May day

On 1 May 1707 the Act of Union between England and Scotland came into effect. Today, 310 years on, what is the state of the Union?

It feels from the polling that Scotland is happy with the way she made up her mind in the recent referendum to stay in the union of the UK.  The polls to remain have been fairly steady ever since the vote.

The case for Independence floundered on three main worries. The first was what currency would an “independent” Scotland use? Those in favour of independence strangely wanted to stay dependent on the Bank of England and retain access to the liquidity and credit lines of that central Bank, when the rest of us said if you leave the Union clearly you can no longer be an inside member of the Bank of England system with full facilities for all your banks. There was a marked reluctance to accept the Euro and no fervour for an independent currency to make Scotland properly independent.

The second problem was the financial arithmetic on spending, taxing and borrowing. The referendum took place against a background of oil over $100 a barrel. Even at those prices the fast run off in the volumes of oil thanks to the maturity of the Scottish oil province meant a strain to afford all the present spending levels. Since the vote the price of oil has halved, meaning there are no oil revenues to take back from the Union. This would leave Scotland with high increasing borrowings and or in need of tax rises on some scale.

The third problem was quite a lot of the SNP seemed in reality to be in favour of  Devo max, more control over law making and spending in Scotland whilst remaining a member of the UK.  Their idea of Devo Max went beyond what any of the Union parties thought feasible or sensible.

Many Scots have now decided they are Unionists. Others have decided now is  not the time  to cut loose. They see there are no plans they believe on currency and finance that make sense.

We may discover the state of the Union is healthier than the SNP wish. It is interesting how the SNP attempt to use the EU referendum result to shift opinion does not seem to have worked. It has also left them arguing both that leaving the EU is economically damaging, but leaving the UK is not, which is quite a contortion to bring off.




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  1. David Cockburn
    Posted May 1, 2017 at 5:42 am | Permalink

    While we Unionists succeeded in maintaining the Union we failed to deploy emotional arguments for staying together. We now need to make a concerted case that we really should stay together because we are a successful family and not just because of the financial risk of splitting. After all, we voted for emotional reasons in the other referendum last summer that we should leave the European Union despite the financial risk.

    • DaveM
      Posted May 1, 2017 at 8:45 am | Permalink


      Politicians are unable these days to stray away from their comfort zone of short-sighted economics. Social cohesion, cultural integrity and a human feeling of pride, history, identity, and belonging mean nothing to them. Sad that they don’t realise that no one is remembered purely for being rich.

      It all comes down to selfish greed unfortunately.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted May 1, 2017 at 4:38 pm | Permalink

        Lots of rich people are not at all “greedy”, they often are quite frugal and use their money mainly to reinvest in jobs & businesses or charitable activities. After all you can only eat, drink or wear so much and only need a few houses and some transport. You have to do something with the other millions. In general individuals use it far, far better than government ever do.

        • DaveM
          Posted May 1, 2017 at 7:16 pm | Permalink

          Read it again, LL, I’m talking about modern day politicians.

      • John C.
        Posted May 1, 2017 at 5:05 pm | Permalink

        Absolutely right. One of the most irritating aspects of the Brexit debate is that for too many it simply means “Shall we be better off in or out?”
        Questions of freedom and sovereignty seem to have no weight.

  2. Lifelogic
    Posted May 1, 2017 at 5:45 am | Permalink

    Indeed, the proposal by the SNP to become independent of the UK (but to do so while keeping the pound) was always totally absurd. The SNP’s economic policies are clearly bonkers and are doing much harm to Scotland. It is hard to see what the usually sensible Scots saw in their absurd politics of envy agenda & the dire Nicola Sturgeon.

    Radio 4 had a programme on yesterday, “The Self Employment Paradox” featuring May’s chosen lefty Mathew Taylor. The man actually seemed to think some people are “forced” into self employment. How do you force someone into self employment? At gun point perhaps?

    Meanwhile May says she wants to cut taxes on Ordinary Working Families. But Hammond her Chancellor (clearly with her approval) just tried to do the complete opposite with his abandonned NI mugging attempt and his new IHT 2 probate tax. She also wants to go into this election virtually promising to increase Tax, NI and to abandon the triple lock on pensions. All this so she can piss money down the drain on things like HS2, Hinkley, the bloated state and green crap grants.

    We are taxed far too much already and it is harming the economy hugely. Time for lefty May to get real.

    • BOF
      Posted May 1, 2017 at 11:30 am | Permalink

      Not only does the left head up nearly every institution, charity, quango and the BBC but now Mrs May takes a rather extreme example in Matthew Taylor into the heart of Downing Street to advise a Conservative(?) Prime Minister. I thought that conservatism was about helping people to help themselves. Matthew Taylor is the complete opposite with the far left philosophy of State intervention. He is a May mistake to add to Hinkly C & HS2.

    • Leslie Singleton
      Posted May 1, 2017 at 11:45 am | Permalink

      Dear Lifelogic–Agreed unbelievable that people who would prefer to be self employed, indeed are perfectly happy being so, and don’t want to be told by some boss what (and when) to do whatever, should be put in the dock in this way–and Field is I understand supposed to be one of the more sensible Left Wing types

      • margaret
        Posted May 3, 2017 at 11:08 am | Permalink

        Some have no other choice as they cannot become employed therefore have an option of no house, no money , no self respect or state benefits and social housing. Perhaps this hasn’t occurred to you.

        • Leslie Singleton
          Posted May 3, 2017 at 5:03 pm | Permalink

          Dear Margaret–And of course that’s everybody’s fault bar their own. What I don’t like is forcing the employers to give up providing this type of employment which though no doubt not perfect is not all bad. No I am not a ‘bleeding hearter’ as the Americans say.

  3. Nig l
    Posted May 1, 2017 at 6:13 am | Permalink

    Why do you ask what is the state of the union, only from a Scottish perspective? Why are the people from England not consulted? Frankly unless the Barnett formula is ‘repealed’ they should be sent packing.

    • Bert Young
      Posted May 1, 2017 at 9:20 am | Permalink

      Nig L, I agree fully . The Barnett formula has existed well beyond its sell by date – Barnett himself admitted this a year ago .

  4. formula57
    Posted May 1, 2017 at 6:23 am | Permalink

    And what is the appropriate amount of gratitude we in the rest of the Union should show for the second problem being solved by continued and growing subsidies in Scotland’s favour, as exacerbated by the infamous Vow given apparently in our name by three now ex-politicians?

  5. eeyore
    Posted May 1, 2017 at 6:32 am | Permalink

    “Then out and spak a Lennox lad
    And waly he spak bonnily,
    I winna yield my weapons up
    Tae ye nor nae man that I see.”

    Or will he? Conservatives may expect to win six or eight Scottish seats. Thereafter the realistic side of the Scottish character should steadily assert itself over the romantic, which would be a relief to most people – even, I suspect, to nationalists themselves.

    “Along the brae, beyond the brig
    Mony brave men lie cold and still,
    And lang we’ll mind, and sair we’ll rue,
    The bluidy battle of Bothwell Hill.”

  6. agricola
    Posted May 1, 2017 at 6:45 am | Permalink

    Had it happened the talent in Scotland would have drifted south to a greater extent than it does already. I suspect the canny Scots are beginning to sus that Sturgeon is a ranting windbag who has ignored the real problems of Scotland, education and the NHS, in favour of her dream without substance. From now on in we should allow her the curtesy of being ignored, if of course you can persuade the BBC to do the same.

  7. Old Albion
    Posted May 1, 2017 at 6:46 am | Permalink

    Whatever happens next in the continuing saga of Scotland staying or leaving the (dis)UK.
    It’s time for England to be treated equally within this ‘union’ The democratic deficit, denying the very existence of England must be addressed.
    It’s time for an English parliament within a federal UK. Failing that, English independence.

    • JoolsB
      Posted May 1, 2017 at 9:30 am | Permalink

      Not much chance of that Old Albion. An English Parliament would mean a dilution of powers for our self serving UK MPs not to mention a huge cull in their numbers. The Westminster gravy train is much more important to them than England. Why England continues to vote for any of the three anti-English parties is a mystery. UKIP are the only party advocating an English Parliament, the others, even the Tory party which would not exist without English support, can’t even bring themselves to say the word England let alone demand fairness for it.

    • Mark B
      Posted May 1, 2017 at 12:26 pm | Permalink

      Hear hear.

    • John C.
      Posted May 1, 2017 at 5:08 pm | Permalink

      England- one of the few countries in the world without a parliament.

      • JoolsB
        Posted May 1, 2017 at 8:36 pm | Permalink

        Why we English are letting the anti English Lab/Con/Lib parties get away with it is the biggest mystery.

    • John
      Posted May 1, 2017 at 6:28 pm | Permalink

      English, the last oppressed colony of the British empire. The British think more of their Dependencies than they do of us. Has anybody heard the government say they will consult the English people about our Brexit wishes? And we are the ones that voted to get out.

      • JoolsB
        Posted May 1, 2017 at 8:34 pm | Permalink

        Exactly. The First Ministers of the devolved nations have had numerous meetings with May on Brexit because she says she wants their interests to be taken into account. As usual England was not included because England doesn’t have a First Minister. How can she listen to English concerns if there is no English First Minister? It was England which predominately voted out and now the devolved nations’ First Ministers will have a chance to change a democratic vote because they will threaten to put the UK at risk if they don’t get their own way but it is England which has the legitimate grievance because they have been completed excluded from any discussions.

  8. alan jutson
    Posted May 1, 2017 at 6:56 am | Permalink

    The stupidity of the SNP proposal that whilst they want independence they also want to be a member of the EU has not yet been played out in full as yet.

    Once many see the real consequences such a proposal, they may then realise that being a member of the UK has rather more benefits than they perhaps realised at first sight.

    If Scotland does want to go independent, then surely all English/Uk Government Departments and jobs currently situated in Scotland, would be relocated back to English/UK territory, likewise our nuclear submarine base.

    Then of course they have their share of the UK national debt which will need to be repaid.

    Me thinks the high point of the SNP has now passed.

    • a-tracy
      Posted May 1, 2017 at 9:31 am | Permalink

      It’s not just accumulated debt of UK togetherness, accumulated over 300 years, there is also the cost to Great Britain of the Act of Union, as Burns wrote “Farewell to a’ our Scottish fame, Fareweel our ancient glory; Fareweel ev’n to the Scottish name, Sae fam’d in … I’ll mak this declaration; We’re bought and sold for English gold”. How much was this worth at today’s rates one wonders, they didn’t sell their Scottish name and fame away either, rather it was the English that said farewell to that becoming British.

    • pete
      Posted May 1, 2017 at 2:20 pm | Permalink

      I am told that their N Sub supply chain alone supports around £30,000 jobs. Any public Sector support component cannot go offshore so goodness knows how much they would lose if they left the UK.

      Couple that with the fact that BREXIT opens to the door to so many things including fishing, whisky and other food exports when deals are struck to remove common external tariffs to a potential 80% of the world economy outside the EU their stance on EU Membership is bonkers.

      Im sure many more people are now waking up to this including the SNP.

  9. Antisthenes
    Posted May 1, 2017 at 7:13 am | Permalink

    As I understand it one of the reasons Scotland agreed to union in 1707 was because her financial situation was parlous. She brought her debt with her plus a number of very unsavoury monarchs one of which caused a civil war. On the other side of the coin we gained from the benefits of North sea oil, brave and resourceful Scottish soldiers and the civil war put pay to absolutism and the creation of parliamentary democracy. The last item we gave away again to embrace the absolutism of the EU which fortunately we have seen the error of our ways and am now attempting to redress. Oddly the SNP wish through independence from the UK to commit the same folly.

    It is true the Scots have a tenacious nature when it comes to who rules them. From the time of the Romans they have fiercely resisted foreign domination and some of that spirit still must exist if now somewhat confusingly. Over a couple of millennia the Scots have been mostly a thorn in the side of the English as they often sided with her enemies particularly the French. So it must be asked are the Scots an asset or a liability to the union. I would suggest that if they left which they will not they will not be particularly missed.

    • Leslie Singleton
      Posted May 1, 2017 at 2:09 pm | Permalink

      Dear Antisthenes–As regards North Sea oil, please don’t fall in line with SNP propaganda about its being their oil based on a flat (usually Mercator) map and a line of latitude for the oil border. Instead, take a glance at a Globe when I suggest it will be obvious why (at least so I understand) International Law on the subject draws a dividing line out (perpendicular to the relative tangent) from where the land border meets the sea. If somehow that is not agreed then why use latitude? As well take the line of longitude as the dividing line–when most of the oil would be English. I repeat forget maps and just look at a Globe, perhaps from a few different angles if necessary–there is no magic to the line of latitude.

      • Antisthenes
        Posted May 2, 2017 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

        If what you say is true then I am as guilty as those I so often castigate for peddling erroneous facts for nefarious gain. Which hopefully I will avoid in the future.

        • Leslie Singleton
          Posted May 2, 2017 at 5:17 pm | Permalink

          Dear Antisthenes–Thanks–If any doubt, draw a border joining the sea on a plain balloon (thereby removing predisposition) and look down at that junction. I say again the idea of a line of latitude being relevant does not make sense. The only ‘problem’ comes if the coast is irregular or ‘in and out’ at that point but even then the tangent drawn on a subjectively smoothed coast (Stand further away from the balloon or Globe!) is going to yield a fairer and literally more reasonable share than (artificial, imaginary, man-made) lines of latitude or longitude (which though useful in the right context are irrelevant here). I confess to being hazy on the International Law, just remembering something I read ages ago (Maybe it was The Law of the Sea??). This seems to me to be very important but not talked about and I wonder why. I now seem to remember that the article I read pointed out that if the border runs at an angle in to the sea there is a case (as there is) for continuing the line of the border rather than using just a a right angle to the tangent. Either way, latitude has zero to do with it. Blows the SNP even further away of course.

  10. Dave Andrews
    Posted May 1, 2017 at 7:24 am | Permalink

    Scotland should remain in the Union because we are an integrated society, with all the members benefitting from our sharing. I hope the economic arguments are left out of the equation because Scotland is quite capable of making a success of independence if that is what they want.
    I fear though that without wanting to break up the Union, Scotland promoting the SNP allows them to sow their message of resentment and division, stirring up strife between England and Scotland. The SNP may eventually have their wish unless Scotland finds Unionist parties that reflect their political ambitions.

  11. Mike Stallard
    Posted May 1, 2017 at 7:33 am | Permalink

    The old story: people who live in a dependency are never grateful. We pay a lot of money to Scotland to support monstrously unfair give-aways. Like all Socialist Parties, the SNP gives other people’s money away generously and then runs out of money. Their time is nearly up. The Conservatives are speaking much more sense.

    • Anonymous
      Posted May 1, 2017 at 8:38 am | Permalink

      Mike Stallard (I hope Dr Redwood will allow me to go off topic)

      I know you’re a Brexit voter.

      What no Remainer explains – when they claim (almost gleefully) that Britain will disappear down the plug hole – is just how the 6th biggest economy in the World can implode without taking the global economy with it.

      We were told that the contagion from a few banks could cause a global depression… that any one of Portugal, Ireland, Italy, Greece or Spain could cause a catastrophic domino effect.

      Yet Remainers think Britain and LONDON (the global financial centre) can tank without grave consequence to all other nations.

      I think the EU is desperate. It has rampant Euroscepticism seething throughout in all of its leading countries. Le Pen and Wilders are significant features – more extreme than anything we’ve had.

    • Ian Wragg
      Posted May 1, 2017 at 10:01 am | Permalink

      A bit like being in the EU Mike.
      We pay an awful lot for very little gain and if you read todays Telegraph you will have the total nonesense of EFTA/ EEA explained to you. All the disadvantage of member and no benefit.

  12. Anonymous
    Posted May 1, 2017 at 7:34 am | Permalink

    In what way would an EU Scotland be independent ?

  13. The Prangwizard
    Posted May 1, 2017 at 7:36 am | Permalink

    Not a word about England.

    • DaveM
      Posted May 1, 2017 at 8:53 am | Permalink

      Haven’t you heard? Mr Redwood speaks for England. Right down to supporting that embarrassing fudge concocted by Hague – so-called EVEL. I would use far more colourful language to express My disgust at that utter betrayal of the country which supports his party but it would be demonstrating the kind of stupid childish behaviour demonstrated by our politicians every time they get together in their Westminster bubble house.

    • John
      Posted May 1, 2017 at 7:36 pm | Permalink

      You two sound like Nationalists Glaswegian Scots.

      Its only about you!

      How long have you lived in the UK?

      I see! he who protests too much.

  14. Lifelogic
    Posted May 1, 2017 at 8:04 am | Permalink

    I see that the Labour party are proposing, yet again, to attack and licence landlords, thus decreasing supply and pushing up rents yet further. At the same time creating lots of essentially parasitic jobs in state sector enforcement roles.

    The BBC decided to illustrate this by showing a picture of a filthy cooker, some earth bonding to a water pipe (a perfectly proper safety measure) and a hole punched in the plaster board of a flat (rather unlikely to have been done by the landlord I suspect). What do the BBC want? The landlord to pop round and clean the flat every time the tenant cooks dinner and to clearly & dry the bathroom and shower areas after use so as to prevent mould?

    The only real protection for tenants comes from a ready supply of decent properties and some competition. The labour proposals would make things far worse not better. Just as the best protection for employees is lot of available jobs not May’s “building on the EU employment rights”.

    Landlords (and thus tenants) are already hit by Osborne’s 3% extra stamp duty and inability to deduct interest costs from profits. Hitting ordinary working families hard yet again by decreasing supply and pushing up rents.

    What a choice daft socialist female or even dafter socialist male.

    • Jerry
      Posted May 1, 2017 at 5:15 pm | Permalink

      @LL; What’s the problem, if landlords keep their properties properly repaired they have nothing to fear – why the over reaction?…

  15. A.Sedgwick
    Posted May 1, 2017 at 8:07 am | Permalink

    Too many Scots voters are deluded by the antics of the SNP. There is a comparison with Corbyn/McDonnell fantasy economics. Scotland as a separate country ranks with Greece in terms of economic distress, the difference being the EU does not have the 310 year association and goodwill factors. Solidarity in the EU, as shown in the recent 4 min. meeting, where predominantly high and some mass unemployment occurs is also unfathomable.

    • Ian Wragg
      Posted May 1, 2017 at 10:04 am | Permalink

      Scotland is technically in recession brought about by SNP polices. Then the BBC lets her rant on because the UK is growing only at 2.1%. Who’s dragging that down I wonder.

      • Mark B
        Posted May 1, 2017 at 12:49 pm | Permalink


        I wounder what the growth and unemployment figures would look like if we just looked at England ONLY ?

      • Lifelogic
        Posted May 1, 2017 at 3:32 pm | Permalink

        Indeed but also dragged down by the endless government waste, over regulation and huge over taxation. Huge potential for growth if had a real conservative leader instead of May’s soft socialism.

  16. William Long
    Posted May 1, 2017 at 8:12 am | Permalink

    In other words, so far common sense has prevailed. An acid test will be how many are sufficiently supportive of the Union to vote for the Conservative and Unionist party on 8 June. It is quite a new situation for the traditional alternative of the Labour party not to be looking a very sensible option.

  17. ChrisS
    Posted May 1, 2017 at 8:28 am | Permalink

    The fault for the situation we are in vis a vis the Union rests with the Westminster Governments of all complexions but the situation has worsened under Cameron and now Mrs May.

    Neither Government has responded to the SNP by talking directly to Scottish citizens and explained a few home truths over the Scottish economy and the performance of the SNP.

    It is obvious that a situation where English taxpayers are forced to subsidise the other three home nations by massive amounts every year is unsustainable and will eventually lead to demands for Independence for England. NI is a special case and while the amount English taxpayers are paying per head of population in NI is by far the largest, the actual sum is not.

    The financial problems with the Welsh and Scottish economies are of a different magnitude entirely but at least the Wesh Government is broadly supportive of the union, unlike the SNP administration in Scotland.

    Mrs May should ber tackling the SNP head on over their excessive spending on freebies such as Tuition fees and the NHS while failing Scottish School children abysmally over education. Sturgeon is using the Single Market and Independence as nothing more than a cynical distraction from the failings of SNP administrations over the last decade.

    He who pays the piper is always a good maxim and in the case of Scotland a dose of it would be in the best interest of its citizens. Why should Scotland just be able to take our money and use it unwisely on freebies ? The Barnett formula is a running sore which even its instigator said shortly before he died was only ever intended to be a short term measure and was no longer fit for purpose.

    As Sturgeon would have to reduce the deficit to under 3% of GDP to join her precious EU, Mrs May should call Sturgeon’s bluff and demand a plan to do the same if Scotland wants to remain in the Union. All parties at Westminster should also agree that there will not be another referendum for 25 years.

    That would at least give Scottish voters a realistic choice at the inevitable next referendum. If they then choose to leave the UK, that’s their look out. I still believe they will chose to stay in the UK.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted May 1, 2017 at 10:25 am | Permalink

      You still believe they will chose to stay in the UK.

      Well perhaps they will the next time, but if they keep being asked the question sooner or later they will probably go.

      • ChrisS
        Posted May 1, 2017 at 1:03 pm | Permalink

        If there is another Indy referendum before the next General Election and the Scots vote to stay within the UK, all parties (other than the SNP, obviously) should go into that election stating that they will not sanction another referendum for at least a generation and define this as being 25 years.

        They can’t bind future parliaments, of course, but it should be easy for the agreement to be maintained and restated by all parties at successive General elections.

        That should nicely neuter the SNP and ensure they concentrate their minds on the day job.

    • ChrisS
      Posted May 1, 2017 at 11:02 am | Permalink

      PS : not sure what can be done about the economy of Wales. It’s in a far worse state than Scotland’s with a deficit of more than £4,200 pa per head of population compared with £2,800 for Scotland and just £218 for England !

      Why doesn’t any interviewer ever demand that Leanne Wood explain how she will make the Welsh economy sustainable if she really wants independence !

    • sm
      Posted May 1, 2017 at 11:07 am | Permalink

      I agree with everything you say, Chris. I suggest that the PM should make a direct broadcast to Scotland outlining briefly but succinctly both the contribution made by the rest of us to a population that is significantly lower than that of London, and the financial problems that currently exist in Scotland.

  18. Beautiful Morning
    Posted May 1, 2017 at 8:36 am | Permalink

    Going to sit in my cabin and contemplate.
    I said on here when I first heard of this site and JR, just before Brexit –
    Come on all you working class grammar school boys ( and girls ) of the 60s and 70s use your brainpower to actively defeat what’s going on.
    The brainpower needs to be connected so we don’t all think we’re raging in isolation.
    Modern technology makes this easy if all engage and do what they can, however small.

  19. JoolsB
    Posted May 1, 2017 at 8:37 am | Permalink

    As long as Scotland is happy, that’s okay then. Davis has already promised more powers coming back from Brussels will be repatriated to Edinburgh, Cardiff, Belfast and London, in other words the Scots Parliament, the Welsh Parliament, the Irish Assembly and the UK Parliament. Obviously no powers at all for England. No wonder the Scots are happy, more powers and more money shovelled at them by the UK Government so they don’t have to worry about having to pay for their free tuition fees, free prescriptions, free hospital parking, free eye tests and dental checks and free personal care for the elderly. All things denied to England’s young, sick and elderly on grounds of cost.

    Meanwhile your Government shamefully continues to ignore the English Question, West Lothian Question and Barnett Formula. Maybe it’s time just once, England, the only part of this so called union which has never been consulted, was asked whether it wishes to stay in a ‘union’ where it’s people are treated as second class citizens and where UK Governments of all colours including this Tory one to it’s shame, treat it as nothing more than a milch cow.

    P.s. No doubt this will not appear until tomorrow if then.

  20. Jerry
    Posted May 1, 2017 at 8:39 am | Permalink

    “Since the vote the price of oil has halved”

    But only two days ago, on April 29th, you said “[some people need to] acknowledge that a large part of the UK price rises so far has come from a much higher international price of oil”.

    Make you mind up please, you can’t have it both ways!

    • Leslie Singleton
      Posted May 1, 2017 at 2:14 pm | Permalink

      Attn Jerry–Tricky this but you see it went down a lot but then came back some

      • Jerry
        Posted May 1, 2017 at 7:53 pm | Permalink

        @Leslie Singleton; But that is not what our host said, was it?…

        • Leslie Singleton
          Posted May 2, 2017 at 5:19 pm | Permalink

          Attn Jerry: Too tricky for you apparently

          • Jerry
            Posted May 3, 2017 at 2:05 pm | Permalink

            @Leslie Singleton; It is you who is finding this “too tricky”, it is you who can’t grasp that the oil price is still lower than it was in 2014, meaning that those recent ‘much higher prices’ our host talked about on 29th April could not have been caused by oil prices that are still lower than they were in 2014 – even if the oil price has risen off its recent lowest point.

  21. Eric Cire
    Posted May 1, 2017 at 8:41 am | Permalink

    How many countries with a Deficit to GDP of 1% or less

    Certainly not UK as a whole

    Actual deficit for UK 2016-17 (which includes Scotland) is
    £51.7 billion = 2.6% of GDP

    £1,988 billion = UK GDP (including Scotland)
    £1,830 billion = rUK GDP (excluding Scotland)

    £158 billion = Scotland GDP (£158bn including oil & gas, £149bn excluding oil & gas)
    £129 billion = Wales & N Ireland GDP (this assumes Wales & N Ireland onshore GDP per head is same as Scotland)
    Of which remaining
    £1,701 billion = GDP England

    £15 billion = Scotland
    £14 billion = Wales
    £9 billion = N Ireland
    Of which remaining
    £14 billion = England

    £14 billion England deficit is less than 1% of England’s £1,701 billion GDP

    • Mark B
      Posted May 1, 2017 at 12:59 pm | Permalink

      Thanks. That answers my question above.


  22. fedupsoutherner
    Posted May 1, 2017 at 8:58 am | Permalink

    A lot of Scots will not vote Conservative because of long lasting ridiculous feeling about Margaret Thatcher. Even though it is plainly obvious that Ruth Davidson is the best leader in Scotland she will not get the majority vote because of the party she represents. The Scots like the fact that they vote in a nationalistic party but make sure they stay within the comfort of the UK and all it has to offer when the SNP decide to bribe the UK into giving them more money and power or else they will vote independence. It is utterly shocking to see how the rest of the UK bow down and give in to their demands when at the last referendum it was obvious that the vote would be to stay in the UK.

    You talk about the money that is sent to the Scots currently John but does anyone in England have the slightest idea of how many wind farms are currently being given permission in Scotland sometimes consisting of nearly 100 turbines and the amount of subsidies these attract for local projects? Quite often now, we have the absurd situation where turbines are turned off because the grid is overloaded and constraint payments are made amounting to millions each month. At the moment the cost for this is borne by all UK citizens but if independence was achieved then the cost would have to be met by a smaller number of bill payers. This should be pointed out to the Scots.

    When people can get paracetamol on prescriptions which are free and other widely available and cheap products in the supermarkets then is it any wonder Scotland has a large deficit?

  23. Mark B
    Posted May 1, 2017 at 9:11 am | Permalink

    Good morning

    It would be interesting to see the state of our Union from an English perspective. All the bills and absolutely no say what so ever ! Worse still, to those whose mandate, both as an MP and those who wish to take us out of the EU, they have both received their mandate form England, and nowhere else. We deserve better.

    The SNP have found the Socialist equivalent of Shangri-La. As the great lady once said;

    “The problem with socialism is, sooner or later they will run out of other peoples money.”

    For the SNP and others, ‘other peoples money’ comes in the form of England and / or the EU.

    The question is, is this all worth it ? For me, having Scotland spend and waste vast sums and have more say over, not only their lives as I do, but a say, through their Westminster MP’s, as say over my life too. Does that not strike anyone as being morally wrong ?

  24. Prigger
    Posted May 1, 2017 at 9:11 am | Permalink

    I wish some MPs here and in the EU would cancel their Facebook and Twitter accounts. Get off social media! If professional politicians wish to entertain themselves in their spare time by going on social media personally and not in their official work-capacity then fair enough.

    If you don’t like the conversaion in a particular pub then don’t go there! If you do then don’t hold up a sign with your name on it and gawk all round the pub waiting for compliments. Just get on with your drink or go to another pub! Or stop going to any pub at all.

  25. Bert Young
    Posted May 1, 2017 at 9:39 am | Permalink

    The social and economic case the SNP put forward is flawed . If the SNP were confident that their opinion represented the true will of the Scots , then those Scotrs living South of the border would be allowed to vote .

    Many large businesses located in Scotland – particularly those in the Service and Financial sectors , have already indicated they would move South ; it would not be in their shareholders’ interests to remain in Scotland were the SNP to succeed . Regulatory control and discipline would also be a serious underlying factor in their decision to move .

    The imbalance of the per capita support Scotland receives sours the relationship with England . Equally giving Scotland more control of what it can legislate to do through its devolved government has the same effect . The devolved government system that exists is a huge mistake and should be brought to an end .

  26. James Matthews
    Posted May 1, 2017 at 9:45 am | Permalink

    As an assessment of the state of the Union from a Scottish perspective this post seems pretty accurate. There is, however, another quite large partner in the Union south of Gretna.

    Yes economic self-interest has influenced a large enough number of people in Scotland for it to remain, for the time being, in the Union. The fact, though, that upwards of 40% of Scots are so disaffected that they are prepared to vote to leave the Union does not make Scotland an attractive partner. The fact that a majority for Scotland to remain has been bought at English expense with financial and constitutional bribes makes it even less attractive.

    So what is the state if the Union from an English perspective? For myself I would much rather see the Union end than go on pandering to Scottish exceptionalism. As yet, only a minority, though a growing one, share my view, but many many more shrug their shoulders and say if they want to go, so be it. That may not appear important, but it is a huge change of English attitudes in twenty years.

    The Union is not healthy. I doubt it will ever be so again.

  27. Newmania
    Posted May 1, 2017 at 10:13 am | Permalink

    Yes I must admit that is all fair and balanced comment. The odd alliance between we remainers
    And the SNP has always been an unholy one. In the end the cause of the SNP is one of ethnic Nationalism allied to childish foreigner-blaming, a problem we know all too well in England when it is directed at the EU.
    Painful though it is to hear Frau May tell the Scots they cannot decide on an unknown outcome …. she is right about the absurdity of such a question being put .John Redwood , is usually lukewarm about the union but I have to admit there is no point in further concessions at this stage .
    The EU was in much the same position when is dealt with further demands inspired by a extreme Nationalist sect that our position be improved yet more within the EU. We already had a sweet heart deal and as we see there will be no appetite for further feather bedding

    It should surprise no-one that any Conservative MP should argue for one thing one day and another the next .At least with Mr Redwood the subject is ostensibly different if the issues are the same . For the rest, the jaw dropping lack of principle mirrors the jejune surfeiot of causiness on the left

    • Anonymous
      Posted May 1, 2017 at 3:33 pm | Permalink

      Eurosceptism is rampant throughout the EU – not just in Britain.

      Exit parties are mainstream and powerful in both France and Holland.

      Stop trying to make out that this is ‘extreme’ and peculiar to Britain.

      • Jerry
        Posted May 1, 2017 at 7:59 pm | Permalink

        @Anonymous; Not quite, eurorealism is rampant throughout the EU, only in the UK has euroscepticism become mainstream.

        Of course, this might all change next weekend should French voters loose minds…

        • Anonymous
          Posted May 2, 2017 at 12:01 am | Permalink

          Wilders/Le Pen !

          • Jerry
            Posted May 2, 2017 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

            @Anonymous; Neither Wilders nor Le Pen have been elected into government (yet), both are at the moment the equivalent of UKIP, protest groups.

            If their respective political parties mere existence makes their countries eurosceptic then surely the mere facts that there is a Communist Party of Great Britain must mean communism is rampant in the UK – No?…

          • Anonymous
            Posted May 2, 2017 at 4:13 pm | Permalink

            No they are not.

            Holland has done the equivalent of the UK electing 80 BNP MPs.

            UKIP is not the BNP.

            France has an outside chance of electing a BNP government.

            When WILL you, Newmania, Acorn et al credit our own people for being as moderate as they are ?

          • Jerry
            Posted May 3, 2017 at 2:26 pm | Permalink

            @Anonymous; Oh for pity sake! Neither are (currently) in government, fact.

            Having 80 MPs is utterly meaningless if they are not in government, the SNP had 50 MPs from May 2015 to May 2017 yet they are today as far away from achieving an iScotland as they were on the morning of 19th Sept. 2014, and perhaps a lot further.

            As for your comment about the BNP, if UKIP keep having to remind people that they are not the BNP perhaps their policies might be a little to close for comfort.

  28. james Neill
    Posted May 1, 2017 at 10:29 am | Permalink

    To announce to one and all that I have just collected my brand new Irish/EU passport and so am off to the airport to visit my Spanish amigo friends, my Italian business partners and my daughter in Seville university.. so what’s that again you were saying about 1707? Well as far as I’m concerned its Alba Abu! And Vive L’Europ. So just like brexit I believe we can all have independence and “take back control”everyday and in anyway we like- its only a matter of choice. Lucky me!

    • Dennis Zoff
      Posted May 1, 2017 at 3:03 pm | Permalink

      I don’t need to have an Irish passport to do exactly the same things too…though in my case Germany, Holland and Austria…so your point is?

    • Anonymous
      Posted May 1, 2017 at 4:41 pm | Permalink

      Fortunately for Britain most talented people are trapped by virtue of the amount they have invested in property. Only a few can escape before the value in housing collapses.

      • Jerry
        Posted May 2, 2017 at 6:46 am | Permalink

        @Anonymous; How does owning a property trap someone in the UK, by all accounts one poster to this parish has quite a full portfolio if them but says he lives in the CIs, I know people who live in the EU27 but own property here in the UK (and still had mortgages on them when they moved to the EU27), they Let out their homes in the UK and rent in the EU27.

        Visas and employment permitting there is no reason why the about can not apply to the RotW also, if a life in the EU27 is not to your liking.

        • Anonymous
          Posted May 2, 2017 at 4:18 pm | Permalink

          Because once their assets have slumped in value they have lost their wealth.

          “They can emigrate to Frankfurt, Paris – Dublin !”

          Yes. As economic refugees – to already crowded cities – with no wealth, no deposit, starting over again.

          So they are better off staying in their precious homes in London and making as good a go of it as they can.

          • Jerry
            Posted May 3, 2017 at 2:45 pm | Permalink

            @Anonymous; Nonsense, as I said, I know people who have done exactly what you claim is not possible.

            As for staring over again, that depends on how you wish to look at it, and remember that if you rent out your UK property it is either fiscally neutral (because the rent pays off the mortgage, not your salary or what-ever) or you are monetising the property and thus adding to your income [1], some might be able to do both – either way you are likely better off even if you do have to “start over again”!

            [1] perhaps benefiting from FX rates too

    • fedupsoutherner
      Posted May 1, 2017 at 9:01 pm | Permalink

      Mmmm, I know load of people who moved out to Spain including myself and husband and soon came back. Only one couple we were friendly with are still out there. The rest are back in the UK. Spain is one country that does not abide by EU law unlike the UK who tick every box.

      • Jerry
        Posted May 3, 2017 at 2:49 pm | Permalink

        @fedupsoutherner; Very much depends on what area of the country and how you wish to fit in, I know people who have lived in Spain for 40 plus years, to all intent they are Spanish even though they have UK passports!

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted May 2, 2017 at 10:18 am | Permalink

      I hope you’ve remembered to formally renounce your allegiance to the UK and hand in your UK passport. This is not the USSR and nobody will stop you leaving, or even charge you for an exit visa, if you prefer to emigrate and change your citizenship, but you should not expect to have your cake and eat it, should you.

  29. John Probert
    Posted May 1, 2017 at 11:09 am | Permalink

    The Scots are not stupid, the SNP will risk anything for independence including
    their own domestic economy
    I think the Scots may well punish the SNP come the election
    The independence dream is over

  30. Anna
    Posted May 1, 2017 at 11:31 am | Permalink

    I heard a comment from a Scottish relative (I’m half-Scottish, though non-resident there): that many Scots voted for Remain half-heartedly, not because they were enamoured of the EU but because they feared a Brexit vote would encourage the pro-EU SNP to demand another independence referendum which few wanted after the divisions caused by the last one.

  31. Paul wills
    Posted May 1, 2017 at 12:31 pm | Permalink

    Many countries in the past have asserted their independence by basing their new currency and finances on that of the mother country for a few decades and contineu until they can make their own way.. i dont think it will be a problem for the scots either

    • ChrisS
      Posted May 1, 2017 at 7:25 pm | Permalink

      Sorry Paul, but it would be a huge problem for Scotland.

      The province has a financial deficit of £15bn pa – £2,800 per head of population and almost 10% of GDP, all of which is currently being paid for by English taxpayers. Without her own central bank or currency, Sturgeon could not print money or borrow to finance it.

      She has made a big play of wanting to join her precious EU, but after Greece, they are in no mood to take on any more basket cases. Sturgeon would first have to meet convergence criteria which means reducing her deficit to below 3% of GDP and hold it there for at least a year. That means cuts of £10bn pa.

      The economies of all three other home nations are a huge drain on English resources. Deficits across the Scotland, Wales and NI exceed £38bn pa

      Add the £9.8bn net we pay to the EU and an independent England would be almost £48bn pa better off and we would be compete with Germany for the title of strongest economy in Europe.

      Yet successive UK governments have done almost nothing to put those three economies right, choosing instead to milk English taxpayers. What mugs we are !

  32. acorn
    Posted May 1, 2017 at 4:36 pm | Permalink

    Let’s face it, the United Kingdom is a busted flush, it has had its time; it’s over; finished.

    Brexit; as particularly demonstrated on this site, has exposed the level of hate existing between its constituent parts, even down to regional level. Xenophobic nationalism squared.

    The analysis of the referendum data has shown that the older and lesser educated of the population, voted to leave. The younger and much better educated voted to remain. The latter are the ones who will pay the price for the successful Alt-right media manipulation of the former.

    If Scotland wants to go, let them go. Scotland will only be circa the tenth smallest state in the EU. It would have to use the Euro for its currency; its budget would be, indirectly, controlled by the Germans, Greek style. But; it would have the backing of the EU / ECB, in the coming Arctic Oil bonanza.

    • Anonymous
      Posted May 1, 2017 at 8:31 pm | Permalink

      The younger didn’t register to vote, by all accounts.

      • Anonymous
        Posted May 2, 2017 at 12:05 am | Permalink

        Remain papers always say “…of the young *who registered* to vote”

        Full Fact UK says Acorn’s assertions are unverifiable.

    • Mitchel
      Posted May 2, 2017 at 10:32 am | Permalink

      Is that when Edinburgh finally achieves it’s true destiny of becoming the Reykjavik of the South,rather than the Athens of the North?!

  33. Robin Wilcox
    Posted May 1, 2017 at 6:14 pm | Permalink

    Scotland will continue with this divisive neverendum which is bad for Scotland and bad for the UK unless they stop voting for the SNP. Quite frankly if they do have another referendum I would rather they voted to leave the UK than vote to remain by a slim margin.

  34. Paul wills
    Posted May 1, 2017 at 6:23 pm | Permalink

    Just heard iain duncan smith talking on channel 4 news.. he’s still talking about negotiating and the UK’s position..well the way i see it now is that there will be no negotiation from the EU side.. michel barnier the EU chief has his instructions from the EU commissoon about what the EU demands are…and demands are not negotiations.. it all looks terribly bad

  35. JasG
    Posted May 1, 2017 at 6:37 pm | Permalink

    You insist on just making stuff up regardless of the reality.

    1. On the currency the SNP commissioned a panel of experts to decide the best route to take and they published a report which said they were unruffled by either of these 3 options but marginally favoured keeping the pound. That’s the sensible approach is it not? No doubt they need to meet again since the Brexit vote.

    2. The financial arithmetic is the sheerest guesswork as you should know by now since I keep reminding you. Did you predict the oil price slump btw? If you didn’t then you should be more wary of wild economic predictions. The UK has a deficit and a deep debt pile accrued due to successive UK governments pretending that manufacturing wasn’t so important and that making money from higher mortgage debt was somehow real growth. The SNP were all this time reminding you that manufacturing was important and they were right. They simply want the freedom to build up the manufacturing economy that Labour and Tory governments have weakened. It is not the current stagnant economy on which projections should be made but on the vibrant economy that they say independence would allow.

    3. Nobody in the SNP is in favour of Devo max. The majority of voters probably are. There is a difference.

    Maybe a lot of things. Maybe the Norwegian option is best for Scotland. Maybe Scotland being in the EU is best for continuing English trade with the EU. Maybe England should become the 51st state of the USA (since all they do is copy the USA anyway) and Scotland may become a new province of Canada.

    Reply As the pro Union side explained, remaining in the pound was not an option for an Independent Scotland. I did use official figures to predict the sharp run off in oil volumes prior to the vote which made the arithmetic for Scotland stretching even at higher oil prices, and pointed out the oil price might go down.

    • JasG
      Posted May 3, 2017 at 3:34 pm | Permalink

      Salmond responded that if there were to be no pound then there was no need for Scotland to repay its share of the debt accrued by the UK parliament; a situation that existed prior to the 1707 union when debt-free Scotland then had to take a share of the English debt accrued by William & Mary. I presume though it was for parliament, not the pro-Union side to say yea or nay on monetary union. A moot point now anyway since the euro will now be insisted on by the EU if Scotland is to remain a member or re-apply.

      Congrats on saying the oil price may go down but that isn’t a prediction. As you know the economic ‘experts’ are seldom correct with their predictions and they were uniformly wrong about oil. They have predicted an oil slump every year that I can remember but more oil/gas keeps getting discovered. However if Scotland has to cut her cloth then she will do so since they have shown a commitment to balancing their budget: Would that the UK would do the same.

      Lastly, as an anti-EU campaigner you should appreciate it is primarily a vote for local democracy and only secondarily about the economy.

  36. Original Richard
    Posted May 2, 2017 at 9:39 am | Permalink

    Scotland voted for the UK to remain in the EU and not for Scotland to remain in the EU as a separate country, which is not the same.

    This may also be the case for Northern Ireland and Gibralter.

    If there is to be another Scottish independence referendum then I think that Scottish ex-patriots should be allowed a vote.

    Devolution is asymmetric and hence unfair to England. If Scotland votes again to remain in the UK then we should move to a fairer federal system.

    • JasG
      Posted May 3, 2017 at 3:37 pm | Permalink

      As an expat Scot I already voted with my feet. Unless I go back to live there it is none of my business. Much as we may think federalism is the best idea there is no appetite in English regions for that option.

  • 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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