Scotland’s government


It wasn’t meant to be like this. Gordon  Brown and Tony Blair pushed through devolution for Scotland, telling us that would kill off the nascent Scottish independence movement. I wrote at the time:

“Usually , the granting of  more and more powers for separate development and separate government within a once unified state leads inexorably to stronger nationalist movements”  (The Death of Britain? 1999)

I drew attention to the many ways a canny Scottish government could press for more powers and exploit the compromises of the  settlement. It always looked like a political  journey, not a fixed  constitution.  The SNP could blame the UK government for things that went wrong and demand more powers to fix them.

Some defenders of the Union still think Gordon Brown was right, if only the UK Parliament grants a few more powers. They naively think that there is some amount of power for a devolved Parliament that will satisfy nationalists. Surely we have seen enough to know that whatever powers they have they will want more, because they do want their version of independence.

Today I would ben interested in your thoughts on the state of Scotland’s government and Parliament. I myself have no intention of rushing to judgement or intervening in the tense battles between the present and former First Ministers. This is a debate best conducted between those involved and through the voices of the Scottish parliament, now at the very centre of the row. We have  heard Mr Salmond’s serious allegations about the conduct of the senior Ministers and Law Officers, including allegations of misleading the Parliament and obstructing the work of its Committee trying to get to the truth. We now need to hear the government’s defence.


  1. Peter Wood
    February 27, 2021

    Good Morning,
    Scotland doesn’t like Westminster because you gentlefolk in the House are pretty much concerned only with your own careers and don’t give a thought to the regions. The Scotland issue is a clear example of this thinking. It’s not about Tory v Labour in Scotland!

    Your problem is you’re not even trying to counter the SNP. What’s needed is a Scotish Unionist Party, to fight against the Nationalist Party. Get rid of Tory, Labour, the orange and other multicolour clubs, and establish a unionist party.

    1. MiC
      February 27, 2021

      Then the whole UK needs a European Party by exactly the same logic, and that would kill two birds with the same stone – if your idea would work and I don’t think that it would, actually.

      The Scots only want independence because of the Tories’ frittering away our status as a modern enlightened country through a cheap election gimmick to get themselves elected and to hang on to that.

    2. Dave Andrews
      February 27, 2021

      There is a Scottish Unionist Party, but they are pretty inactive and throw their lot in with the Conservatives. Many who vote SNP don’t want independence but just vote that way because they don’t like Conservative or Labour. Similarly, many who vote SNP don’t want to regain EU membership, but would rather have their independence and keep it.

    3. Peter
      February 27, 2021

      Peter Wood,

      ‘Get rid of Tory, Labour, the orange and other multicolour clubs, and establish a unionist party.’

      Orange and unionist are the same thing in Scotland. It used to be Conservative & Unionist as well.

      1. Peter Wood
        February 27, 2021

        That’s my point; the rainbow parties are dividing the pro-unionist vote. There should be a tactical coalition of Scottish parties who wish to remain in the Union, to provide a realistic opposition to the SNP. Tory, Labour and others are just spinning their wheels and wasting money, get rid.

    4. Andy
      February 27, 2021

      It is called the Conservative AND Unionist Party. And they showed their contempt for the union by putting a border down the Irish Sea so you could have your Brexit.

      Having treated both Northern Ireland and Scotland with contempt why would they want to stay hitched to you?

    5. Hope
      February 27, 2021

      And Cameron kept on giving without a mandate to so from those who pay, namely English taxpayers! Scots get more public money per head than England because No one represents us.

      The tax increases are not because of a virus but because of Decisions made by Johnson. It was a choice. He chose cash for cronies without any proper consideration.

      May bribed DUP because she could not beat Corbin!

      When will Fake Tory PM, x3, realise it is not their money but hard working UK taxpayers! All the false claims and undoubtedly after ten years lies about economy, deficit, debt, and low taxes! Tories were going to balance the deficit by 2015 and start to pay down the debt claimed it’s govt.

      Embrace Tory mass immigration policy you taxpayers and put them up in hotels and give them free houses, health and education! Wait for them to be vaccinated first they are a priority! If you don’t you are “swivelled-eyed loons”, “closet racists” and “bigots!” Quotes from PMs.

    6. rose
      February 27, 2021

      There is a SUP, got up by George Galloway and others.

  2. Mark B
    February 27, 2021

    Good moring

    The sooner the Nat’s get what they wish for the better – the better that is for England.

    Devolution was a result of Tory failure. The Tories pushed through the Poll Tax in Scotland first and ruined their hold there. New Labour came in and did very well there and saw that the Tories where finished in Scotland. They assumed, quite rightly, that a Scottish government would be a Labour government no matter who would be in power at Westminster and so, they could set up the perfect Socialist State – ie One that could practice all those socialist ideas but not have to face the economic reality of them. But there was one problem thought – Those socialist ideas are nice in theory but are crap in practice and, in no time at all, the Nat’s where in ascendance which us led us to where we are now.

    The Scots are not stupid. Most of them know that all those lovely freebies are paid for by the English and know that independence would swiftly bring an end to that, which brings me back to my first sentence – better for England.

    The problem is not in Hollyrood but in Westminster. It is the failure to understand that it is not just Scottish and Welsh Nationalism that is on the rise, but English Nationalism too. Westminster has treated the English very badly in all this. It has failed what I, and more and more people here and elsewhere recognise, a much needed change in the way we are governed.

    Leaving the EU (sic) and CV19 has shown just how frit those in office are of making big decisions. Preferring to leave it the Supra, International and governmental (the science) bodies to make policies. It has shown us that Westminster and many of those in it are simply not fit and proper persons.

    If much needed change does not come about, change will be forced upon you !

    1. Glen Bishop
      February 27, 2021

      I blame Oliver Letwin – thank goodness he has disappeared.

      1. Lifelogic
        February 28, 2021

        +1 but many people guilty of treachery have been readmitted to the party and even elevated to the Lords. Hammond and Clark for example.

    2. JoolsB
      February 27, 2021


    3. jerry
      February 27, 2021

      @Mark B; Separation is not the answer, and were would it end, a return to the old Kingdoms that make up England, after all what right has someone from Mercia got in telling the people of Wessex what to do (or vis-versa)?!…

      By your own logic, as laid out in your second paragraph, to defeat separatism we need less of the policies you are in favour of, not more. The 1998 Poll Tax did indeed reinvigorated the devolution/impedance debate, but it was the hard line economic policies of the Heath Govt (especially with regards State Aid for “lame duck” industries) which likely cause the SNP to gain traction at the ballot box in the early 1970s, going from one Westminster MP in 1970 to 11 by Nov. 1974…

    4. rose
      February 27, 2021

      Actually, the Conservatives lost their seats because of revaluation, not the poll tax. Because this happened, they came down to London and urged the PM to take urgent measures to prevent the same happening in England. Revaluation in a time of property inflation was a much greater blow than is remembered. It should be borne in mind now.

    5. Paul Cuthbertson
      February 27, 2021

      Nothing can stop what is coming ,nothing.

      1. MiC
        February 27, 2021

        I’ve had curries like that too.

  3. Garland
    February 27, 2021

    The Scots have seen enough of your smallminded English nationalist government, putting insular ideology ahead of trade and jobs and willing to tear up an agreement, the Irish Protocol, entered into in good faith. The Scots want out of the UK, and who can blame them. Little England!

    1. SM
      February 27, 2021

      Garland, perhaps you could explain that eternal conundrum:

      English concern for England is nasty horrible nationalism, whereas Scottish concern for Scotland is understandable, patriotic and benign nationalism.

    2. Lifelogic
      February 27, 2021

      They do not want to be “independent” though. They seem to want to give up any real democracy, keep the pound yet become subservient to the anti-democratic EU. Plus they seem to want to further damage their economy with even more socialist and “renewables” lunacy.

      Let us hope Sturgeon has to resign, I cannot stand having to see and hear her and her sidekick Ian Blackford with his begging bowl anymore. Whatever money we gave the SNP it will not be enough.

      1. DavidJ
        February 27, 2021


      2. jerry
        February 28, 2021

        @LL; With regards your first paragraph, any future iScotland govt who applies to join the EU will be required to use the Euro as their currency, as any new applicant does, back in 2014 this question was a little ambiguous, would a iScotland be new member or not.

        What is more, should the people of the UK/England decide Brexit an error [1] it is highly likely the UK/England would also have to accept the Euro as its currency, along with the many policies and diktats the UK had previous op-outs from.

        [1] and unless this govt starts to give us Brexit dividend, such as lower prices, protection for our own UK based industries etc, that change of mind might be as soon as the next scheduled GE

        1. David Brown
          February 28, 2021

          I don’t accept Brexit will give us any dividend.
          Sadly Brexit seems to be all about money either trade or non payments to the EU.
          For me the EU was and is all about the freedom of people to move around within the EU and enjoy the same health care and no red tape.
          For British people we are now trapped on this small land mass until a new generation of voters takes us back into the EU. I hope at the next election we will go into the Customs Union at least.
          Brexit was forced on young people by old voters with one foot in the grave.
          Shame on you.

    3. graham1946
      February 27, 2021

      We’d like that too. Make sure the English get a vote in any referendum rather than keep in in Scotland as this is a UK matter not a little Scotland matter and your wish will be granted. I doubt the Scots have the courage for it though and will keep it in Scotland in the hope they won’t really have to fend for themselves and can keep sucking on the English teat and just make a political point to try to get even more out of a terrified Westminster.

    4. Sir Joe Soap
      February 27, 2021

      Fine, so let’s have am all-in or all out referendum for them. Call their bluff. Choice between independence and totally on their own, just as their precious EU has treated us, or remain part of the UK with full control from London and get rid of their Parliament which is an anachronism.

    5. Fred.H
      February 27, 2021

      and England would vote to cast off the troubled neighbours in a heartbeat.

    6. Arthur Wrightiss
      February 27, 2021

      A good many English want the SNP to have Scottish independence. Please let it happen, the sooner the better. Obviously Orkney and Shetland will have their separate independence vote as well.

    7. Richard1
      February 27, 2021

      There was a majority at times for independence during the Scottish referendum, at which there was no prospect of Brexit. The main economic argument of the nationalists was that independence carries no risk as both Scotland and rUK would be in the EU’s single market, customs union etc. The fiasco of the EU vaccine programme and continually looming crises from the euro doomsday machine will be further discouragement to sensible Scots to vote for leaving the U.K.

    8. No Longer Anonymous
      February 27, 2021

      I’m English and I don’t feel I have any representation at all in this Union.

      1. JoolsB
        February 27, 2021

        That’s because you don’t. And if John’s lot and Labour get their way, you never will. They couldn’t give a toss about England, just their precious union and if keeping Scotland disadvantages England further than it does already, then so be it. The only thing England gets out of this so called union is the bill.

    9. agricola
      February 27, 2021

      Big question Garland. Can the Scots afford it. Their own banking system, their own central bank, their own currency. They, the SNP ,do not want England, the EU do not want them so where is the approx £2000 per capita shortfall going to come from. Plus of course a potential closing of the English/Scottish border.
      Current blood letting will cause a rift between the SNP and the people of Scotland. Lets hope that time heals the SNP experience.

    10. formula57
      February 27, 2021

      @ Garland – whether you have a sound point or not, one thing you are wrong about is “The Scots have seen enough of your small-minded English nationalist government”. They will never had had enough: the whinging will run in perpetuity.

    11. Grahame ASH
      February 27, 2021

      I think many of the English would want Scotland out so we can stop financing them.
      Scotland wants to be Independent but wants to be in the EU. In the EU it will lose its independence, but hey ho. They know best.
      Of course the EU may not wish to subsidise Scotland, and not admit them as a member (CF Catalonia)
      So where will Scotland turn next? Well Russia and China are waiting to snare them.
      And Independence? As long as we get away from the cursed English.

    12. Nicki Morley
      February 27, 2021

      Have the Scots had enough of the continual baleouts? If that’s the case, then fine go your own way, and leave the finest Union in the world, little United Kingdom one of the top 5 économies in the world. Scotlands government. Holyrood à failed experiment. Good luck to an independent Scotland, be careful what you wish for.

  4. Sea_Warrior
    February 27, 2021

    I would like to see Holyrood’s tax-varying powers taken away and replaced by a power for them to introduce their own ADDITIONAL taxes, clearly attributed to the Scottish government. Employees of the UK government (e.g. servicemen) serving and/or living north of the border would be exempt those taxes.
    Any request by Holyrood – or the other devolved governemnts – to gain additional powers should go to a referendum, with each proposal voted on separately. Each proposed new power should be balanced by proposed withdrawal of a power where the devolved government is quite clearly failing to deliver. So, Wales might be offered a chance to strip Cardiff of control over Education or Health.
    It’s time to play hard-ball with the SNP and the other Union-wreckers.

  5. Ian Kaye
    February 27, 2021

    I agree the Scottish government is a classic example of big decisions being ducked. If they are serious about joining the euro, pegging their new currency to the euro at an agreed rate as a preliminary to joining the euro, the Scottish government will need to take tough economic decisions, cutting imports by 20% + for example, otherwise the EU will send in the troika. If the Scottish government comes clean on this I am sure they will retain most of the Scots Independence followers, and overnight they would look for more realistic as a serious governing party

  6. agricola
    February 27, 2021

    A very balanced and restrained summary. Salmond was very articulate and in command of his facts yesterday. I say facts because he was under oath at the time. Not the Old Bullfrog of yore. I too leave it to this committee of enquiry to sort out the truth and the people through the Scottish Parliament to reach their verdict.

    The big question derives from your thoughts stated and not stated. Devolution needs in my judgement to be cut back to size. Scotland is a dependant entity, spending more than it earns. Yet it demands ever more and the freedom to spend freely as it sees fit. There are suggestions that the money donated by the UK does not always go where it is intended. Under the SNP they are becoming the black sheep of the family, demanding ever more. The UK family is the Westminster Parliament and it is their responsibility to get the family back under control. The Scots may eventually cast their own electoral verdict on the present unsavoury spat, but the resetting of the rules is with Westminster, do not shirk it. I want Scotland to be a happy productive member of the family.

  7. Lifelogic
    February 27, 2021

    Usually , the granting of more and more powers for separate development and separate government within a once unified state leads inexorably to stronger nationalist movements” (The Death of Britain? 1999)

    The mechanist for this is that they have every incentive to push for independence as they constantly get bought off with more money and more powers at the expense mainly of England.

    Exactly as the far too small sensible wing of the Conservative part have realised for a long time. They were right to oppose EU membership under Heath and Wilson and were right on this too. They way Brown and Blair did devolution (intended to benefit the Labour Party) predictable backfired on both Labour and has hugely harmed the UK. Gordon brown even fixes his appalling tax system so they hit people in London and the South East. Osborne and Hammond idiotically continued with this plan.

    1. Lifelogic
      February 27, 2021


  8. Lifelogic
    February 27, 2021

    Charles Moore today:-
    Unionists cannot escape their share of the blame for this Scottish ‘fish fight’.
    The policy of ‘devolve and forget’ has enabled the SNP to build its tinpot statelet north of the border.

  9. Lifelogic
    February 27, 2021

    Blair and Brown were able to get away with their dire devolution settlement as the appalling John ERM Major (still no apology for the man) had given them such a huge majority and three plus terms of power. Boris has a decent majority but only just over 3 years left.

    Someone on a Spectator podcast described Rishi as a Thatcherite. He does not look remotely like that to me more of a magic money tree, tax borrow and waste, climate alarmist, lock down enthusiast, anti-business, red tape pushing, NHS communist health system supporting, expensive energy pushing Socialist. His first act was to axe 90% of entrepreneurs CGT tax relief. Then he even borrowed/taxed to pay 50% of some richer people’s restaurant bills.

    What he seems to have planned for Wednesday will be a disaster politically and economically. Can the sensible wing do something to stop him please?

    1. DavidJ
      February 27, 2021


  10. Old Albion
    February 27, 2021

    Blair and every Gov. since has dumped on England. The (dis)UK is supposed to be four countries united. Westminster fawns over Scotland, Wales and N.Ireland, pours English taxes into all three, to ‘keep ’em sweet’ and ignores England.
    Meanwhile we get lumbered with the UK parliament in which 117 MP’s from outside England vote on English policies/issues. Even policies that are Devolved to their national parliaments.
    In return we are told we need to be regionalised, just us of course, not Scotland or Wales or N.Ireland.
    It’s time for an English Parliament. IF the Scots vote to leave the (disUK) we’re one huge step closer.

    1. JoolsB
      February 27, 2021


    2. Mark B
      February 27, 2021


      I want to be asked, just as the Scots and the Welsh were asked, in how I wish to be governed. We have been ignored and badly treated by Westminster and, in order to get such parity we need the others to leave.

  11. Ian Wragg
    February 27, 2021

    Banana Republic without the bananas as someone said.
    Whining, whingeing Scots who should be set free to plough rheir own furrough.
    Most in England are sick of seeing wee krankie posturing on TV daily.

  12. Sakara Gold
    February 27, 2021

    Ruth Davidson, the much admired Scottish Conservative politician, famously described the ‘independence because of Brexit’ argument as the political equivalent of “amputating your foot because you’ve stubbed your toe”.

    Others have also pointed out the irony of support for independence on the grounds of not wanting to defer power to Westminster, but at the same time being enthusiastic for a newly independent Scotland to then defer its powers to Brussels.

    My view is that the desire for independence from a minority of the Scottish population stems from a racist dislike of the English – led by a vociferous group of activists. The current argument between Salmond and Sturgeon amounts to internal politics and is a complete irrelevance.

    Westminster granted the SNP a referendum on independence in 2014, a decisive vote to remain in the Union was the result. The SNP should not be allowed to demand continous independence referenda until the Scottish public vote the way they want them to.

    1. Lifelogic
      February 28, 2021

      “Ruth Davidson, the much admired Scottish Conservative politician”
      Conservative? Much admired? Not admired by any real conservatives, just another fake Conservative.

  13. JoolsB
    February 27, 2021

    If Johnson’s answer to the SNP is to grant even more powers, then expect an almighty backlash from England. More and more English are now wishing Scotland get their independence. Labour believed they were creating their own little Labour fiefdoms to help them govern England when they set up the Scottish and Welsh Administrations whilst England was to be ignored and broken up into competing regions – no voice and certainly no representation at national level. To them the answer to the English Question and West Lothian Question was never to ask it. Covid has highlighted to the English public what a complete and utter shambles devolution is and how unfair and undemocratic it is to them.

    The biggest disgrace is your Government have done absolutely nothing to address the problem. If anything they have continued where Labour left off with their localism and imposed Mayors. If Johnson grants more powers whilst continuing to ignore England he does so at his peril.

    1. Mark B
      February 27, 2021

      It’s like pampering a winging whining child. Once it knows it can get what it wants by such behaviour it will carry on. Time to give them what they want. And when they find out what it really means, that’ll give them something to really whinge and whine about.

    2. Rhoddas
      February 27, 2021

      Agreed, UK should take powers back under a “performance intervention bill”… e.g. schools and NHS in N Wales have been atrocious for many years.. take the powers back imho.

  14. Nivek
    February 27, 2021

    I believe that, in what you have posted today, the following kernel of truth may exist:

    “Usually, the granting of more and more powers for…government…leads inexorably to…The Death of Britain”.

  15. jerry
    February 27, 2021

    Labour made Devolution a manifesto promise in 1997, having also promised Devolution back in 1974 and again (for Scotland) in 1979, rather than attack Devolution, the devolved Govt or the SNP per se, a more useful debate might be to ask why it was ever necessary to put it on the table in the first place and by extension why the SNP has been able to make so much hay since, not to mention why the Tories have been loosing so much support north of the border over the last few decades.

    Sorry Sir John but Conservatives (and the ‘blue Labour’ element within New Labour) need to look at their own failings, not those of others.

  16. Dave Andrews
    February 27, 2021

    Am I alone in thinking I’d rather not have any BBC airtime devoted to a spat between Nicola Sturgeon and Alex Salmond? The BBC have this idea that people in England are interested in it.

  17. Alan Holmes
    February 27, 2021

    Scotland’s government is every bit as corrupt and useless as the Westminster variety, they just aren’t as practised at hiding it. However now that the covid scam is starting to unravel with calls for enquiries into false death certification perhaps the sunlight will start to burn up all the vampires that enhabit the corridors of power.

  18. Alan Jutson
    February 27, 2021

    The problem you have JR is that the family cat is now well and truly out of the bag, it has been fed on an expensive diet, free to roam where it likes, to do what it likes, but we still pick up the food and vets bill.

    Unlikely you will now ever get the cat back in the bag so to speak, so the only way forward is perhaps to stop paying the vets bills, feeding it on an expensive diet, and let it become ferrel for a while.
    Of course if you do that, then no longer can Scottish MPs serve in the House and vote to spend the families money, so as such they may in turn seek life support from another neighbour, that is the risk you take, but do you really want a ferrel cat living in your garden ?

    Some would not mind, some would be unhappy, some may find it interesting, some may find it distressing, others may enjoy it, it’s a harder life, but the cat may enjoy it whilst it is fit and healthy.

  19. Fedupsoutherner
    February 27, 2021

    It’s too late now to address this John. Independence will come about as soon as they get the vote – thank God. For many of the English who have had to stand back and watch as successive governments have given them more and more it has been a smack in the teeth. Why are the devolve nations allowed to have a say in what is happening in England? It’s about time someone took the bull by the horns and changed it. The governing bodies in Scotland are bein given a hard time right now by Salmond highlighting the fact that power is too centralised and how wrong it us for a husband and wife team to be running the country. Either we are the UK or we’re not. It’s make your mind up time but for Christ’s sake make sure our government negotiates the best deal for the rest of us unlike what’s happened with Brexit. Scotland wants it so leave with only what you are entitled to and no more freebies from us.

    1. turboterrier
      February 27, 2021

      F U S
      +1 Well said especially the last sentence. No jumping through hoops just in the dealings start with nothing and give them less. Just like the EU.

  20. Bryan Harris
    February 27, 2021

    Blair and Brown were so very wrong in so many of their assumptions and actions – They should not have been trusted with devolution, for we know how so much of their legislation is unfit for purpose with wormholes for suppressives to exploit.
    If some form of devolution was necessary, and I don’t think it was, it should have been greatly limited, with benchmarks to withdraw that power in the event that they were not meeting agreed requirements.

    By all accounts the SNP have done nothing for the people of Scotland – They appear to waste resources on political projects for SNP’s benefit. They are a disruptive influence on the rest of the UK, but maybe that was the intent. Blair and Brown were both wedded to the EU in their own way. A disunited UK would certainly work to the benefit of the EU

  21. majorfrustration
    February 27, 2021

    The SNP should join the real world – yet Parliament stops that happening. The constant winging from Scottish SNP politicians we go on and on – we should have the courage to give them their independence – and just watch them panic. Give them a transition period until say end of 2022. Seeing the departure from the Union of Scotland would be a win win for the remaining members of the Union.

  22. HGRJ
    February 27, 2021

    Good Morning.
    The devolution in this case planned over many decades seems that there has been outside political influences in collusion with devious British political members of government that would benefit the break up of the British unison of our four country’s. Historically, our previous generations have fought side by side to make this small island of ours very successful on the World stage. Proud people of any country can be easily manipulated by cleaver political speakers (with the help of the World owed media) to use inbred distrust of another nation’s people or of a religious denomination, I think another way of putting it is DIVIDE and RULE. Please, open your eyes to how we are being used.

  23. Peter
    February 27, 2021

    Meanwhile, a couple of Sir John Redwood focussed articles in today’s Daily Express:-

    On fishing-
    ‘But Sir John Redwood believes Lord David Frost’s appointment to the cabinet will see Britain adopt a tougher line on the issue. ’

    While I would like that to be the case, I believe Lord Frost is only there for show and nothing will improve. Johnson has the final say.

    On taxes, the repeated article from earlier in the week urges Sunak not to increase taxes. I cannot see Sunak obliging, given the way the government is carrying on.

    1. turboterrier
      February 27, 2021


      Johnson has the final say?

      No, no, no you must mean Carrie

  24. Elizabeth Spooner
    February 27, 2021

    It is time to address the inconsistencies in our present UK Governments. There are many things that need sorting out – Scotland being the main one. The others are the House of Lords – far too big; constituency boundaries – should have been redrawn decades ago and the increasingly unfair way the English are being treated even by a Conservative Government which relies on England for support. The clock cannot be turned back, so some form of Federal Government looks likely to be the only solution that might satisfy the now very strong Scottish desires for complete independence. Financial equity between the 4 federal governments being essential, replacing one where the English are constantly insulted but expected to pay over the odds for these insults but with no voice of their own! Constituencies must all be roughly the same size and the House of Lords replaced by a much smaller second chamber – not filled by Government placements (The House of Elders?) If the Scots really wish to go it alone – in the end we cannot deny them. The pandemic has opened many people’s eyes to the reality of devolved governments as nothing else could have. Constitutional reform is something this Government needs to set in motion.

    1. Mark B
      February 27, 2021


      I agree with much of what you say but, this government and these MP’s do not do radical, they just carry on hoping things will get better by themselves. This is why Scotland now must go ! They need to own both their actions (devolution) and inactions (Federal system) and we need to see these people as not fit and proper.

  25. Newmania
    February 27, 2021

    The end of the UK was one of the many risks of Brexit and those who chose to destabilise the Union and especially N Ireland, are self evidently to blame.
    Scotland’s economic self interest may be overwhelmingly as part of the UK, notwithstanding their justifiable fury at being subjected impoverishment in the cause of English .”Nativism” soi disant .
    In fact, England`s determination to be poor and isolated, paradoxically strengthens that argument by creating prospect of a disruptive hard Scottish border .
    Sadly these calm ,” start for where we are “, facts, are not points that can be made by the Brexit fantasists from whom such trade is easily replaced by having a chat with India ( or something ). Every argument for Scotland in the UK is one they have ignorantly jeered at as “Project fear ” .
    So what about the remainers , that sensible half of England …with many friends in Scotland and Europe . will they defend the Union ? No. The remain constituency , politically subjugated and insulted on a daily basis , will sulk in its tent rather than lift a finger for any cause of this government .Ignoble perhaps, but people will be people .
    Most of us try to forget we live in this global joke of a country and have ceased to feel any stake in its future
    With no-one who care about it at all left , the end of the UK, calamitously stupid though it may be , is inevitable .

    1. graham1946
      February 28, 2021

      Rubbish. The independence argument has come about not because of Brexit, that is just the SNP’s latest excuse, but because of the Labour Party and their devolution by which they hoped to gain Scottish power for ever. Thant went well didn’t it? The SNP have been in existence since the 1930’s and have been in Westminster for donkeys years, even before we joined the EU. The SNP have governed since 2007 and have been on about independence all the time. You really must stop looking at everything through your anti Brexit eyes and study some facts, hard for Remainers though that is.

  26. Maj
    February 27, 2021

    We should all sit back and enjoy the current fracas within the SNP , if we don’t laugh we would surely cry at the sad apparent destruction of democratic accountability.
    I would like to see the UK Government do far more to question Scotland independence, eg the effect of removing UK-wide taxpayers’ money additionally spent supporting Scotland and all the government jobs there, the question of the use of the £ (UK pound), to say nothing of the Armed Forces currently based there, which presumably would have to be withdrawn and with the subsequent loss of military recruitment. After all, to quote Dr Johnson: “the noblest prospect which a Scotchman ever sees is the high road that leads him to England.”
    Perhaps the government is just keeping its powder dry until nearer the elections in May.

    1. turboterrier
      February 27, 2021

      Majkèping its powder dry until May?

      Definitely not.Westminster should at every opportunity should be high lighting all the areas of gross poor performance within the devolved parliaments remit every hour of every day leading upto the elections. No more calling them a government they are a devolved parliament nothing more, nothing less. Westminster fell hook line and sinker for the rebranding of Holyrood by Salmon at a cost of million to the tax payers.

  27. Denis Cooper
    February 27, 2021

    I come back to the fact that the Conservative and Unionist party once had strong support in Scotland, more than 50% of the votes cast in 1955, but the eurofederalists who took control of the party threw it away.

    More than anybody else leading Tories have been responsible for destabilising the United Kingdom, starting with Macmillan and Heath and going all the way through to the present Prime Minister who has betrayed our fellow citizens in Northern Ireland for the sake of a low value trade deal with the EU.

    Here is another new article on the RTE website, by Tony Connelly who is usually well informed:

    “Post-Brexit crossroads: which turn will the EU and UK take?”

    It is worth a quick read to see what a ridiculous and dangerous confusion has now been created, firstly by Theresa May accepting the Irish government fantasy that at present there is no border on the island of Ireland and one cannot be allowed to “re-emerge”, indeed there cannot be “anything that would imply a border on the island of Ireland”, and then Boris Johnson agreeing to create a border in the sea.

  28. Pat
    February 27, 2021

    Starting from here, as we must, it seems to me the best solution would be to devolve powers from both Westminster and Holyrood to Scottish counties and cities. As far as possible devolve powers to Scottish individuals, for example by means of education vouchers.
    And while we’re at it do the same for the rest of the UK.

  29. Christine
    February 27, 2021

    I never think of Scotland as a country, only as a county. Our genes are so mixed up that most of us living on this Island have Scottish blood. So I ask who is Scottish? I believe we are one people and stronger together. What is it that these people living in Scotland want to do that they can’t do now? Unfortunately, we are living in a time of perceived division with politicians fanning the flames for their own political gain. All the problems listed by Remainers for Brexit will be amplified many times if Scotland separates from the rest of the UK. We are their biggest export market for goods and jobs. It is a false assumption that all people voting for the SNP want independence. What the SNP gives them is a strong voice to get extra money from the UK at the expense of the English. This is why they get free university education, prescriptions, nursing home care, bus passes etc. The SNP has no competition. It is in the interest of the people to vote for them. Maybe an alternative Scottish unionist party is required.

  30. Thom
    February 27, 2021

    Yes Scottish independence is going to happen eventually- and just as England got free from the EU with a good help from English nationalism- Scotland will do the same through their own nationalism- as will NI when the demographics are right- it’s called democracy in action

  31. agricola
    February 27, 2021

    SJR, you are currently reported as quite rightly showing concern for UK fishermen.

    Let me tell you that on 22nd February at a small Scottish port one box of cod was landed and sold at £3.95 Kg. Tesco are currently offering cod at between£17.86 & £20.00 per kilo, raw but in packaging. Supermarkets rarely sell from whole fish on a counter prefering the added value plus route to the UK customer. Please ask yourself where the £13.91 to £16.05 has gone which might get you closer to why the UK does not buy fresh fish.

    It is even worse when one looks at prawns. Tescos currently charge £22.73 to£25.00 per kilo for prawns of indeterminate size. I can buy retail in a spanish supermarket, large prawns (20 to the Kg) for about €9.25 per Kg. Further emphasising that the UK public are being ripped off and until it is sorted, the crusade to get more fish on the UK menu is a none starter.
    Talk to Cornish fishermen and check out the prices in Newlyn fish market, which they do not seem to publish openly. That is the starting point, then run it through to the supermarket counter.

  32. ChrisS
    February 27, 2021

    Thanks to the indifference of voters and the pathetic performance of Labour and the conservatives, the SNP have been able to turn Scotland into a good impression of a one-party state. This means that the normal sublte checks and balances inherent to our system of democracy are sadly missing.

    Watching Salmond’s performance yesterday was a clear demonstration of how he is head and shoulders above every other politician in Scotland, with the possible exception of Ruth Davidson. To think that the position he used to hold in Westminster is now held by Blackford is scarcely believable. That man isn’t up to chairing a parish Council, even one on the Isle of Skye. Salmond’s forensic analysis of the behaviour of his former SNP colleagues was a master class. In any proper democracy, his evidence would have been enough to finish off Sturgeon’s rule, and that of her husband’s resignation.

    But the real problem for the Governance of Scotland is the failure of voters to recognise the appalling record of the SNP in government and vote accordingly. But then, the alternatives are little better.

    1. Fred.H
      February 27, 2021

      What a comparison: Blackford’s bile vs Charles Kennedy’s brains.
      Whatever did Skye imagine they were doing?

  33. MWB
    February 27, 2021

    By heritage I am half Scottish, but let the Scotch have their referendum and then do all you can to help them along the way to their little Scotland. Either do that, or send police in to arrest Sturgeon and others. MPs are often learning lessons, so learn the lesson from Spain about how to deal with insurrection.
    Also stop referring to ‘the devolved nations’. Scotland is not a nation or a country, any more than Bavaria is a country. When they achieve independence, they will be a country.

    1. Fred.H
      February 27, 2021

      You should be ashamed to refer to your half kin as Scotch – they are Scots.

      1. MWB
        February 28, 2021

        And what do they call the English ?

  34. James Matthews
    February 27, 2021

    It must now be abundantly clear to anyone who believed that a well run Union covering (at least) this island was a desirable objective and who is not a master of self-deception, that devolution was a disastrous mistake. It did not need the entertaining spectacle currently being provided by the slippery fishes in Edinburgh to tell us that. The mistake is not reversible, so what next? From an English perspective is seems better if Scotland goes quickly rather than that the whole mess drags on for another five, ten, or twenty years, with the Scots continuing to meddle in English affairs while increasingly taking their own separate decisions. The departure should be on the basis that Scotland goes completely, with a fully controlled border, no transitional financial arrangements, no dual citizenship , reciprocal residential or political rights or other special arrangements (in short, Ireland should in no way be a precedent). Will whoever negotiates on behalf of England (and Wales?) deliver? The most recent precedent is not good. The Boris Brexit deal is much better than May’s, but, in the medium and long term, no deal would have been much better. However, we may live in hope.

  35. The Prangwizard
    February 27, 2021

    How does England benefit from being linked to Scotland via the Union? The UK’s cowardly Tory Unionist leadership appeases Scottish threats to keep the link and gets nothing worth having. At the same time it refuses to recognise England and address the issues. I have been converted to the support of Scottish and English national independence.

    Do we keep the connection only so the Queen can go on holiday there easily without formality?

  36. glen cullen
    February 27, 2021

    Wise words than and wise words now – Devolution was always going to fail as its a compromise

  37. formula57
    February 27, 2021

    Scotland is a failed state, made so by the SNP’s willingness to see done whatever damage there may arise in its lust to promote exit from the Union.

    Its institutions and governing class have been warped and corrupted and should Alex Salmond be shown to be truthful in his present allegations, all the tearful resignation statements in the world will be insufficient to cleanse and heal.

  38. glen cullen
    February 27, 2021

    UK Government ?
    Another 33 illegal migrants crossing channel yesterday….will this government ever get control ???

    They’re crossing every day

    With Napier Barracks full will all new illegal migrants go straight into 4 star hotels

  39. London Nick
    February 27, 2021

    There’s a good article on this topic by Charles Moore in the Telegraph:

    Fake Tory Unionists have only themselves to blame. Why have they not rolled back Scotland’s independence? I have said on these pages before that one country cannot have two different sets of laws, or police forces. The courts and the police in Scotland should be under the control of the Home Secretary. Operational matters should be delegated to the counties in Scotland just as they are in England. And ministers should be out and about in Scotland every day of the week. And the BBC – to return to your article a few days ago – should be told to close down BBC Scotland and have just one TV station for the whole country. In fact, they should not even use the word ‘Scotland’ in news reports – just as they never say ‘England’. They should just name the town and, if necessary, the county.

    Finally, the question of preserving the Union should not just focus on Scotland. What about Northern Ireland? Clearly Tory MPs – and certainly Boris and the government – do not care about the fact that this has been betrayed to the EU. When are the few genuine Unionists in the Tory Party (if these really exist!) going to rebel over this and withdraw their support for the government in the lobbies? The upcoming Finance Bill would be the perfect opportunity to force the government’s hand.

    1. Peter Parsons
      February 27, 2021

      Why can’t one country have more than one police force or set of laws?

      Look at the USA. Many laws there are not set at the national level, they are set at the state level, or even the county or city level, and they certainly do not have one national police force.

      Look at Germany. Many laws there are also not set at the national level, they are set at the state level. Policing also occurs at the state level, not the national level.

  40. JoolsB
    February 27, 2021

    Sick of hearing about Scotland. They’re a huge drain on the English taxpayer especially when they are dishing out freebie after freebie to their own which are denied to England by the UK Government on grounds of cost. They get given by fawning UK Governments of all colours £2,000 per head more of English taxes than the English receive. They have their own parliament and First Minister, something denied to England, and yet still get to send an over represented army of MPs to Westminster to vote and meddle on what are becoming increasingly English only matters. And still they whinge.

    They should be given a choice – either independence or abolition of the Scots Parliament. And if they choose the latter an end to the Barnett Formula. No more in between where they get the best of both worlds and England gets nothing except the bill. Either one UK Government governs all or we have an English Parliament.

    1. Fedupsoutherner
      February 27, 2021

      Well said Jools.

    2. Mark B
      February 27, 2021

      Here here.

      Thing is, they will just sit on their hands and hope for the best. The best ‘we’ can hope for is that Scotland goes !

  41. Tony Sharp
    February 27, 2021

    Sir John,
    As usual your prediction of 20 years ago has proven correct.
    Holyrood and the Welsh assembly, along with proposals for English regional assemblies were and are all part of EU policies to dissolve the nation states of the EU. It is not a coincidence that the SNP have been in direct contact since 2016 referendum with the Commission and their sabotage in the 2017-19 parliament of attempts to leave the EU without a ‘deal’ .
    Ignoring Plaid Cymru, also bizarrely fanatically pro-EU, the Labour Party in Wales has ignored its own supporters over the EU membership decision. Its nomenklatura has lined its pockets from so many public appointments and assembly positions .
    A future for the devolved assemblies (NI is a distinct issue) is straightforward for Wales, a referendum on its continuation would be carried by abolitionists.
    Holyrood needs to be reduced by looking for alternative measures. Chancellor Sunak’s recent actions in regard to providing direct support to the Scottish local authorities needs to be explored. It may be possible to deepen and broaden this arrangement on the Public Expenditure deficits of these councils so sidelining Holyrood and making the the Assembly and government less relevant to ordinary Scots.

    A key to this is a proper audit as to what is being done with treasury contributions.

  42. HGRJ
    February 27, 2021

    Good Morning.
    Historically, our previous British generations have fought side by side to make this small island of ours very successful on the world stage. Proud people of any country can be easily manipulated by clever political speakers, ably assisted by the world media, to use inbred distrust of another nation’s people or of a religious denomination.
    I have read some of your nationalistic comments. Please, open your eyes to how we are being used and manipulated to fight amongst ourselves whilst they are weaving their webs of control.

  43. Roy Grainger
    February 27, 2021

    Brexit is such a significant change that I think it’s reasonable to have another independence referendum. If they vote for independence that’s great, but I imagine they’d bottle it again but keep on moaning (like Quebec).

  44. matthu
    February 27, 2021

    Scottish Government policy specifically changed to allow a former minister to be investigated? Sounds almost like the second impeachment of President Trump – with the sole object being to destroy his political future. Combine that with the deliberate attempt to prevent the parliamentary committee from examining Salmond’s evidence by redacting his written submission – even though it is still widely available online – and the BBC bending over backwards to afford Sturgeon every opportunity to attack Salmond under the guise of issuing a Covid update – the whole thing stinks.

  45. kb
    February 27, 2021

    I think that, after gaining power, Sturgeon et al have seen the figures and as a result do not really want full independence. They know full well it would be catastrophic for their country and also for themselves personally. But they have to keep up with the pretence in order to remain in power, and also to maximise the powers that are devolved to them.
    This is their real game, to be able to blame the English for everything bad, whilst simultaneously taking their money and gaining credit for spending it.

  46. William Long
    February 27, 2021

    The Saxons found that giving a little to the Vikings in the hope they would not have to give yet more, did not work. It just encouraged greater demands, and it is just the same with Devolution. As for the dispute going on in the SNP, it is far too personal for one to have much confidence in the veracity of either side, but it does seem to say something that Mr Salmon was acquitted by a Court of law, and got his costs.
    As for Scottish independence, yes, they have had their once in a generation referendum, but I cannot ignore the size of my joy when we left the EU, which makes me understand how badly some Scotts may want to leave the UK. The only argument we were given for staying in was that it would be so awful if we left, but HMG is going to have to do much better than this if it wants to keep Scotland on board, and it needs to do it without making any further material concessions if it wants to be supported by English voters. If I was asked now to vote in favour of keeping Scotland in the UK, I would reply “Why? How would it benefit me?”

    1. Fedupsoutherner
      February 27, 2021

      William, HMG might want to try and keep Scotland but the majority of English taxpayers want Scotland to go. Tomorrow wouldn’t be too soon.

  47. Iain Gill
    February 27, 2021

    Forget Scotland, I see the Chancellor is about to stoke the sub prime mortgage bubble again, thats bound to lead to lots of happiness. Throwing money at people with no savings to buy houses. Meanwhile perfectly viable freelancers with lots of savings cannot get mortgages because the banks only want to lend to those with permie jobs. As ever those paying the tax are not the people getting the benefit from the governments largess.

    As ever Conservative in name only is this leftie government.

  48. Alastair McIntyre
    February 27, 2021

    Well given that Scotland is now a real mess and that transparency by the Scottish Government is dead you do have to wonder why the SNP are still doing very well in the polls. From what I’ve seen the opposition parties in Scotland are doing a real bad job at holding the SNP to account.

    We do know education has suffered under the SNP and the latest International report into the Scottish Curriculum for Excellence, which is in the Government’s hands, will not be released until after the May elections. Again that shows lack of transparency and as Nicola Sturgeon herself said “Judge me on education” then somehow we need to see what that report says. So how about working to get this released?

  49. Lindsay McDougall
    February 27, 2021

    I know how you could kill off Sottish Nationalism. It must be acknowledged that if Scotland shows a settled and preponderant desire for independence, it will get it. But we must set the bar high, in a manner showing that a referendum is a once in a generation thing. To get a second referendum, the SNP must win a majority of the popular vote in the next two Westminster and next two Holyrood elections. And if the result is the opposite to that of the first referendum, there must be a third referendum to determine the best of three. And if the Holyrood parliament proposes something different, we should veto it and substitute our proposals.
    We should make clear to the SNP and the people of Scotland what independence would mean. It isn’t the comfortable parasitic devo-max that they have in mind; instead:
    – They would be forced to have their own currency, with Scottish pound notes ceasing to be legal tender in the rest of the UK on day one;
    – They would need their own President or Monarch, with the descendants of Bonnie Prince Charlie, Sean Connery, Billy Connolly or even Idi Amin to choose from;
    -There would have to be a hard border because we wouldn’t tolerate Scotland being used as a back door for illegal immigration;
    – We would be forced to remove our nukes from Scottish territory, a hostile act rendering a defence pact impossible;
    – Scotland would have to wholly finance its own public expenditure from day one.
    And all of that would be printed ON THE BALLOT PAPERS.

    In the meantime, we should cut the devolved assemblies down to size. The public expenditure premium should be reduced from 19% (in the case of Scotland) to 10%. The tax raising powers of Holyrood, Stormont and Cardiff should be cancelled and the Cameron/Clegg Vow should be ripped up. That would mean that nationalist governments no longer looked good at English taxpayers’ expense.

    Be nasty to the little girl
    And beat her when she sneezes
    She only does it to annoy
    Because she knows it teases

    1. Lindsay McDougall
      February 28, 2021

      Still awaiting moderation?

  50. hefner
    February 27, 2021

    O/T: In the last election the Conservative Party said it would reject a return to ‘austerity’ and promised not to raise any of the income tax, national insurance and VAT.

    During these last eleven months, about £400bn have been added to the previous debt. It would seem that the IFS and/or the Wealth Tax Commission might have found a solution towards the future ‘resorption’ of (at least part of) the debt: A one-off one percent wealth tax (to be possibly paid over five years) starting at £2m would tax the top one percent of adults.

    IFS simulations show that this would bring as much money to HMRC as raising the basic rate of income tax from 20 to 23%, but such a change in the basic rate affecting a much larger number of taxpayers would very likely discourage work and discourage hiring at a time when unemployment is rising.
    The one-off additional wealth tax would also be much more acceptable to the general public (Ipsos Mori survey, 01/2021).

    It will be interesting to see how the Chancellor handles this conundrum next week.

    1. Caterpillar
      February 27, 2021

      Interesting thanks. I read the LSE summary from December (, haven’t read whole report yet.

    2. graham1946
      February 28, 2021

      They won’t touch the basic rate, but will tinker with the starting allowance both higher end and lower causing fiscal drag, which they think the public can’t see. They may well cut allowances to local government, forcing up Council Tax for which they will blame councils. They truly think we are stupid. The 400 billion they are on about is approximately half what they used to bail out the banks and ‘solved’ that one with years of ‘austerity’ i.e. killing enterprise and with QE. The Chancellor would be well advised to leave things alone until the Covid crisis dust settles, meantime try to release the ‘coiled spring’. Extra taxes now will kill the economy completely. Let’s hope he just gets up says ‘no change’ and sits down again, except to include the disgracefully ignored 3 million self employed who have not received one penny whilst the big corporations have had a great time coining in tax money. Tinkering by politicians under advice from the Treasury always ends badly.

    3. dixie
      March 1, 2021

      I am intrigued, how exactly will the government establish “wealth”?
      State agents visiting the home to audit personal inventory perhaps?
      What of that childhood stamp collection you forgot about which has appreciated so much over the last 40 years. Or that Habitat table which is in vogue now after 50 years commanding a twenty fold capital gain being so appreciated by the army of interior designers and antique valuers that seems to have become the UK’s major industry.

  51. Aden
    February 27, 2021

    We have heard what Sturgeon was up to because we have the details that were redacted.
    Problem is we won’t hear the defence because as it stands they will refuse to answer any questions and the questions won’t be asked about what is in that redacted section.
    That’s why the Crown Office put in place that redaction.

    It was to prevent any questions and hence any answers about that.

  52. Aden
    February 27, 2021

    I suggest a trial separation. Everyone pays in a per capita payment for the common goods. Defence etc.
    Then its Scottish taxes for Scottish services, English taxes for English services.

    After say 5 years a vote. Scots get a vote on independence. If they say yes, the leave the Union, WTO etc, and are subject to tariffs, no pound etc.

    If they vote to remain, then the English get a vote. Do they want to carry on with the financial arrangements, or do they want to be made poorer and pay the Scots?

    Strikes me as a fair deal. Or if you are more extreme, the English Welsh, NI etc, get a vote on kicking the Scots out. That would make the Scots think about insulting the English.

    Of course if the Welsh and NI vote for them to stay, and the English vote to kick them out, then the Scots go. That’s SNP logic for you

    1. MiC
      February 27, 2021

      I think that the whole country should get a similar vote on Yorkshire and on Essex.

      1. Fred.H
        February 28, 2021

        and Cardiff.

  53. Susan C
    February 27, 2021

    As an English person living in Scotland for 26 years I can tell you that under the SNP Scotland has become a backward, insular Country with failing services in almost every area. No one can speak against the SNP for fear of retribution as they hold the Country in an iron grip. This is not a democracy any longer as every one is forced to worship the great leader Nicola Surgeon and yet she has run Scotland into the ground. The only reason the Scots vote for her in such numbers is that they know that she can hold the UK Government to ransom for more and more power and money which is duly given to try to keep the Union together. It is time for the UK Government to take control and say no more or let them go because nothing will change if it continues the way it is. Devolution is a complete failure and has led to a fracturing of the Union and yet I continue to hear calls for more of it including the breaking up of England itself into regions this would be a complete disaster.

    1. Fedupsoutherner
      February 27, 2021

      Susan, you are so right. Scots vote for the SNP because they continually harass Westminster and get more powers and money from them which then makes the SNP look good. I don’t think all English people realise how many freebies they pay for while getting none of the advantages themselves. It’s an utter disgrace.

    2. steve
      February 27, 2021

      Susan C

      You give very good reasons why Scotland should just be kicked out & be done.

    3. turboterrier
      February 27, 2021

      Susan C
      Very well said. I do not think you at alone in your thinking.

    4. Chris S
      February 28, 2021

      Hello Susan.
      Rarely on these pages have I seen such a precise and accurate analysis of the situation in Scotland and the complete failure of Westminster to get a grip over what is going on there.

      Westminster politicians have been running scared since Blair’s disastrous decision to erect a Scottish parliament, a decision that has been hugely expensive financially for England, for democracy, and for politics, particularly in Scotland.

      Your analysis of the reason why Scottish voters continue to support the SNP has to be correct, given the complete failure of the SNP to deal with a steep decline in the Scottish NHS, Education system and the economy while inexplicably paying no penalty at the ballot box.

      English taxpayers are thoroughly fed up with paying almost £30bn a year subsidising NI, Wales and especially Scotland, whose politicians alone incessantly makes complaints about England, bordering on racism.

      Demographics will sort out the situation in NI, possibly within a decade, but the government simply has to get to grips with spending in Scotland, not least because the patience of English taxpayers has run out.

  54. Jane Ashby
    February 27, 2021

    I have always followed politics in Scotland having lived there for some time. In the past five years, the administration has failed abysmally in education, health, infrastructure projects etc. At the same time the SNP have centralised everything including police. All decisions are political. Aberdeen a conservative area for example had more stringent lockdown than Glasgow. The administration is not held to account. BBC Scotland are a disgrace allowing Ms Sturgeon coverage each day which has now become a political broadcast. This week BBC in Scotland referred to the PM as the PM of England. I may register a formal complaint. Newspapers too fear the SNP and I have read also that Scientists and researchers dare not criticise the government as their funding would be slashed.

    Further, additional funds sent for Covid and building cladding have not been distributed.

    Citizens do not have the same choices as in England regarding choice of medical care etc.

    The most frightening aspect is that the Crown Office etc which is equivalent to our CPS is also a branch of government and their partisanship is apparent this week in striking out testimony provided by Mr Salmond. From outside it does seem that the whole system is appalling. I do think the UK Government should take action if possible. Scotland does not have a democratic government.

    1. turboterrier
      February 27, 2021

      Jane Ashby
      Last paragraph absolutely spot on.

    2. rose
      March 2, 2021

      It is worse: the national BBC promotes Wee Nicola daily, and refers to “the English Health Secretary” etc. We are regularly told how much better a leader she is than the PM. And that we all agree! It gets on to every programme – Womans Hour etc – not just news programmes. Having held off mentioning the disgusting scandal, they are now, at the 11th hour, delicately tip toeing around it. It feels distinctly third world.

  55. acorn
    February 27, 2021

    I am for an independent Scotland and a re-united Ireland OK; simply for an opportunity to totally remodel the English democratic system into a republic. Scotland could do a Catalonia. The latter got shafted by Spain having a written, very anti dictator Constitution. Scotland would have no such hurdle if it declared UDI from the UK.

    Don’t be surprised if a trade deal with a Biden USA, comes with a united Ireland clause in the terms and conditions. Similarly, I can envisage the EFTA/EEA/EU tribes (perm any two from three), greasing the slipway with wet fish quotas, for Scotland’s exit from the UK. At least, just to give the finger to Westminster.

    Then there is Gibraltar, the EU’s, now “third country” owned onshore tax haven, a situation the EU considers totally unacceptable and will force Spain to absorb with little consequence.

    1. Peter2
      February 28, 2021

      In the last referendum the people of Gibraltar voted by nearly 100% to remain British.
      How is the EU going to force Spain to absorb Gibraltar?
      Send in the tanks?

  56. Keith from Leeds
    February 27, 2021

    Hello Sir John,
    Like all socialist governments, the SNP will keep spending until they run out of other people’s money, in this case money from English taxpayers in London & the south-east. The simple answer is to give Scotland financial independence for a few years & then have a referendum. By financial independence, I mean that Scotland has to live within its means on money from Scottish taxpayers only, with the UK making crystal clear they will not stand behind a penny of Scottish debt. Then they will know what they are voting for & if they still want independence then let them have it. Give them no more powers & lets see the conservatives put up a real fight instead of just assuming the SNP will win. No opinion poll forecast an 80 seat majority for the conservatives at the last General Election so why assume Scottish opinion polls are correct.

  57. eleanor justice
    February 27, 2021

    Poor Garland. bile pouring from him or her or they. England has not got a Parliament the powers that be won’t hear of it.The English want out of the UK and who can blame them. It will happen . The English give two fingers to the EU and when we get our own Parliament what larks!

  58. bigneil(newercomp)
    February 27, 2021

    And another 70 arrive – families to follow – -now we know why Rishi says taxes must go up.

    1. turboterrier
      February 27, 2021

      B N

      Shush, its suppose to be all secretive.

      1. glen cullen
        February 28, 2021

        Correct – the media are now bored with this daily event….it just isn’t headline news anymore

  59. BJC
    February 27, 2021

    Sadly, it’s again a matter of power being given away. Successive governments have failed to understand that their powers are only loaned to them and should be returned to the electorate, intact, at each General Election, so we can empower the next government. However, for decades governments have returned fewer powers to us at a General Election, leaving subsequent governments with less discretion to act on our behalf We now have a situation where the UK government is so weakened, the equivalent of a local council is being treated with equal status to Westminster and overriding policies the UK, as a whole, voted for……in fact, mirroring what happened with the EU!

    Westminster has allowed the SNP to lead the narrative over independence, but in truth, the SNP aren’t offering the Scots independence, are they? They’re simply offering to replace Westminster with Brussels, where Scots would have just 6 MEPs to represent them, replacing 58 MPs in Westminster. It’s impossible to silence the siren calls for independence head-on from Westminster, but it is possible to stroke a few Scottish egos in Westminster to reinforce the importance of their position, e.g. securing funding for their constituencies. Mr Sunak’s recent and rather clever move to by-pass the profligate Scottish Parliament, also successfully neutralised its divisive propaganda. Oh, how they bleated, but it’s this sort of charm offensive, aimed directly at the Scottish people, that will make them question the veracity of the SNP’s claims.

  60. Peter Alexander Gillon
    February 27, 2021

    “It’s not the crime, it’s the cover-up”

  61. jon livesey
    February 27, 2021

    We should consider the possibility that the Salmond-Sturgeon cat fight is really a debate about what strategy the SNP should follow. Should it keep pursuing the electoral support generated by resentment over an endlessly delayed independence, delayed by the SNP, but blamed on the English. Or should it return to Salmond’s vision of an independence that takes place, waves flags, but otherwise changes as little as possible, especially in the fiscal and economic area?

  62. Helen Smith
    February 27, 2021

    Cut them free, fed up with the whole lot of them, they are a financial drain on us, interfere in purely English matters and do nothing but whine.

    They can’t use the £ though, let them be in no doubt about that, and they take their debt with them.

    1. steve
      February 27, 2021

      Helen Smith

      Exactly right.

      Let them fall flat on their ungrateful faces and go grovelling to the fish-grabbing EU. Let the EU send them the way of greece and see how clever Ms Sturgeon looks then.

      Oh, and we can have some fun with the border, what goes around comes around.

  63. steve
    February 27, 2021

    Scotland doesnt have a ‘Scottish’ government, it is not an independent sovereign nation…but that could be arranged, just give us the vote. We’ve had enough of the ungrateful haters and could do with saving a few quid.

  64. ukretired123
    February 27, 2021

    The devolution experiment has turned into a Scottish fiefdom.
    The deterioration on all fronts of social and community matters is just pitiful for ordinary Scots who despair as no one takes responsibility.
    And this is the crux in a nutshell. Trust like glass has broken.
    The SNP are in denial.
    Integrity is not understood there – neither is good Governance.
    Corporate Governance in the Private Sector has been a key vigorous goal for all blue-chip who wish to be taken seriously and trusted.

    The blame game by SNP does not defy their logic as it diverts attention.
    The SNP have been in power for over a decade and could have demonstrated by example how to run a small country independently.
    However they have failed to improve real social problems and made even more problems than before.
    “Proven” – as the Scottish saying rightly goes – just look at their track record.
    Alex Salmond has been brave enough to challenge some of Gordon Brown’s illogical decisions with integrity years ago. He created the Ministerial Code as First Minister. That he was not allowed to be heard independently speaks volumes – reminds me of the one-party dictator republics who go through the motions of pseudo democracies……..

  65. DavidJ
    February 27, 2021

    The disastrous devolution must be reversed; especially so now we are out of the EU. Sturgeon’s government may never meet the criteria for EU membership but it is certain that the EU will grant it by whatever means necessary to create problems for us.
    The United Kingdom must return to being exactly that.

  66. John McDonald
    February 27, 2021

    It is interesting to note that the SNP is not a majority government in the Scottish Paliment. But holds an almost complete majority of the Scottish seats in the Westminster Parliament.
    The SNP gains at Westminster are because the People of Scotland feel that Labour and Conservative parties do not represent there interests at the UK level. (The Vikings in the outer islands vote liberal ☺)
    Not unlike traditional labour supporters voting for Boris at the last Election. Most Scottish voters know that it would be a big risk to break away from England from a financial support point of view. That’s why there was a Union all those years ago in the first place. I do not consider the creation of a Scottish Parliament as the step that weakened the Union but the failure of Labour and to a lesser extent the Conservative Party to listen to the People of Scotland and allowed the SNP to promote the myth that the people of Scotland would be better off being independent. But not independent from the EU it would seem. But I agree that because Labour was not actually listening to the People and thought they would be happy with a Parliament but no real change, it all went down the slope to independence instead of change for the better lead by Labour.

  67. turboterrier
    February 28, 2021

    B N

    Shush, its suppose to be all secretive.

  68. A.Sedgwick
    February 28, 2021

    It was a lazy and head in the sand decision – no English Parliament – no solution to the HoL quango/sinecure for silver service patrons. The proper job was a federal system with a senate. West Lothian question was blindingly obvious as Tam Dalyell highlighted.

    It is now a mess and Westminster throwing money to resolve it is not the answer.

  69. Chris S
    February 28, 2021

    The Westminster Government has to get to grips with excessive spending and poor economic performance in Scotland.
    If Scottish voters vote for Independence, they will take their share of the National Debt with them.
    Why doesn’t the Treasury make it clear that if independence happens, the amount by which the Scottish annual deficit since Devolution has exceeded that of England will be added to the bill ?

  70. Malcolm White
    February 28, 2021

    The problem I have with devolution is that it appears that none of the devolved nations have fiscal accountability. Despite the substantial additional per capita funding provided through the Barnett formula, the Scottish Government appear to have under delivered on education, healthcare and transportation, while racking up a huge and increasing fiscal deficit in comparison to the other nations in the Union.

    Where is the accountability? Who loses their job because they weren’t able to remain in budget?

    Who pays for it? We, the others in the Union, of course, have to pick up the tab.

    It seems that the Scottish Government, and probably the other devolved nations, are inure to the consequences of fiscal malpractice. If taxes need to be raised to redress a fiscal shortfall then the UK Treasury and the Parliament of the time take the blame and MPs take the hit at the next election. I don’t believe, however, that this would effect the standing of MSPs, as they would simply blame Westminster.

    Before the Prime Minister agrees to another vote on independence – and he shouldn’t because it was clear that the last was to be once in a generation – he should require that the Scottish Government show that they are able to control costs, deliver on public services and reduce the deficit. That would be the responsible thing to do.

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