A brief history – England and Wales Voted To Leave The EU – Scotland Voted To Remain – Early indications are that the Unionist parties will opt to remain with the UK – This could be the start of another bitter battle for independence

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11 February 2013: The Labour Party Has Not ruled out a referendum On EU Membership

The Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls said the party could not afford to be painted as against letting people have their say and it would be “stupid” to rule out a referendum on Europe. He said Labour should be arguing for reform in Brussels without being against a referendum in principle.

Mr Balls’s remarks came as David Cameron today attacked Labour’s position on a future referendum. He said leader Ed Miliband could not criticise him for creating “uncertainty” – without saying if Labour was in favour of a poll or not.

Mr Balls insisted Labour had “absolutely not” ruled out a referendum. He said: “As long as we don’t allow ourselves to be caricatured as an anti-referendum party, which we’re not – we’ve absolutely not ruled out a referendum – I personally think that for now this is quite a comfortable position for us. “If we allow ourselves either to be the ‘status quo party’ on Europe, or the ‘anti-referendum party’ on Europe, then we’ve got a problem. “But I think we would be pretty stupid to allow ourselves to get into either of those positions.”

Mr Balls’s remarks appear to contradict Labour’s original position on holding a referendum. After Mr Cameron announced his plan to hold an in-out referendum by 2017, Mr Miliband said Labour’s position was: “We don’t want an in/out referendum.”

He said such a move would put “Britain through years of uncertainty and take a huge gamble with the economy”. A Labour source said it was “ridiculous” to suggest there was a difference between Mr Miliband and Mr Balls’s remarks.

The source said Labour was against announcing a referendum that would take place in four years time. The source added: “As Ed Miliband set out in his speech at the CBI in November, Labour believes our priorities should be to promote growth at home and secure influence abroad. “Both Ed Miliband and Ed Balls believe announcing an in/out referendum at the moment will not help either of these priorities.”  http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/eu-referendum-labour-stupid-rule-1704313


126392_600                  Steve Bell 28.11.14            jose-manuel-garcia-scottish-independence



29 October 2014: Cameron rejects giving Scotland veto in EU referendum

Prime Minister David Cameron rejected on Wednesday a proposal by the Scottish National Party (SNP) that the United Kingdom should only quit the European Union after a future referendum if a majority in each of its four constituent parts vote to do so.

Cameron has promised a referendum in 2017 on Britain’s continued EU membership if his Conservative Party, which has grown increasingly Eurosceptical, wins a 2015 national election.

Incoming SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon said earlier on Wednesday the United Kingdom’s EU exit should only go ahead if approved by majorities in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland as well as in England, home to 85 percent of the UK population.

“We are one United Kingdom. There will be one in/out referendum (for the EU) and that will be decided on a majority of those who vote. That is how the rules should work,” Cameron told the Westminster-based UK parliament in response to Sturgeon’s proposal.

Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have varying degrees of autonomy but the British government in London controls foreign policy and is not legally required to consult the regional administrations over issues such as EU membership.

However, the SNP criticised the stance, saying that London’s promises of real constitutional change after Scots rejected independence were being broken. “This knee-jerk rejection by the Prime Minister to a perfectly reasonable and balanced proposal to reflect Scotland’s interests in Europe flies in the face of what he and the No campaign promised during the independence referendum,” said Pete Wishart, an SNP member of the British parliament.

Polls show that Scots, are more likely to back EU membership than the English. The SNP have said that they are not seeking another referendum on Scottish independence, but that this depends on circumstances such as continued EU membership.

Scotland’s First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon said it would be wrong to force Scotland’s five million people to leave the EU against it’s own wishes. http://uk.reuters.com/article/2014/10/29/uk-britain-eu-scotland-idUKKBN0II1EV20141029


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18 February 2015: UK’s Labour under pressure over EU referendum as senior official quits

Britain’s opposition Labour Party came under pressure to offer voters a membership referendum on leaving the European Union on Wednesday after a senior official quit over the issue and a major donor prepared to call for a policy U-turn.

Unlike Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron, Labour has resisted offering such a referendum in the run-up to a close May 7 national vote, arguing it would hang a “closed for business” sign over Britain and that an EU exit would be disastrous.

It has said it would only offer a referendum if it deemed there was a substantial further shift of powers from London to Brussels, something that’s neither imminent nor likely.

But some in the left-wing party, parts of which have a tradition of Euroscepticism, argue it’s undemocratic to deprive voters of a say on something polls show many feel uneasy about.

There’s also disquiet — from a tactical viewpoint less than three months before the election — that Cameron’s Conservatives are the only ones offering to renegotiate Britain’s EU ties before holding such a referendum if re-elected.

On Wednesday, a former head of Labour’s ruling body, the National Executive Committee, said she was leaving the party and switching her support to the anti-EU UK Independence Party (UKIP) because she was “disillusioned” by its Europe stance.

Writing in the Daily Telegraph newspaper, former NEC chair Harriet Yeo said she had been told many senior Labour lawmakers favoured a referendum but had been asked not to speak out. “I cannot support this approach,” she wrote. “It is time to decide whether we remain in the EU. The only party I trust to offer us that choice is UKIP.”

Her resignation came as a major Labour donor prepared to urge Ed Miliband, the party’s leader, to commit to hold a referendum. “If Ed Miliband becomes prime minister in May and renegotiates without committing to a referendum, he will inevitably weaken the UK’s bargaining position,” businessman John Mills, who donated 1.65 million pounds to Labour in 2013, will tell a conference in London.

In remarks prepared for delivery to the event on alternatives to EU membership, he will say that other EU members will be more likely to take renegotiation seriously if there’s a substantial risk of Britain leaving the EU. http://uk.reuters.com/article/2015/02/18/uk-britain-politics-europe-idUKKBN0LM00A20150218


Ed Miliband and shadow chancellor Ed Balls                          arton5776


10 March 2015: Brown warns against making Scottish referendum mistakes with Europe

Gordon Brown has warned that those in favour of the UK’s membership of the European Union are running the risk of losing an referendum on the issue. In an article for this morning’s Guardian, he writes that Eurosceptics are using the same tactics of the pro-independence campaign in the Scottish referendum, which was closer than many predicted.

The former Prime Minister wrote:

“A poll that started off as a contest between two patriotic visions of Scotland’s future – one inside Britain one outside – descended into a choice: are you for Scotland or against Scotland? Thousands were persuaded that a yes vote was the only way to show themselves to be patriotic Scots.

“Anti-Europeans are slowly, and with surprisingly little public acknowledgement, pulling off the same trick by framing Europe – the subject of what could be the next referendum – in the same way. What should be a choice between two patriotic futures for Britain – one as part of Europe and one outside it – is already descending into a more basic emotional choice: are you for Britain, or are you for Europe?”

It is interesting that the premise of Brown’s piece seems to be an acceptance that an EU referendum is, if not inevitable, then at least likely. This would be at odds with Labour policy, as the party is heading into the election with a firm opposition to a referendum.

Brown says that if untackled, UKIP would engender widespread feeling that “blames foreigners, targets immigrants, engenders a siege mentality against the outsider and says that Britain is barely recognisable to those who believe in it.”

He is not the first major Labour figure to lend his support and advice to the pro-EU cause; Better Together chair Alistair Darling said on announcing his retirement from the Commons that he wanted to be more active campaigning for EU membership, while Alan Johnson is understood to share similar sentiments from inside Parliament.

Brown, who is standing down from Parliament this May, argues that there is a danger of “fighting with the wrong weapons” and that a “fact-based campaign” could alienate those who already feel left behind by politics:

“Sadly we pro-Europeans are in danger of fighting with the wrong weapons: a worthy, London establishment-led corporate-financed fact-based campaign of “the great and the good”, whose commitment to Europe is admirable but whose prominence will be used by anti-Europeans to justify the allegation that Europe is for an elite who don’t understand the real Britain.”

While all of this is an intriguing intervention from the former Chancellor, it has been largely overshadowed by his belief that Britain leaving the EU would make the country like North Korea, “out in the cold with few friends, no influence, little new trade and even less new investment.” http://labourlist.org/2015/03/brown-warns-against-making-scottish-referendum-mistakes-with-europe/



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31 January 2015: What are we going to do about the EU?

It would be reasonable to expect that austerity measures would be top of the 2015 GE agenda but the truth is that there is little difference between the big Westminster parties on austerity.

Sure the Conservatives are looking to claim Labour will raise the deficit with un-costed policies, but Labour also seem to be keen to show themselves as strong on the economy by denying that they will tax and spend.

Normally the parties would look for a unique selling point such as the SNP’s “Stronger for Scotland” but the Westminster parties have no substantial points of difference on key policies.

The exception being UKIP, the party that David Cameron really has to beat to win a majority, and that is why the UK General Election arguments will largely focus on the EU.

Last year Ipsos – Mori stated that 53% of Scots would vote to stay in the EU and 34% to leave, and Survation found that Scots were 5% less likely to support leaving the EU than the average for the rest of the UK.

I believe that if Labour doesn’t also offer a referendum on EU membership they won’t win outright, so I predict that regardless of who wins in May we will have an EU referendum.

That support for EU membership will rise in Scotland, especially given the SNP Government’s popularity and its full on commitment to EU membership, and that the rest of the UK will, through UKIP’s influence, move towards the exit door but it is too tight to call.

But will the Labour referendum include a veto for Scotland & Wales. If the Labour Party line is the same as the Tory and Lib/Dem Party’s will the Scottish Labour Party conform with the London labour Party or will it support the will of the Scottish electorate? http://www.businessforscotland.co.uk/what-are-we-going-to-do-about-the-europeans/


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Ruth Davidson – Ardent supporter of remaining in the EU Sees her future with the UK

Scottish Conservatives leader Ruth Davidson said she was strongly against a second referendum in a hastily arranged speech outside her party’s headquarters following Sturgeon’s address.

Davidson said: “I do not believe a second independence referendum will help us achieve that stability nor is it in the best interests of Scotland.

“The 1.6 million votes cast in this referendum in favour of Remain do not wipe away the two million No votes that we cast less than two years ago.

“Also, we do not address the challenges of leaving the European Union by leaving our own union of nations, our biggest market and our closest friends. I believe in Scotland’s place within the United Kingdom today as much as ever.

She added she believes the “strength, security and durability” of the United Kingdom will endure. http://stv.tv/news/politics/1358515-sturgeon-second-indyref-is-on-the-table-following-brexit/



Results by Country



24 June 2016: Cameron resigns (in October 2016) as Prime Minister following referendum defeat

The secretary of state for Scotland David Mundell has offered to meet the Scottish Government to discuss the country’s “next steps”.  Mundell said: “David Cameron has been a great leader of my party and of our country. I was proud to be one of his first supporters during the 2005 leadership election and I have never regretted that decision for a moment. “His achievements in rescuing our economy and in social reform will stand the test of time. Today he has once again put country before self.  “As the Prime Minister made clear this morning, the UK Government is absolutely committed to working closely with the Scottish Government to ensure they are fully involved in the negotiation process. The Prime Minister has already spoken to the First Minister and I have today offered to meet with the Scottish Government in Edinburgh to discuss next steps. The United Kingdom has fundamental strengths and this is a time for calmness and deliberation – not pushing other personal or political agendas.”


Lets Get the Alleged Trump Putin Link-up Into Context – MI6 & G.C.H.Q. Spymasters – Illegally Monitor – Investigate, Retain & Share Internet Data of Scottish MP’s- MSPs, Civil Servants and Everyone in Scotland




13 June 2013: GCHQ taps fibre-optic cables for secret access to world’s communications

British spy agency collects and stores vast quantities of global email messages, Facebook posts, internet histories and calls, and shares them with NSA, latest documents from Edward Snowden reveal.







25 June 2013: Is ‘The Five Eyes Alliance’ Conspiring to Spy on You?

Did you know that the United States, Canada, Britain, Australia, and New Zealand participate together in an electronic eavesdropping cooperative called “The Five Eyes Alliance”? Or that Britain “has secretly gained access to the network of cables which carry the world’s phone calls and internet traffic and has started to process vast streams of sensitive personal information which it is sharing with its American partner, the National Security Agency”? That’s big news, right!







27 January 2014: Snowden docs reveal British spies snooped on YouTube and Facebook

The British government taps into the cables carrying the world’s web traffic at will and spy on what people are doing on some of the world’s most popular social media sites, including YouTube, all without the knowledge or consent of the companies.






4 February 2014: Whistleblower Snowden Documents Show UK Spies Attacked Anonymous, Hackers

The blunt instrument the spy unit used to target hackers, however, also interrupted the web communications of political dissidents who did not engage in any illegal hacking. It may also have shut down websites with no connection to Anonymous.







7 February 2014: Whistleblower Snowden Documents Show British Spies Used Sex and ‘Dirty Tricks’

British spies have developed “dirty tricks” for use against nations, hackers, terror groups, suspected criminals and arms dealers that include releasing computer viruses, spying on journalists and diplomats, jamming phones and computers, and using sex to lure targets into “honey traps.”







24 July 2015: Holyrood targeted by British spooks at GCHQ

SPOOKS have changed top-secret rules so they are free to spy on MSPs. Explosive documents show that the UK’s electronic eavesdropping agency last month dumped guidelines which had constrained spies from tapping MSPs’ phones or hacking their emails.

The revelations about GCHQ will spark fury at Holyrood and reignite conspiracy theories about the role of the security services in fighting the growth of pro-independence feeling.

They are also likely to bolster fears the intelligence community were monitoring politicians’ and activists’ communications during the referendum campaign.

The fact that the change to existing guidelines was made in the aftermath of the September 18 vote might be viewed as an action taken to cover previous activities.

Internal policy documents obtained by the Record show GCHQ – responsible for mass surveillance in Britain – had extended the decades-old Wilson doctrine to MSPs until March of this year.

The convention is named after former prime minister Harold Wilson, who pledged in 1966 that MPs’ and peers’ phones would not be tapped.

In December 1997, then PM Tony Blair said it extended to electronic communication, including emails.

However, the policy was never officially extended to cover the devolved parliaments in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland once they were set up in 1999.

And while GCHQ said it had voluntarily treated MSPs in the same way as MPs until March this year, it can be revealed that they have now changed the policy so MSPs are no longer included.










In 2013, the late independent MSP Margo Macdonald asked the head of MI5 for assurances that the UK security services would stay out of the Scottish independence referendum.

It is not known what response she received but in an interview at the time, she said she believed the SNP and the Yes campaign had been infiltrated by the intelligence services.

Details of how the UK spooks are free to spy on MSPs emerged as the UK’s most secretive court began a rare public hearing.

It will examine what legal protections are in place to stop interception of elected politicians’ communications by the intelligence community.

The hearing of the Investigatory Powers Tribunal in London confirmed the emails and phone calls of MPs and members of the Lords should be protected by Wilson.

But MSPs – along with members of other devolved assemblies and the European Parliament – have no legal protection.

Before March, official guidelines to GCHQ staff said: “As a matter of policy, GCHQ applies the principles of the Wilson doctrine to Members of the House of Commons, Members of the House of Lords, UK MEPs, and Members of the Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish Assemblies.”





But new guidelines issued last month simply state: “The doctrine does not apply to …. the interception of communications of Members of the European Parliament or devolved assemblies.”

In their analysis of the documents, lawyers Ben Jaffey and Jude Bunting said: “All protection for devolved legislators has been removed.”

The pair are representing Green Party politicians Caroline Lucas and Lady Jones, who claim disclosures by whistleblower Edward Snowden made it clear GCHQ was capturing their communications – in breach of the Wilson agreement.










14 October 2015: GCHQ given green light to spy on MSPs, court rules

GCHQ is legally allowed to collect and read the private communications of MSPs, MPs and Lords, a court has ruled, overruling a decades old rule which forbade snooping on Westminster politicians.

In a surprise decision, the Investigatory Powers Tribunal (IPT) said the ‘Wilson doctrine’ did not preclude the bulk collection of data through programs such as Tempora, as exposed by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden.

Green Party MP Caroline Lucas, who brought the issue to court alongside Baroness Jenny Jones, called the ruling a “blow for parliamentary democracy.

Established by former Labour Prime Minister Harold Wilson in 1966, the rule forbids the interception of communications between MPs and their constituents by police or intelligence agencies. It came in response to complaints from MPs who were concerned their telephones were being tapped by security services.







Home Secretary Theresa May recently assured MPs that the decades-old convention remained in force.

The Wilson doctrine applies, but of course it is subject to proceedings that are taking place at the moment.

In its judgement, the IPT ruled that the Wilson doctrine has in practice “no legal effect.”

The Wilson doctrine does not operate so as to create a substantive legitimate expectation.”

The Wilson doctrine has no legal effect but in practice the [intelligence] agencies must comply with the draft code and with their own guidance. The regime for the interception of parliamentarians’ communications is in accordance with the law.”

The IPT added that unlike journalists’ and lawyers’ communications, there is no [European court of human rights] authority for enhanced protection of parliamentarians.


© Kieran Doherty



The Wilson doctrine, as now enunciated and put into effect, highlights a need for caution and circumspection in respect of parliamentarians’ communications. But such caution and circumspection will be called for in respect of many other types of confidential and sensitive private communications, which come to be considered under the interception regimes.”

Green MPs Caroline Lucas and Jenny Jones condemned the ruling as “deeply worrying.”

This judgement is a body-blow for parliamentary democracy. My constituents have a right to know that their communications with me aren’t subject to blanket surveillance – yet this ruling suggests that they have no such protection,” said Lucas.

The prime minister has been deliberately ambiguous on this issue – showing utter disregard for the privacy of those wanting to contact parliamentarians.”




A dispute among senior officials at the Government's top-secret listening post are to be exposed in a tribunal case brought by a civil servant.




20 January 2016: European human rights court rules mass surveillance illegal -Decision may kill off UK government spying law

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has ruled that mass surveillance is illegal, in a little-noticed case in Hungary.

In a judgement last week, the court ruled that the Hungarian government had violated article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights (the right to privacy) due to its failure to include “sufficiently precise, effective and comprehensive” measures that would limit surveillance to only people it suspected of crimes.

Under a section of the 2011 National Security Act, a minister of the government is able to approve a police request to search people’s houses, mail, phones and laptops if they are seeking to protect national security.

That process does not require judicial review or approval and the law does not provide the circumstances under which the surveillance can be ordered (unlike other parts of the same law). A minister can order the surveillance for 90 days and extend it by another 90 days and there is no obligation to delete any of the information gathered during that time once the surveillance is ended.





So what does this mean for the UK?

The decision cannot stop the UK government, for example, from passing legislation that allows for mass surveillance.

But it does mean that if the UK does, it will almost certainly be taken to the ECHR and found to have violated the European Convention. The UK government can of course continue to ignore that ruling, but it would face fines and it would lose international standing and reputation.

The Tory government is not a big fan of the court, having previously complained that it is interfering in national issues, as it did when it found that the UK government’s effort to extradite convicted terrorist Abu Qatada to Jordan was a violation of human rights, as he would be unlikely to get a fair trial.

In the end, the UK and Jordan agreed to a treaty that meant information extracted from him under torture could not be used in a trial (shortly after he was deported to Jordan and put on trial, found not guilty and released from jail in September 2014). Complete waste of many hundreds of thousands of pounds by the UK government.

As such, the ECHR’s rulings have been shown to have a direct and significant impact on the behaviour of countries within the European Union.




Surveillance graffiti image via shutterstock

Gordon Brown – Cloned From Machiavelli – Scotland Will Be Well Rid When He Eventually Departs Politics

brownGordon BrownPortrait_of_Niccolò_Machiavelli_by_Santi_di_TitoNiccolò Machiavelli


Gordon Brown, the master leaker, when he was Prime Minister, had the Tory Damien Green arrested on allegations of leaking information . Yet in July 1985, at the time he was interviewed by the BBC’s Frank Bough, he just couldn’t avoid gloating and smirking about the leaks he had orchestrated, received and passed on through his network of minions who were always eager to do his murky deeds. Many people will have cause to have hatred in their hearts for him. He has departed the scene as a politician, but he leaves a foul stench that will linger for years to come. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QIrweIqqsOc