Why the rest of the UK will have to negotiate strongly if Scotland does leave

I fully support Mr Osborne’s stance that a single currency between the rest of the UK and an “independent” Scotland would not work. It is bizarre that Mr Salmond calls this “bullying”. Mr Salmond has to accept that if he succeeds in winning a vote to leave, it is then a matter for the rest of the UK and not for him how we negotiate the final settlement from our side.

Indeed, warning Scotland not to opt to be part of the pound is right for Scotland as well as for the rest of the UK. What part of the sorry experiences of Cyprus, Greece, Portugal, Spain, Ireland and Italy has Mr Salmond not understood? We have before our eyes the results of currency union without fiscal union, without discipline over borrowings, and without proper levels of transfers from rich to poor in the Euro area. Why would anyone want to recommend to the Scots being in a currency union where they had no influence over the monetary policy and where there was no common fiscal policy?

Mr Salmond now retaliates by the most unpleasant threat that Scotland would walk away from the Union without taking its share of the debt. British fair play and commonsense argues that of course Scotland has to take its share of the debt, as it enjoyed helping us spend the money. Scotland should remember that if they try that tactic, there are plenty of ways the rest of the UK can also negotiate forcefully.

How much of the oil belongs to the rest of the UK rather than Scotland? How do you draw the border out from the coast into the North Sea? Why shouldn’t Scotland assume full responsibility for the debts of RBS? What charges would the rest of the UK levy for Scots using rest of the Uk facilities?

The more Mr Salmond hits out, the more he needs to understand that the rest of the UK will harden its attitude to the negotiation. Many people in the rest of the UK are with the Prime Minister in wanting the Scots to remain, keeping our country united. If the Scots vote for Out, the mood will change. Then the rest of the UK, rejected by the Scots, will want their politicians to do a great deal for those of us who remain in the union.

Most people in the rest of the UK do not see the union as a simple commercial transaction. We are not constantly adding up how much we pay in tax and comparing it with what we get back. There are other parts of the UK who get a worse financial deal than Scotland, who accept that is part of belonging to union with others.


  1. Lifelogic
    February 13, 2014

    Indeed the real negotiation comes after the referendum, one might well argue that a second referendum, post this detailed renegotiation, will be needed over money, debts, defence, territory, oil, gas, university fees etc. Also the other UK regions will need to have a say in this. Clearly were Scotland and the UK both similar in size it would be absurd for one side only to have a say on the split.

    The idea of a Scotland remaining in the EU (why on earth would they want to) but still using pound is surely absurd. A plan mainly chosen, one assumes, to give the maximum chance of a positive vote for leaving.

    If they are leaving they should clearly leave both the EU and the UK and get themselves a new currency and become properly independent. Then they need to rid themselves of their almost entirely fake green + socialist politicians, halve the size of their state sector and half taxes and become a low tax area. They would clearly have to pay rather more for their debt, if indeed anyone would lend it to them other than the UK.

    I do not suppose the rest of the UK will want to keep buying their green electricity at several times its true value either after the divorce. I hope the divorce will not happen but it might, Cameron has taken another huge risk. Miliband will surely inherit the huge mess shortly after if they do vote to leave, so it will not be Cameron’s problem.

    1. Lifelogic
      February 13, 2014

      I see that Mark Carney says the recovery was “neither balanced nor sustainable” and required continued support – something which a rise in interest rates from above the historic low level of 0.5 per cent could threaten.

      What about the huge margins the banks are charging, the lack of much business lending and the absurdly expensive energy – could these not threaten it too. Apart from selling London houses to rich foreigners, being a non dom tax haven for the world, the financial sector (which is now under huge attack from Cameron’s beloved EU) what other competitive advantages do we actually have?

      Carney is quite right on this and what are the floods going to cost?

      1. Bob
        February 13, 2014


        …what are the floods going to cost?

        Money is no object apparently, as long as you don’t ask for more than four sandbags each.

        With all the predictive powers of the consensus of scientists and the BBC, I’m surprised that the “green crap” coalition were caught flat footed on the flooding in the flood plains. And yet they insist that they can predict what will happen in a hundred years time.

        I heard on the news that two more wind turbines exploded due to the wrong kind of wind. How pathetic. Just when you’re most in need of electricity they blow up.

        1. Lifelogic
          February 14, 2014

          Well Nick Clegg on LBC today said that the chief scientific officer (a doctor & immunology, rheumatology expert who perhaps even owns a stethoscope) has told the Cabinet on AGW there is no doubt about it. So Clegg justs accept it it seems, just because an expert doctor has told him so.

          He did not say what “it” was though but that is it then. Ed Davey can just continue with his expensive energy lunacies and China and Germany with their coal burning.

          Nicola Sturgeon deputy first minister of Scotland sounded equally deluded on the daily politics.

      2. Arschloch
        February 13, 2014

        More importantly too, it was nice to hear on R4s news at 8am that the UK is now home to 50 people who are accused of crimes against humanity. One of them is a senior Taliban commander who has fought against our boys in Afghanistan. Unfortunately we cannot deport them because the HR Act says this is impossible if their lives will be endangered (presumably by the relatives of their victims) if they are returned home. Perhaps Nick and Cherie could give some guidance on how the absurd HR ACT would work in this scenario? Alois Brunner (Adolf Eichmann’s right hand man) is believed to be living in Damascus. If he made his way to Heathrow, because he feels endangered by the civil war and claimed asylum, presumably he could not be deported to Israel on the basis of what happened to his boss would also happen to him too?


    2. Denis Cooper
      February 13, 2014

      “Indeed the real negotiation comes after the referendum”

      That is what some people have failed to get clear in their minds, unthinkingly assuming that if the Scots voted for independence on September 18th then once the result had been announced Scotland would be independent.

      The legal position is that the day after the referendum Scotland would still be part of the present UK just as it was the day before, and that would remain the case until the coming into force of an Act of the UK Parliament to repeal the Acts approving the Treaty of Union, with either the same Act or others approving new treaty arrangements.

      And those new arrangements would not be just about the relationship between Scotland and the continuing UK, but also about their relationships with other countries around the world and especially of course the other EU member states, and the question arises whether any of the proposed new arrangements would be put to referendums either in Scotland or in the continuing UK.

      So if Merkel said that she was prepared to oblige Cameron and Salmond by agreeing to a treaty to amend the present EU treaties so that Scotland could make a seamless transition from being in the EU by virtue of being part of a member state to being in the EU as a new member state in its own sovereign right, but one condition for her assent was that Scotland must pledge itself to join the euro like all new member states, would the Scots be asked directly whether they agreed with that proposal?

      I suspect not, I can easily imagine the SNP agreeing to it and getting it approved by the Scottish Parliament at speed without allowing voters in Scotland to have a direct say and possibly block it.

      Not because I think that Salmond and his SNP colleagues are particularly bad people, bearing in mind that Major would probably have done the same thing if he hadn’t been stopped by those “bastards” in his own party.

      1. sjb
        February 15, 2014


        I think you are old enough to remember when Rhodesia declared independence in 1965. Although the British Parliament did not endorse the action, it did not stop major nations such as Japan and West Germany from trading with Rhodesia.

        Going even further back, I suspect the British Parliament were rather unhappy when the United States declared independence – not sure if there were any negotiations after that event about them taking on their share of the national debt.

        When the communists took over Russia in 1917, didn’t they refuse to honour pre-revolutionary debt?

        1. Denis Cooper
          February 15, 2014

          Except that:

          a) The UK government and Parliament are not standing in the way of Scotland leaving the UK by a legal and orderly process, if that is what the Scots want, and are even facilitating the process of trying to find out what the Scots want; and

          b) Salmond is nothing like those who made unilateral declarations of independence in Rhodesia and America or led the revolution in Russia; and

          c) Even if wilder elements in the SNP took over after a “yes” vote in the referendum and illegally declared immediate independence, and even if the police then refused to obey court orders shutting down the Scottish government and Parliament, and even if the UK government then held back from sending in the army to do the job that the police refused to do, those hotheads would be putting at risk the third of the Scottish economy which depends on exports to the rest of the UK.

    3. Max unbar
      February 13, 2014

      Firstly, the SNP are desperate to join the EU and no doubt would be more than happy to accept the Euro. Although it may sound absurd, the SNP do not want to be ‘properly’ independent, they want to ditch one union and become a member of a more remote one where they have far less say because, as socialists, they are nevertheless ideologically more comfortable with this arrangement. One would think that leaving the UK would be an opportunity to have control over the valuable fishing resources for example. Not so, the SNP are just as satisfied as that other socialist, Heath, to sacrifice the fishing; it is of little consequence to them. The main driver of the SNP, as distinct from the Scots in general, is hatred of the British state (the English) and a desire to impose a Marxist-socialist totalitarian system on the unfortunate inhabitants of Scotland – and gain complete power.

      1. Terry Smith
        April 27, 2014

        Such a scenario would become WAR. Be careful what you wish for. A third of the army are Scots.

    4. stred
      February 14, 2014

      Sometimes a divorce seems a terrible thing to avoid at all costs. Then, when it happens, it seems such a relief from the war of words and financial disagreements. For the sensible Scots who cannot stand the socialist extremism, the DUK should offer refugee status. Come to think about it, they are EU citizens and can come anyway to join the larger number of ex Scots already here.

      1. Denis Cooper
        February 14, 2014

        Most of population of Scotland are only “EU citizens” because they are UK citizens and the UK is in the EU. There are of course some who are “EU citizens” because they are citizens of another EU country, and, guess what, they will be allowed to vote on whether the UK should be broken up while UK citizens of Scottish heritage will not be allowed to vote on that if they happen to be resident in some part of UK other than Scotland. I don’t know whether anyone has any clear idea how the Poles and Latvians and other foreign citizens will vote in a referendum to break up the UK, if they vote at all; maybe if they feared that an independent Scotland would be outside the EU they would vote against independence, but clearly the SNP believes that they will vote for independence or otherwise the SNP would have been against them be allowed to vote. It is hard to comprehend why Cameron gave way on that, when at the very least he could have insisted on using the electoral roll used for Westminster elections rather than that for Holyrood elections. And if the outcome is a majority vote for Scotland to revert to the status of an independent sovereign state then it will be a thorny question who will become a citizen of the state and whether they can also keep their UK citizenship. Personally I would take a hard line because I’m fed up with the laxity of our rules on allowing dual or even multiple citizenship and allowing foreign citizens to vote in our elections and referendums. There is a case for resurrecting something like the old legal status of “denizen”, a foreigner who was allowed to live in the country and enjoyed certain rights but had no political rights.

  2. arschloch
    February 13, 2014

    Why worry its a big fuss about nothing! The average Scotsman knows where the true source of his handouts is and he will vote accordingly. Meanwhile in the real news department, its nice to see that Carney really has a grip on the situation and has decided to drop the link between base rate and unemployment. Does he really know what he is doing and is he just lurching from one desperate failed “solution” to another like Bernanke? e.g. QEs 1,2 and 3 (this time with a undefined taper), a similar link to unemployment, “operation twist” etc.

    1. JoeSoap
      February 13, 2014

      How to prove from the outset that your predictive ability is zero, yes.
      I guess we need somebody as a lightning conductor between money and government but don’t rely on what either of them says could happen in 3 months’ time where your savings are concerned!

    2. Jennifer A
      February 13, 2014

      This is a hatred of the English pure and simple.

      (I’ve overheard conversations in pubs when Scots, French, Irish get together.)

      A united Ireland is (apparently) OK
      An independent Scotland is (apparently) OK

      Ireland & Scotland united with the EU is (apparently) OK

      This is driven by nothing other than antipathy towards the English (Mel Gibson has a lot to answer for)

      I personally do not trust that – if there is a split – our own politicians will behave fairly towards the English and negotiate strongly with Scotland.

      Our own politicians don’t behave fairly towards us now, so why would anything change then ?

    3. Denis Cooper
      February 13, 2014

      The principle source of the so-called “handouts” has been the North Sea.


      That is what changed Scottish revenues in 2011-12 from 8.2% of UK revenues to 9.9%, while public spending for the benefit of Scotland was 9.3% of the UK total; in other words, arithmetically it was North Sea revenues which changed Scotland from being a recipient of subsidies from the rest of the UK in 2011-12 to being a provider of subsidies to the rest of the UK; although either way the difference was small enough to be disregarded among friends, which the English and the Scots mostly were before certain people started to stir up hatred between them.

      JR writes:

      “How much of the oil belongs to the rest of the UK rather than Scotland? How do you draw the border out from the coast into the North Sea?”

      but obviously the answer to the first of those questions depends upon the answer to the second, and the answer to that has already been put into legislation passed by the UK Parliament long ago, and it would be difficult for the UK government to argue that the question of the border should be re-opened because it was set to become an international rather than an internal border.

      1. Leslie Singleton
        February 14, 2014


        First, I am puzzled why you haven’t given a link to this (to me at least) slightly mysterious Act, as you would normally so readily do and. secondly, why is it so easy to find on the dreaded Google many an article under obvious headings of type “Whose Oil Is It”, which say pretty much the exact opposite?

        This is a cut and paste from an article written from a legal perspective last April, viz


        What will an independent Scotland mean for the future of the UK North Sea oil industry?


        Following the signing of the Edinburgh Agreement on 15 October 2012, a referendum on Scottish independence will take place in 2014. North Sea oil revenues will be one of the key areas of negotiation between Scotland and Westminster

        ……..and I gave a similar quote from a different article a week or so ago in response to your last comment on this subject.

        I am as always happy to be educated on this important subject.

          1. Leslie Singleton
            February 15, 2014

            So, Denis, are the Articles, much more current note and as I say I found two in about 10 seconds, simply wrong? I must say that my impression, and see the quotes, was to the contrary. Besides, is it not clear that, certainly according to the Scots, there is to be a negotiation and it is very much not clear to me (Acts or no Acts) that Oil should not be part thereof. It would be a part if I were doing the negotiation–nothing’s agreed till everything is agreed and all that. Talking of Acts: are those of 1707 carved in stone??

          2. Denis Cooper
            February 15, 2014

            But when I put “Whose Oil Is It” into google and look at the first couple of dozen references I don’t see articles disputing that the vast majority would belong to Scotland.

            The one from which you quote, published last April:


            refers to the Scottish government:

            “… claiming roughly 90% of the geographical share of hydrocarbon revenues something which is disputed by the UK government.”

            but in the UK government analysis published in September that was not disputed.

  3. Steve Cox
    February 13, 2014

    And since if and when it leaves the Union Scotland will no longer be a member of the EU but will have to start the accession process from scratch their citizens will have no automatic right to reside and work (or not as the case may be) in England. I wonder how many unemployed Scots reside south of the border claiming British benefits? We could save plenty of money by stopping that little number for a start.

    And another major benefit – we’d be rid of 59 MP’s off the Westminster payroll at a huge saving, and since 58 of them are Labour, Lib Dems or SNP I doubt that many Conservatives would shed a tear at that prospect (except, of course, for our Liberal Prime Minister who masquerades as a Conservative).

    The Scottish private pension rip-off merchants , sorry I mean industry, would pretty much collapse since most of its money comes from south of the border and who in their right mind would want to entrust their pension to a foreign government? The same can be said of English and Welsh deposits in RBS and HBOS. The British government could threaten to advise people to remove their savings if it really wanted to play hardball.

    There’s a hundred ways that Scotland will end up stuffed if they vote to leave, which is precisely why they won’t do so. As far as I am aware the only poll so far that has shown even a tiny majority for independence was one commissioned by the SNP, so that result is hardly surprising.

    1. Denis Cooper
      February 13, 2014

      “And another major benefit – we’d be rid of 59 MP’s off the Westminster payroll at a huge saving, and since 58 of them are Labour, Lib Dems or SNP I doubt that many Conservatives would shed a tear at that prospect (except, of course, for our Liberal Prime Minister who masquerades as a Conservative).”

      Why on earth should I vote for a party which thinks that breaking up the country would be a good way to make a trivial saving, not a “huge” saving, by reducing the number of MPs, and which apparently is incapable of asking itself “What the hell went wrong, when at the 1955 general election we and our Unionist allies won more than half of the votes and more than half of the seats in Scotland, and now we struggle even to get a single MP elected?”

      If our country is broken up then I will know which party is most to blame for that, and I don’t mean the SNP.

    2. bigneil
      February 13, 2014

      Stop those south of the border claiming benefits? -doubt it – they would use the good old human rights act. -as the scots would be “foreigners”- they would instantly be here illegally, and if they wont tell the UKBA where they are from -and don’t show their passport ( another point )-they couldn’t be deported to scotland-works for everywhere else !! -I know it sounds absurd -but I bet I am right.

      1. Terry Smith
        April 27, 2014

        No Union no UK.

        1. Terry Smith
          April 27, 2014

          And therefore no UKBA.

  4. Richard1
    February 13, 2014

    The answer to this is Mr Salmon’s now wants a monetary and fiscal union, where there would be mutual underwriting of banks, agreement on tax spending and borrowing etc. In other words we in the rest of the UK would be subject to some control from the newly foreign government of Scotland! Of course such a currency union for the UK, like the Euro, must be put to a referendum in the rest of the UK. Would anyone at all vote in favour? The Scottish people, if minded to vote for ‘independence’, should reflect on what it will mean to be stripped of their British citizenship, to become foreigners in the UK and the huge public backlash there will be against them in this and other negotiations.

  5. Old Albion
    February 13, 2014

    You know what JR? I’m sick to the back teeth of hearing what Scotland wants. I hope they vote to leave, but suspect they won’t. They know where they are better off. If they stay? then the government will be fawning all over them again with ‘Devo max’
    What about England? When will we get national devolution from the British? When will we be given democracy and fairness? When will we see and hear English constituency MP’s talking of England’s needs?
    While Scotland, Wales and even N.Ireland are encouraged and allowed to be unified nations the British/(dis)UK government offers only to chop my nation into nine Euro-regions.
    England is a proud and historic country, we deserve better.

    1. Nick
      February 13, 2014

      Spot on. Lets have devolution for England. Why the heck should some Glasgow Mp be dictating to me as to what to do, when my MP has no say.

      Even more important, when do we get a say in any matter?

      EU referendum? Yet another Tory lie. We were promised referenda in the past, on things like treaties, but that was thrown out the window by lying politicians who said one thing to get elected and then did something else whilst in power.

      1. Lifelogic
        February 13, 2014

        In Scotland it is referendum first, negotiation second.

        In the EU we have referendum after negotiation (then only if Cameron gets an overall majority, about as likely as me winning the lottery when I do not even buy a ticket).

        EU negotiation must be first here (or rather not at all yet, as Cameron cannot even decide what he powers he wants back yet).

    2. Max dunbar
      February 13, 2014

      I suspect that Cameron will have a nice comfy mattress for Salmond to land on should his bid to completely wreck the UK fail this year. Until someone in England has the guts to prepare a pit with sharp stakes at the bottom of it, you will continue to be bored and upset by this pantomime. Cameron is weak and Darling is like the ghost of Banquo.

    3. John
      February 13, 2014

      JR: “There are other parts of the UK who get a worse financial deal than Scotland, who accept that is part of belonging to union with others. ”

      We in England do not accept this, it is imposed upon us by the Brutish government. English MPs will not stand up for the English because they think it would weaken the God foresaken Union. The only answer is an an English parliament but we will never get a fair and equitable deal from Westminster.

  6. Lifelogic
    February 13, 2014

    Off topic I see that Newsnight was yet again pushing more of the Catastrophic Global Warming agenda with Lord David King chemist and ex Chief Scientific Adviser and now adviser to William Hague and some politician I think from Rotterdam (why?)

    This rainfall and flooding is certainly heavy but it has happened many, many times before in England and well before C02 levels were this high. It is certainly not new nor even has rainfalls higher than usual for several winters in the past. Why on earth then blame it on man made climate change (anyway it was droughts the high priests at the met office were mainly on about).

    Is is surely clear that the action needed (regardless of cause) is to scrap wind farm, pv subsidies, electric car subsidies, HS2 and similar and spend the money on something sensible and useful instead. Flood resistant homes with ground floor that can take water, dredging, water management, pumping stations, river bypasses, reliable sewage systems, railways lines that are protected from high tides and gales …………

    And can someone please stop the BBC with their very silly Catatrophic AGW scare agenda and their big government, pro EU, anti science, over regulation and endless renewable energy drivel. Oh I forgot we still have Lord Patten thanks to green behind the ears, no science please Cameron.

    Vorsprung durch technik please.

    1. David Price
      February 13, 2014

      1. Government scientist writes report predicting increased floods owing to AGW
      2. Government associated agencies decrease river management and flood prevention
      3. Increased floods happen and now ex-government scientist claims he was right

      Why have these people been consistently doing the complete opposite of what they found should be have been done? After all they have increased our taxes, regulations and energy costs on that basis.

    2. Arschloch
      February 13, 2014

      Have you not got anything else to talk about? Every comment essentially contains the same stuff. You probably think the lack of a £1M nil rate band for IHT is probably causing the rain too

      1. Edward2
        February 14, 2014

        Easily said Arschloch when you are writing in a warm dry home in an area not yet flooded.

      2. Lifelogic
        February 14, 2014

        Well the IHT limit promised by the rating Tories might well help some beneficiaries to invest in flood resistant measure for there houses.

    3. Bob
      February 13, 2014


      And can someone please stop the BBC with their…

      The general public can stop it by cutting off the funding.
      Just stop buying their licences.
      The sooner people wake up to this racket the sooner we can shake of the effects of their brain-washing and the topsy-turvey nonsense that results from it.

    4. behindthefrogs
      February 13, 2014

      A much better alternative wuld be for the nay sayers to seriously examine the arguments that support the case for climate change. They need to understand that the greater proportion of scientists recognize the dangers. Surely we should expect the BBC to promote the majority scientific view.

      1. Lifelogic
        February 14, 2014

        The Majority sensible scientific view is: human activity has some effect on the climate along with countless other things most of which we cannot control or even predict. It has not warmed for 17 years despite an increase in C02 and prediction that is would from the ” government experts”. Climate is a very complex & chaotic system and cannot really be predicted with any certainty.

        Anyway the UK’s CO2 emission are largely irrelevant to those of the Worlds. Wind and pv nonsense make almost no reduction in these anyway.

      2. Edward2
        February 14, 2014

        More importantly btf, the real question is if all these experts are certain what is causing our unusual weather and can therefore predict its effects, then why did these same experts develop policies which are the very opposite to what is needed to cope with these changes in our weather?

  7. Mark B
    February 13, 2014

    John Redwood MP said;

    “Many people in the rest of the UK are with the Prime Minister in wanting the Scots to remain, keeping our country united.”

    The operative word in that sentence is, ‘many’, but not the majority I would argue.

    I think the majority are really either at best, benevolent or, at worst, indifferent. That is until the result that is.

    If the Scots decided to stay, I think most people will be content with maintaining the current terms they already enjoy, no more and, no less.

    If however, they do decide to leave, then I think the mood will definitely change. The bellicose language and much crowing from the SNP will undoubtedly get the backs up of the nation. I feel it would be unwise for any Government or MP to offer terms to the Scots that did not take into account public opinion.

    I think it would therefore be wise to offer the electorate of the UK a referendum on whether or not they would be accept the outcome of any deal with the Scottish Government.

    The Scots can indeed use Sterling as their currency. Their is of course a president that our kind host has mentioned – That of the republic of Ireland.

    But I think it would be better for both parties if the Scots were encouraged to use their own currency and peg-it to Sterling, much the same way s Switzerland does with the Euro. That way, they will be 100% in control of both their interest rates, taxation levels but, they will also be 100% responsible for the outcome of such a policy. No blaming those nasty Sassenachs’.

    You have also failed to mention our dear old, ‘Elephant in the room’, the EU. I will leave it to others, notably Denis Cooper, who is far better to speak on this.

    As for the oil etc, well, the seabed belongs to the Queen and, the Queen Elizabeth II of England is both monarch to Scotland as well. Only there, she is know as Queen Elizabeth I, and last I heard Scotland were not going to become a Republic.

    Also I would like to add, what about the Shetland Islands ? I am given to understand that they wish to remain part of the UK. Is it therefore not right that these people, who are NOT part of the Scottish mainland and wish their democratic views to be considered be offered a separate vote on whether they wish to leave the UK or not ? Just asking.

    1. Bob
      February 13, 2014

      @Mark B

      But I think it would be better for both parties if the Scots were encouraged to use their own currency and peg-it to Sterling

      The Hong Kong dollar is pegged to the US dollar, but HK has an enormous foreign exchange surplus that can be used to defend their currency against speculative attacks. In the past, speculators had their fingers burned when trading against the pegged rate, and the foreign exchange fund grew stronger as a result. I wouldn’t bet against it.

      Will Scotland have sufficient financial firepower to operate a pegged currency?

    2. behindthefrogs
      February 13, 2014

      If the no vote succeeds can we have an English vote on whether we want Scotland to remain part of the UK? With the current attitude of their leader do we really want them?

  8. Mike Stallard
    February 13, 2014

    Mr Salmond is banking on our being nice. Well, personally, I do not feel nice at all.
    The centre of Edinburgh, if I remember rightly, (I once went there), is the end of the railway line to London and most Scots with any sense of fun take the train south. If Mr Salmond wants to return to the 1600s, then we can easily let him. James I and VI was completely right: the union of the two countries works wonders!
    In return, however, it might be nice if the central government in London loosened its grip on all the EU Regions of UK. Our country really is too London centred.

  9. JoolsB
    February 13, 2014

    Who speaks on behalf of England John? Certainly not Cameron or anyone in the UK Government. Wales & NI have a voice and will not doubt have their say on what’s in their interests if Scotland go (which they won’t) whereas England doesn’t. Instead it will have a bunch of Unionist anti-English UK politicians deciding what’s best for the UK as a whole and that usually means giving England, whose name they refuse to speak, the worst deal possible which is why England needs a First Minister and a Secretary of State not to mention it’s own parliament the same as the Scots, Welsh & NI already enjoy. England needs someone representing it’s interests when the UK assets and debts are carved up and we now know that we cannot trust Cameron and the Tories to do that any more than Miliband or Cleggie. This Tory led Government has and continues to shaft the people of England in the same way Labour did.

    “Many people in the rest of the UK are with the Prime Minister in wanting the Scots to remain”

    What proof do you have of this John? Obviously our UK politicians are not aware in their Westminster bubble the resentment which is growing in England at being constantly shafted both politically and financially to keep their beloved ‘union’ together, a union which ceased to exist the day Labour introduced devolution for everywhere except England. There is a belief that if England had a say in the vote for Scottish independence then Salmond would get his wish but luckily for Scotland and our self serving UK politicians, England isn’t allowed a vote on anything, certainly not on it’s own governance.

    1. Max dunbar
      February 13, 2014

      Salmond does not represent everyone in Scotland much as he may like to claim. He is a ghastly embarrassment and has done a lot of damage. Please don’t abandon us to the rabid dogs up here! Not everyone in Scotland is a bitter socialist. We need your help and we hope that it may be reciprocated. You have Red Ed to deal with.

      1. Leslie Singleton
        February 14, 2014

        Max–One way of looking at where we find ourselves is that many Scots will look at the question and instead of adding on, unsaid, something like “bearing in mind the consequences”, they are more likely to add on something like “whilst keeping all the advantages we presently have of staying as we are”. This is not good.

        1. Max Dunbar
          February 14, 2014

          Fair point. And as long as the pensions and public sector wages continue to be paid at present then many Scots will not grasp reality or consider the real consequences of their choice.

  10. Narrow shoulders
    February 13, 2014

    Surely the terms of separation should be negotiated prior to the vote. That way participants in the referendum will be voting on a proposal rather than a doctrine.

    It is all rather vague and as a rUK member I feel unprotected. In the same way UK should be free to leave EU if the majority vote for it so should Scotland leave if the majority decides. However the rump should not be disadvantaged going forward by settlement deals after the vote in order to assuage the separatists.

  11. Nick
    February 13, 2014

    Union without taking its share of the debt.


    Per capital or Barnett formula share of the debt?

    Simple solution on top. No debts taken, then blackballed for membership of the EU.

    Or even better, give England a vote on Scotland being in the UK. We will vote them out.

    1. Lifelogic
      February 13, 2014

      Clearly on the Barnett formula share % + RBS rescue costs + defence costs + we do not want their wind and hydro electricity anymore, other than at its true low value. Oh and of course they will then have to take English students at their Universities for free just as they do with French, Italian and EU ones.

    2. Tom William
      February 13, 2014

      It is a racing certainty that Spain would veto a Scottish application for EU membership.

      1. Wireworm
        February 14, 2014

        Spain wouldn’t be allowed to veto it. Presumably you mean that seeing Scotland apply successfully for EU membership would encourage Catalonia et al to think they could stay in the EU after becoming independent. But would they actually care? It seems like an easy way of getting out of the EU.

        However, let’s certainly encourage the Scots to believe they may not be readmitted to the EU – the SNP are so europhile it would deflate their pretensions.

        1. Tom William
          February 14, 2014

          I accept, on reflection, that Spain has denied it would veto Scotland. But in theory it could, and/or could persuade some others (with regional problems) to do so. Perhaps not a certainty, but an outside chance.

      2. Denis Cooper
        February 14, 2014

        It’s a racing certainty that Merkel would “persuade” the Spanish not to veto it, because she wouldn’t want the territory of the EU to be diminished by the loss of Scotland or in any other way, but it’s also a racing certainty that she would insist on that part of the territory of the EU adopting the euro in line with her stated goal that every part should do so.

  12. JoeSoap
    February 13, 2014

    I think that Salmond negotiating with Cameron or Miliband on the other side of the table would be a dream for him. They would so much wish to appear “nice” that our side of the bargain would be given away. Perhaps Osborne and definitely Farage would be different – “get your own currency and here’s the bill for your debts”. Basically Scotland’s grandchildrens’ grandchildren would still be paying. By the way, as and when the Scots vote “No” can we have equalisation on tax and spend with them please, and maybe start raking back some of the debt ready for when this vote happens again and the answer is yes?

    1. Martin Ryder
      February 13, 2014

      Cameron negotiating with Salmond will be like Bertie Wooster (without Jeeves) negotiating with Macbeth. Bertie will devote all of his thoughts on how he can prove what a wonderful, liberal chap he is whilst Macbeth will devote all of his thoughts on how and when he will slip his knife between Bertie’s ribs. Clegg and Miliband would be even worse than Cameron.

  13. Denis Cooper
    February 13, 2014

    I don’t believe Salmond envisages that Scotland would keep the pound forever. In the past the SNP has been in favour of Scotland joining the euro, but that proposal is now unpopular in Scotland as it is elsewhere in the UK and they know that their chances of winning the referendum would be greatly diminished if they adopted it as part of their publicly stated platform. On the other hand once the Scots had cast their votes and the SNP had got the decision they wanted then that would be a different matter. Then it would emerge much more clearly that if Scotland wanted to remain in the EU it would have to pledge itself to join the euro, just like any other new EU member state. So for simplicity there could be a transitional period of some years, maybe a decade, when Scotland still used sterling, with or without any input into Bank of England monetary policy, until it was deemed to have satisfied the Maastricht criteria and adopted the euro. Alternatively Scotland could issue its own new currency for that transitional period, perhaps with a peg to sterling, until it fulfilled its treaty obligation to join the euro. Of course having Scotland in the euro would just increase the pressure for the rest of the UK to join the euro as well, so those in England who oppose that should not be rooting for Scotland to become independent. In fact there are numerous reasons why the English should not be rooting for Scotland to become independent but many of them have been blinded to reality by years of anti-Scottish propaganda, most of which has come out from one party, a faction of which would be perfectly content to break up the country for their narrow party political advantage.

    1. Leslie Singleton
      February 14, 2014

      Denis–I think it obvious that Scotland will, if only as a holding operation, continue with the pound but only in what is now being described as an informal arrangement (meaning with their having no control). I do not see that they have much choice and am not aware that the then-newly-formed Republic of Ireland had any control when it carried on using the pound for so many years–where’s the difference? Forever is a long time and eventually the Scots, unless they once again decide they are proud to be British, will want either their own currency (Scottish Punt??) or to join the Euro, that’s assuming there still is a Euro.

  14. Bert Young
    February 13, 2014

    Scottish independence is nothing but short term political posturing ; this danger exists in any election . The question of the North Sea oil is a matter of apportioning the ownership and must take in the stakeholders position ; I suspect the outcome would show only a minority position for the Scots . Scotland would find it very difficult to borrow in the international markets without incurring very high interest rates and , without the ability to devalue , would not be able to maintain a sustainable economy . Now , putting this point to the Scots is all down to the way the media presents the case – a very untrustworthy situation .

  15. alan jutson
    February 13, 2014

    Funny old World

    The Scots want a referendum before negotiations with the UK,

    Mr Cameron wants negotiations before a referendum with the EU.

    At last we are getting to the point of Scotland not getting away Scot free !

    The murky waters of politics is begining to stir.

    Interesting times ahead.

    This is what happens when you start giving ground to chosen areas of the UK.

    You give an inch, they want a mile.

    Time for England to get its own parliament, and make its own decisions too.

    What is good for the Goose is good for the Gander.

  16. JM
    February 13, 2014

    I can’t help but note that when someone says something the ‘Yes’ Campaign like, it is a helpful contribution to the debate. When they do not like what is said, it is bullying and playing politics.

    The Scots should ponder this. The Tories would be well shot of Scotland (without the Scots Labour would hardly ever have a Westminster majority), yet actively want to keep the union. Why? It can only be because they believe that it is in the greater good for all.

    Secondly, the last Labour administration was heavily influenced by Scotsmen. Where did that get us all?

    Thirdly, it is their banks that were principally responsible for crashing the UK banking system. Fred Goodwin was not an Englishman. The English Lloyds Bank was leant on by a Scottish Prime Minister and a Scottish Chancellor to take over Bank of Scotland, which was in severe problems and nearly went under itself.

    Speaking as a self-interest Tory, the Scots can sod off and take their broken banks with them together with all of the debt attached to them. They can have their share of he UK debt calculated according to the Barnett formula. Then we will see how they manage. Meanwhile, we in England and Wales and Northern Ireland can enjoy sensible government. If the Scots want to use the pound, they can, but do not expect us to take their interests into account when we set our own fiscal policy. We will not be underwriting their debt. Good Luck on the money markets Scotland.

    Alternatively, we can all remember the lessons of history, which is that this is a comparatively small island in a very large world. Together we have achieved very great things and there is no reason to suppose that we cannot do so again.

    Instead of acting petulantly when confronted with information he does not like, Alex Salmond and his cohorts would do better to show by the power of argument, as opposed to abuse and assertion, why they are right and those who would maintain the status quo are wrong.

    1. Denis Cooper
      February 14, 2014

      “without the Scots Labour would hardly ever have a Westminster majority”

      Unless Labour was led by somebody like Blair, when it could happen at two (or three?) successive general elections; in any case the English are not so stupid that they would elect Tory governments in perpetuity as some suppose.

  17. oldtimer
    February 13, 2014

    Scotland is already part of a currency union. It is called the UK. If it votes to leave the UK it votes to leave the currency union as well. It is on its own. That is what independence is all about, what it is for.

    I find the Salmond tactic of threatening not to accept Scotland`s share of the UK national debt surprising. Has he not considered the impact this will have on future international lenders? It would be tantamount to, and perceived as, a debt default before the country even opened for business. And as you point, in such circumstances there would be every reason for the rest of the UK to play hard ball in the negotiations.

    My view is that Scotland is fortunate to have the opportunity to vote on its future. The choice is theirs. I think it would be unfortunate if they voted Yes to independence, but I would respect that decision. But such a decision would create a whole new relationship and it would not be decided by what Mr Salmond thought was good for me.

  18. The PrangWizard
    February 13, 2014

    I am pleased that at last Scotland’s endless demands of the English have been refused on this. (I will not use the phrase ‘the rest of the UK’ so beloved of Unionists and others – cowardly talk). I note the tone of your piece, but I am not confident that a tough stance will be taken on these other matters as I suspect that other forces have been at work here in giving the government some backbone at last, as it is quite out of keeping with past performance. This may be as far as things go, and the Scots will get pretty much everything else they might demand. If they vote ‘No’ they will continue to be appeased.

    Certainly this Englishman would like to see a very tough stance taken as I’m sick of England and the English being taken for granted, so for the record I’m setting out my stall. And if we wish to show some more metal, why not also say, now, that the Barnett formula will be ended on the day of the Referendum, regardless of the outcome of the vote. It is in the gift of the Chancellor to change.

    As for Salmond’s claim of bullying, this may be a sign of his weakness, after all, if he truly wishes to be independent would he not welcome the opportunity to be truly and bravely so?

    However, my main concern is about England and how we are governed. No mention above of England, of course, England is invisible to Unionists and they can never be trusted to defend the nation by name, in spite of our being far and away the majority in all ways, and we pay everyone’s bills.

    And in this context I must mention that Wales is still constitutionally part of England, the fact that it has a local Assembly does nothing to change that. They will need to come to terms with and acknowledge this or break away themselves. They should not be allowed to have it all both ways; I’m tiring of them too, just as I have tired long ago of the Scots and the whole devolution affair, while all the time England is ignored.

    All those who have conspired in it have destroyed my belief in the Union. I wish an end to it, and the creation of an independent and free England.

    There will never be a true renaissance in England until first we have our own parliament, and then our independence.

  19. Iain Moore
    February 13, 2014

    The idea team Cameron would be hard nosed negotiators is just too far fetched to believe, as such Slamond will be rubbing his hands with glee at though of all the goodies he will get for his nation.

    We saw what passed as negotiation for Cameron with the EU, where he conceded the most important negotiating lever right at the get go, letting the EU know that what ever rubbish deal they offered him, he would never recommend leaving the EU.

    We have seen his cock-up negotiating skills with Scotland, where he blurts out and gives away DevoMax before anybody had said booo.

    And as English people, we have seen his contempt and disregard of English people, where no beggaring of English peoples rights, or any robbing English people of their tax money is too much to save Cameron’s beloved Union, and the Scotsd know it.

    John Redwood , who is looking after English peoples interests in this four way bun fight? Who is going to say to Cameron that the price he wants English people to pay for his Union is too high? As far as I can gather no one in Parliament.

    How low English peoples interests come in the British Parliament can be seen, while they rush through Gay Marriage without a mandate, when they have nothing to do and are desperately searching around for things to stick in the Queens speech, what they can’t be bothered to do is give English people their constitutional equality, when that was in their party manifestos, and in the coalition agreement . English peoples equality comes below nothing to do!

  20. Rtd Colonel
    February 13, 2014

    It’s all about Devo Max and screwing more money out of the weak liberal PM or his Labour successorm(He needs the MPs)- simple as that

  21. NickW
    February 13, 2014

    A good article which sums up my thoughts rather better than anything I have seen before.

    The English electorate would expect their politicians to do their duty and ruthlessly defend English interests if the Scots voted for Independence; it would be regarded as the ultimate betrayal if Westminster failed in this regard.

    As to the 2015 election, if Scotland voted for independence; the negotiations would dominate the election and put Miliband in an extremely difficult position.
    A Miliband win would be dependent on the return of his Scottish Labour MPs, and these MPs would have to demand a say in the negotiations, and adopt a negotiating stance inimical to the English, or they simply wouldn’t get elected.
    The English electorate would however be up in arms if newly elected Scottish MPs were allowed to participate in and have a casting vote in the independence negotiations. Miliband would be left with the choice of either giving up on Scottish Labour and allowing these seats to go SNP, or of supporting Scottish Labour and seeing his English Labour MPs ditched en masse by a furious English electorate. Either way; Miliband can’t win.

    Who, by the way, is going to tell the Scots that Salmond’s high spend Socialist economy would absolutely not survive Independence?

    1. Steve
      February 16, 2014

      Very interesting point, the 2015 elections would be a farce, if
      Labour won then they would be dependent on Scottish MPs to stay in power and this would weaken the rUK negotiating position.

      Let’s not forget 80 odd English constituencies have Scottish born MPs representing them ( not one English born MP represents a Scottish constituency mind ). Add in many Scottish born Peers – many added under the Scottish born and Educated Blair/Brown disasters, and rUK has no chance of a fair settlement.


      Did anyone notice the Baroness Young and ‘Lord’ Chris Smith who want to flood England are Scottish?

      Does Salmond really want the Euro and to align with French/Germans, by getting GEorge to reject the use of the shared pound he has turned many voters against the no vote, very clever approach and Salmond can now propose the Euro safely?

  22. John Whitehead
    February 13, 2014

    “Most people in the rest of the UK do not see the union as a simple commercial transaction.”
    I see the Union as the opportunity for Scotland to affect the political balance in Westminster so that the natural Conservative majority in England is regularly forced to endure Labour’s economic illiteracy and bad management of the economy. Here, at last, is the opportunity to free ourselves from a reoccurrence of the disasters of the past – let the Scottish people form their own wonderful socialist utopia rather than have their regular attempts to impose it on the English. We, the English, for the sake of our economic prosperity, should be actively encouraging a Scottish YES vote – or at least winding them up sufficiently to persuade them vote YES.

  23. Bill
    February 13, 2014

    We saw all this in the vote that led to the Welsh Assembly. Almost the first thing the new Assembly did was to set its own salaries (£35k per year for a three day week if I remember rightly).

    We have to ask whether the drive for Scottish independence is a projection of Salmond’s ego. If he succeeds, expect him to be attended by all the trappings of a Head of State with a private jet, body guards, statues erected to him all over Scotland, streets named after him, vast patronage and a big change in the curriculum to re-write Scottish history. And, of course, expect him to be welcomed with open arms by Brussels so that he, or the new Scottish EU Commissioner, can then vote against the truncated UK at every opportunity.

  24. Graham
    February 13, 2014

    I’m an AngloScot living in the Midlands. If they were allowed , most of my friends would vote for an independent Scotland and would join them. It would remove 60 Liebour MPs from Westminster. It would also remove the many subsidies that Scotland receives from taxpayers in England, Wales and N. Ireland. I hope Mr. Salmond is successful.

  25. acorn
    February 13, 2014

    I think these Scots have got a bloody cheek. They want to do a UDI job and expect the English to roll over and pay for it. If we let them use and abuse our currency, it will be like that BBC 2 programme, “The Bank of Mum and Dad”, the buggers will keep coming back for a hand out.

    The UK is already spending on services £10.2 k a year on Scots; it spends only £7.6 k on us down here in the South East region! Scotland is only 7.7% of UK GVA and 10% less per head than England. The Scots will find leaving home is going to be a lot more expensive than they think it will. Remember, they went bust last time they were on their own, and the English had to bail them out.

    I hope they do vote to leave the UK. But, if they want to be a sovereign nation, they must have the advantages of being able to control their own currency, monetary and fiscal policies and don’t try and peg it to the Pound or the Euro.

    With 70% of Scottish exports coming into the rest of the UK, you can understand why they want to hold onto the Pound. Frankly, I wouldn’t want to risk leaving the UK with that sort of number. Remember, the off shore oil ang gas GVA (£24 billion), does not get allocated to Scotland, but to the UK as a whole; EU rules.

    1. Denis Cooper
      February 14, 2014

      “Scotland is only 7.7% of UK GVA and 10% less per head than England”

      Not when North Sea revenues are correctly apportioned between Scotland and the rest of the UK, rather than all being ascribed to a mythical land called “Extra-regio” under the Eurostat system we use for our national accounts.


      “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.”

      1. acorn
        February 15, 2014

        Thankyou for repeating my previous post on this matter, but it really wasn’t necessary.

        1. Denis Cooper
          February 15, 2014

          Your post was wrong.

  26. James Matthews
    February 13, 2014

    Couldn’t agree more with the thrust of this post, but the parliament doing the negotiating will have been elected on a UK wide platform. The only people in it with a direct mandate to agree the terms for a the split will represent the SNP. Without an elected body speaking only for England there will be many appeasers,. While it is clear that there should be a tough negotiating stance it will therefore need public pressure to make it so.


  27. They Work for Us?
    February 13, 2014

    I don’t have much faith in British Politicians “negotiating” the aftermath of Scottish Independence. Negotiation implies weakness. We should just state the new rules that we want and will have. We have been plagued through the years by politicians who have not and I repeat not defended and stuck out for British interests. There is a disease that politicians and particularly diplomats seem to suffer from and that is a desire to be thought to be liked and to be “good blokes or “nice people” by their foreign counterparts. Machiavelli was right when he stated that he was not worried about being liked but that he would be feared. When it was suggested that foreign criminals and terrorists just be deported, irrespective of a foreign human rights court ruling, people on the left said “but what would other countries think and say about of us”. Fair words from foreign govts are cheap and can’t be equated to the problem and cost of keeping on those we wish to deport.

    1. uanime5
      February 14, 2014

      Machiavelli actually stated that a prince should be loved and feared by his subjects but that if you could only be one it was better to be feared than loved. He also warned against being hated.

      Of course Machiavelli’s advice at a time when Italian princes were constantly declaring war each other aren’t so applicable in modern times.

      1. Edward2
        February 14, 2014

        Machiavelli’s book the Prince is still regarded by most experts as still being a good guide to follow for an ambitious politician or quangocrat.
        I’m surprised you feel its not applicable to modern times Uni.
        I see the antics of many current European politicians following the style of leadership suggested this timeless book, particularly on the left of politics.

      2. Mark B
        February 14, 2014

        Machiavelli also said;

        “Friendship that is bought with gold is paid for. But it does not last asn, it yields nothing.”

        We need to be true to ourselves and seek out those who will act in OUR best interests.

  28. Leslie Singleton
    February 13, 2014

    Do our Scottish friends no longer want the Royal Navy? Are there to be two (Royal) Navies?? Are their Scottish ships to be HMSS Whatever??? Does Her Majesty get a say in all this???? I for one do not like the idea of her arguably being made to look foolish. Will there be a separate Coronation in Edinburgh (Presumably Yes)????? Maybe we need an abdication North of the Border.

  29. lojolondon
    February 13, 2014

    John, you should call their bluff – invite them to leave. It is the last thing we want, but you have to acknowledge that other people have far more at stake – mainly the Labour party, who will never again experience the other side of Parliament. Side with Alex and watch the frantic behaviour across the room, as you call their bluff on the Scottish ‘Independence’ farce.

  30. NickW
    February 13, 2014

    Has anybody been completely truthful with the Scottish electorate and told them that in the event of Scotland becoming Independent, that there is a real risk of an economic collapse?

    Inward investment will stop completely until the negotiations are complete, and concluded satisfactorily.

    Salmond has threatened the removal of Trident bases as a negotiating ploy which means that any Scotsman now working in Scotland for Navy, Army or Air-force, (directly or indirectly) would either face redundancy or relocation. How many jobs is that?

    The Scottish air Force bases and Scottish regiments could not survive the withdrawal of UK Logistic support without severe adverse effects. The Scottish regiments would have a loyalty question which all serving personal would have to decide for themselves, and it is extremely doubtful if an independent Scotland could fund the present level of military spending in Scotland without huge cutbacks and job losses. How many jobs will go?

    What will be the effects on the turnover of export and tourist businesses dependent on the English for a large part of their turnover? How many jobs will go?

    How much future will there be for a Scottish Finance Industry tied to Europe after it has severed its ties to London and the rest of the UK. How many job losses?

    The risk of total disaster is a very real one, and the benefits of an Independent Scotland are what?

    The end result would (at best) be a Eurozone rescue package resulting in Scotland having the economy, Independence and dignity of Greece. There are a lot of people in the EU Government who would be happy with that outcome.

    1. NickW
      February 13, 2014

      Sorry, I forgot something.

      All UK Government jobs in Scotland would go too; Tax credit Office, Inland Revenue, Child Benefit, Child Support Agency——

      Would there be anything left?

  31. BobE
    February 13, 2014

    Would Scotland be in the same position as Southern Ireland, if they go independent? And Ireland is in the Euro. Same process I suggest.
    But they won’t vote out, i’m certain of it.

  32. Atlas
    February 13, 2014

    I hope that the Scots vote ‘Yes’ for Independence – merely because that it what I want to do in regards of the EU and I try to be consistent in wanting people to decide their own destiny.

    The Scots have felt put upon by the English for a long time ( the 1705 Act of Union did not have popular support, only bought-off Scottish MPs benefitted) and nowadays the English feel put upon by the Scots (The West Lothian question).

    Is this a solveable situation???

    I don’t think Osborne’s sabre-rattling will help. The Scots have long, bitter memories of the English; so, if anything, Osborne will be helping the Yes Campaign.

  33. Alan Wheatley
    February 13, 2014

    Agree wholeheartedly.

  34. Alte Fritz
    February 13, 2014

    The odd cases of hostility to the Scots is a bit unfair. Alex Salmond represents one admittedly unpleasant strain of Scottish approach. There is the rest, especially the business community which is living in fear of SNP vindictiveness and needs our support.

    The UK is being a lot more liberal towards Scotland than Spain is to Catalonia. That is right and proper but the hard word comes if there is a vote for independence. We then cease to be on the same side. That is not English bullying; it’s life.

  35. APL
    February 13, 2014

    Miss Reding: “There will be no repatriation of EU powers. It is not our problem, it is not us making the demands. You are either ‘in’ or ‘out’.”

    Miss Reding: ““British sovereignty is mainly in their head because they’ve signed the EU treaty and most business is in Europe.”

    Where now, David Cameron’s proposal to ‘renegotiate’?

    That’s the second EU luminary that says it ain’t going to happen.

    We now need to ask why David Cameron is deliberately lying to British public?

  36. mick
    February 13, 2014

    Afternoon John, if Scotland vote to leave the UK does this not change every thing, because we are no longer the UK that joined the Common Market back in 1975, so we can just leave the dreaded corrupt EU, or won`t this happen because all political party’s want to stay in the EU

    1. Denis Cooper
      February 14, 2014

      You’re ignoring the political reality that both Cameron and Salmond would very much want Scotland to remain in the EU Single Market and therefore Cameron would ask the governments of the other EU member states for a treaty to amend the present EU treaties.

  37. Max Dunbar
    February 13, 2014

    Dr Redwood, I’m pleased that you focus on Salmond and not the Scots in general. The SNP and their far-Left allies in the Greens and the SSP are not fully representative of the people who live in Scotland.
    You mention Salmond’s complaints about ‘bullying.’ This sort of language is reminiscent of the tactics of the Bolshevists, who used this sort of grievance and complaint in order to attack the very institutions that gave them the right to speak out in the first place. Once power was achieved, these democratic rights were crushed ruthlessly and complete control exercised with no dissent permitted. Interestingly, dissenting ex-members of the SNP tend to be singled out for the most vicious attacks from their old Party. Absolute discipline is maintained similar to the old Communist Parties of the Soviet Bloc.
    You mention currency union. The SNP are not put off by this talk even if the voters are. In fact, it may even be a bit of a red herring in some respects. They will join the Euro with great enthusiasm if permitted to do so, and proclaim a republic at the same time – so no need to have the Queen on our crisp new notes.
    Also mentioned is what you laughingly refer to as ‘fair play’ and less laughingly ‘Salmond’s unpleasant threats.’ Don’t expect fair play from this man. He is already using tax-payer’s money here to promote his horrible separatist nightmare and soon we will have a propaganda campaign that (extreme spinners ed) would be impressed by.
    Finally, the economic arguments. What is our nation worth? Can it be chopped up and sold off like a piece of meat or is it worth more than that? We are talking about our land, our country, our childrens’ birth right. If Salmond succeeds, I will be dispossessed and lose two thirds of my country. You will lose a third of your land and the United Kingdom. When were we faced with such a threat in the past? 74 years ago.

  38. Denis Cooper
    February 13, 2014

    I don’t often say this, but it was a good speech from Osborne.

    Some SNP supporters remind me of a woman I know who insisted on a divorce but afterwards still expected her ex-husband to come round and sort out any problems she had with her house.

  39. Ralph Musgrave
    February 13, 2014

    If 51% of voters vote for independence, then Scotland becomes independent. But if a few years later a poll reveals that 51% or more of Scots want to go back into the union, can some Salmond supporter who also claims to be a democrat explain why Scotland should not re-join the union?

    For a major decision like that, it would be better to require something like a 60% majority, wouldn’t it?

  40. The PrangWizard
    February 13, 2014

    I’ve just seen Osborne’s speech – as far as I can see he didn’t mention England at all. It really is time we got the British off our English backs.

  41. A.Sedgwick
    February 13, 2014

    Politically the Scottish tail has wagged the English dog since devolution. Scottish residents total less than 10% of the UK populaton and it is just as unfair to think that if those residents vote yes that they can expect anything but a take it or leave it settlement. Wishful thinking? Probably given the unresolved West Lothian Question after 16 years and counting. The flotation of Scotland would be a fitting legacy for the short sighted Governments since 1997. The concept of devolution was sensible but unfortunately politics got in the way. All four countries should have been devolved and given similar powers to a USA state. The UK Government would have been reduced dramatically with say 100 parliamentarians and the end of the ludicrous ermine brigade, whose number is now approaching 1000. If that process had been started in 1997 it is highly unlikely the SNP or Salmond would have achieved their current profile.

  42. Colin
    February 13, 2014

    “Mr Salmond now retaliates by the most unpleasant threat that Scotland would walk away from the Union without taking its share of the debt.”

    Oh yes, and how’s he going to do that? Unilateral declaration of independence? He has no legal power to do that and the Scots courts wouldn’t recognise it. Or is he proposing some kind of revolutionary uprising? “They can tek oor lives, but they’ll never tek us seriously!!”

    Any separation from the UK would need an Act of the UK Parliament, and that’s only going to be passed on terms the rest of the UK agrees to, whatever Wee Eck and his wee pretendy parliament say about it.

  43. wodge
    February 13, 2014

    Please can we have a referendum on independence for England?

  44. Vanessa
    February 13, 2014

    Get rid of them, I say and good riddance ! They have always been a drain on our wealth and have always seemed to think it is their dues. They were bankrupt when they joined and they would soon be bankrupt if they left and serve them right.

    However, the Scots will not vote for independence, we all know that. However stupid Salmond is the canny Scot is NOT.

  45. Richard Roney
    February 13, 2014

    It’s the pot calling the kettle black. If anyone’s a bully it’s Mr Salmond. Witness his approach to companies in Scotland of a week or two back. Who though is surprised as he is after all a national socialist.

  46. English Pensioner
    February 13, 2014

    From my little experience with EuroControl (European Air Traffic Control Organisation) some 25 or so years ago, the British never negotiate strongly as there seems to be a tendency to “want to be liked”. It is even worse if there is a British Chairman, the desire to come home with an agreement can lead to them giving away the whole British position.
    This of course was typified by Blair giving away part of the British rebate in exchange for a promise from the French that “they would look into the matter of agricultural subsidies”.

  47. Stevie
    February 13, 2014

    John, I live in Newcastle upon Tyne within sight of the Cheviot Hills if Scotland separate from the rest of the present UK will that mean that all Scots working in the then new English, Welsh and Northern Island union will need a passport and work visa to remain at work within the new area. Will I then see new Customs posts established on either side of the boarder?

    1. stred
      February 14, 2014

      Yes. And there should be tolling stations as they will use our roads to access the EU. France subsidises pensions by charging foreigners as much per km as the cost of petrol.

  48. Monty
    February 13, 2014

    Surely if the Scots are to go to their polling stations, they must have a reasonably clear idea of the consequences of their choices? To that end I welcome the Chancellor’s verdict of no to any currency union.
    I wish there were an online resource in which we could all see a serious and objective analysis of what would happen after a vote for independance: what would happen to cross-border investments, savings, mortgages, pension funds, the things that affect ordinary folk on both sides of the border. What timescales would be involved? Also how would the position of Scottish MPs at Westminster be handled. ( Lords and Commons ) Immediately after a yes vote they would owe all of their loyalty to a foreign power. So they should lose their seats, and the subsequent negotiations should be between the PMs team and Holyrood.

  49. StevenL
    February 13, 2014


    Do you think unionist MP’s in Westminster would actually vote to break up the UK on a marginal ‘yes’ vote or would Scotland have to declare independence and opt for a messy divorce?

    Reply I expect Westminster MPs to honour the decision of the Scottish vote.

  50. Peter Davies
    February 13, 2014

    I haven’t seen the news as I’ve been hit by storms/power cuts. Is it a case of when one is losing the argument one throws insults and starts acting incoherently?

    I have felt from the start that I really don’t think Scotland will have the balls to go it alone. They trump up the supply side of their economy but Oil & Gas make it a one trick pony economy.

    1. Reven
      February 18, 2014

      Everyone seems to forget the billions of £ scotland has in gold that was found not long ago aswell as the exports of whiskey etc,

      I read somewhere that scotland would be the 3rd wealthiest country in the EU if scotland became independant .

  51. Richard
    February 13, 2014

    As an Englishman I do not care which way Scotland votes. It is up to them.

    What terrifies me, however, is that there is no-one to speak up for England and negotiate on our behalf when it comes to deciding how to divide up the debts and assets etc.

    I simply cannot trust any of our leading LibLabCon politicians and fear they will fleece England.

    I am just as worried if Scotland votes against independence and then our LibLabCon leaders will give Scotland a generous Devo Max settlement as a gift for staying within the UK.

    Furthermore, Mr. Salmond is smart enough to realise that should his economy all go awry the English taxpayer will be used to bail him out whichever currency Scotland is using.

    1. alan jutson
      February 14, 2014


      Your thoughts are the same as mine.

      Our Government does not have a good record in any negotiations.

      Too many give aways !!!!!!

  52. Steve
    February 13, 2014

    Is Salmond playing a brilliant hand?

    Historically the SNP wanted the Euro however they know the Scottish public prefer the pound.

    Knowing the BOE will ultimately refuse SNP demands for a shared pound, the SNP stir up emotion across the UK threatening to walk away from their share of the colossal UK debt mountain.

    Osbourne under BoE guidance now has no choice, to maintain Sterling stability as the referendum approaches he has to rule out a shared currency.

    Salmond now ratchets up the noise, even flying Sturgeon down to London to meet the BBC, accusing the rotten Tory’s of bullying Scotland, of forcing the poor Scots out of the pound, threatening again not to take the debt. The Scots hate the Tory’s more, the Scots rally behind no debt, more Scots move towards the yes vote as a consequence.

    The really clever part, the press will ‘hound’ the SNP for plan B, for two weeks or so the SNP will accuse the Tory’s in a national debate of being the devils son.

    At the right point in time the SNP will agree to plan B forced upon them by the rotten Tories – to adopt the Euro. The very currency the SNP wanted from day 1, but the Scots are now incensed feeling the Tories have forced the Euro upon Scotland and the YES vote gains more support.

    This solution works for all, the central bankers have our debts covered by one or two hard currencies and are protected which ever way the Yes/No vote goes, the SNP get to join the Euro, the UK government will be able to pass Scotland a share of UK debt, English pro-European supporters move closer to their dream of a Federal Europe, the English public are pleased to see the Scots go on fairer terms, lastly the EU are pleased as it absorbs Scotland fully into a Federal Europe.

    Everyone is pleased, that is accept the Scots who have fought for independence, they have swapped a flawed but democratic UK Parlimentary for an undemocratic EU dominated by Germany.

    Only one UK politician, Nigel Farage, has the courage to take on this path towards EU domination as it moves to absorb Scotland. Physically threatened Farage had to leave Edinburgh for his own safety – the SNP know a real threat to their project when they see one.

    Likely outcome, a YES to independence vote, the Euro adopted in a re-negotiated EU treaty for Scotland, the Queen to be crowned as Queen of Scotland only for the monarchy over time to be replaced by a Presidential republic – maybe Alex himself becomes President?

  53. Iain Gill
    February 13, 2014

    I notice they have announced they are planning to drop the speed limit on sections of the M3 in the same way as they are planning for the M1. You said you were going to make representations against the speed limit drop on the M1, are you able to do the same for the M3? Are you planning to publish you representation on this site?

    Reply Yes I will make representations – I have already told the Transport Minister that I am against all speed lowering on motorways and told him of the 50mph limit already in place on the M3.

    1. NickW
      February 14, 2014

      The maths is very simple.

      If you reduce the speed of traffic, you reduce the road’s carrying capacity which makes congestion and pollution worse.

      Can the Minister argue with that?

  54. uanime5
    February 14, 2014

    Regarding what percentage of the national debt and RBS debts Scotland will take we’ll first need to determine how much of the quantitative easing was spent in England and how much of RBS’s debts were due to the City as I doubt the Scot will take on any debts when most of the benefits didn’t go to Scotland.

    Also for all the people talking about the subsidies Scotland receives I’d like to point out that Scotland has the third highest GVA in the UK (second highest if you include oil and gas revenues), so Scotland is currently subsidising everywhere in the UK except London and these regions will lose money if Scotland leaved the Union.

    1. Edward2
      February 14, 2014

      You forget Uni, that if you are part of a union then your responsibilities for debt is as a share of that union.
      Your role in creating that debt may be arguable, but depending on the original union agreement, you are jointly liable.
      To leave that union you need first to reach an agreement with the remaining members of what you owe.

      On your second point, there are many different ways of trying to calculate if Scotland is viable on its own and most experts say that it needs subsidy to maintain its current level of taxation, spending and standard of living for its citizens.
      But the SNP tell us they will be much better off. Only a yes vote will prove who is right.

    2. stred
      February 14, 2014

      As HMG owns most of RBS, perhaps it could order it to move HQ back to Scotland, convert to a Scottish £ and take the liabilities with it, including paying enormous pensions to disgraced Scottish directors. DUK companies with claims against RBS and SMEs being screwed could be offered transfer to English banks and protection from asset stripping.

  55. The PrangWizard
    February 14, 2014

    This is my second attempt – I first submitted this Thursday morning.

    I am pleased that at last Scotland’s endless demands of the English have been refused on this. (I will not use the phrase ‘the rest of the UK’ so beloved of Unionists and others – cowardly talk). I note the tone of your piece, but I am not confident that a tough stance will be taken on these other matters as I suspect that other forces have been at work here in giving the government some backbone at last, as it is quite out of keeping with past performance. This may be as far as things go, and the Scots will get pretty much everything else they might demand. If they vote ‘No’ they will continue to be appeased.
    Certainly this Englishman would like to see a very tough stance taken as I’m sick of England and the English being taken for granted, so for the record I’m setting out my stall. And if we wish to show some more metal, why not also say, now, that the Barnett formula will be ended on the day of the Referendum, regardless of the outcome of the vote. It is in the gift of the Chancellor to change.

    As for Salmond’s claim of bullying, this may be a sign of his weakness, after all, if he truly wishes to be independent would he not welcome the opportunity to be truly and bravely so?

    However, my main concern is about England and how we are governed. No mention above of England, of course, England is invisible to Unionists and they can never be trusted to defend the nation by name, in spite of our being far and away the majority in all ways, and we pay everyone’s bills.

    And in this context I must mention that Wales is still constitutionally part of England, the fact that it has a local Assembly does nothing to change that. They will need to come to terms with and acknowledge this or break away themselves. They should not be allowed to have it all both ways; I’m tiring of them too, just as I have tired long ago of the Scots and the whole devolution affair, while all the time England is ignored.

    All those who have conspired in it have destroyed my belief in the Union. I wish an end to it, and the creation of an independent and free England.

    There will never be a true renaissance in England until first we have our own parliament, and then our independence.

  56. Sebastian Weetabix
    February 14, 2014

    I’m a Scot living in England and a staunch Unionist. The genius of the Union is that it is greater than the sum of its parts. The SNP are nothing more than a bunch of small-minded bigoted anti-English grievance mongers who use emotion, not reason, to push their ridiculous romantic notions. Salmond himself ( may want a grand life style ed) pretending to be a great head of state. etc

    But he’s clever isn’t he? Judging by all the comments above he’s succeeded in infuriating large numbers of Englishmen to the point that they’re willing to see the end of the most successful partnership in history. Don’t fall for his blether; he doesn’t represent the majority of Scots and I for one deeply resent his imperious manner of speaking as though he does.

    Personally I’m grateful that Mr Osborne made his speech. I don’t like the gentleman but at least he has brought some home truths to bear. Independence is going to mean exactly that and I’m fed up with Salmond and Sturgeon pretending everyone can have their cake and eat it too. Their immature whining after Osborne’s speech suggest it hit them where it hurts.

  57. Mike Wilson
    February 14, 2014

    Mr. Redwood – my son has a mortgage with Scottish Widows.

    If Scotland vote for independence, what will the legal status be of the charge that Scottish Widows have on his flat?

    Will he, suddenly, have a mortgage with a foreign bank, in a different currency, and be exposed to currency fluctuations?

    He has an offset mortgage. Will the money in the savings account that is offset against the mortgage, be covered by the bank guarantees?

    Has the SNP thought this through?

    Reply I suggest you ask them.

  58. Alan Wheatley
    February 14, 2014

    Following the Chancellor’s statement on the pound, I suggest a list is drawn up of all the administrative organisations currently operating at UK level that an Independent Scotland will have to create for itself from scratch. For instance, the DVLA.

    A second list could contain all the cost incurred (direct and consequential) by rump-UK as a result of Scotland leaving the UK, for instance moving the nuclear submarines from Scotland.

    I think extracting Scotland from the UK is going to be an enormous task for all concerned, and the cost will also be enormous, will have to be paid in the short term, and the benefits, if any, will only be seen in the long term.

  59. petermartin2001
    February 15, 2014

    An independent Scotland would three options:

    1) Use the UK Pound by negotiation
    This option is well discussed in the article above. Except I’d just make the point that Scotland would be in the position of a currency user rather than a currency issuer. There are many advantages to being an issuer.

    2) Introduce its own currency. The Scottish Pound?

    This would have to be approved by the EU if Scotland were considered a new member. It could operate at parity with the UK pound in the same way as the Irish pound did for many years. I well remember UK banknotes being accepted there without question in the early 70s

    A decision to float the Scottish Pound could be made at any time.

    3) Adopt the Euro

    The Euro could work. It would depend on how the terms of trade worked out for an independent Scotland. The Euro works fine for net exporting countries like Germany and the Netherlands. Ireland too is now a net exporter and they are now starting to recover reasonably well from their recent economic turmoil.

    But, the Euro does not work for a net importer. It would be a disaster for the UK as whole now. Money drains from a net importer’s economy to pay for those imports. This has to be replenished by the Government running a budget deficit, or the economy slumps badly. Incidentally this is point that both Ed Balls and George Osborne seem blissfully unaware of. The government then needs to sell treasury securities , internationally, to recycle the funds back into the domestic economy.

    There’s nothing wrong with doing this, providing there are international buyers for those securities. There seems to be plenty of buyers for UK bonds. Of course, Scotland would have to make a judgement about that.

    But they wouldn’t have that option with the Euro. Budget deficits of any size are a big no-no. If they got it wrong there would be no turning back and they could end up trapped in an economic abyss like Greece and Spain.

  60. Lindsay McDougall
    February 15, 2014

    We might remember and learn from the history of the Irish Republic’s currency. First, they shared sterling; that didn’t work for England. Then they had the Punt, which traded below sterling. Then they had the Euro.

    Actually, it is Alex Salmond who should learn from this history. Unless he wants to renew the Auld Alliance with France, he really should avoid the Euro. Perhaps he has worked out that keeping sterling is the only way of doing so. Not England’s problem.

  61. Douglas Evans
    February 18, 2014

    Why would Scotland leaving the United Kingdom cause it to also exit the EU? The country that was admitted to the EU was “The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.” Without Scotland, there is no United Kingdom. That was a union of the kingdoms of Scotland and England. If Scotland leaves, the nation that was admitted to the EU ceases to exist. It seems to me that the EU would then have two choices: (1) recognize that both England (with Northern Ireland) and Scotland remain members, albeit as separate nations; or (2) neither is a member. But I don’t see how they can choose sides by favoring England over Scotland. As a legal matter, they would stand equal.

  62. Howard Kennedy
    February 27, 2014

    I can’t believe so many seemingly otherwise intelligent people are still banging on about the Euro in this debate. The Euro is the one option that is totally off the table, for the simple reason that the main requirement for joining the Euro is to have had one’s own currency tied to the ERM for a minimum of 2 years prior to applying to join the Euro. That would require an independent Scotland to run its own currency for two years at least, prior to joining the Euro. Why on Earth would any country go through the process of setting up its own currency in full knowledge that it will be giving it up in two years? That would be economical suicide. The real options are:
    1. A monetary union with the remainder of the UK, sharing the Pound (ceding monetary sovereignty in return for minimum trade disruption in both directions. The benefit to the UK of this option is that Scottish export strength would bolster the position of the Pound)
    2. A new Scottish currency (most likely pegged to Sterling to ensure minimum disruption to cross-border trade. This would be the most expensive option in the short term but in the longer term would give Scotland much greater flexibility.)
    3. Use Sterling unilaterally (as a fully trade-able currency this is an option that would minimise disruption in cross-border trade but allow full control of taxation in Scotland. )

    The Independent Fiscal Commission reviewed the options in depth and modelled several scenarios to determine the optimum choice. They selected monetary union as the safest option for both an independent Scotland and the remainder of the UK, pointing out that removal of the Scottish balance of payments from Sterling would seriously undermine the currency and could lead to a Sterling crash, resulting in a downward spiral of rUK export receipts and an upward spiral of rUK interest rates, debt, debt repayment costs and unemployment. Put simply, failure to agree a monetary union would be risky for Scotland but disastrous for rUK.

    By taking the reasonable and sensible approach, Alex Salmond has played a master stroke. Aware that Westminster politicians only know their own way of adversarial politics, he has forced the pro-union parties to take the risky and unreasonable course because they do not know how to debate, other than to say the opposite of what the opponent says.

    My first impression of George Osborne was that he looked seriously out of his depth and had the appearance of a frightened rabbit caught in the headlights of an approaching juggernaut. Everything he has done since has only reinforced this impression. He has panicked at the steady increase of the YES side in the polls and tried to “come out strong”.

    If Scotland votes YES in September, the remainder of the UK is going to need far more intelligent and pragmatic people on their negotiating team than the “Bullingdon Boys”.

  63. Wilson Logan
    March 26, 2014

    I may have missed it but reading through the comments, no one seems to have spotted the elephant in the room. If Scotland becomes independent, the UK will cease to exist and therefore neither England nor Scotland will be in the UK. Or the UN or NATO for that matter.

    The UK exists by power of the act of union. The act is/was an agreement between two *equal* sovereign states. When it is dissolved, Scotland & England will return to being individual sovereign states. All treaties signed by the “United Kingdom” will be void as the “United Kingdom” will cease to exist.

    Reply There would be a successor state that takes over the obligations.

  64. Vania
    May 8, 2014


    Why the rest of the UK will have to negotiate strongly if Scotland does leave

  65. Shahan
    July 13, 2014

    Scotland need to go! Listening to the SNP moaning and moaning is making me feel depressed and they will never stop moaning. I hope they are happy after they achieve independence and end up being ruled by Germany. The rest of the UK must negotiate with a hard hat on to achieve the best outcome for us. Ever since Union many industries and jobs were favoured for Scotland at the expense of the rest of the UK, the far flung regions of the UK always felt overlooked and ignored. This will be the stimulus to provide regional assemblies with a economic agenda to develop all the industries that Scotland had on a plate. Specialist manufacturing , agriculture, fish farms, tourism , fishing, alcoholic drinks manufacturing, infrastructure etc. I know it seems like a calamity but if it happens the rest of the UK will see a improvement in UK aspiration and achievements.

    EU may accept Scotland but the terms will be painful, new member status naive to think that Scotland is already a member by being in the UK.

    NATO will probably say you can join as long as the English can keep the nuclear deterrent in Scotland. Naive to think NATO will demand anything else.

    The Scots will get a reality check and they may beg to rejoin the Union? If they do we will call it the United England & Great England.

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