England expects


       I am regularly asked now for my opinion on Scottish independence. I was asked it again on Thursday at the EU conference I attended. My reply is that we should instead be discussing the question of England.

           I pointed out that the polling which shows the UK as hostile to EU government in so many areas of our lives would doubtless show those feelings are str0nger in England alone. The EU draws more support from Scotland and Wales than it does from England.

                Nationalists in those countries enjoy using the EU against England. They see that the EU’s continued insouciance to England, refusing it any recognition, is part of the process of weakening and undermining  the Westminster government they dislike. It all helps to  antagonise the England they wish to leave in a way which might help the change they want. One of the great ironies of the Scottish “independence” movement is it is not truly an independence movement at all. It is a dependence movement, wishing to shift Scotland to Brussels control directly. It is an anti English movement more than it is an independence movement. In bizarre opposition to all the rest of his feelings, Mr Salmond even wants to keep Scotland in  the pound under the control of the Bank of England!

           I explained to the audience that there are English Eurosceptics now who not only want out of the EU, but want an independent England. To them the ideal outcome would be England leaving the Union of the UK, and leaving the EU at the same time. Scotland and the rest could keep the EU membership as a leaving present or a poison pill, depending on how you look at it. England would then be free to spend her own taxes, make her own laws, and run her own affairs as she used to before the 1707 union and the 1972 union.

             England’s representatives have accepted that Scottish withdrawal from the UK is a matter for Scotland and not for the rest of us. I am happy with that, but only on the understanding that should Scotland decide to stay there must be a new deal for England. If Scotland seeks devo max, and the UK government is prepared to offer it as the price of keeping Scotland in, we must insist on devo max for England as well.

            As an English MP I want my country to be self governing, if Scotland splits away. I want the UK  to have a referendum on its relationship with the EU. If the UK splits, I would hope both Scotland and  the rest would have to renegotiate with the EU. That would  give England  our opportunity to say we want trade and friendship agreements, not membership of the emerging supertstate. We could put behidn us many of the chains that currently ensnare us from Brussels. English taxpayers may want save payments  to the EU as well as to Scotland.

            If, as I expect, Scotland recoils from leaving the UK England must insist on her own devo max. We also need to insist on a new relationship with the EU. The EU fits ill with English nationalism, which is the new force in UK politics which the SNP are deliberately fostering. Defenders of the EU are now defenders of the UK, which is causing new problems for the defence of the UK union in England. Defenders of the EU see that the splitting of the UK will cause a crisis or natural change in our relationship with the EU that they do not want.



  1. Mike Stallard
    March 18, 2012

    I couldn’t agree with you more. the West Lothian Question has dragged on for too long.

    Scotland without England is like Belgium – a minor little Statelet within the EU. Mr Salmond’s demands seem much more to benefit Mr Salmond than Scotland. Within the United Kingdom, Scotland stands tall. We have respected its very ancient and noble history (well, we once did) and taken pride in, for example, the Scots Guards, the skirl of the pipes and the Queen’s noble heritage.

    Mr Brown, let us remember, came from Scotland as did most of his Cabinet. Mr Blair was educated in Scotland.

    And we in England are much the worse off if Scotland leaves. No, it is not the economics – we have shale oil up our sleeve and Scotland probably doesn’t. Where would we be without Kirsty Wark? Or Billy Connolly?

    Please don’t destroy my once great country any more.

    1. David Kelly
      March 18, 2012

      Don’t forget that Blair was born in Scotland, as well as being educated there. Where would we be without Kirsty Wark? A lot better off, if you ask me. As for Billy Connolly, we in England would still be able to see him on TV or on stage, so Scottish independence would make no difference there. cottish independence would be a win-win for all the UK’s member nations and for the ‘Union’ itself.

    2. lifelogic
      March 18, 2012

      Where would we be without Kirsty Wark or Billy Connolly?

      I do not think they would be prevented from working here but it would be no great loss. They could get someone on Newsnight whose questions did not always come from a lefty, feminist, Scottish, BBC think, slight chip on the shoulder angle and find a comedian who was actually funny perhaps.

    3. Barry
      March 18, 2012

      In population terms Scotland is less than half of Belgium. Scotland’s population is similar to Slovakia or Finland. Is that how the Scots want to be regarded? I suspect not. Rather like the rest of us in the UK, the Scots are being led astray by politicians who can relied upon to avoid the delivery of any informed and balanced argument.
      The Euro-cynics (as are much of the so called Euro-sceptics) seem to be good Scottish Independence bedfellows. Both appear to want short term benefits of unbridled power for themselves and hang the long term consequences. This country was led astray by Brown’s unchallengeable economic brilliance. This government and particularly the Euro-cynics element seem to have a whiff of the Brown mentality about them over their assertions of the brilliance of their policy. Let them share their secret (with reasoned arguments) for a better UK without membership of EU. Perhaps the Scots wanting independence could follow suit.
      But I fear neither the Euro-cynics nor Salmond would want to confuse their policies with facts.

      1. sjb
        March 18, 2012

        Some Scots wished they had been led astray fifty years ago, Barry.

        The table (see link below) shows North Sea Revenue. Now had an independent Scotland managed this windfall perhaps it would now have an economy like Norway (population: 4.7million).

        see: Table 5.1: Total North Sea Revenue: UK 1980-81 to 2009-10

        1. Barry
          March 19, 2012

          I dare say Wales had a similar argument over coal a few years ago and Cornwall over its mineral wealth before that. There’s more to the Union than passing short term subterranean assets. Just try living in some of the less tolerant oil rich states.

          If you want to go back in time to justify independence for a part of the Union based on financial grounds a far more impressive case can be made for the old Kingdoms of Kent, Wessex and Essex. Moreover, based on oil revenues far better cases can be made for independence of the Hebrides and the Highlands than for Scotland. I see little similarity between the Hebrides and much of the rest of Scotland. Why should the oil rich have their financial benefits water down by the rest of Scotland?

      2. The Voice of reasonI
        March 20, 2012

        Barry if you need that much explained to you, you are a lost cause so pop along to the Gnuardian or Observer blogs where you belong, I just haven’t the time to explain it all.

    4. Anthony Harrison
      March 18, 2012

      I’d be interested to hear why you think we would be “much worse off if Scotland leaves” the UK, since from my point of view (a) their right to self-determination is far outweighed by England’s right to the same thing, (b) England’s economy and England’s politics are damagingly skewed by Scotland, and (c) I see mainly benefits to England from Scotland’s departure, not disadvantage.
      I don’t know who Kirsty Wark is, but Billy Connolly? Surely you write tongue in cheek? He’s not very funny (he never was…) and he’s too self-regarding. If you wanted to name a genuinely funny Scottish comedian, albeit from some time ago, I’d nominate Stanley Baxter. But I don’t see that Scottish independence would deprive us of either entertainer.

      1. lifelogic
        March 19, 2012

        Kirsty Wark is a Newsnight presenter almost a perfect personification of what is BBC think is:

        Lefty, right on, upper middle class, feminist, with a slight chip on her shoulder and an Arts degree (history) and it seems very little understanding of logic or science. Her BBC views are very clear from every question she ever asks.

        Stanley Baxter I believe chooses to live in North London now rather than Scotland. I have never found Billy Connolly’s unfunny, lavatorial, humour remotely funny but my Italian in laws do seem to – but they are getting a bit elderly now.

    5. Bob
      March 18, 2012

      “Where would we be without Kirsty Wark? “

      Now if you said Andrew Neil, you would have a point.

      Seriously though, the Scottish diaspora will not gravitate back home just because Scotland is no longer part of the UK, in I’m guessing the opposite would be the case, i.e. a movement towards greener pastures as the chill wind of life without the Barnett Formula bites.

    6. Kenny MacPherson
      March 20, 2012

      John, I understand your argument on Scotland and the EU but there are some key differences of opinion fundamentally that we have on this. But yes, as an English MP, you should be pushing for your English national agenda. However:

      1. Scotland is not trading one overlord for another regarding Westminster and Brussels. That is too simplistic. In the late 20th century, the general consensus of UK governmence (wrongly) was to treat Scotland like an acquisitioned region, rather than an equal partner in an bilateral treaty. This would all too convenient – Scotland was dwarfed by the huge English population, electorate and Parliamentary majority. This is, in my view, a key driver to creating the situation we are now in.

      2. The impact of the EU is huge for Scotland. Scotland lands more whitefish than the sum of the rest of the UK nations. Policy regarding EU is drivers however from Westminster and the priorities are aligned to suit Westminster. Fishing is simply not relevant to the UK as a portion of GDP. It is a huge proportion however of Scottish industry and of vital importance. This is one example where we don’t get value for joy.

      3. I speculate here, but I think Scotland is less isolationist (and ergo, less separatist) than England. Our small nation has a heritage international trade and relations centred on co-operation. I would suggest that the English history is one more based on conflict and conquest. Therefore, we see the EU states as partners and brothers, not as a threat to our role.

      4. Fundamentally, Scotland seeks to redress that by assuming the powers of a seat at the table of the EU. rather than working via proxy from Westminster. This is a more agreeable situation for Scotland, and more aligned to our needs and agendas.

  2. lifelogic
    March 18, 2012

    Indeed it is part of the EU power grab (to use the words of private school using Dianne Abbott) the EU men like to use “divide and rule” that is why they encourage regionalism in Scotland and Wales and seek to break up the UK and abolish the word “England”. I do not think the Scottish or the Welsh will be stupid enough to fall for it.

    It is reported that the Sunday trading rules, over the Olympic’s period, are to be relaxed. Why on earth do they not get rid us all of these absurd Sunday restrictions completely. While they are at it, also the absurdly restrictive employment of teenagers (especially on Sundays) laws. Why on earth should the god lobby tell the majority of non believers what they can do on Sundays. Any more than non believers should be able to pass laws to prevent believers going to, and many even working, in church on Sundays.

    They can do what they want let other do what they want to. I will probably go for a walk and listen to Bach or something.

    1. lifelogic
      March 18, 2012

      Hopefully all those church bells will not spoil my enjoyment too much, but I shall not complain. Like most atheists I believe in live and let live, unless they really do get too incessant unpleasant and loud.

      I think perhaps all thirteen + year old’s should ideally have a part time job it is very good for them. Probably better for them than much of the green wash indoctrination (or lefty politics) that they tend to get force fed in “science” and social science at schools nowadays. They also have the usual tax free allowances so parents should make use of it and them. It will do them all good and set them up for the real world.

      1. uanime5
        March 18, 2012

        Given that there are 2.67 million people who can’t get a job I doubt many 13 year olds will be able to get one unless their employer is looking for very cheap labour.

        1. lifelogic
          March 19, 2012

          There are plenty of jobs we just need the government to stop paying people not to do them, regulating them out of existence, over taxing people or over pricing energy.

    2. David Kelly
      March 18, 2012

      If you take the dog for a walk, you can listen to bark.

      1. lifelogic
        March 20, 2012

        I prefer Bach and could not be doing with all that dog poo plastic pick up and bagging.

    3. uanime5
      March 18, 2012

      Given that the Scots and Welsh voted to run their own affairs, rather than be dictated to by Westminster, it’s foolish to blame the EU for this. I suspect there are some regions in England that might like more local control as well.

      Also the EU isn’t trying to break up England via regionalism. All the English regions were created the UK Parliament.

  3. Helen
    March 18, 2012

    You don’t really want England to be self-governing – unless neighbours ditch you all at Westminster. I recall you are totally against the people of England being allowed to elect their own government, so we get is the continued scenario of Scotland calling the shots and the British government stumping up to appease them.

    I would like an English Parliament to negotiate with the British in the best interests of England. Without it, we are the nation that pays the most in taxes, receives the least in funding and is constantly used as the lab rats of the UK by whoever is in power [including Scottish MPs who impose Auld Enemy Policies onto us].

    You’re right it’s about anti-English bigotry, yet we have to tolerate a British PM slagging off the English as well. Why do tories allow this? We’re sick to death of it.

    1. Brian Tomkinson
      March 18, 2012

      I totally agree. What does England expect from this government? Nothing for England but plenty for just about anywhere else in the UK, EU and the rest of the world.

  4. Drayner
    March 18, 2012

    Absolutely fair comment. As a Scotsman, I fully expect independence to be rejected, in spite of all Salmonds bluster he will be able to lead the horse to the water, but he’ll never make it drink. The figures on independence haven’t moved a bit and they never will. This is a power grab by some politicians anyway.

    I do think that England has been given a stinkingly bad deal after the desperately poor devolution settlement delivered by Blair and co. It was badly thought out and it was rushed through to appease the Scottish Labour party and a variety of nutters up here who had a long campaign on the subject. John Smiths death crystallised things and basically made sure of a rubber stamp job to whatever was presented to us hapless voters in the referendum.

    The english really do need to get their act together on this, as the situation is totally unfair. The English need to decide what it is that they want and how they are to implement it.

    I have said all along that the funniest thing EVER would be for the English to ask for independence and leave the rest of the countries of the UK swinging in the wind.

    As a footnote, if Salmond actually thought he was going to deliver independence he would be toning down the rhetoric big time. He is trying to leverage more power for the Scottish parliament while keeping the safety net of the UK there in case we elect some sort of fiscal nutcase like Gordon Brown. I hope this government stand firm against Salmond and doesnt give in to his demands. Dont give him anything other than a straight yes/no question or they are giving him exactly what he wants, the chance to raise taxes in Scotland without the need to be utterly fiscally responsible as England will pick up the tab if he is.

    As for the English, grow a set!

    1. stred
      March 18, 2012

      As the recent W.R. McGonagall poem in Private Eye finished,
      Everyone would surely vote for Devo Max
      Allowing Alex to rule Scotland but paid for out of English tax.

      The English should be allowed a referendum on independence at the same time.
      We would be rid of the Labour bias in UK elections and the Scots would soon be offering deals to ‘go abroad’ without the need of an expensive ferry.

      The best of both worlds.

    2. Denis Cooper
      March 18, 2012

      You have to remember that the “devolution settlement delivered by Blair and co” was in fact not completely delivered, because their proposed English part of it was not at all what most of the English wanted and in the autumn of 2004 the English in the north east voted against it so decisively that they stopped it in its tracks.

      I expect that if instead of proposing a single devolved Parliament for the whole of Scotland they’d come up with a similar devolution plan involving the division of Scotland into two or more euroregions each with its own euroregional assembly, then the Scots would have voted against that just as decisively.

      It was a measure of their arrogance, and the ingrained anglophobia even of the English among them like Prescott, that they thought they could risk asking the English whether they wanted England broken up into euroregions and expect to get our agreement.

      Prescott chose the north east for the first referendum because he believed that he had the best chance of winning there; if he had won that referendum he would have moved down the country with successive referendums, leaving the harder nut of the south east until last – basically, unzipping England from north to south.

      1. uanime5
        March 18, 2012

        “I expect that if instead of proposing a single devolved Parliament for the whole of Scotland they’d come up with a similar devolution plan involving the division of Scotland into two or more euroregions each with its own euroregional assembly, then the Scots would have voted against that just as decisively.”

        As Scotland already is an EU region, which has been divided into EU subregions I doubt the Scots will vote against this.

        It’s a pity regional governments weren’t tested in 1 of the other 8 regions. They would have delivered real power to the local people and helped break the Westminster stranglehold. London has shown just how effectively these regional governments can work.

        1. Denis Cooper
          March 19, 2012

          So you think the Scots would vote to abolish the single Parliament for the whole of Scotland and instead have two or more subregional assemblies? I don’t think so.

          Prescott gave up after the north east referendum because studies had suggested that would be the easiest referendum to win, and as he couldn’t win there he’d be unlikely to win elsewhere.

    3. Mike Stallard
      March 18, 2012

      Thank you for this extremely frank and percipient comment which has made me think very deeply.

    4. Scyld
      March 20, 2012

      Drayner.Your final comment “Grow a set”,could work far better in Scotland.
      If independence for Scotland was put to the vote in England,the Scots would be as free as a bird in a very,very short time.
      England has NOT been consulted about having its own parliament,in spite -or perhaps because of between 60% and 68% polled voting in favour in various BBC,ICM and other polls taken between 2006 and the present.
      Our problem here is that the Britstate Parliament still lives, like the BBC in the 19th century and it sees England as its last colonial possession to extract as much from, in terms of taxes,but to give as little back to as possible-and that includes respect or common decency.
      There is no democratic remedy for English people therefore we shall have to physically overthrow the Britstate to get our own freedom.

  5. Alan Wheatley
    March 18, 2012

    “Scottish withdrawal from the UK is a matter for Scotland and not for the rest of us” is VERY provocative. While reasonable for the Scots to decide their own destiny, it is not within Scotland’s gift to determine the terms of a separation.

    Separation will have a major disruptive impact on the the rest of the UK, and there are major cost implications. Who gets what, how the costs are born and the terms of any future associations (such as the pound) MUST be a matter of negotiation. Indeed, I would argue that Scotland should cover all the consequential costs, such as moving nuclear submarines from the Clyde to a new base outside Scotland.

    “England’s representatives” (by which I take it you mean representing the rest of the UK – or is it only England that is of concern?) Should be speaking up for the interests of all the UK less Scotland. Our Prime Minister should be the leading voice, yet so far I do not hear him considering my interests.

    JR, I hope you are right, that Scotland will recoil from leaving the UK. If it was made clear in strident tones that Scotland can not determine the terms of a leaving then the recoil will be more likely.

    1. lifelogic
      March 18, 2012

      It is clearly not just a matter just for the Scottish as it affects the English too. Just as a separation of Yorkshire or the Isle of Wight might. Devolution in Scotland too was also a matter for the English. Had it been consulted we would not have had this anti-English botch – engineered to suit the Labour Party or what they thought would.

  6. Alan Wheatley
    March 18, 2012

    To speak of “Scotland” is to presume a homogeneous population, but that has been far from the case. There have been division between Highlands and Lowlands and the Isles.

    By the same reasoning as Scotland leaving the UK, why not Shetland becoming a Norwegian protectorate and taking its oil with it?

    1. Anthony Harrison
      March 18, 2012

      Shetland? A matter for the Scots to sort out following independence. Not England’s concern.

      1. James Matthews
        March 18, 2012

        Or, if you apply the principal of self-determination on which the SNP so heavily rely, a matter for the Shetlnders to sort out.

        1. Christian Wright
          March 19, 2012

          Yes but what of the right of the residents of the Isle of Wight to independence if oil is found off its shore – individually they could become millionaires. Or what of the residents of the home counties deciding they would be better off without the North or Wales – hold a referendum, declare independence and create the prosperous kingdom of Southern England.

          I’m sure one could amass a local majority for an independent City of London – a European financial state not subject to UK or EU regulation.

          There is recognized in international law and EU Law, the right of a PEOPLE to self determination – this purposely excludes examples given above and O&S.

          What we have in the latter case is a colonialist’s wish to partition Scotland. We saw what happened when the same colonialist forces thought this a good idea in Ireland. You really don’t want to go down that road. Were such a calamity to befall Scotland, there would be no peace in England . . for generations. Let’s not go there.

    2. Hen Broon
      March 24, 2012

      Continental shelf: If Westminster retains control of Shetland, Orkney and Rockall, Scotland will have no oil resources.

      If Scotland becomes independent Westminster won’t be able to hang on to Shetland, Orkney, Rockall or any other part of Scotland (see: Shetland and Orkney).

      However, even under the hypothetical circumstance that this occurred, Westminster wouldn’t be able to retain control of the oil fields anyway, so ya boo sux. These matters are regulated by the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, to which the UK is a signatory. International law specifies that a state controls the continental shelf and associated mineral and fishing rights up to 200 nautical miles (230 miles or 370 km) off its shores. When another state possesses an island within the continental shelf of this state, special rules apply.

      The continental shelf off the Atlantic coast is Scotland’s to exploit and develop, even if Westminster clung on to Rockall like a plook on the face of an adolescent sociopath. According to the Law of the Sea: “rocks which could not sustain human habitation or economic life of their own would have no economic zone or continental shelf.” Westminster could pauchle its way to keeping Rockall, but as far as oil and fishing exploitation rights are concerned, they’d be entitled to rockall.

      Neither would Westminster gain much by holding onto Shetland and Orkney. When an island belonging to one state sits on the continental shelf of another state, the islands are treated as enclaves. This matter was discussed in detail in a legal paper published by the European Journal of International Law: Prospective Anglo-Scottish Maritime Boundary Revisited

      Most of the rights to the continental shelf would remain Scottish, Map 2 on page 29 of the legal paper shows the most likely sea boundaries. Westminster would be entitled only to a small zone around the islands, and the waters between Orkney and Shetland. This area contains no oil fields. If Shetland and Orkney were to remain under Westminster’s control, Shetland would no longer have an oil fund. The map is reproduced here, so you can do a reverse Jeremy Paxman and sneer derisively at Westminster’s pretensions.

      Westminster’s Shetland threat is a bluff. Westminster knows it’s a bluff. They just don’t want us to know too

  7. Martin Cole
    March 18, 2012

    Hear, hear!

  8. MajorFrustration
    March 18, 2012

    Agree with everything you say, No half way house for the Scots – in or out. Certainly no cherry picking. I wish them well.

    1. Max Dunbar
      March 18, 2012

      Please do not”wish us well”. We are you. We are one nation. Do not forget that.

      1. Anthony Harrison
        March 18, 2012

        One State, not one nation: we might be closer to the Scots than to, say, the Americans, but the two nations’ cultures are undeniably different. And the political & economic tug-of-war has become too fraught of late – a lot of English people are becoming very fed up with it. I too wish Scotland well, but it’s time to ease apart: an English parliament for England.

      2. Adam5x5
        March 19, 2012

        I thought it was very generous to wish you well, considering the amount of bile that gets spat towards the English from Scotland…

        I enjoy spending time in Scotland, and do so regularly, but the amount of racism towards the English up there does mean I spend a lot less time (and hence money) there than I would otherwise. Personally I’d cut Scotland loose, but hey I’m English so what I think doesn’t matter apparently.

        One nation? Spend time as an Englishman in Scotland and I challenge you to say that with a straight face.

        1. Dave
          March 19, 2012

          “Personally I’d cut Scotland loose..”

          How very generous of you. I suppose you’d cut your wife loose too, if she told you that she was fed up with the miserable life you were giving her.

          1. Adam5x5
            March 20, 2012

            Not married – too young & smart for that.

            Good point though – if the wife (Scotland) tells us she’s miserable with the marriage and the husband (England) has done everything to make her happy (Devolution) at vast expense, wouldn’t instigating a divorce be the kind thing?
            or I suppose we could hang on together out of spite…

        2. Max Dunbar
          March 21, 2012

          Apologies from “the Wife”. She’s been overdoing it with the Scotch pies (on expenses) and wasn’t feeling too well.

  9. Martyn
    March 18, 2012

    England? Just try and find it on a map, because that country no longer exists, other than as passing EU references to its regions e.g. SE England. Look up England in the Encyclopedia Britannica and you’ll find these words:-

    “Despite the political, economic and cultural legacy that has perpetuated it’s name, England no longer officially exists as a country.”

    And that I can never, ever forgive the governments of every hue for allowing that to happen. So far as I am concerned it amounts to political treason and if I thought that any political party could restore England to the map of the world it would have my vote.

    1. uanime5
      March 18, 2012

      Just check the Encyclopaedia Britannica, here’s the full quote:

      “Despite the political, economic, and cultural legacy that has secured the perpetuation of its name, England no longer officially exists as a governmental or political unit—unlike Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland, which all have varying degrees of self-government in domestic affairs. It is rare for institutions to operate for England alone.”


      In other words your claim is an obvious lie and all the Encyclopaedia Britannica is stating is that there is a lack of self-government in domestic affairs in England. England has not ceased to exist as a country and your hysteria will not change this.

      1. stred
        March 19, 2012

        Yes Euan, as Encyclopedia Brittanica, based in Edinburgh says, England is a country which has no parliament, but is governed by a parliament which contains many MPs representing counties which do. Most of our recent leaders have been left wing Scots and others that have Scottish names and might as well be. Many of our top civil servants also have Scottish names and seem adept at shovelling money up north, as in the case of the two aircraftless carriers being built in G.Brown’s constituency. The chief MOD braidwearer was a Sir Jock at the time.

      2. Martyn
        March 19, 2012

        Hysteria is a bit strong and in fact not appropriate, but I understand your viewpoint.
        Still cannot find England on the map, though. Scotland, Wales N Ireland yes and at one stage I seem to recall Cornwall somehow got onto the EU map. Strange, do you not think?

  10. Ken Stevens
    March 18, 2012

    Wholeheartedly agree with your sentiments.

    It is time to demonstrate pride in Englishness, rather than being a bit coy while others celebrate their own -ishness. Trundling round the M25 last night, we heard a radio discussion on English pride. The two assertive phone-in listener proponents were people who by their “non-traditional” names and self-description were adoptive Englanders (almost as much so as my Scottish born wife!). The pinker sounding phoners-in were rather coy & apologetic about Englishness, for fear of being thought racist. The presenter referred to the flag of St George being hijacked by extremists. It hasn’t been; it is simply that most ordinary institutions have abandoned it as a proud symbol, Anglicans and the brewers of “Bombardier” being worthy exceptions.

    It is time that English Nationalism lost its racist thug image and emerged in a similar style to the Scottish version of civic nationalism, i.e. not associated with racism or xenophobia. Hey, maybe rebranding could entail a switch from St George to St Edmund …. yeah, let’s have a proper Englishman rather than a bleedin’ foreigner shared with umpteen other nations! 😉

    The question is, sir, whether proper recognition of England can be furthered whilst working within either of the two main parties or their little LibDem chums. Why don’t you and likeminded others move across to UKIP?!

    Reply: Because I was a Eurosceptic long before UKIP was born – they need to join us.

    1. Adam5x5
      March 19, 2012

      Reply: Because I was a Eurosceptic long before UKIP was born – they need to join us.

      So Cameron can ignore them even more completely and try to browbeat them with his whips?!?

      No thanks, let UKIP stay seperate and keep growing so they can really shake things up.

  11. Alan Wheatley
    March 18, 2012

    To discuss England as a response to Scottish independence is a prime example of why Scots think they would be better off out of the UK. If your government shows scant inclination to look after your interests then it is inevitable such people decide allegiance to such a government is pointless and seek a better arrangement.

    The same could be said for many parts of the UK, and it protectorates and dependences. One factor in the Argentinian invasion of the Falklands was the Government’s attitude. In particular, the Foreign Office seems to have been more interested in getting rid of a problem they did not want to bother themselves with rather to look after the interests of a small group of British citizens. Of course, invasion changed the game. The British in Gibraltar may be wondering how safe they are.

    The English in, say, the far South West and North East unhappy that a Westminster government is not doing enough to look after their interests may exploit Scottish independence to fuel an existing debate in favour of placing their own interests first.

    If a UK government can not persuade by words and deeds the peoples of the UK that their future is best within the UK then I fear for the future of the UK.

  12. Caterpillar
    March 18, 2012

    “England must insist on her own devo max”

    Rather like yesterday’s question 4 that JR asked on the UK leaving the EU, what strategy can be developed to achieve the above? The three main parties appear to have no interest in either UK’s devo max from EU, or England’s from UK. (Indeed mostly I just see power and patronage). I might dream that none of the main parties will win the London Mayoral election, for a huge change in general election voting patterns, and for two parties of Euro-sceptic free market believers & Euro-sceptic socialists to break away from the Coalition and Labour parties, but they are only dreams.

    So what is the strategy?

    1. Denis Cooper
      March 18, 2012

      As things still stand there couldn’t be “UK’s devo max” from the EU, because the powers of the EU are only devolved or delegated from its sovereign member states and therefore the EU does not have the legal capacity to decide that it will devolve powers back to a member state.

      The UK or another member state could reclaim powers which it had previously devolved or delegated to the EU, and conceivably the EU could request that it be relieved of devolved powers, but it could not devolve them back.

  13. alan jutson
    March 18, 2012

    At the moment Scotland seems to have the best of both Worlds, and England the worst of both.

    It has to change, it should change, and the sooner the better for both.
    If the UK can be kept united with a sensible working relationship, then so much the better, if it cannot, then let us hope for a sensible split.

  14. Tartanrock
    March 18, 2012

    Excellent summary, John. It’s time we had a cross-party group of MPs who agree with your analysis and who will campaign for a fair settlement for England, up to and including independence.

  15. Lithgae Dave
    March 18, 2012

    ” The EU draws more support from Scotland and Wales than it does from England.”

    JR, Have you any hard evidence of this?

  16. wonkotsane
    March 18, 2012

    At last!

  17. Cliff. Wokingham.
    March 18, 2012


    Excellent post and a good summary of what is actually happening here in the real world and how many of us feel outside of the Westminster bubble.

    I suspect the EUSSR gets more support in Scotland and Wales purely because their populations tend to be more to the left in their political views these days. It seems that the two big cons of recent years; The EUSSR and The New False Religion of Climate Change, tend to be supported more by those of the left rather than the rest of us. I suppose the EUSSR and MMCC agendas, feed into their ideals of high taxes, a large state and lots of interference in people’s lives.

    I have asked myself many times the question you raise about so called Scotish Independence and the EUSSR, however I have also noticed that many of the old Soviet States that fought so hard to get out of the old USSR have jumped into the new version of it; The EUSSR. I suspect those that gave their lives to escape the old Soviet Union, will be turning in their graves to see how those same nations have joined the EUSSR with all the lack of democracy and diktats from unelected committes that their previous forced union had.

    I hope the Scotish people will realise that within the old UK they have influence but, as a very small “independent” nation within the EUSSR, their influence will be almost nil.

    Slightly off topic John, but given the EUSSR’s liking for regions, I hear in the media that Mr Osbourne may well stop national pay settlements for the public sector; I can understand his reasoning for this in relation to the cost of living, including housing, and how it varies up and down the country. My question is this; do the same principles not also apply to the national minimum wage? How can someone living in Wokingham afford to live on the national minimum wage? By forcing unemployed people to either take a NMW job or loose their state handouts, does this not keep pay in our area artificially low and effectively mean that the taxpayer is subsidizing private business to keep those wages low given that the state will make up that person’s pay to allow that person to live, especially if they have many children?

    1. uanime5
      March 18, 2012

      Cliff you post is a mixture of europhobia and ignorance.

      Given that the USSR collapsed in 1991 most of the people who fought against it are probably still alive and would have been alive when the former USSR countries joined the EU.

      Those who escaped the Soviet Union usually choose to live in countries belonging to the European Community (predecessor of the EU), for example those who fled East Germany would go to West Germany. So it’s utterly moronic to claim that anyone who fought against the USSR would oppose the EU.

      “diktats from unelected committes”

      Name 5 diktats and which unelected committee they came from. If you can’t then it’s clear you just made this up.

      Regarding your question about national minimum wage yes it is totally inadequate in the South East and London, and as a result those who work in low paid jobs claim a large amount in housing benefits and tax credits. Much of the welfare bill is due to the taxpayer having to subsidize the low wages offered by private companies.

      1. Cliff. Wokingham
        March 19, 2012

        Many people within the old Soviet Union died whilst opposing Moscow’s diktats. Georgia had a very bloody past resisting the old USSR as did Bulgaria, The Ukraine, Estonia and Czechoslovakia, not to mention the old Yugoslavia.

        I know you are very pro the EU but, in my “ignorant and moronic” opinion, the whole of the EU commission is an unelected committee. It is full of those put there by member states.(sic) The population do not get to elect those people, nor can remove them. Many are failed and rejected former British politicians. The commission decides which laws they wish to enact and then recommend them, along with advice on which way to vote, to the MEPs.

        Here are a few of the diktats that came from the aforementioned unelected committee…..

        1) Landfill tax.
        2) Economically damaging ‘elf”n’safety legislation.
        3) Closing down our coal fired powerstations before we have an alternative.
        4) Measures related to fishing and agriculture that harms our nation.
        5) Setting up a de facto state with a president and a diplomatic service.

        There are of course many more.

        Incidently, I am often amused by your blind support of the EUSSR without ever saying why you support it and why we are all so daft not to do so too…..I would love for our host to allow you to write a piece where you set out the reasons why the EUSSR is such a great thing and why anybody that is not a watermelon (Green outside but red inside) should support it.

        I do not agree with your politics but, I will always remain civil to you and not call you names and, I will always respect your right to have those views.

        Kindest regards.

  18. Geoff M
    March 18, 2012

    Scotland can no longer afford the EU than England can. Look at the current fiscal expense of the WTD on hospital doctors forced upon us by the faceless ones over in Brussels. £1B / year enough to employ 15,000 doctors or 25,000 nurses.
    This madness has to stop the UK is similar to an indy racing car out of control, careering of walls before spectacularly and fatally crashing.
    To the sheeples it feels as though none of our elected representatives is in control of this country or of our destiny, not the PM, not the cabinet, and not even the unelected civil service.
    A lot of us feel and are extremely worried for the future for our children and grandchildren we need our MPs to apply even more pressure, so the apparant solution can be a referendum on the question of independence for England, Scotland and leaving the EU, at the same time. John and your collegues good luck and-may the force be with you!!

  19. Robert Taggart
    March 18, 2012

    England expects ? NO – ENGLAND DEMANDS !

    This little Englishman wants nothing more than Scottish independence, followed by Welsh and, well, just ‘wishes away’ Ulster !

    Failing that – DevoMax for all England (not the regions – oneself be a mere ‘provincial’!) within the UKGBNI.

  20. Leslie Singleton
    March 18, 2012

    Does it say in the 1707 Acts (two Acts I believe–one English, one Scottish) that Scotland alone can break up the Union? I ask because of course if the Scottish people truly do want to throw in their lot with the EU they must be allowed to do so but such an obvious truth is far from the mentality manifested by Brussels. We do not hear much about Salmon’s “arc of prosperity” these days but given his (absurd) views on that why does he not suggest using say Norway’s currency rather than the pound? I am fairly sure that while many Scots treat continually hitting the old enemy below the belt as Salmon does as a good laugh they will tell him to foxtrot orange when crunch time comes.

    1. Denis Cooper
      March 18, 2012

      It’s one Treaty of Union and two Acts of Union, passed by two Parliaments which no longer exist but which have the UK Parliament as their joint legal successor.

      In theory a competent representative of either party could unilaterally abrogate the Treaty, but neither party has a separate body with higher legal authority than the UK Parliament – the present devolved Scottish Parliament not being the successor to the previous sovereign Parliament of Scotland, but only the creation of the sovereign UK Parliament through its Scotland Act 1998 – and therefore short of rebellion or revolution it would be down to the UK Parliament to pass an Act to approve the dissolution of the Union.

      This was made clear in the Scotland Act, the first three categories of “reserved matters” in Schedule 5 being: “(a) the Crown, including succession to the Crown and a regency, (b) the Union of the Kingdoms of Scotland and England, (c) the Parliament of the United Kingdom …”.

      I don’t think anyone questions that if it became clear that the people of Scotland wanted to dissolve the Union then the UK Parliament would pass the necessary Act; on the other hand, I don’t think anyone expects that the UK Parliament would willingly pass such an Act just because the people in England wanted it.

  21. Richard Cavin
    March 18, 2012

    John Redwood, I agree with everything you say. Fancy standing for Tory leadership again?

    1. Robert Taggart
      March 18, 2012

      If not Johnny – someone else should – PLEASE !

    2. Dave
      March 19, 2012

      Good idea, if he was elected it would guarantee Scottish and Welsh independence.

  22. Denis Cooper
    March 18, 2012

    I would take issue with your assumption that:

    “The EU draws more support from Scotland and Wales than it does from England.”

    In terms of the people who get themselves elected it’s clearly true, but in terms of popular support it would be a mistake to assume that the EU must be more popular just because your own party has made itself unpopular in those parts of the UK.

    I tried to find an opinion poll I saw some years ago, according to which there was little difference in attitudes towards the EU north and south of the border.

    I couldn’t find that, but found this instead:


    Page 5:

    “There is very little difference between Scotland and the UK as a whole on attitudes to Europe.”

    Page 7:

    “It is often believed that within the UK, Scotland is one of the most pro-European areas. The evidence within this review suggests that on the whole this is not the case, with people in Scotland reporting broadly similar Eurosceptic views as people in Britain as a whole.”

    Page 8 – Tables 3 and 4.

    You don’t mention Northern Ireland, where unlike Scotland and Wales there was no Conservative and Unionist party to foolishly throw away its own popular support and so cloud the issue of popular support for the EU, but which despite not being England returns some of the strongest and most vocal critics of the EU to Westminster.

  23. Denis Cooper
    March 18, 2012

    This article in the Scotsman on Friday has stirred up some on-line debate, to put it mildly:


    “Scottish independence: Scotland must go into euro, expert claims”

    The gist of his argument is not about legal issues, but economics:

    “An independent Scotland would have “no choice” other than to join the euro, according to one of the world’s foremost experts in economic competitiveness.”

    Those among the English who can’t wait to dump the Scots don’t seem to think through some of the likely or potential adverse consequences for England if Scotland returned to being an independent sovereign state.

    I repeat my suggestion that on the same day as the Scots have their referendum on whether or not they want Scotland to leave the UK, the English should be asked in a referendum whether or not they want a single devolved Parliament for the whole of England.

    Even in the unfortunate event that the Scots voted to leave the UK, without their own devolved Parliament and government the English would still be constitutionally disadvantaged vis-a-vis their fellow citizens in Wales and Northern Ireland.

  24. backofanenvelope
    March 18, 2012

    Instead of trying to work out a mega-plan, lets just make one change. All Westminster MPs can speak on any subject, but if the Speaker identifies anything as English only, then only English MPs can vote. No separate assemblies, no extra hordes of politicians just one simple change.

    As to the Scots, let them have a simple referendum vote – independence or not. If they vote for independence, then the politicians can work out how to do it.

    1. uanime5
      March 18, 2012

      Alternatively everyone can speak on an English only issue but only the English MPs can vote on it.

    2. Adam5x5
      March 19, 2012

      “If they vote for independence, then the politicians can work out how to do it.”

      and watch the English get screwed again…

    3. Dave
      March 19, 2012

      You certainly chose an appropriate ‘handle’

      You equally have little understanding of the devolution settlement of 1997 hatched on the back of an envelope. I suggest you look into it a bit more, and you’ll soon realise that the West Lothian Question is a lot more difficult to solve than you think.

      There are only two possible solutions – a federation of the three constituent nations and NI, or independence for all of them.

      As I’m Welsh, I’d much prefer the latter. It would ensure that we would have no more governor-generals, like the author of this blog, sent down from Westminster to take charge of us. It seems that most contributors here are agreed on independence – the sooner it comes, the better!

  25. Derek Emery
    March 18, 2012

    All three parties have virtually identical policies on Scotland, England, and the EU. You could barely get a cigarette paper between them. I can see no reason why the 3 sets of clones would take any notice of what the public or any MPs want. We are virtually a democracy now in name only. In reality the EU takes nearly all decisions and the role of UK politicians is to pretend they originate here and extoll the virtues of the same decisions that were undemocratically taken by the EU elite.

    I’m sure many would prefer to return to democracy but it’s not going to happen. The dark side has won.

  26. Drayner
    March 18, 2012

    Scotlands population is no more Europhile than England’s is. We suffer from the same sort of cabal of politicians that wish to impose their agenda onto us and even though the population doesn’t feel comfortable being ruled from Brussels it would seem that our politicians will willingly circumvent their views and do whatever it takes to get their snouts in the Eurotrough.

    As Burns wrote, “such a parcel of rogues in a nation”. He was right then and he is still right now.

  27. Dr Bernard Juby
    March 18, 2012

    Totally agree. Sort out the Midlothian question once and for all. Let the English vote for England and stop the Welsh and Scots from interfering (with a large socialist in-built weighting) and let us get some truly conservative policies in place. There is nothing to stop the electorate voting for an English-based Scotsman if they want to. Above all let England have its Referendum without the Whips.
    If the rest of Gt. Britain want to discuss defence then they cqn join a new Accord/Treaty but leave England for the English!

  28. Phil Richmond
    March 18, 2012

    John – you speak for people of England. (now what to do about the PM Edward Heath junior, who takes the opposite view to us Conservatives on the EU, taxation, windfarms, defense, Scottish independence, grammar schools etc etc etc?)

  29. Glenn Vaughan
    March 18, 2012

    Your perception of what the Welsh desire is bizarre and based on what? I am Welsh, have lived in Wales throughout my life and would be thrilled if the UK terminated its EU membership and I am not alone!

  30. Phil Richmond
    March 18, 2012

    Time is ticking away and England is sinking further & further into the mire. As things stand at present whatever combination of coaltion or majority at the next election with Cameron/Milliband/Clegg is an absolute disaster for this country. We have to have a Conservative majority with a Conservative leader or we are finished.
    I am completely lost for words that Cameron seems to think that moving the Tories to the left and making them pro-EU, climate change wind-farm fanatics etc is going to capture left wing middle-class Guardian readers votes. Utter stupidity! Firstly there isnt many of them and secondly they despise the Tories under any form.

    HOWEVER – John if you do read this please try to explain to the clueless Cameroons that their is a massive natural Tory constituency that is being completely ignored. These are the aspirational working class. Normal people whether they sweep the streets or work in a factory and who just want to make life a little bit better for their family. They tend to be patriotic and believe in fair play. Sensible policies on the EU (referendum) immigration (i,e closing our open borders and going to work permits) and making work pay and stopping benefit scroungers combined with tax cuts would capture this vote. They want a leader in the true sense of the word who will make Britain great.
    Cameron, Letwin, Osborne et all are truely upperclass arrogant clueless (etc)

  31. Bill
    March 18, 2012

    Agree with all this. What happened in Wales during Blair’s devolution was instructive. The first thing the Welsh nationalists did was to give themselves a good salary by top slicing the block grant from England. The effects of this were particularly noticeable on school budgets which were then funded on a lower per capita basis than they were in England. In other words, the beneficiaries of devolution were not the ordinary people but the small governing elite, the Tafia is they are sometimes called.

    I would expect the same result in Scotland if more power and money are devolved.

    1. Dave
      March 19, 2012

      Wales appears to be your specialist subject – perhaps if you lived here you’d take care to get your facts right.

  32. oldtimer
    March 18, 2012

    The idea of England making a unilateral declaration of independence from Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland is certainly eye catching. It should also, at the same time, vote to join the Isle of Man, which already lies outside the EU.

  33. Barbara Stevens
    March 18, 2012

    When a country goes for independance there’s more to it than sound bits in the press and on TV; and of course there’s the history, and lots more. Defence of any country in today’s culture is very important, who your friends are and your ememies. I would expect all airforce bases located in Scotland to be removed, and nuclear bases. Scotland would have to defend it’s self. The English taxpayer won’t pick up the tab for that and use it’s airforce as well. Has the Russian airforce regularly penetrate or try to, in the Northern hemesphere they will have free reign to fly over Scotland at will.
    There is of course the cost of setting up a nation, oil is on its last throws, there is more but so deep it will be expensive to get out. Salmond keeps on about the oil but fails to tell the people its nearly all gone. He talks of the green industry as though its a miricle waiting to be developed, another expensive option which we’ve found wanting in the south. No, this is all bluff to gain more powers for himself, and to forfil his ideals, which the public will pay the price and pay the taxes to make them viable. Has they have 50% unemployment, those in work will have their taxes increased three fold to uphold the SNP’s policies, I just hope they see the light and the way they are being deceived. I love Scotland, I have a Scottish neighbour, I hope the country do not let one man and his few cronies destroy a whole nation on a whim. My neighbour believes he should be routed and stopped I hope she’s right.

    1. Fred Bishop
      March 20, 2012

      There is of course a problem with your senario. We linked up with Scotland in 1707 to prevent them blackmailing us with French invation over their borders. They needed money.
      They would probably use the same tactics again once they had squandered their resources. It would may not be the French it may be economic and it would not be physical invasion, unless it was open border immigration. They could do us a lot of damage were they to go into cahoots with an aggressive EU.

  34. Acorn
    March 18, 2012

    Your last four paragraphs are the basis for a party manifesto. If you put them as a motion in the House, how many supporting votes do you think you would get? How do your followers organise to get more? We need a flag to wave.

    “I explained to the audience that there are English Euro-sceptics now who not only want out of the EU, but want an independent England.” Oh yes please. Alas, I don’t see a Messiah in any current Westminster party, who is likely to rescue me and my kind. The situation is unlikely to change much in the foreseeable future and as Reg said back in 1979; “Brian: Excuse me. Are you the Judean People’s Front? Reg: F*** off! We’re the People’s Front of Judea”. What a choice! While in Python mode, the following still sums up our politicians for me.

    [a line of prisoners files past a jailer]
    Coordinator: Crucifixion?
    Prisoner: Yes.
    Coordinator: Good. Out of the door, line on the left, one cross each.
    [Next prisoner]
    Coordinator: Crucifixion?
    Mr. Cheeky: Er, no, freedom actually.
    Coordinator: What?
    Mr. Cheeky: Yeah, they said I hadn’t done anything and I could go and live on an island somewhere.
    Coordinator: Oh I say, that’s very nice. Well, off you go then.
    Mr. Cheeky: No, I’m just pulling your leg, it’s crucifixion really.
    Coordinator: [laughing] Oh yes, very good. Well…
    Mr. Cheeky: Yes I know, out of the door, one cross each, line on the left.

    PS. I was reading a JR post on my phone in a US airport. To cut a long story short, I was advised by a fellow traveller to study the history of the Molotov – Ribbentrop Pact of 1939! Why you might ask; because, I was told, the EU is going to become a German dominated bite size EU allied to the Russian Federation. Foolishly I replied, “will Adolf make a come-back and bugger this one up as well”.

  35. Tony Davis
    March 18, 2012

    If ifs and buts were presents, we would all have a lovely Christmas. If Scotland decides to stay or go we will just have to get on with it. I only have one question.-
    If Scotland goes and in 10/20 years decides to become an islamic state, will every body be happy. Yes, it is a serious question!!!

    1. James Matthews
      March 18, 2012

      Much more likely that England will become an islamic state I think.

  36. forthurst
    March 18, 2012

    The last Labour government’s major policy plank was to undermine England and the English. It was a government by the Scots with the Welsh and other congenital troublemakers of internationlist loyalties. They encouraged the minor Scottish Banks of RBS and BoS to conglomerate irresponsibly, anti-competitively, and ultimately ruinously in order to be of a size to compete with the well established international English banks. They filled the whole of London with foreigners paid for by us by setting no limit on where they might live or what it might cost us to pay the many rentiers of alien extraction.

    There is no sign of the Scots ever wanting to ally with the right in British politics. Their votes all go to the left or to the nationalists. We must never again allow the Scots to trash our country in the way they did under Blair and Brown.

    The people of England and Scotland are very largely of the same stock, but for most of their history have lived apart, albeit with differing boundary demarcations, as two separate nations. The great enterprises of the Industrial Revolution and the British Empire drew us together, but both of those glues have been dissolved by history and there is little left to foster mutual interest and respect.

    There is very little point in trying to friendly toward those who do not wish to reciprocate. It is time to try to salve what little we have left of our country, England, and its native people. If the breakup of the UK fosters our withdrawal from the clutches of the EU and the Neocon Atlantic Treaty Organisation and its ME wars of choice, so much the better. As the EU demonstrates, forcing people with differing interests too closely together creates disharmony. We might have better relations with the Scots if we had an amicable divorce.

  37. sm
    March 18, 2012

    England expects we factor this uncertainty in on all strategic decisions going forwards, particularly defence, energy,water. We need exit scenarios on all UK ventures, with clauses voted on by an English parliament of MP’s only to protect the English interests.

    Perhaps Hong-Kong leaseback on our (mutual) defense needs in Scotland? Until we have an alternatives in place.

    The dilemma over the pound or money just highlights where and how power resides in our world and democracy and imho independence has been the loser so far.

    It would be nice to hear the true voice of the people Scots and others via referenda which we are very good at avoiding. Still im sure our representatives MP’s/MSP’s/MEP’s will continue to stitch us all up.

  38. Neil Craig
    March 18, 2012

    I am not convinced we Scots are significantly more enthused of the EU than England. We are dominated by a political elite which is even more europhile than England’s just as it is more warming alarmist, statist anti-nuclear but that does not necessarily reflect the people’s opinion. There is also the fact that fishing, probably the industry most thoroughly wiped out by EU membership, is far more important in Scotland than England.

    The position is also muddied by the SNP using membership of the EU as a safety net in the argument about the risks of quitting the UK & have this painted themselves into a Europhile corner. If I was running the unionuist campaign I would be playing heavily on the consequences of being directly in the EU without the various opt outs Britain negotiated on working time, immigration etc.

  39. Denis Cooper
    March 18, 2012

    Something else to think about:


    “ENGLAND would demand a major say over an independent Scotland’s immigration system to ensure the Border did not become a “back door” into the country, believe Irish experts.”

    1. zorro
      March 18, 2012

      If this did come to pass, I suspect that they would go for a Common Travel Area solution as with Eire. By that time (if ever) e-Borders will be in place and most arrivals will be pre-screened. Scotland would be foolish to opt out of the provisions included in that system. I also suspect that the Scottish would have to sub contract any visa handling to the UK/England. In practice, they will find it difficult to operate a separate immigration policy. No patrolling of Hadrian’s Wall will be required!


      1. Denis Cooper
        March 19, 2012

        We don’t know what kinds of government Scotland would have during the years and decades and centuries after Scotland became an independent sovereign state, so maybe at some stage the UK government could be faced with a foolish or even malicious government in Scotland. We do know that at present immigration policy is a matter reserved to the UK Parliament, and post-independence that UK legal control over Scotland’s immigration policy would disappear. That’s assuming that the independence was a genuine full independence, not some form of home rule which left policy areas such as immigration, foreign affairs and defence in the hands of the UK authorities.

  40. i albion
    March 18, 2012

    We all know Scotland will not leave the Mother ship, sad because it is England’s only hope to break free from the shackles of the “Union”.

  41. David John Wilson
    March 18, 2012

    Once Scotland becomes independent all our children will be entitled to free university education in Scotland on a par with the rest of Europe. Will the Scotish universities be able to cope with the huge influx that this will produce?

    1. zorro
      March 18, 2012

      That would put Salmond back in his box. The key comment in the piece is the following one –

      ‘I want the UK to have a referendum on its relationship with the EU. If the UK splits, I would hope both Scotland and the rest would have to renegotiate with the EU.’

      Cameron will do everything in his power to avoid this situation, precisely because in practice, we would have to redefine our role with the EU as a result.


  42. Peter A Bell
    March 18, 2012

    “I am regularly asked now for my opinion on Scottish independence.”


  43. Peter A Bell
    March 18, 2012

    “…but only on the understanding that should Scotland decide to stay there must be a new deal for England.”

    Why should it depend on what Scotland does? Such constitutional reform as has taken place in Scotland was not simply gifted to us by a benign and beneficent British state. It was won only after decades of arduous campaigning. If the people of England want similar reform then they should stop whining about what Scotland has gained, get off their backsides and fight for that to which they are unquestionably entitled.

    One of the first lessons they need to learn is that Scotland is not the problem for England any more than England is the problem for Scotland. We share a common “enemy” in the British state and the corrupt and anachronistic political structures that it enshrines.

  44. Max Dunbar
    March 18, 2012

    This debate could only be happening in the Mad-House of Britain today. Winding up one of the most successful unions in history. Tearing our nation apart for no reason other than anti-English predjudice which has always lurked beneath the surface in Scotland but which was indulged in only by a minority of bitter cranks. The destiny of an entire nation with a history and world influence second to none destroyed by the anti-British haters on the Left; a process which was started in earnest by Blair and finished by Salmond, people who despise the Empire and rub their hands with glee at the imminent prospect of our dismemberment. The last remnant of Empire extinguished forever in their eyes.
    Is it right that the destiny of 70million people should be determined by 5million? The SNP gained 22.7% of the electorate at the last Holyrood election. If you extrapolate this figure one then some 2% of the British electorate could break up the UK.
    We have seen what happens when nations are partitioned. I do not accept the break-up of my country and I will do whatever is needed to defend it. England is a Scotsman’s land and Scotland is an Englishman’s land.

    1. David Heron
      March 19, 2012

      Very well put. As a Scot, currently living in Scotland, I despair that we have even got to this stage. Personally, I wouldn’t want to try and make a prediction as to October 2012’s result, as I think a majority vote for independence is perfectly possible. Even just 5 years ago, the concept would have been airey-fairy, and now look how far its moved.

      Salmond’s ploy to allow 16 / 17 year olds to vote is hugely cynical and manipulative, even by his standards. Expect the brainwashing to begin in Scottish schools soon. (if it hasn’t already) If it is allowed, it would boost the yes vote hugely, with a extra few hundred thousand naive and idealistic voters. The break-up of one of the most successful countries in world history being ultimately decided by Scottish schoolkids.

      As already stated, the left has one absolute constant – destruction.

    2. Peter A Bell
      March 20, 2012

      “…no reason other than anti-English predjudice [sic]…”

      If you seriously imagine that to be what Scotland’s civic nationalist movement is about then you are quite atrociously ill-informed. But doubtless perfectly content wallowing in your ignorance. Leaving the comic-book simplisms of your shallow-minded parochialism for the real world we find that the causes and motivations of Scotland’s independence movement are many and often complex. And notwithstanding your conviction that “the English” must play a starring role, the truth is that they barely have a part these days.

      This is about Scotland, its people and their future. The people of England must sort out their own problems.

      1. Max Dunbar
        March 20, 2012

        Thank you for this contribution Mr. Bell. It clearly demonstrates to readers of this blog the mind-set of national socialists in “modern” Scotland much better than I could have done.

  45. James Matthews
    March 18, 2012

    A thouroughly admirable article, but we should go one step further. If Scotland votes to stay in the Union but wants dev-max or devo-plus, England and Wales should have a vote on whether, in those circumstances, they will accept this, or whether the Scots should be told no, you are getting nothing more, so just go. If we do vote to allow Scotland to stay we should of course have an at least equal degree of devolution.

  46. DEDGE
    March 18, 2012

    Time for Change, Democracy for England,. http://www.englishdemocrats.co.uk..the times are a changin

  47. Robin
    March 18, 2012

    A splendid article John!
    As a husband, father, grandfather and pensioner who worked for nigh on fifty years, I am fed with governments and councils stealing my money. I am increasingly unhappy that the vast majority of my tax is being squandered in many ways to which I am strongly opposed.
    I wish you every success in your effort to bring some sanity to politics here and in Brussels. Sadly I think you will fail and life for the responsible citizen will, at best, get no better and more probably become much, much worse.

  48. ITF_Tory
    March 18, 2012

    What I’ve been saying for a while, and I think JR mentioned it on this blog recently, is that as a bare minimum there should be a Secretary of State for England, and the Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish Secretaries and associated offices should be scrapped. As I understand it, this would be fairly straightforward for the PM to implement.

  49. Caterpillar
    March 18, 2012

    Somewhat off topic I know, but whilst on self-determination it appears that President Pinera has re-iterated support for President CFK on Falklands, South Georgia and South Sandwich. Is even this narrative going to be lost by the UK Govt?

    {No powers back from EU and overseas territories bound to be lost, what exactly does the Coalition see as nationhood?}

  50. BobE
    March 18, 2012

    Gentlemen please realise that if Scotland went indepedant then the Conservatives could not fail to win the next election. Look at the vote maps to see how Scotland is mostly Labour and England is mostly Conservative. I remain suprised at DCs resistance to a certain win.

    1. Denis Cooper
      March 19, 2012

      Sure, let’s break up the country for the benefit of the Tory party.

      1. uanime5
        March 19, 2012

        Why not the Conservatives are already selling the remainder to private companies.

      2. Fred Bishop
        March 20, 2012

        It is only stupid if people keep voting Tory. There is growing realisation that the Con/Lab/Lib cartel is the enemy of England.

  51. Bruce Neeves
    March 18, 2012

    Two points:
    1. The EU is but socialism by another means and, all like all the other “social-isms” in this world, it will end in failure and financial disaster. Indeed well on the way already!
    2. Why do we not spell out to the Scots what departments of State would be pulled out of Scotland in the event of full or partial devolution? I note my income tax is dealt with by an HMRC department in Scotland and when I was serving in the Army my career was managed by MOD departments which were all moved up to Glasgow.

  52. uanime5
    March 18, 2012

    “The EU draws more support from Scotland and Wales than it does from England.”

    Labour and the Lib Dems also draw more support from Scotland and Wales than they do from England. I wonder why? If there’s a connection then the North, Midlands, and West of England will be the next places to support the EU.

    “It is a dependence movement, wishing to shift Scotland to Brussels control directly.”

    As opposed to being partially-controlled by England, which is partially-controlled by Brussels. Well I guess it cuts out the middle man.

    “England would then be free to … run her own affairs as she used to before the 1707 union”

    Before the 1707 union England ran its own affair. This union meant that the Parliament in Scotland was subordinate to the Parliament in English, resulting in Westminster running Scotland’s affairs.

    Devo max could be good for England if it results in an English Parliament or Regional Assemblies. Anything that takes power from Westminster and gives more power to the local people. The last thing we need is Westminster gaining any more power.

    1. Denis Cooper
      March 19, 2012

      No, the Union was an “incorporating” union and both the English and Scottish Parliaments were abolished and replaced by “the Parliament of Great Britain” or as it was alternatively known “the Parliament for the United Kingdom”, and here is an account of its first sitting:


      There are no Acts of either of the old Parliaments from that point on.


      1. uanime5
        March 19, 2012

        Was the new “Parliament of Great Britain” situated in the same building as the old Parliament of England and did it contain most of the same people as the Parliament of England? It the answer is yes then all that happened was that the Parliament of England was renamed.

        1. Denis Cooper
          March 20, 2012

          Eh, no, because the Scottish Parliament was abolished, and so was the English Parliament even though the UK Parliament took over its premises and its members along with the additions from Scotland.

  53. francis
    March 18, 2012

    It is high time England had its own Parliament. We were told by Labour that devolution was a ‘process’, well part of that process is a national government for England is a whole and not some useless regional assembly designed to keep Labour in power.

    The longer England is without its own Parliament, the more likely the UK will split up. Federalism is the way ahead to preserve the UK. Labour’s regions are exactly the opposite of what we need.

  54. Electro-Kevin
    March 18, 2012

    I cannot understand the antipathy towards the English which appears to come from Scotland and Wales.

    It seems directed against a people that no longer exist.

  55. sjb
    March 18, 2012

    JR wrote: “[…] if Scotland splits away[,] I want the UK to have a referendum on its relationship with the EU. ”

    There is a school of thought that should one party withdraw from the Union then the UK is dissolved. In 1993, for instance, Czechoslovakia dissolved into the Czech Republic and Slovakia.

    Therefore, a dissolution of the UK would mean no referendum was needed because the UK’s relationship with the EU would have ceased,

    1. Denis Cooper
      March 19, 2012

      And most probably it would be arranged beforehand that the UK’s relationship with the EU would be seamlessly replaced by relationships between its fragments and the EU, with the present UK as one sovereign member state being replaced by Scotland, and the rest of the UK , as two sovereign member states.

  56. Andy Man
    March 18, 2012

    “England would then be free to spend her own taxes, make her own laws, and run her own affairs as she used to before the 1707 union and the 1972 union”

    And why not? The idea of a sovereign state able to make decisions without asking the permission of others seems to me to be a natural state of affairs. In fact it would be a dream come true.

  57. AJAX
    March 19, 2012

    ‘The Scots independence movement isn’t about real independence, it’s an anti-English movement, just shifting to Brussels control directly instead of London.’

    Not sure this is the case. Many Scots nationalists – whom as an Englishman I’m in substantial sympathy with – are about a belief in Scotland’s potential rather than being merely anti-English, & their interest in the EU is because they’re unsure about the economic implications of breaking out of the UK, & seek the reassurance, both on a personal basis & for electoral considerations, of having a tax bankroll of scale to support them once they’ve lost England supplying that long-standing role. (Whether the EU is going to provide that or not given the trouble that it’s now in financially is another ?)

    I suspect that rather than voting to quit the UK, they’ll go for a 1/2 way house of voting for more powers for Edinburgh whilst continuing to receive England’s tax largesse, which will have to be reduced by England’s MP’s by some means as it’s increasingly an unreasonable drain on their constituents

    Abolish the UK, it’s a clapped out 18th Century national concept which is suffocating the 4 nations caught within its antiquated structure.

    Scotland hasn’t prospered under rule from the clumsy clerical hand of distant Whitehall & a predominantly foreign assembly in Westminster. Compare the pale shadow of what it is today – a broken down backwater of a nation dependant on welfare handouts from England to keep it propped up – to what it was in the period when the Scottish Parliament was abolished.

    Let them be free again to govern themselves & set England will be free of the governmental & economic drag of resentful baggage which is substantially different in its political instincts & voting patterns.

    Hopefully with the return of responsibility & self-respect to Scotland again we’ll see the return of men up there of the calibre of Adam Smith, James Boswell, Davie Hume, John Stuart Mill, James Watt, Robert Adam & Walter Scott

    1. Denis Cooper
      March 19, 2012

      Scotland was relatively poor and backward – in some respects still feudal – before the Union, and it was bankrupt when the Scottish Parliament was abolished – one reason why so many of the nobles were amenable to being bribed to vote for the Union. Those people you name who flourished for the common benefit of all the British did so after the Union, making use of the greater opportunities provided through the Union. This is saying nothing about the present state of Scotland, but it’s historically inaccurate to suggest that prior to the Union Scotland was enjoying a halcyon period which could be regained through independence.

      1. AJAX
        March 20, 2012

        The idea that the brilliance of illumination the Enlightenment in Scotland was due to the anschluss with England because it occurred around the same time is patronising & silly, if you pay closer attention to my original post I didn’t give exact timings & dates, as in the matter of culture, things can rarely be dated with the exactitude of a legal documents

        Scotland was a far healthier nation – for all its faults – before the Act of Union than it is today, & has been for the last century & more, the UK has not been a good thing for Scotland

    2. Max Dunbar
      March 19, 2012

      Do you really think that Scotland is suddenly going to be either “responsible” or “self-respecting”? No it will have to learn the hard way. Your description of Scotland as “a broken down backwater of a nation dependant on welfare handouts” states the reality clearly, and that attitude is not going to change quickly. I live in Scotland and would prefer the “suffocating” UK to a poverty stricken and coercive marxist collective. We would rather not be abandoned and thrown to the rabid mangy wolves of the SNP. While most European countries are slowly moving to the right Scotland lurches ever more to the left.

      1. AJAX
        March 20, 2012

        @MaxDunbar – I think you’d be surprised at what Scotland can achieve if it has its sovereignty restored & stops being kept doped up on English welfare handouts & ruled from afar by people who don’t really understand it & in truth have little interest in what goes on there. I’ve seen before where some1 recovers a sense of worth thru self-reliance & pulls their life together because they have to & regains their fighting spirit thru responsibility.

        The fact that you accept my description of your country must surely be a call for something new, there’s no reason for Scotland, Wales & Ulster to be the broken nations they currently are, & it’s time in these Islands we tried another way other than the failed suffocation of the centralising state based on the limitations of Whitehall

        There’s no reason either that the SNP should dominate Scotland once its sovereignty is regained, in fact the SNP could quite possibly lose its reason to be & disappear to another, yet unknown, political landscape that could materialize.

        1. Max Dunbar
          March 20, 2012

          Ajax, I would like to share your optimism and in theory I’m in agreement up to a point but we have just had two Scottish Prime Ministers (plus many cabinet ministers) and Scotland is over-represented with MPs at Westminster so you can hardly claim that it has been ruled in recent years by people who do not understand it from afar. The “responsibility” idea is fine but how long and at what cost before that responsibility is seriously accepted and by whom exactly?
          The SNP are an extremist political party. The Scottish Socialist Party have gone quiete. Their aims parallel those of the SNP. The SSP, if you recall, was the party of Tommy Sheridan.
          The “call for something new” would be a move to the right. I don’t think Scotland could go much further left. Its up to the Tory Party to take the initiative as the main party able to effectively do this – but first it has to regain its self-respect (and clear convictions) and thereby the respect of the electorate.

  58. Stephen O
    March 19, 2012

    Exactly how would Scottish independence work financially? Most comments on this have come from the SNP who assume they will get a deal very heavily biased in their favour and the lack of contrary views makes me wonder if the might indeed put one over on the rest of the UK in an independence settlement.

    The split of national debt should reflect the higher government spend north of the border. The split of north sea oil revenues needs to be a fair one (reflecting the NE bearing of the border) and the costs of relocating UK infrastructure (such as naval and air bases), should not fall on English taxpayers. If the SNP break the union they should pay the costs that result.

    I hope English interest to not get ignored.

  59. Christine COnstable
    March 19, 2012


    It is a great pity that bothy ourself and other Conservatives did not take the issue of the position of England more seriously when you met with concerned English Nationalists back in 2002, when the worried about partial devolution for the UK, and the mounting unfairnesses against the English people by UK politicians were building.

    Since that time NOTHING has been resolved regarding the West Lothian question. England has had to bail out Scotland to the tune of Billions to pay for it’s failed bid for a rival to the City of London in terms of the RBS and Bank of Scotland debacles. Even now the Scottish ambitions for financial world dominance have not dimmed, having listened over the weekend to the boasting senior manager of Aberdeen Asset Management, that they hope to be bigger than Shroeders in the coming years!

    England has been very poorly served by politicians allegedly governing in her name. English students have been penalised with crippling levels of debt, a level of debt that was enabled through the voting in of this legislation by 5 Scottish elected MPs, who had no mandate in England, yet have caused untold misery for hundreds of thousands of parents and students and generating more cash for Scotland as a result.

    The madness of the Barnett Formula which forces England to hand over cash to Scotland every time England has an important infrastructure programme, so now Scotland can have free bridge tolls whilst England continues to pay.

    Scotland is selling naval ships to Brazil from its shipyards, knowing that England could be facing these very same ships in the North Atlantic if the issues with Argentina are not resolved.

    The Tories have failed England by kicking any talk of an English Grand Committee or (God forbid) An English Parliament into the long grass, and reviving the hated regional break up of England, which has no support and makes no sense and doesn’t answer the West Lothian question one iota.

    John, is it not now time, that people such as yourself, who puport to support England’s right to self determination now work actively with groups and activists to build up the head of steam that is badly needed to right the wrongs England has had to bear through the disasterous years of Labour rule?

    England does expect, it expects that politicians elected by the people of England will do the right thing and give England a proper voice in the management of her own affairs, and do everything to defend the right of England not to be robbed by the Barnett Formula or muzzled by denying England a voice in her own Parliament. If oyu want to be remembered for anything John, then let England remember you as at least one English elected politician who actually stood up for the countyry against Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland and against the EU and gave England back her voice.

    Reply: I did take it seriously in 2002, argued and voted against Labour’s devolution plans, and wrote THe Death of Britain? explaining why lop sided devolution was wrong. Yes, I will be continuing to raise the problem of England inside and outside the Commons.

    1. Christine COnstable
      March 19, 2012

      I am thrilled to hear that John, and we will back you all the way!

  60. OGGA1
    March 19, 2012

    John, good blog,
    The U.K is in a battle with the E.U over whom run’s what, the three main partie’s being
    pro E.U leaves only U.K.I.P as an anti E.U vote,being on a political war footing sometimes
    emergency plans must be made, i.e 81 eurosceptics cross to U.K.I.P until such times as
    the E.U issue and sanity returns.

  61. Christian Wright
    March 19, 2012

    Though couched in seemingly moderate language, this is naught but (unpleasant-ed) rant from John Redwood and the angry wing of the Nasty Party who follow his lead. Theirs is the language of entitlement and resentment.

  62. Christian Wright
    March 19, 2012

    “Nationalists in those countries enjoy using the EU against England. They see that the EU’s continued insouciance to England, refusing it any recognition, is part of the process of weakening and undermining the Westminster government they dislike. ”

    Yes, again we see in John Redwoods analysis the inability to understand that it is not all about him, nor is the movement for the right to determine our own affairs driven by antipathy toward England. John is comfortable with nationalism, as long as it is his anglocentric nationalism.

    Here we see the infamous Redwood Shuffle – the rearrangement and reduction of issues to the politics of of division – yet another “them and us” thesis borne of grievance and imagined entitlement.

    Redwood continues: “One of the great ironies of the Scottish “independence” movement is it is not truly an independence movement at all. It is a dependence movement, wishing to shift Scotland to Brussels control directly. It is an anti English movement more than it is an independence movement. ”

    At this point I am sorely tempted to use a word that from very recent past experience I know will be censored here. Yet here we have clear evidence of Mr Redwoods core visceral feeling. Scots who would be masters in their own house are in fact dependency junkies, looking for handouts, helping hands, and unwilling or unable to look after themselves. They are an inferior breed who hate him and his.

    For John is is all about (word left out) scroungers. A sad, sad, state of affairs.

    Reply: What complete nonsense. I have no problem with Scottish nationalism, and agree that the future of Scotland in or out of the UK and in or out of the EU if out of the UK is a matter for the Scottish people. Were I a Scottish nationalist I would want my own currency. I find it strange that the SNP want to keep the pound under the Bank of England, as to me having your own currency and money policy is a crucial part of being independent. IT would also be a strange type of independence to leave the UK and the pound, if they eventually do, only to join the Euro. It is not about race or my feelings. It is about how you obtain power to be truly independent. I did not mention subsidies and was thinking of currencies. I cheer for Scotland if they are not playing England. That is the Union to me.

    1. Max Dunbar
      March 20, 2012

      Another enthusiastic graduate from the McGoebbels school of propaganda. How many other blogs has the Party given you to cover Ms. Wright?

      1. Max Dunbar
        March 20, 2012

        Correction – Mr. Wright. Mistook for Christine.

  63. Lee Christian
    March 19, 2012

    Resentment damn right ! turning to to anger as the 15 years tick on !
    England and her people should have the same Equality and Fairnest within a just Democracy as the rest of the UK.
    England is living under a bombardment of Discrimination and (dislike-ed) accelerated by a (pro independence-ed) group of Scots.
    Fuelled by Communists Marxists EU, (adjective left out) Livingstone (ditto) Galloway all taking the money and putting the boot in.
    England has no chance clawing anything back with the likes of Grandstanding Cameron or the Euro lover Clegg, so much of England is sold off, wont be long before the hardworking English People will be up for sale !
    What do our Politicians do NOTHING (apart from a dozen or so)our English MPs are cowardly, selfish , rotten to the core
    do and say absolutely nothing !

  64. Lee Christian
    March 19, 2012

    UKIP are not the only anti EU party …………..the ENGLISH DEMOCRATS ! polled alot more Votes than Plaid in the last EU Election 2009 ……33o,ooo

  65. Fred Bishop
    March 20, 2012

    John Redman has spoken for England. I know this because it is the lead story in numerous news papers—-all Scottish. Not even a whisper from the British press, the BBC or the British Westminster.
    His views simply echo those of an increasing number of English people. Influential people are beginning to recognise that there is a growing realisation that we are now as oppressed and suppressed as any people in the world. Our oppression is just as profound but applied in a less physically violent way at the moment.
    I do not say this in an aggressive way but rather in an advisory one. All oppressed people eventually turn. There are sufficient conflicts throughout the world to prove this. When they are liberated they cry out for revenge and that is destructive. England will be no different, there are already many groups and individuals keeping records, newspaper clips and documents. There are groups calling for the return of our English constitution, its values and disciplines.
    John Redwood is right, the EU and the UK is redundant, both wrecked by politicians. The same people have been instrumental in the destruction of England.
    More and more people will follow John Redwood’s lead but it will be too late once the bandwagon has gathered pace. It is time to listen to the people of England before it is too late.

  66. TH43
    March 20, 2012

    Spot on John. Why can’t more in the party speak for England?

  67. Stephen Gash
    March 20, 2012

    As an Englishman I’m totally fed up with the LibLabCon continually bribing Scotland to stay in the Union. The latest example is the Green Investment bank which has been located in Scotland, thus rewarding Scottish banking failure that has just about bankrupted England. I wrote to the two Tory MPs in Leeds saying that they should fight for it being located there, for two reasons. Firstly, Leeds is the second largest financal centre in the UK outside London. Secondly, the GIB would stengthen calls for HS2 to be extended from Manchester to Leeds. The replies I received were dismaying to say the least. Neither seemed to know the importance of Leeds in financial services.

    Ed Balls is also a Leeds MP, but he has been completely silent on the GIB being located in his constituency. Just exactly what use are MPs in England to their constituents these days? In many cases they give all the impression of working agains the interests of their constituents.

    If I were PM I would have located the GIB in Leeds and told the Scots that the decision was partly due to the SNP holding the rest of the UK to ransom over independence. Instead, the Coalition laid down and rolled over in response to SNP bluster. The media would have us believe that Alex Salmond is a consummate politician. He isn’t, it’s just that the Unionists make his job much too easy.

  68. Stuart Winton
    March 20, 2012

    Indeed it was surely telling that when David Cameron fell out with the Europeans earlier this year Alex Salmond said he wanted Scotland to be at the “heart of Europe”, but at the same time trying to claim the Bank of England as Scotland’s own – it was founded by a Scotsman, you know – and wanting the UK’s Green Invesment Bank located in Scotland, keep the Queen, blah, blah.

    Thus it’s more about opportunism, oppositionalism and lack of principle generally rather than any real committment to independence. Mr Salmond’s notion of sovereignty is simply all over the place, and even changes from day-to-day.

    But in the longer-term how could the SNP’s once long-standing claim that Bank of England monetary policy was inappropriate for Scotland be reconciled with the party’s desire to join the euro and thus have monetary policy decided in Frankfurt?

    Of course, now that even the dogs in the street are aware of the euro’s shortcomings Mr Salmond has performed someting of a volte-face (thus not at the ‘heart of Europe’ at all then) but at best his earlier stance was born of economic illiteracy, at worst Anglophobia.

    1. Hen Broon
      March 26, 2012

      You are ever so keen to pay the Anglo phobia card, or worse(etc). it is quite pathetic watching these negative stereotypes being played and replayed. The simple fact is that it is just such negativity and stereotyping that is putting the final touched to Scottish independence and the welcome death of the union. They worked 50 years ago, not any more. Scotland has moved on, time for England to move also. We want nothing to do with people who are prepared to sell their grannies to keep the rich sweet, not thank you sir.

      Alex Salmond has been called many names and had many labels hung on him, he would be the most ambidextrous man in history if he was all the things he is supposed to be. Economic illiteracy is certainly not one of his failings. he can buy and sell and London posh boy or spiv any day of the week. It was not he that tried to take the UK in to the Euro and triggered Armageddon. He did not sell Gold at the bottom of a bear market. He did not give up the influence of Parliament on the BOE by making it independent. He didn’t create the financial crisis the UK is in by mad borrowing and profligate spending. The black holes in the MOD and the madness of procurement by Westminster all have their architects in the unionist house in London, think on.

      Reply: I seem to remember Mr Salmond was a keen supporter of fast growing RBS and did nto try to restrain it in anyway. The last budget increased taxes on the rich overall contrary to your misleading jibe.

      1. HenBroon
        April 2, 2012

        Many people were supporters of RBS, including Brown and Darling. Alex Salmond advocated a light touch regulation of these banks, not the no touch regulation the FSA employed, enthralled as they were by the telephone number salaries and bonuses. His supporters will likewise recall Labour was in charge of the UK’s financial regulatory system. They might also point out that Labour, under Jack, now Lord McConnell, was running the then Scottish executive when it recommended Goodwin for a knighthood in 2004. Breaking news: Alex Salmond supported a successful UK business based in Edinburgh.

        What would you have Salmond do to restrain this global business? What did the Torys do? Which great politician saw the banking crisis coming? RBS was a massive UK success story, that like Northern Rock and many other great institutions in the UK and the US was crippled by greed and avarice, through toxic lending, generating massive bonuses. The same greed and avarice that is now driving the ConDems to reward the rich at the expense of grannies. Nothing has changed. We are not all in it together.

        Reply Both the Conservative and Lib Dem parties warned from opposition about the excess debts being taken on in the credit bubble. I myself regularly warned of a coming banking crunch before the runs on the Rock and RBS. I opposed the ABN Amro takeover, and the HBOS takeover.

  69. Hen Broon
    March 24, 2012

    Anti-English: Scottish nationalism is motivated by hatred of the English.

    The granddaddy of Unionist myths. It’s rather like claiming that the anti-racism movement is motived solely by hatred of white people, women only want equality because they hate men, or gay people only want to get married because they hate Catholics.

    This debate is about government and whether Scotland’s interests are served by a parliamentary union which denies Scotland basic democratic control of many aspects of the administration of our country. It’s not about England and the English at all.

    There are legitimate, and serious, questions of democratic representation in Scotland under the Union. Although this concept may be difficult for Daily Telegraph readers to grasp, the desire for Scottish self-determination is not about England and the English. Shocking but true. England is not the centre of the Scottish universe, that would be Scotland. Perhaps that’s what they’re really objecting to.

    Reply: Why then do the SNP wish to make Scotland’s dependence on English money and economic policy undemocratic by staying in the pound but preventing a future Scot being Chancellor of the Exchequer or sitting around the Cabinet table?

    1. Hen Broon
      March 25, 2012

      Your reply is appreciated. As if having a Scot as the worst chancellor ever did us any good? The chancellor of the same party that gave up control of the BOE, and made it independent. No decision ever taken by this organisation will ever or has ever taken financial decisions that consider Scotland. (Unemployment in the North a price worth paying anyone?) The wealth of the UK is funnelled in to the SE, where it is kept. An independent Scotland will have at the very least all the other economic levers that can be pulled to mitigate any unfavourable decisions made by the BOE. Not the least of them being corporation taxes. BOE would hardly impose draconian measures on the SE of England just to spite the Scots, would they? The BOE is a UK institution set up by a Scot, which we own a percentage of, despite it’s title. The title however betrays the fundamental imbalance in the union that has got us to where we are. It is not equitable.

  70. Stuart Winton
    March 25, 2012

    Hen Broon, your case sounds a bit like the “unequal Union” argument espoused by Joan McAlpine and others.

    So why then the desire for “independence in Europe” (sic!)?

    Would an independent Scotland’s representation in the European Union be any more equal than that currently in the United Kingdom? Of course it wouldn’t; by any objective standard Scotland would have less influence in the European context than in the UK.

    Thus it would be out of the UK sovereignty frying pan and into the EU sovereignty fire, perhaps suggesting that it’s not really about independence and autonomy at all….

    And on one level the EU is either falling apart, or moving towards a European superstate on the other.

    So why would Alex Salmond want to be “at the heart” of that, other than to merely distance himself from an economic Union of 300 years’ standing in favour of a hastily cobbled together one that has little real history and is already falling apart?

    It’s surely not based on anything particularly rational?

    1. Hen Broon
      March 25, 2012

      This is the UKIP argument, but it’s often repeated by europhobic Conservatives. Anyone who believes that Brussels would exert greater control over an independent Scotland than Westminster currently does also believes that a person who joins a a darts club loses more personal autonomy than a granny whose arm was twisted into giving power of attorney to an avaricious relative who proceeded to raid the bank account and flog off the family inheritance before putting arsenic in her Ovaltine. The only difference between Scotland under Westminster and a whodunnit is that we already know whodunnit. We don’t need Hercule Poirot to tell us it was Westminster.

      Brussels does not collect all UK taxation and then decide how much it’s going to give back. Westminster does that to Scotland. Brussels doesn’t even set the rate of VAT, Westminster does that. Brussels doesn’t have the power to insist we keep nuclear warheads on the Clyde. Westminster does that. We wouldn’t have had to ask Brussels for permission to regulate our broadcasters, but we had to ask Westminster’s permission to set up a Gaelic language TV channel, because Conservative MPs from Surrey need to be consulted before punters in Portree can watch Gaelic soaps. Brussels wouldn’t have been able to commit a Scottish defence force to the invasion of Iraq, but Westminster tells us what countries we’ll go to war with. Brussels doesn’t have the power to tell us how much the state pension for the elderly would be or what administrative hoops disabled people have to go through in order to get benefits, only Westminster does.

      If the UK decided to hold a referendum on leaving the EU, there would be an outcry if Brussels decided it would determine the timing and question of the vote, yet that’s what Westminster wants to do in Scotland. Eurosceptics say within the EU we’re dictacted to by an undemocratic superstate. Being dictated to by an undemocratic state is a perfect description of the situation of Scotland under the Union.

      300 year of history is hardly a rational argument is it?

      Just how do you throw away history? Put David Starkey in the bin? That idea does have a certain appeal. But history, there’s a clue in the name, is already in the past. The Union will remain a part of Scotland’s history.

      Scotland will continue to make history with England after Scottish independence, but we’ll be making history as equals, and not as a semi-forgotten outpost of the Westminster Parliament. Independence is about the future, not the past.

      The other myth that usually gets quoted after that one is:

      Overseas business: Independence would destroy Scotland’s say in the world – removing the ability to do big business overseas.

      Well yeah, Scotland wouldn’t have any embassies or trade missions would it? We’d not be members of the UN or have passports and Scottish renewal energy technology companies would only be able to sell their turbines to the Isle of Cumbrae community cooncil.

      British embassies only promote Scotch whisky, one of our biggest exports, because Scotch whisky companies pay the UK Foreign Office obscene amounts of money in order for them to bring out the Ferrero Rocher. We can reasonably assume that Scottish embassies would promote Scottish business, because that’s what we’d set them up for. We already own 8.6% of all UK embassies anyway, so office space shouldn’t be a problem.

    2. Hen Broon
      March 26, 2012

      This is the UKIP argument, but it’s often repeated by europhobic Conservatives. Anyone who believes that Brussels would exert greater control over an independent Scotland than Westminster currently does also believes that a person who joins a a darts club loses more personal autonomy than a granny whose arm was twisted into giving power of attorney to an avaricious relative who proceeded to raid the bank account and flog off the family inheritance before putting arsenic in her Ovaltine. The only difference between Scotland under Westminster and a whodunnit is that we already know whodunnit. We don’t need Hercule Poirot to tell us it was Westminster.

      Brussels does not collect all UK taxation and then decide how much it’s going to give back. Westminster does that to Scotland. Brussels doesn’t even set the rate of VAT, Westminster does that. Brussels doesn’t have the power to insist we keep nuclear warheads on the Clyde. Westminster does that. We wouldn’t have had to ask Brussels for permission to regulate our broadcasters, but we had to ask Westminster’s permission to set up a Gaelic language TV channel, because Conservative MPs from Surrey need to be consulted before punters in Portree can watch Gaelic soaps. Brussels wouldn’t have been able to commit a Scottish defence force to the invasion of Iraq, but Westminster tells us what countries we’ll go to war with. Brussels doesn’t have the power to tell us how much the state pension for the elderly would be or what administrative hoops disabled people have to go through in order to get benefits, only Westminster does.

      If the UK decided to hold a referendum on leaving the EU, there would be an outcry if Brussels decided it would determine the timing and question of the vote, yet that’s what Westminster wants to do in Scotland. Eurosceptics say within the EU we’re dictacted to by an undemocratic superstate. Being dictated to by an undemocratic state is a perfect description of the situation of Scotland under the Union.

      You say rational:

      History: We have 300 years’ of history in the Union, we shouldn’t throw that away.

      Just how do you throw away history? Put David Starkey in the bin? That idea does have a certain appeal. But history, there’s a clue in the name, is already in the past. The Union will remain a part of Scotland’s history.

      Scotland will continue to make history with England after Scottish independence, but we’ll be making history as equals, and not as a semi-forgotten outpost of the Westminster Parliament. Independence is about the future, not the past.

  71. Lindsay McDougall
    March 25, 2012

    I simply don’t accept that Scottish and Welsh people are irretrievably Europhile. Scot Nats may wish for the Auld Alliance with France to be resurrected but that is hardly the same thing as kow towing to an unelected European Commission.

    David Cameron’s speech to the Scottish Conservatives was much better. He is going to fight for the Union. He is taking the challenge to Alex Salmon and has already begun the necessary nay saying words.

    You English are so wrong to be so wimpish in dealing with the Scots. They are good engineers and bonnie fighters but absolutely useless at high finance (the disasterous mosquito infested Patagonian colony that took half of Scotland’s working capital and caused them to sue for Union with England, HBOS, RBS, need I go on?).

    Since I am Glasgow born, I can be a bit more blunt than the rest of you. What is needed is a little rough wooing.

    Get rid of the Barnett formula for Scottish public expenditure.

    Tell them they can have indepenence if – and only if – they return a majority of SNP MPs to Westminster in 5 successive General Elections.

    Tell them that independence must mean independence. Will they retain sterling? No, they won’t be allowed to. England doesn’t want to finance its very own Greece.

    Will England defend them? No, it wont. And be aware that the oil rich Orkney and Shetland islands are likely to opt to stay with England. The Shetland Islanders in particular are of Norwegian descent and have no fondness for Scotland. Nicola Sturgeon, Alex Salmond’s deputy is on record as saying that it dosn’t matter what their opinion is because “They aren’t proper nations.” So on day one of Scottish independence, a whole can of worms would be opened. Disputes over under water resources and over those two island groups would be commonplace.

    Will we share a common immigration policy? No, the England / Scotland border will become a frontier.

    1. Hen Broon
      March 25, 2012

      “Tell them they can have indepenence if – and only if – they return a majority of SNP MPs to Westminster in 5 successive General Elections.”

      It is precisely such breathtaking arrogance which has made Scottish Independence now inevitable. The days of London telling Scotland what to do are over for ever and thanks be to God and the SNP for that.

      Thanks really thanks.

  72. Richard Watson
    March 28, 2012

    When are the English going to get a say? As a English Nationalist I’m wondering when we get to go our own way?
    We don’t need the EU or Scotland. Maybe then I can have my identity back as Englishmen not British.
    It’s time for some tough decisions that are in the intrest of the English instead of pandering to everyone else. We have been dismissed in every decision on our futures as a Country to suit the government made identity of Britain.

    1. HenBroon
      April 2, 2012

      Given that England dominates the UK Parliament by sheer force of numbers in that medieval undemocratic mausoleum, I think that since 1707 England has had a very good say in the running of the UK and has benefited much more than any other part of the UK. In particular London and the SE of the UK. United we are not, which is why we are here. Now that we have seen the true colours of the Torys thanks to loud mouth (etc )Cruddas, it is clear that their dearest wish is to be shot of Scotland and the potential for a Labour renaissance. Bring it on I say.

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