Our Union

I would like the Union of the United Kingdom to stay together. I only want volunteers in our Union.

I thought it right for the UK Parliament to grant Scotland an Independence  referendum given the strength of feeling for independence in Scotland in 2014 and the successful political campaigning of the SNP. Before the vote I pledged that I would respect the result whichever way it went, and would in good faith have worked with my colleagues to secure as  smooth an exit as possible for  Scotland from the UK if they wanted to leave. The SNP for their part said they too would accept the verdict. All bought into the phrase the vote would be a once in a generation opportunity to decide Scotland’s future. We also all agreed only Scottish voters would vote.

Today the SNP are trying to renege on all those promises. They now say they want an early second referendum on the same subject. They see no need to accept the last verdict as they claim there has been a material change of circumstance.

Their immediate argument is that as they won a majority of seats from Scotland in the UK Parliament on a ticket for independence it means opinion has shifted in Scotland so they should be able to try again. 

Yet in the last General election the SNP, the one party proposing independence, got 45% of the vote. This is exactly the same percentage as voted to leave the UK in the referendum. This is scarcely evidence of a major shift in Scottish opinion.

Their other argument is Scotland voted to remain in the EU, so it should be allowed a vote to leave the UK to try and rejoin the EU. This is a curious argument, as Scotland voted to stay in the UK and part of staying in the UK was the acceptance that a decision like membership of the EU was clearly a decision for the whole UK, not a decision for parts of the UK to make differently.

It is also difficult  to understand how they think it would work. The EU under Spanish influence would not be keen to foster independence movements within member states by offering Scotland, Catalonia, Padania and others easy entry into the EU as they left the UK, Spain, Italy and others. Presumably it would entail joining the Euro which the SNP have always been reluctant to propose.

The SNP are not believers in full independence. In the referendum they wished to stay in the UK currency union and remain with the Queen. The muddle at the heart of their campaign remains. Are they really just wanting devo max or do they eventually want to be properly independent? How does that square with being a small member of the EU if the EU would have them?

If I were a Scottish or English campaigner for independence I would want my country to have its own currency and not to be locked into the EU and Euro. That after all was what the UK referendum was all about, where I did campaign for my country, the UK, to be properly independent.

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161 Comments

  1. Andy
    Posted December 23, 2019 at 5:36 am | Permalink

    Scotland has a point. In 2014 it was told the only way for it to stay in the EU was for it to stay in the UK. The vote was close but narrowly a decision was made to stay in the UK on the basis promised.

    That basis has now been completely undone by the Conservatives. You want to take England out of the EU and you want to drag Scotland – completely against its will – with you. Scots are right to demand another say, the material facts having changing significantly.

    Incidentally the SNP got a higher vote share in Scotland in the general election than the Tories did in the UK. Apparently the Tory vote share is sufficiently high to implement the only Tory policy – to drag the majority of voters out of the EU against their will with Johnson’s capitulation deal – but an even higher vote share in Scotland is not sufficient to introduce the SNP’s main policy, IndyRef2.

    Of course the main difference between the Scot Nats and the Brexiteers is they the SNP produced a detailed plan of what independence meant. Voters were able to scrutinise. Brexiteers wrote a lie on a bus and then spent three years arguing about what it meant while blaming everyone else for their own staggering incompetence.

    As for the EU not allowing Scotland to join, that is a highly dubious claim. Nobody knows but certainly if independence were done legally there would be no real impediment.

    • Dee
      Posted December 23, 2019 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

      Some people are dense between the ears……Everybody and their mother and granny knew that it was a UK wide vote, NOT a Scottish, N Irish, Welsh or English vote. Sturgeon knew and accepted this decision and raised NO objection to it prior to the referendum and she is just using it as an excuse for her obsession. If it was left to me, I would bring the Country back under Direct Rule and abolish devolution, it is nothing but a pain in the backside. Sturgeon would serve the Scots better by making more effort to run the Country properly instead of letting it go to the dogs. Every year the English taxpayer has to bail out Scotland because of Sturgeon’s inability to run Scotland properly. £1Billion this year. Sturgeon moans we would stop immigrants. Scotland has an immigrant population of around 270,000 simply because immigrants do not want to move to Scotland. You have always had a far better financial deal the English have. Be satisfied.
      We don’t want to give you independence because we would still end up paying your way for you. Finaly don’t forget the 1Million plus who voted to leave in the referendum, including several hundred thousand SNP members. Sturgeon has just ignored them as if they do not excist. Finaly again you have to face 2 facts, we are leaving the eu and your not getting your indyref2. Have a nice day.

      • Hope
        Posted December 23, 2019 at 6:38 pm | Permalink

        JR, your govt and party has still failed to honour its Lothian question promise to England voters. We still have wee SNP MPs deciding English issues.

        Devolution has forced the English taxpayer to provide free university education to Scottish and EU students while giving English students have a lifetime of debt! They also have free prescriptions, dentist check ups at our expense. Good will is wearing thin.

        Imagine if England had devolution with its own parliament and we wanted independence of the rest of the countries? Who would get to vote? England the only country in the U.K. without its own parliament. Either we have devolution on an equitable basis or not at all. Carving up England to region for the EU structural plan no longer washes. We do not need useless mayors as addional tier of govt either, this does not satisfy us either.

        I still fail to see why only the Scotts get to choose. If Scotland was able to stand on its own two feet without any support from England I could understand why only the Scotts vote. However, it is a true union I feel English taxpayers should also get to vote.

        Once more you fail to address the central issue of your blog because you,know your govt and party has failed England. You do not speak for England as you claim.

        Still no view about why you capitulated to vote for the Johnson servitude plan despite your many previous views condemning it?

        Reply I think we need to secure Brexit before pressing for further changes to the English constitutional arrangements. I have been pressing consistently for a better deal for England in general and Wokingham in particular on funding of core services. I have succeeded with others in getting recalibration of cash for schools where numerous English schools were getting a bad deal.

        I decided at the end of the last broken Parliament that it was the PMs Brexit or no Brexit. I am also pressing for a sovereignty clause, no more delay and other various improvements in the WA Bill.

        • JoolsB
          Posted December 24, 2019 at 8:35 am | Permalink

          Reply to reply: With respect John, you still don’t believe in parity for England do you? I.e. our own legislature, our own First Minister and our own Secretary of State. In other words, England to be recognised as a nation making it’s own domestic decisions with someone standing up for it for a change unlike now and all of which have been enjoyed by Scotland, Wales & NI (?) for the last twenty years.

          Reply I believe in England legislating on domestic matters at Westminster without the votes of non English MPs affecting the outcome. I want there to be a Cabinet voice for England.

      • turboterrier
        Posted December 23, 2019 at 11:36 pm | Permalink

        Dee
        Brilliant.

    • Dee
      Posted December 23, 2019 at 1:04 pm | Permalink

      The SNP might have got a higher % of the vote than the Consrvatives but she still only got 45% so more people voted against SNP 55%,
      Funny, exactly the same % as Indyref 1.

    • Edward2
      Posted December 23, 2019 at 1:04 pm | Permalink

      Recent polls in Scotland have not shown a majority in favour of Scottish independence

    • beresford
      Posted December 23, 2019 at 2:05 pm | Permalink

      Scotland didn’t vote to remain in the EU, the majority of Scots voted for the UK to remain in the EU (the status quo). There are significant differences. For example, Scotland is currently a net benefactor of EU membership because its fees are effectively paid by England; as an independent member they would be net contributors.

      • turboterrier
        Posted December 23, 2019 at 11:40 pm | Permalink

        beresford.

        Correct. But Sturgeon doesn’t tell the people that. If she did they would abandon her and her party in droves.

    • Roy Grainger
      Posted December 23, 2019 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

      The slogan on the side of the bus was true. The Conservatives will have increased NHS spending by more than 350m a week by the time we leave. I suggest Andy apologise.

    • Dennis
      Posted December 23, 2019 at 4:35 pm | Permalink

      What was the lie on that bus? Surely not the £350 to the EU as the rebate was under the control of the EU so that is a trivial point.

      Surely not the sentence, a suggestion, about the NHS as there was no promise, guarantee, pledge to give the NHS a single penny out of it. So where is the lie?

  2. Lifelogic
    Posted December 23, 2019 at 5:43 am | Permalink

    Exactly. Why on earth do some Scots want to be independent of the UK but still rules by the EU and using the UK pound. Surely you either want full independence or not. I cannot see what the usually sensible Scots see in Sturgeon and Blackford. They clearly they BBC love them. They are endlessly on the screen and radio. The SNP must get about 10 times the coverage that the larger North of England (for example) receive.

    The SNP have no mandate for another referendum. Once we have left the EU and if there is a consistent Scottish majority (for say 20 years or so) to leave the UK and joint the EU with the EURO or a Scottish Groat Currency or similar then perhaps a further referendum might be granted at that time.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted December 23, 2019 at 7:08 am | Permalink

      The Union will come under far greater strain, and between the regions of England too, when the penny finally drops for the car worker in Sunderland, say, that he has far more in common with his peer in Dusseldorf than he does with a hedge fund manager in Surrey.

      That day is fast approaching.

      • Andy
        Posted December 23, 2019 at 12:22 pm | Permalink

        Exactly. Yet the worst strains for our union are age.

        A bunch of old people imposing on the young something they overwhelmingly do not want.

        See how that works out in the long run.

        • Edward2
          Posted December 23, 2019 at 2:26 pm | Permalink

          Did you know the average age who voted Conservative dropped from 47 to 39 in the recent election.

          As you say Andy, lets see how that works out in the long run.

          • Richard1
            Posted December 23, 2019 at 6:12 pm | Permalink

            Great stat. The left has been hammered. Life will be better because of it, especially for lower income people who don’t care about woke politics and virtue signalling, but are concerned about things like do they have a job, how much of their money do they get to keep, how much does stuff cost.

          • Edward2
            Posted December 23, 2019 at 8:35 pm | Permalink

            Richard1
            I agree entirely.

          • Martin in Cardiff
            Posted December 24, 2019 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

            The extra people who were gullible enough to vote Tory appear to be the same ones who were equally so to vote Leave.

            And yet they expect Johnson to preserve workers’ rights, improve the NHS, and irony of them all, to increase taxes on the rich to pay for it.

            Now, that really does take a special kind of it.

          • libertarian
            Posted December 24, 2019 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

            Marty

            Nope wrong on all counts

            The ones who gave the Tories a landslide are working class voters who are sick and tired of marxist, woke , identity politics from a bunch of student level politicians.

            They are the ones who can use google and find out very quickly that worker protection and rights are ALREADY far superior in the UK than the rest of the EU

            They have heard this NHS scare story as far back as the 1950’s and quite frankly no one believes it any more

            Irony most people are bright enough ( ie not socialists) to know that if you want to fund top quality public services from taxing the rich then its best to have a lot more rich people rather than the following

            Corbyn – No one should be a billionaire

            Workers – How you going to fund services ?

            Corbyn – Tax billionaires

            Workers ha ha ha ha , vote tory

        • beresford
          Posted December 23, 2019 at 5:03 pm | Permalink

          A lot of young people don’t understand what the EU is. When interviewed, one said that the main issue was her roaming charges and another said ‘We should all be together’, as if the EU was some scout jamboree. Instead of moaning Andy, tell us why you think England and Scotland should be divided into new districts of a single state of Europe ruled directly by bureaucrats.

          • Andy
            Posted December 24, 2019 at 2:23 am | Permalink

            I don’t think that. And the EU isn’t run by bureaucrats. It’s run by the member states. Glad to be of assistance.

          • libertarian
            Posted December 24, 2019 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

            Andy

            Remind us which heads of member states we are negotiating leaving with

            Youre welcome

      • libertarian
        Posted December 24, 2019 at 3:49 pm | Permalink

        Marty

        Ah the workers international … yeh but what happens when the penny finally drops on car workers in Dusseldorf that the EU is a corporatist stitch up on behalf of the big banks ?

    • Bob
      Posted December 23, 2019 at 10:40 am | Permalink

      @lifelogic
      The BBC are trying to use the SNP manifesto as a Remain campaign tool.
      Scrap the BBC Licence and put an end to this subversive nonsense.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted December 23, 2019 at 4:54 pm | Permalink

        I think you are right here. I see, that of the twelve BBC trustees, one represents Scotland, one Northern Ireland and one Wales plus they are all appointed on the advice of government ministers – so one assumes they nearly all suffer from the usual BBC and recent Governments group think. Thus lefty, politically correct, pro EU, pro climate alarmist and anti-real science, for big government and endless red tape, and for clearly slanted & unfair competition in healthcare, broadcasting, education, transport, energy, housing…..

  3. Shirley
    Posted December 23, 2019 at 5:53 am | Permalink

    I am not 100% convinced that the SNP want independence. They just hate the English and want to cause as much disruption and damage to the English as possible. It is also a very good way to extract more money … in order to keep them quiet and within the UK.

    We need parity, ie. an English Parliament to prevent potential damage, or remove devolution. I doubt devolution can be removed now, so give the Scots full fiscal control and stop the Barnett formula and other spending. If they want independence, let them start by keeping all their own taxes and surviving on their own. They can contribute towards UK defence as with NATO. Then, if they still want independence they will know exactly what it means.
    We must however, retain UK control over immigration, defence, foreign policy, etc. where the SNP could do the most damage to the UK.

    • Narrow Shoulders
      Posted December 23, 2019 at 7:58 am | Permalink

      It is also a very good way to extract more money … in order to keep them quiet and within the UK.

      Yes if this vote does go ahead the legislation must stipulate that nothing extra is offered to Scotland during the campaign. Before any referendum it might be fairer to the whole UK to review the Barnett Formula.

    • George Dunnett
      Posted December 23, 2019 at 8:48 am | Permalink

      Shirley, you’ve hit the nail on the head. The SNP know they will not get “independence” and they’re simply being confrontational and awkward to extract as much money from the government as they can.

      I guess they’re just being “canny’.

      I think the EU need the SNP like a hole in the head!

    • Alan Jutson
      Posted December 23, 2019 at 9:12 am | Permalink

      Shirley I tend to agree with you, so called devolution was the thin end of what could be a very large wedge.

      Independent but wanting to be a member of the EU is simply not realistic, in leaving the EU, the UK should be independent (time will tell on that as well)

      They already have more allocated seats for Scotland in the UK Parliament with regards to population than the rest of the UK.

      Independence means losing all present income from the rest of the UK, paying off their share of UK Debt, losing UK government departments located in Scotland, setting up their own health service, and benefits programmes, and currency.

      Then we have trading arrangements and customs arrangements to resolve.

      Madness, absolute madness, but if they really want it in ten years time, I would allow another referendum, but outline the terms of what that means before it takes place.

    • JoolsB
      Posted December 23, 2019 at 10:18 am | Permalink

      I totally agree Shirley but John and his colleagues will fight tooth and claw before England is allowed it’s own parliament. No voice or self determination for us, now the only nation in the western world without a parliament. We will see over the coming months more and more powers being repatriated back from the EU to Scotland & Wales and yet again England will be totally ignored. I also agree it’s time English taxes stopped being shovelled north of the border to pay for their free tuition fees, free prescriptions, free hospital parking, free eye tests, free dental checks and free personal care for the elderly, all things denied to us English on grounds of cost. Boris even bragged recently that the Scots had been given the biggest block grant in their history by a Tory Government, a Tory Government, there by the grace of England and yet all England gets is cuts, cuts and more cuts. If it wasn’t for Scots MPs our kids would not now be saddled with crippling debts when they leave university and yet not one word of protest, not a whimper from UK MPs with English seats who opposed tuition fees at the time and who now sit silently whilst 117 UK MPs elected outside of England vote and meddle in English only matters.

      Boris’s only worry if England had had a Labour/SNP Government foist on it against it’s will was Scotland demanding their second referendum – they couldn’t give a toss about the fact England would have had unelected and unaccountable MPs dictating policies which not have affected either themselves or their constituents.

      Boris, May & Cameron before him won’t even appoint a Secretary of State for England within the cabinet. Unlike Scotland, Wales (& NI) who get a Secretary of State as well as their own First Ministers, England has absolutely no one speaking for it in Government or anywhere else. They are obviously happy with the status quo and the rotten deal England gets from this so called union – shame on them all!

      And no doubt this comment will stay in moderation for the next week.

  4. Lifelogic
    Posted December 23, 2019 at 5:55 am | Permalink

    The new speaker wants to see John Bercow elevated to the Lords and for this convention to be respected for past speakers. No, no never please. Firstly the current speaker should not have expressed any opinion of this convention (as he clearly himself has a vested interest in it continuing). The Benn act was a total act of treachery and John Bercow clearly collaborated in this appalling act. An act that has ensured that the Boris deal is as appalling as it is, to the great disadvantage and cost of UK citizens.

    The ideal that such a man should be in the Lords, with all the other BBC think remainds and pro EU, climate alarmist lefties and “no nation” conservatives is appalling.

    • Alan Jutson
      Posted December 23, 2019 at 4:10 pm | Permalink

      lifelogic

      Agreed

  5. Lifelogic
    Posted December 23, 2019 at 6:20 am | Permalink

    BBC boss Lord Hall (Oxford PPE yet again) rejects BBC election bias accusations in the a Telegraph today! Just look at the dire guest editors for the Today programme (other than Charles Moore).

    What planet is this deluded dope on? The bias of the BBC is absolutely overwhelming. About five remainders for ever pro Brexit person allowed on political programmes and when they are they are attacked and interrupted by the other 4 plus the chair or presenter. The BBC is stuffed with rather dim, lefty art graduates and dire luvvies, all remainders, all signed up to the catastrophic climate alarmist religion, all insufferably PC, all well to the left of centre, all pushing for ever more government and ever more red tape. Andrew Neil who is about centre politically is perhaps the sole exception to this. No one to the right of him at all.

    The Conservative party of late is essentially a left wing party but has the BBC ever attacked them from the right. Perhaps suggesting nearly 50% of GDP is rather too high ( by a huge margin) for a sensibly run, efficient economy? If so I missed it.

    The BBC bias on climate alarmist is so overwhelming that no sensible climate realists (as most sensible and independent scientists are) are ever allowed on to the BBC at all at all. Even their tame physicist Brian Cox has foolishly fallen for the exaggerated religion. This despite nearly all their prediction being huge exaggerations and clearly proven wrong.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted December 23, 2019 at 6:32 am | Permalink

      Looking at the list of BBC Trustees past and present shows the bias very clearly indeed. How many of these people are pro Brexit, think climate alarmism is perhaps somewhat exaggerated, is right of centre on economics or a stem graduate? I see they have an international representative, a Northern Irish, Wales, and Scottish representative but non for the rather larger areas of the North of England, the West of England, the south East or the midlands. Giving huge bias to the trustees just by this.

    • Dominic
      Posted December 23, 2019 at 6:55 am | Permalink

      Johnson mustn’t enter into debate with the BBC about the nature of the changes that must be implemented throughout the British political State that’s been constructed since 1997 under Blair (in connivance with the EU) and left untouched by pro-EU Tory PM’s

      PM Johnson must impose change starting with the decriminalization of non-payment of the BBC tax. Following this, he must split apart its structures to weaken the grip of the political left that’s now infected this organisation. All political output should be put on a subscription channel (pay per view) with their news output relegated to an ITV type format

      Sport, popular entertainment and BBC4 content plus radio should also be placed
      on subscription

      This organisation is out of control, is utterly biased and employs people with a political and activist agenda.

      It is this PM’s job to purge what needs to be purged by targeting funding sources and squeezing until ‘the pips squeak’

    • Al
      Posted December 23, 2019 at 7:05 am | Permalink

      “BBC boss Lord Hall (Oxford PPE yet again) rejects BBC election bias accusations” – Lifelogic

      No surprise there, that the boss of an organisation might reject any claim that there is a problem. If there was, they might be held accountable for it and – horrors – have to do something about it.

    • formula57
      Posted December 23, 2019 at 7:05 am | Permalink

      @ Lifelogic “… Lord Hall (Oxford PPE yet again)…” – I am impressed that run from their mis-spent youth at their thatched-roofed educational establishment though they might try, those audacious reptiles cannot hide from you!

    • Nig l
      Posted December 23, 2019 at 9:11 am | Permalink

      You win my politically out of touch award for 2019

      • Narrow Shoulders
        Posted December 24, 2019 at 2:08 pm | Permalink

        That the Conservative party of today looks slightly centrist is a testament to how far Ed Milliband and Jeremy Corbyn took Labour to the left.

        Other than promising income tax cuts (no doubt to be offset by additional taxes elsewhere) the Conservative party stood on quite a left wing manifesto and will increase our national debt once more.

    • Irene
      Posted December 23, 2019 at 9:58 am | Permalink

      I disagree with you.

    • Bob
      Posted December 23, 2019 at 11:16 am | Permalink

      The BBC has outlived its original purpose and has become so politicised that it should register as a political organisation. The idea that its fund raising is protected by law and enforced by TV inspectors blagging their way into peoples homes is repugnant.

  6. Ian Wragg
    Posted December 23, 2019 at 6:20 am | Permalink

    The Scots don’t want independence they just want to blackmail Westminster into giving more subsidies.
    It’s time the Barnett formula was scrapped and payments levelled down to the average.
    They are massively over represented at Westminster.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted December 23, 2019 at 6:33 am | Permalink

      Indeed and on the BBC.

    • a-tracy
      Posted December 23, 2019 at 9:40 am | Permalink

      How many more MPs do they have than they should have?

      • Glenn Vaughan
        Posted December 23, 2019 at 12:59 pm | Permalink

        a-tracy

        Question: “How many more MPs do they have than they should have?”

        Answer: 48!

        • a-tracy
          Posted December 23, 2019 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

          Parliament UK constituencies – google check
          Constituencies in the UK
          There are currently:

          533 constituencies in England
          59 in Scotland
          40 in Wales
          18 in Northern Ireland.
          Size of constituencies by electorate
          The number of people able to vote (the electorate) differs by constituency. The Office for National Statistics gives the average electorate across constituencies of about:

          72,200 in England
          67,200 in Scotland
          68,300 in Northern Ireland
          56,000 in Wales

          • a-tracy
            Posted December 23, 2019 at 2:59 pm | Permalink

            3,964,800 Scotland roughly 55 instead of 59
            2,240,000 Wales 31 instead of 40
            1,229,400 N Ireland 17 instead of 18
            to balance with England – who don’t have two parliaments.

    • JoolsB
      Posted December 23, 2019 at 10:23 am | Permalink

      No chance of that happening Ian – afterall they wouldn’t want to upset the Scots and of course as we know, it doesn’t matter about us English. Except when they need our votes and our money that is.

    • ian terry
      Posted December 23, 2019 at 11:28 am | Permalink

      Ian Wragg

      Correct

  7. Stred
    Posted December 23, 2019 at 6:24 am | Permalink

    Offer them another referendum with the promise that they can stick their expensive and excessive wind generation in their country and the Commons. No cheap gas to keep them going when it’s cold and windless. Promise to remove navy shipbuilding and HMRC and civil service departments. Offer their share of the national debt. The EU will not allow them to use the £ and rejoin. After they lose for s second time, cut the subsidy and insist on English students being treated the same as EU in Scottish universities, or out anyway. Sit back and enjoy their squabbling and court cases.

    • Sir Joe Soap
      Posted December 23, 2019 at 8:36 am | Permalink

      Also they pay for such a referendum win or lose. The other regions need some quid pro quo for the costs of the SNP reneging when they lose.

    • majorfrustration
      Posted December 23, 2019 at 8:40 am | Permalink

      Agree – no more Mr.Nice Guy

      • Andy
        Posted December 23, 2019 at 1:14 pm | Permalink

        No more Mr Nice Guy from a hard right Tory.

        Ironic.

        • Edward2
          Posted December 23, 2019 at 4:32 pm | Permalink

          You obviosly don’t understand what irony is.

    • David L
      Posted December 23, 2019 at 10:12 am | Permalink

      The lack of fees for Scottish students has not worked entirely in favour of those applicants. The Universities set an upper limit on the intake of Scottish students of, I believe, 20%, as there is less income from them, so the criteria for entry are also raised, meaning many can’t get accepted. Also, with many Scottish students being 17 years old there is a lack of maturity among the student body that adversely affects more mature students of other nationalities. One of my own children has recently attended a major Scottish University (A science subject in case LL is reading this!) and found it a less than ideal academic environment. For such a beautiful country they are ill-served by their embittered leaders.

    • Turboterrier
      Posted December 23, 2019 at 11:41 am | Permalink

      Stred

      You forgot:-

      Hard border that will be necesssary to stop all the EU members coming from there to here .

      Relocate all our military bases back into England.

      Removal of all subsidies and constarint payments on all renewable installations, turbines, solar, bio mass and bio digesters.

      If they succeed in their dream of independance and fail, it will be left to the rest of the uk to vote on should they be accepted back not politicians.

      • Fedupsoutherner
        Posted December 23, 2019 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

        Quite right Turbo! They should pay for all the subsidies for their wind farms which are being paid for by all of us at the moment including all the money given to the communities that they receive. No getting away with the debt. It’s as much theirs as England’s. No more voting in English parliamentary matters. I am sick to death of the Scots. Let them have their precious independence and let them get on without more and more handouts from the English. The less we hear of them the better.

  8. Martin
    Posted December 23, 2019 at 6:27 am | Permalink

    What percentage of the vote did the Conservatives get at the December 2019 election?
    Was it less than Remain got at the EU referendum? Hardly a ringing endorsement for change!

    P.S. I note the Heathrow third runway has been delayed yet again.

    • Bob
      Posted December 23, 2019 at 5:45 pm | Permalink

      “the Heathrow third runway has been delayed yet again.”

      Cancel it and replace with a purpose built coastal airport.

  9. Mick
    Posted December 23, 2019 at 6:28 am | Permalink

    Let them have another referendum, but this time go all out to let the good people in Scotland to have the full facts and not what sturgeon keeps promising them pie in the sky, that to start with you won’t have the pound but the euro there will be hard borders with passport control into England your fishing controls taken back by the Eu and no more funding from Westminster, this is just a small handful of the negatives of leaving GB but I’m sure there’s a lot more, the Scottish people aren’t stupid and I’m sure they would reject sturgeon and here cronies

    • Dave Andrews
      Posted December 23, 2019 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

      If Scotland votes to leave the UK and join the EU, they will have to explain what they will do about the England/Scotland border.
      All the SNP ever do over the question is to rage against England and the Tories, but if I was an EU negotiator considering their membership application, I would want a substantial explanation as to how they will protect the single market.

  10. Narrow Shoulders
    Posted December 23, 2019 at 6:49 am | Permalink

    There should be no vote until the terms of any potential departure are decided.

    If sterling is to be shared then any referendum must include the whole of the UK.

    We can grant the vote to be held in 2024, a generation after the first vote, in good time to see the effects of leaving the EU and giving plenty of time to negotiate how much is owed and what independence will look like.

    The issue can not be ignored, politically with the number of seats they win, the SNP has a mandate but Scotland also has fiscal and administrative obligations to the union which can not be ambiguous in and vote.

    • Narrow Shoulders
      Posted December 23, 2019 at 1:02 pm | Permalink

      the SNP has a mandate but Scotland also has fiscal and administrative obligations to the union which can not be ambiguous in ANY vote.

      Apologies

  11. GilesB
    Posted December 23, 2019 at 6:53 am | Permalink

    Let’s have a UK wide referendum on the issue.

  12. formula57
    Posted December 23, 2019 at 6:57 am | Permalink

    “I would like the Union of the United Kingdom to stay together.” – for any sound reasons or just because it exists now?

    There might be minor security implications from having a failed state on our northern border, but that surely could be coped with.

  13. Martin in Cardiff
    Posted December 23, 2019 at 7:04 am | Permalink

    Well, John, if you only want volunteers in the Union, then I take it that you would be happy to see London and our great, fine, Remain-voting cities depart from it, and rejoin the European Union? After all, little Luxembourg is a member.

    Because that is what this silly, election-gimmick referendum of Cameron’s has done to the country.

  14. Al
    Posted December 23, 2019 at 7:07 am | Permalink

    I would be very interested in our host’s view of the Cobham takeover. As one of our more outspoken activists put it, they voted against Labour to ‘protect the family silver and yet less than ten days under the Tories it is already being sold off’.

    • forthurst
      Posted December 23, 2019 at 5:40 pm | Permalink

      Quite. “One Nation” didn’t last very long did it? Not when those in the City who might be generous to the Tory Party in future, despite funding Remain, wanted to encash their winnings on Cobham stock. The Scots want to leave because they no longer see a synergy; does anyone else who does not work in the Square Mile? The Tories are simply unpatriotic; they have no pride in this country and its achievements or any intention of ensuring that we have an industrial base that gives other parts of the country outside London including Scotland a raison d’etre.

  15. sm
    Posted December 23, 2019 at 7:11 am | Permalink

    Given the SNP’s apparent inability to adequately run the basic services of a modern country such as Health and Education, perhaps they could explain how this would improve if they were given what they demand: demi-semi-partial independence.

    Those of us who have raised children to adulthood will no doubt recall, with a wince, their teenage years, when they were convinced they knew everything and could cope with everything on their own, until there was a problem…..Perhaps Ms Sturgeon is a case of arrested adolescence?

  16. margaret
    Posted December 23, 2019 at 7:20 am | Permalink

    It is the same old story , they cannot except that they could lose the vote to remain united; a similar story to the EU remainer’s who cannot except the vote to leave.

  17. Simeon
    Posted December 23, 2019 at 7:37 am | Permalink

    Stop the press! The Scottish Nationalist Party are pushing for independence! It is their raison d’etre. Of course they will push for it at any opportunity. And, like it or not, there very obviously has been a material change of circumstances. If polling in Scotland indicated there may be a desire for independence, it is only right that, in light of the material change, they are granted a referendum.

    Are the SNP playing politics? Of course they are! And though you make some sensible points in your argument, the truth is that you are also playing politics. This is the game. Neither you, nor they, have any need to apologise for that. But an honest and sensible discourse is surely vital, that the Scottish people may make an informed decision.

    You say you only want volunteers in the Union. This is surely right. But please, can we put an end to the UK government bribing the Scots, Welsh and N. Irish to remain. We should be a Union of equals, or not a Union at all. Until this is the case, bad faith will persist on both sides, to the detriment of the people, your supposed masters. As others have said, unwind the unjust Barnett formula, that the wicket may be even and true.

  18. Caterpillar
    Posted December 23, 2019 at 7:44 am | Permalink

    I think maximal devolution (including immigration policy as Scotland has a different situation to England) for the four countries. An English parliament in Birmingham and a UK parliament in Liverpool/Manchester or possibly NE. If we cannot have maximal and fair devolution between the four nations then we shouldn’t have any.

  19. Mark B
    Posted December 23, 2019 at 7:45 am | Permalink

    Good morning.

    The SNP are just agitating for more power and cash. They SNP have bankrupted Scotland in all but name, with only the English taxpayer preventing it from such. Stop being so fooled by this faux claims for a mandate for another Scottish Indy’ Ref’ 2.0. If we give the Scots another referendum, win or lose, this will only reinvigorate Remainers to demand another referendum as well.

    It is now time to start to think outside the box. I here have been advocating a restructuring of the UK to a federal system where all members of our union have their own parliaments and the HoL is turned into a Senate. Yes it has been a lonely campaign but, the wind of change is now beginning to blow and calls for the abolition and replacement of the HoL is now being talked about seriously.

  20. BCL
    Posted December 23, 2019 at 7:49 am | Permalink

    If the Scotch took their share of national debt and the rest of us stopped financing them, I suspect the rest of us would be quite a bit better off. Perhaps it’s as well the we don’t get to vote!

  21. Anonymous
    Posted December 23, 2019 at 7:57 am | Permalink

    Let the English vote on Scottish independence. They’ll be out in a jiffy.

    • Fred H
      Posted December 23, 2019 at 5:52 pm | Permalink

      Anon – – mind you – the idea of a really painful WA, where they have to pay billions every year, give up the few things (assets) they do have, watch while we relocate all UK jobs back over the border, establish a new defence dockyard, close the remaining RAF bases, charge special visit border crossing here, and plan a 5 year severance where Barnett is ceased forthwith – all that could be interesting.

  22. eeyore
    Posted December 23, 2019 at 8:00 am | Permalink

    I find the SNP position rational. Recognising Scots’ affection for the Queen, they retain the monarchy. She is after all Queen of Scots. Seeking maximum financial advantage, they retain the pound in a currency union so they can then run up debt on England’s credit. Knowing their own history, they prioritise their continental link over their English one.

    It may not be Sir John’s idea of independence but it is consistent and canny. What else should we expect of Scots?

    It seems likely this government will address Scots’ aspirations, though not in the form the SNP desire. An adjustment of the Union is on the cards, very likely with a federal structure. If that resolves the English democratic deficit to which our host has long referred we may all be winners.

  23. Polly
    Posted December 23, 2019 at 8:05 am | Permalink

    If “your country” is the UK as you say it is, and not just England, obviously you deserve a vote to decide if it is to be broken up.

    So do all British people, not just those who live in Scotland.

    After all, what is Britain ? What does it say on a British passport ? I don’t think there is any split, everyone is the same.

    So there cannot be Scottish independence unless a majority in “your country”, the United Kingdom, vote for it which I think polling shows would never happen.

    Polly

    • Fedupsoutherner
      Posted December 23, 2019 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

      Polly

      At the last referendum it wasn’t only Scots that voted. Indeed, Scots living in England didn’t get a vote but English living in Scotland did. The whole of the UK should get a vote and then I think they would get their independence and not before time for a lot of us. All they do is disrupt the workings of parliament and how long before we hear they are to get more money? Just go! When I lived there I felt like a foreigner. They don’t want to be with us but they want our money.

      • Polly
        Posted December 23, 2019 at 1:46 pm | Permalink

        I think it would be a shame if the United Kingdom became disunited and I don’t think most Brits want that to happen. I saw a nationwide poll a few months ago which showed about 65% against.

        Polly

        • Fedupsoutherner
          Posted December 23, 2019 at 11:50 pm | Permalink

          Poll reading this blog would seem to indicate the opposite. Most of us would vote for them to go.

  24. Kevin
    Posted December 23, 2019 at 8:15 am | Permalink

    “do they eventually want to be properly independent?”

    The EU could ask the same question of the UK. The SNP’s approach to currency independence is comparable to the Conservative Party’s approach to legislative, judicial and policy independence (see e.g. Arts. 4, 127, 174 and 129(6) of the WA, and Clause 77 of the PD). Why should the SNP be obliged to clarify their position on a “cliff-edge”, “hard”, “no deal” exit when the Conservatives are approaching their fourth year of having failed to do the same? Yet the latter party wants to claim that we will be “independent” in a month’s time.

  25. Anonymous
    Posted December 23, 2019 at 8:26 am | Permalink

    Taking it that the SNP vote IS the total Leave vote then they are going to need the English’s help in getting on their way.

    – Free tuition fees
    – Free prescriptions
    – Free carehomes
    – Their MPs can vote in our decisions but ours can’t vote in theirs…

    We English certainly aren’t ‘volunteers’ in this arrangement. A similarly educated young Englishman will quite likely find himself hundreds of thousands of pounds worse off than his Scottish contemporary by middle age.

    The only thing we English want from Scotland is mutual friendship, Carol Kirkwood and Ardbeg 10 year whiskey and we’ll pay handsomely and willingly for both.

  26. MBJ
    Posted December 23, 2019 at 8:33 am | Permalink

    MBJ:- Of course I could say that this was an exceptional vote , but the truth is I meant ‘accept’ and didn’t realise till posting. They must have put me down again .. don’t want to pay so mix us .. Hard slog and many mistakes getting back as always .

  27. majorfrustration
    Posted December 23, 2019 at 8:38 am | Permalink

    Lets grant Scotland independence now without a vote and work on a two year transition period – no pound no more subsidy and contribution to national debt I know I know its a silly idea but the SNP are going to moan and moan so why not front them up – put up or shut up. England has better things to do.

  28. Denis Cooper
    Posted December 23, 2019 at 8:46 am | Permalink

    The SNP should simply be told to wait and see how Brexit actually turns out before asking for a repeat independence referendum on the grounds of radically changed circumstances since the last referendum. At present they claim that it will be economically damaging to Scotland when there is no sound evidence to support that assumption.

    Why did the opposition parties constantly clamour for the government to publish official predictions of the economic impact of different Brexit scenarios? Because they knew that Theresa May had deliberately appointed another strong Remain supporter as Chancellor to replace George Osborne and oversee the production of those new impact assessments, and so they would always be heavily biased against Brexit.

    Now Boris Johnson is confirmed as Prime Minister and in a strong position he should order more realistic economic assessments to be made, as suggested before:

    http://johnredwoodsdiary.com/2019/12/14/christmas-elections-should-be-a-last-resort/#comment-1077130

    “Well, Boris Johnson is the First Lord of the Treasury and he should order its officials to seek outside advice and revise their models to produce more realistic predictions of the economic effects of the UK leaving the EU … “

    And that should be with or without any special trade agreement.

  29. Fred H
    Posted December 23, 2019 at 8:46 am | Permalink

    The SNP have been an irrating, unreasonable and contrary organisation for as long as I can remember. However, they do have a meaningful point of view, and where are the voices from Scots arguing the case to stay in the Union? Tell us what you want, what you really really want!

    • Fred H
      Posted December 23, 2019 at 10:32 am | Permalink

      irritating (and my spelling).

  30. Anonymous
    Posted December 23, 2019 at 8:47 am | Permalink

    Off topic please. The Sun is calling upon the PM to solve the housing crisis for the young. I agree. Asides mass immigration…

    Please consider Help to Move for old people. I know many in family homes who’ve left it all too late. Would move but are daunted by it. I have lived in several areas now and all have had the same problem. Widows living into very old age, on their own, in large family houses in areas of housing shortage.

    This is such an obvious problem. The alternative is to destroy our countryside beneath vast rabbit-hutch housing estates.

  31. MickN
    Posted December 23, 2019 at 8:50 am | Permalink

    Insist that the English are allowed to draw up a withdrawal treaty and that the Scots are not allowed to walk away with no deal. After all isn’t that what the SNP have voted for time and time again in Westminster for the UK?
    I am sick of hearing the c0nstant whinging where every day there is a seeming excuse and mandate for another referendum. It is absurd and still not being addressed that MPs have no say over devolved issues in Scotland whereas SNP have a disproportionate number of votes on purely English matters in Westminster. It has to be that we either have the English parliament that we are denied by successive governments or we give them their referendum that we all get to vote in so that we can let them go on their orgy of self destruction.

    • Fedupsoutherner
      Posted December 23, 2019 at 12:09 pm | Permalink

      Too true MickN

  32. John S
    Posted December 23, 2019 at 8:52 am | Permalink

    The first referendum was conducted in a half-cocked manner insofar the terms of disengagement were not discussed. For example would Scotland be accepting its share of the national debt and so on. This was typical of David Cameron’s time in office – all image and not much substance.

  33. agricola
    Posted December 23, 2019 at 8:59 am | Permalink

    Like you I believe in the Union, but there is a danger in refusing them a second referendum. Rajoy, PM of Spain , managed to turn a 40% for independence in Cataluna into a 60% vote in favour by being insensitive and politically inept. Cataluna was the heart of democratic republicanism during the civil war. To interfere in the internal referendum they held, Rajoy shipped in a load of Guardia Civil known in Franco’s day as one of his instruments of murder and repression. This almost guaranteed a switch for independence. Now we have nine ministers from the Cataluna administration in prison and the PM of Cataluna in exile. Meanwhile the decisive EU is still scratching it’s bum.

    The situation is not parallel but maybe there is political wisdom in letting Scotland have another referendum after we have completed our departure from the EU, lets say in 2021. David Cameron made a wise decision in 2014, as did the Scots subsequently. It might have the added advantage of quietening down the virago from north of the border and her acolytes at Westminster. Added to this it gives the Scots time to give it’s full impact due consideration.

  34. agricola
    Posted December 23, 2019 at 9:08 am | Permalink

    Another subject of great relevance at this time of year is the number of shopping hours allowed up to and after Christmas. It destroys the family life of all those employed in the retail market place in their employers drive to squeeze the last pound into their bottom line.

    I think there is a very good argument for closing down the retail industry, and I include the on line industry, from Christmas Eve until New Years Day. Goods and money would remain available until 2nd January, and the workers would return refreshed. Lets hear from those who work in retail.

    • a-tracy
      Posted December 23, 2019 at 12:28 pm | Permalink

      I know people who don’t mind working this season and taking their holidays in sunnier months, some retailers ask staff for preferences. There are lots of people agricola who work over the festive season, including police, fire, nhs, cinemas, bars, restaurants, entertainment venues, transport, taxi drivers, do you propose to shut everything down?

      • agricola
        Posted December 23, 2019 at 5:20 pm | Permalink

        No, but retail is not an essential service and it is only in recent years that retail has decided to be open to the detriment of those that work in it.

  35. Original Richard
    Posted December 23, 2019 at 9:25 am | Permalink

    “We also all agreed only Scottish voters would vote.”

    According to Wikipedia “All European Union (EU) or Commonwealth citizens residing in Scotland age 16 or over could vote…”

    I believe it is wrong for EU citizens to vote in such a referendum and wrong also that Scottish ex pats (up to a maximum of 15 years away from Scotland (as for the UK)) were not allowed a vote.

    • Fedupsoutherner
      Posted December 23, 2019 at 12:12 pm | Permalink

      Original Richard. You are quite right in what you say. I am English but when living in Scotland, was allowed a vote but Scots in England were not. I have left Scotland now as I was fed up with the anti English rhetoric I was subjected to on a regular basis. Let them get on with it. I know many Scots and English alike that will move ut of Scotland if independence is granted.

  36. ChrisS
    Posted December 23, 2019 at 9:29 am | Permalink

    Your point about only 45% of the Scottish electorate voted for the SNP is entirely valid.

    It is said that not all those who voted for the SNP are wedded to independence while it seems highly unlikely that any wanting to leave the UK would support any of the parties committed to staying within the UK. The number could therefore be significantly less than 45%.

    That is certainly not a sufficient case to justify another referendum which would be even more deeply divisive than the last and would be dangerously distracting for the UK government when we have to put all our efforts into making a success of Brexit and making good on the promises made to Northern voters.

    Perhaps the solution is to call Sturgeon’s bluff : Offer Scotland a move to full independence within the UK with full control over tax raising powers and their budget with only borrowing, foreign affairs and defence dealt with from London. It would have the advantage of allowing them to keep the pound.

    This would mean the end of the Barnett Formula as would happen if they became independent. If Sturgeon is so confident she would go for it.

    She won’t, of course, because the whole fuss about another referendum is to disguise her complete failure to run the economy properly. As we all know, know, successive Labour and SNP policies have driven the economy of Scotland to be a basket case.

  37. Old Albion
    Posted December 23, 2019 at 9:32 am | Permalink

    Sturgeon and her acolytes do want independence, even if they don’t know what it really means. Personally I couldn’t care less if they leave the UK to become a tiny state in the EU. Scotland is a huge burden on the English tax payer.
    However, if Boris stalls them for a couple of years. They will then see they are part of a new dynamic UK free of all EU constraints. Opinion in Scotland will soon change once again and Sturgeon will look as isolated as did Salmond.
    Either way a Parliament for England to equalise Devolution, is long overdue.

  38. Original Richard
    Posted December 23, 2019 at 9:34 am | Permalink

    The fact that the SNP want to remain in the EU shows that it is not independence they seek but separation from the English.

    The UK leaving the EU will make it much harder for Scotland to leave the EU, which is why Nicola Sturgeon is so keen for us to remain in the EU. The SNP know that the EU has plans itself to make Scotland a separate region.

    The Scottish electorate should bear in mind that since Nicola Sturgeon is a very keen advocate of the UK not leaving the EU without a deal, it follows that she will likewise be happy to accept any deal that the rUK will be prepared to offer her should they decide to leave the UK.

  39. a-tracy
    Posted December 23, 2019 at 9:39 am | Permalink

    I think this is because you politicians gave too much to Ireland on their independence with a common travel area and voting rights in the UK, so that Scotland now thinks they would have more power in the EU than they do in the UK, after all in the EU the smallest voices seem to get equal votes and say/sway such as Malta, Southern Ireland and Luxembourg who returned the last President. At points in Teresa May’s reign, it seems Vadadker had more power and say than she did.

    I believe the Scottish think that all the North Sea oil and taxes and revenue belong only to them, this needs clarification, doesn’t our total UK area determine the ownership around the coast, is this truly why they get so much back from the Barnett Formula all these years?

    The Scottish are very much more pro-immigration than some areas in the UK that feel overwhelmed and under-resourced, in fact, Scotland are often asking for more people and say they have too many unfilled vacancies, why aren’t we relocating people who can’t find work or allowing asylum seekers to work and settle in Scotland if they have a declining population. Just give them what they ask for, we don’t have to have the same rules for say London which is now overcrowded with some areas with high unemployment and people that can’t find any work.

    Perhaps if the UK government start to answer some of the Scottish issues and explaining about their settlement and taxes from oil. If the EU do a reciprocal relocation working visas system with the UK then could Scotland be allocated a quid pro quo transfer deal that only gives work visas for Scotland?

    • Fedupsoutherner
      Posted December 24, 2019 at 7:31 am | Permalink

      A Tracy immigrants that start in Scotland soon relocate to England without a trace. This happened in the small town where I lived. Some were provided housing on the small islands but soon realised there was no future for them. If Scotland separates from the UK and stays in the EU England can expect to receive more immigrants coming through Scotland. They won’t stop in Scotland but will make for a life of freebies in England.

  40. The Scottish People
    Posted December 23, 2019 at 9:44 am | Permalink

    A message from the Scottish people. We have zero interest in what any English person’s views are. It is our country and we shall decide our future. We shall be an independent country in the European family of nations

    • Oggy
      Posted December 23, 2019 at 1:08 pm | Permalink

      Scotland wants to be an Independent country in the EU ?, what a contradiction – give me a break.

    • Fred H
      Posted December 23, 2019 at 2:22 pm | Permalink

      how much interest do you have in being ruled on all aspects of life by the Germans, the French, The Belgians and possibly the Turks by the time you are allowed to join.?

      England is MY country and I resent having ignorant Scots MPs bitching on about Westminster – haste ye back.

    • Original Richard
      Posted December 23, 2019 at 7:12 pm | Permalink

      “It is our country and we shall decide our future.”

      Who is “we” ?

      Do you intend as last time to give the vote to all EU and Commonwealth citizens who reside (or claim to reside) in Scotland ?

      What about Scottish ex-pats ?

      BTW, I suggest you read the Lisbon Treaty to discover just how you will not be an “independent” country. Just separated from England.

  41. JoolsB
    Posted December 23, 2019 at 9:48 am | Permalink

    Am I the only one sick and tired of hearing the constant whinging of the already over pampered, over represented and over funded Scots? They should have their second referendum but we English should also be included to see if we want to be part of a union that we get nothing out of except the bill. Oh silly me, I forgot we English are not allowed a say on anything as important as our governance, only the Scots, Welsh & NI are allowed that. 650 self serving UK MPs deliberately ignore England and the constitutional deficit which exists because they are afraid of what the answer would be if we were asked if we would like the same powers and level of self determination (and money) as the others, i.e. an English Parliament because it would mean an instant cull in their numbers and a dilution of their powers – something obviously far more important to them than addressing the rotten deal England gets.

    Best just never to mention the E word and they don’t.

    • Yossarion
      Posted December 23, 2019 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

      Remember Tam Dalyell West Lothian Question and the Establishment reply?. The best way of dealing with the West Lothian Question is not to ask the Question. Thirty odd years down the road and the English are still treated as second class in their own land, though some once proclaimed that they were standing up for us.

  42. The Prangwizard
    Posted December 23, 2019 at 9:59 am | Permalink

    The SNP’s motives are to squeeze as much money and as many other benefits as possible from the Unionist establishment and of course they get it. England is made to pay up and keep on paying. There’s no-one, and this includes our host for all his claims to contrary, is prepared to campaign for England above the rest. Lip service is as far as it goes.

    The UK union comes first and consequently England comes last. Perhaps we could hear sometime how England is better off overall economically and politically with it than without it. Forget the romance and sentiment.

    I’ve heard enough from the Scots and increasingly from the Welsh how much the are victims. It’s time they were told which way is up, or else go it alone, no more help will be forthcoming.

  43. Grist
    Posted December 23, 2019 at 10:05 am | Permalink

    Why would anyone vote for the SDP? As long as they have the carrot of independence to dangle before the electorate, why run the risk of giving that up and have to resort to finding real reasons to try to persuade the voters to elect them to positions of power? Education? Health? I don’t think so.

    God forbid, they might actually have to do some work and run their country instead of posture and pose, daubing on their blue makeup and crying “Freedom from the oppressor”. Their insistence on joining the EU is to provide them with someone else to continue their struggle against and insure against real work.

  44. Richard1
    Posted December 23, 2019 at 10:21 am | Permalink

    Contrary to received opinion Brexit makes Scottish separatism less not more likely – assuming we don’t end up with Brino. In 2014 mr salmond argued that there were no economic risks to separation as both Scotland and rUK would be in the EU. But if the U.K. diverges, is out of the customs union, has different trade arrangements with the US and other countries it’s going to be a much riskier decision economically to pull Scotland out of the U.K, where the large majority of Scottish trade goes.

    And that’s before you start thinking about the currency. Of course an independent Scotland, if it wanted to be in the EU would have to join the euro. Starting with a budget deficit of c 10% of GDP, radical austerity for a decade or so would be needed. Meanwhile the SNP proposes Scotland uses the pound (although of course without a currency union which won’t be on offer) just as panama uses the usd. So no money printing. The market will determine interest rates and any debt which can’t be raised will have to come from tax.

    Scots are far too canny to vote for this.

    • rose
      Posted December 23, 2019 at 9:12 pm | Permalink

      All quite right, and it is also the case that the EU has encouraged the separatists all along, as part of its mission to break down nation states. Now it has the added incentive of wishing to punish us as well. It is all humbug that Brexit has encouraged separatism.

    • Grant
      Posted December 23, 2019 at 9:55 pm | Permalink

      The building of the new pipeline for Nord Stream 2 to bring gas down from Russia to Germany is the way EU Europe is going- so we can see that in the near future and probably after Putins time- Russia, rich in minerals, will join with the EU in a new economic bloc which will eventually include China and Japan to form a new northern hemisphere economic zone- that’s the future

      • Fred H
        Posted December 24, 2019 at 11:21 am | Permalink

        not in my diminishing lifetime it won’t. Orwell’s 1984 is much more likely. Russia, China and USA will be the 3 competitors, while S.America, India, Japan and a fragmented Europe will compete over the scraps.

  45. Gary Smith
    Posted December 23, 2019 at 10:21 am | Permalink

    The only options now, as far as I can see, are full federalism or independence, as the protest votes will never stop. The reason the Scots don’t properly participate in general elections is far too many of them don’t see the Westminster system as legitimate.

    A federal system would be difficult as it would require significant constitutional innovation which is always risky business as you can never truly know the effects of your changes until perhaps a generation down the road. There’s also the tricky question of legitimate representation for England, the oft-overlooked party in the Union. English votes for English laws didn’t go down to well when last tried. Having English “MEP”s sit in Westminster would grant them more prestige than their federal counterparts etc. It would also eviscerate the UK MPs workload, reducing the need for them at all, really.

    My conclusion indyref2 should be held, and the entire Union should participate. I do question whether the good people of England may actually vote to be rid of the whiners to the North for good. Not all Scots are whiners, of course, but far too many of them come across that way.

  46. GetBrexitDoneBoris
    Posted December 23, 2019 at 10:25 am | Permalink

    Nothing has changed since 2014, on these issues:-

    – There shall be no use of the Bank of England as Scotland’s Bank of last resort. We said no to that last time…the same shall still apply. r-UK shall no tie itself to an independent Scotland… a sinking financial ship…that would drag r-UK down with it.

    – No use of the pound. It would be the Euro. The EU would not accept a newly invented Scottish currency without a Scottish bank of last resort.

    – Barnett formula stops.

    – Scottish oil revenue is dwindling

    – Many financial institutions will abandon Scotland and relocate South.


    We will also require a hard border between the two countries, if Scotland ever rejoins the EU. That will be extremely costly for the Scottish taxpayers.

    The majority of our Scottish brothers and sisters do not want independence…and should be admired for their stoicism…they have to suffer those insufferable, tub-thumping, empty vessels, that are Sturgeon and Blackford…even more closely than the rest of the UK.

    Bearing in mind that Scotland derives by far the bulk of its export revenue from the UK…and not from their beloved EU…the SNP really should “watch their step”….and not upset r-UK too much…

  47. Alison
    Posted December 23, 2019 at 10:33 am | Permalink

    This Scot would note that the current SNP has stolen Labour’s clothes. This SNP government is highly paternalistic – we’re not allowed to smack our children; families are to have a ‘named person’ – very sinister … To me they seem very similar to the EU – everything is done for the good of the people, the government is always morally superior.
    They won the 47 or 48 seats on the strength of Labour’s collapse. But also, and above all, because the SNP’s campaigning has an enormous number of active foot soldiers, all over Scotland, all volunteers. They gather information. They run street stalls. They get the vote out.
    On the other hand, many other people I talk to are fed up with the SNP’s government very poor management of the country, and with calls for IndyRef2. They say, let’s have IndyRef2 now.

  48. kzb
    Posted December 23, 2019 at 10:43 am | Permalink

    Why is there not a Project Fear about Scottish independence? The difficulties are about 10 times those of leaving the EU, why don’t we hear about them?
    It also needs stating bluntly that the Scots will not be allowed to leave the UK without fulfilling its obligations. There will be a “divorce bill”. They must not be allowed to leave without taking their share of the national debt with them. Why is this never clearly stated?

  49. libertarian
    Posted December 23, 2019 at 10:54 am | Permalink

    The SNP offered the Scottish people a socialist and EU tied independence and as we know working people dont like either of those things.

    I’m afraid like so many things that ail our society the train was put in place by Blair, and now the Scots have their own parliament I believe that if they were offered a non socialist independence they would go for it. Quite frankly I’m not sure why the liberal elite get so agitated that 12 year old cant vote but dont seem remotely worried that England cant vote on the shape of OUR union

    Localism based on open trade is the future , big , centralised , corporatism has failed, lets move on and decentralise

  50. ukretired123
    Posted December 23, 2019 at 10:57 am | Permalink

    Banging on about independence serves many SNP purposes :

    1 Unique Selling Point for SNP
    2 Diverts attention from their failures in health, social and domestic 10+years in office
    Despite free University education and other goodies from the 25+yr old Barnet formula of extra money for Scotland.
    3 Maximises leverage to gain even more money over England, Wales & NI
    4 Gives them maximum daily free media coverage worldwide.
    5 Allows them to appear to punch above their weight and more powerful.
    6 Diverts folks realising they have more MPs per head representation than they should.
    7 Keeps them United against the old enemy to stop party squabbling.
    8 Is a simple soundbyte slogan “The people of Scotland ……”
    9 Allows NS to have an iron grip on SNP leadership.
    10 Diverts attention from the Alex Salmond court case.
    11 Allows them to bang on about it “Dragged out of the EU” kicking and Screeming!
    12 Diverts from losing the 2014 Referendum.
    13 They hope that in time enough young 16 yr old voters will come along in future to keep it alive.

    • ukretired123
      Posted December 23, 2019 at 5:06 pm | Permalink

      Money, money, money!
      That’s what it’s all about.
      And to keep SNP relevant otherwise they offer little new as they always over-promise and under-deliver.

  51. Javelin
    Posted December 23, 2019 at 11:20 am | Permalink

    There is a much stronger argument. Called democracy.

    The SNP got 45% of the 2019 GE vote. The Independents got 46% of the IndyRef vote. So Scottish Independence are going backwards.

    Once we leave the EU I expect the SNP to go further backwards.

    The SNP dont have a mandate for another IndyRef until they get a majority at a GE or wait for the next generation in 20 years.

  52. glen cullen
    Posted December 23, 2019 at 11:36 am | Permalink

    I am a great believer in a country’s self determination

    If a country’s elected government stood on a mandate an win they should be allowed to pursue that mandate

    How would we feel if had to await the EU permission to leave that Union

    They should be allowed to pursue their own destiny they are an international recognised country

    • Fred H
      Posted December 23, 2019 at 3:43 pm | Permalink

      Glen – – I think we have been waiting, still are?, for the EU permission to leave the union.

  53. Davek
    Posted December 23, 2019 at 11:42 am | Permalink

    But there is a ‘material change of circumstance’- the Scots are being dragged out of the EU against their will and the same with the Northern Irish. Population-wise England has the much greater number of voters in the UK so there is a mismatch in the make up of the Union itself . When something like joining or leaving a trade bloc or other serious matters is decided and largely by the English voter for the whole of the UK then it’s fair to say the smaller regions should have a chance to consider/ reconsider how they want to go- it’s called democracy- and that is why we have a GE every five years or so- not every generation.

    • Yossarion
      Posted December 23, 2019 at 12:23 pm | Permalink

      Well if that’s the case lets have a UK wide Referendum as to whether We wish to stay in the UK, as its Christmas We will do it on Biblical lines and everyone votes in the Parish where they were born, this way We should get a true reflection of what the People think.

      • Fred H
        Posted December 23, 2019 at 5:46 pm | Permalink

        what about the millions who were not born in the UK, let alone your idea of Parish voting.

        • Yossarion
          Posted December 25, 2019 at 1:03 pm | Permalink

          You mean excluding the Plantation of England gerrymandered Voters.

  54. Turboterrier
    Posted December 23, 2019 at 11:52 am | Permalink

    If reports are to be believed on line that Spain has joined Poland in saying enough is enough regarding the ECJ control once we are free and seen to be prospering, how many others are going to sit there and want a piece of the action? The whole EU project is doomed to fail. Too many members are trying to keep the lid on too many internal differences as their peoples expectations have changed. Scotland only want to join the EU for their perceived funding.

    The Government should do nothing until at least 2021. Let the Scots vote in their parliamentary elections and when the success of Brexit becomes ever more clearer the Scottish people could well wake up and smell real coffee and kick the SNP back to where they belong.

  55. James Matthews
    Posted December 23, 2019 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

    It does seem that Tam Dalyell’s prediction as to the medium/long term consequences of devolution is inevitably going to be fulfilled. The Union is on the slide and while this might be slowed there does not seem to be any way to arrest or reverse it. Whether or not the people who vote SNP do so because they actually want independence or because they think this is a great way to screw more constitutional and fiscal privilege out of the English doesn’t really matter. No polity can be well and fairly governed when the future participation of a substantial part of its territory and a significant part of its population is permanently in doubt.

    Give them their referendum by all means, but not with the status quo as an option. The choice should be independence or the abolition of Holyrood. With the ballot paper making it clear that if the latter is chosen there will be not more referendums for the next three centuries. “A generation” even when it adhered to, is far too soon.

    It seems reasonable to assume that in these circumstances the scots will vote to go. So be it.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted December 23, 2019 at 3:50 pm | Permalink

      No Parliament can bind its successor.

      Any future one could undo the ridiculous three hundred year rule that you propose and the rest.

      I mean, how long did the commendable Fixed Term Parliaments Act last?

      • James Matthews
        Posted December 23, 2019 at 11:16 pm | Permalink

        You are of course right. In English constitutional theory no Parliament can bind its successors. That is what makes the abolition of Holyrood a theoretical possibility. All Parliaments can, however, make their intentions plain and future parliaments can (and mostly do) respect past decisions.. That is why the 1707 act of Union provision for the the UK to be governed by one parliament lasted for almost three centuries.

        The FTPA was a dreadful piece of constitutional bodging but it has been circumvented, not, as yet, repealed.

        If Scotland or Wales want to go they should go. If they want to stay they should stay. Whatever they decide they should be expected to stick to it.

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted December 24, 2019 at 12:08 pm | Permalink

          What if London wants to go? It has a bigger population than either Scotland or Luxembourg.

  56. Derek Henry
    Posted December 23, 2019 at 12:35 pm | Permalink

    Exactly John !I

    We the SNP is offering is a faux independence and a different shade of faux independence.

    Within the UK we run a 8% deficit = private sector surplus of 8% of GDP because we save a lot.

    Nicola has not explained how she is going to reduce the Scottish household and business surplus of 8% of GDP down to below 3% of GDP.

    a) Dramatically increase taxes

    b) Dramatically cut government spending

    c) Or both

    Either option will generate unemployment just to get in the austerity EU hug club. Never mind the permanent austerity when you are in there.

    The Indy GROUPTHINK is EFTA will save them from the EU fiscal rules when they sign up to the single market.

    A different shade of faux independence crawling on their hands and knees in front of a court just to get policy through.

    Trust me you are going to hear plenty from the Indy at all costs brigade about EFTA.

    I have wanted Indy ever since Maastricht and Lisbon treaties. I will never vote for this nonsense or the SNP ever again.

    • Derek Henry
      Posted December 23, 2019 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

      Notice we currently run a budget deficit of 8% of GDP

      Scottish households and business have always been a bunch of savers.

      With very little inflation even though we have a large deficit 😉

      Puts to bed yet another myth.

      • Fred H
        Posted December 23, 2019 at 5:43 pm | Permalink

        Have you been to the centre of Glasgow on a Saturday? Savers? You have to be joking. Much more evident spending power than ‘down south’.

        • Derek Henry
          Posted December 24, 2019 at 6:15 am | Permalink

          That is because half the country shops in Edinburgh the other half in Glasgow. Both are Jam packed with tourists.

          We are more tight with money than the schwabian hausfrau 🙂

          • Fred H
            Posted December 24, 2019 at 8:54 am | Permalink

            I’m picking tourists? nonsense – we go there to join relatives, half English- half Scots. I can tell, and your ears should help, deciding native tongues from foreign accents.

      • Fedupsoutherner
        Posted December 24, 2019 at 7:19 am | Permalink

        Derek it was always being reported about the high number of Scots that didn’t have any savings at all.

        • Derek Henry
          Posted December 25, 2019 at 12:47 am | Permalink

          Well,

          It is an accounting fact that the budget deficit is the private sector surplu to The penny.

          The national debt is that surplus moved into gilts over time.

          So the private sector is holding an 8% surplus. Who holds it is hard to tell. Households, business or the external sector ?

          a) As the ONS repeatedly says the figures used are woeful they are working to improve the data.

          b) This clouds the issue somewhat but really important. The UK does the tax collection across the UK. Scotland is nothing more than a glorified county council. If you did the accounts for North Yorks County Council you would find it too has a ‘deficit’ that is filled by the block grant and whatever ‘borrowing’ HM Treasury permits.

          So the leakage out of the arbitrary line of the Scottish border within the Sterling currency zone is to anywhere else in the world (including the rest of the UK) – and the rest of the UK saves a lot of Sterling. That leakage, plus any net savings within Scotland, is what causes the Scottish government sector deficit.

          Ultimately in the same way that Greece needs to tax German savers, Scotland needs to tax UK savers. To have the power to do that Scotland need UK savers saving in Scotland’s currency which the Scottish government can control and if need be tax As John says if we had our own currency. Otherwise Scotland will run out of money as it all drains to the rest of the UK.

          Spending only comes back if you have your own currency. If you use somebody else’s then it leaks into a different banking system. Greece spending ends up under the control of the Bundesbank. Similarly Scottish spending ends up under the control of the Bank of England, which is owned and directed by the UK government. As long as that arrangement stays in place, Scotland is owned and directed by the UK government – like any other county council.

          That is the key issue with fixed exchange rates. You end up with control of the money under some other entity which you have to follow the directions of.

          If Scotland became independent then what happens depends upon whether it floats its own currency or not. That is the only way to ensure that Scottish money doesn’t leak anywhere. What the size of the government deficit is will still depend upon how many people want to net save in that currency.

          So as it currently stands the data needs to improve if we are to get a definitive picture. That shows who owns the private sector surplus in Scotland, external sector, including the rest of the UK.

          GERS is the best we have but the data used is 6/10 at best.

          Merry Xmas to you.

          • Derek Henry
            Posted December 25, 2019 at 1:17 am | Permalink

            We have not even begun to talk about the debt to GDP ratio yet.

            That is the private sector surplus moved into gilts over time.

            What the EU has to say about that 🙂

            Nicola would have to destroy private sector savings that earn higher interest.

            Pensions for example.

  57. Kris
    Posted December 23, 2019 at 2:14 pm | Permalink

    The Scots are a proud nation of outward looking independently minded people always willing to mix it with foreigners- especially European type foreigners unlike their navel gazing cousins south of the border insular and forever looking to the past- there is a difference- a huge difference in the way each sees its future.

    • Fedupsoutherner
      Posted December 23, 2019 at 11:41 pm | Permalink

      Kris don’t make me laugh. Scots do nothing but bang on about the past and how hard done by they are. They have minimal immigrants compared to England so think everything is ok. They don’t know the half of it.

      • Billy Elliot
        Posted January 1, 2020 at 5:30 pm | Permalink

        Boo hoo and how about English men? We have the emperium DEAD long time ago.

  58. Roy Grainger
    Posted December 23, 2019 at 2:24 pm | Permalink

    Andy, the SNP vote share is irrelevant. As you have told us over the past two years Parliament is sovereign and decides these issues as they are wiser than the electorate whose preference is merely advisory, they have decided there won’t be another vote. End of discussion.

  59. APL
    Posted December 23, 2019 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

    JR: “The muddle at the heart of their campaign remains.”

    Yes, the SNP is not really interested in Independence. It really wants a nicer nanny. England has been beastly to Scotland, despite many Scots taking high ranking seats in Pan British government for centuries.

    When the British Empire was a lucrative venture for Scots to exploit under the protection of British Troops, there was no hint of separatism.

    So, now they think there’s a nicer nanny over in Europe which will spoil Scotland much more than the English.

    But this shows too, the damning and damnable effect of your former leader Edward Heath. Scotland was firmly Tory before Edward Heath took the United Kingdom into the EEC.

    • georgeP
      Posted December 23, 2019 at 9:31 pm | Permalink

      Things evolve- times change- and so the UK like many other regions in the world will break down into its constituent parts only to form up again in a different guise

  60. Gareth Warren
    Posted December 23, 2019 at 3:39 pm | Permalink

    It is quite ridiculous to say the election of SNP is a call for Scottish independence when the election was run on the idea of no Scottish independence referendum – something even the SNP agreed with.

    When SNP convince everyone its a good idea to adopt the Euro, likely a job that will take more than a generation. Until then I suggest they should try to run their health services better.

  61. James Snell
    Posted December 23, 2019 at 3:52 pm | Permalink

    You say you only want volunteers in the UK- strange sort of sentiment considering the people of Scotland Ireland or Wales were never asked if they wanted union with England. Union in all cases was forced by coercion corruption and bribery on a huge scale. So then maybe time for a rethink on the whole concept of a UK

    • L Jones
      Posted December 23, 2019 at 5:07 pm | Permalink

      Bribery, Mr Snell?
      Then perhaps the Scottish people and their masters should be noble and refuse all the bungs they’re given by England. Tell the Government in Westminster you don’t need this sort of ‘charity’ – show your pride.
      Coercion?
      Ask the people of England (and probably Wales) if they’d like to go on subsidising our ”friends” in Scotland and let us take part in any referendum.

      (By the way – I say that as a proud part-Scot. But I wouldn’t be so proud of these ‘masters’ if I lived there.)

  62. L Jones
    Posted December 23, 2019 at 5:02 pm | Permalink

    A muddle, eh?
    Well, ask the English to vote, then (and perhaps the Welsh and N Irish too). Well sort it out for them if they’re undecided.

  63. acorn
    Posted December 23, 2019 at 5:16 pm | Permalink

    I think the Dis-United Kingdom can look forward to a decade of intense mutual resentment on two fronts. Firstly, the Celtic Tribes continually barking at their benefactor, the Anglo-Norman Tribe of England. The second intense mutual resentment will be between the “leavers” and the “remainers” at street level, within all four Tribes.

    Sadly, the British don’t know how to hit the streets like the French; to keep the Republic they fought for in the French Revolution; that tossed out the Monarchy and its parasitic aristocracy.

    If a Brexit goes bad, I intend to set up a government in exile, in the Duchy of Normandy in the Republic of France. From there, where it all started, I will reprise the Norman Conquest. All donations gratefully received, terms and conditions apply. Merry Christmas. 😉

  64. Iain Gill
    Posted December 23, 2019 at 6:16 pm | Permalink

    I can report from the brand new conservative heartlands that they are openly selling Brazil nuts with their shells on, despite it being against them EU rules. Hopefully this will be one of the sillier EU rules that a newly independent UK abolishes quickly.

  65. rose
    Posted December 23, 2019 at 8:50 pm | Permalink

    The PM must stand firm as the upholder of democracy. Scotland voted to stay in the UK and only 45% voted to leave the UK. More Scots voted to leave the EU than voted for the SNP.

    If he were to grant a second referendum now, he would be saying Scottish votes are worth less than others, that the first Scottish referendum didn’t count and that vote can be set aside.

    It must be upheld: it is worth as much as the EU referendum, and the votes of Scots are worth as much as those of the rest of the Kingdom. They must be respected. It was to be once in a generation.

  66. Double plus good
    Posted December 23, 2019 at 10:28 pm | Permalink

    Ed Miliband who led the Labour Party to defeat is leading a semi-official meeting on why Corbyn led the Labour Party into defeat which will be later repeated by McDonnell leading an official meeting on why the Labour Party was led into defeat.
    You know, I don’t get one single laugh nowadays by panels of excellent professional comedians who try their best to make satirical political jokes. They cannot out joke the Jokers

  67. BJC
    Posted December 24, 2019 at 8:11 am | Permalink

    The only way to neutralise the siren calls of the SNP is to manage the resources of UK plc effectively to increase prosperity, i.e. success or failure always goes back to the quality of the management team, which despite the fancy titles, is all that Parliament is. Continually paying a ransom to silence this recalcitrant child of the UK family is never going to work and only fosters resentment in those required to pay to listen to their tantrums.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted December 24, 2019 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

      We’ve listened to the tantrums of Farage and the europhobics ever since 1992.

      The Scots have been long-suffering, good as gold by comparison.

  68. kzb
    Posted December 24, 2019 at 10:11 am | Permalink

    If the scots vote for independence in a future referendum, it won’t be legally binding. The Gina Miller case taught us that. Presumably the Westminster parliament will have to vote through all the relevant legislation to allow Scotland to go its own way.
    When you look at the fun and games over Brexit, good luck with that.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted December 24, 2019 at 12:13 pm | Permalink

      In principle yes, but you are confusing the matters at the heart of Miller’s case.

      Then there is the matter of UN resolutions about the Right To Self-Determination by peoples, and with which nothing in Miller conflicted.

  69. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted December 24, 2019 at 5:14 pm | Permalink

    If the SNP vote holds up at the next General Election, they will have a good case for IndyRef2 in, say, 2024.

    Long before then, it must be made clear that independence means what it says – no shared monarch, no shared currency, no shared law, no defence pact if we are forced to move our nukes at great expense, and of course no Barnett formula.

    And this is not Ireland. We do not hold referendums until the ‘right’ result is obtained. If the vote goes the other way in IndyRef2, there must be an IndyRef3, in say 2034, in order to determine the best of three.

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    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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