The Scottish debate- well done the voters, pity about the campaigns

I am proud that the UK can have a sustained and passionate debate about identity and government, and come to a democratic conclusion. In so many other parts of the world the explosive issue of identity produces civil strife and war. I also agree with the many commentaries that say the Scottish people engaged greatly in the issues, argued and studied the consequences of both options, and voted in large numbers. They did so because it mattered. They valued their vote.

I do not share the opinion of many that the two campaigns were also great. The Independence campaign was based on two central errors. The first was the notion that Scotland could continue in a currency union with the rest of the UK once “independent”, when the UK Parliament was united in saying that was not on offer. The second was the idea that Scotland could slip back into EU membership quickly and easily, when other counties in the EU were angry that Scotland dared to want more independence.

I thought it bizarre that it was called an independence campaign, when the advocates wanted a new dependence – dependence on the Bank of England and a foreign country’s money policy, dependence on the EU, maintenance of the Queen as Head of State, and so much else. It was a divorce where they wanted to keep the family bank account and still go on the family holidays.

The Better Together campaign had a great slogan but they were often depressingly negative. Where were the great speeches and soundbites explaining the benefits of the union to the voters? Why did none of the main speakers articulate a forward looking vision of the UK that made sense to more Scottish voters? Why did the business community come in so heavily with threats, when presumably they still want to sell things to the 1.6 million voters they decided to pick a fight with? Why can’t the pro Union forces show how belonging to the wider union could offer more opportunity to the young and the poor in the urban lowlands? What will the pro union forces and the SNP government now do to offer a better future to them?

I learned from the campaign that according to the Scottish government Scotland is a rich country and has values that wish to share those riches around fairly. I look forward to them showing how this can be done within the UK now that we have decided we are better together.

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89 Comments

  1. Lifelogic
    Posted September 24, 2014 at 5:48 am | Permalink

    Indeed the idea of a Scotland “independent” but still using the pound, rejoining the EU but not using the EURO and still under the Queen was always a bonkers plan. Yet still the outcome was fairly close. In some ways independence would be good in slowly shifting the Scottish away from their big government, high tax, lefty, blame the b***** English for everything politics of envy.

    Allowing 16 year old’s to vote was very stupid, perhaps without that Cameron would not have had to make his desperate last minute promises. Now we have Miliband pushing it for the UK.

    Off topic I see that Emma Watson as the UN Woman Goodwill Ambassador get the Telegraph from page yesterday (JR only on page 2). Campaigning for as UN she says “For the record, feminism by definition is: The belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities” just hers or the UN’s definition one assumes.

    I have no problem with that definition, perhaps I am a feminist. But alas the endless stream of most feminists (on the BBC, woman’s hour and elsewhere) want far, far more than that. They want equality of outcome forced by law and all women quotas. Totally irrationally they see any lack of equal outcome as “discrimination”. They want the pitch sloped hugely in their direction and want active discrimination against men by law.

    Things such as the gender annuity discrimination against men introduced by Cameron’s government. Many even want some men to be locked up for many years without the need for any evidence beyond the word of an anonymous woman, perhaps even many years later. Also for the man to be named even if innocent and the woman not to be named even if she was clearly not telling the truth and just trying to jail an innocent man for say 10 years.

    Woman and Men, on average, very sensibly make different life choices, study different subject at school and university, have different goals and motivations and spend their money differently. To expect equal outcomes in pay, careers, etc. is clearly bonkers. Unless they do some sinister genetic re-engineering they will never get equal outcomes. Woman do not want equal outcomes.

  2. duksue
    Posted September 24, 2014 at 5:59 am | Permalink

    Right again John. The better together campaign had difficulty with the vision thing and countering the endless and unachievable jam and sunlit uplands promised by the yesers who are completely blind to economic reality. They considered Scotland already in the EU notwithstanding a yes vote. There were the most bizarre claims about oil and renewables and everything. It was utterly terrifying. Labour blabbed on uselessly and it was up to others to articulate common sense that there would have been economic chaos for 10 years, no EU for years, no more subsidies for useless wind power and above all no currency and all for what. It has been a pretty dismal experience and the abyss beckoned, which is why people voted no thanks in droves. There is a perceived sense of grievance in parts of the population fostered by Labour over the years and it has turned round and bitten them.

    • StevenL
      Posted September 24, 2014 at 12:10 pm | Permalink

      But ‘Better Together’ wanted folk to say “No” and the SNP folk to say “Yes”. If you want people to say “No” you have to run a negative campaign and vice versa surely?

  3. Mick Anderson
    Posted September 24, 2014 at 6:10 am | Permalink

    I spoke to a colleague in Scotland during the ridiculously long campaign. His view of the whole affair was that both sides were saying so many things that he could not believe that he’d stopped listening to any of it.

    Of course, this could have been just a precursor; practice for Mr Camerons plans to frighten us into staying in the EU in a few years, just in case he has to make good on his promise/vow/pledge to offer an in/out vote. Personally I’ve already stopped taking any notice of the propaganda on that one.

  4. Lifelogic
    Posted September 24, 2014 at 6:11 am | Permalink

    Meanwhile Cameron has clearly decided to take the country to war again, doubtless bombing & killing and injuring yet more innocent people. A war we cannot back out of he says, why on earth not it? It will do no good and much harm? It is nothing to do with us.

    • Tad Davison
      Posted September 24, 2014 at 8:58 am | Permalink

      LL, Cameron had got to get into this latest war somehow, he’s been spoiling for it, and since he didn’t get the parliamentary approval he needed last time for a bombing campaign against Syria, he’s had to find other ways in order to creep around the USA like some whimpering little lap-dog.

      We are regularly told how awful ISIL is, which is true, but are we also going to bring democracy, end beheadings, give proper human rights to the people, and give equality to women, in places like Saudi Arabia?

      I think not, they are solid allies of the west, so what’s the real reason for this latest action. Might we get mission-creep, or manufacture some false-flag pretext for a wider war against Syria, and then Iran?

      It’s interesting to see how many so-called ‘despotic’ governments who aren’t natural allies of the west, that have large amounts of oil and other natural resources, have been destabilised in recent years. But how few ‘despotic’ governments have been destabilised that don’t have those resources in abundance. There’s an unmistakable pattern that is impossible for the US/EU imperialists to hide. And if a given government isn’t really ‘despotic’, then the west creates that impression in the minds of our own people in order to garner public support, as with Russia. It happens all the time.

      I see that Cameron was in the company of ‘Emperor Bloomberg’ when he betrayed Her Majesty’s confidence yesterday, which is a bit of a give-away, so clearly, the sooner we get rid of Cameron and people like him, the better it will be.

      Tad

    • zorro
      Posted September 24, 2014 at 10:09 am | Permalink

      It is clearly a feint and strategy to engage in action in Syria. I bet that almost immediately they will go after Assad with ‘moderate’ Syrian opposition…. And I wonder how many of them will have miraculously defected from ISIS, having previously defected to ISIS from someone else…

      zorro

    • bigneil
      Posted September 24, 2014 at 10:27 am | Permalink

      How many of the IS ( with all ID papers false or “lost”) will smuggle themselves among the Syrian refugees, who will presumably de dispersed around different countries, and given asylum and a free life? the unknowing country will then have the beginning of even more sleeper cells than they have now. Home grown jihadists will no longer have to travel abroad for training – it will be provided by someone in a free house, on free money, and who is having any accidental injuries during training, treated, – all paid for by the very people who the jihadist wants to destroy.

      • zorro
        Posted September 25, 2014 at 4:35 pm | Permalink

        Well, why not…? ISIS have been amply supplied with Western made arms, and funded by Western proxies. I wonder who has been buying the oil they produce?

        zorro

    • Roy Grainger
      Posted September 24, 2014 at 1:35 pm | Permalink

      Yes, having failed to get Commons approval to bomb President Assad’s army he now seeks approval to bomb President Assad’s enemies. Full marks for persistence and none for logic. I trust the Commons will send him packing again.

      • forthurst
        Posted September 24, 2014 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

        Assad has made it quite clear that he can handle ISIS provided the ‘West’ stops arming and assisting his enemies; the ‘West’ is not trying to help Assad stay in power so much as using subterfuge to sidetrack democratic oversight over the proposition to use military force to do the opposite.

        Apparently the ‘beheadings’ were brought to the world by the same studio that gave it Osama bin Laden (not very look-a-likes) years after his demise in 2001.

      • brian
        Posted September 24, 2014 at 4:24 pm | Permalink

        Assad and his enemy ISIL both deserve it.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted September 25, 2014 at 7:03 am | Permalink

        I seems not this time as he has Miliband on side.

  5. Old Albion
    Posted September 24, 2014 at 6:29 am | Permalink

    The referendum was ‘no’ But the issue is not at an end. Unless those in power come up with a fair and equal settlement for all four nations of the (dis)UK, eventually it will fragment.
    A new Federal UK is the only way forward.

  6. Peter Van Leeuwen
    Posted September 24, 2014 at 6:31 am | Permalink

    “a rich country and has values that wish to share those riches around fairly. I look forward to them showing how this can be done within the UK now that we have decided we are better together”
    Wouldn’t that mean sharing London’s richness fairly as well, in other words, are you now proposing a left of centre government for the UK?

    Reply London’s riches are generously shared with the rest of the UK through our tax, welfare and local government systems. That happens under Conservative governments as well.

    • Mondeo Man
      Posted September 24, 2014 at 8:42 am | Permalink

      Peter – It is the Scots who have eschewed Conservatism in favour of socialism. Perhaps they can now put their principles into practice.

      While I’m here (and not in answer to you, Peter), Dr Redwood’s observation that Scotland wanted to be free from one union only to be subsumed into another – well the Scots have elected to remain in the UK which is under the control of the EU anyway.

  7. Mike Stallard
    Posted September 24, 2014 at 6:41 am | Permalink

    Alex Salmond is now revealed as a sore loser – and nobody likes that. Funny how(other ed) lefties quickly slip into violence and then into dictatorship etc ed. The personality of the Leader…

    With the EU referendum, it is vital that we have a positive plan for leaving. It is of the utmost importance that we stress that we have settled the continuance of trading with the EU and the rest of the world. It is vital that we explain how we will deal with the UN Regulators who operate the EU Directives from Geneva (See EU REferendum blog). It is of the highest importance that we stress the positive nature of leaving – more trade, more access to decision making bodies, more freedom for our pound sterling in world trade, and more respect in world counsels when we have full control of our own military capabilities. What’s not to like?

    Apparently, Mr Salmond’s team had a box into which you had to drop a penny whenever you made a negative comment. It showed. I wish the Better Together Campaign had had this box too!

    Reply Mr Salmond has resigned!

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted September 24, 2014 at 9:12 am | Permalink

      “With the EU referendum, it is vital that we have a positive plan for leaving”

      Salmond and the SNP had a positive plan for Scotland leaving the UK, you can read about it here in this document from the Scottish government:

      http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Publications/2013/11/9348

      Unfortunately it largely depended upon everybody else in the world agreeing to do whatever Salmond said they should do, and of course they would do because it would be in their best interests to comply with his every wish … it’s worrying that so many of the voters in Scotland were prepared to suspend disbelief and accept that the outcome of a “yes” vote would correspond to the SNP’s best case scenario at all points, but then the SNP systematically puffed up first themselves and then others with delusions of Scottish grandeur rather than sticking to a more realistic assessment of Scotland’s importance in the global scheme of things.

      UK law must be changed so that there is absolutely no ambiguity and never again will any devolved government, including the devolved government we need for England, be allowed to use public resources to produce a propaganda document arguing for its part of the UK to break away from the rest.

    • Leslie Singleton
      Posted September 24, 2014 at 9:43 am | Permalink

      Comment on Reply–Are you, or is he, sure? You would never guess, from his latest comments. He will unfortunately do a lot more damage before he steps down and will no doubt continue doing so in his dissembling and unrealistic way even then. Those Scots who hate the English, and unfortunately there are many, may like us a bit more when Fracking gets on stream and there is precisely no cry from us along the lines of “It’s ours”.

    • David Price
      Posted September 24, 2014 at 3:26 pm | Permalink

      I completely agree there needs to be a positive plan for exiting the EU. The problem I have is that those who shout the loudest about leaving don’t seem to have one and don’t seem to think one is necessary.

      Some appear have thought about the issue but there seems to be no process of debate or agreement.

  8. The PrangWizard
    Posted September 24, 2014 at 6:43 am | Permalink

    Alex Salmond said he expected the English to dance to the Scottish tune. I think he was right about that, just see even now how determined the Unionists are falling over themselves to give more powers to them.

    Will your party produce a Manifesto for England? Did you mention the need at your meeting? If your party and leadership are serious about English Votes then this I think is essential for your credibility, as it will serve a practical purpose too.

    I noticed that after your leader, Fake Ernest, made his announcement of the Referendum result, that the millions of people of England now had to be heard, we have now had William Hague in his smug sort of way attempt after Chequers to reassure us that the English Votes idea was not new; that it was in your party’s manifesto years back and you had been working on it – ‘thinking about it’ I believe he said. I doubt that, indeed, absolutely nothing had been done by the leadership. It got into a ‘muck sweat’ that Scotland would vote YES and finally noticed the English. I suspect that attempts are being made by Fake Ernest to quietly forget it, even now, however.

    Prove me wrong. I want to be wrong.

    • DaveM
      Posted September 24, 2014 at 11:45 am | Permalink

      I hope you’re wrong too.

      However, my concern with this would be that Mr Hague has been tasked to head up the committee. I have respect for anyone’s views, and Mr H’s views as a firm Unionist have never been in doubt – he has made it quite clear that he is British first and a Yorkshireman second.

      It is slightly confusing where he stands though – does he want a Great Britain (as it is) but in which Scotland and Wales are not recognised as countries in their own right? If so, does he want to be in or out of Europe? Or does he want to balkanise the whole of the UK as the meddling morons in Brussells would like? Maybe JR could shed some light?

    • David Price
      Posted September 24, 2014 at 2:47 pm | Permalink

      Not sure about previous manifestos as I had no interest in politics before then but the Conservative 2010 manifesto (pp 83-4) had these statements;

      “Labour have refused to address the so-called ‘West Lothian Question’: the unfair situation of Scottish MPs voting on matters which are devolved. A Conservative government will introduce new rules so that legislation referring specifically to England, or to England and Wales, cannot be enacted without the consent of MPs representing constituencies of those countries.”

      “We support the changes proposed by the Calman Commission for clarifying
      the devolution settlement and creating a relationship of mutual respect between Westminster and Holyrood…”

      “The Scottish Parliament should have more responsibility for raising the money it spends. We will produce our own White Paper by May 2011 to set out how we will deal with the issues raised by Calman, and we will legislate to implement those proposals within the next Parliament.”

      So there are clear statements afore the referendum process and referendum itself, I cannot determine how much thought the CP in government has actually put in to these aspects though.

      The Labour 2010 manifesto talked about devolution to Scotland, Wales and NI but said nothing at all about England.

      The Libdem manifesto said only this of England – “Address the status of England within a federal Britain, through the Constitutional Convention set up to draft a written constitution for the UK as a whole.”

      In other words England as a country deserving of respect or a proper parliament does not exist for the Libdems or Labour.

  9. Narrow Shoulders
    Posted September 24, 2014 at 7:02 am | Permalink

    Both sides of the upcoming EU referendum can learn much from this campaign. Voters wish to be offered positive, tangible, credible outcomes where the benefits are highlighted and qsuantifiable. No must be able to guarantee an EUFTA trading block and arangements with the rest of the world without dissenting voices from other governments with whom we may wish to trade, it must also demonstrate that the EU would not still be able to legislate via the back door through regulation of any EUFTA.

    Yes needs to avoid 3 million jobs being dependent upon membership and loss of social rights. Voters respond to the positive.

    • Narrow Shoulders
      Posted September 24, 2014 at 1:53 pm | Permalink

      No to EU
      And Yes to EU

      That is

    • Terry
      Posted September 24, 2014 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

      The loss of three million jobs if we leave the EU is an old classical scare red-herring from Socialist Europhiles.
      This country is the EU’s biggest individual customer. We import more from than export to EU countries. We lose on trade and we lose on net donations/contributions.
      If the 3 millions UK jobs lost story were true then it would be equally true to say that 5 Million EU jobs would be lost if UK-EU trade were to cease. That will never happen so stop believing this europhile spin.
      The majority of our trade is now outside of the EU and that’s when we are weighed down with Brussels red tape and their dogged intransigence. Without those chains we can freely supply the world on our own terms and not be harassed by faceless wonders in Belgium. I look forward to that wonderful day.

  10. Richard1
    Posted September 24, 2014 at 7:16 am | Permalink

    Meanwhile the Labour Party conference reminds us that its not just the EU, which we often like to blame on this site, which is a frequent impediment to prosperity. Miliband and Balls have proposed: higher income tax, another distorting tax on homes, a new financial transaction tax (ie in addition to the EU one we are resisting), more green crap, sundry other uncosted spending promises and further demonization of business. Miliband had nothing to say on the deficit which exploded under Labour.

    We are reminded that many of the UKs most foolish and anti prosperity measures are home grown. If Labour get into power on this prospectus it might be better to have the EU there as a restraining hand. A question of a 4/10 govt being better than a 2/10 govt.

    • Mondeo Man
      Posted September 24, 2014 at 8:47 am | Permalink

      A promise to train thousands of doctors and nurses.

      If only we could prevent the ones we have trained from emigrating. Do they, perhaps, sense that there is something seriously wrong with our country ?

      • APL
        Posted September 24, 2014 at 6:47 pm | Permalink

        Mondeo Man: “A promise to train thousands of doctors and nurses.”

        I suppose inviting existing GPs to institute a shift system so you could visit your GP sometime in sixteen hours a day, wouldn’t be a vote winner.

    • Leslie Singleton
      Posted September 24, 2014 at 9:47 am | Permalink

      Miliband missed an obvious trick in not promising children more pocket money once they get the vote and cast it for him

      • Lifelogic
        Posted September 24, 2014 at 2:54 pm | Permalink

        Indeed everyone else got a promise of someone else’s money tenants, minimum wage staff, nurses, teachers, the whole of the state sector – that after all is just what socialist do. They buy votes with promises of other people’s money. Money that, in practice, they will never even be able to raise as the targets will move, work less, avoid it, barter or cheat and the economy with thus decline.

      • Leslie Singleton
        Posted September 24, 2014 at 3:52 pm | Permalink

        Postscript–This really was another of Cameron’s misjudgements and with what one might have thought very predictable outcomes. Everyone (except Cameron apparently) knows the bit about your heart when your young and your head when you are older and Cameron should have faced Salmond down on this. Kids voting in school uniforms is ridiculous. What do kids know about the real world with nasty things like budget constraints and all the rest?

  11. alexmews
    Posted September 24, 2014 at 7:22 am | Permalink

    indeed. the campaign for me was depressing and i cannot now help thinking the Union is now done in any case despite the ‘no’.

    I have no doubt Scotland could become a successful, independent country on the model of, say, NZ. But to get there would require a Central Bank and a currency, great expense / transition costs in the medium term (ie building up forex reserves) and a very heavy pruning – likely permanently – of the welfare state. As you state – this model is incompatible w/ EU membership and was the opposite of what was on offer by the SNP. It would likely be a positive influence on England to have such a country on the border!

    The Scots who have assets & pensions voted ‘no’ by and large rather than to put these assets at risk for such a half baked independence plan. A fact pointed our crudely and divisively by some in the SNP after the result.

    I also found it odd on how little the example of Ireland was presented – beyond their successful bid for Home Rule / Independence in the 1920s. Their path since then has been a tough one – esp in the last 5 years in the EU. I doubt any of the Irish begrudge their independence – quite the reverse – but there is no doubt there have been very heavy costs – an issue of fact which the SNP ducked. Ireland today is the obvious analogue for Scotland as an independent country in the EU. The Irish have taken a massive haircut since 2008 when the bubble burst. Austerity that has not come anywhere close to even being considered in the UK despite all the talk of ‘cuts’.

  12. formula57
    Posted September 24, 2014 at 7:24 am | Permalink

    Scotland is certainly rich, is it not – its government spending some quarter more per capita than ours.

  13. James Matthews
    Posted September 24, 2014 at 7:25 am | Permalink

    Not directly on topic, but this must warrant discussion somewhere. Scheduled event at the Conservative Party Conference on 28th September:

    14.30 – 15.30 Our United Kingdom (Symphony Hall)
    Secretary of State for Northern Ireland
    Secretary of State for Wales
    Scotland Office Minister
    Leader of the Welsh Conservatives
    Leader of the Scottish Conservatives

    Not even a token speaker for England. Says it all really.

    • Brian Tomkinson
      Posted September 24, 2014 at 8:05 am | Permalink

      James,
      Thank you for bringing this to our attention.
      Despite our host’s fine talk we can see nothing much changes. Funny how he has now gone quiet on the subject of England following his attendance at Chequers on Monday. Loyalty, old boy, don’t you know.

      Reply I set out my stall at length in yesterday’s Daily Telegraph, and followed up on Breakfast TV. Do stop trying to spread lies about me.

      • Brian Tomkinson
        Posted September 24, 2014 at 8:28 am | Permalink

        Reply to reply,
        I was referring to this diary where day after day you were banging the drum for Engalnd and following your meeting at Chequers – nothing. I should have thought you would have wanted to tell all here, or was it a private meeting?

        Reply I did tell you via the Daily Telegraph and morning Breakfast tv programme. That did not give me time to write another version for my site. It’s not some plot!

      • English Pensioner
        Posted September 24, 2014 at 8:57 am | Permalink

        Reply to reply.
        They obviously hid it well, because I didn’t notice it in the on-line version’s RSS feeds!

    • AuntyEstab
      Posted September 24, 2014 at 8:22 am | Permalink

      Thanks for pointing that out, would like to see someone in the Conservative hierarchy publicly asked why?

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted September 24, 2014 at 8:23 am | Permalink

      Same again then, they did that at a previous conference. England and the English can still be taken for granted, it seems, they’re just there to hold the whole thing together; and that’s not just the attitude of the Tory party, the others agree.

  14. Stephen Berry
    Posted September 24, 2014 at 7:30 am | Permalink

    The main problem for the Better Together campaign was that it was run largely by the Labour Party. That meant it was extremely reluctant to say anything positive about Scotland, or indeed the Union. There was scarcely any mention of the economic recovery as this would have reflected credit on the present government. No comparison between the economic fortunes of this country and those of the Eurozone. Indeed, it was the Scots Nats who tried to take political advantage of the fall in unemployment in the last week of the campaign! Labour above all want to talk about poverty, inequality and misery. So, if you were on benefits, poor or old, the Union was the thing for you.

    In retrospect, it may become clear that it was the economic recovery which saved the Union. The areas which voted for independence in Scotland tended to be at the poorer end of the economic spectrum. If the British economy had been heading in the same direction as Italy’s, there would have been many more of these, perhaps enough to destroy the Union.

    No doubt about it, the UK dodged a bullet – or should I say a howitzer shell – last Thursday. Let us count our blessings.

  15. Roy Gringer
    Posted September 24, 2014 at 7:33 am | Permalink

    “Why did the business community come in so heavily with threats, when presumably they still want to sell things to the 1.6 million voters they decided to pick a fight with?”

    Well they weren’t threats were they, they are required by law to notify shareholders and the markets of any material threats and risks to their business so they did just that. Standard Life were not “threatening” to relocate to England but rather simply stating as a fact they would do. Obviously many companies will say something similar when the EU referendum comes – you need a strategy to anticipate and counter that rather than simply saying they shouldn’t say anything. Mr Salmond’s bluster that they were all lying was notably ineffective.

    Reply I agree that any financial business that had to relocate needed to tell shareholders. I am talking about all the companies that opined on changes to pricing policy etc . When I ran businesses I stayed out of politics in my business role, as I wanted the business to serve people of any political view.

    • Max Dunbar
      Posted September 24, 2014 at 11:42 am | Permalink

      Reply to reply: Businesses were presented with exceptional circumstances in this case. If Germany decided to revert to east and west again on the whim of a few old communists in Chemnitz I’m quite sure that business would have something to say on the matter.

  16. James Sutherland
    Posted September 24, 2014 at 7:35 am | Permalink

    The dependence on the Bank of England always struck me as a peculiar argument: the BoE largely sets interest rates based on England’s interests now (as it should, since England is about 90% of the country it serves now). So, if right now England needed interest rates raised by 1% and Scotland needed them held, they might go up by 0.9%; post-independence, they’d presumably go up by the full 1%.

    I did find both campaigns troubling at times: Yes announcing a series of variations of “Of course we’ll be able to X, we’ve had talks with Y” followed by denials from Y that any talks had happened, then No rushing out ever-increasing promises in what looked very much like a blind panic. In effect, as a colleague noted yesterday, rather than “Devo Max” being off the table by removing it from the ballot, it is to be implemented without a vote at all!

    Since ‘rUK’ would have been more Conservative and Scotland would have lost its longstanding bitterness about Conservative governments being elected by English votes, independence wouldn’t necessarily have been a bad thing for us all – given the broader implications, I was surprised Scottish Conservatives voted so strongly for “no”, while their Labour counterparts were much more divided despite the Labour party’s prominent campaigning on the issue. I wonder if the public bitterness I’ve seen from yes-voters who voted Labour in 2010 (and now say they feel betrayed by Labour’s position) might result in a change in voting patterns now?

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted September 24, 2014 at 9:46 am | Permalink

      Of course it would be a bad thing for all of us, but especially for the rest of the UK, if the Scottish government was running its own foreign and immigration policies and had its own armed forces. Just looked at from the point of view of the English, everything else would pale into insignificance compared to those serious and fundamental problems that England would face if Scotland reverted to being an independent sovereign state. At least that is my point of view.

    • Max Dunbar
      Posted September 24, 2014 at 11:50 am | Permalink

      If you know the demographics of the four areas in Scotland that voted YES then it comes as no surprise that many Labour voters voted in the way that they did.

  17. Timaction
    Posted September 24, 2014 at 7:44 am | Permalink

    All valid points Mr Redwood but we should consider this an argument based on something similar to Council elections leadership debates and boundaries as the EU oversees and rules above us at a supra National level. This is still hidden from discussion and debate by the legacy party leaders as over 70% of our laws are made by the unelected unaccountable EU dictatorship that is supported by LibLabCons and SNP!
    We want our Country back, our democracy restored and sovereignty once again on these shores where we control who can come and in what numbers. Who receives our health, housing and other public services. To be able to stop and remove foreign murderers and criminals. I certainly don’t want to be taxed to build foreign infrastructures or subsidise their farmers and a whole army of bureaucrats.
    I see Mr Cameron is still signed up to the Climate Change religion without the science. The ant-arctic is currently experiencing the highest density of ice right now for decades. Not reported by the mainstream press. No heating of the atmosphere for over 18 years. I heard the warmists claiming the jet stream is now influenced by CO2 when all science previously suggested its the………….Sun, which in turn influences……….the weather. Why spoil the vested interests of tax raising Governments or their personal vested interests or grant funded warmists??

  18. Sam
    Posted September 24, 2014 at 7:52 am | Permalink

    Disappointed that you do not recognise the contribution made by your colleague, Ruth Davidson, who defended the Union passionately and appears to have caused many Scots to take a second look at the Conservative party.

    Reply Yes, she did well on Scottish matters.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted September 24, 2014 at 9:32 am | Permalink

      I hope the Tories appreciate the paradox that Ruth Davidson would not have been available to become the leader of the Tories in Scotland if elections to the Scottish Parliament had been by the First Past The System which they claim to be the only way to conduct a democratic election, only backward Australians and cannibals in Papua New Guinea and Fiji would dream of using anything else. Oh, and also the Irish, but we forget about them.

      She was one of those “losers” who got into the Parliament on the closed regional lists drawn up by party bosses:

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ruth_Davidson#Scottish_Parliament

      “The Party chairman Andrew Fulton then decided that Macaskill was to be deselected, thereby promoting Davidson to the first position in the Glasgow regional list.

      Subsequently Davidson, although coming a distant fourth in Glasgow Kelvin, was elected to the Scottish Parliament on the Glasgow region list … “

    • Richard1
      Posted September 24, 2014 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

      I think more use should be made of Ms Davidson. She is highly articulate and ticks many diversity boxes which is always apparently to be commended.

  19. John E
    Posted September 24, 2014 at 7:53 am | Permalink

    Not all businesses were negative. BA was looking forward to having a mainland opportunity to avoid Air Passenger Duty. Instead we will have to fly long haul via Dublin, Amsterdam or Madrid.
    The others I thought were just speaking as they saw – at least until Downing Street lost the plot and started leaning on the supermarkets etc. at the end of the campaign. People other than politicians are allowed to express opinions.

  20. agricola
    Posted September 24, 2014 at 7:56 am | Permalink

    Towards the end of the campaign it was lifted by Gordon Brown’s passionate appeal for a no vote. This despite neither you nor I agreeing with everything he said.

    I have been struck by how negative and depressing has been the Labour Party Conference to date. Full of rhetoric but no real substance on what they intend to do about immigration, the national debt, fairness in voting rights at Westminster, and an excess of very expensive green energy. Most of it seems to be heading for the past. I hope the majority of English wake up to their negativity.

    For sure, voting rights in the H o C should be one of the main weapons in the Conservative armoury in the run up to May 2015. I can see no logical reason why there should be any candidates from Scotland or Wales when they have an adequate number of existing MPs they could send to Westminster when required.

    Milliband also confirmed his position as being very pro membership of the EU. The man is a bucket of contradictions when he claims that CMD will find it impossible to effect any meaningful re-negotiation with the EU while he Ed will be able to. Frankly I do not see either of them being able to.

    With these two recent lessons in how not to do things, I hope the Conservative Conference is electrifying in real content and delivery. Anything short of this will not work. I want an open debate on Europe so that I can discover what it is that CMD finds so compelling about it. An open debate on the green agenda and the cost of energy. An open debate on immigration which is coupled to our membership of the EU. I want to know where we are heading in terms of foreign policy, should we have one. A credible assessment of our defence needs, and hanging over it all what to do about reducing our National Debt which seems to have been pushed into the long grass in favour of it’s more manipulable attractive cousin The Deficit

  21. Denis Cooper
    Posted September 24, 2014 at 8:14 am | Permalink

    The campaigns were appalling, just as with referendum on AV, and that does not auger well for any referendum on the EU. And even long before the formal campaigns started there was so much wrong with the way Salmond had been allowed to set it up, allowed it has to be said first by Cameron through the Edinburgh Agreement in October 2012 and then by the UK Parliament when it passed the Order in Council necessary to authorise the referendum. And the idea that a single vote taken when the final terms of separation were still a matter for assertion and counter-assertion could be enough to break up the country was ludicrous; a “yes” result should have been taken as originally proposed by some in the SNP, as a mandate for Salmond to negotiate terms which would then be put to the Scots in a second referendum to confirm that they still wished to proceed … on the other hand, the same could be said of the “no” vote which actually resulted, that unless the UK government and Parliament keep the promises made during the campaign then there would be legitimate grounds for demanding a second referendum on whether to stay in the Union on the revised terms.

  22. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted September 24, 2014 at 8:16 am | Permalink

    Why did Cameron accept that he was persona non grata and barely get involved until (by his own admission in New York yesterday) he panicked, allowed Brown to take the lead and then meekly agreed to whatever he said? ‘Better together’ is a meaningless slogan when the majority of the ‘together’ were too worried about their negative impact to truly participate.

    Reply When both Labour and SNP run campaigns that are expressly anti Tory and in your case anti UKIP and when they in the past share the large majority of the voters -there are limits to how much good Conservative and UKIP people can do. I note Mr Farage only went once to Scotland for the referendum campaign whereas Mr Cameron went several times. Mr C rightly concentrated on areas of the country where there are more Conservative voters, just as Mr Brown concentrated on areas with more Labour voters. There have been more Labour and SNP voters in Scotland!

    • Brian Tomkinson
      Posted September 24, 2014 at 8:39 am | Permalink

      Reply to reply,
      Just to remind you that Mr Cameron is Prime Minister of the UK.
      UKIP is very active in Heywood and Middleton and Clacton where there are by-elections and I think you will find that the Labour, Conservative and LibDem parties (party?) are all anti UKIP and previously had more voters but that further encourages UKIP to offer a better alternative.

    • Mondeo Man
      Posted September 24, 2014 at 8:53 am | Permalink

      Mr Farage was assaulted in Scotland.

      He does not have the personal protection that Mr Cameron has.

    • Max Dunbar
      Posted September 24, 2014 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

      Reply to reply: Preaching to the converted is usually fairly pointless. But I think that you may be doing your leader an injustice by claiming that he concentrated on areas of the country where there were more Conservative voters. That would have been a serious blunder as Prime Minister of a United Kingdom.

  23. Bert Young
    Posted September 24, 2014 at 8:34 am | Permalink

    The referendum on Scottish independence may be symbolic of our form of democracy but on the other hand it has stirred up a feeling that is likely to do more harm in the relationship with them . The imbalance and favour given to the Scots from income tax is the main sore point and has to be brought into line . If the claim that they are a rich country has any basis then they do not need the extra support from us ; above all the discrimination that is used against those South of the border ought to stop . I was irritated and bored by the campaigning I witnessed and thought that both sides did a bad job ; I hated the fact that Salmond blatantly lied and lamented that the sincere Darling lacked oratory skills ; the final intervention by Brown I saw as an opportunistic move to move him back into front line politics and to challenge for the leadership again of the Labour Party . I was glad when it was all over and I now look forward to you leading the campaign for English equality .

  24. English Pensioner
    Posted September 24, 2014 at 8:55 am | Permalink

    One thing that did strike me was the high turnout to vote, which says that when the electorate feels there is something real to vote about, they turn out and vote.
    By contrast, the turn out at General Elections is considerably less, whilst that at local elections is often less than half the electorate, which suggests that a lot of people no longer care about the results or see insufficient difference between the parties to bother. I must admit, that if I didn’t get a postal vote, I probably wouldn’t bother to walk the half mile to the polling station.
    When the parties offer something real and believable there might be good reason to vote, otherwise, why bother?

  25. oldtimer
    Posted September 24, 2014 at 9:37 am | Permalink

    The best things about the Referendum were the high numbers who registered to vote, who actually voted and the clear result. The worst things were the quality of the arguments, the two TV debates and the last minute panic offers of more devolution in the final days – something not officially on the ballot paper.

    In a remarkable demonstration of Murphy`s Law and the Law of Unintended Consequences, Brown`s last impassioned and effective speech about Independence being a trap door for Scotland put a renewed focus on the West Lothian Question. Resolution of this question along the lines proposed by our host, JR, is also a trap door for the Labour party and will lead to a fundamental reshaping of the way politics is conducted in the UK. Whatever the outcome, the vote was a game changer.

    I think it also has implications for future negotiations between the UK and the EU, demonstrating a willingness in the UK to put issues of such findamental importance to the electorate. If there is to be a renegotiation by whoever prevails at the GE, then the EU oligarchy should realise by now that it will be serious and fundamental.

  26. Alte Fritz
    Posted September 24, 2014 at 9:53 am | Permalink

    There is a myth growing to the effect that Gordon Brown saved the Union. Small beer, perhaps, after saving the world some years ago. Another myth will be that the English do not care about a fair system of voting rights in Parliament.

    Newsnight asked a number of “ordinary” Mancunians about the” West Lothian question”, something which understandably prompted either much mirth or puzzlement. Ask those people the same question in plain English, and the reply will likely be different.

  27. John Wrake
    Posted September 24, 2014 at 9:54 am | Permalink

    Post and comments so far all assume that this was a real campaign with genuine voters.

    This was nothing of the sort. It was a cynical exercise by professional politicians to fool the uninstructed.

    A real campaign would have been an examination of fact rather than bribes and sound-bites delivered with a variable amount of conviction.

    Genuine voters would have included those who are Scottish by birth, rather than a mish-mash of those temporarily present, whatever their real affiliation, together with a bunch of schoolchildren.

    It is no surprise that the exercise has achieved nothing except to magnify division. That is what was intended. Yet another step toward the destruction of Great Britain.

    John Wrake.

    • Brian Tomkinson
      Posted September 24, 2014 at 8:57 pm | Permalink

      John,
      Well said!

  28. Know-Dice
    Posted September 24, 2014 at 10:30 am | Permalink

    From my perspective south of the border, the Better Together did a reasonable job up to the panic point one week before the vote.

    How do you counteract the constant barrage of half truths making promises that can never be realized in the real world. All I remember was the Yes campaign whining that they were being bullied at every stage when it was pointed out that there assertions were not correct – the Pound, Europe etc.

    Cameron was always on a risky strategy by actually going to Scotland, but to let Gordon Brown (remember him of the giving away UK gold and raiding pension funds) have a free hand was always going to come back and give the English problems.

  29. CHRISTOPHER HOUSTON
    Posted September 24, 2014 at 10:59 am | Permalink

    The central thrust of this argument in regard to the YES followers and their campaign is that they were not genuinely seeking complete independence. I would say this was fortunate. for such a position would have necessarily meant the formation of a paramilitary organization such as the IRA once were.

    Instead of campaigning against such very moderate “demands” by the YES side of the equation and using also lies, half-lies and every financial adversarial tool available it would I feel have been wise to say YES to usage of the British Pound and all the rest of the imperfect independence requests.

    The UK , in my view, has won a pyrrhic victory in that the cost is too great because it is temporary and the reasoning which brought “victory” prohibits a peaceful change of flag in the future.

    Jaw jaw is certainly better than war war unless by so doing you eliminate by logical argument the term peaceful from the vocabulary of progression.

    • sjb
      Posted September 25, 2014 at 10:24 pm | Permalink

      I thought it significant the SNP’s membership has apparently more than doubled in a week[1] and now exceeds UKIP’s and the LibDem’s.

      I did wonder whether Cameron’s proposal to link the Vow[2] to the West Lothian question was to delay the process until after the 2015 GE so that Labour would lose a number of their 41 seats; over a third of Labour supporters voted Yes in the recent referendum.

      [1] http://www.scotsman.com/news/politics/top-stories/snp-membership-swells-by-more-than-32-000-1-3551959
      [2] promises made by Cameron, Clegg & Miliband of further devolution

  30. Dennis R Perrin
    Posted September 24, 2014 at 11:07 am | Permalink

    The large number of undecideds were the ones causing some last-minute panic by the BT campaign, since these could go either way. These undecided potential voters realised that they needed to think more, that mere voting was a lesser value than which way to vote. Hence the period of being undecided gave time to think about the issues before voting. Being undecided has huge value since those people did not jump to quick conclusions, had time t0 re-evaluate their loyalties, and gave more attention to what was really important to them. It always seems that to have very strong views on only one side of an argument is a virtue. No one mentioned how well Ireland is doing as an independent country, since even that country is not fully independent if you take into account the northern section. Yet the republic was doing well with its own currency and seems to be doing well with the Euro and is recovering well since the recession. The union managed to keep together by the skin of its teeth!

  31. ian wragg
    Posted September 24, 2014 at 11:30 am | Permalink

    Off Topic. What’s happening to the deficit John. I hear its rising again. It turns out the growth is actually increased government spending. It’s the same as importing 3% more people into the country every year and then trumpeting growth figures. Do you think we are entirely stupid.

  32. Terry
    Posted September 24, 2014 at 11:52 am | Permalink

    Are you saying that perhaps that referendum was a right time to withhold the truth?

    The businesses and the banks not publicising their plans in the event of a Yes win, merely because it might offend some of the Yes voters, does not sound like a great policy to me. The truth hurts but concealing it is even more painful. Especially when the concealed truth actually comes to pass.

  33. ian
    Posted September 24, 2014 at 11:52 am | Permalink

    With 1.5 trillion in debt on the first book and 300 billion of debt on pfi book with over 100 billion a year being added I cannot see why the over 55 in Scotland voted to stay with the uk for a safe pension. They must fear their politicians more than ours on spending. What cannot be paid back will not be paid back. One day the private investors will stop lending money to your government but before that they will want more interest on the money they have already lent to reflect the risk they are already taking and these debt do not included future liability for government pensions and so on. The government do not control interest rates event do. When one big government defaults they all will, with no private money to borrow, government future liability to it people will disappear and they will have to go for a reset on prices wages and pension back to say 1982,that were they started this system. They will put it off as long as they can, they all say it will not happen when I am in office and fiddle the books some more like accountants do for companies, that all they have left is fiddling the book so the debt could be a lot bigger.

  34. DaveM
    Posted September 24, 2014 at 11:55 am | Permalink

    I know lots of Scotsmen (most of them don’t live in Scotland for work reasons, so unlike the 17-year-old children of first generation immigrants they didn’t actually get to vote on the future of their motherland).

    Nearly every single one of them said that, if Salmond wasn’t in charge they would have voted for independence, but the thought of him driving the independence chariot during the early days would have made them vote No. And the idea of Nicola “not really concerned about independence as long as we get rid of the nukes” Sturgeon was concerned, it sent a shiver down their spines.

    Personality is everything in politics these days – I wonder how many Labour supporters heard Miliband’s speech yesterday and secretly thought “Oh dear. Do we really want him in charge?”

    • Jagman84
      Posted September 24, 2014 at 4:35 pm | Permalink

      I listen to David Camerons’ speeches and think exactly the same thing. I think his SPADs and speech writers must be socialists! Our host excepted,are there any real conservatives left in the Conservative party.

  35. cosmic
    Posted September 24, 2014 at 12:26 pm | Permalink

    With no convincing and honest answers to the questions of the currency and EU membership, I find it amazing that the Yes campaign was taken seriously at all.

  36. Will Rees
    Posted September 24, 2014 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

    Stopping Scottish MPs voting on English matters

    Who would decide what was an English matter? Surely making John Bercow omnipotent would leave a worse taste in the mouth of Tory back benches than the current imbalance.

    Reply It’s the mirror image of a Scottish matter, a matter already decided by the Scottish parliament.

  37. Atlas
    Posted September 24, 2014 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

    Cameron had better deliver on English Home Rule at the same time as the Scots get their Home Rule…

    • David Price
      Posted September 24, 2014 at 3:10 pm | Permalink

      … deliver on fuller devolution for Scotland and demonstrate to the No voters their choice was justified – I suspect the two issues are not wholely the same.

  38. Robert Taggart
    Posted September 24, 2014 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

    All well and good-ish Johnny, but, what about the next ‘independence’ election ? – the next Scottish Parliament election – where the SNP could be standing on a UDI ticket !

    Independence for England – PLEASE – or at the very least Home rule.

  39. ian
    Posted September 24, 2014 at 3:39 pm | Permalink

    Look like you have had some luck with china sacking their central banker

  40. forthurst
    Posted September 24, 2014 at 4:03 pm | Permalink

    Gordon Brown gave an impassioned speech in which he clearly ifentified himself as both a Scottish patriot and a believer in the Union. During his time in office, he exhibited his commitment to Scotland by encouraging two sedate Scottish banks to grow by fair means or foul and ultimately to saddle English taxpayers with enormous debts. As his Parthian shot, he lumbered the English taxpayer with two floating white elephants which were not intended to improve our defence capacity so much as provide employment in Scotland, since they are not nuclear powered and at least one, despite its enormous length, is incapable of launching an aircraft.

    Unless belief in the Union is to be about more than ripping off the English taxpayer, then it would have been better that the ‘Yes’ campaign had succeeded.

  41. acorn
    Posted September 24, 2014 at 4:31 pm | Permalink

    JR, the word is you are going to be sitting on a rubber ring for the next few days, after your visit to Chequers Court. Any comment?

  42. Margaret Brandreth-J
    Posted September 24, 2014 at 4:43 pm | Permalink

    All share eh? One does all the work, the other gets in debt and we all share or one, due to lack of information, makes a mistake and the other pays for it no matter how correct they have been.

  43. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted September 24, 2014 at 5:18 pm | Permalink

    It is significant that the Yes campaign won only in Glasgow, North Lanarkshire, West Dumbartonshire and Dundee City. These four areas have significant proportions of relatively impoverished voters. There is nothing wrong with honest poverty, but if I were a Scot Nat I would worry about my failure to convince people with something to lose. These Yes areas are miles away from their “Tartan Tory” strongholds.

    I think the Scot Nats need to be put firmly in their place and reminded that they LOST. Destroying a Union and creating (at least) two new nations is not a trivial matter. There shouldn’t be a second referendum. Next time round the Scot Nats must return a majority of MPs in 5 successive general elections before getting independence. That’s a very high bar to jump, and it should have been first time round.

  44. turbo terrier
    Posted September 24, 2014 at 7:22 pm | Permalink

    So Scotland is a rich country? That is great so in the first round of the Great UK Trade Off I hope that all the subsidies for renewable energy are stopped at the end of this year. The amount of money being thrown in that direction is obscene especially with a national debt of £1.43 trillion. High energy costs all of us but it can destroy high energy business users. Germany seems to be doing its own thing on using coal both black and brown. The UK seems to be holding back on fracking unbelievable.
    Mr Cameron and the other main party leaders for that matter are really becoming an even bigger embarrasment, but that is to be expected from career politicians with no real life business experiences.
    Labour are going to throw even more money into the bottomless pit called the NHS. That is yet another solution and not the problem, but like with green policies who if any of the policy makers bother to listen let alone think the process through.
    Will green policies and the amounts paid out in subsidies and constraint payments be debated at conference? Will not be holding my breath.
    The only thing that is going to get us out of this mess is leave europe, drive down energy prices as they also impact on family poverty and be far more pro active in stopping the illegal immigrants and get fully behind industry in training the next generation of engineers and trades people. The country cannot go on being basically a perceived service industry with our trained professionals leaving to benifit our competitors.

  45. bluedog
    Posted September 24, 2014 at 8:04 pm | Permalink

    As a close follower of the Scottish indyref debate, what surprised was the dishonesty of the SNP campaign, and the willing acceptance of SNP members and supporters of plainly improbable and contradictory policy positions advanced by the SNP government. Despite all but one of the private Scottish media outlets opposing secession, many SNP supporters continued to believe their Dear Leader, irrespective of evidentiary based rebuttal of his claims. Remarkably, the BBC which is usually vilified for its Leftist and anti-establishment positions, was berated by the SNP for its Rightist and pro-establishment positions. This may be an indicator of exactly how far Left on the political spectrum the SNP really is. And that is very Left indeed; essentially Marxist.

    All of this highlights a systemic risk to the UK Government as the prospect of the devolution of England within the UK draws near, as it should. The problem is that big fish in small, remote and ill-informed ponds can evolve into over-mighty subjects as Alex Salmond did, unless subject to external audit. One can therefore see the need for some sort of public scrutiny of devolved governments, at least once a year, in which the UK government and its departments meet their counter-parties in the devolved entities for a period of review and debate. Maybe this already happens, but this writer doesn’t recall seeing it reported.

    Communicating the actions of the central Government to the electorate in devolved entities is something that needs to be done as a matter of policy. In this regard the BBC has a critical role to play. However one suspects that the BBC now sees its role as being that of the subversion of Britain, a function shared with its sister media organ in nearby Manchester. Root and branch reform is therefore required.

  46. Richard
    Posted September 24, 2014 at 9:09 pm | Permalink

    “The Independence campaign was based on two central errors. The first was……… The second was the idea that Scotland could slip back into EU membership quickly and easily, when other counties in the EU were angry that Scotland dared to want more independence.”

    I think that Scotland would have been accepted into the EU immediately after independence :

    1) The EU wants to expand all the way from the Atlantic to the Urals (Mr. Cameron informs us) even to the extent that they are happy to risk a conflict with Russia in order to get the Ukraine into its grasp. There is no way that the EU would want to lose a country.

    2) The EU are happy to see Scotland split from the UK as it weakens the rUK and starts the path for the division of England into the smaller regional areas as planned by the EU. Divide and control is the EU’s aim.

    3) There is no way that the EU would want to lose a country wealthy enough to be a net contributor to EU funds.

    So Scotland would certainly be fast-tracked back into the EU. But what will change will be its terms with the EU as I would expect the EU to request the eventual adoption of the Euro and the cessation of all the UK’s current opt-outs and rebates.

    Spain, so heavily dependent upon the EU, will have no say in the matter.

  47. lojolondon
    Posted September 24, 2014 at 10:03 pm | Permalink

    Hi John, I just overheard the news – Cameron has recalled parliament so he can attack ISIS – he stated that they present immediate danger to Britain!!
    I hope and trust that our MP’s will show some spine and say “NO” again.

    • zorro
      Posted September 25, 2014 at 4:45 pm | Permalink

      Yes, ISIS will be able to attack us within 45 minutes……allegedly.

      zorro

  48. freeborn John
    Posted September 24, 2014 at 10:03 pm | Permalink

    The worst campaigner was cameron who appeared to be rehearsing his lines for an EU referendum. He actually said the Scots should stay in the UK to retain access to the British “single market”. There is no british single market! The UK market is currently part of the EU/EEA single market and if scotland had left the UK but stayed a member of the EU as Salmond wanted the Scotland would have an unchanged relationship with that European single market which was therefore a total non-issue in the context of the Scottish referendum but would be an issue in the possible 2017 referendum. It is amazing that someone with level of understanding is Prime Minister and really shows the decline in standards in British politics with Milliband and Cameron really seeming to compete only for which of them deserves to lose the general election the most.

  49. REPay
    Posted September 25, 2014 at 5:28 pm | Permalink

    “when other counties in the EU…”

    Turning countries into counties or regions was the EU’s policy (for a while…)

  • 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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