The Death of Britain?

 

In 1999 I wrote a book called “The Death of Britain?”. It argued that Labour’s devolution policy was likely to split the country up. It also said that Labour’s passion to put us under EU control would destroy our democracy. Boris reminded me of it yesterday in his article which referred to it.

The first of these arguments is coming home to roost this week in the Scottish vote over independence. Whichever way now it turns out, devolution has damaged the union. Devolution has split Scotland in two, with  half the public wanting to leave the UK as soon as possible and the other half wanting to stay in only on more favourable terms with less commitment to common government.

The second argument about the EU destroying our democracy  is still  not fully understood by enough people. It was good yesterday morning to awaken again to voices on the Today programme threatening us with unspecified adverse economic consequences – and the loss of car  manufacturing – if we vote to leave the EU. In the light of what negative campaigning has done in Scotland, can we please have more of these lies and pro EU propaganda BBC? Clearly some see the read across from a vote for Scottish independence to a vote for UK independence from the EU even though the two cases are somewhat different.

Only if enough people understand the damage done to our democracy  will we secure a vote to leave the EU as currently constituted.

In my book I argued:

“The end result of Labour’s constitutional reforms will be a nation in tatters… Will Scotland now seek to shatter the Union by demanding full independence?”

“devolution Labour style will devolve more power not to people but to politicians and administrators. Far from cementing the UK, it will pull it apart”

“Undoubtedly the government’s devolution plans will create more tension and conflict rather than less. ….It is helping to fuel nationalist movements in Scotland and Wales.”

Labour’s approach is to   “offer more devolved power to that part of the country where they are most worried about the strength of separatist as well as devolutionary tendencies. Usually the granting of more and more powers for separate development and separate government within a once unified state leads inexorably to stronger nationalist movements and often to eventual separation”

The crowning irony of Labour’s devolution policy and its failure is its impact 0n Labour. They are the UK political party with far the most to lose, as they often rely on Scottish votes in the Commons to have their way, and on Scottish MPs to act as Ministers. Conservatives won the General Election outright outside Scotland in 2010. It is curious that Labour could not see the obvious in 1999 when I warned them of the consequences of their policy.

 

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165 Comments

  1. Lifelogic
    Posted September 9, 2014 at 5:31 am | Permalink

    Indeed you were exactly right on this, just as you were right on the EU treaties, the ERM, the EURO, Clegg on the TV debates, the negative effect of high tax rates, Cameron’s cast iron ratting ….. but we now are where we are alas.

    Possibly and even probably about to see the Union damagingly smashed and with the Libdems and Scottish MP likely to ensure the new deal is in Labour, the Scottish state sector & politicians and Libdem interests and not those of the rest of the UK nor even the interest of the Scottish people.

    You were alas wrong on Cameron it seems, who is clearly as pro EU and tax increasing as Ken Clark, John Major, Blair and Heath. How can he get out of this, self dug, hole with his credibility in such tatters?

    • APL
      Posted September 9, 2014 at 9:13 am | Permalink

      Lifelogic: “How can he get out of this, self dug, hole with his credibility in such tatters?”

      He could always resign. Go back to advertising, some firm or other may have a vacancy as a tea boy.

      • Peter Stroud
        Posted September 9, 2014 at 10:37 am | Permalink

        I must admit Cameron always seemed to be on the Eurosceptic side of the Conservatives, whilst in opposition: as did Hague. He obviously cannot be trusted, but we are stuck with him: at least until after May 2015.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted September 9, 2014 at 11:57 am | Permalink

          I agree he is all there is and he is a good presenter, if he had sensible policies to present he would find it rather easier.

        • lojolondon
          Posted September 9, 2014 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

          Peter, that is one of the silver linings – if the Nationalists win and Scotland votes to leave, then Cameron must stand down immediately.
          The second silver lining is, of course that Labour will lose far more seats than they can afford if they want to be in power for many years.
          I am not sure what the effect would be on UKIP, and to be honest that is my over-riding concern – regaining our democracy.

          It is entirely fitting that the legacy started by Blair is completed by Cameron – destroying the UK. If you include “Crash” Gordon, the three of them did far more damage to our land than Hitler ever did.

          And as a last point, how unfair is it that the Scots are offered all these goodies to stay in the Union, once again, England and English people will sacrifice to keep the union going. Don’t think the Welsh haven’t noticed, it is a win-win situation for these politicians – either you get to run your own small country, or you get a load of concessions to add to the already favourable conditions that Scotland enjoys in the union. Expect the Welsh to want a vote for devolution in the near future, and who can blame them?

      • Lifelogic
        Posted September 9, 2014 at 2:14 pm | Permalink

        But how can a government agree to a referendum without having a sensible, agreed, constitutional plan for dealing with either of the two outcomes. It looks quite likely that the Coalition will be projected into constitutional & economic chaos. This even if it is a close no vote. Surely this is needed just so the referendum voters know what they are voting for?

        Are Brown, Cameron and Clegg going up north to assist the no vote or to hinder it. I would have thought the latter was rather more likely. Do you think the latter two will understand local grammar and dialects?

    • Richard1
      Posted September 9, 2014 at 5:16 pm | Permalink

      I find this auction of promises to Scotland amongst the Westminster parties rather concerning. Devomax is fine so long as it works the way it does eg for states in the US – if they run out of money they either put up taxes or start closing services. But it won’t work that way in the UK. Can anyone really imagine social services in Glasgow being closed down because a devomaxed Scotland has run out of money and can’t borrow on a non recourse basis? Under our system in the UK it is the UK taxpayer who would be standing behind the spending promises of leftist devomaxed governments.

      If we have devomax it needs to be clear that Scottish taxes and borrowing with recourse only to Scottish taxes will pay for the policies. Otherwise its the worst of all worlds. (And neither will it reduce the demand for total independence – England will still be blamed for all ills as now despite the disasterours socialist choices of the Scottish govt.)

      • stephenO
        Posted September 11, 2014 at 11:22 am | Permalink

        Alex Salmon seemed to be moving the polls his way by promising that independence would free Scotland from the rule of the ‘Westminster Elite’. While I can’t see why rule by the ‘Edinburgh Elite’ would be any better, I can see the appeal of this argument, and to the English at least as much as to the Scots.

        Why, instead of throwing (other peoples’) money at the Scots, do our three party leaders not develop a plan, to revamp Westminster politics so the it is not the PC Sales guys, who are career politicians with too little experience outside the Westminister bubble who rise to the tops of their parties. In the interests of the Union.

        Is it just too much like asking turkeys to vote for christmas?

    • Richard1
      Posted September 10, 2014 at 8:28 pm | Permalink

      I have just understood for the first time (correctly?) that the electorate for this referendum is EU nationals resident in Scotland. So foreigners who do not have a vote in general elections and owe no alliegence to the Queen have been given a vote on the breaking up of the UK, whereas the large majority of UK citizens have no say. It seems incredible Mr Cameron agreed to this!

  2. Mark B
    Posted September 9, 2014 at 5:31 am | Permalink

    Good morning.

    “The crowning irony of Labour’s devolution policy and its failure is its impact 0n Labour. “

    Ho-ho-ho ! As you sow, so shall you reap. It is this that or kind host and many may well be thinking. But not so fast ! We have a referendum to run its course and, a GE to be held. But irrespective of the result of either of those two, the Union is finished !

    The worse case scenario, and our kind host will not like this, is that the Scots leave, the GE is won by Labour and, the realisation that they will never see power in England will have already dawned on them after the partying has stopped. At that point, he and others might think is; “Job done, no more Labour after 2020.” No !

    You have failed to read the political runes. labour is already talking of devolving power to the Regions (ie Balkanize England) again, and this time, they will do it. Conservatives like Alexander, who you mentioned above, have already said that Cities like London should have more power, so I assume that this approach is supported by your party. Why else would he come out with it ?

    Labour will be able, once England is broken up, via the EU to pick the pockets of the wealthier parts of England like Wokingham. And there will be nothing you can do about it.

    Regular readers of this blog will know what I think of this sham of a referendum, and they will think that post Scottish Independence (sic) a new dawn for England awaits.

    YOU BLOODY FOOLS !!!

    • Mike Stallard
      Posted September 9, 2014 at 8:11 am | Permalink

      The argument for Scottish Independence is that Labour/SNP Scotland must not be forever subjected to Conservative/Sassenach England.
      That argument holds true for Wales too, of course.
      It also holds true for the North Eastern and North Western Regions of England.
      Cornwall, of course, is Celtic and has never been part of – what are we called? The Twelks or something? Grockles?

      Meanwhile, everybody agrees that it was nationalism that caused the first and second world wars. So the sooner UK is replaced by Airstrip One the better.

      The anger will be great if second rate Scottish politicians fulfil their ambition of ruining my once powerful, prosperous and decent country.

      • alan jutson
        Posted September 9, 2014 at 9:56 am | Permalink

        Mike

        I think many of us are becoming more and more angry, as more and more so called special cases (countries, areas, and people) are found for greater and greater taxpayer funding.

        We seem to have no longer a level playing field for anything.

        Want to try and support yourself and your own family ?
        Don’t be daft, because you pay more tax and exclude yourself from any form of help .

        The daft thing is Politicians have turned this on their head with the Scottish referendum.

        If they want to be independent then do not try and bribe them to remain, because they will still moan, and this will fester until they eventually get what they want.

        It should be two options, in on the same terms as every one else (England Wales, Northern Ireland), or out and you are on your own.

        At the moment it looks like death by a thousand give aways.

        • RB
          Posted September 9, 2014 at 3:13 pm | Permalink

          Incredibly the three parties are now offering all sorts of devo-max/money/whatever only a matter of days before the referendum vote to try and sway the Yes voters.

          What about these new proposals that will of course affect the entire UK? Do we get any say whatsoever? It is unbelievable. Our politicians rushing around like headless chickens, cobbling any old deal together at the last minute on the back of a menu, and not a word for the rest of the UK. Are they quite mad?

        • a-tracy
          Posted September 9, 2014 at 3:16 pm | Permalink

          Absolutely agree Alan, I’m getting really angry too now. Double dealing British MPs.

    • acorn
      Posted September 9, 2014 at 4:51 pm | Permalink

      Oh come on Mark! British colonialism has to come to an end some time. We have let most of our colonies go in the last several decades; Canada; Australia; to name but two of many, and look at them now. Canada is still trying to catch up with the US admittedly, but we did hang on to it for about eighty years too long.

      Let Scotland go. OK, they have been living with mum and dad for three centuries when they went broke; but, it’s time to let go. It’s hard I know, but it has to be done. Britain is a shadow of its former self. We still think we can play the “Big I Am” on the world stage; but, those days have gone. Fortunately, we are in a nice rest home called the EU. God knows how we would survive if we ever left or got thrown out.

      For my sins, I have been extracting today, data from the “EU Regional Innovation Scoreboard 2014”. I think I could make a case for independence, Scottish style, for the East of England and the South East of England (NUTS 1 Regions) and possibly London. Why you ask. Well, these are the only two “Innovative Regions” left in the UK. We used to have four of them, out of twelve.

      Anyway, I digress. Scotland has to have its own currency, there is no point in Independence unless you have that level of freedom. There may be some capital flight, but it will come back in tourism alone if the Scottish Pound takes time to stabilise. But, the oil and gas aren’t going to fly anywhere.

      If the leisure and tourism industry needs a hand to bring the foreign capital back in; stand at the end of an Airport runway and shout “Corporation Tax 12%, Special Offer Come and Get Some”. Then start building more runways; something they can’t manage in England.

  3. Lifelogic
    Posted September 9, 2014 at 5:51 am | Permalink

    You say:- “It is curious that Labour could not see the obvious in 1999 when I warned them of the consequences of their policy.”

    Not really Labour and socialist in general just work on short term jealousy, raw emotion and envy to try to win votes or just buying them with other people’s money. They rarely think things through much beyond that.

    Look at Milibands half witted Rent Act II proposal that will damage both tenants and landlords and his silly proposed price controls on energy.

  4. Old Albion
    Posted September 9, 2014 at 6:01 am | Permalink

    An independant England free of the EU. What a beautiful thought.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted September 9, 2014 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

      I would prefer an independent uk.

  5. Roy Grainger
    Posted September 9, 2014 at 6:22 am | Permalink

    “Devolution has split Scotland in two, with half the public wanting to leave the UK as soon as possible and the other half wanting to stay in only on more favourable terms with less commitment to common government”.

    You don’t know that the “No” voters want to stay in “under more favourable terms” – I imagine many of them do not want the SNP and Mr Salmond to be given any more tax and spend powers at all.

    • Max Dunbar
      Posted September 9, 2014 at 9:39 am | Permalink

      Absolutely correct Roy. In fact many of us would like to have the Holyrood monstrosity and its ….. apparatchiks removed entirely.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted September 9, 2014 at 12:28 pm | Permalink

      Actually we also don’t know whether all the “yes” voters want to leave the UK as soon as soon as possible, as according to anecdotal evidence some of them seem not to have realised that Scotland would no longer be part of the UK …

    • APL
      Posted September 9, 2014 at 5:38 pm | Permalink

      Roy Grainger: “I imagine many of them do not want the SNP and Mr Salmond to be given any more tax and spend powers at all.”

      Well, any democrat would reasonably agree that the closer to the people that power sits, the better. They get a taste first hand of the results of their desired policies.

      This whole debate is a tragic missed opportunity, the centralized politicians in Westminster have refused to consider the alternative of devolving more power and authority to a local level – yes I understand we don’t really want more ‘loony left councils’ but the process should have been given a try.

      It was even conceivable that the UK could have federalized with the local tax centres; England, Wales, Scotland paying a proportion of their tax to Westminster to deal with defence a unified court system ….. what else needs to be dealt with in Westminster?

      I suppose I’m talking about regionalism – given a bad name because of the threatening dead hand of the European Union.

      I don’t think it’s unreasonable to suggest that Westminster controlled as it is by the PARTY has too much influence.

      • Roy Grainger
        Posted September 10, 2014 at 10:41 am | Permalink

        My experience is that the worst politicians get more incompetent, venal and corrupt the more “local” they are. For example several regional councils and the individuals on them are demonstrably far worse than the national government.

  6. Andyvan
    Posted September 9, 2014 at 6:23 am | Permalink

    A vote for an independent Scotland is a vote for an independent England. An England that is free from the yoke of Scottish socialism. “Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!”

    • Max Dunbar
      Posted September 9, 2014 at 9:42 am | Permalink

      That’s the sort of language that we hear on the streets of Glasgow from the more extreme die-hards of the SNP/Radical Independence. Deluded.

      • turbo terrier
        Posted September 9, 2014 at 6:47 pm | Permalink

        Too bloody true

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted September 9, 2014 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

      Yes, because England electing 82% of the MPs in the supreme legal authority for the UK is not enough to ensure that the interests of England will be served, it has to be 100%. Of course if the English continued with their usual, rather foolish, voting habits then even 100% would prove insufficient, but set that aside.

  7. Margaret Brandreth-J
    Posted September 9, 2014 at 6:40 am | Permalink

    All cases are individual and thank goodness for that and an ongoing recognition of individuality, yet there are similarities in the desire to be self sufficient and the understanding that independence brings risks which may or may not benefit a collection of people with a history. How important are the economic issues? how important is a sense of ownership of a culture; is it a birthright or an acquisition? Does a new fusion change an identity and in genetic terms as a comparison , who inherits which attributes? Can the people of any culture give less importance to their identity to accommodate others? ( some will not but will stand and proliferate and insidiously replace ).Who will be classed as the European?

  8. Steve
    Posted September 9, 2014 at 6:49 am | Permalink

    Something I’ve not seen mentioned in all this breast-beating about Scotland, is to remind people that nearly 100 years ago, a chunk of the Union already went its own way.

    • Max Dunbar
      Posted September 9, 2014 at 9:53 am | Permalink

      And the (disagreements ed) that ensued continues to this day. The west of Scotland is mirroring the Irish problem and always has done to an extent but now the lines are clearly drawn once more; republicans versus loyalists. This time you will not have a sea to separate you from the inevitable (disagreements ed).
      There is a Loyalist march planned for Edinburgh this Saturday which is expected to attract thousands of supporters and many of them will travel from Ireland for the event.

      • APL
        Posted September 10, 2014 at 12:06 am | Permalink

        Max Dunbar: “This time you will not have a sea to separate you from the inevitable (disagreements ed).”

        Our political class have already imported extra sectarian ‘disagreements’ ( so drole, Mr Redwood ).

    • Roy Grainger
      Posted September 9, 2014 at 10:33 am | Permalink

      True. And wasn’t it John Major who said we’d be unconcerned if Northern Island left if a majority there wanted it ?

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted September 9, 2014 at 12:41 pm | Permalink

        I think Heath said it first.

        • sjb
          Posted September 9, 2014 at 8:28 pm | Permalink

          Note sure, but in 1972 former PM Alec Douglas Home wrote to to Heath:
          “The real British interest would I think be served best by pushing them towards a united Ireland […]” – you can see a copy of his document at the following: http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/releases/2003/nyo/popup/prem15_1004a.htm

          But look at how much blood and treasure we went on to waste underwriting the ‘loyalists’.

    • Peter Stroud
      Posted September 9, 2014 at 10:49 am | Permalink

      Well remembered. But England managed some partition, so still has some commonality with the six counties. I cannot see this ever happening in Scotland.

  9. Paul H
    Posted September 9, 2014 at 6:54 am | Permalink

    As an aside, what is the formula for the UK ‘s membership fee? Will we be able to reduce it if Scotland leaves. Or will fewer of us be shouldering the fee, with Brussels free to extort more from Scotland if it wants to join?

    • alan jutson
      Posted September 9, 2014 at 9:59 am | Permalink

      Paul

      I guess this is on Mr Camerons so called list.

      Second thoughts, not a chance.

      We will continue to pay the same amount , but more each as you suggest.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted September 9, 2014 at 1:11 pm | Permalink

      As I recall off the cuff there are three elements in the calculation, but the last is a balancing item to ensure that overall the contribution of a member state is related to its GDP. However there is the complication of the UK’s rebate, which is bitterly resented by some of the member states who think we should be subsidising them more than we already are. It seems rather unlikely that those governments would allow Scotland to keep its share of the UK’s rebate during the negotiations on the treaty changes that would be needed for Scotland to become a new member state in its own sovereign right, rather than being in the EU solely as part of a member state, the UK. Therefore my guess is that the per capita contribution of people in the continuing UK could remain the same as now but it could increase for people in Scotland. But that would really be one of the least of their, and our, problems to emerge once Cameron started to negotiate for the treaty changes.

  10. Steve Cox
    Posted September 9, 2014 at 7:04 am | Permalink

    WRT your last paragraph, John, this was taken from an article written by Charles Moore (former editor of The Telegraph) on Saturday:

    “If you look at the list of British prime ministers since 1900, about half of them have been full Scots or of Scottish descent.” </i?

    Hmm, maybe that explains why in the same period we went from being the most powerful nation in the world to being a middle rank, semi-broke nation that can’t even control its own borders or make its own laws any more. More power to the Yes vote!

    It’s also interesting that so many ordinary folk south of the border seem at best ambivalent about a Scottish separation or else are firmly in favour of it. Our brilliant political leaders and many, if not most, commentators are of the exact opposite opinion, just like they are on so many matters (the intervention in Syria, originally proposed by Mr Cameron, is one obvious example where the political elite and the commentariat all got it completely wrong, whereas ordinary folk and politicians such as JR mostly got it right). For my money, when I see a dubious cabal like Messrs Cameron, Miliband, Clegg and Brown all backing the same horse, I’d prefer a punt on the alternative. Go Alec, go!

    • Max Dunbar
      Posted September 9, 2014 at 10:15 am | Permalink

      Three English and one Welsh prime minister led us into and maintained two world wars; Asquith, Lloyd-George, Chamberlain and Churchill. But it’s silly to ascribe negative characteristics in this way.

    • Roy Grainger
      Posted September 9, 2014 at 10:36 am | Permalink

      “It’s also interesting that so many ordinary folk south of the border seem at best ambivalent about a Scottish separation ….”

      Well that is because we have been clearly told it is nothing to do with us. We have no vote in the matter so what’s the point of having any opinion on it ?

      The fact that only one of the current Scotland football team gets a vote, but 200,000 assorted German/Polish/EU nationals do get a vote only makes the whole thing more ridiculous.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted September 9, 2014 at 11:36 am | Permalink

        That’s about 5% of the electorate who are not UK citizens but who are still being allowed to vote on whether the UK should be broken up. Of course one cannot assume that they would all vote let alone all vote “yes”, and it may be that whatever votes they do cast will have no material effect on the outcome. Nevertheless if the result was anything closer than say 52:48, either way, then there would surely be grounds for asking the courts to declare it invalid. And then there are others who are not UK citizens but are still being allowed to vote with Cameron’s consent.

      • bigneil
        Posted September 9, 2014 at 11:50 am | Permalink

        But how many people here will be able to vote in the GE – who can’t even speak English? – some will have been here years, others will have walked in recently, eager to “contribute to the country” by keeping our benefit paying staff at the DWP, our council housing depts., and our health service in full employment., and even overtime.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted September 9, 2014 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

      http://ukpollingreport.co.uk/blog/archives/8958

      “English and Welsh people now oppose Scottish independence by 61% to 17%.”

  11. Yorkshire Lass
    Posted September 9, 2014 at 7:09 am | Permalink

    To the everlasting shame of the Tories, they have never defended England as they defend Scotland, even though the latter despises them for being representative of the English.

    • Chris S
      Posted September 9, 2014 at 8:31 am | Permalink

      If Scotland votes to leave and Miliband gains a majority in 2015, even with LibDem support of less than 41 seats, how will he possibly be able to form a legitimate Government with five year fixed term parliaments enshrined in law ?

      He must be a very worried man.

      • Chris S
        Posted September 9, 2014 at 8:34 am | Permalink

        Sorry, this was meant to be a reply to narrow shoulders post at 07:11

      • Roy Grainger
        Posted September 9, 2014 at 10:37 am | Permalink

        Are fixed -term parliaments enshrined in law ? I don’t think so.

    • JoolsB
      Posted September 9, 2014 at 8:35 am | Permalink

      Totally agree. The Tories who wouldn’t be in power without the English have proved to be every bit as anti-English as Labour and the Lib Dums. The idiots could have formed a majority government next year if they addressed the English Question but they would rather hand England over to Labour on a plate whether she votes for them or not than address the undemocratic governance of England and the rotten deal she gets. Labour are intent on breaking England up and the Tories as usual will stand by and do nothing. Like you say, shame on them.

      • Mark B
        Posted September 9, 2014 at 7:33 pm | Permalink

        Correct.

  12. Narrow shoulders
    Posted September 9, 2014 at 7:11 am | Permalink

    The crowning irony of Labour’s devolution policy and its failure is its impact 0n Labour. 

    More ironic is the likelihood that your party will not be able to win sufficient seats in England at the next general election to make a case for excluding newly elected Scottish MPs from any majority calculations on forming the next government. After a yes vote, the time where a Conservative majority in England should be guaranteed, your party will have been undermined by its roles in debt and defict proliferation, mass immigration and taxing its core vote until the pips squeak.

  13. Cheshire Girl
    Posted September 9, 2014 at 7:16 am | Permalink

    It says in The Telegraph today that ‘senior MPs’ have urged David Cameron to ask the Queen to intervene. I would like to know the names of these people. I have read the article but i cant find them. Personally, i don’t think the Queen should intervene. We should leave it to the Scots. There was always a chance of a Yes Vote so why all the panic now? I have a suspicion that some of these MPs are worried about their jobs. Hope this is not a foretaste of the referendum in 2017. I am capable of making up my own mind. Any urging by MPs is unlikely to change it.

    Reply I was not one of them.

    • Paul
      Posted September 9, 2014 at 8:47 am | Permalink

      It is not that surprising that the Queen has a problem with democracy, given that she is where she is by accident of birth. Heaven forbid that the little people can decide the future of their country.

      • Richard1
        Posted September 9, 2014 at 9:27 am | Permalink

        Why do you think the Queen has a problem with democracy? The evidence suggests the opposite. The problem with the Scottish referendum is the future of the UK is being determined by a very small minority of the population.

        • Max Dunbar
          Posted September 9, 2014 at 10:40 am | Permalink

          Quite so.

      • Roy Grainger
        Posted September 9, 2014 at 10:39 am | Permalink

        The Queen has no problem – she remains Queen of Scotland WHATEVER the outcome.

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted September 9, 2014 at 11:22 am | Permalink

          Probably, but whether Charles became King of Scotland would be decided by the Scottish Parliament. Which is where it all started, with the old Scotch Parliament passing the Act of Security 1704 under which it might choose a different successor to Anne than the person chosen by the English Parliament.

        • Leslie Singleton
          Posted September 9, 2014 at 4:37 pm | Permalink

          Roy–Maybe Her Majesty doesn’t want to be Queen of a broken United Kingdom? And I doubt it will have escaped her notice that half the people keen on independence regard republicanism as the next step, though naturally the deceitful Salmond wouldn’t dream of acknowledging anything like that.

    • Yorkshire Lass
      Posted September 9, 2014 at 10:13 am | Permalink

      Given that the Union of the Crowns under a Scottish King is how the UK came about, I should think the Queen has duty to speak up.
      But personally, the sight of Charles in a kilt makes me want to vomit, so if they do go, they can keep him too.

    • Max Dunbar
      Posted September 9, 2014 at 10:42 am | Permalink

      If the Queen were seen to intervene then the monarchy would be finished. Alfonso the 13th of Spain meddled in politics and was forced to leave the country in 1931. The Italian monarchy was damaged beyond repair by association with Mussolini.

    • lojolondon
      Posted September 9, 2014 at 12:57 pm | Permalink

      Yes, they are panicking.
      One hilarious stunt was Gordon Brown obviously approached the Conservatives and said something to the effect of “you guys are toxic in Scotland, let me announce the ‘no’ package of sweetners.”

      Well, the SNP Treasury man on Newsnight absolutely torpedoed him – “Some Labour backbencher, with no power, no ability to carry through his promises, made a load of commitments today, how will he ever deliver on them?” A(nother) bad misjudgement by the PM.

  14. A different Simon
    Posted September 9, 2014 at 7:21 am | Permalink

    If an Independent Scotland really does go hell for leather to make itself an economic success the result for Scotland could be very good . If .

    If not , then the rest of the UK will have to subsidise Scotland or face the consequences of mass movement of people across the border (assuming that England and Wales are in better shape) .

    So much depends on whether they decide to be truly independent or decide to exchange England for Brussels .

    Government after government has governed for the benefit of London to the detriment of England , Scotland and Wales and you are still all doing it .

    • Max Dunbar
      Posted September 9, 2014 at 10:51 am | Permalink

      Scotland would be bankrupt very quickly if it were truly independent which is why Salmond is desperate to join the EU. We have a massive public sector here and relatively small creative sector. If you have any doubts then visit Glasgow. Businesses are not flocking here in anticipation of a commercial bonanza.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted September 9, 2014 at 11:11 am | Permalink

        There you go. In the first TV debate with Darling Salmond threw out the claim that unlike the UK government Holyrood always balanced its books. Well, it does balance its books, but only thanks to subventions of money borrowed by the UK Treasury. No putdown from Darling, Scots watching the debate are left believing that the UK government is living on borrowed money while the prudent Scottish government is not, and more of them are nudged towards voting for independence.

    • cosmic
      Posted September 9, 2014 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

      They can’t exchange ‘England for Brussels’, the comparison would be with Westminster rather than England.

      In any case, there’s no morphing into EU membership on much the same terms as the UK, after a bit of paperwork had been done. An independent Scotland would be a newborn sovereign state and would need to apply for EU membership and join the Euro, which would take time; this according to just about everyone except for Mr. Salmond and his followers, who know better.

      Mr. Salmond’s idea, accepted by many of his followers, is that there will be a currency union between the new state and the UK. As this would expose UK taxpayers to guaranteeing, without limit, new debt issued by the Scottish state, both Mr. Cameron and Mr. Miliband have categorically excluded it.

      Furthermore, a currency union with the UK, or just using the pound sterling as a medium of exchange, would not qualify them for entry into the Euro and EU.

      So what’s being proposed isn’t being truly independent, and isn’t even being independent within the EU any time soon, it’s a sort of fantasy, have your cake and eat it independence.

      The reality would be that a foreign state, (truly independent of the UK, as was intended, although perhaps not many fully appreciated) would be created, with all sorts of obvious problems such as the currency, issuing government bonds and trade with the UK an EU member etc, all expected to turn out all right on the night. This state would have a land border with the UK and all sorts of family and historic ties stretching across the border.

      For the currency reason alone, this is one of the most hare-brained schemes I’ve ever heard. I don’t see how it can fail to cause all manner of expense and problems for people both sides of the border.

    • Monty
      Posted September 9, 2014 at 6:48 pm | Permalink

      “… the UK will have to subsidise Scotland or face the consequences of mass movement of people across the border…”

      Upon Scottish Independance, the border between England and Scotland will be not just an international border, but an EU border. So we will have a responsibility to the EU to apply border controls, over and above our own obvious interests in controlling inward migration.

  15. JoeSoap
    Posted September 9, 2014 at 7:33 am | Permalink

    You will soon have to begin admitting that Cameron has a deficient judgement-gene.

    Having insisted on 29 January 2012 that the Scots would have “no more tax powers” ,

    http://www.scotsman.com/news/politics/top-stories/no-further-tax-powers-for-scotland-says-david-cameron-1-2084365

    we now have the unedifying sight of Messrs Osborne and even Brown wheeled on to promise the Scots just that.

    How clear and indication do you need that the content of a referendum speech made by Cameron, yes 2 and a half years ago has now been turned on its head? And guess which referendum he has promised us in 2 and a half years’ time?

    • A different Simon
      Posted September 9, 2014 at 3:38 pm | Permalink

      That or a judgment-gene deficiency .

      With generations of inbreeding amongst the elite how can anyone be surprised ?

      The irony is that they want to eliminate us from the gene pool because we are supposed to be an evolutionary dead end !

      Not many chins on the front benches . One could conclude that it was a house of horrors rather than a house of commons .

  16. Cliff. Wokingham.
    Posted September 9, 2014 at 7:35 am | Permalink

    My biggest fear is this:
    If the “No” vote wins by only a small margin, will we see Northern Irish style violence on our streets again? During the campaign, we have seen violence and intimedation used by both sides, but more so by the Nationalist supporters and I fear, it could turn nasty if they don’t get their way.

    Will Wales, Northern Ireland or even England wish to be independent?

    May I make a suggestion; should Mr Salmond loose the vote, perhaps the UK should put him in charge of negotiation with The EU on our behalf because, it seems to me, he has played a blinder and has got everything he wanted and more from our Westminster government. He has put himself, and his nation, in a win win situation no matter which way the vote goes later this month and although I want to throw something at my television everytime I see or hear him on it, I do admire what he has managed to get out of our government during this campaign for his country.

    • oldtimer
      Posted September 9, 2014 at 8:17 am | Permalink

      I think you are right to flag the potential risk of violence committed by a small minority. In my own extended family there has been evidence of hostility towards foreigners, both real (from Germany) and perceived (from England).

      Mr Salmond is absolutely the last person to put in charge if negotiations with the EU; he wants in.

      • Cliff. Wokingham.
        Posted September 9, 2014 at 10:01 am | Permalink

        Hello Old Timer,

        I know Mr Salmond, along with the majority of socialist, is wedded to the EU; I was being a little sarcastic in so far as, Mr Salmond has got all that he wants whichever way the vote goes and our politicians are tripping over each other to offer the man more and more……I suppose, what I really mean, is that we need someone with Mr Salmond’s negotiating skills, rather than the surrender monkeys we are saddled with, when we begin the process of negotiating with Brussels, even though, it seems from the treaties that we would be wasting our time and nothing would be given up by the EU project unless we actually decide to leave it altogether.

        • cosmic
          Posted September 9, 2014 at 11:14 am | Permalink

          I’d say Mr. Salmond’s problems would begin with a yes vote, especially a narrow one, and having to make happen what he’s assured his supporters will happen.

        • oldtimer
          Posted September 9, 2014 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

          Point taken!

    • Know-Dice
      Posted September 9, 2014 at 9:10 am | Permalink

      That’s the way I see it too…

      Either way Mr Salmond gets what he wants – to the detriment to the rest of the UK.

      Better include Cornwall in your list of regions wanting independence.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted September 9, 2014 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

      Most people assume that Salmond is strong and Cameron is weak. As I pointed out in a still unpublished comment on the last article, he did not have to give in to Salmond and allow a referendum run by Salmond using a franchise of Salmond’s choosing. There is however an alternative explanation, somewhat bizarre I will admit, that in this and other cases his apparent weakness is his strength, because he is getting what he really wants while successfully pretending the opposite.

  17. James Matthews
    Posted September 9, 2014 at 7:44 am | Permalink

    “Labour’s approach is to offer more devolved power to that part of the country where they are most worried about the strength of separatist as well as devolutionary tendencies. Usually the granting of more and more powers for separate development and separate government within a once unified state leads inexorably to stronger nationalist movements and often to eventual separation”

    Absolutely right. Now, in a blue funk, Cameron, Osborne and the Conservative Party, are embracing the same flawed policy because they fear (probably erroneously) that Scotland will vote for independence on September 18th. Why aren’t you, and others, protesting at the current actions of your own party leadership as they once again prepare to sell out the English “for the sake of the Union”? In doing so they may delay Scottish independence for a Parliamentary term or two, but they will make it inevitable.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted September 9, 2014 at 11:00 am | Permalink

      Whatever happens the English will not be asked whether they agree to it. They are not being asked whether they agree to Scotland breaking away, they would not be asked whether they agreed to the terms of the separation if it took place, nor would they be asked whether they agreed with some new deal for Scotland which averted separation, and nor would they be asked whether they wanted the same kind of deal for England. The suggestion that the referendum in Scotland could be matched by a referendum in England on the same day to ask whether we wanted a devolved parliament for England was dismissed, likewise the suggestion that any proposal for a continuing currency union with an independent Scotland should be subject to a referendum in the rest of the UK was dismissed. Told by the SNP that in the event of a “yes” vote the UK government would give way and agree to a currency union many Scots have preferred to believe them rather than the UK politicians who have repeatedly stated that there would be no currency union, and the paradox is that many people in England would agree with those Scots who simply do not believe anything that comes from the mouths of any of the politicians in the three old UK parties.

  18. James Reade
    Posted September 9, 2014 at 7:49 am | Permalink

    1) Why would you have denied the Scots a choice over their membership of the UK, yet you constantly agitate for the UK to have a choice over its membership of the EU? Is it simply longevity of political arrangement, or is there something more than that?

    2) Why is Scotland better off inside the UK, with meddling Westminster telling hard-working Scots what to do, yet the UK apparently is much better off outside the EU? Is it really just that Scotland is a (direct) net beneficiary within the UK, but the UK isn’t within the EU?

    3) Why do you blame Labour for what has happened, when everything I hear from any Yes campaigner is how they are sick and tired of Tory governments in Westminster? Doesn’t that perhaps suggest that, even if the sentiment is infuriatingly short-termist, that Tory policies are incredibly unpopular in Scotland, and that actually the Tories over the last 30-40 years are the party that’s contributed most to this situation? (My main point is: the political blame is really boring and not particularly constructive)

    Reply Your main point is as always you must disagree with me however silly your points. I supported a referendum for Scotland once Scotland voted for an SNP government. I want Scotland to have the right to vote themselves out of the UK just as I want to have the right to vote us all out of the EU – entirely consistent. As I have repeatedly said, the union will only work if people accept it is the natural governing unit and are loyal to it. Most Scots have accepted that about the UK until recent years. Most English people do not see the EU as their natural governing unit. Labour’s devolution was designed to make Scots feel at home in our union. It has clearly failed.

    • Richard1
      Posted September 9, 2014 at 9:31 am | Permalink

      Its interesting that James Reade equates Scotland’s membership of the UK to the UKs membership of the EU. Is that where the eurofederalist argument has got to – we really should be content to be in a new polity called the EU without complaining? The only way the people of the UK will vote to stay in the EU – if they get the chance – will be because they are convinced the EU is not a state in the same way the UK is.

      • James Matthews
        Posted September 9, 2014 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

        Yes. Even though I now think that (for England’s sake) it is time for Scotland to go, to suggest that there is any kind of equivalence between a 300 year old Union in which there has been full integration of Citizenship Armed Forces, Defence, Economy, Taxation, Foreign Policy and (saving the last sixteen years) Parliament and Government and a 40 year old Union in which there has been limited or minimal integration in all of these areas is palpably absurd.

        • Edward2
          Posted September 9, 2014 at 8:11 pm | Permalink

          The difference is just the time scale James.
          One has taken centuries to achieve.
          The other has been imposed over a few decades.

    • Yorkshire Lass
      Posted September 9, 2014 at 10:23 am | Permalink

      1) Agree with this point
      2) What about Scots who don’t work hard? Should they be denied a choice? Or are you actually saying that only Scots work hard? As opposed to who?
      3) You assume the Scots should be allowed to dictate a Labour government forever ruling over the UK, whilst they rejected Labour for their own national government. You might not have noticed, but the English are not allowed to elect a national government, separate from the UK government. That was the gift to the English from the Scottish Labour bunch you sent to rule us.

      The Scots usually say Westminster is too far away, yet Brussels is further and you have absolutely no say there. Your real gripe is the way Scots were groomed by Labour to be anti-English and that made them able to paint the Tories as the English Party. We should get to vote too. I vote yes, for god’s sakes go.
      We English will now have to tolerate the UK government sucking up to the Welsh by treating us like muck in England. We’ve had enough.

    • Max Dunbar
      Posted September 9, 2014 at 11:25 am | Permalink

      Hundreds of thousands of Scots vote Tory. Thousands of Scots voted UKIP recently and elected an MEP much to the fury of the SNP.
      There was an interesting talk on Radio 4 at 5pm yesterday by a sociologist from Edinburgh University who claimed that there is fundamentally very little difference in political viewpoint between Scots and English but a perception that there is which has been fostered by dominant Left-Wing politicians in Scotland. Worth listening to her analysis if you can get it on i-player.

      It will be very interesting to see the breakdown of the vote by region within Scotland. Would the borders area want to stay with England along with Orkney and Shetland?

    • Vanessa
      Posted September 9, 2014 at 7:23 pm | Permalink

      Scotland is part of the United Kingdom because it was bankrupt and begged us to take you in and look after you. So much for gratitude.

  19. JoeSoap
    Posted September 9, 2014 at 7:50 am | Permalink

    Blaming Labour and devolution for everything doesn’t really wash. The real answer was to have a wholesale change in our democratic system in 2010 towards direct democracy, with the Canton style of government that works so well in Switzerland, across language and cultural barriers. Perhaps you could have looked at how that could have been adapted to work here?

    There was less prima facie reason for an independence referendum in Scotland after 300 years of Union than there was for the Treaty of Lisbon which had been ratified the month before. Yet Cameron offered the one and not the other.

    Here, wrong decisions, bad judgements, wrong people in charge.

    • Max Dunbar
      Posted September 9, 2014 at 11:33 am | Permalink

      Break Scotland up to prevent future subversion in future. There are distinct regions within Scotland as anyone who has left the Red-Central Belt and crossed the ‘border’ of the Grampian mountains will know.

      • Max Dunbar
        Posted September 9, 2014 at 11:34 am | Permalink

        Sorry, should have deleted ‘in future’.

    • Mark B
      Posted September 9, 2014 at 7:53 pm | Permalink

      I whole hardheartedly agree.

  20. Douglas Carter
    Posted September 9, 2014 at 8:02 am | Permalink

    …’The … argument about the EU destroying our democracy is still not fully understood by enough people. … unspecified adverse economic consequences ….’…..

    The problem within your own Campaigning strategy is seen by the dichotomy under which the debate – such as it has been – over the EU by those in favour of membership is represented within that quoted section.

    There is an extraordinary difficulty in actually getting the Pro-EU side to discuss its actual nature. That nature is Political, and its consequences are those of political accountability and for the nature of the Sovereignty of which the electorate are custodians.

    We already know the extreme paucity of mention of the EU by the Labour Party within the recent EU elections campaign was an intentional strategy by Douglas Alexander ‘so as not to put off potential voters’. Labour won’t even engage with the debate. When the LibDems attempt to openly debate the EU, they end up with Nick Clegg practically openly declaring the stance of his party towards the EU is wholly bereft of intellectual substance.

    So, hypothetically, in the mind’s eye, we see Mr. Redwood discussing the EU late on a ‘Newsnight’ programme, and opposing him will invariably be some figure such as Sir Martin Sorrell or Lord Mandelson. Figures who are entirely unaccountable to the electorate, and can’t even be expected to be speaking with any authority for any political grouping. The debate is intentionally – and for all intents and purposes automatically – misdirected into a debate about Trade and Economics. This is why even yet there is no shortage of people who believe the EU is a Trading zone.

    But attempt to hold the debate with electorally accountable figures over the true nature of the EU – that of political integration – and you can be assured that nobody will be willing to appear in front of an audience. It’s part propaganda, but only part. The other side of the pro-EU strategist’s weapon is the willing acquiescence of the various branches of the media to invoke, and to continue to doggedly observe, a studied vow of silence over that political nature of the EU. If, hypothetically, the current Prime Minister were to suddenly and unexpectedly legislate for a Referendum on the Single European Currency for example, I would predict that no *Parliamentary* enthusiast for the Euro will be found who will be willing to lead the pro-Euro Campaign. It will go against the long-running (not to mention very successful) wilful campaign of misleading the electorate over matters EU.

    Perhaps the next time you’re in BBC airtime interview, John, and an attempt is made to hold any EU discourse within the brackets of ‘Economic’, you might choose to break down the cosy fence you would otherwise be expected to remain within?

    Unless a committed, and frankly necessarily aggressive, process is created to (i) lock the tiller which controls the direction of the debate in the direction it belongs – to that course of ‘Politics’, and (ii) (Much more difficult) to compel the pro-EU tribe to hold the debate on its proper grounds, then the relentless loss of UK Parliamentary Sovereignty and capability will continue apace.

    Reply I agree with much of what this comment says. I do when on the BBC say that this issue is not mainly about trade or even economics, but is about who governs and who legislates.

    • Brian Tomkinson
      Posted September 9, 2014 at 12:49 pm | Permalink

      Douglas,
      They deliberately duped the majority of voters with the tactic that it was an economic question in 1975 and will try and do exactly the same next time there is a referendum.

    • Boudicca
      Posted September 9, 2014 at 10:05 pm | Permalink

      Very good comment.

  21. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted September 9, 2014 at 8:06 am | Permalink

    JR: “It also said that Labour’s passion to put us under EU control would destroy our democracy.”
    What about your party’s similar passion?
    Before you recite how you voted against various treaties your party is still determined to keep us in the EU and thereby see the end of our democracy.
    As for the Scottish referendum, your party leader is showing what a total lack of leadership qualities he possesses. We now have the spectacle of Gordon Brown, of all people, not in government and hardly present in the Commons being lauded as the potential saviour of the Union. Cameron and your party have surrendered Scotland to Labour and the SNP; it has almost become a no-go area for you.

  22. Faustiesblog
    Posted September 9, 2014 at 8:06 am | Permalink

    Few Conservative MPs will countenance talk of getting rid of Cameron – the man who facilitated the break-up of the UK, the destruction of so much culture and more besides in the UK and the passing of more powers to Brussels than any other administration.

    But surely, those who were paying attention in Parliament yesterday, noticed that when asked what would happen to the Portsmouth naval base (closed by Cameron) once Scotland became a foreign country. His predictable ducking response was that he was quite happy for things to remain as they were.

    The man is guilty of treason in most people’s book – mine too. Why don’t you get rid of him. Do you honestly think your party stands more of a chance with him at the helm than with someone else?

  23. Liz
    Posted September 9, 2014 at 8:18 am | Permalink

    What sort of country is it when its Prime Minister is afraid to do the usual thing ,on his annual visit to Balmoral, to attend the Braemar Gathering? What does it say about the strenght or otherwise of the Union? The No campaign has concentrated almost entirely on economics when “family” and “love” might have been better. How many members of the Cabinet have family connections with Scotland – Cameron certainly does;,how many of them thought it might be a good idea this last two years to take a holiday there and be seen instead oif hiding away?. The decision to leave it all to the Scots when it affects us all has back fired. At the end of the day a lot of Scots want the Conservatives off their back and England similarly would like to be rid off Celtic socialism. My own view ,for what it worth ,is that the Nos will narrowly win; Devo Max will be implemented and David Cameron/Ed Milliband & English MPs will sit back and allow the Scots MPs to continue voting on English affairs. So it is a no win situation for England.

    • Max Dunbar
      Posted September 9, 2014 at 11:43 am | Permalink

      Yes, rather than an ice-bucket challenge could Cameron not have shown up and done a bit of caber tossing or hammer throwing at Braemar? He would look better in a kilt than Salmond.

  24. Chris S
    Posted September 9, 2014 at 8:19 am | Permalink

    While I am a Conservative and have always regarded Margaret Thatcher as our greatest Post War Political Leader, we cannot get round the uncomfortable truth that it was her administration that set Scotland on the path to Devolution and, just possibly, independence.

    It was always going to be necessary to break the NUM. We need make no apology for dealing with Scargill and his profoundly undemocratic methods but the harsh measures necessary had a big impact in the North of England from which we are still suffering and caused lasting and irreparable damage in Scottish, always more left wing than England.

    The Community Charge was a perfectly fair measure, making sure that all those who benefited from local authority services contributed towards paying for them. A successful campaign by the left saw that it was renamed, vilified and ultimately defeated . (The current row over the equally-just spare room subsidy is going the same way). Lasting damage was done to the Tory brand in Scotland because the scheme was introduced there first.

    It was difficult to see what else Labour could have done when they came into office in 1997. They stacked the devolved settlement in such a way that they thought it impossible for the SNP to gain an outright majority but underestimated their resolve. Their solution was also grossly lopsided leaving The West Lothian question as a running sore.

    We are where we are. Like most of us here, I’m sure that independence will ultimately prove an economic disaster for Scotland but if that’s what they want, then so be it.

    There are substantial advantages for England should the Yes campaign prove successful :

    Whether we are subsidising the Scottish economy now or not, we certainly will be when oil revenues ultimately decline to almost nothing. We will also have a Conservative Government more often than not without 41 Scottish Labour seats.

    Is there any seriously important downside for us ?

    We can easily afford to be without 4 million Scots : England would still be the fourth largest country in the EU by population, even without Wales and NI, and we would still have the third largest economy.

    We will also have a much increased chance of winning the EU Referendum.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted September 9, 2014 at 10:30 am | Permalink

      “We will also have a much increased chance of winning the EU Referendum”

      It would not be “much” increased, just “very marginally” increased.

      This is another delusion common among English Tories, that the Scots are much more strongly in favour of the EU than the English, when opinion polls show that their average views are rather more pro-EU than in some parts of England but similar to some other parts notably London.

    • Max Dunbar
      Posted September 9, 2014 at 11:49 am | Permalink

      You seem to have fallen for the Labour lie that Thatcher is to blame. This current disaster was formulated, planned and executed entirely by Labour.

  25. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted September 9, 2014 at 8:21 am | Permalink

    JR: “They are the UK political party with far the most to lose, as they often rely on Scottish votes in the Commons to have their way, and on Scottish MPs to act as Ministers.”
    Don’t get too carried away, as Vernon Bogdanor writes in today’s Telegraph:
    “The conventional wisdom is that Scotland’s exit would make it more difficult for Labour to form a government. But this should not be exaggerated. The only elections where the vote in Scotland affected the colour of the British government were in three tight parliaments – 1964, when Labour had a majority of three; February 1974, a hung parliament; and October 1974, when Labour had a majority of five. In every other election, the outcome would have been the same without Scotland.”

    Reply He’s wrong again – in 2010 Conservatives won in England.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted September 9, 2014 at 10:23 am | Permalink

      JR, you’re forgetting that the overall Tory majority in England was countered not only by results in Scotland but also those in Wales and Northern Ireland.

      • Brian Tomkinson
        Posted September 9, 2014 at 11:59 am | Permalink

        Thank you, Denis.

      • Chris S
        Posted September 9, 2014 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

        But, Denis, the population of Wales and NI combined is less than 10% of that of England.

        If the voters in both are as much as 10% more likely to vote to remain in the EU than those in England, that would only be equivalent to a 1% difference across the whole of the UK.

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted September 10, 2014 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

          The simple fact is that despite getting an overall majority of the seats in England, 298 out of 533, the Tories did not get an overall majority of the seats across the whole UK because they won too few in other parts of the UK – only 1 out of 59 in Scotland, only 8 out of 40 in Wales, and none out of 18 in Northern Ireland; 298 + 1 + 8 + 0 = only 307 out of 650. If they had done no better in Scotland but had done as well in Wales and Northern Ireland as they did in England then they would have got 32 seats out those 58 and that would have given them 331 seats, an overall majority.

    • acorn
      Posted September 9, 2014 at 6:27 pm | Permalink

      Reply He’s wrong again – in 2010 Conservatives won in England. says JR

      Yes they did. 9.9 million votes got the Tories 297 seats. Labour got 191 seats from 7.0 million votes. LD got 43 seats from 6.1 million votes. The rest got 2 seats from 1.7 million votes. The FPTP voting system is so generous to small, parties don’t you think. While the Tories were getting a seat for 33,400 votes, the poor old LibDems needed 141,000 votes for a seat.

  26. bluedog
    Posted September 9, 2014 at 8:25 am | Permalink

    The death of Britain? It’s an ill-wind Dr JR, and your experience and sound judgement shine like a beacon through the current chaos.

    It may once have been a disappointment not to have been offered a Cabinet post.

    But now it seems a blessing in disguise; you are completely free from the reputational damage that comes from association with Cameron.

    They should be selling tickets to the Conservative Party conference on 28th September, it will be the biggest show in town.

  27. Anonymous
    Posted September 9, 2014 at 8:29 am | Permalink

    Why are UKIP voters ‘fruitcakes and loons’ and Scottish separatists romantic freedom campaigners ?

    Surely Scotland on its own is far less viable and more vulnurable than Britain on its own – yet the Scottish are afforded far more respect than ‘little Englanders’.

    (A Yes vote will mean UKIP will have to change its name !)

    • Anonymous
      Posted September 9, 2014 at 8:31 am | Permalink

      Surely Scotland on its own is far less viable and more vulnurable than Britain on its own – yet the Scottish (who want freedom from the UK/EU) are afforded far more respect than ‘little Englanders’ (who want freedom for the whole of the UK from the EU.)

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted September 9, 2014 at 10:14 am | Permalink

      UKIP having to change its name would be a grain of dust in the avalanche of troubles that would be unleashed. Moreover it might keep the same name as there would still be a United Kingdom, that of England Wales and Northern Ireland; and just as James I used his royal prerogative to issue a proclamation that his two kingdoms England and Scotland would henceforth be known as Great Britain so the Queen might issue a proclamation that the rest of the UK would henceforth be known simply as the United Kingdom. However the UKIP members would certainly have to agree to change its constitution, which lays down the first aim of the party as being withdrawal from the EU but also with a second aim of maintaining the integrity of the present United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

  28. NickW
    Posted September 9, 2014 at 8:40 am | Permalink

    One of the biggest risks that our membership of the EU entails is the loss of control of our foreign policy which exposes us to the risk of involvement in an EU war.

    Take sanctions as an example.

    We know that the latest round of EU sanctions against Russia have been more or less cobbled together by EU members whose decision makers have shed individual responsibility by indulging in collective action. The impression is of a bunch of adolescent schoolboys attempting to “outsanction” each other with no understanding of the consequences. We need to ask ourselves these questions;

    What are the sanctions for?

    Why are the sanctions being introduced?

    What behaviour do the sanctions seek to punish?

    What does Russia have to do to avoid sanctions?

    Who will decide that the sanctions should be lifted and what are the criteria for lifting them?

    There is a good guide here;

    http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld200607/ldselect/ldeconaf/96/9605.htm

    and it states;”— “(sanctions should) have clear objectives, including well-defined and realistic demands against which compliance can be judged, and a clear exit strategy;

    The only information I can find about the purpose of the EU sanctions came from “Russia Today”, which suggested that the purpose of the sanctions is to “Stop Russia from destabilising East Ukraine”, and to that end compliance with the cease fire is one aspect of compliance. Apart from anything else, this gives the Ukrainians who are publicly anti Russian the power to maintain the West’s sanctions on Russia by firing a few shells now and again. One would have thought too that the Ukrainian Army using artillery indiscriminately on its own citizens was contributing more to the destabilisation of East Ukraine than anything the Russians are doing.

    The EU sanctions very clearly break the principles laid down by Parliament, and they have horrendous risks attached. They are driving Russia into an alliance with China, and once Russia has been completely isolated Putin will have nothing to lose by repudiating all Russia’s commercial and Government debt to the West. If the Americans continue to attack Russia through the global financial system they run the risk that China and Russia will act in concert against the USA by the same means, which would have catastrophic consequences for the USA.

    We need to take back responsibility for our Foreign policy before it is too late.

  29. alan jutson
    Posted September 9, 2014 at 8:43 am | Permalink

    I repeat what I said yesterday.

    Is the Tory party so toxic north of the border, that its members have to be silent for fear of improving the yes vote.

    How long before other areas of the UK or even England need the same constraints.

    Just shows how support for the present Conservative policies has disintegrated over the past couple of decades.

  30. oldtimer
    Posted September 9, 2014 at 8:52 am | Permalink

    To answer the question you pose “The Death of Britain?”, yes it is the death of Britain.

    If it does not occur now because of a late surge of No votes (by the over 55s and the don`t knows swinging to No), it will come eventually because a clear majority of under 55s favour independence. Mike Smithson of PoliticalBetting,com says that analysis of the latest TNS poll puts the Yes camp 9% points ahead of the No vote in the under 55s.

    This suggests the vote will be close and that a No vote will not settle the issue so far as the pro independence campaign is concerned. It will be a running sore in British politics for years to come. The ScotsNats will continue to complain and campaign, The rUK will resent 2nd class citizen status as Westminster attempts to buy off the Scots – unless there is a dramatic change in current constitutional arrangements to remove the current lop-sided settlement.

    I have now come to the conclusion that a Yes win might be a better outcome than a narrow win for the No vote. A narrow win for either camp will be extremely devisive both for both sides of the border. There will be unpredictable consequences not least on the migration, both ways, that usually follows partition. But better to lance a festering boil now than than let it continue to poison the body politic.

  31. fedupsouthener
    Posted September 9, 2014 at 9:10 am | Permalink

    Yes, while it may be the death of Britain it is also the death for many English, like myself, who are living in Scotland at the moment. It is all too obvious that many hate us and always have. Everything is blamed on Westminster and by Westminster they mean the English. I never realised just how bad it was until we moved here 11 years ago but now realise just how petty and what a big chip on their shoulders they have. While we do have many decent Scottish friends there are some that leave a lot to be desired. Many English and a few sensible Scots are talking about leaving Scotland. Some have already put their savings into English banks. The only trouble we have is selling our properties. Nobody will want to move here. Estate Agents windows are already stuffed to the gunnels with properties which aren’t moving due to the fact that the English who might have wanted to move here are now stalling because of the situation here. What a mess. Mr Salmond and his bullies have a lot to answer for and have caused much ill feeling amongst friends and families alike. England should not bend over backwards for this man but tell Scotland that if they want independence they can have it with all the responsibilities that entails with it. They should start to realise just how much better off they are already in the union. So much is free here that isn’t available in England and the national minimum wage is the same but things in Scotland are a lot cheaper so your money goes further. Not just the death of Britain but the death of the people.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted September 9, 2014 at 9:59 am | Permalink

      “England should not bend over backwards for this man but tell Scotland that if they want independence they can have it with all the responsibilities that entails with it.”

      Cameron has already done all of that on our behalf, including the bending over backwards, through the Edinburgh Agreement of October 2012:

      http://www.scotland.gov.uk/About/Government/concordats/Referendum-on-independence

      He had other options, but it is too late now.

      • fedupsouthener
        Posted September 9, 2014 at 11:06 am | Permalink

        But no more concessions when it is clear Scotland always does very well thankyou compared with England. We get far more freebies and also health checks for bowel cancer etc which are also free. I am almost coming around to the thought that Scotland would be better away now rather than go through the whole boring thing again in ten years time. Scots and English living here are sick to the back teeth of it all. I and many others are now just turning off the news because we can’t stand anymore talking about what Scots want. THEY WANT IT ALL AND MORE!

  32. mick
    Posted September 9, 2014 at 9:10 am | Permalink

    You can see how the “2017” referendum is going to be run now people, CON/LAB/LIB`s will use every tool in the box to try and fool us to stay in the dreaded EU, i don`t care if the Scot`s want to leave the UK good luck to them, but the three party’s do because there is a large pro European vote up in Scotland and they don`t want to loose them votes,

  33. yulwaymartyn
    Posted September 9, 2014 at 9:19 am | Permalink

    What a mess. Thousands trying to in the south of the country and thousands trying to leave at the north of the country. For the rest of us two bedroom flats in Spain are currently going for circa £40,000. National borders?. Indeed.

  34. Denis Cooper
    Posted September 9, 2014 at 9:51 am | Permalink

    There’s another poll predicting that the result will be very close, in fact too close to call.

    So what will happen if after several recounts it is found that 50.01% of those who voted have chosen “yes” while 49.99% have chosen “no”?

    Will the UK government accept that the UK should be immediately and permanently broken up on the basis that 400 of those deemed eligible to vote chose “yes” instead of “no”, when those 400 may not even have been UK citizens?

    Or they may have been deceived into voting “yes” because they were more convinced by the SNP reassurance the UK government would agree to a continuing currency union than by repeated statements from the UK government that there would be no currency union, part of that preference for the SNP version being simply that the UK government was led by the hated Tories?

    Or because they had been misled into believing that an independent Scotland would automatically become a new member state of the EU on exactly the same terms as the present UK, despite some EU leaders warning that this would not be the case and anyway if Scotland did become a new EU member state then like all new EU member states it would have to commit itself to the euro?

    It may be recalled that under the Edinburgh Agreement:

    http://www.scotland.gov.uk/About/Government/concordats/Referendum-on-independence

    the UK authorities agreed to promote an Order in Council in order to make a special grant of legal power for the referendum to take place, and that it should:

    “… deliver a fair test and a decisive expression of the views of people in Scotland and a result that everyone will respect”,

    and how could a very narrow victory for “yes” be held to have done that?

    Once again, just because a plurality of those who had voted expressed their view that Scotland should become an independent country that would not itself make Scotland independent, that would obviously require an Act of the UK Parliament to terminate the Treaty of Union, no matter how large or small the margin in favour of “yes”; unless and until that Act was passed and came into force the UK would remain intact and all the UK citizens in Scotland would remain UK citizens, and the UK government would still have the same duties of care towards them; so how would it be discharging that continuing responsibility towards its deeply divided citizens in Scotland if it simply accepted a very narrow victory for “yes” which it had good reason to believe had been secured through falsehood, and automatically proceeded to dump all of them out of the UK?

    Reply One vote either way is enough – that’s the deal and that’s how democracy works.

    • Max Dunbar
      Posted September 9, 2014 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

      Reply to reply: Intimidation and all it would seem.

    • Chris S
      Posted September 9, 2014 at 12:35 pm | Permalink

      This is yet another example of the disastrous mishandling of the whole business.

      It seems to me that the words from the agreement quoted by Denis give some legal. wriggle room but with feelings in Scotland running so high, it would be impossible not to grant independence, even on a margin of a handful of votes.

      In other referenda aimed at changing a country’s constitution, a significant majority of 2/3 or perhaps 60% have been required. Westminster should have insisted that a minimum of at least 55% in favour of independence was necessary.

      They should also have insisted that the question was framed in such a way that voting “Yes” meant that Scotland would remain in the UK.

      The whole process was designed and agreed by civil servants and backed by all three main Westminster parties. None of them emerge from this mess with any credibility whatsoever. Salmond has played a blinder !

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted September 9, 2014 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

      That’s the deal accepted for elections, and enshrined in law; it was also accepted for the AV referendum and enshrined in the law ordering it to be held:

      http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2011/1/section/8

      “(1) The Minister must make an order bringing into force section 9, Schedule 10 and Part 1 of Schedule 12 (“the alternative vote provisions”) if –

      (a) more votes are cast in the referendum in favour of the answer “Yes” than in favour of the answer “No” …

      … (2) If more votes are not cast in the referendum in favour of the answer “Yes” than in favour of the answer “No”, the Minister must make an order repealing the alternative vote provisions …”

      But firstly I would suggest that the conventional deal should not necessarily apply to what is an extremely unconventional referendum, one to break up the country, and secondly I would point out that no such deal been put into law.

      In fact the Edinburgh Agreement, which is itself of debatable legal status, only said that the referendum should “… deliver a fair test and a decisive expression of the views of people in Scotland and a result that everyone will respect”, and said nothing about what would follow from any result other than:

      “The two governments are committed to continue to work together constructively in the light of the outcome, whatever it is, in the best interests of the people of Scotland and of the rest of the United Kingdom.”

      Similarly the Scottish Independence Referendum Act 2013 passed by the Scottish Parliament, as indicated in the Act itself using legal power specially granted by an Order in Council approved by both Houses of the UK Parliament, says nothing at all about what should ensue after either a “yes” vote or a “no” vote, and indeed it could not do so legally because it would not be within the devolved powers of the Scottish Parliament to pass an Act which purported to prescribe conditions for either the termination or the continuance of the Anglo-Scottish Union.

      I put it to you, JR, that it is one thing for a German citizen resident in Scotland to have the casting vote in the election of a local councillor or even a member of the Scottish Parliament, but it is an entirely different thing to say that if there is one more vote for “yes” than for “no” then it doesn’t matter if it was his vote which made the difference, and he chose to vote that way because he doesn’t much like the way the UK government has behaved towards his government and he would prefer Scotland to be in the euro, we should still proceed to break up our country.

      • Max Dunbar
        Posted September 9, 2014 at 6:31 pm | Permalink

        And it’s not just resident Germans who can vote on our dissolution. I met a German YES activist in the street four days ago.

    • Boudicca
      Posted September 9, 2014 at 10:11 pm | Permalink

      The ridiculous situation Cameron agreed to is that if the result is a tiny percentage in favour of independence, the deciding factor may well be his agreement to allowing 16 yr old to vote.

      16 yr olds are hardly mature, experienced, rational young adults. They tend to be over-emotional, gullible, in many cases badly educated and completely incapable of weighing up the economic consequences of voting for independence.

      A thousand 16 yr olds could decide the fate of the United Kingdom..

      What a prize plonker Cameron is.

  35. cosmic
    Posted September 9, 2014 at 10:28 am | Permalink

    When I first heard the arguments for Welsh and Scottish nationalism, 40 years ago, my reaction was that the obvious solution was a federal UK.

    I thought the proposed unbalanced devolution arrangements in the late 70s were a codge and the ones achieved in the late 90s were obviously going to lead to trouble because of their inequitable nature and being an intended political stitch up by Labour (which backfired).

    Whichever way the independence referendum goes, it’s likely to be close and there will be cries of foul.

    A close yes would be messy, having been secured on a false prospectus and with a questionable franchise.

    A close no vote would have had UK politicians falling over themselves to offer last minute consessions, making them look contemptible and only putting things off for a few years.

    This is very probably the breakup of Britain, but it’s certainly shone a light on the lopsided constitutional arrangement we have, with England hardly recognised as a constituent part of the UK, although there’s been plenty of talk about London and Westminster, with England often confused with them.

    What I’d like to see after this referendum, (however it goes) is a clear thinking and equitable constitutional solution, including England as a polity (not a patchwork of EU regions). This is something which should have been done years ago, rather than constitutional tinkering for myopic party politiical reasons.

  36. Jeffery
    Posted September 9, 2014 at 10:52 am | Permalink

    Attribution is a thorny issue, but it seems quite possible that the failure of the Thatcher government to redeem Lord Home’s pledge for more powers to Scotland made during the devolution referendum of 1979 may account for some of the distrust of Tories. It seldom gets mentioned in England, but Scots do seem to refer to it. Something strange went on there, around Teddy Taylor? Rushed back to parliament one minute, left on the backbenches from then on. Whatever, and contrary to the Redwood line, it seems to have been a bad mistake.

  37. Roy Grainger
    Posted September 9, 2014 at 11:08 am | Permalink

    It is interesting that the “No” campaign is failing in a similar way to the 1975 European referendum “No” campaign due to in-fighting between the ideologically opposed camps forced together in the “No” group – in 1975 Enoch Powell vs. Tony Benn, and now Gordon Brown vs. Unionist Tories. The “Yes” campaign on the other hand is relatively united.

    This will be the same in 2017 – a united “In” campaign of pro-EU social democrats (Cameron/Osborne, Miliband, Clegg, BBC, Civil Service) and a disparate group of mutually-ideologically opposed “Out” campaigners (UKIP, left-wing unions,libertarian Tories). It will be very very difficult, probably impossible, to secure an “Out” vote.

  38. Yorkshire Lass
    Posted September 9, 2014 at 11:23 am | Permalink

    It’s started –

    http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2014/sep/09/scottish-devolution-timetable-powers-english-regions?commentpage=1

    Graham Allen, chairman of the House of Commons political and constitutional reform committee wants England to be broken into regions.

    No Parliament for the scummy English, eh? I feel furious beyond belief. My ancestors would be turning in their graves if I sat on my backside and allowed this to happen !

  39. Paul Rivers
    Posted September 9, 2014 at 11:50 am | Permalink

    Scotland politically and economically feels such a different place now, that perhaps the union has run its course. No nation lasts forever. The trend in the world is to more nations ( despite the efforts of the EU). What is worrying is the closeness of the race which means whatever happens Scotland will be divided. More importantly for me it has to mean more power for England over English matters given a new settlement is inevitable.

  40. CHRISTOPHER HOUSTON
    Posted September 9, 2014 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

    It is good idea to keep this tiny group of islands together. But you know it is amazing and dismaying how even in 2014 I had a “racist” remark made about me and to me in a small meeting of predominantly management personnel.

    You see I had voiced an opinion about something in this southern England HQ and the sneering retort was ” Ugh, typical northerner! ”
    It must be said all present, all southerners apart from my Yorkshire self, blushed in embarrassment.They were so taken aback by the remark, so taken off guard, they could not find words to say anything at all.

    I am sure in was Harold Macmillan who in his post political career near the end of his life spoke of his deep regret and sorrow of being unable: ” …despite my best efforts over a considerable period of time…of reducing the terrible level of employment in my region.” ( his northern region )

    Frankly, our island and its people are riddled with every conceivable divisive perspective from personality-clash to class antagonism; from left to right, top to bottom.
    Division and separation in the near-term with its inevitable destructiveness will perhaps in the long-term allow us to admit good and noble reasons to unite. Something for the future.

  41. Max Dunbar
    Posted September 9, 2014 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

    You head this article with the title of your book The Death of Britain but have you considered that we could also be talking about the deaths of a great many people? Inconceivable in our democracy? That remains to be seen.

    In a reply to one of your commenters above you say that one vote is enough. Is this then where democracy ends and we enter into uncharted territory?

    Democracy is but one method of government and has its limitations. A narrow vote will snap it and release forces that have hitherto been suppressed.

    National territorial integrity and the defence of the Realm trumps democracy.

    Reply I do not agree there will be deaths as a result and I am not going to post any detailed suggestions of future violence which I do not want and think unlikely.

  42. Tony E
    Posted September 9, 2014 at 12:41 pm | Permalink

    Salmond has already won – He doesn’t want independence, he always wanted Devo Max – Independence without responsibility.

    And the fools in Westminster have given it to him. And we want these same fools to negotiate our exit from the EU.

    God help us English folk, will nobody speak for us?

    • Chris S
      Posted September 9, 2014 at 6:36 pm | Permalink

      On the Channel 4 News this evening they have said that Cameron and Co are offering to allow Salmond to borrow on the Bond markets if there is a No vote !

      This is completely unacceptable to England as it will be UK debt and it will be us that has to pay it back when the oil has run out. Salmond has form on this because he’s already threatening to regnege on Scotland’s share of the debt.

      Have they gone mad ? They are in full and unadulterated panic mode.

      Unbelievable !

    • Mark B
      Posted September 9, 2014 at 7:38 pm | Permalink

      Tony E

      Well they would, if only they knew we existed.

    • Sam
      Posted September 9, 2014 at 8:03 pm | Permalink

      That’s exactly how I feel.

      Much of what has been promised to Salmond was not the main parties’ to give. Why must us poor, meek English have the futures of our children frittered away by feckless and inept political class? Should we not be asked whether we assent to a deeply unfair and one-sided settlement?

      If the Scots vote ‘yes’, is there anyone on our side who can be trusted to defend our interests? Mr Redwood?

  43. Max Dunbar
    Posted September 9, 2014 at 12:53 pm | Permalink

    It may be of some interest to know that small groups of people have set up with their own leaflets to defend the Union. I came across one such group last weekend in a Glasgow suburb. The official NO campaign has been so badly managed that ordinary people have felt it necessary to compensate on their own account and get out into the street. The general public automatically assume that any activism is for the YES faction, so dominant and aggressive has that campaign been.

    • Max Dunbar
      Posted September 9, 2014 at 6:46 pm | Permalink

      I have since discovered that the group that I came across were a bunch of undercover Tories. Apparently your Party is not allowed to canvass openly for a NO vote on the street. Better Together (Labour) wont allow it. But they are happy to take your cash and plenty of it. Well there’s a surprise!

  44. oldtimer
    Posted September 9, 2014 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

    I hope that, once the outcome of the referendum is known, you will provide your considered views on the genesis and conduct of the campaign for Scottish independence and the Westminster response to it. The past two to three years deserve special attention, in particular issues like the unique extension of the electorate, the wording of the question and the structure, message and conduct of the No campaign plus the last minute, panic offerings of powers (yet to be agreed) for the Scottish Parliament.

    This seems to be to be important, both of itself but also because of what it reveals about the capabilities of those in power who have been responsible for a poorly conducted campaign. Subject to winning power at the next GE, many of these same people be responsible for conducting negotiations for a new settlement with the EU. On the available evidence their track record does not impress. They do not enjoy my confidence that they will secure a satisfactory outcome – or indeed are capable of doing so.

  45. ian
    Posted September 9, 2014 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

    One vote leads to a another vote, maybe in cornwall wales or in again in Scotland, with all the foreigner coming in or the ones that are all ready here they can see your weak point now. It just a matter of time before the union breaks up. This has happen because you refuse to take notice of the of the real people of this land and keep doing what companies want you to do, your like Scotland trying to commit suicide. You should leave the battle field and let the people of England deal with this. Three blind mice

  46. waramess
    Posted September 9, 2014 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

    Understandably a lot of tosh is talked about when “debating” Scottish devolution.

    There is no reason why the Scots should not adopt the pound sterling. They will not be able to print it, instead they will have to earn it through exports and, should they not be able to earn sufficient to sustain a big government spend then the size of government will need to be cut.

    Nor will they be able to print it to save the banks. Great.

    They will not have control over the interest rates set by the fools at Bank of England and the rate set will not reflect the credit needs or otherwise of Scottish economy but, then again it never reflects those of the British economy which is why we live in an economy of endless boom and bust.

    So, small government will be the key and whilst this might not be consistent with the aspirations of the Scottish Socialists it will be entirely consistent with the good health of a robust Scottish economy.

    Change is the reason why there is so much unsubstantiated tosh being thrown around and people don’t like it.

    The clowns in Westminster don’t like it because it will limit their own capacity to borrow and spend as it will also diminish their position in world politics. Tough.

    The Bank of England won’t like it because a prospering Scotland using the pound sterling would reflect badly on their own policies of print and pray and the Labour Party don’t like it for all the obvious reasons.

    Embrace change. As Andyvan points out we have nothing to lose but our chains.

  47. Roy Grainger
    Posted September 9, 2014 at 2:23 pm | Permalink

    I am genuinely offended that Cameron is flying the saltire flag over Downing Street. Has he gone mad ?

    • Max Dunbar
      Posted September 9, 2014 at 6:35 pm | Permalink

      He probably meant to pull the white flag out of the box but got mixed up. Obviously a flag of considerable inconvenience for him at present.

    • Cheshire Girl
      Posted September 9, 2014 at 6:42 pm | Permalink

      You’re not alone. I am offended too. And Ed Milliband is calling for the saltire to be flown on all public buildings. Talk about a ‘knee jerk’ reaction ! Furthermore, it won’t impress anyone, or make a blind bit of difference to the result!

    • agricola
      Posted September 9, 2014 at 6:55 pm | Permalink

      He only understands sound bite gestures, but rarely the consequences. He fails to follow up on anything that drops from his lips, it is only there for the headline. The most vacuous PM we have ever had.

    • JoeSoap
      Posted September 9, 2014 at 7:18 pm | Permalink

      No, another PR stunt.
      They backfire nowadays.

      Gone are the days when Mandelson and Co could smarm around hyping Blair & Co. and most people thought, “wow smart fellow”. Blair hob nobbing with George Michael, Cameron with Gary Barlow-Cameron Clegg and Miliband trying the same trick now backfires.

      Look at Salmond, look at Farage. Like them or hate them, they are not just PR tricksters-they have some feeling and emotional attachment to their point of view and to their fellow countrymen, and don’t come across to them as actors.

      • JoeSoap
        Posted September 9, 2014 at 7:20 pm | Permalink

        Brown I hasten to add comes across as the more deluded, more socialist version of Salmond-hardly the right front man for this show…

    • Excalibur
      Posted September 10, 2014 at 5:55 am | Permalink

      So am I, Roy. It is a PR response by a PR man. It will not influence the outcome on 18th September one iota.

    • Martyn G
      Posted September 10, 2014 at 6:52 am | Permalink

      Yes, and has altogether lost the plot – again…..

  48. Welshman
    Posted September 9, 2014 at 2:57 pm | Permalink

    “We English will now have to tolerate the UK government sucking up to the Welsh by treating us like muck in England. We’ve had enough.”

    I think you will find the majority in Wales has had enough of our Assembly. Could we please have a referendum here to get back to how things were? Ah, I remember seeing a very good Welsh secretary called Redwood.
    Who rules us n0w? EU, Westminster, Assembly or even council. Not really sure but they all want my money.

  49. Vanessa
    Posted September 9, 2014 at 3:07 pm | Permalink

    I read today that we are falling over ourselves to tell the Scots what more powers they can have if they vote “no”. How dare they hold us to ransom like this. They can have more welfare spending; at whose cost ? We poor English taxpayers have to stump up for this socialist largesse in Scotland. I have no doubt that they would NOT do this for us if the referendum were the other way round.

    They were bankrupt when they begged to be part of the English Kingdom and I look forward to them going steadily bankrupt as an independent nation again. I am sick and tired of my hard earned taxes going, as a ransom, to Scotland to vote “no”.

  50. ian
    Posted September 9, 2014 at 3:29 pm | Permalink

    This is were politician and they politics and companies lobbying have lead you to, the death of britain. Companies will be hit the worst that show you how smart they are and bankers next. All coming home to roost. All for a extra handful of silver. They have no loyalty to the real people of this country. They have sold you out. All down to the polling stations for another slap in the face 2015 and don”t forget to pay your tax”s because the elite and big
    companies do not pay all there. Good old welfare and two bob pension you are slaves but you cannot see it. I think they will need more water cannons like spain. As the elite family get bigger the less money there will be to go round.

  51. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted September 9, 2014 at 3:46 pm | Permalink

    Quite. Offering extra devolved powers to Separatists is like feeding a ravenous lion with vegetable samosas.

    This last minute rag bag of partly thought through and partly defined additional powers for Holyrood will do the ‘No’ cause harm, not good. How apt that Gordon Brown, the incompetent spendthrift, should be their cheerleader. That’s right – the man who adopted an inflation index that excluded house prices for controlling monetary policy, who sold our gold at the bottom of the market, and who used taxpayers’ money to purchase RBS and Lloyds shares for £66 billion without doing due diligence (double their real value). Yes, THAT Gordon Brown. Also he left behind a fiscal deficit of £159 billion in 2009/10, worth about £179 billion in 2014/15 money.

    I hope that the three party leaders about to skip Question Time will be able to answer the following question: “If we maintain a currency union with a Scotland that has neither fiscal not monetary responsibilities, how do we prevent it behaving like Greece did inside the Euro Zone?”

  52. ian
    Posted September 9, 2014 at 7:08 pm | Permalink

    Now you know you live in a country run by idiots

  53. John
    Posted September 9, 2014 at 7:17 pm | Permalink

    Hi John,
    I hope I am not to late on this post because I have a question for you.
    If Scotland vote to leave the UK will Royal Mail still be legally obliged to deliver post to every dwelling in their new country?
    I hope you can find the time to answer this for me.
    Regards
    John.

  54. ian
    Posted September 9, 2014 at 7:32 pm | Permalink

    A yes vote could take out the pound and the stock market. The elite might be in trouble. So a higher ransom to scotland with your tax”s is needed. Not the elite money.

  55. Ted Monbiot
    Posted September 9, 2014 at 8:30 pm | Permalink

    I thought originally that the Scots would vote pragmatically based on just the economic benefits of being part of the UK.
    But it seems more are voting emotionally on the grounds of freedom and independence.
    I admire that bravery because these are the two most important features of nationality.
    I hope they continue to hold true and vote for independence and forge a new life for themselves.
    We can still be good friends and allies. There is no need for any animosity.
    In fact the relationship might improve.
    Perhaps then the rest of the UK will realise that regardless of the monetary impact that these two things are more imortant and that we gain the equal confidence and then vote to leave the EU.

  56. Boudicca
    Posted September 9, 2014 at 9:53 pm | Permalink

    LABOUR’S passion to put us under the control of the EU!

    You need to remove the beam from your eye, John.

    The Conservative Party took us into the EEC, with no Referendum.

    The Conservative Party created the Single Market. No Referendum.

    The Conservative Party morphed the EC into the EU with the Maastrict Treaty. No Referendum.

    The Conservative Party took us into the ERM.

    The Conservative Party has a policy of staying in the EU and refuses to get us out.

    It is membership of the EU – with its determination to create “a Europe of the Regions” that is responsible for the break-up of the UK. EU policy was a parliament for Scotland, Wales and NI – all EU regions. But not for England – we are to be broken up.

    Ultimately, the Conservative Party is responsible for the destruction of the United Kingdom. If there wasn’t the EU to rely on as a future source of funding, Scotland would not be contemplating secession.

  57. Chris S
    Posted September 9, 2014 at 10:15 pm | Permalink

    We’ll done Mr Redwood !

    Your forthright insistence on English MPs sitting as an English Parliament was very welcome and you completely demolished Peter Haines proposal to dilute the English nation with regional devolution. a failed policy previously tried by Labour.

    You even won support from Newsnight presenter Laura Kuenssberg, somewhat of a first for a Conservative in the post-Paxman era !

    Labour will continue to push their regional proposal because it would cloud the issue of their governance should they fail to gain a majority in England.

    Their argument against there being “second class” MPs under your proposal is totally bogus when the other nations all have their own assemblies.
    We need exactly equal devolution not some weak, half way house that will satisfy nobody.

    The fact that English MPs will have two jobs is a good example : The other nations will be free to select some of their Assembly members to stand as Westminster MPs rather than have separate people for each role.

    In view of the distances NI, Welsh and, possibly, Scottish MPs would have to travel to get to Westminster, it would be impractical for MPs to sit as the UK Parliament on Mondays and Fridays as you suggested.

    UK matters would have to be discussed on Mondays and Tuesdays or Thursdays and Fridays.

  58. ian
    Posted September 9, 2014 at 11:57 pm | Permalink

    If it a no vote the establishment will have to think about moving from union system to federal system to keep the islands as one or over time it will just break up. You could call it a united kingdom federal Britain that will be before Europe has a federal system in place.

  59. ian
    Posted September 10, 2014 at 12:24 am | Permalink

    We could have 4 states or 15 states of the united kingdom. keeping in front of the markets or pounds and the stock market could fall. Not that they will not fall later on because they will that because you are rule by fools. The debt in this country is only 40% because do not count QE because it not really there, you can burn it at any time. Like next year. It really just away to begin your currency down but you cannot afford to do to much. Like usa is shutting down QE now so the dollar is going up.

  60. ian
    Posted September 10, 2014 at 2:06 am | Permalink

    That”s what is holding back the economy QE because people do not like it bad taxation policy because they tax people and make out it is there problem when it is not. Companies could save alot of money by taking over the people tax and the people to get on with the work and not suffer from stress depression and other illness leading to lost of time at work and suicides and companies would spend the tax money much better than they do now and also would not let the government over spend. You see at the end of the day it still all companies money. I think companies could save all of the companies tax they pay now plus 35% of your tax now which they pay plus a much better workforce. People could work with out breaking the law. You can do away with NIC relief about 51 billion pounds Companies would make sure with the government that companies that are not paying tax to the government now pay there tax about 20 billion pounds. You can tax oversees people 10 percent tax for working here 10 billion pounds also lots of saving to be made in the government. You can burn QE next year bring the debt down to 1000 billion pounds, pay off the 95 billion next year with the money above which will bring interest down to less that one percent on ten year note 1000 billion left to pay off. Which would save you about 30 or so billion a year. I think about a 130 billion a year so the first year you paid off 95 billion with 35 billion left over, so you paid off 110 billion and give the companies 20 billion back and then the next year you pay off 100 billion off the debt to 900 billion and give companies another 10 billion back and so on. Over 10 years that would be 550 billion off the debt and the companies after 10 years would get back 130 billion. Wages increase would be lower because the companies do not have to pay income tax and nic on wages increase so that makes them more competitive in the world The only bad result would be a high pound but if you got cheap imports and good wages none tax wages and say deflation on raw good and fuel and no tax on companies exports you can kick start the north of england wet&mad using a strong pounds.This process would all so give you the opportunity to slim down government. You are not in any trouble you just got fools running the place for the elite and their ponize.This is the way to take on russia and china not arms and war. Companies shares would go up

  61. Ian B
    Posted September 10, 2014 at 2:14 am | Permalink

    The worst aspect of this is this last minute, unseemly scramble to offer “whatever it will take to stop Scotland leaving”, without apparently any consideration for the opinion of the remaining citizens of the UK in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. It is like some desperate man begging his wife for one more chance under any conditions even as she is packing her bags.

    Interestingly, none of our glorious three leaders have suggested a federal UK; presumably because they are determined to retain Scots in Parliament voting on non-Scottish issues and helping form government majorities.

    The whole thing is a depressing and unseemly mess.

    I think Scotland is going to vote Yes, and leave. This is not necessarily a bad thing. Ireland left early in the last century and the UK carried on fine. A UK without Scotland will have a much weakened Labour Party, and will probably be an easier place to get a vote to leave the EU as well. England is a more right wing/libertarian place than Scotland; the Scots have over the past decades become ever more determinedly a place of the Left and authoritarianism. We may well all benefit from a split.

  62. Christine Constable
    Posted September 10, 2014 at 5:31 am | Permalink

    John, just wanted to say THANK YOU for shouting down the Welsh Traitor Hain last night. It is lamentable you appear to be THE ONLY ENGLISH MP standing up for the rights of England. To hear Hain state that it IS NECESSARY that Wales and Northern Ireland have proper devolution yet for him to ignore the fact England has nothing is frankly the words of an enemy of England, I found his attitude repugnant as he refused the concept of an English Parliament and would prefer to see England broken into “regions”.

    This John is what the English have been fighting against. Indifference by the politicians who are representing England and downright treachery from the liberals and the left.

    I cannot understand why the Conservatives are so reticent at supporting the rights of England, this is one reason support for the Tories is dying on its feet. We have no vision, no support and no respect by our own elected politicians who regard the English with contempt and this they will find to their cost as UKIP pull away from them.

    If only the Tory part had people like you in it, who can at least see the disgusting way England is being treated and are prepared to confront it.

    For many English people Scotland going is the only way the obsession with Britain can properly focused back onto England, the British tail has been wagging the English dog for far too long and the English are heartily sick of it. It will be interesting to see how next week goes. The English are however concerned WHO will negotiate the Scottish secession terms and how badly England will come off as the remaining parties fight to strip England of as much as possible to secure their future election hopes north of the border (bringing home the loot) and in the event Scotland stays, WHO will be fighting for England’s right to an English Parliament?? Either way the English have little faith they will have their interests properly protected. Thanks anyway for sticking it to Hain, a loathesome individual!

  63. Richard
    Posted September 10, 2014 at 8:36 am | Permalink

    The death of Britain ?

    Yes it is.

    I think that the recent surge in the polls in favour of independence is because the Scots have looked at the mess that is England and have decided they do not want to be part of it.

    Firstly the UK is in debt by £1.5 trillion and the Scots believe they can get out of paying their share by becoming independent. Mr. Salmond has already threatened to do this and I cannot see how we can force an independent Scotland to make any payments. I am expecting their deficit to be amply covered by North Sea oil revenues.

    Secondly they see how continuing mass immigration into England is tribalising the country so there exist large areas where Sharia law is applied, there exists unopposed FGM and forced marriages, and where child abuse takes place on an industrial scale.

    English jihadists are videoing their beheadings and returning to live in England so that we are permanently on a severe terrorist alert.

    The Scots watch daily the hordes of illegal immigrants in Calais trying (and succeeding) to get into England where they know they will be hidden by their tribal communities.

    Whilst we have all these internal troubles our PM spends his time signing us up to yet another war in the ME and wants to pick a fight with Russia over the Ukraine whatever the consequences.

    The governing elite, against the wishes of the population, have done everything possible to avoid giving the country a vote on whether or not to be part of the EU with our PM declaring his wish to have the EU expanded to include Turkey and all eastern European countries as far as the Urals.

    The Scots have looked at the prospectus and decided not to take up the offer.

    I do not blame them.

  64. REPay
    Posted September 11, 2014 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

    Labour’s approach is to “offer more devolved power to that part of the country where they are most worried about the strength of separatist as well as devolutionary tendencies.”

    I, and some commentators at the time, believed that devolution was a way of hemming in the “effing Tories” as an England only party. Much has been made by the Yes campaign of never having the Tories in power again!

    The law of unintended consequences?

  • About John Redwood


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

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