The Final Crossing

Alec RossBy Alec Ross

I was on the ferry from Belfast  last night.

For those of you who enjoyed Monday’s Facebook whimsy about the woman on the boat who didn’t know where she was going, I checked with a senior staffer. I am pleased to report that last night I was  definitely to be arriving in Scotland.

But what is Scotland’s destination?

In my absence there’s been a major stooshie about plans to turn Stranraer into a lorry park in the seemingly inevitable event of a no-deal Brexit and the likelihood of increased freight through Cairnryan (where the ferries have sailed from since 2011) due to the difficulties of entering the EU in Dublin from post-Brexit Holyhead.

There’s obviously concern – the roads aren’t coping at the moment, never mind with three hundred extra trucks, and the waterfront is zero percent ready.

But there’s also deflation. We’d had a summer of oyster festivals and skiffle world championships. We were already getting used to the brave, new, post-port toon. But instead we’ll be getting hundreds of lorries in a ferryless port. How very Chris Grayling.

The debate rather encapsulates the underlying problem with Scotland’s unequal and dysfunctional relationship with its nearest neighbour. The usual dullards will portray today’s Holyrood plans  as yet another example of “thatessenpee” and “Sturgeon” not caring about the remote parts of Scotland, but what the hell was her Government supposed to do?

It will do what Scottish Governments always do – mitigate stuff that we didn’t want caused by wallapers that we can’t get rid of. We are the undisputed mitigation champions of the world.

Not that we’ll get any thanks for it. The people who caused this and their apologists in the press (plus useful idiots / house jocks like Alister Jack will happily put the boot in and claim that the Scottish Government is failing and the institution itself not fit for purpose). They’ll then try to further erode powers in the guise of the national interest. This is how it works. This is how fragile Scotland’s democracy is. Power devolved is power retained.

I travelled last night from a country whose peace is threatened to one whose very democracy is uncertain. Neither of these countries asked for this. And yet both these things are influenced at the whim of people who didn’t like the Belfast Agreement and who would sell their grannies if it meant the rolling back of a devolution settlement they always despised. This hardly invites confidence in a good ending.

This is what they do. They take the wings off a bird and then invite people to mock it for failing to fly.

Scotland’s talents and energies are being shamefully wasted in clearing up a mess not of its making, at a time when removing Scotland from the bouroch and becoming self-governing has long become not just an economic necessity but a moral imperative.

Our neighbours have left us. High time we set sail ourselves.

Alec AUOBEdinburgh No4 2019

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2 replies »

  1. Not all that much to do with your article, Alec, but, it is, kind of…and I’m bursting to say it……..

    Mrs May kept taking plans to the EU, for Britain to leave the EU. The EU, said “No thank you”.
    This kept happening, repeatedly, until it became one of those un-funny jokes.
    Mrs May left, and we inherited The Eton Mess. The Eton Mess is now, repeatedly, taking plans to Brussels, and, as with Mrs May’s plans, they’re often very similar to the last lot of plans presented. And the EU, say “No, thank you”.

    We’re having a re-run, and you know how tiresome they can be. It now looks like the EU are getting fed up with us ( for ‘us‘, for now, read Britain), and not surprisingly.

    The situation is very similar, one big difference is, that I doubt if The Eton Mess will go away – that’s not in his make–up.

    And, having got fed up with ‘us’, the EU might just say, “OK, go away, we’ve had enough of your nonsense”.

    And then where will we be?
    Scotland, paddling its own canoe – a small, but serviceable craft, trading merrily with our neighbours.
    Everybody needs good neighbours.

    • England will never be good neighbours they do not have the capacity to be anything other than what they already are, tiresome, ignorant, arrogant, boorish and full of self entitlement.
      Brexit is already crippling their economy, and Scotland’s with it, and It will take England a hundred years to pay back the trillions of debt it is amassing and for every moment of those years they will firmly place the blame at Scotland’s door and if you need proof of that you just need to look at what happened after the Scottish Court ruled the prorogue of parliament illegal.

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