Scottish and English nationalism

I am with the Prime Minister when he says the UK Parliament should decide on when the referendum on Scottish independence is held, and what the question should be. Scottish nationalist concerns will be recognised by the UK Parliament holding a referendum on the topic, and by agreeing to their view that only Scottish voters should have a vote on this Union matter.

The referendum electorate raises issues which Westminster has to solve. Do people born in Scotland, temporarily resident in England, get a vote? Do people born in England, now resident in Scotland, get a vote? Should the referendum take the already established Scottish electoral roll, or should we allow a possible surge in new registrations as interested people register themselves at a Scottish address for it? What are the correct qualifications by residence, property ownership and employment? There are difficult issues in creating Scottish nationalist purity in the electorate when the two countries have become so intermingled by blood, marriage and residence.

The Prime Minister hopes that by offering a simple question soon to the Scots on whether they wish to remain in the union with the rest of the UK or not, he will secure a Yes vote. This makes him a very traditional Conservative and Unionist. The latest modernisers in the Conservative party now include some who are more English nationalist. Whilst for Scots arguing over their identity and external relationships the prime issue is England, for the English arguing over the same things the main issue is the EU.

The Prime Minister will discover when moving into this territory for public debate that English nationalism is on the rise. In a way that is what Mr Salmond hoped for and has helped promote. Scottish nationalism is becoming more popular in England, as more English think they could be better off without the UK. The dream ticket for a modern English nationalist is a decision by Scotland to leave the UK, followed by the ending of membership of the EU because the member, the UK, no longer exists. Paradoxically, making the traditional case for the maintenance of the UK, the government may find itself drawn into the territory it is less keen to explore, the continuation of the UK’s membership of the EU.The EU itself apparently does not welcome the idea of Scotland breaking away from the UK. This may help win Yes votes in Scotland, but will antagonise more English voters the other way. Were Scotland to leave the UK the EU would have to renegotiate its relationship with what remained, as the new country that emerged after Scotland left would need a new name and would be smaller, affecting all the numbers for votes, contributions and the rest. It would also be a more Eurosceptic country.

Whilst the Prime Minister can take comfort from the fact that he can deny the English a vote on the Scottish question, and concentrate on the debate north of the border, he may find there is more debate about Englishness and English nationalism as a result of events in Scotland. He will need to build on his “No” to France and Germany over Treaty change, and demonstrate that he understands the EU frustrations of many English nationalists and of those who are thinking of joining them. He will need to offer more to avoid the divorce of this movement from the Conservative party.

It is a bold move to challenge Mr Salmond’s apparant leadership on this issue of identity. Saying bring it on, and providing focus to the debate is fine. Some in Scotland will counter that this is a Scottish matter, not a Union one. Mr Cameron needs to win this argument rapidly with a few well chosen soundbites. It has to be understood, however, that the politics of identity and belonging is about the most explosive type of politics there is. The English have been quiet for a long time, but the English lions are awakening. This may just be the alarm call they were wanting. The English too have an independence agenda. It mainly relates to the EU. The problem for the Prime Minister is the EU is now strongly linked to the union of the UK, both legally, and in people’s minds.

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245 Comments

  1. Mick Anderson
    Posted January 10, 2012 at 6:52 am | Permalink

    JR: Very subtly put.

    I’d be more blunt – if the Scots are allowed a referendum on the UK, why can’t the UK have one on the EU? This looks like naked self-interest, as losing the Scottish MPs from Westminster improves the chance of the Conservatives being in office.

    • Gary
      Posted January 10, 2012 at 8:57 am | Permalink

      I think you are inadvertently actually undermining mr Redwood’s argument. We have been clamoring for a UK referendum on the EU , without interference by the EU in that referendum, on the basis that we are entitled to decide our own future. Is this not the exact argument Scotland is making ?

      Reply: Scotland is in a different position within the UK union from the UK within the EU. They ceded these constitutional powers which the UK has not yet ceded to the EU

      • Jason O'Mahony
        Posted January 10, 2012 at 10:39 am | Permalink

        But isn’t that up to the Scottish people to decide? If Brussels used a legal device to tamper with a British EU referendum, you’d reach for your revolver John!

        • lojolondon
          Posted January 10, 2012 at 8:23 pm | Permalink

          Not ‘tamper’. AS must make it happen or shut up. I bet he will shut up.

          • RoberT Peffers
            Posted February 7, 2012 at 4:41 pm | Permalink

            Wanna bet?

      • John C
        Posted January 10, 2012 at 4:53 pm | Permalink

        “which the UK has not yet ceded to the EU”

        Surely that is the major point.

        Many of us believe that too many powers have indeed been ceded to the EU without a vote since 1975.

        By calling for a Scottish vote I think Cameron has scored an own goal. More people will demand a Yes/No vote re: the EU. If the Scot’s can have a vote, so can we.

        • zorro
          Posted January 10, 2012 at 7:16 pm | Permalink

          In the case of Scotland, what is ceded can be seceded. They have their own Parliament, and their own legal, educational and religious arrangements. Scotland is a country which, on 1 May 1707, entered into an incorporating political union with England to create the United Kingdom of Great Britain. This union resulted from the Treaty of Union agreed in 1706 and enacted by the twin Acts of Union passed by the Parliaments of both countries.
          I am not Scottish, but Mr Cameron needs to think a little bit about historical context (I know that it is not one of his strong points). It’s not like trying to scare Brown off an early election like in 2007 by pretending to be up for it. I think that Salmond is far tricksier than Brown…..
          By calling for this, Cameron is appearing to act like a ‘bullying Tory’ for no good effect. I doubt that it would make any difference and by appearing to say that he will set the question and time, he appears to be ‘overlording’ it. Scotland entered into a political union with England. If it wants to leave, it should be on its own terms. If it votes in its Parliament to leave it should be allowed to take steps to do so, just as we would want to in England….
          Cameron likes to call people’s bluff. He needs to know that not everyone is dazzled by his PR persona.
          We could also leave Europe if we had a majority in Parliament to repeal the 1972 Act….

          zorro

          • Kenny MacPherson
            Posted March 20, 2012 at 1:26 am | Permalink

            I can’t help but like the comment on this from “zorro” that highlights the fact that the Treaty of Union was between two nation states that mutually agreed to create the Union of the Parliament’s. Mr Redwood’s views are correct if England “consumed” Scotland into a “superstate” and in this case the rules of secession would apply, but this is not the case we have in the UK – at least between Scotland and England!

            As a Scot, my outside perspective of English “identity” has only risen to prominence since the rise of Irish, Scottish and Welsh nationalism in varying flavours and degrees, culminating in the 1999 openings of the Scottish Parliament, Welsh Assembly and (to a lesser degree) Stormont.

            Prior to these, it seemed to me that England was comfortable with the Union arrangement so much that there was little differentiation between the terms “Britain” and “England”. The terms were used interchangeably (by the English, and still by Americans!) and even England’s greatest sporting moment in 1966 saw crowds hailing Geoff Hurst et al by waving British Union Flags instead of English George Crosses. While sport is trivial, it does help prove the concept, and I would suggest that this “brand-confusion” is what is at the heart of the problem here: while for England their was little discernibly different between England and Britain, for the other countries of the United Kingdom, there most certainly was!

    • Disaffected
      Posted January 10, 2012 at 10:22 am | Permalink

      Spot on.

    • Gaz
      Posted January 15, 2012 at 9:07 pm | Permalink

      I agree

  2. Antisthenes
    Posted January 10, 2012 at 7:03 am | Permalink

    If Scotland was to gain independence then a large proportion of the Labour vote would be lost. This could make it very unlikely that Labour would ever again win an election or at least make it extremely hard for them to do so. On that basis alone Scottish independence must be a very attractive proposition. The perception is that Scotland costs the English taxpayer more than the taxpayer gets in return from Scotland if true then that is another attraction for a split. If you are correct that it would fundamentally change the rest of the UK relationship with the EU then that is a plus. Holding a nation in a union when one of those nations is not wholeheartedly behind that union causes friction and resentment. So for the sake of harmony independence is the better option. I cannot see any problem with granting Scotland independence, however I am sure wiser heads than mine can point them out to me.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted January 10, 2012 at 9:25 am | Permalink

      For a start, how about the potential problems for England in once again, after three centuries, having a land border with a foreign power which was free to determine its own foreign and defence policies?

      • Anthony Harrison
        Posted January 10, 2012 at 10:46 am | Permalink

        Denis, not to mention immigration policies…

      • John Bracewell
        Posted January 10, 2012 at 10:54 am | Permalink

        It’s not really a problem. We could rebuild Hadrian’s Wall and staff the look-out posts with the fine upstanding members of the UK Border Force (or the UK minus Scotland Border Force). That should mean we are never again infiltrated by the marauding Scots! There is still the problem about repatriating those Scots that have chosen to slum it in England.

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted January 10, 2012 at 5:04 pm | Permalink

          But why do you wish to cede half of Newcastle and a large part of Northumberland to Scotland?

          • zorro
            Posted January 10, 2012 at 7:19 pm | Permalink

            Yes, we need to rebuild the Antonine Wall….and take some of their farming land! They have lots of space up there….

            zorro

      • James Allan
        Posted January 10, 2012 at 11:04 am | Permalink

        We have one with the Republic of Ireland. The world still spins and the sun still rises. What’s the problem?
        An independent England is for me, and i suspect many people, a very attractive option. Less powerful internationally yes, but it would allow the English people to express themselves fully vis a vis the EU, immigration, welfare etc.

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted January 10, 2012 at 5:02 pm | Permalink

          Precisely, the UK has a land border with a foreign power, the Irish Republic, and while that hasn’t stopped the rotation of the earth it has been found by experience that having a land border with a foreign power creates problems which do not exist in the absence of a land border; why then should it be so easily assumed that there would be no such problems if England itself once again had a land border with a foreign power?

          • lifelogic
            Posted January 11, 2012 at 11:11 am | Permalink

            Indeed any they are building two more rather contrived & artificial and indeed long ones Scotland and Wales.

      • James Matthews
        Posted January 10, 2012 at 11:21 am | Permalink

        There would be consequences, but whether they are problems depends on your point of view. Immigration could be an issue, but for myself I would happily accept a properly controlled border in order to be rid of disaffected Scots.

        What other “problems do you have in mind? Border cattle raiding? French invasion via Berwick? Russian bases on the Clyde? All possible I suppose, but increasingly unlikely. The flip side of declining power is declining importance as a target.

        The UK managed to live with a and border with a foriegn power (Ireland) even during the second World War. England can probably do likewise with Scotland.

        In an ideal world of course you would be right. Everything else being equal it would be best if this island comprised one nation and one state. Sadly though everything else is not equal.

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted January 10, 2012 at 5:18 pm | Permalink

          Your complacency and short-sightedness is pretty shocking.

          If Scotland became an independent sovereign state then that would be potentially forever, there would be unlimited time for the Scottish government of one complexion or another to make alliances against England and allow one enemy or another to set up military bases on its territory, and whereas now the Parliament in London, dominated by MPs elected in England, can always prevent anything like that happening even before it starts that would no longer be the case.

          • libertarian
            Posted January 10, 2012 at 11:08 pm | Permalink

            Denis I’m surprised by this line of thinking of yours, most unlike you.

            What IF we didn’t have Scottish independence and in an unlimited time the nationalists became militant and started a 30 plus year terror campaign?

            As someone who lives 25 miles from France I can assure you we already have a porous border with a foreign power, and if you think the channel is any kind of barrier you are sadly mistaken. The French could hit my house with a fairly standard artillery piece these days.

            You seem to overlook the fact that Scotland would have exactly the same worries about England, so the most likely scenario is a series of treaties and agreements. I would imagine that like the RoI Scotland will be quite heavily dependent on England for a large part of its trade.

          • James Matthews
            Posted January 11, 2012 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

            Well yes. Of course it would be forever. So is Irish independence. I am not complacent, I just accept reality. If Scotland does not decide to go in 2014 it will do so by 2024.
            In order for sharing a state to be viable in the medium or long term there has to exist a minimum of consent and common identity. For whatever reason nither sufficient consent, nor common identity, now exist between the English and the Scots.

            However, so long as the remainder of the UK government is as determined in its pursuit of the interests of the majority as the Scottish government is in pursuit of the interests of the minority when the independence settlement is negotiated (by no means a certainty, I accept) the sky is not going to fall in when Scotland leaves. Indeed it will in many ways be an immense relief to be shot of five million disaffected Scots.

            Step back from seeing Britain’s place in the world through mid- twentieth century eyes and you will see the point. It is regretable that the United Kingdom has come to this, but it has and we have to face to it.

      • Antisthenes
        Posted January 10, 2012 at 12:21 pm | Permalink

        Can we not rebuild Hadrian’s walls?

        • alan jutson
          Posted January 10, 2012 at 3:28 pm | Permalink

          “can we not build Hadrians walls”

          Planning may not allow it , but then I suppose it depends on who applies.

          The Party Wall Act may come into use here.

      • RoberT Peffers
        Posted February 7, 2012 at 6:47 pm | Permalink

        Oh! Cummon!

        The UK has had a border to a foreign country for a long time. Between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland and it was at war with them before it came about.

        Have you not heard about the Schengen Accord?
        Most European nations are signed up to it and not just the EU. The UK is not. Go type in Schengen Accord or Schengen Agreement into google. If anyonr builds border posts it will not be Scotland.

    • uanime5
      Posted January 10, 2012 at 8:12 pm | Permalink

      As the UK will be smaller without Scotland the changes to the UK relationship with the EU will be less votes, less MEPs, and less influence. We will also have to pay less because our GDP will be lower.

      • RoberT Peffers
        Posted February 7, 2012 at 6:53 pm | Permalink

        More misinformation.
        Are you suggesting that Scotland and England will be enemies if Scotland leaves? What rot. We have far more in common than with any other nation of Earth.
        Lets just correct a couple of your misconceptions.
        There were only two countries that signed the Treaty of Union.
        Scotland & England. If Scotland or England go independent there Is still a United Kingdom, (same queen) but NO parliament of that UK.
        As to Europe both countries are members and will, if they wish, remain so. Our EU interests are almost identical. We will jointly have more seats and we are, believe it or not, best pals. Why would we not back each other up?

    • RoberT Peffers
      Posted February 7, 2012 at 4:44 pm | Permalink

      Who is, “We”?
      Do you mean the English, The British, the Welsh, The Irish?

  3. figurewizard
    Posted January 10, 2012 at 7:03 am | Permalink

    Mr Salmond once told the Scots that independence would result in an ‘arc of prosperity’, including Iceland and Ireland. We now know that thanks to RBS and HBOS this would have actually meant joining an arc of bankruptcy with Scotland’s 5.2 million population facing the biggest problem. The whole of the UK, meaning largely the tax payers out of England’s 51.2 million picked up the bill instead.

    How any Scottish voter could trust their future to someone who has demonstrated such an amusing lack of judgement in the past would be surprising to put it mildly but if that’s how Scotland wants then let them have it. After all if they do run in trouble there’s always the EU to lend a hand just as they are doing for Greece at the moment.

    • RoberT Peffers
      Posted February 7, 2012 at 5:02 pm | Permalink

      Where do you people get your misinformation?

      Want truth – here it is.
      There is only two banks in the United Kingdom that are independent banks. The first is the Airdrie Savings Bank in Scotland. The Other is the United Kingdom’s state bank, wrongly named, “The Bank of England”, This bank was nationalised in 1946 by the UNITED KINGDOM Government as the state bank of THE UNITED KINGDOM. Then, in 1998 Gordon Brown made it an independent company. It’s not English.

      As to all other banks, including RBS, HBOS, (Halifax never moved to Scotland) , and such as the HSBC, (Hongkong & Shanghi Banking Company), are all Public Limited Companies. That means they have floated shares on the London Stock Market and are owned by their shareholders. Also they pay their tax to the UNITED KINGDOM Treasury. Just where do you get your misinformation from?

  4. Mike Stallard
    Posted January 10, 2012 at 7:05 am | Permalink

    Hey – this is my country that you are talking about!

    I asked my wife what she thought about Scottish independence. Not interested. She speaks for an awful lot of people.

    Me – I am torn between a desire for local government ( independence from the all embracing EU dominated London) and a desire for Mr Cameron and Her Majesty the Queen to represent a decent sized chunk of real estate. Mr Blair got Scotland horribly wrong.

    I suspect that in London there is a lot more interest in Scottish Independence than there is in the rest of the country. And that frightens me as the land that I love is being torn in half by half baked people in incompetent Edinburgh.

    • RoberT Peffers
      Posted February 7, 2012 at 5:07 pm | Permalink

      Chuckle, Scotland is better run that the rest of the UK. We have free prescriptions, free Higher Education and free home care for the sick, elderly and disabled. Scotland gets a block grant and it is capped. The Scottish budget is balanced every year. England is funded as if she were the UK, it is not capped, and the UK has a £3 Trillion national debt.

      I’m waiting for the subsidy junkie jibe to shoot that down too.

  5. Peter van Leeuwen
    Posted January 10, 2012 at 7:14 am | Permalink

    By drawing analogies, the article appears to suggest that the European Parliament should decide on the date and the question put in a UK referendum. After all, many people on the continent and in Ireland have a stake in Britain’s relationship with the EU. Of course we’re not interested in interfering in what is a matter for the British people.
    I happen to think that the Scottish government is wise in allowing a long period before the Scottish referendum and that it has been perfectly clear about the date.
    British opinions about the EU will not depend on a Scottish referendum. Conversely, possible eurosceptic British politics with the EU and English nationalism are likely to affect the Scottish opinions. For more clarity about the British and English course of action, Scottish nationalists would be wise not to hurry their referendum about independence.

    Reply: Nonsense – not even our political elite has yet ceded the power to the European Parliament to make such decisions. Scotland did cede that power to the UK Parliament in 1707, and has lived with it ever since, never electing more than a handful of Nationlists to the Union Parliament.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted January 10, 2012 at 9:28 am | Permalink

      “Of course we’re not interested in interfering in what is a matter for the British people.”

      What’s with this recurrent “we”, Peter?

      Who are you speaking for, apart from youself?

      • Peter van Leeuwen
        Posted January 10, 2012 at 10:32 am | Permalink

        @Denis: You’ve got a point, I cannot claim to speak for the Dutch or “the continentals”, just for myself. All the same, I haven’t seen anybody outside the UK saying when the UK should have a referendum or what its question should be.

    • Peter van Leeuwen
      Posted January 10, 2012 at 10:34 am | Permalink

      @Mr Redwood: A handful of nationalist MPs in the H.o.C. but a majority of nationalists in the Scottish parliament. I don’t know how much power the devolved Scottish parliament and government have, but surely they cannot be prevented from choosing their own referendum with their own question at their chosen time? I imagine that the UK parliament will still have to decide whether or not it will accept the outcome of such a referendum. A clever SNP wouldn’t even ask for full independence if they feel that they wouldn’t win such a referendum. As a unionist (European unionist) I hope the UK will manage to stay together, just like Belgium, Spain and other countries with independence movements.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted January 10, 2012 at 5:23 pm | Permalink

        They only have the power which has been devolved to them through this Act of the UK Parliament:

        http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1998/46/contents

        and this is a matter which the UK Parliament has reserved to itself, not a devolved matter.

        • Peter van Leeuwen
          Posted January 11, 2012 at 5:43 am | Permalink

          @Denis: Accepted. The date (autumn 2014) has now been specified, I expect that the type of question will not have to be settled until 2014. Enough time to come to some amicable agreement between Scotland and the UK.

        • RoberT Peffers
          Posted February 7, 2012 at 7:16 pm | Permalink

          Wanna bet?

          The Scots people by law are sovereign, not the queen.
          I’ll prove it for you as the facts will be easy to find on line.

          There is no English style Trespass Law in Scotland because as sovereign the people own Scotland. Her Majesty attempted to stop members of the public crossing her Balmoral Estate by rights of way but she could not do so as Scots have right to roam as they own Scotland. Thren we have the law about clamping vehicles on private land as they do in England. If the landlord clamps a vehicle in Scotland he/she is charged with demanding money with menace.

          Here is the basic plot – The Scots people are sovereign and Her Majesty is NOT Queen of Scotland but IS Queen of Scots.
          In fact the Monarch is not sovereign and chosen by Scot and is the people’s subject. The UK is a Constitutional monarchy and that means the sovereign power is delegated to the elected parliament. So in England the Monarch’s sovereignty passes to the elected Parliament. The Scottish people’s sovereignty passes to their elected parliament.

          Right! Well this is how it stands just now:
          Westminster has a coalition government.
          It has only one elected Tory from Scotland.
          It has only 11 LibDem MPs elected from Scotland.
          There are 59 MP elected from Scotland in total.
          That means Wastemonster has NO Mandate from the Scottish sovereign people, who also have a legal right to sack the monarch and and as the Monartchs powers are delegated to the Parliament we can sack them lelally.

          On the other hand the Holyrood parliament has been given a massive mandate by the people. We can leave if we vote to do so.

          What is more, when Holyrood was first convened Winnie Ewing, bnefore Her Majesty, stated that the OLD Scottish Parliament was being reconvened. The Queen had there on the table the Sceptre, and so on as the marks of state AND the NEW Great Seal of Scotland that must be used to open parliament AND TO PUT THE ROYAL SEAL ON PASSED ACTS without which they are not legal.

          Now go figure if Wastemonster has power to prevent a referendum?

          Reply: Westminster has no wish to deny the Scottish people a referendum – indeed we want you to get on with it and let us know asap the answer. All the time the Scottish people stay in the Union then Westminster has the authority to govern – only a majority verdict in a referendum can remove the authority of Westminster in Scotland, as you should understand. If the Scottish people are as you suggest so keen on independence, why did they not elect a full slateof independence seeking SNP MPs to Westminster? That would have sent a clear message and would have triggered change.

    • Anthony Harrison
      Posted January 10, 2012 at 10:57 am | Permalink

      Is Peter van Leeuwen from Belgium – a country riven by linguistic, national and political tensions just about suppressed through EU membership – or the Netherlands, where there is a strong undercurrent of dissatisfaction with the EU and in particular with its effect on immigration…? I think we should be told.

      • Peter van Leeuwen
        Posted January 10, 2012 at 4:20 pm | Permalink

        @Anthony Harrison: I don’t think I ever hide that I’m from the Netherlands, though a large part of my family are Scottish and English. In the Netherlands you’ll meet lots of dissatisfactions, including the one you’re referring to. Interestingly, the minority government, lead by the very conservative liberal Rutte, has become much more Europhile over the last year, realising on which side their bread is buttered. (NB: “conservative liberal” – realise that there are many political tastes and parties over here)

        • libertarian
          Posted January 10, 2012 at 11:15 pm | Permalink

          Peter,

          You hit the nail firmly on the head there when you said the politicians know which side their bread is buttered-absolutely correct.

          Sadly it doesn’t coincide with the wishes, needs and wants of a majority of ordinary people.

          • Peter van Leeuwen
            Posted January 11, 2012 at 3:51 pm | Permalink

            @libertarian: in our country, politicians represent people. In money terms, many Dutch politicians make a sacrifice, they could earn multiple wages in the private sector. As politicians they realize that the Netherlands (ordinary) people do well out of the single market and the euro. May I add that, just yesterday, McKinsey & Company valued the euro benefit for Holland 5 x higher than our Dutch, staunchly independent CPB (I’ll keep that for another blog entry, as this deviates too much from the Scotland issue).

    • Kevin Swift
      Posted January 10, 2012 at 4:41 pm | Permalink

      “Scotland did cede that power to the UK Parliament in 1707, and has lived with it ever since,”.

      Indeed, but those ceded that power had no democraric mandate to do so.

      Reply: Most states were not democracies in 1707. Their governments had other legitimacy in the eyes of the citizens.

      • Kevin Swift
        Posted January 10, 2012 at 8:04 pm | Permalink

        First, I have to apologise for the poor proof reading of my first post!
        Second, it’s true that democracy was a rare beast in 1707 but that in no way makes the loss of those powers a good deal for the people outside the elite group of decision makers.

    • RoberT Peffers
      Posted February 7, 2012 at 5:12 pm | Permalink

      There is an even more simple reason. Look at the sheer ignorance expressed on this very blog. Now why do you think that is? I had better tell you as it is not at first clear. The BBC is part of the, “Establishment”, and it is nothing more than a propaganda unit for that, “Establishment”. The Scottish dead tree press are loseing readers at a great rate as they too are Establishment mouthpieces. We have great trouble getting the truth out to the Scottish people.

  6. Kevin Ronald Lohse
    Posted January 10, 2012 at 7:35 am | Permalink

    Surely the UK, of Wales, N. Ireland and England, would still remain? After all, the Euro will remain when Greece drops out. My son was born in Scotland and at present is resident in Australia. Does he get a vote?
    Have you considered that Mr Salmond would rather use the question of Scottish nationalism as a political bargaining tool and populist rabble rouser than have to take on the onerous duties of running an independent state? His reaction to the PM’s offer seems to indicate that an independent Scottish State is not at the top of his agenda right now.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted January 10, 2012 at 9:40 am | Permalink

      I’d say that logically if your son is still a British citizen and he is still eligible to be an overseas voter in a UK parliamentary election in one of the 59 constituencies in Scotland, then he should also be eligible to vote in the referendum irrespective of his place of birth.

      http://www.aboutmyvote.co.uk/faq/overseas_voters.aspx

      • RoberT Peffers
        Posted February 7, 2012 at 7:28 pm | Permalink

        You will notice, now that I draw attention to it, that the SNP normally do not talk about the Scots or the Scottish people. The usual phrase is, “The People Of Scotland”, and they mean that as being inclusive of colour, creed, ethnic background, religion, place or country of birth. We have all sorts in the party. In Scotland we don’t have ghettos we have inclusion. We find that after at least a generation the incomers consider themselves as Scottish as the next man. We like it that way. That is not to say we don’t have racist nutters, everywhere has those. Believe it or not, there are lots of English people, or of English descent, card carrying members of the party. If you had paid attention you may have heard Alex Salmond declare on TV that in his view the English were our best pals and that is how he wants it to remain.

    • RoberT Peffers
      Posted February 7, 2012 at 5:28 pm | Permalink

      Oh! Spare me that rubbish! Mr Salmond is 100% wanting an Independent Scotland. Not because he hates the English but because the United Kingdom has been robbing Scotland since 1707. Want a few true figures?

      The McCrone Report was kept secter by the UK government for 30 years. It told the UK Government that the North Sea Oil was really Scotland’s oil and that was why it was buried.
      In fact between 95% and 98% of the oil & gas revenues, (The difference is due to wells off line for repair.etc). is from Scottish Waters. The UK Government created a pretend country off Scotland’s shoreline that they named, “Extra Regio Territories”, with the revenue NOT credited as Scottish. To make matters worse, they calculate as Scottish only a per capita share of around 8.5% of that revenue. So that is 95% minus 8.5% that totals 86% of North Sea revenues being stolen from Scotland. It is, by no means, the olny theft. The Crown Estates profits from rents & Royalties from Scotland’s Crown Estates, (and Scotland has the longest coastline in Europe), goes right to the UK Treasury. The fines levied by the Scottish Courts, (Scottish law is independent), goes right into the UK Treasury.

      Are you begining to get the big picture?

  7. lifelogic
    Posted January 10, 2012 at 7:35 am | Permalink

    Indeed the independence of Scotland, and indeed of England, is clearly a matter for the English to have some in say too. My main concern is the independence of both (and the restoration of democracy) from EU control. Can we vote on that please at some point. What would be the point of an independent Scotland with the EU still calling all the shots and tightening the ratchet on both with every new mad directive?

    • lifelogic
      Posted January 10, 2012 at 11:07 am | Permalink

      I see as expected Justine Greening has pressed on with the absurd HS2. She is trained as an accountant I see. No sensible accountant or engineer I know would think this a good idea after about an hour’s consideration with a spreadsheet or even just the back of a small envelope.

      It is clearly not green, not economic and not remotely sensible especially when the government is broke. What are the real forces driving this insanity?

      • zorro
        Posted January 10, 2012 at 7:22 pm | Permalink

        EU related as ever……

        zorro

      • BobE
        Posted January 10, 2012 at 10:03 pm | Permalink

        Lifelogic,
        These projects are designed to spread large sums of money around the business world. This will last over 20 years. An ex-politician is quite likely to be able to harvest a directorship or at least a consultancy once they are out of office. Its effectivly a money go round and a future support system. Its a bit like the house of Lords being a benefit system for the upper classes.
        BobE

        • lifelogic
          Posted January 11, 2012 at 11:18 am | Permalink

          Indeed this seems the only sensible explanation.

      • Single Acts
        Posted January 12, 2012 at 12:43 am | Permalink

        In her case, I might say somewhat uncharitably, career.

    • RoberT Peffers
      Posted February 7, 2012 at 5:37 pm | Permalink

      You really need to learn the truth and you are not going to get it from Wastemonster MPs. The truth is that ALL UK peole and ALL UK countries, (never mind how many times The PM calls the UK a country – it is not. It is a political union of four countries. However, there is already form for countries splitting up and what happens. All four UK countries are already EU countries and will remain so after they split up. They will though, need to renegotiate some of their terms. BTW: There were only two signatories on the Treaty of Union that formed the UK. Scotland & England. When, (not if), Scotland leaves there will be no rump UK. There was NO Rump UK before the treaty so they return to the Status quo.

  8. Andy Hopkins
    Posted January 10, 2012 at 8:01 am | Permalink

    How would any potential split deal with the current national debt? The Scottish people would surely have to take on a large proportion of these debts given the situation of RBS and HBOS?

    • Antisthenes
      Posted January 10, 2012 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

      Easy revalue all UK national debt in the new Scottish currency in no time flat the SNP and Labour will trash the Scottish economy and the the new currency will be worthless. It’s a win win situation for all concerned.

      • RoberT Peffers
        Posted February 7, 2012 at 7:39 pm | Permalink

        How ignorant can you be?

        Whatever makes you think that Sterling is the English currency?
        Here are facts you can find on the web.
        The Bank of England is NOT English as it was nationalised by THE UNITED KINGDOM in 1946 as the UNITED KINGDOM state Bank.

        England is NOT the UNITED KINGDOM and it never was.

        Sterling is an international trading currency, (around 4Th or 5Th in the World.

        Neither HBOS nor BOS are Scottish and there are no English banks in England.

        All these are Public Limited Companies.
        That means they have been floated on the Stock Exchange, (and they trade in shares). So the banks are all owned by their shareholders who could live anywhere in the World.

        What they are is registered to pay tax to the Treasury of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. The United Kingdom is not English.
        Simples!

    • Tony Baverstock
      Posted January 10, 2012 at 12:46 pm | Permalink

      This point gets lots of mentions but remember HBOS is owned by Lloyds a English company. RBS is a Scottish company but it does have substantial operations in the UK. Even if Scotland had been independent the UK Government could not have allowed it to go into administration so would have had to contribute to any rescue. Just as other European countries did with Fortis and now with Dexia.

      • RoberT Peffers
        Posted February 7, 2012 at 8:00 pm | Permalink

        Wrong! ALL banks in the UK, (except the Airdrie Savings bank), are public Limited Companies.

        Another Exception is the mis-named Bank Of England which is not English, (Nationalised in 1946 as the UK national bank and made independent by Gordon Brown in 1998).

        Furthermore all that junk about bailing them out is utter lies. What the UK government did was stand guarantor for some and purchase one but that could, done properly, bring a profit.

    • forthurst
      Posted January 10, 2012 at 1:59 pm | Permalink

      Presumably it would be based upon relative population. Was that another reason why the previous Labour administration of Scots sectretly imported so many new ‘Britons’ to grace our country? Perhaps they should inherit the lot of them if they decide to leave; they are after all no more English than they are Scottish.

      • Andrew Johnson
        Posted January 10, 2012 at 6:33 pm | Permalink

        Well, it all depends on what you mean by “English”. The “English” are not mentioned on the UK passport, or indeed on most on line forms. If they have been given British citizenship, then they are British. My own experience is that depending on where immigrants have come from, they often hold more “English” views and attitudes and consequently live in a more “English” manner than some native born “English”.

        • forthurst
          Posted January 10, 2012 at 7:53 pm | Permalink

          What are “English” views exactly and what is an “English” manner? You know perfectly well who the English are and by the same token, who they are not.

      • RoberT Peffers
        Posted February 7, 2012 at 8:07 pm | Permalink

        First of all there is no rule that says per capita, (population based). After all the UK grabs the around 95% of revenues from Scotland’s North Sea sector but only credits Scotland with a per capita 8.5% part of it. Obviously, as it comes out of Scottish territory, 98% should be counted as Scottish. Then we have the Scottish Crown Estates rentals and Royalties and Scotland has the longest shoreline in Europe. 100% of the profits from that goes to the UK as does 100% of the fines levied in Scottish courts.

    • RoberT Peffers
      Posted February 7, 2012 at 5:51 pm | Permalink

      Chuckle! Oh! Come on! Scotland is bearing her share of that debt as it is just now.
      However, if you want the truth I’ll give it to you.
      Before the days of the first union of the Crowns, (1603), the English passed several versions of, “The English Navigational Acts”, and these cause them no end of bother. It led them to wars with several European countries and they ran up a massive National Debt. What these Acts did was to stop any other nation from trading with the colonies unless they either used English merchant marine or supplied there own ships but crewed them with English crews. That, in case you wondered was what caused Scotland to become broke. They could not even trade with England unless by those acts. The English merchants held them to ransome and drove prices down. This is what led to the Darian Expedition and even that was a set up by England. They first promised that England and the Dutch would put up 50% of the costs. They then pulled out after the ships, crews and stores were arranged. The expedition was thus underfunded from that point. Then the Monarch, (shared by both), ordered the Royal Navy not to hepl the Scottish ships and the Monarch’s soldiers, (at Darian), not to help the settlers. Even then, when Scotland signed the Treaty of Union the Scots had NO national debt but they were broke. England had a massive National debt and the Scots were landed with it too, after the treaty. Can we assume that will be factored in to the calculations after we leave and our share of the national debt is calculated?

      Reply: There are other interpretations of these events. I doubt the 1706 debts will figure porminently in any discussion about the exit of Scotland from the UK today. They would now be de minimis anyway.

  9. Pete the Bike
    Posted January 10, 2012 at 8:10 am | Permalink

    So once again English people are treated as second class citizens. We are not allowed a view on whether we should be in the EU and now, apparently, we are not entitled to a voice on Scottish independence.
    So we merely cattle whose only use is to provide votes to the ruling elite to legitimise their positions and tax to fund their bribes and incompetence. Democracy only applies when the ones staging the voting believe they can control the result.
    Why do our politicians simply do away with the pretence and put us all in our place? Bring in proper state controls on movement, capital and political views like the USA has done.
    Don’t forget the news on the ludicrous high speed rail link- more democracy in action??

    • electro-kevin
      Posted January 10, 2012 at 5:26 pm | Permalink

      I hear that HS2 is to be ‘Y’ shaped – the same as our coffins will need to be after all the shaftings we’ve had from Scottish Parliamentarians – including one Anthony Blair.

      I say let them go for independence. With their new found delicacy of deep fried butter it will simply be a waiting game for us.

      • RoberT Peffers
        Posted February 7, 2012 at 8:09 pm | Permalink

        Oh! Good God! Blair was NOT Scottish. You really do take the biscuit.
        Nwxt you will be attempting to tell us the Scots are subsidised by the English. Your not arte you?

    • RoberT Peffers
      Posted February 7, 2012 at 6:04 pm | Permalink

      Rubbish! Why on Earth should anyone but the residents of Scotland decide how Scotland is to be goverened?

      Let me point out a wee truth for you.

      There is NO English Parliament. That means the English Domestic affairs are dealt with by the English constituency MPs as a second line in Wastemonster. Remember, everyone else has a devolved parliament to run theirs. So the Engish get their domestic affairs for free. Then they have the cheek to moan about the Scots, Welsh & Irish being allowed tp vote on, “English Only”, matters. THE INFAMOUS WEST LOTHIAN QUESTION. So the English have been grumbling about this for many years – not for their own parliament, but for the WESTMINSTER members from outside England to be excluded. But, hang on, England is NOT funded by a Capped Block Grant but is funded as if England was the UK. and that funding is NOT Capped and runs over every year. If it is UK funding the EVERY UK MP has a sworn duty to vote on that UK matter. There are NO English olny matter. Why else did you think there was no Devolved parliament for England? Did you, perhaps just assume Wastemonster was England’s own Parliament?

  10. Drayner
    Posted January 10, 2012 at 8:20 am | Permalink

    As a Tory and also a Scot I am no fan of Salmond and his peddling of nationalism, but we are where we are for now. I have no idea which way this referendum will swing, it really is on a knife edge. There are around the same amount of supporters of the union as there are rabid nats but as ever it’s the “floaters” that will decide it. Who knows how they will vote?

    Cameron might as well come out fighting if he genuinely believes in keeping Scotland on board and he might as well be prepared to listen to the SNP claiming he is an interfering “Tory” (a term of abuse up here).

    One thing I have absolutely no doubt about is that Scotland is a far more conservative country than most folk realise. I think if we did go down the route of independence it certtainly wouldn’t open the door to rampant socialism like a lot of the dafties that vote SNP seem to think. But it would certainly mean right of centre policies would get a fair hearing for the first time in quarter of a century free from the idiotic claims of the left that they are un Scottish.

    I don’t actually want the UK to be broken up, thats probably the c onservative bit of me talking, but I certainly dont fear a vote for independence. I do fear the initial decade or so when the left will very much be in charge and will no dout devastate the public finances as they inevitably will, but I do know that my country will eventually give the right a better hearing and we will gain with the electorate.

    Scotland may decide to go it alone, but I won’t be voting to let it, this will be down to others. I really don’t see the need for all of this.

    There is also the small matter of the SNP and their stupid, ridiculous policy of “independence in Europe….” but apparently that will be a battle for another day. You can be fairly sure that the politicians will be nicely greased along the way by the likes of Merkel and co so that upon newly found sovereignty, Scots immediately dump it all in another much worse union.

    sigh

    • Alan Wheatley
      Posted January 10, 2012 at 11:49 am | Permalink

      History teaches us that there is more than one mainland european country that has supported Scotland as a means of raising a second front in their battles with the English. But the support soon faded away as soon as the second front became insignificant to their interests.

    • RoberT Peffers
      Posted February 7, 2012 at 6:12 pm | Permalink

      I always laugh at such as you. You have the cheek to call me a rabid Nat. First I do not have rabies, and secondly you are, by your very offensive language, much more of a, “Rabid”, nationalist than myself. Do you actually think that what you regard as your nation is more valid than mene? Your nation is the United Kingdom and you are thus a BritNat, (shortened by some as a , “BRAT”. Not a term I favour though. I’m driven by sound political and economic points, not lies, ignorance and Ad Hominem.

  11. ian wragg
    Posted January 10, 2012 at 8:26 am | Permalink

    The sooner we are rid of the whining Scots the better. Give them their share of the national debt together with the bat and ball.
    No more Liebour governments in England for ever.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted January 10, 2012 at 10:06 am | Permalink

      As an Englishman I’d say that the whining Scots are no worse than the whining English, especially the whining English who mindlessly whine about the whining Scots, and most especially the whining English Tories who’d prefer to break up the country for a narrow selfish party political advantage which would in any case prove to be temporary, not “for ever” as they delude themselves.

    • John Wrexham
      Posted January 10, 2012 at 9:45 pm | Permalink

      Perhaps we will return to the old Conservative (Tory) versus Liberal (Whig) politics, so Nick Clegg may still have a future in politics after all!!

    • RoberT Peffers
      Posted February 7, 2012 at 6:22 pm | Permalink

      Oh! Dear! Yet another one.
      We will indeed take our responsible share of the debts but we will also have our share of the common assets and that will include the ones being stolen.
      Here are a few I have no doubt you have not even considered yet.

      We who part of the Westminster Parliament – it was purpose built with some of our tax money. The original English bit burned to the ground. Every building belonging to the UK civil Service together with a share of the staff. That includes the Treasury, The Bank of England, the BBC, The army, navy and Air Force. The National Treasures and art collections, the Nuclear Deterant, the British Museum. The Chunnel, The High Speed rail links Air Terminals Olympic village and stadiums – and so on.

      Did you really think England owned them all.

      By the way: can you explain to everyone how a nation that is in fiscal deficit can subsidise anyone?
      You do know what fiscal deficit is, don’t you?

  12. Nick
    Posted January 10, 2012 at 8:27 am | Permalink

    Will the inhabitants of Weston-super-mare get to decide, just as the inhabitants of West Lothian?

    Nah, not for the voters is it. You will just dictate.

    Mind you, it would be interesting. Scotland votes to remain. England votes to kick them out.

  13. Rebecca Hanson
    Posted January 10, 2012 at 8:37 am | Permalink

    I don’t think it will be well received in Scotland that Cameron is using strategies to try and secure a nice quick and easy simple yes vote.

    • Rebecca Hanson
      Posted January 10, 2012 at 9:15 am | Permalink

      I think Andrew Bolger’s comment in the FT is spot on (p3).

    • RoberT Peffers
      Posted February 7, 2012 at 6:28 pm | Permalink

      It wasn’t. The SNP office staff hardly got any sleep. They were signing up new members so fast. There has been thousands of new members in just a few days. I do wish people would check facts befoe spouting rubbish.
      Here is the lie to the story that has been one of those urban myths but one that can be checked.
      The last Labour government had a Westminster majority even without counting a single Labour MP from a Scottish constituency. Bang! That’s the myth that the Tory Party wants rid of Scotland to always get a commons majority.

  14. Patrick
    Posted January 10, 2012 at 8:39 am | Permalink

    I think the smart thing to do would be to allow the halfway house option of ‘Devomax’ as well as full In or Out on the referendum ballot – as long as this extra option came with English Votes For English Laws in Westminster.

    The nationalist noises are bringing Labour’s asymmetric devolution ever more into focus. The West Lothian question, Barnett, the position of Wales and N.I – these are all unresolved and we can no longer muddle through.

    • Drayner
      Posted January 10, 2012 at 9:22 am | Permalink

      It wouldn’t be a smart move. It will dilute the vote. The best thing, if you are a unionist, is to go for a two question referendum. Its cleaner and it doesn’t offer Salmond a get out clause or any sort of dilution on the anti independence vote.

      • Kevin Swift
        Posted January 10, 2012 at 5:23 pm | Permalink

        Drayner, that would be true were it not for the fact that the no vote is softer than the yes vote. Most of the large “don’t know” group come from the no camp, those that have been persuaded to vote yes tend not to change thier minds.
        Opinion polls in Scotland show a clear majority are in favour of some sort of “Devo-max” arrangement, if Mr.Cameron were to offer something along those lines it would almost certainly get majority support. Offering people who would like more power within the United Kingdom a choice between the status quo and independence will push many who would otherwise favour the union into the independence camp. It seems to me that a yes/no only question will favour the SNP.

        • Drayner
          Posted January 10, 2012 at 7:33 pm | Permalink

          I know all about what the polls say. I was fairly heavily involved in the campaign AGAINST devolution…… that went well!!

          I don’t see any way that Salmond will get devo max onto the referendum paper. It will be two questions in or out. Devo max is probably inevitable down the line as parliaments tend to use the ratchet to gain powers. If the unionist majority has any clue at all they will back Salmond into a straight in or out question.

          You are wrong about the no vote being soft. You’ll tend to find that it, just like the pro nat brigade has remained pretty constant for many years. The large don’t know vote will be what swings it either way but as you say the bulk of that lot would accept devo max on the ballot paper, they probably wouldn’t go for complete secession. And Salmond knows that.

    • John Wrexham
      Posted January 10, 2012 at 9:50 pm | Permalink

      Devo Max is the worst option for England’s long suffering taxpayers. Holyrood gets its hand on the family’s credit card and Mum and Dad down in London will have to keep paying it off! It’s either the pocket money status quo or out! If the Scots do opt for independence and need some extra cash, then they can rent us Faslane! Even better England could convince the EU to make North Sea Oil an EU asset….

    • RoberT Peffers
      Posted February 7, 2012 at 6:41 pm | Permalink

      I’ve got news for you. It ain’t going to happen. Just one other British Nationalist lie to throw up a smokescreen.
      Here is the real truth, the DevoMax thing is a dead duck.
      In fact the whole devo thing min, max or all stations in between are dead ducks. The Scotland Bill now in the Commons needs to be accepted and passed by Holyrood – it is not going to happen.
      As to the movement to put it on the Referendum paper – it just daft.
      The only ones who can grant ANY form of Devolution are those in Power in Wastemonster – the very word tell you that Devolution means the transfer of Wastemonster power to the Scottish Parliament. They tried that deception before – promised but did not follow through. We will not be fooled again. Not when we can have full independence – and we can.

  15. John Page
    Posted January 10, 2012 at 8:43 am | Permalink

    This government is wrong on big policy issues, such as cutting spending (it isn’t), the EU (they’re ceding more powers) and greenery (CO2 doesn’t cause significant AGW, and they should be pushing for cheap shale energy). They’re even poor at politics (privatising forests? planning reform?). Why do I continue to be astonished by the UK government’s ability to pick the wrong battles and fight them badly?

    A Scottish referendum was a manifesto commitment by the SNP to Scottish voters, was it not? In other contexts Tory MPs champion subsidiarity, do they not? If the Scots voted to secede, would an imperialist Westminster seriously consider refusing them permission?

    To suggest that Westminster is capable of organising a referendum but Edinburgh isn’t is patronising humbug. It isn’t even convincing humbug.

    • Drayner
      Posted January 10, 2012 at 9:17 am | Permalink

      A Scottish referendum was a manifesto commitment by the SNP to Scottish voters, was it not?

      It certainly was. It was never mentioned that a referendum would be held “in the second half of the parliament” though. This was something that Salmond added on during one of the leadership debates and AFTER nearly half a million postal votes had been cast. Cameron is quite right to play politics on the timing of the referendum, Salmond needs to be put under as much pressure as politically possible. He tends not to react that well when he is being leaned on, his guard slips badly and he makes mistakes.

      This is going to have to be quite a dirty fight and it is going to have to be handled right by Cameron and the other interested unionist types or Salmond will give them a pasting.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted January 10, 2012 at 10:47 am | Permalink

        As we know, manifesto commitments are not legally binding; but a manifesto commitment to act ultra vires goes beyond that to being legally indefensible.

        The present Scottish Parliament and executive are creatures of the UK Parliament through its Scotland Act 1998, they are legally empowered to act only on matters which have been devolved to them through the Act, and this is clearly a matter which the UK Parliament has reserved to itself.

        It’s doubtful whether the Scottish executive has any lawful authority to spend public money on holding even a “consultative” referendum, a kind of official opinion poll, on whether Scotland should be independent when that is not a matter within its devolved competence.

    • D K McGregor
      Posted January 10, 2012 at 9:30 am | Permalink

      A well thought through comment , I entirely agree with you , instead of getting themselves triangulated by Salmond , the government should be using his tactics to make some headway in other more important areas. Perhaps when all is better and getting better ,the Scots will WANT to stay inside the Union.

  16. A.Sedgwick
    Posted January 10, 2012 at 8:50 am | Permalink

    My immediate reaction when DC said let’s have an in/out referendum and quick on Scotland’s independence on the basis that the issue was there and needs to be resolved, well how about that logic being applied to an in/out EU vote, where polls say the result would be much closer – perhaps that’s the answer. A Scot’s referendum is a soft offer – low risk, an EU vote is for a brave politician. If I were Alex Salmond I would grab his hand off before he has second thoughts.

  17. alan jutson
    Posted January 10, 2012 at 8:51 am | Permalink

    Surely before anyone has a vote about being independent, they need to know the terms of such an arrangement:

    Example: How much of the UK debt is Scoland going to inherit.

    If we are seeking to just explore the idea of independence, subject to terms being agreed, when then a further vote is to be taken, then I see no real problem in giving a referendum on this basis.

    When other countries were made independent from the commonwealth, we did not have a vote/referendum in England to approve it as I can recall.

  18. oran habush
    Posted January 10, 2012 at 9:02 am | Permalink

    Has Mr Salmond said which currency an independent Scotland will use?

    Reply: Yes, paradoxically he seems to prefer the pound. He would presumably have to negotiate terms for using the facilities of the Bank of England and Mint, and we might wish to play down some rules over bail outs for Scottish banks within the sterling system.

    • John Bracewell
      Posted January 10, 2012 at 11:12 am | Permalink

      Another question concerns North Sea Oil. Does it belong to the UK or as it appears from the Scots Nats, to Scotland? Perhaps a deal could be done to offset Scotland taking on its share of the UK debt, with ownership of the Oil? The Scots Nats economic argument appears to rest on not taking any debt and having ownership of the Oil revenues. That appears a tad one-sided but without it an independent Scotland would start life seriously in the red.

      • John Wrexham
        Posted January 10, 2012 at 9:53 pm | Permalink

        The EU might ask a newly independent Scotland to share its North Sea Oil with the rest of Europe, in a new version of the Common Fisheries Policy.

      • EnglishLion
        Posted January 11, 2012 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

        A very complex issue- Why do the Scots assume North Sea Oil is theirs? Where is the border between English/ Scottish territorial waters? Is it not also BRITISH capital which invested heavily in the extraction of North Sea Oil (therefore to suggest the English are not entitled to future revenues from this resource is folly)? I support independance for Scotland because as a proud Englishman I want English concerns and priorities to be considered above all else, the Scottish for to long have had it politically, economically and socially all their way; to the detriment of us south of the border. I have no doubt that England would thrive without our Scottish shackles, the main issue would be however the future of the British armed forces. The defence of our island is of paramount importance and consensus on this matter is in the interest of all parties involved.

  19. Paul Danon
    Posted January 10, 2012 at 9:03 am | Permalink

    By proposing a referendum, Mr Cameron is cooperating in a process that could destroy the country of which he is head of government. Is this legal and has the queen been consulted?

  20. javelin
    Posted January 10, 2012 at 9:06 am | Permalink

    Seems like naked contradictions by Cameron …

    (1) He says “in or out” question on Scotland, and a “renegotiation” (not an in or out) on the EU. (Not that I want out on either of them – I think arms length and close cooperation is better). Even if Scotland pulls out .. they won’t of course. There will still be common defence links etc.

    (2) He says the Scots get to vote on the Scotland in the UK but the rest of the UK dont get to vote on Scotland in the UK. It gives the Scots a higher electoral value than the English and therefore discriminates again the English.

    (3) I won’t even mention the West Lothian question

    Cameron comes across weakly by not taking a completely firm grasp from top to bottom on this one.

    • Disaffected
      Posted January 10, 2012 at 10:27 am | Permalink

      Totally agree.

      • zorro
        Posted January 10, 2012 at 7:30 pm | Permalink

        That is because he appears, at least on the evidence over the last few years, to be a shallow PR driven opportunist with no real convictions, and with no real appreciation for historical context.

        zorro

  21. Gary
    Posted January 10, 2012 at 9:10 am | Permalink

    We learn, drip by drip, that the tories are not true free marketers, and nor are they true democrats. They talk a good game, but when it comes down to it, they are autocrats.

    If anyone wants their own referendum that is their own concern. At least in a democracy. To have a higher authority dictate how you have your referendum to challenge that higher authority ,is an oxymoron.

    • Disaffected
      Posted January 10, 2012 at 10:28 am | Permalink

      They claim to want localism but are happy for the EU to dictate most of our laws for our country through SIs. Why we still need so many MPs is baffling.

    • John Wrexham
      Posted January 10, 2012 at 9:55 pm | Permalink

      Surely power comes from the people or are we still subject to the royal prerogative?

  22. oldtimer
    Posted January 10, 2012 at 9:13 am | Permalink

    A perceptive post, drawing our attention to the law of unintended consequences.

    Re the electorate, the simplest solution would be to use the Parliamentary electoral roll in being at the time the vote is held. Any attempt to create an alternative electoral roll sounds like a recipe for chaos, skullduggery and special pleading that would be sure to enflame both attitudes and proceedings – think partition and all that usually goes with it.

    My personal view is that a breakup would be bad for Scotland and beneficial for the remaining parts of the UK – but I do not live in Scotland and, apparently, will have no say in the matter. I hope that there are contingency plans in development, if not already in place, to transfer back to England those functions of the state that presently are based in Scotland. I notice that NSI is based in Glasgow. My tax affairs used to be handled from Scotland, though more recently they are now handled south of the border. Is this a coincidence or are transfer arrangement quietly under way?

    • JoolsB
      Posted January 10, 2012 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

      To add insult to injury, after Labour introduced tuition fees for England’s students on the back of Scottish Labour MPs voting for them and despite the fact Scottish students pay no tuition fees, the Student Loans Dept where English students have to apply was set up in …… Scotland.

  23. Denis Cooper
    Posted January 10, 2012 at 9:16 am | Permalink

    The independence question boils down to whether the UK Parliament at Westminster should continue to be the supreme legal authority for Scotland.

    If so, the House of Commons should continue to include representatives elected in Scotland; if not, then there should no longer be any MPs elected in Scotland.

    On that basis, only those who now have the right to participate in elections of MPs should be allowed to decide whether they wish to relinquish that right, no longer send representatives to Westminster, and instead recognise a sovereign Scottish Parliament as their supreme legal authority.

    That means that only those who are eligible to vote in a Westminster parliamentary election in any of the (now) 59 constituencies in Scotland should have the right to vote in the referendum.

    http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/faq/voting-and-registration/who-is-eligible-to-vote-at-a-general-election

    Those who are only on the electoral register for local elections, elections to the present Scottish Parliament, and elections to the EU Parliament, should not have the right to vote in the referendum.

    • GJ Wyatt
      Posted January 10, 2012 at 7:40 pm | Permalink

      Thanks for putting these powerful points.

  24. Iain Gill
    Posted January 10, 2012 at 9:22 am | Permalink

    One thing David Starkey got right was that political correctness has a very biased view of the world and the casual anti-English racism common in Scottish everyday speech wouldn’t be tolerated if it was directed against any other nationality. Like the mickey taking against “chavs” “council house dwellers” and so on the politically correct ethics which are reigning in this country are very biased and allow great discrimination against some sections of our society while getting all superior about how perfect their own view of the world is. This needs sorting out.
    As for Scottish independence I love Scotland and the people but I think it is the English who get the raw deal out of the United Kingdom. I seem to remember the Labour party imposing years of rule on the country largely staffed with Scottish MP’s and backed by Scottish votes. The Scottish MP’s still vote on exclusively English matters. The English people are paying for prescription charges, hospital parking, university tuition, old age care, road tolls and so on and so on and very much so on which the Scottish people do not.
    It’s extremely unlikely there are going to be border posts on the A1 or at Berwick train station? So there will remain much we needed to get right together whatever happens.
    I would start by setting up an English parliament. There you go theres a popular policy which would win massive votes at the next election.

    • Winston Smith
      Posted January 10, 2012 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

      Thir is no discernable racial differences between the Scottish and the English. However, the ruling political/media class have promoted extreme nationalism and hate to further their political agenda. I did not realise how poisoned many people are in Scotland were until I visited recently and a colleague was punched in the face in the street for speaking with an English accent.

      • forthurst
        Posted January 10, 2012 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

        The Romans may have invented Scotland by deciding it not worth garrisoning that part of the country which only produced cattle feed, rather than the wheat and mineral wealth they actually came to steal.

      • NickW
        Posted January 10, 2012 at 4:43 pm | Permalink

        I have had the same experience over a prolonged period of working in Scotland.

        I am pleased your post has been published.

        There is a thoroughly nasty and unpleasant undercurrent to Scottish nationalism which makes it highly likely that relations between England and a newly independent Scotland will rapidly deteriorate; we should be fully prepared for such an eventuality.

      • John Wrexham
        Posted January 10, 2012 at 9:59 pm | Permalink

        It’s all culture and history, which together form a very toxic brew, plus the scots think about the english every day, while the reverse is rarely true, and it riles them so.

    • alexmews
      Posted January 10, 2012 at 3:38 pm | Permalink

      …presumably you know the origins of the phrase you used….

      ‘…Like the mickey taking…..’

      ironic?

  25. Frederick James
    Posted January 10, 2012 at 9:23 am | Permalink

    John Redwood’s suggestion that the remaining part of the UK would (if he is correct) automatically cease to be part of the EU gives one pause. Would either main party argue for then applying for membership, on the terms now imposed upon accession countries including compulsory membership of the euro? I doubt it.

    It puts the merits of our present EU membership in a new light.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted January 10, 2012 at 5:39 pm | Permalink

      Except that it’s most unlikely it would be allowed to happen like that; as I’ve suggested in a more detailed comment below which JR has not yet published, long before the separation became effective there would be an EU amending treaty so that at the instant of final separation there would be a seamless transition from the UK being one EU member state to Scotland and the residual UK being two separate EU member states.

      But possibly at a price extracted by other EU member states for their agreement.

      Reply: Each state would need to negotiate terms – votes/budget contributions etc. Scotland would not automatically get an opt out from the Euro in the way the UK has.

    • John Wrexham
      Posted January 10, 2012 at 10:02 pm | Permalink

      I hope that isn’t the case or we will be in some serious trouble in the Falklands, Gibraltar, the sovereign bases on Cyprus and the various tropical tax havens and bases Britain currently has around the world. The MoD won’t be able to afford to fight off landgrabs from all the suddenly officially ownerless real estate!!

  26. backofanenvelope
    Posted January 10, 2012 at 9:23 am | Permalink

    You have to wonder about our politicians, don’t you? Mr Cameron has to deal with the EU, the Euro, recession here and recession over the channel, HS2, immigration, Islamic terrorism, war in the middle east. So what does he do? Picks a quarrel with the Scottish government.

    • John Wrexham
      Posted January 10, 2012 at 10:04 pm | Permalink

      Politicians can’t help interfering and the idea of a long-winded and generally introspective referendum campaign stretching over a couple or so years is so much more fun than actually getting down to work on the real problems facing UK plc.

  27. Robert K
    Posted January 10, 2012 at 9:37 am | Permalink

    Let the Scots go their own way. Better still, let everyone go their own way. Personally, I want independence from the political meddlers, bureaucrats and apparatchiks who consider it reasonable to excise more than half the income of all working people in the country and waste it on benefits that should not be paid, a health service that is poor value and on wars that should not be fought.

    • Andrew Johnson
      Posted January 10, 2012 at 6:47 pm | Permalink

      Me too!

  28. MajorFrustration
    Posted January 10, 2012 at 9:45 am | Permalink

    What brought all this on – out of the blue DC wants to give the Scots a referendum? Whats in it for him? Is it just losing 40 Labour MPs

  29. English Pensioner
    Posted January 10, 2012 at 9:46 am | Permalink

    My son-in-law and his sister were both born in and went to school near Edinburgh. He is now working near London, she is currently abroad. Both have an interest in whether Scotland becomes independent and are certainly far more “Scottish” than many people now living there, but born elsewhere. Why shouldn’t they have a say in the matter?
    The matter of whom should vote in such a referendum could, in itself, be quite a contentious matter.
    Then come the further questions; would my son-in-law and his sister become Scottish Citizens and have Scottish passports? Would my grandson be entitled to Scottish nationality, having a Scot as a father?
    And of course there is the big money matter, will the new Scotland accept its share of the national debt and the bankrupt Scottish banks?
    As an Englishman, I support Scottish Independence, it seems to me the only way we will ever get English Independence and a parliament at Westminster truly representing the English.

    • John Wrexham
      Posted January 10, 2012 at 10:06 pm | Permalink

      Will whisky drinkers around the world have a say too? a scottish government might lower or increase the tax on their favourite tipple?

  30. Toque
    Posted January 10, 2012 at 9:46 am | Permalink

    As Scotland is bathed in attention, England, and the 52% of English who want an English parliament, are overlooked.

    England is the only nation in the UK which has never had a constitutional vote on its future – whereas Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have each had two. And now we have Cameron declaring that the Scottish have ‘the right’ to vote on independence.

    Do the English have concomitant rights, Mr Cameron; or are we to remain silent while the Scots are indulged again and again?

    • i albion
      Posted January 10, 2012 at 10:30 am | Permalink

      I am afraid you are right Toque we English have no say in anything much.
      That is why we must have a Parliament for England the Parliament now standing at platform Westminster is a British Parliament so is going nowhere were England is concerned.

    • uanime5
      Posted January 10, 2012 at 8:28 pm | Permalink

      At present England has 82% of the population of the UK, which will rise to 93% if Scotland leaves. Westminster is the de facto English Parliament.

      • Winston Smith
        Posted January 11, 2012 at 9:22 am | Permalink

        Which makes it all the more wrong that legally the English are denied the representation and funding given to the other 18%.

  31. Alan Wheatley
    Posted January 10, 2012 at 10:12 am | Permalink

    Ever since the issue of Scottish independence re-emerged to prominence in recent years I have worried about the future of mankind. As the modern world shrinks and we are evermore interdependent, it seems to me that if after 300 years of trying the English and the Scots can still not happily rub along together as British, then what hope is there?

    • John Wrexham
      Posted January 10, 2012 at 10:09 pm | Permalink

      Quite so. It’s all bread and circuses really to distract from us where power really lies – transnational organisations and multi-nationals. i don’t mean this in some whacky conspiratorial way, but it’s just an example of how the electorate can be tempted by glittery shiney and utterly irrelevant baubles.

  32. Richard Thomson
    Posted January 10, 2012 at 10:19 am | Permalink

    “I am with the Prime Minister when he says the UK Parliament should decide on when the referendum on Scottish independence is held, and what the question should be.”

    John – indulge me for a moment. Just imagine that a majority of Westminster MPs were to determine that they wanted a referendum on the UK’s continued membership of the EU.

    As there’s no provision for a member state to leave the EU, the closest parallel being Greenland, the Commission says in an attempt to be helpful “OK – you can have your vote. However, in order to provide legal clarity, the Commission will decide when the vote is held, the nature of the question to be put and just for good measure, also determine the extent of the franchise.”

    Unlikely as a scenario it may be, but I can imagine that it would be a pretty incendiary course to follow, and deeply unwise from the point of view of any Europhile wishing to retain popular support for their cause in the EU. Yet until the troops appeared to be marched back down the hill yesterday on timing, that’s pretty much the situation which the coalition was trying to engineer in Scotland over the weekend.

    Just because a Westminster Government has the power to do something, it doesn’t follow that it would be wise to do it…

    Reply: The legal position is clear – the Union Parliament has both the sole power to require a referendum on EU membership, and on the composition of the Union of the UK. The UK government is faciltating the Scottish wish to have a referendum, by granting the legal powers to do so.

    • Richard Thomson
      Posted January 10, 2012 at 7:18 pm | Permalink

      Despite what it says in Mr Moore’s consultation document, the legal case is far from clear. My point was that a referendum which comes with conditions imposed from Westminster was unlikely to be looked upon kindly in Scotland.

      Having always argued against having such a vote, you must surely recognise the difficulty for your government in being seen to be agitating too much over the terms of that vote now.

    • John Wrexham
      Posted January 10, 2012 at 10:11 pm | Permalink

      The Conservatives are hopeless when it comes to constitutional matters and have been for years. You have to go back to Macmillan, and perhaps even Disraeli, to find a Conservative PM with the skill, knowledge and flexibility to reform.

    • sjb
      Posted January 11, 2012 at 10:43 pm | Permalink

      Richard, provision for a Member State to leave the EU is set out in Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union (“TEU”): see http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=OJ:C:2010:083:0013:0046:EN:PDF
      (pp43-4 of the PDF)

  33. john w
    Posted January 10, 2012 at 10:20 am | Permalink

    John,i reckon the SNP won the election because people were sick of labour.I have a feeling that scotland would vote to stay in.My personal view is they should vote IN.

    • BobE
      Posted January 10, 2012 at 10:13 pm | Permalink

      I agree, the people of Scotland will vote to stay in.

  34. Alan Wheatley
    Posted January 10, 2012 at 10:26 am | Permalink

    Listening yesterday to the trails of what to expect from Cameron today it struck me that he was making a strategic error. Telling the Scotts what they could and could not do was likely to be counter-productive, assuming Cameron does truly want to save the Union, that is. Subsequently I hear from the SNP that that is exactly their thinking.

    Seems to me far better to cut Salmon a lot of slack – allow him enough rope to hang himself.

    The Prime Minister of the UK could be very effective in providing a critique of the consequences of SNP plans.

    The Prime Minister of the UK would receive credit for representing the interests of those in England, Wales and Northern Ireland in the event of Scotland leaving.

    • Chris
      Posted January 10, 2012 at 3:44 pm | Permalink

      I agree that this telling the Scots what to do will play right into Salmond’s lap and will rile a significant number of Scots voters i.e. Cameron’s action may well be very counter productive.

  35. Denis Cooper
    Posted January 10, 2012 at 10:29 am | Permalink

    “The dream ticket for a modern English nationalist is a decision by Scotland to leave the UK, followed by the ending of membership of the EU because the member, the UK, no longer exists.”

    Only for foolish and ill-informed English nationalists, I think.

    If it was decided that Scotland would separate from the rest of the UK, then long before that actually took place there would be negotiations with the other EU member states, leading to an amending treaty which recognised that from the moment of separation there would be two new sovereign EU member states, separate parties to the EU treaties, in the place of the present one.

    There’s no precedent for that – the nearest thing to a precedent would be the secession of Greenland from the EU, and that was not a close parallel – but it would not be difficult to draft the treaty roughly along these lines:

    “The High Contracting Parties,

    RECOGNISING that at midnight on December 31st 2015 the union between Scotland and the rest of the United Kingdom will be dissolved, and Scotland will become an independent sovereign state;

    DESIRING that both Scotland, and the rest of the United Kingdom, should remain within the European Union, and take their places as new member states of the Union;

    RESOLVED that this process of separation should be accomplished with minimum disruption to the operation of the Union, and especially to trade within the internal market …

    … HAVE AGREED AS FOLLOWS … ”

    Anyone who thinks that the eurocrats, or Cameron, or Salmond, would stand by and allow any part of the present UK to accidentally fall out of the EU is not just dreaming, they’re totally deluded.

    Reply|: When East Germany joined there did need to be substantial negotiation and redraft of the Treaty to allow for different budgets and voting weights.

    • uanime5
      Posted January 10, 2012 at 8:33 pm | Permalink

      The UK has the power to veto any treaty, so the EU won’t be able to force this on us.

      Besides if Scotland votes to leave the UK they may freely choose to join the EU to have access to the EEC, which includes the UK.

  36. Alan Wheatley
    Posted January 10, 2012 at 10:35 am | Permalink

    Re para 2: “The referendum electorate raises issues which Westminster has to solve.” – No it doesn’t.

    If the SNP want to hold a referendum that raises many issues, such as those you itemise, JR, then let the SNP provide the solutions. Westminster can happily restrict itself to a judgement as to whether the solutions proffered are satisfactory.

  37. Atlas
    Posted January 10, 2012 at 10:46 am | Permalink

    Cameron’s actions can only be to distract from other things. So what is he up to that he wants buried in the news? More caving into Merkosy?

    I read again that Sarkosy talks about Europe in the terms of a country – note: not a continent.

    BTW the Scots did not have a say in the 1707 union, rather it was their MPs who were stuffed with gold and then sold the populace down the river – Just like Ted Heath and the EU. Don’t forget the 1715, 1745 attempts to regain their independence. John, I think you forget that the Scots people didn’t want the Union in the first place – again just like the UK people and the EU.

    I, for one, support the idea of Scottish Independence – and I’m English.

    • John Wrexham
      Posted January 10, 2012 at 10:17 pm | Permalink

      and the English weren’t so keen on the Union either! It’s just that Scotland was bankrupt and having an economic disaster on your northern border is not an ideal state of affairs.

    • Bob
      Posted January 10, 2012 at 11:15 pm | Permalink

      @Atlas
      “Cameron’s actions can only be to distract from other things. So what is he up to that he wants buried in the news? More caving into Merkosy?”

      Well spotted, another smoke and mirrors job.

      Search on Youtube for Cameron: No Veto – No Safeguards

  38. Alan Wheatley
    Posted January 10, 2012 at 10:47 am | Permalink

    Re para 3 “The Prime Minister hopes ….. This makes him a very traditional Conservative and Unionist”. It also makes him an underhand political fixer. The dark arts of winning a vote in the division lobbies will not go down well when applied to a referendum.

    Where there is sufficient public clamour to be allowed their say on an issue of national importance it will not go down well with that public to be told what the question is nor what choice they have as to the answer. Especially where the person wielding the stick is obviously a “hostile”.

    As the result of a referendum organised by the Scottish Parliament has no legal binding on the UK government (the experts seem to agree) then why not let the SNP make all the mistakes?

  39. Atlas
    Posted January 10, 2012 at 10:56 am | Permalink

    Off topic:

    I read that the Government is pressing ahead with its white elephant, the new High Speed rail link. What a colossal waste of money, just to appease the EU’s grandiose transport plan. I support your opposition to it, John.

    • uanime5
      Posted January 10, 2012 at 8:35 pm | Permalink

      The EU’s transport plan doesn’t require the capital of a member state to be linked to other major cities. This is something the Government freely chose to do.

  40. Bill
    Posted January 10, 2012 at 10:57 am | Permalink

    I would be sorry to see the break-up of the UK. In my view petty nationalism is pumped up by politicians for reasons of personal gain. Certainly in Wales, once the Cardiff Assembly Government was set up, the first thing the politicians did was to give themselves a pay rise. There is a lot of talk about ‘we have grown up now, we can run our own affairs’ but the people who gain status and money are the demagogues and the people who lose are the locals who have to fund the whole thing

    As far as the EU is concerned, it has been said before that it is an agreement between linguistic minorities (e.g. think Walloons and Basques), and a central bureaucracy.

  41. Alan Wheatley
    Posted January 10, 2012 at 11:05 am | Permalink

    Re para 5: “Whilst the Prime Minister can take comfort from the fact that he can deny the English a vote on the Scottish question…” Well, he may have the power to deny the English a vote on the Scottish question, but you have to wonder for how long.

    If that is the attitude, then the sooner we are rid of the ….. (polite words fail me) the better.

    As a strong supporter of the Union I would accept that if the determined will of the Scottish people is that Scotland should become an independent country then that is what should happen.

    However, it is not simple a matter for the Scotts. The consequence is a fundamental change to the UK, and that has an impact on everyone in the UK. If the Scotts want to break up the UK then they can not be allowed to dictate the terms and conditions, and the sooner they understand that the better. There will not be some amicable divvying up of the assets, there will be one enormous row. Or their jolly well should be. Why should the rest of the UK loose out to appease the Scotts, they who created the calamity by their referendum vote?

    • John Wrexham
      Posted January 10, 2012 at 10:19 pm | Permalink

      Scrap the Barnett formula now. It could be described as a small taste of independence!

  42. George Stewart
    Posted January 10, 2012 at 11:26 am | Permalink

    A couple points…………

    The SNP referendum is an advisory referendum to begin negotiations with London.

    Once terms for separation have been determined then and only then will a second referendum occur.

    As a Scot living in England, I would vote for the referendum to begin negotiations to see what the terms of separation were!! If the terms are poor I would vote NO on the second referendum.

    How can David Cameron say with a straight face that this requires an urgent votes while an EU referendum does not merit the same urgency. To be blunt as a business person, it does not matter to me if Scotland is in the UK or not because the relationship to the UK will likely be identical to that of Ireland. The EU question is a major overhanging question.

  43. John Bracewell
    Posted January 10, 2012 at 11:33 am | Permalink

    The scenario resulting from Scottish Independence is appearing more appealing all the time. If it means renegotiation of EU membership, then that is good. It is even better if we would have to reapply for membership, as it has been pointed out above, why would we, if that meant having to agree to be in the Euro? If it means we offload some UK debt to Scotland then that is good. If it means we no longer have to distribute money to Scotland under the Barnet formula, then that is good. If it resolves the West Lothian question, then that is good. If it means, the make-up of the Westminster parliament is no longer biased to Labour because of the Scottish Labour MPs, then that is good. Are we in England sure that a UK including Scotland is all that it is cracked up to be? One loss would be the Queen’s Balmoral estate, but I personally could live with that.

  44. scottspeig
    Posted January 10, 2012 at 11:40 am | Permalink

    Do you think the localism bill as set out in Carswell & Hannan’s “The Plan” would solve almost all the issues since it would put more power to local authorities, and remove the disaster (imo) of devolution?

  45. JoolsB
    Posted January 10, 2012 at 11:47 am | Permalink

    How refreshing to hear a senior politician with an English seat speak about ‘the English Question’ Since devolution, UK Governments have refused to address the undemocratic nature in which England has been governed, the only part of the UK without it’s own legislature or talk about the discrimination which it has suffered ever since. Obviously that suited Labour because how else could they govern England without their Celtic votes or force through legislation which only affects England such as tuition fees without their Celtic MPs. What is more disappointing is Mr. Cameron, put there by the English, continuing where Labour left off and allowing this democratic deficit to continue. Maybe it’s another example of the Lib Dems pulling the strings because if England also had it’s own parliament, there wouldn’t be any need for them as England overwhelmingly voted for a Conservative government last May but as usual England doesn’t get what it votes for but the government chosen for it by the rest of the UK even though Scotland, Wales and NI then have the luxury of voting again for a separate parliament/assembly taking separate decisions in their interests and theirs alone from the UK government they’ve chosen to govern England.

    Mr. Cameron like Brown before him, deliberately refuses to say the word England, referring to ‘the country’ or ‘this country’ or even the United Kingdom when he knows full well he is only talking about England. Disgracefully he gave a long speech last year about reform of public services and although 95% of what he said only applied to England, he never said the ‘E’ word once. This is a deliberate attempt by politicians to imply the whole UK is affected and ‘we’re all in it together’ which it isn’t and we’re not. If the ‘E’ word isn’t mentioned, then perhaps nobody in England will notice that only their children will pay £9,000 tuition fees or be the only ones to lose their ema, or that only their sick pay for their prescriptions or pay to park at hospital, or that only their elderly are forced to sell their homes should they need care or that it is only their assets being sold off to plug the UK deficit and hopefully they won’t realise that they receive up to £2,000 less per head than their Celtic cousins thanks to the skewed Barnett Formula. It would seem our MPs with English seats are happy with the status quo, never demanding to know why their constituents are treated so unfairly, not a whimper.

    You are right John, the English are rising and they are getting angry and resentful at being constantly ignored, never asked how they would like to be governed in this post devolution UK whilst the Scots, Welsh and the NI are asked over and over again. Mr. Cameron has declared it is their right but where is England’s right? Mr. Cameron has also said he doesn’t want to be Prime Minister of England so where is our First Minister? Who speaks for England? It would seem not our MPs with English seats whose priority is to put the ‘Union’ first and their English constituents last.

    Even if it is by default, i.e. the Scots vote for independence, although it’s unlikely because they know when they’ve got a good thing having the next best thing to independence without having to worry about where the money comes from, one way or another England too will get her parliament and the people of England will remember all those elected by them but who never stood up for them or spoke it’s name.

    I am a lifelong Conservative voter having never voted for anyone else, even spent weeks canvassing for them last year, but I am afraid Mr. Cameron has lost my vote for the way he has betrayed England. UKIP are the only party offering a referendum on the EU and also an English Parliament and for that reason, I will vote for them unless Mr. Cameron should suddenly wake up and start addressing ‘the English Question’ but I doubt it. Like all the other MPs with English seats, they’d just rather not talk about England in the hope that by not doing so, the problem doesn’t exist or will go away. Shame on them!

  46. Richard
    Posted January 10, 2012 at 11:55 am | Permalink

    Tony Blair thought that by allowing Scotland more independence he would improve the popularity and electoral success of the Labour Party in Scotland but that badly rebounded on him as the SNP got most of the plaudits.
    The SNP had been saying for years that an independent Scotland would be much better off and they were proved right as Scotland have been able to afford free prescriptions, free student fees, free elderly care homes,free eye tests, free road tolls, free hospital parking, etc, all unavailable in England.
    So I’m not surprised the SNP is popular, being able to spend money that is more than that which would be raised solely by Scottish voters.

    So the key thing for me is the question of the money that moves between Westminster and Scotland.
    Will Westminster the same balance of money flow to Scotland if they were to vote in favour of seperation or would no money be sent?
    Once that situation is made clear we could well see a change in the Scottish mood for total independence.
    No wonder Alex Salmon wants the third option on the ballot form of “more of the same, only better”

    • John Wrexham
      Posted January 10, 2012 at 10:23 pm | Permalink

      Poor old Tony! That’s the problem with knowing no history and thinking the world was born when he entered Downing Street.

      If Devo Max is on the ballot paper, then everyone in the UK should have a say either via a referendum or through a free vote in both Houses of Parliament. If it is straight in or out, then it’s up to the Scots to decide.

  47. David John Wilson
    Posted January 10, 2012 at 11:56 am | Permalink

    Surely the people of England, Wales and Northern Ireland have an equal right to decide whether we want to stay in a union with Scotland. If there is a referendum it must include voters from the whole of the United Kingdom.

    If the Scots don’t want a referendum within the timescales that the cabinet decide then the rest of the UK should hold one to decide their fate. If they decide to abstain then they will have to put up with what the rest of the UK decide.

    • Andrew Johnson
      Posted January 10, 2012 at 7:09 pm | Permalink

      Well said.

  48. Michael Knowles
    Posted January 10, 2012 at 11:57 am | Permalink

    I am reading a piece of JR’s blog for the first time. I am reflecting on it as a supporter of the right of England to have it own Parliament. I am encouraged to see that JR has recognised the growth of English self-awareness and distinct identity. Over the years he has taken a lot of knocks for his ideas, rightly so in many instances, but he has come through all that and he has shown himself to be one of the few real thinkers there are in Parliament these days. He is of course a regular Tory of the present ilk, the sort that with Thatcher, Keith Joseph and all that gang broke with the reformist forward-looking Toryism of MacMillan, McCleod etc; and divided the nation with an axe and with it our manufacturing base. The damage they did has been inexpressible, economically and socially. If anyone wants to trace the roots of the present economic crisis in the UK, he/she must look at Thatcher’and co’s endorsement of asset stripping and the Big Bang. But JR was young then. This piece is a most interesting read. It confirms my appreciation of him, and I say that as a strong socialist. For instance, his perception that were Scotland to leave the Union, our UK membership of the EU would de facto, juridically, cease and S and what is left of the present UK would have to re-negotiate entry. What a delightful prospect! That might well be one reason too why Cameron is so opposed to Scottish independence.
    We have burdened and lost sight of ourselves,of what we as English men and women actually are, through so many alliances. I think that on the whole my preferred vision of England would be an end to the Union and to the Commonwealth, and as a nation, our own nation, a distinct identifiable nation, we start again.
    Michael Knowles
    1 Howey Lane, Congleton, Cheshire, CW12 4AE

    Mike

  49. Susan
    Posted January 10, 2012 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

    As an English person who lived in Scotland for many years and suffered much prejudice during my time there, I cannot wait for the day that England is free of Scotland. Should Scotland go Independent England will be free of having to appease the Scottish on most issues due to the threat that they will leave the Union. England will have the freedom to pursue the politics the English actually vote for and make its own decisions on the EU without having to consider the pro EU stance of the Scottish Government.

    The Scottish voted for Alex Salmond not because they wanted Independence but because they thought they could rely on him to squeeze more benefits for Scotland out of the UK Government under the threat of Independence. In other words the Scottish wanted their cake and eat it as this is a situation they have enjoyed for many years. This is an unfairness to the English and to some extent to the Welsh which has gone on for far too long. David Cameron is right to take a firm stand on this issue.

    Alex Salmond is pulling Scotland backwards, his arguments are based on old inaccurate history to stir the Scottish against the English when in fact Scotland has done very well out of the Union.

    Scottish Independence cannot come soon enough for me and can only benefit England.

    • Morvan
      Posted January 10, 2012 at 3:12 pm | Permalink

      I will second that.

      M.

  50. Caterpillar
    Posted January 10, 2012 at 12:13 pm | Permalink

    There may be deep complexities in the detail, but perhaps simplification of a framework is viable and needs to be developed.

    (i) On who should vote? Presumably this can be determined by having two electoral rolls and two referenda. Those already eligible to vote in UK GEs should choose which roll to be on; either the Scottish roll or the E,W&NI roll. Those on the Scottish roll can vote on a simple (a) full independence or (b) stay in the union, those on the E,W & NI roll can vote on if Scotland stays in the union whether (a) E,W & NI should all have parliaments with the same powers as Holyrood or (b) remain with the status quo.

    By following this process all of UK has a say and who has a say on which question is self-selecting.

    (ii) The Scottish and UK parliament need to outline the terms (debt, border, resources etc.) of independence prior to such a referendum.

    Aside: – isn’t the constitutional stuff the Deputy PM’s area?

    • John Wrexham
      Posted January 10, 2012 at 10:25 pm | Permalink

      Because he’s a real expert!!

  51. Antisthenes
    Posted January 10, 2012 at 12:41 pm | Permalink

    A possible solution for you to ponder that is if you do not reject it outright. Why not devolve even more powers to the four nations. Turn the commons into an English parliament and reform the Lords into a Federal parliament that deals only with defence, foreign policy and matters that are of common interest or best dealt with collectively.

    • John Wrexham
      Posted January 10, 2012 at 10:26 pm | Permalink

      Federations with one dominant partner don’t have a good track record.

  52. sm
    Posted January 10, 2012 at 1:12 pm | Permalink

    What a tangled web politicians weave!

    What is Mr C trying to achieve and can he explain his logic as it applies to an English Parliament,the European Union and democracy. Crikey a bit of real representative democracy. Time to go a la Suisse quick.

    The EU position will be interesting as you have noted.
    Questions i would open up
    1)will Scotland be a net contributor to the EU or not?
    2)how independent is a country without its own currency? and the tradeoffs made.
    3)the interim but still unanswered West Lothian question of Scottish MP’s voting on laws in England &Wales (now devolved in Scotland).
    4) will the UK be federalized so as to maintain the form of a legal union to avoid the er (democratic) difficult EU imperial position and potential abolition of the UK parliament and associated jobs.
    5) How the repatriation of powers getting on from the EU and above (West Lothian issue).

    Personally , i would force the EU issue first, as the UK and then as independent nations if required.

  53. Neil Craig
    Posted January 10, 2012 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

    My opinion (I should acknowledge I don’t want separation, at least so long as Scotland’s MSPs are running the country even worse than the UK’s MPs) is that we should have 2 referendums.

    Firstly one held by Holyrood, which would be consultative, to authorise them beginning to negotiate the division of assets and liabilities. The UK Parliament should obviously decide that no Scottish MP could serve on their side of the negotiation. Then a binding referendum run, as the SDcotland Act requires, by the British state.

    Independence is a very serious nad irreversible decision which should not be taken lightly and 2 referenda, at different times, one after the technical issues were thrashed out, would ensure that a decision for separation was our settled will. A single referendum with a 51% decision, held on the anniversary date of the Battle of Bannockburn and possibly a lower turnout than for a general election would not demonstrate “settled will” and be as much a fix as the original referendum by which we joined the EEC.

  54. Liz Elliot-Pyle
    Posted January 10, 2012 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

    I seem to remember posting on your comments some 5 or 6 years ago, about wanting independence for Scotland so that the remainder of the UK (mainly England) would have to vote whether to JOIN the EU or not. At the time, Mr Redwood, you told me that this would not be the case. I cant remember your exact argument.
    For me, that has always been the most important thing about Scottish independence – that we English would get a chance to get out of the EU.
    Why exactly have you now changed your mind?

    Reply: The issues are different for Scotland and the rest of the UK. An independent Scotland would have to apply for membership of the EU. The rest of the UK would need to trigger a renegotiation of memebrship, made easier by the probable wish of other members to cut our votes and make other changes given the reduciton in size of the country.

  55. Phil Richmond
    Posted January 10, 2012 at 1:35 pm | Permalink

    What a dream that would be – ditching the Scots & leaving the EU!
    Within a few years we would be known as the “English Lion” economy!
    (assuming we have a Conservative PM & Chancellor i,e not the present quisling incumbents!)

  56. Norman Dee
    Posted January 10, 2012 at 1:39 pm | Permalink

    This to me sounds like some “poke with a sharp stick” business to wind up Salmond et al. The PM really needs to do no more than keep pointing out what they will lose by leaving the rest of the Union, and what they will then further lose if they go for EU membership, Salmond has not got this tied up enough yet. Threaten their pockets and freedoms and you will see a large turn out of the majority that may be “don’t knows” now, and put wee alex back in his box

  57. Antisthenes
    Posted January 10, 2012 at 1:49 pm | Permalink

    An after thought the new house of Lords could act as second chamber for all four nations. Keep national parliaments honest so to speak and help them avoid passing legislation that have disastrous unintended consequences and steer them away from causing inter-nation conflict.

  58. Tony Baverstock
    Posted January 10, 2012 at 1:52 pm | Permalink

    I do hope this intervention means we finally get some level of sensible discussion on the impact of an independent Scotland. For to long the SNP have snipped away at the rest of the UK, claiming to support an independent Scotland, getting lots of support for the concept but avoiding any discussion of just how complex and expensive such a separation will be.

    If we ignore the simple who subsidies who debate, the GERS reports cover this in great detail, but before every Scot starts pointing out the report, which is excellent in many ways, to point out Scotland subsidies the rest of the UK, look at the numbers, there are a vast number of shared incomes and revenues, which have to be split as best they can. The GERS reports are very clear about how the split is carried out and makes every effort to be rigorous and impartial. However, the report is an estimate and could easily be wrong. What is clear from the reports is that the position economically is fairly even and the remaining UK would not be substantially affected by independence.

    What is never discussed is:

    1. Who gets to vote?, about 300k non Scots live in Scotland, and about 800k Scottish outside Scotland.
    2. If Scotland gets independence:
    a) What do we do about Passports? Who gets Scottish passports and who gets to keep the UK passport. This may not seem important but it impacts other matters that do:
    i) Assuming Scotland will need to set up its own passport authority, and the existing UK passport authority review all holders who should have Scottish passports, who pays for all these costs.
    ii) Visa requirements to enter non EU countries (I assume a deal would be done to allow Scotland to join the EU). I am sure most countries would allow similar rights to Scots as they had for UK passports, but this type of change often requires legislation in the relevant country which can take time.
    iii) Many benefits are dependant on residency. Say the child of Scottish parents leaves school to move to England to work and after 2 years is made redundant. If he has an UK passport he is entitled to benefits in the UK as a resident but not in Scotland since he has not been resident!
    b) Excise Duties. These are charged on petrol, cigarettes, and alcohol. Current these are changed when the item is manufactured (unless it’s for export), or when it enters the UK. If there are 2 separate countries we need some method of dividing these duties between the respective Governments. For example, Grangemouth is one of the largest petrol refinery’s in the UK; based in Scotland petrol is move to large parts of the rest of the UK. Are we going to have border posts checking the movement of fuel between the countries? This would have to apply to all duty goods, since many have manufacturing plans covering both areas. What would be the costs of setting up and administering this?
    c) VAT. VAT is collected on the sales of most goods. In the UK this covers all of the sales in the UK. However, with an independent Scotland all this needs to be divided. Sales of goods to none VAT registered individuals is quite easy, but for goods to a VAT registered entity in another country, the goods are sold free of VAT and the details of the buyer are passed to C&E. There is then a settlement of VAT amongst all EU counties based on the imports/exports and applicable VAT rates. Moving goods across the new border would need to accommodate this. Think of the 1,000’s of companies who would now need to join and manage the VAT import and export scheme. Think about large companies such as Tesco’s who organise there business on a UK basis, moving products around as needed. They would now need to divide there business into two, and any movements across border would have to be accounted for and reported to C&E.
    d) Corporation tax. Current UK companies calculate their tax at a UK level input one tax return and have one tax bill. If Scotland is independent any company which trades in both countries would have to divide itself in two, accounting between each entity for any inter country charges, present two tax returns and have two tax bill. Can you imagine the costs. Scotland would also need its own Inland Revenue Service to administer this.
    e) Income tax on employment. I assume there are a reasonable number of people who may have income covering both counties or earn income in one and live in another. This is not a problem if rates and laws are the same but assuming these vary there will be a lot more people with complex tax positions. This will cost the individuals more and will be more complex for Government to collect.
    f) State Pension. I am not sure what the percentage of state pensioners are in each country, but any material differences may have long term impacts on the finances of that country.
    g) Government Debt. This needs to be divided but this would need the agreement of all the debt holders, which would be very hard to obtain.
    h) CPA payments where partners live in different countries.
    i) The Post Office. While a limited company it is Government owned and operates in both countries. It also makes a big loss!

    If the SNP are serious about independence these are the questions, and lost more about defence, public sector pensions, etc, etc, that need answering.

    • JimF
      Posted January 10, 2012 at 3:16 pm | Permalink

      I think you’re making it too complicated.
      British folk would have the right to take up one passport or the other, which would be their primary tax domicile, then the whole cake/debt would be split according to those numbers.

    • Alan Wheatley
      Posted January 10, 2012 at 4:14 pm | Permalink

      I am delighted you have raised these issues.

      Devolution would seem inevitably to cause a major increase in the public services just at a time when we are seeking to do the reverse.

      How about the remainer of the UK charging the Scots for costs incurred by devolution?

    • Iain Gill
      Posted January 10, 2012 at 5:49 pm | Permalink

      I would have thought that issues like what happens to Dounreay, the submarine bases, the Trident storage facilities and so on, should be on the list

      Even if the Scots went totally non nuclear there is decommissioning needed which will only be half way complete by 2336! and so on

    • John Wrexham
      Posted January 10, 2012 at 10:29 pm | Permalink

      As they say two can live as cheaply as one!!

    • A.Sedgwick
      Posted January 11, 2012 at 8:46 am | Permalink

      Good points – these are some of the reasons Salmond wants the Devolution Max option because once reality sets in the residents of Scotland will not vote for full independence – hence DC taking the John Wayne approach.

  59. Stephen Gash
    Posted January 10, 2012 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

    So, essentially the best way for England to leave the EU is to leave the UK first.

    Can we English have a rerendum on English independence this year on 16th April? The anniversary of the Battle of Culloden?

    • John Wrexham
      Posted January 10, 2012 at 10:31 pm | Permalink

      Wasn’t that just another of those many battles when the Scots were squabbling amongst themselves? one lot looking back to the Jacobites, the others looking forward to a united Britain.

  60. Peter Davies
    Posted January 10, 2012 at 2:03 pm | Permalink

    Yup – I’m with you on this one, I think the torries are right. The only people who should vote are the people who live within Scotland, wherever they come from.

    If you want a referendum on a countries independence like the SNP are hoping for then thats it simple – YES or NO and if this is what they want to do then they need to just get on with it and stop whining!

    The EU is slightly different for the rest of the UK – I think that any referendum here must be about the relationship with a club. The UK was never sold the concept of the common market as something to turn into a country and theres never been a vote on this since so there needs to be a referendum here sooner rather than later with 3 questions,

    Stay In – Leave as is

    Get Out – Leave the EU

    Revoke all treaties but stay in the EU for free trade using EU trade agreements with other countries with no political interference in UK matters – using the money paid by the UK to the EU as leverage

    • uanime5
      Posted January 10, 2012 at 8:44 pm | Permalink

      Any country that wishes to be part of the EEC has to obey EU laws, so option 3 won’t work.

      • Winston Smith
        Posted January 11, 2012 at 9:26 am | Permalink

        Ever heard of negotiation?

  61. Anne Palmer
    Posted January 10, 2012 at 2:05 pm | Permalink

    It doesn’t make any sense at all to me, to wants to break away for FREEDOM from the rest of the UK, to then be tied in a European Union where all they can and will have to do is obey all EU orders anyway. Be fined millions of pounds if they do not even fly the EU flag? Is that FREEDOM? They believe rightly that they are a Nation and Country in their own right, the UK had always respected and agreed that, but as far as the EU is concerned, Scotland is just a Region of the EU.

    That was made very clear to those in the Parliament of Scotland on Tuesday 22 May 2001 by Mr Manfred Dammeyer (Committee of the Regions) when he said, “We have to respect that Scotland is a Nation but, at the European level and in the European discussion, Scotland is like a Region.” End of quotes. England too through the EU’s Localism Bill was made into EU REGIONS, but we all will always recognise Scotland and the Scottish people as a NATION AND COUNTRY, LIKE WISE WE WILL ALWAYS RECOGNISE THE ENGLISH AND ENGLAND.

  62. Duyfken
    Posted January 10, 2012 at 2:17 pm | Permalink

    Were Scotland to secede, I wonder if the Scots would remain “British”. Indeed would those left: English, Welsh and Northern Irish, have the sole right to claim “Britishness”? Trivial though this surely is, I contemplate it due to my having in recent years (re-)obtained British nationality but despite many decades of residence in England, I am denied being allowed to become “English”. There must be many other settlers in much the same situation. O to be English, and not that British hybrid. Without Scotland, perhaps the remaining countries in the union might need to re-examine the nationality and citizenship laws.

    • James Matthews
      Posted January 10, 2012 at 3:11 pm | Permalink

      I’m a bit mystified by that. Who is stopping you being English? Like everyone else I have a British passport, that doesn’t stop me being English.

      • Andrew Johnson
        Posted January 10, 2012 at 7:32 pm | Permalink

        I think you’ll find it does. You may think you are English, you may say you are English, but as far as the Government and the EU is concerned you are legally defined as a British (UK) citizen.

        • James Matthews
          Posted January 11, 2012 at 2:06 pm | Permalink

          Yes, I know what my legal status is. That doesn’t stop me being English any more than it stops a Scot being a Scot.

      • Duyfken
        Posted January 10, 2012 at 7:34 pm | Permalink

        I am Australian by birth and upbringing and my Oz passport used to proclaim that I was a British subject and an Australian citizen. I settled in England as long ago as 1959 but at some time (in the eighties I think), there was a change to the laws in Britain and in Oz and my Britishness was withdrawn as a result. At that stage I could not apply for and obtain a UK passport without having to renounce my Oz citizenship, and that I would not do. Subsequently that restriction was removed so in 2007, I then applied for UK naturalisation and passport. I received a “Certificate of naturalisation” stating that I shall be a “British Citizen”. There is no mention of England and indeed the certificate just records my place and country of birth. Similarly my UK passport shows me just as a British Citizen, and that may be general for all. It seems that one can only be English if born in this country – unless you know better!

        • James Matthews
          Posted January 11, 2012 at 2:17 pm | Permalink

          Your legal status is that of a British citizen, so is mine, even though I was born here. Being English is not, for the time being, a legal status any more than is being a Scot or being Welsh. Your position is no different from those who were born here. That doesn’t stop us being English and it needn’t stop you, if that is what you want. Being English is (for the time being) a state of mind.

    • Morvan
      Posted January 10, 2012 at 3:17 pm | Permalink

      I have always given my nationality as English, which causes a lot of problems with forms.

      M.

    • John Wrexham
      Posted January 10, 2012 at 10:34 pm | Permalink

      Sorry, mate, becoming English is not some bureaucratic formality. However, one of the positives of the British identity is that people can easily become British – it is a very inclusive identity. Such a comment could never be made of the four nation’s separate identities.

  63. Barbara Stevens
    Posted January 10, 2012 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

    Well Mr Redwood, one has to look at the benefits of the union, with Scotland for the English. We are stronger together, that’s obvious from two world wars. Financially Scotland as been better off than we, as it’s afforded better benefits for its citizens than we enjoy here. Or is it that the SNP have blostered these benefits to make people believe they will look after them better. Something as to snap eventually, for independance would make them more accountable and there would be less to spend. Defence is not on the agenda, oil is not on the agenda, so what do they have to generate growth? Tourism, limited and bad weather, wonderful views and good hotels, yes. That does not however, pay for over a third of the citizens being out of work and dependant on state benefits. So who will pay for these people? More taxes for those who do work? That won’t work either people will travel south of the border sooner than they think.
    We have an intergrated NHS operating nationally, how will that be divided up. Then we come to the national debt. Will they pay their share of it, the English will expect them to. No one pays our debts so why should we pay theirs. Its not a pretty picture. Somehow I think the Scots, who are supposed to be fully aware of money etc might think differently once they realise the full implications of what seperation will mean. We have not been a bad neighbour at all we’ve been a good friend to Scotland, and no doubt we would continue to do so, but without the ever ending deep pocket we all put our hands into. Its OK to call ‘freedom’ but freedom comes with responsiblities and it’s not always easy. I believe the SNP are misjudging the whole issue, and it’s short term gain for their party they are after and not looking to the long term problems the country will encounter once they are alone. Much better to ride storms with known friends together than try and deal with problems alone. Salamond as talked about the other Nordic countries, and possible closeness, we already have that, but that does not mean they will rescue him if he’s in trouble, where as old England would. Poison that togetherness and it’s lost forever. Scotland would do well to ditch the SNP they are a danger to them and their prospects for polititical gain only.

  64. NickW
    Posted January 10, 2012 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

    This is taking a long time to go online.

    I speak as I have found, and it was actually Scottish people who complained to me about the way history is taught in Scottish schools.

    The only way to address racism is to bring out into the open; not conceal it and pretend that it doesn’t exist.

    • NickW
      Posted January 10, 2012 at 5:56 pm | Permalink

      What is needed is for every SNP politician to condemn anti-English racism at every available opportunity and make it clear that the SNP wants nothing to do with racism in any shape or form.

      I don’t believe that Salmond can or will do any such thing, but I would dearly like to be proved wrong.

      • RoberT Peffers
        Posted February 7, 2012 at 4:40 pm | Permalink

        I’ve been an SNP supporter since around 1946. I was oft times a minor branch official and am still a card carrying member. I can assure you that the party does not hate the people of England, nor any other for that matter, and any member exhibiting such hate is expelled from the party. Have you ever heard of, “Siol nan Gaidheal”, (Seed of the Gael)? Heard of The SLA, (Scottish Liberation Army)? Both organizations were thrown out of the party. There is no room in the SNP for hate and our record has been always that of the ballot box and only the ballot box.

  65. Alan Wheatley
    Posted January 10, 2012 at 3:03 pm | Permalink

    Yours, JR, is the first attempt I have come across to add an EU element into the Scottish independence debate. I find it difficult to know what to make of it, if anything.

    Should Scotland leave the UK, then UK survives of the as United Kingdom of Great Britain (England and Wales) and Northern Ireland. While this will not doubt necessitate some adjustment of the UK relationship with the EU I see this as minor in the grand scheme of things. For instance, German reunification may have caused a blip for German membership of the EU, but if so it was so small that I do not recall its passing.

    I am not sure I have followed your analysis, but any devious ploy to pander to Scottish Independence as a means of furthering the cause of eurosceptism I would view as despicable.

    Reply: Iam not pandering to Scottish nationalism, merely trying to capture the complexity of the constitutional position we find ourselves in, and to describe English nationalism which is on the rise.

  66. JimF
    Posted January 10, 2012 at 3:07 pm | Permalink

    Clearly the beginning of the year is your time for opening cans of worms.
    Cameron is right to call the SNP’s bluff on this issue and to expose their dream for what it is. Either they have a case for independence which the Scots follow or they don’t, and whether this is put to Scottish voters aka those registered to vote in Scotland in 2012 or 2015 shouldn’t matter. Also the option of a third question of devo-max is laughable. They are already max-ing out on devolution. Like the UK and the Euro, or the UK and the EU, the Scots are either in or out of the UK.

    Personally I think both the English and Scots benefit from each other’s presence in the Union, but if one or the other party wants to leave it then so be it.
    Clearly, the fact that so many options to devolve power have been laid in front of the Scots and Welsh, in comparison with the English, could be a cause for some resentment here in England. So far the English have by and large lived with the situation, but as you say it wouldn’t take much to change this.

  67. Robert
    Posted January 10, 2012 at 3:09 pm | Permalink

    I have no doubt that Scotland would vote to stay in the union, the Scots are not silly and are wise enough to know where the bread is buttered the thickest.
    Only people who reside in Scotland should be allowed a vote, whether they be Scots or English, it is only the people of that country who should be allowed to decide their own destiny.
    But if the vote was to break away from the union it might not be a bad thing politically for England, and the Scots would be satisfied that they had been given a free and democratic vote on their own future.

    While Cameron has declared that the Scottish have ‘ the right ’ to vote on independence, he cares not a jot for the rights of his own country, It’s unfortunate for us that Cameron is not a democratic politician, or PM, and his leanings to the EU are now so blatantly obvious.
    If Cameron led a democratic government a vote on EU membership as promised would be given, Political Correctness would be long gone, and freedom of speech would be returned, we would also be saving £51 million a day.
    England people should also have the democratic right to vote on their own future.

  68. SteveS
    Posted January 10, 2012 at 3:09 pm | Permalink

    The Scottish are more than welcome to their socialist paradise if they are naive enough to think that the Union fails to benefit their country. I’d sever all ties including defence and leave them to sink.

    What I don’t understand is, if Scotland becomes independant and the UK ceases to be, why Scotland would have to apply for EU membership, but the United Kingdom of England, Wales and Northern Ireland would remain in teh EU but faced with re-negotiation. Surely, if the UK as EU member ceasese to exist, the remnant United Kingdom would also have to re-apply?

    If the Scots did leave, then the EU referendum in England would surely not be far behind?

    Reply: I suspect the EU would want to keep the bulk of the UK in and would see that if they cancelled membership that might lead to a worse renegotiation from their point of view. In contrast I expect they will make Scotland jump through high hoops, as it will not be making a large financial contribution to the EU.

  69. Alan Wheatley
    Posted January 10, 2012 at 3:11 pm | Permalink

    Re para 6: “Mr Cameron needs to win this argument rapidly with a few well chosen soundbites”.

    The notion that Mr Cameron could win any argument on a matter of such substance with a few well chosen is doesn’t even score on the plausibility scale! Matters so profound and long lasting for the UK as Scottish Independence warrant a full analysis of the issues, their consequences and a major debate.

    Reply: He did help win the AV referendum.

    • John Wrexham
      Posted January 10, 2012 at 10:41 pm | Permalink

      People have died for their country, but who would lay down his life for a change in the voting system, apart from the Deputy PM, that is. Patriotism and Nationalism appeal to emotion not reason. I wouldn’t expect any silver bullets from DC in this referendum; only hard facts will knock down the paper tigers inside the SNP.

  70. Barry
    Posted January 10, 2012 at 3:14 pm | Permalink

    I guess the Scots must choose between big brother England or big brother Germany with French poodle attached. At least with the former, they have the opportunity to put a Scot in No.10 and rule the rest of the UK. If the Scots change for the latter they might care to aspire to the status of Saxony (one of the many German states of approximately equivalent size to Scotland.. However, history will indicate that the Scots not being German will assume less importance than their smallest state Bremen. No Scot will ever rule from Berlin (nor be a flea on the French poodle).

    • JoolsB
      Posted January 10, 2012 at 10:38 pm | Permalink

      It’s bad enough having 59 Scottish MPs sitting at Westminster with nothing to do except legislate on English only matters to justify their existance. As the UK Government predominately only governs England nowadays, Scotland having it’s own parliament and First Minister, surely even any future Labour government wouldn’t be stupid enough to give us another Scottish Prime Minister. That really would be the final insult needed to make England say enough is enough and demand it’s own parliament.

  71. Alan Wheatley
    Posted January 10, 2012 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

    Re para 6 “The problem for the Prime Minister is the EU is now strongly linked to the union of the UK, both legally, and in people’s minds.”

    Is that so, JR? Well “your” people must live in a different world to “my” people.

  72. JimF
    Posted January 10, 2012 at 3:20 pm | Permalink

    Tongue-in-cheek comment
    Perhaps Scotland should remain a member of the EU, and England withdraw membership. All in favour of remaining in the EU would be resident in Scotland under Salmond, all in favour of being out of the EU would reside in England. Wales would house the don’t knows. Now that would be interesting…

  73. nicol sinclair
    Posted January 10, 2012 at 4:06 pm | Permalink

    “Scottish nationalist concerns will be recognised by the UK Parliament holding a referendum on the topic, and by agreeing to their view that only Scottish voters should have a vote on this Union matter.”

    Why, Mr Redwood, should a vote on the break up of the Union be restricted to Scottish voters? It is the UNITED KINGDOM. Therefore, the break up should surely be up to a referendum of ALL constituent parts. By the way I am a Unionist Scot. Perhaps I have misunderstood your post?

    Reply: No, I was describing the settled view of the SNP, Labour, Lib Dem and Conservative parties.

    • Alan Wheatley
      Posted January 10, 2012 at 7:44 pm | Permalink

      Re reply.

      I had not realised that the Conservative Party had a settled view on “this Union matter”.

      I would go along with the Scotts alone having the vote on whether they wish to leave the union, after all who but they can speak for them.

      In stark contrast, the consequences of Scotland leaving the Union will have an impact on the whole UK, and in that respect everyone in the UK is entitled to have a vote.

  74. RDM
    Posted January 10, 2012 at 4:07 pm | Permalink

    1) The EU opt-out.

    2) Now this!

    3) ?

    One more, Please. Or I’ll start on about the British Banking Systems, again!

    Regards,

    A very Libertarian Conservative and Unionist!

  75. Quietzaple
    Posted January 10, 2012 at 4:30 pm | Permalink

    The Act of Union was passed with doubts in both the London and Edinburgh parliaments.

    If there is to be a referendum it should involve all Britons for the matter affects us all.

    It is because of a perceived likelihood that English etc having a say in the matter will alienate scots that the …. Cameron offers a Scots only referendum.

    I appreciate points about who exactly gets a vote will be a problem as this sow’s ear unfolds. Not starting out with a sow’s ear might be best.

    • Quietzaple
      Posted January 10, 2012 at 6:40 pm | Permalink

      Scunner is entirely appropriate meaning one from whom decent folk shudder away, it is scots, and I first came across it on a Children’s BBC tv programme in which the villain “the Scunner such and such” was played by Iain Cuthbertson ( if my memory serves me)

      I can assure you that I am decent and I shudder from depictions of that man, as do many friends, most of them Tories.

      Reply: I usually edit out unpleasant adjectives about individuals, whatever their party or view

  76. Woodsy42
    Posted January 10, 2012 at 5:04 pm | Permalink

    “Do people born in Scotland, temporarily resident in England, get a vote? Do people born in England, now resident in Scotland, get a vote? ”

    There are two sides to the union, Scotland on the one part and the rest of the UK on the other. We are told that a split is only allowable under law if the rest of the UK agrees. Therefore everyone in the UK should be entitled to vote.

    • Quietzaple
      Posted January 10, 2012 at 6:35 pm | Permalink

      Broadly correct. As I observed above both parliaments agreed to the Act of Union. I cannot see how it is conservative to trade the rest of Britain’s say in the matter for Cameron deciding the timing as suggested. Just another cheap trick from a cheap trickster.

  77. Vanessa
    Posted January 10, 2012 at 5:17 pm | Permalink

    As I understand it Scotland is still under English Law and therefore Westminster. This, surely, means they do not have any authority to call a referendum to split from England unless the English Parliament either gives permission or calls it on their behalf. The whole of the British Isles should therefore take part in this referendum as, until Scotland IS independent, they cannot vote on their own to leave the UK. If they do vote to leave in a referendum called by our English Parliament then they will have to apply for EU membership as a new country and probably have to join the euro – what a mess & what fun and games !!

  78. javelin
    Posted January 10, 2012 at 5:20 pm | Permalink

    Im just posting my Italian timebomb post

    Fitch today said “a spread of 1.5 percentage points [10 year Italian bond over German bond] and growth of 1.5% would leave the country solvent”

    Italian 10 year bonds are 7.14% ( 5.25% overGerman bunds) and the Italian “Industria” – says “growth will be negative for at the very least 2 years”

    So it is a VERY reasonable view to say that Italy is INSOLVENT.

    Meanwhile Greece is about to explode – it looks like the Greek CDS credit event is now unavoidable – but the bond issue is now down to 3bn – so a disaster but not a complete disaster on default. That is what I think Greece will do – default but not exit the Euro.

    Back to Italy (and Hungary) – I worry about Fascism returning. Italy was first to promote fascism in the 1930s – they already have an EU technocrat – so the EU can’t really object if Monti is replaced by another undesirable type.

  79. Doc Snoddy
    Posted January 10, 2012 at 5:36 pm | Permalink

    Independents for England.
    Get the (WORD DELETED-ED) British out of England

  80. Sarah
    Posted January 10, 2012 at 6:32 pm | Permalink

    I am concerned that the Scottish Nationalists portray a vote on the independence of Scotland as a matter only for the Scots. The Deputy First Minister for Scotland referred to English meddling. As far as I can see the independence of Scotland would also have far reaching consequences for the rest of the Union. Why then is it meddling to wish for the matter to be settled promptly and decisively? Surely the Prime Minister of the Union ( which he still is) is appropriate in his call ?
    Perhaps someone of a nationalist persuasion can explain to me in what way independence would not affect the other countries of the Union and why therefore it is only a matter for Scotland?

  81. Thatacher-right
    Posted January 10, 2012 at 7:15 pm | Permalink

    One thing that always puzzles me about this. Why is there only ever a debate about Scotland leaving England? Shouldn’t the matter of England leaving Scotland also be discussed?

  82. Jon
    Posted January 10, 2012 at 7:58 pm | Permalink

    Salmond has a weak hand and I feel he is being over played.

    Originally he offered two options. Remain in Sterling single currency or join the Euro.

    Greece comes to mind, we won’t have an independent country part of our single currency and in the Eurozone the future would be a budget set and controlled by Brussells, hardly independent.

    He has back away from independence by offering Devo Max. Basically in the union but greatly increased borrowing powers, financial independence with the rest of the UK footing the bill. That is not an option.

    What Salmond has done is to back out of independence with teh Devo Max option so he can blame Westminster for not allowing financial independence in teh single currency.

    Surely Devo Max is a choice of Westminster and that answer would be no. Cameron and or Westminster just needs to state Devo Max is not an option.

  83. Monty
    Posted January 10, 2012 at 8:02 pm | Permalink

    My concern is the rights and freedoms of the English in our own land, something the main political parties have singularly failed to address. There is a rising of English National sentiment, and I suspect if the English had any say in the matter, we would be out of the UK already.
    I often wonder what would happen, if some extra-governmental group with a wealthy benefactor, and a goodly supply of volunteers, were to carry out a referendum in every English constituency. And do it to a high standard to maintain credibility. It would be a very salutary shot across the bows of our over-complacent politicians. With a decent turnout, it would be toxic for any party leader or sitting MP choosing to disregard such a demonstration of public will.

  84. lojolondon
    Posted January 10, 2012 at 8:32 pm | Permalink

    I have Scottish and Welsh ancestry. I like Scotland and I like the Scots and I like Wales and the Welsh.
    Truth is, both are net beneficiaries of the Union, and they always vote Labour, fed with large bribes, by Labour, particularly in the last 13 years.
    If Scotland gains independence, that will be the end of Labour in Westminster, likewise if Plaid Cymru staged a referendum for independence then Labour would be out. For that reason alone, what is left of GB will be a much better place if either should take independence. And, naturally, that is why Labour will fight this with all they have!!

  85. Andrew Johnson
    Posted January 10, 2012 at 8:36 pm | Permalink

    I’m half Scottish (Highlander way back) and half English ( back to 1220). Can I suggest another way of looking at this? In reality, the Scots (and or the rest of the UK) would not legally be be voting for independence but withdrawal from the Union. If that is a yes vote, and the Westminister parliament also votes yes, then Scotland might plump for independence, or make alliances as they wish in the light of current and future global financial uncertainties. It seems that for a while, small nations in the EU are destined to be vassal states (regions), so real independence would be a dream as Ireland, Greece and others have discovered.
    Some of the contributors have already described the complex practical and legal matters that would have to be dealt with, and there are many more not mentioned. No one has talked about the very real possibility of business of all kinds withdrawing from Scotland because of the costs involved. An independent Scotland, which was part of the EU, would simply not be allowed to create a low tax zone friendly to business environment. All in all it’s a nightmare of complexity, but constitutional, commercial and European law firms stand to make a fortune.
    Mr Blair was warned by MP’s and legal experts that bringing in the type of devolution legislation he did, without including England would well and truly let the genie out of the bottle. The West Lothian question has not been addressed. The case for an English parliament will grow stronger and stronger and English nationalism is not always a benign phenomena.
    Jim F’s post made me laugh out loud. Absolutely hilarious and dare I say, such a beautiful English compromise.

    • Barry
      Posted January 11, 2012 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

      Blair went on in the same old way and failed in the same old way. The nonsense that Blair introduced has not succeeded anywhere else so why would it succeed here?

  86. Boudicca
    Posted January 10, 2012 at 8:55 pm | Permalink

    If nothing else, the Scottish Referendum will demonstrate once again that the British Constitution does ‘DO’ Referenda. The argument for denying one of the EU becomes weaker every time another Referendum is called on an issue which the majority aren’t concerned with.

    So far we have had

    A post entry Referendum on the Common Market
    Referenda on Devolution for Scotland and Wales
    A Referendum on the NI Assembly
    A regional Referendum on a Northumbrian Regional Assembly
    A Referendum on the AV system of voting
    And now Cameron is going to authorise one on Scottish independence.- although all the polls currently show that only about 25% of Scots want independence.

    Yet, apparently, the British people cannot have a Referendum on whether we remain in the EU – when 85% of the Polls show that the British people do want a say.

    UKIP believes that we should leave the EU and also that the English must have their own Parliament and the UK should move towards a Federal System. I don’t want the union to go completely because I believe we are stronger together. But the current union can’t last. We all want to be self-governing and decisions made ‘closer to home.’ UKIP is right on both counts: we should leave the EU and move towards a Federal UK based on the American model. In seeking to preserve the status quo Cameron has nothing to offer me. I don’t want to be governed by the EU and I don’t want Scottish MPs voting on English laws.

  87. uanime5
    Posted January 10, 2012 at 9:00 pm | Permalink

    If Scotland votes to leave the UK there will need to be a period of time between the referendum and actually leaving for the various issues to be resolved.

    The UK and Scotland will have to decide how much debt they undertake.

    The UK will have to renegotiate the number of MEPs and contributions with the EU as it will be have a smaller population and have a lower GDP. Also the Westminster Parliament will go from being 82% English to 93%.

    Scotland will have to decide whether to join the EU, NATO, and the UN. If it doesn’t join the EU there will be major problems as Scotland will be treated as a non-EU country, so everyone in the UK will need to pay import tax on anything from Scotland and Scots will need a work permit to work anywhere in the UK.

    • Angus McLellan
      Posted January 12, 2012 at 1:49 am | Permalink

      A correction: Since Maastricht membership of the EU has no longer been tied to participation in the “common market” aspects of Europe (or the European Economic Area to give it its Sunday best name). Scotland (or an independent England) could continue the free trade and free travel arrangements of today either as a member of the EU, or as a member of EFTA, or as neither of those things.

      My opinion – hardly more than guesswork – is that if it were put to a vote, it’s doubtful whether Scots would vote for EU membership were the realities clearly explained. After all, Scotland probably loses more by the Common Agricultural Policy and especially the Common Fisheries Policy than England, Wales or Northern Ireland. Perhaps we shall find out some day soon.

  88. David Fraser
    Posted January 10, 2012 at 9:53 pm | Permalink

    The Jacobite rebellions of 1715 and 1745 were not nationalist uprisings but attempts to restore the Stewarts to the British throne. The Jacobite support came mostly from Tories, Episcopalians and the remnants of the Catholic faith in the Highlands. The majority of Scots were Presbyterian and Whig and had no love for the House of Stewart or the Church of Rome.

  89. Frances Matta
    Posted January 10, 2012 at 9:56 pm | Permalink

    All I want is my pretty, dark blue and gold passport back.

  90. John Wrexham
    Posted January 10, 2012 at 10:44 pm | Permalink

    I hope DC had a chance to chat with Vaclav Havel on what not to do if you want to save a union. If DC doesn’t want to save the union, just pick up the phone and speak to the President of the Czech Republic. I am sure Vaclav Klaus can provide some no-nonsense advice.

  91. Christopher Ekstrom
    Posted January 11, 2012 at 5:57 am | Permalink

    After Britain it is possible to imagine a restoration of England to the best future Albion can provide its people. The true greatness of England may once again rise from the shadow of maintaining the glory of Imperial times. The Heritage of England is second to none. Those of us that love Scotland mourn this end (but the link to escape from the EU softens the loss). Alex Salmond is the sad man running after the chimeracal lost pride Scots drunks rail on about. After independence the natural conservatism of Scotland will rise again to sort out the sad PC basket-case it’s native son MP’s have imposed. Let both follow their star…England has a very bright future!

  92. Matt
    Posted January 11, 2012 at 9:45 am | Permalink

    I have a big cgt bill for Jan 2013

    I would like to declare my independence from the UK – my first act after independence will be to abolish cgt

  93. Winston Smith
    Posted January 11, 2012 at 9:46 am | Permalink

    I am surprised nobody has mentioned Canada. They had an independence referrendum in 1995, where they said no, allbeit marginally. Similar to Scotland, the national socialists had a regional majoriy. Significantly, the nationalists blamed the defeat on ethnic minorities voting to keep the status-quo. Since 1995, there has been largescale immigration into Canada and this has further reduced the demand for independence.

  94. Tony Baverstock
    Posted January 11, 2012 at 1:02 pm | Permalink

    No where in any of these discussions does anyone mention the complexity and cost of independance.

    For example:

    a) What do we do about Passports? Who gets Scottish passports and who gets to keep the UK passport. This may not seem important but it impacts other matters that do:
    i) Assuming Scotland will need to set up its own passport authority, and the existing UK passport authority review all holders who should have Scottish passports, who pays for all these costs.
    ii) Visa requirements to enter non EU countries (I assume a deal would be done to allow Scotland to join the EU). I am sure most countries would allow similar rights to Scots as they had for UK passports, but this type of change often requires legislation in the relevant country which can take time.
    iii) Many benefits are dependant on residency. Say the child of Scottish parents leaves school to move to England to work and after 2 years is made redundant. If he has an UK passport he is entitled to benefits in the UK as a resident but not in Scotland since he has not been resident!

    b) Excise Duties. These are charged on petrol, cigarettes, and alcohol. Current these are changed when the item is manufactured (unless it’s for export), or when it enters the UK. If there are 2 separate countries we need some method of dividing these duties between the respective Governments. For example, Grangemouth is one of the largest petrol refinery’s in the UK; based in Scotland petrol is move to large parts of the rest of the UK. Are we going to have border posts checking the movement of fuel between the countries? This would have to apply to all duty goods, since many have manufacturing plans covering both areas. What would be the costs of setting up and administering this?

    c) VAT. VAT is collected on the sales of most goods. In the UK this covers all of the sales in the UK. However, with an independent Scotland all this needs to be divided. Sales of goods to none VAT registered individuals is quite easy, but for goods to a VAT registered entity in another country, the goods are sold free of VAT and the details of the buyer are passed to C&E. There is then a settlement of VAT amongst all EU counties based on the imports/exports and applicable VAT rates. Moving goods across the new border would need to accommodate this. Think of the 1,000’s of companies who would now need to join and manage the VAT import and export scheme. Think about large companies such as Tesco’s who organise there business on a UK basis, moving products around as needed. They would now need to divide there business into two, and any movements across border would have to be accounted for and reported to C&E.

    d) Corporation tax. Current UK companies calculate their tax at a UK level input one tax return and have one tax bill. If Scotland is independent any company which trades in both countries would have to divide itself in two, accounting between each entity for any inter country charges, present two tax returns and have two tax bill. Can you imagine the costs. Scotland would also need its own Inland Revenue Service to administer this.

    e) Income tax on employment. I assume there are a reasonable number of people who may have income covering both counties or earn income in one and live in another. This is not a problem if rates and laws are the same but assuming these vary there will be a lot more people with complex tax positions. This will cost the individuals more and will be more complex for Government to collect.

    f) State Pension. I am not sure what the percentage of state pensioners are in each country, but any material differences may have long term impacts on the finances of that country.

    g) Government Debt. This needs to be divided but this would need the agreement of all the debt holders, which would be very hard to obtain.

    h) CPA payments where partners live in different countries.

    i) The Post Office. While a limited company it is Government owned and operates in both countries. It also makes a big loss!

    If people are serious about independence these are the questions, and lots more about defence, public sector pensions, etc, etc, that need answering.

  95. Barry
    Posted January 11, 2012 at 2:16 pm | Permalink

    Salmond Logic is as follows:
    “Meddling” if UK involved in Scottish independence
    Also presumably “meddling” if UK involved in Scotland staying in the UK
    Also presumably “meddling” if UK involved in Scotland subsequently wishing to re- join the UK or do anything else.
    Also presumably “meddling” if anyone other than Scots wishing to do anything in the name of Scotland.

    So why was England ever consulted in 1706 for the Treaty of Union…clearly a mistake and an example of “meddling”!

    ( Inappropriate comparison for Salmond removed-ed)

  96. john w
    Posted January 11, 2012 at 2:47 pm | Permalink

    John,i would like everyone in the UK to get a vote in the scottish referendum.I would like to use the governments position on the EU against them.They argue that millions of jobs would go if we leave the EU.If Scotland leaves the UK and we are no longer in the EU,i would want to argue that millions of jobs would go and that would affect us enough to have a say in the matter.

  97. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted January 11, 2012 at 8:32 pm | Permalink

    Like Mr. Cameron, I am a Unionist and a Glasgow born Unionist at that. He has made a huge mistake by agreeing to a Referendum at all. A referendum measures opinion at one instant in relation to the question put, and is an unreliable device.

    Scotland should be given independence if – and only if – the majority of MPs it elects to Westminster are Scottish Nationalist members, for five successive General Elections.

    Breaking up a nation is not a trivial matter and it should only happen if it is clearly the settled and preponderant wish of the Scottish people. The bar should be set very high.

    On a point of information, most of my English frriends of the nationalist persuasion say that Scotland is welcome to its independence, provided that it takes Northern Ireland with it.

  98. Max Dunbar
    Posted January 12, 2012 at 12:07 am | Permalink

    The entire issue is incredibly silly and should never have been given a chance to be taken seriously in the first instance. To try and split a unified country for no reason other than prejudice and false grievance is quite stupid. Mr. Redwood reveals the ludicrousness of this in his second paragraph (will Salmond have us driving on opposite sides of the road next?). Britain is one entity. I am a British subject. My Scottish identity is symbolic only. I am loyal to my country which is the United Kingdom. I will do all that I can to oppose the vile SNP. They are traitors who seek to destroy our great country and we shall all be poorer for this disaster if it occurs.

  99. Sandy Jamieson
    Posted January 12, 2012 at 10:45 pm | Permalink

    “and by agreeing to their view that only Scottish voters should have a vote on this Union matter.”

    But alas that’s not true. It isn’t just Scottish voters who can vote. The Electoral Register the Government proposes to use allows all EU Citizens resident in Scotland the right to vote but no vote at all for the 350,00 Scots resident in England and Wales. The Government thereb is allowing people of Nations who loathe Britain the chance to help destroy Britain

  100. Edwin99
    Posted January 15, 2012 at 8:50 pm | Permalink

    As an “ENGLISH NATIONALIST” Bring it on.
    Cameron has’nt a clue really, shuts his mind and pretends The English question will go away, he ought to realise the “English” arn’t “Happy” alot of Voters could dump the tories if Politics take’s a Turn to favouring England and the English another party like UKIP or The English Democrats could suddenly gain momentum and get alot of support in England for People seeking an “ENGLISH PARLIAMENT”

  101. Gaz
    Posted January 15, 2012 at 10:21 pm | Permalink

    At the end of the day, if over inflated egoistical Salmond wants to break Scotland off thats fine!! I dont think it will really change the remaining UKs relationship with the EU, we will still be a huge contributor, Scotland will be a minow in a HUGE pond and will suffer. If maritime law is taken into account they will have very little oil and hopefully huge debts thanks to THEIR RBS and some claim on HBOS debt. What I am peed off with is that Cameron isn’t calling the shots!! The UK is supreme here and even if Salmond takes Scotland out there will still be a UK … we can still go on. Cameron needs to take charge even if it seems that a Tory is dominating Scottish politics which as leader of the UK government is his right!!! Why should 5 million people..well actually a lot less than that as about only 40% agree with a split so about 2 million people dominate and dictate the will of around 61 million???
    Salmond needs to be slapped down and brought down to size as he is an overinflated windbag!! If the Scots are peed off with the UK and its leaders thats fine..let them sail off to Europe which most Scots dislike and see where it gets them. Cameron should make it clear that Sterling £ is the UK currency, Scots have no right to keep it and will be forced to take their own currency or join the Euro if that is allowed by the EU. Then Scots will have their finances ruled by Germany and not by closer to home UK.
    get a grip Cameron and take the High Ground or take the low road to oblivion!!! And get England A NATIONAL PARLIAMENT!

  102. Dave Dowell
    Posted January 16, 2012 at 9:08 am | Permalink

    Astounding! Absolutely astounding!

    Mr Redwood presents as a defacto statement that the Prime Minister can prevent the English having a referendum, and you all start commenting that he can’t stop the Scottish from having one.

    Where’s the equality in this union of equals? When are the English going to be treated as equals to the Scots?

    This union was brought about by a Scottish King, for the benefit of Scotland who were bankrupt. The English have never been asked if we’re happy to be in a union with the racists from the North. So for 300+ years we have been subjected to racism from the Scots.

    At what point is any single one of you spineless individuals going to stand up for the English? At what point are you going to demand that the English should be treated as equals, instead of publicly declaring that the English can be prevented from having a say about their country, but the Scots can’t?

  103. RoberT Peffers
    Posted February 7, 2012 at 4:15 pm | Permalink

    It has been a long time since I read such rubbish. Mr Redwood needs to learn the histort of his counry, his United Kingdom and his Parliament of the United Kingdom. Not to mention a few legal matters.

    I would humbly point out to him there were only two signatories on the Treaty of Union. Both signatories were Equal sovereign states. Both countries, then, were already under the rule of a common monarchy. The English throne already ruled the Principality of Wales and included, (by act of the Parliament of Ireland), the Irish crown. There remains much confusion about how this came about.

    There are three legal documents that brought about the joint parliament at Westminster that we now know as, “The Parliament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland”. These documents are: – “The Treaty of The Union of the Parliaments”, dated in 1706, which leads to – “The Act of Union”, passed in the Parliament of Scotland and, “The Act of Union”, passed by the Parliament of England. The Scottish act was amended by the Scottish Parliament before it was accepted. Now Parliament process is that a bill is drawn up, debated upon, voted upon and, only if passed, becomes an Act Of Parliament. However, neither of these ACTS OF PARLIAMENT were passed by, “THE PARLIAMENT OF THE UNITED KINGDOM OF GREAT BRITAIN”, but by their respective sovereign states Parliament.

    “So why is that important?”, you may ask. The answer is, the present Westminster parliament, (By the way, built with UK taxpayers money after the Old English Parliament burned to the ground), will be end when, (not if), Scotland rescind, “The Treaty of Union”, and then tears up her own, “ACT OF UNION”. As to their legal right to do so – consider this , they are withdrawing from a two partner treaty and there will thus be no legal, “Parliament Of the United Kingdom”, from that instant. Historically, The Grand Seal of Her/His Majesty’s Parliament of England & The Grand Seal Of Her/His Majesty’s Parliament of Scotland were destroyed under the terms of the Union Treaty and a new Grand Seal of Her/His Majesty’s Parliament of the UNITED KINGDOM created to replace them. No parliament can be legal unless it bears that Royal seal and neither can any bill become an act. This is because of, “Sovereignty”, and The United Kingdom is a Constitutional Monarchy – (where sovereignty is delegated to the legally elected representative of the people).

    Now for the killer bit – The Monarch is, “Queen/King of England”, and the people of England are her/his subjects because their monarch is sovereign. Conversely, that same monarch is also, “Queen/King of Scots”, and titled in that manner as the monarch in Scotland is the subject of the Sovereign people of Scotland. This sovereignty in Scotland also includes the right to dismiss a Monarch who does not do proper duty to the people of Scotland. That means now, to dismiss the parliament that has been appointed by them.

    That, though, depends if that Parliament has the sovereign people of Scotland’s mandate in the first place. At this time the Westminster Parliament does NOT have that mandate. The Parliament at Holyrood most certainly does have their mandate. Furthermore, any doubt that Holyrood is not just a, “Wee pretendy parliament”, was proven wrong on the first day it was convened. When Winnie Ewing made her declaration before Her Majesty Queen of Scots, Winnie boldly stated that she was reconvening the old Scottish parliament. This historic statement has never been challenged. A Grand Seal of Scotland lay there on the table as did a sceptre and other artefacts of a sovereign parliament. However, at the instant the Scots leave there is no more United Kingdom Parliament at Westminster, England has no legally elected parliament, No Great Seal of England, no Treasury, no Civil Service. Did Mr Redmond assume that Her Majesty would wave her Sceptre and magically turn the Her Majesty’s United Kingdom Parliament into Her Majesty’s English Parliament? Her Majesty must summon someone to her and command that person to form Her Majesty’s Parliament of England. But wait! There are no legally elected members and no English Parliament Civil Servants – Laugh that one off John!

    Reply: You are fighting a battle Scotland has already won!. Everyone in the debate agrees that if it is Scotland’s will to leave the Union Scotland can and will leave the Union. We also agree that there would need to be legislation passed to turn the UK Parliament at Westminster into the Parliament of England, Wales and Northern Ireland. The problem the SNP has is there seem to be a larger proportion of people in favour of Scottish independence south of the border on the England/Scotland border than in Scotlabnd itself, but the vote will be for Scotland only.

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  • About John Redwood


    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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