The SNP are Opportunistic Scum @theSNP @NicolaSturgeon #IndyRef2

… the SNP and Scotland are not the same thing …

I am a unionist … but I am a democrat above all else … if Scotland wanted to leave the UK, then it is undeniably right that they should leave … Yet now demonstrably is not the time for another referendum.

I’ve lost all respect for the Scottish National Party. They are acting like opportunistic, hateful scum. None-the-less, I still 100% respect the idea of Scottish Independence; let’s not conflate the SNP and Scotland, as if they were the same thing, even though Sturgeon and her motley crew keep trying to blur the distinction.

I want to be clear about something.

Yes, I am a unionist and believe that the four nations of the UK are better off together. However, I am a democrat above all else. And even though it would break my heart, if Scotland wanted to leave the UK, then it is undeniably right that they should leave, although I would bid them adieu with a tear and a friendly handshake. See my posts about the 2014 Scottish Independence Referendum for more about my views.

But now demonstrably is not the time for another referendum. SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon talks about the “democratic outrage” of not being allowed to hold another independence reference by 2018-2019. But I think the only outrage is her behaviour and that of other SNP top brass.

Let’s get real.

  1. The official logic of a 2018-2019 Scottish Referendum is that Scotland will remain in the EU if it leaves the UK before the UK leaves the EU. However, this “logic” is horseshit and has been repeatedly shot down by everyone in the EU. The United Kingdom has membership of the EU, and Scotland would not inherit the UK’s membership. Therefore, Scotland would have to reapply to join the EU even if it seceded from the UK but the rest of the UK remained in!
  2. Scotland knew that there would be an EU referendum and therefore knew that if it voted to remain in the UK, there would be the very real possibility that that would mean leaving the EU. Therefore, material circumstances haven’t changed in quite the way the SNP claim.
  3. It is plainly absurd for any Scottish Independence Referendum to be held before (1) we had left the EU, and (2) before the dust had settled. The SNP said this referendum was once in a lifetime; what, the lifetime of a gerbil? Wait for the UK to leave, and for the dust to settle, and then the Westminster government should be totally open to a new referendum.
  4. I wonder, though, if the SNP would be pressing for a second referendum in 2018-2019 if Scotland had voted to leave the UK… you know, just to make sure — after all, Brexit means circumstances have changed…
  5. The UK got opt-outs, and Sweden et al joined way back when. Any new member of the EU would have to adopt the Euro. Sorry, but that’s a fact. An “independent” Scotland in the EU would also be in the Euro.
  6. I still cannot grasp the fundamental logic of the SNP position, in any case: being 8% of the population of the UK, with 9% of the seats in the Commons, and one of four member states, is worse than what would be 1% of the population of the EU, with around 1.6% of the seats, and one of 28 member states…!!? This smacks of serious anti-English bias in the SNP leadership (not amongst members, though, who are mostly just patriotic Scots, not English-haters).

In short, the Scots are a nation and not a county of England — as Alex Salmond absurdly recently claimed is the opinion of those against doing IndyRef2 in the SNP’s timeframe of 2018-2019. And thus, they have absolutely the moral right to another referendum. Luckily, the UK government is more enlightened than, say, the Spanish government, and we’re happy to give a binding referendum to Scotland. But this timeframe of 2018-2019 is absurd. It is political opportunism. Let’s wait until the next parliament. If there is wide enough support for another referendum, then let’s crack on with Indy Ref 2!

© 2017 Bryan A. J. Parry

featured image from https://s.yimg.com/uu/api/res/1.2/JMGMGAzWY2_0pSOjbb.xWA–/aD0xMTUyO3c9MjA0ODtzbT0xO2FwcGlkPXl0YWNoeW9u/http://media.zenfs.com/en_uk/News/skynews/472583032-1-2048×1152-20160625-011514-005.jpg

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Normal Service to be Resumed Shortly!

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To all the people who read my blog for dieting stuff, for my posts about languages, or talk about religion or films, I apologise for the current over-saturation of EU Referendum stuff! I hope you understand that this vote is truly historic and therefore warrants a bit of air time! Normal service will resume soon!

© 2016 Bryan A. J. Parry

featured image from https://walbrookdiscovery.files.wordpress.com/2013/09/channel-test-image.jpg

Indy Ref 2: Reasonable Timeline @Vote_Leave #TakeControl #VoteLeave #Brexit

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The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland vote 51.9% to LEAVE the EU, and 48.1% to REMAIN. But as you’ll probably be aware, England and Wales voted to LEAVE with 53.4% and 52.5%, but Northern Ireland and Scotland voted to REMAIN with 55.8% and 62%. As far as England is concerned, eight of its nine regions* voted to LEAVE; London was the odd one out. (All details can be found here)

Nichola Sturgeon is now saying the Scottish Parliament will try to block Brexit. I do not believe that this is legally possible, but it would certainly be an outrageous and totally unacceptable proposition. Particularly given that Scotland voted only two years ago to remain in the UK even though everyone was perfectly well aware that the UK might vote to LEAVE the EU two years later.

However, there is a valid point here. Namely, that maybe Scotland and the rest of the UK are diverging politically, and that a second independence referendum for Scotland might need to happen.

But what would the timescale of that be?

The SNP would surely wish to strike while anger is high. However, that seems unreasonable. Indeed, a proposal for a second Indy Ref anytime soon is demonstrably wrong: immoral, yes, but also self-servingly opportunistic, demonstrative of not caring for the UK or even Scotland, but only for one’s own ideology.

Firstly, it isn’t proper to have Indy Ref 2 before we have left the EU. After all, the electorate would not be informed on what an independent UK would entail. That sets Indy Ref 2 back 2-3 years due to the two year negotiation period after Article 50 has been triggered — and it doesn’t have to be triggered immediately.

Secondly, that would take us to 2018/2019. Parliament runs till 2020. Surely it makes sense to allow Parliament to end.

Thirdly, indeed, surely it makes sense for the UK to elect its first post-EU, newly independent government. We must see how an independent UK is to be governed. That means we must allow for at least one full parliament as an independent nation. That takes us through to 2025.

Fourthly, it is probably wise to allow two or three parliaments to pass so that we can settle into a pattern. After all, the first parliament that we elect may well be reactionary. This takes us to 2030-2035.

In short, the earliest it seems reasonable to hold Indy Ref 2 is in about 15-20 years time. That’s not me, as a British Unionist, delaying. Let’s lance the boil! If we need to split, let’s split! But I just can’t see how it is reasonable, let alone constitutionally or politically sensible, to hold Indy Ref 2 anytime soon.

*The EU developed NUTS 1 statistical regions of England.

© 2016 Bryan A. J. Parry

featured image from http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/politics/indy-ref-2-poll-says-8289832#S5SLVrMPUvEYCsBI.97

The EU Referendum and Scottish Independence @vote_leave #TakeControl #Brexit #EUReferendum #indyref2 #indyref

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There has been much talk in the EU referendum that a vote for leave would trigger a second Scottish independence referendum. Why? The logic is that support for the EU is highest in Scotland (leave is currently polling at a mere 17%). Indeed, the idea of a second Scottish independence referendum makes sense; if the majority of the UK, and a majority of the other constituent nations, voted for leave, but a clear majority in Scotland voted remain, this would indeed legitimately raise the question of whether the UK still worked for Scotland (if indeed it ever did). Certainly, Nicola Sturgeon, leader of the SNP, is fond of raising this point.

As a unionist, yet someone who is strongly for leave, this worries me.

However, two points are worth making.

  1. The SNP’s position is incoherent. On one hand, they persist in calling for independence from the UK (actually, methinks, from England; I reckon the SNP would be happy for Scotland to carry on alongside the other Celtic nations). They say Westminster is too far away and removed from the affairs of Scots, and that being an independent nation would enable politicians in Scotland to much better represent the people of Scotland. Their logic: how could a population of a mere five million make its voice heard in a larger nation of some 65 million? Yet at the same time, the SNP equally firmly persists in the notion that being integrated within the EU, a far larger polity with some 508 million people!, would lead to better representation for the Scottish people. I simply cannot get my head round this, and I have never heard a truly convincing argument for how this makes any sense.
  2. What if a majority of England votes for leave, but the UK as a whole votes remain? Does England then get an independence referendum to leave the UK? I suspect, from anecdotal evidence, that the percentage of Englishmen wanting to leave the UK is higher than the number of Scots who do!

© 2016 Bryan A. J. Parry

featured image from http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/jan/14/brexit-golden-opportunity-nicola-sturgeon-nightmare

Voting Reform

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The results of the General Election have thrown up some intriguing uncertainties. For example, will the SNP’s unprecedented success precipitate the break up of the UK?

But one thing is certain from the results: the voting system needs to be changed in time for the next General Election.

Consider this. The UK Independence Party received almost four million votes. That’s the third highest and a total 12.6% share of the vote. Yet the party only received one seat in Parliament. Yet 12.6% of the 650 House of Commons is 82 seats!

Whatever you may think of UKIP, this is a travesty and makes a mockery of any notion of British “democracy”.

But it’s not just UKIP who were done over by our voting system.

The LibDems got two and a half million votes, a 7.9% share. Yet they received 1% of the seats.

The Greens gained 1.15 million votes, a 3.8% share. They only received a single seat.

On the other hand, the SNP got 50% of the vote in Scotland, yet a whopping 95% of all seats! Not quite as dramatic, but the Conservatives won 51% of the seats on a mere 36.9% of the vote.

And bear in mind that 33.9% of the eligible population didn’t even vote! That means the Conservatives were only supported by 24% of the voting age population, yet got more than half the seats.

Our system really is winner takes all.

A lot of people I’ve been speaking to have been really quite confused. So I’ll explain our system.

The country is divided into voting areas (constituencies). Whichever candidate gets the most votes in any area wins that seat. Everyone else gets nothing. This was UKIP’s problem: they came second in 120 seats nationwide! But first in one seat is better than second in a hundred under our system.

Perhaps in the era of two party politics, our current system worked well (for example, in the 1950 General Election, the Conservatives and Labour respectively gained 40% and 46.1% of the vote and 35.2% and 46.1% of the seats). But we no longer exist in that era, and never will again. So it’s time to change.

The only arguments in favour our system are that it’s easy to understand and produces stable government. Well, I think the idea our politics is stable is now laughable. And easy to understand? How can anyone understand a party receiving 12.6% of the vote getting a mere 0.15% of the seats?

The system needs to change. That is clear. But change to what? There are so many alternatives that the mind boggles.

Luckily for us, however, the UK has been engaged in numerous pilot schemes trialling different voting systems for a while now.

  • In the London Assembly, Welsh Assembly, and Scottish Parliament, the Additional Member System is used. It is semi-proportional; winners are chosen as in the General Election, but there are extra seats for each area which are awarded proportionally.
  • The London Mayor is selected by the Supplementary Vote system. Everyone picks their first choice and second choice. If no one candidate receives 50% of the vote, then all candidates except the top two are eliminated, and all second preference votes are redistributed. The candidate with most votes after these supplementary votes are added is the winner.
  • European Parliament elections are done according to the d’Hondt method which, more-or-less accurately, gives a proportional share of seats based on share of vote. For example, in the 2014 European Parliament Elections, the percentage of votes/seats won was: UKIP 26.6/32.88, Labour 24.43/27.40, Conservative 23.05/26.03, Green 6.91/4.11, SNP 2.37/2.74, and so on.
  • In London council elections, each ward elects up to three representatives.
  • There are many other systems in use in the UK. See here for all the details.

Clearly, no voting system is perfect (this is actually scientific fact: just see New Scientist‘s article if you don’t believe me), but we need to make votes count. Some ways include more even-sized constituencies so each vote is equally valuable, instant easy right to sack any MP / call a by-election, direct voting by the population, easily triggerable referenda, and so on. But changing the electoral system is key.

My proposal

Whilst I don’t want to break the link between MP and constituency, nor introduce two kinds of MP, I think the best solution is either a proportional system based on voting regions, e.g., the four nations or sub-regions thereof, or a London-style Additional member system with the current system supplemented by proportional elected regional MPs.

The 2015 General Election results were a travesty and a miscarriage of justice. Indeed, they were a farce. Let’s move into the twenty-first century.

© 2015 Bryan A. J. Parry

References
Full results: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/election/2015/results

Scottish Parliament Electoral System: http://www.scottish.parliament.uk/visitandlearn/Education/16285.aspx
European Parliament Electoral System: http://www.europarl.org.uk/en/your_meps/european_elections/the_voting_system.html
Other voting systems used in the UK: http://www.parliament.uk/about/how/elections-and-voting/voting-systems/
European Parliament Election Results 2014: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/European_Parliament_election,_2014_(United_Kingdom)
New Scientist on the impossibility of fair elections: http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg20627581.400-electoral-dysfunction-why-democracy-is-always-unfair.html#.VVYou2dFCM8

Featured image from http://www.silverbearcafe.com/private/06.11/images/vote-toss.jpg

 

General Election 2015 Predictions: Aftermath

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The 2015 General Election is almost done, with less than a dozen seats left to declare. David Cameron has won, and with an outright majority.

Huw Edwards on the BBC said, “Nobody predicted this”.

Well, not quite nobody, Huw:

https://doggerelizer.wordpress.com/2015/05/06/general-election-2015-predictions/

As you can see, a nobody predicted this. If everybody wants to come to this nobody’s house and offer me a top boffin job and / or fat wodges of cash in return for my god-like insights, I will consider your offer.

But how did I get this right when top bods around the country didn’t? Was it luck? Was it insider knowledge? Was it a time machine or a cellophane-sealed batch of NZT-48?

Actually, it was simply a matter of being realistic, objective, and following the ebb and flow both on the streets (as a political activist, myself; I’m not a drug dealer) and in the media.

But my supernatural gift of foresight comes as a small crumb of relief because the party I voted for did not win. Also, I didn’t put a damn bet on!

© 2015 Bryan A. J. Parry

featured image from http://www.link2portal.com

Scotland’s Referendum: Aftermath

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Phew!

Scotland has decided to remain a part of the United Kingdom, and rather convincingly too: 28 councils ‘no’ vs. 4 councils ‘yes’, 55% ‘no’. Thank <<insert mythical being here>>! But, as the BBC keeps telling us over and over until the words have now lost all meaning, “a vote for ‘no’ is also a vote for change”. So here’s some serious pros and cons as I see it now that Scotland has voted ‘no’ to independence.

PROS

  • The Union has been saved — for now!
  • A record voter turnout of 86% has permanently re-invigorated the democratic process forever until tomorrow when it will be business as usual.
  • I won’t need an EU passport that they won’t check anyway because it’s the EU should I travel to Scotland in my life which I never have done so far even though I am thirty years old because it’s so cold and dreary up there and it’s cheaper to go to and stay in Malta or Spain from London than to Scotland which is ridiculous really but there you go…

CONS

  • The new Union Flag that I invented is no longer needed. I have been deprived of my latest and GREATEST accomplishment.
  • We’ll probably end up having this whole referendum again within the next 15 years (think Quebec 1980 and 1995).
  • Spain will carry on pretending to be democratic whilst actually overriding the will of the people at all times, and feel justified in doing so. To the point, Spain will now have greater cause to deny the Catalan people an independence referendum of their own. The cause of national democrats, like myself, has been dealt a blow.
  • The UK is stuck with Alex Salmond forever, it would seem.
  • We’ll probably end up re-awakening the Northern Irish question, possibily ending in a vote to see if Northern Ireland should stay as part of the UK or become a part of the Republic of Ireland (perhaps in some kind of concessionary Hong Kong-China style relationship). THEREBY resparking violence in Ireland.
  • English nationalism and resentment will likely bubble up again, due to the bending-over-backwards to appease the Scots, with more demands for more powers for England… probably resulting in England leaving the United Kingdom, or else England itself breaking up as every city and town decides it wants more and more powers.
  • The UK will likely now not leave the EU or get a better settlement for the UK (due to the influence of Labour and Scotland).

…wait. Why was I pro-union, again? Oh, shit!! Can we do this vote again please, and this time really irk the Scots so they vote ‘yes’…

© 2014 Bryan A. J. Parry

Scotland’s Referendum

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Proposed Union Jack if Scotland votes ‘no’ to independence

I usually now post blog updates to The Doggerelizer every Monday, four times a month. However, I have to break with that today and write an emergency blog entry.

Tomorrow is the most important vote in this country for a very long time indeed, the result of which will be felt forever — no joke. Tomorrow, Scotland goes to the polls to answer this simple question: Should Scotland be an independent country? If a simple majority votes ‘yes’ (that is, 50.01%), then Scottish independence is guaranteed.

I am on the verge of tears (seriously). I am a patriotic Englishman. But I’m also a patriotic Briton. And the idea of the country I love so much, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, — the country that defeated Hitler, that invented capitalism, that invented almost all sports worth playing, the country of the Beatles, and so very much more besides — breaking up absolutely breaks my heart. I am a unionist through and through. Why? It doesn’t really matter, I just am; why do you like salsa music, the colour red, or football? You just do. The union with Scotland resonates deep in my soul.

But I’m also 100% behind this referendum. I am fundamentally committed to national democracy (see my campaign to force the British government to recognise Somaliland, a campaign which would, ironically, more likely find favour within an independent Scotland). Therefore, any nation which demands independence must be allowed and helped to achieve this, thereby becoming part of the brotherhood of nations. Simply put: if Scotland vote ‘yes’, my heart will be broken, but I will accept it gladly as a national democrat.

I won’t rehash the arguments for us being better together. There are many, and I think both Scotland and the remainder of the UK will indeed be better together. But of course neither will sink into oblivion if Scotland secedes from the Union. Life will go on. But both nations, I feel, will be diminished — albeit, the leftover stump of the UK rather more profoundly.

I won’t go through the arguments, as it will be longsome and you’ve probably already made up your minds. Simply put, though: together, Scotland and England (and, yeah alright, Wales and Northern Ireland, too) have achieved some of the greatest feats mankind has ever seen. The lists of great thinkers, artists, and deeds of these two nations, united in one and joined at the hip as the UK, is almost endless. Scotland is a great nation and has always punched well above its weight. Just look at their amazing thinkers, like Adam Smith, their incredible sportsmen, like Andy Murray, and their wonderful writers, from Burns to Iain Banks. Scotland has nothing to fear from independence. But Scotland and the rest of the UK are so much better, have achieved so much more, and can continue to achieve so much more — together.

I didn’t worry about the referendum’s outcome until the ‘yes’ vote snuck ahead in the polls. Then I felt physically sick. Blasé nonchalance turned into gut-turning nausea and fear.

Please, Scotland, vote to stay with us. This is a beautiful ‘marriage of two mindes’ that should not end and to which we should ‘not admit impediments’. We haven’t even fallen out! It’s like a long-term couple, perfectly at ease and comfortable with each other — but perhaps slightly bored of the sex — who decide to have an open relationship. Except that if that doesn’t work out, the hubbie and wife can just agree to not do it again. Yet if Scotland votes to secede, it really is all over for good.

Two more thoughts before I leave for a restless night of unsleep.

1. Why have the 800,000 or so Scots who live in England been denied the right to vote? This vote will change the fate of their nation (be that Scotland or the UK) forever. This is a despicable travesty, and only Alex Salmond is responsible — well, Cameron is too for agreeing it. Neither clearly care about national democracy and the views of the Scottish (as opposed to “Scotlandish”, if you will). I wonder why Salmond set the vote up this way. Nothing to do with English-dwelling Scots being more likely to vote against independence, is it…?

2. Just heard that, in a desperate last bid to save the Union, all three main British parties (Conservative, Labour, Liberal Democrat) have voted to change the British flag if Scotland votes ‘no’, so that the saltire is place in the foreground and not the background…

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[EDIT: Addendum]

Just a thought. You know what else makes Great Britain “Great”? The vote in Scotland has been condoned by Westminster. So if Scotland votes ‘yes’, it will become independent. This country uniquely understands democracy. Contrast this with Spain, where Catalonia is denied such a vote; and if it goes ahead with such a vote, it will be deemed ‘illegal’. See here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-29234242

flag image from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Union_Jack#mediaviewer/File:BeaumontScottishUnionFlag.png

© 2014 Bryan A. J. Parry

Bryan Parry: Genius

The United Kingdom's New Flag?

The United Kingdom’s New Flag?

Scotland is going to vote on Thursday 18th of September. The outcome will decide if Scotland stays as part of the United Kingdom or becomes an independent nation. If the people in Scotland vote to leave the UK, that means that the left-over part of the United Kingdom might have to change its flag; the Union Jack gets it’s blue, after all, from the Scottish flag.

I came up with some alternative, Scotlandless UK flag designs. I believe this was 2012, but it may have been before. Either way, I posted my ideas up in July 2013, and then again more recently. Check out my posts here and here.

The Metro newspaper had an article (12th Sept. 2014) with what the Flag Institute believes should be the flag of a Scotlandless UK (below). Look familiar? As you can see, I think that qualifies me as a genius: yes, Bryan A. J. Parry invented the British Flag (kind of). I expect the cheques in the post any day now…

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© 2014 Bryan A. J. Parry

Scottish Independence and the Union Jack

So, apparently I can’t directly put text and images in my posts, so I’ve attached my blog entry as a .pdf.

Enjoy!!

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© 2013 Bryan Ashley James Parry