Let’s have some more passion in the battle for Scotland’s future

 

I do not think the issue of Scottish independence should be determined by whether in the next few years Scotland might be marginally better off or worse off financially. It should certainly not be determined on the say so of a few large companies, either telling the Scottish people they will cut jobs  if Scotland votes Yes, or telling them that an independent Scotland could make a few tax concessions to companies which would make things better for those companies.

The vote should be about whether most Scottish people want to remain British, or whether they feel they can only express their sense of identity by backing an independent nation. As a Unionist myself the last thing I want is to keep Scotland in the Union against the hearts and feelings of a majority of the Scottish people. We need willing  and loyal supporters of our union if it is to thrive. Nor do I want to see a highly marginal vote, with maybe just 52% in favour of the Union, with demands in a few years time to do it all over again. The Union needs stability and support from all parts. This referendum somehow has to be used to secure that support from most Scots, or has to provide them the moment to leave.

I hope we hear more emotional appeals for both an independent Scotland and for the Union. I hope one of those appeals reaches out to enough people to give us a clear answer. It is no good pretending this fundamental question of identity is not emotional. It is not a matter of fine accounting calculation. You do not enter a successful marriage by working out how you might get the better of the merger of your working lives and bank accounts. A successful partnership does not come from thinking how you can live off the other parties, but comes from energy, effort and thinking of  others as well as yourself.

A union of two countries is not just for a few years. You should not unpick it when you think you might have a few more years of higher tax revenue, or seek to put it together if you are down on your luck. It is about how you feel, how you define who you are, and what you think of the neighbours. A union of countries means sticking together during good times and bad. It means going to the aid of each other in war or financial disaster. Becoming independent means wanting to do for yourself what before the Union did for you. That is the fundamental  question.

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106 Comments

  1. arschloch
    Posted April 3, 2014 at 5:31 am | Permalink

    If you have got Dave Cameron, Dave Bowie and George Galloway in favour of maintaining the the union, then you know instinctively that there is something wrong with it, and you will vote accordingly.

    • Bob
      Posted April 3, 2014 at 11:57 am | Permalink

      @arschloch

      Not to mention Gordon Brown.

      • arschloch
        Posted April 3, 2014 at 1:07 pm | Permalink

        Yes they call those of us who want an “in/out” referendum “swivel eyed loons” they should take a look instead at those who want to preserve the union first

  2. Leslie Singleton
    Posted April 3, 2014 at 6:04 am | Permalink

    I’ve not read much about this particular point but does anyone have any idea why Cameron agreed so apparently readily that only Scots living in Scotland should get a vote? Maybe I am missing something but best I can see this is just another of his hideously bad misjudgements. And if you want to bring emotion in to it I think it a pretty poor show that having been perfectly amenable to the Union for all these years the main reason some at least of the Scots now say they want to leave is their new found wealth in North Sea Oil; if they don’t like being told that, that’s just too bad. Apart from all else, I always wonder how much the Scots had to do with the initial idea of and investment in North Sea Oil–not much I suspect.

    • Posted April 3, 2014 at 10:52 am | Permalink

      My son-in-law was born in Edinburgh, but because he is now living in England, doesn’t get a vote, he considers this to be totally wrong.

    • Bob
      Posted April 3, 2014 at 11:59 am | Permalink

      @Leslie Singleton
      So how would you define a Scot? Birthplace?

      • Leslie Singleton
        Posted April 3, 2014 at 1:07 pm | Permalink

        Bob–Please see what English Pensioner has to say above: I cannot see any reason why Birthplace would not be at least part of the answer, especially with all the good stuff about free migration in the EU. Are you saying that a Scot should suddenly lose his Nationality if he goes to Europe? Parents who are Scottish would not be so silly either. Restriction to those who just happen to be living in Scotland is simply ridiculous. There will be established rules in place on this covering British nationality (I confess to not being certain what they are) and I do not see why they would not translate (mutatis mutandis of course).

    • behindthefrogs
      Posted April 3, 2014 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

      I agree the English, Welsh and Northern Irish should have had a vote as to whether they wanted to stay in union with the Scots. Why are we likely to be forced out of a union with the Scots without having any vote in the matter?

      What about those living in places like Orkney and Shetland who would vote for many options other than a union with Scotland. Why are they being ignored?

  3. Mike Stallard
    Posted April 3, 2014 at 6:07 am | Permalink

    I passionately want Scotland to remain part of my country. Together we have enjoyed a wonderful partnership. The Cameronians in the Indian Mutiny. The pluck of David Livingstone. The disaster of the Stuart dynasty. Balmoral. Nial Ferguson. Boulton and Watt. Her Majesty the Queen. Prince George. Ladies from Hell…

    I do not see Alec Salmond and his supporter – I just forget her name – providing the same sort of greatness.

    And then there is the Scottish Genius who was our Prime Minister quite recently. We are not talking about Civil Rights here are we. Finger out please.

    • arschloch
      Posted April 3, 2014 at 10:00 am | Permalink

      I don’t want the union. Dear Scottish people please go away and form your own People’s Republic of Scotland. You might want even want to model it on the Socialist Republic of South Yorkshire that was up and running in the 80s. Then you can indulgence in your welfare dependency without expecting me to pay for it through it the Barnett formula. You no longer have a reputation for being “canny” with money. Please take your hypocrisy with you when you condemn the UKIP and the Tories. You are not an equalitarian race by nature. In fact Edinburgh is the most socially stratified city in the UK. Where else would you find the poor scooped up and placed out of sight in sink estates on the fringes like Westerhailes?

    • Max Dunbar
      Posted April 3, 2014 at 10:19 am | Permalink

      Well said Mike.

  4. Mark B
    Posted April 3, 2014 at 6:11 am | Permalink

    It is none of my business whether or not Scotland wishes to be an independent nation. And I will neither argue for her to stay or leave, although I could for both. But this so called referendum is nothing short of a sham. A cruel trick played on the people of Scotland by its masters. They are not being given a fair choice, since both outcomes will mean that they will still be under the yoke of EU law and governance, and therefore, not an independent country like Norway.

    John Redwood MP said;

    ” You do not enter a successful marriage by working out how you might get the better of the merger of your working lives and bank accounts. A successful partnership does not come from thinking how you can live off the other parties . . .”

    If you look up the Darien Scheme, you will see that that it was this that served as the precursor to our Political Union. Hardly supports your thesis.

    I, and many others, wish Scotland well. But I say this, and I am sure I speak for many. If Scotland do decide to become and independent nation, I do not want a currency union or in anyway, have a Scottish Government consulted on how ‘we’ manage our currency and financial affairs. There are other options open to them on the currency debate and I will not go there. Also, I want to know and have my opinions taken into account on any deal, with the Scottish Government via a referendum. The Scottish people, quite rightly, will have expressed their view on this matter and, I ask that ‘we’ are allowed the same.

    If Scotland do decide to remain, it must be on the same terms as before. Anymore transfers of power to the Scottish Government must be debated and put before the rest of the UK via referendum.

    Devolution has been a disaster, bot for the UK as whole, and the people of the Home Nations. Poorly thoughtout and managed, we now find ourselves with a situation that may create more problems than it will solve and leave everyone feeling bitter, especially the English.

    The Political Class and the Establishment have shown great timidness on this. We should accept that for the UK to survive, ALL the Home Nations must have there own National Parliaments and that a UK Federal Parliament must be established. Until this nettle is grasped, we will not settle this issue.

    PS You came third in the Eastleigh by-election, not second.

    Reply I was talking about UKIP coming 2nd.

    • Max Dunbar
      Posted April 3, 2014 at 10:16 am | Permalink

      Mark B, it is very much your business ‘whether or not Scotland wishes to be an independent nation’. Too many people in England seem to be blinded by Scotch mist.

      • Mark B
        Posted April 3, 2014 at 6:55 pm | Permalink

        Max,

        You may indeed be right but, this is how I feel on the matter. It is their Country, and its is their decision. ergo, their business.

        Post referendum, whatever the result, if there are going to be changes, I want to know about it and, I want a say.

  5. alan jutson
    Posted April 3, 2014 at 6:20 am | Permalink

    Agree with most of your Posting John.

    Certainly if someone wishes to leave a club, then they usually leave a club without benefits, indeed there is often a penalty to pay if you leave before your annual subscription runs out.

    But if you constantly moan about being in a club, then you do not very often see that member rewarded with extras, simply to maintain their membership as that is unfair on others who are obeying the rules.
    Lobby for a change of Club rules by all means, but the same rules should apply to all Members.

    Thus if the Scottish people vote No to independence, then they should not get a penny more from the Union than they do now.

    It would seem to me that what is being suggested to the Scottish people is Independence for the most part, or the alternative of more money and more powers than they get now !

    Sorry, but if you want independence then that is what you should get.

    Let us face it, Political devolution has been a disaster for England, Wales and Scotland.

    Northern Ireland has also had many problems, which still remain to be fully resolved.

  6. Lifelogic
    Posted April 3, 2014 at 6:23 am | Permalink

    Well I do not really hear much of the Scotland debate at all what is the feeling up there. England has as usual been given no say in it not the Scots who live overseas or in England. I suspect it will be close and eventually perhaps the Scottish will indeed foolishly leave. I suspect that is the inevitable outcome of the foolish devolution.

    The current proposal to use the pound and remain in the EU is clearly half baked and chosen not to scare too many.

    Was not Clegg not truly pathetic in the debate last night not a single valid point. The 50% exports 8% of their exports slight of hand/lie again, then absurd attacks on things Fararge simply has never even said. This over Putin, the millions who have the right to come to the UK (‘”it’s never going to happen” well he did not ever say it would did he?), even a picture of a Native American and attacks over gay marriage, the climate change exaggerations. Dimbleby often joining in on these attack as one might expect of the BBC.

    Clegg simply had not a single valid argument to put and he and the Libdums have been proved wrong on almost everything from the EURO, climate scare exaggerations, over taxation, over regulation even over sending men to the moon.

    He was just pathetic. He even lied that his beloved EU project was not aiming to end in an EU army and foreign policy. He must know this very well. The man sounds like a second rate & bent second hand car dealer.

    Cameron would look even worse if he ever dared to debate Farage because he pretends near election to have Farage’s views while really implementing those of Clegg. He would appear hugely dishonest, a say one thing rat and do the complete opposite politician – as he very clearly is.

    • Max Dunbar
      Posted April 3, 2014 at 10:30 am | Permalink

      You are probably right about a close run vote up here Lifelogic. The feeling is one of unreality as the vote looms ever closer, and mild panic perhaps? The ghastly realisation that this is no mere referendum on something as banal as gay marriage for example but the planned destruction of the country by forces determined to succeed at all costs and possibly with a fight to the death. Neither a YES or a NO will be accepted by either side.

      • Mark B
        Posted April 3, 2014 at 7:02 pm | Permalink

        So, one or another, the UK is dead.

        Oh well.

    • yulwaymartyn
      Posted April 3, 2014 at 11:11 am | Permalink

      A week is a long time in politics:

      Vote Nigel get Cameron.

      • Leslie Singleton
        Posted April 3, 2014 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

        Yul–Not necessarily so; and I suspect you saw the debate last night and realised that Farage is heaps more formidable than you thought. I found myself clapping at the screen at his points and as for Clegg he can keep the ghastly modern Britain he says he likes so much, especially the diversity caused by immigration. What needs to be done is for everyone in the country to vote for Farage. Easy. Don’t you just love the way he shoves it to the Westminster Village? And he wouldn’t go native if he got in–one can clearly trust him. Roll on next month.

        • yulwaymartyn
          Posted April 4, 2014 at 3:40 pm | Permalink

          Hi Leslie. Thanks for your reply. As a pro EU person I can confirm that Nick Clegg was awful. Amazing that 27 per cent or so though he had won the debate.

  7. Alan
    Posted April 3, 2014 at 6:37 am | Permalink

    I don’t agree with Mr Redwood’s views at all. It seems to me obvious that we should make decisions on a careful analysis of the information available, not on emotion.

    If you want to argue against having referenda to decide on policies, the best argument is that most people do not have the time or the skills to analyse the issues carefully and so are forced to decide on the basis of emotion or what they are told by others. Victory then goes to the side that can generate the greatest emotion or can provide the most convincing propaganda.

    Nationalism is a particularly potent emotion: if Scotland decides its future on that basis I would expect it to vote for independence.

    • Max Dunbar
      Posted April 3, 2014 at 10:34 am | Permalink

      The results of my analysis are that I am British and intend to remain British.

  8. Andyvan
    Posted April 3, 2014 at 6:44 am | Permalink

    What about giving the English a say in this union? Why only ask one partner in a marriage? After all it’s the English that finance the socialist delusions north of the border. Why can’t we have a vote on whether we want to continue a union that so obviously favours the north against the south? The answer is clear. English people do not get a chance to vote on what happens to their sovereignty or their money. Both can be given away at the whim of the Westminster elite and we have to be good children and not cause any trouble. If we do we’ll get vague promises of referendums to placate us. Anything to prevent the tax cattle upsetting the cosy deals made in the corridors of power.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted April 3, 2014 at 3:13 pm | Permalink

      Indeed why ask on one partner if the partners were of similar size they would both clearly have to be asked.

      If so the Scots would vote to stay and the English for them to leave I suspect.

    • Mark B
      Posted April 3, 2014 at 7:03 pm | Permalink

      Here, here.

      • Leslie Singleton
        Posted April 4, 2014 at 12:31 am | Permalink

        Hear Hear please Sir

  9. The PrangWizard
    Posted April 3, 2014 at 6:46 am | Permalink

    And of course it is not all about Scotland. The views of the people of England in particular are important. This is an emotional issue too but when have Unionists taken into account the views of the people of England? We are taken for granted in all things by the British Establishment.

    I dare say those like myself who speak for the right of self determination for the English will be stamped on hard if the people of Scotland vote to stay in the Union, it will be used as an excuse to do so. You are unrepresentative and your views illegitimate they will say.

    However, the issue will not go away, as there will be more stitch-ups of England to give Scotland ever greater autonomy which we will not be asked to approve. Unionist hypocrisy will be exposed when people realise the parallels with Britain and the EU.

  10. margaret brandreth-j
    Posted April 3, 2014 at 7:23 am | Permalink

    I see you are speaking from an emotional stance and the fact that companies may cut jobs might have no bearing on how the Scots may feel about independence. Marriage as it is enhanced by Queen Victoria and a continuing royal interest will not feed the poor.They may ask do I want to live with continuing growing prosperity or do I want to risk my off springs future because of a pride of identity.
    Passion about homeland is good even as it morphs, but I would not imagine that the Scottish population want to suffer at the hands of such a break. It is darn hard work starting all again and risky.

  11. oldtimer
    Posted April 3, 2014 at 7:29 am | Permalink

    Your comment that there needs to be a decisive vote one way or the other is surely right. Otherwise we risk a messy future characterised constant carping and bickering. That may, of course, we a future that Mr Salmond would be content to live with.

    Your comment that emotion matters more than monetary calculation is also surely true. The views of big business, some foreign owned, should be heard but are not decisive on this issue any more than they should be on the issue of EU membership. On the latter, incidentally, Mr Clegg put up an extremely poor performance last night. It was an embrassment to think that he holds the position of Deputy Prime Minister.

    • Mark B
      Posted April 3, 2014 at 7:15 pm | Permalink

      oldtimer said;

      “The views of big business, some foreign owned, should be heard . . . ”

      No they should not. The issue of independence, whether it be from the UK or the EU, is a matter of Sovereignty and Governance. ie Who makes the laws by which the Nation and its people are to be Governed. This has nothing to do with business.

      Yes, business need to be reassured that their interests are safe. That any change of ‘Governance’ will not affect them in anyway and that they will be able to continue as before. That is why Salmond needs Sterling ! Without that, business would flee Scotland the morning after the YES result.

      • oldtimer
        Posted April 4, 2014 at 8:25 am | Permalink

        Your second paragraph made my point about the big business interest.

  12. Old Albion
    Posted April 3, 2014 at 7:46 am | Permalink

    This so called ‘union’ is doomed John. It may not end this September but it will end.
    If the Scots vote ‘No’ your Government will hand them ‘devo max’ as a reward. Your Government is currently working on more powers for the Welsh Assembly. Your Government, like the Government that preceded it continues to ignore England.
    The people of England have NEVER been asked what future we want, unlike the other three countries who have been asked multiple times.
    Every now and then someone pops up and starts wittering on about chopping England into EU regions, never do we hear of democracy, fairness and equality for England.
    When you have finished giving everyone except England virtual independence, what will you do? Continue to pretend England doesn’t exist? Continue to talk about ‘Britain’ when you mean England ?
    Cameron spouted on about English votes for English laws. What happened to that?
    Not that would be enough for me or any English citizen who understands what Devolution is doing to us.
    One day you and the political elite inside the Westminster British bubble are going to have to wake up to the English question.

  13. JoolsB
    Posted April 3, 2014 at 7:50 am | Permalink

    All we ever hear about even from MPs with English seats is their passion for Scotland and their love for a union which ceased to exist 15 years ago when Labour introduced their asymmetrical devolution act which discriminates so badly against EVERY man, woman and child in England.

    When are we ever going to hear 500 plus politicians who are supposed to (but fail miserably) represent their English constituents show the same passion towards them as they do Scotland (just hearing them say the word England would be a start) and demand that if this so called union is to carry on to the benefit of all as they would have us believe, then their English constituents must be treated as equals in their beloved union and that means the same level of autonomy and spending that Scotland already enjoys.

    The final nail in the coffin for the union will be when Cameron and the Tories, who let’s not forget would not exist if it were not for England, give Scotland devo-max whilst still continuing to totally ignore the constitutional deficit which is England. Just like the anti-English Labour Government before them, the Tories have so far stuck two fingers up at England but for the sake of the union they claim to love so much, they and all the other UK politicians squatting in English seats should put their constituents before their parties and their own self interest for once and demand England is afforded the same courtesy as has already been shown to Scotland, Wales & NI more than once. It should be asked if it too would like it’s own self determining government with no more Scots, Welsh and NI MPs voting on matters which do not affect them or their constituents and that doesn’t mean EVEL John, it means an ENGLISH PARLIAMENT.

    .

    • Mark B
      Posted April 3, 2014 at 7:26 pm | Permalink

      Scots used to be very reliable Conservative voters. But after the Poll Tax was introduced there (before anywhere else) the Scots have punished them. And the same could be said of New Labour. They too took them for granted and now we face the break up of the Union thanks to the people of Scotland voting in the SNP.

      When the English start to do the same, that’s when we, the English, will start to be noticed in our own country. Whist the likes of our kind host and his leader enjoy healthy majorities, you can just about forget it.

      • Max Dunbar
        Posted April 4, 2014 at 10:01 pm | Permalink

        The Conservative vote had been in steep decline long before the Poll Tax Mark B. Most of the Conservative vote here has literally died off in the past three decades. Of course Thatcher is blamed for just about everything and if a lie is repeated often enough as it has been up here then people believe it and it’s very difficult to persuade the brainwashed otherwise.

  14. John E
    Posted April 3, 2014 at 7:50 am | Permalink

    I think that is very well put – completely right. The trouble at the moment is that Scottish hearts want to leave but the heads are telling them to stay so it is essential to help them stay by making an emotional appeal if we want to preserve the Union.

    What we need above all is clarity and a fair settlement. It’s no good the PM hinting at further vague concessions if they stay. The rest of the UK needs to put forward our best and final offer before the vote – and that needs to include resolution of the West Lothian question if England is also to accept the deal.

    As Tam Dalyell asked in 1977:
    “For how long will English constituencies and English Honourable members tolerate … at least 119 Honourable Members from Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland exercising an important, and probably often decisive, effect on English politics while they themselves have no say in the same matters in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland?” (Wikipedia)

    • formula57
      Posted April 3, 2014 at 6:28 pm | Permalink

      Dalyell also warned that ” “devolution would put Scotland on a motorway to independence” and it would be a motorway without exits.

      He was very likely correct – so the sooner that inevitability happens, the better in my view – and it should certainly happen before the UK Exchequer has to take the hit for oil clean-up.

  15. JimS
    Posted April 3, 2014 at 7:58 am | Permalink

    I’m not sure that any UK politician can make a case for the union because the chances are that they will be seen as representing ‘Westminster’ and it is ‘Westminster’ that is the ‘problem’.
    For anyone who is prepared to listen the same arguments for an independent Scotland can be heard in a local form from just about anyone living outside of the M25. ‘Westminster’ is just so far out of touch with the rest of the UK.
    Is it worth pointing out that Scotland’s people contribute greatly to UK government? The senior civil service is full of Scots. Our current PM is an ethnic Scot, as were Brown and Blair. But then the SNP want to create a Marxist enclave where any Scot to the right of Stalin is expelled so they are probably all the ‘wrong kind’ of Scots!

  16. JoeSoap
    Posted April 3, 2014 at 8:06 am | Permalink

    OK we would rather Scotland stayed in, but shouldn’t you spend more time discussing the referendum which hasn’t been offered, and in which you and I would cast a vote, rather than one in which neither of us will. It seems that this over-intervention by us English only leads the Scots to a greater fervour for independence, so why spend so much time arguing the case in front of them? If they REALLY want independence, they get it. England peels off with its own currency, frees itself from the EU and is more successful in 20 years’ time than we can dream of. The Scots, Welsh and Northern Irish are crying out to re-join us but this time on OUR terms.
    Let it be!

    Meanwhile back in the real world, we had a wholesome debate on the referendum we SHOULD be having on TV last night. Your leader in absentia. No comment on the way UKIP is demolishing the Coalition agenda on Europe?

    Reply I am in the real world where there will be a binding referendum on Scotland and no referendum on the EU unless and until we have a Conservative majority government. I have often myself demolished the case for belonging to the present EU under the current Treaties and saw and heard no new arguments last night.

    • Jennifer A
      Posted April 3, 2014 at 11:17 am | Permalink

      Reply to reply: Mr Cameron described those views as ‘extreme’ this morning.

      Since when did common sense become extreme ???

      • Paul
        Posted April 3, 2014 at 2:19 pm | Permalink

        Mr Cameron also said “the problem with the UKIP view is it’s sort of: ‘Stop the world, I want to get off, Britain can’t succeed.’ It’s deeply pessimistic. I’m very optimistic.”

        How JR can still remain loyal to this man is beyond me.

    • JoeSoap
      Posted April 3, 2014 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

      Reply to reply:
      Yes but none of your constituents have a vote!
      Let them leave.
      Honestly, they will be back (tempted to say like a Crimean) wanting to rejoin in a few years time!

    • Mark B
      Posted April 3, 2014 at 7:36 pm | Permalink

      John Redwood MP said;

      ” I have often myself demolished the case for belonging to the present EU under the current Treaties . . . . ”

      I find that sentence very revealing. Thank you. ;)

      Reply Why so – I voted against belonging to the Treaty of Rome in 1975!

  17. matthu
    Posted April 3, 2014 at 8:17 am | Permalink

    I assume you are addressing mainly the English electorate here?

    If so, it puzzling that we being invited to show passion when we do not have any say at all about whether Scotland votes for independence or not, whether they retain the pound or not, even over whether they pay prescription charges or university fees or not.

    On the other hand, I loved the closing question in last night’s debate: Where do you see the EU in 10 years’ time? and the same question might be asked of Scotland’s relationship with the UK and Scotlands relationship with the EU.

    I absolutely loved Clegg’s reply: brutally honest.

    Never mind the complete absence of democracy and accountability in the EU, never mind the corruption and over-regulation endemic in all things to do with the EU, never mind the low growth and catastrophically high youth unemployment pretty much entrenched now into nearly all of the EU.

    Clegg’s answer? “I think it’ll be pretty much the same as it is now”.

    So I eagerly await Salmond’s answer on how Scotland is going to change.

    Reply I was mainly talking to people with a vote in Scotland and to those running the campaigns. It is however our country too!

  18. oldtimer
    Posted April 3, 2014 at 8:26 am | Permalink

    Since making my earlier post I have read a perceptive article by Alistair Heath “The lessons that big business must learn from the EU debates”. Some of these apply to the Scottish independence debate too.

    http://www.cityam.com/article/1396486499/lessons-big-business-must-learn-eu-debates

    National identity matters. It is what is fuelling the SNP campaign. In this context I thought that Rory Stewart`s recent TV documentary about how Hadrian`s Wall introduced an artificial boundary line splitting Northumbria (defined from the Humber in the south to Firth of Forth in the north) was a different, interesting and persuasive take on the issue. Although somehow he managed to forget the existence of the Welsh nation on this island of ours!

  19. John S
    Posted April 3, 2014 at 8:50 am | Permalink

    I didn’t realise you “did emotional”. I, like many other English people, am quite relaxed about Scotland leaving the Union. They would then be free to whinge amongst themselves.

  20. Iain Gill
    Posted April 3, 2014 at 8:51 am | Permalink

    I have some sympathy with the view that the English people should be given a vote on whether to stay part of the union.

    It seems there is lots of representation for everyone but the English.

  21. Denis Cooper
    Posted April 3, 2014 at 8:52 am | Permalink

    Off-topic, another brazen lie from Clegg last night, a new one about the EU having no military ambitions.

    Farage claimed that Ashton wants drones; Clegg denied that and ridiculed the idea.

    So what’s this from last October?

    http://euobserver.com/defence/121854

    “Ashton calls for military-grade drones in EU airspace”

    “A security strategy paper by EU foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton says EU countries should use military-grade drones for border surveillance.”

    And it is inconceivable that Clegg is unaware of Eurocorps:

    http://www.eurocorps.org/

    “A Force for NATO and the European Union”.

    It’s not secret, there’s even a wikipedia entry:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eurocorps

    “The force consist of 60,000 troops pledged for deployment in EU or NATO rapid-response missions.”

    And get this:

    “In 2008 and 2009 the European Parliament voted with a large resolution proposing that Eurocorps should become the standing army of the EU, under EU command.”

    They’re not there yet and they still have a long way to go before they have the EU army anticipated by the present German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier back in 2007, here:

    https://www.allianz.com/oneweb/cms/www.allianz.com/en/press/news/commitment/community/news_2007-01-15.html

    “In his closing remarks, Steinmeier noted there is much work to be done, conceding that visions for Europe are projects that will take up the next 20 to 30 years and citing a future European army as an example. He also noted that this century could well see the disappearance of national foreign ministers, that the “German foreign minister” is probably a dying breed.”

    Of course Clegg knows this, but the man is an unscrupulous liar.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted April 3, 2014 at 9:38 am | Permalink

      Clegg an “unscrupulous liar”? Well what other explanation is there? That he is extremely obtuse perhaps? I cannot believe can can be that dim. Nearly every statement he made was either clearly not true or an abuse of Fararge for things Farage had simply never even said. Words put in his mouth by Clegg so he could abuse him for (not) saying them.

      • APL
        Posted April 4, 2014 at 8:05 am | Permalink

        lifelogic: “Well what other explanation is there? ”

        Another not exclusive but complementary explanation is that Clegg is in the pay of the European Union, like Ken Clarke, Peter Mandleson, Neil Kinnock, Chris Patten, to name a few they are all pensioned and paid for, they are all doing the bidding of their paymaster. They have each sworn allegiance to the EU after swearing their allegiance to the Crown, consequently their word is worthless.

        What value does such a fellow place on the truth?

        Reply Mr Clegg is currently in the pay of the UK state and taxpayers, not the EU.

        • APL
          Posted April 4, 2014 at 3:01 pm | Permalink

          JR: “Mr Clegg is currently in the pay of the UK state and taxpayers, not the EU.”

          Between 1999 and 2004 Nick Clegg was a member of the European Parliament, a pension for which service is apparently dependent on his support of the EU, its actions and institutions.

          As such he is obliged to it rather than the UK government.

          Reply I doubt he draws any current pension, but does draw a decent salary for being an MP and DPM

    • Chris
      Posted April 3, 2014 at 10:39 am | Permalink

      I am concerned that Tory MPs are not effectively highlighting the disingenuity of so many of Clegg’s statements. If they are truly Eurosceptic, they should have been taking clear and bold steps to rigorously scrutinise and denounce in public each and every one of Clegg’s claims in no uncertain terms, rather than just in vague references. That they don’t seem to be doing this just gives the impression that the Conservatives are not genuinely eurosceptic and are scared to expose the truths behind the EU project and the extent to which we are completely bound up in it, effectively powerless, and with our sovereignty being surrendered daily. You have only to look at the documentary of Farage and the sessions in the EU Parliament where the sheer volume of new EU legislation (often in groups) being waved through every minute is staggering. Nearly every one of these pieces of legislation affects the UK, and many are related to handing over more powers. The speed with which the legislation is “approved”, with little or no debate or scrutiny, resembles some vast machine churning out legislation relentlessly – merely a rubber stamping exercise. This is not what the British people want, nor what they have ever voted for. The insidiousness of this approach by the EU is reinforced by the “step by step” strategy, which effectively rules out any need for treaty change as each step is so small that it may appear less threatening, or not such a great change from the status quot. However, this is a deliberate strategy employed in order to try to deceive the public about the nature and scale of what is really proposed. Nick Clegg’s assurances of the referendum lock are thus meaningless as it is the intention of the bureaucrats to engineer their changes towards ever closer union using this incremental approach, thereby obviating the need for any treaty change. Deceit, yes, I believe, and on a huge scale. This is what UKIP is intent on exposing and putting an end to. In contrast, Cameron’s efforts to prevent this daily erosion of sovereignty are feeble, and insincere, I believe, and he seems hopelessly unaware of the urgency of acting to remedy the situation. 2017 is 3 years too late.

      • JoeSoap
        Posted April 3, 2014 at 1:49 pm | Permalink

        They bring a whole new aura to fence-sitting! Don’t you think after the results from last night’s debate that the fence will disappear and they will too?

    • Bob
      Posted April 3, 2014 at 12:41 pm | Permalink

      @Denis Cooper

      Of course Clegg knows this, but the man is an unscrupulous liar.

      The fact that Mr Redwood is happy to publish that comment on his blog says it all.

      • Leslie Singleton
        Posted April 3, 2014 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

        Bob–Yes, but does the Cameron and Hague cohort (not to mention Farage) get to read John’s posts? I have been surprised how few of the people I know (all True Blue naturally) do. I was on a quiz team last night and none of the team, bar moi of course, ever read John, or even knew he writes (and with such interesting and knowledgeable comments!!) each day.

      • Mark B
        Posted April 3, 2014 at 7:55 pm | Permalink

        I thought that too !

        And you still came third in the Eastlieigh by-election and Cameron never vetoed a treaty.

        ;p

    • yulwaymartyn
      Posted April 3, 2014 at 4:24 pm | Permalink

      Actually as your links point out these organisations have long been established.

      Furthermore according to wikipedia there are 1,551,038 active military personnel within the European Union and 425,824 troops prepared for deployed operations.

      Of course Nick Clegg knows this AND of course so does Nigel Farage.

      The real victims are the British public the majority of whom are wholly oblivious to such facts which is why they are so vulnerable to pantomimes like we saw last night.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted April 5, 2014 at 8:39 am | Permalink

        And Clegg brazenly denying the truth will help to keep them oblivious of such facts, as he intended.

    • Mark B
      Posted April 3, 2014 at 7:41 pm | Permalink

      “Ashton calls for military-grade drones in EU airspace”

      She’s certainly has come along way from being a mere humble peace campaigner, hasn’t she ?

  22. matthu
    Posted April 3, 2014 at 9:12 am | Permalink

    Interesting that Nick Clegg should have been so clear yesterday that the EU has no pretensions over developing miltary capacity.

    In December we had David Cameron telling a Brussels summit that “it isn’t right” for the EU to have its own army and air force.

    Then earlier this week we had a press release issued by The Ciouncil of the European Union in Brussels(http://www.consilium.europa.eu/uedocs/cms_data/docs/pressdata/EN/foraff/142049.pdf) that announces very clearly

    “The Council today launched an EU military operation to contribute to a secure
    environment in the Central African Republic, as authorised by the UN Security Council in resolution 2134 (2014).”

    so is the Deputy PM being absolutely frank about this? I suspect not.

    Reply Of course he was not, in this as in several other crucial respects. Has he not heard of the Rapid Reaction Force? Has he not understood the significance of the Common Foreign AND SECURITY policy?

    • Leslie Singleton
      Posted April 3, 2014 at 1:36 pm | Permalink

      Question on Reply–So, John, do you ever remonstrate with him? Presumably you do not write letters to the press for fear of appearing to support them whom you would prefer not to be named

    • JoeSoap
      Posted April 3, 2014 at 1:52 pm | Permalink

      Reply to reply:
      Goodness, and he was speaking up for your team. Nothing like breaking the Deputy skipper’s cricket bat in half!

  23. Bert Young
    Posted April 3, 2014 at 9:22 am | Permalink

    I have just received my copy of the Annual Report and Accounts from Standard Life . Both the Chairman and |Chief Executive are clear that it would not be beneficial to remain in Scotland ; the uncertainties they quote concern the currency and the treatment of tax . Salmond has not so far made any sort of a positive case to to the industry and commerce in Scotland ; the jobs and livelihood there depend on this . From these accounts , it is also very clear that the success of this organisation has nothing to do with being a member of the EU , its operations in Canada and the Far East have contributed to its successful International Investment Brand; the only ” European ” office is in Germany where it established in 1996 .

    • lojolondon
      Posted April 3, 2014 at 11:24 am | Permalink

      Dear Bert,

      If I was you I would write back to these idiots and tell them to BUTT OUT. They have NO BUSINESS telling you what to vote, I would never presume to tell them how to vote. I find it a complete outrage that they dare to try, and abuse of their position and company finances.

      I suggest you close your account, write a letter to tell them why and send a copy the newspaper.

      • Alan
        Posted April 3, 2014 at 4:39 pm | Permalink

        I disagree. Surely it is a good thing that people running companies should make public their beliefs on how policies might affect their companies?

        When it comes to the EU referendum I hope that company chief executives and chairmen will make it clear what they expect the impact of staying or leaving will be. It is only if we are given adequate information that we can hope to come to a good decision on a complex matter. In most cases it will, I think, be obvious from the arguments they use to support their views whether they are genuinely giving an informed opinion on the impact on their companies, or simply considering their own personal advantage.

        • Mark B
          Posted April 3, 2014 at 8:02 pm | Permalink

          All that the business leaders need to know, is the current environment likely to change post Brexit ?

          Providing we maintain access to the Single Market via EFTA / EEA, I do not believe business would be adversely affected and, that they may continue to remain in the UK.

          Consequently, I do not believe business has any say on how we, the people, wish to be governed and what laws we wish to be governed by.

  24. Atlas
    Posted April 3, 2014 at 9:55 am | Permalink

    John, I agree with your post. However I would say that as an Englishman, the West Lothinan question must be sorted out if the Scots vote to remain.

  25. Max Dunbar
    Posted April 3, 2014 at 9:59 am | Permalink

    The problem here in Scotland is that many people cannot grasp the enormity of the decision that has to be made in September this year.

    For some people it is all about Salmond and whether you hate him or admire him. For others it is about whether we would be better off financially and getting their hands on ‘our oil’. There is a sizeable proportion of the population who feel that Scotland has been done down over the years and that we have been neglected and sidelined. Many Scots seem to think that this is some sort of election and do not think beyond that. And there are a small number of English haters and fanatics who attack anyone who disagrees with their views by issuing venomous threats.

    I consider that the UK is my country. I am British, that’s what it says on my passport and that is how I feel. The Scottish part of my identity is merely symbolic and subordinated to my fundamental and emotional condition of Britishness.
    This forthcoming vote in September will be conducted along democratic lines but democracy has it’s limitations. Are we to have our state dismembered and destroyed ‘democratically’ simply because that sounds ok? If our government of 1940 had caved in and decided to allow the Germans to invade without a shot would we all just have said ‘oh well they are the politicians so they must be right and we did vote them in democratically’? I’m not interested in democracy on this occasion. I do not wish to be dispossessed with the loss of two thirds of the landmass and 90% of the population of my country. I do not want to become a foreigner in my own land.

    The root cause of the predicament that we find ourselves in is the Labour Party and its chums in the unions. They have put party before country at every opportunity. They have deliberately engineered the separation issue and pitted Brit against Brit on a divide and rule basis. It is they who are behind the problems that now face us with the break-up of our country, not their Marxist fellow travellers in the SNP. Their aim has been the destruction of the ‘British State’ and now that aim has been almost achieved by regional separation and subordination to the socialist EU.

    I am British. I will fight to protect my country. I hope that people in England will also fight to save our British homeland. Democracy is meaningless in this context.

    Reply I understand how you feel, and warned in “The Death of Britain?” that Labour’s devolution would damage the Union, not strengthen it.

    • Max Dunbar
      Posted April 3, 2014 at 10:06 am | Permalink

      ‘Along democratic lines’ should be ‘along democratic lines within Scotland only’.

  26. acorn
    Posted April 3, 2014 at 10:09 am | Permalink

    “Let’s have some more passion in the battle for Scotland’s future.” Delete Scotland, insert England please. Ok so, “union” with Scotland good, “union” with the EU bad. Not sure if I get that.

    A Union is like an Annuity, the more people who are in it the safer and stronger it gets. In fact, the public sector is a special type of an Annuity called a Perpetuity (like a Treasury 4% Consol Gilt, it pays out for ever but no money back).

    BTW. Mr Osborne has just skewed the Annuity market with his pension plans. In the future, the only people buying the things are those who think they will live to a 100+. All those who were destined to die early and keep the funds balanced around a standard Boolean death age distribution, will have cashed in and buggered off. Hence, very very poor annuity rates.

    I am now convinced that Scotland should leave and go for it; with their own currency and share of the UK’s liabilities AND assets. Scotland does have a share in UK assets outside of Scotland. The contents of the BoE for instance. And, remember a lot of the oil and gas pipes from the UKCS, come ashore in Scotland regardless of where the rigs are. So they will need a tax man and some guys with big guns to protect him, where they do.

    Is the state shrinking? Reference to JR as a “right-ish commentator” at Flip Chart
    http://flipchartfairytales.wordpress.com/2014/04/02/is-the-state-shrinking/ .

  27. Posted April 3, 2014 at 11:01 am | Permalink

    I’m more in favour of a federal arrangement, with England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland each having their own parliament with equal powers under a smaller parliament at Westminster dealing mainly with defence and international affairs. What I resent with the present arrangement is that Scots MPs can vote at Westminster for something (eg tuition fees), but that the Scottish parliament can do something different in Scotland.
    If we retain the Union, Scottish (and Welsh) MPs must be stopped from voting at Westminster on any issues that have been devolved to their own parliaments.

    • Mark B
      Posted April 3, 2014 at 8:03 pm | Permalink

      Here, here.

    • The PrangWizard
      Posted April 4, 2014 at 7:22 am | Permalink

      They must be excluded from contributing to debates too, but there is no alternative to a true English parliament, the need for which is now urgent.

      If there is a ‘yes’ vote there must be, from the following day, an immediate end to any involvement in English affairs at any level; in particular MPs representing Scottish constituencies must be barred from Westminster. No-one from any kind of Scottish authority should have any say in England. And no more concessions to of Scottish demands.

  28. formula57
    Posted April 3, 2014 at 11:27 am | Permalink

    This Scottish independence (leaving the Union) matter is the most tiresome distraction in British politics. The reason there is a referendum at all is because Alex Salmond, one of the most astute political operators in the UK today, has contrived to make it happen. Your analysis is, of course, correct, that what Mr Salmond is offering Scottish voters is a dream and yet the whole debate centres upon administrative details and focusses upon financial outcomes. It is truly pathetic.

    The tragedy (for, certainly, Mr Salmond, the SNP, the “Yes” voters and also maybe for the rest of us) is that the Scottish people will not prove themselves worthy of Alex’s leadership. They know on which side their deep fried Mars bars are battered and so the outcome of the referendum is as plain as day – repeated tiresome whinging just with renewed vigour and sense of injustice whilst Westminster grants “concessions” of a devo-max nature to drive further wedges into the foundations of the Union.

    • Max Dunbar
      Posted April 4, 2014 at 10:29 pm | Permalink

      Labour are chiefly responsible for this mess. The SNP may have the gun but Labour supplied the bullets.

  29. Antisthenes
    Posted April 3, 2014 at 11:55 am | Permalink

    The Scots appear to be more firmly wedded to socialism than union with the rest of the UK. This situation is fraught with considerable danger for either Scotland if they vote to leave the union and for the UK as a whole if they do not. Couple this with Wales also leaning very leftwards then there is the potential that England is going to end up having to sort out a couple of costly messes as we know what socialism does to economies if not heavily subsided it goes bust. Without Scotland England stands a chance of reducing the lefts influence and then perhaps the Conservatives can then implement properly the policies and practices that it so desperately needs. Scottish independence will do far more for England than it will for Scotland because in a very short period of time because of their socialist policies businesses and individuals will be moving south in their droves.

    • Robert Taggart
      Posted April 4, 2014 at 2:48 pm | Permalink

      We can but dream !
      Makes politics all the more annoying – the ‘first choice party’ for the English – the Tories – have the most to gain from losing Scotland, but, alas, the British Union be too much a part of their DNA.
      Signed, English Separatist.

  30. Denis Cooper
    Posted April 3, 2014 at 12:11 pm | Permalink

    What’s this nonsense?

    http://euobserver.com/news/123733

    “Six EU commissioners will officially hit the campaign trail later this month as part of their candidacies for May’s European elections.”

    Remember how we’ve been told that the Commission is nothing more than the EU’s civil service?

    So isn’t this as if six heads of department in the UK’s civil service decided that they’d like to become MPs, and they are even given special leave for their election campaigns, but should they fail to get elected on one party platform or another they can still carry on being supposedly impartial civil servants?

    • forthurst
      Posted April 3, 2014 at 2:21 pm | Permalink

      “So isn’t this as if six heads of department in the UK’s civil service decided that they’d like to become MPs”

      Surely the Commissioners are political appointees, thereby having more in common with members of the HoL occupying ministerial portfolios? Personally, I’m highly suspiscious of the anonymous Commission which keeps the troughers in the ‘parliament’ busy voting through legislation filtered exclusively through them; to what extent have the commissioners any involvement in supervising the formulation of department policy? In fact, are the commissioners simply politicians whose role is to act as the visible manifestation of their departments, dealing with flak when it arises?
      When Baroness Ashton was busily trying to provoke WWIII, a known neocon ambition to protect the dollar by preventing Europe and Russia becoming too economically intertwined, was she acting on instructions from her department originating within it or as a result of policy fed in from NATO/the neocon crazies acting through the US State dept?

  31. Denis Cooper
    Posted April 3, 2014 at 1:04 pm | Permalink

    I don’t think it’s yet dawned on people in England, or for that matter in Scotland, just how a “yes” vote in September would devastate the EU negotiating position of Cameron, or for that matter any other British Prime Minister.

    At present free trade between Scotland and the rest of the UK is trade internal to the UK based on the Treaty of Union 1707, it is not based on any EU agreements.

    As far as Scotland is concerned its exports to the rest of the UK account for about a third of its GDP, while as far as the rest of the UK is concerned it actually exports more to Scotland but because it is a much larger economy that accounts for about 3% of GDP.

    If the Treaty of Union was terminated then that trade would cease to be internal trade and would instead become international trade, and as such it would require a new legal basis, and that would immediately involve the EU in one way or another.

    It’s self-evident that a state cannot possibly be a party to a treaty if its name doesn’t appear anywhere in that treaty, in particular in the list of the contracting parties, and it’s a simple fact that the word “Scotland” doesn’t appear anywhere in the present EU treaties, which extend to Scotland only because it’s a part of the UK which is one of the contracting parties, a member state of the EU.

    So despite protestations to the contrary by SNP activists, and their deployment of various convoluted and often emotive but ultimately spurious arguments, it’s perfectly clear that as they stand the EU treaties would no longer extend to Scotland if it separated from the rest of the UK; in other words Scotland would be outside the EU, and outside the EU Single Market, and incidentally outside all the trade agreements between the EU and other countries around the world.

    It should be obvious that any interruption or impediment to that trade would potentially shatter the economy of Scotland, and the damaging effects would inevitably spill over to the continuing UK.

    And thus Cameron would be instantly transformed from somebody who was boldly demanding EU treaty changes to repatriate powers to the UK, allegedly, to somebody who was pleading with the governments of the other EU member states to agree to treaty changes just to deal with the consequences of the impending break-up of the UK.

    • APL
      Posted April 4, 2014 at 8:29 am | Permalink

      Denis Cooper: “And thus Cameron would be instantly transformed ”

      And interesting post Denis.

      The rump of the UK, would be England, Wales, Northern Ireland. So that could still claim to be the entity ‘United Kingdom’, whereas Scotland clearly couldn’t, as the whole purpose of independence is to be Scotland.

      Cameron or his successor, (Cameron having returned to his family estates in Scotland ) wouldn’t have to do any negotiating at all. It would be Alex Salmond who would be in Brussels (after applying for his entry visa ) his nose pressed to the glass of the Berlaymont building.

      • sjb
        Posted April 4, 2014 at 4:41 pm | Permalink

        It appears Cameron (or his successor) is obliged to negotiate, APL.

        “[U]ntil the moment of separation, the UK as existing would be the Member State on which the obligation to negotiate would fall [...]” – per Prof David Edward QC (former ECJ judge)

        http://www.scottishconstitutionalfutures.org/OpinionandAnalysis/ViewBlogPost/tabid/1767/articleType/ArticleView/articleId/852/David-Edward-Scotland-and-the-European-Union.aspx

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted April 5, 2014 at 8:37 am | Permalink

        Technically Salmond would have no legal standing to propose EU treaty changes; he would have to enlist the services of somebody with the legal standing to do that on his behalf, to act as his sponsor and proxy, and the obvious choice would be Cameron. Nor at that time could Salmond lodge an application for Scotland to join the EU or the EEA or seek some other trade deal, because Scotland would not yet be an independent sovereign state. In any case it is inconceivable that Cameron would refuse to take whatever action was needed to prevent potentially catastrophic damage to the economy of Scotland and potentially severe collateral damage to the economy of the rest of the UK. This is why I expect that not long after a “yes” vote Cameron would be going to Brussels, probably with Salmond in tow, to beg the other member state governments for treaty changes to deal with the consequences of the impending break up of the UK.

  32. JoolsB
    Posted April 3, 2014 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

    John,

    There are quite a lot of comments on here from people who are fed up of the rotten deal England gets from this union and the UK Government, a Tory led one at that.

    Could you do us the courtesy please of telling us if :-

    a) Cameron in his Westminster bubble is even aware of the resentment growing in Tory supporting England at his proposals for further devolution to Scotland and Wales whilst still IGNORING England.

    b) He is aware but is totally indifferent to the great inequality in his beloved union towards his and your constituents as long as Scotland is happy.

    c) He is aware but couldn’t give a toss about us sour little Englanders having a say on our future no mater how much polls show otherwise and no matter how much it will cost the Tories votes in 2015.

    I suspect the latter and if you choose not to reply John, then it will confirm what many of us are already beginning to realise, that the Tories are every bit as anti-English as Labour.

    Reply I often speak for England and want to see English votes for English issues, so Westminster is the English Parliament as well as the Union Parliament.

    • JoolsB
      Posted April 3, 2014 at 6:51 pm | Permalink

      With respect John, that doesn’t answer the question about Cameron. As for English votes for English laws, it’s a sop and an insult to England. Scotland, Wales & NI can have their own self determining governments but the English are denied one. EVEL would never work because the self governing nations of this ‘union’ would never allow it due to Barnett consequentials, something else which needs to be addressed.

      • Monty
        Posted April 4, 2014 at 5:42 pm | Permalink

        I agree with Jools. Anything less than an English Parliament would be unacceptable.
        An English Parliament would have the freedom to determine it’s own schedule of business.
        A system of EVEL would leave a UK administration with the wiggle room to dodge addressing controversial issues with a significant impact on England.

  33. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted April 3, 2014 at 1:37 pm | Permalink

    Yes, but if it is a Union let it be a proper Union. To my mind, the very existence of Holyrood is an abomination. However, let’s be practical. Holyrood’s tax raising powers should be abolished. Defence and foreign policy should be solely for Westminster. Scotland should not be allowed to have a separate relationship with the EU. Holyrood’s role should be restricted to spending agreed amounts of money annually under agreed headings. This will involve having a fresh look at the Barnett formula and the allocation of North Sea oil revenues, which are a declining asset. If Scotland doesn’t want such a Union, let it go.

    Needless to say, the Better Together campaign is making things worse by promising unspecified additional devolution if there is a ‘No’ vote. The thing that the Scot Nats are campaigning for is Devo Max, not true independence. It is all most confusing.

    A similar set of restrictions should be imposed on the Welsh government in Cardiff.

    As for Stormont, the whole parliament is an abomination and so is the disgraceful undemocratic Good Friday agreement, underwritten by Blair and Hain giving a lopsided and undeclared amnesty to Republican terrorists. On the parliament TV channel, the Stormont debates are the most depressing imaginable. DUP and Sinn Fein are locked together in mutual loathing, their spokesmen uttering Double Speak in monotones, discussing only how to spend monies donated by Westminster and Brussels and tick politically correct boxes. Our government should settle the issue of marches and flags. Provocative marches through opposing communities should be banned but Unionists should have confidence in the Union. The Union flag should be flown from every public building in Northern Ireland all year round TO MARK WHERE ENGLAND’S PROVINCE STANDS.

    • APL
      Posted April 4, 2014 at 9:21 am | Permalink

      Lindsay McDougall: “However, let’s be practical. Holyrood’s tax raising powers should be abolished.”

      I had a conversation with the head of a large International bank that has an operation in Edinburgh, he is a Scot, but was unaware that the Scottish Parliament has tax ‘varying’ powers. It came as something of a surprise to me to find out that someone in such an elevated position didn’t know the basics of devolution.

      By the way, I understand the Scottish Parliament may vary the income tax rate by +/- 3% if it chose to do so, but doesn’t exercise that option as more if its expenditure originates from grants from the UK central government than it raises in income tax. There is always the threat that a 3% variance in the income tax rate would be countered by a corresponding change in the central government grant from Westminster.

    • Max Dunbar
      Posted April 4, 2014 at 10:53 pm | Permalink

      ‘To my mind, the very existence of Holyrood is an abomination’.

      Completely agree, and while we’re at it, scrap the Barnett Formula and reduce the number of Scottish MPs pro-rata. Why has it taken so long for MPs with English constituencies, some of whom are Scottish, to even start talking about these gross iniquities? Are they scared of ‘offending’ the sensitivities of people like Salmond?

  34. Posted April 3, 2014 at 1:46 pm | Permalink

    I have no interest in whether the Scots vote to stay or go but if they vote to leave, they must accept being on their own : no sharing of Sterling and accepting their fair share of UK debt.

    My only concern is with England.

    Whatever the outcome, I want to see no cross subsidy of Scotland and Wales by England and EXACTLY the same degree of devolution applied to each of the Home Nations.

    Anything less is unacceptable.

  35. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted April 3, 2014 at 1:56 pm | Permalink

    Slightly off topic – didn’t Nigel Farage do well in the Nick vs Nigel debates? I think it is because he had much the better of the arguements.

    A slightly heretical thought – the Better Together campaign should ask Nigel Farage to address a mass rally in Ibrox Park stadium. He would certainly speak with passion and get a reaction.

    • Robert Taggart
      Posted April 4, 2014 at 2:43 pm | Permalink

      Agreed, ‘Mc’ – he would help the English Separatist cause no end !

  36. Posted April 3, 2014 at 2:17 pm | Permalink

    John :

    Can you please tell us in your view what should be done about the West Lothian Question, assuming the Scots vote to stay in ?

    Clearly if English MPs are allowed a dual role, sitting as an English Parliament, at some point there is a very real chance we will end up with a Labour Government winning a General Election but without a majority in England.

    Is the constitutional crisis that this will cause, the reason why Cameron and Co refuse to do anything about the grossly unfair position the people of England currently find themselves in ?

    As nobody here seems to want a separate English Parliament, the only solution that I can see is for there to be two ballot papers in England at a General Election :

    One for the English Parliament (MEngP) and a second for the UK government (MUKP).

    Even if the main parties agree that they will always put up a single candidate for both categories, it could occasionally mean that we end up with two different people representing a constituency but that seems unlikely.

    It’s quite clear that the position simply has to be resolved sooner rather than later. Whether it’s Independence or Devo Max for Scotland, surely a method of resolving this issue has to be in the 2015 election manifesto ?

    Given the fact that Labour won’t want to see it sorted and the widespread sense of unfairness felt throughout England, a commitment to resolve the matter would surely make a positive contribution towards helping the Conservatives to win ?

    • Posted April 3, 2014 at 6:41 pm | Permalink

      Sorry to have to ask the question again :

      Can you please tell us in your view what should be done about the West Lothian Question, assuming the Scots vote to stay in ?

      Reply English votes for English issues in Parliament.

  37. forthurst
    Posted April 3, 2014 at 5:44 pm | Permalink

    The Union, including that with Ireland, has not stood the test of time. Each attempt at resolving the issues has resulted in fudges which have, if anything, made matters worse, to the extent that the Irish issue still festers with undertones of lawlessness.

    These issues go back to two main culprits, the unwritten Constitution which permits these fudges and the schism with Rome by Henry VIII with the consequence that we have a Monarch acting as both Temporal Head of State and Spiritual Leader of the Anglican Church, who whilst resident in Balmoral, nevertheless, attends a Presbyterian kirk.

    The break with Rome has lead to conflicts with Scotland and with Ireland, with the Irish being treated as second class citizens. Consequently, neither Ireland, England, Scotland or Wales shared a common religious communion, a situation which has brought untold conflicts in many other parts of the world, being a badge of difference, stronger even than language. Scotland, under the Act of Union was never properly integrated, always having had its own legal and educational systems. The politics of Ulster is still a dog’s breakfast.

    The House of Lords has changed from an assemblage of entitlement to one of appointment, whilst never having had a democratic mandate, or since 1911, a clear role. Wales and Scotland have their own parliaments, but still have the right to send MPs to Westminster to vote on English matters, whilst retaining over-representation there by population, under an electoral system which is so inequitable that the new kid on the block, UKIP, could well have a popular vote in double figures at the next general election whilst not obtaining a single seat in the HoC.

    If the Scots vote to remain, then there are two urgent matters for democrats to attend to: to get out of the EU and to create a Constitutional settlement which is both coherent in recognising the different national traditions including that of the English, and which is fair.

  38. matthu
    Posted April 3, 2014 at 6:39 pm | Permalink

    Benedict Brogan points out that in the event of a Scottish YES vote, steps would likely be taken to suspend the Parliament Act of 1911, which reduced the maximum term of a Parliament from seven to five years. The point being that the remainder of the UK could not carry on being represented by Scottish MPs after Scottish Independence.

    What he did not discuss was the impact this would have on any Conservative renegotiation with the EU (asuming the CP can win an election after Scottish Independence), given that Cameron would have a considerably shorter period within which to reach a new agreement with the EU.

    Maybe Cameron would have to reschedule the EU referendum after all …

    • Mark Riley
      Posted April 3, 2014 at 9:33 pm | Permalink

      2020 would suit him fine!

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted April 5, 2014 at 9:07 am | Permalink

      That part of the Parliament Act prevents MPs postponing general elections unless the Lords agree. It is the only case where the Lords retain a veto on a Bill passed by the Commons, otherwise they only have the power to delay its passage. It was done during both World Wars, for obvious reasons, but I don’t think it can be taken for granted that the Lords would agree to the postponement of the 2015 general election. The suggestion that the election should take place but no MPs should be elected in Scotland would be ridiculous, as the Scots should still have the right to be represented in the UK Parliament while Scotland was still part of the UK. An alternative might be for the Labour party to say that if it turned out that they had got a majority if the MPs elected in Scotland were included in the totals, but not otherwise, then they would not insist on forming the government and would not use the MPs elected in Scotland to frustrate the programme of whichever other government was formed. It is after all for the Queen to invite somebody to become Prime Minister and form a government on the basis that he would normally be able to get a Commons majority for government legislation, so if the Labour party agreed that its MPs elected in Scotland would not prevent that then the same government could continue after Scotland had finally separated and those MPs had been removed from the Commons.

  39. john malpas
    Posted April 4, 2014 at 6:20 am | Permalink

    Does any of this matter?
    Scotland , Wales , England etc are bound to end up as distant provinces of the EU with all nationalism vigorously repressed.
    Hence all the diversity that is introduced in the EU.

  40. Old Albion
    Posted April 4, 2014 at 6:27 am | Permalink

    ” ChrisS As nobody here seems to want a separate English Parliament, the only solution that I can see is for there to be two ballot papers in England at a General Election ”

    Speak for yourself mate. I can see no other solution than an English Parliament and that’s what i want.
    It could be within a federal (dis)UK, but i feel the opportunity has been missed and English independence is now the answer.

  41. Oscar De Ville
    Posted April 4, 2014 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

    Your summary of the Scottish referendum situation was, as ever, profound – especially your final point on the issue not being a simple matter of economics or even logic. There is pride at stake ; history and lost lives ; joint achievement in commerce and war. The demand for “freedom” was never the true issue. It was the break-up of the United Kingdom, on which we all deserved a vote. Why was that not allowed, or insisted upon ? I know we no longer put heads on Poles at London Bridge, but was/is the campaigning by the unchallenged Mr Salmon not real treason, and have the members of the Privy Council not failed to notice it and the Governments of the day failed in their duty to deal with it ?

    • Max Dunbar
      Posted April 4, 2014 at 11:06 pm | Permalink

      ‘We no longer put heads on poles at London Bridge’.
      Stirling Bridge will do just fine however, although being smaller than London Bridge it may be a bit pushed for space.

  42. Robert Taggart
    Posted April 4, 2014 at 2:41 pm | Permalink

    More passion Johnny ? – if only – from us English ‘Separatists’ !

  43. Alan Wheatley
    Posted April 5, 2014 at 6:48 am | Permalink

    Agreed.

    In this modern, globalised World, for me the most depressing thing about Scottish independence is the desire to fragment rather than cohere. If, after 300 years of trying, the Scots cannot share a British identity with the English/Welsh/NI then what hope is there for the rest of the of humanity?

  44. alastair harris
    Posted April 11, 2014 at 12:24 pm | Permalink

    I have to say it surprised me that the SNP have framed the debate with such a narrow narrative. And also that they allowed the minutiae of the post vote negotiations to cloud the broader principles. It would seem that they have asked for a vote on independence but actually want devo-max.

  • About John Redwood

    John Redwood has been the Member of Parliament for Wokingham since 1987. First attending Kent College, Canterbury, he graduated from Magdalen College, and has a DPhil from All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has been a director of NM Rothschild merchant bank and chairman of a quoted industrial PLC.
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