Sturgeon Must Go

19 Mar

As a general rule, I’m not in favour of driving politicians from office for anything less than outright criminal activity. There are several reasons for that, but the most important ones are two-fold. On one hand, politician who is forced to fight to defend his position, as Bill Clinton did during his term in office, is a politician who cannot do his job; on the other, threats of immediate removal may make it impossible for a politician to tackle any long-term project, particularly one that won’t show any short-term gains. Indeed, one of the problems pervading our current politics is a complete lack of long-term thinking.

But recent events in Scotland have convinced me that Nicola Sturgeon must go. And the sooner the better.


The SNP had its chance to make the case for independence in 2014, when we held the ‘once in a lifetime referendum.’ It failed. There were no real grounds to vote for independence and, as I noted at the time, a large number of reasons to vote against it. History has vindicated Scotland’s choice. We now know that the SNP painted a rosy picture of Scotland’s post-independence situation that was too good to be true – and it wasn’t. The SNP either didn’t know what it was talking about or it lied. Neither one is particularly reassuring.

And yet, the SNP and Sturgeon are trying to make their case for another referendum.

The situation is worse now. BREXIT is going to happen. Scotland will find itself separated from both England and the EU. It has been made clear, just as it was made clear back in 2014, that an independent Scotland would not automatically be granted a place in the EU, let alone a significant seat at the table. Britain – or England – has enough economic clout to make the EU handle it carefully. This is not true of Scotland. We would have to accept whatever terms the EU chose to offer, if we wanted to join. (And the SNP hasn’t made a convincing case that we should join.)

It seems clear to me that Sturgeon – and the SNP – are more interested in their own power and position than Scotland’s future. They want to be leaders of an independent country, not a small political party on the fringes of a much larger political entity. There does not appear to have been any serious look at a post-independence Scotland, let alone any contingency planning for the days and weeks after a successful referendum. They want independence without, in any way, being prepared for it.

Indeed, the demand for a second referendum alone has harmed Scotland. Investors do not invest in politically-unstable countries. An independent Scotland will be a less attractive place to invest for several years, at the very least. What sort of investor would invest in a country where the laws might change tomorrow? And how is the SNP going to tackle the financial shortfall that will result from independence? As I see it, they’ll have a choice between massive spending cuts – on a scale far beyond anything London has proposed – or raising taxes. But both of these options will bring major problems in their wake.

Spending cuts will cause unrest, of course. They will be staggeringly unpopular. But raising taxes will also be disastrous. Large corporations will flee Scotland; smaller companies and business will fold. And high-earning Scots will also flee. There’s an entire community of Scotsman who work in London and live in Edinburgh. All they have to do is move south to avoid paying such high taxes! Somehow, I can’t see London bothering to stop them when it means more money for England.

Nicola Sturgeon is simply unfit for office. Instead of doing what she can to improve Scotland’s position – and prove that the SNP is fit to actually govern – she is trying to grandstand on the global stage. Picking a fight with London when London is trying to negotiate the best BREXIT terms possible merely undermines Britain; taking cheap pot-shots at Donald Trump was stupid when there was a possibility, however remote, that Trump would be elected President. Sturgeon would have enough problems negotiating with Washington over Scotland’s NATO commitments without some degree of personal dislike.

Sturgeon will not suffer if independence came to pass. Even in a worst-case situation, with the economy collapsing into rubble, Sturgeon would survive. She might be voted out of office, but the book deals would keep her afloat. She would not end up being kicked out of her home because she can’t keep up with the mortgage and begging in the gutter because she cannot afford a place to stay. But hundreds of thousands of ordinary Scots will suffer. The glory of an independent Scotland will not feed and clothe them. Sturgeon is, in short, grossly irresponsible. In many ways, she is gambling with neither cards nor stake.

Nor, perhaps, will the SNP. Scotland is effectively a single-party state. The SNP has not had to fight for victory, not really. But single-party states – at best – stagnate because there is neither competition nor an influx of new blood. Will the post-independence Scottish Tories prove competition? Or will the SNP grow fat and complacent until more radical parties rise up to demand change? Will the SNP forget – as some say it already has – that the will of the people is paramount? The SNP has already shown a dangerous disregard for democracy.

What will it do if Scotland becomes independent?

It is time for some realism. And that means acknowledging that independence is not on the cards, not now. Scotland is part of the UK and will remain so for the foreseeable future. And that means dismissing Sturgeon from office before she damages Scotland’s position beyond repair.

Sturgeon must go.

32 Responses to “Sturgeon Must Go”

  1. Don March 19, 2017 at 8:58 am #

    Chris you make me laugh so much.
    Thank you for that.

    The argument you put forward is the same that remainers, project fear and/or remoaners against Brexit.

    How does it feel to be other side of the argument?

    As Brexit people say respect the will of the people, that is Scotland want to remain in EU much higher percentage then UK as a whole wanted out.

    Project fear is basic economic arguments that you are putting forward. That did not work for Remainers.

    Well you have to give better reasons then what remainers gave. Good Luck.

    • chrishanger March 19, 2017 at 9:07 am #

      There is no way – simply no way – that independence will not put a major strain on Scotland’s economy. If nothing else, the demands on the public purse would rise sharply. Scotland hasn’t been a genuine country since the Act of Union – much of the infrastructure would have to be built from scratch, if we became independent.

      Realistically, we have one nation – Britain. And Britain voted for BREXIT.


      • PhilippeO March 19, 2017 at 11:04 am #

        and BREXIT would also cause major strain on UK economy.

        in the end, peo0le view of their nationality which would win, not economy. if Scots think they different nations from other Britons, they will quit, economy be damned.

        Scotland and Catalonia independence is in many way is reverse of Brexit and Trump movement, it show that nations can crack when Trust collapse. Brexit voters didn’t trust EU, Trump voters in flyover country no longer trust Coastal Elite, London and Scotland no longer trust English voters, California and New England no longer trust Republican voters.

  2. Ian Kelly March 19, 2017 at 10:38 am #

    I’m definitely in the pro remain camp as far as brexit was concerned, and although I wish it hadn’t gone the way it did, I know / accept that brexit is going to happen.
    My hope is that we as a nation can make the best we possibly can out of it both socially and economically. My fear is that this will not be very good for anyone. As someone who has a good job in central london, I’m not going to “suffer” but I regret that there will be consequences. Its more likely going to be the people who largely voted for brexit that will feel it much more when it hits, because it’s not hit yet.
    I understand the desire from some Scots for independence, but I also feel that this is based upon rather outmoded dogma rather than any actual facts. Westminster does subsidise a number of services, like the railways for example, disproportionately so at the moment and things like that will not be available should Scotland break away.
    Scotland will be in a position of weakness, not of strength in terms of negotiations.
    I still don’t really buy the argument about the “will of the people” it was the will of just over half the people. Just under half were opposed to it and the campaign was fought on a lot of BS and propaganda and to our shame, the left stood around with its finger up its hole till it was too late.

    We are where we are, and I think that scotland splitting away from the UK would harm both countries, becoming less cohesive in and increasingly connected world seems counter intuitive to me its fear and old dogma that’s driving it. And its business who’ll ultimately win out of this, not the little folks.

  3. Vapori March 19, 2017 at 12:07 pm #

    Still I can understand that she wants another vote and if it comes at the high of the brexid discussions or after the brexid is concluded the Scots can vote with much more safety on what they get.

    The lasst time they voted it was actually not sure if Britain would remain in the EU or leave it.
    The EU was in the aftermath of the fiance crysis and many important election were not yet held.

    If they vote again in 2019-20 they might face less insecurity
    If Marine le Pen gets elected for example I guess they get much more cozy with the English.
    But if things in the EU look reasonable stable while the UK comes to term with the separation, then they might jump at the EU.

    and in my option the EU will gladly Welcome them, Scotland would still be a net contributor after all. ,

    • shrekgrinch March 20, 2017 at 7:05 pm #

      “and in my option the EU will gladly Welcome them, Scotland would still be a net contributor after all. ”

      ???? And independent Scotland will be a broke Scotland. Also, they other EU nations will not welcome setting a precedent for secessionism as they themselves face the same issues (Belgium splitting up, the Lombard League regions of Italy calling it quits, Basque region of Spain, even Bavaria has strong independence sensibilities). To let Scotland in the EU is to basically say to those fractious regions, “See! It can be done!” But to keep it out would say, “Don’t even think about it!”

      So no matter what the other EU nations may say publicly, in reality Scotland will not be allowed into the EU.

  4. Bagsy March 19, 2017 at 12:45 pm #

    I am English (thought I would get that out of the way before anybody asked) and whilst I think that the Union is better for all of Britain I am rapidly getting fed up with the Scots and starting to think it would be better if they left. I know that not all the Scots want independence and probably if it comes down to it most would vote to remain but the impression that we constantly get down here is that there seems to be this constant grab for more and more power. Now there is talk of federalism/ the “third way” and Scotland signing its own treaties by Gordon Brown and his ilk.It seems to me that Scotland wants it’s cake and to eat it too.
    I never thought devolution was a good idea in the first place and all of this seems to have proved it. Basically it is just another layer of politicians and bureaucracy that was always going to try to increase its influence and power just to justify its existence and all of this was, I think, inevitable. It became even more inevitable once the SNP were voted in by the Scottish electorate. I think that most of the voters where fed up with the Labour party but unlike England, who turned to the other main parties, they turned to the SNP and forgot the SNP’s true purpose. Lets face it despite all of its different policies it’s only reason for existence is to have an Independent Scotland.
    Nicola Sturgeon will do anything to achieve that even if it brings the whole of Britain down in flames, this has already been proved by her stab in the back call for a new referendum when we should be presenting a united front to get the best possible deal from Europe.
    I honestly think the SNP is so blinded by its ultimate goal that they honestly think that the EU will give them this great deal to join up.They forget that many European countries also have Independence movements that they do not want encouraged and I think the result would not be as favourable to Scotland as the SNP thinks.
    And they would have to also deal with a Westminster government who would not be inclined to negotiate deals between Scotland and the rest the UK that would be in any way favourable to Scotland.
    Everyone seems to have forgotten, when they all talk about this, that this just doesn’t affect Scotland it affects everyone in the UK and I do not think the rest of the electorate in the UK will be as forgiving as the SNP and its supporters seem to think they will be. Lots of ordinary people I talk to are also starting to think like me that perhaps we would be better off without them – this is something I would never have considered before and it is a dangerous road to go down for all of the UK. But when when part of the UK stabs the rest of it in the back you do start to get the feeling that you would be better off without them.

    • Don March 19, 2017 at 6:58 pm #

      When I saw the the way English people reacted towards SNP and Scots in general in the question time when question of Referendum of Independence, I have to agree that with you but that reaction would also drive them to independence.

      Also keep in mind that what you saying about how rest of UK is feeling about Scotland is how rest of EU feels about UK. Really hope Brexit will turn out well for UK.

      Well EU will be willing to give them same chance to join as every other country and since Scotland has same laws and regulations as rest of EU it would be relatively quick and painless to join in. As Brexit keep saying that EU need financial services provided by London then that same service can be provided by Edinburgh so win-win.

    • masgramondou March 24, 2017 at 9:34 am #

      I think you could find more English (and possibly Welsh) people willing to vote to kick Scotland out of the UK than there are Scots. The fact that remain heavily carried Scotland but was drowned out by the rest of the UK makes it clear just how samm a population Scotland has compared with England. The SNP government in Scotland comes across like the sorts of idiot who threatens some kind of terrible reaction to keep you supporting them. I.e. the SNP looks like they are threatening to leave in order to extort more cash from the rest of the UK

      The people who voted LEAVE in Brexit because they were sick of having others apparently freeload on them and their taxes, look at Scotland in roughly the same was as they look at Romania. They have no desire to go there, the place doesn’t produce much that they want (Single malt scotch being about the only export anyone knows or cares about) and the place gets far more in transfer payemnts from the rest of the UK (i.e. England) than it contributes in taxes. If the Scots want to vote to leave I’m pretty sure the average English Brexiteer will say something along the lines of “Don’t let the door hit you on the way out” and, if they are slightly more educated, add “and don’t expect us to bail you out a second time like we did in 1707”

      I completely agree that Sturgeon should go. In fact I think the SNP as a whole should go. they appear to consist of second rate politicians with endemic cronyism and other petty corruption and who can’t govern well. To me it looks like the whole referendum schtick is intended to distract Scots from the dire government they are getting now.

      • chrishanger March 24, 2017 at 3:03 pm #

        Would anyone be interested in a post on Scottish Geopolitics?


      • masgramondou March 24, 2017 at 6:46 pm #

        Well I would be interested in your POV

  5. bexwhitt March 19, 2017 at 11:26 pm #

    Scotland would be nuts to divorce themselves from the rest of the UK at this time, regardless they had their vote, it would have screwed them then, now with the situation with Europe is would be suicidal.

  6. Big Ben March 20, 2017 at 12:59 am #

    I don’t know specific details about the Scot/Brit political scuffle, but I do believe it’s a good idea to leave folks room to vent.
    A significant percentage of Quebec’s population has been trying to secede from Canada for quite some time. Every time things lean too left in America a certain percentage of Texans threaten to secede. Many folks in northern California have been trying to break from the southern half and form the fifty-first state – they’ve all been at it for decades and gotten nowhere.
    What would happen if their respective governments forbid them from speaking, or voting, or running for office? Certainly nothing good.
    Labeling politically powerful people crackpots, extremists, terrorists, etc. rarely ends well, especially when you take away their right to stand on their soap box and rant and rave and try to enact their wacko ideology. For the most part rational minds prevail … but when they don’t, wow don’t we go on a wild ride.
    The United States has had a bad habit over the years of basically calling entire governments / political movements persona non grata and refusing to even talk to them in any meaningful way. Iran, Cuba, North Korea, the IRA, the PLO, the PKK, etc. I’m not saying these were good people, not by any stretch of the imagination, but did ignoring them work to bring about peace and prosperity? Ever? Even once?
    You can never bring folks around to your point of view if you refuse to communicate, or attempt to refuse them the right to do so.

    • shrekgrinch March 20, 2017 at 7:16 pm #

      “A significant percentage of Quebec’s population has been trying to secede from Canada for quite some time.”

      Not anymore. Canada bribed the Quebeckers to stay the last time and they will stay until the money runs out (which it will within ten years because of Canada’s pensioner demographic bust coming). So much CAD is siphoned from the other provinces to Quebec it is causing OTHER provinces to question staying within the Confederation, particularly Alberta (it’s current left wing NDP current government notwithstanding), which has been taxed the most for it in recent years.

      Canada also brandished a ‘stick’ as a non-negotiable condition for Quebec to leave: That they would have to assume the liability of Quebec’s per-capita share of Canada’s national debt too…which would be massive. So massive it would be total deal killer.

      But at least secessionism in Canada is constitutional, as it is technically a confederate form of government. Canada’s SCOC has ruled on this point implicitly. Whereas in the US it is not w/o a constitutional amendment, which SCOTUS has ruled on implicitly.

      What the US needs to do really is make it clear and easier for states to split up, tho. California and Texas are just to massive population-wise, too incompetently run because of scaling issues (California is basically a unitary government like New Zealand is but with a population slightly larger than all of Canada’s, for example) and too many people are disenfranchised in both states because of it.

  7. Drowe March 20, 2017 at 1:30 am #

    To get it out of the way, I agree with your assessment of Scotland’s prospects outside the UK.

    What strikes me as ironic though is, that similar arguments both for and against Scotland leaving the UK are being made. Sturgeon uses the many of same arguments, for leaving the UK, as Nigel Farrage used for leaving the EU. And those who oppose Scotland leaving the UK use many of the same arguments as the Remain campaign.

    My impression of the Brexit campaign is, that it won by using arguments based on morality. The SNP could win by the exact same method. Any opposition based on economic reasons could be accused of fear mongering, just as the leave campaign did to remainers. And the argument on moral grounds is also very similar, Brexit has proven after all, that England can and does overrule the will of the Scottish, the same argument was made about the EU overruling the UK.

    • shrekgrinch March 20, 2017 at 7:24 pm #

      “What strikes me as ironic though is, that similar arguments both for and against Scotland leaving the UK are being made. Sturgeon uses the many of same arguments, for leaving the UK, as Nigel Farrage used for leaving the EU.”

      I don’t think that is ironic at all. Same reason why nations that gained their independence via revolt (the US, most of Latin America) tend to experience at least one of their own, home grown revolt of secessionist regions within the first 50 years of their existence as a new nation, vs those nations that gained independence peacefully. Ireland gained it is independence through violent resistance and thus had to be divided from the very start.

      There are exceptions like India, many middle eastern and African nations, of course. But those cases had to do with how poorly drawn the maps were (and intentionally so).

    • chrishanger March 24, 2017 at 2:33 pm #

      You’re basically comparing apples and orenges. The UK (or even England) is very different from Scotland.


      • Drowe March 31, 2017 at 7:37 pm #

        How is that comparing apples and oranges? I only compared the kinds of arguments that are being used, and pointed out that they are similar. I’m well aware that the situation is different but it’s hardly incomparable. Of course the UK has a much better chance at being successful outside the EU than Scotland has outside of the UK, but that is irrelevant if one is making a moral argument.

  8. Mark Skinner March 20, 2017 at 3:25 am #

    Without taking sides here, I’d point out that Scotland is the same size and population as Slovakia, an EU member, so size might not matter much. In addition, were Scotland to be part of the EU, it would reduce the effect of Brexit on the EU. Add to that, the symbolism, and I don’t think there would be much problem with independent Scotland getting EU membership.

    From a practical perspective, there might also be some benefit for Britain were Scotland, just across the border in the EU, logistics-wise, were the terms of Britain’s exit not that favourable. A nice long leaky border presents all sorts of opportunities for “entrepreneurs”.

    Northern Ireland might be another matter. I suspect Nornirn would have to become part of the Irish Republic. A lot less likely, although not impossible.

    • shrekgrinch March 20, 2017 at 7:28 pm #

      My counter reply:

      The other EU nations will not welcome setting a precedent for secessionism as they themselves face the same issues (Belgium splitting up, the Lombard League regions of Italy calling it quits, Basque region of Spain, Macedonia in Greece, even Bavaria has strong independence sensibilities). To let Scotland in the EU is to basically say to those fractious regions, “See! It can be done!” But to keep it out would say, “Don’t even think about it!”

      Slovakia was already an independent nation (albeit one formed by the dissolution of a larger nation) by the time the EU was formed and ready to roll.

      So no matter what the other EU nations’ pols may say publicly to the cameras, in reality I seriously doubt Scotland will be allowed into the EU. I’ll even double down and declare that Turkey has a better shot than the Scots.

  9. Tarun Elankath March 21, 2017 at 3:04 pm #

    Quite frankly, its much better for England if Scotland leaves and manages its own affairs. You are absolutely right that Scotland would go broke but at the moment, Scotland is a massive drain on the English treasury. England is better off negotiating from a position of power as a separate nation state. One can always make harsher deals when one doesn’t belong together in a union.

    Ooops..I just realized while typing this that you are in Edinburgh so you wouldn’t want this…

  10. Don March 22, 2017 at 8:00 am #

    So many English people just want Scotland to leave that it would happen.

    Then Northern Ireland then Wales. Just think what those regions going to think when they see how Englishmen treat the Scots.

    As you wish EU to fail so would UK.
    I love karma and what goes around always comes around in some form or other.

  11. Dunor March 26, 2017 at 9:07 am #

    First of all the UK is still an oppression system in the Brexit language. London says “You have this range and live with it.” This kind of way to do politics is dangerous in many way. Uk with the US forced their way of thinking on to the middle east. With that you have “insurgents with religios support” or permanent civil war. With Brexit and a female Hitler and their way of thinking will ruin not only UK, EU but the people. The UK has reduced their industrie very strongly and invested in the finance-sector, during pre-brexit a halb baked good idea. Because Uk still has the Commanslavery, sry Commanwealth they can move huge amount of money around the world without lossing it to taxes. Sounds a bit like the EU… With Brexit Uk loses access to the EU market, what makes nearly 50% of their total income and firms are thinking to leave the uk, because they want access to the eu market. With the hard brexit, what the uk wants, they will lose many big firms.
    The Netherlands and smaller countries pays more money in to the EU founds, then the UK.
    The Brexit is a big mistake the uk did since WW1, not accepting the unifide germany as a new Europe Power. With acepting the unifide germany the war could have gone a total other way. Now the UK does a historical mistake. The EU needs reformation, but all countries need to work to gether.
    With the EU europe had a very long period of peace and people have more freedom, then before.
    With the Brexit, the “Commanwealth” needs to be dismantled and the Uk, too.
    I was proud to have a german and an english citizenship, but now I don’t want my english one and be connected to the UK. Europe should have learned the lesson of giving fascim power (May, Le Pen, Wilders, Petry, etc). I do not want my children and other people to relive 1933. By the way, scotland can get in to the EU, even quicker and better then the polish or other eastern country did. 😉

  12. Mark Skinner March 26, 2017 at 10:50 am #

    Reading this thread, it’s easy to see why trying to incorporate politics in fiction is so fraught with difficulty. When viewed through the filter of personal political opinion, the same facts can have literally opposite interpretations. That means someone writing a story with contemporary political features is almost literally writing several stories in one. People of one political persuasion will see a completely different story to those of another persuasion. I’ve never seen it done successfully with politics (although exceptional novellists like Jane Austen have done it in other genres) – it’s a mammoth task trying to combine several stories in one.

  13. Bewildered March 27, 2017 at 3:07 pm #

    Please correct me if I’m wrong but aren’t Glasgow-Edinburgh relations rather poor? And that whereas Glasgow voted for separation, along with 2 neighbouring shires and Dundee, everywhere else voted to remain part of Britain? From what I can see Shetland, Orkney, and the 2 border states seem especially opposed to the separation from Britain so what if they propose seceding from Scotland and remaining part of Britain? And while the vote in Comhairle nan Eilean Siar was apparently close – 53.4% for remain, the council there is pushing for increased control over the sea around them and the revenue it offers. How would a unified Scotland function if Britain stops subsidising Scotland, Orkney and Shetland take their oilfields, and the revenue they offer for themselves, and regions such as Eilean Siar demand control of their own revenue? Would an independent Scotland slip back into clan regions with no central government capable of funding anything?

    Oh as for Scotland having to accept whatever terms the EU offers or accept economic isolation, would the EU even offer terms? Spain for one would be adamantly opposed to rewarding a separatist state because of the implications for their own unified nation, and they are unlikely to be alone in their concerns.

    • Mark Skinner March 27, 2017 at 11:00 pm #

      I didn’t think Spain or France got too agitated when Slovakia split from the Czech Republic, so not sure why they would worry about Scotland.

      On the other hand, with regard to those small regional areas you mentioned, Spain and France would probably support a united Scotland against fracturing.

      Finally, I figure both Spain and France would support a bigger EU, and having Scotland in the EU would suit that. It’d depend on how Le Pen does, of course, but I’d suspect she wouldn’t object if the result came from a democratic process.

      Northern Ireland, on the other hand, is closer to the mark. If the people of Northern Ireland wanted to stay in the EU, they’d likely have to join the Irish Republic for the reasons you listed.

      How likely any of these things are should depend on a democratic process involving the people concerned. It was a mistake holding the Scottish independence vote before the Brexit vote. However, it is easily rectified by another vote. It’s not a big cost, nor a big logistical problem, so rather than argue hypotheticals, just have a vote and move on.

      • shrekgrinch March 27, 2017 at 11:20 pm #

        “I didn’t think Spain or France got too agitated when Slovakia split from the Czech Republic, so not sure why they would worry about Scotland.”

        Because that was viewed at the time as part of the break up of of the Soviet Union. Besides, Czechoslavakia wasn’t in the EU at that time either — so they couldn’t do anything to stop it.

        And Spain has an even bigger potential breakup problem now than then.

      • Mark Skinner March 28, 2017 at 12:45 am #

        Good point. So Brexit happens as decided by the democratic process, then like Czechoslovakia splitting, Spain won’t mind Scotland splitting either. Same situation as long as the Scottish vote occurs after Brexit. Fair point.

        I still think the only way Northern Ireland could sensibly be in the EU is if they joined with the Irish Republic though. Having said that, I’m not sure if they are agitating for being in the EU to the same extent as the Scots. So, it is hypothetical in Northern Ireland.

  14. Simon Norburn May 8, 2017 at 1:28 am #

    As an Englishman with both friends and family in the Orkneys (spell checker dislikes Orcades) their plan B is to revert to Norway should Scottish independence occur. They detest the SNP; are heartily despised by the SNP and neither has a whit for the other.

    Seems sensible to me – Norway would then get all the oil – it would be a most interesting event

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