Scotland and the Union

I have not spent much time writing about Scottish independence, because I do not think the Scottish people are likely to vote for it. The latest polls show flagging support for the cause of independence.

As an Englishman I accept that the vote will be for the Scottish people to decide. As an Englishman I will become more engaged should Scotland vote to leave. I will want to make sure that the negotiation which follows the vote is fair to England.

I am writing today on this topic to give you, my readers a chance to set out your views if you wish. The fact that the vote is for Scottish people only does not prevent the expression of opinions or invalidate the views of voters elsewhere in the UK. It is our union too, and we have every right to a view without a vote.

Were the polls to turn round, and were Mr Salmond to win, certain results follow naturally. Warship building and maitenance for the Royal Navy would not continue in Scotland, as Labour and shop stewards in Glasgow have explained. I do not see how Scotland could continue to use the pound as her currency. Why should the Bank of England stand behind Scottish banks, if they got into trouble again? Surely we have learned from the troubled experience of the Euro that it is dangerous to separate political control from monetary control. The Chancellor has said he thinks it would be very difficult for the two countries to share the pound under the Bank of England, and that looks like an understatement.

It is true the two could share a monarch. The UK does not have exclusive use of the Queen at the moment. The two countries could not share armed forces, especially as the SNP part of Scotland has different views on weaponry from the rest of the UK.

I would expect that both Scotland and the rest of the UK would negotiate new arrangements with the EU in the event of a split. It is clear the EU would want to change our arrangements, as the rest of the UK would be over represented in the EU where representation is related to population. There would also need to be budget changes, to allow for the smaller tax base of the rest of the UK. Scotland will surely have to negotiate a new membership, as the smaller partner leaving the union of the UK. Will Scotland have to sign up to Euro membership in due course? Will she lose all benefit from the current UK rebate on contributions? She will presumably lose all the opt outs the UK has obtained.

The rest of the EU might see the split as a way to worsen the deal for the rest of the UK at the same time. I would hope that with a stronger English Eurosceptic representation in Parliament we could use it to have a very different and far less intrusive relationship. If, however, all this came to pass under a federalist UK government it could spell more EU control over the rest of the UK.

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164 Comments

  1. Brian Taylor
    Posted November 28, 2013 at 6:32 am | Permalink

    Whatever happen get rid of the Scottish MPs!

    • Hope
      Posted November 28, 2013 at 9:12 am | Permalink

      Interesting how Cameron gave the Scott’s the right to a referendum for leaving the UK, but did not give the UK a referndum for leaving the EU. No one trusts Cameron on the points you make.. Therein lies your problem for your party. Most people are waking up to the fact thee is no difference between Miliband’s old Labour and Cameron’s New Labour.

      Reply: The current Commons had a big majority for a Scottish referendum but does not have a majority for an EU one as both Labour and the Lib Dems are against.

      • Chris
        Posted November 28, 2013 at 11:45 am | Permalink

        Regarding the comment “as both Labour and the Lib Dems are against”, the blame cannot be pinned so squarely on Labour and Lib Dems as only 81 Cons MPs voted for a referendum on 25 October 2011, and the PM actively campaigned against one. That is where the real problem lies, with the Conservative MPs themselves. Of course I accept the arithmetic and that you cannot win the vote, but as I suggest, there are many so called Eurosceptic MPs within the Conservative Party have shown themselves by their voting records and their actions/words to be against the people having a say at a time that is meaningful. The “promise” of 2017 is pie in the sky, and it is well worth reading the eureferendum website on this issue, where R North makes clear that even if Cameron were in power, there would be no realistic possibility of a referendum at that date.

        Reply 81 of us persuaded the rest to want a referendum and they are now voting for one, with Labour and Lib Dems declining to help.

        • Timaction
          Posted November 28, 2013 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

          As you say the majority of the LibLabCons MP’s are federalists supporting membership of the EU. People are waking up to the reality that if they want change they have to change their voting habits. How many times does your leader say he will give us a referendum in 2017! after renegotiation and he will support our membership regardless of the outcome! That is a ridiculous starting position not dissimilar to Gordon Brown publicising in advance the sale of our gold!
          We cannot control many important competencies including immigration and therefore the costs to all our public services, £12 billion and rising EU net contribution, benefits, taxing multi-nationals, agriculture, fishing, health and safety, working time directives and just about everything else. Cameron having to contact Baroso in advance of his extremely limited proposals on immigration proves we are no longer a sovereign state!
          Qualified majority voting comes in next year and we will have 8% of the vote but contribute 12% of the budget. There is nothing in the EU for us.

          • Hope
            Posted November 28, 2013 at 6:04 pm | Permalink

            182,000 NET. migration tot he UK with 108,000 from the EU in the 2012 year. With unemployment so high in the EU because of the Euro and welfare benefits so generous here (because of the lib dumbs) it is not any wonder why this might be happening. However (this ed) was always part of the plan to create an EU superstate. The problem is the people of these great nations do not accept the politicos views or the unelected communist EU bureaucrats, no wonder no citizen is allowed to vote for them!

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted November 28, 2013 at 10:06 am | Permalink

      I see.

      So the Scots vote for Scotland to remain part of the UK, but then we say:

      “Even though you have voted for Scotland to remain part of the UK, you will no longer have any representation in the UK Parliament.

      UK citizens resident in England, Wales and Northern Ireland will have their say on the numerous important matters which are decided by the UK Parliament, but UK citizens resident in Scotland will no longer have any say.”

      To be honest, there are times when I despair of my English compatriots.

      I’m pretty sure that if the Tory party had not thrown away the strong support it once enjoyed in Scotland, and most of the MPs elected in Scotland were Tories, then we would not be hearing this kind of nonsense.

      • JoolsB
        Posted November 28, 2013 at 3:19 pm | Permalink

        The only way forward is an English Parliament within a federal structure so the Scots can still be involved in UK Government reserved matters such as taxation & defence. Under the current set-up the UK Government is also doubling up as an English Parliament (without them actually ever referring to England of course) as most of what the UK Government does nowadays only applies to England so the status quo of 117 Scots, Welsh & NI MPs voting on English only matters is unsustainable especially when those same 117 MPs CANNOT vote on the same matters for their own constituents, these being devolved to 129 MSPs at Holyrood and 60 AMs at Cardiff.

        It’s only down to the apathy and tolerance of the English that the UK Government has got away with this for so long but fortunately that is changing so it’s not your English compatriots you should despair of but the UK MPs at Westminster who refuse to sort this affront to democracy out.

        Of course Scotland and Wales can always dissolve their own parliaments and go back to how it was but that’s not going to happen. They want the best of both worlds, to choose their own self determining legislatures for themselves and then who governs England as well.

        Can’t imagine any other part of the UK putting up with the blatant discriminatory and unfair manner in which England is governed both politically and financially.

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted November 28, 2013 at 7:08 pm | Permalink

          “… so it’s not your English compatriots you should despair of but the UK MPs at Westminster …”, 82% of whom are elected by my English compatriots.

      • James Matthews
        Posted November 28, 2013 at 3:53 pm | Permalink

        Well you would still be hearing “this kind of nonsense” from me at least. For as long as the English have not been consulted about whether they actually want Scotland to remain in the Union and, if so, on what terms, Scottish representation at Westminster remains open to legitimate question. So no, Scotland voting to remain in the Union is the beginning, not the end of the matter and we need not fall over ourselves with gratitude. The very least we need is an English Parliament and the rigorous exclusion of the Scots from all matters delegated thereto.

        If we were really sensible though we would go for English independence now. Even if there is a no vote in the referendum Scottish nationalism is not going to go away and we know from the huge number of “undecided” voters that what will determine the outcome is money. In the medium and long term there really is no sense in clinging to the Union when at least 25% of Scots are profoundly disaffected from it and a further 50% would happily leave it if they were confident this would gain them a few hundred extra pounds a year. If that is the situation after 300 years it is time to recognise that the Union is a failed enterprise. Who wants to share a state with people whose loyalty has to be bought (at a steadily increasing price)?

      • uanime5
        Posted November 28, 2013 at 11:01 pm | Permalink

        Denis given that UK law will still affects Scotland and Scotland will be bound by any agreements Parliament agrees to don’t expect the Scots to accept having no influence in Parliament.

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted November 29, 2013 at 9:37 am | Permalink

          Apparently Bryan Taylor thinks they would accept that.

          I repeat: there are times when I despair of my English compatriots.

  2. Julian
    Posted November 28, 2013 at 6:45 am | Permalink

    Scotland leaving the UK seems an exact analogy with the UK leaving Europe. If they can gather enough support, it is their right to cut the ties. It is also right that this is solely a Scottish decision.

    However, the SNP is proposing in the document just published that an independent Scotland would share ownership of the Bank of England with the rest of the UK. That is by no means a Scottish decision, it’s for the rest of the UK alone. Why on earth would we allow our national bank to shared with a separate country? Which other country in the world does that?

    Some small countries seem to use the US dollar as it is more stable than their own currencies, but they don’t have any influence on the Federal Reserve. If Scotland wants to use the pound, let them do it on the same basis.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted November 28, 2013 at 10:12 am | Permalink

      Scotland already shares ownership of the Bank of England with the rest of the UK; all the shares in the Bank of England are held by the Treasury Solicitor on behalf of the Treasury of the UK including Scotland. The question is whether it would be possible or reasonable for that position to continue if Scotland left the UK, and clearly it would not be desirable for the rest of the UK and nor indeed would it be something that a truly independent Scotland should want.

    • Border Boy
      Posted November 28, 2013 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

      Although tempting I do not go along with the EU analogy. Scotland is currently part of the UK and has been for over 300 years. Our economies are integrated and we have fought and died together. Scotland is different, as Scots will be quick to tell you, but they are not foreign since we all share a right to a British passport.

      The member states of the EU are all separate and foreign to each other. There is nothing like the economic integration that exists in the UK and we have all fought each other in disasterous wars for the last 300 years. Finally while similar to look at each state issues passports to its citizen on the basis of their individual domestic laws.

      In fact I am sure there is no analogy.

    • David
      Posted November 28, 2013 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

      “Some small countries seem to use the US dollar as it is more stable than their own currencies, but they don’t have any influence on the Federal Reserve. If Scotland wants to use the pound, let them do it on the same basis.”
      I agree they can like economic giants Ecuador and Panama use a foreign currency. It is sort of like independence.

  3. Mike Stallard
    Posted November 28, 2013 at 7:16 am | Permalink

    Small countries have little power. Independent Scotland would be run by small people who could’t make it elsewhere. You change, if you are small, from getting your own way into a beggar.
    Money? Why should I pay for them? It would anyway go broke as soon as the antics of RBS drove it into bankruptcy.
    BBC? Why should I listen to rubbish from a foreign country?
    Army? Why should we be defenceless because people from a foreign country told us to?

    Scotland will become Iceland, not Singapore.

    Oh dear – if I were an EU Commissioner, I would be making exactly the same points!

    • lifelogic
      Posted November 28, 2013 at 10:08 am | Permalink

      Scotland could easily become more of a Singapore/Switzerland/Hong Kong/Norway but it would need lower taxes and a smaller state – but what chance of that with so many lefty politicians up there (and down here alas)?

    • alan jutson
      Posted November 28, 2013 at 5:12 pm | Permalink

      Mike

      I wonder what percentage of the UK debt Scotland willvolunteer to take on ?

      I have not heard any reference to this at all.

      • lifelogic
        Posted November 28, 2013 at 11:14 pm | Permalink

        Surely if Scotland commits to independence the UK can then decide how much debt to dump on them and what price/terms to extract for the use of sterling.

        • alan
          Posted November 30, 2013 at 8:24 am | Permalink

          Lifelogic

          It takes two Parties to agree a contract.

          I have a feeling the Northern half want to get off Scot free.

          Thus we (the English, Northern Irish and Welsh taxpayer) once again suffers the cost.

          Then if Scotland get away with no share of the debt, what do you think Northern Ireland and the Welsh would want.

          The English taxpayer is at real risk here.

          Time for this subject to be mentioned, as I am sure repayment of part of the National Debt is not in the little book of promises being sent out to the Scottish electorate.

  4. matthu
    Posted November 28, 2013 at 7:17 am | Permalink

    If the result of a “Yes” vote would be the UK ceding power back to the EU, would that not lead automatically to a referendum?

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted November 28, 2013 at 10:17 am | Permalink

      No.

      The urgency of the situation would be used to justify Parliament being allowed to make the decisions without a UK referendum, notwithstanding the European Union Act 2011 which is not in any way entrenched against normal repeal, and similarly in Scotland Salmond would just agree what had to be agreed and it would be endorsed by the Scottish Parliament without referring back to the people.

    • lojolondon
      Posted November 28, 2013 at 11:36 am | Permalink

      Yes, it would. That was a ‘cast-iron’ commitment. Then it was passed into law. So they will think of some way around that….

  5. Border Boy
    Posted November 28, 2013 at 7:42 am | Permalink

    One thing is for sure, should Scotland opt for indepenence any negotiations over the divide of the assets and liabilities will be difficult to say the least; Alex Salmond’s snake oil salesman line that he peddles to the Scottish public will not cut it with the hard headed negotiators representing the rest of the UK.

    Scotland will have a hand to play, but it should not overestimate the strength of its position. In the end it will be a country of 5 million negotiating with a country of 57 million. Neither side will get all of what it wants, but size will count.

  6. Denis Cooper
    Posted November 28, 2013 at 7:46 am | Permalink

    Let me explain what would most likely happen about Scotland and the EU, and it would not involve Scotland ever being outside the EU and having to apply to join through the normal Article 49 TEU route.

    The referendum will take place on September 18th 2014, and Salmond has now set March 24th 2016 at the date for final separation in the unfortunate event that the Scots vote for that.

    So what do you think Cameron and/or his successor, and Salmond, would be doing during those eighteen months?

    Do you think they would sit around fretting that on March 24th 2016 the present UK would cease to exist and under the present EU treaties Scotland would certainly then fall out of the EU, and therefore out of the EU Single Market, and arguably the rest of the UK could also fall out of the EU if other countries chose to be sticklers, but they would do nothing at all about that?

    I don’t think so; I think that both know that the completely free trade between Scotland and the rest of the UK which we’ve had for over three centuries is of huge importance to both, and if it ceased to be internal trade because Scotland had left the UK then there would have to be new arrangements for it to continue uninterrupted and unimpeded as international trade.

    Where would be Scotland’s largest export market? On present trade patterns within the UK it would be the rest of the UK, an order of magnitude greater than the country which is presently listed as the largest destination for its exports, the US.

    And where would be the largest export market for the rest of the UK? Scotland, which would very easily displace the US as the top destination for exports.

    So not long after a “yes” vote had been declared Cameron would be in Brussels with Salmond in tow, and both of them would be on their knees begging for an amending treaty so that on March 24th 2016 there could 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.

    And probably the Spanish government would say that they would not agree to any such amending treaty, thinking about the implications for Catalonia, until Merkel pointedly reminded them how badly they needed her help to get themselves out of their economic soup, when they would reluctantly agree; and then Cameron and Salmond would be so grateful for her helpful intervention that they would agree to something that she wanted, such as the amending treaty removing the UK’s euro opt-out protocol and instead inserting a commitment that both Scotland and the rest of the UK would join the euro as soon as possible.

    Those in England rooting for the Scots to vote for independence seem to have little idea of the multiple cans of worms that it would open.

    Reply Conservative MPs will not vote for any such revised Treaty, and it triggers a referendum anyway as it would be a huge transfer of powers which the government could not ignore under the Referendum Act already passed.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted November 28, 2013 at 10:26 am | Permalink

      You evidently have more faith in Conservative MPs than I do, but in any case a small number of Tory rebels could easily be outweighed by Labour MPs supporting the government. And as you know, the so-called “referendum lock” is not in any entrenched against normal repeal, and it would be enough if the Bill to approve the amending treaty without a referendum stated that it applied notwithstanding that Act.

    • Chris
      Posted November 28, 2013 at 11:56 am | Permalink

      In response to Mr Redwood, I fear you overestimate the power that the UK could actually wield in this situation. Already funds are being made available by Brussels to boost the In campaign for that other referendum, so one suspects that the situation will be no different here. Furthermore, we all have evidence of what happens when a country votes No. I fear that unless we adopt the Article 50 route, there is no hope whatsoever of the UK being in any position to wield power over any issue, let alone the Scots independence issue – “cosmetic” power perhaps, but effective power, no. We have handed over so much sovereignty/power to Brussels already, and are continuing to do so almost daily, that our power to do anything has effectively been emasculated. I believe there is only one real power left, and that is the right to invoke Article 50.

      Reply We might well invoke Article 50 if and when we have voted for Out in a referendum. The referendum comes first.

      • matthu
        Posted November 28, 2013 at 4:18 pm | Permalink

        Reply to John: You say the referendum should come first, followed by invoking Article 50, despite The Lisbon treaty saying that invoking Article 50 should precede any negotiations?

        • Chris
          Posted November 28, 2013 at 10:33 pm | Permalink

          Reply to Matthu: what you have said is really significant, but many MPs seem unaware of this. Do you have a link to this?

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted November 29, 2013 at 9:46 am | Permalink

          If you want to stay in the EU but negotiate changes to the treaties then you invoke Article 48 TEU on the amendment of the treaties.

          If you intend to leave the EU and want to negotiate arrangements for after you have left you invoke Article 50 on withdrawal from the EU.

          There is no provision in Article 50 for a country which has said that it intends to leave the EU to change its mind and stay in.

    • Leslie Singleton
      Posted November 28, 2013 at 1:15 pm | Permalink

      Denis–All reading well enough till you jumped to persuading yourself that RUK would join the Euro. I don’t know, but would not be surprised to learn that say 90% of RUK absolutely do not want the Euro and with good reason and I cannot believe even Cameron or any likely successor would see it the way you apparently do.

      BTW, given that the Scots say that they are graciously willing to keep the Queen will there be two Royal Navies, meaning a Royal Scottish Navy as well? Will ships of the Royal Scottish Navy be HMSS Salmond etc??

      And finally I have mentioned once or twice that I originally thought when I heard about a HS line that it would (of course?) travel down the (emptier) East Coast from (presumably) Ashford to (presaumably) Edinburgh. If Scotland breaks up the Union, Scotland no doubt and for obvious reasons will want to pay for such a line.

      • Leslie Singleton
        Posted November 28, 2013 at 6:32 pm | Permalink

        Postscript–Just think, those Scots who still favour the Auld Alliance would be able to travel to their beloved France not to mention the joys of Continental Europe without even touching foot in England– I doubt I would feel the lack.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted November 28, 2013 at 7:05 pm | Permalink

        Who can say what some of the other EU governments might demand as the price for their agreement to the necessary amending treaty?

        We know what Merkel said in May 2010:

        http://www.openeurope.org.uk/Article/Page/en/LIVE?id=1092

        “our goal must be that all EU member States join the euro one day”

        so we have a pretty good idea what would be top of her list of concessions to be extracted once Salmond had put himself and Cameron over a barrel.

        And I think we also have a pretty good idea how Salmond would react to that demand, given that he was in favour in joining the euro and would be faced with the pressing necessity of getting a new basis for trade with the rest of the UK to replace that now provided by the 1707 Treaty of Union, as well as a new basis for trade with the other EU countries.

        I’ve been looking at some figures:

        http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Resource/0041/00412570.pdf

        “Rest of UK exports in 2011 (excluding oil and gas) are provisionally estimated at £45.5 billion”

        http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Topics/Statistics/Browse/Economy

        “Scottish Gross Domestic Product in 2012 (excluding extra-regio)¹ was £127 billion.”

        “Including the share of UK extra-regio activity occuring offshore from Scotland, GDP in 2012 was £150 billion.”

        So roughly speaking a third of Scottish GDP depends on exports to the rest of the UK, and Scotland could not afford any interruption or impediment to that trade because the rest of the UK was still in the EU while Scotland was no longer in the EU and had failed to negotiate any satisfactory alternative arrangements with the EU.

        As for Cameron, the pressure would be somewhat less insofar as failure to get an agreement would only be severely damaging to the economy of the rest of the UK rather than devastating as in the case of Scotland; but would you trust him not to give Merkel what she wanted?

  7. zorro
    Posted November 28, 2013 at 7:47 am | Permalink

    John, I suspect that you are correct with regards to the eventual result. However, any rump UK must assert it’s position on these important issues, as Mr S has for the independent Scottish cause.

    I see that the Spanish PM has stated that an independent Scotland will not be a member of the EU……I suspect that shows more his fear of the attraction of Catalan nationalism than anything else, which I hope that he concentrates more on rather rattan searching fellow EU members diplomatic baggage!

    I certainly would demand that any new Scotland mint it’s own currency rather than use the pound sterling, and be hard headed in debt negotiations.

    Of course, the official Scottish position on defence and immigration would require immigration controls, otherwise the UK government would be opening up another front on which to take a political hit.

    The secession of Scotland from the United Kingdom would not affect the UK’s position within the EU in the short term, but may allow other tactical options to be deployed in any future negotiations in our future relationship.

    zorro

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted November 28, 2013 at 11:34 am | Permalink

      Well, the most basic facts are these.

      Firstly, Scotland is not listed as a member state in the present EU treaties, and indeed the word “Scotland” does not appear anywhere in those treaties, as can easily be confirmed by searching for that word here:

      http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=OJ:C:2008:115:0001:01:EN:HTML

      Therefore when the SNP slyly say that Scotland is already a “member” of the EU that is false; it is only in the EU as part of the UK, and it would be necessary to amend the treaties for it to become a member state in its own right.

      Secondly, one of the member states listed is “the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland”, and when the treaties were made it was understood by all the other parties that “Great Britain” included Scotland; if that was no longer to be the case then it would be open to any of the other countries to object that the newly reduced UK would not be the same UK with which they had originally agreed the contract and therefore the contract would no longer be valid.

      It would all depend on how awkward the governments of other EU member states chose to be about amending the treaties to take account of the new position; they might all say that they would accept the newly reduced UK as being substantially the same as the previous UK and so it was only necessary to make adjustments to its voting weight and number of MEPs and budget contribution through secondary legislation without having to change the treaties for that purpose, but obviously the treaties would have to be changed anyway for Scotland to become a member state, or some of them might choose to be very awkward about the position of the reduced UK as well as that of Scotland.

      • Hope
        Posted November 28, 2013 at 3:30 pm | Permalink

        If what you say is correct, why are EU students exempt from tuition fees when attending Scottish universities? The UK is the signatory to the treaties not Scotland and any devolvement is an internal matter for the UK. Therefore to accept your point, either English students should not pay tuition fees in Scotland, the same as other EU students, if Scotland is a separate entity or EU students should pay UK tuition fees wherever they study in the UK.

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted November 28, 2013 at 7:19 pm | Permalink

          I have to say that I’m not sure how they get away with that, except I suppose that for the EU students from England are domestic and not protected against discrimination in the same way as students from other EU countries. However it doesn’t change the facts that the present UK is a High Contracting Party to the EU treaties while the word “Scotland” does not appear anywhere, as you can easily check for yourself by clicking on the link given.

        • uanime5
          Posted November 28, 2013 at 11:12 pm | Permalink

          Under EU law all EU citizens have to be charged the same tuition fees as the natives. In England this is £9,000 because the Local Authorities won’t pay for it. In Scotland it’s £0 because the Scottish parliament is willing to pay the tuition for Scottish students. So under EU law Scotland can charge English students but not students from non-UK EU countries.

          However if Scotland leaves the UK and joins the EU then they will have to pay the tuition fees of English student.

          • Edward2
            Posted November 29, 2013 at 8:38 am | Permalink

            We know how this anomoly came about thanks.
            It would be more acceptable to English students if Scotland did this with money they raised just from their own taxpayers.
            Easy to be generous with other people’s money.

      • Leslie Singleton
        Posted November 28, 2013 at 6:43 pm | Permalink

        Denis-What “all the other parties” understood? Eh?? Great Britain is a geographical term which includes Scotland. If the Scots secede, or even if not, Great Britain will continue to mean the island and will include Scotland. It is true that RUK could not subsequently be called Great Britain and NI after a Yes vote (unless, at least conceivably, “Southern Great Britain and NI”.

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted November 29, 2013 at 11:00 am | Permalink

          The term “Great Britain” was invented by James I after the Union of the Crowns in 1603:

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_VI_and_I#Titles.2C_styles.2C_honours_and_arms

          “On 20 October 1604, James issued a proclamation at Westminster changing his style to “King of Great Britain, France and Ireland, Defender of the Faith, etc.”

          If Scotland became independent there would be nothing to stop the Queen continuing to style herself as the Queen of “Great Britain and Northern Ireland”, as in the present list of the High Contracting Parties to the EU treaties, and if she remained the Head of State for Scotland I suppose that would actually be less ludicrous than James claiming to also be the King of France, a traditional claim that was only formally dropped by George III in 1800.

          However if she remained Head of State for an independent Scotland, as she has for example with Australia, and Scotland became an EU member state, while the rest of the UK remained an EU member state, then she would have to make two separate appearances in the list of High Contracting Parties to the EU treaties, and as one of those would have to be as “Her Majesty the Queen of Scotland” that would rather highlight the silliness of her continuing to also appear as “Her Majesty the Queen of Great Britain and Northern Ireland”.

          Personally I very much hope that this remains hypothetical.

          • Leslie Singleton
            Posted November 30, 2013 at 4:41 pm | Permalink

            Denis–I strongly suspect that Scotland if it voted Yes would not want to be subsumed (again) in to something called Great Britain. Personally however I think Salmond is not as liked and respected as he conceitedly thinks he is and that the Scots will rid themselves of him.

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted November 30, 2013 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

          Comment on historical origin of the term “Great Britain” missed for moderation here.

  8. lifelogic
    Posted November 28, 2013 at 8:07 am | Permalink

    Clearly it makes far more sense for Scotland to keep the union with the UK, England is a country with which they have a common land border, common interests, defence and (almost) a common language. Far more sensible to have the union than for it to be in the EU. Scotland being independent of the UK but using the pound (or indeed the EURO) is clearly bonkers. If they are to be independent they should leave both groups be independent and have a thistle currency.

    The England and Wales has been given no say in the referendum, one assumes on the grounds that they (combined) are very much larger than Scotland. So what now about the Isle of Wight, Cornwall, Yorkshire will they get a vote? A low tax Isle of Wight might do very well indeed, as indeed would a much lower tax smaller state England.

    I see that Spain, with its concerns over Catalonia, claims Scotland will have to reapply for membership of the EU. Perhaps then England might also claim to have left the EU too (should Scotland leave the union). Needless to say no one but an idiot, or Cameron/Clegg would reapply to join the EU.

    I cannot see the Scots voting to leave but who knows. So one can have a silly referendum on AV and one on breaking the union but the one everyone wants on the EU, as promised all the main parties, is forbidden by ratters Cameron and Clegg.

  9. Richard1
    Posted November 28, 2013 at 8:07 am | Permalink

    One thing that should be made very clear is that if an independent Scotland wants a currency union with the UK there’s would need to be referendum in the rest of the UK.

    If Scots vote to stay in the UK let’s have proper devo max, including for England. Foreign defence and monetary policy would be handled at the federal UK level, everything else devolved. That way Scotland can have high taxes which the SNP and Labour both like, and we in England can have low taxes.

  10. Nationalist
    Posted November 28, 2013 at 8:15 am | Permalink

    I thought it particularly cheeky of Alex Salmond to assert that the Bank of England would remain the lender of last resort. He is unilaterally demanding that English taxpayers provide the funds to support the failing banks of a foreign nation.

    • Mick Anderson
      Posted November 28, 2013 at 9:25 am | Permalink

      Isn’t there the precident for the UK having helped fund banks in Ireland, and others through the Central EU banking system?

      It’s not that I think it should happen; merely that if the Chancellor has previously been prepared to do it, why wouldn’t he ask?

      • zorro
        Posted November 28, 2013 at 9:37 am | Permalink

        True, people feed off weakness.

        zorro

    • lojolondon
      Posted November 28, 2013 at 11:43 am | Permalink

      He is right, though, we already did that for Iceland and Ireland…..

  11. Peter van Leeuwen
    Posted November 28, 2013 at 8:16 am | Permalink

    Two referendums! Will it be in-in, in-out, or even out-out? As an interested bystander, I’ll bet on in-in.

    • lojolondon
      Posted November 28, 2013 at 11:45 am | Permalink

      Peter, I hope your boss looks at that the work you did today and refuse your invoice, thinking one small, short comment will be enough to justify your salary!!

      • Peter van Leeuwen
        Posted November 28, 2013 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

        @lojolondon: Being my own boss I just know how many hours I spent to make the contribution concise, so if you don’t mind, I’ll reward myself for today: a wee dram of whisky tonight? 🙂

  12. Mark B
    Posted November 28, 2013 at 8:22 am | Permalink

    John Redwood MP said;
    ” . . I do not think the Scottish people are likely to vote for it.”

    Oh bugger !

    “As an Englishman I accept that the vote will be for the Scottish people to decide.”

    Not if you are Scottish and living in England you won’t. And thanks for finally coming round to admitting that which so many of your contemporaries refuse to admit. That you’re ‘English’. More tea Vicar ?

    The vote for Scottish ‘Independence’ is nothing short of a farce. How can any nation be said to be ‘independent’ when tied to the yoke of the EU and the onward march to a Federal Europe ? Salmond and the SNP are doing to the Scottish people that which their predecessors have been doing for two centuries – selling them down the road/river.

    What worries me most is, not if Scotland chose to leave, but if she chose to stay. Salmond would demand more powers too Holyrood. This in turn could well mean that the Welsh demand more powers as well, so leaving the English having to pay the bills with little or no say. This to me is unacceptable ! If there is to be anymore transfer of of powers to the other parts of Her Majesties Realm, that would mean that in some way I would have to pay. In that case, I demand a say in any deal through a referendum. If the (do)minions do not like this, tough ! Leave !

    Also, this would mean an increase in English Nationalism and a demand that England leave the Union and the EU. This would be y preferred option.

    The UK is an Establishment construct. I do not consider myself anymore ‘British’ than I consider myself an EU Citizen. Thanks to the Maastricht Treaty (and yes we know you opposed it) !

    One way or another, we will have an English Parliament. That’s if Labour get in and try to divide us up into ‘Regions’.

  13. liflogic
    Posted November 28, 2013 at 8:24 am | Permalink

    A good summary of the Anti-English system of “democracy” we have in the Times today, distorted by the Scots and the Welsh who hold undue political power of the EU.

    It’s a rip-off. We need an English parliament
    Tim Montgomerie

    http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/opinion/columnists/article3933895.ece

    • lifelogic
      Posted November 28, 2013 at 8:36 am | Permalink

      So Boris now wants to go back to selective education, unlike lefty Cameron. Still the Tories are surely dead for the foreseeable future now.

      I see that Ed Milliband actually has reasonable A level grades in Maths, Further Maths, Physics and English and from a state school. True he did choose to use them to study Oxford PPE, but he is at least a little numerate/scientific one hopes. He cannot be much worse than the lefty, pro EU, tax borrow and waste, fake green, ratter Cameron can he?

      Anyway we are going to find out it seems.

      • David Price
        Posted November 28, 2013 at 9:15 am | Permalink

        “He cannot be much worse than the lefty, pro EU, tax borrow and waste, fake green, ratter Cameron can he? ”

        So you support the Milliband who was responsible for the introduction of all the anti-UK climate taxes and broken energy strategies not to mention co-responsible for all the other Labour disasters?

        • lifelogic
          Posted November 28, 2013 at 10:13 am | Permalink

          Well Miliband will be worse than Cameron as he has the Labour party and the Unions to square. But Cameron is so wrong on most issues it will not be that much worse.

          Anyway Cameron is still heading for the cliff so we will doubtless find out quite soon.

      • Barry Sheridan
        Posted November 28, 2013 at 9:46 am | Permalink

        Given that Britain has long been wedded to the ideals of socialism, apart from occasional departures when severe circumstances persuade otherwise, any party hoping for government must in general reflect this reality. Mr Cameron, Mr Milliband and Mr Clegg are almost indistinguishable because all seek to fulfil this desire. What national politics are about now is down to minor difference and the degree of reality involved in presenting policy. What has this to do with Scotland. Well they have to face up to the reality of any decision to leave, it will be much more difficult than they envisage.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted November 28, 2013 at 12:11 pm | Permalink

          Indeed.

          But I rather doubt the Scots will vote to leave the Union.

          You are right. Socialism, green crap, ever more parasites and enforced equality drivel has been imprinted in the brains of too many by the BBC think, the state sector, the EU quangos and many “charities”.

          • Bazman
            Posted November 28, 2013 at 3:06 pm | Permalink

            Do we need more companies like Amazon not paying their share of corporation tax, just 2.3 million on UK sales of 7.1 billion? It’s workers treated like machines that can be blamed walking miles on zero hours contracts and having their toilet breaks timed. Pay so low as to be able to claim benefits as the same companies claim massive subsidies in this case even for a road! You believe that these types of companies low tax loving, union bashing so loved by deluded right whiners as yourself are some how going to put the great back into Great Britain whilst at the same time telling us about how much of a parasite the EU is and workers are looking for more pay and better conditions? etc

          • Edward2
            Posted November 28, 2013 at 5:49 pm | Permalink

            Yes, I think we need many more companies like Amazon in the UK
            Excellently run, successful, providing a great range of well priced products, delivered quickly, straight to your door.

            They are employing many thousands in this country at a time jobs are needed and have invested millions in the UK.

            By claiming they pay wages that can attract tax credits you do not really make much impact Baz because you can qualify for tax credits on wages of £50,000 plus.

            Regarding Corporation Tax Amazon pay all they need to pay under the law just as you and I do.
            Do you volunteer to pay more tax than you need to?
            No neither do I.
            The problem is the rules set up under your beloved EU single market which allows multi-national companies to pay tax in a nominated country of their choice.
            Perhaps the law needs altering but its not sensible to blame them.
            Blame the law makers.

          • lifelogic
            Posted November 28, 2013 at 7:16 pm | Permalink

            Amazon work within the tax laws such as pertain. Osborne sets the rules it is up to him to set a sensible tax regime.

          • Bazman
            Posted November 30, 2013 at 10:54 am | Permalink

            No one is questioning the legality of of it. It’s their methods and the fact that you somehow believe that these companies somehow look after the interests of this country and its workers. Doing what they can get away with is not a valid argument and usually put forward by apologist and fantasists who do not have to work for them or believe the tax lost effects them. Ram it.

          • Edward2
            Posted November 30, 2013 at 12:12 pm | Permalink

            Blame the law makers.
            If you have evidence any multi national company is acting illegally then report them to HRMC Baz.

            It is an unfortunate consequence of the EU single market.

            Next time you tell us that the CBI and the IOD and all big business are in favour of us remaining in the EU, you will know a major reason why they are.

  14. margaret brandreth-j
    Posted November 28, 2013 at 8:32 am | Permalink

    Perhaps there is more North Sea oil , which we in England are unaware of.
    I was sad when I started noticing signs displaying NHS England.The notion is also a historical split . We after years of union have proved that we can work together and now some want to turn back the tides. It just seems regressive.

    • Old Albion
      Posted November 28, 2013 at 4:08 pm | Permalink

      Were you sad when you saw NHS Scotland? Or is always O/K for Scotland to identify Scottish bodies. While England has had to put up with UK.
      It’s too late to worry about the (dis)UK splitting up. The process started under Blair in 1998 and will end when all four countries of the (dis)UK are self-governing.

      • margaret brandreth-j
        Posted November 28, 2013 at 5:44 pm | Permalink

        Yes I was sad. I also noticed the free scripts for the Scottish whilst we were paying . As John points out much of the future depends upon individual countries future EU affiliation.

  15. Denis Cooper
    Posted November 28, 2013 at 8:36 am | Permalink

    “I would hope that with a stronger English Eurosceptic representation in Parliament we could use it to have a very different and far less intrusive relationship. If, however, all this came to pass under a federalist UK government it could spell more EU control over the rest of the UK.”

    Given that 82% of MPs are elected in England, if the English want a more “eurosceptic” Parliament then they can get it simply by voting in different MPs, without any need for the Union with Scotland to be broken. Instead so far they have refused to wake up and recognise that all three of the main parties are led by eurofederalists.

    I would also point out that the built-in implication that the Scots are much more strongly in favour of the EU than the English is not borne out by opinion polls, for example on page 7 in this one from January:

    http://d25d2506sfb94s.cloudfront.net/cumulus_uploads/document/1ix1a52xzw/YG-Archive-Pol-Sunday-Times-results-18-200113.pdf

    % who said they would vote to stay in the EU:

    London 45
    Rest of South 39
    Midlands/Wales 33
    North 44
    Scotland 45

    Total 40

    % who said they would vote to leave the EU:

    London 29
    Rest of South 35
    Midlands/Wales 41
    North 32
    Scotland 31

    Total 34

    I see no evidence there to support the claim that people in Scotland are distinctively, or shall we say “rabidly”, pro-EU, while people in England are strongly anti-EU; I do see that if the supposedly very anti-EU English wanted to get rid of all those areas of the country where support for getting out is below average then they would have to arrange to keep Wales but dispose of London and the North of England as well as Scotland, and in terms of numbers of electors it would in fact be most important to get rid of all those “rabidly” pro-EU English in the North of England.

    Reply You are missing the main point – the Scottish people may not b e more Europhile, but they have in recent elections elected al most entirely EU federalist MPs, whereas England regularly elects a lot of Eurosceptic Conservative MPs.

    • lifelogic
      Posted November 28, 2013 at 10:17 am | Permalink

      England regularly elects a lot of MPs who claim for electoral advantage (usually just before elections) to be Eurosceptic Conservative MPs – but usually rat shortly after the election.

      • lifelogic
        Posted November 30, 2013 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

        Cameron, unusually ratted on the EU even before the election and thus failed to win it.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted November 28, 2013 at 10:32 am | Permalink

      That may have something to do with the Conservative party having idiotically thrown away the strong support it previously enjoyed in Scotland, starting when Heath decided that it was well worth sacrificing UK control of Scottish fishing to get us into the EEC.

      • Lindsay McDougall
        Posted November 29, 2013 at 2:38 pm | Permalink

        No, Denis. Throwing away the Orange Card was much more important – again, Edward Heath can be blamed. North of the border, the brand that works is Conservative & Unionist. It’s not impossible to win back some of those Glasgow seats that seem permanently lost.

    • lojolondon
      Posted November 28, 2013 at 11:49 am | Permalink

      John, to be fair to the Scottish people, the figures bear out that they are pretty much average on the ‘Europhile’ scale.

      The reason for the anomaly is because neither the Labour party nor the SNP will allow a Europhile to stand. So if you are a Europhile in Scotland, you have to stay out of politics or lie. Or stand for UKIP 😉

  16. nigel
    Posted November 28, 2013 at 8:37 am | Permalink

    If Scotland were to leave the UK, would the smaller UK ever have a Labour Government again?

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted November 28, 2013 at 9:31 am | Permalink

      Yes.

  17. Alan Wheatley
    Posted November 28, 2013 at 8:48 am | Permalink

    As someone who believes in the UK I hope you are right that Scotland will not vote for independence.

    I accept that it is for the Scots to decide to stay or leave. But it is certainly not acceptable that the rest of the UK should not be involved in determining the carve up of assets and liabilities. Further, if England, Wales and N. Ireland are forced to remove our submarines from the Clyde then the Scots should pay for the cost of relocation. And so on.

    I think we should be involved in the debate NOW. I think this would reinforce the likelihood of the Scots voting to stay in the Union.

    Government should also learn. One of the reasons the Scottish Nationalist are able to gather the support that they have is because UK government is very London biased. There are many parts of England that feel very much second best, but lack the obvious cohesion of a nation state around which to seek an alternative future.

  18. Alan Wheatley
    Posted November 28, 2013 at 8:54 am | Permalink

    I think it is very sad that after more than 300 years of trying to live together as British there are such strong forces trying to tear us apart.

    As the World becomes ever-more interdependent it would be nice to think that the British could show the rest how to be comfortable within a single, national identity while cherishing the origins that make us all a little bit different.

    • JoolsB
      Posted November 28, 2013 at 10:34 am | Permalink

      Sadly there is no such thing as a single, national identity for Britain any more thanks to Labour’s asymmetrical Devolution Act. Despite their mantra of ‘one nation’ what we have now is four very distinct nations – Scotland, Wales, NI and the UK. If our politicians get their way, England will cease to exist!

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted November 29, 2013 at 11:22 am | Permalink

        Then the English should vote in different politicians.

        If a UK parliamentary candidate opposes the establishment of a devolved Parliament for the whole of England, with powers comparable to those of the Scottish Parliament, then obviously voters in England who very much want that to happen should decline to support that candidate and should instead vote for a candidate who agrees with their view.

  19. Nick
    Posted November 28, 2013 at 8:56 am | Permalink

    It’s a union.

    Everyone in the Union should get the mistake.

    We’ve been denied the chance to get rid of the parasitical Scots.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted November 28, 2013 at 9:33 am | Permalink

      Those will be the parasitical Scots who actually provide the UK Treasury with more money than they take out.

      • James Matthews
        Posted November 28, 2013 at 3:59 pm | Permalink

        So you (and they) say. It seems to depend on being selective about the period of time you look at though. The IFS appears to doubt that contention

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted November 29, 2013 at 12:41 am | Permalink

          This is what the UK government admits to:

          https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/236579/scotland_analysis_macroeconomic_and_fiscal_performance.pdf

          Page 6:

          “The performance of the Scottish economy is similar to that of the UK as a whole. On average, a worker in Scotland produces almost exactly the same as a worker in the rest of the UK. Scotland has the third highest economic output per person of all parts of the UK, behind only London and the South East of England. While London’s performance is very strong, it is in line with the stronger performing Scottish cities … And Scottish output per person is closer to the overall UK average than any other part of the UK … Differences in employment rates between the UK and Scotland have narrowed over time: the latest data show that the employment rate in Scotland is now higher than the UK at 71.9 per cent compared with 71.4 per cent.”

          “The similarity of Scotland’s economic performance to the UK as a whole is reflected in the amount of tax that Scotland generates: Scottish onshore tax revenues per person have been only slightly lower than the UK average since devolution in 1998. Over the same time period, public spending per person in Scotland has been around 10 per cent higher than the UK average. Therefore, Scotland’s notional onshore fiscal balance has been considerably weaker than the UK’s over the same timeframe. In the event of independence, the allocation of North Sea oil and gas revenues would be subject to negotiation. On the basis of a geographical
          apportionment, Scotland’s notional fiscal balance for the period since devolution is very similar to the UK’s public finances over the same period.”

          If anybody in England was determined to look for people they could stupidly condemn as being “parasitical”, then instead of looking to Scotland they could start with their fellow English in most of the north of England, as well as the Welsh and the Northern Irish.

  20. JoeSoap
    Posted November 28, 2013 at 8:59 am | Permalink

    I don’t see why this vote is proceeding in preference to an EU referendum. The only explanation is that this keeps politicos north of the border quiet and in a job.

    Reply The answer is simple. Lib Dems and Labour will vote for this referendum but still refuse to vote for an EU referendum.

    • Douglas Carter
      Posted November 28, 2013 at 9:35 am | Permalink

      Reply to reply.

      John, I’m aware this is a question you can’t really answer in a public forum, but the information we have to hand on a notional future Conservative\LibDem coalition indicates that Conservative MPs will be asked to ‘sign in blood’ on the terms of reference that Coalition exists within.

      On the basis ‘forewarned is forearmed’ I’m hoping that Mr. Cameron’s approach to the EU will be much more tightly nailed in by your MPs on that notional future occasion before you would bring yourselves to endorse what would otherwise be the blankest of blank cheques?

      Reply I do not expect another Con/Lib coalition after 2015. Of course, as I have written here before, no sensible Conservative could countenance any coalition participation without the EU In Out referendum being guaranteed.

      • Leslie Singleton
        Posted November 28, 2013 at 1:37 pm | Permalink

        Comment on Reply–Not so obvious to me as it is apparently to you what “sensible Conservatives” would do, meaning I wouldn’t see much difference from the genesis of the last Coalition–they will do whatever it takes to stay in power. I am not even sure what you are saying–an immediate second election or a Minority government? You are simply begging the question by inserting the “sensible”, on which of course one could say more.

        Reply Yes, I am saying minority government, or confidence and supply or a new election. Some of us argued for those courses last time, but we did not get a vote on it. Were these circumstance to repeat- something I think very unlikely – we have been promised a vote.

        • zorro
          Posted November 28, 2013 at 5:02 pm | Permalink

          Reply to reply – Step back, hold the press, and rewind – For confirmation, are you saying that if there was a similar result to last time, that you have been promised a vote which you did not get last time?

          If yes, OK, what vote have you been promised? If it’s what I think it is, that means that a coalition would be impossible. Is that correct? And what absolute guarantees do you have?

          zorro

        • Leslie Singleton
          Posted November 28, 2013 at 6:53 pm | Permalink

          Comment on Reply–I think that your Reply necessarily means that you think another hung Parliament is also very unlikely which is an odd opinion to hold given that, First, the Liberals will unfortunately continue to win seats because of their geographical concentration in the SW, Secondly, even if you are right and UKIP do not win any MP’s (unlikely after they sweep the board next year) they are going to take votes from the Conservatives on any basis, and, Thirdly, we must not forget those of us who under no circumstances whatsoever will vote for Cameron.

          Reply The two most likely outcomes are a Conservative or Labour majority government, as history shows.

          • Leslie Singleton
            Posted November 29, 2013 at 11:35 am | Permalink

            John–Your Reply is not up to your usual standard for, apart from all else, as I have outlined above, when in the (recent) history you refer to have there been four (arguably more) Parties in play? That alone makes a huge difference. Besides you used the words “very unlikely”. In this matter your continual comment about UKIP not (yet) having MP’s carries little weight. I won’t be repetitive but my money says UKIP will get say 10% of the votes in the Election and that that will hugely predispose towards another hung Parliament.

            Reply Were UKIP to poll as well as you suggest it would mean a majority Labour government.

  21. Old Albion
    Posted November 28, 2013 at 9:21 am | Permalink

    I don’ know if Scotland will vote to secede. But i do know they have already had two constitutional votes on their future. (with the third coming next September)
    Wales has had three and N.Ireland two.
    Contrast that with England’s position. Totally ignored. We have never been asked how we wish to be governed. We were neither consulted about or included in devolution. Unless you count Prescott’s attempt to introduce EU designed regionalisation of (only) England. When speaking in Parliament, MP’s from both sides of the house cannot bring themselves to say England, even when discussing issues devolved to the other nations.
    If the Scots vote to stay. Devo max will be their reward. This will encourage the Welsh to seek more powers for their assembly. But of course England will get what it always gets, nothing, except the bill.
    It’s time for politicians to speak up for England. We are as entitled to democracy as the rest of the (dis)UK. You should help by encouraging MP’s to support a constitutional convention for England. Give the English our chance to be heard.

    • JoolsB
      Posted November 28, 2013 at 10:37 am | Permalink

      Hear hear Old Albion. The Con/Lab/Lib parties continue to ignore the rotten deal England is getting post devolution despite no doubt their mail bags groaning under the weight of such complaints.

    • Bryan
      Posted November 28, 2013 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

      It is of course an ongoing disgrace that England and its citizens’ democratic rights are ignored and have been ever since it became the only UK country to not have its own Parliament or Assembly.

      Westminster does not crack it, as all of the UK’s MP’s get to vote on English matters. Also the Labour Party’s inbuilt majority because of Scotland, Wales and to some extent NI ensures that a clear vote for the Tories in England usually means we get a Labour Government.

      Scrap the Barnett formula now and use the £4bn or so released to set up an English Parliament. This would mean that lie the Scots, Welsh and Irish, we too get to vote for 3 representatives!

      • JoolsB
        Posted November 28, 2013 at 3:28 pm | Permalink

        Totally agree Bryan but an English Parliament need not cost extra money, this is a myth put about by our self serving politicians. The building is already there for a start, (the H of C) and an English Parliament would mean there would be no need for anywhere near 650 UK MPs for the few remaining reserved matters just as the Scots, Welsh & NI Parliament/Assemblies have made 117 Scots, Welsh & NI MPs sitting at Westminster virtually redundant. They would have very little to do with their days if they couldn’t spend them meddling in English only matters.

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted November 29, 2013 at 11:35 am | Permalink

          “the few remaining reserved matters”

          You mean the very extensive list of reserved matters, some of which are of very great importance.

          Looking at the 23 public Acts of the UK Parliament passed in 2012:

          http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2012

          I find that 18 of them extend to Scotland, almost all of them in their entirety, with one or two where certain Sections of the Act apply to Scotland but other Sections do not.

          The only 5 Acts which did not apply to Scotland in any way at all were:

          Sunday Trading for the Olympics and Paralympics
          Water Industry Financial Assistance
          Domestic Violence Crime and Victims
          Public Services (Social Value)
          Live Music (licensing thereof)

          This simply does not square with your wild claim that MPs elected in Scotland are virtually redundant and have nothing to do with their days apart from meddle in English affairs.

          I wouldn’t want the English Parliament to sit in London, least of all at Westminster; I would be prepared to pay the extra cost of having an elected unicameral assembly for the whole of England located well away from London somewhere near the centre of England.

  22. John Eustace
    Posted November 28, 2013 at 9:26 am | Permalink

    The Scots dream is coming up against the realities of actual independence. I expect some federal type fudge. If that happens then England needs it’s share of independence – no more Scottish MPs voting on English domestic issues. If the English had a vote in the independence referendum more English than Scots would vote for it. We are keener to be rid of them than they are to leave.
    I read that the Spanish have said that they will veto Scottish EU membership as they will not allow a precedent to be set that could be followed by the Basques or Catalans. Is that still the case? Given tensions over Gibraltar I don’t expect they are softening their position.

    • John Eustace
      Posted November 28, 2013 at 12:51 pm | Permalink

      Update – I see the Spanish Premier has been talking about this again today. I’m not sure the Scots are listening, or maybe they just don’t want to.

      “I respect all the decisions taken by the British, but I know for sure that a region that would separate from a member state of the European Union would remain outside the European Union and that should be known by the Scots and the rest of the European citizens”.
      http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-scotland-politics-25132026

  23. oldtimer
    Posted November 28, 2013 at 9:27 am | Permalink

    The case for independence set out in the SNP document appears to rest on assumptions and assertions about an independent Scotland. Mr Salmond, no doubt, wants Scottish voters to think this is all a done deal whereas, as Mr Darling has pointed out, everything will have to be negotiated.

    If it comes to divorce it will be an extremely messy and possibly angry divorce because Mr Salmond can be expected to make it so. For example I can see no way in which the Bank of England can be expected to stand behind Scottish banks. Yet, if I heard him correctly, he implied that would be a condition of accepting Scotland`s full share of the national debt! Still, as an enthusiastic supporter of wind farms and other renewables, Mr Salmond will be able to assure the Scots that their lights will not go out any time soon.

  24. Denis Cooper
    Posted November 28, 2013 at 9:28 am | Permalink

    I see that the Spanish Prime Minister has said that if Scotland leaves the UK then it would be out of the EU and would have to apply to join through Article 49 TEU on the accession of new member states:

    http://www.scotsman.com/news/politics/top-stories/scottish-independence-spanish-blow-to-eu-vision-1-3211153

    While the SNP correctly argue that during the eighteen month period between a “yes” vote in the referendum and date on which the separation of Scotland from the UK was finalised it would be possible to use Article 48 TEU on amendment of the EU treaties to ensure that Scotland remained in the EU as a new member state.

    Well, of course the Spanish Prime Minister is right in the sense that with the present EU treaties Scotland would be outside the EU once it had finally separated from the UK; the present EU treaties do not include Scotland in the list of member states, and indeed the word “Scotland” does not even appear anywhere in those treaties; on the other hand the SNP is right in the sense that there would be eighteen months to amend the present EU treaties so that at the instant of final separation of Scotland from the UK there would be a seamless transition from the UK being one member state to Scotland and the rest of the UK being two separate member states.

    And it seems self-evident to me that both Salmond and Cameron and/or his successor would be desperate to ensure that seamless transition, so that at the same instant the 1707 Treaty of Union ceased to provide the basis for completely free movement of goods, services, capital and persons between Scotland and the rest of the UK the EU Single Market would step in as the new basis for (almost) completely free movement of goods, services, capital and persons between the two countries.

    To give some idea of the magnitude of what would happen if the continuation of that free trade was not properly secured, I find here:

    http://reformscotland.com/index.php/publications/details/1206

    “In 2007, Scotland exported £34 billion to the rest of the UK and £19bn to the rest of the world. It imported £44.2bn from the rest of UK and £21.5bn from the rest of the world.”

    In the worst case scenario, if an independent Scotland could no longer export to the rest of the UK then its economy would completely collapse, and if the rest of the UK could no longer export to Scotland then its economy would be severely damaged; obviously neither Cameron nor Salmond would just sit back and wait for that to happen, the only question being what price the other EU member states might extract for agreeing to the necessary treaty to amend the present EU treaties.

    Reply Just as the UK’s trade with the rest of the EU is not at risk if we leave, so Scotland’s trade with England is not at risk if they leave the UK. There is enough mutual interest in it continuing in both cases to ensure a fix.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted November 28, 2013 at 9:45 am | Permalink

      Of course, but all the other EU member states would have to agree to that fix.

      That would be true whether the fix was to fast-track Scotland in as a new EU member state, the simplest and no doubt the most attractive option for both Cameron and Salmond, or it was for Scotland to become part of the EEA, with the possibility of joining the EU at a later stage, or it was just a free trade agreement between Scotland and the EU, including the rest of the UK.

      Even a short protocol saying that for the purposes of the EU treaties Scotland would be treated as if was still part of the UK – hardly what Salmond would want – would have to be agreed by all the other EU member states.

      I find it difficult to believe that among the 27 other EU member states there would be no government which demanded a price for its agreement to the fix.

      • Chris
        Posted November 28, 2013 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

        I believe you are right, Denis. I also fear that Mr Redwood believes that the UK government has more power than it actually now possesses, with regard to dictating terms to Brussels/taking unilateral action. There will be a huge price to pay for getting agreement of the other MS, and it would appear that the British people would again not have any say in that.

    • Leslie Singleton
      Posted November 28, 2013 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

      Denis–Even if Scotland were Out and we unfortunately were still In, it beggars belief that anyone and for any reason would even contemplate trying to impede Free Trade between RUK and Scotland. If some EU barrier exists that might stop same it would be blown away.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted November 29, 2013 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

        Who would blow it away in defiance of EU law?

        Cameron? Miliband? Clegg?

        All of whom have shown themselves to be adamantly opposed to breaking EU law by taking any steps to prevent whatever influx there may be from Romania and Bulgaria from January 1st?

        Whichever was Prime Minister of those three, indeed whoever from the three old parties may have got that job at the time, they would be another slave of the EU and they would not defy it to allow free trade to continue between Scotland and the rest of the UK once the 1707 Treaty of Union had expired without any other arrangement having been put in place.

        Of course the putative March 24th 2016 date for the expiry of the Treaty of Union is only Salmond’s ambition, and if necessary it could be postponed until another arrangement had been made; but it could not be postponed indefinitely, at some point there would have to be what JR describes as a “fix”, and if the rest of the UK was to remain in the EU that “fix” would need the agreement of all 27 other EU member states.

        • Leslie Singleton
          Posted November 30, 2013 at 11:15 pm | Permalink

          Denis–Maybe, but as I see it. the additional pressure would cause RUK finally to decide to leave the EU (to avoid which who knows what REU might agree to–remember there has been no precedent for any of this–especially as by then re-negotiation might be flavour of the month, but that’s another story). Even if not, Scotland would come back in to our Union rather than lose Free Trade with RUK, which I repeat is ridiculous to think about, daft EU laws or no daft EU laws.

  25. The PrangWizard
    Posted November 28, 2013 at 9:37 am | Permalink

    I have no faith that the ‘UK’ government will adequately protect the position of the English in future years, whether the Scots vote for or against independence from the Union. Salmond is making all sorts of assumptions about what he will be granted and I think he may be right. The mere fact that Cameron ended naval shipbuilding in England to appease the Scots is proof enough of that.

    My guess is that if they vote to stay further devolution of powers will continue unabated and the Union will be destroyed by degrees. Scotland will continue to behave as if it were an independent country. We need strong government, I’ve had enough of the tail wagging the dog, supported by the British Elites, so the break must be quick and clear.

    As for England, your lack of interest so far is notable. On the one hand I think this is derives from a kind of superiority, a form of arrogance, that somehow the British own the English, who are not a people in their own right, and thus they can be used and misused indefinitely, that we are infinitely rich and should continuously help lesser mortals, and that we don’t need the rights to democracy that other peoples enjoy, that the UK parliament knows best. There is a patronising of the Scots, that they are just a little people and thus they of course can be given devolved powers because it doesn’t matter to anyone else.

    I have said many times before that this is not a little issue to be played with. We, the people of England, must be granted a parliament of our own, it is getting more obvious by the day. We are entitled to the same rights to self-determination as anyone else. We the English are not the British. We must make the emotional and intellectual break from Britishness. The British Union to me is like the European Union is to me. A power which oppresses. I want independence from both. I want my freedom.

    I have given up my allegiance to the Union. I do not recognise the flag. It does nothing for me, it is now just an anachronism and surely must come to an end soon. England has been ignored as a nation, our identities suppressed, and we have been taken for granted for far too long in order to preserve it. This has failed and must end. My flag is the flag of St. George.

    Reply Mr Cameron confirmed Barrow (in England)as the main site for building submarines. Portsmouth as the main site for maintenance and repair of the surface fleet, and Glasgow as the main place for building the new generation of surface warships. The new build shipyard capacity at Portsmouth is likely to be used for other work, not destroyed.

    • DaveK
      Posted November 28, 2013 at 1:46 pm | Permalink

      Reply to Reply:

      John, you missed out the closure of the submarine base in Devonport, notwithstanding that the majority of submariners and their families are English, another Scottish win I guess.

      Reply Submarines are to be dealt with by Barrow in England, save the nuclear deterrent subs which have always been in Scotland.

  26. Chris S
    Posted November 28, 2013 at 9:44 am | Permalink

    My view is that everyone in the union should have a vote. The reason the English have not been given a vote is that there is a very strong likelihood that we would vote for Scottish independence and the Scots would vote no !

    It seems pretty obvious that leaving the UK will be a mistake for the Scots on almost all counts but if they vote to stay it must be made clear to them that there needs to be changes :

    The West Lothian question has to be resolved once and for all. Not the half baked idea that came out of the recent review but a clear arrangement that gives England at least the same degree of autonomy as Scotland enjoys.

    The only sensible way to achieve this is for the Commons to double as an English Parliament without the presence of Scottish members in the chamber or the voting lobbies. This will not create two classes of MPs, it will simply be an expedient and economic way of achieving just representation for England.

    If they don’t like it, the ludicrously expensive Scottish Parliament building can be closed and Scottish MPs can sit as a Scottish Parliament at Westminster. English and Welsh MPS will not object to this. Westminster Hall will be big enough to accommodate them.

    The Barnett formula has to be scrapped and public spending equalised across the UK. This needs to be applied to Wales and, over time, to Northern Ireland as well.
    We cannot have a situation where only the South East and London are net contributors to the Treasury and everywhere else is subsidised. North Sea oil is a red herring in this debate. If the Scots wish to remain in the UK, the oil must also remain a UK asset.

    Anti-English racism needs to end. We face constant carping and criticism from a large proportion of the Scottish population. If they vote to remain within the UK they need to respect their neighbours.

    Similarly the Scots need to realise that they make up only 8.3% of the population of the United Kingdom. Their influence in politics and everything else needs to be cut down to size. As with the coalition, there have been far to many instances of the tail being allowed to wag the dog, largely in an effort to appease the Scots and encourage them to vote to remain within the UK. Why ? If they want to try and have a go at managing their own affairs, they should be encouraged to do so.

    Reply The latest polling shows the Engllish, like the Scots, wish to keep the union.

    • JoolsB
      Posted November 28, 2013 at 10:41 am | Permalink

      Which polling is that John? Is it by any chance done by pollsters on behalf of self serving UK politicians at Westminster, the same ones who tell us ‘there is no demand for an English Parliament’ when poll after poll in the real world tells us the opposite.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted November 28, 2013 at 10:59 am | Permalink

      “… but if they vote to stay it must be made clear to them that there needs to be changes :

      The West Lothian question has to be resolved once and for all.”

      I recall seeing an opinion poll in Scotland where a great majority said that the MPs elected in Scotland should NOT vote on English-only laws.

      So I don’t think that it really needs to be made clear to ordinary Scots that the West Lothian question has to be resolved; instead it has to be made clear to those people who are actually blocking its resolution, and they are the MPs and above all the 82% of MPs who are elected in England.

      The English don’t have to keep electing MPs who do not have their interests at heart; if they are foolish enough to do so then they can hardly blame the Scots, or the Welsh or Northern Irish, for the consequences.

      How has it come about that after more than a decade not one of the three old parties putting up parliamentary candidates in England is prepared to offer the English what they need, a government and Parliament for the whole of England with comparable powers to the Scottish government and Parliament?

      Because voters in England let them get away with it, that’s why; nothing to do with voters elsewhere in the UK.

      • Chris S
        Posted November 28, 2013 at 7:22 pm | Permalink

        I agree with much of what you say, Dennis.

        As far as the Scots are concerned, the most important change will need to be the abolition of the Barnett formula if they vote to stay within the UK.

        It’s only fair that this is made clear to them. They can then decide whether Salmon has any chance of delivering his extravagant promises as the oil money runs out.

        I agree there is a marked reluctance to deal with the West Lothian Question, even by Conservative MPs who, one would have thought, have most to gain.

        John, can you please explain why your colleagues and yourself you have not pushed for this to be dealt with during the lifetime of this Government?

        If the answer is “wait and see the outcome of the Independence vote first” , why have you not spelled out what you want to be done to resolve this most important issue if Scotland does vote for independence ?

        They have a right to be told.

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted November 29, 2013 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

          Barnett himself has said that he had never expected his formula to become a permanent feature, but if it is to be revisited then so must be the allocation of oil revenues.

          It is not widely known that under the Eurostat system for regional accounts activities in what would be Scottish territorial waters are not attributed to Scotland but to a mythical “extra-regio”; hence a chunk of UK GDP which depends upon Scotland being part of the UK is not acknowledged as being Scottish in origin:

          http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Topics/Statistics/Browse/Economy

          “GDP in Cash Terms: Scottish Gross Domestic Product in 2012 (excluding extra-regio)¹ was £127 billion.

          Including a population share of UK extra-regio activity, GDP in 2012 was £130 billion.

          Including the share of UK extra-regio activity occuring offshore from Scotland, GDP in 2012 was £150 billion.”

          “1 – Activities on the continental shelf are not classified as occurring in any particular nation or region of the UK, but are counted as being extra-regio in official statistics. Figures are provided to illustrate the impact of attributing a share of extra-regio activity to Scotland.”

          That’s 15% of the GDP of Scotland wrongly ascribed to the UK as a whole.

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted November 29, 2013 at 12:48 pm | Permalink

          There has been plenty of time for the UK Parliament to legislate for a referendum in England on whether we want an devolved English Parliament to be held on the same day as the Scottish referendum on independence, if necessary with the Commons using the Parliament Acts to by-pass the unelected Lords.

          The government has chosen not to introduce that legislation because those leading it, Cameron and Clegg, are personally opposed to a devolved Parliament for the whole of England and they really don’t care two hoots what the English may think about it.

          Now even if such a Bill were to be introduced and passed by the Commons it would very likely be rejected by the Lords and there is no longer enough time to use the Parliament Acts.

          In truth little will change until voters in England wake up and stop electing MPs who secretly loathe and despise the English.

    • uanime5
      Posted November 28, 2013 at 11:35 pm | Permalink

      The only sensible way to achieve this is for the Commons to double as an English Parliament without the presence of Scottish members in the chamber or the voting lobbies. This will not create two classes of MPs, it will simply be an expedient and economic way of achieving just representation for England.

      Parliament cannot represent the UK while preventing a significant part of it from voting on UK laws.

      If they don’t like it, the ludicrously expensive Scottish Parliament building can be closed and Scottish MPs can sit as a Scottish Parliament at Westminster.

      No chance of this ever happening. The negative publicity would make it politically unviable.

      We cannot have a situation where only the South East and London are net contributors to the Treasury and everywhere else is subsidised.

      Given that Scotland has the third highest GVA in the UK (second highest if you consider oil and gas revenues) they also contribute more than they receive.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted November 29, 2013 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

        It was the Labour party which started the myth of the “Union dividend” to dissuade Scots from switching their support from Labour to the SNP; and then it was certain Tories, especially Boris Johnson, who thought it would be clever to accept that lie and use it to stir up the English against the Scots for the narrow advantage of the Tory party in England; now having spent years deliberately, maliciously, creating unnecessary antagonism between the English and the Scots, that bloke has the gall to write an article in the Telegraph saying how important it is to preserve the Union.

      • Edward2
        Posted November 29, 2013 at 6:42 pm | Permalink

        GVA is an odd method to choose Uni.
        If you look at the effect of the Barnett Formula you see that Scottish people get £2000 more spent on them than English people.

        We send over £35 billion per year up to Scotland from England.

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted November 30, 2013 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

          You can’t just focus on what goes to Scotland without also looking at what comes from Scotland. Basically Scotland is generally paying its way, more or less, often paying a bit more than its way, sometimes paying a bit less than its way. In contrast Wales, Northern Ireland and most of northern England never pay their way, they are always being subsidised by London and the other southern parts of England and sometimes by Scotland as well. Nominal public spending per head in London is also high, comparable to that in Scotland; but nevertheless London more than pays its way, except of course when the City bankrupts the whole country.

  27. Bert Young
    Posted November 28, 2013 at 9:44 am | Permalink

    It was a big mistake to have proceeded with Regional Governments for Scotland and Wales in the first place ; we are a relatively small country with very common interests . “Together we stand” was a thread that saw us through two recent wars and the resultant approach to recovery .The position Salmond has adopted is purely and simply a personal whim and is not based on genuine aspirations ; he is selfish and driven by feelings of class division ; were he a true “nation builder” he would have used his persona to push for a more influential UK rather than to try to drag it down . I am not an admirer of Cameron , however , I would not have attacked him from the same motive base that Salmond has ; having lost out in the personality game , Salmond moved on to a broader front of assault . I hope his objective fails and he disappears into nothing .

    • Robert Taggart
      Posted November 28, 2013 at 11:35 am | Permalink

      Regional Governments ? – do you mean Borders, Grampian, Highland, Strathclyde… ? !
      One thing that would be interesting – post independence – would be the relationship between these diverse ‘regions’ of this then nation state….
      Clydeside versus Auld Reekie, Lowland versus Highland, also, ‘Central belt’ versus the Rest !

    • Bob
      Posted November 28, 2013 at 11:56 am | Permalink

      @Bert Young,
      A balanced and well articulated comment.

  28. Jennifer A
    Posted November 28, 2013 at 9:50 am | Permalink

    It seems odd that people who argue against a united kingdom so often argue for a united Europe.

    Perhaps this is a case of ‘anything so long as it’s not English’ again.

    The Left will even defend the oppression of women so long as it’s being done by people who aren’t English.

  29. Iain Gill
    Posted November 28, 2013 at 9:59 am | Permalink

    England needs a fairer deal in the constitutional arrangements. Scottish/Welsh/Irish MP’s should not be voting on English matters.
    Racism against the English in Scotland and Wales needs to be identified for what it is, and attacked strongly. The houses in Berwick with clearly racist anti-English slogans painted on the side should be cleaned.
    And the working class English especially need a better deal, as at the moment they are disproportionately not represented fairly in the political process, far too many politicians are from far too narrow a section of society.

  30. formula57
    Posted November 28, 2013 at 10:05 am | Permalink

    This debate is sterile as Scots will not have the courage to accept Alex’s offer.

    Both Scotland and the rest of the UK could be better off if the Union was dissolved in my view. Yet if we remain as one, we should be treated as one and so no special privileges for Scotland, an end to the extra spending per capita, to free university tuition and medical presecriptions etc. unless extended to all of us. (How can Scotland afford that now whilst the rest of the UK cannot?).

  31. JoolsB
    Posted November 28, 2013 at 10:17 am | Permalink

    Like you say John, it is for Scotland to decide.

    What concerns me more as an English person is that although this will be the third time the people of Scotland get a say on how they wish to be governed and whilst Cameron and Cleggie went rushing to Cardiff a few weeks ago to promise Wales yet another referendum, their third or fourth, the UK Government, a Tory led one at that, refuses to consult the people of England just once on how they wish to be governed. England has never been asked – not once – and maybe it’s time she was.

    Poll after poll shows more and more people in England are becoming resentful at being denied a voice or self determination in the same way the Scots, Welsh and NI already enjoy. We hear UK politicians tell us ‘there is no demand for an English Parliament’ yet are too afraid to ask us. Instead we are insulted and fobbed off with the occasional talk of English votes for English laws which even if introduced and which is looking more and more unlikely, would never work as long as the skewed Barnett Formula is in place because Scots, Welsh & NI MPs use Barnett consequentials as their excuse for voting on English only matters and would continue to do so.

    Every Tory leader since devolution has promised to put an end to this undemocratic practise of Scottish, Welsh & NI MPs voting on English only matters and now they have the chance, just like Labour before them, they ignore it. According to David Laws, EVEL was one of the first things the Tories capitulated over in those five days in May in their desperation to form a coalition agreement with the Lib Dums. Instead, Cameron allowed Cleggie to form a commission, insultingly headed by a Scotsman Lord McKay and whose remit did not even allow the consideration of an English parliament. It was Harriet Baldwin’s Bill which forced the coalition kicking and screaming to finally set up the commission and now it’s pathetic findings, an insult to every man, woman and child in England, have been allowed to go back into the long grass where they will no doubt remain.

    Cameron and the Tories to their eternal shame have refused to address either the English Question, the West Lothian Question or the Barnett Formula despite the majority of their constituents living in England. They are totally in denial at the anger felt in England by the blatant discrimination against our young who alone face £9,000 tuition fees when the rest of the UK do not, an apartheid shamefully made three times worse under this Tory led Government. Whether you agree with educational maintenance allowance or not, only youngsters in England have seen it abolished whilst the Scots, Welsh & NI continue to claim it. Prescriptions, hospital parking charges, extortionate care home fees, EU funds intended for English regions diverted to Scotland instead, the closing of Portsmouth, all from the party who would not exist if it were not for England.

    Scotland are never going to to vote for independence John. Why should they when they’ve virtually got it already without having to worry about where the money comes from for their free tuition fees, prescriptions, free care for the elderly etc. etc. and with Cameron promising even more goodies, no doubt at England’s expense if they vote to stay whilst he blatantly continues to ignore the English Question.

    If by some miracle Scotland were to vote for independence, who speaks for ENGLAND when UK assets and debts are being divided up? Please do not insult us by saying David Cameron or any of the UK MPs squatting in English seats because they are UK MPs elected on a UK mandate who cannot even bring themselves to say the word England let alone stand up for it. England has no-one standing up for it’s interests, no First Minister, no Secretary of State, no Parliament, which is why the UK Government can get away with continuing to discriminate against it both politically and financially.

    Speaking as a lifelong Tory voter/activist who is now finished with the Tories for no other reason than the contempt they have shown to England, may I suggest John that instead of the Tory party devoting all their time and energy into preserving a union which ceased to exist post Labour’s dog’s dinner of a devolution act, that the Tory party devote just a fraction of that time into squaring the circle of devolution and offering England equality with the rest of this so called union.

    The Tories won a 62 seat majority in England in 2010 and yet England alone in the UK and western world is denied the Government of her choosing. If the even more anti-English Labour party get into power in 2015 on the back of their Scottish votes and Scottish MPs, they will stop at nothing until they have balkanised England once and for all into nine regions. If this happens, the Tories will be every bit as culpable for refusing to address the English Question when they had the chance.

    England is waiting John.

  32. Neil Craig
    Posted November 28, 2013 at 10:38 am | Permalink

    One of the strange things about the Scottish “nationalists” is that they are opposed to the people getting a referendum on independence from the EU. They are even opposed to it if we have to rejoin on different terms from currently, which I believe is unique for new members.

  33. Sebastian Weetabix
    Posted November 28, 2013 at 10:40 am | Permalink

    Since I am a Scot living in England and a convinced Unionist I thought I’d add my tuppence halfpenny. Firstly I am livid I do not get a say. Secondly I doubt my fellow Scots will be absurd enough to vote for the demented wish-list presented by that preening snake oil salesman the other day. However I also fear wily Mr Salmond’s long term campaign is succeeding. He isn’t going to win this vote, but my goodness he is succeeding in annoying the English, and eventually he is going to provoke a split from the English side if we carry on as we are. So what to do about it? Firstly the bluff needs to be called. It must be made clear that independence means exactly that. No sharing of the pound or the Bank of England. Bring ALL the UK public sector jobs back into England, including the Nuclear subs. So the tax factory in Cumbernauld, the student loans people in Glasgow, warship building, the RAF bases, etc etc, those jobs come south in the event of independence. In turn Edinburgh takes on responsibility for maritime safety and all those other things they reckon they can compel the UK to continue funding.

    As for the oil, it doesn’t all belong to Scotland. A lot of it belongs to Shetland and Orkney. They should be offered continued membership of the Union separately (if they like the idea and we send a warship, there wouldn’t be much the SNP could do about it). Additionally when you continue the border out to sea from Berwick, a fair proportion of the resources will actually belong to the rump of the UK. Scotland will have to take on RBS etc and their share of the national debt.

    Let’s assume Mr Salmond loses his vote. He will then want devo max. I think at that point we should offer 2 choices in a referendum for the entire UK to vote on.

    1. End of the Barnett formula and allow local tax/spend with full fiscal control in Edinburgh leaving the UK govt in charge of foreign/defence spending; this would force the Socialists in Scotland to face up to reality and the Nationalists could no longer blame everything on England. (This is something that has always enraged me, but when you consider the roots of the SNP lie in the fascist movement in the 1930s, it is not surprising that they reflexively blame the ‘outsider’ English in much the same demented way as the Germans focused on ‘rootless cosmopolitans’.)

    Or…
    2. Return to the status quo ante 1997 with an end to the Scottish parliament and Welsh assembly.

    This absurd experiment in devolution has been a catastrophe for the Union. It is unfair to the rest of the UK and it has fostered a sense of grievance. Worst of all it has given that objectionable small-minded intellectual pygmy Mr Salmond an opportunity to preen like a cock on a midden.

    As a Scot I have always been proud that my country stood toe-to-toe with the English, a much bigger and more powerful nation, for hundreds of years and preserved its independence – then freely joined together with the erstwhile enemy in the most successful nation building exercise in history. This nationalist idea of being oppressed by the English is not only a wicked lie, it denigrates Scots. I hate the SNP for it. The small minded bigots must be confronted.

    • uanime5
      Posted November 28, 2013 at 11:49 pm | Permalink

      1. End of the Barnett formula and allow local tax/spend with full fiscal control in Edinburgh leaving the UK govt in charge of foreign/defence spending; this would force the Socialists in Scotland to face up to reality and the Nationalists could no longer blame everything on England. (This is something that has always enraged me, but when you consider the roots of the SNP lie in the fascist movement in the 1930s, it is not surprising that they reflexively blame the ‘outsider’ English in much the same demented way as the Germans focused on ‘rootless cosmopolitans’.)

      Scotland is a net contributor because they have the third highest GVA in the UK (second highest when you consider oil and gas revenues). So this will benefit the Scots more than the English.

      2. Return to the status quo ante 1997 with an end to the Scottish parliament and Welsh assembly.

      Don’t expect the Scots and Welsh to willing give up partial independence. There will also be a huge political fallout if England votes to scrap the Scottish parliament and Welsh assembly, while the Scots and Welsh vote to keep them.

      This absurd experiment in devolution has been a catastrophe for the Union. It is unfair to the rest of the UK and it has fostered a sense of grievance.

      Given that the UK is composed of England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland and devolution gave a governing body to Scotland and Wales (Northern Ireland had a governing body for different reasons) it’s somewhat misleading to describe England as the “rest of the UK”. Especially when the previous arrangement effectively left Wales and Scotland with no power because the English could outvote them on everything.

      • Sebastian Weetabix
        Posted November 29, 2013 at 5:19 pm | Permalink

        It is not misleading; q.v. the West Lothian Question.

        Tam Dalyell was right on this point. Either we are one nation, or we are not. The idea that – to take one of your points – that ‘Wales is outvoted by England’ is simply daft when we are all part of one nation and our interests are in common. You might as well say Bedford is outvoted by Northampton or Liverpool by Manchester; it’s meaningless.

        The SNP are offering a false prospectus that suggests Scotland can have all the benefits of Union without any of the trade offs (motivated by an odd mixture of a desire to enjoy motorcades, an almost racist dislike of the English and perhaps what Freud liked to call the narcissism of minor difference). I cannot imagine the English/Welsh/Ulstermen putting up with it and I wouldn’t blame them. Scotland is not presently a net contributor to UK taxation, btw. You are mistaken on that point. The entire country (including most English regions) is being subsidised by London and the south east.

      • Edward2
        Posted November 29, 2013 at 6:45 pm | Permalink

        You say “Scotland is a net contributor ”
        £35 billion is sent to Scotland each year from England
        £2000 more per person is spent on each Scottish person than each English person.
        So I do not know how you can come to that conclusion.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted November 29, 2013 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

      “This absurd experiment in devolution has been a catastrophe for the Union.”

      Bear in mind that the planned next stage in that devolution experiment was to break up England into EU regions to sit alongside the EU regions of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, and that the proponents of that wicked plan were confident that they first could win a referendum in north east England and then proceed down the rest of England smashing it into pieces.

      Once the voters in the north east had told them where to get off on that idea, their reaction was to see if they could proceed to do it by more stealthy means. They could have said, “Oh, it seems we were wrong all along, in fact it seems that there is an English identity which is stronger than the strong regional identities that we thought were there, maybe we should propose that to complete devolution there should be just a single assembly for the whole of England”, but they didn’t.

      And nor has Cameron proposed that, and nor have Tory MPs pressed for that; on the contrary, they have made it perfectly clear what they think:

      That unlike the Scots, and the Welsh, and the Northern Irish, the English

      DO NOT DESERVE

      their own devolved parliament and government.

      and can make do with some fudge, no separate assembly but “English Votes for English Laws” in the present Commons.

    • alan
      Posted November 30, 2013 at 8:48 am | Permalink

      Sebastian

      Good to hear the views of a Scotsman in England.

      Your views are similar to many I have heard from some other Scots, and some English.

  34. English Pensioner
    Posted November 28, 2013 at 10:44 am | Permalink

    I don’t think Scotland will opt for independence, although, as an Englishman, I wish they would in order that it would be one step nearer to a true English government here.
    To me, the main thing if Scotland does not opt for independence, is the over representation of Scottish (and Welsh) MPs at Westminster and in particular the fact that they can vote at Westminster on matters that have been devolved and thus affect only the English. Alternatively we should have an English Parliament, with a smaller Westminster responsible only for those matters affecting the whole of the UK.

  35. Robert Taggart
    Posted November 28, 2013 at 11:29 am | Permalink

    This Englishman supports Scottish Independence – if only to bring about by default independence for England – eventually !
    If One was Scottish and living in Scotland – independence would make sense – presuming the Scots do not suffer the post imperial delusions of grandeur – as witnessed ‘south of the border’.
    The governance of a mere c.six million population would be so much easier than the c.sixty-two million of Blighty. Also, those c.six million would be that much closer to the ‘centre of power’ – less ‘hiding places’ available to their representatives !
    If the Scots and Scotland want simply a quiet life just ‘making up the numbers’ on the world stage – they should vote YES – with our blessing !

  36. Roy Grainger
    Posted November 28, 2013 at 11:38 am | Permalink

    I agree that unless the circumstances change dramatically the independence vote will fail. What perplexes me is that I’ve see several commentators saying that if there is a No vote then the Scottish parliament will be handed more powers. Why ? If they vote No they should get nothing more.

  37. Andyvan
    Posted November 28, 2013 at 11:42 am | Permalink

    The entire debate is biased in favour of Scotland. If it were truly a partnership then why should the Scots have the only say in whether it continues? If the English and Welsh are really equal members on this union why can we not vote on a huge issue that would affect all of us. Personally I’d vote to end it to ensure we got no more Gordon Browns and a lot less extreme socialist MP’s in Westminster.

    • forthurst
      Posted November 28, 2013 at 2:17 pm | Permalink

      “…no more Gordon Browns…”

      or Tony Blairs?

  38. con
    Posted November 28, 2013 at 11:58 am | Permalink

    Salmond may be allowed to be the bad mannered, insulting ‘cheeky boy’ while the independence debate rolls on.
    I suspect our attitude to him will change dramatically after the independence vote whether he wins or not.
    If he wins the vote the gloves will be off and he will find a chill wind blowing from London.
    If he loses the vote, surely he’s finished. I’m surprised the Scots ever voted for (him ed) in the first place.

  39. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted November 28, 2013 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

    Scotland must be told that it would not be allowed to retain sterling and they would not be allowed to play Greece to England’s Germany.

    They should be reminded that, although they might get the lion’s share of oil royalties, they would lose the Barnett formula. North sea oil is expensive and the rate of extraction is likely to decline. In any event, 70% of the oil rigs are made in North East England, so England has some entitlement.

    A Trident free military Union? Only if England decided to give up Trident.

    A shared monarchy? What powers would the Queen have in Scotland?

  40. JM
    Posted November 28, 2013 at 12:16 pm | Permalink

    If the Scots do vote for independence I trust that we will give them their broken banks back with all of the debt attached.

    Also, will they be taking on a share of the rest of the national debt in accordance with the Barnett formula. Having had more than their fair share of government spending per head compared with the rest of the UK, it is only fair that they take more than their fair share of the debt on the same basis.

    Bank of England NOT to be lender of last resort.

    All defence installations to be withdrawn promptly.

    If they keep the pound, that is a matter for them. It should be made clear that policy will be made solely in the interests of the rest of the UK and if it does not suit, tough. No bail out. You’re on your own.

  41. David Allen
    Posted November 28, 2013 at 12:35 pm | Permalink

    I agree that the Scots will probably not vote for independence. In either case England will be worse off without its own parliament. The devolved parliaments will continue clamouring for more power whose costs will be underwritten by the English taxpayer.

    Sadly many English people are confused by the terms British and English. English people largely see Britishness as Englishness writ large with no animosity to their Celtic cousins. Some Scots and Welsh regard Britishness as Englishness in a pejorative sense and resent it as an imposition. This confusion allows government to hoodwink the English and portray privatisation and immigration to be a wholly British occurences, when in fact the devolved parliaments ensure most of these events happen in England. An English parliament or preferably an Independent England would have the power to prevent this.

  42. A.Sedgwick
    Posted November 28, 2013 at 12:51 pm | Permalink

    If those living in Scotland, as opposed to totally UK based Scots, want to put their future in the hands of the preposterous Salmond and his sidekick then so be it. The mandate could be spread a bit like national football selection – I have a Scottish grandmother, my wife’s total ancestry is Scottish – can we vote too Mr. Salmond?

    We are witnessing with the Romainian/Bulgarian (issue the ed) procrastination of Cameron, no doubt the same will apply to the possible separation of Scotland. The consequences should be detailed in no uncertain fashion and contingency plans e.g. Faslane put in place. Basically an independent Scotland would have 18 months to join the EU and the Euro and enjoy the shackles. It is ironic that Norway is regularly mentioned by the SNP, perhaps they haven’t sussed that country declined the EU. Maybe Mr.Farage could be the Better Together campaign’s wild card.

  43. Bryan
    Posted November 28, 2013 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

    Surely if an independent Scotland applies to join the EU then a condition of entry is also to use the Euro?

    If so then the sharing of the Bank of England and using the pound sterling ceases to be an issue?

    • backofanenvelope
      Posted November 28, 2013 at 5:22 pm | Permalink

      Let the Scots have the pound sterling; the English can have the groat sterling.

  44. Iain Gill
    Posted November 28, 2013 at 2:43 pm | Permalink

    John,
    What do you think about Camerons announcement at the Curry awards that restrictions on visas for Chefs from India were going to be lifted?
    Chefs are not a shortage occupation.
    Why doesn’t he tell the catering trade that failing to hire perfectly well qualified British chefs is racist?
    Is the plan to decimate the British chefs the way he has done with uncapped ICT work visas to IT professionals?
    Do let us know… Cameron just seems to spout whatever the audience in front of him wants to hear?

  45. Terry
    Posted November 28, 2013 at 3:41 pm | Permalink

    In addition to the MOD ship building, the nuclear submarine base at Faslane would have to re-locate south and hundreds of associated jobs would be lost to the area. In addition, all those Naval people who reside around that base would have to re-locate thus removing hundreds of regular customers from the various retailers. The upside for England is most definitely with the extra jobs that would be created with a bonus (£1600/head), the removing of the extra payment Scotland now receives in accordance with the Barnett formula. That has to be worth around £6 Billions to the English taxpayers. And it will be a gift for the Conservatives for it is only the Scottish Labour vote and the Scottish Labour MPs that give Minibrand an edge. Furthermore, if Salmond thinks the Oil companies will make up the cash difference he has a shock coming. When he taxes them too high as indeed he will, they will just shut down their wells and move out. The North Sea oil bonanza was over years ago and it’s just the high market price for oil that perpetuates those fields.

    If the Scots do vote to become independent, it will be the most devastating calamity for them and their future generations. The SNP are socialists who thrive on big Government and high taxation and that has no place in today’s competitive world. Hard workers have to be rewarded not taxed more. Else they leave for better places and Scotland will become short on talent and long on benefit claimants. The Union needs Scotland but Scotland needs England more.

  46. Vanessa
    Posted November 28, 2013 at 3:41 pm | Permalink

    If the Scots were to vote “yes” and leave the United Kingdom, then surely, the United Kingdom would no longer be a member of the European Union ?

    There is no country called Scotland – so they would have to apply. So, too, would England. There is no country called England as a member of the European Union; Wales is a Principality and Northern Ireland is a region of Ireland; the two Kingdoms are Scotland and England.

    Is my thinking skewed or is it correct? We must get the Scots to vote YES and we will no longer be members of this corrupt, dishonest, greedy club !!!

  47. James Matthews
    Posted November 28, 2013 at 4:05 pm | Permalink

    I agree with much of this post, but if the Scots vote for independence can we be confident that without an English Parliament Westminster will properly safeguard English interests? I certainly am not:

    http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/48812

    Reply Westminster is the English as well as the Union Parliament, and the Union will be even more heavily dominated by England if Scotland leaves.

    • Old Albion
      Posted November 28, 2013 at 5:07 pm | Permalink

      “Westminster is the English as well as the Union Parliament”

      That is insulting nonsense John and you know it. England is governed by the (dis)UK Parliament. A Parliament that refuses to even acknowledge the existence of England.

    • zorro
      Posted November 28, 2013 at 5:14 pm | Permalink

      There really is no need for a separate English Parliament. We have a lovely historic building on the banks of the Thames which has a vast majority of MPs representing English constituencies. Why do people find it so difficult to see the wood from the trees? The West Lothian, Brecon Beacons or Belfast question could be dealt with quite easily. No need to complicate matters really……

      zorro

      • Old Albion
        Posted November 28, 2013 at 7:10 pm | Permalink

        It would do fine if all the Scottish, Welsh and N.Irish constituency MP’s were removed.

    • The PrangWizard
      Posted November 28, 2013 at 6:10 pm | Permalink

      “Westminster is the English as well as the Union Parliament”

      I’m with Old Albion. You claim to have an open mind, but clearly on the matter of an English parliament your mind is a closed as a trap, and you are not what you claim to be. You are either deliberately being provocative or as with most Unionists you are unable or unwilling to recognise the issue here. You support a Scottish parliament, but not an English one. I won’t use the word which springs to mind.

  48. JoolsB
    Posted November 28, 2013 at 5:33 pm | Permalink

    John, it would be great if you could answer to the following:-

    Is David Cameron or any of the MPs with English seats aware of the growing resentment as demonstrated in comments above at their indifference to England being denied a voice or any form of self determination?

    Why are the Tories of all people so stubbornly opposed to the idea of England having equality with the rest of the UK? Surely it would be to their advantage but more importantly to the advantage of the majority of their constituents? Is saving a union which discriminates so badly against their constituents more important to them than doing what’s right and and democratic for those constituents?

    Do the Tories have a death wish? They are haemorrhaging votes to UKIP who are the only party willing to address the English Question.

    Please John, do tell.

    Reply I have set out my proposals for the English question before and have spoken out in favour of England in Parliament. I do not get it, however, as an issue on the doorstep or in the constituency postbag.

    • The PrangWizard
      Posted November 29, 2013 at 9:23 am | Permalink

      Your words – ‘I do not get it, however, as an issue on the doorstep or in the constituency postbag. ‘

      So, it is not an issue then, no important principle or constitutional problem involved? I’ve heard this before. Daniel Hannan has written it, Michael Portillo has said it at a public meeting in which I asked him if he supported the idea of an English parliament. There was an audience of about 400. He said he did not detect any demand for an English parliament. Same narrative from the Elite British Unionists, try to fool people into thinking that it’s just a bunch of fringe ‘sour little Englanders’ in Cameron’s words, demand doesn’t exist. My MP Ed Vaisey dodged the question when I asked him first time before the McKay Report. I’ve asked him since and he hasn’t replied.

      Wake up, the demand will not go away and is getter louder.

  49. Antisthenes
    Posted November 28, 2013 at 5:51 pm | Permalink

    I think Scotland should be independent so that it can continue to build it’s socialist Utopia without the subsidy from the rest of the UK just like France and Venezuela where it appears to be going so well or more correctly showing what an abysmal failure it is. At least it would dilute the socialist influence in the rest of the UK so that it can get on running country with sensible and rational policies and practices.

  50. uanime5
    Posted November 28, 2013 at 11:53 pm | Permalink

    Since countries, such as Montenegro, use the euro despite not being in the EU it is possible to use a currency even if you can’t control it.

    • Sebastian Weetabix
      Posted November 29, 2013 at 5:26 pm | Permalink

      Yes, it is possible; lots of countries have done it with the dollar. But it always ends unhappily because they cannot control interest rates. It’s fine while things are fine but in the end they always have to decouple and/or default on their debts.

      If you don’t have your own money you are not independent.

    • Edward2
      Posted November 29, 2013 at 6:48 pm | Permalink

      It is possible as many small nations who use the US Dollar have found.
      But it means you are not really an independent nation nor a truly free nation without having your own currency under your own control.

  51. Ed Smith
    Posted November 29, 2013 at 4:48 am | Permalink

    Of course, the EU only wants our money plus fit young UK men as their most expendable cannon fodder but, if the split means that Scotland will be expelled from the EU then this is the best opportunity for the other side of the split, English/Welsh/NorthernIrish to get out at a stroke. Brussels/Berlin/Paris can hardly bear us much more malice if we demand the same punishment as Rajoy will enforce upon the Scots; we should plead solidarity with them in their travail. With one bound we could be FREE; oh wondrous joy.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted November 29, 2013 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

      It wouldn’t be a punishment inflicted by Rajoy or anyone else; it would just be the natural consequence of no longer being part of an EU member state.

  52. Ed Smith
    Posted November 29, 2013 at 5:05 am | Permalink

    My respects to all those above whose thoughts chime with mine but the idea was too exciting to wait and read much, I felt 60-years younger at the very thought. But another brilliant wheeze, once we are out we could get together again, just as pals, with our separate admins. Of course, to do this we should first have to see Cameron, Clegg, Miliband and a few others swinging in the wind. I mean politically, of course, I still feel a frabtious delight at the prospect; I shall drink a toast to it now; it’s noon here.

  53. James Matthews
    Posted November 29, 2013 at 11:52 am | Permalink

    This morning I read that the (Canadian) governor of the Bank of England has offered Alex Salmond talks on a currency Union with an independent Scotland. Will he be slapped down hard by all those “English” MPs at Westminster? If not, I rest my case.

    • James Matthews
      Posted November 30, 2013 at 11:44 am | Permalink

      Having said that I will nevertheless add that Angus Robertson, the SNP leader at Westminster, now says that in the event of a Scottish yes vote in the referendum the next UK general election should be postponed by a year. What that implies is that he expects the 59 Scottish MPs to remain at Westminster during the crucial eighteen months of independence negotiations, no doubt assiduously promoting a soft deal for Scotland, but does not want the bother of getting himself re-elected.

      So much for the suggestion that, during the important period, a yes vote in the referendum will lead to a proportionately greater English voice at Westminster.

  54. Paul
    Posted November 30, 2013 at 12:56 am | Permalink

    If I were a Scot I would want independence but would be voting no in next year’s referendum because it is a con. Scotland should decide its own future in its own parliament but all this referendum offers the Scottish people is a choice between control by Westminster and Brussels or control by Brussels. Alex Salmond clearly does not believe in a truly independent Scotland and, like the Plebgate saga, this is beginning to bore the British people.

  55. Richard
    Posted November 30, 2013 at 10:11 am | Permalink

    Should Scotland vote for for independence there is no need to consult existing EU treaties for guidance as the EU will make the rules up as it goes along to ensure it gets the outcome it wants.

    Since both Scotland and rUK will be different entities to the UK which signed the existing treaties and agreements both countries will be told by the EU that they need to re-apply for membership of the EU. Because Scotland, and certainly the rUK, are net contributors to the EU budget and because both import more from the EU than they export to it, the EU will say that both applications can be fast-tracked. The cost for fast-tracking however will be that we lose our budget rebate, our opt-outs and the pound.

    In the case of the rUK I would expect all three of our main political parties to agree to this deal saying that that the rUK must remain in the EU at all costs.

    The Conservatives will support the case for big business which likes the EU for the free movement of capital, profits, jobs, workers and non-workers. The well being of any particular country within the EU being unimportant to them.

    Labour will support any deal which impoverishes the rUK and its residents as this is seen as electorially beneficial.

    The Lib Dems are simply interested in extending the power and size of the EU empire.

    Both countries will be told that this fast-track deal will need to be done without recourse to a referendum.

    In the case of Scotland they may just be canny enough to decline the EU offer and decide to remain outside of the EU and in control of their oil and fishing grounds. Norway with a similar population and assets has shown that it is perfectly possible to flourish outside of the EU.

    The rUK, unable to participate in the forthcoming Scotland independence vote, the result of which could alter dramatically its relationship with the EU, may find itself well and truly “stitched up” for the foreseeable future.

  56. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted November 30, 2013 at 12:25 pm | Permalink

    There is a hidden issue. If Scotland became a separate nation, it would have to negotiate for Member status with the EU from scratch. Would it not also be true that, simultaneously, the Union rump of England, Wales and Northern Ireland would also become a new nation and have to negotiate with the EU from scratch?

    • James Matthews
      Posted November 30, 2013 at 2:52 pm | Permalink

      Sadly that does not seem likely. With a population ratio of 92.5/8.5 and the UK being a major net contributor to the EU budget there does not seem to be much doubt as to which is will be seen as the successor state. We will have to get ourselves out by our own efforts.

  • 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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