by Peter Callaghan
Despite the fact that all 32 local authority areas in Scotland voted to remain in the EU by a margin of 62% to 38%, and despite the fact that Better Together said that only a vote for No in the Scottish referendum would guarantee membership of the EU, Scotland along with the rest of the UK is about to go it alone. Or as the Von Trapp family more eloquently put it in The Sound of Music:
There’s a sad sort of clanging
From the clock in the hall
And the bells in the steeple, too.
And up in the nursery
An absurd little bird
Is popping out to say coo-coo.
Regretfully they tell us
But firmly they compel us
To say good bye to you.
So long, farewell,
Auf Wiedersehen, goodnight.
I hate to go
And leave this pretty sight.
England voted for Thatcher, Scotland got Thatcher. England voted for the Poll Tax, Scotland got the Poll Tax. England voted for the Iraq War, Scotland got the Iraq War. England voted for the Bedroom Tax, Scotland got the Bedroom Tax. England voted for a majority Conservative government, Scotland got a majority Conservative government. England voted for more cuts and greater austerity, Scotland got more cuts and greater austerity. And, as of the early hours of this morning, England voted to Leave, Scotland got Leave. To use an old sporting analogy, “It’s just not cricket!”
In the run up to the Scottish referendum I wrote a satirical pro-Yes poem called Scotland The Brave or Scotland Behave about “the tired roll call of the so-called good and great / mongering doom and gloom and manufactured hate” aka Project Fear. Admittedly, both sides of the EU referendum campaign breathed life into that old British Bulldog again. But none more so than Messrs Farage, Johnson and Gove who likened those warning of a post-Brexit recession to “German scientists in the pay of the [Nazi] government”. And how can we forget and forgive the UKIP leader for his racist anti-migrant poster and crass victory speech during which he boasted that Vote Leave won “without a single bullet being fired”. RIP Jo Cox.
In the third stanza of my referendum poem I wrote that “Peddlers of Project Fear promulgated the view / Rocks would melt with the sun should the Union we bid adieu, / The Black, Black Oil and North Sea spoils would evaporate like dew / And burly Brussels bureaucrats would bounce us out the EU.” Well, we didn’t have to wait for the faceless civil servants to serve us with an eviction notice because The Vow persuaded many undecided Scottish voters to stay in the Union and The Wow factors of immigration and security persuaded many disgruntled English voters to Leave the EU. A fact which led the esteemed psephologist Professor John Curtice to predict early in the evening that, “It will have been provincial England that has determined the UK’s fate.”
The people have spoken. But so too has Nicola Sturgeon who wasted no time in arguing that a second Scottish independence vote was “highly likely” on the grounds that the EU result was “democratically unacceptable” and that “a significant and material change” in circumstances has taken place since the 2014 referendum. But not before she assured “citizens of other EU countries living here in Scotland” that “you remain welcome here, Scotland is your home and your contribution is valued.” A far cry from Theresa May’s “Go Home or Face Arrest” and Nigel Farage’s “Breaking Point” billboard campaigns.
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