Scotland and England’s marriage problems

Dramatis Personae


Scotland   a wife who feels she is taken for granted by an unsympathetic husband who does not understand her

England  a hen pecked husband who thinks he can now never do or say the right thing  as his wife  demands more and more freedom from their marriage

The personal monologues;


Scotland    “I have been trying to tell my husband for years that I am unhappy in this marriage. He only ever listens when I threaten to divorce him. This time he’s back at the last minute making promises all over again. How can I believe him? I have heard it all before yet it still the same old marriage. He does not understand me. He does not sympathise with my wishes and views. If you marry a feisty  socialist you should expect a bit of fire and passion for equality”

England: “I can’t understand what’s bugging my wife again. I gave her an expensive new Parliament a few years ago. She said that would make her happy. Now she says it’s not a good enough Parliament. Apparently some of the neighbours have got more powerful ones. We’ve never seen eye to eye over socialism. She knew that when she married me. Most couples keep off the topic of politics. Why can’t we? I have told her again I will give her Parliament more powers, so why does she keep going on about it?Why this permanent threat of divorce hanging over us?”

Scotland ” It’s just typical of him that he can’t see or wont see we do not spend enough on the family. I don’t know what he gets up to with those fancy friends of his in London. He tells me he’s not seeing some other woman, but he does spend a lot of time in the bright lights. He tells me he needs to keep our money with those bankers in London, and that we do not have enough to spend more on homes and welfare for our family. He looks rich enough to me. I think he’s being mean”

England “She doesn’t seem to accept I love her. I have been paying the bills and also keeping some savings for our old age. Now apparently that’s all wrong and I should be more generous. I am only trying to be careful so we don’t run out of cash. I can’t see what’s wrong with the decisions we’ve been making together in London. It always used to be just fine. The last thing I’m going to do is get involved with some other woman when I get so much trouble  from the one I married. I have to keep in with the moneymen in the City as they look after our investments and send us money when we need it. If we broke with them we’d be a lot poorer.”

Scotland: “One thing I am fed up about is a spare bedroom. It’s not asking too much for heaven’s sake. My mother would like to come to stay occasionally. She at least would be someone I could talk to about my feelings. He tells me we can’t afford it.”

England: “I have no problem with her mother coming if she wants to. She does anyway. We have a perfectly good sofa bed in a downstairs room. Her mother told me herself not to bother to add another bedroom as she does not want to be a regular visitor”.

Scotland: “He always says the wrong thing – or more often says nothing. He doesn’t spend a lot of time with me, and when he does he has nothing to say about us and about our relationship. I give him the chance but he always fluffs his lines or is left speechless. He prefers to spend hours watching football or playing his war games. He should know I don’t like either of those.  I do wish he would have some feelings and express them. His stiff upper lip and sense of martyrdom drives us further apart”

England “Whatever I say and do is wrong. If I ask her out for a romantic evening or week-end I am told our relationship is wrong and we can’t do that. Apparently the mood is not right.  Every time she wants to sit down and talk over the same old business of what is wrong with our relationship. I sometimes feel like saying what is wrong with our relationship is that we spend all our time talking about what is wrong with it. But I know that would just make things worse, so I keep quiet. Someone’s got to try and hold it altogether. It’s easier to watch some football than try another version of how we can sort out the devolution of tasks within our family, or how we can determine the family  budget.”

Scotland ” I am worried that he is going to upset our family doctor. He’s always going on about problems with our health service when I think it’s wonderful.”

England ” Scotland seems to think I want to get rid of the family doctor and take out private health insurance. I have absolutely no wish to do that but it doesn’t matter how many times I say so.”

Scotland ” I just can’t stand it. He shows no feelings for me, or for our family or for all in need. He doesn’t do enough around the house. He just assumes meals get cooked and shirts washed by  magic. I just wish he would get in touch with his feminine side and show some normal human sympathy”

England: ” She says I don’t do enough of the chores, yet when I try to cook a meal I get shouted at for the way I use the kitchen. She should see how much time all the gardening, DIY and running errands takes. She says she wants me to get in touch with my feminine side. I am not sure I have one. I thought the whole point of our marriage was she liked manly attributes – my broad shoulders, my decent wallet, my bravery when faced with danger. Would she really prefer it if I turned out to be more feminine?”

To be continued –   will they manage to find true romance as they once enjoyed? Can they find an answer to the eternal problems of who does which chores, and who pays which bills? Will they find a way of being friends and being able to talk to each other again? Will Scotland withdraw the divorce petition? Please let me know your thoughts.




  1. Lifelogic
    September 15, 2014

    There will surely be a full divorce, but I suspect not quite this time.

    Perhaps, if this divorce is anyway to be inevitable, it might be better to get it over with? Then the Scottish can see how they get on with their politics of envy, English oppression & their lefty, magic money tree economics – but using only Scottish taxes to do it. One assumes they will then rightly complain about the EU instead of England and slowly become EU-sceptic instead. Their big state, high tax, lefty politics would also have to change – unless they want their economy to collapse.

    1. Lifelogic
      September 15, 2014

      Surely the only way to keep the Union long term is for the Scottish to vote no and then later the UK all vote to get out of the EU.

      England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland can then get back to being an outward looking Kingdom, happily trading with all the World.

      With the EU overhang there will always be a desire for Scotland to chose one not two masters – either the Union or the EU.

      1. Boudicca
        September 15, 2014

        Yes. But, ironically, with the Scots in the union it is far less likely that we will break free of the EU.

        So let’s put the horse before the cart.

      2. Denis Cooper
        September 15, 2014

        So which of the UK parties first provided the Scots with the alternative of the European Union rather than the British Union? And showed that its passion for the other, younger, woman in Brussels was so great that the boring old wife in Scotland would at best take second place?

  2. Richard1
    September 15, 2014

    No chance, it will be 55% to 45% for No. People will surprised as in the 92 general election. Scots have more sense than to vote for separatism. The SNP have completely failed to address the huge uncertainties and have based their policies on bogus claims eg for the value of oil reserves and the likelihood of 5m Scots cajoling 58m rUK citizens into a currency union we wouldn’t want.

    1. Richard1
      September 15, 2014

      I mean yes they will withdraw the divorce petition. But we in England must make sure we have the same rights in the new proposed marriage arrangements as our Scottish spouse. Its only fair.

      1. outsider
        September 15, 2014

        The choice seems to be between divorce and separate bedrooms Richard. Either way, it will not end the bitterness, nagging and rows in front of the children.

  3. Old Albion
    September 15, 2014

    On Friday we’ll probably see Scotland has decided to give the relationship one more go. But only if she has complete control of the finances as promised.
    In a year or two England will be saying, i’ve had enough of this. I’m being bled dry. I’ll file for divorce.

  4. Mark B
    September 15, 2014

    Good morning.

    Very interesting, Mr Redwood MP sir.

    Just one point though. Lately, it was not England that was giving out the goodies, it was Scottish MP’s and PM’s (Blair and Brown), using their position in the UK Parliament to do so.

    I think we need to move on from this. What is to be, is to be and, we need to discuss the future.

    Scotland did not always vote Socialist and, it was the efforts of Lady Thatcher that sowed the seeds of today’s woe.

    The most dangerous thing from my perspective is, that of the future of England. We have a Labour Party that despises both the nation and its people. We have a Conservative Party that at best, is ambivalent and is cursed with the notion of a new Europe. Either way, I and my fellow Englishmen and women are doomed.

    I asked you sometime ago whether you have enough support regarding your views on England. It seems from what I have seen and read, that you do not. Your party, just like it did with Scotland and the courting of new voters, has made a grave mistake, or indeed has it ? As I type, I remind myself of things said by others elsewhere and their possible significance. Perhaps your party has realised that we are a lost cause and that the future lay elsewhere electorally. Your party has read the runes and played its part in our downfall.

    But as you sow, so shall you reap.

    Reply I have not found a single Conservative MP who disagrees with me

    1. Iain Moore
      September 15, 2014

      “Reply I have not found a single Conservative MP who disagrees with me”

      One thing that identifies our political class is that they are ideological cowards, as such when confronted with someone who has a strong view on an issue, is for them to tacitly agree with them, and then quickly move on.

      Your colleagues may agree with you to your face, but the substance to their agreement with you on this is the action they themselves have taken, and here, in what amounts to a generation of time, they are condemned by their silence.

      1. Richard1
        September 15, 2014

        Huge campaign by the left against JR’s proposal for an English parliament. As expected they will try to balkanize, with powers to meaningless regional assemblies and city authorities. As Ed Balls has observed, a Labour govt would never get its budget through an English parliament! Tory MPs must press this hard, it could be a real winner at the election.

        1. Denis Cooper
          September 15, 2014

          I’ve no idea why Balls should say that.

          Of course it would depend on how a separate English parliament was elected, but in 1997 under FPTP the Labour party won a huge majority of the seats in England and it would have come within a whisker of getting an overall majority of the seats across the whole of the UK even if it had won no seats at all outside England.

          Table 1b, voting just in England – Labour got 43.5% of the votes cast and won 328 out of the 529 seats, overall majority 127.

          Table 1a, voting in the whole UK – Labour got 43.2% of the votes cast and won 418 out of the 659 seats, overall majority 177; and even if it had won no seats at all outside England the 328 it had won in England would have left it just 3 short of an overall Commons majority, and therefore it would either have formed a minority government or formed a coalition with the LibDems with their 46 MPs, 34 of whom were elected in England.

          This is why I say that you simply cannot rely on the UK MPs elected in England always being opposed to breaking up England; indeed after the 1997 election even if neither Labour nor the LibDems had won any seats at all outside England there would still have been an overall majority of UK MPs who wanted to do that.

          1. Richard1
            September 16, 2014

            Yes in 97 Labour beat the Tories 43-31%, plus they behave their rotten boroughs where Labour votes count for more. But by 05 when they were down to 35% – below where Cameron was in 2010 – this wouldn’t have worked. Obviously we also need a new reform act to to get rid of Labour (and a few LibDem) rotten boroughs also.

            Certainly nwith Miliband likely to poll c 35% he needs the Celtic fringe to impose socialism, even with the rotten boroughs.

        2. Mark B
          September 15, 2014

          Agreed !

          A referendum on the EU on a possible Conservative majority is enticing, but our own Parliament would capture the hearts, and possibly votes, of many more because it is so much more likely to be achievable.

    2. Mark B
      September 15, 2014

      Reply to reply

      I have received an email from the Secretary of my MP. He will write to me in due course and is well aware of the strength of feeling on this issue from his constituents. So I do hope that he supports you, and that something positive can be done.


  5. Ian wragg
    September 15, 2014

    Strikes me more like a sullen teenager who always wants their own way. Setting up home with the rent being paid by mum and dad. Cold wind of reality about to blow whatever the vote.

  6. alan jutson
    September 15, 2014

    A Friends advice.

    Its not the many trips to London that is causing the financial problem, but the membership of a socialist Club in Brussels that seems to be causing/adding to your very many problems.

    It almost seems like this club is another partner, such is its demands.

    You do not seem to visit this club much, or even seem to get much enjoyment out of it any more, but the direct debits for its membership seem to be getting larger and larger, to such an extent that you seem to be having trouble paying your own bills, and are now getting further and further into long term debt.

    I know you have tried complaining, and have often asked for a reduction, but no one seems to be taking any notice of you, so perhaps it is time to think about leaving, after all, no point in belonging to a Club where you do not use the majority of the facilities is there.

    Perhaps if you left this socialist club you may have more time and money to spend on yourselves, although your interests and needs now seem to be getting further and further apart with both of you spending beyond your present means.

    Perhaps it really is time for a divorce, or at least a separation, then you can both go your separate ways whilst you are still talking, and on reasonable terms, and avoid a very expensive lawyer.

    All you need to do is to come to a sensible agreement over property and finance, and then perhaps you can both look forward to an alternative life.

    All I ask is that before you make the final decision, you both remember that the Pools win of years ago, has now been nearly spent, that the monthly legacy and even possibly the health insurance will cease. So you will both still need to work to pay for the lifestyle to which you have both become accustomed, or you will become very disappointed.

    Good luck for the future I hope you can resolve your difficulties once and for all, but if not then divorce is probably the best option. you can then perhaps both get on with your lives and hopefully still remain friends.

  7. Old Albion
    September 15, 2014

    JR. In your reply to MarkB, you said
    “Reply I have not found a single Conservative MP who disagrees with me”
    Is that a reference to your view that we need an English parliament?

    Reply That we need English votes for English issues and need to tackle the problem of England now.

    1. Denis Cooper
      September 15, 2014

      England is not a problem; it is the longstanding ingrained anglophobic attitudes of the politicians foolishly elected to the UK Parliament by the people in England that is the problem.

      And we need more than “English votes for English issues” in the UK Parliament if we are to prevent those politicians elected in England breaking up England; bear in mind that the Labour government elected in 1997 did not need to rely on the votes of any MPs elected outside England to get a majority of MPs supporting its plans to do just that.

      Notwithstanding any extra cost, to give England the best chance to survive we need a separately elected devolved Parliament for the whole of England passing law for the whole of England and holding to account a separate devolved government for the whole of England – just as in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland – and their positions need to be entrenched in the UK constitution so that their powers could not be diminished and nor could they be abolished by the UK Parliament except with the direct approval of the voters in England as expressed in a referendum.

    2. Mark B
      September 15, 2014

      Thank you Old Albion, and Dennis.

      Whilst it might be more politically ‘expedient’ to just have English votes for English MP’s, that is not what the other Home Nations have. As I said on this here blog / diary and to my MP; “I want the same !”

      Not more, and certainly, not less.

  8. Douglas Carter
    September 15, 2014

    I have a lifelong aversion to soap operas and whilst notionally I ought to take a keen interest in this particular one, I’m more engaged by the peripheral scraps, and with what we have learned of the process which governs the relationship between this unhappy couple.

    It was after an interested onlooker revealed compelling information that demonstrated with apparent authority that the divorce might actually happen some days ago that the friends of Mr. England, some of the people whom he had enlisted to speak up for the marriage, seemed to collectively suffer a series of parallel and very public, painful verbal prolapses.

    The most bizarre intervention of which came from the transient friend of Mr. England (‘friend’ in a fairly loose way….) who very 0ccasionally can be made to speak for people in Kircaldy and Cowdenbeath (and for the voices in his head), He came up with a plan which promised an entirely new relationship between the married couple which was fairly clearly – in the classic Monty Python methodology – made up as was going along.

    Some of those speaking for Mr. England and charged with keeping the marriage together seem to think that little episode has gone by without notice – that some how ‘we’ve got away with it…’… Which would be the same symptom of crass complacency they’ve demonstrated thus far across these years and one of the main reasons they found themselves at that point.

    It would be a very dangerous mistake for the people in this soap opera to assume the people that Mr. England & Mrs. Scotland apparently represent are stupid. It doesn’t take much effort to perceive panic nor to observe that some suddenly-appearing plans are credibility-free stunts cobbled together in a fit of shock. It would also appear to be justification for the opinions of many who believe that far too many of the most senior figures enlisted to speak and legislate on matters overseen by our couple are very considerably out of their depths, and are desperately unequal to the gravity of their duties.

    This has shone a very powerful light at Parliament. Within that beam is one very manifest and alarmed rabbit, for all to see. It has been absolutely crystal-clear that the cupboard in which plans are supposed to reside was left wilfully – even institutionally – bare. We appear to have a set of Political parties who – when faced with the genuine possibility of a permanent unwelcome Political reverse, are comprehensively unwilling to face the possibility and refuse to prepare properly-conducted strategic plans for such eventualities.

    …’Too big to fail’ revisited. ‘Lessons will be learned’. anyone….?…..

    It’s for this reason that observers have every justification in holding out for one certain Prime Minister to disclose the nature of his plans on ‘renegotiation’ to those who have been promised ‘fundamental change’. After-the-event will be far to late to reveal to people those plans were devoid of any efficacy in any respect.

  9. Brian Tomkinson
    September 15, 2014

    “His wife demands more and more freedom from their marriage” and, if they divorce, she intends to spend much more time with their mutual friend in Brussels with whom she seems happy to be increasingly subservient.

    1. Denis Cooper
      September 15, 2014

      Well, in my scenario that “mutual friend” in Brussels was actually the younger and more alluring “other woman” who led England to neglect his Scottish wife; but such things do happen, and of course now that England seems to be tiring of his continental mistress and her incessant demands there could be the makings of a close alliance between the two women.

      1. Brian Tomkinson
        September 15, 2014

        It all sounds so terribly modern!

      2. Mark B
        September 15, 2014

        Menage trois

        This is getting more Mills and Boon by the minute !

  10. Denis Cooper
    September 15, 2014

    It’s hard to see how these two can ever rekindle whatever love they previously had.

    Too much has been said and there is now too much bitterness for that to be easy.

    In particular, England will not quickly forget the threat that Scotland would make him pay for her share of their debts. To be fair they have both been overspending for years, but the fact remains that part of the massive debts that they’ve run up were to fund her extravagance not his, and now she says that he should pay for the lot.

    However there is one glimmer of hope, because she isn’t always like that. Half of her still likes him and wants to keep the marriage going; it’s the other half that nags and shouts and insults him. Maybe she could be helped to overcome this schizoid tendency?

    1. petermartin2001
      September 16, 2014

      the threat that Scotland would make him pay for her share of their debts.

      It’s just not possible to make such a threat! Every country which issues its own currency creates debts. It has to. It’s just not possible to do otherwise. The debts are just a way of measuring how much currency has been issued.

      If Scotland wants to go it alone the currency and the debts that go with it will stay with the rUK. That doesn’t put Scotland in any better position. Any assets of the BoE will stay where they are.

      On the other hand if the Scots want their 8% share of the BoE they can take 8% of the assets and 8% of the debt. It’s their call. It won’t affect the rUK much either way.

  11. formula57
    September 15, 2014

    As we know, because we were told all those years ago by Tam Dayell, devolution is a motorway to independence with no exits.

    The outrageous new “devo-max” type concessions that we are apparently all content to bestow will further the journey so, as noted hitherto, at the next referendum, the SNP case will be there is so little left that is undertaken by the Union, independence is but a small and obvious step.

    This referendum has shown that the case for continued Union is weak, even insubstantial. Divorce would present a fresh chance to both partners and so the question becomes why delay it, for what good purpose? Accordingly, working on reconciliation seems a futile misdirection of effort.

  12. David Duff
    September 15, 2014

    I wouldn’t normally expect to start my week with a chuckle and a giggle from your distinguished but usually highly analytical blog. But I did today, so thank you!

    Reply Glad you liked it. I enjoyed thinking it up, with I trust the correct analogies.

  13. Bert Young
    September 15, 2014

    Obviously there’s little chemistry between them . If there was once true love and affection , it has now gone out of the window and they should now seek the most sensible way to call it off . Both of them , looking back , should never have married in the first place – they were obviously blinded by a momentary passion that led them to believe it could last forever ; they should have experimented with a “trial” relationship before tying the knot , now with children , they must consider their family commitments and decide what is most important to them ; children and their futures cannot be ignored – their stability depends on a good family enviroment and parental guidance . Another consideration nowadays is the cost of divorce – only the lawyers really benefit ; good counselling is often a better solution . Modern society has the illusion that swapping and changing is an acceptable norm , but those of us longer in the tooth , know that it is possible to endure all kinds of pain and suffering for the sake of a civilised state .

    1. Denis Cooper
      September 15, 2014

      They had a “trial” relationship for more than a century, which worked OK to start with, then became very turbulent, and ended up with them agreeing to tie the knot as what seemed at the time to be the best way to keep a permanent peace between them. And that sort of worked for the next three centuries.

  14. Stephen Berry
    September 15, 2014

    John, have you ever considered a career writing Romcoms? I imagine the life of an MP can be a little dull at times.

    It’s surely now or never for the Scots. When will the nationalists have a more favourable opportunity?

    i) A Prime Minister who calls a referendum and then is barely seen north of the border until it appears he may lose the vote. One sometime wonders if he thinks the security implications of events in the Middle East are more significant than those of Scotland leaving the union.

    ii) An anti-independence campaign which has had the utmost difficulty in offering a positive case for the union. Do they even realise that endless scare stories could be counter-productive?

    iii) A popular and sharp-witted leader of the nationalists.

    iv) An EU which still staggers on sufficiently such that the Scots might want to rejoin it. I saw recently that Italian GDP is now back to the levels of year 2000. The Eurozone’s present no growth ‘direction’ cannot persist and it is bound to look radically different in 5-10 years time.

    As an aside, the Scots Nats argument on the Bank of England is interesting. They maintain the Scottish people have been involved in building up the BoE, so they want a share of its assets before they take on any UK debt liabilities. But where does this leave ‘Scottish’ Oil? The oil was useless without the capital and labour which enabled it to be brought to market. Much of that capital and labour came from the rest of the UK. Does not the RUK thereby derive some future claim on this oil? If we accept the Scots Nats line of reasoning, that is.

    1. Denis Cooper
      September 15, 2014

      As far as I’m concerned Scotland could have a pro rata share of the net assets of the Bank of England and put that towards setting up its own central bank, which it would in any case need if it was to be allowed to stay in the EU as a member state in its own sovereign right rather than just as part of the UK.

      Scotland’s share of the net assets would be about £300 million:

      not the countless billions that Salmond has led many Scots to believe.

      1. acorn
        September 15, 2014

        UK plc: Proposal to split into two separate operating companies.

        Headline indicators for UK plc. (Using proper “plc” accounting, this company would be a total busted flush in spades). These accounts have been prepared using the tax domicile “unit of account” = Pounds Stirling

        Operating revenue: £621 billion (2012/13)
        Operating expenditure: £717 billion
        Net financing costs: £79 billion
        Net expenditure: £179 billion (the dreaded budget deficit a la Osborne)
        Total assets: £1,264 billion
        Total liabilities: £2,893 billion
        Net liabilities: £1,630 billion
        Working capital MINUS £451 billion (call in the administrators pronto)

        (Working capital is a measure of current assets less current liabilities and was negative £451 billion. It included £214 billion of government borrowing due to be repaid within one year as part of normal financing arrangements of its operations.)

        Nobody in their right mind would buy this company, UNTIL, you find out that it can print its own “unit of account”. It can pay any debt now or in the future, presented to it in its own unit of account; it has a bottomless pit of these units of account.

        Financed by Taxpayers’ Equity: (not strictly true but fools the masses)
        Liabilities to be funded by future revenues
        General reserve £1,882.2 billion
        Revaluation reserve (£248.9) billion
        Other reserves £3.7) billion

        Total liabilities to be funded by future revenues £1,629.6

        Now if we assume that Scotland takes its population share of this UK plc, which would be quite generous to Scotland; we have (5.3 / 64.0)*100 = 8.3% = £135.3 billion. (Slightly less than one years GDP including the (geographic share) of the oil and gas.

        What am I bid (include some goodwill to sweeten the deal. On second thoughts that could be negative.) 😉 😉 😉 .

  15. Denis Cooper
    September 15, 2014

    I see that Salmond has already started to sort out the potential problems with the EU:

    “Scottish independence: EU negotiations under way”

    Let me guess: these will be like those negotiations with the Bank of England to prepare for the currency union, which Carney then had to say were nothing of the sort.

    One very important point, typical of the SNP, is their misrepresentation of the position of Sweden regarding the euro:

    “The SNP points to the example of Sweden which has been in the EU for 19 years but never signed up to the euro because the process is essentially voluntary.”

    As I’ve said in the past joining the euro should be voluntary, and I wish it was voluntary, and I wish Cameron had insisted that it must be made voluntary as part of a quid pro quo when Merkel was demanding her EU treaty change to help save the euro; but apart from the two EU member states with treaty opt-outs it is only voluntary in the sense that a sovereign state like Sweden can choose to ignore a treaty obligation and take whatever consequences may ensue.

    I can’t see Merkel and others in the EU being prepared to risk another case like Sweden where a new member state solemnly pledges to join the euro and then refuses to do so; she has publicy stated the goal that all EU member states should join the euro, without even admitting the UK and Denmark as exceptions even though they have legal opt-outs enshrined in the treaties, and no doubt she would very much like to see the euro planted on part of the British mainland; and no doubt also she has heard Salmond and the SNP mooting that an independent Scotland could pledge itself to join the euro while planning to dodge out of that commitment, and she would take care not to allow that.

    1. acorn
      September 15, 2014

      Denis; Scotland gets in by Article 48; NOT Article 49. Time to put your money down.

      All the Best Acorn

      1. Denis Cooper
        September 16, 2014

        For some years now I’ve always said that the first attempt would be to use Article 48, but even if that was permitted by the governments of all the other EU member states Scotland would still be expected to give up all of the present UK’s treaty opt-outs and especially that on the euro.

  16. Andrew S
    September 15, 2014

    My thoughts are that as a fair, open-minded, caring, democracy supporting and law abiding Englishman through and through, I am sick to the back teeth of hearing from English hating scots and any other nationality for that matter, of how their problems are all caused by the English. If they want to leave then do so but ninety percent of the population will remain in the territory of the UK.
    I am also sick of hearing from Alex Salmond as to what he thinks is best for England, Wales, and Northern Ireland.
    If there is a Scottish decision leave, then we need a general election in the UK except for Scottish constituencies (which then should not be counted in UK national elections)
    before any settlement negotiation is started.
    And if they vote to remain, then again the UK public (except for Scotland who have already had their say through a referendum) need to be consulted before any new settlements are begun to be negotiated. Regarding the recent spate of promises by the two main UK political parties, well really they have no moral right to make such promises without consulting the people first by way of a general election.

  17. Andy
    September 15, 2014

    The real issue here is will Scotland be entitled to one of the red arrows jets if they vote yes?

    1. formula57
      September 15, 2014

      A most pertinent point, answered by amazing coincidence through some leaked memos.

      Memo Exchange on Red Arrows – Top Secret (pending admitting negotiations exist at all)

      Dame Lucinda Soft-Touch (for rUK) – We have no firm views but an equitable split might see one or two of the nine aircraft awarded to Scotland – or even more I suppose. How would that suit you?

      Dr Rory Grabbit (for Scotland) – Two! If you are going to bully us, we cannot negotiate at all. You cannot intend to trample upon Scottish human rights by denying continued entitlement to an aerial acrobatic display team, so that means a minimum of three aircraft. But diseconomies inherent in such a smaller scale fleet means rUK must give us a new extra allowance to help pay the increased costs as well as making available the whole present fleet for use in Scotland on public holidays so the Scottish people continue to enjoy what they have helped nurture all these years.

      Dame Lucinda – I see. Well reasonable as most of that sounds, if we agree to making the whole fleet available, that means we have to keep it ourselves, even if we change our minds as we rebalance our own defence budget. And keeping it minus the aircraft Scotland would take will be proportionately more expensive – your diseconomies point you see.

      Dr Rory – If you are saying you don’t want any, we might take them all off your hands – if you pay us enough.

      Dame Lucinda – No, no – I think we can compromise on this Dr Grabbit. So three to you it is with all other conditions you seek.

  18. APL
    September 15, 2014

    This is the modern divorce.

    It doesn’t ‘feel’ right, therefore lay waste to everything. Oh! and expect your former spouse to keep you in the manner you’ve become accustomed to indefinitely.

    MarkB: “Scotland did not always vote Socialist and, it was the efforts of Lady Thatcher that sowed the seeds of today’s woe.”

    Wrong. She may have contributed to the deteriorating situation, but it was Heath that kicked it all off with his giving away our fishing waters to the EU. Many many independent and independently minded Scottish (and English, btw) jobs were killed off by that piece of political ineptitude.

    1. Mark B
      September 15, 2014


      I was thinking of the Community Charge (Poll Tax) that was introduced to Scotland BEFORE the rest of the UK and, the fact that she did not consider Scottish Devolution when it was first promised some time before she came to power.

      1. APL
        September 15, 2014

        Mark B: “I was thinking of the Community Charge (Poll Tax) that was introduced to Scotland BEFORE the rest of the UK and .. ”

        No doubt it make an already deteriorating situation worse. But I believe there is much evidence to think Heath responsible.

        Mark B: “Scottish Devolution when it was first promised some time before she came to power.”

        That was before my time or interest in such matters. My first general election was, I think ’79.

  19. NickW
    September 15, 2014

    Buried in the data on one of the recent Survation polls is the expressed opinion that 10% of the British would (according to the Survey) stop drinking Scotch whisky, in the event of Scotland becoming Independent. The link is here; (I use the site because of politics, not betting).


    That doesn’t look too bad, until one asks oneself the question, “What proportion of the English public regularly drink Scotch whisky?”

    That 10% of the public could turn into an actual drop in whisky consumption of 30% or more, and that is before we have endured 18 months of poisonous negotiations inevitably accompanied by Salmond’s racist soundbites about the English.

    Commercial brands appeal at an emotional level, and the Scottish people therefore run the real risk that the “Scottish” brand, (and any brand or name related to Scotland) will become toxic to the English and destroy their main export market.

    The Survation poll says it is happening already.

    1. Boudicca
      September 15, 2014

      I holidayed in Canada this year and sampled Canadian Whisky. Very nice it was …. and I’ve made the switch since coming back to the UK and reading/hearing the vitriolic ScotsNats hatred of the English.

      No going back now……

      1. outsider
        September 15, 2014

        Dear Boudicca, You could try Bushmills whiskey from County Antrim or English whisky distilled in Norfolk, reputed to be of good quality but not cheap.

      2. Richard Hobbs
        September 15, 2014

        I live in Canada and like a glass of Scottish whisky most evenings. Only this morning, I was saying to my wife that if they go, and at great personal sacrifice, I will look to find something else. If they don’t want me then I don’t want to be supporting them!
        I am, of course, really hoping for a NO vote so can keep on with my lovely Scotch!!

    2. Denis Cooper
      September 15, 2014

      This is what has really got to me: Salmond issued a threat that Scotland would walk away from its share of the UK debt, and instead of Scots being repelled by that stupid and despicable proposal the support for “yes” rose.

      Why should I want to holiday in Scotland when more or less every other person that I met would apparently think it fine and in no way dishonourable to expect me to pay off their share of the debt, the part accumulated by the UK borrowing to fund additional public spending in Scotland for their benefit?

      Over the months I’ve repeatedly warned Scottish nationalists that it would be a big mistake for them to make enemies of the English when about a third of their economy and therefore their jobs depend on the willingness of people in the rest of the UK to take their exports in various forms , and moreover in preference to alternatives.

      But they are under the spell cunningly cast by Salmond and the SNP and have serious delusions of Scottish grandeur, which unfortunately the “no” campaign has actually been helping to reinforce in its efforts to deflect criticisms that it lacks patriotism and pride in Scotland.

      A few days ago some idiot was even suggesting that the Westminster government is desperate to keep Scotland in the UK because it would collapse without the revenues from Scottish oil. Somebody else pointed out that the oil revenues were about the same as council tax and business rates just in Yorkshire, but that small fact was like water off the duck’s back.

  20. stred
    September 15, 2014

    You must have personal understanding of the age old problem to have written such a witty piece. This would go viral if you allowed or allowed someone to put it on the utube.

    It probably will just fail to happen, but when stuck with a whinging spendthrift wife who lets you down all the time and keeps asking for more, it is time to get out. Especially if the marriage is an old one and she gets uglier by the day, she no longer supports you, everyone else knows best and she fancies a sly foreign bloke up the road, who smoothes her up with lies and has a lot of other gullible girlfriends.

    Older men often find there are plenty of other women ready to make them happy for a while. There are plenty of much more attractive and intelligent birds out there in Eastern Europe, Brazil and the Far East and they are a lot younger and more lively. Best of all, you don’t have to stick your head in a noose and marry them. Leave that sort of folly to the gays.

    If the wife is telling everyone that her old auntie Oilie has a pile of cash and she is is in the will, then this will be taken into account in the divorce and so it may not be too expensive. Never mind if auntie has been imagining her riches or spent it.

    She may think the joint bank account can be split. It would be wise to transfer the cash you have contributed to another bank, out of her reach. And don’t forget to move any valuables out, especially your antique shotgun. She might use it on you.

    1. stred
      September 15, 2014

      Forgot to say, remind your divorce lawyer that when you met the old bagpipe she was up the creek and bust after she had blown all her money on that scheme a Panamanian bloke had sold her. The cash you put in then should be put on the balance for the split.

      1. AndyM
        September 15, 2014

        At compound interest

    2. Martin C
      September 15, 2014

      Thanks stred!
      Made me chuckle as much as JR’s original post. “Older and getting uglier by the day…”
      Oh well!

  21. Boudicca
    September 15, 2014

    The marriage is over in all but name.

    Since the woman seems determined not to file for divorce, the man should.

    They will both be a lot happier and after a period of very frosty relations, will eventually find a way of co-existing without hating each other.

    Oh: and the husband will then also find it much easier to ditch the arrogant, bossy, greedy and never-satisfied, unwanted relations the other side of the channel as well.

    1. Mark B
      September 15, 2014

      Relations ?? Hardly !! More like the neighbours from hell.

  22. Atlas
    September 15, 2014

    The problem stems from the original marriage. The rich guardians (The Scottish MPs) of the daughter decided to marry her off to an even richer suitor (The English Government) in return for them personally receiving a cash payment from the suitor. She found herself locked into an unhappy marriage which she twice tried to break out of (1715, 1745) but the suitor used strong-arm methods to subdue her. Now she is trying for a divorce to end this unhappy state of affairs as she finds that over the last 40 years the suitor has been stealing her heritage (oil) and yet having the brass neck to call her a sponger.

    1. cosmic
      September 15, 2014

      One of the problems with this analogy is of thinking of Scotland as a single personality.

      The history of Scotland prior to and even after the union was of tribal squabbles and the 1715 and 1745 events were hardly a question of all Scots rising up to throw off oppression.

    2. Denis Cooper
      September 15, 2014

      If “she” was wholehearted about breaking out of the marriage in 1715 and 1745 why did a large part of “her” fight “herself” to stop it happening?

    3. Daisy
      September 15, 2014

      A rough wooing it might well have been, but the children of that marriage are just as much the progeny of their father as of their mother. Three hundred years of coming and going freely across the border, intermarriage, reciprocal entitlement and influence have changed England as they have changed Scotland. Grievous wrongs were done, no doubt, but restitution for those wrongs cannot now be claimed by the original victims, who are long gone, and whose descendants are now indistinguishable from those of the perpetrators.

    4. cosmic
      September 15, 2014

      I suggest you look into the history of the 1715 and 1745 Jacobite rebellions.

      Their purpose was to reinstall the old Stuart line, which had terminated in 1688 with the ousting of James II (VII), who managed to misunderstand just about everything, including the English Civil War which had cost his father his life. They started in Scotland but they weren’t universally popular there, and they weren’t universally unpopular in England. Certainly in 1715 there was supposed to be a sympathetic rebellion in the West of England, which was detected and nipped in the bud and there was an insurrection in the North of England.

      The idea that the Jacobite Rebellions were much to do with, “She found herself locked into an unhappy marriage which she twice tried to break out of (1715, 1745) but the suitor used strong-arm methods to subdue her.”, is highly dubious.

  23. margaret
    September 15, 2014

    Fool : ” For you know nuncle , The hedge sparrow fed the cuckoo so long..”

  24. Elliot Kane
    September 15, 2014

    I don’t think you speak for England regarding the ‘bedroom tax’, John. I find it utterly iniquitous and I’m sure many other English people do, too. It’s a transparent attempt to force people out of their homes to make way for the unlimited immigration currently preferred by both major parties.

    For the rest, though, your summation looks entirely accurate.

    I started the whole thing as a Unionist, and in my heart I still am, but after the unrelenting negativity of the No campaign, I can honestly say that if I were Scots, I would vote for independence. It’s totally obvious that neither Labour nor the Conservatives (Or the leaderships at least) have any kind of vision for Britain at all, nor any belief in the virtues and abilities of our great nation.

    ‘Stay with us as we surrender our once-proud nations to be subsumed into a pan-European federation’ is the ‘vision’ of the small minded pygmy, not the statesman. Sure, Salmond wants the same thing, but I would calculate that the Spanish would keep Scotland out of the EU, giving Scotland a freedom that the rest of the UK would lack.

    I actually find it very depressing that I’ve been forced to the conclusion that Scotland may be better off out of the UK. It’s not a conclusion I ever wanted to reach.

  25. peter davies
    September 15, 2014

    Very good piece – I think you should voice narrate this a publish on You Tube!

    In reality I don’t think this will be a YES win this week but the UK will never be the same again. We will probably see some sort of English parliament though surely a simple law barring an MP from debating or voting on any law that does not apply to their constituency would help solve this issue – how complex does that need to be?

    I give it 5 years after spending a fortune building/splitting institutions on devo max – but personally think that if they think the UK is as bad as the SNP would have us believe they may as well just get it over with and go now. If I was an MP I would not be trying to bribe them – surely the simple fact that they have more per head in public expenditure than anywhere in the UK should be emphasized more.

  26. francis
    September 15, 2014

    I thought that if YES achieved more than 40% the union was as good as over. It looks like YES will achieve no less than 45% so we can safely assume that the UK exists in name only now.

    We English are not allowed to show any cultural or national identity for fear of upsetting our neighbours and immigrants. This is unacceptable. If they cannot accept our right to self determination, our rights to promote our culture then they should leave us.

    It is now time for the UK to break up, because the worst result will be a NO vote with a narrow majority.

    An English Parliament within the UK may put things right but will the ‘others’ accept it? No. They want us destroyed because our existence is seen as offensive to them. Let them go. They have enough national pride to keep them going while we are denied our national pride.

    1. Denis Cooper
      September 15, 2014

      The Union is not over unless and until the supreme legal authority for the UK, the UK Parliament, says that the Union is over; and even in the event of a “yes” vote on Thursday the UK Parliament should not do that without first showing those who would be separated from the rest of the UK the actual negotiated terms of their separation rather than the hypothetical terms now projected by the SNP to induce them to vote “yes”, and asking them whether they are sure that they want to go ahead with it. And it should be the UK government and Parliament which did that, not the devolved Scottish institutions, and that second referendum should not use the same franchise as for local elections in Scotland.

      Reply Yes I understand your view on all this. It is not going to happen like that. It would be seen as treachery in Scotland if we tried to impose a second referendum on them.

      1. Denis Cooper
        September 15, 2014

        If some extremists in Scotland resented even being asked whether they approved of the final settlement for separation then they could just vote to approve it however bad it was. At least then the others would be voting for separation with full knowledge of what they were voting for.

      2. formula57
        September 15, 2014

        And it will look like treachery in England, Wales and Northern Ireland if a settlement is made without approval as to its terms by the English, Welsh and Northern Irish.

        1. bluedog
          September 15, 2014

          Exactly, formula57. And if the Scots carry out their threat to repudiate their share of the UK national debt, the rest of the UK will never agree to terms.

      3. petermartin2001
        September 16, 2014

        Yes, I think John’s right on this. There won’t be a second referendum. To offer a second one, beforehand, will increase the chances of a ‘yes’ vote in the first one. To impose a second one on the Scots, after the event, will likely antagonise many Scots who have voted ‘no’ in the first referendum and therefore virtually guarantee a ‘yes’ vote the second time around.

        I hope we get a ‘no’ vote. We’ll just have to see how it goes.

  27. Shieldsman
    September 15, 2014

    Looks like the marriage counsellor’s have failed to reconcile the two parties.
    The divorce lawyers are already working on the separation terms and their fat fees.

  28. Shieldsman
    September 15, 2014

    Looks like the Marriage Counsellors have failed to reconcile the two parties.
    The divorce lawyers are already working on the separation terms and their big fat fees.

  29. Bryan
    September 15, 2014

    Perhaps we should all move to Scotland:-

    Supermarkets prices cheaper (except maybe Waitrose and M&S). Beer and Spirits less costly. Housing certainly cheaper in most areas as are rents.

    Travel – bus and rail fares cost less.

    No prescription charges, no University tuition fees (except for the Sassenachs who pay less than in England – how about that?)

    Care for the elderly free. etc.

    All thanks to the Barnet Formula which our main parties are still wedded to.

    My source? Family in Scotland some of whom split their residence between there and England.

    Therein lies the reason, I think, why we shall never get an English Parliament. We would never vote to subsidize other parts of the UK for service provision which we are denied here.

    Mr Cameron, in office, continues to disappoint most of those who put him there. Education doesn’t stop once University or School is bade farewell!

    1. petermartin2001
      September 16, 2014

      How about if Scotland win their independence, the rest of the UK provokes a war which we’d immediately end by surrendering on the condition that Scotland should assume control over the whole of the former UK?

      We’d all have free tertiary education back and no prescription charges!

  30. Lindsay McDougall
    September 15, 2014

    While we are on the subject, has Scotland been better governed since the advent of its expensive new parliament? Alex Salmond and Gordon Brown shout from the roof tops that it has. However, all that has happened is that the Barnett formula, financed by English taxpayers, has enabled the Scots to keep a few perks like free University education. It is this that has led to Alex Salmond’s massive ego and desire to go it alone.

  31. NickW
    September 15, 2014

    There is an interesting rift opening up between Labour and the Conservatives on the English response to “Devo Max”.

    The Conservatives (rightly) want an English Parliament; Labour (predictably) want some sort of complete fudge which will allow their Scottish Labour MPs to continue to rule England as if it were their very own Socialist fiefdom, whereby Labour can rule England without having an English majority.

    Needless to say, the Labour fudge is going to prove as popular on the doorstep as a plague of boils, particularly in seats like Rotherham where the Labour party already has a serious problem.

    That leaves UKIP as a disproportionate threat to Labour MPs rather than to the Conservatives. (I am assuming here that UKIP is in support of an English Parliament, although I have not yet seen any suggestion of this in print)

    The question I have for Mr Redwood is this;

    “Will individual Labour MPs defend the party line at risk of losing their seat to UKIP, or will they, when it comes to the crunch, support the call for an English Parliament?”
    Have you heard from any Labour MPs what their thoughts are on the subject? (No names obviously).

    Reply I am getting some Labour support, and hear that many Labour MPs privately know they cannot hold the line against English votes for English issues.

    1. Denis Cooper
      September 16, 2014

      No, officially the Conservatives do NOT want an English Parliament.

      And as far as I’ve been able to establish nor does UKIP officially want a true English Parliament either, they just have their own alternative fudge.

  32. David
    September 15, 2014

    I agree that there must be an English parliament but you completely misunderstand the calls for greater democracy and the Scottish referendum, when you say that it should be housed in London and by Westminster MPs.

    It should be based in a regional city like Birmingham or Manchester and should have separately directly elected representatives. People are tired of the remoteness of London and the South East – this is why we want greater freedoms.

  33. DaveM
    September 15, 2014

    Everyone has their own opinion on how an English parliament should work (this relates slightly to the post on the e-petition also). Ultimately, the issue at the minute is to get the Unionists and anti-English lefties in Westminster to agree this in principle.

    1. Pessimism and negativity on this issue is becoming boring. I can’t help thinking that this vote will be good for England whichever way it goes. The BBC is talking about the West Lothian Question, the Barnett Formula and an English Parliament on the radio and TV every day now – that is a huge breakthrough. However, it relies on people supporting JR and his like-minded colleagues, rather than finding fault and negatives in every post. Everyone I speak to (including Scottish friends and colleagues) agree that a federal UK with an English Parliament is the way forward. So spread the word people – sign the petitions, text and e mail the radio programmes, and increase the momentum.

    2. Why should the English Parliament be anywhere but London? It’s our capital, the capital of England, one of the greatest cities in history, and has been the capital of England since Alfred the Great united Wessex, Mercia, and East Anglia – why should we give it up because there’s been a British government there for 300 years? If the English Parliament was made up from people who worked the majority of the time in their local constituencies why does it matter that the Parliament is not local? We have phones, email, VTC etc nowadays!! The First Minister for England would need to be in the HoC regularly so his office would need to be in London. (I live in Plymouth by the way – long way from the capital!)

    3. The proposal in the aforementioned e-petition is not what I would choose, and yes, it has punctuation errors, but it is another angle of attack and should therefore be signed by anyone who believes this country should have an English Parliament.

    4. I’m putting on my armour now (with a red and white surcoat obviously) in anticipation of the tirade of negative comments.

    Be positive – you may doubt JR’s support in Westminster, but at least he’s in Westminster, is a senior politician, and is doing just about everything he can.

    1. Denis Cooper
      September 16, 2014

      You’re wrong about Alfred. In those days there was no fixed capital of England, the king and the Witan moved around the kingdom. London became the capital city of England in the 12th century, then in the 18th century it became the capital of the United Kingdom. There is no reason why a new English Parliament and government should be located in London and very good reasons why it should not, it should be located more centrally for the whole of England.

  34. Daisy
    September 15, 2014

    I admired the narrative; it was a brilliant picture of a miserable marriage. But it’s never about the catalogue of grievances, it’s about lovelessness. No amount of counselling, no housework rota, no private bank account, no me-time, no separate holidays, no surrender, however abject, to the wishes of the other person, can fix that. So let us do the decent thing, separate, be generous, and hope that when the dust has settled some sort of friendship, or at least civilised conversation, will be possible.

  35. ian
    September 15, 2014

    Internet based parliament for me and westminster let out, got your coal and wood in.

  36. Bazman
    September 15, 2014

    Scottish dependence. Simples!

  37. WokinghamMums
    September 15, 2014

    We’re been chatting as has the country.
    Scotland must do what the majority decide, but! Should they vote for independence, Cameron must then fight for British interests. England, Wales & N Ireland must keep the Queen, the pound, armed forces, nuclear defence, boarder controls, financial markets, customs, our position in the world and negotiate our, and for what’s left of the united Kingdoms position in the EU, we must not compromise or share with an Independent state of Scotland, they must find their own way, it’s what they voted for. Scottish MP’s shouldn’t vote on anything british as we can’t Scottish and they must pay their share of the dept, they took the good times. The remaining British Parliament must evolve, MP’s must get scaled back, fewer but better paid, and England, Wales & N Ireland must get com-parity and get their own governing body and their own devolution umbrellaed by joint government from Westminster on joint interests, defence, ficscal matters etc. and most importably when it all goes wrong in Scotland WE DO NOT bale them out. Britain must look after itself if Scotland wants independence so be it, but independence is independence.
    Apologies for the spelling

  38. Alan Hill
    September 15, 2014

    Sounds like the sort of woman one would be well rid of. Endless whining and dissatisfaction and absolutely no gratitude however hard you try.

  39. Know-Dice
    September 16, 2014

    I notice that “we” have now offered to give the No voters devolution based on the Barnett formula…

    May be it’s time we (the rest of the UK) had a say about this.

    As time goes by, I’m thinking that we would be better off if Scotland voted Yes – a clean divorce.

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