Devolution, the EU and the future of the UK

At the end of the last century I wrote a book entitled The Death of Britain? I argued that Tony Blair’s constitutional revolution would damage our democracy and undermine the UK.

I said “Labour’s constitutional blueprint is nothing more than a plan for the destruction of UK democracy. It threatens splits within the Kingdom. It threatens transferring far too much out of democratic control. (to independent quangos as well as to the EU) It gives far too much ground to the federal plans on the continent. “

I always thought if we lost the pound, our independent currency, then there would be no point in pretending there was an easy rescue. If we could save the pound, which I set about campaigning to achieve, we could rescue the rest in due course.

The endless delays over Brexit have shown how Labour’s devolution settlement can be used to disunite our response to the policy and seek to overturn it. The impact of devolution on our exit teems with ironies and contradictions. The Republic of Ireland and the EU are seeking to force a compromise that keeps Northern Ireland partially in the EU’s orbit of their single market, worrying Unionists in Ulster about creeping EU control. Meanwhile Scotland with the SNP in a majority at Edinburgh say they want the Northern Irish arrangements for themselves. The EU must privately worry about the strength of the SNP, as the EU sides with Spain in seeking to resist an independence movement in Catalonia when there is read across from the one to the other.

The Conservative party opposed devolution in Scotland and Wales, and was on the losing side in the referendums that created it. The party has always accepted the result, did not try to delay or derail devolution going through and has faithfully pursued it ever since. If we revisit the arguments that underlay the referendum it is unfortunate that the Conservatives were right about one fundamental issue. Labour always claimed if they granted Scotland a bit of devolution and it would end the nationalist movement. Instead it ended Labour’s dominance as a political force in Scotland. Conservatives argued it would give the nationalists a platform, and they would use the politics of grievance to seek to increase devolved powers, always circling the true objective of independence.

This week devolution has been yet again the subject of SNP interventions, seeking to claim that despite the transfer of more powers to the Scottish Parliament from the ones we repatriate from the EU, Scotland does not get enough power over single market matters in the UK as of course trade policy for example is a reserved matter for the Union.

Brexit has made even more obvious the unfairness of lopsided devolution to England.England voted decisively to leave but has had no voice at the table when the devolved administrations meet Union Ministers to decide how to proceed. We need to look again at the issue of voice for England. Meanwhile both major parties in the Commons have to get better at countering the politics of grievance from the SNP, who seek to turn every debate about our future into recriminations over what Scotland is allowed to do.

I am proud of the decision of the UK Parliament to grant Scotland a referendum to settle the issue of Scottish attachment to the UK for another generation. It contrasts well with the anti democratic approach of Spain and the EU to the demands for a referendum on Catalan independence. It would be good if MPs meant what they said when they say they will implement the results of a referendum on such important matters.

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  1. Grey Friar
    Posted December 18, 2020 at 6:49 am | Permalink

    It is simply untrue of you to claim that Ireland and the EU are seeking to force a compromise that keeps Northern Ireland partially in the EU’s orbit of their single market. Northern Ireland is in that orbit – that was the whole point of Boris’s ovenready deal, and you eagerly voted to keep NI in the EU’s orbit, including the ECJ, in the Commons last january

    Reply Do not lie. Read my speeches about the Agreement anD future relationship.

    • Simeon
      Posted December 18, 2020 at 7:42 am | Permalink

      Reply to reply

      You were not eager to vote, but vote you did.

      Please do correct me if this is wrong, but your apparent rationale was that you could vote for the WA and PD because their problematic elements could, and indeed would, be changed in due course. After all, the WA and PD are self-contradictory, on the one hand asserting UK sovereignty, but on the other giving the EU much jurisdiction.

      However, your problem is this; the UK government exercising its sovereignty by deferring to the EU is not a contradiction. It is shameful, and a betrayal of the British people’s demand for self-determination, but it is not a contradiction. The EU are not forcing anything. The UK government is in the process of coming to terms with the EU. The EU is not holding a gun to anyone’s head. If there is any forcing here, it is your party’s leadership ‘forcing’ you to hold the party line – though the UK-EU agreement will be finalised whether you resist or not.

      Reply I set out clearly in Parliament and here that I expected either this would be sorted out in the negotiations or that we will legislate unilaterally under Article 38

      • Simeon
        Posted December 18, 2020 at 7:40 pm | Permalink

        Reply to reply

        You were very clear on that, I agree. Your expectations arose from conversations with the PM and assurances he provided. But he is dishonest, as you know, and so it is at least fair to say that your expectations are not built on the firmest of foundations. Can you provide any reassurance to those hoping for a proper Brexit that your expectations will in fact be vindicated?

      • Hope
        Posted December 18, 2020 at 7:54 pm | Permalink

        Many good factual articles in Facts4EU which highlight the exchange between Fox, Drax and Gove confirming EU acquis applies including ECJ. EU inspectors on our soil. Johnson’s betrayal is NOT taking back control of laws, borders or money.

        I would suggest JR and others in this site read a few of their articles to,bring clarity to their mind what themWA and NIP actually means.

        Perhaps JR could tell us what the U.K. got from the EU in return for the WA and NIP? Moreover, what Gove got in return for deleting clauses 44, 45 & 47 from the WA (include because of reported hostile threats from EU) and removing clauses from the Finance Bill?

        Devolution: another rFake Tory Govt failing by making the U.K. EU compliant to regions by having mayors and police commissioners. It must be remembered the posts were imposed you govt. after the public voted against both and did not want.

        I note Burnham and Police commissioner for GMP have not resigned after 80,000 crimes not recorded by GMP. It should have been the quietest year ever because of lockdown! Chief allowed to go quietly, why not sacked? If Burnham and Police commissioner do not resign will they be sacked? And then could the two layers of bureaucracy and cost to taxpayer be dispensed with. Clearly both add no value whatsoever. This is where cut backs could be made to the public purse to save money.

        • rose
          Posted December 19, 2020 at 8:13 pm | Permalink

          Burnham IS the commissioner and was repeatedly warned about the failings he was ultimately responsible for.

          Another EU introduction with Devolution is PR. We had a referendum and rejected it but it has been smuggled in to every sort of election now except local councils and the Westminster Parliament. PR inevitably weakens national government which is what the EU wants.

    • Sir Joe Soap
      Posted December 18, 2020 at 8:13 am | Permalink

      This WA with its NI protocol is a “dream world” fantasy solution concocted between May and the EU.

      NI will no more be part of Ireland than Kent will be of France. After all, the Channel Tunnel is a hard border, with terrorists certainly crossing that border one way or another.

      EU officers will have no power or credibility within the UK post-Brexit. Else we haven’t left the EU.

      • Simeon
        Posted December 18, 2020 at 7:43 pm | Permalink

        Concocted between May and the EU and adopted by the present government. The proposed EU officers will derive their power and credibility from the UK government. The problem is the UK government accepting, not the EU proposing.

      • Hope
        Posted December 18, 2020 at 8:02 pm | Permalink

        No, not dream world. It meant EU did not have to negotiate because U.K. would be trapped in EU acquis as agreed and reafirmed by Gove last week. Fake Tory MPs questioned him. WA and NIP do not allow U.K. to take back control of laws, borders or money ifmEU acquis applies. Not just in N.Ireland but to alUK companies that trade there. EU insoectorsmon UK soil to make sure that happens.

        Irrespective how many times Fake Tory party or Govt repeattakingnback control does not make it true. Gove confirmed the Johnson sell out by his statement and the Q and A that followed in parliament.

    • Hope
      Posted December 18, 2020 at 8:33 am | Permalink

      JR, I am lost you knew N. Ireland was staying in the single market and customs union. Dodds, Sammi Wilson and others made it clear what this meant. They asked for assurances about leaving as one nation being treated the same as the rest of the U.K. Etc etc.

      40 horrors of the WA and NIP highlighted in the Spectator and brought to attention on this site many many times. Martin Howe QC pointed out all the failings of the WA and what it meant. Of course N.Ireland was being annexed. Why so many questions about a border down the Iraish sea? Why questions about borde checks etc etc. Johnson claimed none applied. Here we are with EU officials on U.K. Soil checking goods passing across our country!

      Johnson denied all of this. You voted for it.

      Where is the lie you claim? What part did you not understand?

      Reply We were assured that this was subject to negotiation over the future relationship. No detail was supplied as to how it work. The choice was sort it out with the EU during the negotiations or legislate using Cl 38 for our own solution. Do not accuse us of not understanding or not doing our homework! We highlighted the issues and await the final outcome.

      • glen cullen
        Posted December 18, 2020 at 10:28 am | Permalink

        Hope – I believe you’re correct, the writing was on the wall and clear for all to see i.e the sell-out of NI, and JRs reply describes a similar route of travel for the UK i.e sign-off the trade deal and sort out the detail in the new year

        • Hope
          Posted December 18, 2020 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

          JR, I did not accuse of not understanding, I asked what part you did not understand when it was made clear by many experts and DUP politicians what it meant and its implications. Particularly to the annoyance of DUP and the false assurances given to them by your Govt. And two PMs!

          It appears you placed a lot of faith in hope and wishful thinking against reality. This is difficult to understand against all the comments you made indicating how the EU behave and that the antics of May. With an 80 seat majority I think most us still cannot u derstnad why any of you would vote for it. Particularly Johnson who labelled it vassalage and resigned from govt.

          You might not have been “eager” but I do not detect a lie as you claim. You did vote for the horrors of the WA and NiP did you not?

      • Grey Friar
        Posted December 18, 2020 at 11:16 am | Permalink

        If you are awaiting the final outcome, you are going to be waiting a long time. Because the final outcome was signed, sealed and delivered last January. Everything was agreed, and everything is now final. Boris’ deal separates NI from GB and you voted for it, despite the clear warnings and protests of patriots like Sammy Wilson.

        • Edward2
          Posted December 18, 2020 at 7:48 pm | Permalink

          But nothing is agreed until everything is agreed.

          • Leslie Singleton
            Posted December 19, 2020 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

            Dear Edward–In practice and from my own experience (bank deals) that is hard to give effect to in practice. Like it or lump it there is an almost complete loss of trust no matter what is said in advance

          • Edward2
            Posted December 19, 2020 at 3:53 pm | Permalink

            Perhaps that may happen in the Banking world but my experience is that deals can fail at the last minute and parts that were previously agreed become void as the whole deal disolves into nothing.
            My response was against GF who incorrectly said the deal had already been done back in January.
            So why are we still negotiating one has to ask?

      • Sir Joe Soap
        Posted December 18, 2020 at 4:55 pm | Permalink

        Reply to reply
        Be fair, many on this site and elsewhere were pushing for this WA not to pass, and for getting Brexit done to mean leaving without a deal.
        The WA kept the Mayites together with the Brexiteers in the Tory Party, because May had foolishly agreed to it and you were hooked in with this Clause 38.
        One party, two different ideas of democracy. This will never wash in the long term.

        I really believe a new party will arise from the ashes and abrogate this NI protocol and everything it stands for. We just can’t have EU officials on our territory ordering us around. Our forefathers will be spinning in their graves from the Somme to Étaples if it does.

        • Hope
          Posted December 18, 2020 at 8:06 pm | Permalink

          Johnson agreed, approved through parliament and signed it! It was conceived by May but driven through by Johnson! Even though he had an 80 seat majority.

          Sequencing debate for negotiations was lost under Davis. The govt knew EU was agreeing one chunk at a time and they accepted the terms!

      • Lynn Atkinson
        Posted December 18, 2020 at 8:03 pm | Permalink

        JR do you agree that as the WA was amended the pure agreement signed by the EU has NOT been approved by Parliament? When the Maastricht Treaty was presented to Parliament they were instructed that no amendment was permitted.
        The WA is therefore not binding in any way as it was NEVER APPROVED by Parliament.

        Reply It was only accepted subject to unilateral variation

        • Simeon
          Posted December 18, 2020 at 10:08 pm | Permalink

          Reply to reply

          Do you mean that MPs voted for the WA subject to it being changed by Parliament at a later date? If so, obviously this is strange – though this was hardly concealed at the time. But regardless, surely the point is that any agreement between the UK government and the EU will stand or fall subject to Parliament’s approval or otherwise.

          Sir John, do you honestly envisage a scenario in which the PM presents a deal to Parliament, and Parliament then rejects it? Surely your only hope is that there is No Deal (meaning the much-vaunted Clause 38 is an irrelevance) – and I have already made clear my opinion on the chances of that.

          • Hope
            Posted December 19, 2020 at 11:29 am | Permalink


            Accepted by whom?

            Gove stated WA and NIP applied deal or no deal. Why did he make that point? Tell us your view on the question and answer to Fox and Drax? It strikes me they understood the horror of what was being said.

            Again, what did Gove get in return? Was it as Barnier claimed drop the clauses or talks would stop? If so U.K. Govt caved in and again showed utter weakness.

            Reply I have made my position clear here and in the Commons. I voted for Uk sovereignty and will want to see it upheld.

        • Lynn Atkinson
          Posted December 19, 2020 at 7:51 am | Permalink

          So Parliament approved a different agreement to the one the EU approved.
          You have no agreement. This is exactly the scenario that was avoided by Hurd at Maastricht when you were told you could not amend a single dot or dash.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted December 18, 2020 at 8:50 am | Permalink

      It’s interesting, that the shift in Scottish public opinion from being quite strongly pro-Union to strongly for independence has happened entirely under the rule of John’s party, and since that silly little vote in 2016.

      And yet somehow he seeks to blame Tony Blair and his government for the – now apparently inevitable – breakup of the UK.

      The SNP have expressly stated their reasons for wanting independence, and few Scots seem to disagree.

      It is absolutely to be free of English Tory rule – not that of Labour – and to have a sane relationship with the most advanced, civilised and enlightened association of nations that the world has ever seen.

      • Peter
        Posted December 18, 2020 at 12:21 pm | Permalink

        Missed something here – thought they wanted a relationship with the EU!!!

        • Peter
          Posted December 18, 2020 at 7:25 pm | Permalink

          For transparency, not the Peter posting directly below.

          • Leslie Singleton
            Posted December 19, 2020 at 1:10 am | Permalink

            Dear Peter (?)–I deprecate the modern usage of “transparency”, which you seem to be using–anything being touted as transparent you would think can be seen through, which doesn’t sound so great to me. If in doubt think glass.

        • Fred H
          Posted December 18, 2020 at 9:08 pm | Permalink

          we need to warn them, well maybe not, that the only relationship available will be an abusive one!

      • Edward2
        Posted December 18, 2020 at 12:31 pm | Permalink

        Labour have almost been wiped out in Scotland.

      • Fred H
        Posted December 18, 2020 at 12:46 pm | Permalink

        I want self determination for Scotland – as I do for England!

        However, Scotland need to understand and have written in a Declaration for all their people to be clear on what that entails.
        No Barnett from Day 1.
        All Civil service employment would be brought back to England.
        All military bases and shipbuilding to be recovered to England ASAP.
        Scotland to adopt Euro, or choose a new currency, not Sterling.
        All preferential arrangements for Scotland to be dismantled.

        • Lynn Atkinson
          Posted December 19, 2020 at 7:55 am | Permalink

          Do you want self-determination for Wales? For Cornwall? For Northumberland?

      • Richard1
        Posted December 18, 2020 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

        Scottish separatism took off after devolution, as rightly predicted by the Conservatives and by some sensible Labour figures such as Tam Dyell.

        Scottish separatism got 45% support in the 2014 referendum, at which time there was a coalition govt and at one stage in the campaign had a majority in the polls. when there was no sign of brexit in sight.

        It is likely we have seen peak separatism. But if we haven’t its just another baleful legacy of the Blair-Brown Labour govt. like the Iraq war. the sale of the gold, the crashing of the economy, the signing of federalsing EU treaties with no referendum. Those who voted for it bear a heavy responsibility.

      • acorn
        Posted December 18, 2020 at 4:45 pm | Permalink

        I am convinced the UK is now a busted flush; the USA likewise. There has been so much bad blood spilt and permanently burnt bridges; inside the left and hard right wings of both countries. That situation will need a generation to settle. All caused by four decades of Thatcher-Reagan Neoliberalism that cursed both countries.

        Give Scotland its independence. If it could be accepted as an EU member State and use the Euro currency – for as long as it lasts – all the better. Scotland does not have its own currency issuing Treasury with any debt; but it would have to pay back the debt it has with the UK Treasury that finances the issue of Scottish Pound Notes.

        Post Brexit, number crunchers on both sides of the Atlantic, see a lot of pressure from the US Congress and the EU27, for a united Ireland 100% inside the EU. Little Brexitania will struggle to defend its Northern Ireland territory against that level of two trade blocs firepower.

        That would leave Brexitania – formerly England and Wales – to work out a relationship – who pays the bills – between the City State known as London – a Singapore replica – and the remaining eight historic EU regions of England. 😉

        • Edward2
          Posted December 19, 2020 at 4:04 pm | Permalink

          Interesting you only label the right wing of politics with the word hard.
          You left the left as just left.
          All nice and cuddly like Antifa and BLM

          There has been a constant debate between left and right in the UK and USA for centuries.
          To try to blame the two best leaders of recent times is ridiculous.

          You are another lefty Pro EU poster on here who thinks England on its own would struggle
          Complete nonsense.
          No billions to the EU every year
          Keep all the tariff money and VAT revenues.
          Not having to send billions a year to NI and ungrateful Scotland.
          Bring it on.
          Presumably Scotland would pay for everything with its oil revenues.
          England and Wales would still be one of the biggest economies in the world.
          Scotland and Ireland would struggle.

      • Sir Joe Soap
        Posted December 18, 2020 at 5:03 pm | Permalink

        You’re just on a wind-up.

        Why are people risking their lives to leave such an advanced, civilised and enlightened bunch and cross the channel?
        Why have millions come here to work the past 20 years when most going the other way go there for sun and retirement? Is that your recipe for a strong economic future?

        Answers please.

      • rose
        Posted December 18, 2020 at 6:13 pm | Permalink

        It isn’t just Blair’s fault. The Scots are taught Anglophobia at school. History has been rewritten as if it were a real dictatorship.

        • hefner
          Posted December 19, 2020 at 9:47 am | Permalink

          And in Leeds kids are even taught Foucauldianism. It is a shame that Liz did not realise it essentially is a criticism of Marxism. But what can one expect from an English ‘intellectual’? Becoming PM?

          • Edward2
            Posted December 19, 2020 at 9:27 pm | Permalink

            A criticism of Marxism?
            Surely not.
            This needs to be stopped.
            Obviously you agree hef.

    • Wrinkle
      Posted December 18, 2020 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

      Reply to reply to reply… speeches by you and what you set out in parliament butters no parsnips – what is written and agreed counts.

      • Simeon
        Posted December 18, 2020 at 7:52 pm | Permalink

        Exactly this. Sir John has the opportunity to give speeches, but he, as one MP, is powerless to effect change. Even the ERG together are not sufficient given Labour’s willingness to support any deal. There is no prospect of the government being stopped from securing BRINO by this Parliament.

    • Peter
      Posted December 18, 2020 at 6:03 pm | Permalink

      We are in the dark on Brexit talks and await developments.

      Speculation continues. Newspapers pump out clickbait covering all possibilities.

      As for devolution, there is an argument that if the UK can detach itself from the U.K. then Scotland should be able to detach itself from the U.K. The counter argument is that when offered the choice Scotland has declined independence.

      As for Northern Ireland, you can blame the scheming, but useless Mrs. May for the problems around Brexit and Northern Ireland.

      Realpolitik sometimes requires awkward solutions to a problem. The humorous Irish answer to a request for directions applies – ‘If I were you I would not start from here.’

      However, we are where are. So a way has to be found to undo the damage left by the May government.

      Meanwhile, I watch developments. Lots of tough talk on both sides and a couple of weeks before there is an outcome – or a further delay.

  2. formula57
    Posted December 18, 2020 at 6:51 am | Permalink

    Mr. Blair understood so little about so many important matters. He came to office with a very poor education and learnt very little if anything afterwards. How Fettes and St. John’s bear the shame I do not know.

    • Mark B
      Posted December 18, 2020 at 7:14 am | Permalink

      Yeah, but he did make himself very wealthy. Not bad for a Socialist 😉

      • Sharon
        Posted December 18, 2020 at 8:05 am | Permalink

        Blair just wanted power, he moved things about in readiness for EU federalisation. Now he’s moved up a level and is now a globalist.

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted December 18, 2020 at 8:10 am | Permalink

      He achieved all his objectives. He was very well educated.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted December 18, 2020 at 8:56 am | Permalink

      I tend to think that a Law degree (or Jurisprudence) does not teach one very much about science, numbers, wars, human nature, business, economics, engineering energy, world affairs and the likes. Often something a bit dubious about the sort of people who aspire to to them.
      All of these skills are needed for a good PM. Indeed the fact that he joined the Labour Party suggests he was deluded or he was just after power and saw it as a good vehicle for him. After all so few Labour MPs can even string a coherent and logical sentence together. Kier Starmer and one or two others perhaps? Most of the rest just seem to call Tories scum or similar.

      I can never forgive Blair for the idiotically structured devolution done (he foolishly thought) to help Labour in Scotland & Wales) or even worse his appalling, losing war on a blatant lie. Even now we endlessly hear from his dire side kick Alastair Campbell on the BBC and elsewhere – nearly always talking complete rubbish and trying to rewrite his and Blair’s history

      • Lynn Atkinson
        Posted December 18, 2020 at 12:16 pm | Permalink

        But a Law degree, like IT forces logical thinking.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted December 19, 2020 at 1:39 am | Permalink

          Well perhaps sometimes but very often not at all. They rarely realise the his damage done by so many laws, But so much law and so many judgements are totally irrational and the different court levels are endlessly disagreeing with each over. Laws so often ends up benefiting lawyers and costing almost every one else. Often rendering industries uncompetitive, cutting wages and even exporting jobs and whole industries.

          • Lynn Atkinson
            Posted December 19, 2020 at 8:00 am | Permalink

            So you have proved the point that lawyers, looking out for themselves, have a perfect system of never ending litigation and challenge level judgements. Don’t say they are stupid because you did not understand the objective which they have perfectly achieved.
            You will see that IT has huge same objective and is achieving total dominance not in error but by design. We need the mathematicians etc to wake up and join battle.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted December 19, 2020 at 5:03 pm | Permalink

          Not in many of the lefty dopes who are lawyer that I know.

      • Fred H
        Posted December 18, 2020 at 12:48 pm | Permalink

        He imagined himself elected as President of the EU !!

        • Lifelogic
          Posted December 19, 2020 at 1:32 am | Permalink


      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted December 18, 2020 at 12:49 pm | Permalink

        It teaches one a great deal about logic and about epistemology.

        If you want the scientific analysis then that is why we use Expert Witnesses.

        • Edward2
          Posted December 18, 2020 at 7:50 pm | Permalink

          Expert witnesses regularly have totally opposite opinions.
          Some work for the defence.
          Some work for the prosecution.

          • Lifelogic
            Posted December 19, 2020 at 1:30 am | Permalink

            Exactly then the lay jury are expected to pick which “paid” expert’s view they prefer.

      • Sir Joe Soap
        Posted December 18, 2020 at 5:12 pm | Permalink

        It’s true – it must be easier to get ahead in Labour than the Tories for your average lawyer –

        You haven’t actually a track record in creating anything. Unless an Etonian, you can pretend to be for the masses. It’s a decent career move for a kid from the north with a southern accent who liked playing rock and got a law degree from Oxford under their belt. You can make the implausible sound plausible. No true scientist or mathematician can do that, because the training is rooted in logic.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted December 19, 2020 at 5:06 pm | Permalink

          Unfortunately there are bent and bought scientist too. Load of them in the climate alarmist industry.

  3. Shirley M
    Posted December 18, 2020 at 6:52 am | Permalink

    I can understand the appeal of the EU for the SNP. They have similar attitudes towards democracy and authority. What I can’t understand is the Scots support of both, which devalues their vote, and their freedoms.

    • Mark B
      Posted December 18, 2020 at 7:17 am | Permalink

      Scottish voters can be roughly divided into three camps. Those that truly believe in an independent Scotland. Those that don’t but know that the SNP is very good at extracting evermore cash from the English to be spent on them. And those that want to stay in the Union regardless.

      • Fedupsoutherner
        Posted December 18, 2020 at 8:05 am | Permalink

        Having lived there for 15 gusty years I can honestly say that sums it up perfectly. After being subjected to what I would call open racism for being English I hope they do get their independence and then they would find the numerous freebies disappear.

      • turboterrier
        Posted December 18, 2020 at 8:14 am | Permalink

        Mark B

        Very true about the divisions in Scotland. As said here many times before the Scots have always got the wind in their faces and for generations they have lived and thrived on funding. It makes the job of governance so much easier. It is not their money they keep spending.
        The harsh fact of life is that from the experiences of dealing with the EU to leaveis if ever the time comes to separate then then Westminster’s starting point has to be offer nothing and give them less. The EU have set a precedence.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted December 18, 2020 at 9:00 am | Permalink

        Some truth in that. I do wonder what on earth the often very sensible Scots see in Sturgeon and her dire National Socialist Party of Scotland. I read the other day that it is the worse place in the EU for drug use and overdoses – is this perhaps the reason? Or perhaps the SNP leadership makes them turn to drugs.

        Then again I tend to meet the Scots who have generally left Scotland to work elsewhere.

        • margaret howard
          Posted December 18, 2020 at 5:26 pm | Permalink


          “I do wonder what on earth the often very sensible Scots see in Sturgeon”

          No doubt the rest of the world wonder constantly what on earth possessed the ‘sensible English’ to vote for liar and buffoon Boris.

          • Fedupsoutherner
            Posted December 18, 2020 at 10:56 pm | Permalink

            Or Blair

          • Lifelogic
            Posted December 19, 2020 at 1:43 am | Permalink

            Well they though Boris might finally “get Brexit done” after the Appalling Theresa May. Also the only alternative of Corbyn, Mc Donnall and Sturgeon was so appalling almost anything was preferable.

      • Lynn Atkinson
        Posted December 18, 2020 at 9:16 am | Permalink

        All minority groups know that extremism extracts more cash from the cow – read Enoch Powell. All those who support milking the cow ant to remain in the Union too, else they lose the milk. So the SNP will NEVER achieve independence.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted December 18, 2020 at 8:55 am | Permalink

      There was such a thing as the Scottish Enlightenment – see Hume – and the Continental one, but it never quite reached England.

      You are quite compelling evidence for that proposition.

      • Lynn Atkinson
        Posted December 18, 2020 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

        You are decisive evidence for that proposition.

    • oldtimer
      Posted December 18, 2020 at 8:55 am | Permalink

      Re the appeal of the SNP to the Scottish electorate, the ability of Sturgeon to dominate Scottish politics and her husband to control the SNP as it’s CEO is remarkable and probably unique. I suspect their downfall could only come from within the SNP.

      • Fred H
        Posted December 18, 2020 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

        Their downfall won’t happen while Westminster keeps on giving.
        The only possible reason might be Salmond able to put her into a corner about dubious activity.

      • rose
        Posted December 18, 2020 at 6:06 pm | Permalink

        If only Mary Queen of Scots had had that much power she wouldn’t have lost her head.

    • Fred H
      Posted December 18, 2020 at 9:11 pm | Permalink

      the appeal is merely a bigger handout that what they get from UK (England).

  4. Mark B
    Posted December 18, 2020 at 6:54 am | Permalink

    Good morning.

    It is not just the devolution question that is up for debate here. Following on from my ‘off-topic’ post yesterday, and thank you Sir John for allowing it, we need to include the devolution for what amounts to the ‘City States’, many of which have been created by the Conservative Government.

    Scotland has a population of some 5.5 million. London has a population of nearly twice that and that is not including those that travel into London from surrounding areas. The GDP of London is infinitely greater than that of Scotland, Wales and Ulster put together. And this is just London and not the rest of England. Yet those that create so much wealth for others to enjoy do not get a say over how much, where and on what those monies are spent. We have endless layers of government, from Supranational all the way down to local all taking and evermore of mine, and your, money for themselves.

    The Conservative Government has been the worst offender when it comes to dealing with the SNP. Theresa May MP when she was PM gave Scotland a chunk of England’s fishing quota. Cameron and Clegg gave more money and power to Scotland on the eve of the Referendum. And wee Nippy has been very good at extracting even more cash from the UK Government of Alexander Johnson as he is clearly too feeble a character to stand up to them.

    The time has come to reshape how our Union and make it fit for the 21st Century. Many here are aware of my views and I shall not repeat them. But as has been stated in yesterday’s post, I believe the time has come to look at how we are governed and taxed as the events of the past +10 years have shown the current system no longer works except for a small but powerful minority. Especially those sitting in Holyrood.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted December 18, 2020 at 9:03 am | Permalink

      Indeed. And they cannot even put up a decent candidate to evict the appalling Kahn. Bailey may be a nice enough chap but he is almost totally invisible

  5. Roy Grainger
    Posted December 18, 2020 at 7:15 am | Permalink

    I doubt you’d find many voters in England who could care less about the Union.

    • Everhopeful
      Posted December 18, 2020 at 7:38 am | Permalink


    • SM
      Posted December 18, 2020 at 7:41 am | Permalink

      I think you are probably correct, Roy – and I can’t help wondering (when in an ‘alternative history’ mood) what would have happened had Elizabeth 1 had a closer-related and acceptable English heir to her throne than James Vl of Scotland.

      Would simple geographical proximity and the development of global international trade, followed by the Industrial Revolution, have led to a peaceful co-existence of neighbours, co-operating in defence matters, or would the Scots have continued their internecine quarrelling and anti-English grievance-stoking?

    • Brian Cowling
      Posted December 18, 2020 at 7:52 am | Permalink

      Roy Grainger, Probably off topic – but your words shout out at me as they do every time I see or hear them said by others. (I know I should get out more – but that’s another issue that troubles me at the moment).

      Do you mean “couldn’t care less”?

      • John Hatfield
        Posted December 18, 2020 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

        ‘could’ is correct.

        • Leslie Singleton
          Posted December 19, 2020 at 1:20 am | Permalink

          Dear John–Depends what trying to say–The confusion arises from Americans using “as if I could care less” and dropping the “as if”.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted December 18, 2020 at 8:57 am | Permalink

      You won’t find many ignorant, vicious, cynical Tory ones – those that the party now so slavishly court – who do, no, certainly not.

    • Polly
      Posted December 18, 2020 at 9:23 am | Permalink

      They would if Scotland split and it all went wrong which it would.

      Can you imagine the chaos? England would be forced to rescue Scotland at a cost of a trillion dollars.


      • glen cullen
        Posted December 18, 2020 at 10:33 am | Permalink

        Why would we be forced to rescue Scotland if they’re an indepenant country – they could go to IMF, EU etc

        • Lynn Atkinson
          Posted December 18, 2020 at 12:21 pm | Permalink

          We rescue Ireland.
          It’s because the tribes of the U.K. have reduced now to 4. English, Irish, Scots and Welsh. Most of us carry a mix of blood. So we would rescue Scotland as we rescue Ireland and Wales because they are our relations, we have a genetic interest in their survival.

          • glen cullen
            Posted December 18, 2020 at 8:14 pm | Permalink

            Agree with everything you said but I had an issue with the word ”forced”

      • turboterrier
        Posted December 18, 2020 at 12:48 pm | Permalink


        Rescue Scotland? Why.

        They would have to go to the IMF for a bailout.

        If they split from the UK further proof that a hard border would have to be in place.Each crossing point with immigration and custom facilities. To deter illegal entry and smuggling for tax evasion purposes.

    • IanT
      Posted December 18, 2020 at 9:47 am | Permalink

      That’s not correct Roy – I would very much prefer that the Union remained intact for the good of all but I would not object to the Scots leaving if they really wanted to. However as someone who voted to join the EEC – I think the Scots should think carefully about what they wish for.

      What I find hard to understand is why the Scots would want to substitute London for Brussels? Do they think they would have any more influence there than Westminster? An MP has more real power than an MEP. Do they think the EU would replicate the Barnett formula? The Scots are canny folk where money is concerned and I just don’t see how they can maintain their income levels – not to mention creating a hard border with England.

      So if they do have a second referendum – I do hope it’s in two parts. The first on whether to leave the Union and the second to confirm that vote once the full details have been spelt out (which currency? EU membership? Hard border? New Scottish tax arrangements, Detailed Budget statements etc ) .

      The SNP are highly critical of Brexit – so they should have the chance to spell out in great detail the Pros and Cons of Scottish Independence before any final parting of the ways. They spend a lot of time complaining about Westminster but their own performance in Health and Education is not exactly stellar. Andrew Neil has the measure of Nicola Sturgeon in these areas.

    • Northern Monkey
      Posted December 18, 2020 at 10:01 am | Permalink

      I don’t think that that is true, but I do agree that the antics of the SNP Scottish government are making most people in England rethink their financial support for such ingrate recipients.

    • Sea_Warrior
      Posted December 18, 2020 at 4:41 pm | Permalink

      I do – and I care about the prospect of half of the Scottish population living in fear of being left beyond a redrawn border of the UK. Boris must stand firm against the demands for ‘Indy Ref 2’. If one goes ahead, schoolchildren must NOT be given the vote and neither must ROI nationals.

      • Multi-ID
        Posted December 18, 2020 at 10:34 pm | Permalink

        Too late Sea Warrior Ireland and Scotland stand together we will not be dictated to by English interests- the day has well passed

        • Lynn Atkinson
          Posted December 19, 2020 at 8:06 am | Permalink

          Why did you not win the Independence referendum then?

  6. Dave Andrews
    Posted December 18, 2020 at 7:19 am | Permalink

    Can we not have a voice for England please. We have local government and central government and that is quite enough. We don’t want more tiers of government and another expensive talking shop.
    If the Scots feel they are so awash with cash they can afford Holyrood, then it’s time to revisit the Barnet Formula. In the meantime, don’t give it any more powers.

    • Andy
      Posted December 18, 2020 at 8:21 am | Permalink

      You do have a voice for England – and an unfairly and unreasonably big one.

      58% of voters in the United Kingdom did not vote for the Conservative Party in the 2019 general election.

      Yet – despite getting a minority of the vote – you have a massive majority in Parliament and you get to impose your minority view on everyone else.

      In 3 of the 4 parts of the U.K. – Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland – there are either no, or very few, Conservative MPs.

      Even in England more people voted for the parties of the centre and left –
      Lib Dem, Lab, Green – than voted for the Tories and Brexit Parties combined.

      So stop whinging about not having a voice. The Little Englanders get far more of a say than anyone else. You are in a minority. You just have an electoral system that works heavily in your favour. If we continue to find the ballot box does not work for us and that we not only get ignored but trampled on – we will simply find another way to remove you all from power. After all there are more of us than there are of you.

      • IanT
        Posted December 18, 2020 at 11:46 am | Permalink

        A bit of an insult to that 58% to assume they are all like you Andy.

        I’m sure many of them are very nice people.

      • Edward2
        Posted December 18, 2020 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

        Ridiculous twisting of statistics.
        If you have numerous political parties and non compulsory voting then it is almost certain that a winning party will not have over 50% of the whole vote.
        You would need to have just two parties and make voting compulsory.

        In the last election the Lib Dems the Green and Labour had a dreadful election result.
        Stop whinging andy

      • Alan Paul Joyce
        Posted December 18, 2020 at 5:41 pm | Permalink

        Dear Mr. Redwood,


        Now that freedom of movement to your “beloved EU” is no longer available, why not move to Scotland! Perhaps even join the SNP?

      • rose
        Posted December 18, 2020 at 6:02 pm | Permalink

        You are so Anglophobic that you always forget about the Welsh who voted in a greater proportion for Brexit. And about the Scots, more of whom voted for Brexit than voted for the Scottish National Socialists. And about the majority of Northern Irish Unionists who voted for Brexit.

    • Everhopeful
      Posted December 18, 2020 at 8:24 am | Permalink

      It would be so nice if the govt. treated the English with the same kid gloves and consideration reserved for the rest of the Union.
      I guess that, were he to lose Scotland, Boris would have to go. ( Real name of Tory Party is Conservative and Unionist Party). The loss would represent a huge reduction in economic and political power. Who cares though since Scotland receives getting on for £2000 per capita than we do! Bribery!
      So now apparently he is resorting to “hyper-unionism”!

      • Yossarion
        Posted December 18, 2020 at 2:06 pm | Permalink

        Conservative and Unionist Party only in England! If your statement were correct there would be No Scottish Conservative Party and No Welsh Conservative Party. Though everyone knows these were German Landers/EU Regions political entities.

        • Everhopeful
          Posted December 18, 2020 at 8:25 pm | Permalink

          Oh, as far as I can tell that is the OFFICIAL title of the Tory party.
          They just don’t use it.
          But presumably they do have to appear wedded to the union?
          And the Scottish Cons do call themselves Unionists …and occasionally so do the Welsh.
          The Conservative party officially opposes the break up of the UK .

  7. Everhopeful
    Posted December 18, 2020 at 7:25 am | Permalink

    But the rat gnawing at my brain keeps asking me….
    Why are they worrying about normal politics, why are they still parleying when they have obliterated the world?
    Why are those “in the know” not following the rules? Where is their insider knowledge terror?
    What of borders, disputes, parliaments when death is said to lurk like a sinister Puck?
    And now freedom is promised for April.
    Cruel, teasing jailors!

    from “God’s Judgment on a Wicked Bishop”
    by Robert Southey

    “Bishop Hatto he made fast the door;
    And while for mercy on Christ they call,
    He set fire to the Barn and burnt them all”.

  8. Sakara Gold
    Posted December 18, 2020 at 8:01 am | Permalink

    A large part of Scottish support for the SNP stems from their socialist policies on spending British taxpayer’s money. Funding for commitments on tuition fees, childcare, free personal care, free prescriptions, over generous unemployment benefits etc stem in part, from policy priorities in Scotland related to their inordinately high unemployment rate and are popular with their electorate.

    Scotland’s unemployment rate is now the highest among all the UK nations, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) confirmed in April unemployment in Scotland for people over 16 was 4.6% – compared with a UK rate of 3.9%. It should be noted that this is in spite of Scotland being effectively a one-party state for the past ten years!

    Scotland’s alcoholics are given free booze on the British taxpayer to keep them off the streets. The racist fees policy on English students who wish to attend Scottish universities is highly popular. Clearly, Holyrood has been weaponised by the SNP as a Trojan horse against the very Union that devolution was meant to secure.

    I would argue that what is actually needed is a new and reformed Act of Union. This should include Westminster legislating in devolved areas, getting rid of the Scottish Parliament, making elections and referendums reserved matters and to stop spending British taxpayers’ money on the SNP’s vote-winning socialist policies.

    However, doing so would be met by the full force of hysterical self-pity and imagined oppression that the Scottish establishment can muster. Nevertheless, there are many people in Scotland who support the Union. Unfortunately, their voice is rarely heard.

    • Sakara Gold
      Posted December 18, 2020 at 8:06 am | Permalink

      Correction :- referenda

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted December 19, 2020 at 8:09 am | Permalink

      They supported the SNP to ‘lock’ Labour out of Downing Street.

    • Syd
      Posted December 19, 2020 at 10:32 am | Permalink

      Thank you for your last paragraph.
      I’m 76. I moved to Scotland from Northumberland 46 years ago. I hate the thought that my fellow countrymen in England think the majority of residents of Scotland dislike and resent the English. It just isn’t true.
      I believe that the result of the Indy 1 Referendum would be repeated if there was an Indy 2 Referendum. Unionists 55% and 45% for Separation.
      Current polls ask a question that is skewed to give a Separatist answer. In addition, folk who are against the SNP tend to keep their heads down and opinions to themselves. “Careful what you say in front of him – he’s SNP” is regularly heard among those of us who discuss the inadequacy of the SNP Government.
      Please don’t desert those of us that want to stay British.
      (Read Effie Deans blog, she tells it the way the majority feel.)

  9. JimS
    Posted December 18, 2020 at 8:02 am | Permalink

    The ‘English’ don’t need a voice, we have too much government as it is.

    The main driver of devolution is the feeling in the greater part of the UK that we have 650 London MPs.

    Similarly Scotland thinks it has 129 Edinburgh MSPs and Wales 60 Cardiff MSs.

    • rose
      Posted December 18, 2020 at 5:58 pm | Permalink

      You have put your finger on it: Blair’s devolution wasn’t devolution as most people understand it. He just transferred central government on the Westminster model to Cardiff and Holyrood.

  10. The PrangWizard
    Posted December 18, 2020 at 8:16 am | Permalink

    A high guiding principle of reasonableness in a negotiation comes from those who consider they have a moral superiority over others, who they foolishly presume will see it and follow it.

    It is of course perceived by opponents quite sensibly as naivety and weakness to be exploited. This has been the case with the EU and Scottish devolution.

    That is why England is in such dire straits on both where as each day goes by our nation falls further into decline and decay with such incompetents as leaders, those who think they are living in an era long since passed, too hidebound and repressed to be able to speak out plainly for the case, too afraid in case they offend someone.

    They don’t mind the sacrificing of England and the English in any process though.

  11. Old Albion
    Posted December 18, 2020 at 8:20 am | Permalink

    England as ever is ignored in the Devolution narrative. Twenty years ago I would have supported a new UK federation, now that moment has gone. England needs to become independent. Our best route to independence is to support Scottish independence.
    Scotlands best route to independence is to give a vote to all in the (dis)UK. They would be gone by a massive majority.

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted December 18, 2020 at 12:24 pm | Permalink

      England and Scotland are United by the Act of Union. Either party can rescind it. Neither party has wanted to do so and each vote in the elections of the U.K. Government sitting in Westminster, reconfirmed their desire to remain in the Union.
      Pity the EU does not have the same laws and procedures.

    • Yossarion
      Posted December 18, 2020 at 2:14 pm | Permalink

      The Ulster Unionists voted on an English only matter a couple of weeks ago so EVEL is not respected, I’m with you when the largest part of a Union has the weakest voice through decades of the old guard pandering to the fringes trying to keep it together its time for an English Parliament.

    • JoolsB
      Posted December 18, 2020 at 2:26 pm | Permalink


    • rose
      Posted December 18, 2020 at 5:55 pm | Permalink

      No, this is terribly short-sighted. Scots would come pouring over the border and the Russians would move in a naval base or two. What would you do about the border? The Scottish National Socialists would have open borders to try and replenish their population, and all the newcomers would come over the border too. We would end up bailing them out in the end, as we did Ireland.

  12. acorn
    Posted December 18, 2020 at 8:21 am | Permalink

    The plucky Brits can always engineer a workaround. Portsmouth in Tier 3 is running booze cruises to the Isle of Wight which is in Tier 1.

    As MPs are demanding greater granulation for Covid Tiering on their patches, you can imagine one side of a street in Tier 3 and the other side in Tier 1. Apart from spreading the bug, the major risk would be crowds getting hit by traffic crossing the road from Tier 3 to Tier 1 for a Scotch Egg and a pint. 😉

    • beresford
      Posted December 18, 2020 at 2:48 pm | Permalink

      Meanwhile it is rumoured that the Government are trying to devise a Tier 4 which is even more restrictive. Presumably they will re-open the pubs so they can close them again.

  13. Bryan Harris
    Posted December 18, 2020 at 8:28 am | Permalink

    You were right.

    Devolution has done nothing to improve neither the quality of life in Britain, nor the political balance. It has been shown to be a false god.

  14. turboterrier
    Posted December 18, 2020 at 8:29 am | Permalink

    The night of the referendum in Scotland for independence the one thing never really picked up on was the amount of money that electronically flew out of the country. There is a an elite in Scotland with the money who were not prepared to risk their investments if the SNP had won. They know financially what side of the border their bread is buttered on..The risks are still there in higher taxation and land taxes, without the UK funding and demands from the EU especially regarding the euro a lot of companies large and small will relocate their admin and financial operations. The recent working at home experience if nothing else has proved in a lot of cases your employees do not need an office only good communication networks.

    • Bryan Harris
      Posted December 20, 2020 at 12:08 pm | Permalink


  15. Andy
    Posted December 18, 2020 at 8:31 am | Permalink

    In just two weeks our relationship with the EU changes to something as still yet undefined to someone on which none of us will have had a say.

    We are told one of the few upsides is cheap tampons. So let us see. Tampon purchasing is an area with which I am not familiar – but you can find out some useful stuff on the internet.

    A packet of 36 tampons appears to cost around £4.00 at some major retailers.

    A packet of 18 costs around £2.10.

    Let’s see what happens to those prices in January to see if you have achieved your main goal from your new found freedom.

    Meanwhile, there are already huge traffic jams at Holyhead, Dover and Calais as your entirely predictable Brexit harm to the economy continues.

    Decades of relative decline are ahead until we remove you all and undo the huge damage you have all done. Enjoy your tampons.

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted December 18, 2020 at 12:28 pm | Permalink

      Do you think our Government should have the power to remove VAT from energy bills so our old don’t freeze to death? It’s a 20% drop for small shops.

    • Edward2
      Posted December 18, 2020 at 12:39 pm | Permalink

      Your childish obsession continues andy.

    • Fred H
      Posted December 18, 2020 at 12:57 pm | Permalink

      do seek some help, you clearly have real issues.

    • Richard1
      Posted December 18, 2020 at 1:04 pm | Permalink

      yes look at all those countries which have been in relative decline versus the EU over the decades. The US, Canada, Singapore, Switzerland, Norway, South Korea. etc. Its a wonder they haven’t all applied to join.

    • DavidJ
      Posted December 18, 2020 at 1:45 pm | Permalink


      If you like the EU so much maybe you would be happier living there. Others of us want our country back.

      • Andy
        Posted December 18, 2020 at 7:25 pm | Permalink

        I can’t. You took away free movement. So you are left with people like me here laughing at how well your Brexit is going. I read a great story today about two leave voters in Kent. One has a house which used to look out over fields. It now backs on the Farage Garage lorry park. The other leave voter – who lives near Dover – cannot use his back garden anymore because it stinks of urine. Why? Because there are no toilets for the lorry drivers stuck in your 20 mile Brexit traffic jam. So the drivers use plastic bottles instead and throw them over the fences. Take Back Bladder Control?

        • Lynn Atkinson
          Posted December 19, 2020 at 8:11 am | Permalink

          You had 47 years to move. Why did you not?

        • Edward2
          Posted December 19, 2020 at 8:12 am | Permalink

          That is nonsense.
          UK citizens lived and worked and retired to places all over Europe (and the rest of the world) long before you were born.
          You just need to meet the individual nations requirements.
          Please try.

        • Fred H
          Posted December 19, 2020 at 10:14 am | Permalink

          You never appear as laughing, always seem to be whining at things you lost and cannot come to terms with. Move on.

    • rose
      Posted December 18, 2020 at 5:49 pm | Permalink

      This sneering does not alter the principle that we should be in charge of our own taxation. We never even had VAT before we went into the EEC. It was a continental tax for certain countries which didn’t pay their income or property tax.

      • Andy
        Posted December 18, 2020 at 7:21 pm | Permalink

        We didn’t have computers, or mobile phones, or unleaded petrol, or decent restaurants before we went into the EEC either. But today is 2020 and if you hark back to the early 1970s and think it was better then you need your head tested.

        • Edward2
          Posted December 18, 2020 at 9:20 pm | Permalink

          rose never said she thought the 1970s were better.
          Stop making stuff up andy.

        • Lynn Atkinson
          Posted December 19, 2020 at 8:13 am | Permalink

          We invented computers you bloody fool, to beat the Germans! Do you genuinely know nothing?

        • steve
          Posted December 19, 2020 at 9:25 am | Permalink


          The 70’s was when it all started going down the pan. You wouldn’t know this, because you weren’t born.

        • dixie
          Posted December 20, 2020 at 8:37 am | Permalink


          I was using UK manufactured Digico and ICL computers in the early 70s, Lyons sold commercial systems in the early 50s. No EU then.

          The first mobile phones were push-to-talk sets for taxis and commercial vehicles in the mid 40’s while in the UK cellular phones where developed by Racal in the mid 80’s, nothing to do with the EEC.

          Plenty of more than “decent” restaurants in the 70’s, I particularly remember Captain America’s in Norwich, Shing On and Le Ho Fuk in Shaftsbury Avenue and Gerrard Street, Numerous Italian restaurants and Polish Deli’s in London – again pre-EEC/EU.

          You clearly know bugger all about the 70’s.

    • steve
      Posted December 19, 2020 at 9:31 am | Permalink


      You seem obsessed with hating your own country, hating pensioners, and obsessed with the price of tampaxes.

      You need help Son.

  16. Richard1
    Posted December 18, 2020 at 8:32 am | Permalink

    The tendency to put policy (eg on COVID, climate) beyond the reach of democratic processes is very concerning. It also leads to bad decisions, as is becoming increasing clear with CV-19, and as will surely become very clear with climate as we move through the 2020s.

    Democracy acts as a market testing mechanism for policies. Unless you are a socialist who believes market prices are better set by diktat of a quango rather than by market processes, you should also believe in the power of democracy as a decision making tool.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted December 18, 2020 at 5:44 pm | Permalink


  17. Richard1
    Posted December 18, 2020 at 8:39 am | Permalink

    Devolution has certainly been a disaster as Boris Johnson rightly said in an unguarded moment. It has led to the fostering of unpleasant grievance politics in Scotland, and of course to terrible outcomes in Scotland with the ghastly SNP – in education, health, etc.

    It’s too late to do anything about it in Scotland. But I wonder whether the performance of the buffoonish Labour ‘government’ in Wales might not be so bad that it could be worth asking the people of Wales whether they really want to keep devolution? I see the silly ‘circuit breaker’ – advocated by Labour for the whole of the U.K. (and unfortunately by SAGE groupthink) – has had no positive effect whatsoever.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted December 18, 2020 at 5:45 pm | Permalink


    • rose
      Posted December 18, 2020 at 5:46 pm | Permalink

      There is an Abolish The Assembly Party up and running. We should all contribute.

      • Richard1
        Posted December 18, 2020 at 11:19 pm | Permalink

        Thanks I will check it out

  18. Walt
    Posted December 18, 2020 at 8:40 am | Permalink

    1. Sir John. “It would be good if MPs meant what they said …” The sentence could end there in its application to all matters.

    2. Mark B and Dave Andrews make some cracking points today re Scotland and the SNP.

    Thank you, gentlemen.

    • Mark B
      Posted December 18, 2020 at 3:59 pm | Permalink

      No sir, thank you 🙂

  19. Arthur Wrightiss
    Posted December 18, 2020 at 8:45 am | Permalink

    Can someone please tell me what percentage share of the National Debt will become the responsibility of Scotland should they break away from the UK.
    This issue never seems to be mentioned.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted December 18, 2020 at 9:03 am | Permalink

      There’s nothing to say that the Scots – having voted for independence – could not negotiate a federal arrangement with the former UK.

      That would always have been the proper solution, but the power-obsessed centralising Establishment would never have allowed it, so it would appear that starting from scratch would be the only possible route.

      You might need to look up “federal”.

      • IanT
        Posted December 18, 2020 at 11:54 am | Permalink

        So a “Federation” of two countries that don’t have the same currency, laws or even membership of the EU Martin?

        I can see a few practical problems with that but I’m sure you will know the answers?

      • Lynn Atkinson
        Posted December 18, 2020 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

        The only rational reason for Scottish Independence (and I mean independent not a surrender of same to the EU) would be to have their own Scottish £ float against the U.K. £.

        It would sink to the point where Scotland was an attractive place to live and do business. It would then be able to compete against London successfully.

      • Fred H
        Posted December 18, 2020 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

        was that federal or feral? just asking.

      • steve
        Posted December 18, 2020 at 2:33 pm | Permalink


        “There’s nothing to say that the Scots – having voted for independence – could not negotiate a federal arrangement with the former UK.”


        Yes there is.

        For starters we wouldn’t want to negotiate with people who regularly insult us.

      • John C.
        Posted December 18, 2020 at 6:06 pm | Permalink

        You are rude and insolent. Sir John, stop accepting this. It’s embarrassing to read.

        • Lynn Atkinson
          Posted December 19, 2020 at 8:15 am | Permalink

          +1 Andy is also beyond a joke at this point.

        • steve
          Posted December 19, 2020 at 9:22 am | Permalink

          “You are rude and insolent. Sir John”


          I’d have said the opposite was true. He’s a meek and well mannered man who [sometimes rather infuriatingly] lacks aggression.

          There is always a need for such virtues.

        • hefner
          Posted December 19, 2020 at 9:28 am | Permalink

          Doffing your cap like a good li’l boy, hey?

    • hefner
      Posted December 18, 2020 at 9:04 am | Permalink

      There was a four-page paper on that question published in 2013 (I think): ‘UK debt and the Scotland independence referendum’. It is available on

    • Alan Jutson
      Posted December 18, 2020 at 9:16 am | Permalink


    • Tony Henry
      Posted December 18, 2020 at 10:06 am | Permalink


      As David Cameron confirmed in 2014 when reassuring the markets, the debt belongs to uk as the continuing state. It was uk which took on the debt and therefore is exclusively legally responsible for repayments.

      The is a precedent. When Ireland left the United Kingdom it was not responsible for or paid any uk debt.

      Scotland is in a similar position. It has no borrowing powers therefore cannot have any debt. It also balances its budget every year.

      The UK is in a very weak position given it has a 2.5 TRILLION debt and rising which it cannot afford to pay. In effect, Britain is living beyond its means and survives on tic.

      Of course the government wants you to think Scotland isn’t viable but needs to hush up the truth that the UK itself is avoiding bankruptcy by printing billions. It’s only going to get worse.

      • Derek Henry
        Posted December 18, 2020 at 11:17 am | Permalink

        Hi Tony,

        Hope you have a good Xmas

        Sorry Tony…

        That’s complete gold standard fixed exchange rate hogwash.

        A balance sheet has to balance

        All you talk about are the “liabilities” what about the “asset” side of the govt balance sheet Tony?

        You’ve completely ignored it.

        The budget deficit = private sector surplus ( savings) to the penny

        The national debt is that surplus moved into gilts over time to earn more interest.

        When we put our surplus( savings) in a pension or NS&I etc etc

        It does not work like a household. It’s nothing like a household the govt “issues” the currency we are “users” of the currency.

        If you ignore the asset side of the govt balance sheet you are ust telling half a story.

        We don’t have to pay anything back it’s our total private sector savings in £’s. when we spend our savings the deficit and debt reduce naturally.

        An asset swap between a reserve balance and a gilt adds to the govt debt.

        An Asset swap between a gilt and a reserve balance reduces the govt debt

        Job done..

        When you talk as if the govt acts like a household or a business you’ve lost the plot entirely.

        • Edward2
          Posted December 19, 2020 at 8:14 am | Permalink

          Make us all billionaires Derek.
          Just create the cash electronically and send it to our bank accounts.

      • IanT
        Posted December 18, 2020 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

        So Scotland doesn’t have a large annual deficit then Tony ?
        Strange I thought it did. About -£15B (about £2000 per head)

        And of course all those Billions being printed by “UK”. I don’t suppose any of it is going to Scotland is it? Is there no furlough in Scotland, no Universal Credit, no Company Loans, no Barnett Formula?

        So even if Scotland started with zero debt, it would certainly build up rapidly going forward – and what currency would that debt be in?

        Euros or Sterling? Surely not “Scottish” pounds?

      • Lynn Atkinson
        Posted December 18, 2020 at 12:31 pm | Permalink

        Ah! So if England leaves then all the U.K. debt is left with Wales and Scotland? Let’s have an English Referendum quick!

      • Narrow Shoulders
        Posted December 18, 2020 at 7:30 pm | Permalink

        I think the same arguments can be put forward for the UK liabilities to the EU which we are supposedly on the hook for.

        The UK borrowed money to transfer to Scotland therefore in any split Scotland will be expected to shoulder all of that debt.

    • Andy
      Posted December 18, 2020 at 11:08 am | Permalink

      That’ll be subject to negotiation – as will Scotland’s share of national assets.

      Clearly Scottish independence will be a challenge as will Irish reunification
      – but both are coming.

      Neither wishes to be chained to nasty little England – Europe‘s anus.

      • Edward2
        Posted December 18, 2020 at 7:55 pm | Permalink

        Odd that England has 85% of the population and the tax revenues and the GDP.
        Given that we would stop subsidising them and not sending the EU many billions England would be very much better off.
        Let’s calculate just how rich they would be without England propping them up.

  20. Mike Durrans
    Posted December 18, 2020 at 9:06 am | Permalink

    By the performance of Mark Dripford and wee jimmy krankie lately . I believe a case is well made for the abolition of devolved government And the repatriation of powers to Westminster.
    We are a small island and our income does not stretch to so many tiers of government, they are unneeded and a total waste of tax monies

    • Mike Stallard
      Posted December 18, 2020 at 10:41 am | Permalink

      Two problems:
      Local government has decayed slowly over my lifetime and now there is a push-back.

      Westminster is a very long way mentally from Cambridgeshire. It is obsessed with the fact that there are more people of non English heritage in London than white British; it is obsessed with global warming and consequent chaos (cycle lanes anyone?); it is, by and large, in favour of Remaining in the EU.

      I notice that the BBC has started calling Scotland and Wales and N Ireland “nations” as if they were already independent.

    • DavidJ
      Posted December 18, 2020 at 1:42 pm | Permalink


    • rose
      Posted December 18, 2020 at 5:42 pm | Permalink

      Quite right. The Welsh referendum garnered very few votes and a tiny, tiny majority, yet we had to pay for this embarrassing jumped up county council in its overweening building. Its only purpose is a negative one: to show the English how awful is authoritarian Labour government.

      • rose
        Posted December 18, 2020 at 5:44 pm | Permalink

        Sir John administered Wales very well and there was no need to devolve from the point of view of the people’s welfare. Education and health at that time were doing very well.

        • Mark B
          Posted December 19, 2020 at 4:57 am | Permalink

          He went even further than that. He gave back money to the Treasury ! That is how well it was run.

    • Tony Henry
      Posted December 18, 2020 at 6:55 pm | Permalink

      Well done.

      The backlash would result in independence overnight.

      72% of Scots voted for the Scottish Parliament in 1997 but you would at a stroke, shut it down without reference to the Scots. Typically undemocratic mindset!

      This dismissive arrogance and contempt underlines exactly why Scots have had enough of this unequal union.

      Your attitude is not uncommon among English supremists and explains why support for independence now leads by 16%.

      Scotland is not your possession or a colony as you are about to find out.

      • steve
        Posted December 18, 2020 at 8:33 pm | Permalink

        Tony Henry

        Off you go then, ta ta.

      • Lynn Atkinson
        Posted December 19, 2020 at 8:21 am | Permalink

        English taxes are not your ‘possession’ and 85% of Scots are NOT net taxpayers. I wonder how long the 15% who will pay for all, will take yo cross the Tweed? Nanoseconds?

  21. JoolsB
    Posted December 18, 2020 at 9:06 am | Permalink

    Devolution has put England at a huge disadvantage constitutionally, politically and financially. The Conservatives, there by the grace of England, have been in power for 10 years and have done absolutely nothing to address the situation except to finish Labour’s work of balkanising England into competing regions imposing Mayors that were not wanted. The Tories are therefore just as much responsible for the destruction of this so called union as Labour for deliberately continuing to ignore the fact 20 years after devolution England is still voiceless without representation and not recognised as a nation in it’s own right. Johnson has promised 71 new powers to the pampered Scots and other devolved nations and still not one single power for England as a nation. We don’t even have a Minister for England. Resentment is growing yet still England is ignored.

    I have written to my Tory MP on several occasions and besides insulting me with the toothless sop which is EVEL, he says there’s no appetite for an English Parliament. How does he know when they refuse to ask us?. Contradictorily, he has even defended UK MPs elected outside of England still getting a vote on what happens in England because their votes only made a difference 21 times and as I pointed out that is 21 times too many. UK MPs squatting in English seats don’t give a stuff about the rotten deal England gets from this so called union. We deserve our own dedicated MPs who put England first for a change instead of last as happens now.

    They refuse to ask the people of England if they would like the same arrangements as the rest of the UK because they are afraid they won’t like the answer. After all, why would we need 650 UK MPs for a starter? It’s obvious 650 self serving MPs are far more interested in their own careers and the Westminster Gravy train than what’s right and fair and long overdue for England.

  22. Alan Jutson
    Posted December 18, 2020 at 9:20 am | Permalink

    Time to take the lop sided devolution to the next stage, a Parliament for England, it can still sit in Westminster so no new buildings/offices needed.

    The farce over the pandemic has shown up the failures of the present system where all member countries of the UK want to do something different, just so they can be different, and show they are different, and in each case they have done worse than England but with more of the share of the money.
    Time to either given them the responsibility to raise all of their own cash, or to take away the advantage they have of the barnet formula.

    • Narrow Shoulders
      Posted December 18, 2020 at 11:53 am | Permalink


      Who pays the piper calls the tune.

      The piper can choose whose cash he takes.

  23. ian@Barkham
    Posted December 18, 2020 at 9:22 am | Permalink

    Yes agreed.

    We have a lopsided state of affairs with what was called devolution. The one that immediately jumps out is Scotland vs Yorkshire. The population of Yorkshire is greater than that of Scotland. Yet Scotland has more say on what happens in Yorkshire than the folk that live there. The UK taxpayer gives per head of population more to the Scots than those in Yorkshire get.

    There is on the other hand a need to hand down powers and responsibility more locally than carrying on with this bizarre top down control of big government. In that we can get rid of at least half of the members of the HoC.

    We have for to long had a HoC that is not much more than a local council to their master in the EU Commission. They haven’t had to think globally, take on the bigger picture in a world context, although for some they have never had to think. I would suggest the reason the HoC was so tied up with remain is they didn’t as individuals want actual real responsibility. Which is why we have a Parliament that try’s to act as a local council. Which is dumb, local councils, parish councils even, in the majority of situations can carry out there daily duties better than a centralised controlling government.

    Back in Scotland even with this devolution does any one really think that those in Edinburgh are needed by the good citizens of Glasgow or even Shetland to run their daily life? The government process should be passed down as far as possible to local communities. Let them pool with others or ask for help if needed. As the are closer to the action they will get results quicker.

    Central Government on the other hand is for the collective negations with other States, there to coordinate within the UK only those things absolutely necessary. There is a big difference between creating guiding collective ambitions, than actual carrying out the minuet detail from some central hub.

    The trouble is having a Political Class trying to rule without them having had the experience of creating and growing a business is they cant comprehend. They get to meet big business lobby groups and absorb what they are told, but they are not asking who these fellows are. The greater majority of UK trade associations do not represent the trades they proport to, only factions with in them. Then to cap it all the so big ones are all run and funded by foreign organisations – so who do they represent and lobby for. Government needs to get out more, while devolving more to those that can react better.

  24. Jack Falstaff
    Posted December 18, 2020 at 9:34 am | Permalink

    I don’t believe that high-level negotiations are exactly the most suitable setting for Monsieur Barnier to showcase such a prodigious display of stamping, pouting and petulant grimaces.

    If he wishes to draw attention to himself using this technique, I’m quite sure that any number of flamenco agents would be delighted to grant him an audition when this is all over.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted December 18, 2020 at 11:01 am | Permalink

      I could link to plenty of grimacing ERG faces.

      Could you provide one to say, Michel Barnier doing that?

    • margaret howard
      Posted December 18, 2020 at 5:16 pm | Permalink

      Jack Falstaff

      Monsieur Barnier is a chief negotiator not head of our country.

      For that we have The Right Honourable Boris……………….

      • Lynn Atkinson
        Posted December 19, 2020 at 8:22 am | Permalink

        No Margaret, we have HM The Queen. Do you anti-British know anything at all of the basic Constitution?

  25. Chris S
    Posted December 18, 2020 at 9:43 am | Permalink

    Firstly, I come from a position or detesting the fact that English taxpayers are forced to subsidise Scotland to the tune of £11bn a year but have no say on what that money is spent on. All we get in return is abuse and demands for even more of our cash.

    Whatever is decided, the Barnett Gravy Train has to hit the buffers. You cannot have devolved decision-making where other taxpayers have to foot the bill. The abuses, of which free prescriptions and university fees are but two examples, are well documented.

    I would allow another referendum in Scotland. That is the only way to lance the boil. But unlike the first one, it should only take place on condition that every Scottish party and politician signs up to the fact that there will not be another vote for at least 30 years.

    I have no real preference over the outcome, as long as if Scotland votes to stay in the UK, the Barnett formula ends and all the money spent in Scotland is raised in Scotland. Appeasing the Scots with more of our money is no solution.

    As for England, the current situation is intolerable but here is no appetite for an extra layer of politicians in England. The Scottish example is not a good one. It is no more than a ludicrously expensive building, full of grandstanding second-rate politicians. It’s not even properly democratic, otherwise why, given the SNP’s appalling record, are they still in charge ?

    The only sensible solution for us is for English PMs to sit as an English devolved assembly at Westminster. To add a regional flavour, groups of MPs could meet in their own region to take evidence and consider the needs of their area. The arrangement could be based on a version of the select committee system, with the individual regional chairmen coming together under the chairmanship of the Chancellor of the Dutchy of Lancaster and the Prime Minister.

    • JoolsB
      Posted December 19, 2020 at 8:51 am | Permalink

      “As for England, the current situation is intolerable but here is no appetite for an extra layer of politicians in England.”

      An English Parliament wouldn’t necessarily require more politicians Chris. Most of the 650 UK MPs would not be needed, maybe 100-200 for reserved matters. The rest would be replaced by dedicated English MPs to an English Parliament.

  26. Newmania
    Posted December 18, 2020 at 9:45 am | Permalink

    John Redwood’s acceptance of the referendum result makes a nice and symmetrical counterpoint to the immoderate opposition to the UK`s place in Europe that began within 5 minutes of the first referendum . True , he was commendably quiet about it until others had done the dirty work, himself.
    He and I agreed on the pound. Had the UK been forced into the Eurozone I would have had a difficult choice. It was clear to me then that a top down change of this scale enacted by political ideologists had endless dangers, unforeseeable to all; and certainly to a bunch of politicians .Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose…
    This reminds that Sir John was not always the irresponsible and ridiculous figure he has become in his Winter years .He used to believe in sound money free trade prosperity business and pragmatism.
    If the spirits of these principles were to visit him over the yule season . I wonder if he might yet see what he has become, and the harm he is prepared to inflict on others.

    “I fear the ghost of Brexit future most of all “…..

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted December 18, 2020 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

      But you support the EU – does it ‘believe in sound money free trade prosperity business and pragmatism.’

  27. Alan Paul Joyce
    Posted December 18, 2020 at 10:04 am | Permalink

    Dear Mr. Redwood,

    I know it is exactly why they go about things in the way that they do but it does sometimes feel like it would be worth giving the SNP another referendum and hoping they win just to get rid of them from Westminster. What a truly awful bunch the SNP MP’s seem to be!

    As for devolution and the Barnett formula; does the government expect the SNP and its followers to be grateful for the powers it has handed over and the ‘Barnett’ slush money it continues to funnel into the trough? It just makes them despise Westminster even more because of its weakness and political ineptitude. And it doesn’t do much for voters in England.

  28. No Longer Anonymous
    Posted December 18, 2020 at 10:16 am | Permalink

    Ms Sturgeon is using Brexit as a means to dismantle the UK. The time to have resisted the EU referendum was before it took place and to have not taken part in it. Our ‘X’ on the ballot slip is not simply a mark of our preference but our pledge to respect the outcome of that ballot. It is a contract.

    Devolution was intended to destroy Britain – isles smaller than a US state. Yet Irish Americans are happy to rule southern US states thousands of miles away from the Capital and wiped out indigenous peoples to do it.

    The Sun makes a good point today.

    Had the EU been the first to roll out the vaccine and we had been the ones behind, the BBC would have been giving us a daily body count of people that Boris’s inaction had killed.

  29. glen cullen
    Posted December 18, 2020 at 10:21 am | Permalink

    …and what can the people do if the government do not fulfil and enact the result of a referendum as described on a ballot paper

    I would suggest that if (1) a referendum result isn’t enacted in a swift time and (2) that enactment is in name only; those people don’t live in a democracy

    • Lensy
      Posted December 18, 2020 at 5:07 pm | Permalink

      The UK left the EU months ago, what’s your problem? Sure, Brexit is rubbish and it’s nothing like you were promised back in 2016 but take that up with the Brexiters who sold you a very dodgy deal. We hold all the cards? Dont think so

      • glen cullen
        Posted December 18, 2020 at 9:23 pm | Permalink

        My problem is that we’re still paying into the EU, obeying the rules & regulations of the EU and still subject to the ECJ…..doesn’t feel like we’ve left

  30. Mactheknife
    Posted December 18, 2020 at 10:30 am | Permalink

    Labour wanted devolution in Scotalnd because they thought they had a stronghold from which they could out smart parliament. This, along with EU treaties, have caused numerous issues for the UK as a whole, not just with Brexit.

    As a Scot I recommend that we either give them full devolution and let them stand on their own two feet, or give them full tax raising powers, reduce the UK grant and let the Scottish people see the real SNP.

    While ever we give them the money to buy stones to throw at us, devolution will not work. The sheer chutzpah of Sturgeon and Salmond before her is incredible and if I were a UK politician I would make life as difficult as possible for them.

    • Narrow Shoulders
      Posted December 18, 2020 at 11:58 am | Permalink

      Yes let the Scots see how much their government actually costs them through their own taxation and see if they continue to support the SNP.

    • Tony Henry
      Posted December 18, 2020 at 6:59 pm | Permalink

      You claim to be a Scot.

      If you are, you must be very self loathing.

      I can’t imagine a French, German or American speaking about his own countrymen in the terms you have just used.

      • Narrow Shoulders
        Posted December 18, 2020 at 7:34 pm | Permalink

        Will you level the same accusation at those UK EUphiles who wish harm upon this nation when it leaves?

      • Lynn Atkinson
        Posted December 18, 2020 at 8:16 pm | Permalink

        Read Andy calling England ‘Europe’s Anus’ above.
        This is a real Scotsman with a good brain wanting the U.K. to thrive, I wish more on this blog had the same objective and the analytical ability of this Scot, our blood relation.

  31. Excalibur
    Posted December 18, 2020 at 10:34 am | Permalink

    Indeed, JR. Tony Blair was the most toxic politician since Attlee. His deliberate policy of changing the demographics of the United Kingdom; the fragmentation of the Union through devolution, and the pursuit of the EU agenda through regionalisation all contributed to the erosion of English democracy.

    The Rt. Honourable Elizabeth Truss, M.P. may well save this Government’s bacon if she secures the Customs Mutual Assistance Agreement with the U.S. before December 31st, and membership of the CPTPP, both of which will outflank the EU’s intransigence.

    • ChrisS
      Posted December 18, 2020 at 11:50 am | Permalink

      Watching Sturgeon squirm when a Conservative Government and Donald Trump work together and remove the EU’s punitive tariff on Scotch Whisky will be wonderful.

      To think, she will be going into an election next year on a platform that would see her handing back Scottish fishing waters to Brussels and the re-imposition of the 25% tariff on Scotch ! Hard to explain, that……………..yet the SNP will still win the election.

    • rose
      Posted December 18, 2020 at 5:34 pm | Permalink

      He as also a covert republican as his policies downgraded the Monarch, the Supreme Court being the most egregious example, but he also cut down his audiences from twice a week to once and his wife was an open republican.

      • hefner
        Posted December 18, 2020 at 11:07 pm | Permalink

        What’s wrong with being a republican instead of a tepid lazy unthinking inadvertent inattentive monarchist?

        • Edward2
          Posted December 19, 2020 at 8:20 am | Permalink

          What’s wrong with being a monarchist instead of being.
          tepid lazy unthinking inattentive republican?

          • hefner
            Posted December 20, 2020 at 7:02 pm | Permalink

            Given the respective size of the pool of monarchists to that of the republicans in this kingdom, you’re much more likely to meet such a qualified monarchist than a similarly qualified republican, don’t you think?

      • Mark B
        Posted December 19, 2020 at 4:54 am | Permalink

        Never stopped them accepting HMQ’s invitations to Balmoral or Mrs.B accetin her OBE.

        Show me a Socialist, and I will show you a hypocrite 😉

  32. Mike Stallard
    Posted December 18, 2020 at 10:36 am | Permalink

    Scotland has always been a poor country. At the moment it is propped up with English taxes. Mrs Sturgeon is adept at exploiting her “independence” over covid. If – and when? – Scotland becomes independent completely (already Mrs Sturgeon has “banned” Her Majesty the Queen from Balmoral for Christmas) we can look forward to quite a lot of poverty north of the border. And guess whose fault that will be?

    • ChrisS
      Posted December 18, 2020 at 11:51 am | Permalink

      Whose fault ?

      It will be England’s of course !

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted December 18, 2020 at 12:39 pm | Permalink

      Scotland is a great country and the home of great mathematicians and engineers. Look at Edinburgh, the jewel in and Architectural crown. The Scottish people in general are very competent and admirable people. Think of the bagpipes on the WWII battlefields giving English and Welsh and Irishmen heart!
      Scotland had been hugely hampered by sharing a currency with England. The funding is a means of countering this massive disadvantage.

      • steve
        Posted December 18, 2020 at 8:30 pm | Permalink

        “The Scottish people in general are very competent and admirable people. ”


        I always found them to be loud-mouthed & not familiar with basic manners.

        • Fred H
          Posted December 18, 2020 at 9:23 pm | Permalink

          and a liking of fine dining with fried Mars and haggis, neeps and tatties.

          • Lynn Atkinson
            Posted December 19, 2020 at 8:27 am | Permalink

            Try Gleneagles, or better still Trump’s Turnberry.

        • Mark B
          Posted December 19, 2020 at 4:50 am | Permalink

          Arrogant is a word I often think of when dealing with them.

          • Lynn Atkinson
            Posted December 19, 2020 at 8:33 am | Permalink

            Comfortable in their own skin? Happy with their own traditions? Not ashamed? The Scots always know what they are, anywhere in the world. They hold Highland Games annually and for instance, the Transvaal Highlanders marched at the Queen Mothers funeral.
            I wish more of the English were as comfortable and confident.

        • Lynn Atkinson
          Posted December 19, 2020 at 8:26 am | Permalink

          Stay away from ‘Soc’emall’ street. There are rough places inEngland I never frequent.

      • Fedupsoutherner
        Posted December 18, 2020 at 11:11 pm | Permalink

        Please, just thinking about bag pipes gives me a headache

        • Lynn Atkinson
          Posted December 19, 2020 at 8:30 am | Permalink

          Pity, the Northumbrian and Irish pipes have the same wonderful sound. Fortunately our English and Welsh forebears in the trenches were elated to hear the sound of our home island, calm music in the heat of battle.

    • Fred H
      Posted December 18, 2020 at 1:02 pm | Permalink

      Sturgeon claims Scotland to be one of the wealthiest in the world.
      (Prior to opening of her party’s conference).

    • Sea_Warrior
      Posted December 18, 2020 at 4:46 pm | Permalink

      I think that the government has made a mistake in allowing Holyrood to vary UK income tax. I would suggest that that power should be reserved to Westminster. Instead, Sturgeon should be allowed to levy a supplementary tax, purely for her subjects (not servicemen!), with the tax-demands bearing the imprint of the Saltyre. The Scots can then get used to what an SNP-dominated future would look like.

    • margaret howard
      Posted December 18, 2020 at 5:07 pm | Permalink

      Mike Stallard

      “Scotland has always been a poor country.”

      So if, according to you, 300 years of (enforced) union have been unable to alleviate poverty in Scotland maybe it is time for the country to decide on a new union, namely that of independent EU membership.

      After all seeing that Scotland voted overwhelmingly Remain (62/38) they must believe that EU membership has been a boon for their country.

      As for being ‘propped up with English taxes’ no doubt retaining the oil tax and enormous whisky taxes now being collected by London will give them a good start.

      • steve
        Posted December 18, 2020 at 8:44 pm | Permalink


        “So if, according to you, 300 years of (enforced) union”


        I’d like to know how you reckon this ‘union’ was enforced upon a nation that bankrupted itself.

      • Fedupsoutherner
        Posted December 18, 2020 at 11:01 pm | Permalink

        MH Poverty in Scotland with more money per head of the English? What are they doing wrong?

    • rose
      Posted December 18, 2020 at 5:35 pm | Permalink

      They would just come over the border. As the Irish did.

      • Fred H
        Posted December 18, 2020 at 9:24 pm | Permalink

        the Scots have always crossed borders all over the world – to get away from the rest?

  33. glen cullen
    Posted December 18, 2020 at 10:38 am | Permalink

    A Federation of the United Kingdom would be a better model than the current three differing arrangements for NI, Wales and Scotland, excluding England

    Whoever designed the current model was an idiot and should be tested for drug use

    • JoolsB
      Posted December 18, 2020 at 1:11 pm | Permalink

      Asymmetrical devolution was no accident Glen. It was A deliberate ploy of the last Scots dominated Labour Government to leave England out so they could continue to use their Scots and Welsh MPs to help them govern England. National recognition for
      Scotland and Wales and balkanisation for Tory voting England, not even recognised as a nation in it’s own right. And the worst part is the Tories have just carried on where Labour left off.

      • Mark B
        Posted December 19, 2020 at 4:49 am | Permalink


    • Sea_Warrior
      Posted December 18, 2020 at 4:49 pm | Permalink

      Might I suggest that we do away with elections for the MSPs, AMs and MLAs (?). Instead, MPs could spend their Thursdays and Fridays in London, Belfast, Cardiff and Edinburgh, working on devolved business. We have enough politicians.

      • Lynn Atkinson
        Posted December 18, 2020 at 8:19 pm | Permalink

        I agree, but why do they need to ape the EU and ‘move’?

  34. William Long
    Posted December 18, 2020 at 10:50 am | Permalink

    It seems likely to me , and has done for some time, that the only way we are likely to get a ‘Voice for England’ is if Scotland is allowed to go its own way, and I have difficulty seeing why that would be such a disaster, except possibly for the Scotch. There does not seem any appetite in the present Government, let alone the Labour party to change the existing unfortunate state of things.

  35. BJC
    Posted December 18, 2020 at 10:50 am | Permalink

    In theory, devolution should have been good, but it hasn’t been managed well from the centre, if at all. I have no idea why we elect a UK government only to find we’re required to fund local policies that we’ve never heard of. The UK taxpayers should certainly provide funding for all four countries, but it should be subject to working towards achieving the objectives of the winning mandate; how they achieve it, can and should be adjusted to suit local conditions by exercising devolved powers, but the objective should remain. What we have is taxpayers’ funding prioritised at local level on unaffordable “freebies” niceties and fripperies, while they run out of funding for necessities, i.e. they don’t manage their resources either.

    The UK Parliament holds responsibility for elevating the devolved administrations to the same level as themselves. They’re not; indeed, I’ve argued before that, in theory, the SNP representatives in Westminster should be in a position to exercise more powers than the Scottish Parliament, because their brief is to directly represent their constituents of ALL colours. At the moment, they clearly believe their job is to act as cheerleaders for their own Party and the Scottish Parliament.

    Strategically, it would make far more sense to either, distribute money from the centre on condition that devolved administrations work towards achieving the objectives the UK majority voted for, albeit in their own way; or in the extreme, call their bluff and put in place a plan to devolve England and abolish the redundant UK Parliament……because quite frankly, that’s what it is unless it “takes back control”. Only then will the separatists begin to understand what independence will truly mean to them.

  36. Narrow Shoulders
    Posted December 18, 2020 at 11:37 am | Permalink

    If there is to be another referendum on separation, and I am very much in favour of periodic self determination, then the terms of divorce and future arrangements must be agreed in advance of such a referendum.

    Further those terms must be agreed by a referendum of the people of England, Wales and Northern Ireland before the Scots get to vote on it.

    • dixie
      Posted December 20, 2020 at 8:47 am | Permalink

      Agree on England and Wales having a say on terms before any referendum.

  37. Peter from Leeds
    Posted December 18, 2020 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

    I have a very clear memory of the 90s ERM fiasco.

    Major seemed keen for us to join the Euro. In the end it was a lack of support for the pound from the European banks that led to the pound falling out of the erm (triggered by Soros betting against the pound) on Black Wednesday in 1992. Ironically it was probably this event which started the path to the Labour landslide in 1997.

    There is a big lesson there – if a Tory PM fails to deliver his signature policy then the Tory party is potentially doomed in the next election – even if the election is years away. I also think the events around Black Wednesday contributed to the leave vote amongst some of us older voters.

    It is interesting also to note that Blair was always very wary about going down the Euro route – despite all his other EU credentials.

    As far as devolution goes – the big problem for the north of England is that the country is too London centric. In Leeds we have massively reduced the number of Covid cases but we stay in T3 – the perception is that London sneezes and the rest of us have to stay at home.

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted December 19, 2020 at 8:36 am | Permalink

      More suicides on Black Tuesday when interest rates hit 17% than any other day in British history. It was Brown who kept us out of the Euro.

  38. None of the above
    Posted December 18, 2020 at 12:26 pm | Permalink

    Going backwards would create more antipathy. I believe the answer is to make the Scottish Government more accountable to their voters not less, especially in matters of finance.
    Equalise the Barnet Formula north and south of the border and allow the Scottish Government to make up the shortfall in taxation.

  39. Derek
    Posted December 18, 2020 at 12:57 pm | Permalink

    It is difficult to understand the reasoning the Scots want full independence. This would entail a complete loss of funding from London with nothing to compensate.
    They originally thought that the North Sea Oil in their sector would be the foundation of all their income but that now must be a mere ‘pipe’ dream. It has also been declared by banks and insurers, north of the border that they would relocate south in the event of Scottish Independence. How many job losses would result? Add to those, the thousands that will be laid off when the MoD closes all of its bases there. All would require welfare benefits paid by employed taxpayers.
    So where would that income come from? How would they fund their NHS and a Navy to protect their fishing waters and those undersea oil wells? Tourism and Golf may be a source of income but the returns would never cover the costs of their socialist grand and green plans. As for tapping the EU for extra funding, there will be no chance, given the debts incurred during the Covid 19 crisis and Brussels will not be keen to provide membership to a new applicant who does not have a currency of their own.
    I can understand the feelings up there, most probably brought on by the shambles made over the Wuhan Virus but please, all Scots, consider the risk/reward ratio of such a questionable venture before you press on with it. The odds of success are not good.

  40. JoolsB
    Posted December 18, 2020 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

    Seeing as Scotland, Wales & NI get thousands more per head given to them in English taxes than the English do, does Johnson’s levelling up agenda mean we English will have our funding levelled up to that of the devolved nations? Thought not!

    • Fedupsoutherner
      Posted December 18, 2020 at 11:09 pm | Permalink


    • Mark B
      Posted December 19, 2020 at 4:47 am | Permalink

      Good point. Sadly, I doubt it.

  41. Christine
    Posted December 18, 2020 at 1:25 pm | Permalink

    …. and now we are sending our workers to Holland to help them produce the Oxford vaccine because they haven’t enough qualified staff. I bet the BBC will be telling us in two months’ time how the EU has produced more vaccine than the UK but will fail to mention the help we have given them.

  42. Christine
    Posted December 18, 2020 at 1:31 pm | Permalink

    One of the biggest exports from Scotland is their people. Our TV, civil service, MPs are full of them. My own MP is Scottish and rather than representing us continues to sit on Scottish focused committees. I bet if I went to Scotland, I wouldn’t see English people on their TV or voted in as officials. We are always being told we are racist little Englanders for wanting independence from the EU, yet the Scottish people are far more nationalist than we ever are and are not insulted in this way. If referendums are to be repeated until they win then maybe we should have a referendum on reversing devolution every ten years. It seems to me every decision only works in one direction. If the SNP really wanted independence then it would live within its means but it doesn’t. It quite happily takes the subsidises from England and whinges constantly. They don’t just have a chip on their shoulder but one on each side.

    • Fedupsoutherner
      Posted December 18, 2020 at 11:07 pm | Permalink

      Christine never a truer word spoken. We are not allowed to show our pride in being English whole it is encouraged in Scotland

  43. DavidJ
    Posted December 18, 2020 at 1:39 pm | Permalink

    The devolution needs to be reversed. If it is not I expect the EU would encourage the devolved administrations to continue pestering for full independence so that they can effectively surround the remnants of the UK. Whatever the EU’s rules they will break them to cause problems for the UK.

  44. steve
    Posted December 18, 2020 at 2:24 pm | Permalink

    Good article JR.

    I think the way to reverse the damage done by devolution is to grant Ms Sturgeon her wish for another referendum, but this time include the English vote, which is only fair as the outcome affects England.

    It should be made clear that an independent Scotland will not be using the pound. It should also be made clear that there will be no more subsidies, and that England will not be providing Scotland with defence. HM Dockyards, HMRC and all other utilities will be relocated.

    It would be entertaining to witness Ms Sturgeon having to grovel to the EU and beg for membership, which would require adoption of the Euro – something she is dead against.

    And when the Russian navy intensifies provocations we can say; ‘not our problem mate’.

    An independent Scotland would be so for about five minutes, and then assuming the EU would grant membership, they can spend the next 300 years moaning to Brussels about their oppression.

    If Ms Sturgeon thinks we’re unreasonable – she should try having the EU as big bad overlord.

    But then the nats know these things. It’s all about holding England to ransom for as much money as possible.

    Call their bluff, or simply reinstate the treason laws and have the ungrateful bigots banged up before they wreck the lives of millions of Scots.

  45. Nigl
    Posted December 18, 2020 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

    Ps. Democracy in action. EU governments set to overrule wishes of Parliament. Confirms what we know, a toothless puppet organisation, democracy in name only.

  46. Original Richard
    Posted December 18, 2020 at 3:01 pm | Permalink

    The SNP gerrymandered the Scottish Independence referendum by giving the vote to all EU citizens resident in the country whilst not allowing any Scottish ex-pats to vote, as well as extending the franchise to 16 and 17 year olds.

    Voting rights in Scotland have now been extended further by the SNP to citizens of any and all nationalities legally resident in Scotland.

    If the UK government should grant the SNP a second referendum, then the SNP should not be allowed to extend the franchise to all nationalities nor be allowed to refuse the votes from 795,000 Scottish ex-pats who are living elsewhere in the UK.

  47. tangerine
    Posted December 18, 2020 at 4:02 pm | Permalink

    Listened to uk today on the computer . The intro made me laugh. They’ve been going for years. They used to deliver a free newspaper round my way 20 odd years ago.
    Then I never took much notice.
    Portillo once said something like the public aren’t that interested in politics while things are ticking along.
    I dont think they’re right or left. They are just uncoverers of wrongdoing.
    The contrast in their way of speaking compared to those in public office and the media is marked and so they come across as honest.

  48. Multi-ID
    Posted December 18, 2020 at 4:22 pm | Permalink

    You say the EU sides with Spain in the case of a possible independent Catalonia but that is only for convenience sake and smooth working. There is no doubt that with 27 sovereign independent states in the club there are going to be disputes and schisms from time to time that can only be expected in such a large body. Back in the the day we have seen the incorporation of East Germany into Germany with minimum disruption and so to the EU. At present we can see how NI is slipping away from UK to become an independent region of the EU for Political reasons but also for convenience sake and in any case demographics will take care of it in a few years. But also in future we can expect the EU will have add on’s like Scotland and possibly Catalonia, Gibraltar, Northern Cyprus, the list goes on – it’s a project in making

  49. a-tracy
    Posted December 18, 2020 at 4:24 pm | Permalink

    Your government are allowing a massive feeling of neglect to be stirred up in Manchester and Liverpool. Andy Burnham is trying a ‘King of the North’ strategy. “They’re picking on us from London” as Sturgeon has done so successfully in Scotland. Your local Northern MPs need to start to groups and fight back and get the press to say what you have been doing for the Northern regions other than bankrupting pubs. People in Stockport and Trafford feel they’re being punished because of the unruly people in the centre of Manchester and Oldham that are still meeting and spreading etc.

    Is this stoppage of wet pubs just to stop wild drinking which often puts pressure on A&E? If so why not just be honest about it, A&E can’t cope with an influx of drunken revellers and stab and glassed victims caused by unruly drinking so you can only drink with a meal because this reduces the amount of alcohol you consume and restricts the numbers you can meet up with. We’ve all seen too many photos of revellers without masks rocking around the streets looking for off’ies to continue the boozing at home.

    I agree with glen about a Federation of the United Kingdom with equal weight to each region rather than rising Sturgeon and Drakeford’s status to more than they are in the United Kingdom.

  50. rose
    Posted December 18, 2020 at 5:32 pm | Permalink

    It seems the Scottish National Socialists have at last been rumbled. They have overreached themselves, and despite being fawned over by the media both sides,of the border in order to damage the PM, they are now receiving long overdue criticism on the way they have neglected their schools, hospitals, and nursing homes while grandstanding about their grievances.

    I am very worried about the reports coming out about our fishing waters and hope they are just EU propaganda. The latest is that the French have demanded 10 years of the status quo, we have offered three, and the expectation is that we will settle on five. That is nearly ten years altogether if you include the delay since 2016. Presumably the plan is to get a socialist government in and then make it permanent. Just think of the depletion and the ecological degradation. We are already seeing huge trawlers hoovering everything up in a last minute attempt as it is. I suppose they are Dutch.

    • Multi-ID
      Posted December 19, 2020 at 1:41 pm | Permalink

      Ah Rose as regards the fishing the reality is we are all interdependent and something workable will have to be figured out. The people at the table know about it and in the end will agree something and whatever it is we will gave to go along. Can’t see it any other way

  51. The Prangwizard
    Posted December 18, 2020 at 5:34 pm | Permalink

    What a disgusting party and government you support, censoring nearly 20% of Liz Truss’s speech, especially sections critical of the political Left.

    Tories love Marxist beliefs and techniques of oppression.

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted December 18, 2020 at 8:21 pm | Permalink

      It was the Civil Service, that ‘Rolls Royce’ organisation that did the redacting.

    • Polly
      Posted December 18, 2020 at 9:27 pm | Permalink

      Is that why the new “mutant’ strain of C-19 has apparently been invented?

      As a means of “oppression”?

      Mr Johnson’s plans look ever more transparent.


  52. Wrinkle
    Posted December 18, 2020 at 5:35 pm | Permalink

    If one wants to know what kind of PM we have it is only to see him in ‘action’ at PMQs. In any other situation he would be sacked – just abysmal.

  53. DOM
    Posted December 18, 2020 at 6:24 pm | Permalink

    We need Truss and Badenoch to lead the Tories. If the spineless useless male tossers won’t stand up to the fascist left and the woke racists then leave it ONCE MORE to women. Thatcher in the 80’s and now Truss in the 00’s

    We want OUR VOICE BACK. And we want freedom of expression enacted into law to destroy those bastards who think they can impose their fascism upon us

    Start acting like a party that defends our culture and our freedoms rather a bunch of weedy gobshites who pander to Stonewall, BLM and all the other extremist groups

    • Simeon
      Posted December 18, 2020 at 7:59 pm | Permalink

      Blimey DOM, you can’t be serious. Liz Truss is a joke. At best, she’s Priti Patel lite – and the real thing is as tepid as stagnant ditch water. There is a reason why Liz Truss is in government, and a senior figure in Boris Johnson’s cabinet. By definition, members of this government have zero credibility, because they support the government agenda.

      • Mark B
        Posted December 19, 2020 at 4:34 am | Permalink


    • steve
      Posted December 18, 2020 at 8:25 pm | Permalink


      Well said !

      • hefner
        Posted December 18, 2020 at 10:46 pm | Permalink

        Steve, Didn’t you notice that Dom is at least twenty years out of kilter?

        • steve
          Posted December 19, 2020 at 9:10 am | Permalink

          Then he’s a man of my English heart.

    • The Hammer Codename
      Posted December 19, 2020 at 1:38 am | Permalink

      We need Truss

      Truss is compromised, a clean skin, Redwood?

    • steve
      Posted December 19, 2020 at 5:51 am | Permalink


      “We want OUR VOICE BACK”


      Well no one’s taken mine away, possibly because I’m of the generation who tells it like it is, and is prepared to defend that right with a good old fashioned smack in the gob.

      Of course the shitweasels running the show have control of the media, but at the next election we can get them out and keep them out.

      Remain, BLM, SNP, Labour, marxist conservatives, they’ll all get what’s coming eventually.

  54. John
    Posted December 18, 2020 at 7:05 pm | Permalink

    I am glad you support devolution now please bring a private members bill to the commons for an English parliament and devolution for England. I dare the English MPs to vote against such a bill. The British government and is all talk and no positive action when it comes to England. City mayors for England demonstrate the Conservative strategy of divide and dominate.

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted December 19, 2020 at 7:44 am | Permalink

      I definitely do NOT want an English Parliament!

    • JoolsB
      Posted December 19, 2020 at 9:06 am | Permalink

      Sadly John doesn’t support an English Parliament. None of them do.

  55. Multi-ID
    Posted December 18, 2020 at 8:00 pm | Permalink

    Scotland’s attachment to the UK as per the generational referendum depended on Scotland being part of the EU. But with England’s Brexit that all changed and same as for the Ulster farmers- most of whom- most of them being a pragmatic bunch cannot see the advantages of brexit and believe we had it all but threw it away.

    • Robert Mcdonald
      Posted December 18, 2020 at 9:11 pm | Permalink

      Farmers are indeed a pragmatic bunch, and will recall the butter, milk, and meat mountains the eu created to ensure French farmers could keep their cushy prices high … to the detriment of the UK farming industry … including those in Ulster.

    • dixie
      Posted December 20, 2020 at 8:59 am | Permalink

      The Edinburgh 15-Oct-2012 agreement says nothing at all about EU membership, as a condition or anything else.

  56. ukretired123
    Posted December 18, 2020 at 8:13 pm | Permalink

    Scotland had historical clans who fought each other until the English invaded and at least brought some peace. The SNP romantically appeal to those thinking along Braveheart lines that socialism will bring Utopia when socialism is a proven mega failure for democracies after 100 years.
    After 10 years of SNP devolution, referendums and Barnet formula extra funding their record is abysmal in all areas including alcohol and drug dependency, health provision and life expectancy.
    Political point scoring is the only path the SNP use daily to stay relevant. Anything to improve the country takes second place.
    Euro adoption is mandatory in all EU 2025. That would kill Scots dreams like Greeks and Southern Europeans.

  57. Multi-ID
    Posted December 18, 2020 at 8:44 pm | Permalink

    Let’s consider fishing- the talks are still going on. We know we have large fishing grounds as a sovereign right but if we have not got the market to sell or the boats to fish then the fish will die of old age. Then think of this if we persist in our arguments and the EU instead decides to clip just .001 per cent from UK’s financial and insurance EU business in Europe by way of levy in order to compensate the French fishermen who are by now retired and on benefits the fish will still die of old age and so will large coastal French and British communities. Stinkin thinkin straight from the past- Margaret Thatcher couldn’t dream it up

    • Edward2
      Posted December 19, 2020 at 8:30 am | Permalink

      Flaws in your arguments.
      First you assume no growth in the number of UK boats if their is a profit to be made once more from fishing in our own coastal waters.

      Second how will the EU levy and enforce a transaction tax on sovereign non EU nations ?
      How will they force America and UK to pay?

      • Multi-ID
        Posted December 19, 2020 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

        First am not talking so much about coastal more about deep sea trawlers to fish out to 200 miles- there will be no money forthcoming for new UK boats unless there is a market.

        Second there are many ways a body like the EU can clip .001 per cent- it can be done on financials Insurance or indeed on fish imports to EU or even fish exports from EU. The bottom line is if you don’t want to trade then that is ok too.

        • Edward2
          Posted December 19, 2020 at 8:17 pm | Permalink

          Coastal waters around the UK are a very rich area for fishing that is why the EU are so desperate to retain their controls.

          Coastal waters are a 12 mile limit not 200.
          If the coasts of two nations are under 12 miles then a half way line in drawn

          Why should the UK be the only nation on Earth that has no sovereign power over its inshore coastal waters?

          Ref financials
          Wall Street and the City of London are huge compared to the EU’s financial centres.
          Specialist skills and markets not available in the EU.
          Best of luck without their co operation.

  58. Multi-ID
    Posted December 18, 2020 at 9:31 pm | Permalink

    The last word- Brexit is and was a disaster for the British people- but now that we have reached that point- how to make the best of a bad lot? Make the deal whatever it is and no more smart talk from the ERG crowd no more spin or talk about sovereignty- or rights like taking back control- we all have sovereignty- and rights and don’t crow about it- no more emphasis about how the English are principled- above everyone else- we know you’re not’ never were- so now’s the time for a bit of realism- your future depends on it.

    • Edward2
      Posted December 19, 2020 at 8:20 pm | Permalink

      Tell us why it is and was a disaster.
      Any facts?
      You just want to remain.

    • Original Richard
      Posted December 21, 2020 at 10:38 pm | Permalink

      Multi-ID, as your name suggests you are confused in your post as to whether Britain is “we” or “you”.

      Anyway, a majority of UK voters believed that EU membership was not working for them.

      Being a net contributor with a trading deficit of £100bn/YEAR, loss of our fishing grounds and unlimited uncontrollable immigration contributed to the belief that we did not have a good deal with the EU.

      But more importantly a majority of UK voters voted to be able to retain the ability to influence their laws and policies (trade, fiscal, taxation, energy, environmental, foreign, military, immigration etc.) through retaining the right to elect and remove those who make these decisions.

      Whilst for those who remain in the EU will be governed by bureaucrats and politicians they do not know, did not elect and cannot remove and hence cannot influence.

      So you are right, our future does depend upon ensuring that we exit the EU completely so we regain control of our laws, policies and assets.

      It is confusing that if our fishing grounds are so worthless why the EU are fighting so hard to retain them despite it being international law that upon exit they now belong to the UK.

      Also that if the UK is making such a big mistake in leaving why the EU believes it needs to retain the ability to control our laws, taxes and policies through what is called euphemistically “level playing field” regulations adjudicated by the ECJ.

  59. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted December 19, 2020 at 3:16 am | Permalink

    We should take steps to cut the devolution monster down to size. The first step is to abolish the tax raising powers of the Holyrood, Cardiff and Stormont parliaments. The second step is to reduce the extent to which English taxpayers subsidise public expenditure in the Celtic provinces. The Barnett formula gives Scotland a public expenditure premium of 19% per head, Wales a slightly lower figure and Northern Ireland a stonking great 24%. The limit should be 10%, enough even for sparsely populated areas with cold winters.

    If the SNP get a majority of the popular vote in two successive Holyrood and Westminster election (two each) then they are probably entitled to a second referendum (and if it goes the other way a third – best of three). Before that, we must spell out what independence means, possibly summarising it on the ballot paper:
    – No shared monarchy
    – No shared currency
    – No shared defence if Scotland forces us to remove our nukes
    – No automatic defence pact; it would depend on how Scotland behaved
    – No fiscal support
    – A hard border between Scotland and England for purposes of immigration control

    I think that form of independence will prove unappealing.

    • steve
      Posted December 19, 2020 at 9:12 am | Permalink


      “I think that form of independence will prove unappealing.”


      Also prove unavoidable if the English get a vote.

    • ChrisS
      Posted December 19, 2020 at 10:02 am | Permalink

      Sorry, Lindsay, but the idea of abolishing powers that were given to the devolved provinces is a non-starter. The problem is, it will only give Sturgeon more ammunition to further the cause of independence. She will simply accelerate the SNP policy of blaming England and Westminster for her own administration’s failings, of which there are many.

      Whatever Boris says now, if the SNP wins a large majority in the 2021 Holyrood elections, a further referendum will be irresistible, and rightly so. I hope that planning is already in place because an SNP win looks inevitable.

      The choice must be clearly spelt out before the campaign even commences. Everything you say is correct but I would add that all shipbuilding for the Royal Navy and the submarine base at Faslane will be moved to England if the Scots vote for independence. If the Scots want shared defence, they can pay for it.

      In addition, the alternative of remaining within the United Kingdom must also be clearly set out :

      Yes, there will need to be an extension of devolution so that the SNP can no longer blame Westminster for its problems.

      Scotland will be granted full tax-raising powers so that all money spent in Scotland is raised in Scotland and the Barnett formula will therefore end.

      The Bank of England will manage borrowing by the United Kingdom on Scotland’s behalf but to protect the pound, the amount raised in any year must be strictly limited to no more than the amount per head of population borrowed by England.

      These measures might make Scots slightly more likely to vote for independence but they need to know that the present policy of trying to bribe Scots with English taxpayer’s money has to end.

  60. steve
    Posted December 19, 2020 at 5:08 am | Permalink


    Is it that you are frightened of a woman from the SNP, or is it that you don’t think the SNP are bigots ?

    Just asking.

  • 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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