Scotland and England


I have long expected Scotland to vote to stay in the UK. I was interested to see a more positive approach this week by the better  together campaign, something I welcome. I also understand why the UK government has not made contingency plans for the possible loss of the referendum. To do so would be misconstrued as evidence of worries that the vote would be lost and would be a boost to Mr Salmond.

This does not prevent others from speculating about what should happen in the unlikely event of a Scottish Yes vote to independence. I have suggested before that in such a circumstance the UK Parliament should pass an Act rapidly extending the tenure of existing MPs for Scotland until the chosen date of separation, and at the same time preventing them from voting on English or rest of the UK issues. The present Scottish MPs should play no part at Westminster in the negotiations the rest of the UK has to conduct with Mr Salmond over the terms of the split.

A more interesting question is how Westminster should respond to a No vote in Scotland. There has been some discussion of additional powers for the devolved Parliament if they vote to stay in. It seems to me it should be a priority on hearing of their wish to keep the union together, to tackle the outstanding  issue of England’s government. We have unfair asymmetric devolution. I want the new English Parliament to be at Westminster, on days when the Union Parliament is not meeting. Every English MP elected to Westminster should be both a Union MP and an English MP. We should get on with establishing a proper government for England in the devolved areas.


  1. Narrow shoulders
    May 16, 2014

    What you write Mr Redwood makes sense in the odd situation that we now find ourselves. However I find it astonishing that the terms of the separation do not form part of the referendum. How can Scotland vote on separation when it does not know what that separation will look like.

    Scottish participation in 2015 general election
    Membership of EU.

    These above are a few of the issues the fate of which should be known prior to any vote. Our government over a long period has not shown the backbone to stand up for the taxpayer and its citizens, we will likely be the losers in any settlement.

    Should Scotland stay, the terms should also already be known. There should be no reward for a no vote.

    1. a-tracy
      May 19, 2014

      I absolutely agree with this. How can the Scots vote if they don’t know what the rest of Britain will do if they say they want to leave.

      I also think there should be no reward for a no vote! Well said.

  2. Old Albion
    May 16, 2014

    Your leader was in Scotland yesterday, telling them vote ‘No’ and we’ll give you more devolved powers.
    He didn’t mention England, but then he never does.

    1. lifelogic
      May 16, 2014

      Indeed blatant hypocrisy from Cameron. Can Cameron’s mouth actually form the word England? I do not recall him every saying it. He is (almost) in power due to support virtually entirely from England yet he insist on ratting on them, over taxing them, destroying their democracy and over regulating them at every turn.

      1. The PrangWizard
        May 16, 2014

        In the Commons the other day Cameron mentioned ‘the country’ twice, once in relation to England and in the other in relation to Britain/UK. He deliberately and consciously does not mention England. He later mentioned Wales, and Scotland. Cameron sets the tone and others follow like sheep. The people of England cannot expect anything other than more betrayal of their interests. It has been clear to me and I have said it on these pages that Cameron and his ilk will continue to appease the Scots at the expense of the English who will not be asked for their views – he does not believe we are entitled to any, and I include Mr Redwood in that with his beliefs here. How do you serve two masters? They will all sacrifice England and the English – anything to preserve the dying Union and their positions. They know that if England had its own parliament that is in effect the end of the Union.

      2. Mark B
        May 16, 2014

        I have heard him mention England. Once in the HoC on some matter or other of little importance, and when we qualify for the major sporting events like the World Cup. Then we matter, only because he, like others, likes to bath in the reflected glory – not that there is ever much.

    2. Hope
      May 16, 2014

      Cameron has never been open and transparent. Lord Ashcroft made it clear that the Tories did not win the last election because Cameron did not make his case. The facts demonstrate he says one thing and act differently. We could look at the Economy they have borrowed and taxed exactly the same as Labour did and little change to reduce the deficit and debt, EU has taken more powers and Cameron has done nothing to prevent it- his latest ruse to say he will negotiate to prevent closer union to the EU after wasting £18 million pounds of taxpayers’ to do exactly the opposite, justice system and deportation ultimately controlled by the EU, every day he gives a little more to eye EU but not enough to say it is “significant”, immigration which has increased hugely and only the other day the LibLabCon were trying to spin differently when their figures show there was a 29,000 increase in Romanians and Bulgarians over the last year and about 140,000 to date. The same applies to every major policy issue. Nelson Fraser writes a very good article today about the coalition. Do not expect Cameron to win anything in Scotland he will be trusted even less north of the border. And then only expect him to do what the EU allows him.

      1. Lifelogic
        May 16, 2014

        I am afraid that is all very true indeed. Cameron simply cannot be trusted an inch or a millimetre as he might put it.

        I see David Willets, the (two brained) Universities minister said the new study reveals (re numbers of Graduate Millionaires) “why going to University is a very good deal, despite rising tuition fees”.

        A typical silly confusion of cause and effect and based and historical figures.
        People who go to university are in general brighter, more middle class, have richer more motivated parents, and are perhaps more determined than the average. It is largely this that makes them do well, not the University degree/training itself with the resultant 50K debt.

        I suppose some may meet and marry well at Uni or join the over paid and rather over numerous, often parasitic, professions such as law. I certainly would not be advising many to study something daft at a second rate ex-polly and then come out with 50K of debts plus the loss of three years of income and work experience as a good route to wealth.

        Anyone half bright, health, hard working and determined should be able to make £1M in say ten years if they can get a bit of money together to get started, work hard and think. With a bit more determination you might make it even within the three years spent at university.

        Some thing that helps the bright and motivated to get some capital, (real) business advice and relevant work experience might with be a rather better start. Gender and Women’s Studies and Bognor Polly or something and 50K of debt is unlikely to help. Mind you it might get you a BBC, Cameron or EU job I suppose!

        Mind you it seem a “Graduate millionaire” includes pension, house and investments so if you have a state sector pension and a small property in London you are probably included even if you are only just making ends meet.

        1. Hope
          May 16, 2014

          He does not say what is their country of origin. After all EU students are provided free university education at some of our top universities. We are paying to educate our competitors, only the Tory party and David Willets seem to think this is a good idea! Sort of like an internal overseas aid, we should be proud of this when our own students pay three times the amount and it now appears the govnment gets back less than it did before it raised tuition fees!

      2. Tad Davison
        May 16, 2014

        Hope, I’ve got to say I agree with that, yet the Tories think we’re just being nasty and vindictive by pointing these things out.

        ‘Cameron has never been open and transparent.’

        I watched a documentary on YouTube last night about the toppling of the former Libyan leader, Muammar Gaddafi, and what really lay behind it. The documentary alleges that Humanitarianism was just an excuse for armed intervention. He was toppled because he wanted to introduce a pan-African currency backed by gold. He also wanted to dispense with the system of payment for oil in US Dollars, and of course, that would never do.

        A few days ago, JR pointed out that Nigeria was now Africa’s biggest economy, but was still small compared to our own. The programme makers said that until Gaddafi was deposed, the Libyan economy was the biggest in Africa, and its people had a good standard of living with all manner of benefits and subsidies paid for by their oil wealth. It was also said there was no national debt, and their Central Bank was also government-owned, not in private hands like the US Federal reserve, and its gold reserves were audited.

        The documentary included many clips of David Cameron arguing before parliament for intervention, seemingly aided and abetted by the good old totally impartial BBC. And of course, we know the rest.

        That is perhaps what’s in Mr Salmond’s mind, to give the people of Scotland a greater share of the oil wealth, as was the case in Libya, and who could really blame him. He wants to escape the sick old tired and corrupt system we have that panders to the US’ every whim. Perversely though, he then seems to want to align an independent Scotland with another sick old tired and corrupt system in the form of the EU.

        I wonder what would happen to Mr Salmond were he later to decide that an independent Scotland’s oil should be traded in a different currency to the US Dollar?

        Tad Davison


        1. Mark B
          May 16, 2014

          I do not think that the SNP are as altruistic as you might think. Otherwise, why offer only two choices, both with membership of the EU being central ?

        2. Hope
          May 16, 2014

          Has Cameron ever been held to account for the part the British played in the overthrowing and killing of Gaddafi? Where was his human rights, right of justice etc. worse criminals than him had a trial after WWII. No wonder the Chinese and Russians did not trust him after this intervention, that went far beyond the UN remit to cause regime change.

          It would be remarkable to believe the rebels made such ground across the country against his trained troops without help. Who provided the intelligence to find his whereabouts? Quite a disgusting episode.

        3. Narrow shoulders
          May 16, 2014

          I read today that the UK’s oil will only last five more years. What then for an independent Scotland?

        4. StevenL
          May 17, 2014

          All a bit conspiracy central isn’t it? Folk outside of the west often believe the moon landings were all fake, and that we’re all brainwashed by government stooge newsreaders.

          I’d usually say its a bit more complicated that the typical third world conspiracy view of western civilisation. But in Gaddafi’s case it’s more simple – he had lots of enemies and no friends.

    3. Leslie Singleton
      May 16, 2014

      Albion–The Better Together campaign (Capital letters please in future John) should use their name – a good one – much more: I can scarcely believe my eyes and ears when it is called the “No” campaign with people then wondering why it is attracting a negative image. With luck, Darling and Co appreciate the risks of negativism and are banking on any visceral unhappiness at some of the threats (true or not) fading away in a more positive campaign from now on in. Cameron’s problem is that the Scots hate him even more than the English do. I have just come back (again–three times in last month) from Scotland and I can report that the opinion along the bar I propped up (admittedly not too far over the border) was that Salmond is the very epitome of arrogance and riding for a fall.

  3. john malpas
    May 16, 2014

    Does it matter at all.
    When England / Scotland / wales -all will likely end up as provinces of the EU.
    The EU wants real estate and breeding stock . It does not want patriots.
    The rest is chat.

    1. lifelogic
      May 16, 2014

      Indeed perhaps Cornwall too now it is becoming racially protected?

  4. Lifelogic
    May 16, 2014

    Alas the arrangements after the referendum will be decided by the coalition rather briefly and then altered by Labour. They will doubtless put party interests before those the Union (or those of the separate countries). It is a fatal floor of democracy that the electoral rules are fixed by the very elected MPs who can (to a large degree) gerreymander the rules, consituency boundaries, timings etc. for party political advantage. As Labour has done during the three terms that resulted from Majors abject incompetence giving Scotish MPs powers over the England that were not proper.

    They will doubtless continue in this mode during the term(s) gifted to them by Cameron’s socialist, EU rating, green crap, tax borrow and waste, gender driven, anti male policies and his 180 degree out broken compass.

    1. Hope
      May 16, 2014

      Do not forget Cameron’s negotiation for Coalition allowed a party with 9 percent of the vote to have 50 percent say in government. Now would you trust this person to negotiate any changes to the EU? Would you trust him on the union with Scotland?

      1. Lifelogic
        May 16, 2014

        Also to go into EU negotiation having already stated where his heart and soul lie and that he does not want a “Greater Switzerland” on Sea for some as yet unstated (and surely idiotic) reason.

      2. Paul Denver
        May 16, 2014

        The Lib Dems got 23% of the vote. And what on earth makes you think they have 50% of the power in Government?

        1. Hope
          May 20, 2014

          9 percent of the seats. The quad.

  5. alan jutson,
    May 16, 2014

    To be fair to all, if we are to have a devolved United Kingdom then all partners should have all of the same powers and controls.

    Core UK policies should exist where all can vote, so called devolved power where only National MP’s are involved.

    The difficulty comes when deciding where the split should be, between UK and individual National interests.

    One thing for certain, no additional powers should be offered/promised to Scotland before the referendum or indeed afterwards if they decide to stay in.

  6. Richard1
    May 16, 2014

    Such a policy would be a big winner for the Conservatives, they should get on and announce it. If Scotland vote to leave the UK one of the issues at the general election will be who is best place to negotiate a tough deal on behalf of rUK? That should be good for the Conservatives also.

    1. Tad Davison
      May 16, 2014

      Here’s a possible scenario though Richard, and it’s one that is scaring some Tories to death.

      If Scotland gain their independence, and then distribute the oil wealth so that their people enjoy a higher standard of living, as in Norway, the English might covet that and subsequently vote for any party that promises to deliver it. The left will argue that a fairer distribution of wealth is unachievable for the Tories because of their ideology. So rather than benefit the Tories in terms of future Westminster majorities, an independent Scotland could see their annihilation as the Westminster three try to outdo each other, with the Tories coming a poor third.

      This is why some say Cameron is stuffed no matter what happens. If Scotland stays in the union, he struggles to get an overall Westminster majority. If Scotland leaves, the English left will make the English people long for greener grass just over the fence, and his support could wain.


      Reply The oil revenues are in decline, so that is a cause of difficulty rather than opportunity for any new Scottish state.

      1. Tad Davison
        May 16, 2014

        Reply to reply: You do recall of course, that I used to work in the oil industry, on exploration platforms mostly. It’s a bit like the miraculous shale gas finds. I have been saying for well over thirty years that we have abundant resources right below our feet, but it was almost kept as a state secret – maybe to keep prices artificially high – just like a certain diamond mining company.

        Mr Salmond isn’t without experience in the field of oil exploration either. He’s ‘canny’ as they say. Scotland’s oil is far from exhausted, take my word for it. It’s just that for the sake of political expediency, people are seldom told the truth.


      2. Richard1
        May 16, 2014

        One thing not considered in all this is there will be international resistance to Scotland getting more than a pro rata share of the UK’s oil (ie c. 8%). The Biafran war in Nigeria in the 60s started due to this.

        Even if they do get 50%+ of the oil, they are far away from Norwegian- level wealth. They will have £100bn of debt, and all the liabilities that go from having 60-70% of GDP accounted for by the state. And they will have to fund all those foolish windfarms on their own. The list goes on. Independence will be an economic disaster for Scots. unless of course they find a Scottish Thatcher and reform themselves and make themselves a European Hong Kong or Singapore. But that seems very unlikely based on public opinion in Scotland at present.

        1. Denis Cooper
          May 16, 2014

          There’d more likely be international resistance to Scotland not getting all the oil in Scottish waters as defined by international norms, which would not be 8% but more like 90%+. But that has already been conceded by the UK government.

  7. David Williams
    May 16, 2014

    Could the Bank of England be re-named as Bank of the UK?

  8. Andyvan
    May 16, 2014

    I think that should Scotland vote to remain in the union England should immediately announce a referendum to decide whether we wish to remain as the bill paying patsy in the union. Should Scotland vote to leave we should immediately declare a national holiday and have a massive party.

  9. Mark B
    May 16, 2014

    John Redwood MP said;

    “Every English MP elected to Westminster should be both a Union MP and an English MP.”

    I do not agree but, if such a thing came to pass, would YOU support my right, via referendum, to agree or disagree to such a proposal. Or will you do what the Political Class and the Establishment have always done, impose your MINORITY view upon the people of England by dictate ?

    You must also accept that there are other ideas by which the UK and the Home Nations maybe governed (sic)*.

    If such a referendum were ever granted to the people of England on their future, at it will be a first, I would like a range of choices, rather than the ones imposed upon us.

    I believe such an opportunity would present itself to reform the HoL and turn it into an elected UK Federal Senate with equal representation for ALL parts of the UK and, its powers limited to those of defence and security, energy*, foreign policy* and immigration*.

    We can save monies by closing down the Mayor of London office and the associated paraphernalia (sorry BoJo, but its for the good of the nation), the Scottish Office, the Welsh Office, and the N.Ireland Office. There is no equivalent office for England yet, the English are expected to contribute to the maintenance and upkeep of these appendages despite those named having devolved governments. Of course I welcome our kind hosts input as to why he thinks we should keep these offices open, if not here but as a subject of another article ?!?!?

    But mark my words. If the Political Class and the Establishment screw this up, it really will be the end of the UK ! You people, ALL of you people in SW1, really do need to put your thinking caps on and start thinking outside both the box and, you comfort zones !

    * I do not wish to ignore the EU Elephant (our real government) in the room, but on this occasion, for the sake of brevity, I shall.

    Reply I would be happy to help vote down the idea of another Parliament and body of politicians, when English Westminster MPs can and should do both jobs, as we do at the moment. Westminster has always been and should remain the English Parliament as well as the Union Parliament.

    1. acorn
      May 16, 2014

      To have English MPs being Union MPs as well, is not on. There would be an opportunity to engineer a conflict of interest and a possible reverse Westlothian question. Remember, England has all the money. A proper federal union parliament of separate Union MPs, should replace the House of Lords, the latter being permanently prorogued. The four nations of the Union becoming unicameral.

      Otherwise, I hope the Scots go for independence. It would be pointless to do so without having the advantage of its own Sovereign currency, the EU is a classic case of how not to do a currency union. Also, it will be the best chance England has to sort out its own management. Particularly if we could get the “executive” out of the “legislature”.

      BTW. The ONS Wealth Survey is a good read . Read Chapter 2 if you are short of time. It has a Lorenz Curve in it. I know some of you are into curves; well, this one works. See how the “financial wealth” is accumulating with the 1%, as I told you yesterday.

      I have noticed that the ONS and the BoE are both introducing the concept of “Stock-Flow”. Quote: “Net wealth is a ‘stock’ concept rather than a ‘flow’ concept. In other words, it refers to the balance at a point in time. In contrast, income refers to the flow of resources over time. Income allows the wealth to be accumulated”.

      Stock-Flow is fundamental to Modern Moneytary Theory (MMT). Neo-Liberals / Austrian School deny its existence. Electrical and Hydraulic Engineers understand MMT implicitly; the same way that they understand circuit diagrams.

      We need more such engineers to become politicians but unfortunately, you won’t find any who want to play Punch & Judy 24/7.

    2. JoolsB
      May 16, 2014

      Reply to Reply:

      So what are you suggesting John? That MPs with Scottish, Welsh & NI seats should do both jobs too? Or are you suggesting only MPs with English seats do boths jobs whilst 129 MSPs still get to sit in the Scots Parliament and 60 AMs still get to sit in the Welsh Assembly whilst at the same time these countries still get to send their over-representation of part-time MPs to sit in the UK Parliament too as they do now?

      Reply I think two hatted is more efficient but that is a matter for Scotland and Wales to decide. We have cut the numbers of Scottish MPs at Westminster, and our border proposals would reduce their seats further. On my scheme the Scottish MPs would not intervene in the many English issues that come up.

      1. Richard1
        May 16, 2014

        Another good idea would be to have US or Swiss style federalism, with the UK Parliament setting minimum tax rates (eg 20% on income, 15% on VAT) and then allowing the different national Parliaments to augment this with their own rates. The separate nations could then also issue non-recourse (to the UK) debt to fund spending – as the markets allow…. It would be an excellent way of confining high-tax socialism to those parts of the UK that seem to want it.

      2. JoolsB
        May 16, 2014

        Reply to Reply: If that is a matter for the Scots and the Welsh to decide then when do the English, who have never been given a say on anything, get to decide??????????

    3. Little Black Censore
      May 16, 2014

      “We can save monies…”
      What are they?

      1. Mark B
        May 16, 2014

        Google it !

        But these things are not done for free and, with their closure, monies would be saved. And if you take care of the pennies, you get to save a few pounds.

        These offices are not needed anymore. They have their own devolved Parliaments, its time we realised this and stop this political junkets.

    4. Lifelogic
      May 16, 2014

      To reply: I agree fully – the last thing we need is yet another level of government. Westminster is clearly where it should remain.

      1. Mark B
        May 16, 2014

        There is no extra layer of Government. You just get rid of the Lords and Ladies, and replace them with elected UK MP’s / Senates.

    5. Mark B
      May 16, 2014

      Reply to reply

      Skillfully avoided Mr. Redwood MP sir.

      But I never said; “another body of MP’s”. I said reform the HoL and turn it into a UK Senate. Same chamber, fewer people, and democratically elected.

      You also avoided the issue of the Scottish, Welsh and N.Irish offices, and the fact that England does not have an equivalent, despite paying for these.

      It seems to me, that you do not want to create a situation that puts you out of your comfort zone. Fair enough ! But this is the same kind of attitude that leads to even greater problems further down the line. eg Ireland and latterly, Northern Ireland.

      Sooner or later, we will be back to this issue, only, its going to be far worse.

  10. formula57
    May 16, 2014

    Another priority should be ensuring Scotland enjoys equal treatment in the Union – so a more even allocation of government funds with an end to the extra £180 per person spent on the NHS in Scotland and similar injustices.

  11. alan jutson,
    May 16, 2014

    Further to my earlier post I have just read in the National Press that Mr Cameron, who is visiting Scotland at the moment has promised them more powers if the vote No.

    Difficult to make this up really, clearly the man has absolutely no idea how to negotiate anything, whoever he goes he just seems to want to promise more , be it money, power or anything else.

    Renegotiation with the EU, ?

    Don’t make me laugh !.

    Hopeless, simply hopeless.

    Taxpayers screwed again.

    1. alan jutson,
      May 16, 2014


      wherever he goes/whoever he sees

  12. Mike Stallard
    May 16, 2014

    Alleluia! You are right.
    We can spot an ambitious little Scot when we see one, but Alex Salmond has a case: if he could actually manage to run Scotland as efficiently as Wales is being run at the moment with their Labour government, all the Scots would suddenly burst into prosperity.
    Actually, with Her Majesty the Queen still ruling the Scots and with the pound accepted by the Scots, and with some sort of bargain about not splitting the military, “independence” might be a good thing. To us in the south, Britain would be united still and to the British in the north, they would have what amounted to a regional government.
    And Mr Salmond could strut about with his entourage. And all Scots with any go in them could still board the train in Edinburgh…

  13. John E
    May 16, 2014

    There is a solution here that could solve a lot of concerns and preserve the Union. Is anyone working on this properly? I understand not wanting to be seen to be preparing contingency measures, but something along the lines you suggest could avoid a Yes vote in the first place.

    Devo Max for us all – for Scotland and for England and for Wales is the way forward. The same arrangements for everyone.

    Not sure I agree on or understand the need for extending the Scottish MPs past a general election- is it necessary to deny the Scottish voters their opportunity to replace their poorly performing representatives?

  14. The Prangwizard
    May 16, 2014

    There will be no true English parliament unless MPs are directly elected to it and serve no other. The people of England are being taken for granted again with this proposal, the suggestion of a dual role MPs is a disgrace, an insult, a nonsense. The issue of self-determination for the people of England cannot be fudged. Unionists just cannot grasp that their political construct is dying, but they continue to attempt to use and abuse the people of England to protect their vested interests.

    1. Denis Cooper
      May 16, 2014


    2. Mark B
      May 16, 2014

      I also agree.

      And I would add. If you look into the history of our nation and former Empire, you will find that, they never do anything willingly, they have to be forced to do it. eg India and Gandhi.

      They are like the Bourbons. Remember everything and, learn nothing.

    3. Richard
      May 18, 2014

      I, too, agree with The Prangwizard.

      By the way, I would hope that an English parliament’s first act would be to give us a national anthem.

      Whichever way Scotland votes there will be negotiations to conduct.

      As an Englishman I am extremely worried that Mr. Cameron will capitulate and leave England in an even worse position than we are now.

  15. margaret brandreth-j
    May 16, 2014

    Are you suggesting that MP’s should be paid for a Union and an English parliament?

    I don’t seem why a contingency plan cannot be made ; it would mean, as insurance that we are prepared for whatever happens.

    Reply They should be paid as now.

    1. lifelogic
      May 16, 2014

      To reply:

      Should they get tax free compensation payments when they have to resign due to their dishonesty/incompetence as they now do. Also should they receive tax free expenses (that would clearly be taxable or not allowable for private sector workers). Should they be able to take endless lucrative paid “consultancies” with the huge potential for a conflict of interest and laws clearly written in the interests of sectional interests over tax payers as now? As we clearly have had with the green crap, HS2, HIP pack type lunacy, the EU, large energy companies, the banks……

  16. Ian wragg
    May 16, 2014

    CM will never agree to an English only situation, he can’t even utter the name. Remember we’re removed from the map of Europe.

  17. Richard1
    May 16, 2014

    Off topic, but the Govt should look into whether any scientists funded by UK public money have been involved in the disgraceful harrying of the distinguished climate scientist Lennart Bengtsson, who is sceptical of Global Warming theory. Prof Bengtsson has now revealed that a study which he and 4 other scientists wished to publish was suppressed because it was ‘not helpful’ to the political cause of Global Warming alarmism. It is essential that political and economic policy is made on the basis of disinterested and rigorous analysis and data. It is clear that many scientists in the climate science field have become political activists. Our government at least must make sure that scientists who receive public money are informed that it will be a breach of their contracts to engage in McCarthy-style bullying of dissenting views. They need to be required to win this argument on its merits, not by shouting down dissent.

    Many charities also have been suborned by such political activism. Perhaps there’s a need for a review of the tax benefits of such organisations.

    1. Hope
      May 16, 2014

      Richard two professors have already come out to say they changed the report at political request. The IPPC report is of no value to anyone other than a con to the public.

      1. forthurst
        May 16, 2014

        Climatology is far too important to be left to scientists.

        1. Vanessa
          May 16, 2014

          I’d be interested to hear who you think it would be better to leave it to?
          Surely it is a Scientists job to work out how our planet and its climate works not politicians, nor the media. though both those seem to think they have superior knowledge – not!

        2. Lifelogic
          May 16, 2014

          It should be left to scientists just honest, impartial & real ones. Richard Lindzen, Feynman, Freeman Dyson, types. Not the quack politically motivated, tax payer funded ones with their garbage in garbage out computer soothsaying, catastrophic exaggerations.

          How many more years of no warming are needed 20, 30, 40 before they go away?

  18. JoolsB
    May 16, 2014

    “The present Scottish MPs should play no part at Westminster in the negotiations the rest of the UK has to conduct with Mr Salmond over the terms of the split.”

    By rest of the UK John, you obviously mean Wales, NI and ….well, the UK. What’s worrying is that as usual, there will be NO-ONE to speak on England’s behalf to make sure they are not ripped off even more than they are already when the goodies (and the debts) are being divided up.

    I agree with you that Scotland will not vote yes. They know which side their bread is buttered on and with ‘there’s Scottish blood coursing through these veins’ Cameron offering them even more powers on top of the many they have already, they will be independent in all but name anyway with the added benefit of not having to worry about where the money comes from to pay for their socialist utopia. Meanwhile Cameron and the Tories will think they can carry on ignoring England just as they do now and we won’t mind because we will be so happy to have Scotland remain in their precious union which is far more important to them than what is fair and right for England. The Tories already have a death wish when it comes to England and I suggest if this happens, this will be the final nail in the coffin for them.

    “I want the new English Parliament to be at Westminster, on days when the Union Parliament is not meeting. Every English MP elected to Westminster should be both a Union MP and an English MP.”

    Good to hear you proposing an English Parliament at last John or is what you propose more like an English Grand Committee? It’s a start and an improvement on EVEL, not that you’ll get either past Cameron, but surely if Scotland, Wales & NI warrant a full time dedicated parliament, then that’s England’s right too being the biggest and most senior partner in this so called union. Your suggestion would mean MPs with English seats wearing two hats whilst MPs with Scottish, Welsh & NI seats sitting at Westminster wearing only one dedicated to UK matters only. If a full time dedicated parliament is good enough for the other members of the UK then England needs a full time dedicated parliament too and the number of UK MPs needs to be cut drastically, say to 100 at most. Could that be the reason that so many MPs are opposed to an English Parliament I wonder, because for England to have it’s own dedicated parliament, most of the 650 UK MPs squatting at Westminster would be out of a job and not before time.

    1. Mark B
      May 16, 2014

      The thing is. You may create a system whereby English MP’s vote on English only issues but, what about Ministers of State. eg Energy or transport ? What if a Scottish MP in the Labour Party became PM ? And its not as if this hasn’t happened.

  19. oldtimer
    May 16, 2014

    The entirely limited and anecdotal evidence gleaned on my recent holiday in the West Highlands did not reveal a burning desire for separation and independence. Instead I was told that Mr Salmond had rigged the electorate to try to secure a Yes vote, that a Yes would be a financial disaster for Scotland and that it would result in damaging emigration from the country. No doubt the SNP are running an active grass roots campaign in the more populous parts of Scotland where the votes are and where the issue will be decided. I do not see how anyone can be certain about the outcome.

    I agree with your prescription about the steps needed in the event of a Yes vote. My concern is whether the government will be sufficiently hard headed in its negotiations whatever the outcome. As others have already noted, the government`s track record on negotiations seem to be more a case of soggy sponge in a velvet glove than a mailed fist.

  20. Vanessa
    May 16, 2014

    Even if Scotland does vote to stay IN the union things will change for ever. If it is a close call then the tiny majority who want to stay in against a large amount who voted out will then make Scotland unstable. Salmond wont leave it there they will have another referendum in perhaps 2 years time “and get it right” then ! Scotland does not like a Conservative government (they don’t vote conservative) so will Labour throw its weight behind the “yes” vote?

    If they do ever vote to leave, the repercussions are huge. Do we change our flag? Does Australia etc. have to change theirs? Will Labour ever be voted into government again? What do we really call ourselves? With the other Kingdom (monarchy) removed, we are no longer a United Kingdom. We surely cannot call ourselves (r) of the UK – how ludicrous! England will have to be more vocal and important, the Principality of Wales may want to go independent as might Cornwall!!! Not to mention the debt and bail outs etc. It will be a mess. Will Scotland be able to join the EU and therefore obliged to adopt the euro? Will England actually be a member of the EU?

    This Cameron guy seems to have no clue as to what a “can of worms” he has opened and is even promising to give MORE powers to them if they are “kind to us” and vote to stay! The man does not have any vision at all.

  21. Brian Tomkinson
    May 16, 2014

    JR: “I have long expected Scotland to vote to stay in the UK.”
    Did you also expect your leader to go to Scotland yesterday as reported in the Telegraph: “David Cameron has told Scots they should not vote for independence to get rid of Tory rule at Westminster because he plans to devolve more powers to the Edinburgh parliament.”?
    Was this Cameron holding the line, keeping his head? Never mind we know that whatever he does he can rely on your full support.

  22. Bryan
    May 16, 2014

    Mr Cameron, back from causing Mr Gove public humiliation in order to placate Clegg (Mr Gove should have said ‘no’ or resigned), now promises more devolved power to the Scots if they vote ‘no’.

    Mr Cameron, living as he does in his isolated little box, surrounded by his like-minded friends and yes men, cow-towing to the Libdems, anxious to preserve the Union, but forgetting that the Union depends mainly on the English taxpayer and his position as Prime Minister on the English vote, also forgets that the English are fed up with being ignored other than as a cash cow.

    The Conservative party will long regret his poor judgement.

  23. Alan Wheatley
    May 16, 2014

    I welcome maximum effort to get Scotland to remain in the UK as I believe this is the best future for all the citizens of the UK.

    One factor I have not heard raised so far is that in the event of Scotland voting to leave the UK we can be certain there will be an enormous row (and likely much legal action) when it comes to attempting to agree the terms of the split, and the likelihood is that the consequences will rumble on for years, probably decades. It will knock growth off course as enormous time and resources will have to be diverted to administering the split. After 300 years of integration I do not see how this can possibly be avoided. The idea that Salmon and the UK PM can do a deal behind closed doors is anathema

    The rump UK has been denied a voice in Scotland’s choice, which is understandable, but I totally reject any thought that we have no say once the Independence dead is done.

    I also thinks the Scots need to understand that, as far as I am concerned and I hope many English people, they are considered very good friends as fellow members of the UK, but should they force a divorce they should expect no favours and a very hard bargain; for instance they can stuff the pound and everything to do with defence. I also think they should pay the rump-UK’s costs; after all, they will have forced the costs on the rest of us.

  24. Atlas
    May 16, 2014

    Agreed John; the West Lothian question must be resolved if the Scots vote ‘No’.

  25. A.Sedgwick
    May 16, 2014

    The answer is not it’s Tuesday it must be England at Westminster, a federal system of four states should have been the devolution package in 1997 and it remains the most practicable option. The UK Government would comprise not much more than PM, Foreign Secretary, Defence Secretary and Chancellor with a “UK Senate” of say 100, and the Lords abolished. Each devolved Government could get on with running their country in a competitive environment and hopefully over time sort out the current wasteful, overmanned and expensive system of government. Had Blair been a more courageous politician with the “vision thing” he could have achieved a proper devolution but he chose the half baked political copouts.

    As the argument develops, if I lived in Scotland, which I have done for a short time, I would be tempted to vote Yes to remove all the UK baggage as described regardless of logic and common sense. I suspect that and Cameron are the biggest Yes vote cards.

    reply The largest budget, pensions and welfare, is a UK wide system

    1. Mark B
      May 16, 2014

      The DWP is indeed a monster ! Far bigger than the MoD which only deals with such a small and trifling matter of defence of Her majesties realm.

      But I think it would be a good point to split the system up. Those over 18 in pre-UK federalization, continue under the current system. And those under 18 go into the new devolved systems.

  26. Martin Ryder
    May 16, 2014

    The United Kingdom parliament was formed when the English and Scottish parliaments united. When Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland set up their own parliaments (called assemblies in Wales and N Ireland) the United Kingdom parliament should have closed, leaving just the English parliament in Westminster.

    Instead England’s parliament in Westminster has Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish MPs sitting in the House and voting on English issues. Logically, whatever happens in the Scottish referendum, it is time for the non-English MPs to leave Westminster and sit and vote in their own parliaments. There is no need to set up an English parliament – it already exists.

    If the United Kingdom is to continue, even if it is just the United Kingdom of England, Wales and Northern Ireland – just one kingdom that is united, not a number of them – it will need a parliament to supervise the UK Government. Whatever happens we should keep the UK brand and everything that goes with it. The Scots make up only a small proportion of the population and there is no need for us to give up anything just because the Scots leave.

    The UK parliament would only need to sit when there is something to discuss about UK issues, such as economic affairs, foreign affairs, defence, etc. This could be done by MPs from the three or four national parliaments meeting together to discuss the issues. 85% of the voting power would have to be from England as that is where 85% of the present UK population (including Scots, Welsh, Irish and people from every nation under the Sun) live.

    Electing a UK Government by the present method would be difficult unless the Scottish, Welsh and North Irish parliaments were to keep the Westminster parliament constituencies.

  27. Iain Gill
    May 16, 2014

    Re “There has been some discussion of additional powers for the devolved Parliament if they vote to stay in” I think you will find Cameron promised it while he was in Scotland. But then his promises don’t count for much eh.

    Why don’t the English get some powers back, for instance why are Scottish politicians making all the decisions about the Euston/Scotland sleeper trains when the English people are paying for at least half of it?

    1. Mark B
      May 16, 2014

      Because we vote for ‘English’ MP’s who foolishly, in my opinion, believe in the status quo.

  28. JoeSoap
    May 16, 2014

    I can’t see that there is a problem with telling things as they are, or will be. We experienced 13 years of Labour government under a Scottish Chancellor then PM. Did the English start insisting on independence to rid ourselves of this government, which took us into wars (which the Scots now say they wish to be rid of Westminster to be free from), destroyed our banks, ratcheted up a debt that only England can pay back? Without English taxes, the Labour government would have gone bust long before they got the chance to finally shoot the bolt in 2008. Somehow the English held together with Scotland during this time, despite their chosen Labour Government doing its best to sub Scotland. To come back now and sat they want to be rid of the Coalition/Tories, throws this forebearance back in English faces.

    I’d say we either hang together or abide separately – if the Scots feel they are getting a bad deal now, so be it. I don’t think we should be spending large tracts of (English) time and money on persuading them otherwise or dealing with the consequences of this. If Scotland wants to change the status quo, then a/they should be allowed to but b/they should pay the cost of separation.

  29. majorfrustration
    May 16, 2014

    Nearly there only a few more months. Lets just let them go and wave goodbye to them. England have enough problems which it cant deal with without further trying to please and subsidise the Scots. If the result of the referendum is for the Scots to stay as part of the Union can England then have a referendum as to whether we want the Scots as part of the Union.

  30. Denis Cooper
    May 16, 2014

    Cameron, quoted in the Telegraph today:

    “I have a track record of showing respect for nations of the United Kingdom”

    That’s apart from the English, of course.

  31. Bryan
    May 16, 2014

    Not much on the BBC today about the LibDem MEP’s joining the vote to end the UK rebate.

    Perhaps Mr Cameron will make Clegg explain in public why they did that!

  32. Denis Cooper
    May 16, 2014

    I’m afraid that you’re at least a decade behind the times. JR, with your proposal for the Westminster MPs elected in England to sit in an English Grand Committee of the UK Parliament under the pretence that this would constitute an English Parliament. As far as I’m concerned that kind of fudge reluctantly and belatedly granted to the English simply wouldn’t do any longer; to put a stop to the efforts of the euromaniac enemies of England we need a separate English Parliament, preferably located outside London somewhere central to England, with similar powers to the Scottish Parliament. I fail to see why what has been granted to the Scots should be denied to the English. But I would be prepared to go along with the views of the majority of my fellow Englishmen and Englishwomen as expressed in a referendum on whether they wanted such a Parliament for the whole of England, and there’s still just about time to arrange for that to be held on the same day as the referendum in Scotland.

  33. Monty
    May 16, 2014

    “…the UK Parliament should pass an Act rapidly extending the tenure of existing MPs for Scotland until the chosen date of separation, and at the same time preventing them from voting on English or rest of the UK issues.”

    I fully agree with that.
    Also it’s straightforward for the Commons. What about the House of Lords though?

  34. Chris S
    May 16, 2014

    I cannot imagine the voters of England would be persuaded to pay for a whole additional layer of politicians.

    My preference would be for exact and equal devolution for each of the home nations including tax raising powers but absolutely no cross subsidies. It might be some time before this could apply to NI but that would not be a major problem.

    If it is agreed that UK matters such as defence and foreign affairs take up, say, 20% of Parliamentary time at Westminster, each home nation can send MPs paid 20% of the current salary on constituency boundaries equalised by number of voters to Westminster to represent their country in UK matters.

    In the case of England, our MPs would receive the other 80% of their current salary for acting as members of the English Parliament.

    As each of the three other home nations have some form of devolved assembly already, it would be up to them to decide who they want to come to Westminster to represent their country on the set days of the month when UK matters are to be discussed.

    They will also set the level of pay for this role and provide 100% of the funding from the taxes they raise in their country. They could, for example, use some method of their own choosing to select members of their assembly to represent them in the UK parliament.

    All entirely fair and equal.

    As for the role of a second chamber, the House of Lords can continue in that role for Defence and Foreign affairs but for devolved matters, that is slightly more problematical.

    In the case of England, we could chose a slimmed down House of Lords as a revising chamber. Scotland can continue without one if they wish. Wales and NI would have a choice.

    The key to all of this is giving free choice to the citizens of each home nation to go in the direction they think best, especially in matters of taxation and state provision of benefits and services without dipping their hands in other people’s pockets.

    And it could all be accomplished at minimum cost.

    Surely this is a logical way forward ?

  35. Bazman
    May 16, 2014

    Yeah! I’m Back and I’ll have a go later at the sicking support of the taxpayer for the private sectors their so called and laughable efficient methods scrounging and being subsidised every step of the way, see the drug industry, the new banking sector, making the majority of the population more poor and ill, enriching themselves to do it. All evidence points to this. Corporate greed? Never. Just business sense and as for a moral compass of the Tories, see the bedroom tax mad the crackdown on the poor in general. Politeness for thieves and spivs and their deluded supporters? Ram it and it will be rammed.

  36. sjb
    May 16, 2014

    JR wrote: […] the UK government has not made contingency plans for the possible loss of the referendum.”

    “In the event of Scottish independence from the United Kingdom (UK), the continuing UK Government would in all circumstances honour the contractual terms of the [£1.38 trillion] debt issued by the UK Government.”[1]

    One for the high finance experts: if the day after an unexpected ‘Yes’ vote there was a ‘run on the pound’ is it reasonable to assume that the authorities might have decided to intervene when a particular exchange rate was reached?


    Reply Yes, that is true and amends my generalisation. There are however no plans on how to negotiate a settlement a or what a general settlement might look like.

    1. Chris S
      May 19, 2014

      Your reply just confirms what I posted earlier : the lack of planning for a Yes vote is exceedingly dangerous for every part of the UK.

      If or when the polls move in Salmond’s favour, the exodus of Financial Services companies will start in earnest and there will almost certainly be a run on the Scottish Banks, not just in Scotland but in England. It could spread to subsiduaries round the world. In other words we will all be in totally uncharted territory.

      The Bank of England would have to either take draconian action and close them down until a settlement can be negotiated or make unlimited money available.

      This would be hugely damaging and, more important, where would it leave England ? Holding an even more enormous amount of worthless RBS and HBOS debt, that’s the reality.

      Salmond will not be prepared to take any amount of this debt onto Scotland’s books because he will blame the crisis on all three political parties in London for ruling out a currency union.

      Before this referendum was allowed to go ahead, there should have been full negotiations and an agreed settlement arrived at.

      The Scottish people could then have voted knowing exactly what they are letting themselves in for.

  37. Iain Moore
    May 17, 2014

    With Parliament becoming a zombie Parliament with nothing to do, and MPs being sent away for extended holidays, you now have time to answer the English Question.

    Why Don’t you?

    What is keeping Westminster back from answering the English Question?

  38. sm
    May 17, 2014

    It probably all would go away if we had true democracy.

    Right of recall, the executive out of legislature as someone put it (acorn) etc. Maybe if the EU / oligarchs were not pulling the strings or their puppets.

    Oh what a tangled web we weave when we ……

  39. Lindsay McDougall
    May 18, 2014

    As someone who is Glasgow born, moved south at 4 years old and is now approaching 68, I feel that I have a right to have a say in this matter. Messrs Cameron, Brown and Darling (especially the first two) are promising all sorts of extra measures of devolution if Scotland votes ‘No’.

    I don’t want Devo Max or anything approaching it. Sad though I would be for Scotland to go independent, I would vastly prefer it to the thorough Constitutional muddle that DevoMax would represent. If Scotland is to stay in the United Kingdom, it must accept a full and proper Union. The same goes for Wales and Northern Ireland. The Celtic countries would not be permitted tax raising powers. They would be allowed to determine public expenditure under agreed headings on the basis of agreed fiscal transfers from England. Scotland would be allocated royalties from North sea oil and gas (but excluding those around the Shetland Isles, who do not want to join Scotland) and an allowance for sparsely populated areas experiencing cold winters.

    If Scotland were to vote ‘Yes’, there would be a consolation prize for England, a thoroughly Eurosceptic nation. In Alex Salmond’s shoes, I wouldn’t expect England to remain in the EU. Nor would I necessarily expect David Cameron to be allowed to attempt a renegotiation with the EU; the Conservative parliamentary party could force him to negotiate an exit.

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