contradicts the received wisdom of the no camp so you reject it as false without providing any evidence for your own beliefs.

                  Just too real world for you I suppose.

                • CraigStrachan

                  You supply the opinion of Sir David Bell, whose background you misrepresent. I point out that Alex Salmond hired Bell to clear him of breaching the ministerial code, which he duly did.

                  Bell did not, however, clear Salmond of lying to the public about this matter, which he very obviously did.

                • Cath Ferguson

                  Why will Westminster not publish the devolution papers which should have been published a couple of years ago? What are westminster so desperate to hide from the people this time?

        • JPJ2

          BUT there was a second referendum :-)

          • CraigStrachan

            There was, fifteen years later, the result of which was much closer than the first. The odd thing is that, despite it being so close, there hasn’t been another in almost 20 years, and demand for one is scant-to-non-existant.

            After the kind of emphatic No we will see in Scotland in September, I can’t imagine even the SNP are going to want to ask again.

            • JPJ2

              Or NOT never, and not a generation later. If there is a “No” vote it is unlikely to be a greater win for No than by the 60-40 of the first Quebec referendum.
              As you say, that was followed 15 years later by a second one.

              • CraigStrachan

                Yes, I suppose a new generation of SNP leadership could try again in 15 years. But who will be Jacques Parizeau to Salmond’s Rene Levesque?

    • JPJ2

      Expect the SNP to top the poll in Holyrood in 2016 no matter what-they are far and away the most competent politicians in Scotland.

      • Alistair Gray

        Along with Patrick Harvie and the Greens.

  • Denis_Cooper

    They’re just a bit behind the times in Scotland, that’s all.
    The Scots were a bit behind the times when it came to joining the EEC and now they’re a bit behind the times when it comes to leaving the EU.
    Give it a few more years and UKIP will spread its message across Scotland and instead of only 10% support it will build up to much higher levels.
    It’s already happened in Wales – in 2009 UKIP came fourth with only 12.8% of the votes, this time it came second with 27.6% and in fact was just 5000 votes, 0.6%, behind Labour for first place – and no doubt it will happen in Scotland as well.

    • MichtyMe

      UKIP will wither. Next elections are FTP and they are the killer of progress. Expect there will be no kippers in Westminster. The euro’s can never provide the basis to advance and the locals last week only 150 out of over 4000 contests. Without the chance to win at Westminster they will wane.

      • Wessex Man

        is this why Scotland returns so many labour MPs to the UK Parliament? We will just have to wait and see the outcome of the GE to see if you are correct.

        • JPJ2

          It is primarily an anti Tory vote, not a pro-Labour won.
          It is that accurate piece of analysis after the 2010 GE that allowed me to make a pretty penny betting on the SNP in 2011 for Holyrood.
          I don’t even doubt that if there is a No vote in September that a similar motivation will apply in the 2015 GE. It will not succeed in stopping the Tories, so expect another SNP landslide in 2016 for Holyrood.

      • Denis_Cooper

        UKIP hasn’t withered in Wales since 2009, notwithstanding the 2010 general election under FPTP, and why do you suppose that it will be so different in Scotland? It’s just a matter of time.

        • JPJ2

          Probably for the same reason that Labour continue to dominate in Wales but have not won an election in Scotland since 2007. It is called the SNP.

          • Denis_Cooper

            And Wales has Plaid Cymru.

      • global city

        but solid and steady growth in three election cycles on the trot since means that they probably won’t slip back to the 4% or so they did in 2010.

        if UKIP DO wither away then so will the referendum. Tory eurosceptics should bare that in mind… party or liberty?

  • Blindsideflanker

    The British establishment don’t seem to be able to understand that it is their EU project which has frayed the fabric of our country. The Scots replaced the lack of a British sovereign state with a desire for independence. When Farrage comes along with a strong line on an a sovereign state again he gets support in Scotland.

    I wonder if the British establishment will see the bleeding obvious?.

  • allymax bruce

    Alex Massie; the UKIP ‘secret weapon’ seat in Scotland, your acquiescence to portray both UKIP, and SNP as ‘nationalist’ party’s, and your ignoble conflation of ‘independence’ between, and to, said UKIP, and SNP, is very convenient for your ‘argument’. Not a terribly good one though. is this the best you can come up with? UKIP’s one seat is a snub to Scotland’s impending independence? Hmmm.
    You could have ‘led’ with how UKIP’s one seat in Scotland will now act as a spur, to enfranchise the no-voters, the possible ‘No’-voters, and the impossible ‘No’voters. Do you think the ‘sore-thumb’ from kensington will ‘sit-pretty’ with Scots? Hmmm.

    • CoinneachCu

      I’d have thought the 29% vote for the SNP was the real snub to independence but there you go.

      • allymax bruce

        Considering there was only one anti-EU Party, UKIP, on the ballot paper, and, of which are a mere <5% of the averaged voting populace, I dare say an anti-panty party would have got just as much a vote if it stood.

        • CoinneachCu

          I’m no fan of UKIP and broadly indifferent to panties. Just think that 29% doesn’t sit well with the notion of momentum to a yes vote.

          • allymax bruce

            Most Scots voted by political Party-line preferences; of which, skewed the true nature of an indicator to an Independence vote. This EU vote had absolutely nothing to do with the iReferendum vote; SNP will double their personal share of the iRef’ vote, while as many as again will join to push ‘Yes’ Independence for Scotland win over the line.

            *SNP got >387,000.
            *UKIP got >140,000.
            *Labour got >347,000.
            *Conservatives got >231,000.
            *Greens got >108,000.
            *Lib Dems got >95,000.
            *Britain First got >13,000.
            *BNP got >10,000.
            *No2EU got >6,000.
            *Total electorate that voted = 1,338,000.
            *Anti-EU Party’s in Scotland <180,000.
            *Pro-EU Party's in Scotland <1,158,000.
            *Electorate: 3,994,696. Turnout: 33.5%. Total: Rejected: 2,166.

  • Alistair Gray

    Mostly correct, but missing an essential point:

    Scotland needs independence not because Scots are nicer people, but because Holyrood has proven to be a better platform for democracy than Westminster.

    Regardless of opinion polls showing similarities of outlook between Scots and English, Scotland and England are institutionally quite different – in terms of the constitution of the parliament, the electoral system, the parties standing, the terms of political debate, the pattern of voting, and the parties represented in parliament.

    And Scotland has fought for over 30 years to bring this different political culture about – from the Constitutional Convention through two referenda, the establishment of the Scottish Parliament, the creation of the modern SNP, and four successive Scottish governments.

    During that time, England has allowed Westminster to slide into disrepute, and done nothing but wring her hands. In time I am sure the English will force reform. But it will take a long time, and they have hardly started.

    So it’s all very well to say that Scots didn’t need to vote for UKIP because the SNP was there to catch the votes of those who think that Labour and Tory are the same. But an SNP vote is not a protest vote: it is a vote for the party of government in Scotland, a party which has now been in power for 7 years. Holyrood and the SNP government are far more respected in Scotland than is Westminster or any recent government in England. That is why Scots don’t vote for UKIP: they do not need an anti-establishment party because they have an established parliament which commands loyalty and respect. What they do need is to get the remaining powers away from Westminster.

    In the context of these clear institutional differences, to take a 10% vote for UKIP as indicating any serious convergence between Scots and UK politics seems to me quite mistaken.

    • Wessex Man

      “During that time, England has allowed Westminster to slide into disrepute and nothing but wring her hand.”

      England in case you haven’t noticed has never been allowed to have her own Parliament since the Act of Union. It was a Scottish dominated Cabinet of Blair and Brown who decided to give Scotland a Parliament but not England.

      It was Blair and Brown and the Scottish dominated Cabinet that allowed Scottish, Welsh and NI MPs to continue to vote on English matters that they could not vote on in the countries in which they had been elected.

      The only democratic deficiency, is that England has no parliament!

      • Alistair Gray

        Yes I agree that the current constitutional arrangement is a dog’s breakfast.

        I do not agree though that England’s democratic deficit lies solely in the lack of an English parliament.

        Westminster is a clapped-out anachronism unfit for 21st century democracy. It is absurdly centralised. Its voting system is indefensible. Its parties have collapsed into one another. New voices cannot break in (except via the euros, which have a different voting system). It is in hock to the utterly corrupt City of London. Most of its actions don’t reflect what people want. And it lacks the respect of most of the electorate – witness the rise of UKIP.

        England urgently needs to force reform on Westminster, but that process will take a long time. Meantime, Scotland is 30 years down the road of reform, and that is the real difference between the two countries’ politics.

        • Wessex Man

          Thank you for that, yes I agree with most of what you say and that’s why I support the Yes campaign and hope that Scotland achieves Independence. Westminster will no longer be able to ignore us then.

      • Cath Ferguson

        People in England could have fought for one, had they wanted it. They didn’t because to them Westminster is the English parliament. And with such a huge percentage of the population, it is. Scotland’s votes don’t affect the result. We sent a petition for home rule to Westminster in the 1950s with 2 million signatures. That’s before the days of the internet – it was door to door. That’s the equivalent, percentage voter wise of getting about 20-30 million signatures in England. It was entirely ignored. A vote for devolution was ignore in 1979.

        We FOUGHT for what little devolution we have against hostile Westminster parties who didn’t want even that. Ultimately devolution came through our pressure and that of the EU. And now we face even more hostility and a party which wants to erode or abolish that little we have. So quit with the petulant little Englander attitude.

        And btw, the SNP don’t vote on English only affairs. It’s the unionist parties and them alone you need to take that up with if you don’t like it. Labour and the Tories, the “Better Together” alliance. It was Labour-Tory-Lib Dem, but is now Labour-Tory-UKIP.

        • Wessex Man

          Absolute rubbish you didn’t fight for anything, you were given the chance to vote on a Scottish Parliament by the Labour Government passing the Scottish and Welsh and English Regions Devolution Act and yes that’s how it’s titled!

          We however had to fight the Labour Government, who sought to impose Regional Assemblies upon us and do away with England. They tried it in the North East first and the two men leading it were John Prescott, a Welshman and the unelected Lord Falconer a Scot! They thought that starting it there would give them momentum, however they hadn’t reckoned on English people wanting to stay English and the North East rejected it by seven votes to one.

          The SNP are honourable exceptions that prove the rule.

  • Angus McLellan

    I’m reminded of something I read on a blog long ago. I think it was by the Peat Worrier, but maybe not. Anyway, the scene is a dinner party in Morningside. The douce host announces, to the general astonishment of his guests, that he and his good lady wife have both joined the DUP. They are sound on the referendum question. I’m sure it was intended as humour, but that’s the thing with satire: some things can’t be satirised.

    • CoinneachCu

      I’m not sure I see the satire. Assuming that ‘sound’ means yes, as per the sticker on your coupon, it seems consistent. Ulster Scots would make up about 14% of a united Ireland’s population compared to Scotland making up about 8.5% of the UK population. Ulster Scots are at least as distinct ethnically and culturally from the Irish majority as are UK Scots to the rest of Great Britain. The Republic was originally a Hitler-appeasing theocracy willfully overlooking slavery (Magdalene laundries) and institutionalised child abuse before progressing to money-grubbing, crony capitalism and banking failure. The most earnest supporters of Irish unionism (Sinn Fein / IRA) have happily killed innocents in the pursuit of their goal. Can’t see why you’d want to create a UI given this background. Why wouldn’t any SNP supporter see the parallels and join their ethnic brethren in the DUP? Can’t see the issue, Aonghas.

      • dougthedug

        ethnic brethren?

        Oh dear, oh dear. Scotland is an identity not a bloodline.

        And I don’t think your “ethnic brethren” in the DUP would like your comment name at all.

        • CoinneachCu

          Not sure they’re my brethren and I certainly have no current plans to ask them their views. The ‘ethnic brethren’ comment was teasing, of course, although perfectly normal in SNP circles very recently.

          Do you not find all the ‘good’ nationalism versus ‘bad’ nationalism stances just a bit ironical and funny though, Doug?

          • dougthedug

            If they’re not your “ethnic brethren” then by your own definition you’re not an SNP supporter so I’m not sure how you know what is being commented on in “SNP circles”.

            What ‘good’ nationalism versus ‘bad’ nationalism stances?

            Better Together are British nationalists, Yes are Scottish nationalists. From my point of view Better Together are bad but they’d have a different opinion.

            • CoinneachCu

              I’m sensing irony and debate are not your strong points. Was worth a try though.

              • dougthedug

                Isn’t debating with you proof of irony?

                • CoinneachCu

                  Depends how earnest you are.

      • Wessex Man

        Blimey, what a sad plonk you are!

        • CoinneachCu

          I thought it was quite good. I’m deflated now.

          • the viceroy’s gin

            To the contrary, you’re inflated beyond measure, lad.

  • LisaR

    You’ve lost the plot Massie, you are a disgrace to Scotland if you find these sickos acceptable in your country as long as they stop Indy at all costs.

  • Cath Ferguson

    This is truly desperate stuff. For one thing, it’s the first time I’ve seen a unionist admit the obvious – that the last few weeks and months have been bad for the NO campaign. Generally there’s just fingers in the ears delusion. But if you seriously think the EU election results HELPS that any, that is true delusion.

    There are good reasons why the “establishment” Westminster parities have been trying to keep them out of the debate, and refused to let them join Better Together. Because they are truly toxic. They support abolishing the Scottish parliament and Welsh assembly as well as all their other vile policies.

    Well, now we have the charming, Kensington based idiot David Cockburn as an MEP, the NO camp will no longer have any right to silence them. They can’t have it both ways – glee and joy at UKIP gaining a seat but still not allowing them any say. They now have the same MEP representation as the Tories. So no doubt he will be speaking loudly for the NO camping, and speaking offensive nonsense for them.

    Meanwhile those “establishment” parties are now looking pretty arrogant in their smug consensus, given the results mean that UKIP won in rUK, and the SNP won in Scotland. That’s a pro-independence party WINNING in Scotland, and one that wants to abolish devolution entirely WINNING in rUK. Meanwhile the Lab-Tory alliance, which did include the Lib Dems but now includes UKIP instead is saying…what, exactly? Stay together and we’ll work this out somehow…? How, exactly? Seriously, any unionist who thinks the results are good for the union needs to have a long, hard think about where we are. And where they sit within that picture.

    • Wessex Man

      They, we, do no such thing unless you’ve got your head buried somewhere, you would know that Farage has disowned the Ukip 2010 manifesto, I well remember at the Skegness UKip Spring in 2011, Paul Nuttall having a stand up argument with the Welsh members because UKip had dropped such a silly thing to put in there in the first place.

      UKip is a truly democratic party and my views, along with quite a few others is that Scotland should be helped in any way to become independent!

      • Cath Ferguson

        OK, so if you’re saying their last published manifesto is no longer correct, what exactly IS UKIPs policy for Scotland and devolution if there is a no vote then?

        • Wessex Man

          Just like the other political parties, you’ll have to wait for UKip to annouce our manifesto for 2015 at our Conference in September.

          I’m sure you can contain yourself till then!

          • global city

            Remember Miliband’s ‘blank piece of paper’?

          • Cath Ferguson

            In which case we can only go on the one they HAVE published, which is that they wish to abolish the Scottish parliament and devolution. That is their only stated view on the matter, and fits entirely with everything I’ve seen and heard from their activists.

            • HJ777

              I am not a UKIP supporter, but abolishing the Scottish Parliament would not necessarily mean abolishing devolution, only a particular form of devolution.

              For example, the powers currently devolved to Holyrood (education, NHS, etc.) could, instead, be devolved to local authorities (or some other local/regional bodies).

              I am not making any argument here for or against Holyrood devolution, merely pointing out that the existence of the Holyrood parliament is not synonymous with devolution within the UK.

              • allymax bruce

                In other words, Scotland, would cease to be a Sovereign entity; rather, a huddle of satellite hubs, ordered & controlled from Westminster.
                Nice.

                • HJ777

                  That simply doesn’t follow.

                  For example, local authorities could both raise and spend the money on schools locally. Universities could be entirely independent. There are many forms of devolution. Devolution could simply mean government not getting involved in many areas of life at all.

                  Many consider that the administration in Holyrood have been responsible for more centralisation, i.e less devolution, within Scotland.

                • allymax bruce

                  What you espoused in your comment, that I replied to, is absolutely what I’ve described; ‘Bliar’s intended Localised Authorities’, with devolved powers of local legislation, subservient to the overarching Centralised Mammon of Westminster. You basically want us to vote to stay in the union so the union’ can destroy what we’ve already got. And, you qualify my assertion in your last sentence.

                • HJ777

                  I didn’t espouse any such thing.

                  I merely pointed out that there is more than one possible model for devolution.

                • allymax bruce

                  ‘devolution’ as an aggregate of LA’s; with Westmisnter as the Alien.

      • JPJ2

        UKIP are not going to move from abolishing the current Scottish Parliament to supporting devo max.
        We have seen their black heart revealed in 2010 and will not be fooled. The near 90% who voted against them last Thursday will continue to distrust them for varied and multiple reasons.

        • HJ777

          You cannot say who voted ‘against’ whom from election results – only who they did vote for.

          Indeed, you could claim that a clear majority voted ‘against’ any party you care to mention by that argument.

          • allymax bruce

            yes I can, the Conservative vote was down by 40%, Labour vote was down by 30%; well, guess what, exactly the number of votes UKIP got.

            • HJ777

              On the contrary. Even if voters switched from one party to another you cannot argue that that means that they are more ‘against’ the party they switched from than they are ‘against’ any other party. Indeed, they are likely to be even more ‘against’ a party they have never voted for.

              Incidentally, there has been analysis that has indicated that most UKIP votes came from people who simply hadn’t voted from any of the large parties before. Remember that two thirds of the electorate didn’t vote at all.

              • allymax bruce

                We’ll see. Scotch Labour have a dilemma; if they don’t vote Yes for iScotland, then they will be absolutely wiped out by their own Westminster ‘Mother-Ship’ anyway; one way, or another, Labour in Scotland, is finished!
                With the ‘hubbing’ of power to satellite councils, abolition of the Scottish Parliament, and by sovereignty of Scotland being subsumed into Westminster. The 1707 Treaty of Union is a one-way deal; if Scots don’t vote Yes-win, then Scotland will cease to exist as a Sovereign entity by 2020.

                • HJ777

                  You’ll excuse me if I don’t engage with discussing your fantasy assertions.

                • allymax bruce

                  Your choice.
                  I’ve been right on everything up to now; why shouldn’t I be right again on this issue?

                • HJ777

                  Of course, you’re always right about everything!

                  Who could possibly think otherwise?

                  Nurse, nurse!

                • allymax bruce

                  yeh, you used to ‘pull’ that Nurse, Nurse jibe on the Scotchman too; it’s really not funny.
                  Besides, if you’re ‘metaphorically’, or even fantastically calling for ‘the Nurse’, wouldn’t that site you in a hospital of ‘any’ kind?

          • JPJ2

            HJ777 Actually that is exactly the point I have made elsewhere.

    • Kaine

      Actually you’re in error. Labour won in Wales, London, North West and North East England. Sinn Fein topped the poll in NI. So the pattern is UKIP are stronger in the South East (bar the capital) and get steadily weaker as you go north and west. Far from smashing the picture, the Scottish result fits it perfectly.

      • Alistair Gray

        Not so sure about that.

        You are right that the UKIP vote is somewhat weaker in the north of England. But outside London, UKIP won at least 27.5% of the vote in every English region.

        In Scotland, they won 10%, a figure which is almost consistent across every Scottish constituency.

      • Sapporo

        Apart from, Yorks and Humberside and the Midlands, East Anglia……there is no pattern. UKIP are the only party to have support across all social demographics. Except, of course, the hypocritical, left-wing, middle-classes. However, this is a relatively small group, who yield disproportionate influence and power. They have only one vote, so let LibLabCon fight over them, whilst the People’s Party aim for the rest.

      • JPJ2

        You are indulging in wordplay. Support is lower in Scotland than anywhere else and even the percentage increase is lower than anywhere else.

    • HJ777

      You’d be hard put to convincingly argue that any party ‘won’ in either England or Scotland since no party got anywhere near either a majority of the votes nor a majority of the seats.

      • Cath Ferguson

        That’s true of general elections too but we still end up governed by parties voted for by a minority of the electorate. Even more true in Scotland – a country run by a party with 1 MP here.

        Nevertheless it’s perfectly simple to say which parties topped the poll. And the fact is it wasn’t either of the two so-called “mainstream” parties in either Scotland or rUk.

        And the Lib Dems are hard pushed to claim to be the third party now either. Which makes Better Together look even more ridiculous than they already did.

        • HJ777

          No, that’s not generally true of general elections, where one party usually gets a majority of the seats and can therefore claim to have won.

          The current government is a coalition government and they have 12 Scottish MPs and got more votes than the SNP by a large margin.

          What is more, the turnout at Euro elections is so low compared to general elections that it cannot be asserted that the result necessarily reflects the opinion of the electorate generally.

          Incidentally, the Tories got more votes in Scotland in the GE than the SNP did at the Euro elections.

      • allymax bruce

        Your stupidity never ceases.

        • HJ777

          It would seem that your abuse and inability to post intelligent comment never ceases.

          A typically delightful CyberNat, in fact. Keep up the good work showing everyone who might be tempted to support your cause exactly what you are really like.

          • allymax bruce

            Hey, don’t balme me, you’re the one that always abuses intelligent forums; if I slip to your level, only to remind you where you are, then hey!

            • HJ777

              You simply lack the intellect to make any assessment of intelligence.

              • allymax bruce

                If you knew what ‘intelligence’ was, then maybe I’d give you some credit. Do yourself a favour, look it up in a dictionary.

                • HJ777

                  I possess it. The closest you will ever get to it is looking it up in a dictionary.

                • allymax bruce

                  I studied intelligence; Gardner’s 6 intelligences, reduce the entity to no-more than the speed firing neurons operate.
                  Your dictionary is general; like your arguments.

                • HJ777

                  Unfortunately, studying an attribute does not necessarily mean that you acquire the attribute yourself, as you so amply demonstrate.

                • allymax bruce

                  In that case, a tv is more ‘intelligent’ than you.
                  And a remote-control is used to ‘work’ that!

    • Chris

      Why is it vile to support abolishing the Scottish Parliament? It’s just a vehicle for Salmond to gaude the English.

      • allymax bruce

        In that case, let’s abolish Westminster!

        Besides, if this ‘British’ union is supposed to be fair, then why not have the ‘British’ government at Holyrood? We’re making a much better fist of government than your lot.

  • Spammo Twatbury

    Things must be grim if you’re reduced to citing Prof. Tomkins.

    “Ukip’s success demolished a central part of the nationalist narrative justifying independence.”

    That narrative is that Scotland and the rUK are different. UKIP won in the UK and came 4th in Scotland – a long way behind 3rd place, which was itself a long way behind 2nd. They got THREE TIMES the vote share in England that they got in Scotland.

    If that somehow “demolishes” the idea that the two countries are different I’ll have a pint of what you’re drinking, because it’s clearly powerful stuff.

    • Jambo25

      Yes. I think the words to apply to Mr. Massie here are ‘straws’, ‘at’ and ‘clutching’.

  • James Morrison

    Also, if Nigel Farage and UKIP are such an asset to the unionist cause nowadays, presumably we can expect Better Together to invite them to join their organisation?

    • dougthedug

      THE pro-union Better Together campaign has refused to work with UKIP to persuade Scots to vote against ­independence. Better Together yesterday insisted that Nigel Farage’s resurgent right wingers “are not a Scottish party and this is a Scottish debate”.

      From the Daily Record May 25, 2013.

      They can’t say that now can they? Will it be Labour and UKIP arm in arm in Scotland.

      It’s not as crazy as it sounds as Labour are delighted that UKIP got a Scottish seat and Labour are already arm in arm with the Tories in Scotland as partners in Better Together. Labour in Scotland would prefer a UKIP or UKIP coalition government in Westminster to an independent Scotland.

  • Vote YES in Sept ’14

    So just how good is this victory for the SNP? The first point to make is that they’ve increased their lead over Labour by roughly 2% since their historic local election triumph two years ago. Part of that can be explained by the fact that the SNP don’t have to face the same challenge from rural independents in European elections that they do in local elections, but nevertheless this can probably be regarded as a slightly better result than 2012. The most direct comparison is of course with the last European elections in 2009, when the SNP were assisted on their way to a decisive win by the unpopularity of Gordon Brown’s Labour government. Remarkably, in spite of the fact that Labour are now the challenging party at Westminster and should be sweeping all before it (especially in a supposed heartland like Scotland), the SNP have retained exactly the same share of the vote. Brian Taylor has just claimed that the Nationalists will be disappointed that their vote “eased down” – well, as far as I can see, it’s eased down by precisely 0.07%. Let’s get real here – they’ve replicated the 2009 result.

    Essentially; SNP share of the vote is going to be roughly 29%, which we know must be good, because it’s exactly what UKIP are getting across Great Britain, and the BBC keep telling us that’s an absolutely bloody fantastic result. In fact, it must be even better for the SNP than it is for UKIP, because you’d expect the SNP to suffer as an incumbent government, whereas UKIP are a ‘free hit’ protest vote party that have never governed anywhere at any time.

    Credit: http://goo.gl/o1NTKo

    • CoinneachCu

      It’s 29%. Less than 3 in 10. Hardly the Prague Spring…

      • Vote YES in Sept ’14

        I think the point my friend is that the SNP numbers are better than UKIP but in the media it’s UKIP storm EU elections but for better results the SNP are portrayed as losers. You’re happy to go along with what you’re told by others that’s fine but I prefer to take a balanced view to the data available and from this aspect the media is well, biased in favour of BritNats and anti anything they can portray as ScotNat. Simple really.

        • Kaine

          I’m glad you’ve noted the similarity between British Nationalists and Scottish Nationalists.

          • Vote YES in Sept ’14

            I’m voting Yes for my country, I’m a democrat, not a Nationalist.

          • Sapporo

            More like national libertarians and national socialists.

            • Kaine

              UKIP aren’t libertarians ( even in the corrupted American form of that term) and the SNP aren’t socialists.

              Or are you just trying to call people Nazis?

  • James Morrison

    “It is hard to see how the euro results could have gone better for the Unionist parties”
    One of them could have, you know, actually *won* the election.

    • telemachus

      Add up Labour, LibDem, UKIP and Conservative north of the border and re ask who won

      • James Morrison

        Why?

        • telemachus

          It is the answer to your comment

          • James Morrison

            In my experience, it is the party that has won the most votes that has won the election. But perhaps you know better?

            • global city

              but you laid claim to the separatist issue… as such the integrationist section won over the separatist section.

              It is precisely the same calculation that you use to make the ‘anti Tory’ call, so you cannot have it both ways.

              • Realpolitik/ fruitcake/ racist

                Surely these are two different things. Who won the election is different to who didn’t win the election.

                James is saying, “a unionist party didn’t win”. It makes no odds that the Unionist parties combined would be greater than the separatists as there are too many variables in this assumption. It is amazing you don’t think winning an election would be “better” than losing.

                • global city

                  Read the first comment to which he replied?

                • Realpolitik/ fruitcake/ racist

                  Is that a question? I have the benefit of a screen and as a member of the sighted community I am able to see very clearly the narrative of these comments.

                  Please explain how I’m not right, as I assure you I am.

                • global city

                  It was about numbers who voted, not who came first amongst the parties.

                • Realpolitik/ fruitcake/ racist

                  So you don’t think it would have been better for a unionist party to WIN?

                • global city

                  I think that you are over complicating things now and reading points that I didn’t raise.

                  I agreed with the initial point that more people voted for the unionist group than for the seperatist one.

                  I do not have a strong feeling about the Scottish issue. I would prefer it if they stayed but it is their decision.

                • Realpolitik/ fruitcake/ racist

                  You’re either incredibly petulant or incredibly stupid. You’ve failed to answer my two questions, effectively ignoring my reply all together. I think you did this because you are wrong and have lost the argument.

            • telemachus

              Not in the British Voting system of Constituencies

      • JPJ2

        They day when the 4 parties are in coalition in Scotland has not yet dawned-though I expected it will over time as they huddle together for electional succour

      • LisaR

        Hate to tell you but theres quite a big movement of Labour for Indy supporters for Yes I’ve been a Yes voter for 2 years and over 30 years a unionist Labour so don’t be so smug. After all Hardie was very much in favour of homerule,it was Westminster that finally took it off table. Labour were originally a pro self determination party:)

  • you_kid

    Excellent piece by the author – we are reminded that not only is the right split but also the nation. 10% in Scotland will not unite, it will divide. Scotland is no longer England. Yes, it never was thus.

    • the viceroy’s gin

      …bring the goat sockpuppet over, lad!

  • scotcanadien

    Christ. You really are going round the twist. The SNP held the vote
    after 7 years in power. And that was a poor result! The Tories got
    hammered in England but that was a good result and to be expected after 4
    yrs in power. C’mon Massie get a grip.

    And have you looked at the maps of distribution of who won what where? If you think Scotland and England are not different you must be colour blind.

    And SNP’s 30% is what it usually is. No-one in Scotland expects to win Indy using
    SNP voters only. The YES campaign is a coalition of SNP, Greens, Left
    wing supporters and even some Tories. And if the amount of support for
    Indy amongst these people from anecdotal evidence is joined up with the
    EP vote we get a rough estimation for Indy as YES 29+ 26/3+17/10+8+7/2 =
    YES 51% NO 49%. And this is BEFORE the YES campaign launches its full
    campaign and BEFORE the full impact of UKIP winning England is taken on
    board .

    Methinks as usual you are farting into the YES gale.

  • Sapporo

    You just couldn’t help yourself and had to add a sneering, patronising swipe at UKIP, at the end. I can just see all the Spectator hacks sniggering to each other, over their lattes, as they write such drivel

  • Dogsnob

    As you will know more about such things, I defer to your assertion that ‘UKIP are awful’.
    That said, the question uppermost in your mind must be: how have Labour and the Tories come to allow these purveyors of vileness to command such a position – to be seen by so many as their best hope for the nation?

  • the viceroy’s gin

    Endless. Fantastical. Unreadable. Is this guy here to act as a repellent? It’s impossible to read this blather.

    • CoinneachCu

      And yet you repeatedly manage to do so. Remarkable.

      • the viceroy’s gin

        No, as mentioned and as you apparently failed to comprehend, I don’t do so.

        • CoinneachCu

          I’d assumed that ‘endless’ and ‘fantastical’ were fact-based judgments rather than Pavlovian. Forgive me.

          • the viceroy’s gin

            Actually, they’re endless, as can be observed quite readily absent reading. And they are fantastical, as can be observed from this rot’s title, again without reading.

            You appear to be lacking reading comprehension as well as powers of observation and analysis. This guy is the one for you, lad.

            • CoinneachCu

              Bell. Salivate. Repeat.

              • the viceroy’s gin

                You’ve apparently made that reply to me, but it is incomprehensible. You seem to know a lot about incomprehension, lad.

                • CoinneachCu

                  If you’re reduced to writing comments on articles you haven’t actually read, you’re not best-placed to condescend to those who have.

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  I’m not writing comments on this article, lad.

                  Again, you best focus on your comprehension. It’s quite lacking.

                • CoinneachCu

                  ‘I’m not writing comments on this article’

                  ‘Ce n’est pas un comment’? Pavlovian and surreal. Still more remarkable.

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  You’ve replied again to me, but is that post supposed to mean something to me, lad? It just seems more disjointed and incomprehensible nonsense… your specialty. .

  • ohforheavensake

    3% of the total Scottish electorate voted Ukip. 3%.

    • girondas

      So?
      How come they won a seat then?

      • scotcanadien

        Proportional representation

      • Peter Harrison

        Because 10.5% of those voting voted for UKIP. If Ohforheavensake wants to talk about the total electorate including those who didn’t vote, only 9.7% voted SNP.

        • girondas

          Quite
          ohforheavensake tends to ignore inconvenient facts

          • ohforheavensake

            Except that a) “the separatist party” are the party of government in Scotland, and b) voters for other political parties in Scotland, the polls show, also support independence (and there’s a percentage of people who vote SNP who want to maintain the union).

            So it’s a bit more complicated.

        • Denis_Cooper

          Blimey, less than 10% of Scots support the separatist party …

          • ohforheavensake

            So the main thing we should be talking about is the low turnout.

  • dougthedug

    I see you’re greeting the fact that UKIP scraped a seat in Scotland with the same delight that Labour and the rest are showing.

    “but one – among several – is that in Scotland there’s already a nationalist party for people who think the Tories and Labour are just the same”

    Close but no cigar there Alex and full marks for trying to link the SNP and UKIP again.

    UKIP are British nationalist in outlook but that ground is already taken by Labour in Scotland who hate the idea of Scottish independence with a passion and if you don’t like Labour then the Tories and the Lib-Dems are as gung-ho British nationalists as Labour.

    UKIP have a problem in Scotland because the British nationalist ground that UKIP regard as theirs by right in England is already held by Labour, the Tories and the Lib-Dems in Scotland.

    • chris

      So UKIP Scottish vote comes from Labour, Tory and Lib Dem base? That’s even worse news for nats, all but Lib Dem vote rose or maintained it’s level.

      • scotcanadien

        Enlighten me. Why is that “even worse news for nats”?

        • chris

          In your assessment, something appears to be driving hitherto reluctant labour/tory european election voters to register a vote. And they all seem fairly determined to vote against SNP. It was SNP who billed this as SNP v UKIP, no one else.

      • dougthedug

        The SNP vote share held.

        The Lib-Dems fell by 4.4%and the BNP fell by 1.7%

        Scottish Socialist, Scottish Christian, Socialist Labour, Independent and Jury Team all failed to appear in 2014 and they had 5.9% of the Vote between them.

        The newcomer Britain First gained 1%.

        How those changes split between the other parties is simply guess work.

    • MichtyMe

      Hmmm, UKIP British nationalist?? Analysis of their support has shown that it from those who in the census identify as English not British.

      • dougthedug

        In their last (now disowned) and only manifesto Nigel wanted to remove all MSP’s in Scotland and replace them with Scottish MP’s who would travel up to sit in the Scottish Parliament.

        The UKIP is very firmly against Scottish independence. It’s a British nationalist party.

        • MichtyMe

          Is that British Nationalism or English/metropolitan supremism? UKIP policy for Scotland = do as London says.

          • Wessex Man

            oh dear, I see the more rabid Cybernat nutters are out in force today, the Lib/dums pick up no MEPs in Scotland and Wales, yet UKip does and you try and say it an English only political party. Massie is out done by you lot for waffle.

            However, I still wish you the very best in your campaign for a Yes vote in the referendum.

            • dougthedug

              Since I’m for Scottish independence, on-line and make sensible points I suppose I qualify for the rabid cybernat nutter label thrown about on here but in answer to your point I very much regard UKIP as both a British and a British nationalist party.

              • Wessex Man

                well that’s alright then isn’t it!

            • scotcanadien

              You are a UKIP idiot whose views are irrelevant. So piss off.

              • Wessex Man

                You are a very silly little boy who obviously doesn’t believe in democracy, well we already knew that didn’t we.

            • MichtyMe

              Only passing on what I heard an academic in a politics department say, that the Kippers self identify as English. Not complaining, all for folk being English, better that some other pretence of a nationality.

      • Spammo Twatbury

        Except they came 2nd in Wales by just 0.6%.

  • London Calling

    A weapon of mass destruction…..UKIP………………:)
    Scotland be scared…be very scared………………..:O

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