The UK’s Macabre Final Election

The stars have aligned perfectly for those of us who support Scottish independence, writes Craig Murray.

London, the capital of England and for now the United Kingdom. (Colin, CC BY-SA 4.0, Wikimedia Commons)

By Craig Murray

This is the final general election of the United Kingdom. The Scottish National Party, or SNP, has put independence at the heart of its campaign, eschewing the dreadful error of the “don’t mention Independence” campaign of 2017 that led half a million potential supporters to sit on their hands on voting day. The SNP is going to win a thumping victory and eliminate the Tories from Scotland. Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s hardline unionist pose, denying the sovereign right to choose of the Scottish people, would not be able to survive such a result.

If the Tories were to think they would succeed in treating Scotland as Spain treats Catalonia, they would have a very rude awakening. Equally the SNP leadership will be politically unable to impose acceptance of whatever parameters Westminster attempts to impose. The divergence of politics and culture between Scotland and England is now so stark that the union is already over as a functioning political entity. It is now just a matter of arranging the obsequies. 

It is essential to maximize the SNP vote at this election. Anything else is a distraction. It should be stated plainly that there is no seat in Scotland where an SNP vote risks handing the seat to the Tories. There are several where a Labour vote or a Green vote risks handing the seat to the Tories. To vote Labour or Green in Scotland in 2019 is an act of irresponsible self-indulgence. It must be SNP. After independence, which will be very soon, we can all go our own ways.

SNP leader calling on voters to support her party, Nov. 12, 2019. (Twitter)

It is karma for the Lib Dems’ role in austerity that, just when the opportunity should arise for them to make massive gains as the major remain party in England, they are saddled with Jo Swinson as leader. Her instincts are entirely right wing. When asked at her campaign launch why she said Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the opposition, was unsuitable to be prime minister — by a journalist seeking more Corbyn-knocking copy— her first and most immediate response was that Corbyn would not be prepared to give the order to British submarine commanders to fire nuclear weapons.

Swinson combines inanity, delusion and ambition in a deeply unpleasant mix. It should not be forgotten that the Lib Dems were down to a handful of MPs after the last election and Swinson became leader from a very small field. Now some careerist Blairites have joined the sinking ship, Swinson’s right-wing instincts are further reinforced. I am sure there are a few decent people still left in the Lib Dems. But they are invisible. 

Nevertheless, there are many seats in England where people need to vote Lib Dem to defeat the Tory. The best practical scenario for the end of the U.K. is a Labour/Lib Dem/SNP alliance, that will eschew hard Brexit and agree a second independence referendum for Scotland.

Another Scenario

Another scenario will also end in independence but be messier and more dangerous. Even if we achieve independence through a second referendum (and other options are available), that referendum would be a much dirtier fight even than 2014. We are already seeing in this election just how unrestrainedly pro-Tory the British media now is, and another Scottish referendum campaign would suffer not only that, but every dirty trick in the playbook of the British security services. Nevertheless, I have no doubt of the result.

Of course, it is true that the media has always been biased, but it has gotten much worse. There has been a radical shift in the culture of the media in exactly the same way there has been a massive shift to the right in the Tory Party. While plutocrats always owned almost all of the media, in the complex relations within media institutions there were countervailing currents.

It was never true that editors and journalists had perfect ethics or integrity, but there were some notions of decency, balance, fairness and simple respect for the truth which did actuate, to some extent, editors and journalists. Even though these cultural factors might on the whole be outweighed by deference to the wishes of the bosses, by party allegiance or by personal ambition, these notions of proper conduct did on occasion provide some influence on behavior and thus on media output.

Those journalistic standards have been almost entirely abandoned and you will scan the media in vain for evidence of fairness and balance. It is not a coincidence that at this time two of my good personal friends in the media, with whom I have major political differences but who are good professionals and decent people, John Sweeney and Peter Oborne, have left their posts at BBC Panorama and the Daily Mail respectively. 

Sajid Javid on Andrew Marr Show. (YouTube)

The state media is as bad as the plutocrat-owned media. The BBC’s complicity in the Tory attack on Corbyn has been absolute, including the Tory set up interviews with Ian Austin and yesterday’s long anti-Corbyn plug by Chancellor of the Exchequer Sajid Javid, on the Andrew Marr Show. The Tory campaign is a disgrace. Johnson, like former Prime Minister Theresa May before him, is being kept well away from any actual voters, and the BBC lights and frames his entirely artificial events with the careful precision of a Leni Riefenstahl film.

When realism does break through it is through citizen journalism, not the media. The outrageous statements of a ranting Boris Johnson in Northern Ireland, contradicting the EU withdrawal agreement, would never have been mentioned by the media if they had not gone viral from an individual’s mobile phone. 

The claims that Johnson did not understand his own deal are wide of the mark. He is not stupid; he knows what is in it. If you listen very carefully to what he said then and subsequently, he is not claiming his deal does not specify any checks between Northern Ireland and the mainland. What he is stating is his assurance that there will be no checks. This confirms the fears I have been reporting within the Foreign & Commonwealth Office, that Boris Johnson simply has no intention of actually implementing the withdrawal agreement. He has been negotiating in bad faith with the EU, and signing up to things he has no intention of doing in order to “Get Brexit Done.” He has no moral scruples over lying, it is not his style to think beyond immediate personal advantage, and he is still enamored of the idea that in the end the EU will always buckle because it needs the U.K. market.

The stars have aligned perfectly for those of us who support Scottish independence, and I am delighted that both Irish unification and Plaid Cymru have been given a bigger boost than seemed plausible just a very few years ago. This election is sordid, tawdry, corrupt and uninspiring; a fitting end for the UK and its long history of callous exploitation. Never has a state been more adept at using its system of law to shift resources from the poor to the rich. Never has a state’s dissolution been more overdue.

Craig Murray is an author, broadcaster and human rights activist. He was British ambassador to Uzbekistan from August 2002 to October 2004 and rector of the University of Dundee from 2007 to 2010.

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10 comments for “The UK’s Macabre Final Election

  1. John Drake
    November 17, 2019 at 20:12

    The final splitting up of the island that boasted “the sun never sets on the British Empire” is exquisite justice for a nation whose barbaric behavior devastated nations all over the world. What goes around comes around.
    My Scottish ancestors who fled to Ireland and then to the US after being on the losing side of the Jacobite rebellion would be thrilled.

  2. Miguel Graziottin
    November 17, 2019 at 09:40

    Great article with a a lot of true considerations and sad conclusions

  3. Blackbeard
    November 16, 2019 at 23:42

    Apologies, the above was meant to be a reply to a comment further down the chain.

  4. Blackbeard
    November 16, 2019 at 23:41

    Brexit completely flips that situation on its head.

    The EU is directed by that group of 27-28 leaders of the national government that keep having to have meetings about the latest Brexit stuff. By definition, the EU thus supports the interests of its member states. In the previous referendum, Scotland was looking to secede from a EU member state, and thus the EU officials were in opposition.

    But after Brexit, you’ll have a region that has been formerly inside the EU, now forced outside by Brexit. And the UK government is no longer a member of the EU. Thus, you have a region that already follows EU rules and that knows they want to be in the EU wanting to split from a non-EU state. Not only that, but that non-EU state has been creating considerable ill-will in Brussels from the way they’ve gone about leaving.

    The statements from the EU during the last campaign are no longer operable, and the EU is highly likely to be taking the complete opposition position.

    • Eugenie Basile
      November 17, 2019 at 06:07

      The political risk for the EU to create such a precedent would be enormous and the reward rather negative from a financial perspective.

      Any region that is or was part of a member state would have to be accepted ! Wishful thinking….
      Furthermore Scotland would not be a net contributor to the EU budget, contrary to the UK as a whole. ( net 10 Bln annually )

  5. Blackbeard
    November 16, 2019 at 23:35

    Under BJ’s stated plans, the UK would become a haven for all sorts of product and people smugglers. Those are the people who eyes are lighting up with the promises of ‘no checks’.

  6. Brian Eggar
    November 16, 2019 at 16:56

    It is rather funny that Boris Johnson takes very much after Winston Churchill and that is not an accolade as Winston was a war mongering hypocrite.

    Being one of the 48%, I am going to vote LibDem even if they put up a stuffed parrot as candidate.

    I have noted that the BBC has presented the election as a straight fight between Conservative and Labour with all other parties consigned to also rans. I know that LibDems might only get about one hundred seats but that will be enough to demand proportional representation and a second referendum.

    I am annoyed that no mention is made of Cambridge Analytica whose CEO declared that their influence swung enough voters to vote leave.

    The mention of our independent nuclear deterrent really annoys me as in today’s world it is neither a deterrent or independent and if any commander of any of those submarines would fire his rockets into an inferno of nuclear devastation when clearly their mission has utterly failed leaves me completely bemused.

    Actually, the British military as a whole is now a third rate, hollowed out disaster, reflecting perhaps the whole of Westminster now.

  7. Nathan Mulcahy
    November 16, 2019 at 15:32

    “The UK’s Macabre Final Election …. a fitting end for the UK and its long history of callous exploitation”. This cannot come soon enough for me. The demise of the trouble maker throughout recent history….

  8. Bob
    November 16, 2019 at 14:51

    For every attack on Labour featured in the BBC there’s been an equal attack on the conservatives. I live in the UK. The BBC is usually envisioned – rightly or wrongly – as being left-leaning. I see absolutely no evidence of a conservative bias. Each side gets its equal chance to enrage the viewers. But a conservative bias in the rest of the media – yes.

    An article with a less inflammatory tone would have been appreciated.

  9. Eugenie Basile
    November 16, 2019 at 06:16

    If I recall correctly before the previous independence referendum, Mr.Barroso declared Scotland would have to follow the long procedure of applying for EU membership from the start. So how will Scotland survive that period ? With the knowledge that the other EU members would unanimously have to accept ( remember France vetoed the latest application of Albania and Northern Macedonia ) just when they finally have got rid of the UK. Imagine the example that would set for other regions with independence aspirations within Europe. (Catalunia, Flanders, Lombardy, Basque country….)
    True : at least Scotland already has its own football team.

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