Does Mr Salmond really want an independent Scotland?


 Listening to the Scottish debate this week, one year before they finally have their referendum on whether to leave the UK, you do have to ask if Mr Salmond is serious about wanting an independent country.

        He first of all seems keen to stick with the pound. That means a newly independent Scotland would rely on the Bank of England to decide its interest rates and amount of money in circulation. Scotland would have no say over  that foreign central Bank.

      Then he wants to stick with the Queen. So newly independent Scotland would still share a Head of State with the rest of the UK. Presumably the Queen’s head would still be on Scottish postage stamps, just as it would remain on the banknotes.

       He wants Scotland to remain in or to join the EU. Scotland as a new country would have to join on terms likely to ensure Scotland’s full compliance with all the laws and rules currently negotiated.  Scotland might even have to join the Euro, as she would not necessarily inherit Mr Major’s opt out for the UK.  Much of the government of Scotland would then fall under EU rules and laws, where a small country like Scotland would have even less say than the UK manages at present, which is all too little.

                It’s a funny kind of independence when you find so much is controlled from abroad. Maybe Mr Salmond has only ever really wanted devo max. Maybe he is grasping that so far a majority of Scots do not wish to be truly independent.

               There are three letters that probably have influenced a lot of Scots to want to keep the union with the rest of the UK – RBS. Just imagine the cost to each Scottish taxpayer if RBS had fallen to be rescued financially by the Scottish state rather than by the whole UK. And imagine what Scotland’s revenues will look like in a few years time when North Oil has run down further.

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  1. Anonymous
    Posted September 20, 2013 at 5:19 am | Permalink

    If they elect for independence then all hard pressed English taxpayers will have reason to rejoice.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted September 20, 2013 at 8:02 am | Permalink

      They would be quite wrong to do so, because it is very unlikely that they would see any significant reduction in the taxes they paid and far more likely that their taxes would rise slightly.

      • lojolondon
        Posted September 20, 2013 at 10:18 am | Permalink

        I think you need to explain that please Dennis. Stated without prejudice, the average Scot pays less into the common pot, and takes £1,500 more out. So how would removing these individuals make taxes go up?

        To paraphrase again, factually, without malice, how would removing the most expensive and least productive people from the pot make it more expensive for every one else?

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted September 20, 2013 at 2:09 pm | Permalink

          1. You have been misled into believing that people in England are always heavily subsidising people in Scotland. That was a fable invented by Brown, the so-called “Union Dividend”, to undermine support for the SNP in Scotland, and then uncritically taken up by certain Tories such as Boris Johnson to undermine support for Labour in England; but it has always been a fable. When everything is taken into account, it turns out that more or often than not it is Scotland slightly subsidising England. I draw your attention to the point made by Acorn below, that “Out of the UK’s 12 EU Regions, Scotland is about third in GVA per head, behind London and the South East Region”; hence London and the southern parts of England do constantly subsidise other parts of England, especially the north, and Wales, and Northern Ireland, but not Scotland to anything like the same extent if at all.

          2. Leaving aside the present relatively small transfers between England and Scotland, one way or another but more often to the slight net benefit of England, the changes which would be required when Scotland became a foreign country would not be cost-free for England. For example, the armed forces would not only lose all their bases in Scotland, they would also lose some of their personnel and quite possibly materiel as well, and with no guarantee that they could continue to recruit from Scotland, and of course there would be a land border to control to counter unwanted immigration into England via Scotland.

          Therefore a taxpayer in England expecting to be relieved of part of his burden, let alone a significant part, through Scotland becoming independent, is certain to be disappointed, and he would more likely find that his taxes had risen slightly as a result.

          Reply This depends in no small measure on how much oil remains with Scotland, and how much revenue oil yields. Scotland’s GVA is very distorted by oil.

          • Bazman
            Posted September 20, 2013 at 5:24 pm | Permalink

            A quite thorough answer from someone unable to explain the bedroom tax.

          • Denis Cooper
            Posted September 21, 2013 at 7:50 am | Permalink

            Why do you say that is “distorted” by oil?

          • uanime5
            Posted September 21, 2013 at 7:41 pm | Permalink

            Scotland’s GVA is the third highest if you don’t include the North Sea oil and gas and the second highest if you do include them.

        • uanime5
          Posted September 20, 2013 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

          What is your source for how much each part of the UK pays into the common pot and who much they take out. If your claims can’t be substantiated then it’s impossible to know whether removing Scotland from the UK will result in lower or higher taxes.

          Also how much of the North Sea oil will the rest of the UK have if Scotland leaves?

    • James Winfield
      Posted September 20, 2013 at 12:45 pm | Permalink

      And far less Labour MPs in the UK parliament 🙂

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted September 20, 2013 at 2:20 pm | Permalink

        I’m not interested in breaking up my country for the benefit of a Tory party which carelessly threw away the strong support it once had in Scotland. If the idea is to get rid of all those parts where few people are prepared to vote Tory then we would be left with just the bottom half of England.

        • Citizen Sade
          Posted September 20, 2013 at 5:19 pm | Permalink

          Sounds good to me. Re-establish the heptarchy and get the Northumbrian(s?) off our back?

          • Denis Cooper
            Posted September 21, 2013 at 7:52 am | Permalink

            Do make sure that other people understand that you want to break up not just the UK but England as well.

    • Bertrand Feuvray
      Posted April 12, 2014 at 7:57 am | Permalink

      Even though it would be bad for the military protection of Britain as a single country, an independent scotland would free England from the dominance of the Labour Party.

      In that respect, it would be good to see that the largest population of Britain should elect the party of their choice based on their superior numbers.

      I am from France and we do not have that situation where if one part of FRance left the rest of the country would be better off politically. Maybe if the south of France left then the communists would cease to exist in the North but that would be too big of a part of the country to lose.

      I just hope that the Scots will wake up and realize that they will never have it better than what they have now.

  2. lifelogic
    Posted September 20, 2013 at 5:31 am | Permalink

    It is very tempting to let Scotland go and be rid of all those dreadful Labour/ Libdem MPs at Westminster. I really cannot see why Cameron thinks it is an issue just for Scottish voters. If the UK were being divided equally in half would only one side have a vote and the other side just have to put up with the result? And why on earth did he let 16 years old’s vote and he even agreed to a biased pro independence question. More very silly decisions from Cameron and very bad precedents. Anyway will we not need another vote after terms of a split are actually agreed?

    Better to restrict voting to those who actually earn the taxes that this government wastes so wantonly perhaps. Certainly not extend it to 16 year old’s who often get their politics from lefty school teachers.

    Good to see Australia is moving in the right direction on the warming religion already.

    When will Cameron release the country from the job destroying, expensive energy, bird and bad killing Ed Davy types?

    • lifelogic
      Posted September 20, 2013 at 5:46 am | Permalink

      Perhaps the Isle of Wight should declare independence too and get a sensible tax regime and a more efficient government. Rather like the Isle of Man but warmer, with less rain and not so far from the mainland, then Wales, Yorkshire & Cornwall perhaps.

      • Bazman
        Posted September 20, 2013 at 5:44 pm | Permalink

        What infrastructure would the Isle of Wight have to attract business with no tax. Offices? I don’t see the Cayman islands being know as an industrial country. This would be ‘sensible’ tax for |Britain?
        Mindless RWC at its best.

        • libertarian
          Posted September 21, 2013 at 9:00 pm | Permalink


          Being a socialist means you probably don’t understand but the Cayman Islands with a total population of just 54,000 people has the worlds 14th best standard of living the GDP per head is $43,000.

          Cayman Isle industries are

          A marine fleet
          Financial services

          Income tax is ONLY levied on overseas workers who work on the island
          There are 3 Universities, 2 colleges and two private hospitals. There is also a state hospital and ALL residents have health insurance. There are 3 newspapers, two radio stations and a TV station.

          Sounds pretty good to me.

          Meanwhile the Isle of Wight has almost double population at 104,000 and has a similar profile in terms of tourism, education, media but it also DOES have a manufacturing base too, being as GKN, British Hovercraft, Westland Helicopters, Vestas Wind turbine manufacture and being a major centre of composite manufacture.

          It would really help Baz if you had the remotest clue about anything rather than making stuff up in your own head and then blaming every ill on right win policies

          • Bazman
            Posted September 22, 2013 at 9:43 am | Permalink

            Then we should make Britain even more of a tax haven than what it already is and this would help the fortunes of the 60 odd million not 54000 and 104000 living in this large and diverse country? The next think you will be telling us is how we should adopt Singapore type ‘democracy’. I wonder how far that one would go here too Its all going to need a lot of policing thats fore sure…Dreaming and RWC.

          • libertarian
            Posted September 22, 2013 at 9:30 pm | Permalink

            At last Bazman you’ve finally seen the light. You are entirely right we should indeed make England a tax haven with the very lowest taxes in order for all of the population to benefit.

            No I don’t want Singapore democracy, I DO want their excellent Health Service and standard of living for all. Oh and I’m not right wing I’m a libertarian, clue is in the name

          • Bazman
            Posted September 23, 2013 at 5:16 am | Permalink

            Do tell us how infrastructure such as roads will be paid for on your libertarian tax free fantasy? Tolls on everything. How else? See how far that one goes..

    • lifelogic
      Posted September 20, 2013 at 8:15 am | Permalink

      I see the BBC tried to do the usual hatchet job on Nigel Fararge and UKIP this morning. With the usual racist taunt angle, do they have to push the obnoxious and biased “BBC lefty think” every single day.

    • Mike Wilson
      Posted September 20, 2013 at 8:50 am | Permalink

      @lifelogic ‘ …And why on earth did he let 16 years old’s vote and he even agreed to a biased pro independence question. …’

      Maybe he hopes they will go but doesn’t want to say so. If they go it will be good for the Tory party. Getting on for 30 less Labour MPs at Westminster.

      I’m surprised they haven’t been offering to help the Scots pack.

      • lifelogic
        Posted September 20, 2013 at 7:16 pm | Permalink

        I just want the Scots to elect more sensible MPs not to see the end of the Union.

    • uanime5
      Posted September 20, 2013 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

      Better to restrict voting to those who actually earn the taxes that this government wastes so wantonly perhaps.

      Care to elaborate on who would be excluded from voting. Make sure you mention how they can avoid paying VAT on anything they buy.

      • Citizen Sade
        Posted September 20, 2013 at 5:21 pm | Permalink

        Let’s extend the franchise to anyone with pocket money then, shall we?

    • Bazman
      Posted September 20, 2013 at 5:27 pm | Permalink

      We could have a vote for every hundred grand in cash or assets. What would the rich do with their hidden wealth?

      • libertarian
        Posted September 22, 2013 at 2:45 pm | Permalink


        I’m filthy rich, why would I hide my wealth?

        • Bazman
          Posted September 24, 2013 at 5:42 am | Permalink

          Obviously you are not by asking this question.

  3. Brian Taylor
    Posted September 20, 2013 at 5:39 am | Permalink

    Devo Max would be fine, no Scottish MPs in Westminster as they say What’s Not to Like!!

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted September 20, 2013 at 8:06 am | Permalink

      Devo Max would not mean no Scottish MPs in Westminster.

      Are you suggesting that UK citizens resident in Scotland should not be allowed to elect representatives to the UK Parliament to have their say on the numerous matters which would still be reserved to the UK government and Parliament?

  4. Leslie Singleton
    Posted September 20, 2013 at 5:45 am | Permalink

    Surely you should have said (truthfully and all) that much MORE of the government of Scotland would…..fall under EU rules and laws. Otherwise what you say is spot on, especially the bit about Scotland being forced to join the Euro, but if the Scots still want to go (which I do not want because we are both small enough as it is) there is no doubt that there are considerable mitigating advantages for England. There is one thing that puzzles me though (Doesn’t take much as you know) and that is this business of the split of the oil (leave alone that it’s running out). This is the reference to a line of latitude on a Mercator Map which to me is 100% irrelevant. Anyone thinking different should just glance at a globe when it is surely obvious where the line should be drawn. Otherwise, why not a line of longitude rather than latitude, again remembering that the Earth is just a globe, which would suit England rather well.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted September 20, 2013 at 8:51 am | Permalink

      You should not assume that it would only be Scotland that was forced into a legal commitment to join the euro.

      If the Scots vote to break up the present sovereign High Contracting Party to the EU treaties, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, then both Cameron and Salmond would immediately be put in the position of supplicants to the governments of 27 other countries, begging them all to allow changes to the EU treaties to accommodate that forthcoming new legal reality.

      It would no longer be a case of other countries needing treaty changes to further their integration and potentially providing an opportunity for Cameron to demand other treaty changes which would be in our national interests – even though he declined to make use of that opportunity in 2010 – it would be a case of Cameron and Salmond needing treaty changes because Scotland was on track to separate from the United Kingdom and therefore would automatically cease to be part of the EU, and in particular it would cease to be part of the EU Single Market.

      Only this week the EU Commission has reiterated its position on Catalonia, and as far as I can see they are legally correct:

      “If one part of a territory of a member state decides to separate, the separated part isn’t a member of the European Union”

      It is highly unlikely that all of the other 27 EU countries would agree to change the EU treaties without demanding some kind of price, and given that Merkel has openly stated her goal that all EU member states should join the euro it is perfectly conceivable that she would say in effect:

      “OK, I’ll agree to Scotland being fast-tracked in as a new member state in its own right without going through the normal accession process laid down in Article 49 TEU, so that we can have a smooth transition, but both Scotland and the rest of the UK must agree to abandon the present UK’s euro “opt-out” protocol.”

      Reply I doubt the EU would try to change the rest of the UK’s terms over opt outs, as that would be tantamount to inviting the rest of the UK to vote to leave. They would of course have to change the numbers of MEPs/votes on Council etc which any sensible rest of the UK government would agree to. I do not think Scotland will vote for out, but if they did I would regard it as an opportunity to bring forward the renegotiation of our EU position.

      • Leslie Singleton
        Posted September 20, 2013 at 2:07 pm | Permalink

        Comment on Reply–I agree with John on this in that I don’t think even the EU could be stupid enough (certainly Angela Merkel isn’t) to be uber legalistic on this. I suspect they know that, legalities or not, the rest of the UK is absolutely not going to join, let alone be forced in to joining, the Euro. Remember Germany is doing very nicely as it is and Heaven alone knows what the effect of us joining the Euro would be.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted September 20, 2013 at 2:34 pm | Permalink

        We have no idea what concessions would be demanded by one country or another, and all would have to agree to the new treaty. We do know that both Cameron, and Salmond, would have been put in a weak negotiating position, given that neither would want to walk away from the EU. We also know that Merkel has publicly stated her goal that all EU member states should join the euro, and no doubt she would welcome the opportunity to progress that project by taking advantage of the UK split. But even if she was temporarily satisfied with just Scotland agreeing to join the euro, that in itself would increase the pressure for the rest of the UK to follow suit in due course. From the point of view of achieving our extrication from the EU, there is nothing to gain and potentially much to lose through the UK splitting apart.

      • uanime5
        Posted September 20, 2013 at 3:52 pm | Permalink

        Given that Scotland is already party of a country that has met all the criteria needed to join the EU you’d think that the EU would fast track them due to all the evidence showing that they’ve met the criteria.

        reply Scotland on her own has not met the criteria. Presumably the EU would want to examine the reconstructed figures for just Scotland. Bear in mind the EU is under pressure not to make it easy for Scotland, as Spain is fighting to keep Catalonia, Belgium is straining to stay as one country and Italy to keep Lombardy.

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted September 20, 2013 at 5:05 pm | Permalink

          I presume that when uanime5 wrote “join the EU” that meant join the EU, not the euro, and clearly as Scotland is already complying with the same body of EU laws as the rest of the UK it would not be necessary to work through all the details of that as per the normal accession process stretching out over years. But there would still be the question of whether Scotland (or the rest of the UK) could keep the present UK’s “opt-outs”, as well as details on voting weights and numbers of MEPs and budget contributions etc. Of course Spain has no euro “opt-out” for Catalonia to lose.

          • libertarian
            Posted September 21, 2013 at 3:12 pm | Permalink

            If Scotland voted for full independence then that would signal the end of The United Kingdom. As England doesn’t even exist according to the EU i assume that means England will immediately cease to be a EU member and would also need to reapply on different criteria.

          • Denis Cooper
            Posted September 22, 2013 at 7:49 am | Permalink

            It would signal the end of the United Kingdom, but that would not happen immediately but at a set date and time maybe two years later, after all the new arrangements had been negotiated and agreed. During that period the United Kingdom would continue to exist and would continue to be an EU member state. On the most likely scenario, at the designated instant of final separation there would be a seamless transition from the United Kingdom being one EU member state to Scotland and the rest of the United Kingdom being two separate EU member states, but other member states could demand a price for their agreement to the new treaty that would require. That is on the assumption that the 2015 general election produced another UK government which was determined to keep us in the EU and that there was no referendum vote calling for withdrawal before the date of the final break-up.

      • sjb
        Posted September 21, 2013 at 5:01 pm | Permalink

        Would an independent Scotland “automatically cease to be part of the EU”?

        From an EU point of view it is arguable that Scotland & the remainder of the UK (“rUK”) might be considered two successor states. Member states will presumably want both their businesses and citizens in Scotland to continue to enjoy the protection of EU law.

        From a rUK pov treating an independent Scotland as a ‘new’ state means there is no legal obligation on the ‘new’ state to takeover a share of the UK’s debt. (If I am wrong on this point then I would be obliged for an authoritative link.)

        Then there is the matter of five million Scots. It seems unlikely that the EU would overnight extinguish their individual EU citizenship.

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted September 22, 2013 at 8:46 am | Permalink

          The point is that when the UK first joined the EEC it was recognised by the countries which were already member states, in fact it was universally recognised, that the “United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland” which was becoming a party to the treaties included the territory of Scotland as part of “Great Britain”, and that is still the case now.

          Therefore under the present EU treaties those treaties and the laws springing from them only apply to Scotland because it is part of one of the sovereign member states, the United Kingdom; if it ceased to be a part of the United Kingdom without alteration of the treaties then it would automatically place itself outside the EU.

          Putting that another way, under the present treaties the writ of EU law only runs in Scotland because when it comes up from London there is no legal impediment to it crossing the border, which is a border internal to one of the sovereign member states; but should Scotland become an independent sovereign state then under the present treaties that would no longer be the case, the writ of EU law would stop at the border.

          It would not be a case of the EU deciding to remove the protection of EU law from the Scots and extinguish their EU citizenship, but of the Scots themselves deciding to do that.

    • Acorn
      Posted September 20, 2013 at 10:15 am | Permalink

      Leslie. Have a look at the map on page 36 of the following. . The big argument will be in dividing the oil up on a per capita or geographic base. Dividing up the national debt and the contributory pension and benefits payments will require Deep Thought size computing.

      Out of the UK’s 12 EU Regions, Scotland is about third in GVA per head, behind London and the South East Region. UK GDP will drop about 10% if Scotland leaves. The currency, probably the Euro and the ECB as the Central Bank currency issuer and lender of last resort. RBS would still be at least ten if not twenty times the size of the Scottish GDP. You would end up with a large banking sector with a small country attached.

      If I were Scotland, I would think Scandinavian economic model and go for independence.

    • forthurst
      Posted September 20, 2013 at 10:23 am | Permalink

      Leslie. Admiralty charts are Mercator charts which save navigators from doing three-dimensional geometry. There is clearly pre-existing international law by default on how territorial waters are determined from coastlines, and I don’t think you can just e.g. extrapolate a line drawn along Hadrian’s Wall. However, a new wall to keep the Scots out of England once they’ve tasted independence may become essential.

      • Leslie Singleton
        Posted September 20, 2013 at 2:16 pm | Permalink

        forthurst–Nothing I have read has explained what lines of latitude have to do with it. Once again just look at a globe, when, immediately, latitude on its own obviously irrelevant indeed just plain wrong. References to Hadrian’s Wall I don’t think are too helpful, nor can I see why anything per caput has relevance.

      • A different Simon
        Posted September 21, 2013 at 2:57 pm | Permalink

        Forthurst ,

        Is “tasted independence” shorthand for “totally wasted independence” like the Irish have done by subordinating themselves to Brussels ?

        J.R. might be right that Salmond has reluctantly accepted what people have been telling him that an independent Scotland could not survive and now doesn’t really want it .

        It won’t make any difference to rich celebs like Sean Connery but the rank and file should be careful what they wish for .

  5. formula57
    Posted September 20, 2013 at 7:11 am | Permalink

    And just imagine the benefit to us non-Scottish taxpayers if the costs of RBS had been borne by Scotland alone – and the further benefit of not paying in future for a Scotland shorn of its petroleum revenues!

    And why should we be content with the prospect of devo-max when what we have now seems inequitable with Scots enjoying extra benefits like “free” prescriptions, “free” tuition, and funded care for the elderly. Why do you and other non-Scottish MPs vote for monies to Scotland to allow its citizens to enjoy such largesse from the State whilst deciding the rest of us should be denied those same benefits? We in the non-Scottish parts of the UK ned a champion as adroit as Alex!

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted September 20, 2013 at 8:12 am | Permalink

      Where did RBS make those losses, and under whose regulatory regime?

      Do you think the government of the reduced UK could have sat back and watched while RBS and NatWest branches in England and Wales shut their doors?

      • Paul
        Posted September 20, 2013 at 10:54 am | Permalink

        “Where did RBS make those losses, and under whose regulatory regime?”

        Seriously ?

        So if a business operates in another country under their regulatory regime and goes broke, those debts are the responsibility of the country they are in ?

        So (say) Tesco’s in the USA did badly, they’ll be working under USA regulatory rules, so the US is responsible for Tesco’s losses then ?

        The “Yes” crowd must be pretty desperate.

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted September 20, 2013 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

          RBS was operating in the UK under the regulatory regime created by the UK government and Parliament, and as 82% of MPs are elected in England the English were far more to blame for its deficiencies than the Scots.

          We have been through this before. The government could sit back and watch when Woolworths went bust, because that would not bring down the whole economy; and previously it could allow Barings to go bust, for although it was a bank it was not systemically important; however it could not have sat back and watched as a large part of the banking system in England and Wales suddenly shut down, whichever banking group it was and whether or not it had “Scotland” in its name.

          Reply We did have to sit and watch as Lehmans went down, even though that had big consequences for us. So it would have been if RBS was a Scottish regulated bank under the tender regulatory mercies of the ECB.

          • Denis Cooper
            Posted September 20, 2013 at 5:10 pm | Permalink

            But no High Street banks in the UK shut their doors when Lehmans went down. If the government hadn’t acted over RBS then millions of people would have been denied access to their accounts, would not have received their salaries or been able to pay their bills, which would have had knock-on effects throughout the rest of the banks and the economy. From time to time we get a small taste of this when one of the internet banking systems crashes and is out of action for some hours.

            Reply The government should have with the Bank of England maintained liquidity to RBS and offered short term loans against security so people could withdraw their cash if they wished, and supported RBS transactions through the money transmission systems, but should not have bought shares. It should have required the Directors to organise an orderly administration of the company, selling off businesses and assets to minimise the demands on anyone else, with shareholders and bondholders taking the hit for any overall losses.

          • Leslie Singleton
            Posted September 21, 2013 at 6:25 am | Permalink

            Denis–First, you over egg the importance of regulation which can only do so much. Scotland is and always has been a separate country and RBS is a Scottish Bank and very proud of it when things were going well. Secondly, the points made refer to opinions as to what WOULD have been the case had the Union not existed. Are you saying that any pure Scottish regulation (had it existed) would have been so good as to have prevented the RBS fiasco? If so I think that’s a bit farfetched.

          • Denis Cooper
            Posted September 21, 2013 at 8:44 am | Permalink

            JR, there have been repeated discussions on whether the UK government took the right actions, but the point is that it could not have sat back and done nothing while RBS was forced to cease operating and consequently the entire financial system collapsed. It could and indeed did sit back and do nothing about Woolworths suddenly going bust, because that did not threaten either the retail system or the financial system with collapse. It is irrelevant that RBS was a “Scottish” bank, in principle the same imperatives would now apply if the Spanish bank Santander went bust and suddenly shut down all its operations in the UK. However I believe that the lesson has been learned, insofar as Santander has been required to ringfence its operations in the UK so they would continue even if the parent bank did go bust.

          • Denis Cooper
            Posted September 21, 2013 at 9:22 am | Permalink

            Leslie, of course I’m not saying that “any pure Scottish regulation” would have been better; I have no way of knowing whether it would have been better or worse, although I suspect that if Salmond had had a hand in its design then it might have been worse. I am simply pointing out that RBS failed under the UK regulatory regime, just as with Northern Rock, through the incompetence of the institution set up by the UK government and Parliament to supervise it and other banks operating in the UK, the FSA. And that the government which put those defective arrangements in place had been given a landslide victory in 1997 by the voters in England as well as in Scotland. Therefore there are no grounds for trying to make voters in Scotland some kind of scapegoat.

        • uanime5
          Posted September 20, 2013 at 4:00 pm | Permalink

          If (a UK company with a US subsidiary ed) went bankrupt all the US branches would be dealt with under US bankruptcy laws because they’re located in the US. Under international law the UK cannot be forced to pay for losses occurred by companies in foreign countries.

          Before you ask about the Icelandic banks these banks were all located in Iceland, not a foreign country. Had these Icelandic banks been located in the UK (for some reason) then the UK would have had to pay for their debts.

          • libertarian
            Posted September 21, 2013 at 3:16 pm | Permalink


            Not for the first time you are wrong.

            It depends where the company is registered not where their buildings are. Icelandic banks did indeed have subsidiaries in the UK. UK banks in fact DID pay £billions of pounds on failed Icelandic debts

  6. margaret brandreth-j
    Posted September 20, 2013 at 7:29 am | Permalink

    One would have thought Scotland (Edinburgh) with its wealth of philosophical insight would have the ability to see this future scenario. It is good to enjoy the diversity of Europe , but Scotland and England do not need a controller deriving from very competitive ‘other’ interests.

  7. Roy Grainger
    Posted September 20, 2013 at 7:35 am | Permalink

    Mr Salmond’s only hope of success would seem to be if everyone in the UK is allowed to vote on whether Scotland should be independent. I wonder what will happen when he loses ? His party then becomes entirely irrelevant (as UKIP would if we withdrew from the EU).

  8. Stephen Pearl
    Posted September 20, 2013 at 8:01 am | Permalink

    The debate on Scottish independence should not be about economics or about today’s economic and political alliances. Independence should be about just that, independence. It’s about self fulfilment, about belief in one’s own ability to shape the future; to be a bit high blown about it, it’s about destiny.
    To repeat, it is not about today. Scottish independence is not about 2016 or 2020 or even 2030. These are the years when the hard work of shaping a nation happen. Scottish independence is about the country in forty, fifty, a hundred years from now.
    A true believer in Scottish independence would not care if Scotland is in or out of the EU tomorrow, would not care if all the oil ran out, would take whatever currency is legally available. Independence is about what you do with what you’ve got.
    I think Salmond and his party is a disaster for an independent Scotland, but he’s probably necessary to get that independence in the first place. The irony is that the first thing the citizens of an independent Scotland could do is kick him out.
    For Scots, especially young Scots I think the thought of independence is an exhilarating, scary, exciting and dangerous thing and I’d vote for it in a minute.
    Unfortunately I am an old, Tory voting, past my sell by date, Englishman.

  9. Denis Cooper
    Posted September 20, 2013 at 8:18 am | Permalink

    Any English person who has actually thought the matter through properly will see that it would be greatly to the disadvantage of England and the English for Scotland to revert to being an independent sovereign state occupying and controlling the northernmost third of the home island, and will hope that enough Scots will recognise that overall it would also be to the disadvantage of Scotland and the Scots.

    • libertarian
      Posted September 20, 2013 at 10:13 am | Permalink

      Well I’m an Englishman and I have thought it through and you are totally wrong Denis.

      I’m a libertarian, small government, low tax , localism small is beautiful believer.

      Because I have thought this through in depth I think an independent Scotland ( under the right leadership/policies) would be brilliant for Scotland. I also happen to think than an independent London and the South East would be a good option too. You see Denis I’d much rather live in a small focused place similar to Hong Kong, Singapore, Iceland, Switzerland or Channel Islands than a large soviet style centralised country like Spain, Portugal, Greece or France.

      The increasing costs of public services and infrastructure can be far better costed and managed at a local level on a smaller scale.

      Empire building and so called economies of scale were a temporary phenomenon of the 19th and 20th centuries. We need to be in tune with the new 21st century paradigm which is small is best

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted September 20, 2013 at 2:50 pm | Permalink

        “I also happen to think than an independent London and the South East would be a good option too.”

        So you’re an Englishman who would want to follow through on the break up of the UK by breaking up England.

        • libertarian
          Posted September 20, 2013 at 4:01 pm | Permalink

          Yes Denis, you understand what I wrote correctly

          • Denis Cooper
            Posted September 21, 2013 at 9:25 am | Permalink

            What kind of Englishman is it, who wants to break up England?

          • libertarian
            Posted September 21, 2013 at 9:07 pm | Permalink

            What kind of Englishman is it, who wants to break up England?

            One who isn’t remotely interested in narrow nationalism, but cares about the people who live in specific geographic locations. One who understands that a successful economic future and best being able to provide an equitable standard of living for all our citizens in future requires a smaller, more locally focused approach.

            Just as a matter of interest what are your views on Kernow ? They appear to be Englishmen, some of whom want Cornwall to be separate

          • Denis Cooper
            Posted September 23, 2013 at 10:35 am | Permalink

            I’m aware that there are some in Cornwall who would like it to split off from England, just as there are some in the north east of England who would like it to split off, and indeed one Liberal Democrat even had a letter published in a national newspaper claiming that Northumbria was not really part of England. He had his answer in the autumn of 2004, when the people there made it clear that they did consider themselves English and that where they lived was part of England.

            You refer to “narrow nationalism”, but those who say that they are Cornish, and not English or British, and those who say that they are Northumbrians, and not English or British, are adopted a far narrower nationalism.

            No true Englishman wants England to be broken up.

      • Bazman
        Posted September 20, 2013 at 5:50 pm | Permalink

        You forgot small minded. What would the rest of this large and diverse country do? Have nothing and be happy with it? A literally divided country, but what would you do with the poor are amongst these areas like in London? Deport them to the north? Haven’t thought this through have we? RWC.

        • libertarian
          Posted September 21, 2013 at 3:23 pm | Permalink

          Yes Bazzy I have thought it through, I didn’t mention poor people at all which you would know if you read what I put. Its exactly for that reason my plan would work better. Some of the most deprived areas are in the wealthy South East in inner London and even more in areas of East Kent and Essex. By having more focused spending on the issues that affect people we can give far better help and support to those in deprived areas.

          I assume you’ve never been to the midlands or North of this country. Vast areas of both are incredibly successful, thriving and wealthy. They just have very different needs to the SE. In the SE we have shortages of affordable housing in the NE we have an oversupply so having a uniform benefits systems is just stupid.
          You Baz are a silly socialist who believes this drivel that non socialists don’t care about people. I suggest you get out more

          • Bazman
            Posted September 21, 2013 at 10:01 pm | Permalink

            More money for poor Northerners via the benefit system? We do not believe it for one second. You are right..

          • libertarian
            Posted September 22, 2013 at 2:51 pm | Permalink

            Why would you want to have more local people on benefits? Thats socialism for you or feudal slavery as its better known.

            I would expect far more specific help for people in ALL areas of England that are currently struggling. Each area has very different needs. Some need more jobs, some need different jobs. Some neeed help with housing some don’t. The whole point about localism is that you solve the problem you face NOT try to implement a one size fits all solution

    • Leslie Singleton
      Posted September 21, 2013 at 9:24 pm | Permalink

      Denis–You are tilting at several wrong windmills. THE windmill is what would have happened in particular re RBS had Scotland un-united itself prior to that bank’s fiasco.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted September 23, 2013 at 10:23 am | Permalink

        Leslie, we don’t know what would have happened about RBS if Scotland had already become independent when it got itself into trouble, because we don’t know what requirements the government of the reduced UK would have imposed on the continuing operations of RBS and its subsidiaries within the territory of the reduced UK. We do know that those operations would have been conducted under the law of the reduced UK, not under the law of the newly independent Scotland, and so the regulatory regime for say NatWest in England would have been that which applied to retail banks in England, not whatever regulatory regime applied in Scotland.

        We now have that kind of scenario with Santander, which operates in the UK under UK law not Spanish law. It has ring fenced its operations in the UK, as described here:

        “2.1 Santander UK plc operates a UK ring fence around it and its subsidiaries. This ring fence would been effective in shielding the UK-based businesses of the wider Santander Group from systemic or idiosyncratic risk elsewhere in the wider group. This arrangement has also demonstrated that ring fencing can be guided by clear principles and robustly implemented and maintained through both self-imposed corporate governance arrangements and effective domestic regulatory oversight by the FSA.

        2.2. The Santander UK ring fence reflects the subsidiary model operated by the Santander Group. This subsidiary model involves autonomous Santander subsidiaries operating in core markets (such as Santander UK) where each local unit is autonomous as to liquidity and capital, without reliance on Santander as the parent bank.

        2.3. Santander UK generates funding and liquidity for the purposes of its UK banking business primarily through UK retail and corporate deposits, as well as in the financial markets through its own debt programmes and facilities. It does this in reliance on the strength of its balance sheet and profitability and maintaining its own network of investors and credit ratings with the major credit ratings agencies. It does not rely on a guarantee from Santander or any other member of the Santander Group to generate this funding or liquidity.

        2.4. The Santander UK corporate governance model reinforces the independence of the Santander UK business and ensures that its board and the management make their own decisions on liquidity, funding and capital, having regard to what is appropriate for its business and strategy.

        2.5. Santander UK has enhanced the Santander Group subsidiary model by agreeing a regulatory ring fence around its UK activities with its lead regulator, the FSA. The ring fence creates formal firewalls between Santander UK and the rest of Santander Group, thereby reducing systemic risk and the risk of problems in other markets or units impacting Santander UK.

        2.6. Specifically, the regulatory ring fence restricts the provision of liquidity and capital by Santander UK to the rest of the Santander Group and limits the extent of exposures to the Santander Group that it can assume. This ring fence is explicitly reported on and monitored by the FSA on a frequent basis.

        2.7. This model has demonstrated that the regulator has the tools and the experience to implement a ring-fence which limits the relationship between banking entities in the same group in order to protect the stability and resolvability of that entity.

        2.8. Santander UK believes that it represents a practical example of a well-functioning and robust ring fence, firmly rooted in clear principles, which is implemented and policed cooperatively by Santander UK and the FSA.”

        But we don’t know whether the government of the reduced UK would have insisted on RBS similarly ring-fencing its operations in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, and so we don’t know whether the government would or would not have been forced to act to prevent the sudden shutdown of those operations when the parent RBS failed.

  10. stred
    Posted September 20, 2013 at 8:24 am | Permalink

    Watching a debate in the lavish Scottish parliament yesterday, it seemed that the sooner these whinging windbags left, the better. And, talking of wind, they expect the rest of the UK to switch off the cheaper power stations and take their enormous wind farms electricity spread all over their bogs. We should have a national day of prayer in England before their vote and ask God to favour Alex. And another advantage- we could go abroad without paying for a ferry.

    • Jack
      Posted September 20, 2013 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

      You would not have to buy energy from an independent Scotland but you will have to buy it from somewhere like France or Denmark perhaps.

      • Bazman
        Posted September 20, 2013 at 5:52 pm | Permalink

        Maybe Russia in low cost deal sealed for decades? Why has nobody thought of this one?

      • libertarian
        Posted September 21, 2013 at 3:23 pm | Permalink

        We already buy our energy from Frances nuclear power stations

        • Bazman
          Posted September 21, 2013 at 10:03 pm | Permalink

          Why not seal a massive deal with Russia then. Sorted!

          • libertarian
            Posted September 22, 2013 at 2:57 pm | Permalink

            Is there NO subject of which you are not totally ignorant Bazman?

            Western Europe has been importing gas via the Trans Siberian Gas Pipeline since the 1980’s. A joint venture between Russia and Ukraine.

          • Bazman
            Posted September 23, 2013 at 5:25 pm | Permalink

            Lets import all our gas and from Russia then!

  11. Richard
    Posted September 20, 2013 at 8:43 am | Permalink

    Mr. Salmond, the wily politician he is, is merely positioning himself to be able to stay in power whichever way Scotland vote in the forthcoming referendum.

    As an Englishman my main hope is that the voters of Scotland produce a clear and unequivocal result so that we can move forward.

    I can see benefits for England for both outcomes, and, in particular the breaking away of Scotland making it easier for England (and the rest of the UK if they want) to leave the EU.

    The great fear I have is, whatever the result, that subsequent negotiations by our weak politicians (and/or the FCO) will mean that the rest of the UK will be fleeced by Mr. Salmond whether it is a complete separation or the introduction of devo-max.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted September 20, 2013 at 2:59 pm | Permalink

      There is no evidence that the breaking away of Scotland would make it easier for England to leave the EU. Firstly, the removal of the UK including England from the EU is ultimately in the hands of MPs, 82% of whom are elected in England; if you want to leave the EU, start voting for candidates who agree with you on that rather than believing that we must stay in the EU. Secondly, the level of antipathy towards the EU in Scotland is not much different to that in England. On both counts, it would be wrong to suppose that the Scots are somehow keeping the English in the EU against their will.

  12. James Matthews
    Posted September 20, 2013 at 9:02 am | Permalink

    All true enough, but it does not look as though the Scots are going to vote even for Salmond’s version of independence (which of course he could not deliver unilaterally anyway). If he were to turn Scottish opinion round in the next year, the rest of us could be intensely relaxed about it if we were confident that Scotophiles at Westminster would not concede far too much to Scotland in the subsequent independence negotiations. Sadly that is not the case.

    The problem that we are far more likely to face, though, is that Westminster will concede far too much to Scotland if there is a no vote in the referendum. Two of the “Unionist” parties, The LibDems and Labour (plus a few Conservatives), are already sending out signals that, in this event, they will offer Salmond and the SNP a huge consolation prize.

    Nothing is more likely to ensure that there will be another independence referendum sooner rather than later. In any event there is really no merit in sharing a state with a four-fifths detached Scotland. The Scottish electorate should be told in unequivocal terms that no more powers will be concede to the Scottish Parliament and that equivalent powers to those already transferred will be given to a new English Parliament. They should accept that, or leave.

  13. A.Sedgwick
    Posted September 20, 2013 at 9:03 am | Permalink

    His approach is seriously flawed. A Scottish Norway would be the best strategy – no EU, own currency, member of the Commonwealth. There is an opportunity for an independent vibrant Scotland but the SNP is well named with the emphasis on nationalism and a breakaway from England rather than independence – SIP would be more successful. There are Irish historical undertones here where freedom from the English was surrendered to the EU some decades later, the Scottish demise to Brussels would be quicker.

  14. Mike Stallard
    Posted September 20, 2013 at 9:11 am | Permalink

    As a politician you will, no doubt, have met people who put their own interests before that of anything else.

    If I were a politician of the calibre of Tony Blair (no, I think that, as a politician he is a genius) or Mr Darling (I am being sincere here), then sticking up in Edinburgh would simply not be enough. Provincial politics would not suffice.

    If I were, on the other hand, a politician who would, honestly, do much better at County level, I would plump for as much power and influence as I could get – at the expense, quite often, of logical argument (which you have provided above).

  15. eddyh
    Posted September 20, 2013 at 9:15 am | Permalink

    Cameron will never let the English people vote on Scottish independence. He knows that if he did they would be shown the door at once. In addition if he got rid of all the Scottish Labour and LibDem MP,s there would be a proper Conservative majority and he would be thrown out speedily.

  16. Bryan
    Posted September 20, 2013 at 9:26 am | Permalink

    I would vote for Scottish Independence and therefore for an English Parliament, but as an Englishman I shan’t be given the opportunity.

    Why England is not allowed its own Parliament when Scotland, NI and Wales have one, is a conundrum that politicians seem to avoid.

  17. Atlas
    Posted September 20, 2013 at 9:28 am | Permalink

    If the Scots vote for independence then I say “fine!”

    If they say No then I want the West-Lothian question sorted out…

  18. They Work For Us
    Posted September 20, 2013 at 9:33 am | Permalink

    Not to be provocative and tongue in cheek to promote debate:
    Leave the EU. Restore proper border controls.

    Let Scotland go and declare Scottish people as aliens. No right to live in England and vote, but do allow work permits with no right to remain and citizenship. Abolish all Scottish MPs posts at Westminster. Let the gravy train not stop at their station.
    Let Mr Salmond enjoy his Wind powered electricity and tell him we are building Nuclear stations and do not want to buy it.
    Do the same with Ireland, let the South have the North and let them get on with it. It is ridiculous that Eire should (have such favourable arrangements ed) to us and that they are allowed to vote in our elections .
    The Irish and Scots as individuals are lovely people but can we afford to continue to prop up their countries in this way.
    Pull up the drawbridge and have a prosperous England. We generate most of the taxes (and pay far too much), let us enjoy our own prosperity and regenerate our own people in our own deprived areas like the North, Midlands and the West Country.

    The future of others is in their own hands and they must take full responsibility for it themselves.

    Reply The Protestant majority in Northern Ireland does not wish to unite with Eire. Your proposals on Ireland and Northern Ireland are insensitive to the difficulties of the mixed community.

    • Jack
      Posted September 20, 2013 at 1:37 pm | Permalink

      So how are these power stations to be paid for?
      A little research would show the gravy runs south and by blocking outsiders what kind of trade do you expect to have

    • They Work For Us
      Posted September 20, 2013 at 10:01 pm | Permalink

      I think we have propped them up financially for too long so that they can continue their differences (etc ed). Peace in the North is a sham in many places where people of the wrong religion and background cannot walk certain parts of cities.
      If not wanting to pay out for this nonsense for the generation after generation in the belief/ hope that after ? 100yrs ? 500 yrs they will have resolved their difference is insensitive then so be it. Telling them we are leaving in 2 years time and that there is no more subsidy money coming would help concentrate their thoughts.

      Reply: That is insensitive – the peace process has made a huge improvement in a very difficult situation, and care should be exercised not to lose the advances.

    • Lindsay McDougall
      Posted September 21, 2013 at 10:49 am | Permalink

      Unfortunately, the Good Friday agreement has compromised the desire of Northern Ireland’s protestants to remain in the UK and imposed an undemocratic straitjacket on them. [You can have any partner you like as long as it’s Sinn Fein]

      The referendum on the Good Friday agreement gave a 3:1 majority in favour in Northern Ireland, but that masked near unanimity among the Republic population and only 54% in favour among the Unionist population. Care for a rerun of that referendum? After all, you want one in the UK on EU membership.

      Unionists have not had a good experience under the Good Friday agreement. It’s one thing to ban provocative marches through Republican areas. It’s quite another not to fly the Union flag from Belfast City Hall.

      Reply Most of us think it is progress that the 2 communities now do work together to govern NI, and that the levels of violence are much reduced.

  19. Dinero
    Posted September 20, 2013 at 10:02 am | Permalink

    The phrase United Kingdom does not refer to a Union between Scotland and England. It refers to “The United kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland”. So the referendum is on Dissolving the Union of 1707, the Act that dissolved England and Scotland and created Great Britain, as Great Britain without Scotland does not make much Geographic sense. What would be the name for the country of England Whales and Cornwall

    • behindthefrogs
      Posted September 20, 2013 at 12:43 pm | Permalink

      How about an aquarium?

    • Lindsay McDougall
      Posted September 24, 2013 at 2:02 pm | Permalink

      What would we call a Union of England, Wales and Northern Ireland? In view of devolution, we might call it the Half United Lose Kingdom or HULK for short. This is on the assumption that the loss of Scotland will not render Northern Ireland ungovernable.

  20. forthurst
    Posted September 20, 2013 at 10:05 am | Permalink

    If the Scots vote for independence, then RBS should be induced to disgorge those parts of it which were English and Ulster banks.

    The Scots might thrive as an independent state; it was Scottish Trotskyites that wrecked most of ours and their engineering industries, but who knows maybe an upsurge in patriotism might see the Scottish engineering genius back in the ascendent.

  21. Tad Davison
    Posted September 20, 2013 at 10:05 am | Permalink

    Couldn’t care less, but it would be nice to have an English parliament with exclusively English MPs voting on English policies. Labour wouldn’t get a look-in.

    Tad Davison


  22. Neil Craig
    Posted September 20, 2013 at 10:07 am | Permalink

    Well he certainly doesn’t want independence and is quite clear about that – he wants to be part of the EU superstate. Originally the SNP supported the EU because it provided a safety net for the rather scary idea of real independence but now they, like most bureaucracy supporting politicians, want it for the support it would give them for more bureaucracy.

    I suspect Salmond is rather scared of the possibility of separation from England since that robs him of both a safety net and a scapegoat.

    On the other hand the official No campaign are equally split. Since they are drawn from the same bu7reaucratic cloth they refuse to use most of the arguments against “independence” which involve the EU (ie that we would have to sign up to Shengen and thus have border posts at Carlisle; lose the various opt outs which save 1.8 million UK jobs and thus lose about 150,000 Scots jobs; agree to join the Euro, albeit at no set date; and lose the scots share of the UK rebate. For that reason the No campaign refuse help from UKIP.

    Clearly both sides are just going through the motions since, for both, it helps obscure how parasitic Scotland’s political class is.

  23. Old Albion
    Posted September 20, 2013 at 10:36 am | Permalink

    Scotland, Scotland, Scotland. It’s all we ever hear. What about England? When we will be asked if we want our own Government?

  24. Sir Graphus
    Posted September 20, 2013 at 11:21 am | Permalink


    I feel quite strongly that if Scotland opts for Devo Max, then the English people should have a say.

    If Scotland want to be independent, then that’s a matter for them, just as if my wife wished to divorce me. But if my wife wanted to completely redefine our relationship, but stay under the same roof and keep the credit cards, then I have a say in whether I accept that.

    In the same way, Devo Max requires the assent of all of us.

    At the very least, the West Lothian question must be addressed.

  25. Mark B
    Posted September 20, 2013 at 11:36 am | Permalink

    Whether or not Scotland decide to remain part of the UK is of little importance to me. I am of course ENGLISH and proud. British is a political toy I have very little time for.

    I have always found it rather strange that the Nationalist parties of the UK, even Sinn Fein (words deleted ed), all want to remain part of the EU. It couldn’t be because of all that FREE money they would be able to claim from Brussels would it ?

    And that is where I draw the line on this. Like many who have commented, I believe independence should just mean that – INDEPENDENCE !!!

    A free SOVEREIGN nation, with its own Parliament, Executive, Head of State, Armed Forces, Foreign Policy, Financial, Economic and Fiscal independence and say over its own laws, and its own people. The SNP are offering none of this if they are angling to remain in the EU, which is a political project designed to destroy national boundaries and any sense of nationhood and INDEPENDENCE. What the SNP offer is actually worse then that which they have, and the Scottish people are being deceived, just like Ted Heath deceived the British people over the then EEC.

    I find it really rather odd that our political masters seem quite comfortable with one member of ‘our union’ to have a say over whether or not they wish to remain but, seem deeply against the rest of us leaving a far more anti-democratic union.

    It is high time that the discussion on an English Parliament was put too the people of England. And no, I will not hear that there is no desire amongst the English for one – there is, just ask us ! There was no desire to change the electoral system of this country, yet you were happy to hold one. I find this is very discriminatory and any political party or politician may find better favour with the electorate if they had this as a manifesto proposal. ie “To ask the people of England through the power of referendum whether or not they choose to have their own Parliament.”

    If Scotland wish to remain part of the UK, it must be on current terms. Any new terms must be put before the people of the rest of the Union. Scotland, its Government and people will just have to take it or leave it. That’s democracy ! If they wish to remain, it must be on current terms or, new terms agreeable to us – the people and not the political class and establishment. I simply do not trust them.

    But whatever happens, things both sides of the border will never be the same again. There is certainly a strong movement amongst the English for ‘equal’ treatment, and unless the political class and establishment accept and remedy this democratic deficit that they have created, resent is going to grow.

    The nationalist Genie is out of the bottle now, and it refuses to go back in.

    Reply The English Democrats have stood for Parliament on the ticket of an English Parliament but have never made any progress. It is not high up the list of demands of most English voters, though English votes for English issues is popular and my preferred answer. English nationalists are the exception to the rule on “nationalists” and the EU. The few I have met are usually wanting us out of the EU as well as out of the UK.

    • Old Albion
      Posted September 20, 2013 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

      JR. You have no idea how high up our ‘list of demands’ is an English Parliament. Because non of you in Westminster have ever asked us, and most of you continue to pretend England doesn’t exist. Parliament prefers to speak of ‘Britain’ (even when discussing England) or ‘this country’ or ‘our country’

      Reply I do, as every day I receive hundreds of emails and messages from constituents telling me what matters to them, and I can see the results of elections. I have rarely been asked to support an English Parliament by constituents nor does it come up at election meetings. Some other things come up all the time, including a new relationship with the EU.

    • Mark B
      Posted September 20, 2013 at 9:01 pm | Permalink

      Reply to reply

      And pray tell where were the demands from the UK, let alone the English electorate for Gay marriage. It was not a manifesto promise from any other the three main parties or on the coalition agreement ! Neither was electoral change. Nor for that matter changes to the HoL.

      You have ignored my point and put up a strawman of an argument. That is unfair but typical of a politician who wished to avoid a difficult issue.

      I notice however that other posters seem to be saying the same thing. So it is not just me. I wounder why ?

  26. peter davies
    Posted September 20, 2013 at 12:31 pm | Permalink

    The SNP are being disingenuous when they talk about “independence” and being “self sufficient” – to add to your point on the £ they cite Norway as an example, if they were serious then surely their model would reflect that of Norway’s – outside the EU bubble but trading with them and applying their rules to EU economic activity.

    Another concern is oil – Oil revenues make them almost a one trick pony, we all know that oil prices go up and down and technology (hopefully) such as fusion may well reduce the need for oil one day.

    If as predicted they bottle it and stay, the West Lothian question does need sorting. To have politicians from devolved constituencies being allowed to vote on issues which do not affect their constituencies is lunacy that totally undermines the principle of parliamentary democracy

  27. behindthefrogs
    Posted September 20, 2013 at 12:46 pm | Permalink

    If the Scots fail in their plan to be independent from Scotland the rest of the UK should have a vote on becoming independent from Scotland. We will need to restrict the influence of a devolved Scotland in our parliament.

  28. English Pensioner
    Posted September 20, 2013 at 1:10 pm | Permalink

    I’m getting fed up about the constant moans and demands from the Scots. Perhaps we in England should have a vote as to whether we want Scotland to remain in the Union. I suspect most English would be glad to see the back of them.
    Whatever happens, parliament MUST address the matter of Scottish MPs voting on matters at Westminster which don’t affect them as they have been devolved to Edinburgh.

  29. Iain Gill
    Posted September 20, 2013 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

    What happens if an independant Scotland is still in the EU and England goes with the UKIP view and leaves the EU, that’ll be interesting.

  30. lojolondon
    Posted September 20, 2013 at 3:26 pm | Permalink

    Whatever happened to global warming??

    (For your interest, John, to post if you choose)

    Reply I will post it, but I stress I have not checked out the site in general

    • Bazman
      Posted September 20, 2013 at 6:09 pm | Permalink

      He is a journalist and writer not a scientist. Spinning spin from other non scentists as if they are such as Ross McKitrick is Canadian economist specialising in environmental economics and policy analysis. Not science. Have to do better than this right wing religious tosh. Basically like Delingpole. Now should anyone write in favour global warming like this. You would be screaming blue murder that they have no scientific credentials and are spinning. Guess what? ram it.

    • Leslie Singleton
      Posted September 21, 2013 at 10:05 pm | Permalink

      Lojo–This is absolutely basic 1.01 Logic and it would be funny except that literally hundreds of billions of pounds being thrown away all the time which could do wonders for Left wing fantasies if they but knew it. It is as I say basic “If P then Q, then not Q not P” with P =”Models Work” and Q = “Warming” so given no significant warming then, No, the Models Do Not Work (so why are we paying attention to them?). In fact it’s worse than that because it is perfectly arguable that even if there had been a bit of warming that would have been good rather than bad and SFW anyway, given the way the Earth maintains equilibrium over time?

      • Bazman
        Posted September 23, 2013 at 5:27 pm | Permalink

        No man made eco system has ever survived for long. Worrying huh!? Fatalistic to presume we will be OK whatever we do. The will be OK we however could be up the creek.

      • Bazman
        Posted September 23, 2013 at 6:30 pm | Permalink

        Read a sensible website like Treehugger and find out how polluting solar panels are or pollution cameras to capture the most polluting vehicles, about 5% and leave the rest alone. I was behind a small car today and the smoke was unbelievable mad me feel sick. Is this acceptable near houses and schools. All to clever for you though isn’t it. . Some even believe that the future is non of our business and the new people can just sort it out. The Russian gangster theory of life. When we are gone all will be gone. Water pollution? Why should we care we drink bottled etc. Right wing pig ignorance and fatalistic religious fantasy cannot be allowed to win. Nearly forgot to tell you to ram it, but didn’t! Phew!

  31. REPay
    Posted September 20, 2013 at 3:40 pm | Permalink

    Dear Mr Redwood

    If we get either Devo Max or Full Independence will the UK cease to exist completely? Will I be a citizen of England? Will the UK be off the Security Council?
    What are the implications for the UK?

    I am perhaps sentimental about the Union. I have no problem with being both English and British…I always describe myself as the latter when abroad. I believe the Scottish Enlightenment had profound impact on the way I think.

    I will feel diminished if I am to become merely English…

    Reply If Scotland eventually gets devo max – not the subject of the referendum – we will remain as the UK with Scotland having a more privileged deal within the wider nation.
    I expect Scotland to vote to stay in the UK. If by any chance she does not, there then has to b e a negotiation to settle the terms of Scotland’s exit – e.g. can she still use the pound? What contribution will she make to supporting commercial banks in the sterling area? How much of the Uk debt will Scotland have to accept as her share? Where do you draw the border between Scotland’s oil and the rest of the UK’s oil?
    We do not become England – we become the rest of the UK as Northern Ireland and Wales still wish to remain with us. Maybe we will need a new name,as we will not be a “united kingdom” if the kingdom of Scotland has left. Rest of the UK is not a great title. England would not be acceptable to Wales/Northern Ireland. Maybe we should keep the name Britain or even Great Britain. We would need to confirm our continues membership of international bodies, but in most cases Great Britain as the main successor to the UK would stay as a member on the same terms. The EU will want to cut our numbers of votes and MEP seats, and we would need to cut our contributions (apart from any big renegotiation we might want anyway).We might need to argue the case to keep our Security Council seat but I would have thought we could keep it.

    • Martin Ryder
      Posted September 20, 2013 at 4:48 pm | Permalink

      Surely our country is called ‘The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland’. It is not the United Kingdom’s’ of Great Britain & Northern Ireland.

      Should the Scots decide to leave the United Kingdom then, as they are part of Great Britain, the remainder of the United Kingdom would have to become ‘The United Kingdom of England, Wales and Northern Ireland.’

      Indeed if everyone left, other than the English, we would be called ‘The United Kingdom of England.’ We would be the successor state to the United Kingdom of GB&NI and would continue as the UK in the Commonwealth, UN and EU.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted September 20, 2013 at 5:30 pm | Permalink

      We can’t really be “Great Britain” without Scotland, the term was only introduced by James I and VI after the Union of the Crowns.

    • Old Albion
      Posted September 20, 2013 at 7:20 pm | Permalink

      The Scots won’t leave the UK. They may be many things, but they aren’t stupid. They know they can continue their largesse on the back of English taxpayers.
      If by some quirk of fate, they did leave. The remainder should become the Federal UK…………………………hang on, better make that the UK Federation.

      • Jack
        Posted September 21, 2013 at 10:01 pm | Permalink

        “They know they can continue their largesse on the back of English taxpayers.”

        I believe you are mistaken in this like so many others, Scotland pays more into the pot that it receives back.
        8.4% of population
        9.3% of revenue received
        9.9% of revenue paid
        These figures are freely available try google.

    • Monty
      Posted September 20, 2013 at 9:20 pm | Permalink

      Reply to your Reply:

      “Maybe we will need a new name,as we will not be a “united kingdom” if the kingdom of Scotland has left”. We would still be a United Kingdom of England, Wales, and Ulster, so the name UK would still be appropriate. Great Britain would not, as that term refers to the geographic land mass of England, Wales and Scotland.

      Scotland voting no would be the worst of all possible worlds, because of all the demands that would follow such an outcome. Devo-Max would be seen by the English as shorthand for increased capital transfers from the English to the Scots, coupled with the continuation of Scottish interference in English affairs. And the Scottish hatred for all things English would not be quenched, but redoubled.

      A no vote would at least be decisive.

  32. uanime5
    Posted September 20, 2013 at 4:08 pm | Permalink

    Given that the Queen is still the head of state in Australia it’s not so odd for her to be on Scottish stamps and money.

    Hard to know whether keeping the pound or adopting the euro would be best for Scotland.

    One issue that will have to be resolved is the UK’s naval base in Scotland. If Scotland leaves I doubt that they will want to pay for a base that contains submarines owned by another country.

    • peter davies
      Posted September 21, 2013 at 7:40 pm | Permalink

      The N base would have to move to somewhere like Plymouth as they won’t tolerate N Weapons.

      Also UK govt contractors which are tied to being based within the boundary of the UK will have to move.

      An awful lot of complexity for little or no gain it seems – I doubt it will happen

      • sjb
        Posted September 22, 2013 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

        The Faslane and Coulport facilities are a massive bargaining chip for the SNP because they know the relocation costs would run into billions and building the necessary infrastructure would take years.

        btw, I doubt Plymouth would be chosen because it is a built-up area; the city’s population is a quarter of a million.

        Reply Not such a counter, as they will lose all the jobs and have the useless then derelict facilities to handle.

  33. Bazman
    Posted September 20, 2013 at 6:10 pm | Permalink

    I would vote to let them stay.

  34. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted September 20, 2013 at 6:16 pm | Permalink

    RBS, yes, and HBOS before Lloyds took it over. I am by birth a Scot, so I can say it. They are great warriors and great engineers but they are clueless on finance and economics. “Neither borrower nor lender be” is not a good starting point for participating in a modern capitalist economy.

    The Scottish Nationalists may want devo max but that doesn’t mean they should get it. Once we have defeated them, we should take away the tax raising powers that they have never used. And please ask the PM to be reasonably silent during the campaign – he has a habit of making unnecessary concessions.

    • Jack
      Posted September 21, 2013 at 10:06 pm | Permalink

      ” I am by birth a Scot” “Once we have defeated them” but not by choice it seems. Perhaps you could google to see if Scotland has ever produced anyone that could be considered good in the fields of finance or economics.

  35. davidb
    Posted September 21, 2013 at 8:32 pm | Permalink

    I will refrain from arguing the merits or otherwise of a yes or a no next year. No doubt many undecided Scots will not be desperate to know Mr Redwoods opinion on the matter before deciding how to vote anyway.

    The question you pose in abstract is a good one. I have posed it myself. If the outcome is devolution max, then Scotland will have all the autonomy the correct original solution of a federal state would have granted her in the first place. I too genuinely am unsure if that is not Mr Salmond’s goal. What is independence nowadays?. The EU decides the majority of stuff – is it 60%?- already. He has a party to lead. Maybe, like Mr Cameron, he has to tow the party line on matters he secretly doesn’t believe in.

    Anyway, Her Majesty is the head of state because one of her forebears was a Stuart who took the throne of both countries in 1603 to make it a “United Kingdom”. The union the vote seeks to dissolve came much later – in 1707. Between those two dates Scotland was a separate country. So I cannot see what the status of the queen of Australia and Canada and a host of other countries has to do with that particular vote being held next year. The queen can be head of state of anywhere that wants her – until they vote to have a republic. She could be Queen of Scots even if England was a republic.

    The RBS was felled by buying ABN Amro. If Barclays had bought it instead would the RBS be the only “British” bank not owned by taxpayers? What if scenarios are a waste of time. We are always and absolutely, where we are.

    A really good what if is, what if the non permanent member of the UN had stayed out of the wars in Iraq and Afganistan. Would the little country of Scotland have lost so many of its children fighting pointless wars for no gain? I assume here that like Russia, England would inherit the permanent seat on the Security Council.

    Resistance to, or rather a reluctance to discuss the hypothetical question of an independent Scotland being a successor member of the EU is perfectly understandable. Catalonia’s claim is predicated on it remaining a member. Belgium is really two countries. There are little nations all over Europe, trapped inside 20th century borders. Considering the history of this continent, the last 68 years or so must represent pretty much the longest period of stable borders since the Roman Empire. What a can of worms that conundrum opens.

    I would suggest to all those anti Scottish racists – for that is what it is – that you try a charm offensive carrot rather than a bear bating stick. If Scotland is such a drag on dear England, then why the he** do your leaders want us to stay in the union?

    I note that a clear majority of Scots would opt for independence if they were sure they would be £500 better off. I genuinely suspect I will be worse off, but my country is worth more than money. How many of you would sell the shares in UK ( or England ) PLC that you were given for mere coloured bits of paper? What is it about being English – or British – that gives it any value in your minds? Is it about economics? Is it just about the value of your house? Why do so many of the contributors here rail against the EU? Is UK Independence not just the same as Scottish Independence?

    Some of your contributors have hit the nail on the head. London makes the money. Heres another good what if. What if London was a separate country? It has lots of English guestworkers, but essentially has a different ethnic makeup to the rest of the UK. Is it really an English city at all? It could have its own currency with interest rates set to that economy – oh that happens now, its just that the interest rates destroy the rest of England’s industry in the process. It could elect its own president Boris. It would be up there as one of the richest places in the world.

    So lets hear it. Independence for London! Independence for England! Independence for anyone who wants it!

  36. Robert Taggart
    Posted September 22, 2013 at 5:15 pm | Permalink

    Wishing wee Alex well – next year.

    Independence for Scotland would leave an emotionally untenable Blighty – England + Wales + Ulster = a ‘dogs breakfast’ of a union.

    Independence for England would offer a golden opportunity to ‘tidy up’ the running of the only country that really matters ! No more confusion as to where the boundaries be for all the public bodies – the boundary would stop at the border – of ENGLAND.

  • About John Redwood

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

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