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Two nations, two cultures? Britain is divided by the Trent, not the Tweed.

19 August 2013

1:26 PM

19 August 2013

1:26 PM

Of the many certainties those Scots in favour of independence hold to be self-evident two in particular stand out. First that Scotland and England are fundamentally different places whose political cultures are so divergent  they can no longer sensibly be expected to live together. Secondly that the British state is moribund and impervious to practical reform.

They are nice theories. They persuade Yes voters that independence is both necessary and virtuous. The only wonder is why so many Scots seem so stubbornly hesitant about accepting these obvious truths.

This may have something to do with the fact that neither of them is actually true. At least not obviously true. Take the second article of faith. A sclerotic, hopelessly unreformable British state is, in fact, less sclerotic and more reformable than it sometimes appears. In the first place, of course, it has never been a unitary state and so has always been more diverse – and local – than sometimes recalled.

Secondly, the mere existence of the Scottish parliament (and the assemblies in London, Cardiff and Belfast) demonstrates that the British state is less monolithic than nationalists believe. Add to that the latest Scotland Act which implements the Calman Commission’s reforms and it becomes ever more difficult to make a credible argument that change is impossible. Calman may not be the greatest thing in the history of great things but its proposals are not negligible either.

Granted, it is in the interests of Yes campaigners – whether from the SNP or the far-left – to pretend that a No vote next year kills off any further devolution of responsibility to Edinburgh. It makes sense for them to frame the choice as being between independence and the status quo. And, yes, it is possible that a No vote will persuade Labour and the Conservatives to park the Scottish Question for a generation. The enthusiasm for more Home Rule may evaporate in the aftermath of a No vote.  But it is not guaranteed to do so and in any case that’s an argument for 2015 not a case for a Yes vote in 2014.

Some Yes supporters do, I think, recognise this. Iain Macwhirter for one. He argues in the Guardian today that change is coming even if Scotland votes No. So in this respect he differs from the orthodox pro-independence campaign. But he agrees with the orthodox Yes view that Scotland and England are distinct political cultures.

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This is a matter of perspective. Scotland and England may look strikingly different from Glasgow; viewed from Paris, Lisbon or Amsterdam they appear strikingly similar. According to Macwhirter, however:

Scotland is dominated by two parties of the traditional social democratic left: Scottish Labour and the Scottish National party. The standing joke is that there are more giant pandas in Scotland than Tory MPs.

England is dismantling the traditional welfare state through marketisation of the NHS, welfare caps and free schools, while Scotland retains faith in the monolithic health service, social security and universal comprehensive education.

Scotland will likely evolve into a relatively high-tax, high-spend oil-rich Nordic state within the EU, emulating Denmark or Finland. England may seek its own form of independence, probably leaving the EU to become a finance-led market economy with low taxation and diminished social protections.

Well, up to a point. In the first place, this is a caricature of England. Whatever one thinks of the government’s plans for the NHS (and I try to avoid thinking about health policy) it is nonsense to suppose that placing a cap on benefits amounts to “dismantling” the welfare state. Nor, I think, has Michael Gove proposed abandoning universal education. (And if schools are part of the “welfare state” then what isn’t?)

Be that as it may, it is doubtless the case that Scots like to think of themselves as being a morally superior, social-democratic kind of place but, in truth, this is often an example of the Scottish ability to kid or otherwise flatter ourselves. Because while Scots may say they are more left-wing than the English they do not tend, on the whole, to hold very different opinions. Moreover, if there is a geographical dividing line in British politics is should probably be drawn above the Trent not the Tweed.

Some things are universal, however. Mrs Thatcher certainly lacked popularity in Scotland but nearly half a million Scottish families still took advantage of the right to buy their council house (a right now stamped upon by the SNP). They didn’t like to be thought of as the kind of people that liked the Iron Lady but that didn’t prevent them from being, in this respect at least, Tartan Thatcherites.

In any case this notional divergence between social-democratic Scotland and neo-liberal (or whatever other bogey-term you wish to use) England is, to the extent it exists at all, a difference of degree not kind. I mean, YouGov’s polling suggests 80% or so of Scots support a benefits cap.

Support for Scottish distinctiveness is also often more general than particular. According to data collected for the 2010 edition of the Scottish Social Attitudes Survey, for instance, 63% of Scots think pension payments should be uniform across the United Kingdom, 55% support common levels of unemployment benefit and 58% want taxes levied at pan-UK rates and thresholds.

Similarly, 20% of Scots agree that no students should be expected to pay any tuition fees at university, a view shared by 18% of English respondents. 59% of Scots agree that “ordinary people do not get their fair share of the nation’s wealth” and only 55% of English voters take this view. Vive la difference! 

It is true that Scots remain slightly more redistributionist than English voters with 43% agreeing that government should divert income from the well-off to those less well-off whereas only 34% of English people take this view. Nevertheless, as recently as 2005 Scottish and English views on this were identical and the longer-term trend in both countries is away from a redistributionist attitude. (Similarly the percentage of folk troubled by inequality, though high, is lower in both countries than it was 15 years ago.)

Around 40% of Scots favour increased taxation and spending versus 30% of English survey respondents. Again, there is a difference but it is not so great as sometimes claimed. Moreover, enthusiasm for more taxing and more spending has fallen by a third since 2001 and for most of this century the difference between Scottish and English attitudes has been negligible and the trends in Scottish opinion are largely the same as the trends in English opinion.

As John Curtice concluded:

Scotland is more social democratic than England – but the difference is only modest.

However, Scotland has become less – not more – social democratic since the advent of devolution

As a result, the gap between Scotland and England has not widened at all. Rather, opinion in Scotland has moved in parallel with that in England, leaving the difference in outlook between them largely unchanged.

On the one hand, the policy differences that have emerged exaggerate the differences in public opinion that exist, thereby raising questions about the degree to which devolution has necessarily resulted in a better fit between public policy and public opinion in different parts of the UK. On the other hand, devolution has not served to widen the gap between English and Scottish public opinion on some of the central issues facing governments today. To that extent at least, accommodating Scotland within the framework of the United Kingdom looks to be no more difficult a job now than it was a decade ago.

Now Professor Curtice may be mistaken and it is certainly arguable that David Cameron’s government may sharpen differences in attitudes in the short-term. But that is still a shoogly nail upon which to hang a theory of irretrievable, irreparable marital breakdown. It does, however, help to explain why Yes campaigners pin so large a proportion on their hopes upon a recovery for the Conservatives south of the border.

That said, perception matters in politics and the perception that the Scots and the English have very different attitudes towards politics is a powerful force in the still-up-for-grabs independence argument. This is so even if the idea of that difference is greater – and certainly more cherished by Byres Road scribes and activists – than its reality. Two nations? Yes. Two cultures? Only up to a point.


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Show comments
  • Chris_M_Ward

    An absurd headline, written by someone who has clearly never been to Stoke or Burton or Nottingham.

  • Aldo

    I think there is a fundamental confusion between the “wee” SNP that wins seats in Holyrood and spends the revenues in a popular manner that returns them the votes at the following election. They provide the free higher education, a wider qualification for free prescriptions, run up new laws at the drop of a hat and generally provide a soft blanket for all.

    Then there is the big SNP that want to do all this and with the increased confidence of good electoral returns somehow think they could produce more the revenues they need on their own.

    The problem comes when this is then challenged and found to have more holes in than Swiss cheese.

    The bottom line is that Holyrood is a luxury granted by the British Government that is staffed by second raters and, even worse, second handers who are good at the small things in life but don’t dream of throwing them the keys to the country.

  • Jane Cartney

    The solution to this problem may be a transfer of the British seat of power, to Scotland; leading to more integration but centred in a less substantial body: flexible, ready to respond more directly to the needs to the people, in the mode of the mediaeval court.

    • Robert Taggart

      Abolish UKGBNI – simples !

      • Jane Cartney

        WHOA there Horsey! Rr u telling me!?! YOU do it, just don’t expect me to watch. Squeemishiemeelie.

        • Robert Taggart

          Neah – giddyup !

  • John Lea

    Who are these idiots (40% according to this article – really?!) who support an increase in tax? Are they genuinely in favour of seeing more of their wages syphoned off to the state to pay for ‘Equality Managers’, ‘Positive Discrimination Officers’, wind turbines that desecrate the landscape, ever more police to chase dead paedophiles, and more ill-judged military invasions, etc? People really are twats.

  • Robert Taggart

    Blighty = FIVE Nations with FIFTEEN Cultures !…
    England – North and South + Metropolitan and Provincial.
    Dividing lines – Rivers Trent, Tame, Avon, Severn.
    Lundun – a world unto itself !
    Dividing line – M25 !
    Scotland – Lowland and Highland + Clydeside and Auld Reekie.
    Dividing lines – Rivers Esk (N&S), Forth + M73 / 80.
    Wales – North, Central, West and South + Cardiff.
    Dividing lines – Rivers Dee, Afon Dwyryd, Loughor + A465.
    Ulster – out on their own !

  • Tom M

    I like this notion that Scotland in more left-wing than England. When I lived in Scotland I detected an undercurrent that conflated tory with an English accent. If you were right wing you were “one-of-them” and more than likely spoke with an English accent (at least in private). So it would have been a brave Scot that wished that association to be levelled at them.

    I suspect that if Scotland votes for independence there will rise a right-wing political party free from any English associations.

  • scotcanadien

    Scottish Independistas. No need to read this rag. Less than 3,000 copies per day are bought in Scotland. And you can be sure anyone stupid enough to buy it will be a BritNatz. The Spectator and its mate the Telegraph, with only 18,000 copies bought p/d in Scotland, are irrelevant in the Independence debate.

    • Wessex Man

      As are you my Canadian friend, there’s plenty of Scots Natz hanging around here making up stories without your help!

  • Malcolm McCandless

    Anyone who quotes John Curtice in support of their arguments clearly have poor arguments.

  • Bill Cruickshank

    Like many unionist Scots, Alex Massie fails miserably to really understand why people like me have been in the SNP all their adult lives, in my case 40 plus years.
    Sure I believe that Scotland and England are fundamentally two different countries and I do believe that the Scots are more positive towards a socially just society without nuclear weapons. However, the reason I want independence is quite simple, I want Scotland to be governed by Scots. Not really a revolutionary concept I know, just what every other independent country on the planet enjoys. I am not a nasty nat, a cybernat or a Braveheart nat; I am just a Scottish nationalist (as opposed to unionists who are British nationalists), who believes in the right of his people to govern themselves. It’s a basic right enjoyed by peoples all over the planet. So why not Scotland?

    • Wessex Man

      I have no problem with Scots like yourself and also agree that the Scots and English should be their own independent countries and the Welsh and NI should look to themselves.

      When ranters come on these pages and blame we English for the sun rising in the East, I want your independence even more!

      • scotcanadien

        I suggest you go to the many posts of HJ777, a BritNatz, and tell HIM to stop ranting

        • HJ777

          “BritNatz”?

          Do grow up.

      • Bill Cruickshank

        Scots should not blame the English for anything. Scotland’s problems lie with Union Jocks who tug the forelock to the British Establishment in cringe worthy acceptance of crumbs from the Westminster table. They are the people guilty of holding back, not the English.I have many English friends and I wish the English people well after independence. It will be an opportunity for both countries to work together in a partnership of equal respect.

        • HJ777

          Of course, all the evidence suggests that most Scots disagree with you. That’s my experience too.

          • Bill Cruickshank

            Unsure as to what evidence you are referring to?

            • HJ777

              Numerous opinion polls.

              You will no doubt dismiss them as worthless. However, it would be interesting to see your counter-evidence.

              • Bill Cruickshank

                I would refer you to the What Scotland Thinks website which is the website of the much respected (especially by unionists) John Curtice Professor of Politics at Strathclyde University. Prof. Curtice is regarded as something of a guru by the BBC and other media when it comes to polling on Scottish politics.
                At the Prof’s website you will see that the polling is much closer than the unionist media would lead you to believe. It is almost neck and neck with the YES camp needing a swing of less than 5% to achieve independence. Enjoy!

                • HJ777
                • Bill Cruickshank

                  Yeah the very same, I did say he was well respected by British Nationalists. Interestingly that poll was from January 2013. Things have moved on a lot since then, as anyone who has been canvassing on the doorsteps, streets, fetes and fairs, gala days and Highland Games will tell you. There has been a very steady upward trend towards YES in recent months.

                • HJ777

                  So you assert.

                  Independent evidence please?

                • Bill Cruickshank

                  I just pointed you to that at the Prof’s website.

                • HJ777

                  When people visit a website to vote it is a self-selecting sample.

                  Any professional pollster can tell you the flaw in that approach. A small number of highly motivated individuals can easily influence such polls.

                • Bill Cruickshank

                  Did you actually visit the website? The Prof analyses polling data from Scottish polls. You don’t actually vote at the website!

                • HJ777

                  Did you visit the website?

                  If you did, you will notice that the polls most favourable to the “yes” campaign were online polls. Polls funded by the “yes” campaign, by the way.

                • Bill Cruickshank

                  All the polls used by the Prof are by bona fide pollsters using accepted methods of polling. To mention who funds what is irrelevant, as I could just say the opposite about British Nationalist polls. Looks as if we will have agree to disagree on this one. I have a good idea what is happening on the streets of Scotland, private polling and non scientific evidence etc. You have every right to form your opinion based on whichever evidence you choose. I have little doubt that Scotland will vote YES, I suspect you take the opposite view and that’s fine, only time will tell.

                • HJ777

                  So you haven’t read his clearly expressed reservations on the site about the methodology of the polls commissioned by the pro-independence campaign (which, unsurprisingly are the most favourable to the “yes” campaign)?

                  I think you have a good idea about what you’d like to think is happening…

                • Bill Cruickshank

                  I know what is happening, however you obviously think you know better and that is your entitlement. Suffice to say I am very happy with the polling and what I am hearing on the ground.

                • terregles2

                  Who funded the polls that predicted a Labour win at the last Scottish election. That was the one that gave the SNP their big Holyrood majority.
                  Pre election polls were miles out.

                • mightymark

                  Whats your problem? Aren’t you are one of the people who have argued here that support for independence and being SNP are not the same thing?

                • terregles2

                  I don’t have any problem. What point are you making? It is a fact that many groups who have never voted SNP are campaigning for Independence. That is a fact. Another fact is that before the last Scottish election it was predicted that Labour would win. The SNP won with a large majority. Just one of the many reasons why I personally choose to ignore polls. Some people believe in them some of us don’t. I don’t have any “problem” with that.

                • MichtyMe

                  Interestingly the the link supplied by HJ777, which now seems to have gone, to a report on Curtice’s polling reveals that the majority want the Scots Parliament to take all major decisions and to collect all revenues and taxes…. sounds a bit like independence.

                • Bill Cruickshank

                  Yeah it seems that for some Scots the ‘I’ word is the bogey.

    • Fergus Pickering

      Because most Scots don’t want it. When they do, then you will.

      • Bill Cruickshank

        Are you really saying that most Scots don’t want to govern themselves?

        • Fergus Pickering

          It would appear so, Mr Cruickshank. They sure do want to moan though.

  • dougthedug

    Alex’s argument is based on his premise that Scotland and England are fairly similar in political outlook. Rather than a parochial comparison between England and Scotland it would be interesting to see if these political attitudes are replicated across Europe since there are very few political extremes represented in the European Parliament. That said, surveys are one thing but the failure of the Conservative party to make any real inroads in Scotland is a very visible political difference between England and Scotland.

    In any case the desire for Scottish independence hasn’t been driven by a right/left political divide but by the refusal of many Scots to shed their Scottish identity and take on a British one.

    The finance of the parliament in Scotland was modeled on a UK government department and funded by a block grant based entirely on the spending in other UK departments with no control over taxes apart from the never used and of little use Scottish variable rate of income tax.

    The Assembly in Wales is based on the same idea of a government department with even less power and the Northern Ireland Assembly is a pale imitation of the original Stormont Parliament.

    Calman does nothing beyond running part of Scotland’s block grant through HMRC before it arrives at the Scottish Parliament. The actual amount of money given to Scotland via HMRC and Westminster under Calman is always pegged at the Barnett formula using the Westminster top-up grant unless of course Scotland hits its population with higher income tax levels. In other words, nothing changes.

    Great Britain has been a unitary state since 1707 with a unitary parliament in London. The UK however has not been entirely unitary since the Ireland and then Northern Ireland had their own parliaments in the UK. The current UK is still a unitary state where power is granted and taken away by Westminster as it sees fit. Under the current arrangements, including Calman, whatever social policies that England decides on will be visited on Scotland eventually as the spend in Scotland is hard linked to the spend in England.

    Devolution is at an end point in the UK because it has reached the limits of the “government department” model which is predicated on fiscal equality across the UK and going beyond that is not a step which Westminster will countenance. In simple terms unless Scotland gains independence then it will always have to follow the social policies imposed on it by a Westminster government, Labour or Conservative.

    If the Unionists are happy to give more powers to Scotland then why haven’t they offered them now as a spoiler in the independence referendum? Why wait when that could be interpreted as an unwillingness to give more powers to Scotland? The simple answer is that they haven’t been offered because they will never be offered. If they aren’t offered now as a spoiler in the independence referendum then they will never be offered after the threat of independence is gone.

    Iain MacWhirter’s belief in the coming of more powers is more wish fulfillment that a credible political analysis.

  • A. F. Brooke

    ‘Granted, it is in the interests of Yes campaigners . . . to pretend that a No vote next year kills off any further devolution of responsibility to Edinburgh.’

    We should agree that it had better do, or else this will turn into a never ending saga. An ever-loosening, an ever-more-dysfunctional federation. At some point, polities either decide to share responsibilities or they break up. I hope Scotland remain in political union with England, but perpetual devolution will be worse than a break-up.

    • Wessex Man

      rather too late for that, the referendum stands as it is clear and precise in or out, ah if only the UK had such a choice about the EU.

  • Jupiter

    Instead of having a choice between independence & the status quo, how about abolishing the Scottish parliament instead.

    Nobody would miss it, it has acheived sod all so far, and its inhabitants are all numpties.

    • MichtyMe

      How about abolishing the Westminster parliament, we would miss the numpties but we do have a perfectly acceptable parliament in Brussels.

      • Wessex Man

        Yes I agree entirely let’s do away with it, have an English Parliament and give all the countires of the UK the chance to have a referendum on independence or a loose confederation of The Uk at the same time doing away with the House of Lords whose numbers are only bettered by China!

    • John Court

      I agree. All that devolution and watered down independence achieves is discord. It would be better to have a choice between proper US style independence or turning that empty house in Edinburgh into something useful like a lecture theatre.

    • Bill Cruickshank

      Seriously why do you to post such drivel?

      • Jupiter

        How is it drivel to want to abolish a parliament full of numpties?

        • Bill Cruickshank

          You are entitled to your opinion, but it is obviously not the opinion of the 48% of Scots who say they will vote for the SNP at the next election.

  • http://peterabell.blogspot.co.uk/ Peter A Bell

    I do love the quaintly naive notion that devolution was born of a desire to reform the British state rather than of a wish to preserve its structures of power and privilege in the face of challenges from genuinely progressive forces.

    • CraigStrachan

      If the genuinely progressive force you have in mind is the SNP, I assume their six years in government have been a disappointment to you?

      • http://peterabell.blogspot.co.uk/ Peter A Bell

        If you’re disappointed by the SNP’s performance in government then you must be approaching suicidal despair over what the UK government is doing.

        Fortunately, the people of Scotland take a less prejudiced and more pragmatic view of their government. Which is why the polls tell us that, were there an election tomorrow, the SNP would be returned with an even bigger majority than they won in 2011.

        • CraigStrachan

          And yet they are on course to fail in their existential purpose of delivering independence.

          They may lose the referendum and still win Holyrood elections from here to kingdom come, but at that point aren’t they really just about preserving those “structures of power and privilege” you deplore?

          • http://peterabell.blogspot.co.uk/ Peter A Bell

            You’re more thaqn a year premature in calling the result of Scotland’s independence referendum. Note that I say SCOTLAND’S referendum. The SNP may have delivered it against the anti-democratic efforts of the British parties, but they don’t own it.

            The SNP is now established as the favoured party of government in Scotland. (And among more than a few people in England.) To refer to delivering independence as the party’s “existential purpose” is therefore to exhibit a profound misunderstanding of Scottish politics.

            The 2014 referendum is a lot closer than shallow analysis of polls suggests and will very likely be won. If it isn’t, the next one will be. By a landslide!

            • CraigStrachan

              Well, perhaps you are right and independence is no longer the existential purpose of the SNP. The fundies do seem pretty dismayed by Salmond’s direction-of-travel. Not sure they will be content with dreams of the landslide next time. They might well conclude that a bolder – and, yes, riskier – governing strategy by Salmond might have delivered independence this time.

              • http://peterabell.blogspot.co.uk/ Peter A Bell

                The restoration of Scotland’s rightful constitutional status remains the primary aim of the SNP. But not its “existential purpose”.

                Alex Salmond is a consummate politician backed by a team with a remarkable record of success. And yet some people conclude from this that he hasn’t a clue what he’s doing. To call that counter-intuitive would be understatement bordering on parody.

                Nobody wants to wait until a second referendum. Certainly nobody who is aware of what a No vote next year portends. But independence is now inevitable. Any independence movement with 33%+ support will ultimately succeed. It is just taking some people longer than others to realise this.

                • CraigStrachan

                  Hmm. The Quebec sovereigntists scored 40% in 1980 and 49% in 1995. They haven’t suceeded yet.

                  Never mind. As Rene Levesque (and Alex Salmond) might say – “a la prochaine”!

                • Maidmarrion

                  They were never a country.

                • CraigStrachan

                  And yet Quebec is more culturally distinct within Canada than Scotland is within the U.K.

                • HenBroon

                  What evidence will you provide to prevent readers from thinking you are simply making stuff up to support a very thin argument?

                • CraigStrachan

                  Um, how about the fact that Scotland shares a common everyday language with the rest of the UK, and Quebec does not with the rest of Canada?

                • HJ777

                  All the Scots I know (and I know many) are vehemently opposed to independence.

                  Not one of them is anything other than embarrassed by Salmond. Let’s face it, he is an embarrassment to Scotland – surely you must admit that?

                • terregles2

                  All the Scots and other nationalities that I work beside are voting YES. I do not know anybody embarrassed by Salmond. Lots of us think he is doing a really good job that is why we keep voting for him.
                  What does embarrass many Scots is being part of a country with leaders like Cameron and Clegg and an opposition like Miliband.

                • HJ777

                  Very funny.

                  What a strange bunch of people you must mix with if they all think Salmond isn’t an embarrassment and is ‘doing a really good job’. You need to get out more.

                  Or do you work in SNP head office?

                • terregles2

                  Salmond is the most popular politician in Scotland. That is a fact and is why Scots keep voting for him.
                  Every time we look south of the border and see Cameron/Clegg and Miliband we appreciate him even more.

                • HJ777

                  Who is this “we” of whom you purport to speak?

                  If you look at the General Election results you will see that Salmond’s SNP only came second in the popular vote – in fact, there wasn’t much in it between the SNP, LibDems and Conservatives. Far more people voted for parties headed by Cameron/Clegg and (now) Miliband.

                  And before you go on about the Scottish Parliament elections, I’d like to point out that neither Cameron, Clegg nor Miliband (Brown) were options. In the only election in which they were, Salmond’s party attracted less than 20% of the vote.

                  So Scots aren’t all that keen on voting for him. In fact, they only seem to vote for him for the Scottish Parliament elections in order to keep Labour out.

                • terregles2

                  If Cameron Clegg or Miliband stood for election in Scotland all three would lose their deposits.

                • HJ777

                  Since they haven’t, you can’t know.

                • Jambo25

                  Cameron, Clegg and Miliband are about as popular as tertiary syphilis up here.

                • Keith D

                  And yet in UK General Elections the traitor in the red rosette still gets voted in by Scotland.Cant help but agree on the three stooges though.

                • terregles2

                  Don’ t think there is anything strange about the people I mix with especially when I read some of the strange comments posted here.

                • HJ777

                  In which case, it might be advisable to get out more…

                • Jambo25

                  Strangely enough, most people I know, even non Nats find Salmond and co to be very impressive.

                • HJ777

                  I can’t be responsible for the people you know.

                • archie

                  only vichy scots or english people think Mr Salmond is an embarrassment

                • Angus_MacLellan

                  Tell me,do you think it right that Pietor, Mohammed and any other foreigner off the back of a truck will influence Scotland’s future but natives like myself and Briton’s across these island’s will be denied ?

                  It is just another example of the twisted logic of the SNP and the loony left fringe. The same logic that gives free tertiary education for Eastern European’s but charge English students £9000 per annum .

                • terregles2

                  Anyone who lives in Scotland is entitled to vote in 2014. My English neighbours who live here and intend to stay here have more right to vote than my Scottish cousin who has settled in England.
                  Are you trying to say that it would be alright if a majority of people living in Scotland voted either YES or NO in 2014 but people who do not even live here could cancel out their vote.
                  You think it would be alright to disenfranchise all the people living in Scotland. If you do then you have the twisted logic.
                  If you want to have a say in Scotland’s future then come and live here otherwise it has nothing to do with you.
                  Only a loony would suggest that it would be logiisically possible to gather together votes from Scots living in other countries.
                  My English neighbours and anyone else from any other country who live in Scotland have more right to vote in 2014 than you do.

                • http://peterabell.blogspot.co.uk/ Peter A Bell

                  This is one of the great delusions with which British nationalists comfort themselves. They rationalise their own mindless hatred by persuading themselves that it’s normal. That everybody is afflicted in the same way. It’s all a bit sad, really.

                • HJ777

                  Mindless hatred of what?

                  What on earth are you talking about?

                • Vincent McDee

                  You and yours, perhaps?

                • HJ777

                  Similarly, what are you talking about?

                • Keith D

                  My goodness thats an awfy big brush you’re painting a lot of people with.

                • HJ777

                  Yes, everybody who doesn’t agree with him is guilty of being deluded and of mindless hatred, apparently.

                  Only he (and people who agree with him) are ‘normal’.

                • Jambo25

                  Very fair though.

                • Keith D

                  No its not.Perhaps if it was acknowledged that people who wish to remain British have different motives than this sweeping generalisation the arguments would have more substance.Oh,and the jambos are rank.Should have been hosed by half time at Firhill.

                • terregles2

                  People who wish to remain British are perfectly entitled to that point of view. The problem is that up until now they have not put forward any logical argument for remaining British. All they do is bombard the debate with insults about Salmond’s weight or scare stories about the collapse of Scotland after independence. Even you cannot present the case for the union without sneering at a football team. What has football got to do with independence, The media nonsense stories against Salmond and independence are extreme.
                  We are told to provide examples of bias in the media. When I did I was sneered at by some intellectual pygmy and called a Daily Mail reader.
                  The British state is breaking up rapidly. If some people in Scotland still wish to remain British after 2014 then they can move to one one of the remaining British countries Northern Ireland, Wales or England.
                  Scottish independence is now inevitable as you would realise if you lived in Scotland. It will most likely happen in 2014 but if not that year then quite soon afterwards.

                • Wessex Man

                  oh dear, dear I’ve upset you again, well I can’t help you being a Daily Mail reader as well as a bit of a facist it seems, those Scottish voters who vote no in 2014 who wish to stay part of United Kingdom will be moved to Northern Ireland, Wales and England.

                  How absolutely childish of you! it rather shows the level to which you have sunk and you have a pop at me for calling The Fat Controller The Fat Controller.

                • terregles2

                  I never answer your silly posts but this one I must. I did NOT say that those against being British would be moved to another country after independence .
                  I suspect you are being deliberately obtuse. I said as you well know that if they really wished to be British then they had the OPTION to move to another British country.
                  No doubt you will repeat the lie that I said they should be removed after independence. You have twisted so many things that I have said which really tells me all I need to know about you.
                  I am glad that everything I have said remains posted and contradicts your abusive posts about me. You cannot debate so sneer and mock.
                  Sad little man.

                • Wessex Man

                  Right now join in the debate in an adult way and don’t tell porkies, you said- The British State is breaking up rapidly. If some people in Scotland wish to remain British after 2014 then they can move to one of the remaing British Countries, Northern Ireland, Wales or England.

                  There was no mention of word ‘the option’ in your reply to Keith D, quite apart from the fact that even in the unlikely event of Scotland voting for Independence, Scotland will still be a part of Britain but not of the Union.

                  The British State (United Kingdom) is only breaking up rapidly in your mind!

                • Keith D

                  I was having a laugh about Jambo25’s user name,and as a Thistle fan I’ve learned to live with similar jibes.I’m pretty hopeful it will be taken in its proper spirit.Cranky trousers on today?
                  You’ve not presented a good case for Independence and nor has Alex Salmond,who I will continue to avoid sneering thanks.
                  Its to be welcomed that Scotland appears to be gaining in confidence and I congratulate the SNP on providing a Government that in contrast to the UK’s,appears to listen to the wishes of its electorate.
                  However,as always,the argument centres on a fundamental nationalism without regard to the many negative consequences.
                  Scotland in Europe merely replaces Westminster with a marxist superstate in Brussels.A Scottish Army,Air Force,Navy?.Eh? Trident?NATO membership?

                  A Scottish pound and central bank?
                  None of these issues have been satisfactorily addressed and as 3 of my grandkids still live there I have a right to be concerned.
                  The UK has changed beyond all recognition since Labours betrayals of the 90’s,but I see no signs of its imminent break up.

                • terregles2

                  I do not think all the in depth issues that you raised can be dealt with on a forum like this.
                  If you are worried about those things well many of us with the vote have looked at all the doom and gloom nonsense and read all the relevant non biased sources of information and we have come to a different conclusion to yourself.
                  We started by reading the McCrone report and all the other relevant Westminster papers that they have had to release.and we are more than optimistic about Scotland’s future. Looking forward to it so much.
                  I know how you feel about having family living in Scotland. I have family living in England and I worry about their future if a party like UKIP wins in England after Scotland is independent That however is democracy and people living in England have a right to decide their own future..
                  The case I present to you on independence is not important. It does not matter what those not voting in 2014 think.
                  Fortunately there are people in Scotland arguing the independence case more convincingly than I have and as a result the YES vote continues to rise.
                  2014 we can’t wait.

                • Keith D

                  Incredibly my reply to you and Jambo was moderated out.Let me assure you it was a thought out and considered post.Speccie mods eh?.
                  There will no doubt be many more opportunities for debate on this but allow me to outline my main concern.
                  After a yes vote a Scottish general election will see the reestablishment of a marxist Labour government on a permanent basis.The Central Belt will make sure of that.

                  The UK is still trying to cope with the horrors visited on it by Labour,how much more damaging would it have been had they been let loose on a smaller country?

                • terregles2

                  The central belt does not dictate Scottish politics. Scotland has PR so there is less chance of one party domination. Before Thatcher Scottish conservatives did reasonably well.Scottish Labour are now a spent force. Scottish Labour are the national Scottish joke.
                  Make no mistake we in Scotland have a clear idea of the kind of society we wish to build. We survived the ravages and destruction of our society by Thatcher. We can now survive anything. The most attractive aspect of independence though is that we will have some control over our politicians in Edinburgh. We will build a better country when we shake off the deadwood House of Lords and the totally discredited Westminster government.

                • Keith D

                  Well obviously I wish you all the best with that.The Yes campaign does need to get specific on the in depth issues though.How else would you know how attractive or otherwise it would be?
                  You do know that Westminster is discredited in England too right?

                • terregles2

                  Well indeed I wish also wish England well for the future . I believe that Scotland should be independent for no other reason than every other countery in the world is independent and I believe Scotland should be the same. I think Scotland will prosper after independence but even if we were to be worse off. I would still vote for independence

                • terregles2

                  I do not think all the in depth issues that you raised can be dealt with on a forum like this.
                  If you are worried about those things well many of us with the vote have looked at all the doom and gloom nonsense and read all the relevant non biased sources of information and we have come to a different conclusion to yourself.
                  We started by reading the McCrone report and all the other relevant Westminster papers that they have had to release.and we are more than optimistic about Scotland’s future. Looking forward to it so much.
                  I know how you feel about having family living in Scotland. I have family living in England and I worry about their future if a party like UKIP wins in England after Scotland is independent That however is democracy and people living in England have a right to decide their own future..
                  The case I present to you on independence is not important. It does not matter what those not voting in 2014 think.
                  Fortunately there are poeple in Scotland arguing the independence case more convincingly than I have and as a result the YES vote continues to rise.

                • Jambo25

                  I was going to give you a full reply but Teregles has written much of what I wanted to say. I will add one thing. In the past, I voted SNP as that was the best way to oppose a deeply unpleasant Labour Party in Scotland. I changed to an outright ‘Nat’ over the past couple of decades as I simply cannot see any benefit accruing to Scotland from continued membership of the Union as presently constructed. I’d have settled for some form of Devo Max or very loose Federalism but the No campaign made sure that wasn’t on offer. If you can think of any positive aspects of the Union for Scotland let me know.

                  In the past it was the Nationalists who could be, often fairly, accused of romanticism and the Unionists who looked at hard, economic facts. Now, I think it’s the other way round. Mr Massie, for example, I suspect is a Unionist as he simply feels British in his bones and I suspect that even if I could prove, beyond all doubt, that Scotland would be better off independent, he would still be a Unionist as his identity is British. The problem is that fewer and fewer people, up here, are and those who oppose Scottish Nationalism, lacking attractive economic and social arguments do simply turn to insults and negativity. They aren’t hard to find. BT even jokingly set up ‘Project Fear’.

                • HJ777

                  “I voted SNP as that was the best way to oppose a deeply unpleasant Labour Party in Scotland”

                  And I’d suggest that it is this factor that accounts for much of the SNP vote, rather than a desire to leave the UK.

                • Jambo25

                  Incapable of reading past line 4: are we?

                • HJ777

                  There’s no we, but your reading ability certainly doesn’t look strong. Mine is fine.

                • Cymrugel

                  I agree.
                  the arguments against independence often seem to boil down to :
                  Salmond’s a bit of a porker – unlike those visions of loveliness in Westminster (He’s also going bald, but that’s a low blow too far). This might make me hesitate to ask him round for dinner, but I don’t see what its got to do with voting for him.
                  Scotland can’t cope – I really find this quiet absurd. Are Scots uniquely stupid among the nations of the world? Are they also supposed to believe that given their incompetence England wants to pay their way for auld lang syne? Pull the other one.
                  The rest of it just seems to be nonsense – They will need to reapply to the EU, nato etc. OK, so what? Sometimes I think the NO lobby should just keep shouting “the bogeyman will get you” and run around wearing sheets going “whoo, whoo”or something. They have so little to say and its all negative.
                  There is a case to be made for the union, but bizarrely the unionists seem incapable of making it.

                • HJ777

                  On the contrary.

                  I don’t recall anyone saying that Scotland couldn’t cope outside the union. I certainly don’t think so – and I believe in the union.

                  However, it is reasonable for opponents of Scottish independence to examine whether the SNP and the “yes” campaign have answers to what they would do about NATO, EU membership, currency, etc. since it is proponents of independence who claim that Scotland would be better off outside the union. We know what the status quo is and it is the SNP that is advocating change, so it is incumbent on them to provide answers to perfectly reasonable questions and to present their case.

                  So far, the “yes” campaign doesn’t seem to have coherent answers to these issues. There may be good answers, but the “yes” campaign looks decidedly uncertain about what they are. It certainly gives the impression that they haven’t thought many of these matters through to any extent.

                • terregles2

                  Amnesia seems to be a problem for many unionists. Make a bizarre allegation and then deny it when it is challenged.

                • HJ777

                  False memory syndrome appears to be your problem.

                  I see that you don’t address the questions I posed, just reassert that I once posed one that I didn’t pose.

                • terregles2

                  All the questions that you need answered are answered on the top 10 unionist myths debunked youtube. You have refused to check it out as you said it was SNP propaganda.
                  If SNP don’t answer questions they are called incompentent if they answer the questions and some people don’t like the answer they call it propaganda.

                • HJ777

                  You miss the point.

                  I am not interested in what the SNP say are the “top 10 Unionist myths”. I am interested in whether the SNP and the “yes” campaign have good answers on key questions. There are many perfectly valid questions about Scottish independence (nothing to do with ‘myths’) that I don’t think have been properly addressed by the SNP.

                  For example, they don’t seem to have thought through the currency issue, as has been shown over the last year. We just don’t know what the “yes” campaign proposes. Salmond says that Scotland would keep in a currency union with the rest of the UK, but that is not in his gift – the rest of the UK has to agree (and it may not and it certainly wouldn’t have the same incentive to consider Scottish interests as it currently has). There are many other equally valid questions (not ‘myths’).

                • terregles2

                  With respect you are missing my point. My point is that every country in the world is independent.
                  Every country governs itself Scotland can do the same. All the questions that you raise will be dealt with by the government of Scotland. There is not much point in taking every SNP policy as established fact.
                  The SNP might not be elected after independence. Scots might vote for an entirely different government with entirely different policies.
                  The main thing is Scotland will make their own decisions. Scottish people with have control over the politicians in power and Scotland will decide what they think is best for Scotland.
                  Don’t be so pessismistic. Countries are becoming independent all the time and things keep ticking over without the sky falling in. Scotland will do just fine ….the challenges are exciting not daunting.

                • HJ777

                  Oh come on.

                  The USA is a union/federation of states, most of which have their own laws and legislative bodies.

                  Australia is a federal state comprised of formerly self-governing territories.

                  Ukraine/Crimea?

                  These countries all have different arrangements, of course, but they all have similarities with the UK.

                  I’ll stop there, but there are many other examples if you care to investigate.

                • terregles2

                  I think you have just illustrated much better than I have been able to do the urgent need for Scottish independence.
                  USA is a union of states and Australia is a federal state made up of former territories..
                  Scotland is a separate country not a state or a territory a country. Scotland has been an indepepndent country for most of its history. We have our own legal system and our own rich history which for the most part is very different and separate from that of England. We entered a supposed equal union with England in 1707. We have been together for only a short period of our history. Many people in Scotland no longer wish to be viewed by Westminster government as a northern state but as an independent country.

                • HJ777

                  How does this illustrate an “urgent need”? All it does is illustrate your lack of knowledge.

                  The USA is a union of states which were separate but which voluntary became part of the United States with a central government. The Australian territories were effectively formerly independent of each other.

                  I see that you are unwilling to educate yourself about the many other such examples around the world.

                  The Union of England and Scotland is the oldest of all political unions – not some recent thing as you ridiculously suggest. I might add that it has also been the most successful of unions.

                  Scotland blossomed both economically and culturally after the union to a much greater extent than before – that is indisputable, even by you.

                • terregles2

                  Scotland blossomed economically. Did it really? If you think 300 years is a long period in the history of the world then I would beg to differ. In view of the rise in popularity of the SNP I think many in Scotland would disagree with your assertion that the union has been a success for Scotland.
                  You still cannot see a difference between a state within a country and a separate country so there is nothing much left to discuss. I will never convince you that independence will be great for Scotland. You will never say anything to me that will convince me not to vote YES in 2014.
                  You have said I lack knowledge and I am uneducated so best if you don’t waste any more time in debate.

                • HJ777

                  You are uneducated about basic facts.

                  Scotland did blossom economically after the union. If you think otherwise, you are completely and utterly ignorant of both the history of Scotland and of economics.

                  I don’t expect to convince you. You are hardly amenable to conceding that you may be wrong about anything. I am quite willing to concede that there are perfectly valid arguments in favour of independence (I just happen to disagree with them and believe they are far outweighed by arguments in favour of the union) – but you are incapable of providing any argument for your case and you seem to think that facts are what you want them to be and have no independent existence outside your preference.

                • Sandy Henderson

                  What is going to happen to england if, and, hopefully, when they lose the Scottish income?

                • archie

                  The Unionists badgered the SNP from the very moment they were succesful at interview and the shout from the unionist rooftops was “Scotland’s too small, too poor, too stupid and too reliant on English subsidies”.
                  It would seem that the Vichy Scots and the Imperious English have foisted themselves by their own petard!

                • terregles2

                  All the answers have been provided it’d just that all teh unionists refuse to read them. They call it SNP propaganda. Oh dear.

                • Wessex Man

                  Oh dear, terregles, don’t you remember my moniker, it was this intellectual pygmy who brought you up short when you tried to include English Football into a Scottish debate within Scotland about sectarian in Scottish Football, Alex Massie commented about it here. Then admitted you had never attended a Football match and that friends had told you, ah well mustn’t grumble at least you are true to type.

                • terregles2

                  You seem to hang onto every word I say. In all honesty I try to forget most of the words you throw at me. So often they are such a misrepresentation of what I actually said.

                • Wessex Man

                  erm, that’s because you say so many conflicting things and I’ve got this thing called memory which you seem not to suffer from.

                  Answer questions rather than dodging and diving and accusing us of doing the same, for example answer the questions asked of you from HJ777 above! I see that now I’ve pointed out below that you did not mention option you didn’t answer that.

                  It seems in your prefect vahalla Scottish “free” State after you’ve won the referendum all non-desirables who voted no will have to pack their bags aned leave- pathetic!

                • terregles2

                  I never said that non desireables would have to pack their bags. I have never used the words non desireables. You really must stop putting words in my mouth. No doubt you will repeat that lie again and again. Just stop it pinnochio.

                • Wessex Man

                  You are the pinnochio to deny you said “if some people in Scotland wish to remain British after 2014, the they can move to one of the remaining British Countries Northern Ireland, Wales or England.”

                  Any person other than you would realise that I was taking the micky out you with my last sentence, I never said that you had used the word non-desireables, you are using my quip. You use that to duck out of confirming what you said to Keith D, which you most certainly did say and have not denied.

                  Do you understand what I saying now, if anyone is putting words into other people’s comment and if anyone is a pinnoclio it most is you. You should perhaps stop and think before posting your offensive comments!

                  I pity your “English friends!”

                • HJ777

                  You’re the one advocating the change of status for Scotland so it is incumbent on you to put forward a logical argument for change.

                  I don’t think for one moment that Scotland would collapse were it to become independent, however any change does inevitably entail risks. To give just one example, Scotland has an unusually large financial sector compared to GDP and it was Scottish banks that disproportionately got into trouble. I wasn’t in favour of the UK government banking bailout but there is no doubt that the banking collapse would have affected Scotland more than England, had it been independent.

                • scotcanadien

                  Yes but you obviously move in knuckle dragging circles.

                • HJ777

                  Obviously anyone who disagrees with you must be a “knuckle dragger”

                  That’s a very sophisticated argument on your part.

                • Wessex Man

                  well you can’t expect much more from one of the colonials really.

                • scotcanadien

                  Wessex man Spectator = West head banger Telegraph, The nasty anti-Scottish AND xenophobic comments cannot be disguised. I suppose he missed his slot last night up on Hampstead Heath.

                • Wessex Man

                  Only in your strange dreams pal! are you a Lumberjack? and don’t you care?

                • Jambo25

                  Thanks for confirming Teregles’ low opinion of you.

                • Wessex Man

                  That’s quite alright, I have the same low opinions of you, terregles and scotcanandien, just so we all know where qwe stand.

                • Cymrugel

                  Sorry but this is just nonsense.
                  There is a debate going on but the idea that most Scots are “vehemently opposed” to independence is quite simply false.
                  Personally I think the Yes campaign will lose – but not by much – and it will be touch and go right up to the last minute.
                  Scots are being asked to make a fundamental shift in their world view and the level of support for independence already is a remarkable achievement for the SNP.
                  It is quite possible that they will actually get a majority – though I think this would be unlikely to be much above 50%.
                  As for everyone being “embarrassed” by Salmond ; quite frankly you don’t know what you are talking about.
                  Salmond is an extremely astute political operator, a skilled orator and is running rings around the opposition and the Westminster Parliament. He is a class act and most Scots know it – even if they didn’t vote for him.
                  He does his job – fighting Scotland’s corner – and does it extremely effectively.

                • HJ777

                  Perhaps you could point me towards where I suggested that I knew that “most Scots are vehemently opposed to independence”?

                  I said that most of the ones I KNOW are – and I said this to counter the impression that some fanatics here are putting forwards that people are somehow either undecided, don’t really mind or are already passionate advocates of independence. The fact is that many (I don’t know how many) are vehemently opposed to independence (just as some are vehemently in favour).

                  The level of support fro independence, as far as the polls show, hasn’t changed much in the last two decades.

                  As for Salmond, his SNP barely attracts a greater share of the vote in UK General Elections than it did back in 1979. I do not deny that he is an astute political operator – but that is not mutually exclusive with him being an embarrassment. Look at his behaviour at Wimbledon, for example. Look at the fact that he hasn’t even though through or examined the consequences for the currency, EU membership, etc. – this is clear to all (I am not saying that an independent Scotland couldn’t deal with these issues, just that Salmond looked pretty daft because it’s clear that he hadn’t properly looked at them).

                  My daughter lives and works in Glasgow (at the university). You will recall that they had debates and votes on independence (they voted convincingly against). She assures me that the “no” campaign there used Salmond as one of their main weapons – “would you want this man in charge?”.

                • terregles2

                  That’s what the unionists cannot tolerate. Salmond is an intellegent politician who speaks up for and defends his country well. The unionists find that unforgiveable.

                • Wessex Man

                  answer our legitimate questions!

                • archie

                  you are an embarrassment to either England or Scotland by your complete ignorance of reality

                • Maidmarrion

                  No worries – it’s just those who believe the personal attacks by so called Scottish journalists and those who really haven’t a clue how the MSM is attempting to pervert the debate .
                  I am truly shocked by what I know to be lies , twisted logic and spinning like a peerie that passes for informative journalism.

              • terregles2

                There is still a long way to go before 2014. A week is a long time in politics and a year is eternity. Anyone who thinks they can predict the political future is badly mistaken.
                What many in Scotland are now asking is not what will happen after independence but what will happen after a NO vote.
                They are asking the question and are becoming very scared of the likely consequence.

                • Fergus Pickering

                  Quite right too. Butcher Cumberland is waiting in the wings. Blood will flow like lager.

          • terregles2

            It does not really change very much if the NO vote wins in 2014. If it is a no win then we will be as we are now. Supporters of independence will continue to campaign for a YES vote and there will be a future referendum.
            If the SNP vanished tomorrow there would still be dozens of groups campaigning for a YES vote. Many who do not like the SNP still wish independence. We have Women for Independence, Trade Unions for Independence, Pensioners, for Independence, Artists for Independence, The Jimmy Reid Foundation for independence, Labour for Independence, The Green party for Indpendence, Business for Independence and many more. SNP will continue to campaign for independence alnong with the others.They have come from being a small group to the majority government in Scotland..

            • CraigStrachan

              Well, a No vote in 2014 means that the prospect of independence recedes into the distant future, and beyond the political lifetimes of most of the present leadership of the SNP, who will have visibly failed to deliver on their “primary aim”. Seems to me that does change things quite a bit.

              • terregles2

                Well I suppose it depends how you define failure. Twenty years ago the possibility of Scottish independence seemed really unlikely. Now it looks like a real possibility. In the past anyone arguing for Scottish independence was dismissed as a dreamer now it is acceptable and is viewed as a real credible option. I think that is due to the success of the SNP. Whether you like them or not they have presented a really good case for independence and have increased their vote dramatically in the past two decades.

                • CraigStrachan

                  I define failure for the SNP as getting themselves into government, in a position to boldly demonstrate how an independent Scotland would be better, in a position to put independence before the Scottish people in a referendum, and being told “No”.

                  I suppose they might have another chance, next time, many years distant. But this time might be their best ever chance, and it is slipping away.

                • terregles2

                  You don’t know that they will not do that. There is more than a very good chance of a YES win in 2014. I think we are all agreed that it would be silly to predict anything until after the votes are counted. The really surprising thing is that the YES vote is as high as it is at the moment.
                  Every Scottish edition of the London owned press have for the past year printed one scare story after another. They have ridiculed and abused Salmond and the SNP relentlessly. No other UK politician has been subjected to such constant abuse. Only those living in Scotland are aware of the contents and frequency ot the frightening predictions. In the face of this the YES campaign are doing remarkably well.

                • CraigStrachan

                  I know they haven’t done it yet, after six years in government

                • terregles2

                  You will not know if they have done it until after the referendum. They are doing really well despite a hostile media.It all depends on how the don’t knows decide to vote.
                  You could also argue that the unionists have not yet convinced the don’t knows.

                • terregles2

                  A time frame is not really the biggest issue. If people believe a policy is right they will not stop believing in it simply because they do not immediately win a majority. Those who believe in Scottish independence will continue to pursue that aim and hope to persuade others of the merits of independence.
                  It is a bit like UKIP in England they believe Britain should leave the EU. If they don’t win immediately they will continue to campaign and present their argument to voters. I don’t think they will be discouraged if it does not happen immediately. I certainly would not expect to hear that they have given up.

                • HJ777

                  Provide us with some verifiable examples of the “constant abuse” endured by Salmond.

                • Wessex Man

                  She can’t and she never could, what annoyed me a on a previous thread was that she said if the Yes campaign lose, they will try again and again. Much like the EU when it loses a referendum , just keep going until you get the ‘right’ result!

                • terregles2

                  Well suffice to say that not everyone in the media speaks as highly of him as you do.
                  Check the Scottish editions of the mainstream newspapers and you will find reams of abusive rants on the man and the SNP. It should make very enjoyable reading for both you and all your Scottish friends. You can all turn pink with embarrassment together.

                • HJ777

                  These publications are all available online so it should be easy for you to provide links to various examples.

                  Otherwise some of us may suspect that this ‘constant abuse’ is a figment of your imagination.

                • terregles2

                  If you don’t know how to link onto Scottish editions and you have never read any, should you really be commenting on them at all.?

                • HJ777

                  I know exactly how to. From where did you get the impression that I don’t?

                  What I can’t find is any examples of the supposed “constant abuse” of Alex Salmond to which you referred.

                  Presumably you can’t either otherwise you would have provided some examples to back up your claim.

                • terregles2

                  I am off to work now. If you have your heart set on looking at a link check out youtube top 10 unionist myths debunked.
                  It covers some of the allegations made against Salmond.

                • HJ777

                  Not interested in a propaganda video made by your SNP chums.

                  I’m interested in evidence for your assertion – of which there clearly is none.

                • terregles2

                  I think you are only interested in spouting your own propaganada that all Scots are embarrassed by Salmond. I admire him as a politician as do many others. That is why he keeps being re-elected.

                • HJ777

                  I never suggested that “all Scots” are embarrassed by Salmond.

                  Clearly, you, for one, are not easily embarrassed.

                  I’d still like to see some evidence of the “constant abuse” aimed at Salmond. As far as I can see he receives no more criticism than any other prominent politician and his supporters seem more than willing and able to dish out abuse themselves.

                • terregles2

                  I think you said that all the Scots you knew were embarrassed by Salmond. Now you know that many Scots are more embarrassed to have any connection with Cameron/Clegg/ Miliband and Farage. Many Scots like having Salmond as First Minister that’s why we keep voting for him. As they they we all learn something new every day.

                • HJ777

                  So why, when Scots had the opportunity to vote for parties led by all these people in the General Election, did fewer than one in five vote for the party led by Salmond and the rest vote for parties lead by Cameron/Clegg/Miliband (Brown) and Farage?

                • terregles2

                  I am not really interested in past votes. I am just looking forward to future votes.

                • HJ777

                  Oh, I see.

                  You base your opinions not on how people have voted but on how you believe they will and should vote.

                • Wessex Man

                  You will never get a swensible answer from this nationalist, who come the revolution is going to expel all who voted no, in her own head that is!

                • terregles2

                  No not really. I base my opinion on what I think is right for my country. I have spent over a year now checking Westminster statistics and decisions that were made on behalf of Scotland. After doing so my conclusion is that independence is the only hope that Scotland has of fulfilling our full potential. In 2014 if every Scottish voter disagreed with my conclusion and every voter voted no I would still vote YES. I have never ever cast my vote for anything based on what popular opinion is. I have always voted for what I believe to be best for my country.

                • Wessex Man

                  You see HJ777, you get exactly the same response as I have time after time when asking the Scottish Nationalists on these pages to provide facts, it all goes puff. You will win the argument and then be branded a racist because they can’t think of anything else to say.

                • Paul Bethune
                • Wessex Man

                  a spoof by a political opponent isn’t even worth mentioning, he was even given the boot by Miliband for it.

                • Paul Bethune

                  You asked for abuse towards Salmond and making a parody of him and Adolf Hitler was deemed abusive enough by the Labour hierarchy to get Tom Harris to resign his position for it.

                  Of course it is not the only abuse Alex Salmond gets. He’s been called many things by a large number of journalists and political commentators here in Scotland. Brian Monteith and Alan Cochrane both loathe Alex Salmond so much to the point of obsession. In fact pick up any one of Alan Cochrane’s articles and you will see abuse like no other towards Salmond.

                  In this society people are allowed to air their views, And if that means abusive rants towards politicians then I am all for it. But to deny that Salmond is not the biggest target in Scottish politics is absurd, and frankly daft – which I am sure you are not.

                • terregles2

                  Wessex man has in the past referred to Salmond as the Fat Controller. Wessex man does not consider that to be abuse. Tells us all we need to know about Wessex man.

                • Wessex Man

                  Has have most of his politic opposition and most of the press in Scotland as was was quickly pointed out to you by a more sensible Scot than you, do grow, politics is tough!

                • terregles2

                  Politics is tough ….not quite what you were saying when people in Edinburgh shouted things at Farage, then you acted like an outraged maiden aunt. That gives you another of my posts to mark down while you think up another of my comments to twist and misrepresent.

                • Wessex Man

                  Now just go back and check, I did not I did not act like a maiden aunt at all and as for the Fat Controller’s remarks about it, I rather think that George Gallaway summed up his remarks rather well when Question Time was last it Scotland.
                  You manage to twist and misrepresent yourself easily enough so I’m going to mark up your comment for you.

                • terregles2

                  George Galloway has always been a national joke in Scotland and that was even before he made a clown of himself pretending to be a cat on some daft reality TV programme. i don’t think anyone in Scotland will be listening to his drivel. If it appeals to you, well no surprise there. You think Lord Monckton is normal.

                • Wessex Man

                  I never said that at all, I think that he is an over educated fool, now answer the questions!

                • scotcanadien

                  Well I put up two examples of disgusting tweets about Alex Salmond 2 hours ago but Mr Massie in his wisdom has now censored them. What is the Spectator coming to? It doesn’t want the truth to be shown. Well here again are two out of 1000s you will find if you google Alex Salmon accused

                  David Dickson@Flogelsleftpeg
                  Alex salmond is a fat granny shagging c.nt

                  JamieHalls@JamieHallsWhu
                  Alex Salmond is a w.nker. A fat little one at that!

                • Wessex Man

                  well you just as bad as them, so what are you moaning about?

                • terregles2

                  The really offensive anti Scottish remarks come form UKIP candidate Ron Northcott and another leading UKIP member Lord Monckton of Brenchley.
                  It seems incredible that after their members coming out in public with an anti Scottish diatribe they should then field a candidate in the recent Donside by-election. Hardly surprising that the UKIP candidate lost his deposit.

                • Wessex Man

                  Settlers and Colonists and Auld Enemy, two fine works of literature from our Scottish friends as was pointed out to you months ago, you are certainly scrapping the bottom of the barrel here as usual!

                • terregles2

                  Scraping the bottom of the barrel. The only ones doing that are UKIP with the dross they take on to represent their party.
                  Lord Monckton unbelievable biggest embarrassment in Europe. Even some clowns in this country defend his nonsense.

                • Wessex Man

                  much like you then!

                • terregles2

                  Here is another little comment from me that you can mark down. No point in answering anything you say as you make up your own version and and distort what was said.. Better look out or your nose like pinnochio will end up bigger than your other bits.

                • terregles2

                  Mr Massie knows best he knows it is better for all Scots to sit and listen to him denigrating his own country.

                • Paul Bethune

                  Really mate, where are you from?

                • HJ777

                  I’m not your “mate”.

                  I am of Anglo-Welsh-Scottish parentage (I’m a relative of the great Scottish Engineer Thomas Telford, in fact), and have lived in both England and Scotland. My daughter currently lives in Scotland. Both my neighbours are about as Scottish as you can get – and, unlike you, are reasonable, good humoured people. They are also embarrassed by the vehement Scots Nats and are pro-union.

                  If you have a reasonable argument, then present it, but don’t make out that everybody who doesn’t share your views is somehow unreasonable and that only you are reasonable – by such insistence you demonstrate that the opposite is true.

                • Paul Bethune

                  Oh fuck off if you’re not going to be civil.
                  You obviously have your blinkers on. As I have not even started arguing with you yet, but from your Brit-Nat stance I can see you’re an old reactionary dinosaur, incapable of progressive thought.

                • HJ777

                  I was perfectly civil, in contrast to you.

                  It would appear that ad hominem attacks are your stock-in-trade. Still, it saves the bother of constructing an argument, I suppose.

                • Paul Bethune

                  Where I am from, saying mate to someone is the equivalent of addressing them as sir, but more informal. You took offence to that so you can really just fuck off.

                • HJ777

                  I merely pointed out that I am not your “mate”.

                  You, however, decided to launch into a tirade of four letter words. Presumably because you are incapable of intelligent and polite discourse with anyone who disagrees with you.

                  That clearly makes you unrepresentative of most Scots.

                  Goodbye

                • Paul Bethune

                  A tirade my dinosaur friend, is a long, angry rant. Four letters does not equate this, but as arguing sematics is one of last bastions of the defeated, I’ll let you have your cake.

                • Wessex Man

                  You are really seriously deranged!

                • Jambo25

                  And you, dear boy. as I have noted before, are somewhat paranoid. FWIW, Mr. Bethune’s reply to HJ777 is somewhat forceful but justified.

                • Jambo25

                  No you weren’t. You were asking for Mr. Bethune’s riposte and fully deserve it.

                • HJ777

                  Oh do grow up.

                  You seem to be part of the disagreeable brigade that think it is perfectly acceptable to hurl abuse at people because they don’t agree with you.

                • Jambo25

                  I leave that up to people like you and Wessex Man. You appear to be of little other use.

                • HJ777

                  And we all know what the likes of you would do with people who you consider to be “of little other use’.

                • Vincent McDee

                  Google “Salmond acussed”…and bring a calculator.

                • HJ777

                  What does “acussed” mean?

                  If, by any chance, you mean accused, then you will find that politicians of all political persuasions are accused by their opponents of all sorts of things practically all the time.

                  However, that is a very different thing from “constant abuse” – of which nobody seems able to provide any evidence that Salmond supposedly receives.

                • terregles2

                  I consider being called a drunken benefit scrounger by members of UKIP very abusive.
                  Lord Monckton of UKIP said all Scots were that. As Salmond is Scottish we must assume the insult was aimed equally at him.

                • Wessex Man

                  By a member of UKIP who just happens to be Scottish. ther are loons and fruitcakes in every political party, you must belong to one.

                • HJ777

                  But not specifically at him.

                  How many times have I heard Scots refer to the English as “arrogant”?

                  It is ridiculous to tar a whole nation with the same brush whether the comment comes from one individual from a certain nation or is aimed at a certain nation.

                  I have heard many criticisms of Salmond, Just as with all politicians, some is fair comment and some is unfair. I don’t see that Salmond has received anywhere near the bile that the left often thrown at Cameron, for example, or that Clegg tends to attract from all quarters (I am not Clegg’s biggest fan, but even his most reasonable utterances seem to attract unusually vehement reactions from some people across the political spectrum).

                • Wessex Man

                  The Scots Nats posting on here have in the main called us a lot worse than arrogant, still mustn’t grumble.

                • HJ777

                  You’re quite correct, but that doesn’t mean that they’re typical of Scots (even though they think they are).

                • terregles2

                  We know we are. We are here not sniping from afar.

                • HJ777

                  You think you know you are, you mean. I had a neighbour one who knew he was the reincarnation of Jesus (I really did have such a neighbour). No amount of reasoning on anyone’s part could convince him otherwise.

                  I suspect that you’re as passionate a supporter of independence as Sean Connery – a man who rarely goes near Scotland. Some of us have lived in Scotland, have close family living in Scotland, have Scottish ancestry and spend much of their time in Scotland, yet have also been away from the place enough to see Scottish politics in some perspective.

                • terregles2

                  I am living in Scotland always have and always will. If you want to say that I don’t well not much I can do about that. It will just be another wrong accusation in a long line of many on this forum. I am living in the central belt and looking forward to living here after independence. Believe that or not I am not really bothered

                • Wessex Man

                  I know you are quite right but they like to think they are.

                • terregles2

                  And still you run back for more insults . Such an interest in Scottish independence should you not be out campaigning for UKIP. You might get a better result.

                • terregles2

                  I think if I was to be insulted I would rather be called arrogant than a drunken drug addicted benefit scrounger. Unbelievable that drivel like that comes from a high up member of a recognised UK political party. Even more unbelievable that some people try to excuse it.

                • HJ777

                  Well, you’re the expert on spouting unbelievable drivel.

                  Just because one idiot makes ridiculous comments, proves nothing other than that there is one idiot who spouts drivel. However, the English (all of them, apparently!) are regularly accused by a small-minded minority (although still fairly numerous number) of Scots of being ‘arrogant’. The “yes” campaign clearly hopes for the support of such people.

                  I’m Anglo-Welsh-Scottish, by the way, and so have no time for any of this nonsense. I simply believe that the union has been highly successful and the case for breaking it up is weak and to a great extent (although not exclusively, I concede) relies on inflaming unfounded resentment and imagined slights between the nations of the UK. Your “everybody is so unfair and horrible about Alex Salmond and us Scots Nats” argument falls into this category. If you think that there is a strong case for how independence would benefit Scotland, let’s hear it instead of all this nonsense you come out with.

                • terregles2

                  I have at no time ever called any English arrogant. I have English family and English friends. What I did say was I would rather be called arrogant than a drunken scrounger although we are all agreed that we would rather be called neither. I condemn everyone who denigrates any nation it is ignorant and stupid.
                  Like many Scots, I like English people and dislike Westminster government.Many of my English friends also dislike Westminster government and have told me often they wish they could like Scotland be able to get away from it.
                  Scots have been called scroungers by many people south of the border it is worse when politicians do it. Saying that it is a few isolated people doing it is I am afraid not the case. I however am not interested in the past I am looking forward to building a better Scotland in 2014.

                • Wessex Man

                  I fail to unnderstand how you can bear to be in the company of the English or they you!

                • Jambo25

                  Well, if you knew anything about Scottish politics or the media you would know exactly what Mr. McDee means. Your position seems to be that you simply deny anything you don’t like.

                • HJ777

                  I know exactly what he means – I just question whether there is any evidence for his assertion.

                  He hasn’t provided anything that suggest that Salmond is subject to any different treatment to other prominent politicians. You obviously support Salmond so you have managed to convince yourself that those criticising him are doing so unfairly.

                • Paul Bethune

                  Are you based in Scotland?

                • Wessex Man

                  Why would he tell a seriously deranged nutter like you where he lives!

                • terregles2

                  Perhaps it is Ron Northcott or Lord Monckton he is making about as much sense.

                • Wessex Man

                  oh dear you keep repeating this rubbish but never answer a simple question.

                • Maidmarrion

                  That’s easy just visit a certain journalists output in the Daily Telegraph.
                  There again we had Paxman tell him he was Mugabe.
                  And of course we have the Labour Party leader in Holyrood permanently insulting in some misplaced belief that she is being smart.

                • HJ777

                  References please.

                  Otherwise it would appear that you are just being partisan.

                • Jambo25

                  If you clearly know as little about Scottish politics then, perhaps, you should refrain from commenting.

                • Wessex Man

                  That’s never stopped you!

                • Jambo25

                  I bow before your omniscience o mighty one.

                • Wessex Man

                  Don’t scrape your nose though.

                • HJ777

                  You appear to know almost nothing on the subject.

                  However, I have no objection to you revealing this in public.

                • Jambo25

                  Quite correct. A good degree in Politics an Modern History. Post-Graduate experience and qualifications. A couple of years working as a civil servant in a Ministry secretariat. About 10 years as a semi-active political party member. Thirty odd years teaching History and Politics. I know almost nothing.

                • HJ777

                  So no real life experience. It shows.

                  As it used to say above the toilet rolls in the loos when I was taking my Physics and Electronics degree: “Politics degrees – please take one”. Of course, I only followed that by 30 years in industry working in this country and many others.

                  University politics and history departments are stuffed full of fools – Eric Hobsdawn was a good example. These people remain in university departments because they have no credibility in the real world.

                • Jambo25

                  Yes. You are a real example of high culture and a successful English education system.

                • HJ777

                  Thank you. We’re agreed on that, at least.

                • terregles2

                  Calling anyone else a fool is rather a boorish remark for an educated person. Passing exams in Physics and Electronics obviously does not guarantee that the end result will be a gentleman..

                • HJ777

                  I was being generous when I called Hobsdawn a fool.

                  He was far more unpleasant than that moniker suggests. He was an unrepentant Marxist and when asked whether it would have been worth 15 or 20 million lives to achieve his preferred system his answer was “yes”.

                  In 1939 he even co-wrote a pamphlet defending both Stalin and Hitler and their pact that carved up Poland.

                  I could go on about his sheer foolishness and the disagreeable nature of his views in face of all the evidence.

                  Yet this guy was a Professor of History in a ‘respectable’ academic institution and was lauded by many other supposed ‘academics’.

                  So if you think that makes me boorish, then so be it. it says more about you than it does about me.

                • terregles2

                  You actually said that university politics and history departments are stuffed full of fools. Think that suggests you were calling rather more people than Eric Hobsbawn a fool.

                • HJ777

                  They are. I merely provided an example.

                  Ralph Miliband is another example.

                  Both respected by their academic peers. Both daft Marxists.

                  Have you read any of their material? it’s obviously complete nonsense to anyone with half an ounce or more of sense.

                • terregles2

                  I did read one of his books The Age of Revolution and while I do not share his political beliefs I certainly would not describe him as a fool. He did sometimes show a spark of humour i think it was he who described the dreadful Blair as Thatcher in trousers.
                  I don’t like to shut people out because they disagree with me politically.I like to mix with and listen to others with different opinions. Would hate to go through life wearing political blinkers.

                • HJ777

                  That would be the Tony Blair who made him a Companion of Honour.

                  He was a fool. At some point you have to use your judgment and realise that some of the people you’ve listened to are fools or worse. Hobsdawn’s political views were (to put it kindly) pathetically unreformed in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary.

                • HenBroon
                • HJ777

                  Pretty much standard stuff for any prominent politician, I’d say.

                  So where are the examples of “constant abuse” of Salmond?

                • terregles2

                  Another classic piece printed by some joker in the Daily Fail suggested that if Scotland votes YES in 2014 it will end up like St Kilda,
                  You really have to laugh they are becoming hysterical.

                • Wessex Man

                  so you are a Daily Mail reader that explains an awlful lot!

                • Angus_MacLellan

                  Yes, we’ve just had the head of the Commonwealth of Bongo Bongo land announcing Scotland may not be allowed to join if it becomes independent – Salmond will be disappointed.

                  I guess independence has it’s advantages after all.

                • terregles2

                  Bongo bongo ….you are jumping with ignorance.

                • Wessex Man

                  Oh dear Angus Maclellan, you’ve committed the fatal mistake and cracked a joke, you will now stand condemned forever as as an enemy of the Scottish State!

                • terregles2

                  Little man don’t presume to speak for me. Speak for yourself never me.

                • Wessex Man

                  little girl don’t try and push me around, answer the questions!

                • terregles2

                  You obviously do not read the remarks made by UKIP inadequates about Salmond and the Scottish people.
                  Ron Nortcott and Lord Monckton.
                  I will not repeat them as it was bad enough listening to them in the first place but if you google their remarks you will find their anti Scottish rants quite easily.
                  Unbelievable that anyone from a country that produces politicians like Northcott and Monckton is actually critical of politicians from any other country.

                • Wessex Man

                  answer my question why all the people in Scotland who vote to stay in the Union can move to Northern Ireland, Wales or England! talk about ethnic cleasning!

                • terregles2

                  Let me say this to you ONE more time. I said that if independence was voted for in Scotland and some people then really did not want independence. If they really wanted to live within the British state there were still three other British countries they could CHOOSE to live in.
                  They could CHOOSE to live in an independent Scotland or they COULD CHOOSE to live in one of the other British countries. Just as anyone from any of the other British countries could CHOOSE to move into an independent Scotland.
                  So far I have ignored the rubbish you have reported as comments from me hoping that you would stop. Everything that I have ever posted is on record and you are crossing a line. Just because you are on the internet does not mean that you can be abusive and make up horrible remarks then attribute them to me.
                  If you repeat one more time the lie that I said non desireables would be removed from Scotland. I will be making a formal complaint about you.

                • Wessex Man

                  You said nothing of the sort, I’ve already pointed out to you, there was no COULD ChOOSE in your original reply to Keith D, no matter what you say now! Anyone else other than you would know that I was making a quip about your comments, I never put “non-desirables into your mouth, you are really silly person, who seeks to demean me at evey opportunity and as far as I’m concerned you can make any FORMAL COMPLAiNT you like I’m more than happy to have my comments investigated, so go ahead!

                  You won’t bully me no matter how hard you try.

                • Wessex Man

                  Oh dear you rather confirm everything that I have, said you go and Edit your comments because you realise that what said by you in reply to Keith D was intellectually childish, some would say the work of an intellectual pygmy.

                  Maybe, just maybe you will stop and think before posting such silly comments again but probably not!

                  How do you feel about page 4 in your Daily paper lambasting the Scots?

                • HenBroon

                  Only in the mantras of Project Fear. The trend line for a Yes vote for Scottish Independence is rising fast, the fuel provided by Project Fear has ensured that. No Better Together have become hysterical.

                • HJ777

                  “Twenty years ago the possibility of Scottish independence seemed really unlikely.”

                  And it looks equally unlikely today.

                • terregles2

                  Time will tell.

                • HJ777

                  Opinion polls show that it looks no more likely now.

                  You seem to live in a fantasy world.

                • Wessex Man

                  She always has, time after time!

                • scotcanadien

                  I also lived in a fantasy world in 2011. And dear me. It became a reality.

                • Wessex Man

                  sounds like you still live there.

                • Paul Bethune

                  You live in a fantasy world if opinion polls is all you can cite.
                  What about the multiple grassroots campaigns and the volume of un-paid volunteers – Yes Scotland is a bigger vehicle than Better Together, even with BT’s (dodgy)cash and paid employees.

                • HJ777

                  You don’t seem to be able to cite any evidence for the contrary view.

                • Paul Bethune

                  Contrary view? So 372,000 signatures for the Yes Declaration means nothing to you I suppose.
                  There are over 170 local “Yes” groups all over Scotland.
                  There is huge support from the creative arts, National Collective being a prime example.
                  Business for Scotland, had over 500 members sign up within the first week of their launch.
                  There are groups with the unionist parties supporting independence. Trade Unions are starting to turn to the cause as well.
                  So where is your evidence to support your view. Polls? British MSM? Aye, right pal.

                • HJ777

                  None of which is evidence that there is a majority.

                  What you are saying is that amongst the people who have pledged support to the “yes” campaign, there is support for a “yes” vote.

                  Well, there’s a surprise.

                  Polls are carried out by professional pollsters who make a living out of being reasonably accurate, not biased.

                • Paul Bethune

                  All of which evidences a majority when the opposition can’t pull out the same numbers.

                • HJ777

                  It evidences nothing of the sort.

                  372,000 signatures represents less than 10% of the voting age population of Scotland.

                • Paul Bethune

                  Uhuh. Well done on your powers of observation. Now observe the same number declaring UKOK. Wait what? There is no UKOK declaration? Well I’ll be!

                • Paul Bethune

                  Yes Yougov and their ilk are “impartial”.

                • HJ777

                  You’re seriously suggesting that all the opinion pollsters are partial?

                • Paul Bethune

                  No your implication is that, not mine.

                • mightymark

                  “even with BT’s (dodgy)cash and paid employees.”

                  And so we begin to see the outlines of how they’ll spin failure yet again:

                  “bought and sold for English gold”

                • Paul Bethune

                  What are you on about Mark? Do you disagree that Ian Taylor and Vitol are corrupt?

                • mightymark

                  In the context of my post above does it really matter?

                • Paul Bethune

                  In the context of my post that you have responded to – I believe it does.

                • mightymark

                  My point is simply to predict that if they lose they will whinge about “English money” whatever its provenance (and indeed whether it is wholly “English” or not).

                • Paul Bethune

                  Mark if an oil baron with supremely close links to the Tories is your campaign’s biggest single donor – would you not feel even a little disgruntled? You’re trying to trivialise a matter of fact in this union that English money has always tempted the greedy in Scotland.

                • mightymark

                  Well we can at least agree that money always tempts the greedy. For the rest, mine was a prediction – so we’ll see.

                • Paul Bethune

                  We can indeed agree. But I sincerely believe (and hope) your prediction is irrelevant.

                • terregles2

                  You must be in fantasy land if you think a 2013 opinion poll is a guarantee of the same result in 2014.

                • HJ777

                  Where did I say that it was a guarantee?

                • scotcanadien

                  Only to the tired cliche mongers of the BritNatz outfit.

                • mightymark

                  Somehow you manage to include a sound bite like “Brit Natz outfit” in the same sentence as an accusation of “tired old cliche monger[ing]”.

                  Did you think no one would notice?

                • Angus_MacLellan

                  No, they are dismissed as clowns – an estimated 15% of the total. My own elderly parents who could be deemed auld traditionalist’s reserve a visceral contempt for the likes of Salmond and his loony crew – and they are pretty typical of their (voting) generation .

                  People will never forget that the loony SNP released a convicted mass murderer, enforced “homosexual marriage” on a resentful electorate and industrialised our countryside with horrendous, uneconomical wind factories.

                • terregles2

                  Your parents are auld traditionalists are they? Well if they share the same attitudes as yourself about non Scottish people living in Scotland I think we are all relieved that they are not members of the SNP.

                • Jambo25

                  Funny that. I’d certainly describe myself as a social conservative but vote SNP and will vote ‘Yes’ next year. If you want to see the further introduction of socially liberal measures introduced into daily life then hold onto the Wetminster link as it strikes me that virtually the entire London based political and media classes are socially liberal to an extent way above anything found at Holyrood.

              • Jambo25

                Don’t kid yourself. You’d like it to be the case but it isn’t and won’t be.

                • CraigStrachan

                  If you think there will be another opportunity soon after 2014, I’m afraid you’re the one kidding yourself. I repeat: 49% of Quebeckers voted to leave Canada in 1995. There hasn’t been another referendum since, and the new PQ government seems unable to create the conditions for staging one.

                  No means no.

            • Alexandrovich

              Okay, that’s eight then plus you, Bell and Salmond.

  • Vrai écossais

    “Of the many certainties those Scots in favour of independence hold to be self-evident two in particular stand out. ”

    You ignore the death of ‘British’ nationality. Everyone I know is either Scottish, English, Welsh etc, no one ever says that they are ‘British’. The only people who call themselves British are second/third generation blacks, asians and other immigrants. If the fundamental sense of shared nationality does not exist then you do need to question the type of shared political powers. Being British is dead for most Scots and English and massive immigration is a cause.

    • John Court

      I’m British and I object to filling out government forms on nationality and having to enter “White Scottish”. I can only go back 5 generations on ancestry.co.uk and it’s Scottish, English and Irish. I agree that Britishness is being undermined, but giving up on it and retreating north of Hadrian’s wall is not the right way. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Robert_Gibb_-_The_Thin_Red_Line.jpg

      • MichtyMe

        No quite mistaken, before the success of the separatist movements at the middle of the last century most British were Asian. In last year’s census the most British places, by self definition, were Luton, Sough Leicester and of course London. Immigration is enhancing Britishness and returning it to its multicultural past.

      • Vrai écossais

        Hadrians wall is entirely in England…

        I also have mixed Scottish, Irish and English ancestry but that does not make one British and I object to having ‘British’ as the sole nationality in many forms, including passports. The only white people who say they are British are Ulster protestants.

        • alabenn

          I also have mixed, distant Scottish, distant Irish and English ancestry
          I think of myself as English, the only thing I think of as British is the Army, but I refer to it as the Army.
          British is now a bastardised version of what is was, Scotland will vote for independence, if not this time but within the next generation.

  • Spammo Twatbury

    “while Scots may say they are more left-wing than the English they do not tend, on the whole, to hold very different opinions”

    Since WW2, England has voted Tory 60% of the time. Scotland has voted Tory 0% of the time. That’s quite a big difference. (The solitary example people quote, sixty years ago, was actually a different party, ideologically barely resembling the modern Conservative Party.)

    “but nearly half a million Scottish families still took advantage of the right to buy their council house”

    I think Iain Duncan-Smith is a loathsome sub-human reptile who’d be greatly improved by falling into a volcano, but if he offered me £50,000 with no strings attached I’d still take it, which was what right-to-buy amounted to in the 1980s.

    Humans are around 96% to 99% genetically identical to chimpanzees (depending who you believe). It’s still not hard to tell them apart.

    • Mark Bailey

      “I think Iain Duncan-Smith is a loathsome sub-human reptile who’d be greatly improved by falling into a volcano”

      I see the spirit of Julius Streicher still lives. Not exactly the rhetorical style to win people over to your argument though.

      • Spammo Twatbury

        Unusually early Godwin. Nice work!

      • NorthBrit

        I had no idea that Der Stürmer was so fixated with Catholic Tories.

        However comparing people to Julius Streicher may also be ineffective in winning people over to your doubtless fascinating point of view.

    • tjamesjones

      how about scotland also gets the north of england, I’m sure that’s full of collectivist voters as well who proudly hate the tories (aka jealousy)

    • HJ777

      That is factually incorrect.

      In the 1955 General Election, the Tory party won 50.1% of the Scottish vote. It had 36 Scottish MPs, Labour had 35 and there was one Liberal MP.

      Iain Duncan-Smith, whether you agree with him or not, is a thoroughly decent and humane man with a genuine concern for the deprived sections of society and a wish to dismantle the trap they find themselves in. He founded the Centre for Social Justice to address this issue. I can only presume that you dislike him because you have nothing but contempt for those that are trapped in poverty – in which case I regard you as the loathsome one.

      • David Lindsay

        Alas, he has rather fallen since his CSJ days.

      • DougDaniel

        I suggest reading comments in full before replying next time.

        “(The solitary example people quote, sixty years ago, was actually a different party, ideologically barely resembling the modern Conservative Party.)”

        The party that won in 1955 was the (Scottish) Unionist Party. It was a sister party to the Conservative Party, but a distinct party nonetheless, similar to the CSU/CDU situation in Bavaria and Germany. They merged into the Conservative & Unionist Party in 1965, and Murdo Fraser’s recent idea to start up a new, distinct Scottish right-wing party was very much informed by the fact they’ve been a dead loss ever since that merger.

        • HJ777

          I am well aware of the history of the Conservative and the Unionist parties – to all intents and purposes they have been one since long before the 1950s. They didn’t stand against each other, the Unionist MPs took the Tory whip and they formed governments together.

          In any case, the supposed ‘solitary’ example is, in fact, two examples – in 1955 and in 1959.

          So I suggest that you both read comments in full and mug up on history before replying next time.

          • DougDaniel

            When you’re accusing someone of being “factually incorrect”, I’m afraid “to all intents and purposes” doesn’t quite cut it.

            I suggest you mug up on the difference between “factually speaking” and “practically speaking” before replying next time.

            (Probably use a different source from the one which tells you the Unionist Party received over 50% of the vote in 1959, mind…)

            • HJ777

              I suggest that you put your pedantry to one side and accept reality for a change.

              Clearly, you are unable to read either. I never claimed that they received over 50% of the vote in 1959. I explicitly said that they received a greater share of the vote (47.2%) than any other party in 1959.

              I suggest that you mug on history before posting stupid comments in future. Or are stupid comments all that you are capable of?

              • DougDaniel

                “Highest share of the vote” wasn’t the point he was making, though. The Unionist Party won 31 of 71 seats in 1959 – not a majority. That only happened in 1955, where they got 36 seats. That’s why he said it was the “solitary example”.

                Anyway, you’ve resorted to personal insults, ergo I win.

                • HJ777

                  He said ‘voted’, not elected.

                  It is exceedingly rare for any party ever to get more than 50% of the vote in a General Election, either in the UK as a whole, or in most of the constituents of the UK.

                  You lost because you were wrong. It’s that simple.

      • Maidmarrion

        Know IDS well do you?
        I think he has caused more problems than he solved .
        But anyone who can call the First Minister of Scotland an embarrassment is unlikely to impress with his analysis of IDS.

        • terregles2

          IDS is such a humane chap that is why he is hounding the disabled and punishing them with his bedroom tax. While he torments the disabled his party continue to line the pockets of their friends in the city and continue to privatise the lucrative parts of the NHS.

      • Jambo25

        Quite correct but 1959 was a very long time ago.

    • David Lindsay

      Since WW2, England has voted Tory 60% of the time. Scotland has voted Tory 0% of the time.

      Absolute rubbish. Scotland won it for the Tories in the 1950s, and in 1955 the Tories were the only party ever to have won over half of the votes in Scotland. Glasgow had a Tory Council into the 1970s.

      That Scotland is some kind of heart and soul of the Labour Movement is gibberish, always self-serving somehow or other on the part of anyone who trots it out.

      • Wessex Man

        oh no, well it was bound to happen somewhen, I am actually agreeing with you David, you’ll have to write a book about your debating powers!

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