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Scottish independence is a little more likely today than it was yesterday

26 November 2013

2:53 PM

26 November 2013

2:53 PM

The argument about Scottish independence which, it should be said, is not a new one is best understood in terms of the Overton Window. James Overton, an American political scientist, suggested that the general public is only prepared to contemplate a relatively narrow range of political opinions and policies. Those that fall outwith this window of plausibility are discounted; the task for politicians and other advocates is to shift the window so that ideas once considered heretical now appear orthodox common-sense.

Overton suggested there were six phases to this process. A idea would move from being unthinkable to radical to acceptable to sensible to popular before, finally, becoming policy.

Scottish independence is currently somewhere between acceptable and sensible. Acceptable in the sense that most sensible Unionist critics concede there’s no hideous reason why Scotland couldn’t be a perfectly sensible or even successful independent country. The opinion polls continue to suggest, however, that, at least for now, a majority of voters are not impressed that this is a sensible future for Caledonia, stern and wild.

That may change. The publication of the Scottish government’s White Paper on independence today is designed to shift the Overton Window. An idea once unthinkable is utterly thinkable. The lack of drama – the merciful absence of bagpipes-and-Braveheart-bullshit – at the paper’s launch was quite deliberate. This, Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon insisted, is a sober, sensible calculation of the national interest. It’s not a romantic romp in the heather or a doomed Jacobite jolly.

Of course there is a good deal of assertion within the White Paper’s 670 pages. And of course many of the issues it highlights – childcare provision and education among many others – could be addressed by the Scottish government now and without any recourse to independence. And of course contra Alistair Darling – some of the questions asked by Better Together can’t be answered now because they are, essentially, unknowable. Or, if you prefer, known unknowns.

Take the question of a sterling zone, for instance. It is true that this remains a sticky wicket for the SNP and that it may, indeed, be the most significant procedural difficulty they face. True too, that they can expect no help from the UK government in answering these questions. But it is also true that London could help answer these questions. True that London could say that it would anticipate that future British governments would do their utmost to resolve these issues in an amicable, best-for-both-countries fashion.

Now we understand of course why that won’t, indeed probably can’t, happen during the campaign. But we also know that if Scotland votes for independence Alistair Darling will, presumably, do his bit to make the case for a currency union that he has previously (in January this year) suggested would be the most logical and even desirable outcome. (Darling would probably dispute that interpretation.)

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Granted, these uncertainties continue to hamper the Yes campaign. It seems to me that this is unavoidable and Salmond & Co will simply have to take their lumps on these matters.

Nevertheless, even if a good deal of the White Paper rests upon assertion and some wishful thinking it is at least a substantial piece of work even if, again necessarily or unsurprisingly, it also represents a best-case scenario of one optimistic version of one possible Scottish future.

It might not work out like that. Reality can be an inconvenient mistress. Be that as it may, the mere existence of the White Paper nudges the Overton Window towards independence. The prospect is a real one and merits being taken seriously.

The White Paper – and everything about Salmond’s low-key performance this morning – insists that far from being a reckless adventure independence is something else entirely: boringly normal.

The people may yet disagree with that view and they may conclude that the SNP’s vision is too good to be entirely credible. Nonetheless, this is a long, long game and it may not be settled even by a No vote next September.

Alex Salmond wants to make independence seem inevitable. A completion of the national journey, as he might put it. To do that he must first make people feel comfortable about the idea of independence. The White Paper is part of that process – a softening up, if you like.

In the end, his message is a simple one: the only thing to fear is fear itself and this fear is doubly-invidious because, in the end, the only thing to be afraid of is ourselves.

That’s not the whole story, of course, but it is an argument that has some force and may yet prove persuasive. As it happens I think old Britannia has some decent tunes too but she’s too often too damn reluctant to play them.

And she needs to because, in the end, the nationalist suggestion that, as Nicola Sturgeon put it today, the case for independence rests on the “simple but powerful belief that decisions about Scotland should be taken by the people who live and work here” is a powerful one. Wherever possible, she might have added but you get the point. (It would, granted, be helpful if more of them were good decisions but that’s a weary struggle for another day.)

So it strikes me that asking where’s the beef? is an inadequate response to this paper. There are good reasons to be sceptical about some of its claims but that does not dent the fact that it is, on the whole, a serious publication.

And, again, its publication nudges the argument forward and makes the idea of independence seem more real, more routine, than it was yesterday. It asks us to ask ourselves what kind of country we wish to live in and that, whatever the answer we choose, is a question well-worth asking.

 

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Show comments
  • http://Disqus.com/ Thomas Mitchell Glen

    To fully understand democracy and it’s corruption by the very
    nature,creates greed for power and wealth. One has to have an open mind
    in establishing the idea of an alternative that is fairer to all people
    such as the Mondragon system that is shown to be highly successful. The
    present system has failed and proof of this is continual warring and the
    great suffering of millions. Even to-day our own Country has been
    reduced to food boxes even collected by poorer working people. The
    answer is the lack of enlightenment – although universties boast of
    great scholars but most unlightened in the true reality of the world.
    Time will bring enlightenment to both educated and uneducated as a
    spiritual intervention has started in this new millennium. Rene
    Descartes’ ‘third eye’ is a spiritual sensor of the human brain
    bringing new enlightenment at this time. Those of material minds will
    reject such writings but the enlightened spiritual mind is now
    describing this phenomena in Twitter. http://adventuresailingtr.wix.com/adventuresailing

  • http://Disqus.com/ Thomas Mitchell Glen

    To fully understand democracy and it’s corruption by the very nature,creates greed for power and wealth. One has to have an open mind in establishing the idea of an alternative that is fairer to all people such as the Mondragon system that is shown to be highly successful. The present system has failed and proof of this is continual warring and the great suffering of millions. Even to-day our own Country has been reduced to food boxes even collected by poorer working people. The answer is the lack of enlightenment – although universties boast of great scholars but most unlightened in the true reality of the world. Time will bring enlightenment to both educated and uneducated as a spiritual intervention has started in this new millennium. Rene Descartes’ ‘third eye’ is a spiritual sensor of the human brain bringing new enlightenment at this time. Those of material minds will reject such writings but the enlightened spiritual mind is now describing this phenomena in Twitter.

  • http://Disqus.com/ Thomas Mitchell Glen

    Radical change through common sense philosophy shows a failed system is being pursued to attain independence. A new approach requires new understanding of people being returned to work through government initiatives. These give people an insight into new government thinking and showing willingness to create a new form of people’s democracy resulting in a healthy body and mind approach. In so doing can win true Independence for all and not just a few materialists in high places.

  • Gold Bug

    When do we start work on the border posts then? Mind you I’m not sure we’d get them built before Scotland bankrupted itself by paying each other too many benefits. Maybe they can get Gordon Brown to manage their economy with the skill and charm he ruined, sorry, managed ours. Actually building the new Hadrians Wall could be done by all the Romanian and Bulgarian immigrants that we are so eagerly awaiting. That would relieve England from paying for the communism north of the border and the unemployment benefits for immigrants. Brilliant, 2 birds, 1 stone.

  • Kev Cooper

    The sooner we lose the whining, scrounging layabouts that gave us Blair, Brown and Darling (to name but a few of the worst, the better). Scotland has been a drag on England since unification, and Brown did more damage than the Luftwaffe. The only thing they are good for is Whisky and shortbread, and thanks to the internet we can buy those online, removing the one remaining reason for visiting the dump. Build a very big wall and keep the savages North of it.

    • Dave Ward

      I assume you have proof of the scrounging layabouts you mention? Some Government document showing Scotland taking more out of the pot than it puts in? No?

      “In the last year, Scotland contributed £56.9 billion in tax revenue, including a geographical share of North Sea revenue, equivalent to £10,700 per person, compared to £9000 per person for the UK as a whole.

      Taken over the last 30 years, back to 1980-81, tax revenue per person in Scotland has been £1350 a year higher than in the UK as a whole, when adjusted for inflation.”

      http://www.scotland.gov.uk/News/Releases/2013/04/balance-sheet

      • Kev Cooper

        That’s the great thing about these blogs, you write something you think, no need to research it, and you will get some anal-retentive git coming back at you with an extensively researched (or complete bullshit but convincing) answer. I neither know nor care if Scotland is a drag I just know they are an embarrassment as a nation and hope they slide of into bankruptcy swimming in Scotch, deep fried Mars Bars and social security very soon.

  • Rilman

    Are there really enough stupid people in Scotland that think its a good idea to join the undemocratic EUSSR?

    Good luck with getting a Scottish leader in the EU, like you can and have in the UK. Enjoy the mass unemployment, migrants working for cash on less that minimum wage and the queues at your hospitals and crowded schools full of kids that don’t speak your children’s language, I’m sure it won’t effect their education, much.

  • cheesy pasta

    Blimey!
    A sensible assessment of a serious subject about Scotland – and in a right wing UK publication!
    Strewth!
    ooh-er Missus!
    Where’s me smelling salts!
    So someone finally blinked and the idea of Scottish independence is a serious subject and a perfectly unremarkable, rather than an absurdity mooted by a gang of tartan buffoons determined to take their impoverished and incapable nation down the road to ruin, if they are not wiling to live on English largesse and be suitably thankful?
    Well thanks for that.
    So now maybe – just maybe – the NO campaign will start pointing out the advantage’s of the union rather than insulting the Scottish public and trying to frighten them.
    Won’t be holding my breath though.

  • BoiledCabbage

    Does deflation produce Balkanisation? Deflation is what we have, globally, Balkanisation is what Salmond is offering – a short-cut for a clan to abrogate a national debt – but what if Shetland, Orkney & the Western Isles [the oil province] also Balkanised to avoid having to fund the mainland?

    Shetland & Orkney were annexed to Scotland only in 1472, after having been pawned to Scotland by King Christian of Denmark and Norway. They could be redeemed for 210 Kg of Gold, according to Wiki.

  • BogStandardPissedUpJock

    Nooooooo!

    Ye can tak’ ma freedom
    but ye’ll ne’er tak’ ma Buchy!

  • Sanctimony

    A thought about an independent Scotland’s economy.

    They budgeted the building costs of this monstrous eyesore that serves as their Parliament at £ 10 – £ 40 million…. about 14 years later the taxpayer, mainly English, naturally, had shelved out £ 414 million…

    They employed a Catalan architect and HM the Queen gritted her teeth and opened this carbuncle on the landscape.

  • Sanctimony

    I am cancelling my subscription to the Spectator. Your random and one-sided censorship is completely irrational.

  • justejudexultionis

    Project Fear strikes again. They’ve used their mantra about Scots being too poor and stupid so many times now that I’m almost beginning to believe it myself. We all know now that independence will lead to an increased risk of catastrophic meteor strikes, periodic tsunamis, bubonic plague, random spontaneous combustions and invasion by the three-headed lizardmen of Planet Zargon.

    GROW UP UNIONISTS!

    SAOR ALBA

    • Bocephus

      Why do you want George Osborne running your economy AFTER you are an independent country? Scottish politicians used to complain interest rates were set to suit England, especially the south of England, rather than rates which were suitable for Scotland. In fact that used to be one of the biggest reason given for independence. With independence Scottish politicians will be cut out the loop completely.

      The Greeks are angry at the Germans because they are being told what they can and cannot do. What is the atmosphere going to be like in Scotland when a foreign and unelected and English politician is telling Scotland they can’t afford this and can’t afford that? It won’t end well.

      If Scotland wants independence then surely it should want and need its own currency.

  • sartoris

    Nicola Sturgeon says “decisions about Scotland should be taken by the people who live and work here” but would she and the SNP also say “decisions abut the Shetland Isles sheould be taken by the people who live there”?

    Seems rather doubtful as Shetland Islanders do not want decisions about the Shetland Islands taken in Edinburgh, particularly decisions about what they regard as their North Sea Oil and their onshore oil terminal and associated pipelines.

    • Charles Patrick O’Brien

      What next independence for Glasgow or Paisley? Home rule for Mull!!

    • Doug Melville

      Another Unionist myth. Every poll taken shows there is no support in the Isles for a breakaway, and if you were watching – there were recent talks between the Scottish Govt and the Isles etc to reach agreement for more decentralisation of power.

  • Duke_Bouvier

    The idea of repudiating the national debt is funny. The Nats want the Bank of England (BoE) as lender of last resort too. If they repudiate the national debt they will undoubtedly loose that too, and then see RBS and BoS suffer bank runs as cash flees to England. Even a perceived probability they might really repudiate the debt and lose their lender of last resort for the big banks could precipitate a bank run that would devastate the Scottish financial in the middle of the independence negotiations.

    And that is not even beginning to factor in the costs of a perceived future risk of investing in Scottish government bonds if they behave so irresponsibly.

    • Charles Patrick O’Brien

      Oh all things have been thought its a big chess game with many points to be traded,but its Westminster that will suffer the most if we set up the £Stirling,and have our own pound as is favoured by a lot of us,but we are not so petty,its what is best for all,and its quite dramatic to go to this “Lender of last resort” its funny to see so many being so childish.

    • Doug Melville

      No-one is talking about repudiating debt. Read what Sturgeon actually said, rather than the somewhat lurid headlines. Both governments have agreed to work to a negotiated agreement if the vote is ‘Yes’. The question is whether rUK wants to be treated as the sole successor state, and therefore indi Scotland starts from scratch – no debts or movable assets. Or will they reach some sensible agreement re the divorce settlement. The latter seems like a much more likely outcome. At the moment the Better Together campaign is claiming that Scotland would not have successor status, but would still have to take its share of debt. Cake and Eat it too.

  • Jen The Blue

    As an Englishman living in England, there is only one thing that bothers me about Scotland and that is Scottish MPs. Whatever the outcome, we need to ban Scottish MPs from voting on English issues at Westminster.
    If that means independence then good luck to them in their new socialist utopia. But don’t come running back when you’ve bankrupted yourselves.

    • BogStandardPissedUpJock

      Wh’ not?

      That’s how the current union cam’ aboot! After we’d pished up the wall all oor cash in Panama.

    • Doug Melville

      SNP MPs do not vote on English matters as a party policy. One issue that is often ignored though, is that many decisions which appear to have entirely English consequences, affect the amount calculated for the Barnett formula, and therefore impact the Scots revenue allocation, so it isn’t always as clear cut as you might think.

      • Jen The Blue

        SNP MPs may not but Scottish Labour and Liberal MPs do…..the former Prime Mentalist excepted, as he is by his own admission, an ex-politician who only draws his MPs salary to augment his meagre income from elsewhere.

        • Doug Melville

          As you say.. you are a life-long tory. I would be interested to ask why. You seem to object to MPs from Scottish electorates voting on matters that affect England, but you have no problem with MPs from English electorates voting on matters which affect Scotland… like tax rates, going to war, privatising the Royal Mail, or further back, imposing the Poll Tax on Scotland in breach of the Treaty of Union, privatising steel, coal etc.. by this light then you would argue that the MPs from English electorates should only vote on matters affecting England only? Which is it.. are MPs ‘British’, in which case they all count, or Scottish.. in which case they only have limited poll rights, or English in which case they don’t?

          • Jen The Blue

            Did I say any of that? I would, for preference, never have started the nonsense that is devolution. So, in effect, Britain should be governed as a single country where all MPs have equal voting rights.

            As soon as Scotland got its own parliament, unfairness was brought into the system.

            Your point is invalid anyway because English MPs never vote on matters which affect ONLY Scotland, which is not the same as Scottish MPs who vote on matters that only affect ONLY England.
            But as I have said. Scotland is welcome to go it alone. Suits me.

            • Doug Melville

              I think this comes to a fundamental question about what a UK parliament should be doing. Firstly, as I pointed out above, many of the apparently ‘English’ questions have Barnett consequentials, so while, make the decision on the face of it, some questions such as the London Wheel, sewerage, H2S etc would appear to be ‘English’ questions; when they are deducted from the overall UK revenue, that impacts the block grant given to Scotland as their share of overall revenue. Effectively, it is like a tax-deduction for England, (and not always for England it should be noted, but usually.. and more likely to be voted yes – if for England). I would prefer there to be five parliaments. A Federal Parliament and then one for England Scotland Wales and NI. But that will never happen, simply because (rightly -IMO) as 90% of the population – the English parliament should (and would) make the decisions that are right for England. And in a nutshell, that is the reason I support Scots Independence. The English Government, (Welsh, Ni etc) has the right to, and should make the decisions on behalf of England, And so should the Scots. Each should be separate so they can make the right decisions for their own people, look after their own people, and respect the opinions of their own people. When they generally agreed, which has been the case for most of their history, it hasn’t been an issue, but the way the Scots vote now is hugely different.

              • Jen The Blue

                A five parliament solution would sort out the unfairness I concede, but whether having yet more politicians is a good idea is less certain.
                To be honest, I have come round to hoping that Scotland votes for independence.

              • Jen The Blue

                That may be so at the margins, though I have to admit I am not that familiar with the exact workings of the Barnett formula.
                In any case, the current state of affairs is no good at all and Scottish independence would solve the problem for me.

            • Doug Melville

              Oh, and the issue about Scots MPs voting on English matters.. almost every vote affects Scotland, and England, the whole point of a unitary parliament is that it is either unitary or it is not. Who voted to impose the Poll Tax on Scotland as a ‘trial’? So I dispute your assertion that Mps representing English electorates NEVER vote on matters affecting Scotland only. Did the ‘English’ MPs elect Thatcher or privatise Scottish Steel at Ravenscraig?

  • Dogzzz

    I really cannot understand what form of “independence” leaves scotland less independent from England, than the UK is is from the EU.

    How can they consider themselves to be independent if they share a currency, a central bank (Bank of England) and a head of state with us?

    It appears to me that they do not want independence at all, but a form of Devo Max, which leaves them solely with all the benefits of union, and the benefits of independence, but without any of the downsides of either, leaving the UK as less of a symbiotic relationship between Scotland and the remaining countries of the UK, but more of a parasitic one, where Scotland still relies on the Greater size and economy of the UK to keep it afloat, until it, in typical socialist style, runs out of other people’s money!

    • Duke_Bouvier

      Exactly – which is why they wanted to have a DevoMax option on the referendum, until it was firmly pointed out to them that “DevoMax” was not Scotland’s to give to itself.

      I suspect the referendum process will turn out to have set back their hopes for DevoMax as it will have exhausted English tolerance for all their shenanigans.

      • Doug Melville

        Actually, SNP policy was always a straight yes/no vote. Labour and LibDem toyed with the idea of DevoMax, but decided to put all the chips in the pot.

        • Duke_Bouvier
          • Doug Melville

            “Salmond has always said that his preference is for a single question.
            However, he has also said that if it appeared there was a demand for a
            second option he would, shock horror, respect the wishes of the people.”

            He was asked whether he wanted a Devo-Max question while in the US, and this was the answer he gave. You might need to do a little more checking before relying on newspaper headlines.

            At the time, the view from some strategists was that Devo-Max risked splitting the potential yes vote, and would require a whole of UK referendum.

    • BogStandardPissedUpJock

      We dinna wan’ independence ya barnpot
      we wan’ free money!

    • Charles Patrick O’Brien

      The head of state that is shared by 20 other countries what is so odd about that/The Bank of England is part ours already,so many things need to be explained so many times its wearying.Scotland has been subsidising England for a long time now,or have you not thought to go and check out the actual figures.Many Scots are still under the impression ,like you,that Scotland need the UK,we don’t we are need by Westminster to be the guarantee for the borrowing that they do.

  • Ringstone

    “Resolve these issues in an amicable, best-for-both-countries fashion.”
    Get real, if Scotland votes to go then the rUK Government wouldn’t, constitutionally couldn’t, give a stuff what was good for Scotland – a foreign state. The carve up would become a bitter zero sum game and Wee Eck’s projected good will freebies would vanish into fairy dust; BoE as lender of last resort for Scottish based banks [presumably because an independent Scotland couldn’t afford to bail them out] – In you dreams.

  • Fergus Pickering

    Tell me how Scotland can join the EU and hold on to Sterling? How is it done?

    • http://www.matt-tomlinson.co.uk Matt Tomlinson

      Unexpectedly, I find myself agreeing with the article. Fergus, (almost) everything is negotiable. Conceivably Scotland could get an amicable ‘no hard feelings’ divorce from the UK, and conceivably the EU members might say ‘sure, carry on as you are’ – the right players just have to be willing to re-invent the rules. I was initially sceptical about the EU but actually I can see the Spanish, French and Italians agreeing to it if only to p**s off Westminster and reduce the influence of the UK within the EU.

    • Jambo25

      Tell me how the UK can be in the EU and hold onto Sterling.

      • sartoris

        Quite, Matt Tomlinson seems to have missed your point. The EU would require an independent Scotland to adopt the Euro, so, as you ask, how could they hold onto Sterling?

        • Jambo25

          Sorry, I misprinted the posting immediately above. I actually can see no intrinsic reason why an independent Scotland couldn’t be both a member of NATO and use Sterling.

        • Doug Melville

          There is no requirement to use the Euro. Another Unionist myth. The precursor to joining the Euro is voluntary, so there is no way to compel a state to use Euro. Or didn’t you notice all the other EU countries that don’t use the Euro?

        • JAMES MORRISEY

          No country can be forced into the euro. The Czech Republic joined the EU in 2004, after the euro had been adopted as the common currency of the original 11 members of the Eurozone. The Czechs won’t be bounced into the euro, and have consistently refused to make moves to adopt it.

          In January 2012, Czech Prime Minister Petr Nečas stated that the country did not require a special opt-out in order to retain the koruna as its currency. Mr Nečas said: “No one can force us into joining the euro … We have a de facto opt-out.” Candidates for euro membership must sign up to ERM II for at least two years before adopting the euro as currency, however it is entirely up to the discretion of each individual member state when to sign up to ERM II and member countries can legitimately delay this indefinitely. But Mr Nečas said all this in Czech, so it wasn’t reported in the Anglocentric Unionist media.

          This approach has also been adopted by the government of Sweden which has likewise declined to join the Eurozone but has no negotiated opt-out. Sweden says nej to the euro.

      • ButcombeMan

        The UK negotiated an opt out of the Euro at the time of the Maastricht Treaty. So four poeple who ticked you up, have no brains and no ability to use a search engine.

        This sort of thing really is something that Salmond and his supporters should pay attention to and understand.

        Salmond’s failure to deal with the Independent Scotland currency issue, still astonishes & baffles me. it astonished me yesterday and it does today.

        I always thought Salmond quite an accomplished politician but no longer.

        This currency issue is at the very heart of what you are voting on.

        There is ISTM, an inevitabilty that Scotland will do one of two things,

        A) Use the pound much as Zimbabwe uses the dollar and persuade the EU it does not need to use the Euro-by treaty on entry to the EU.

        B.) Voluntarily agree to use the Euro for national accounts but accept the pound as a parrallel currency (The most likely scenario on my view)

        Salmond’s scenario where he gets to use the pound and have a share in the management of it, is a complete non starter. No sane UK government could agree to that. The EU is unlikely to agree anyway.

        For Scots whose savings, investments and pension pots are denominated in Sterling. There will be decisions to be made.

        Uncertainty could well be a problem that might encourage currency flight. Salmond’s wooliness on this whole area has encouraged that.

        it really is most stupid. Sadly the thought processes around this issue, having proved too much even for Salmond, will certainly be too much for many of his supporters.

        • Jambo25

          The UK did not get an opt out of the Euro. It simply declined to join. The formal position, at present, is that new entrants to the EU have to move to join the Euro at some point. That raises 2 questions. 1) Would Scotland simply continue as an EU member but under slightly and thus different circumstances? If so then Scotland could go on using the £ indefinitely. I strongly doubt that that is possible as Scotland will probably have to go through some re-application process to stay in the EU. 2) As a new entrant how long would Scotland take to join the Euro? Given the requirement for aspirant Euro members to have to meet certain criteria, the answer to this could be a considerable length of time.

          As to whether the EU would allow Scotland to use the £. It would have no reason not to do so assuming Scotland had agreed to move to the Euro longer term. As for savings. Scottish or other banks hold, they can denominate those savings in any currency they wish.

          • ButcombeMan

            I do not want to be unkind, I can feel your passion from here, but you are someone who keeps baiting others for evidence, you are entitled to your own opinions but not your own facts.

            The Uk did decline to join but there was a special protocol agreed which dealt with it. It is below my comments. The point you have failed to grasp is that Salmond’s proposals are not within his gift.

            Basically he has funked the whole currency issue. By creating uncertainty he will risk everything.

            He COULD have said that on the date of independence Scotland would issue its own currency and would use that until such time as it joined the Euro after fulfilling the conditions of entry.

            I suggest he did not do that because he knows full well that such a currency would immediately come under speculative pressure which he would only be able to deal with by running a very tight economic ship, which he does not want to do.

            He wants to spend like a socialist, he wants to be able to do that on the UKs credit rating NOT Scotlands..

            He thus drives a hole through much of his argument but hopes the Scots who support him, lack the intellectual equipment to understand that he has done that.

            *****************************************

            ACT
            Protocol (No 25) on certain provisions
            relating to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
            (1992), annexed to the Treaty establishing the European Community.
            SUMMARY
            This Protocol specifies the provisions of
            the United Kingdom’s opt-out from moving to the third stage of economic and monetary union (EMU), meaning that it has not introduced the euro for the time being. The United Kingdom is still in the second stage of
            EMU. The opt-out clause was a condition for the United Kingdom to approve the Treaty as a whole.
            PROVISIONS OF THE OPT-OUT CLAUSE
            The Protocol states that certain articles of the Treaty do not apply to the United Kingdom:
            its powers in the field of monetary
            policy are not affected by the Treaty (the United Kingdom retains its powers in the field of monetary policy under national law);

            it is not subject to the provisions of the Treaty relating to excessive deficits;

            it is not concerned by the provisions of the Treaty relating to the European System of Central Banks (ESCB), the European Central Bank (ECB) or the regulations and decisions adopted by those institutions.

            The United Kingdom’s voting rights are suspended for the acts of the Council concerning:

            the decision on the irrevocable fixing of the exchange rates between the currencies of the Member States that move to the third stage and adopt the euro;

            the appointment of the President, the Vice-President and the other four members of the Executive Board of the ECB.

            • Jambo25

              Yes. You’ve given me the formal means by which the UK (and several other pre-existing members) declined to join the Euro. So what? I’m pretty sure that Salmond favours continued use of the £ as an interim measure designed to cut economic uncertainty. I wouldn’t argue on that. Why shouldn’t he? I’m also fairly sure, that while it’s not being said openly, that he and his economic advisers probably see membership of the ERuro, sooner rather than later, as the end destination.

  • Hugh_Oxford

    It should be obvious to anyone with more than three neurons firing that what Scotland needs to do is abolish the entitlement and welfare state if it is to have any chance of a future as an independent country.

    This document should have been an acknowledgement of the crushing failure of the post-war experiment, its demoralising and destructive impact, the undermining of our demographic and moral fabric, the fostering of a dependency culture, the erosion of the family unit, the social dysfunction and atomisation, the epidemic of childlessness and the general demoralisation of the culture.

    But is it? Nah. Nothing of the sort. It’s more. More of the same, more of the same, tired, failed redistributive dogma. It makes you wonder what planet these people are living on.

    And that’s what makes it unworkable. Who will prop this whole thing up? Who will provide all the “free” stuff for the whole country to consume? Or will it just be more debt for future generations to carry?

    It’s a shame, a real shame, because we could have been presented with a vision, a vision of a dynamic, self reliant, small state Scotland, not the suffocating, statist, lobotomised Swedish model, but something like Texas, a booming, free, dynamic place where the government’s first job is to just get out of the way.

    And with that, I hate to say it, but the union seems like the safer bet, for now. The status quo, messed up as it is, gives us more freedom and choice, more hope for Scotland. And that’s a real shame.

    • Bob Waugh

      “Texas, a booming, free, dynamic place where the government’s first job is to just get out of the way.”
      Odd then that most Americans you meet over here regard Texas as a sort of codeword for everything that’s wrong about the USA. A nasty little state with rampant levels of gun ownership, demonisation of the poor, an electrified fence for its Mexican border (with mentalities to match) and corrupt deals stitched up by corporate interests with client politicians. Not a place to lose your job, or be poor, or be ill.
      No hopefully Scotland will do better than that.

      • Hugh_Oxford

        If you knew anything about guns and demographics, you would know that gun ownership means nothing as a statistic. Without a handful of mostly democrat voting cities, America would have one of the lowest murder rates in the world.

        Texas is booming.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Economy_of_Texas

        Smallness is a reason to be light and nimble, not leviathan.

        • BilT

          And if you strip out gang warfare (which doesn’t affect the ordinary citizen) American crime if FAR lower than ours.

        • Bob Waugh

          So maybe these Democrat voting cities vote that way in the forlorn hope that they might get some sort of sane Canadian-style gun control legislation out of it? Or maybe they have a high rate of gun crime because they vote Democrat? Try out your NRA arguments in Dunblane sometime.
          Meantime listen to why NRA nut jobs feel “safer” with a small armoury hanging from their walls – then tell us that’s is a well society.

          • Bocephus

            The majority of Americans, both Democrat and Republican, support the NRA.

            • Bob Waugh

              Really? They agree with the NRA that things would be just hunky-dory with an armed guard on every primary school?

              • Bocephus

                I don’t know if they agree with that particular view all I know is in opinion poll after opinion poll most Americans of both parties support the general aims of the NRA.

                The point is, most Americans outside the East Coast media & West Coast Hollywood elite hold markedly different views than the British media would have you believe.

                Whether these views are right or wrong is a different matter.

        • JAMES MORRISEY

          The U.S southern border cities that have a high proportion of Hispanic immigrants are some of the safest cities in the U.S.
          Just saying.

      • BilT

        All the Americans I know regard Texas as an example of how things should be done.

        • john

          You should get around more.

      • Bocephus

        In the lifetime of many of Scotland’s pensioners Texas has grown from a population much the same size as Scotland to over 26 million people. Looks like plenty of people want to live there.

        • Bob Waugh

          Nothing like having something the rest of the world wants. Now tell us how Texas politicians have used this wealth. Tell us about its comprehensive, free-at point-of-use healthcare, its pension provision, its support to families in difficulties, and the way in which economic growth has gone along with wider socio-economic equality.
          Then tell us its an example to follow.

          • Bocephus

            The Texas politicians – who are voted for by the citizens of Texas – have used the wealth to build the infrastructure to enable the Texas population grow from around 5m to 27m in 70 years. Meanwhile the Scottish population has stagnated if not shrunk.

            Texas is a dynamic state young people want to live in and set up businesses in because it has low taxes and less rules. If an independent Scotland wants to be a “fairer” society it will need to have higher tax and more rules to enable that to happen. The knock on effect of that will be more dynamic people will set up business elsewhere.

            The Scottish population as a whole will probably be happy to live in a less dynamic country than Texas because they prefer to security of the welfare state but they clearly won’t have the same opportunities as Texans to live in large houses and drive large cars/pick-ups. Most Scots don’t want to live in Texas and most Texans wouldn’t swap their life for Scottish life. Horses for courses.

            • JAMES MORRISEY

              Actually our population has risen over the last few years. It is true that we have a history of leaving our shores to go and invent and civilise the world, even to the Alamo in 1836

              • Bocephus

                If an independent Scotland wants a large proportion of the Scottish diaspora to return then the Scottish government will need to spend more time talking about low taxes and hard work and less time talking about higher taxes and a “fairer” society.

                Scotland has a lot going for it but if you are going to encourage Scots to leave the sunny climates of South Africa, Australia, Texas etc to come back and help build a new successful country talk of higher taxes is not going to encourage many to return.

                • JAMES MORRISEY

                  @” less time talking about higher taxes and a “fairer” society. ”
                  Don’t know who you have been listening tae but no one on the Indy side is saying anything about paying higher tax rates. They are however talking about raising productivity which allows for higher wages which raises more revenues which in turn is one of the tools we can use to build a fairer society.
                  Should we advertise “come to Scotland and increase your chances of living in poverty”
                  Aye right! they will be coming back by the boatload for that one.
                  Seriously that was a really dumb post.

                • Bocephus

                  No you should advertise “come to Scotland and increase your chances of becoming wealthy.”

                  The problem is the policies being proposed by the SNP, and admittedly they may not form the first elected government of an independent Scotland, but most people think they will, will lead to Scotland being a poorer, although “fairer” place than it could be. (It all depends how you define FAIR) The country could be wealthier, with more opportunities, but less fair. I believe the people living in Scotland want to live in a poorer, “fairer” society, but I’m not sure the diaspora want to live in that country.

                  You say nobody is talking about increasing taxes but I heard a debate yesterday where there was talk of “in difficult times those with the broadest shoulders should bear the biggest burden.” That sounds like tax increases are on the way to me. I might be wrong but that’s what it sounds like.

            • JAMES MORRISEY

              @” Texans to live in large houses and drive large cars/pick-ups”<<<< They have no choice but to live in large houses and drive large cars, they are too fat to fit into anything else.

            • Bob Waugh

              “Horses for courses.” Seems fair enough, but remember that this discussion was started by a comment that if the Scots were not going to turn their country into another Texas, then they would have to stay under London – thus implying that Texas is some sort of model for others to emulate. Therefore it is reasonable to look at that model.

              According to you, the model works on attracting young people by offering them low taxes, limited “regulation”, and at the end of it all the large houses and cars that are the apogee of consumer success (what other is conceivable, after all?). So it works for a certain type of person, who is ambitious and optimistic – or to put it another way, has no time in his/her busy life to ask how his/her parents are to be cared for in later years, what happens when the marriage breaks up (not least to the kids) whet happens when that disabling accident that is never going to happen actually does, what happens when the doctor tells you that it really is cancer, or what happens when the shareholders “offshore” that low-taxed job. As such people come in they vote for politicians who share their myopia.

              What apologists for these free-market Nirvanas do not trouble to ask is what about all the other people in society – the old, the poor, the disabled, those with learning difficulties or chronic health conditions. How are they to be included in soscity? Scotland’s elected politicians are grappling with a more complex question than their Texan counterparts, it appears. That is – how do you have a high-skill, high wage economy whose beneficiaries have enough self-awareness and social responsibility to address such questions? What are the rewards due to hard work and inventiveness that do such things due honour without falling into the self-congratulatory discourse of the “self-made” wo/man? Tricky stuff, but a debate that is applicable to the woe advanced world, not just a few resource-favoured parts of it.

              • Bocephus

                You make some reasonable philosophical points but spoil your thoughts by the claim that Texans don’t care what happens to their parents. Obviously nothing could be further from the truth and Texans see self reliance and individual responsibility towards their family as more important than the states responsibility.

                Individual responsibility towards family is by no means solely a Texan or American attitude. It is the attitude which prevails throughout much of the world outside Western Europe. This is going to be the great difficulty in the coming decades. How can a country like Scotland compete in the wider world whilst paying for an ever more expensive welfare state, when the countries they are competing against don’t afford their citizens the same safety net?

                In the long term I’m not sure they can and something will need to give.

                • Bob Waugh

                  I didn’t actually say that Texans as a whole don’t care about their families or indeed give any thought to the other issues I raised. I suggested that the kind of “ideal Texans” of your narrative – all these go-getting, thrusting young people – are less inclined to consider such questions with the seriousness they deserve, if indeed they think of them at all. And as they set the tone, they get the politicians they deserve – who don’t think much about them either, preferring to focus on the success stories.

                  Family loyalty and responsibility is a grand thing, but beware the implied argument that when families do not cope it is because of some sorts of personal failure. Most families recognise and try to meet such responsibilities – but many when overloaded lack the capacity to deal with them. And then what? That is when have to rediscover that there really is such a thing as “society”.

                  Of course that society has to deal with different issues to the ones faced when the mid-century welfare states were evolved. One response is to atomise society into individuals and families and “let them get on with it”, blaming them when things go wrong. The other is to have a collective discussion about how the complex elements of a society (which is more than its economy) can work together in a context of increased longevity at one end of life and extended length of stay in formal education at the other. The debate within the independence movement in Scotland recognises and addresses that question. These success stories from capitalist hotspots don’t.

                • Bocephus

                  You may have stumbled upon the problem. You are sitting around wondering how to slice an ever smaller cake to an ever larger amount of people. Whereas Texans are out creating jobs and wealth. I suspect the long term future will be more like Texas and less like Scotland. No British politician, of any party, has really spelt that out to the public.

                • Bob Waugh

                  Again, not what I said. Your contribution to this discussion is impaired by your feeling obliged to strain other opinions through the filter of your preconceptions. I defined the issue as how to reward enterprise creativity and ingenuity without compromising the greater good.

                  If you are correct, and the future will be one where the greater good is ignored in favour of individualistic narratives that focus on the successful at the expense of the ordinary, then it is grim indeed. If anyone who does not “match up” is written out of the story, they will want to force their way back in. Maybe all these i”deal Texans” will need all the guns they hang on their walls after all.

                  For my part I think that the dynamic qualities that are the sole focus of your story should not be seen as irrevocably anti-social; I think that they can be turned to a social good if we can devise a new culture and organise society accordingly. And note, I say “we” not “they”; in the end the state is no more society than the economy is.

                • Bocephus

                  You say the future would be grim and yet, using Texas as the example, 27m people choose to live there when they could in fact live in any US state they wished. It might look like a grim future to you, but for many, many millions of people – both rich and poor – it offers a way of life they are very happy to live.

                • Bob Waugh

                  The is a self-serving argument. By your own account Texas works by attracting a certain kind of person. You say nothing of other kinds of people.
                  A mature society is a home for the vast range of personality types that comprise a culture. If all the US union were like Texas, where would those who do not “fit in” go? Canada?

                • Bocephus

                  If Scotland wants to be independent then that’s great, be independent, but to be truly independent Scotland will need to use its own currency.

                  I can’t even begin to imagine why the SNP wants to keep the pound as they will have less independence than they do now if they keep the pound and have no MPs to influence UK economic policy.

                  The Scotland envisaged by the vast majority of the yes campaign will gradually become poorer and more oppressed because its economic policy will be run by England and its fairness policy will inevitably lead to higher taxes and more rules to reduce inequality.

                  The good thing is the majority of people in Scotland know this and will vote to remain in the UK.

        • JAMES MORRISEY

          Texarse is the dumbest and most obese state in the U.S.
          How come in the U.S the further south you go the dumber they get, and poorer.
          The Texarse cowboys are now rounding up the cattle using those scooters for grossly obese people that will soon out number cars on Texase streets

          • Wessex Man

            Is the Independent Scotland going to make you Foreign Minister? you seem to have all the charm for the job.

            • JAMES MORRISEY

              You would not be so sarcastic if you had ever seen the obnoxious John Bolton former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. How we avoided WW3 with that clown mingling in diplomatic circles is one of the worlds biggest mysteries.
              The “opinion” I am half heartedly expressing is one that is expressed in all seriousness by most Americans.
              I mean the USA was dumb enough to elect a joke like GWB twice. Texarse voted for him 3 times.

          • Bocephus

            The University Of Texas at Austin, which has 75,000 students and staff, is one of the most prestiges public universities in the whole of the USA. Not so dumb.

            • JAMES MORRISEY

              75,000 grossly obese students ???

              • Bocephus

                Austin, Texas is one of the most fantastic cities to live in in the English speaking world and certainly not full of obese students. It is a young, dynamic and liberal city with jobs aplenty and a great night life. It is actually the type of city Glasgow should strive to be like.

                • JAMES MORRISEY

                  I will admit that one of the best things to come out of Texarse was Stevie Ray Vaughan
                  A very sad loss

          • Hugh_Oxford

            moronic

    • classieview

      If you dare to repeat such heretical thoughts once the Scottish Salmondshire republic has been established, I hope there is a US embassy open to which you can flee because they just won’t be tolerated. The invective that already pours forth from the cybernats, suggest that you’ll be pronounced an enemy of the people.

      • Bob Waugh

        In your paranoid dreams pal. The simplistic idea that if the government just “gets out of the way” and leaves it to Arthur Daley then all will be well is not one that commands much respect in Scotland, but we do like a good argument.
        Enjoy your delusions. They’re so much easier to deal with than real life, eh?

  • Doctor Mick

    If they were serious about independence they would not want to stay in the EU. “Decisions about Scotland” will be taken by the people who reside in Brussels not Scotland.

    • Clutha

      However, Scotland would have rather better representation in the EU after independence, as opposed to the measly 6 MEPs we have now. Might even get some decent representation regard fisheries.

      • BogStandardPissedUpJock

        wha’ does representation matter when ye’ll hae oor fisheries fucked by industrial Spanish fleets who sucked the Mediterranean sea dry o’ fish?

    • Jambo25

      I rather like the EU. I find it much preferable to the chauvinistic , UKIP infested La La Land that many of the more atavistic elements in English society would like to see develop in the UK. Thankfully, that group is a smallish minority at present but it does appear to be growing.

  • john

    Britain is a country of paralyzing political apathy and the elites like it that way. That is why such outmoded concepts as monarchy, split legal profession, public schools and House of Lords still are presented as wonderful British assets.
    The opposition to Scottish independence falls exactly into this perspective as it desperately wants to preserve the status quo and pretend that no serious person can possibly support the change. London based politicians, media etc cannot contemplate a radical chnage like Scottish independence ever happening and this underpins their inchoate opposition.

    • ChuckieStane

      Exactly. Other than Britain, only Iran has automatic seats in its legislature for clergy and only Lesotho for primogeniture. The failure to modernise is becoming more anti-democratic as the longetivity of the average member of the Lords gets longer and the numbers swell to riduculous proportions. The romanitic attachment to the unwritten constitution fails to recognise the complexities of the modern world. Integration of immigrant communites and relationships with Europe would be easier if a written constitution was in place and yet the priviledged elites hide behind these archiac and fundmentally anit-democratic institutions to protect their power. Scotland has a chance to leave it all behind.

      • john

        Chuckie: A man after my own heart! Surely even the beneficiaries of these outmoded practices can see that they are standing in the way of progress?
        I totally support your analysis and maybe the “progressive” view will finally begin to win support.

        • ChuckieStane

          What amazes me that there is absolutely no recognition that if one of the partners of the union is feeling that the only option is to leave, that there must be something wrong with the UK establishment. Nobody is taking a step back and asking why a substantial chunk of the Scottish people cannot see any other option than to leave. Nobody is entertaining the thought that maybe those wanting change have a point.

    • BogStandardPissedUpJock

      Ye’ll no’ heard of UKIP then?
      UKIP is not an English party, it’s a UK party.
      The clue is in th’name!

      • JAMES MORRISEY

        UKIP is the party of lost deposits in Scotland the clue is in the fact that they are clowns

        • cheesy pasta

          They are worse than clowns. They are fools and bigots.
          The SNP are constantly being pilloried yet their policies are sensible, non-sectarian and the Scotland they want to build will be far more tolerant and inclusive than the UK.
          Meanwhile the UKIP clowns keep coming out with racist rubbish in public and acting like what they are – a bunch of reactionary idiots who hate foreigners and social minorities and who demonise the EU.
          The fact that this is the best that England can come up with as a nationalist party shows the level to which UK politics have sunk,

          • Dave Ward

            How exactly is it racist to aim for sensible, controlled immigration? How is it wrong to question a highly undemocratic Federal dream which has never had it’s accounts signed off by it’s own auditors, and blatantly ignores democratic votes in member states until it gets the desired result?

    • cheesy pasta

      What you said.
      If the UK showed any signs of changing and reviewing the way it runs itself I wedel be for the Union, but it aint gonna happen.
      In fact the cession of Scotland may be just the sort of laxative England needs.
      People living in the north are not well served by a state that thinks nothing that happens beyond the M25 is of any consequence.
      We are currently run by a government that is that of a London city state.

  • Sam Pearson

    ‘Acceptable in the sense that most sensible Unionist critics concede there’s no hideous reason why Scotland couldn’t be a perfectly sensible or even successful independent country.’ But this sort of analysis completely misses the point of nationalism. It is not a rational thing. Nationalism is irrational.

    So of course there is no hideous reason why not but that doesn’t make or break the issue. When Ireland broke off it was because there was a strong nationalist movement which felt being part of the UK didn’t coincide with this. The basic question is about identity and whether the majority of Scots no longer feel British, if they did then whether Scotland would be viable on its own or benefit economically would not be the issue. Ireland lost economically from leaving but it was an irrelevant issue. Indeed if there was a ‘hideous’ practical reason not to break off this would not really decide things because if a nation felt the need for self-determination it would be overridden.

    • http://cyberunions.org Walton Pantland

      The Scottish independence movement has almost nothing to do with nationalism, and almost everything to do with wanting to have the political power to break from the Westminster consensus. This is entirely rational.

      If your vision of Scottish independence has anything to do with Braveheart, you are completely misreading the situation.

  • Dougie

    Could I just point out that the Spanish Government will veto any attempts by an independent Scotland to bypass the normal EU accession negotiations. This is because to allow Scotland to “remain” in the EU would give encouragement to the separatist movements in Catalonia, Valencia and the Basque region. The SNP may come to regret letting the Catalans have such a prominent position at the recent rally in Edinburgh.

    • Graham Ferguson

      Not this disinformation again!

      “Speaking in London after the international conference on Somalia on Friday, Spanish Foreign Minister José Manuel García-Margallo confirmed that Spain would accept Scottish independence and would not attempt to block an independent Scotland’s membership of the EU.

      Mr García-Margallo said: “If the two parts of the United Kingdom are in agreement that [Scottish independence] is in accord with their constitutional arrangement, written or unwritten, Spain would have nothing to say, we would simply maintain that it does not affect us.”

      Mr García-Margallo reminded the press that “the [Spanish] Constitution is based upon the indissoluble unity of the Spanish nation.” He added: “The constitutional arrangements of the United Kingdom are one thing, those of Spain another, and it is their own business if they decide to separate from one another.”

      The Spanish Foreign Minister ruled out any parallels with Kosovo, whose independence from Serbia Spain refuses to recognise. He explained that Kosovo achieved its independence from Serbia as a result of a unilateral declaration which has not been accepted by the Serbian government, he added that Spain’s position on Kosovo would have been different if Kosovan independence came after a negotiated agreement between Belgrade and Pristina.”

    • Jambo25

      1) The Spanish Foreign Ministry has stated that it has no interest in intervening in any future Scottish application for EU membership.
      2) The SNP were not the formal organisers of the recent rally, in Edinburgh, so could not have prevented attendance by fraternal elements from Catalunya. even if it had wished to.

    • Doug Melville

      Another Unionist myth. Seriously, can I recommend going and doing some reading before making these sorts of statements?
      Start with Wings over Scotland’s Top 10 Unionist myths debunked – no, not the one that BT got YouTube to take down.

  • Project Hope Over Fear

    The Westminster government’s “Better Together” (aka “Project Fear”)
    campaign is always telling us, that Scotland can’t survive alone, they
    tell us that we take more than we give in this Union. So why would the
    party of the rich, the party of profit, the party that puts £’s before
    people, why would they want to continue to subsidise a whole nation,
    when they won’t even subsidise a disabled person’s spare bedroom?

    This is the light that shines upon the lie, Scotland is not a drain, if it
    was they would have cut us loose, they would be leading the Yes
    campaign. Ask yourself, Why do the Tories want Scotland unless we have
    something they desperately want from us and you come to the inescapable
    conclusion that it can only be the fear of losing Scotland’s oil and gas
    revenues, and the Faslane submarine base for Trident after all.

    The crux of the issue is that most Scots want our children to grow up in a
    fairer society. A society that cares about the poor, a society that does
    not send it’s young to all corners of the globe fighting illegal wars, a
    society that places human dignity higher on the balance sheets than
    Royal Weddings.

    If it means Scotland separating itself from a broken and corrupt system in
    order to build this new fairer society, a society that can act as a
    template for a new way of doing things, a new way of treating each
    other, then so be it.

    • Dougie

      Neither the Tories, nor the English, “desperately” want anything from Scotland. It would of course be very inconvenient and expensive to relocate Trident but I suspect it would end up being scrapped. And the oil and gas will run out in due course, just as England’s shale resources are coming on stream no doubt. No, we don’t desperately want anything from you. We just have pleasant memories of all those lovely Scots we met on our many holidays to your beautiful country, and we have many Scottish friends and work colleagues here south of the border. The Union seems to work for us (and I don’t mean in a mendacious or economic sense – just in an it’s nice being friends sort of sense) and we don’t see any good reason to change.
      If you want your children to grow up in a fairer society then devolution makes that entirely possible already. There is no actual need to separate from the Union but, if you wish to do so, go ahead. You won’t really be missed, except in our nostalgic moments.

      • Erik McLean

        “The Union seems to work for us (and I don’t mean in a mendacious or economic sense – just in an it’s nice being friends sort of sense) and we don’t see any good reason to change. ”

        And therein lies the problem. The union doesn’t work for many residents of Scotland. But you fail to see why.

        And it beggars belief that you think that there should be any change in the ‘friendship’ aspect.

        This is a change to the political arrangements, because Westminster isn’t working for Scotland.

      • anncalba

        Born in Scotland, spent most of my life in London, been back North of the Border for the last 10 years. The English have very little interest in Scotland, it is periferal. Some of them seem to think it is about the same size as Kent. Most of them never think about it, except maybe when Scottish Labour UK mps force through legislation the English don’t want. The Scots, on the other hand, continually chunter on about England and how it is to blame for all Scotlands woes. I really think if it were a UK wide referendum, those English who bothered to vote, would vote for Scottish independence.

        • terregles2

          Nobody is suggesting that England is to blame for anything. If Scottish people do not want governed by Westminster then if they don’t vote for Scottish independence they can hardly blame the English for that.
          It makes no sense to complain about how your country is run when you let the country next door run it for you.
          I cannot understand why Scotland being independent should arouse such nasty comments from anyone. Every other country does it and there is no reason why we could not do the same.

          • Sanctimony

            Still bleating !

      • cheesy pasta

        Scotland is not simply a holiday destination matey. It is a country with a population who want a furfure for themselves and their kids.
        You won’t be missed either

    • Greenslime

      Who let this one out? Nurse!

    • sartoris

      Alex Salmond has said UK assets as well as liabilities should be shared if Scotland goes independent. North Sea oil is a UK asset and on a population share Scotland would only get about 9% of it , not nearly all of it as you seem to assume

      • terregles2

        We share the assets and the debts that we ran up together when we were in a partnership. After independence we do not share future debts and assets.
        You would not think it fair if Scotland demanded a share of English shale gas after we were independent. Just as we will no longer be sharing our assets after independence.
        Tony Blair in 1999 moved the Scottish maritime border which took a away a large part of Scottish maritime assets. Time for a bit of fair play I think.

  • Peter Thomson

    Alex – well done – a frothing at the mouth free account of what those of us have watched live or on Youtube.

    For those who have began to read the White Paper as a pdf or other download it is clear this is a plan, a core, workable frame work on which a successful independent Scotland can be created.

    As for the claimed sureties of the Union case – they are equally uncertain and unquantifiable. What does Darling actually believe on Sterling? What will be the status of the UK Parliament at Westminster in constitutional and legal terms if it is the considered will of the people of Scotland to end the Union?

    Does Lord Cooper’s ruling in McCormack vs the Lord Advocate (1953) come in to force that negotiations to do with change or alteration to the Union Treaty can only be conducted by the sovereign parliaments of Scotland and England as original signatories, negotiations in which the UK Parliament at Westminster can have no role – a legal and constitutional point conceded by the Lord Advocate on the UK Parliament at Westminster’s behalf?

    Does Lord Cooper’s 1953 judgement mean that as of the 19th of September 2014, on the announcement of a ‘Yes’ vote all Scottish MP’s at Westminster are, in effect, disenfranchised as they will have no legitimate constituency in either the English or the Scottish sovereign parliaments?

    Anyone on the Unionist side thought about this and how it effects future negotiations?

    Given the Unionist side could not see fit to meet their own promise of implementing Professor Calman’s recommendations in full in the fudged new Scotland Act amendment there is a lot of doubt to be raised about any sincerity behind their claims of ‘jam tomorrow’.

  • classieview

    Alex Massie’s claim that Alex Salmond’s low-key presentation of his independence white paper is meant to increase the credibility of the project among sober citizens, is just not that convincing. He and his Sancho Panza, Nicola Sturgeon have been making regular threats about repudiating Scotland’s share of the national debt unless their pet project for a currency union is endorsed by the rest of the UK; and there is absolutely no inclination to reign in the cybernats whose intemperate tones confirm some of the worst fears of what an SNP-led Scotland could revert to.

    Bagpipe ensembles, Chariots of Fire sound-track and drum-majorettes in tartan lederhosen would have only drawn maximum attention to the ephemeral nature of Alex’s hefty manifesto for the Scots. So better to let this populist from the high latitudes just to have his gig and confirm how absolutely dependent Scottish nationalists are on the self-belief and verbal prowess of their 59-year-old leader.

    • Bob Waugh

      That you (presumably) consider this a balances account of the debate on a currency union only shows how far many British commentators are from grasping the issues.

      What Salmond and Sturgeon have pointed out is that if Scotland could be kept out of a currency union, then it would not have any responsibility for the British national debt. The reasoning here is simple – the idea that the residual parts of the UK would be the sole successor state from which Scotland had separated lies behind the idea that it alone should control the sterling zone. If that were the case then the successor state should shoulder the debt burden.

      If however both Scotland and EWNI are successor states, then the debt burden can be jointly managed. And there can be no London veto on a currency union.

      As the debate goes on many of us are coming to the conclusion that Scotland might be better off with its own currency as son as possible. The threats which are coming from the unionist side suggest a bloody-minded ruling elite in London would rather pursue a self-destructive policy than agree to a positive Scottish one. So maybe better off as few links with them as necessary.

      • classieview

        By threatening to repudiate Scotland’s share of the national debt, the SNP leadership shows that the enormous amounts of goodwill, patience and trust needed for its exotic currency union to work , simply isn’t there. Methinks that in the aftermath of a huge 2-year diversion from dealing with Scotland’s very real current problems, this threat will be seen as Alex and Nicola’s mighty blunder.

        • JAMES MORRISEY

          No one has been “threatening to repudiate Scotland’s share of the national debt”. It has just been pointed out that with the debt come the assets which include Sterling and the BoE.
          As the F.M said ” you cannae have the bun without the penny”

          • Wessex Man

            Yep that’s true and it’s also true that the Welsh First Minister won’t go along with your fantasy and sadly as someone who wants you to get your ‘independence’ I think the majority of Scots will vote against you.

            • Jambo25

              The Welsh FM has no formal or informal power in this matter. His intrusion into the question was merely pathetic.

              • Bob Waugh

                In so far as his statement was at all coherent, it seemed to be that Wales would not benefit by being in a sterling currency union so would veto it. (He did not explain how it would be able to do that.)
                Ahem….Wales is in a currency union. That is what using a common currency involves. If he means that Wales would be better off with its own currency, then that would indeed be a bold entry into the debate. Quite a game changer indeed as a pre-requisite for that would be political independence.

                • Jambo25

                  Jones was giving ‘payback’ to his masters in London for a few scraps flung from the masters’ table. He is a Labour apparatchik in charge of a stunningly unsuccessful Welsh administration.

          • Stephen Wigmore

            No they don’t. Where has this ludicrous fantasy come from that the National Debt, the Bank of England and the Pound are linked in some way.

            Scotland will take its share of the debt because there’s no way the British government would accept Scottish independence without it.

            It will be allowed to use the pound and be under the oversight of the Bank of England only if in further negotiation the Scottish negotiators and the UK government come to an agreement as such. Hopefully after the UK government has charged them a hefty fee for the pleasure. Say, £10 billion a year.

            • Bob Waugh

              You refer to “the UK” charging the government of Scotland a fee for the expert services of London financial institutions. That at least shows a sense of humour.
              However – “the UK” could not do it as it would not exist in its present form after the negotiation of Scottish independence. There might be a new UK (nUK) – a fit name as it would have to house the Trident subs its ruling elite is so keen on – but until it is formed the working title for the other successor state should be EWNI.

            • corinium

              Yes, I don’t understand this idea that if Scotland can’t use the pound it doesn’t have to share the National Debt. If Scotland proposed to join the Euro instead would that mean it was entitled to walk away without taking its share of the debts?

        • MichtyMe

          Repudiation is not being threatened. It is the assertion, by some No people, that the residual part of the UK is the sole successor state. Thereupon it would solely succeed to the national debt.

        • Duke_Bouvier

          Funny how the Nats seem to have forgotten the existence of multiple note-issuing banks in Scotlands – RBS, BOS, Clydesdale etc, and that no bank notes are legal tender there.

          If they want they can run a currency board, announce they are pegging their own notes to the BoE Sterling, and see if they are able to finance any net flow of cash out of Scottish notes into English ones.

    • sartoris

      Alex Salmond has also said UK assets as well as liabilities should be shared if Scotland goes independent. North Sea oil is a UK asset and on a population share Scotland would only get about 9% of it , not nearly all of it as the SNP seem to assume

  • FF42

    It depends on how you see the question. If the question is, Independence Yes/No? , independence is entirely thinkable. And that is the actual question on the ballot paper.

    If the question is understood as Union or Independence?, you get a choice between alternatives and you will go for the better option as you see it.

    I believe the question should be understood as the second statement, as there are real advantages and disadvantages to each alternative. I suspect most people will understand the question that way, but it remains to be seen.

    • Zeus

      The question is “Should Scotland be an independent country”. That is very easy to understand or not.

    • David McCann

      So why are the political editors of our MSM so reluctant to ask Osborne and Darling the difficult questions facing the UK? Like: if you rule out sharing Sterling, what will prop up the £ ? Why has the UK slipped from 13th to 16th in the Legatum Prosperity index, passing Iceland and Ireland on the way down? Why does the UK sound increasingly desperate to hang on to Scotland, since Scotland is so heavily subsidised by the rest of the UK?
      We need to hear the answers, and we are not getting them.

      • Wessex Man

        There’s nothing like self- illusion is there, I’ve yet to meet anyone within my travels in England and South Wales “increasingly desperate” to hang on to Scotland! Indeed the Welsh First Minister wants assurances that an Independent Scotland WILL NOT BE ALLOWED to use the pound. That sounds pretty un-desperate to me.

        • JAMES MORRISEY

          @” I’ve yet to meet anyone within my travels in England and South Wales “increasingly desperate” to hang on to Scotland!”

          I suggest you try Westminster and numbers 10 and 11 downing street.

          The Welsh First Minister Carwyn Howell Jones [who’s name I suspect you did not know] was just making the usual noises on behalf of the Tory led Project Fear campaign and the Labour party.
          Jones said that the Welsh assembly would block a currency union with Scotland. Aye right! Good luck with that one Jones.
          I was speaking to a lot of Welsh people after that and they were cringing with embarrassment even more than they usually do with Jones

          • Wessex Man

            Thank you for your nice little insult, I do actually know who the Welsh First Minister is and in Serverin Carrell’s article, he set out his case against formal currency union. He’s allowed to do that, he is the elected leader of one of the countries you wish to leave in the Union.

            As for your claims about Spain accepting an independent Scotland in the EU, I suggest you read the article by Andrew Whitaker in The Scotsman headed- Scottish Independence: MEP claim over Scotland and the EU, which begins France and Spain would not accept an independent Scotland into the European Union, a European Parliament vice President has claimed.

            That Vice President just happens to be none other than Spain’s Alejo Vidal-Quadras.

            Next I expect to see you claiming that the Scotsman is a comic because it reports the facts rather than your propaganda.

            • Doug Melville

              The Scotsman is certainly comical at times. You might want to note that the European Parliament Vice President doesn’t have the authority to block entry, and that he will be weighing very carefully the commercial impact of an independent and non EU Scotland blocking Spanish fisherman from the Sottish commercial fishing zone.

        • Graham Ferguson

          And just who is going to prevent Scotland, post-independence, from not using it’s own currency? It is a fully convertible currency and can be used by any country that wishes to.

          The Welsh FM sounds like a wee naff stuck on the outside of a warm restaurant with his nose stuck against the window, desperately trying to find a reason to be invited in.

          A sterling zone makes sense given the likely-hood of cross border trade continuing.

          • Wessex Man

            I don’t actually care what currency Scotland uses, what I do care about is the Scot Nats trying to brand us as desperate to keep you in union whereas we don’t care, just get on with it and stop insulting anyone who may hold a different view to yours. The Welsh First Minister is as entitled to a view as you!

            • Graham Ferguson

              Of course he is entitled to a view, just as I am entitled to put forward the observation that he is marginalised and will have NO say in the discussions between Westminster and Holyrood.

              Therefor the point stands – he’s merely a bystander trying to garner attention by any means and should be rightly derided/ignored.

  • AdH2011

    Up to the Scottish people to decide obviously – independence is a risk, nobody really knows exactly how it’ll all pan out so it’s a decision on whether to take that risk. Shame we’ve got another 10 months of back and forth though before the vote, it’ll get increasingly bitter

    • Zeus

      Staying in a Union is also a risk of course. A no vote almost certainly means massive cuts to the Scottish budget.

    • Tom M

      “….nobody really knows exactly how it’ll all pan out….” the single most sensible comment about Scottish Independence I’ve read so far.

      Without prejudice to that comment however I know one group of people that quite clearly will loose and one other who will benefit from independence.
      The Scottish MPs will benefit hugely from Independence. Think about it. Foreign trips, committees abroad, playing in the EU, a gravy train par excellence.
      On the other hand the reverse would happen as far as Westminster goes. Their role in everything would diminish and quickly. Much less world importance and sitting at the “top tables”. I guess the prospect of a yes vote must be worrying them.

      • Wessex Man

        I guess you are completely wrong.

        First you’ve got to persuade the EU to accept your application and there’s no guarantee that they will, Spain and France have already raised objections because they believe accepting Scotland would encourage their regions that want independence.

        Second the vast majority of English based Tories want you gone and that includes the Tory MP in my area, who happens to be a Scot, do grow up!

        Third the IMF now states that the EU is a drain on the Global Market and is worried that the EU will drag the rest of the world back into recession.

        • JAMES MORRISEY

          EWNI/rUK’s status would be the same as Scotland’s

          “Scotland can legally negotiate a continuation of its current membership from within the European Union following a Yes vote, an EC official has confirmed.

          Mario-Paulo Tenreiro, who is responsible for institutional questions at the Secretariat General of the European Commission has said it would be “legally possible” for such negotiations to take place whilst Scotland remained an EU member.

          The official was responding to a direct question from a member of the public, who asked: “Does the President agree with me that, given Scotland is already in the EU and therefore meets criteria for membership, an independent Scotland would be able to negotiate its terms of membership of the European Union within the European Union?”

          In a letter of reply, Mr Tenreiro said that whilst a change of treaties would be required – needing the approval of other members – that: “…as you say, it would of course be legally possible to re-negotiate the situation of UK and Scotland within the EU.”

          http://tinyurl.com/qy2dvvs

          • sartoris

            You have misinterpreted Tenriero. He does not anywhere say Scotland will continue to be in the EU after independence.

            Read his words again carefully and allow for translations problems.

            • Doug Melville

              So you are claiming the EU will block membership, because you believe he wasn’t translated correctly, and has felt no need to correct the statement on record? Pull the other one.

            • terregles2

              Think the thought of being out of the EU might actually increase the wish for Scottish independence, If Scotland is still part of the UK in 2017 they might be out of the EU anyway if the majority in England vote for that.

        • JAMES MORRISEY

          “Speaking in London after the international conference on Somalia on Friday, Spanish Foreign Minister José Manuel García-Margallo confirmed that Spain would accept Scottish independence and would not attempt to block an independent Scotland’s membership of the EU.

          Mr García-Margallo said: “If the two parts of the United Kingdom are in agreement that [Scottish independence] is in accord with their constitutional arrangement, written or unwritten, Spain would have nothing to say, we would simply maintain that it does not affect us.”

          Mr García-Margallo reminded the press that “the [Spanish] Constitution is based upon the indissoluble unity of the Spanish nation.” He added: “The constitutional arrangements of the United Kingdom are one thing, those of Spain another, and it is their own business if they decide to separate from one another.”

          The Spanish Foreign Minister ruled out any parallels with Kosovo, whose independence from Serbia Spain refuses to recognise. He explained that Kosovo achieved its independence from Serbia as a result of a unilateral declaration which has not been accepted by the Serbian government, he added that Spain’s position on Kosovo would have been different if Kosovan independence came after a negotiated agreement between Belgrade and Pristina.”

          http://tinyurl.com/k3zdtt4
          Many EU countries have stated that Scotland would be a valued member of the EU.
          Please post your statements for France

        • Tom M

          You miss the point. It isn’t about whether Scotland will or won’t join the EU or whether they keep the Pound or not etc etc. It is all about the top jobs that go with a devolved government. Which would no doubt include whole groups of happy people paid at public expense to discuss things like the EU.
          Think of the Scottish MPs who now see a career possible as a government minister, head of civil service, some instituion or other that would otherwise have been excluded to them.
          The Scottish political class will be the only group that can say “Independence will be better for us” conclusively. For everyone else it is a gamble.

          As to Westminster I don’t agree that the standing of a diminished UK in the world isn’t of concern to those who have ambitions of careers in government ministries. That isn’t logical human behaviour.

          There are no doubt a few MPs in England who have no ambitions of course. Those for whom the bog standard MP’s job is achievement enough.

          • Wessex Man

            Thanks for that, I agree and the only downside for England would be all the Tory and Labour MPs and jobsworths who see a chance to advance themselves after Call me dave has fallen on his sword. I get a shiver thinking of Boris Johnson!

          • terregles2

            Well of course Politicians who live in Scotland would have the top jobs. They could not make any more of a mess of the top jobs than the Westminster sleazy bunch.
            Think there is even a video of one of them in quite questionable company using quite questionable substances.

  • Iain Hill

    The white paper sets up a logical framework for a new, better Scotland, and all Scots should vote for it.

    It does, by adult argument, highlight once again the mean-spirited, immature ranting of the English Better Together For Us campaign.

    • Clavers

      So you have read it already?

      • ChuckieStane

        Well Alistair Darling was on the BBC this evening claiming he had read it all

    • Michael Gooding

      I think the SNP’s supporters have pretty much cornered the market in mean-spirited, immature ranting.

      Still, every nation should have the chance to determine their own future. As an Englishman and a Unionist, I’d vote No if given the chance.

      • terregles2

        I am glad that you agree that every nation should determine their own future. Scotland choosing self government has never been anti English in any way. Many English living here are YES voters. They feel that Holyrood should govern Scotland not Westminster. A change of government should never mean any nastiness or insults being exchanged with other people. I think that after independence we will be good neighbours there is no reason for it to be otherwise.

        • Wessex Man

          Then please tell me what the first poster is? am I correct in my reply to him?

        • Redrose82

          “Many English living here are YES voters”. Well many living here (here being England) would be glad to help bring about your wish if only we had the chance,

        • sartoris

          Nicola Sturgeon says “decisions about Scotland should be taken by the people who live and work here” but would she and the SNP also say “decisions abut the Shetland Isles should be taken by the people who live there”?

          Seems rather doubtful as Shetland Islanders do not want decisions about the Shetland Islands taken in Edinburgh, particularly decisions about what they regard as their North Sea Oil and their onshore oil terminal and associated pipelines.

          • terregles2

            Shetland became part of Scotland in 1469. If they decided they did not want to remain part of Scotland then of course their democratic wishes should be respected and encouraged. Alex Salmond has already had meetings with politicians in Shetland to discuss plans for Shetlanders to be given more control of the Shetland isles after Scottish independence. From all accounts the meetings were productive and friendly. It is so surprising the sudden interest in Shetland when they were completely ignored by Westminster up until now.
            Scotland is very open to people being given self determination we know more than most what it is like to feel that you are not being governed properly. If Shetlanders express a wish to have a referendum then if Shetlanders express an independence wish it would be respected by Scotland not so sure if Westminster would feel the same.
            I am not quite sure what point you are making if you are saying Edinburgh is too far away from Shetland then presumably you think London is really too far away.

            • Bocephus

              So just to be clear, if the Shetland Islanders vote to remain in the United Kingdom and make it clear that is their wish Alex Salmond would acquiesce?

              • terregles2

                acquiesce????? What on eath do you mean. If a majority vote for anything then it happens. No politician can or would decide whether they have it or not. We the people decide that is democracy.
                There is no political movement within Shetland to remain part of the UK but of course if one was started and they won a majority of the vote then it would happen.
                I wasn’t aware that democracy had been abolished anywhere in western Europe or any politician had the power to overturn the result of a popular vote.

                • Bocephus

                  The Basque Country?? Anyway, it is certainly interesting that you are unequivocal, but where do you draw the line? If an Island that has been part of Scotland for 600 years can break away what about other islands? Orkneys? Hebrides? Arran?

                • terregles2

                  Well as none of the islands have expressed any wish to do so it is a hypothetical question. There is one fundamental fact though that you overlook Scotland is a country and those islands are part of the country of Scotland. They entered the union in 1707 as part of Scotland. No country has had their borders moved since.
                  Are you anticipating the Isle of Wight starting an independence campaign in the near future.
                  .

                • Bocephus

                  Actually I am not anticipating the Isle of Wight seeking independence but it does show how ridiculous it can get when you allow, in a democracy, smaller and smaller sections of a country self determination.

                • terregles2

                  Well as Scotland and England are two completely separate countries with their own legal system etc none of that applies. We entered into a union that does not now appear to be working so probably now is a good time to cancel out the union with a return to independence.

                • Bocephus

                  Scotland & England are two separate nations but for the last 300 years they have been one country. The vote next year is to establish if the Scottish population – I can’t say Scottish people, as Scots not living in Scotland don’t get a vote – want Scotland to be a separate country once again.

                • terregles2

                  Scotland and England have never been one country. They are two separate countries who joined a union which either one of us can leave at any time. Just as Norway and Sweden ended their union in 1905. The UK is part of the European Union that does not make us all the one country. We are still made up of many different countries within the EU..
                  Everyone living in Scotland has the referendum vote including the 370,000 English people who live in Scotland that is their right. they are on the voter’s roll.
                  Are you seriously suggesting that people who do not live in Scotland should decide how Scotland is governed. I take it then that in 2017 when there is a referendum on membership of the EU the Westminster government will be tracking down all the English people who have left England. Will the government be tracking them down in their new homes in Canada, Austrralia, USA,New Zealand etc.to ask them to vote whether or not the UK should stay in the EU. Would be farcical and impossible to do.

                • Bocephus

                  Scotland & England are part of one country – UK of GB & NI. That is the country. You might not like that but it is a fact. The EU is not a country. It has no elected government, no army and no common language, although it does have a currency. Not every country has a common language, although most have a language the vast majority speak, but every country has a government. (Scotland officially has an ‘Executive’ the SNP unofficially changed the name) Some people are concerned/hope that one day the EU will be a country but as of today it is not.

                  Every American citizen, no matter where they live in the world, has a vote in the US Presidential Election. It can’t be that difficult to arrange. A vote to split the Scottish nation away from the rest of the UK and set up a new country effects every Scottish person, no matter where the live, as they will be required to choose if they want to become a citizen of the new country.

                  It does not seem particularly controversial to me that every Scots born person should be given the opportunity to have a vote on such a monumental decision.

                • terregles2

                  If you cannot grasp the fact that Scotland is a separate country then perhaps you might like to read the Treaty of Union 1707. It might make things clearer. Your comparison with the USA is spurious in the extreme. A bit like comparing apples and oranges.
                  Every American citizen has a vote. Exactly they are US citizens who are on the US voters roll. they are not US citizens who have permanently settled in other countries
                  The majority of Scots who emigrated to the four corners of the earth are now citizens of the countries they now live in. The USA does not unlike the UK have a long history of people leaving that country.
                  Every person living in Scotland just like US citizens will have a vote if they are on the voter’s roll and away from Scotland on the 18th September 2014

                • Bocephus

                  Every US citizen gets a vote in a US election whether they have plans to live in the US again or not.

                  I am not talking about Scottish citizens who have taken up citizenship of a foreign country. I am talking about Scots born British citizens who have not taken up citizenship of another country.

                  If these Scots are to automatically qualify for citizenship of an independent Scotland, and my understanding is no other non residents of Scotland will automatically qualify, then why should they not have a vote if they want one?

                  Clearly it is not going to happen but I have never heard a justifiable reason why not and you have not given one.

                • terregles2

                  I have Scottish friends and family living in Canada and they do not expect to vote in the Scottish referendum because they do not live in Scotland and do not intend to return whether Scotland is independent or not.
                  They do not want or expect a vote. My friends two sons have rerurned from Spain and registered on the voters roll as they are keen to have a vote on the independence issue. Any other Scottish person can do the same.
                  Many people living in Scotland would not find it fair if people who do not live here decide how those of us who do should live.
                  Nobody in Scotland has to justify anything. The implementation of the referendum was decided by Holyrood who are governing our country as a majority in Scotland voted for them.
                  We trust Holyrood decisions much more than we trust the discredited incompetent Westminster government.
                  If you do not think our vote is fair then such is life, There will never be a political system or decision that will please everyone.
                  We could write a long list of unfair decsions made towards Scotland by the Westminster government but there is no point in looking backwards. Much better to look forward to building a better country with Independence.

                • terregles2

                  We do not need to justify anything the government in Holyrood does. They are there with the popular vote in Scotland.

                • JAMES MORRISEY

                  Scotland & England are two countries that signed an International Treaty to share one state. The UK is a state not a country. A state is the mechanisms for the governance of countries. You confuse nationhood with statehood. No where in the International Treaty of Union 1707 does it say that either Scotland or England stops being countries.

                • Zeus

                  I can see an islamic caliphate opening up in London and Leicester very soon.

              • JAMES MORRISEY

                What are yae flappin yer wallies about?

                “An opinion poll of residents of the Northern Isles, commissioned by the Press and Journal newspaper, has given the lie to claims by certain supporters of the anti-independence campaign that Shetland and Orkney might seek to remain a part of the UK if Scotland becomes independent.

                The poll, published in the newspaper on Wednesday, finds that 82%, the overwhelming majority, of the islanders wish to remain Scottish.

                Asked “Should Shetland/Orkney be independent countries, separate from Scotland?” only 8% of islanders who participated in the poll said that they were in agreement, with a further 10% saying they did not know.” http://archive.is/hxCkE

                I also refer yae tae my posts above concerning the northern isles.
                See pal, every single point that you can come up with has been answered over a year ago. You are waaaaay behind in our debate, that’s what happens when you oversleep

                • Bocephus

                  You are referring to opinion polls. For there to be an independent Scotland the public will need to CHANGE their opinion. If opinions never changed we would never change governments.

                  The people of Shetland & Orkney say today they wish to remain part of Scotland. All I am asking is if, after independence, the people of Shetlands & Orkneys CHANGE their opinion and vote to return to the UK – and the rest of the UK would have them back – would the new independent Scottish government allow that? I have been advised by a poster on here that they would. I have my doubts that they would.

            • cheesy pasta

              The point he is making is to break up and atomise every bot of Scotland to imply that independence is an absurdity.
              Using his logic every small town in every part of the Country should be asked if it wants independence.
              It is a way of denying Scotland’s existence as a nation.

              • terregles2

                He cannot accept that Scotland is a nation and not a northern territory belonging to the English.
                He would prefer it if everyone who had left Scotland decided on whether or not Scotland should become an independent country. That in effect would disenfranchise every person living in Scotland. In his world that would not matter as Scotland is just a northern territory and not a country.
                He cannot understand why anyone in Scotland could have the audacity to believe that they would govern their own country more competently than the discredited third rate politicians of Westminster. He deals with that by telling us we are not a proper country. Unbelievable arrogance.
                No wonder this union is falling apart.

          • JAMES MORRISEY

            “An opinion poll of residents of the Northern Isles, commissioned by the Press and Journal newspaper, has given the lie to claims by certain supporters of the anti-independence campaign that Shetland and Orkney might seek to remain a part of the UK if Scotland becomes independent.

            The poll, published in the newspaper on Wednesday, finds that 82%, the overwhelming majority, of the islanders wish to remain Scottish.

            Asked “Should Shetland/Orkney be independent countries, separate from Scotland?” only 8% of islanders who participated in the poll said that they were in agreement, with a further 10% saying they did not know.” http://archive.is/hxCkE

          • JAMES MORRISEY

            If Scotland becomes independent Westminster won’t be able to hang on to Shetland, Orkney, Rockall or any other part of Scotland

            However, even under the hypothetical circumstance that this occurred, Westminster wouldn’t be able to retain control of the oil fields anyway, so ya boo sux. These matters are regulated by the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, to which the UK is a signatory. International law specifies that a state controls the continental shelf and associated mineral and fishing rights up to 200 nautical miles (230 miles or 370 km) off its shores. When another state possesses an island within the continental shelf of this state, special rules apply.

            The continental shelf off the Atlantic coast is Scotland’s to exploit and develop, even if Westminster clung on to Rockall like a plook on the face of an adolescent sociopath. According to the Law of the Sea: “rocks which could not sustain human habitation or economic life of their own would have no economic zone or continental shelf.” Westminster could pauchle its way to keeping Rockall, but as far as oil and fishing exploitation rights are concerned, they’d be entitled to rockall.

            Neither would Westminster gain much by holding onto Shetland and Orkney. When an island belonging to one state sits on the continental shelf of another state, the islands are treated as enclaves. This matter was discussed in detail in a legal paper published by the European Journal of International Law: Prospective Anglo-Scottish Maritime Boundary Revisited

            Most of the rights to the continental shelf would remain Scottish, Map 2 on page 29 of the legal paper shows the most likely sea boundaries. Westminster would be entitled only to a small zone around the islands, and the waters between Orkney and Shetland. This area contains no oil fields. If Shetland and Orkney were to remain under Westminster’s control, Shetland would no longer have an oil fund. The map is reproduced here, so you can do a reverse Jeremy Paxman and sneer derisively at Westminster’s pretensions.

            Westminster’s Shetland threat is a bluff. Westminster knows it’s a bluff. They just don’t want us to know too.

            • Bocephus

              You seem to spend a lot of time talking about oil. I am talking about people and which country they wish to belong to. Oil is just a commodity that won’t last forever. Independence should be like a marriage. For better or worse, richer or poorer. If Scottish people want to be free from the shackles of England, because they don’t feel British, how well off they will be after independence should be irrelevant.

              Ireland was basically poverty stricken for decades after independence. The people of Ireland would clearly have been financially better off if they had had the NHS and the British Welfare State after the war. But to most people in Ireland independence was about freedom not about how financially better off they would be.

              Such a monumental decision should be taken by all Scots born people no matter where they live because the fundamental decision should not be about money but about do Scottish people feel British.

              • terregles2

                The only reason that people keep mentioning oil is because some try and tell Scotland that we are poor.
                Quite a few people in Scotland want independence for many reasons that do not include monetary reasons.

          • JAMES MORRISEY

            So you would agree that Berwick on Tweed should be handed back if they decided that is what they wish? Sounds good to me because that adds even more oil into Scotland’s sector

          • Zeus

            As a Shetlander I will tell you that we and Orkney are proud Scots and the weird English propaganda that we want to break away from Scotland goes from making us laugh at your pathetic attempts to break up another country to just boredom of hearing about it. Nice try – you fckd up Cyprus, Israel, Iraq, India, Pakistan, Ireland and you will not do so to Scotland.

      • Richard Ferguson

        I dunno mate: I think you’ll find both sides pretty well matched in this debate.

      • Jambo25

        Examples please. Let’s have some proof.

      • cheesy pasta

        Please give us an example of said mean spirited ranting

    • Wessex Man

      How typical- you say by adult argument , highlight the mean spirited, immature ranting of the English Better together for Us campaign.

      It seems to me that you are the mean spirited and immature one here, still why not be a typical Scot Nat showing how much you hate we English, with your chip on shoulder conveniently ignoring the fact that it’s fellow Scots who are conducting the Better Together Campaign.

      You perfectly show why there are more English people in favour of Scotland achieving ‘Independence’ per head of population than there are Scots. You have of course speed read this mighty tome, or are you just an ignorant halfwit?

      • JAMES MORRISEY

        @”You perfectly show why there are more English people in favour of Scotland achieving ‘Independence’ per head of population than there are Scots”
        I was unaware that both Scotland and England had already held referenda on the question.

        P.S Despite what Darling claimed on BBC he is actually a Londoner and with him flipping his houses so many times I doubt even he knows where he is domiciled.

        • Wessex Man

          You sadly show all that’s wrong with the Scots Nats, your childish remark that Darling is a Londoner sums up the sad state you are in. Then we get people like terregles saying that you all love us and can we live together as friends supporting your stupid remarks about Darling. You’ll be telling us that Brown is really Welsh next! Have you never heard of Opinion Polls?

          • Alex Creel

            Sorry Wessex Man if you’re getting the wrong impression of Scottish Nationalists. Of course, there are some people whose passion for and occasional frustration with the progress of the independence campaign may make them bad tempered but that’s true of both sides. I’m a campaigner for independence, I’m Welsh with a Scottish wife who doesn’t share my opinion, I work for an English company and have friends from all 4 countries in the current union. I see independence not as a way to push people away, rather as a way to make a better future for the place I live and love. I sincerely hope that independence brings about a fairer, more equal Scotland with opportunity for all and that the Westminster government will be properly held to account by their remaining voters to provide the same benefits for them.

        • Erik McLean

          You are wasting you valuable time on here buddy. Most of the regulars are mean spirited, mealy mouthed blaggards, who practice doublespeak as a matter of course.

        • John Devon

          If Darling is a Londoner just because he was born there, Tony Blair is a Scot – born in Edinburgh!

          • terregles2

            The dreadful Lord foulkes must then be English he was born in Derbyshire. Phew !!!! relief all round.

      • Jen The Blue

        Indeed. I was wondering how anyone could think Alastair Darling was English.
        And as you say. the polls show England being more in favour of Scottish independence than Scotland.
        I believe that Cameron is in favour of the continued union out of pure belief – it may be the only thing he does actually believe in. It is of course the Conservative and Unionist Party so it would be odd if it favoured Scottish independence.
        Personally, as an ex-Tory UKIP supporter I would love to see Scotland go and take its socialist, pro EU MPs with it.

  • Forlornehope

    Could five million or so people in Northern Europe be an Independent country? Well, of course they could. Is this the best solution for the prosperity of the people of Scotland? That is quite another question and if it can only be achieved within a Sterling zone the answer has to be no.

    • Jambo25

      Tell that to the Danes, Norwegians, Finns, Latvians, Estonians, Lithuanians, Irish etc. I’m sure they are all dying to get back and cosy with their erstwhile partners/masters.

      • Forlornehope

        Finns, Latvians, Estonians and Lithuanians have all joined or are planning to join the Euro; despite its problems they see it as essential for a small economy linked to a bigger one. They went through a great deal of pain to reorientate their economies away from the Soviet Union. There is not the slightest doubt that Scotland could disentangle its economy from the UK and become part of the Eurozone but it would be a very painful process and for what?

        • Jambo25

          Frankly, I’m something of a heretic on this as I’d like to see a commitment to join the Euro, as quickly as possible for an independent Scotland. I see no particular virtue in joining some kind of mini Sterling zone and those in the UK who ‘big up’ Sterling I think are delusional.

          When I was a boy the $/£ exchange rate was 4-1. As a young man it was 2.8-1, then 2.4-1. Since then it fell to not far off parity at one point then rose to not far off 2-1. Yesterday it was 1.63-1. The direction of travel is obvious. Th £ has been debauched by successive governments over the last 5 or 6 decades. Over the past 5 or 6 years the £ has, essentially, been devalued by nearly 25%. UK interest rates have been all over the place as well. 14% the year I got my first mortgage. UK PLR is now 1.5% and my savings are being raped with inflation at about 2.7%.

          As for the economic problems faced by the Finns and other Balts. That was mainly due to the economic collapse of the old USSR and successor Russian Republic which killed off the main market for their goods for a decade or so.

          • Forlornehope

            The problem for Scotland is that 70% of its exports would be to the UK. Any currency fluctuation, especially a decline in the pound, would be a serious problem. Going the other way you can divide those numbers by ten so the problem isn’t mutual. The Sturgeon’s claim that Scotland would be the UK’s second biggest market is, appropriately, fishy; the cUK’s trade with the Eurozone would be about seven times its trade with Scotland.

            • Jambo25

              Can you remember how big the UK’s exports were to Ireland in relation to Brazil, India, China etc.? Strangely enough Ireland doesn’t seem to have the problem you describe yet it must have as much trade with rUK as a future independent Scotland.

              • Forlornehope

                “Ireland doesn’t seem to have a problem” – enough said!

                • Jambo25

                  That’s the Ireland which is 1) Exporting like gangbusters. 2) Has notified the ECB that it no longer needs special help. and 3) Still has a standard of living higher than the UK’s.

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