cigarette pack Referendums.
Let the people decide... when it suits.
cigarette pack

It's been humiliating for those who called for a referendum to see their results. Those that mattered to Britain have been well commented upon, but there's no denying the Scottish Independence one and Brexit didn't go the way Salmond or Cameron hoped.

Outside the UK, those behind the referendum to ban assisted suicide for Swiss nationals as well as non-Swiss nationals were roundly defeated. And it's a similar story with that business of allowing children to demand voluntary euthanasia in Belgium. Again those responsible for the poll were humiliated when they found that 75% supported extending this right to children (01). Now anyone of any age can chose to end their lives in Belgium.

But it's not all doom and gloom. The folk who started the referendum in the Netherlands to stop the EU negotiating for further integration with Ukraine managed to get the result they wanted. And for sure Ms. Sturgeon managed to get almost 2 out 3 Scots to vote to remain in the EU.

And referendums have other uses. In 2014 the authorities in Catalonia were so taken by the Scottish referendum that they held one of their own. There the courts said they didn't have the constitutional right to do so, however they skirted that little problem and held a "non-binding" one on self determination. About 40% of eligible voters turned out - and just under 91% said they wanted self determination, with about 80% saying they wanted independence as well (02).

So far so good, but their central government are so ticked off at the chap responsible for that referendum that they prosecuted him! So they've created a martyr and fluffed it, but that hasn't stopped the Catalonians; they plan another Independence referendum in September 2017, which they hope may force central government to recognise their right to self determination, even if that too is considered illegal (03).

So the Catalonian's are prepared to defy central government to make a point. And risk jail for their principles.

Ms. Sturgeon isn't that type of person. She knows she has to do things by the book - and now polls tell her it's neck and neck for Scottish Independence, she intends using that as a stick to try to influence Brexit negotiations.

Sturgeon and her party want to remain a part of the single market and don't give a fig about the need to allow anyone from the rest of the EU, even those with simple travel documents, to enter the country. Scotland isn't a first choice destination for immigrants as is - and Scotland's population has been static for many years (04), so allowing in thousands from the continent doesn't bother the SNP, nor do they give a toss about the experiences of people in the most popular parts of England where an influx of newcomers has crippled public services.

So the SNP are pushing for another section 30 order (05) as the first stage toward another referendum - and they've warned their civil servants to prepare for one within weeks (06) 

This may be the last chance Sturgeon'll get for a generation. Neither she nor the SNP care about the effects on the housing market, nor of inward investment (07). Clearly the hostility of 2014 is something they're prepared to put up with - even if at the end of the day there's no chance whatsoever of Scotland being accepted into the EU (08)!

That's because Spain, Belgium, Italy and Romania have separatist movements of their own and are determined to block any attempt by Scotland to join or even consider "remaining" in the EU as a separate nation. They will not set a precedent and you can bet Sturgeon knows this.

So here we have a referendum being called for based on false expectations, to then be used as a blunt instrument to beat up on May, based on poll results! And we smokers know full well exactly how easy it is to manipulate polls, especially piss-fart telephone polls.

Ms. May and the English need have no concerns about Scotland departing the Union. Independence is an emotional thing that can only become reality if voters believe they have a competent government to rely on to see it through. We don't, we've got a group of rank amateurs playing out their own fantasies.

Aside from the fact that virtually every household in Scotland has a relative living south of the border (so a real interest in the place) there's the money side of things - and that's overwhelming! 63% of our exports go to other parts of the UK, 21% to the rest of the world and a paltry 16% is bought by other EU countries.

Scotland Export Figures 2015

And if there's one thing that concentrates a Scotsman's mind - it's money.

It's worth noting that Scottish fishermen were vocal in their criticism of remaining in the EU. Seems the majority of people in Banff and Buchan voted to quit the EU, with an estimated 54% choosing to take back control from Brussels! Peterhead and Fraserburgh, two of our largest fishing ports are within that constituency. It's a similar situation with several other highland regions. Facts that were uncovered after the fuss had died down and the results properly analysed (09), though - as expected - conveniently ignored by the SNP and the Scottish media, together with that niggly little detail that unlike the Scottish referendum, where the turnout was just under 85% of the electorate, almost 33% chose to give the EU referendum a miss!

Nope the people of Scotland are not universally in favour of remaining; a figure that's likely to snowball seeing as the EU believes the waters surrounding Britain are under EU jurisdiction (10)! Second only to trying to hit a Scot in the wallet is trying to rob them of their fishing grounds!

On the whole I rather like referendums. A choice of two answers, yes or no, so no worry about not understanding the process. And each vote counts. I'd love to see them ask us if we wish to continue giving away money on overseas aid or maintaining a bloated House of Lords or allowing smoking rooms in pubs, clubs and tobacconists. Two nays and one aye, but they'll never have the guts to try and prove that wrong!

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Smoking Scot
March 2017