Splitting up is never easy

It is a strange feeling to see and hear people arguing about whether to split up our country or not. It is even stranger to know I do not have a vote over whether the UK survives or perishes. I am told by all the wise commentators that as an English Conservative my view is not wanted, and could make keeping the Union together more difficult if expressed.

I fear for the Union when the debate about a possible divorce is already about who has contributed most to the family silver and who pays the outstanding mortgage. If you want to keep your marriage together, the partner who earns most and pays the mortgage should not bang on about the extra contribution they are making financially to the marriage. They pay the bills to support the rest of the family out of love and as part of that feeling of togetherness. If a wife or husband persists in wanting to split it all up, both are then driven to argue over who owns and deserves which of the assets, and who is to be liable for which of the liabilities. Once you are arguing over that, often with lawyers involved, the last vestiges of love and togetherness are squeezed out by the process of seeking to end the union.

So it can be for countries. England does not normally seek to draw up a balance sheet of what it has contributed compared to what Scotland has added to the Union. England does not normally analyse the figures to see if we are paying more in than we are getting out. England even puts up with apparent injustices over tax based support for Higher Education and long term care in the interests of the union. Most of us do not see it as a trade or commerce driven relationship where you are only interested in what you draw out. I was brought up to see Edinburgh and Glasgow as much a part of my country as London, Birmingham and Manchester.

The genius of Alex Salmond is to fire up English nationalism as the adjunct to his construction of Scottish nationalism. He does want to turn it into a divorce settlement issue. Indeed, he does not even want a clean and full divorce, as his idea of independence includes keeping the Queen, the pound, the defence contracts and much else. He wants separation, and freedom to enter new relationships, whilst the old partner is still there to prop up RBS and provide a common currency.

And that is where his plan goes wrong. He has now kindled enough English nationalism for us to say we do not want an “independent” Scotland sharing our currency, making our warships or expecting us to prop up their banks. Most of us English would still rather keep our country, the UK, together. We will welcome a Scottish decision to stay with us, and seek to make another go of our union. If, however, Scotland does vote for out, they should expect a new tough England to negotiate in its own interests as any spurned partner to a marriage does.

Nor do most of us want a narrow victory for union followed by another run at splitting it all up from Mr Salmond. One vote either way is enough to settle this mighty issue. More difficult is then to get Scottish nationalists to live with the result if they lose. They will find a more independently minded England if they try any tricks. Their successful strategy at firing up wishes for English independence will make their cause more difficult if they lose, as well as creating a more determined English negotiator if they win.

Pulling a plant up by its roots to see if it is growing is never a great idea. Putting partners through a test of their loyalty to each other, and then only letting one of the partners have a say, is not a great recipe for a happy union.

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  1. Lifelogic
    Posted April 18, 2014 at 5:39 am | Permalink

    Indeed it would be a great shame if Cameron on top of his continued destruction of democracy in the UK (through his heart and soul support of the EU and his throwing of the last election) managed to break up the hugely successful union too. Even foolishly allowing sixteen year old children to vote. Perhaps labour will damagingly allow this in the UK elections too after the next election, while continuing the fake green religion, big state, high tax, magic money tree, lefty indoctrination they already get at most schools.

    No doubt the electoral system will be further distorted by a the new Labour majority to try to maintain the lefty grip on the countries, should the Union by broken up in this way.

    • Bob
      Posted April 18, 2014 at 9:06 am | Permalink

      In the Telegraph:

      David Cameron officially declares that he is patron of an initiative run by Common Purpose, a charity linked to the campaign for tougher regulation of the Press

      As we had always suspected.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted April 18, 2014 at 5:21 pm | Permalink

        Indeed. Well having put David Laws back in the Cabinet, retained Vince Cable and even trying to keep Maria Miller types he is not likely to want too much free speech around. Also with is heart and soul being in favour of the antidemocratic EU and with him even wanting to win a – stay in the EU referendum – he is clearly not going to want much free speech. As we see at the BBC he wants a Lord Patten type of truth being sprayed over the public. A pro EU, big state, high tax, uncontrolled immigration, green crap, government know best agenda.

        He will be telling us we are all in it together next!

      • A different Simon
        Posted April 18, 2014 at 11:35 pm | Permalink

        If you look at all the cartel party leaders they are all weak specimens of manhood chained to an alpha-female .

        There is no doubt who wears the trousers in the Cameron household .

        It’s certainly a pity that Cameron has bought into the greentard anti-freedom agenda but that is the way it is .

      • Excalibur
        Posted April 19, 2014 at 1:22 am | Permalink

        One tries to be rational and objective, and not to see conspiracy everywhere, but it is becoming increasingly difficult. One senses an agenda inimical to our interests. Surely within the Labour Party, for example, there are English people with views similar to those expressed in these columns. Why do we never hear their voices ?

    • Lifelogic
      Posted April 18, 2014 at 9:48 am | Permalink

      £10 Million wasted gagging an NHS cardiologist I read. Might we not have been better with the truth out, a good error reporting and correcting scheme or just an extra 5000 hip operations.

      £10Million spend of lawyer types give us nothing but more lawyers. Let us have a limited no fault with (extra insurance for those that want to pay for it) in the NHS and spend all the money saved on avoiding accidents and more care.


      • alan jutson
        Posted April 18, 2014 at 5:10 pm | Permalink

        Will those who tried to cover it all up get the sack ?

        No chance !

        If they eventually resign they will probably get a pay off, and find another job in another area of the NHS in 3 months time.

        In all of those years we had lost the talents of a top heart surgeon as well.

        Absolutely shameful.

      • A different Simon
        Posted April 18, 2014 at 11:45 pm | Permalink

        Lifelogic ,

        I think you have hit the nail on the head – set a level of damages and give people the option of paying an insurance premium for the right to pursue damages beyond that level if things go wrong .

        It’s hard to see what even the green socialists could disagree with that (though who would want to agree with those population reductionists) .

        If set up properly this would ensure that people whose procedures go well (the majority) would be minisculey worse off .

        That is what insurance is all about – spreading the losses of the few across the many .

        • Lifelogic
          Posted April 19, 2014 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

          Indeed surely we are all better of if they spend it on treatment and avoiding accidents rather than endless lawyers and liability disputes and litigation.

        • alan jutson
          Posted April 19, 2014 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

          A d S

          I think both yourself and LL have got this the wrong way around.

          If the patient pays the premium why should the doctors care about the quality of their work, they will not suffer financially..

          What is needed is for Doctors (or as a last resort) the NHS to pay the premiums, similar to many other trades.

          Professional indemnity insurance should then go a long way to covering it, and compensating patients for poor performance.

          Premiums would then reflect the past claims record of a Doctor, Nurse.

      • m brandreth-jones
        Posted April 20, 2014 at 10:41 pm | Permalink

        This is far from an isolated case,it makes the solicitors money though and they can ignore the evidence they want to ignore and present that which can be more easily misconstrued. (poor practice ed) is rife .I used to think it was indiscriminate , but no, its the green eyed monster who wants power and will do anything to gain it.

    • Max Dunbar
      Posted April 18, 2014 at 2:22 pm | Permalink

      Yes, Cameron and Osborne remind me of the sort of types that one meets at posh auction houses trying to pass off abstract modern paintings as priceless works of art.

    • REPay
      Posted April 18, 2014 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

      Our electoral system is also distorted by the “rotten boroughs” where comparatively small electorates return Labour candidates in constituences that have been denuded of voters and by Scottish/Welsh MPs who vote on English matters. Yes, 16 year olds seem more likely to vote Labour like their educators…interestingly in Scotland they are more pro-Union.

  2. Gina Dean
    Posted April 18, 2014 at 5:49 am | Permalink

    Let us hope we do stay as one, but even if they stay Scotland will be rewarded with more devo max .
    if they decide to break up this country then it is hoped that the negotiating team will be a strong group and do not give to much away.

  3. Mike Stallard
    Posted April 18, 2014 at 5:54 am | Permalink

    The trouble at the moment is that some crucial politicians, both in this country and in the European Commission, are second eleven.

    Grinning Mr Salmond and his groupie supporters are certainly that. Clever, oh yes. Ambitious. Oh yes. Determined and persistent. Oh yes. But they are, as you so cogently observe, wrong.

    Without us, Scotland will be Iceland after the crash. It will have the ruined banks. It will have what remains of the cod. It will not however have the free heat and the magnificent hot pools. And it will be governed by give-away politicians who may very well break the economy as the oil on which they rest their greedy and wasteful welfare state runs out.

    Please save our country.

    • Leslie Singleton
      Posted April 18, 2014 at 8:14 am | Permalink

      Mike–I would rather keep the United Kingdom, repeat Kingdom, and it is news to me that, as you and John are saying, the UK is one country. The whole point, certainly as regards the separatists, is that it is not.

      • Max Dunbar
        Posted April 18, 2014 at 9:44 pm | Permalink

        I agree with Dr Redwood that we are one country and, as you say, a kingdom with one monarch reigning over it. The SNP are not Scottish nationalists but in reality (left wing ed) separatists agitating for autonomy in a region of the Kingdom.

    • Martin
      Posted April 18, 2014 at 8:38 am | Permalink

      You might care to ponder the fact that the SNP won an majority the last Scottish PR election by beating Labour with a council tax freeze. A simple tax freeze swung 10% of the vote in two weeks. Not exactly a benefits dependency policy!

  4. margaret brandreth-j
    Posted April 18, 2014 at 6:07 am | Permalink

    Divide and rule: but who could rule who? It could be more difficult to psychologically separate from Scotland and the union which once worked.It may become a fight for money and power with the EU now beginning to regard separated GB as small fry to suck dry.
    Great Britain doesn’t represent one marriage but many different types of marriage which even through hard times have worked.My marriage, which was split up by some other with better seemingly financial prospects and became a situation where I had to be tolerant of debt which I had been left to handle as a single parent, I had to be civilised whilst my old in law family disregarded me for the sake of the new marriage.I had to be kind whilst someone else took my name. I had to be patient as psychological assets were passed on to others. I had to accept that the new MRS would have the farmland we had planned and I would be left paying debts off for their love in a small house and struggling.I would just have to realise that the superior job of my follower would make her far more desirable and powerful in the eyes of banks and society, therefore the old would be excluded.Mr Salmond should realise that his own desire to make himself and Scotland powerful could result in the people he represents going through some very tough times and many simply would not be patient and tolerant of the rude change.

    • Tad Davison
      Posted April 18, 2014 at 9:25 am | Permalink

      You’re very brave Margaret, you have my admiration.


  5. stred
    Posted April 18, 2014 at 6:21 am | Permalink

    At least the divorce between countries does not have to be like one between people. Under current law one party can simply divorce the other with a no fault arrangement and the proceeds are then split equally, irrespective of who had what before the marriage or paid the bills. The exception is for inherited wealth, which cannot be touched. On the other hand, a partner’s wealth created during the marriage is up for grabs. Homosexual partners do not even have adultery as an argument.

    A Canadian site claims that young men are shunning women because they spend all their money on clothes but the men have savings. They prefer ‘sport sex’ and to keep their savings. Not exactly helpful to family life.

  6. alan jutson
    Posted April 18, 2014 at 6:41 am | Permalink

    Mr Salmond is not seeking real independence, never has done, because he still wants the security of Stirling (the Pound not the Town) and all of the other benefits that Scotland still has of being part of the UK, absolutely no border controls, Defence, Government funded Jobs etc. etc
    Whilst still being able to do his own thing.

    Face facts, Mr Salmond simply wants more power, to do the things he wants to do, and he is prepared to make things uncomfortable for the UK parliament to get them.

    His solution is to promise pie in the sky policies to the Scottish people, by building up resentment against the UK (England) using the excuse that we are holding them back from future prosperity and greatness, because we have in past years stolen the oil revenue which Scotland should have had.
    No mention of course of the money sent up North, the Government contracts placed, the Banks bailed out, or the liability to some of the National Debt.

    Most people will see through his plan if they take time to work it out, but Nationalism has a strange way of clouding any issue, and that is why he is playing that card, and playing it well.

    If Scotland votes to stay in the UK I do hope that any negotiation (why should there be any, other than an levelling out of entitlements, requirements for all UK Countries)
    Does not give any more power to Scotland, than has Wales, Northern Ireland, or indeed England.

    Devolution has been an expensive and utter disaster in my mind.

    Quite honestly the situation we now find ourself in is no real surprise, as most politicians through history have always wanted more and more control.
    It usually ends in tears, but it is the ordinary people that suffer.

    • Brian Tomkinson
      Posted April 18, 2014 at 8:27 am | Permalink

      “Mr Salmond is not seeking real independence” – no one who wants their country to be subservient to the EU, as he does, is interested in real independence.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted April 18, 2014 at 11:04 am | Permalink

      Indeed devolution has largely been a disaster, just another expensive layer of parasitic activity on top of Westminster, the EU and local government. I would go for a central government in Westminster with any devolution at all being at a far more parochial level than Scotland more like the level of 20,000 people units.

      • Max Dunbar
        Posted April 18, 2014 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

        Well said Lifelogic.

    • Max Dunbar
      Posted April 18, 2014 at 9:51 pm | Permalink

      ‘Devolution has been an expensive and utter disaster’, and if Salmond succeeds in tearing the country apart and then dies of a heart attack on news of his historic success, who will take over the reins at Holyrood? Look behind Salmond at what could be in store for the hapless people who live in Scotland and their marginally less unfortunate friends and relatives in England. It doesn’t bear thinking about.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted April 19, 2014 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

        But they will it seems be 40% female that is all that matter it seems to Scottish MPs.

  7. Richard1
    Posted April 18, 2014 at 6:53 am | Permalink

    Its all part of the baleful legacy of the Blair -Brown govt. The 2 disasterous wars, the great Labour recession, the sale of the gold, the uncontrolled immigration, the explosion in welfare dependency and now the potential dismemberment of the country. Incredible that Labour have any support at all.

    If the Scots vote to stay, as I think they will, the Conservatives should announce immediately a policy for federalization in future. The Scottish Parliament to settle all policy except foreign and defense. The English MPs only to do the same for England. The UK govt should set base tax rates (eg 25%) and the national parliaments can decide to top them up. Scotland should be free to borrow – though of course on a non-recourse basis to UK taxpayers as a whole.

    Whilst Scots may vote to remain in the UK, public opinion in Scotland clearly favors much more local control. They should have it and we should have it also for England.

  8. Old Albion
    Posted April 18, 2014 at 6:54 am | Permalink

    Actually JR, the ‘divorce’ started under Blair. When he decided to give devolution to everyone except the English.
    You say Salmond has kindled English nationalism. In reality it’s the British in Westminster who have achieved that by their long standing unspoken policy of ‘don’t mention the English’ Sure Salmond will exploit this, he’s a politician.
    You, the government had a golden opportunity to save your precious Union. You could have included England into a new UK federation. But you didn’t. You marginalised the English, left us out of all discussion as your leaders do now.
    As i’ve said before on this blog. The Union is finished. If the Scots vote ‘yes’ it will be legally over. If the Scots vote ‘no’ your government will shower them with devo-max as a reward. English resentment that has barely emerged yet, will come down hard on the tratorious British in Westminster.

    • The PrangWizard
      Posted April 18, 2014 at 7:48 am | Permalink

      The British, who consider themselves to be a distinct ruling elite, have indeed betrayed England. I hope Scotland votes for independence, it will bring closer an end to British rule in England and the end of the Union which has worked against our best interests for many decades.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted April 18, 2014 at 5:23 pm | Permalink

        “The British, who consider themselves to be a distinct ruling elite”

        With the comma, complete nonsense. There are millions of people who see themselves as British who are not part of a ruling elite.

        It makes more sense without the comma:

        “The British who consider themselves to be a distinct ruling elite”

        In other words, it is the minority of the British people who form the ruling elite who have betrayed England, and not just England.

    • Boudicca
      Posted April 18, 2014 at 8:00 am | Permalink

      I tend to agree.

      There was an interesting article in the DT recently which said that the reason the SNP have made considerable headway is because they can offer the Scottish people the prospect of EU membership as a separate nation. Take away the EU, and they would have got nowhere.

      Once again it comes back to Westminster and MPs who destroyed the UK’s Sovereignty to join the EU, not appreciating that at the same time they were also putting in place the destruction of the UK.

    • Mark B
      Posted April 18, 2014 at 9:40 am | Permalink

      That is exactly how I see it. The Union is dead, no matter what. its just the deluded ‘British’ fools in Westminster and Whitehall haven’t smelt the rotting corpse yet.

    • Max Dunbar
      Posted April 18, 2014 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

      You are right about Blair Old Albion. He has successfully pitted Brit against Brit in this ridiculous situation in which the country is tearing itself apart. Traitors? Yes the Labour Party and its Union masters who still pull the strings that control the Cameron/Osborne marionettes.

      • APL
        Posted April 19, 2014 at 7:30 pm | Permalink

        max dunbar: “Yes the Labour Party and its Union masters who still pull the strings that control the Cameron/Osborne marionettes.”

        Er, how does that work?

  9. Alan Wheatley
    Posted April 18, 2014 at 6:57 am | Permalink


    • James Matthews
      Posted April 18, 2014 at 9:46 am | Permalink


  10. Bryan
    Posted April 18, 2014 at 6:59 am | Permalink

    The Scots call themselves Scottish, those from Wales – Welsh, and from Northern Ireland – Irish

    Only we English are required to call ourselves British.

    Well, my country is England. It is where I was born and live. I am English and proud of it.

    Time to regain our identity!

    • bigneil
      Posted April 18, 2014 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

      I think it’s too late for that. We are being deliberately destroyed. Mass immigration of people whose aim is to either change the base religion, by sheer numbers or any other means they decide is viable, or people who are purely here to freeload( as well as many other people who make a decent contribution ed). Both groups are piling in here. This is what our govt has signed us up to, unelected people in luxury offices and massive pensions, telling us we have to accept foreign criminal, murderers, rapists and paedophiles,(there are controls on the movement of criminals ed) all given the “right” to walk in here and we have to pay them and house them and treat all their medical needs -at OUR expense. Unsustainable madness, therefore it MUST be deliberate. Glad I am nearer the end of my life than the start. I fear what is being left for the young ones of this country, being turned into slaves, out to work, to pay taxes so bone idle freeloaders can live here.

      PS -john – did you see the ch5 program on (people ed)its. Nice to see what they can get -for having done nothing, whereas my 45 years of taxes entitle me to ABSOLUTELY NOTHING.

      • Tad Davison
        Posted April 18, 2014 at 5:44 pm | Permalink

        In response to a comment by Big Neil, I note: (there are controls on the movement of criminals ed).

        That’s interesting, but is perhaps more of an aspiration than a statement of the truth. I watched a programme on Channel Five last Friday about (people ed) who have come to Britain who are ‘on benefits and proud’. They freely and openly stated that to them, stealing is an acceptable practise, but there was no attempt to deport them, or to stop such dross coming to the UK in the first place.

        There are all manner of foreign criminals now operating in the UK thanks to Labour’s and the EU’s ‘open doors’ policy. How do you square that one?


    • Yve M
      Posted April 18, 2014 at 2:17 pm | Permalink

      Bryan I am from Northern Ireland and consider myself british not irish, neither are english people required to call themselves british if they don’t wish to, the many english people I know consider themselves english.

    • Max Dunbar
      Posted April 18, 2014 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

      Who are the Scots? How do you define them? There are probably more ‘Scots’ living in England than Scotland. If your great grandmother was Scottish does that qualify?

  11. Lifelogic
    Posted April 18, 2014 at 7:13 am | Permalink

    I hear that John Bercow said too many “outstanding” women MPs were standing down from parliament due to the nature of the commons. To whom can he be referring? I cannot help thinking where on earth are all these outstanding women in (or who have already left) parliament? Mrs Thatcher perhaps, any others?

    One of the main things that brings discredit to the house is surely the fact that they elect people like John Bercow (with(words left out ed) his self publicist approach and his attempts to hide issues from the public) to be the speaker. I hope he very soon enjoys his hugely generous speakers pension (one Osborne, of course, denies to the private sector with his further reduced pension cap and contribution limits). This even if though they, at least are using their own money.

    Still we are all in it together they jokingly claim!

    • Lifelogic
      Posted April 18, 2014 at 7:15 am | Permalink

      Perhaps he was thinking of Maria Miller types?

      • Leslie Singleton
        Posted April 18, 2014 at 8:27 am | Permalink

        Lifelogic–Women are identical these days so by definition they must have the same numerical outstandingness as men. This would be even funnier were it not the case that many (mostly men I would venture to believe in these strange times) believe that.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted April 18, 2014 at 5:33 pm | Permalink

          Not on Woman’s hour radio 4 – here they clearly just as good as men but also are better communicators, better at languages, empathy, communication/talking, better at multi tasking, obtain better O levels and despite all this still need endless legal protection and quotas?

          Even legal protection for working during the menopause they were on about today.

          Some are indeed excellent I agree, but they do tend to make rather different choices in life on balance I find.

      • APL
        Posted April 18, 2014 at 11:34 am | Permalink

        Lifelogic: “Maria Miller types?”

        Birds of a feather, flock together.

        If the women can’t hack it in this Parliament, the customs and practices of which if you remember has been transformed out of all recognition by the Blair ‘woman friendly reforms’, one should ask, exactly what do women want?

        Where government and opposition used to be separated by two swords and an inch, perhaps they’d like a crèche?

        • Lifelogic
          Posted April 18, 2014 at 5:35 pm | Permalink

          One woman said she needed a paracetamol before facing parliament!

          I cannot see that helping her much.

          • APL
            Posted April 19, 2014 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

            Lifelogic: “I cannot see that helping her much.”

            Ahh, The poor dears! Men bend over backwards to accommodate woman, yet it’s still too hard to live like a man in a man’s world.

            Call the waaaaambulance.

    • Tad Davison
      Posted April 18, 2014 at 1:11 pm | Permalink

      LL, it could be that women are offended and affronted by the rampant debauchery that is said to go on there, as indicated by a recent Channel Four news bulletin. Following those revelations, one national daily even suggested that the tax-payer also foots the bill for some very iffy social gatherings. But the offence those things cause, transcends the boundaries of gender. I’m pig sick of it too. I want only the very best people to represent me, not those who see Westminster purely as a way of enrichment, advancement, and an opportunity to coerce juniors into doing things they would rather not do.

      Where such practises are found, the people in question should be asked to resign, and had Cameron not shelved the right of recall, we could already have a far cleaner and reputable place that far more women would want to, and feel comfortable to work in. And if Cameron can go back on that promise, he can go back on anything – even the promise of an in/out referendum!


      • Lifelogic
        Posted April 18, 2014 at 5:39 pm | Permalink

        Indeed get rid of Career politician they do not represent voters just themselves and their parties.

        And the best person for any job please regardless of gender/race etc. decided by shareholders and directors not politicians, Alex Salmond, Harriet Harman or the silly BBC agenda.

      • APL
        Posted April 18, 2014 at 6:41 pm | Permalink

        Tad Davison: “it could be that women are offended and affronted by the rampant debauchery”

  12. Iain Moore
    Posted April 18, 2014 at 7:20 am | Permalink

    “they should expect a new tough England to negotiate in its own interests”

    Who will negotiate on behalf of English people’s interests? Cameron who thought it demeaning to become Prime Minister of England? No he will be on the Scottish border handing the Scots DevoMax. Miliband, a racist anti English party like Labour? Forget it. Clegg and the Libdems, that fanatical pro EU party who want to regionalise England? No chance.

    Mr Redwood, when you go into Parliament look around and ask yourself who will be hard negotiators for England. If you are honest with yourself you will come to the conclusion that the British Parliament is a rotten custodian of English peoples interests. Pretty much every time when Parliament has made a choice it has the English people who have been served up the raw deal.

    There is nobody in Parliament that will negotiate on behalf of English peoples interests , as a result there will be no tough negotiations.

    • behindthefrogs
      Posted April 18, 2014 at 3:50 pm | Permalink

      We can only hoe that devomax includes equal size constituenies and only the English MPs voting on English matters.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted April 19, 2014 at 4:01 pm | Permalink

        England and Scotland already have equal sized constituencies in terms of the average number of registered electors per MP, except that Scotland has 2 extra, 59 instead of 57, because of the greater geographical difficulties in Scotland compared to England.

    • John
      Posted April 18, 2014 at 7:46 pm | Permalink

      Take a look around the commons and you will be very hard pressed to see (people like me? ed), so it it any wonder that they steadfastly refuse to represent us?
      I am English and find the term British an insult to my ethnic group. You do not have to go to Scotland to hear “anyone but England” you can see it in action every day in Westminster.

  13. Antisthenes
    Posted April 18, 2014 at 7:27 am | Permalink

    Is it not something of a paradox for those who wish to keep the union but wanting a divorce from the EU. Is not the same principle involved as it is about which bunch of politicians and bureaucrats and which laws govern that region. Personally I am in favour of people being allowed to decide who governs them as that way it reduces animosity and avoids conflict. Are there not many parts of the world that nation states being cobbled together out of disparate peoples of different ethnicity, religion and ideology past and present that has and is giving rise to serious conflict often very bloody that is best resolved by separation. It can be said that in practical terms that Scotland has far too much influence over English affairs because of the number of left wing MPs they send to Westminster. Therefore the breakup of the union is of far more benefit to England than it will be to Scotland in the long run as England can throw off the socialist yoke and Scotland can continue to build it’s socialist paradise, which of course will eventually fail, without the rest of the UK subsidising it.

  14. Andyvan
    Posted April 18, 2014 at 7:28 am | Permalink

    What evidence do you have that most English want to keep the union, Mr Redwood? We are not worthy of having a vote to express our opinion so how do you know? If I was asked, not told, how I feel I would say that I feel no love for the hard line socialist voters north of the border. They have done so much with their votes and their politicians to wreck this country that I’d feel a profound sense of relief if they did vote to end the marriage. It is a marriage where all the advantages are directed to one partner whilst the other provides all the cash, is not consulted about how it is spent, is not expected to voice any opinion of any sort and where any trace of disagreement is met with accusations and aggression. That is an abusive relationship and not one I want to be in.

  15. rick hamilton
    Posted April 18, 2014 at 7:34 am | Permalink

    Like so many aspects of British politics, this referendum seems to be incredibly badly thought out. It is almost as though Cameron has more interesting things to do than preserve the unity of one of the world’s most influential countries.

    Why should a nonentity like Salmond who has achieved nothing whatsoever in national politics be allowed to tear our country to pieces? There should be a national referendum in which every voter in the UK should have a say on what is possibly the most important historical issue – other than the EU – for 300 years. The Scots should only be allowed their own vote after that, in the full knowledge of how we all feel.

    The Scots should not be incited to flounce off into their own little socialist utopia just because a few self-absorbed SNP activists don’t like the current government in Westminster. I don’t like it much either, but it’s a hell of a lot better than government from Brussels.

    The Scottish vote should be offered to those who were born in Scotland, including expats, not just those who happen to be living there. Voters should be at least 18 which is the established rule in the UK. It makes no sense to give votes to children on an issue of this importance.

    There should be a simple majority of UK voters in favour before the Scottish vote, and that vote should at least two-thirds in favour before an actual split is approved. A Welsh-style result with a low turnout and a tiny hairsplitting majority is not convincing enough. I am fed up with my country being pulled apart by grievance-mongering minorities at one end and power mad EU bureaucrats at the other.

    For heaven’s sake will somebody influential speak up for the Union. The Duke of Edinburgh might be a good start.

  16. Boudicca
    Posted April 18, 2014 at 7:42 am | Permalink

    I wish I could believe that, following a Scottish vote to leave the UK, English representatives would carry out tough negotiations in the interests of the English and remaining UK members. But I rather doubt they would.

    We have appeasers in Government – when it comes to Scotland and when it comes to the EU. We have had appeasers in Government for several decades, since Mrs Thatcher was deposed so that the UK could be dragged into the EU via the Maastrict Treaty.

    I no longer care a great deal whether the Scots become “independent.” It’s a strange sort of independence they are proposing. What I DO care about is that the UK as a whole isn’t Sovereign and independent (which is how Cameron wants it to remain) and – under the warped devolution settlement which Cameron has done absolutely NOTHING to address – the English are politically discriminated against in their own country.

    • JoolsB
      Posted April 18, 2014 at 4:10 pm | Permalink

      There are no English representatives, that’s the problem. Unlike Scotland and the rest of the UK, England is represented by UK politicians in a UK parliament on a UK mandate and heaven forbid they should say the word England let alone protect it’s interests.

      If by some miracle Scotland does vote yes and even if it doesn’t, an election should be held for English politicians to represent English interests in an English parliament and the 530 MPs with English seats who have failed England so badly need not apply. They didn’t want to stand up for England’s interests when they had the chance so they must go no matter how much they claim they were English patriots after all and good riddance to the whole rotten lot of them.

  17. JoolsB
    Posted April 18, 2014 at 7:56 am | Permalink

    What sort of divorce sees one side of the relationship have endless representation whilst the bill paying half has none. One side making all the demands and the other side doing all the giving with no-one trying to get it a better deal out of the relationship. The UK Government, not England, will give in to Scotland’s demands and the UK Government will give it devo-max when it votes no which it will and the UK Government will not bother to consult England because as far as they are concerned there is no England. NO-ONE represents England especially not the 533 UK politicians squatting in English seats.

    “England does not normally analyse the figures to see if we are paying more in than we are getting out. England even puts up with apparent injustices over tax based support for Higher Education and long term care in the interests of the union.”

    How do you know? You are too afraid to ask us. I bitterly resent my kids ending up with a mountain of debt hanging over them for most of their working lives paying higher taxes to make sure Scottish (and Welsh and NI) kids can continue to receive free or heavily subsidised higher education via the skewed Barnett Formula.

    Don’t blame Alex Salmond for the rise of English nationalism. The Lab/Lib/Con parties have done that all by themselves for ignoring and shafting the English and for allowing them to be treated as second class citizens in this so called union. All three have blatantly ignored the English side of the relationship in order to appease the Celtic side. All three parties, especially the Conservatives who only exist thanks to England, deserve England’s contempt.

  18. Bill
    Posted April 18, 2014 at 8:31 am | Permalink

    You are right to focus on the underlying emotional forces here.

    Of course, if the Scots go, England will return a Conservative government again and again because Labour will be deprived of its tranche of Scottish Labour MPs in the Westminster Parliament. In this sense the Conservative case for the Union shows a statesman-like appreciation of the UK over and above party politics.

  19. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted April 18, 2014 at 8:42 am | Permalink

    JR: “I am told by all the wise commentators that as an English Conservative my view is not wanted, and could make keeping the Union together more difficult if expressed.”
    No doubt those ‘wise commentators’ are the same ones who are advising Cameron. The bizarre situation we have isn’t like a domestic divorce as the active participants are only ‘relatives’ of one side. It’s rather like a man divorcing his wife but only dealing with his own brother who wants them to keep their marriage together.

    Are those ‘wise commentators’ the same ones who are now saying that if Scotland votes to leave the UK then Cameron will have to resign? Now, such an offer makes separation more appealing.

  20. Mark B
    Posted April 18, 2014 at 9:13 am | Permalink

    John Redwood MP said;

    “The genius of Alex Salmond is to fire up English nationalism as the adjunct to his construction of Scottish nationalism.”

    I disagree. This is no work of a genius. Any fool can play this simple trick, and what Salmond has done is not to turn this into a England vs Scotland issue, but a Westminster vs Scotland issue. Only you cannot, and never have, been able to see it, such is your political myopia.

    It is YOU, the Political Class that has been played and, if the man can be credited with any ‘genius’, it is that he has played a rather weak hand in full view of his opponents (ie the Political Class) without you even noticing it, much less having a sensible counter to this man and the SNP. You sir, and you fellows, have been out thought, and out fought.

    What you and the rest of your fellows, like those in the woeful, “Better off in” campaign, have shown, is the shallowness of your depth of thinking.

    You simply cannot see, or accept, the obvious that is in front of you.

    1) No nation that is part of the EU could be considered to be an, ‘Independent Nation’.

    Yet, it does not matter which way the Scots vote, being part of the EU is always the default option hidden, like so much, in plain view. I leave other readers to ponder and comment on this if they so wish. I also find it amazing that not even a prominent Conservative Eurosceptic, will not point this out and use it to defeat Salmond and the SNP. Why miss such an obvious own goal by the Nationalist parties ?

    2) No sensible alternative has been proposed, either by the, “Better off in” campaign or, the UK Government.

    The UK Government and the rest of the people have, as you again rightly pointed out, have no say. Surely, once Salmond had set his date for a referendum, the UK Government should have set a date for the rest of the UK to have its say over this issue. Say, two weeks before the Scots, on whether independence should mean just that – Independence ! This would have given the UK Government a strong mandate to negotiate with the Scots, should they decide to leave. It would have also rocked the nerve and blunted the SNP’s argument. They could not therefore, afford to be so bellicose, knowing that this would hamper their plans. The Orkney and Shetland Islands should of been allowed to have a separate referendum. Again, this would have hampered the SNP’s plans.

    3) New proposals to offer the rest of the UK, including England, on which so much of the Conservative Parties fortunes rest, should have been drawn up.

    This would have assuaged much growing Nationalism in England. This growing Nationalism, is not so much because of the SNP and its successes up north, but because of the ineptness of those who claim to represent us.

    4) My personal journey to English Nationalism, like my Euroscepticism, was not a sudden thing, it has been slow and deliberate.

    It has been created by outside forces seeking to deny that which is mine by birth. The BBC and the Political Class, only ever talking about Scotland, N.Ireland and Wales, but refer to England as, Britain or the UK. And for the record, I have written and complained too the BBC about this, and have cited their responsibility to England which is enshrined in their Charter – yes I have read the BBC’s Charter and, there is on the Board of Governors, a member dedicated to England, as there is to the other Home Nations.

    5) Whatever the result and outcome of this latest referendum on Scottish Independence (sic), Salmond and the SNP have won.

    The eventual break up of the UK has now been set in motion. The true beneficiaries will be the EU and the other Member States – not the people of Scotland, who will be delivered to the EU regardless, or the people of the UK, who will be ignored, as usual. If Scotland decides to stay, the SNP win because they will get devo-max + EU. If they decide to go, they will get devo-max + EU, then so called independence.

    No, Alex Salmond is no genius. His just surrounded by fools which make him look like one, without him even trying.

    Apologies to our kind host and my fellow readers for the length of this post.

  21. oldtimer
    Posted April 18, 2014 at 9:15 am | Permalink

    We are now at the stage that, whatever the outcome, future relations between Scotland and the rest of the UK are going to become much more difficult. If the Yes to independence campaign wins then there will be a messy divorce. If the Yes to independence campaign loses then there will be much resentment from at least some of the losers. This could turn out to be very unpleasant both inside Scotland and between the convinced nationalists and the rest of the UK. Whatever the outcome, the UK will be the loser.

    It so happens that we have decided to take a two week break in the western highlands in a week`s time. I must confess we decided it would be prudent to do this sooner than later – later being after the referendum. Co-incidentally I was discussing this very subject with the father of my son-in-law last night. He had come to exactly the same conclusion. It is a sad day that matters have come to such a pass. If the Yes campaign win, it would not surprise me if many others decided to vote with their feet and their wallets.

  22. English Pensioner
    Posted April 18, 2014 at 9:36 am | Permalink

    I would welcome an arrangement where each of the four parts of the Union had their own parliaments or assemblies which had exactly the same powers over their part of the country and where Westminster looked after the residual aspects of the Union such as general taxation, defence, security, foreign policy, etc.
    This would overcome my objection to the present arrangement whereby the Scots get a vote at Westminster on purely English matters but the English don’t have a say on exactly the same matters in Scotland. It is this sort of thing which angers the English far more than the budgetary problems.

    • alan jutson
      Posted April 18, 2014 at 7:03 pm | Permalink

      E P


      This sort of arrangement would seem to me to make so much more sense, as I have also posted previously.

      But what do I know, I will not be asked.!

  23. James Matthews
    Posted April 18, 2014 at 9:52 am | Permalink

    I hope that your predictions of a tough English negotiating stance in the event of a yes vote or of a nationalist refusal to accept a no vote prove to be accurate. I have to say, though, that I have absolutely no confidence that, without a separately elected English Parliament, such will be the case.

  24. Elliot Kane
    Posted April 18, 2014 at 10:04 am | Permalink

    I was pretty sure when all this began that Scotland would vote to maintain the Union, but with the utterly woeful ‘Better Together’ campaign, which amounts to one long litany of scaremongering (Normally the first resort of Europhiles when they have no actual case; witness Nick Clegg in the Clegg/Farage debates) I am now sadly certain that the end of the Union is in sight.

    The UK is run by political pygmies with no vision for a bright and prosperous UK, only a slow, covert, surrender to the EU which they do not dare to admit to the people they are elected to represent. Such tiny-minded men and women could never find the breadth or scope of vision to offer a genuinely exciting future to the Scots (Or, indeed, the rest of us).

    This vote, I suspect will be very close. It may even be won by the Union, in spite of ‘Better Together’. But the Scots have been turned onto a course now that leads them further from the Union, and I fear that in another generation or two the Nationalists will get that decisive ‘Out’ vote that they want so much.

    I shall be very sad when it happens, but I am increasingly sure that without an actual leader for the UK who believes in the abilities and strengths of the peoples of the UK, we will be united no more.

  25. PayDirt
    Posted April 18, 2014 at 10:12 am | Permalink

    You should know about this JR, it’s called Politics. The widespread distaste with Westminster Government, not just in Scotland, is the problem. So what are we going to do about it, keep arguing the case? There needs to be a radical shift away from Westminster/Edinburgh politicians daily parading their petty squabbles in the national media. The UK if it is to survive, or even come back from a wasteful period in the wilderness of separate statelets, needs a unifying government. Manifestly this is not Cameron, nor Clegg, not Miliband’s band “brothers” or Boris’ buffoonery. The stage is being set, the UK is waiting for a leader who speaks to all constituents. Perhaps it’s the end of Westminster as we’ve known it. The Queen manages to reside in various parts of the Kingdom, how about the UK parliament meeting and conducting it’s National business not only in London, but also Edinurgh, Cardiff and Belfast. Now that would be something. Get on yer bikes!

  26. Tad Davison
    Posted April 18, 2014 at 10:28 am | Permalink

    When considering the possibility of the UK leaving the EU, I don’t really mind other nations giving us their opinion as to why they think we should stay in, but NOT the right to vote on it. That is a matter for the people of the UK alone.

    Some will inevitably draw the comparison between that, and the possibility of Scotland leaving the UK, with Scottish people alone having their say, after English, Welsh and Northern Irish people have given their (hopefully) constructive input to the debate. But there’s s difference, and a very stark difference it is too – the United Kingdom works for all of us, largely to our mutual advantage, where the EU is just a blood-sucking leach and a millstone.

    The people of Scotland who want to divorce themselves from the rest of the UK might have some genuine grievances. They might not presently feel their voices are being listened to. They might not feel they can get what they want under the present system of government. The English often feel that way too I can assure you!

    Yet it should be possible to address those concerns without a separation which, as we know, won’t even amount to a complete severance. Mr. Salmond still wants access to certain things that makes his notion of a divorce almost farcical. It would be neither one thing, nor the other, but then of course, the rest of the UK would indeed have a say over what ties he wants to retain, and rightly so. And again, I go back to the comparison with the our membership of the EU, and a possible divorce from it.

    Were the UK to leave the EU, the others will certainly want to have a say over what ties we in the UK then have after we’ve left, but we’re in a good position to negotiate. I suggest we can get along just fine on our own, but with free trade and co-operation in places of mutual interest. Scotland clearly wants to do the same with the UK, so the rationale might also seem the same, but maybe Scotland wouldn’t be in such a strong position, and the UK’s relationship with the EU is irreconcilable and irretrievable. Unless by some magic they suddenly accede to all our concerns, which is unlikely.

    I agree that Scotland has its own identity and a proud heritage that should not be diminished, but integration within the UK is to its advantage as well as ours. Best then that we seek to cure what ails Scotland ‘afore ye go’.

    Tad Davison


    • alan jutson
      Posted April 18, 2014 at 7:08 pm | Permalink


      Mr Salmond may say he wants a divorce, and he may get his way, but what he really wants is a friend with benefits, which I think is better known as:

      To have your cake and eat it..

      • alan jutson
        Posted April 19, 2014 at 1:37 pm | Permalink

        Forgot to add, but not pay for it.

  27. Tim Almond
    Posted April 18, 2014 at 10:52 am | Permalink

    I don’t really see why “the union” is of such value. I have friends in France, the USA and Scotland. I’ve traded with companies in the USA and Scotland. If a bit of the UK wants to go its own way, to be governed in Edinburgh or Truro, what’s the problem as long as we can trade and be friends?

  28. lojolondon
    Posted April 18, 2014 at 11:02 am | Permalink

    Look at the positive side, John. Anytime you agree with Gordon Brown you know instinctively you are making a mistake. One of the best things about independence for Scotland would be that Labour would lose their ability to win an election for the forseeable future. What a pleasure that would be, except that UKIP would lose their current capability to make a difference in all the right ways.

  29. formula57
    Posted April 18, 2014 at 11:29 am | Permalink

    Once partners start to actively consider what might be involved in a split, the chances of remaining together are usually very diminished. So it is with the Union.

    A “No” vote, rewarded as other have said by even more concessions to devolution, will only postpone dissolution rather than prevent it since in due time the SNP will be able to point to how very little is done by the federal UK such that full independence is then but a small step.

    What is the present worth to England & Wales of keeping this Union going for another decade or so? We should look to our own family silver and have shot of Scotland before the oil exploration clean-up bills come due.

  30. The PrangWizard
    Posted April 18, 2014 at 11:45 am | Permalink

    The Scottish Independence Constitution Committee of the House of Lords examining the implications of Scottish independence is refusing to take oral submissions from the English groups which earlier submitted written evidence. Look at the make up of the committee and their origins and it is not difficult to see why. We, the people of England must question the impartiality and motives of this committee in examining the case. I maintain this is another example of the British Establishment in action, determined to deny the voice of the English as much as they can.

    • Mark B
      Posted April 19, 2014 at 8:47 am | Permalink

      I checked them out. Real bunch of charmers, aren’t they ? 😉

  31. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted April 18, 2014 at 11:45 am | Permalink

    In short, Alex Salmond wants power without responsibility, the prerogative of the Harelot throughout the ages. He can’t have it. It is not too late for England to insist that independence must mean complete independence.

  32. Jennifer A
    Posted April 18, 2014 at 12:24 pm | Permalink

    Marriage – “They pay the bills to support the rest of the family out of love and as part of that feeling of togetherness. If a wife or husband persists in wanting to split it all up, both are then driven to argue over …”

    No. It really isn’t a marriage. The ‘lawyers’ already exist throughout the ‘relationship’ They are called MPs. What marriage has lawyers mediating throughout every decision ?

    If so then the English ‘lawyers’ haven’t been doing a very good job of defending our rights in this relationship.

    If we split then we should expect our ‘lawyers’ to get the best deal for us that they can instead of continuing with this lofty idea that they are elected to get fairness for all. In fact they so often put their own constituents second, third and fourth.

    We are tired of it.

  33. Demetrius
    Posted April 18, 2014 at 12:31 pm | Permalink

    Have you seen the latest LSE article on their politics site about the complexities of membership of a wide range of international organisations and the implications of some potential long delays in sorting matters out?

    • formula57
      Posted April 18, 2014 at 8:25 pm | Permalink

      Thanks Demetrius – A most interesting article, pointing to all sorts of difficulties for Scotland taking its place in international organizations and, where it does, exerting worthwhile and often needed influence.

      But about the rest of the UK, the authors say “Perhaps most seriously, a reduced population and GDP would hit the RUK’s power in the EU institutions. No longer would it have a claim, alongside France and Germany, to be one of the three main EU powers.”. Oh dear!!! Salmond will have to call it all off now.

  34. Max Dunbar
    Posted April 18, 2014 at 2:54 pm | Permalink

    The future of the United Kingdom is at stake.
    A nation of 70 million people could be split apart and destroyed by fewer than 2 million voters who happen to inhabit the northern area of the country. These are not even ‘Scottish’ voters but anyone who happens to live there and be registered on the Voters Roll within that region.
    The future ruined and the past destroyed; all for the vanity and hubris of an elite of self-serving and ambitious politicians. And don’t for one minute believe that England’s troubles will be over if Scotland departs as some suggest on this site. The nightmare will really begin for everyone on this small and overcrowded island if separation and partition come to pass.

  35. Denis Cooper
    Posted April 18, 2014 at 5:08 pm | Permalink

    If the disaster happens and our country is broken up then maybe three-quarters of the blame for that will lie with the Conservative and Unionist Party, which enjoyed strong support in Scotland – more than 50% of the votes cast in the 1955 general election – but then decided that creating a European Union was more far important than maintaining the British Union, and really didn’t care how much the consequences of that policy might adversely affect the Scots while apparently providing them with an alternative union to which they could turn, and with some of its senior party members now actively hoping to see the back of millions of our fellow British citizens simply because they will no longer elect Tory MPs in the way that they used to.

  36. waramess
    Posted April 18, 2014 at 5:12 pm | Permalink

    Let’s hope there will be a divorce and Scotland will become independent. It will no longer be ruled from Westminster and will be the architect of it’s own fortunes and failures. And why not?

    No more redistribution of income from Westminster and a real opportunity to find it’s own niche in the world markets.

    Of course the politicians are complaining; some more than others and, particularly those like GB who will find themselves condidates for election in another country.

    Almost certainly a big win for the conservatives who have always done badly in Scotland and a big loss for Labour.

    Well, for Conservative politicians, whats not to like?

  37. Denis Cooper
    Posted April 18, 2014 at 6:06 pm | Permalink

    Briefly off-topic, a new study suggests that QE added much more to CPI inflation than previously thought:


    So when Labour harps on about the “cost of living crisis”, part of that is actually due to the QE deemed necessary to save us from the consequences of Labour’s gross economic and financial mismanagement.

    • Lindsay McDougall
      Posted April 19, 2014 at 5:09 pm | Permalink

      I do like that “deemed necessary”. Of course, it wasn’t necessary. Easy money only boosts real demand in the short term, monetary demand thereafter.

      Ask yourself one question – and Mr Redwood should also ask it of himself: Has the extended period of easy money that we have had since 2001 boosted real economic growth? No bullshit, a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’ will do.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted April 20, 2014 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

        Oh, it was necessary, unless you would have preferred economic meltdown when the government started to run out of money to pay its bills and had to drastically cut its public spending. The problem is that most people still don’t understand this because the Tories declined to explain it.

  38. A different Simon
    Posted April 18, 2014 at 11:49 pm | Permalink

    Scotland need a real visonary if they are going to leave GB .

    I just can’t find anyone who fits that description .

    Maybe David Tennent the ex Dr Who ?

    Certainly not the ex James Bond Sean “Stella Drinker” Connery .

  39. Tom William
    Posted April 19, 2014 at 9:36 am | Permalink

    I am half Scottish and half English, brought up in England but also loving Scotland. I have family in both countries. I do not have a vote in the referendum. I suppose I feel, although in my seventies, like a child who wonders whose parents are considering divorce when the child can’t see a problem.

  40. Tom William
    Posted April 19, 2014 at 9:37 am | Permalink

    Sorry,delete who wonders.

  41. Atlas
    Posted April 19, 2014 at 10:27 am | Permalink


    Since the West Lothian question still exists and may even get more acute under any ‘Devo-Max’ scheme, then as an Englishman I can only hope for Scottish Independence. The socialist Scots do not like the Tories, ‘fine’ I say, but I in turn do not like being run by socialist Scottish Labour MPs on English matters. So what is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander. Bye-Bye Scotland.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted April 19, 2014 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

      There is absolutely no need to break up the country just to solve the West Lothian question; it could have been solved long ago if the MPs elected by the English had insisted that it must be solved. And even if the country is broken up the English would still have the same kind of MPs, many of whom loathe and despise them, unless and until they decided to elect a different kind of MP, which they could do anyway with any need to break up the country. It’s not as if the Scots have been preventing the English from electing MPs who would hold them in proper esteem and be determined to give proper attention to their interests.

  • 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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