Scottish nationalism


I attended a very interesting private meeting  recently on the Scottish Question. A couple of  learned Scots told us that Scottish nationalism was  defined by dislike of the English in general, and the dislike of English Tories in particular. Scottish nationalists do not like London making decisions for them. They like it even less if it is English Tories calling the shots there, instead of Scottish Labour MPs.

None of this is suprising. The success of the Scottish Nationalist party has been brought on by Labour’s anti Tory  campaigns for devolution. Their failure to secure enough votes for devolution in the 1970s, when Scotland was still reluctant to tread this path, led to a long sulk and a revitalised and successful attempt to put it through on return to office in 1997.  Labour consistently claimed that a Conservative “English” government of the UK should not govern Scotland. They saw nothing wrong with a Labour UK governing Northern Ireland with no Labour MPs, or governing England with a majority of Conservative MPs, but they did think a Conservative majority government at Westminster lacked authority to govern Scotland if the Conservatives had few seats for Scottish constituencies.

Labour’s dislike of the Tories, their insistence on using the legitimacy argument against the Conservatives, and their determination to polarise opinion on devolution, helped the SNP establish its position as a credible force in Scottish politics. The SNP had lively internal debates about whether it was a true independence movement, as the purists wanted, or a party of Scottish government seeking more devolved powers within the UK. Mr Salmond has often come across as  a devo max man rather than a true independence fighter. He after all wanted devo max on the ballot paper for the referendum.

The stated position of the current SNP is not to seek Scottish independence, but to seek a new kind of dependence, with some more things being settled by a devolved Scottish government. It is difficult to argue that a country is independent if it does not have its own currency and central Bank, yet Mr Salmond wants to stay with the pound and a monetary policy and interest rates fixed by the Bank of England. Mr Salmon also wants Scotland to be a member of the EU, with all that that implies for loss of sovereignty. The SNP wishes to share a Queen with England, rather than have a new Republic with a Scottish President.  The SNP are just better at devolved politics than Labour, and have used Labour’s anti Tory and anti Union rhetoric of past years to gain themselves devolved office. Now they wish to press for devo max, calling it Independence. In practice what they seek woukld  leave their new  Scotland  controlled financially by a monetary union where they  no longer have a seat at the Cabinet table or in the Central Bank, and leave Scotland under an avalanche of new EU controls without the current UK opt outs.

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  1. Posted December 10, 2012 at 6:32 am | Permalink

    Wise words indeed Mr Redwood, with which I heartily agree – especially the bit pointing to the paradox where Salmond wants to leave a union with a common language and culture, only to join one that does not even speak his native tongue!

    Ever considered Ukip John? That is the way, you know – and they could use your talents.

    DB, Scotland

    • Posted December 10, 2012 at 12:36 pm | Permalink

      An excellent comment with which I wholeheartedly agree!

    • Posted December 10, 2012 at 4:01 pm | Permalink

      Duncan Black sure your not Duncan Disorderly ? The First Minister is not the only one who wishes independence,there are many of us.If this were a true union of equals then there might not be such a problem.Being with different countries and seeing different points of view helps open the mind and helps with the advancement of society in general.

    • Posted December 10, 2012 at 6:09 pm | Permalink

      Along with Australia, New Zealand, Canada, the United States, Ireland and Wales, we Scots share the English language with you and the international English language culture centred in the United States. We Scots don’t share a common culture with England separate from that. We Scots do get imposed on us the culture of the English Ascendancy, most strongly through your ‘British’ Broadcasting Corporation, and the culturally colonised Scots share in that in a rather pathetic way. You do not share in the culture of our other two national languages – Gaelic and Scots – any more than you share in the culture of the Welsh and Irish languages.

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

        Hang on a minute. How many Scots speak Welsh or Cornish or share in their culture.

        • Posted December 11, 2012 at 8:54 pm | Permalink

          Almost none, but the ones that do make rather a lot of noise about it. They usually work for the state sector, the BBC or similar I find.

    • Posted December 10, 2012 at 8:34 pm | Permalink

      Duncan, has Mr Redwood ever suggested that he wished to retire (from politics), why would any sitting MP who is in a safe seat ever think about joining UKIP, surely better to work from within Westminster and thus have the ear of parliament than from -at best- College Green as a by-standing political pundit?!

      • Posted December 11, 2012 at 8:57 pm | Permalink

        We need more MPs like JR not fewer. UKIP should concentrate on standing against the EUphiles, quislings and the people who call them racist – like Cameron.

    • Posted December 11, 2012 at 9:09 am | Permalink

      Mr. Black: This point of view always puzzles me, are we not in the EU already, as part of the UK? What exactly do you mean? Genuine question…

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

    It certainly looks as though Mr Salmond is trying to take the worst possible combination of results for Scotland – how would the Scots be independant with the money supply run from London, and everything else run by the EU?

    I’m not sure that the Scots and Welsh do really have a useful seat at the Cabinet table. After all, the post is gifted by Mr Cameron with no input from the corresponding devolved “government”

    If Scotland and Wales remain part of the UK, I believe that they should not now send MPs to London as they go now. Rather, let the politicians of their respective local talking shops each select a plenipotentiary (elected or otherwise) to represent them in SW1, and given a seat at the Cabinet table. At the same time, abolish the Welsh and Scottish offices – they have been superceded and should not exist any more.

    It removes a thick layer of expensive bureaucratic replication, makes some small use of the devolution that has been foisted on the English, and resolves the West Lothian question.

    • Posted December 10, 2012 at 10:22 am | Permalink

      “let the politicians of their respective local talking shops each select a plenipotentiary”

      That kind of dismissive language suggests to me that even you don’t really believe that this would be a better idea than simply allowing the UK citizens resident in those parts of the UK to continue to elect their constituency representatives in the UK Parliament, the supreme legal authority for the UK, just as the UK citizens resident in England would continue to do.

      • Posted December 10, 2012 at 4:26 pm | Permalink

        DC – Not quite correct in that I hold most politicians in equal disdain. There are some decent ones about, but all I’ve heard from MSPs has been rather one-sided. Likewise, the record of the MPs from Scotland when holding office in England has been less than glorious lately.

        The Scots elect MSPs who have limited powers, and no direct influence over the running of the UK as a whole. They have another expensive set of MPs who have provided us with such noble examples of competance as Mr Brown. Help like that I can well do without.

        Mine is an alternative suggestion to the idea that we need an English parliament to match that which the Scots and Welsh have been given. Fairness doesn’t necessarily mean that everybody must have exactly the same thing – I’d settle for an equitable alternative. Where a Scot has an MSP, we have an MP. I don’t want to have an MSP representing me here, near London, or an English version of the same. To make sure that the Scots are heard in cabinet, give them a permanent place there – the trade-off is that they concentrate their interests through a plenipotentiary.

        We don’t need more politicians but less, and fewer layers of bureauracy too. Certainly the MP with his name against the area in which I live is no use to the constituency – unfortunately it’s a safe seat, so we’re probably stuck with him until he choses to retire. However, I would never suggest adding another politician to make up for the lack of effort that the current one makes.

    • Posted December 10, 2012 at 5:29 pm | Permalink

      Somehow I doubt that only allowing English MPs to vote on issues concerning the whole of the UK will go down well with the Welsh, Scots, or Irish.

      • Posted December 10, 2012 at 11:25 pm | Permalink

        And for how long have we put up with the Scots having more votes per head of population than the English?

        • Posted December 11, 2012 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

          Which is no longer the case.

      • Posted December 11, 2012 at 7:02 am | Permalink

        The Welsh and Scots would have their input through the plenipotentiaries. The Irish situation has other complications, and I have deliberately not included them.

        I consider my suggestion to give better parity rather than advantage to any side. If you consider the Cabinet to be the basis of Governmental power, the Scots and Welsh would almost certainly be better represented by what I suggest. The person talking for them at the table would have been chosen by the Scottish or Welsh assembly, rather than being the sitting PMs placeman.

        • Posted December 11, 2012 at 2:47 pm | Permalink

          Given that the Welsh and Scottish plenipotentiaries could be ignored by Parliament without any negative consequences it’s clear that what your want is to remove the rights of the Welsh and Scots to vote on issues that effect them.

          It’s well know that unanimity isn’t required in the Cabinet and it’s highly likely that the English majority will out vote the Welsh and Scottish plenipotentiaries.

  3. Posted December 10, 2012 at 7:36 am | Permalink

    If they want independence they should go for full independence and freedom, outside the EU, with their own currency and their own head of state.

    The suggested route is an absurd botch for political reasons, with the queen, the EU and the pound.

    • Posted December 10, 2012 at 3:56 pm | Permalink

      Just think commonwealth,16 other Independent countries also have the Queen,at present, as their head of state,some comments here must come from children in the primary school because they sound so daft if you read them out loud.Currency Sterling is ours in Scotland as much as anybody else.As for the EU we are already citizens,say it out loud what you have written it does sound very childish.

    • Posted December 10, 2012 at 4:04 pm | Permalink

      Please Mr life logic, the monarch is that of both Scotland AND England when James took the crown of England and decided to relocate to London to rule over BOTH kingdoms.
      Surely it is for the people of and independent Scotland to decide on continued membership of the EU? Or should you get a say on that too if/when the act of union is dissolved? As for the pound why do you get ownership of it? The bank of England, as Mr Darling loves to remind us, was founded by a Scot maybe we should take ownership of that and force you to join the Euro when you will have to reapply for membership of the EU. Sound a little silly? Well that’s how it sounds to us when you turn it around.

      • Posted December 10, 2012 at 8:54 pm | Permalink

        What do you not understand, any independant Scotland will not have continuing membership of the EU, an independant Scotland would have to apply for NEW membership of the EU – thus it will have to take the Euro, have the ECB as its central bank etc. (about the only treaty an independant Scotland will be exempt from is Schengen, for the same reasons why Eire are).

        • Posted December 12, 2012 at 9:50 am | Permalink

          I admit to being torn on this.

          On the one hand I would much prefer it if my fellow UK citizens in Scotland voted for Scotland to remain part of the UK.

          On the other hand I would also prefer it if the Scots made their choice after carefully considering the facts, and I wouldn’t want the result of the referendum to be swung through tactics of deceit and scaremongering and smearmongering.

          That is what happened with the 1975 referendum on whether we should stay in the EEC, and there is obviously a real risk that it would happen again with any new referendum on the EU.

          Barroso’s scenario is predicated on the false assumption that after a “yes” vote in the referendum nobody would do anything at all about relations between Scotland and the EU, and between the rest of the UK and the EU, and therefore for many purposes relations between Scotland and the rest of the UK, until after the final separation of Scotland from the rest of the UK had actually occurred.

          Personally I find it rather hard to believe that for a period of many months before the final separation Cameron would just sit back and wait for Scotland to drop out of the EU and therefore out of his beloved EU single market, whether or not the rest of the UK would remain in the EU single market, and the same with Salmond.

          However it is also clear that every other EU member state would have a veto over the necessary EU treaty changes, and some may demand a price for their agreement; it has never been the case that either Scotland or the rest of the UK would automatically inherit EU membership from the present UK on the present terms.

          • Posted December 13, 2012 at 9:13 am | Permalink

            Personally I find it rather hard to believe that for a period of many months before the final separation Cameron would just sit back and wait for Scotland to drop out of the EU and therefore out of his beloved EU single market, whether or not the rest of the UK would remain in the EU single market, and the same with Salmond.

            Denis, you are missing the point, yes it is quite possible that a Scottish government that is preparing separation could enter membership accession talks with the EU so that they would become members of the EU upon leaving the UK but that is not the issue, what will be the requirements of such membership -would Mr Salmond be allowed to choose which currency Scotland uses or would he be forced to take the Euro and thus be tied to the ECB etc.

          • Posted December 14, 2012 at 1:05 pm | Permalink

            If you re-read my last paragraph above, Jerry, you’ll see that far from missing the point that’s just the point I was making, and have been making for years now: that some of the other EU member state governments might try to take advantage of the impending dissolution of the UK to extract concessions, and maybe not only with respect to Scotland.

            Not because of Barroso’s frankly ludicrous scenario that everybody would sit on their hands and do nothing about future treaty relations with the other EU member states until Scotland had actually become an independent sovereign state outside of the EU, but because both Cameron and Salmond would very much want a seamless transition from the present UK being one EU member state to Scotland and the rest of the UK being two separate EU member states, and other EU member states might table their own demands as the price for their agreement to the necessary EU treaty changes.

            At that stage when the present UK was still legally intact and an EU member state it would probably be Cameron, through his standing as a member of the European Council, and other UK ministers and officials, who would be recognised as taking the leading role in the EU negotiations on behalf of both Scotland and the rest of the UK, but by their consent with Salmond and other representatives of the Scottish government and Parliament in tow, and the final agreement would have to be approved by both the UK government and Parliament and the Scottish government and Parliament, even though at the time the agreement was made the latter would still be devolved rather than sovereign institutions.

      • Posted December 10, 2012 at 9:26 pm | Permalink

        I agree it is for the people of Scotland to decide, but the pound is clearly going to be dominated and controlled by the England, due to simple weight of numbers.

  4. Posted December 10, 2012 at 7:41 am | Permalink

    Fine, let Scotland live it’s Socialist dream. If it means we haven’t got to pay for it and we get no Scottish Labour MP’s shipped down to London I’m all for it. If only it had happened 30 years ago we’d have been spared Gordon Brown and all the other useless left wing Scots agitators we’ve had to suffer in our parliament. Good riddance.

    • Posted December 10, 2012 at 10:51 am | Permalink

      And after you’ve said “good riddance” to the Scots, who’d be next on your list of fellow citizens who now mostly decline to vote in what you consider to be the right way and who should therefore be dumped?

      The Northern Irish? The Welsh? Those other supposed lazy scroungers in the north of England?

      As an Englishman born and bred, living in England, and no qualms about describing myself as an English nationalist, I’d rather say “good riddance” to you.

    • Posted December 10, 2012 at 4:05 pm | Permalink

      Yes I totally agree, 30 years ago would have meant you couldn’t have wasted all the oil wealth from our seas. How will your economy survive without it when you can’t even balance the books with it?

      • Posted December 10, 2012 at 8:42 pm | Permalink

        This is all so tribal and so pointless.

        Our Oil. Our pound. No McDoom.

        Look, if Scotland, with its 150000 net tax payers, wants independence it should have it. What happens after that is none of our concern down south.

        I was born in Scotland almost 50 years ago. It is a country that I no longer recognise. What a shame. If they take independence I hope they get back to the Scotland they were.

      • Posted December 10, 2012 at 9:06 pm | Permalink

        But neither would the Scots, as it was English (London) money in the main that funded the exploration and exploitation of both North Sea Gas/Oil, I’m not saying that the gas and oil would not have been developed but it is likely that mush of the profits and products would have flowed off-shore from both an independent Scotland and UK.

        You ask what the UK (London would have done without the excise revenue, but surely a more pertinent question is what will an independant Scotland do once the excise revenue fails, both NS oil and gas are well past peak – perhaps the Scots will be able to create an income from allowing countries to store CO2 in the dry oil/gas wells (assuming CC&S can be made to work and the current AGW lie continues)?!

      • Posted December 11, 2012 at 9:57 am | Permalink

        Ms Scot

        It appears that the Bonanza of Uk North sea oil and North sea natural gas has by ALL governments been frittered away on vote buying revenue scams.

        Fortunately a new Bonanza has arrived in the shape of Lancashire Natural gas and oil and sea bed Methane Hydrates and Thorium (non nuclear ) energy.

        I feel sure that you wish us well in harnessing this bonanza to this time balance our books .

        • Posted December 12, 2012 at 8:18 am | Permalink

          Riddi of England: “Thorium (non nuclear ) energy.”

          Thorium salt power generation is a nuclear technology. If you are trying to ‘scrub’ it for the greenies, good for you.

          Thorium salt reactors do not produce plutonium as a by product, consequently they are not much use as a source for plutonium bombs, which imo is largely why this technology has not been exploited.

    • Posted December 10, 2012 at 4:27 pm | Permalink

      If only it had happened 300 years ago then we Scots would not have been continually used as cannon fodder in one useless war after another building your imperialist empire with no say whatsoever in the rights and wrongs of it all. We would probably not have been exploited on a massive scale either and would now be among the top ten richest nations on earth. As for you having to pay for us, where are you getting that from? Scotland has been out performing the rest of this so-called union for years. Scotland’s contribution to the UK treasury is currently 9.3% of the whole UKs input with only 8.9% of the population. So you pay us nothing. We pay you and if you want to find out why your government cannot balance the books without our oil and gas resources I suggest you have a read of the McCrone report which was commissioned by the then Labour Goverment in the 1970s and then made top secret until now in case the Scots actually wanted some of their own resources which Westminster wanted to steal from us, which they have been doing ever since it was discovered off our shores. Like you they would like to see the back of us troublesome Scots but certainly could not even contemplate seeing the back of our resources.

      • Posted December 10, 2012 at 9:11 pm | Permalink

        Happy Crofting farmers tending to their hill sheep and all that, that is what the Scottish nation would have been had independence occurred 300 years ago, no industrial revolution, no ship building, no railways etc. etc.

        The Scots really do need to take off their rose-tinted glasses when reading their national history books…

        • Posted December 12, 2012 at 6:35 am | Permalink

          What an utter silly toffee nosed thing to say. Given that it was Scots who actually made steam engineering workable and contributed many great inventions which have made the world a better place to such a degree that even your own Winston Churchill said that for a small nation Scotland’s contribution to world science, medicine and the progress and well being of humanity has been immense shows you up to be nothing more than an ill informed xenophope. Im not surprised at your selfish snipe, you are no different from the other selfish bigots who have been commenting here. You dont want Scotland to thrive and it actually annoys you that we have the cheek to want to actually govern ourselves, after all we have been easily exploited for the past 300 years. Why would you or any other of these oinks want that to change?

          • Posted December 12, 2012 at 10:26 am | Permalink

            @A Cochrane: A typical “cake and eat it” reply from a selfish SNP supporting Scot. 🙁

            Go read some history books, and then put what I actually said in to context of the historical facts they belong, without the English and more importantly the money from London non of Scotland’s industrial developments would have taken place. The industrial revolution occurred first in England, not Scotland, those Scots so often cited (Watt and Telford etc.) came south to England to perfect their inventions or crafts.

    • Posted December 10, 2012 at 8:52 pm | Permalink

      “If only it had happened 30 years ago we’d have been spared Gordon Brown and all the other useless left wing Scots agitators we’ve had to suffer in our parliament.”

      Since apparently we’re not allowed to call a spade a spade here, let’s try a shorter version: (nonsense).

      • Posted December 12, 2012 at 10:36 am | Permalink

        Intriguing that the moderator, in addition to removing a fine old English word proved in a court of law not to be offensive, removed the link which proved Mr The Bike’s point to be absolutely untrue.

  5. Posted December 10, 2012 at 7:45 am | Permalink

    We have Scottish friends living locally and they have relatives in the “homeland”. They tell us that neither they nor their relatives want to break away from the United Kingdom and feel that the view is widespread.
    Mr Salmond’s idea of independence, as portrayed in Mr Redwood’s article above, does seem rather…….odd. Cake and eat it comes to mind. I certainly wouldn’t vote for it, if it was offered to me as “independence”.

    • Posted December 10, 2012 at 8:13 am | Permalink

      Chris XP

      Mr Salmond’s idea is very clever, he is actually promoting “Cake and eat it” with the safety that more cakes can be taken from the storeroom whenever they are needed, to either eat as you fancy or in times of hunger.

      Unfortunately our useless politicians (representing the whole union Scotland included) have allowed this to happen by once again failing in negotiations.

      Why is it that our politicians are so absolutely useless at negotiating anything on our behalf ?

      Is it:
      lack of skill
      lack of knowledege
      lack of desire
      lack of understanding of human nature.
      I still want to be popular and not upset anyone on the other side.

      Probably parts of all of the above, but more importantly perhaps none of them have ever negotiated a hard nosed commercial agreement in their lives before.

      Are we governed by muppets who cannot see further than their own nose.?

      • Posted December 10, 2012 at 11:23 am | Permalink

        Once Scotland had become an independent sovereign state then whatever reassuring promises the SNP had made to secure a “yes” vote in the referendum could be broken. Maybe later there’d be a referendum on whether the Scots still wanted to retain the Queen as Head of State, as per Australia, or maybe at some point the majority in the Scottish Parliament would claim that the most recent general election had provided a sufficient mandate for them to pass legislation turning Scotland into a republic with a President. Similarly the retention of sterling could be just a transitional phase, later followed by a move to a Scottish currency or to the euro. Any agreements on UK military facilities in Scotland could terminated, and if Scotland had joined NATO it could later leave NATO.The only certainty is that the English would no longer have any legal control over what was done or not done in Scotland, as the writ of the Parliament in London as the supreme legal authority for the UK would no longer run in Scotland; so any English objections would have to be pursued through diplomatic channels with the UK Ambassador in Edinburgh delivering notes of protest, possibly with implicit or explicit threats of the adverse consequences if the sovereign Scottish authorities continued along a certain line.

      • Posted December 10, 2012 at 9:18 pm | Permalink

        Indeed Chris and Alan, the message has been very much a “Cake and eat it” one, except that the cakes filling (supplied direct from Brussels) has been found rather unpalatable – sour cream and vinegar, according to some accounts – now it is becoming clear that an independant Scotland will have to apply for new membership of the EU upon separation from the UK..

    • Posted December 10, 2012 at 7:36 pm | Permalink

      ChrisXP. The UK was formed by the Treaty of Union between two independent states. When either party withdraws the UK ceases to exist. Hence Scottish (or English) Independence is not a ‘break away’, merely a return to the previous status quo.

  6. Posted December 10, 2012 at 8:21 am | Permalink


    I hear from EU reports, that If Scotland became independent then they would have to apply to join the EU.

    If Scotland became independent surely the position of the UK also changes, would we be chucked out and have to re-apply, as our status will have also changed ?

    Surely they cannot have their cake and eat it can they !

    • Posted December 10, 2012 at 9:55 am | Permalink

      The EU do so often have their cake, eat it and then often regurgitate it all over the population.

    • Posted December 10, 2012 at 10:29 am | Permalink

      To repeat a comment from the last thread.

      There are a number of misconceptions about this.

      The first is that a “yes” vote in the referendum would immediately make Scotland an independent sovereign state, and that consequently the UK would instantly cease to exist as a party to the EU treaties and some or all of its fragments would accidentally fall out of the EU.

      The second is that Cameron and Salmond and other pro-EU politicians across Europe would just allow this to happen, as it were standing back watching bemused as these unexpected events unfolded.

      The reality is that a “yes” vote in the referendum would only signal the start of complex negotiations to agree new arrangements between Scotland and the rest of the UK, arrangements which when agreed would then have to be formalised through UK and probably also Scottish legislation, with an agreed target date and exact time for final separation set maybe two years in the future.

      Alongside those negotiations for the new arrangements between Scotland and the rest of the UK there would also have to be negotiations for the future arrangements between those two newly separated sovereign states and other sovereign states around the world, in particular the sovereign member states of the EU.

      As I’ve said before, my bet is that the pro-EU Cameron and the pro-EU Salmond would collaborate very closely to try to ensure that at the instant of final separation of Scotland from the rest of the UK there would be a seamless transition from the UK being one EU member state to Scotland and the rest of the UK being two separate EU member states.

      Neither would accidentally drop out of the EU, and so neither would have to reapply for EU membership, because the necessary EU treaty changes would be agreed and ratified in good time and would be ready and waiting to come into legal force at the instant of final separation of Scotland from the rest of the UK without any hiatus.

      However, as I’ve also said before, some other EU member states might choose to try to extract a price for their agreement to the necessary EU treaty changes, and that price could be levied not just on Scotland but also on the rest of the UK.

      • Posted December 10, 2012 at 4:49 pm | Permalink

        I know you regard yourselfas the expert on this but the following quote from the Telegraph website completely refutes your assertions:
        ‘José Manuel Barroso told the BBC it was “obvious” that if one part of a member state, like the UK, became a separate country then it would have to apply for EU membership. He rejected Alex Salmond’s claim that talks over Scotland’s terms of membership would take place from “within” the EU, arguing that legally it would be an entirely new state. Instead he said Scotland would have to negotiate its terms of entry from scratch, meaning it would lose the UK’s opt-outs from the euro and Schengen free movement agreement and Margaret Thatcher’s rebate.
        The remainder of the UK would continue being an EU state and would not have to renegotiate the terms of its membership, he added.’

        • Posted December 10, 2012 at 7:21 pm | Permalink

          OK, I’ll add a third misconception: that Barroso would decide what happened after a “yes” vote in the independence referendum.

          He wouldn’t; the EU treaties would have to be amended to prepare for the expected break up of the UK maybe a couple of years later, and while Barroso could propose what should be done it would be the governments of the member states who decided.

          Do you really think that, even though it was known for certain that the UK would be splitting up, there would be no negotiations on the future treaty relationships between Scotland and the rest of the UK and the other EU member states until after the final separation of Scotland had actually occurred?

          How stupid that would be?

          • Posted December 11, 2012 at 8:05 am | Permalink

            Missed for moderation.

        • Posted December 10, 2012 at 9:25 pm | Permalink

          Totally concur with what Brian says, also don’t forget that this question is much bigger than Scotland, this question/answer has implications for southern Europe too – I suspect the last thing the EU wants to do is encourage such nation break-ups. About the only EU treaty an independant Scotland would be ‘safe’ from is Schengen for the same reason as Erie has an exception – it would be a requirement for the UK not to veto Scotland’s accession to the EU…

          • Posted December 11, 2012 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

            Well, I disagree with Brian’s assumption that Barroso is the authority on this and that what he says will go; but for some reason JR declines to publish my reply pointing out that the member state governments will decide what happens, not Barroso.

          • Posted December 11, 2012 at 7:36 pm | Permalink

            Well Denis,. with all due respect, I think it is safe to say that Mr Barroso is a lot closer to knowing the ins and outs of this than you (or the SNP) do, and in any case it is not just Barroso, many eurocrats have been making similar noises for some while, hence why the SNP asked the question formally of the EU.

            Also my comments about southern europe were not made for effect, there are real possibilities that Scotland will not be the only devolved nation/area asking the independence question via a referendum in the next few years

        • Posted December 11, 2012 at 8:12 am | Permalink

          I would add that there is no precedent for a sovereign EU member state deciding to split into two sovereign states, and even if there was a precedent it wouldn’t necessarily be followed.

          However it may be instructive to look at what happened in an opposite case, the re-unification of Germany. At one point the President of the Commission, Jacques Delors, suggested that East Germany might become an accession state and join the EC through the usual process, but the EC governments decided otherwise.

          • Posted December 11, 2012 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

            Re East Germany, Denis you seem to be mixing up the then two possible scenarios, that is that East Germany would remain as an independant state within a wider post Soviet block Europe and what actually came about – the re-unification of Germany.

            Thus and as you say, there is no precedent, this is why what people like JMB, HvR and others say now and in the future is of the greater importance, not least because there has been at least two further (re-founding) treaties since the the collapse of the GDR in 1990.

          • Posted December 11, 2012 at 4:27 pm | Permalink

            Not mixing them up at all, Jerry.

            At one point Delors suggested that East Germany would be treated as a “third country” and join the EC/EU through the normal accession process, but that suggestion did have to be accepted by the EC/EU governments and it wasn’t.

            Similarly the EU governments don’t have to accept Barroso’s suggestion that nothing should be done until Scotland had actually become independent, and then it would be treated as a “third country” which would have to go through the normal accession process in order to join the EU.

          • Posted December 11, 2012 at 4:29 pm | Permalink

            “did not have to be accepted”

          • Posted December 12, 2012 at 10:43 am | Permalink

            Sorry Denis but you are obviously mixing up the (then) possible GDR’s accession to the EU and any re-unification of Germany, what Delors said about the GDR became irrelevant once German re-unification was on the cards – unless you are seriously suggesting that Delors was also suggesting that a re-unified Germany would have had to re-apply for membership…

            You also seem to think that Barroso speaks in a vacuum [1], without reference to the rest of the senior eurocrats within the EU.

            [1] separate from the, often, political vacuum that is the EU

    • Posted December 10, 2012 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

      Yup! They can. And are!

  7. Posted December 10, 2012 at 8:38 am | Permalink

    Scotland, Scotland, Scotland, it’s all we ever hear. How about asking the people of England how they wish to be governed. Just once would be nice. The other (dis)UK members have been asked multiple times.

    • Posted December 10, 2012 at 11:34 am | Permalink

      A new Albion ? – yes please !
      This ofcourse will never happen – Liebore and LieDums depend too much upon their Celtic Coterie, the Tories meanwhile simply believe in Blighty – empire and all !!

    • Posted December 10, 2012 at 4:11 pm | Permalink

      Why don’t you vote for a party that offers this then? That’s what we did, we wanted a referendum so we voted for the SNP. Simples.

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

        Because the British in Westminster don’t recognise a political England. We don’t exist and that’s the way they like it.
        The (dis)UK is made of four nations. Scotland, Wales, N.Ireland and Britain. And don’t you forget it Ms Scot………………..

    • Posted December 10, 2012 at 6:18 pm | Permalink

      We Scots have not been asked how we ‘wish to be governed’. In 1979 we were offered – on a take it or leave basis – a weak form of devolution and no other constitutional option. We voted in favour by a majority but the result was gerrymandered by the British (and after a former Conservative ‘promised’ us a better devolution scheme if we voted no. That promise turned out to be a lie). In 1997 we were offered – again on a take it or leave it basis – another devolution scheeme. Again, we voted yes, and because they had little political choice Labour implemented it. The referendum in 2014 will be the first and only time in the 312 years of Union when we will be asked if we want to be independent.

      • Posted December 10, 2012 at 7:15 pm | Permalink

        And therein is three more votes than England has ever had…….

  8. Posted December 10, 2012 at 8:48 am | Permalink

    “They saw nothing wrong with a Labour UK governing Northern Ireland with no Labour MPs, or governing England with a majority of Conservative MPs”

    And this could very well happen again in 2015. Scotland are never going to vote for independence, not unless we English get a vote that is so what are the Conservative party doing about the great affront to democracy mentioned above? They are in government now and have done absolutely nothing to end this democratic deficit against every man, woman & child in England. Come 2015 Labour will stop at nothing to break England up to suit their own political ends and the party calling themselves Conservatives will be every bit as much to blame for standing by while it happened.

  9. Posted December 10, 2012 at 9:07 am | Permalink

    I agree with all this, but I would add one thought. Although dislike of England is a strong aspect of Sottish Nationalism, I believe the catalyst has been the discovery and exploitation of oil off the Scottish coast. “It’s Scotland’s Oil” was a powerful refrain for the SNP in the 70s. If, as sadly I do, you read the comment threads on Scottish issues in the press it is clear that those supporting the nationalist cause relish and rely on Scottish oil and the tax take therefrom for much of their justification for their nationalism. Put it this way, without the oil Scottish Nationalism would not have the level of appeal it currently enjoys.

    • Posted December 10, 2012 at 10:19 am | Permalink

      Does anyone know what the cost to the British taxpayer is of bailing out the Royal Bank of Scotland? I ask this because, if Scotland took the profit from the oil in the sea near Aberdeen, it ought also to take the debt incurred by one of its major banks.

      • Posted December 10, 2012 at 4:14 pm | Permalink

        Is this the level of the debate south of the border, it’s got our name on it so it’s our fault? It’s got your name on it so you own it? How about the idea that if Scotland had been an independent country we would never have aloud the banks to fail in the first place or we might have followed Iceland’s path post-crash?

      • Posted December 10, 2012 at 5:00 pm | Permalink

        The name of a bank has no relationship as to who owns it. It is certainly not owned by the Scottish government, the Scottish people or by Scotland in any way. It does all of its business in the UK and abroad and is registered as a British not Scottish company. As for our oil and gas resources, we get none of it. Westminster has the lot. You lot have not got a clue about this subject but you certainly know a lot about inherant racism, is it any wonder the Scots want nothing more to do with you all?

        • Posted December 10, 2012 at 8:50 pm | Permalink

          Inherent racism? Oh please grow up.

          “Is it any wonder the Scots want nothing more to do with you all?”

          Drunk much tonight?

          Most Scots know which side their bread is buttered.

      • Posted December 10, 2012 at 5:36 pm | Permalink


        Their share of the total National Debt is how much ?.

      • Posted December 10, 2012 at 5:41 pm | Permalink

        Yes, because the problems the RBS got in to were SOLELY due to the business it was conducting in Scotland.

    • Posted December 10, 2012 at 12:39 pm | Permalink

      Hey – good job the EU and Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth and the Labour Party have all banned fracking – otherwise, we could just let the Scots drift off in the Shetland Islands where they actually are economically.

    • Posted December 10, 2012 at 9:25 pm | Permalink

      The cost of bailing out RBS was around 45bn. The government got around 85% 0f the equity which is now worth around 22bn. Net loss to the taxpayer at present is around 23bn.

      North Sea Oil adds around 10bn to the UK economy annually.

  10. Posted December 10, 2012 at 9:45 am | Permalink

    I exhausted myself on this subject under the English Nationalism heading. One thing is certain and that is that there are many angles to be pondered on. One I have never heard any comment on is the position on Shale Gas. If a tenth of what is said (and seems to be happening in America) is true, Shale Gas will be very important indeed so one question is, How much Shale Gas does Scotland have? I have no idea as I write.

  11. Posted December 10, 2012 at 10:34 am | Permalink

    I can’t disagree with any of that, but what it lacks is a conclusion. Since devolution Scotland has been a lost cause. While only about a quarter of Scots consistently support independence, it is clear that anothre half of them could be persuaded to do so if they were convinced that it would make them £500 a year better off. What that means is that three quarters of Scots have no real loyalty to the Union. Who needs a “partnership” with such mercenaries? Certainly not England, still less do we need to retain them as uncertain partners by offering them further concessions in the form of devo-max. If the Scots do not vote for independence in 2014 the English should.

  12. Posted December 10, 2012 at 10:39 am | Permalink

    I think DevoMax could be a good option. Obviously it should be something which the people of the whole of the UK agree on, not just Scotland as with independence. If the independence vote goes the unionist way, Conservatives should propose DemoMax as a policy at the next General Election. Critical would be a responsibility by the separate Parliaments of England, Scotland, Wales & N Ireland to raise their own taxes to finance policies. There must be an end to cross-subsidies as far as possible. e.g. the UK could set a base flat rate of tax for the whole of the UK – eg at 25%. In England we might decide not to raise any more, recognising the beneficial Laffer effect of low tax rates. Wales and Scotland, hooked as they are on high state expenditure, and dominated by egalitarian Left-Leaning politicians will want a ‘fairer’ tax system, and might want to have very high marginal rates. So long as we can insulate the English taxpayer from the ensuing economic decline of those parts of the UK which vote in left-leaning governments, this should work fine, with the majority in England who reject socialism in its modern form free to live under policies aimed at prosperity and economic freedom.

  13. Posted December 10, 2012 at 10:48 am | Permalink

    Off topic, but I hope you will not be too modest to do a blog in the coming days on the new US / UK proposals for a resolution regime for failing banks, which seem to go very much in the direction which you (almost alone) were arguing for when Gordon Brown committed disasterously to the UK bank bailouts and the Conservative leadership were like rabbits caught in a headlight, failing to argue for a proper free market solution to this state policy-induced problem.

  14. Posted December 10, 2012 at 11:24 am | Permalink

    What you describe as the SNP’s attitude is not proper nationalism, just devo max, and it is much more objectional than genuine independence. Let me nail my colours to the mast. I lived the first 4 years of my life in Glasgow and have spent the next 62 years based in England but with more than 12 years of that working overseas. My identity is that of a citizen of the United Kingdom, a super Unionist, and a little thought will show that for me no other identity is possible. I loathe all parliamentary devolution in the UK.

    There should be a lot more ‘rough wooing’ of the Scottish electorate. If you vote for independence, genuine independence will be forced on you – a fully fledged frontier, no sterling, no common monetary police, no shared Head of State and any defence agreement limited to what is mutually beneficial.

    Scotland would have to negotiate its own terms with the EU. Come to think of it, a rump of England, Wales and Northern Ireland would no longer be the United Kingdom, and would have to negotiate its terms with the EU; there might be an opportunity there.

    People in England who are sanguine about giving Scotland devo max or independence should be aware that Northern Ireland would (have difficulties in such an event etc)

    • Posted December 11, 2012 at 12:33 pm | Permalink

      I don’t blame you for editing out my final sentence, which may have seemed a bit inflamatory. However, I did not say that Northern Ireland would have difficulties. I said that it would become ungovernable.

  15. Posted December 10, 2012 at 11:28 am | Permalink

    If Scotland is so poor and overrepresented in Westminster then it begs the question why is Westminster fighting so hard to keep hold of us? Why did Westminster keep the McCrone Report Top Secret for thirty years?

    Without Scottish oil, Westminster would have been bankrupt through the profligate years of Thatcherism and beyond. Scottish oil bankrolled Thatcherism, the M25, the Channel Tunnel, illegal wars to name but a few.

    The struggle for independence has never involved, or been motivated by, a hatred of England, the English or even just London. It is simply about a nation reasserting itself and taking decision and responsibility for own decision, rather than have everything run for the benefit of London and south east England.

    It’s time the Union was dissolved and have instead two free independent nations working together as friendly neighbours.

    • Posted December 10, 2012 at 8:55 pm | Permalink

      It wasn’t Scottish Oil. It was UK Oil.

  16. Posted December 10, 2012 at 11:31 am | Permalink

    Whatever the form of independence those ‘north of the border’ want – it be ‘independence’ at best !
    Give it to them – please !!

  17. Posted December 10, 2012 at 11:35 am | Permalink

    “If only it had happened 30 years ago we’d have been spared Gordon Brown and all the other useless left wing Scots agitators we’ve had to suffer in our parliament.”

    Ah, bless. It’s always fun to see clueless angry (etc) Tories make a fool of themselves with ignorance of the basic facts.

    Had Scotland been independent and returned no MPs to Westminster, you’d still have had Gordon Brown, Tony Blair and all the rest. Scottish MPs have given Labour a majority just twice since World War 2 – in 1964 and 1974, where they gave Labour micro-majorities of 4 and 3 seats respectively.

  18. Posted December 10, 2012 at 11:39 am | Permalink

    Hello, English supporter of the SNP here.

    This article and the complete misunderstanding of Scotland and Scottish politics reveals why the Tory party is at such a low ebb in Scotland ( 1 MP and even its leader in the Scottish Parliament couldn’t actually get elecetd ina constiutuency).

    • Posted December 10, 2012 at 4:18 pm | Permalink

      Finally some sense, I don’t know why they think we hate them so much, or why Scottish hate towards English = Bad but the blatant hate seeping through all these post here is acceptable?
      I for one do not hate the English, I have many English friends and relatives, but somehow self determination always gets mistaken for it.

    • Posted December 10, 2012 at 6:13 pm | Permalink

      Don’t forget that it’s only because the Scottish parliament has an Additional Member System that the Conservatives have 15 MSPs. If Scotland used FPTP the Conservatives would only have 3 MSPs.

      • Posted December 11, 2012 at 12:43 pm | Permalink

        The West Lothian question is far more important than the number of Conservative MSPs. In fact, I would be content with no Conservative MSPs, provided that it arose from the abolition of the Holyrood parliament.

  19. Posted December 10, 2012 at 11:50 am | Permalink

    There are major issues raised by the Scots continuing to use sterling. Once they are independent they can have no influence over the pound. On the trivial level this means that they must stop printing their own notes. However the rest of the UK will be left worrying whether we want such a major user of our currency that we do not control financially. I suggest that the Scots should not be allowed to use sterling after independence.

    • Posted December 10, 2012 at 3:24 pm | Permalink

      You can suggest whatever you like. There is absolutely no mechanism by which it could be prevented from doing so.

      • Posted December 11, 2012 at 12:45 pm | Permalink

        What a load of nonsense. England could simply bomb to Kingdom Come any Scottish building which housed the printing of sterling. Talk about the mouse that roared.

        • Posted December 14, 2012 at 11:39 am | Permalink

          Using and printing Sterling are, of course, two entirely different things. PS You know we’ve got all the nukes, right?

    • Posted December 10, 2012 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

      Sterling is as much ours as yours try thinking it out loud and hear how daft your comment is.While this is still the UK or Britain “they” is in-appropriate as we are “in theory” one country.We still contribute much more to the UK than we get in return,that is why Westminster leeches are so desperate to keep Scotland in the UK,you would sink.Scotland is the only part of the UK with a food surplus,and a power surplus (not including oil and gas) you could find out all these things by yourself,but you will most likely not like the answers.

      • Posted December 10, 2012 at 8:56 pm | Permalink

        Sterling is “Ours”. Oil was “Yours”.

    • Posted December 10, 2012 at 4:31 pm | Permalink

      And just how would you propose to do that? Sterling is a tradeable currency and belongs to Scotland every bit as much as it belongs to England.

      This sort of comment, and it is typical of most on this thread, shows why English Tories should desist from commenting on Scottish affairs until they have taken the time to educate themselves about the issues.

      You sound like a mess hall of WWI Army officers discussing just exactly how superior calvary are over these new-fangled tank thingys.

      • Posted December 10, 2012 at 8:24 pm | Permalink

        Whatever currency the Scottish government mandates must be used to settle tax payments, will be the currency the Scots will use. Any “pounds” issued by the three currency issuing banks in Scotland, have to be fully backed by assets held in an account at the BoE. Otherwise they would be counterfeiters.

      • Posted December 10, 2012 at 9:06 pm | Permalink

        And Scots bloggers sound like what they represent. A country addicted to welfare who think they are an ecomomic powerhouse. 5 million odd with only 150000 people who are net taxpayers and who have been funded by us down south and by the EU (with our money) for decades. They talk about how oil was “theirs” when they were part of the UK. And so it was UK oil, but now they consider leaving the union sterling is theirs, RBS is nothing to do with Scotland, and apparently without the Scots we will sink here in England.

        You have skewed politics here in England for years with your socialist Labour cronies and I didn’t hear a squeak from Scotland about the West Lothian question.

        I thoroughly approve of Scottish independence. It will save us a fortune.

  20. Posted December 10, 2012 at 11:53 am | Permalink

    Just a thought, but if Scotland leaves the UK and then has to reapply for EU membership I’m given to understand that, asssuming the application was succesful, it would not have the benifits of the opt outs that the UK has negotiated- including the single currency. Wouldn’t this lead to Scotland being forced to accept the Euro? If this is the case then the nats desire to keep the pound and be a member of the EU is not possible and the SNP are yet again misleading the electorate.

    • Posted December 10, 2012 at 3:42 pm | Permalink

      Your thought is wrong in so many ways and was asked as a question years ago and answered,remember the United Kingdom is supposed to be a union of equal partners,never seen it being equal in my lifetime yet.So best think your thoughts through to the adult side.Scotland is the senior partner in this union but it has been twisted round,so it is no longer a proper union.

  21. Posted December 10, 2012 at 11:55 am | Permalink

    A) Why don’t the English get the vote on England / Scotland independence & B)oh yeah, another reason WE “DISLIKE” London politicians also. Actually the reasons are so numerous I would be here all day typing to list them. So I will just say why is politicians want to reform EVERYTHING except POLITICS? In 99% of cases they are only interested in themselves, their own perceived “importance” and spend most of their time cultivating it. Now, with technology WE DONT NEED THEM and more to the point WE DONT WANT THEM but in 100’s of years NOTHING has changed. 1 person “representing” tens of thousands of people, it’s completely ridiculous! Never mind people moving to UKIP, people are going to vote for anything that changes the stalemate.

  22. Posted December 10, 2012 at 11:59 am | Permalink

    Many English feel exactly the same about the Scots, and in particular their Labour MPs.
    They come to Westminster, vote on purely English matters such at the English NHS, University fees and elderly care whilst their colleagues in Edinburgh vote the other way for Scots.
    As far as I am concerned their independence can’t come soon enough, but my instinct tells me that the Scots as a whole will vote against it.
    The other option, which I support is that the four parts of the UK should have a set up similar to the US, with four largely self-governing states and Westminster being only responsible for National matters such as defence, foreign policy, etc

    • Posted December 11, 2012 at 9:03 am | Permalink

      May I say that the SNP MPs never vote on English matters, unlike the other three main parties, and also never take seats in the Lords. The university and elderly care points are down to different priorities in spending between the devolved government and the UK one. The Lib/Lab/Cons in Ho;yrood also oppose these things, preferring wars and Trident missiles as subjects for spending. It does seem to be a very common fallacy that Scotland is given a huge subsidy to pay for these things, the truth is, and the UK government admit it using their own figures, Scotland gives more to Westminster than it received back. Many of the commenters do not believe this, or refuse to believe this. Still, our priorities are different, though they used to be broadly similar to you, but the Daily Mail factor seems to have taken root in England, and you seem happy for small groups of people to garner riches beyond the dreams of avarice, paying little or no tax, preferring to demonise the poor and out of work as ‘scroungers’. Would that there were jobs, but a commitment to full employment has no place in the goals of the big three parties. The employers wouldn’t like it, you see. And they pay the piper.

      • Posted December 12, 2012 at 12:43 am | Permalink

        It is an absolute myth that the SNP do not vote on English only matters. They voted on the increase in tuition fees to £9,000 for England only using the good old Barnett consequentials as a reason for doing so. How they voted is irrelevant – they voted and they should never have had the option to do so. True it is mostly Scottish Labour MPs who have no principles when they choose to constantly meddle in English only matters but even the SNP only have principles when it suits them.

  23. Posted December 10, 2012 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

    Scotland is national socialist. Let the national socialists bankrupt their own Country.

    • Posted December 10, 2012 at 4:21 pm | Permalink

      Are you an other one of those who gets socialism and communism mixed up?
      Look to countries like Norway, Denmark, Iceland, Sweden, etc who are all socialist countries and are all far happier than the UK. China on the other hand, a COMMUNIST country, well oops.

    • Posted December 10, 2012 at 5:16 pm | Permalink

      Interesting how it’s the socialist voting Scots (and Welsh) who in the main give us profligate Labour Governments which always leave office having bankrupt the country and brought it to it’s knees and yet it is predominately Tory voting England which has to pick up the bill, e.g. tuition fees, prescription charges & care for the elderly etc. We’re supposed to all be in this together or that’s what the politicians want us in England to believe which is why they deliberately conflate England and the UK and think we are all too stupid to know the difference. You would think at least in this age of austerity where England is taking the bulk of the pain that they would at least address the skewed Barnett Formula so we at least get equal funding but no it seems even to this Tory led coalition, it’s more important to carrying on shafting the English than upset the Scots (or the Welsh!)

      • Posted December 11, 2012 at 8:47 am | Permalink

        Jools, there have been 18 General Elections since 1945. If you remove all of the Scottish MPs from the final totals, the results remain the same for 16 of these elections, and the other two resulted in a hung parliament. In the overwhelming majority of cases, the UK gets the government that England votes for. No need to worry then, if Scotland does become independent, we will both get the governments we vote for. Win, win, and it’s called democracy, good for both of us.

        • Posted December 12, 2012 at 12:49 am | Permalink

          Really? England voted Tory in 2010 giving them a 62 seat majority. Despite the fact the UK Government predominately only governs England nowadays and despite the fact the other nations of the UK have their own governments, England got the Government that the UK voted for – not the other way round.

          • Posted December 13, 2012 at 6:33 am | Permalink

            Yes, really. I will repeat the last couple of sentences as you either didn’t read them, or failed to comprehend them.

            “In the overwhelming majority of cases, the UK gets the government that England votes for. No need to worry then, if Scotland does become independent, we will both get the governments we vote for. Win, win, and it’s called democracy, good for both of us.”

            You would have your Tory government in the last election if Scotland had been independent.

            But, as I said, in almost all cases since the war you actually have got what you voted for.

        • Posted December 13, 2012 at 6:52 am | Permalink

          Ooops, the above should read 15 and 3 respectively, sorry!

  24. Posted December 10, 2012 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

    I must say that as the years go by I become increasingly tired of ill-informed and in some cases downright stupid comments from “English village idiots” who are so short-sighted, and in some cases so self-seeking and in general so lacking in any form of patriotism, that they cannot see that it is definitely not to the advantage of England and the English for Scotland to be resurrected as an independent sovereign state occupying the northernmost third of the home island, with legal control over its land and its territorial waters and its airspace.

    As an Englishman born and bred I’m allowed to refer to “English village idiots”, even though it’s clear that certain members of the Tory party who’ve deliberately stirred up unnecessary animosity between the English and the Scots are not idiots but know very well what they’re doing and why.

    • Posted December 10, 2012 at 4:47 pm | Permalink

      A village idiot writes:

      Then no doubt you are going to get even more tired. We haven’t got started yet. Of course, everything else being equal, it would be better if England and Scotland could stick together in reasonable harmony, but everything else is manifestly not equal, nor is there any prospect that it will get more equal or that anglo caledonian relations will get any more harmonious. England and Scotland are on divergent trajectories. There really is no merit in clinging to a quarter-hearted partner, especially one that stays with you only for economic reasons. We might as well get on with going our separate ways because the alternative is a continuing process of appeasement ( in itself, something that ought to be unacceptable to any born and bred Englishman) which will end in our going our separate ways anyway.

      This abuse is unworthy of you, as is your slur on “certain members of the Tory Party”. If there is a critcism to be directed against the Tories on this issue it is that for fifteen years they have been quite shamefully passive and lax in asserting the interests of their English constituents, no doubt because in the main, like you, they are prepared to sacrifice those interests to “save the Union”. (and this despite the fact that and end to the Union would confer a party political advantage on English Conservatives).

      Lots of us were once Unionists, but we do not share your commitment to the Union at any price. If you think that makes us idiots it says more about your arrogance than our intellects.

      • Posted December 12, 2012 at 12:53 am | Permalink

        @ James Matthews – Hear Hear

        @ Denis Cooper – what advantage does England get out of being in this union exactly?

        • Posted December 12, 2012 at 10:20 am | Permalink

          If you can’t be bothered what I’ve written previously then I can’t be bothered to repeat it for your benefit.

      • Posted December 12, 2012 at 9:23 am | Permalink

        It’s hardly necessary to be “arrogant” to have bothered to check the line of Hadrian’s Wall and confirmed that it runs through Newcastle, or to think that plans to pipe oil from under the waters of a foreign country and land it on your own coast would be straight theft and could lead to war, or to insist that any accounts for financial transfers between different parts of the UK should be full and fair accounts and should encompass transfers between different parts of England and all other parts of the UK and should not be incomplete accounts just between England as a whole and Scotland leading to the false conclusion that the Scots benefit from a massive “Union dividend”, a term invented by the Labour party; nor is it a “slur” on certain leading Tories who’ve then pretended to the readers of certain newspapers that they too believed in the existence of that massive “Union dividend” even though they believed nothing else that Gordon Brown ever said, and who mistakenly hope to secure a permanent Tory majority in the Commons by breaking up the country, getting rid of a part (and possibly later other parts) where most of their fellow British citizens have long ago got fed up with their party and will no longer vote for its candidates.

    • Posted December 10, 2012 at 5:05 pm | Permalink

      As a ‘City idiot’, my anomoysity is not aimed at the Scots, its directed at the politicians, mostly left-wing, who hate the concept of England, its identity, culture and history. In their attempt to destroy England they have bred anomoysity towards Scotland with their political and financial bias in favour of Scotland. You are criticising the effect, not the cause.

  25. Posted December 10, 2012 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

    The independence movement for me does not involve issues surrounding the head of state, so I’m not sure why Mr Redwood brought it up. Independence would seek to reverse the union of the Parliaments in 1707. The union of the crowns happened about a hundred years before that. An independent Scotland would retain its head of state – a monarch who also is head of the English state. This isn’t hypocritical, just an historical curiosity.
    As for the oil, Scots look at Norway who regularly top quality of life indicators etc and are much more reliant on oil (30-35% of GDP) than an independent Scotland would be. What we see is a nation that has used tax revenues raised from extraction to build a national fund which finances infrastructure, social welfare and improves the overall wealth of the nation. The offshore reserves attributed to a nation form part of that nation’s capital. Norway have used that capital to enrich its citizens.
    What the UK government has done to Scotland’s oil and gas capital is squander it over the last few decades on policies that have…..well, they haven’t exactly enriched us (us=UK as a whole). We have no oil fund from which to improve roads, railways, schools, hospitals etc and in 2014, we will be at a point where reserves will be down to half.
    The choice for us (us=Scots) is clear: do we want to squander the remainder of our national wealth or secure it in order to build a better nation for future generations. Unfortunately, based on historical evidence and the current contributions to the debate from people like Mr Redwood, the only way to ensure the latter is to vote for independence.

  26. Posted December 10, 2012 at 12:41 pm | Permalink

    A good assessment.

    Assuming the English don’t want us to choose that sort of nominal independence, which would put the UK’s standing, Trident and UN Securtiy Councul seat under considerable pressure, it is in England’s interest to have “devo-max” (whatever that means) within the union. It is also in the interests of libertarians on both sides of the border to have as much fiscal independenmce for Scotland as possible. Such independence would stuff the SNP chicken of blaming everything that goes wrong on England and force Holyrood to maintain sensible economic policies.

    Personally I regard federalism as the best form of government for everybodyIt ensures policies can be road tested in regions to find whether they work or not – this is applying the scientific method to politics. So far Scotland and Wales have tended to produce negative experimental results but, to the outside observer, that can be as valuable as positive results. Perhaps if there were regional governmennts in England with the same powers the most libertarian regions could produce some positive experimental results we Scots & others could compare with. Even now the isle of Man, while hardly the Singapore/Hong Kong of the UK is providing an interesting example.

  27. Posted December 10, 2012 at 12:41 pm | Permalink

    It is arguable that when the counties of the UK raised taxes and governed themselves on matters affecting only themselves, the wealth of the country was more evenly spread. Westminster taxes us all so highly, that only it has the resources to invest locally. Why is it so wrong for Brussels to do this but not wrong when Westminster does it? One-size-fits-all creates inefficiency and waste through the Stalinist misallocation of resources.

    There is clear evidence in the USA, Europe, and the UK, that dictation from the centre is becoming less popular by the day, especially when the centre appears to have been captured by special interest groups wanting endless wars in the ME, unlimited immigration, the destruction of national and ethnic identities and congenial watering holes for banksters and ‘oligarchs’.

    The Tory party should examine exactly why it is so unpopular outside the home counties. It should also ask itself whether most of its supports do so either from habit or a greater aversion to the alternative ‘left wing’ parties. Ir should also ask itself why in order to garner votes at elections it needs to lie about its true intentions.

  28. Posted December 10, 2012 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

    Irrespective of whether Scotland goes fully independant, partially independant, or remains as they are, they have their own parliament to deal with most scottish business. They have no moral right to expect to be able to skew votes in the House of Commons unless they are invited to contribute on matters involving Scotland that remain in House of Commons control. They most certainly cannot justify two sets of MPs, one for Scotland and another for Westminster. In the event of an invitation from Westminster the scottish parliamentry MPs should be given a 2nd class rail ticket and a hotel voucher for any overnight stay. They can then make their contribution and depart north. As englishmen are I believe barred from taking a seat in the scottish parliament, no scott should be allowed anywhere near a Westminster seat

    • Posted December 10, 2012 at 4:22 pm | Permalink

      Why so mean? This is supposed to be a union, but you want Scottish MPs to be treated like 2nd class citizens? Grow up.

      • Posted December 10, 2012 at 9:17 pm | Permalink

        The West Lothian question. Why should Scots vote on issues that only relate to England? “This is supposed to be a Union”. But earlier in this thread you say:

        “Yes I totally agree, 30 years ago would have meant you couldn’t have wasted all the oil wealth from our seas. How will your economy survive without it when you can’t even balance the books with it?”

        It is the typical Scottish approach. It is the Union when it suits you and at other times oil is “yours” and “we” wasted it.

        You have your devolutioin and have voted yourselves huge welfare largesse as a result, paid for mainly by us. If independence happens then you might have to pay for it. Good luck with that.

        Why should you interfere with English issues?

        • Posted December 11, 2012 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

          RB, I agree, there should be no interference on English only issues. SNP MPs do not vote in these kind of divisions.
          However, I must ask you for a link to back up your claim that our “huge welfare largesse” is paid mainly by you. As with 8.6% of the population we contribute 9.6% of the tax revenues, and receive 9.3% back. I would be interested to hear what part of this makes you think that the English pay for our social care?

    • Posted December 10, 2012 at 4:50 pm | Permalink

      According to an opinion poll I saw a few years ago most Scots agree that MPs elected in Scotland should not vote on England-only laws.

    • Posted December 10, 2012 at 6:18 pm | Permalink

      So you believe that treating Scots as second class citizens is going to make devolution less likely. Dream on.

  29. Posted December 10, 2012 at 1:31 pm | Permalink

    A part solution to the SNP’s position is to bring the N Sea oil ashore in England ! Extending the pipe work and off-loading the ships South of the Border is a simple matter and would bring home the message to the SNP that Scotland simply cannot afford to be “independent” . The N Sea Oil is owned by International organisations and not by Scotland ; its source is in British and International waters . The SNP ‘s case is completely demolished unless they explain how they are going to pay off Scotland’s rightful share of the National Debt and maintain the sort of life style they have been able to enjoy under the UK umbrella . I cannot believe that any rational thinking Scot would want to support Scotland withdrawing from the UK .

    • Posted December 10, 2012 at 4:01 pm | Permalink

      I cannot believe that any rational Scot would willingly stay in a Union that proposes theft in the manner detailed in your comment. You steal from me so I ‘see the light’ and stay in the Union? No thanks.

    • Posted December 10, 2012 at 5:10 pm | Permalink

      As I recall gas extracted in Norwegian waters is landed direct somewhere on the English coast, but if that is the case then it doesn’t stop it being Norwegian gas exported to England and turn it into English gas.

      If Scotland became a separate country then there would no longer be anything which could properly be described as “British” waters. Scotland would have a land border with England, as part of the rest of the UK however that was then named, and it would have maritime borders with the rest of the UK and also with Norway, and oil extracted on the Scottish side of those maritime borders would be Scottish oil even if some of it was piped direct to the English coast.

  30. Posted December 10, 2012 at 1:56 pm | Permalink

    One anomaly is that English people living in Scotland will be able to vote but not Scots living outside Scotland.

    I am half Scottish and my friends and relatives all strongly oppose “independence” except one, whose argument, when faced with economic facts, just replied “we were once an independent nation and I am sure we can be again”.

    All those working in defence establishments (dockyards and airfields) can be expected to oppose independence.

    The EU conundrum is a key argument. Join the EU and have the euro. Not join and have the £ run from London. Or have a truly independent Scottish pound which would not be respected anywhere else.

    • Posted December 11, 2012 at 9:21 am | Permalink

      If you are on the Electoral register, you get to vote, regardless of colour, creed and nationality, how else would you expect this to work?

      It also gives the lie to the “Scots hate the English” meme prevalent on these threads. Civic nationalism, inclusive, and dedicated to the pursuit of our own political power, is far from some mad loathing urge to break away from the English that is trotted out in a divide and conquer fashion.

      Far from it, after a YES vote you will be very welcome to come and join us. By the way, I like the English, I have spent a long working life alongside technicians and engineers from, mostly, the North-East, and I love them to bits.

    • Posted December 11, 2012 at 1:40 pm | Permalink

      Tom William, please share your economic facts against Scotland being independent. I’ve never seen any, and would love to see your’s.

  31. Posted December 10, 2012 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

    (Link not appearing, trying again)

    So, after discussion with a couple of ‘learned Scots’ at a ‘private meeting’ you know all about Scotland do you? Care to name these bastions of wisdom? Or is this just another Scotsman like attack on Scotland with no foundation in truth or objectivity? The rest of your article reads as unsubstantiated rumour based on wishful thinking. Nationalism is grown from many seeds. To say Scottish nationalism is based on the hatred of the English is disingenuous in the least: there are many reasons the people of Scotland are now turning away from Labour, Lib Dems and Tories to the SNP. There are many reasons why the Scots are now looking to govern themselves. And you mustn’t confuse SNP policies with the wishes of the Scottish people. There are many things Scots disagree with the SNP on, and, assuming Yes answer in the referendum, there will be many things for the Scots people to debate.

    ‘He after all wanted devo max on the ballot paper for the referendum.’ This is trotted out time after time and has no basis in fact but is an attack on Salmond by Unionists, particularly the Unionist media. From the link: “

    ‘Mr Salmond has repeatedly expressed his preference for a single question on independence, whilst strongly emphasising he would look sympathetically on a third choice were it to be presented. ‘ And even that article accuses Salmond of trying to ‘promote’ devo max.

  32. Posted December 10, 2012 at 3:02 pm | Permalink

    This question of Scottish independence, surely we need to have a look at history to see how the two countries lie in relation to each other. I am no good with dates but did Scotland’s King James become King James of England when there was no heir to the English throne when the monarch popped their clogs. That being the case it is not up to Scotland to seek independence from England, but for Scotland to grant the English nationhood as a separate entity. In the scheme of things this may make no difference, but as has been said in these comments, all parts of the UK seem to be offered “Freedom”. There is another point, if , as has been mentioned, Scotland will have to apply for membership of the EU, though why anyone would want to leave a democracy, to join the dictatorship of Europe I do not know, we, the English would automatically be excluded from the EU and would have to re apply. Hey, what the hell are we messing around for, where do I vote for Scottish Independence!

    • Posted December 10, 2012 at 3:36 pm | Permalink

      Actually Scotland was a known country 300 years before there was an England,its the Oxbridge historians who don’t like being second to all the other countries of the UK,and they seek to alter the accepted history,by having an “always be an England” shame they cant come up with and face reality.

      • Posted December 10, 2012 at 9:20 pm | Permalink

        Jesus wept. Who cares now?

    • Posted December 10, 2012 at 4:42 pm | Permalink

      You don’t get to vote, unless you happen to be registered to do so in Scotland in late 2014.

      As you say, you are not good with dates. The union of the crowns to which you refer (1603) has no bearing on Scottish independence, which will affect the Union of parliaments (1707/8) which created the UK state. If Scotland (or England) decides to leave this union, the UK will then cease to be and both parties will revert to their pre-union state. That is: Scotland and England will become independent nation states, Wales will continue to be incorporated in England, and some sort of political accommodation will be needed to sort out the status of Northern Ireland.

      There will be no continuing UK, or rUK, simply Scotland and England. And neither partner has a veto on the other partner leaving.

      • Posted December 11, 2012 at 2:13 am | Permalink

        I bow to your superior knowledge, my point, we joined the Scots not the other way around.Regarding the EU, surely a change such as the breaking up of a nation state to form 2 new would give cause to re evaluate the status of that (those) state(s). Personally the Scots want independence,if they get it why give it up and join Europe a far more intrusive, controlling and less democratic nation than the one they would be leaving. I think this reply covers a number of comments.

      • Posted December 11, 2012 at 3:08 pm | Permalink

        Since the UK refers to the United Kingdoms of Great Britain and Northern Ireland if Scotland left then it would become United Kingdoms of England, Wales, and Northern Ireland. So the UK could still be called the UK, just as it was after the Republic of Ireland left.

        • Posted December 12, 2012 at 8:24 am | Permalink

          uanime5: “would become United Kingdoms of England, Wales, and Northern Ireland. ”

          Except neither Northern Ireland nor Wales is a kingdom. So without Scotland which was once a Kingdom, it can’t be the ‘United Kingdom’.

    • Posted December 10, 2012 at 5:20 pm | Permalink

      You’re confusing the 1603 Union of the Crowns:

      with the 1707 Union of the Parliaments:

      And, no, we English would not automatically be excluded from the EU because Cameron (or Miliband, or whichever other pro-EU politician the foolish English are likely to vote into power in the foreseeable future) would make damn sure that we were automatically kept in the EU, even if the necessary EU treaty changes came at a price.

    • Posted December 10, 2012 at 6:22 pm | Permalink

      King James VI of Scotland became King of England after the last of Henry the 8th’s child, Queen Elizabeth, died. Though this was effectively a personal union between two countries until the Act of Union in 1707, which made the Scottish Parliament subordinate to the Westminster one.

      • Posted December 10, 2012 at 6:45 pm | Permalink

        it abolished both the Scottish and English Parliaments.

    • Posted December 10, 2012 at 8:10 pm | Permalink

      Yes, quite, where as Scotland will be boxing up their EU application with complementary oatcake and bigs bladder filled with offal strangely the English loose their application form to re apply.

  33. Posted December 10, 2012 at 3:32 pm | Permalink

    I see that a lot of imagination went into J.Redwood’s piece,not much is recognized by me a supporter of independence for 45 years.Should stick to writing believable fiction for this piece of fiction is only for those that wont seek out the truth,or even want to know what is true.Just maybe if more people took an interest in politics then fiction like the above would be found out quickly.

  34. Posted December 10, 2012 at 3:42 pm | Permalink

    It really doesn’t matter how you slice it and dice up the British Isles , the prognosis for England , Scotland and Wales is poor .

    The republic of Ireland have shown that they can take the tough decisions and delivered a masterclass in how to cut public spending . They have got something about them and I’d fancy them to come through the current crisis better than England , Scotland and Wales .

    I think that England is now as divided as Northern Ireland was during the height of the troubles .

    – A political and financial class which despises the man in the street and treats him with contempt .
    – A public sector determined to hold on to flawed system of pensions benefits which nobody in the private sector has any more leading to an us and them mentality .
    – People who want to be ruled from Brussels and have the state tell them what to eat and drink versus people who affirm the right to make their own decisions, think for themselves and for the individual to have protection in law from the state .

    • Posted December 11, 2012 at 12:49 pm | Permalink

      Silly me. I thought that the Republic of Ireland bent over backwards to be ruled from Brussels.

  35. Posted December 10, 2012 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

    Scottish local authority officers refuse to use a tape machine to interview suspects because it is ‘English’. We have one in the office that all the English people use (because it is much better, fairer, easier etc) but the Scots won’t touch it and still scrawl their interviews in their little notebooks!

    It’s not just that they don’t like ‘the English’ telling them what to do, they don’t even take kindly to English people suggesting how they might do things better.

    • Posted December 11, 2012 at 9:33 am | Permalink

      Steven, thanks for your thoughtful contribution, please tell us more…

      I like a good anecdote.

    • Posted December 11, 2012 at 1:08 pm | Permalink

      This is the flip side of the coin. The author VS Naipal did a lot of travel writing. One of his books was ‘Among the Believers’ about his travels in Islamic countries. He noticed that the more militant a country was, the more it denounced ‘The Great Satan’, the more it used western designed and made photocopiers to disseminate its propaganda.

  36. Posted December 10, 2012 at 4:21 pm | Permalink

    The Scots don’t dislike/hate the English , we view you in much the same way as the English regard the Germans i.e. a bit bigger and better than us at things but this is never to be admitted. The Scots and the English are very similar but there are significant cultural differences between us . The biggest cultural and political difference is that in England property and land is paramount and the landowner class is deferred to. Scots , probably because there is much more land per person, economic and wilderness, around us crave land less and the landowners are left to maintain it for us , as long as we can have full access at all times , this is an acceptable deal. Nevertheless ,the landlord class in Scotland has long been despised and unfortunately it is this group that is heavily identified with the Tories in Scotland.
    The leaders that the Tories choose to offer to Scotland reflect the amount they are out of touch with mainstream thought in this country . The lack of quality political leadership has left a void in Scotland on the right, which I ,for one, am annoyed about.
    Here is a conundrum for you , we are getting a referendum to leave the UK but most folks I know would rather have one to leave the EU. Maybe we feel you haven’t been regarding us so well since you got to be best pals with Brussels. I know I would rather be in an independent UK than in the Scotland region of Europe.

  37. Posted December 10, 2012 at 4:52 pm | Permalink

    John, why don’t you just tell the truth, which is that you’d love it if Scotland became independent (or devo max) because the Tories would probably find it easier to win general elections.

  38. Posted December 10, 2012 at 5:16 pm | Permalink

    One thing I never understand is why the Scots(living in Scotland) dislike the English. You never get that feeling from all the Scots we have living here. And I don’t think its got much to do with politics. I talked to a young woman from Leeds who’d been to Aberdeen University and who was stunned by the animosity from the Scottish students. Having said that, I for one, hope they don’t leave the union.


  39. Posted December 10, 2012 at 5:26 pm | Permalink

    It’s hardly fair to blame Labour for the lack of Conservative MPs in Scotland. In 1955 50% of the Scottish MPs were Conservatives.

    By 1979 it had fallen to 31%

    But in 1997 there were none.

    Perhaps the Conservatives should examine their policies to try and understand why the Scots prefer Labour, the SNP, and the Lib Dems; rather than blame other parties.

    Regarding the 1979 Scottish Devolution vote 51.3% of the voters did support it. However as the turnout was only 63.8% this meant it fell short of the requirement for 40% of the electorate to vote in favour.

    Sharing a Queen with England won’t be a problem, as Canada and Australia have shown.

    • Posted December 11, 2012 at 1:24 pm | Permalink

      Sharing a Queen with England won’t be a problem, provided that this would be acceptable to England. Why should it be? You ought to be aware that Canada and Australia will probably become Republics just as soon as they can find the right constitutional model. Royalist sentiment is not strong.

      A Conservative & Unionist Party could regain some MPs in Scotland if they played the Orange card. The same might apply in Northern Ireland.

  40. Posted December 10, 2012 at 5:31 pm | Permalink

    I can’t believe that we are talking about the Scots again. Their hatred for England is now beyond my limits of toleration. It it were down to me I would turn them all back at the border and rebuild Hadrian’s Wall. He had the right idea, the Scots obviously saw how well the Romans lived and wanted some of their central heating and public baths, but he soon showed them.

    • Posted December 10, 2012 at 7:03 pm | Permalink

      It’s a deal. Rebuild Hadrian’s Wall – and we get Nothumberland!

    • Posted December 10, 2012 at 9:26 pm | Permalink

      That made me laugh, George.

      But in truth you are right. The Scots hate the English.

      So let them go to become yet another region in the anti-democratic EU with the oliagenous Salmond at the helm.

    • Posted December 11, 2012 at 3:19 am | Permalink

      Back under your bridge George… and you do know that rebuilding Hadrian’s Wall as a border will leave a large chunk of England on the Scottish side? You didn’t? Why does that not surprise me?

  41. Posted December 10, 2012 at 6:51 pm | Permalink

    Watching the Scottish Assembly in action over the last few years it fits in with what the blog is saying. Also watching it tells me the extent of the problem there in keeping the electorate ignorant of the EU and of the UK Union as a whole. You would be led to believe that the likes of Brown and Darling and co were not Scottish or Labour.

    This concerns me as an English man as we may get to vote on our relation ship with the EU. In Scotland the SNP, Labour and the Lib Dems want more direct rule from the EU, any EU directives that are not liked are blamed on the Westminster government, nothing to do with the EU. That block pro EU vote is very worrying for someone who wants nothing more that a free trade platform with the EU.

    The hiding of the EU factor in Scottish politics is why Alex Salmond can push for direct EU rule and the possibility of eurozone membership whilst mentioning independence in the same sentence. By the time Scotland twigs this in one or two generations it will be too late.

    An EU referendum vote you might think would generate the more open debate in Scotland but I suspect with 3 main Scottish parties promoting more EU control it would get nowhere. Alex Salmond will ask his voters to vote for more EU control afteral he his policcy is to join it directly rather than through the clout of the UK.

    How can this be addressed if we get that EU referendum? I struggle to se how it can.

    I also feel that this devo max will just perpetuate the “independence” issue which the SNP will like rather than settle anything.

  42. Posted December 10, 2012 at 7:05 pm | Permalink

    I am generally refraining from commenting one way or the other on this matter. The only people who are getting to decide/ need to participate in the debate, are not likely to be found on this website, nor the pages of the Daily Mail, Telegraph or London Times. So other than bating bears whats the point of arguing here?

    The pound issue is difficult. I think an independent country needs its own currency. However I also suspect that had the Euro not been the disaster it has then the post independence currency on offer would likely have been the Euro. That would have been because we export a commodity ( or 2 counting hooch ), which would cause the currency to appreciate to the detriment of whats left of the rest of our economy. That option would be ridiculed today – tho’ many people from the Conservative Party favoured us all being in that boat in times long conveniently forgotten. So for Scotland realistically, its petrocurrency or existing currency and neither are great options. Eire retained Sterling or parity until the late 70’s. Long after independence.

    The political change being sought is the dissolution or the Act of Union of 1707. We will still be a United Kingdom. We will have the same monarch. That Monarchy was united by King James 6th in 1603. One of ours. The German descendents of that Scottish King ( of Norman French extraction ) rule to this day both Kingdoms. Why would we want to have a different monarch? The belittling of the suggestion shows scant knowledge of the history of our United Kingdom, and with respect, is patronising. To my mind the patronising is the reason for the above mentioned hatred of the English.

  43. Posted December 10, 2012 at 7:18 pm | Permalink

    The Scots want their cake and eat it, trouble is it comes with responsiblities like a share of the national debt. They now see they won’t be able to cross over and be in the EU they’ll have to apply like the rest; and lets face it their economic situation won’t be that secure. If the EU thinks it will have another state dependant upon a bail out at some later date they may have to wait longer than they think. Its not al rosy as Salamond said it would be, now the cracks are begining to appear in the reckoning, the reality is becoming a nightmare senorio for the Scottish people. I hope they vote no for all their sakes, and retain the the union for what it is, joined together as we equals and friendship like we’ve both enjoyed for the last 400 years. Put Salamond out of his misery and dump him, he’ll make Scotland a poverty nation if he gets his way, and what for to forfil his dreams. When he retires to some Scottish glen on a fat pension, who will pick up the bills for his mistakes, the people that’s who, and what a bill it will be.

  44. Posted December 10, 2012 at 8:20 pm | Permalink

    John, I’m amused that you should choose to blog on a subject you so evidently know little about, particularly given your last humiliating public foray into ‘celtic’ matters … (have you learnt the Welsh National anthem yet?)…

    If you can provide a single citation for your readers, where Alex Salmond or any member of the SNP has ever claimed to want a second question on the referendum paper, I’d be obliged if you’d print it ……. but of course you can’t, because none exists.

    The SNP have only ever sought full independence.

    Regarding control over Sterling, it is obvious to all but a blind man that having ‘some’ influence is better than the current arrangement of having none.
    Simply, Sterling and UK fiscal policy is skewed to suit the London economy alone. ….
    With an oil rich independent northern neighbour providing base capital for the ‘British debt mountain’ accrued under Sterling, I’d suggest that the independent Bank of England would give more consideration to the Scottish economy than at present. Don’t you? ….or do you not understand economics and bond markets?

    This same principle applies with the EU. Currently Scotland has no representation, and consequently our fishing rights were sold off to secure Maggies opt outs … and as a result our Scottish fleet has been decomissioned and our fish stocks devastated by Spanish trawlers. ….. Having some future say within the EU is preferable to the none Scotland has at present.

    As for ‘sharing’ a queen with England …. are you so ignorant as to forget that the current monarchs lineage is actually Scottish in origin ( your ignorance continues to astound, even after all these years ..!) and that Her Majesty is Queen of England (sovereign over the English) AND Queen of Scots ( subject of Scotland )???
    In Scotland the people are sovereign, not the monarch. …. I’m guessing you didn’t know that either …….

    …oh, and as a final aside, Scotland did infact secure a majority of over 50% of the vote for devolution in 1979 …. Devolution wasn’t granted because of a Labour amendment requiring over 40% of the total electorate to have voted yes, as well as a clear majority of those who voted …. had these rules been invoked elsewhere, no UK government would ever have been elected! …..
    SURELY you must be aware of this, as it was this act of treachery by Labour that ensured the SNP voted with the tory opposition in a motion of no confidence in the then Callaghan Labour government, ………. offering Mrs Thatcher her opportunity.

    No John, independence for Scotland is independence from you and your kin at Westminster. Scotland will dissolve the union of Parliament, but maintain the union of Crowns. She will retain Sterling as her currency, and being able to set her fiscal policy to suit Scottish needs, the independent Bank of England will, for the first time in 300 years, pay heed to what happens in Scotland. …. as will the EU, the UN, and NATO …… none of whom pay any heed currently.

    Scotland will be WMD free, (where ARE you going to park those nuclear subs by the way?) energy and resource rich, but most importantly free to choose it’s own path rather than being dragged along the extreme right wing neocon path of oil wars, privatisation, police state, elitist greed, and disenfranchisement of the poorest and weakest, that ALL at Westminster seem determined to tread at present ….

    Really John, … either you are ignorant beyond comprehension, …. or a dreadful liar. … perhaps even both.

    Either way, your kind are soon to be consigned to history in Scotland.

    Reply Your comments lack grace and accuracy. I am fully aware of the hisotry of the union of crowns followed by the union of states, of the referendum vote results, and the way mr Salmond sort to insert devo max onto the next referendum ballot paper. I think it is an interesting set of issues how independent Scotland wants to be, given the links of currency, monarchy adn EU membership etc

    • Posted December 11, 2012 at 4:42 pm | Permalink

      “She will retain Sterling as her currency, and being able to set her fiscal policy to suit Scottish needs, the independent Bank of England will, for the first time in 300 years, pay heed to what happens in Scotland”

      Ahh the warm and cosy world of Scottish Nationalists, where not just England, but the European Union and no doubt the world will rush to fulfill yhe whims of a mighty independent Scotland,

      If you think the Bank of England ignores Scottish needs now, boy are you going to be unhappy in an “independent” Scotland that continues to use sterling.

      • Posted December 11, 2012 at 10:04 pm | Permalink

        James, on what do you base your assertions, given that the BoE pay no heed to Scotland at present since all oil revenue and taxation is directed through London?

        Post independence these revenues would be credited to a Scottish economy, and therefore some of the security for Sterling would be, in part, based on Scottish fiscal policy … and it follows that the BoE would give some consideration to this when setting its monetary policy. A situation which doesn’t exist at all at present.

        You haven’t thought it through, have you James?

        … and evidently you haven’t read or understood my initial statements on the EU, UN or NATO where in all cases a small independent voice is preferable to none whatsoever under UK rule.

        For evidence of this I cite fishing policy in the EU, the Iraq war debacle at the UN, and nuclear weapons based on the outskirts of Glasgow to appease NATO …. all policies overwhelmingly opposed in Scotland but pursued with vigour nonetheless under various Westminster governments ……..

        No James, a small voice is preferable to none whatsoever, …. especially when it means you can pursue the fundamental aspirations and policies your population desires, ….. rather than be forced to adopt those diametrically opposed policies of your neighbour, to the detriment of your own people.

        • Posted December 12, 2012 at 10:51 am | Permalink

          No. It’s your assertion that you haven’t thought through (or perhaps you just choose to believe in the teeth of the evidence, like Salmond’s assertions about automatic Scottish membership of the EU). It really is absurd to suggest that if Scotland is a foreign counrtry, with no representation in the central bank which controls sterling and no representation in the Parliament of the country of which sterling is the national currency, it will somehow have more influence over that currency than at present.

          Scotland may choose to use sterling as a medium of exchange, just as some non-US countries choose to use the dollar, but that will be the beginning and the end of it. The oil revenues that will flow to an independent Scottish exchequer will cease to have relevance to the central bank which will adminster sterling in the interests of the RUK. Try to grasp the idea that to the rest of the UK independence will make Scotland just like any other small foreign counrtry, for good or ill.

          For the first time in 300 years the Bank of England will not need to take the interests of the Scottish economy, or the Scottish population, into account.

    • Posted December 11, 2012 at 4:48 pm | Permalink

      John, I should apologise for my lack of grace or courtesy, however you showed little in your analysis of the matter, and are therefore were accorded little.

      You state you are fully aware of the 1979 referendum yet claimed Scots were reluctant to embrace devolution, despite all evidence to the contrary. … Is this ignorance or a lie?

      You claimed that the First Minister sought to have Devo max on the ballot paper yet cannot substantiate it with any evidence. … Is this ignorance or a lie?

      It is these ‘errors’ which so demean the debate. … and provoke robust challenges from those of us seeking to argue from a position of fact.

      Mr Salmond stated he was minded to ALLOW such a question if other parties wanted it, but would not propose it himself because it was not his desire, and neither could he implement such an accord if it was voted for …. that was in the gift of unionist parties and Westminster.
      His reasons for considering any such proposal were twofold; to show willingness to accomodate the wishes of a third of the electorate, and to expose the unionist lie of jam tomorrow. The fact that no unionist party proposed a Devo Max option for the referendum paper demonstrated that lie.

      Scots will never vote no on a false prospectus again ……

      I will not repeat my views on the currency, EU et al, since you seem to have flatly refused to accept the evidence presented to you.

      If and when you address the issues with knowledge, truth and reasoning, you will find those opposed to your political views will respect them all the more, despite challenging them.

      However, I will afford you one major accord above most others in the unionist camp…..

      You are willing to debate and allow comment, and for that I heartily commend you!

      Reply: I have not taken a personal stance on the issue of how Scotland should vote, so I find your responses curious.
      Mr Salmond was widely reported to want devo max as the additional question.
      If the Scots had really wanted devolution in 1979 enough would have voted for it, as Scots well knew the minimum vote requirement.

      • Posted December 11, 2012 at 10:38 pm | Permalink

        John, don’t believe everything the media reports … especially if they can’t provide a clear citation, or quotation.!

        As for the gerrymandering of the ’79 vote ….. how many people must vote in a majority to make a UK government valid?

        30% of the population?, …40%? ….

        How many UK governments of the last 300 years have been elected on 40% of the total electorate vote of the UK, given overall turnouts generally struggled to get over 70% at best? ….

        You are happy for the UK future to be determined by 25% or thereabouts of the electorate, but seem to believe that it was insufficient for the future of Scotland in ’79 when 34% of the total elctorate returned a 52% majority.

        Does this mean that democratically speaking, you consider Scotlands desire for self determination in ’79 to have had more credibility than any current or previous Westminster government? …. because that is the case you argue.

        Reply Why do you have to personalise it to my views, when I wrote this in a detached way? It was Parliament’s view in 1979 that there needed to be a minimum vote for devolution, laid down by law under a Labour government. If Scotland had really wanted devolution enough they would have voted for it then, as they all knew the rules which Parliament set.
        Mr Cameron reported that Mr Salmond wanted a third option but was persuaded by Mr C not to.

    • Posted December 11, 2012 at 5:42 pm | Permalink

      I remember a Dad’s Army episode where Sergeant Wilson asks Captain Mainwaring “Why is Frazer so unpleasant?”. Mainwaring professes to be at a loss to know why, but his face says it all really.

      • Posted December 11, 2012 at 6:18 pm | Permalink

        In fact I think it was Mainwaring who asked the question – but it doesn’t matter really. John Laurie portrayed Frazer’s character perfectly, a stereotypical character no doubt familiar to English readers of this diary.

  45. Posted December 10, 2012 at 8:30 pm | Permalink

    John Redwood’s 10 Dec blog was well-presented.

    Opinions vary about what is right for the nation, yet the blog’s content was clearly high in quality & has generated interesting response. Thank you, John.

  46. Posted December 10, 2012 at 8:41 pm | Permalink

    When will the English voters be given a referendum on the Union.

    As usual, those that rule over us will never allow us a say as they are well aware what OUR answer will be and it is not to THEIR liking !

    • Posted December 11, 2012 at 4:50 pm | Permalink

      …when the English electorate decide to vote for a party supporting such a stance ….. as the Scots did with the SNP.

  47. Posted December 10, 2012 at 9:24 pm | Permalink

    John, what a disappointingly shallow, sneering piece. In Scotland, and in the real world, it is those who support Scottish independence who are puting forward the positive arguments. You seem unable to view this issue in terms other than the habitual Labour/ Tory rivalry. Even if you insist on ignoring basic arguments for independence it is astonishing that you should be surprised that Scots resent being ruled by a political party they have not supported since 1955. You and your political allies continually express resentment about what you perceive as Westminster’s loss of power. How can it be you are blind to similar Scottish concerns about absence of democratic controls north of the border?
    You seem to criticise the SNP’s gradualist strategy for independence as being a new form of “dependence.” I would have thought a unionist like you might welcome such a change as a satisfactory compromise. But of course you are well aware that Scotland’s new “dependence” will just be another step on the road to true independence. Our alternative is to remain with the moaners like you, forever bleating about the evils of European Union but too timid to go it alone. Ever considered a gradualist approach?

    Reply: You read into it what I did not write. I sought to write an analysis, n ot an opinion piece setting out my v iews. Please read it again with neutral eyes and see that I am not attempting to -prejudge Scottish opinion, merely trying to tease out what “independence” means to differing SNP memebrs and others.

    • Posted December 12, 2012 at 11:46 am | Permalink

      John, thank you for replying: In your first paragraph you state that your unnamed “learned Scots” state “….Scottish nationalism was defined by dislike of the English in general, and the dislike of English Tories in particular” and your article goes on to support this contention. But it is false.
      Modern Scottish Nationalism is notable for its lack of anti-Englishness. You will be hard-pressed to find examples of any xenophobia is speeches by SNP politicians or pro-independence commentators. There has been no attempt to stop non-Scots voting in the referendum and the SNP has often stated that anyone choosing to live and work in Scotland after independence can become citizens. As has been mentioned in other comments there are many English people active in the Yes campaign and the SNP at present. Perhaps you should rather question the lazy logic which seems to be common among Unionists that to be pro-Scottish is, by definition, to be anti-English. You should note that while England seems to have its krauts, froggies and smelly socks there is no offhand, dismissive term up here for you lot down there!
      It is remarkable that, in your analysis of why Scots might turn towards self-government, you ignore the most obvious one, that more and more of us see it as a means of improving the prospects for our children and grand-children. Your leader David Cameron used the expression Broken Britain before the last Westminster election as a means of attacking Labour, so how can you be surprised that two Tory recessions later many Scots are questioning their place in your collapsed empire. You correctly point out our general antipathy towards the Tories but surely the nationalists’ positive response of independence is one you should encourage noy decry!
      You state “Labour consistently claimed that a Conservative “English” government of the UK should not govern Scotland.” This is untrue as it is an argument for independence and not devolution. As an SNP activist I spent the 1980s trying to have Scottish Labour politicians address this very issue and it was Scottish Labour’s failure to deal with it which caused the its vote to move to the SNP in 2011. My point is proved by the fact that these same Labour politicians are now standing shoulder to shoulder with your own party in the Better Together campaign. They would rather see Scotland run by you and your chums than by a democratic government elected by the Scottish people. Joanne Lamont and Ruth Davidson are in a new comfort zone up here, John. Make sure you remember that before you accept any invitations to pop up to Jockland to lecture the natives on their unfitness to rule themselves!
      There was little disagreement within the SNP on the strategy around independence and the referendum. Growing popularity always meant that it would be, at least, part of a government in Holyrood before that referendum and that it would have to prove itself competent in government to move forward. Most so-called fundamentalists accepted this and, although it has distracted attention away from puting forward the arguments for independence, we will see that change in the next 24 months as the campaign gathers momentum. The SNP remains by far the UK’s most popular political party (within its electorate) and Salmond the UK’s most popular party leader. We will, of course, be faced by a negative Better Together involving personal attacks on Salmond (which has already started) and sneering attempts to undermine the self-confidence of the Scots (as illustrated in the comments here). More “learned” Unionists, however, will see the dangers in these negative strategies and will look to cobble together some kind of “tartan ceasefire” till after the referendum. Judging by your own poorly-informed comments on Labour and independence that will prove unsustainable.
      DevoMax was never going to be on the ballot paper as the SNP rank and file would have rejected it although I, personally, would have supported it as an option. The SNP is now looking to make the transition to independence as smooth as possible, leaving anything which can be dealt with after independence until then when the Scottish government will be in a much stronger bargaining position. Therefore issues like currency, which will become important very quickly after independence, will be left until then. We do not know how the euro or sterling will look in two or three years time (both could be very shaky) so it would be crazy to make final decisions now. In spite of recent macho political posturings, Strasburg and the Bank of England will want Europe’s biggest oil producer on board and Scotland should negotiate with both from a position of strength.
      I know that your article was really an attempt to attack Labour as anti-UK and had nothing really to do with Scottish independence and the SNP about which you know little and care even less. However, in future please steer further away from calling Scottish nationalists anti-English. Scotland and England may well exist in separate states in future but we will always be land-locked neighbours and, if we maintain respect for each other, good and co-operative neighbours.

      Reply Try reading what I write instead of inventing a position I did not adopt. I have not lectured the Scots on how they should vote. My aim is to get a better deal for England, which can be done with or without the Union of the UK but does entail a new relationship with the EU.

      • Posted December 12, 2012 at 3:19 pm | Permalink

        Nevertheless, Mr Redwood, if you want to be effective in getting a better deal for England, you would be well advised to utilise the alliances that are on offer. People like me want to preserve the United Kingdom with as little devolution as is now possible and to negotiate a new relationship with the EU for the UK as a whole. If England deliberately casts off Scotland for short term electoral advantage, don’t expect me to vote Conservative.

        Reply The Scots will decide the future of the Union, not England.

    • Posted December 12, 2012 at 4:47 pm | Permalink

      But John, your analysis is flawed because it is based on your baseless opinions. Are we to take it, for example, that you do not agree with the two “learned” Scots who claimed “Scottish nationalism….(is)… defined by dislike of the English in general?” It certainly seems from what you have written later in the article that you agree with that statement though it is utterly daft. If it is OK for you to seek “a better deal for England” why do you sneer at Scots who wish a better deal for Scotland through independence?

  48. Posted December 10, 2012 at 9:48 pm | Permalink

    While I agree with some of JR’s analysis, it would be untrue to say that all those that voted SNP were somehow motivated by some sort of anti-English animosity

    I voted SNP in the Scottish elections of 2011 because the prospect of a Labour administration was too awful to contemplate. The Labour Party in Scotland are an utterly dismal bunch.

    I voted SNP in the General Election of 2010 because they had the best chance of defeating the sitting Labour MP.

    If I lived in England I would almost certainly vote Conservative.

    There is a hard core of people in Scotland who support independence of around 20% to 30% of the population. This is was true 40 years ago, is true now and will not change in the future. Scottish independence will not happen so I see no point in speculating about it.

    • Posted December 11, 2012 at 5:25 pm | Permalink

      I sympathise with your view but I could not bring myself to vote for either of these parties, even tactically. Its desperate in Scotland. Although I despise Labour, the SNP are more dangerous. Be prepared to lose more freedoms under the SNP.

      You say that “Scottish independence will not happen” but it already has and continues to consolidate in all but name. Its not too late to push back the separatists but there appears to be little appetite for this at Westminster and Cameron does not seem to care anyway.

  49. Posted December 10, 2012 at 10:50 pm | Permalink

    Well John you have shown a very unpleasant side of your character today by refusing my earlier post. Given some of the bigoted anti Scottish guff we see published on your blog can you blame Scots like me for despising the party you belong to. Your allegation of Scots hating the English looks very shallow and pathetic.

    Reply I alleged no such thing

  50. Posted December 10, 2012 at 11:16 pm | Permalink

    Very well written piece from Mr Redwood who understands the origins of what amounts to an act of treason by the Labour Party.
    The (members) of the SNP who are predictably well represented amongst the commenters on this article are merely the keyboard (advocates) of Salmond and his (sort). The real menace was always Labour. They had the experience, …. cunning and determination to (damage) our country and set people against one another – divide and rule.
    The SNP consist mainly of foolish romantics and bitter marxists but Salmond has managed to form a (word left out) Scotch Broth of these misfits and directed their misguided energy on a path of self-destruction. Unfortunately, a lot of other people are going to get hurt as well.

    The only point on which I do not agree with Mr Redwood is his statement that the SNP would retain the Queen. The Monarchy would not last long here after “independence”.
    May I also add that as a Scot I feel ashamed when I read some of the comments of those who claim to talk for Scotland.

  51. Posted December 11, 2012 at 3:45 am | Permalink

    “A couple of learned Scots told us that Scottish nationalism was defined by dislike of the English in general”

    John, you must know this is untrue. To call the people who provided you with this information as “learned” is oxymoronic. The SNP has 6 English MSPs, including a Minister, in Holyrood, and many many of the branch activists are English. Repeating these baseless accusations seems to work ,however, just going by some of the comments above. One of the chaps states that Scottish people refuse to use tape recorders because they are English, another thinks it is a “simple matter” to install new pipelines to bring oil from Scottish waters ashore in England. Good luck with that mate. Do you have a snorkel?

  52. Posted December 11, 2012 at 10:31 am | Permalink

    This is getting beyond ridiculous, we are all looking for the same thing. A democratic life free from fear and worry about money and being lonely and bereft.
    All this yabber about independence and focussing on our differences does nothing for our humanity. I feel ashamed when I read the jingoistic and medieval utterances of those stressing hostility and partisanship.
    Lets face it we are a long way from wanting to be a people close to one another but being separate makes jobs for those wanting division and strife. All these talking shops and parliaments and windbags without practical leadership skills are draining our people of our legacy earned by generations of men and women who gave their all for their vision of the future. A vision that was not this, a mess of media games backed up by self serving people who play the great game to the cost of us all. As I get old I realise the cost this all does to the hearts and minds of our young people who see transitory pleasure as an end in itself.
    We are a long way from where we should be and thats a disgrace and a shame.

  53. Posted December 11, 2012 at 1:59 pm | Permalink

    I love how Redwood and co claim that the movement for Scottish indepedence is based purely on a hatred of the English and then go on to demonstrate that their unionism is based entirely on their belief that the Scots are odd and irrational (oh, except the “learned” ones, of course!)

    Reply I make neither such claims.

  54. Posted December 11, 2012 at 9:23 pm | Permalink

    “Scottish nationalism was defined by dislike of the English in general, and the dislike of English Tories in particular”

    This is incorrect.

    Anglophobia is the expression of a negative inferiority complex within some ‘chippy’ Scots. These people don’t have the confidence to vote for an independent Scotland as deep down they fear it.

    The SNP is a party of civic nationalists primarily. And it is voted or by people with a positive view of Scotland as a country with the attributes to be a prosperous independent country.

    You (or you learned friends) entirely misundertsand the Scottish mindset.

    Reply; I did not express a view, as this is an issue which Scotland will decide, not the rest of us.

  55. Posted December 13, 2012 at 11:55 pm | Permalink

    I don’t think this hatred of the Tories in Scotland has much to do with Labour to be honest.

    When you probe deeply there are two main accusations at the heart of it.
    One is that during the Thatcher era Tory MPs got lots of perks for their constituencies while other constituencies went without.

    The other is (a personal attack on a dead person with no evidence).

    These rumours have done a great deal of damage and are rife in Scotland.

    I think it’s time they were properly aired and investigated because the truth is unlikely to be worse than what’s believed and then the perception of cover-up which compounds the perceived sins could be dealt with.

    Reply: This is not my experience at all.

    • Posted December 15, 2012 at 12:38 pm | Permalink

      The Scots did hate the Thatcher government, but it was because her government made Scotland the guinea pigs for trying out the Community Charge (the poll tax). The Scots were not the only people to hate that tax, which was not related to ability to pay (in a very loose way, rates and council tax are so related). Indeed, Mrs Thatcher was deposed by an unholy alliance of pro-European and anti poll tax MPs.

    • Posted December 15, 2012 at 8:23 pm | Permalink

      Yes I suspected so which is why I mentioned it.

      It is widely discussed and believed in Scotland. I’ve always through it rather indicative that instead of anyone challenge it for a public inquiry people have preferred to circulate it and discuss it in private.

      I’ve always thought – is this the SNP playing politics or is it true? I wouldn’t put it past either side.

  • 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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