The arguments over the Union.

 

I am in favour of the Union of the UK. I also believe  Unions only work well  when the main parts of them accept  the Union’s authority and feel at home in it. That is why I supported the idea of having a referendum in Scotland to see how strong the feelings for independence were. Had a majority wanted to leave I would have accepted that verdict and been in favour of as  fast and smooth a divorce as possible. I was given  assurances from the SNP at Westminster that such a vote would be a once in a generation event. As more than half the Scottish people wished to stay in the Union just a few years ago we owe it to them to offer stability around their victory. I understand  how the SNP voters feel, as I voted to leave the EEC in 1975 and had to wait until 2016 to get another chance to vote. That was too long, but I never thought we should have a second ballot for the first 25 years after the 1975 referendum. It was the acceptance of the Maastricht Treaty followed by Amsterdam, Nice and Lisbon along with the long period of time elapsed which confirmed the need for a new vote.

The Scottish Parliamentary elections will be dominated by arguments about a second referendum if many of the politicians fighting it have their way. This seems to  be a pity.  Now Scotland has a Parliament and government with considerable powers to go their own way on everything from pandemics to agriculture and from spending priorities to law and order the elections might   mainly be about how well the current government has done and who of the competing parties offers the best prospect of governing well and meeting most of the aspirations of voters. There should be a lively debate on what is and is not working in education, health, economic development and the rest.  Instead much of the media accepts the diversion to the arguments over independence in place of scrutiny of how all the new powers and  money are being used. If that is what most Scottish people want to debate then so be it.

Many in  the SNP do not seem to want proper independence anyway. Muddles over what they did want made the 2014 referendum campaign difficult for them. Many seemed to want to stay with sterling. The first thing I would want for my country is its own currency, to have the full range of options for economic policy. Most of them wanted to rejoin the EU, limiting their ability to legislate and administer Scotland in  the way of their choice. The wish to join the EU implied a wish to join the Euro which was in conflict with the wish to keep the pound.  They seemed to want to keep the monarchy, a symbol of the union of England and Scotland which started as a union of crowns before progressing to a union of Parliament and government some hundred years later.

Today we still await a definitive SNP view on what currency they want, how they might rejoin the EU, if they will accept the Euro as part of the price of EU membership, how much of the joint state debt of the UK they would assume on leaving, what if any they would like by way of defence assistance and what a Scottish  budget would look like without the links into Union finances and taxes. If we are to have a debate again on independence instead of a decent election debate on the successes and failures of the SNP government, these are some of the questions the media should be asking them.

 

126 Comments

  1. Mark B
    February 23, 2021

    Good morning

    I can and only will support a Union of equals. Currently, in this Union of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland we, the English, are second class. I therefore cannot support it.

    Address the REAL inequality in our country, not the manufacturer one.

    Reply
  2. Everhopeful
    February 23, 2021

    Wasn’t it revealed at a meeting that even the chaos-loving Boris believes devolution to have been Tony Blair’s biggest mistake.
    What I don’t understand is how nobody could see all this coming.
    Or maybe, in obeying a higher power that sought to break up the whole of the EU…they could?
    Anyway…a total mess.
    Isn’t Salmond set to unleash even more upset?

    Reply
    1. Everhopeful
      February 23, 2021

      Sorry..I meant break EU up into regions.
      Smaller and easier to divide, conquer and dominate.

      Reply
      1. Yossarion
        February 24, 2021

        Well break England into Regions whilst Scotland staid intact, Twenty odd years ago when People were calling for an English Parliament the reply came back that England is to big, My reply was if that was the case. why was Germany allowed to re unify?, the Country that had started two World Wars in the twentieth century.

        Reply
  3. agricola
    February 23, 2021

    I could be wrong, but my instinct suggests that the SNP are in the process of shooting their bolt with their electorate.
    How can Scotland be independant if they rejoin the EU. It is a contradiction as they would be even less so than they are in the Union.
    I prefer the Union, but minus Scotland, England would lose a financial burden. However I suspect the Scots are too canny to be driven into the disfunctional sheep pen that is the EU. The only positive from their possjble independence would be a rush of this diary’s trolls to north of the border, but on EU comment to date Scotland is not wanted.

    Reply
    1. Grey Friar
      February 24, 2021

      You should take a hard look at what’s happening in Ireland, agricola. The UK is being forced to police a border between NI and GB, that is on the UK’s territory. Brits in NI can’t simply import goods from GB, they have to meet Brexit red tape, they are treated as if they are in the EU. Why? Because that is what Boris agreed, and that is what Ireland demanded, and that is what the EU gave to Ireland. Bad deal? You bet. And when a small country like the UK does a deal with the powerful EU, you will always get a bad deal. Scots want to be like the Irish – in the EU and powerful. You English have got your precious independence. But you sure haven’t got any power anymore, and the world knows it

      Reply
  4. SM
    February 23, 2021

    A few random thoughts, drawn from a lifetime’s reading of British (non-fiction) history:

    Ireland should be re-united and independent, its religion and culture makes partnership with England difficult, but friendship and co-operation is achievable. Much of N Ireland’s population was originally Scottish – perhaps they should be (financially) encouraged to return.

    Wales is not economically viable as an independent nation, it was never a kingdom, and it currently appears unable to even manage its devolved responsibilities in a capable fashion.

    Scotland has been internally riven for centuries (a fact often overlooked), and for almost that long has held a completely unjustified belief that it is respected and valued by Northern Europe. In fact, it has been used time and again as a tool of distraction when the French (usually) have been either in dispute with, or at war with, England.

    I have yet to hear or read a rational rebuttal from the SNP to the points you make, Sir John, about the Scottish economy, its surrender of independence to Brussels in the event of becoming an EU member and etc.

    Still, if they do decide on a complete break with England, I understand there is a member of the royal family with nothing much to do now who could be anointed the next King of Scotland?

    Reply
  5. Grey Friar
    February 23, 2021

    By far the most important reason for people voting No to Scottish independence in the 2014 referendum was that staying in the UK guaranteed continued EU membership. Not any more it doesn’t. The whole basis on which the 2014 referendum was fought has been turned on its head. The Scots deserve a new vote, and they will vote Yes this time. No one wants to remain shackled to Brexit England as its economy tanks

    Reply
    1. Richard1
      February 23, 2021

      Of course it wasn’t. 40% of Scots, including it is estimated 1/3 of snp voters, voted for Brexit. There were all sorts of issues discussed in that referendum and the Scots wisely decided by a clear majority to remain part of the U.K. we should respect their democratic decision at least for the generation for which all sides agreed the result must hold.

      Reply
      1. Peter Parsons
        February 24, 2021

        The basis on which that democratic decision was taken has been fundamentally changed by people who do not live in Scotland. The Scots were told that remaining in the UK was their best chance of remaining in the EU.

        Scotland was the part of the UK that voted most strongly for remain in 2016. Every voting area in Scotland had a majority vote for remain in 2016. The Scots voted more strongly for remaining in the EU (62/38) than they did for remaining in the UK (55/45).

        The circumstances have changed and that, alone, merits re-visiting the matter.

        Reply
    2. dixie
      February 24, 2021

      You misrepresent the situation. There was never any guarantee of continued UK membership of the EU, particularly before the Scottish Referendum when the 2010 conservative manifesto made clear that power would be reclaimed from Brussels and referenda would come into play over the relationship with EU. It was clear the relationship would change significantly but it was the recalcitrant attitude of the EU that made it such a binary choice.
      The only related aspect of the referendum was that if Scotland had left the UK it would then automatically be outside the EU while the UK was still inside.
      After the Scottish referendum attention turned to Welsh devolution and I would like to see a proper exercise in English devolution with an English, not regional, parliament before Scotland ever gets to have another go.

      Reply
    3. rose
      February 24, 2021

      The Scottish National Socialists implied they were happy to take Scotland out of the EU in 2014, didn’t they? Or they would not have tried to leave the Union. How can that now be turned upside down as an excuse for another go?

      Reply
  6. Andy
    February 23, 2021

    Scotland no longer wants to be in a union with England. It is up to the Scottish people to decide this – it is not for politicians in Westminster.

    The fact is that Scotland was sold a false prospectus at the last referendum. Scots were told their only way to stay in the EU was to stay in the UK. This proved false just two years later when voters in England decided to force Scotland out of the EU against its will. And whilst Scotland could probably have lived with a Norway / Switzerland style relationship with the EU – as proposed by Farage and Hannan among others – Scots will simply not put up with the headbanger Brexit imposed on them.

    So the SNP will stand for independence at these coming elections and the SNP will win big.

    Should Scotland set out detailed plans of what independence looks like? Considering that the detailed plan for Brexit was a three word slogan and a lie on a bus I think it is a bit of a rich demand coming from Brexitists.

    But the details of independence seem pretty straight forward to me. The Euro is a strong and stable currency – Scots would have no fear in using. Scotland can raise its own taxes in the same way that similar sized countries like Denmark and Finland successfully do. And Scotland can take its share of U.K. debt and no more. Scotland does not need England’s nuclear weapons – nor a significant military. England can keep that to give the Tory little Englanders some toys to play with. There will need to be a hard border to keep the English out.

    Where Scotland goes Northern Ireland will follow. Wales then has to decided whether or wants its people denied the right all other Europeans have or whether it too ditches the English Nationalist Tory party.

    Reply
    1. Richard1
      February 23, 2021

      Excellent idea. The Scottish nationalists should commit to joining the euro doomsday machine. That should ensure victory for us unionists. Not that there should be another referendum anyway on Scotland we only just had one.

      Reply
    2. IanT
      February 23, 2021

      You may be correct in comparing Scotland with Denmark Andy – the Danes enjoy high levels of social support but of course do they pay for it themselves. The Scots may well decide to maintain their current benefit levels but they will need to pay for them and accept that they come with much higher tax levels too.

      As for Northern Ireland – so much talk about re-unification and no mention of the fact that Dublin might not really want problems that might bring them.

      Reply
  7. Rory Baird
    February 23, 2021

    Please please keep writing posts like this. Home Counties Tory MPs haughtily telling Scots we should think about things we haven’t stopped thinking about for almost ten years is worth a barrowload of votes for independence. Do please keep sticking your nose in our affairs

    Reply
    1. JoolsB
      February 24, 2021

      Talk about the pot calling the kettle…….. Your MPs do nothing but stick their noses into English affairs.

      Reply
  8. Lifelogic
    February 23, 2021

    Exactly a hugely confused position. What on earth do the Scots see in the dire Nicola Sturgeon, Ian Blackford and the SNP? Sturgeon even demanding EU flags to be displayed all over the place. They clearly do not want independence nor indeed any real democracy it seems.

    Reply
    1. Fedupsoutherner
      February 23, 2021

      L/L as Liam Fox says, it’s not that they mind being governed by another country. It just can’t be England. Racism? What racism?

      Reply
    2. Rory Baird
      February 24, 2021

      The Scots want to be independent like Denmark and Finland – independent and more powerful thanks to EU membership. Look at Ireland, currently telling Brexit Britain where it will put its border and generally the top dog on these islands. Thanks to EU membership

      Reply
  9. formula57
    February 23, 2021

    Should Scots get chance to do us the considerable favour of exiting the Union we must alas expect that the UK establishment really will attempt immediately to undermine a clean and effective and advantageous break by giving consideration to such issues as “what if any they would like by way of defence assistance”. Please rethink.

    Reply
  10. Bryan Harris
    February 23, 2021

    I still feel it was a great mistake to give away so much power to the Scottish parliament without our own having the ability to take those powers away.

    The UK parliament should at least have the power to censor the more extreme activities, but the way blair had this set up was to make less of the UK parliament, and ensure the SNP failed in their task of improving Scotland for the people of Scotland, without any comeback.

    Reply
  11. Cynic
    February 23, 2021

    Scotland has always been a difficult country to govern. One thing that does unite them is rivalry with the English. This is, I think, the main appeal of the SNP.

    Reply
  12. Fedupsoutherner
    February 23, 2021

    I was living in Scotland during the time of the first referendum and saw first hand how toxic the whole thing was. It was worse than Brexit with nasty bitterness between friends and family and in some cases hostility towards the English. As you point out John the SNP never came up with an alternative to Sterling but then that could be taken out of their hands by the EU. They said the debt was England’s. Many people didn’t understand that Westminster wouldn’t be paying their pensions and many thought the status quo would be the same as now with all the benefits still being handed out. I don’t think enough of them understand the financial implications and think life will be the same if not better. The hatred for Westminster really shines through not least within the SNP ranks. I am fed up having a party in Parliament constantly trying to undermine the rest of the UK while at the same time receiving more and more cash which only serves to make the SNP look wonderful to the voters in Scotland. Many don’t seem to realise or care it’s the rest of the taxpayers funding their freebies. Let them have their referendum and let’s see how they like having to pay into something for a change. In the meantime get our subs out of Faslane and make provision for a good share of the oil to be offloaded in English ports after all it was our money too that set these things up. Sturgeons always threatening a border so let them pay for one. Please don’t be as generous and stupid as we were in negotiations with the EU.

    Reply
  13. Old Albion
    February 23, 2021

    When will you and your Gov. show such enthusiasm for England and the rights of us who live here to have OUR own parliament?

    Reply
    1. Peter Parsons
      February 24, 2021

      Only if, like the other 3 home nations, an English parliament is representative of English voters. i.e. does NOT use FPTP. The Scottish Parliament, Welsh Assembly and Northern Ireland Assembly all show that it is possible to have representative elections in the UK, as does Scottish and Welsh local government.

      Compare those to the 2015 general election where the SNP returned 56 MPs from 59 seats due to the unrepresentative Westminster electoral system.

      Reply
  14. oldtimer
    February 23, 2021

    The current, bitter preoccupations of senior members of the SNP about who knew what and who said what and when is a poor advert for the Scottish ruling party. It gives me the impression that a vote for independence would be a vote for a banana republic.

    Reply
  15. MPC
    February 23, 2021

    But when the Scots voted in their referendum Brexit wasn’t in place or even looking likely. Also, if say we had voted Remain and the EU now required all member states to join the Euro (something Martin Selmayr was talking about not so long ago) wouldn’t you be pushing for a 2nd in/out UK Referendum on E.U. membership Mr Redwood!

    Reply
    1. No Longer Anonymous
      February 23, 2021

      I think that was the hidden agenda. A vote for Remain would have been for Hard Remain. Euro, full federal governance, Euro Army… the lot. They didn’t tell us that at the time.

      Reply
    2. jerry
      February 23, 2021

      @MPC; What, UKIP nor the Tory backbench ERG existed in 2014?!…

      “Brexit”, by other names, has been a dominant thread running trough UK politics since the 1990s, if not before, it was certainly extant in 2014, and back in Sept. 1997 when the devolution referendum was held, UKIP having stood 193 candidates in the May general election of that year.

      Reply
      1. jerry
        February 23, 2021

        @MPC, I think you’ll find the Scottish Parliament Act, passed Nov. 2013 (with RA given 17 Dec 2013), enabling the Scottish referendum was after David Cameron made his 23 Jan 2013 “Bloomberg speech” [1] were he announced his intent as PM of GB&NI to first renegotiate UK’s membership terms and then hold a (implied, binding) in/out referendum on our EU membership, so the SNP are lying through their teeth if they claim “Brexit” was an unknown-unknown back in 2014, Q.E.D!

        [1] https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/eu-speech-at-bloomberg
        (scroll down to the “Real choice” section of the speech)

        Reply
    3. Denis Cooper
      February 23, 2021

      Either Brexit will be demonstrably bad for Scotland or it will be demonstrably good for Scotland or it will make so little overall difference to Scotland that it is hard to say one way or the other, but whatever the outcome it will take time, years, for facts to emerge and supplant the pro-EU speculations of the SNP. It may be worth recalling here that at one time Scotland was the part of the UK most strongly opposed to membership of the EEC/EC/EU/USE project, and merited special efforts by the “Yes” side in the 1975 referendum. So clearly the balance of opinion in Scotland can change, and can be changed, over time. A lot will depend on how the UK government responds to whatever Brexit related problems emerge in Scotland.

      Reply
    4. rose
      February 23, 2021

      When the Scots voted to say in the Union, that was for a generation at least.

      If they had voted out, they would also have been out of the EU. The Scottish National Socialists were happy with that.

      Reply
    5. ChrisS
      February 23, 2021

      Unlike countries like Sweden, we had an absolute opt-out from the Euro without any time limit, so there was never any question of us being forced into the single currency. Your comparison is therefore not valid.

      The people of Scotland signed up to remaining within the UK, and by doing so, they accepted that Westminster was the seat of power and the ultimate decision-making body. The idea that Brexit should trigger a second go at independence is entirely without merit.

      Reply
    6. Sir Joe Soap
      February 23, 2021

      Ifs, buts and maybes.

      If Scotland had joined the EU having voted for independence 2 years ago as Ms Sturgeon wished, then they would have been in the EU vaccine scheme which might have persuaded them that their decision was wrong, or might have entered the Euro at a poor rate. Lots of maybes.

      The fact is they voted No to independence much as the UK voted to Leave.

      Reply
    7. Peter2
      February 23, 2021

      That is a double hypothetical question.
      What if x What if.

      Reply
  16. Lifelogic
    February 23, 2021

    Great news that the vaccines are workings and preventing many deaths and hospital admissions. A great shame that JVCI failed to adjust (particularly for the strong gender related risk but other clear and known risks factors too). Had they done so this reduction could have been over 20% higher still. Many more lives saved and many more NHS admissions avoided.

    Even now (were the government/JCVI to correct the vaccine priority order) very many lives and admissions could still be saved. No Richard Feynman type on the committee it seems alas. Wrong headed group think wins out and many people die as a direct result.

    Gov/JCVI even now should correct this to save many lives.

    Reply
    1. Lifelogic
      February 23, 2021

      Making the vaccine rollout 20%-30% more efficient in the ways suggested would not only save many lives but allow unlocking to take place two to three weeks earlier than otherwise – so saving £billions too. Why on earth did JCVI/Hancock and Zahawi not do this?

      They do not even reply when questioned on this.

      Reply
    2. dixie
      February 24, 2021

      Conjecture is all very well but where is your evidence of actual lives actually being lost because of not receiving an actual vaccine early, rather than because of lack of isolation discipline for example.

      Reply
  17. Narrow Shoulders
    February 23, 2021

    Now Scotland has a Parliament and government with considerable powers to go their own way on everything from pandemics to agriculture and from spending priorities to law and order the elections might mainly be about how well the current government has done and who of the competing parties offers the best prospect of governing well and meeting most of the aspirations of voters.

    Remove the Barnett formula and let them stand of their own two feet with only limited borrowing powers (we do not want another Greece). Let them pay the taxes that generate the services they receive which in many cases are more available than that which their English compatriots get.

    Let them see what independence means.

    Westmonster pays, the SNP just says.

    Reply
  18. Alan Jutson
    February 23, 2021

    How can they sensibly vote to leave, when they do not have a clue what they will gain.

    Independence will not be gained by joining the EU, surely that has been clear to them for the past 40 years.

    Reply
    1. MiC
      February 23, 2021

      People voted to leave the European Union with little idea as to what they would gain, but even less as to what they would lose, didn’t they?

      If John really values the Union, then why devote his life to achieving the one thing which would most likely wreck it?

      Clearly all these things are relative.

      He apparently doesn’t value the Union as much as I do.

      Reply
    2. Peter Wood
      February 23, 2021

      You’d think the Scots would learn a lesson from the NI situation; and consider what a border with England would mean.

      The United Kingdom is a defendable unit. How would England defend itself if Scotland were completely independent with little or no ability to defend itself, or worse, become a haven for foreign intrigue.

      A bit more thought needed.

      Reply
    3. Lifelogic
      February 23, 2021

      Indeed if they want independence surely they must have a Scottish currency and real independence from both the UK and the EU. They would also have to foot their own bills for a change rather than sucking on the English teat.

      Reply
    4. a-tracy
      February 23, 2021

      They want what Ireland gets Alan.

      Full free movement into the UK and entitlements to benefits and inwork benefits; voting rights; favourite treatment in the EU with tax-raising powers ignored by the EU to offer an advantage, whilst the people being a member of the EU, they believe they’ll have no debt bills to pay; no infrastructure bills to pay; no old pension debts; low to no membership fees to the EU; no border.

      Reply
    5. Lifelogic
      February 23, 2021

      One would have thought so!

      Reply
    6. Andy
      February 23, 2021

      “How can they sensibly vote to leave, when they do not have a clue what they will gain.”

      Said by a Brexitist. Without hint of irony.

      Reply
      1. MiC
        February 23, 2021

        To care or to feel shame about one’s own double standards, hypocrisy, or anything else requires principles.

        You are dealing with people who often have none whatsoever.

        Pointing out these things will have no effect therefore.

        Reply
        1. Peter2
          February 24, 2021

          At least that is a new insult you have thought up MiC, to add to your long list of insults and abuse you regularly aim at anyone who doesn’t think like you.

          Reply
  19. Robert McDonald
    February 23, 2021

    Many people here in Scotland are aware of the contradictions inherent in the SNP position. Many I talk to consider one reason behind the ultra nationalism of Sturgeon and CO is that the emotive call covers up for the practical failings in many of the areas of responsibility already devolved to Scotland, Education, once a matter that Scotland was rightly proud of now falling in quality year on year, Health Service, cumbersome and second rate, Economy … disastrous. Sturgeon likes to be seen and to speechify, but she is increasingly seen as talking a good shop but delivering no effective action. Indeed her pompous flag waving is beginning to show her as being somewhat detached from reality. None of the points you highlight have been brought to the front for discussion. If she survives the Salmond affair she will have to answer these questions … but it is a big IF, as I think she has stumbled badly and is going to find it difficult to defend her actions. The SNP will have no one who can then present a good case in public, there is no natural successor among the SNP cohorts.

    Reply
    1. Robert McDonald
      February 23, 2021

      I had intended to add that she has missed a real opportunity to take Scotland forward. If she had focused on milking Westminster rather than flogging it she could have strengthened Scotland position in the union. However that would require good governance, and that we have seen little of.

      Reply
  20. Lifelogic
    February 23, 2021

    Boris (Driven by Carrie?) seems to have completely gone mad:- Climate change is a grave threat to global peace and security, Boris Johnson has warned, a warming planet is driving insecurity, “from the communities uprooted by extreme weather and hunger, to warlords capitalising on the scramble for resources”.

    So he want to push expensive renewables (that save little of no C02 anyway). Then he hopes this reduction will affect the climate beneficially in say 30 years (even though millions of other factors affect the climate too). Then he hopes these changes in climate will then reduce insecurity and prevent wars. In perhaps 50 years time.

    Sure Boris – sounds like a very idiotic and very long term plan. Perhaps he should explain it to the people under ice in Texas with no electricity now.

    There are much cheaper, better, more efficient and almost immediate ways to reduce famine and deter wars that will actually work and within a few months if you have the will to do them. But you prefer to virtue signal it seems.

    Reply
    1. Lifelogic
      February 23, 2021

      Green crap pushing Biden has sent loads of diesel generators to Texas it seems!

      Reply
      1. Fedupsoutherner
        February 23, 2021

        It would make good fodder for a sitcom.

        Reply
  21. Narrow Shoulders
    February 23, 2021

    If another referendum is granted the vote should also be on the terms of separation not just on separation.

    As the terms affect everyone in the UK, before any referendum is granted to the cots, there must be a referendum for the rest of the UK (and the Scots) on the terms of separation.

    It must surely be easier to just remove Barnett and grant the Scots full tax raising powers and a limited ability to borrow. That is a s good as being independent.

    Reply
    1. Lifelogic
      February 23, 2021

      The rest of the UK would probably want rid of them just so we did not have to see so much of the dire Nicola Sturgeon or Ian Blackford.

      Reply
    2. a-tracy
      February 23, 2021

      They get Barnett and I thought they can raise their own tax rates, however, they don’t raise taxes to pay for their student tuition fees, what budget does that massive amount come out if the rest of their taxpayers don’t pay extra for it? Do the English students pay twice a 9% graduate tax and the extra taxes needed to give the other nations their free tuition?

      In Europe, the small nations like Malta and Ireland seem to get a big presence and equal vote people like Vadakar and Muscat were frequently in our news as big players and advisors. Why wouldn’t people like Sturgeon want that?

      Meanwhile Boris just capitulates.

      Reply
      1. JoolsB
        February 23, 2021

        Our kids will spend the first thirty years of their working lives paying extra taxes, those taxes being used to pay for the devolved nations to receive their tuition free or heavily subsidised. English graduates for example doctors will be coming out with much less at the end of each month than those doing exactly the same jobs from elsewhere in the U.K. This is a tax for being English and our so called representatives in parliament, all 553 of them clearly couldn’t give a toss about this blatant discrimination against our young or else they would have done something about it by now.

        Reply
      2. Rory Baird
        February 24, 2021

        You are getting it at last! Boris capitulates, as did May as did Cameron, because a single country always has to capitulate when it takes on the EU. Big beats small. Better to be part of the EU club. Scots get this, so do Irish. You English are slowly learning

        Reply
        1. a-tracy
          February 24, 2021

          Rory – no – the UK needs to present the same terms a level playing field for example: “NI has remained part of the EU’s single market for goods, which means that food products entering from the rest of the UK must undergo EU import procedures. Central to this are EHCs – a certificate signed by a vet for every consignment of products of animal origin – meat, fish, dairy and eggs.”

          Yet we allow in [EU ] chicken with salmonella that has had dire consequences in the UK this week. We should insist on a certificate provided by a ver for EVERY consignment of products of animal origin. Anything that we are asked to give we fairly ask for in return!

          Reply
        2. anon
          February 25, 2021

          Maybe Boris capitulates to help preserve some stability in the EU? I think the rupture will come soon enough. Blow back is baked in now. Lets just move to WTO and shake the dust off.

          Reply
  22. Roy Grainger
    February 23, 2021

    I remember in the independence campaign they said their economy would be based on oil production – as this industry is now in terminal decline given the enthusiasm for “green” energy it would be interesting to hear how they would be able to service their share of the currently massive UK debt burden. Shellfish ? Personally I’d be happy to see them gone along with their Westminster MPs meddling in Englsh matters (voting on Covid lockdown policy which only applies in England for example).

    Reply
    1. rose
      February 23, 2021

      The Scottish National Socialists are maddening, but they don’t represent Scotland. More Scots voted to leave the EU than voted for them.

      Reply
      1. Peter Parsons
        February 24, 2021

        Not true.

        SNP votes in 2019 GE: 1,242,380
        Scottish votes to leave the EU in 2016: 1,018,322

        Reply
    2. JoolsB
      February 23, 2021

      If it wasn’t for those meddling Scots MPs, tuition fees would never have been introduced in England, something they wouldn’t countenance for their own. Same with extended Sunday trading laws for England, Scotland already enjoys them but their MPs made the difference by voting against them because they didn’t want the competition on the border. And the response from 553 UK MPs squatting in English seats? Diddly squat. They couldn’t care less, I know my MP couldn’t.
      The Scots should be given their referendum, either they choose independence or they choose for the Scots Parliament to be dissolved and the same UK Government which is made up of MPs from across the whole UK after all, governs the whole UK and not just England. Either that or an English Parliament.

      Reply
    3. acorn
      February 23, 2021

      Let the Scots go. Let Northern Ireland (NI) be re-united with the south, they are both expensive pains in the arse. Scotland could bid for membership of the EFTA side of EEA membership, rather than the EU side of EEA membership.

      You can’t run a sovereign country to the macro-max without a sovereign currency, so Scotland needs to establish its own currency. Using a foreign currency like the 19 Eurozone members do is a recipe for GDP disaster.

      Macroeconomy wise, NI could easily be merged into the Republic and the Euro currency. That is until the Eurozone members realise the Euro fiscal system policy doesn’t suit any of them, apart from the Germans and the Dutch.

      Frankly, if I were running the show, I would shutdown the EU, and its Parliament, and its common currency; and let thirty countries revert back to the EEA Constitution alone with their own currencies.

      Reply
  23. majorfrustration
    February 23, 2021

    The continual moaning by the SNP is just a wind up – its time to front them up and set a transition period of eighteen months for full Independence. There would still be a Union even without Scotland.

    Reply
  24. ukretired123
    February 23, 2021

    Growing up in the North of England there is intense local pride in achievements contributing to Britain’s successful battles over history. This filtered through to sporting rivalry esp North V South but a good sport true Brit coming together for national events. London was seen as the credit taker where Buckingham Palace and Parliament are.
    Scotland has similar views in part but has extra differences obviously from the North. It has more unique identity culturally and is a proud country famous for its tenacity “Never say die” inspirational modus operandi.
    The romantic view of Braveheart has been stoked up reinforcing Scotland’s history without the reality of local inter-tribal bloodshed that was the modus before 1700. Lately however the uncertain future of our Monarchy, the rise of smaller European countries like Slovakia and Brexit have given rise to a romantic future Scotland without strings of reality attached.
    The recent history of CzechoSlovakia should be studied as an example as to what happened when the Slovaks resented their wealthier neighbours and spent years in regression.

    Reply
  25. William Long
    February 23, 2021

    Possibly Mr Salmond meant what he said about the Referendum being a once in a generation event; I remember him rejetion the concept of ‘Neverendum’; but Mrs Sturgeon is a totally different person. She shows no sign of wanting to be bound by the promises of her predecessors nor any sign of logic being part of her agenda.
    As you say, though, a Union can only work if its members are willing partners, and it is becoming increasingly obvious that the Scotch no longer are, for reasons that are often emotional rather than practical. Something therefor is likely to have to give. I think that if you want the Union to survive, it is now necessary for its whole structure to be the subject of review and possible change, and this should include the prospect of proper Government for England, otherwise there is a growing danger that the English too will increasingly reject the Union, and be delighted to see Scotland sail off into the sunset.

    Reply
  26. ian@Barkham
    February 23, 2021

    It all stems from the situation of devolution. Devolution set out to enable local communities, area and regions to take on responsibility for the day to day running of their own affairs. leaving the central government to just coordinate internal affairs and comprehensively look after all external affairs

    It failed because it failed to do it properly. It failed because we had Scots as leaders of the UK at the time, that frankly said they wanted one thing then did the other. It failed because we have a central command system forcing a one size fits all policies on a whole nation. It failed because central command was ‘only’ doing what was required by their rulers in Brussels.

    It is necessary for the whole union, each region, area, county to take control and be given the ability to do what is needed for their area to thrive. Just on Scotland, does anyone believe Glasgow is happy with Edinburgh in control. Or the Islands being told what to do by Glasgow. In England is it right that the Metro lefties in the HoC know what is right for the NE. On and on, devolution is everyone taking back control, taking on responsibility and owning themselves. Then the collective interest of the UK works.

    In the UK we continually have frightened governments, frightened of the people that pay their wages and elected them. Of course some area will fail, that’s when central government becomes the full back position. But, the majority will thrive and prosper releasing central government to do more of what they are there to do – they are no longer the local council state council with instruction being passed to them by a higher un-elected un-accountable authority.

    Reply
    1. ian@Barkham
      February 23, 2021

      amendment – they are no longer the local state council with instruction being passed to them by a higher un-elected un-accountable authority.

      Reply
  27. Walt
    February 23, 2021

    There is no appeasing single issue fanatics. Refuse another referendum until, say, 2050 and meanwhile close the matter, with no more SNP whining about it in our union Parliament.

    Reply
  28. Newmania
    February 23, 2021

    I look forward to John Redwood agreeing that you can indeed leave the Union whilst retaining all its advantages, assisted by a Magic border, and a larger set of alliances that will make up for alienating your primary market supplier and neighbour.
    Incidentally call for a second referendum started seconds after the first , the only reason it was quieter was that almost no-one supported it That is not so in Scotland and Scottish Independence .
    That is , of course the only difference .

    Reply
  29. Mike Wilson
    February 23, 2021

    So, you are against the European Union but for the United Kingdom. Surely each country in the United Kingdom should be sovereign.

    Reply
    1. Peter Parsons
      February 24, 2021

      One is reminded of the Humpty Dumpty quote about words meaning “exactly what I want them to mean” from Through the Looking Glass.

      Reply
  30. Syd
    February 23, 2021

    Thank you for this concise piece Sir John.
    In it, you go straight to the nub of the problems we Unionists experience in Scotland.
    We had our Referendum and the result was clear.
    We want this devolved administration to get on with governing the country, giving us better education, health care, law and order, transport, etc. We are only 6 million folk – well funded by the U.K. – why can’t we have the best organised and high achieving society in the Western World?
    Three main reasons:-
    1 Our politicians and public servants are second rate, their efforts are amateurish.
    2 Our party of government have their sights on independence from the U.K.- and everything else takes a back seat.
    3 There exists in the Central Belt and Dundee a core of voters with a chip on their shoulder and a low self esteem that is blamed on “The English”. They vote SNP.

    The vast majority of people I speak to do not want independence and would be happy to see the pretend parliament at Holyrood hand out P45’s and close down.
    We can but dream.

    Reply
  31. Christine
    February 23, 2021

    Now is not the time to be allowing yet another Scottish referendum. Are we to have this debate every 5 years until they win the vote? One minute the Scottish parliament is pleading poverty and begging for extra money from the UK government and then wasting millions on their anti-English propaganda. With UK unemployment rising at an alarming rate we need to urgently get the country back to work. There are far too many people happy to sit at home on their furlough payments. There are far too many in the public sector happy to continue delivering a substandard service to the British people. We are one of the World leaders in rolling out the vaccine and yet we have the most draconian lockdown. All politicians in the UK should be working towards opening up the economy, not spending their time on unimportant issues like gender pronouns, culture wars and Scottish independence. I’m getting sick of the way this country is being run. It amazes me that anyone still votes for the current political parties. The people of the UK deserve better.

    Reply
    1. JoolsB
      February 23, 2021

      We do indeed deserve better but how do we achieve it when Labour and the party pretending to be Tories have got the voting system stitched up between them?

      Reply
  32. Wonky Moral Compass
    February 23, 2021

    Why are you in favour of the union, John? What do the English gain from it?

    Reply
    1. MiC
      February 23, 2021

      Shouldn’t you have been honest, and campaigned for England to leave the UK – and so the European Union too – rather than for the UK to leave it, and to drag out Scotland and NI against their wills?

      Yes, it’s very wonky.

      Reply
      1. Fred.H
        February 24, 2021

        Actually if the truth were known the Scots are canny enough to remain subsidised, while the English would vote to get rid of the noisy neighbours and for lots of SNP – ‘chip on the shoulder hate’.

        Reply
      2. Peter2
        February 24, 2021

        You forgot to mention Wales MiC.

        Reply
    2. JoolsB
      February 23, 2021

      The bill.

      Reply
  33. Original Richard
    February 23, 2021

    Should the UK government grant the SNP a second referendum then the SNP should not be allowed to rig the vote again by allowing all residents of Scotland a vote whatever their nationality or residency status whilst refusing to give the vote to 795,000 Scottish ex-pats living elsewhere in the UK.

    Reply
  34. Original Richard
    February 23, 2021

    Scottish independence at the last referendum was based upon the rUK remaining a member of the EU.

    Scottish people now need to understand that since the UK has left the EU their relatively small country (17th in population size in the EU) will give them little influence and voting rights and more importantly will be without the protection of the rUK, which the Dutch, Danes and Swedes are already noticing.

    Reply
  35. Javelin
    February 23, 2021

    I note with some amusement that Boris’ political colleagues are now maintaining a 4 meter social distancing from him in the commons during his announcement yesterday.

    Reply
    1. jerry
      February 23, 2021

      @Javelin; Haha, only 4 meter social distancing, surely if the PM was in real trouble Boris would have had the chamber to himself! But more seriously, given that “Red List” countries are listed due to mutations of the Covid-19 virus, and that countries can be added (or indeed removed) from the return quarantine rules, is it wise for the Govt to allow the tourist industry to promote non UK based holidays just yet?

      The govt could end up having to find many more isolation hotels, never mind families finding the total cost of their holiday has increased by at least £1700, and countless employers finding their staff unable to return to work on the dates planned.

      Reply
    2. Lifelogic
      February 23, 2021

      Indeed and he has had it anyway so almost certainly will not catch it again nor pass it to others.

      Reply
  36. Martyn G
    February 23, 2021

    It’s not just Scotland, in Wales there is now a growing clamour for independence of that nation as well. Just think, if Scotland and Wales leave the UK, England must then have a Parliament of its own!

    Reply
    1. Yossarion
      February 23, 2021

      The English can only hope for that outcome, ignored and bullied for centuries from the margins to keep a union forced on them by a parliament and absolute Monarch where only the toffs would have had any kind of vote.

      Reply
    2. Fred.H
      February 24, 2021

      Economically wonderful for England – rid ourselves of the noisy expensive neighbours. Bring all those civil service, military jobs to England. Trim down the H of C and H of L (even better scrap the latter).

      Reply
  37. Old Salt
    February 23, 2021

    Anyone would think the SNP represents the whole of Scotland by the amount of air time afforded all over our TV . Aren’t there any other parties representing those of a different persuasion and if so why do they not get air time balance?

    The Scottish- English political arrangement is totally unsatisfactory anyway. Talk about the tail wagging…
    As regards the SNP, it’s all in the name.

    Reply
  38. Dave Andrews
    February 23, 2021

    What they should do is to work out how much the Scottish Parliament costs per Scot and invite them to make a voluntary contribution. If they get more than half the money, they can make the remaining Scots pay. If they get less, then they scrap the whole thing, gift the parliament buildings to the City of Edinburgh Council to repurpose and redistribute their powers back to Westminster or local government.
    What proportion of Scots would rather keep their money in their pocket? Just about all of them I reckon.

    Reply
  39. John Robertson
    February 23, 2021

    That’s why I think now is a good time to set up a commission to set say 5 key questions that would need to be answered before a referendum could be granted.
    For example what currency and if they want to be in a currency union with another country then the high level agreement is needed from that other country.
    Another could be if wanting to participate i another country’s heath service that the high level agreement is needed first

    Reply
  40. ChrisS
    February 23, 2021

    Like most taxpayers in England, I am thoroughly fed up with the constant whinging from The SNP, despite us handing over upwards of £15bn a year to subsidise a lifestyle to which they are not entitled.

    I would support the union if Scotland paid its own way and English people didn’t have to suffer the constant racist comments coming from North of the border. Yes, we also subsidise Wales but at least the Welsh don’t make such a fuss about England and its people.

    In my view, the sooner there is another referendum the better, just as long as everyone signs up to there being no third referendum for at least 30 years, for any reason.

    Either Scottish people will vote to leave the UK, or they will choose to stay. If the decision is the latter, then the whinging will have to stop and the UK Government will need to get the Scottish deficit under control. This can be done by giving Scotland full fiscal autonomy on condition that Holyrood raises all the money it spends within Scotland, or doing away with the Barnett formula and gradually reducing the subsidy over the next decade.
    Continuing to send £15bn a year of English taxpayer’s money to Scotland cannot be an option.

    Reply
  41. ian@Barkham
    February 23, 2021

    Once you get past the ego of a few noisy individuals, are the Scots People themselves any different than any other region in the UK. They all have it in their grasp to manage their own communities better than a over centralized Metro left Politburo.

    Is it the UK they want rid of or is it the over centralised command and control of an overweight outdated house that calls itself democratic. Especially when you factor in those given a voice via the HoL. Time for a modern proper democratic response to this modern world.

    The World changes for the better when the person in the mirror, takes and has the responsibility for themselves and their communities. That after all was the original ethos and meaning of Conservatism.

    Reply
    1. Peter Parsons
      February 24, 2021

      “A modern democratic response”

      The UK is currently governed by one of the least representative (of its electorate) parliaments in the western world combined with the largest entirely unelected legislating chamber in the western world (and second globally to the Chinese Politburo).

      Modern democracy in the UK would be most welcome. Don’t expect to get it from the Conservative party though, it is their official policy to keep what exists now.

      Reply
  42. London Nick
    February 23, 2021

    It would have helped if Boris hadn’t betrayed the Scottish fishermen! They are now actually worse off than before. This is an achievement which I didn’t think even someone as stupid as Boris could achieve, but it seems there are no limits to his treachery. He obviously does not care about the Union – well, not the British one, though he is obviously desperate not to upset the European one! How can you possibly support him as PM? Roll on the next election so we can vote for the only party that can salvage the mess he created – ReformUK!

    Reply
    1. glen cullen
      February 23, 2021

      Yeah – Boris has betrayed the voter

      Reply
  43. The Prangwizard
    February 23, 2021

    We have read all this before and much the same. It is sounding empty and hollow. The SNP, its members and supporters are probably not listening; after all why should they? They campaign and threaten and get more and more of what they demand. What if the Scots vote for independence. The fact it has been declared as legally invalid will make no difference to its effectiveness. What is the plan to deal with it?

    Sturgeon displays, proudly, anti-English sentiments and suffers no rebuffs. She threatens to close the border and suffers no rebuff. She attempts, almost daily, to gain an advantage. I read that she has ordered the EU flag to be displayed on public buildings. She acts as if Scotland is already independent and gets away with it.

    And here Scotland is spoken of with England irrelevant. Only the Union is mentioned. Sir John says he understands how Scottish voters feel but no mention of how England feels. He has justifying that previously by saying there is no demand for similar recogntion here. But if Sir John ‘speaks for England’ he should campaign, but as with all Tories and Unionists the Union comes first.

    England is expected to keep and be quiet.

    Reply
  44. NickC
    February 23, 2021

    JR said: “The Scottish Parliamentary elections will be dominated by arguments about a second referendum if many of the politicians fighting it have their way.”

    That’s to cover up the SNP’s mismanagement of Scotland, and entirely predictable.

    Reply
  45. Everhopeful
    February 23, 2021

    I think there should be an investigation into all those NHS nurses and Drs dancing on tiktok.
    Who were they and how did they have the time to rehearse and film?

    Reply
  46. London Nick
    February 23, 2021

    Talking of the Union, yesterday there was the parliamentary debate on the petition to trigger Article 16 of the Northern Ireland Protocol, to ensure the “unfettered” trade between GB and NI that Boris promised us – but failed to deliver (of course!). I was sorry that you did not take part. I was even more sorry to hear the weasel words of the minister – and, let’s be honest: LIES.

    The minister said that “finding workable solutions to the ongoing problems” is a “shared objective” of the UK and EU. NO, this is a lie. The EU have NO desire to solve the problems, which they claim are unavoidable. That have stated that clearly, so this cannot be a misunderstanfing of the minister, it is a lie. He also said that the government is “putting the interests of the people of Northern Ireland first”. NO, that is a lie. If that were so then he would take immediate and unilateral action, instead of letting things drag on. He is clearly putting the EU’s interests first.

    I thought that the standard of contributions to the debate was, in general, poor (which is why you were sorely missed!!). Apart from clearly setting out the problems – which, interestingly, no MP of any stripe denied – none made the crucial point that invoking Article 16 is NOT ‘going against’ the Protocol, or ‘reneging’ on it, but is USING the Protocol. After all, Article 16 was put in there and agreed by both the UK and EU, so using it is simply using the Protocol as both parties agreed it could, and should, be used. If it wants, the government could make it clear it was using Article 16 as a temporary measure, and in a narrow way, to specifically target the problems that have arisen (pets, food, plants, eels, etc) until a long-term solution is agreed with the EU. The point is that every day counts, and an IMMEDIATE solution is needed, even if only a temporary one. Article 16 is it. Failure to use it is a BETRAYAL of Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK too.

    Personally, I would prefer to cancel the Protocol entirely, as it is simply not needed. You can have completely unfettered trade both East/West and North/South, and tackle smuggling with intelligence-led policing – just as has been done for years. There was no need for the Protocol at all, and this was another abysmal Boris failure and betrayal.

    Reply
    1. Blob
      February 24, 2021

      Northern Ireland voted to remain in the EU so deserves everything it gets. Let it go.

      Reply
    2. Grey Friar
      February 24, 2021

      A long term solution HAS been agreed with the EU. it involves massive red tape and border controls between NI and GB. Boris agreed to it, the British people voted for it at the Election. The current problems are not temporary, they are permanent. it’s what you voted for

      Reply
  47. Ignoramus
    February 23, 2021

    I agree wholeheartedly with these comments.

    Surely independence for England is the logical extension of Brexit.

    If we have campaigned so hard to free ourselves of the shackles of the E.U, do we not have the right to free ourselves of the shackles of those countries which wish to remain part of the E.U.

    I believe Ms Sturgeon made her loyalties perfectly clear during the vaccine debate when she sided with the E.U, not Westminster.

    Moreover, if Scotland has been given a referendum on leaving the union,. why should England not be given the same?

    Reply
  48. Narrow Shoulders
    February 23, 2021

    Some feedback on your updated website Sir John – as I can not see anywhere else to post it.

    I have given up accessing the site from my phone. Apart from the tone (and even then it is guesswork) it is not possible to differentiate replies from original posts on a mobile device, there is no indentation.

    I also find the hero image taking the whole screen up on entry to the site until the visitor scrolls down hugely distracting and having to navigate back to the homepage to get to other posts is not user friendly.

    The content remains compelling but the presentation has dipped since the upgrade I fear. I now access the site less regularly and only on a laptop. I may be in a majority in which case make like a true politician and pander to the minority that finds the upgrade positive (:

    Reply
    1. Know-Dice
      February 23, 2021

      Same here, doesn’t really work on an Android device 🙁

      Reply
    2. The Prangwizard
      February 23, 2021

      I’d add my support to that. I just thought it was just my phone,which is rather old, but seems not. Processing comments seems slower too but I have put that down to Sir John being much busier since the change on other things.

      And what happened to speaking for England.

      Reply
      1. Fred.H
        February 24, 2021

        the H of C doesn’t seem to be interested in ‘speaking for England’.

        Reply
    3. dixie
      February 24, 2021

      humungous images and white spaces seem to be the trend, especially in financial services for some strange reason – you acquire a large screen to see more information with less scrolling and the idiots prevent that by filling the page up with blank space.

      Reply
      1. Narrow Shoulders
        February 25, 2021

        (:

        Reply
  49. turboterrier
    February 23, 2021

    Now Scotland has a Parliament and government with considerable powers to go their own way on everything.

    That is the problem they have the powers and have done nothing with them. You would think that the Scottish people would have finally woken up to the disastrous areas of complete failure. Education, Policing, Energy, taxation, national Debt. All there to be used to beat up the Nationalists.

    The bigger question surely to be sorted out the is the may Elections. If the nationalists face a backlash from the voting public that will weaken their attempts to bring in another Independence referendum illegal or otherwise. With such gross failures of their performance should not the Westminster government manipulate and instigate an all-out assault on the nationalist’s performance between now and the planned election date? Similar to the attacks made at every opportunity to highlight global warminCovid 19 discissions etc.

    There are calls being made to delay the May elections due to the Covid situation. There are other good reasons for the Scottish Opposition parties in that the delayed education report is being held back to be presented to the devolved parliament after the May elections.

    Why is the Government not releasing facts and figures that reference the amount of funding that Scotland receives over and above that allocated with the Barnet formula? Breakdown of costs on what benefits the Scottish people get for being home to numerous MoD establishments. The true costs of constraint payments with all their renewable energy sites, funded at the moment collectively by the total population of the UK.

    The time to slow the nationalist charge is now before the May elections, they are in disarray internally and as they have so often done to our parliament’s, taken advantage of the situation bought about by weakness.

    It is not just the responsibility of the media to highlight all the shortfalls in the way the devolved parliament operates, it is Westminster simply because there are a lot of disgruntled taxpayers and voters fed up down south of the border as to the way it is perceived that every time Scotland says jump, Westminster ask how high? Release of the true cost of having Scotland in the union is not only a right for the Scottish people but it is our right, we re the people paying for it. If the public rose up against it, then you can count on the media reporting on it and even the BBC would be dragged kicking and screaming into the fray. No more please playing with a soft ball, for a lot of us those days are long gone. Not against them getting independance at all just a factual reminder everything comes at a cost.

    Reply
  50. jon livesey
    February 23, 2021

    A clue here is to listen carefully to what is *not* being debated. Since Salmond handed over to Sturgeon, the debate over independence has not included anything serious about currency, economics or fiscal affairs. Salmond talked about those issues constantly – remember the Arc of Prosperity? – but today Sturgeon and the SNP discuss independence almost entirely in terms of identity. In fact, the debate on technical issues has gone backwards, and today the average Scottish voter knows *less* about the economics, fiscal and currency aspects than they did five years ago.

    It is pretty much a waste of time to debate the SNP on issues they have decided to avoid. To defeat the SNP, you have to defeat them on their chosen ground, and that is Scottish identity. That is why the UK has to have a strong Scottish accent north of the border. Failing to do that concedes the fight to the SNP.

    Reply
  51. James
    February 23, 2021

    As far as Scotland and NI are concerned the brexit vote changed everything- we now have a new dynamic- dysfunctional and very probably terminal

    Reply
  52. ChrisS
    February 23, 2021

    An economic report published by the LSE has highlighted the dilemma for an independent Scotland in considering whether it should attempt to join the EU. The rest of the UK accounted for 61% of Scottish exports and 67% of Scottish imports. Scotland’s trade with the rest of the UK is around four times larger than its EU trade.

    According to the report, leaving the UK single market will cost Scotland up to 8.7% of income per capita, or up to £2,800 per person, depending on the additional costs of trading with its biggest partner, the rest of the UK. These costs do not include the additional burden of a hard border between the RUK and Scotland if it successfully joined the EU.

    At the top of page 18, the report states :
    “In the immediate aftermath of independence, Scotland should prioritise keeping border costs with RUK as low as possible by seeking to maintain an economic union with RUK rather than rejoining the EU.

    the https://cep.lse.ac.uk/pubs/download/brexit17.pdf

    Reply
  53. formula57
    February 23, 2021

    The previous format somehow made scrolling through the Comments easier, I think because of the borders (they certainly helped identify where Comments responded to earlier Comments).

    We have lost the time stamps, meaning we are deprived of the enjoyment of seething about others’ Comments making it through moderation before our own.

    Reply
    1. Fedupsoutherner
      February 23, 2021

      Agree Formula. The site is not as easy and I don’t like the way the times are missing either.

      Reply
    2. Fred.H
      February 24, 2021

      fair criticism -not much improvement.

      Reply
  54. hefner
    February 23, 2021

    Interesting to read Max Hastings’take on today’s topics: ‘There will always be an England, but not a UK’ (14/02/2021) on bloomberg.com

    Reply
    1. JoolsB
      February 23, 2021

      Not so sure about that Hefner. The Scots may be trying to destroy the U.K. but the politicians are doing their best to destroy England. If John’s lot and Labour get their way, England will cease to exist and will merely become a collection of competing regions.

      Reply
  55. glen cullen
    February 23, 2021

    BBC reporting Eighteen people have been rescued from the back of a refrigerated lorry at a motorway service area A1(M) near Peterborough, at about 11:30 GMT – didn’t mention that they’re illegal immigrants

    The migrants still crossing the channel with no fear of return

    Reply
    1. Fred.H
      February 24, 2021

      just a different way of getting to a gig !

      Reply
  56. John Mcdonald
    February 24, 2021

    The SNP focus on getting away from England (Westminster ) rather looking after the people in Scotland.
    The difficulties of dividing a natural Island can be seen from across the Irish sea. We could have had a better historical relationship with the Republic if the government had been much wiser at the time, and before, when Ireland became independent. How Ireland was treated for centuries by the British Establishment is on record and nothing to be proud of. I would add that the average English person was not exactly having a fun time under this same Establishment. Weather the Politicians like it or not there are strong bonds between the peoples of Ireland, Wales, Scotland and England. Not always friendly but none the less bonds which should not be broken by complete separation for the stack of some Political ideal of being independent which in the 21st Centenary is an illusion if not a delusion.
    Westminster should just be the UK federal Parliament and the countries of the UK should govern their internal affairs. Then if England has its own parliament we can all blame Westminster and not the English 🙂 But there should be federal organizations like the NHS, Military , Home Office , Utilities, Transport (Road and Rail) which would be the responsibility (but not the politicians directly) of Westminster, together with International trade and relationships with other countries outside the UK.

    If NI, Wales, and Scotland have devolved Parliaments then it is undemocratic that England does not have a devolved Parliament. This step might take some of the SNP’s arguments for independence away 🙂

    Reply
  57. David Brown
    February 24, 2021

    I feel the UK has become too London centralist, I see not purpose in keeping the Union in the 21st century. Break up the UK or allow federal states inc areas of North England, the Westminster model is very outdated.

    Reply
  58. kb
    February 24, 2021

    I am very pleased to see Sir John has mentioned how the UK national debt is to be apportioned should Scotland leave. It’s about time this question was brought out into the open. The Scots are under the impression they could walk away debt free.

    There is a UN Convention on this subject, however the UK has never ratified it. Perhaps now would be a good time to do so?

    1983 VIENNA CONVENTION ON SUCCESSION OF STATE IN RESPECT OF STATE PROPERTY, ARCHIVES AND DEBTS

    Reply

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