Coffee House

David Cameron: Alistair Darling is the right man to lead the battle for Britain

29 December 2013

9:47 AM

29 December 2013

9:47 AM

Today’s Sunday Times revives reports that senior Conservatives are concerned that Alex Salmond will prevail in next year’s referendum and that David Cameron will be the last British Prime Minister.

Personally, I’d be concerned if they were not concerned – Salmond is a formidable late-stage campaigner and the ‘no’ side is, in effect, being led by the parties out of whom he made mincemeat in the last Scottish Parliament election. The future of our country is at stake: now is not the time to take anything for granted. Especially at a time when unionist parties in Scotland have been collectively spanked by a formidable and well-funded SNP campaign.

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But what about specific concerns about Alistair Darling’s leadership of the campaign? When I interviewed Cameron earlier this month there had been a report in the FT that senior Tories were concerned with Darling personally. So I thought I’d ask the PM what he thought. I didn’t include his answer in the print version of the interview, but it’s worth putting his thoughts on the record.

I started by asking him who he’d prefer to have a drink with: Ed Miliband, Alex Salmond, Nick Clegg or Nigel Farage. ‘I’d go for a drink with Nick Clegg, we have a decent working relationship, we have our disagreements,’ he replied. Here’s the rest of the conversation:

FN: But you see Clegg all the time!

DC: Alex Salmond: I’d have to check my wallet afterwards!

FN: How do you think Alistair Darling is doing by the way? There has been some controversy…

DC: I think he’s doing very well, I read your piece [in the Daily Telegraph] and I understand. I think you and I would agree this is an issue of enormous importance, we cannot in any way let this argument go the wrong way. We’ve got to fight every day. It’s one of the biggest issues of next year, if not the biggest. I desperately want it to go the right way and I think the arguments that Better Together and the UK government will be making are very strong and very solid.

I try and keep a really close hand on all this. The arguments about defence jobs, the arguments about currency, the arguments about Europe, the arguments about financial services, the arguments about future fiscal trends – I think they’re really impressive, substantial pieces of work.

When I started this process, and said I thought it was time to have a referendum because the Scottish people had voted for the SNP government, the thing you kept getting from people is: I need to know the facts, I want to know the details, I want the information. While I’m frustrated by the time that we have to wait before the referendum I do think we’re putting the time to good use by really laying out the arguments – and Alistair is playing a key part of that.  So I think the argument is going well but we need to keep up the pressure.


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Show comments
  • Sam the man

    David Cameron’s made a spectacular gaffe by allowing Alistair Darling to lead the Better Together campaign and his political advisers are only now beginning to realise it. The referendum is a little over 6 months before the General Election campaign begins in 2015. A key Tory strategy will be trashing Labour’s economic record which puts Darling as former Chancellor right in the firing line. They’ll have to tone down their attacks on Labour’s time in office or risk undermining credibility and confidence of Darling and also upsetting Labour supporters/activists and ultimately voters who they are relying on to deliver a No vote in the referendum campaign.

  • disqus_9I6C4azbIA

    Mr Cameron chooses Mr Darling to lead the battle to keep Scotland a province of England. This suggest Mr Darling is the only Scots Tory who can do the job.

  • Iain Hill

    Darling, the Great Scot, is not known in Scotland at all!

  • Kennybhoy

    Sometimes Maister Nelson I think that you and yer man Massie are closet nationalists.

  • Tom Tom

    Why all this concern about Scotland ? You would think it was Gladstone’s Irish Home Rule Bill the way the media blather. Simply repeal the Act of Settlement 1704 and The Act of Union as we did with Ireland. London should be an island state and let the rest of the country go……

  • artemis in france

    Should the Scottish be unwise enough to vote “yes” they’ll deserve their fate. I don’t think the English will be doing much crying. Schadenfreude will be in the ascendancy as Scotland finds it has just inherited a new load of problems. It could all get very complicated. The EU doesn’t seem keen, nobody has agreed they can keep the pound, and presumably the only way they’ll regain the Queen as Head of State is as a member of the Commonwealth, to which, probably, they’ll need to apply for membership. Salmond is a feisty campaigner, but seems to have done very little préparation on thèse major issues.

    • Andy Ellis

      Wow…you really are spectacularly ill-informed. salmons may be many things, but unprepared isn’t one of them. The EU isn’t monolithic, it will deal with the situations as they arise. Obviously they are loathe to take a stand now, because it would cause problems if they were seen to take sides. things will soon change if there is a Yes vote. Keeping the pound will be the subject of negotiations, and a sterling zone is widely seen as sensible and economically beneficial; a local poll found >70% of people in England, Wales and NI supported a sterling zone in the event of a Yes vote, as well as a common travel area. The ordinary public are obviously less probes to ridiculous scare stories than the anti-independence media would have you believe.

      I can’t imagine the Queen as head of state is anything other than a formality; she is Queen of Canada, Oz & NZ too after all. Why would joining the Commonwealth be anything other than a formality? With luck, Scots will soon wise up and declare a republic anyway!

      • Alexsandr

        I can see Spain kicking up a right fuss. They don’t want the independence issue airing, or it could ignite Basque and Catalonian separatists ambitions. It could ignite differences in Belgium also as the Waloons and Flemish never see eye to eye.

        • Andy Ellis

          So you’re obviously blissfully unaware of the fact that Rajoy has explicitly said they have no view, and regard the Scottish and Catalan situations as different?

          Just more ill-informed scaremongering from someone too lazy to follow the issue they are pontificating about? Why should we be surprised given the quality of the rest of your contributions?

          • Alexsandr

            if you don’t like my views then please go and boil your sporran and post your bile on the Scotsman site or somesuch.

            • Andy Ellis

              Oh, I dunno Alex…hate filled idiocy like yours needs to be confronted wherever it appears, even in the darkest recesses of the Spectator. The sporran reference reference is particularly hilarious. go on, wow us with another belter about how Big Eck is fat, or the Scots are subsidy junkies hooked on deep fried Mars bars… it’s the way you tell them…

              • Alexsandr

                I dont hate anyone. I just want the scots to know the risks from separation, It is you that has brought vitriol to this

                anyway

                In today’s (2013 – 14) prices, government spending for the benefit of Scotland totalled £66.9 billion in 2011 – 12 according to the Scottish government’s official Government Expenditure and Revenue Scotland (GERS). This was
                around 9.3% of government spending in the UK – substantially higher than Scotland’s 8.4% share of the UK population – and means that spending per person in Scotland (£12,629) was 11% higher than for the UK as a whole (£11,381).

                IFS report – http://www.ifs.org.uk/bns/bn140.pdf

                • Andy Ellis

                  Oh please, at least try to be even handed; look at the anti-Scottish bile and bigotry on the 3 threads in the Spectator and tell me you honestly think those opposing independence aren’t responsible for the vitriol? If people make fallacious arguments, unsupported by evidence and peppered with references to Big Eck being fat, or a dictator, or Scots being subsidy junkies on the teat of the English, or what was it in your case…. being told to boil their sporrans?! (Really? Is that honestly something you dreamt up for yourself, or are your meds just wearing off?).

                  Anyway.

                  The IFS figures are only part of the story, not to mention the fact that they can hardly be seen as an impartial source! We could sit and trade statistics all day, but rather than clutter up the thread, try looking at the antidote to unionist predictions of financial melt down and doom and gloom here:

                  http://www.businessforscotland.co.uk

                  There is a wealth information on that site from a pro-independence view-point from business people and academics who don’t buy the mainstream media unionist agenda.

                • jazz606

                  A few years ago who would have thought that Salmond would be pleading to keep the pound.
                  Think back to those heady days pre 2008 when the €uro was riding high and the Royal Bank of Scotland was the world’s 2nd biggest bank, spurred on by Alec himself. No wonder it all went to his head.
                  But times have changed and Wee Eck is now reduced to begging.

  • jazz606

    Salmond isn’t campaigning for Independence. Why do you think he’s so desperate to keep the pound ? The SNP might call it Independence but what they really want is to swap Westminster for Brussels whilst staying clear of the €uro swamp by retaining sterling. This doesn’t seem very Independent to me.
    Salmond is a pompous arrogant little **** and he loathes the English although probably not as much as they loath him.

    • Andy Ellis

      Here we have it ladies and gentlemen: another example of the spittle flecked, carpet biting tendency opposing independence. The kind of unreasoning, atavistic hater who asserts that Alex Salmond must loathe the English, because (naturally) they assume anyone who is pro-independence must hate the English, right?

      Not content with the evidence-free assertion that this is so, they go on to re-enforce their hate filled idiocy by boldly asserting that what the SNP want is “pretend” independence, usually based on their hatred of the EU re-enforcing their anti-Scottish bigotry. This at the same time when polling finds that >70% of people in England, Wales and NI support the idea of a sterling zone and freedom of movement/open borders if Scotland votes Yes in 2014 – so thankfully most ordinary folk in rUK aren’t as blinkered as the majority of right-wing butters posting here!

      Like so many others of this type, all they are adept at doing is finding a problem for every answer; stun us with another.

      • jazz606

        Gosh! I must have hit a nerve.

        • Andy Ellis

          Don’t pout when you are called out for your evidence free rants, it’s so typical of Project Fear acolytes; no positive case, no vision… just the age-old Scottish cringe of the “we canny dae it” brigade who have uncritically accepted the Britnat “too wee, too poor, too stupid” snake oil, and regurgitate it at every available opportunity.

          Colour us unsurprised that you’re an ardent Europhobe too; let us guess, you probably don’t believe in global warming either do you? It can only be a matter of time before you start banging on about immigration, marxists and the teat of dependency like the other butters on here.

          • jazz606

            Calm down.

          • jazz606

            Nothing like a bit of ad hominem is there.
            Anyway Andy, I’m getting bored with you so welcome to my ignore list.

    • jazz606

      Actually, to be even handed about this, a considerable number of Scots including myself and my wife loathe Salmond as well.

      • Andy Ellis

        ..and your point is caller? A considerable number also rate him highly, as his approval ratings and electoral success demonstrate. Even many who don’t have any time for him are happy to vote for him and his party because they think he’s doing a decent job, and is better than the alternatives on offer.

        Unthinking hatred of Salmond &/or the SNP, particularly when twinned with giving that as a reason for voting No, is quite breathtakingly stupid. The indyref isn’t about Salmond, or the SNP, or policies…it’s about deciding who gets to decide what kind of Scotland we have in future. VotingNo in September because you dislike Eck or the SNP is like refusing to buy a house because you don’t like the decor.

        • jazz606

          Some kind of independence when you’re reliant on someone else’s currency ?

          • malcolmG

            You are not just kidding after all you really are stupid.

            • jazz606

              As I said nothing like a bit of ad hominem. Another candidate for the ignore list.

              • Andy Ellis

                Then stop whinging and come up with something slightly more convincing than a personal loathing for Alex Salmond or uncritically parroting Britnat scare stories about the sterling zone being “pretend” independence.

                Many perfectly reasonable people, including economists (and it seems over 70% of the non-scottish population of the UK according to the recent Times poll) are convinced keeping the pound would be the best solution for both Scotland and rUK post a Yes vote.

                Low voyage, evidence free assertions that Big Eck hates the English simply make you look foolish.

                • jazz606

                  Do you find the term “ignore list’ difficult to understand ?

                • Andy Ellis

                  I hadn’t realised the Spectator threads had such a function. Do you find the term “snivelling anonymous coward who runs away when bested in an argument” difficult to understand?

                • Alexsandr

                  If you want intelligent discourse then why do I keep getting such vitriol from the Scottish independence camp?

                  Them what play nicely have a good time. Them what try to bully end up being ignored.

                  if the cap fits….

                  Signed,
                  spittle flecked, carpet biting Alexsandr

                • Andy Ellis

                  Well on the evidence, I wouldn’t be coming anywhere near you for intelligent discourse Alexsandr. By all means, get back to us when you’ve grown a pair and have something meaningful to say though?

                  We won’t be holding our collective breath!

                • Alexsandr

                  well its all right cos when you get you precious independence you wont be swinging on the English teat anymore. Good

                • Andy Ellis

                  Way to prove my point Alex; English teat? Really? That’s your best shot? You should team up with Viceroy’s Gin… dumb and dumber; I’ll leave you to decide which is which between yourselves!

                • Alexsandr

                  check out the Barnett formula. And think why the Scottish parliament can afford to hand out goodies like no tuition fees and free elderly care. Check out government spending per head in England, Scotland, NI and Wales and see who got the raw deal.

                • Andy Ellis

                  I have. Scotland already contributes more than it receives, and has done for some time. The reason the Britnats will agree to a sterling zone in spite of all the bluster is that the economy of rumpUK would be in deep trouble without the benefit of North Sea oil revenues for the balance of payments.

                  Try looking at sources outside the hopelessly biased unionist press…or listening to the voices in your head, they are not friends of rational debate.

          • terregles2

            Anyone can use the pound who wants to. You better pray that Scotland does immediately after independence. If we don’t it will have a detrimental impact on the English credit rating and balance of payments..

            • jazz606

              “..Anyone can use the pound who wants to..”

              Of course they can. Even the North Koreans if they want to.

            • the viceroy’s gin

              It’s amusing that the jock separatists bleat this inanity, as if it’s an intelligent thought.

      • malcolmG

        Very intelligent and well thought out opinion on the topic. Both yourself and your wife would be assets to any country.

      • terregles2

        There seem to be enough Scottish people who like Salmond that is why they voted for him. Of course some people don’t like him but there are enough other parties campaiging for a YES vote. Patrick Harvie and Allan Grogan are winning over quite a few new YES voters. There are even a new group Libdems for independence.
        Some of the new parties might win the first general election after independence. Who knows?

    • Alexsandr

      He wants to keep the £ so he can borrow to the hilt using rUK’s financial clout to keep his interests payments down. Just like Ireland did when they joined the Euro.
      If (Big if that) the rUK allows Scotland to use the £ then there would have to be strict conditions about levels of Scotlands borrowing.

      • jazz606

        Much better not to let them join. Why deprive the Scots of one of the primarybenefits of independence.

  • Jambo25

    Alistair Who?

    • malcolmG

      Exactly , he is almost invisible, hard to believe there is actually a campaign on the go. Possibly sharing the Bunker with Lamont.

      • Jambo25

        Partly it’s because he’s trying to represent a very confused message. What vision of Scotland and the Union is he defending? A Labour or Tory one. Also he has no positive defense of the Union to offer.

  • arnoldo87

    I don’t understand why the English don’t get angry about not having a vote in the referendum. Are we supposed to accept without comment the terms that are agreed if and when Scotland leaves the Union?
    Even on this blog contributors seem to accept that it can all be decided without any English voter input.
    Baffling!

    • Andy Ellis

      Because they don’t understand the basic concepts of self-determination, and understand even less about the specifics of Scottish politics – hardly surprising for the generality of the readership of the Spectator, granted but it’s fun to highlight their ignorance.

      • Alexsandr

        no I agree with Arnold. What about the views on the non scots. we clearly dont matter and this will affect many especially in the borders.
        Its not as if the scots were a conquered nation. they entered into a union freely, needing a bailout after their darien adventure.

        • terregles2

          There are may non Scots living in Scotland including thousands of English people. They all have the vote because they live here.
          Do you think all the English diaspora throughout the world will be given a vote in future UK elections.

        • the viceroy’s gin

          Ahhhh, but they are a conquered (former) nation. They may have arguably been a separate nation, entering union, but they gave that up in the 45’er .

    • terregles2

      Are you suggesting that a population of over 60 million people living in England should cancel out the votes of the wishes of 5 million people living in Scotland . Thanks for that input the YES vote has just had a big boost.
      You are baffled ….I am astounded by your suggestion.
      Not sure if you have noticed but Scoltand is a separate country. it is not a region of England.

      • the viceroy’s gin

        No, Jockistan is not a separate country. It gave that up in the 45’er. It’s a province, and the rest of the state should have a vote on matters affecting the entire state.

      • Colonel Mustard

        It’s only a separate country if and when you win your vote for “independence” – a ridiculous term that should never have been allowed to be applied to what is happening which is the proposed break up of a political union by a bunch of charlatans peddling a lie.

        • terregles2

          Whatever politicians we have in Holyrood they could never be as bad as the Westminster charlatans. Their behaviour over the years has been so bad some have even been in prison.
          The only lies being peddled are those by the Westminster chancers who have tried to make Scotland believe that we are a poor country when the reverse is true. All the things they tried to hide over the years have now been exposed. The McCrone report the MOD stopping oil exploration in the Firth of Clyde. The list is endless We now see Westminster government for what it is. It is Westminster who have created the wish for independence not any Scottish politicians. You should read the terms and conditions of the Act of Union 1707 before you make the assertion that Scotland is not a separate country.

      • arnoldo87

        If Scotland does get its independence, then the division of assets and debts of the U.K. will be the subject of negotiation and agreement between Westminster and Edinburgh.
        Would anyone in Scotland be happy if, for instance, 90% of the debt were saddled on Scotland?
        A silly suggestion, I hear you say – but what exactly is a fair figure?
        And what is the sense of the Scots voting BEFORE these settlements are known.
        And because the English don’t want an unfair share of the debt either, we too should have a vote.

        • Andy Ellis

          The Scottish Government has already said it will assume a fair proportion of the liabilities, in return of course for a fair share of the joint assets. None of it is rocket science, and other countries have managed it before e.g. Czech Republic and Slovakia. Since Scotland only represents around 9% of the population, then it is likely any settlement will amount to around that proportion.

          The vote in September is a simple Yes/No as to whether Scots want their government to begin the process of negotiating independence for Scotland, a process that will take 18 months until planned “iDay” in March 2016.

          As for the English having a vote, that isn’t how it works, and never has been in any other analogous situation. Scottish independence isn’t in the gift of the English people, given at their whim, nor is it capable of being denied because the majority of English people voted against it. Similarly, Catalan self-determination isn’t in the gift of the rest of the Spanish people, whatever the anti-democrats in the PP and Madrid try to insist.

          • the viceroy’s gin

            No, that is how it works. A region cannot separate from the state without agreement from the state, all of the state.

            Further, and in less pettifogging but more real terms, life works by the golden rule. He who has the gold, makes the rule. And since Jockistan is considering whether they want to stand up with a begging bowl and beg, it may wish to carefully consider that golden rule.

            • Andy Ellis

              Oh dear; if you’re abandoning your hate filled idiocy postings about EUSSR and jock land, you’d better try and find an issue you actually know something about, eh?

              Self-determination for Scotland is not in the gift of voters from England, Wales and Northern Island or their government. Similarly, independence for Catalonia or the Basque country is not contingent on the Spanish parliament graciously acceding to it.

              As for you (back to type) Jockistan & begging bowl references, the “too poor” scare has been comprehensively rubbished elsewhere. Uncritically asserting it just exposes you for the Britinat useful idiot you are.

              • the viceroy’s gin

                Yes, lad, as mentioned, a region cannot up and split without the consent of the rest of the state. It doesn’t matter what you jabber about, or any other jock separatist zealot.

                The begging bowl is what you’re begging for, lad, even if you don’t comprehend that. Unfortunately, or perhaps fortunately, the bulk of the jocks will be voting to remain on the socialist teat.

                I’m still amused with your calculus:

                begging bowl = “independence”

          • Alexsandr

            sturgeon has already said that if we don’t let the Scottish kids play with our pound, then the Scottish will renage on their public debt obligations.

            • Andy Ellis

              You can’t have your cake and eat it Alex. Assuming a Yes vote, it is in the interests of both sides to come to a negotiated settlement which suits both and is as equitable as possible. Expecting an independent Scotland to assume a fair share of joint liabilities assumes the negotiation of a fair share of joint assets.

              If the little Englanders want to play hard ball, I’m sure the Scots will be more than happy to surrender all claim to joint assets and assume none of the liabilities. International precedent tends to support the view that if rumpUK wants to be regarded as a continuing entity, but Scotland is a new state, then it bears none of the liabilities.

              You pays your money, you makes your choice…

        • terregles2

          I quite agree with everything that you say. There is nothing new about countries becoming independent. There are numerous examples throughout the decades of negotiations for countries deciding on independence. Common sense always prevails and it is done as smoothly as possible. We will reach a fair share of the debts and assets it is in the interests of both countries to do so.
          it is not all about money for many people in Scotland it is about building a better country and living in a more democratic country. Scotland and England will be good neighbours after Scottish independence there is no reason for it to be otherwise. It is in all our interests to have two prosperous countries living beside each other. Most of us have friends and family both sides of the border and most sensible people see independence as a vote against Westminster government and not English people.

          • arnoldo87

            “We will reach a fair share of the debts and assets it is in the interests of both countries to do so.”
            Well, this may happen as you predict. The question here, though, is “Who decides if it is a fair share?”. I am unhappy about this being decided by the members of the respective parliaments without any input from the electorate.
            If the settlement were to be subject to a confirmatory referendum by the populations of both Scotland and the new United Kingdom, then not only would this keep the negotiators honest, but it could then actually be described as a democratic process.
            As it stands we are faced with a major constitutional change taking place in our country without any direct input from 90% of the population.

            • terregles2

              I appreciate what you are saying but with respect I think the process of ensuring that we have a fair split is a bit too involved to ask the general public to make decisions on. Both Scotland and England will have expert legal advice and both will negotiate the final settlement. I do not pretend to be an expert on any of it but it should I imagine come down to straight percentages. What proportion of revenue has Scotland sent to Wesminster would determine what proportion of UK assets and UK debt that we would leave with. There are dozens of countries who have gained independence from the UK in the last seventy years so its not as if we have not dealt with this situation often. Norway and Sweden split in 1905 quite smoothly and they now live as peaceful neighbours. Keep optimistic these are exciting times for the UK we should all have a brighter more democratic future. Remember there are no problems only solutions. Onwards and upwards.

    • malcolmG

      It is about Scotland , not England , is that simple enough for you.

  • Jupiter

    As probably the only Spectator reader in Scotland, I can assure you that El Presidente Salmond will get his butt kicked in the referendum.

    • terregles2

      Scotland does not have an El Presidente we have a First Minister who was elected by the Scottish people. In fact he is the only UK leader in office with a majority vote,
      In the 2014 referendum we are voting on Scottish independence it has nothing to do with one person. Come to think of it who elected you to speak on behalf of the Scottish people?
      You sound a bit like an aspiring El Presidente yourself…… In your dreams.

      • Colonel Mustard

        You really are quite a nasty little dissembler aren’t you?

        To begin with you conflate a “majority vote” with a majority in parliament. The Conservative party received more votes in 2010 than any other party. They also have more MPs in Parliament than any other party. They do not have a parliamentary majority. They entered into coalition in order to form a government. Don’t make them out to be an illegitimate government because that serves SNP aspirations.

        Secondly you are voting to dismantle the Union of 1707 not “independence”. The Union of Crowns preceded that in 1603 when a Scottish King inherited the English throne. In fact if anyone needs “independence” it is probably England from the disproportionate effect of a succession of Scottish Labour politicians.

        Thirdly you have been speaking volumes on behalf of the Scottish people all up and down this thread without being elected to do so.

        • terregles2

          I am glad that you agree that Scottish independence will be good for England as well.
          Although it is worth remembering that the disgraceful Blair government were elected on a landslide of votes. He would have had a majority without any Scottish votes. Likewise Brown.
          I don’t know who you will blame for governments that you don’t like when we are independennt.
          I have not been elected to speak for Scottish people. Have I ever said that I do. Presumably you have not been elected to speak for anyone else either.

    • malcolmG

      Are you sure you are old enough to read, mental age must be under 10.

      • Jupiter

        You cybernat chaps really need to come up with some better insults than that

  • asalord

    Scottish unionist politicians like Mr Darling love doing Westminster’s dirty work.
    Whatever the result I’m sure Mr Darling will gain reward from his Westminster masters.

  • Smithersjones2013

    As it goes I can’t think of a better choice than Darling. God forbid it were Brown or Blair and Kennedy and Campbell (let alone Alexander ~ either of them) would not be a good choice either.

    So who else is there? Malcolm Rifkind? Michael Gove? The reality is there are few choices and those senior Tories bleating about Darling might like to offer an alternative. It sounds to me they are just putting in place a contingency scapegoat if it all goes awry. After all you can understand why the Tories/ Cameron wouldn’t want to be (rightfully) labelled as the Party / PM solely responsible for ‘breaking’ the Union.

    • HookesLaw

      Do you know… you are right.

    • Andy Ellis

      You are right about the dearth of talent and lack of real choice. I wouldn’t say Cameron and his feckless pals were solely responsible though – they bear some measure of responsibility, but the roots of the abject failure of the unionist Better Together narrative go much deeper.

      Given the toxicity and lack of relevance of modern conservatives in Scotland, the real villains of the peace are the nauseating NewOneNation Labour types in Scotland. Their failure to get behind a devo-max or devo-plus plan is what has really done for the union if the vote proves to be Yes.

      Betting the farm on a No vote was always a high risk strategy, particularly since even if it is achieved, the unionist parties have no coherent plan for additional devolution, and even less chance of delivering through a hostile Westminster. It doesn’t really matter whether the Tories, Labour or another coalition wins the next Westminster GE, since there is little to differentiate them in any case. A No vote in September simply means independence delayed, not denied.

      • HookesLaw

        Abject failure. Join the ranks of those who make up their world. last poll said only 27% wanted independence.

        • Andy Ellis

          Try looking at the average of a number of polls, rather than a single one, which tells you next to nothing. The average of the 30 odd polls since Jan. 12 has No on 50%, Yes on 33% and Don’t Know on 16%.

          The No lead over Yes has fallen by a third in the past 9 months, with those lost going to Don’t Know, and slightly less to Yes.

          Given there are 9 months still to campaign, your confidence may well prove premature. Polling evidence suggests that when pressed, two thirds of Don’t Knows plump for Yes. Since the only choices on the ballot are Yes or No, we can logically assume that current support is therefore around 43% Yes vs. 55% no. Given the usual potential 3% margin of error, the swing needed to produce a Yes lead is hardly large.

          Keep up the complacency tho’…it’ll make the Yes victory all the sweeter when it comes!

          • the viceroy’s gin

            It’s not coming, lad. You jocks collectively want to remain on the government teat. The numbers tell the entire story.

            • Andy Ellis

              Can’t you add anything to the discourse other than hate filled idiocy and obsessive references to teats? Please try and come up with something a bit less woo-woo than constant references to breasts, socialism and dependency; it’s not big and it’s not funny.

              • the viceroy’s gin

                It’s not intended to be big or funny, lad. It’s intended to be the reality of it. I get it that you whine and fantasize to the contrary, but you best check the numbers, and also the reason why those numbers are what they are.

                The jocks prefer the teat of socialist government, which is exactly what Darling is offering them. They’ll say yes, as usual.

                • terregles2

                  It’s not intended to be big or funny. Just as well.
                  The Jocks ….You use that term to make others look small but it has the reverse effect.

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  …yes, you jock separatists are paranoid, which is another reason that vote is going down huge.

                • malcolmG

                  Dear Dear , what a shining example of the union benefits. We get to laugh at a turnip head.

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  …can another of you jocks translate this gibberish?

                • dalai guevara

                  I note you are making a lot of friends today…
                  we alos note that you copy exactly Darling’s line now (not his budget, mind): never clarify, always obfuscate. Are you in love, tovarishch?

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  …and have a translation go at this gibberish, while you’re at it.

        • terregles2

          They were the same polls that predicted a massive Labour majority at the last Holyrood election.
          In fact there was an SNP landslide.

    • Jambo25

      It isn’t the personnel; it’s the cause. There are no longer any positive arguments for the Union. ‘Britishness’, as a identity is dead. If there were any positive arguments we would probably have heard them by now. That’s why we have ‘Project Fear’. There is nothing else there. A ‘No’ vote is quite likely but it will be on what people see or are frightened into seeing as their economic self interest. That, however, will simply postpone the inevitable.

      People, in England, should think of us Jockos, as inhabitants of their very own tartan coloured Quebec.

      • the viceroy’s gin

        Yes, nothing positive, except sterling, the queen and scads of other niceties you jocks want to remain glommed onto, in your zeal for “independence”, aka your bring glommed onto the socialist government teat.

        And lad, the Quebecers turned down the separatists, in case you didn’t notice. That’s one of the reasons it’s so easy to predict this jock separatist movement will go down huge. They wanted to remain on the socialist teat, and so do the jocks .

        • Jambo25

          I suspect we could live without the Queen. Sterling’s convenient but not essential. I’m waiting to hear what the positive reasons for remaining British are. I’m not hearing any.

          • the viceroy’s gin

            You won’t hear any from me, because I support independence for the jocks, in any event, even if it’s controversial and potentially contra settled international law, and even if it’s opposed by everyone outside Jockistan.

            Apparently, though, you jocks don’t want independence. That’s what I’m hearing, and that’s what the numbers are telling us.

            • Jambo25

              Us “Jocks” recognise that virtually no state ever has full sovereignty in the classical sense any longer. All are tied up by treaties, accords, memberships of international organisations etc. States and societies have degrees of independence: not full independence.

              • the viceroy’s gin

                …now the rationalizing starts.

                The point is, you’re squealing in pain over the evils of Westminster, and squealing with glee over the joys of the EUSSR.

  • http://logicsrock.blogspot.co.uk/ Roddy Macdonald

    DC: “We’ve got to fight every day. It’s one of the biggest issues of next year, if not the biggest. I desperately want it to go the right way …”

    But obviously not desperately enough to warrant risking getting his backside handed to him on a plate by Alec Salmond by defending the union personally as head of the UK Government in a head-to-head TV debate.

    • HookesLaw

      Quite right too.

  • Smithersjones2013

    The future of our country is at stake: now is not the time to take anything for granted.

    No the future of Fraser’s country is at stake. My country is perfectly sound and will remain so despite any difficulties that may arise should the Scots vote for divorce.

    England has far bigger problems (its deranged political classes, its dysfunctional government and public sector, the insanity of the EU etc) to deal with than in dealing with a partner that decides on divorce.

  • Wilhelm

    Darling has got all the charisma of a plank of wood.

  • anyfool

    David Cameron: Alistair Darling is the right man to lead the battle for Britain
    That is why Cameron struggles to persuade anyone to follow him, Darling was picked as Chancellor by Brown, because Brown knew he was a personality free cypher, a man without any intellectual back up.
    The man could not lead a conga, just like the man who proposed him.

  • HookesLaw

    Mr Nelson’s article might carry more weight if he could suggest some alternatives. But doesn’t Cameron’s concern for his wallet sum up Salmond very nicely?

    • MichtyMe

      And if Cameron was as good as Salmond at duffing up Labour and the LibDems he would have 600 MP’s behind him in parliament.

  • MirthaTidville

    Great shame they didnt give the English a vote in this referendum..The Scots would have had a bigger majority than they could ever have dreamed of..Let them go, so what..

    • HookesLaw

      You don’t like anybody do you.

      • Jambo25

        If I lived in or had anything to do with Merthyr (As the name suggests) I’d hate everybody as well. Christ? Have you ever been there?

    • terregles2

      You make it so hard to say goodbye.

  • kyalami

    If the Scots want to be independent, good luck to them.

    I suspect that in such a case they will find that much of what the pro-independence campaign has promised turns out to be fantasy. And, of course, at that stage the SNP will claim it’s all a Tory/English plot to deny them what’s rightfully theirs.

    • Alex

      To translate.

      “Good luck to them” – You want to see them fail.
      “I suspect” – You have not read very much about it.
      “what the pro-independence campaign has promised” – The democratic right to decide on how you’re governed. Perhaps a fantasy in some parts of the world but a fantasy worth fighting for.
      “will claim it’s all a Tory/English plot” – You believe the SNP are anti-English (a tired old piece of propaganda) and anti-Tory, well, yes you are probably right about that one.

      • saffrin

        The SNP have promised they’ll keep the pound and be part of the European Union, both of which arew clearly untrue given statments from both the present UK Government as well as Brussels.

        And if there is a plot, it’s clearly Salmond’s plot to undermine democracy by;
        A) Not allowing Scot’s living outside of Scotland a say in their own country’s future knowing they’re unlikely to offer support.
        B) Giving the EU’s ignorant brainwashed Scottish kids the vote when their life experiences give them nothing on which to base their judgments other than they can leave their homeland for more sunny climes when they are old enough to leave the nest.

        • MichtyMe

          Yes, its a terrible shame the expatriate Scots cannot go with their Scottish passports, to their Scottish embassies and vote on Scottish elections, as some other nationalities are able to do….I wonder what’s stopping them?

          • saffrin

            Salmond. I work with two Scot’s, neither of which can vote unless they move back to Scotland.

            • Andy Ellis

              Nor should they. Like Fraser or me, if they are set on voting they have a simple solution; move back.

            • MichtyMe

              Of course, the Union state does not recognise any such thing as a Scot (or a Pict) it only recognises persons resident in Scotland and it is that basis that the electoral register is compiled.

            • Wilhelm

              Yet African and other such Third Worlders, who are just in Scotland for 2 seconds can vote.

              • terregles2

                Difference between you and Africans in Scotland is that they are living here paying taxes and contributing to Scottish society. They are very welcome. My neighbour is from Africa working in a hospitalt treating other Scottish citizens he refers to them as his patients not as “jocks” as some of the clowns who post on this forum refer to Scottish people.

              • malcolmG

                what garbage, they have to be resident here and on the voters roll completed in late 2013. How stupid and childish can you be , if you do not liv ein a country why would you expect a vote.

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  Absentee voting is common enough in the West, lad. An expectation, for many, in fact.

            • Jambo25

              If they aren’t registered to vote here, they don’t get the vote. Neither does my ‘Yes’ supporting son who happens to live in Bedford.

        • Andy Ellis

          Seems like the overwhelming majority of Brits support the SNP’s stance both on the sterling zone and a common travel area, probably because they are both sensible and pragmatic:

          http://news.stv.tv/politics/258520-rest-of-uk-backs-independent-scotland-keeping-the-pound-poll-shows/

          Thankfully most ordinary folk are a lot more sensible than the blowhards in Project Fear 😉

          • HookesLaw

            It would clearly be in the interests of the rest of the UK for the Scots to keep the pound – we would be in charge of it after all. Saves a lot of bother. Your point is fatuous. By all means let an independent Scotland keep using the pound. just don’t pretend to be independent.

            • Andy Ellis

              It would be in the interests of both sides, and assuming the terms are right that’s exactly why most sensible pragmatic people support it. It’s easy to sort out the swivel eyed loon tendency by identifying those who oppose it, similarly for those railing against immigration and the EU, and those banging on about countries in the EU not really being independent at all. Barking.

              • the viceroy’s gin

                Yes, you want “independence”, but you want to remain on the suckling teat of government. Gotcha .

                • Jambo25

                  Read Jim Walker’s article in today’s ‘Sunday Times’. His take on this is rather different from yours.

                • Alexsandr

                  why dont you paste the relevant bits cos its behind a paywall.

                • Jambo25

                  Laziness and IT Luddism.

            • Alexsandr

              indeed. how can a nation expect to me considered independant when it outsources a large part of fiscal policy to a foreign country. Just shows the whoe argument is a sham.

              • malcolmG

                Dear oh Dear, so you think Germany is not an independent country because it uses the Euro.

                • Alexsandr

                  Germany is because it runs the currency. But France, Italy, Cyprus clearly aren’t independent

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  …and neither is the UK, for that matter, even with their own currency. They owe too much to foreigners.

                • malcolmG

                  What absolute tripe. Germany is just a member of the currency union run by the ECB. Your other comments are just laughable.

                • Alexsandr

                  spose it depends on where you bar is for determining independence.
                  Seems your bar is lower than mine.
                  I define one attribute of independence as a government having full control over fiscal policy. I, therefore, do not consider Euro members to be independent.
                  Perhaps the Scots need to determine what independence is in their view.

            • Jambo25

              In the modern age no country save the USA or the PRC is truly independent in terms of currencies. The markets are.

        • Jambo25

          Read the very interesting article in today’s ‘Sunday Times’ (Not known for it’s pro SNP or ‘Yes’ tendencies.) by Jim Walker (Also not known for pro SNP or ‘Yes’ tendencies.).

          The upshot of the article is that the kind of arrangement being proposed by the SNP, over the £, is hardly unknown and would probably be the preferred option for any successor rUK government and commerce.

          As for the EU: automatic entry would not be guaranteed but most serious observers would see Scotland’s joining the EU as being pretty straightforward. What pro EU Scots would have to assess is what would be a better guarantee of future Scottish membership? : independence or a continued union with an increasingly xenophobic and Europhobic England.

          • Alexsandr

            but what would the other EU members want as their blood money for allowing Scotland to join?

            • Jambo25

              Probably that we join the Euro eventually. I have no objection to that.

              • the viceroy’s gin

                Yes, you jock socialists enjoy being ruled by authoritarianism, in Brussels or otherwise, which is why you’ll be voting to remain glommed onto the socialist teat of Westminster .

                • Jambo25

                  The EU appears to be a lot less authoritarian than the present UK dispensation we live under.

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  I’d say it’s a tie, because the LibLabCon clones are supporting the EUSSR in its totality. That’s why it’s amusing that you jocks are scorning the one and pining for the other.

                • Jambo25

                  The PC authoritarianism and surveillance mania we now live under are echt products of the UK, not EU.

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  They all approve of it, lad. That and more. You’ll have difficulty making the case that the EUSSR believes in looser forms of civil liberties than the UK. They’re both bad.

        • terregles2

          If they live outside Scotland how is it their own country. Are English people who have gone to live in other countries and registered to vote there being given the right to vote in the next UK general election?. Are they being given the vote in an EU referendum?. Of course not.
          Everyone living in Scotland on the voters roll has the right to vote. I have English neighbours who will vote in the Independence referendum. They live here so have more right to the vote than any Scots who now live in other countries.
          Brainwashed Scottish kids? What an ignorant sweeping assertion. I have spoken to many teenagers who would not make such a blind general condemnation.

      • kyalami

        Typical ultra-nationalist paranoia.

        • asalord

          British nationalist paranoia.

          • kyalami

            Typical parrot.

      • kyalami

        No, when I wrote “good luck to them” what I meant was good luck to them. I have a lot of Scottish friends and have enjoyed my visits to Scotland. While I think it would be unwise to split from the Union, if they decide to do so I wish them well.

        Similarly your other attempts to twist my words say more about you than about me.

        • Alex

          In that case I apologise. I somehow managed to pick on the one commentator out of hundreds to use that phrase literally.

          • kyalami

            That’s good of you. Thank you. Accepted.

    • Holly

      They probably do want independence, but are too attached to the state teat to have the guts to vote for it.

      Personally, after all the years of singing Flower Of Scotland, I hope they vote for it, and are happy ever after with Salmond as their ‘leader’.
      He has been quite canny wrapping it up like a bog standard election.

      • Alex

        Please explain Holly. How has Alex Salmond wrapped up a Yes/No referendum to look like an election? I have seen no evidence of this.

        • Jambo25

          It’s probably voices in his head telling him that.

        • Holly

          All the bumf on what the SNP ‘would do’ if they win the vote.
          It should have been a clear explanation on where the country stood regarding defence, currency, EU, etc.
          There should not have been any mention of free this & that.
          That should have been left for other elections.

          • Alex

            Yes, in some ways I agree. The question should be as simple as ‘should we be independent’ and the rest would be for elections afterwards. Personally for me that is enough as I have every faith that the answer is quite self evident.

            The nature of the debate has been a distinctly ‘what if’ tone rather than a dissection of the pros and cons of sovereignty and self rule. And what this means for Scotland in terms of its politics, its culture and its self confidence.

            People, understandably, want to know what it would mean for them in plain terms and you cant argue with that. So the SNP has to paint some sort of picture. It would have been lovely, if Labour, Tory and Lib dems would do the same but that isn’t going to happen. Also the NO campaign has been about asking questions and probing any potential pitfalls. YES wouldn’t stand a chance if at least one party didn’t put up some sort of vision of an independent Scotland.

      • terregles2

        How do you know Scotland will vote for Salmond in the first general election after independence?
        How do you know Salmond will not leave the political scene after delivering an independent Scotland? How do you know that the SNP after delivering independence will not break up and join other parties
        who they feel are closer to their political aspirations?
        Are you clairvoyant?

        • Holly

          That was my point.
          Salmond has delivered HIS vision of an independent Scotland, without telling the Scottish people the genuine nuts & bolts of what it may entail, with regard to currency, the EU, their share of the debt, RBS, etc.
          Salmond has played it like a general election, and it leaves too many questions unanswered for the people it will have a profound affect on.

          I am not clairvoyant, but neither are the Scottish people if Salmond doesn’t explain the bad bits along with the good bits,
          because you can bet your sweet bippy, when politicians are involved there will be more bad bits than good bits.

          • terregles2

            Salmond has delivered HIS version of independence. Well there are four other political parties campaigning for a YES vote. Do you think he should be presenting one of THEIR visions?. Do you think Cameron should present the UKIP vision?
            Salmond has told the Scottish people quite clearly in the SNP White Paper what the nuts and bolts are. You say he has played it like a general election. Not quite sure what you mean by that. All the four parties have put forward their reasons why they believe independence will be good for Scotland.We are voting on one issue only. After independence we will then have a general election and vote on the party political issues. It may or may not be the SNP who win that one.
            You are right in one thing there are too many unanswered questions. They are though unanswered by Westminster there are dozens of them
            Why did the Westminster government hide the McCrone report from the Scottish people? Why did the MOD block the oil exploration in the Firth of Clyde and keep that fact hidden from the Scottish people for the last 30 years.?
            Why are the lucrative whisky exports that are sent out of the English ports counted in the export figures as being an English asset. Why did the Westminster government tell the lie for years that Scotland was a poor country when the GERS figures and export figures and every other government figure prove the opposite. Why is Cameron telling Scots to say no to independence.?
            It is not Alex Salmond who has brought about a wish for Scottish independence it is the Westminster government and the House of Lords who have done that.

          • terregles2

            SNP have answered all the questions in the White Paper still waiting though for Westminster to answer all the questions that Scots need answered.

      • terregles2

        Too attached to the State teat. What a rude and nasty assertion and what an insult to decent hard working taxpayers who live in Scotland.
        People who will vote YES are voting for independence not any individual person.
        You should perhaps stop and think before you abuse a whole nation. Thankfully those of us with family and friends in England and the rest of the UK know that such nastiness against other nations is not shared by most decent English people.

      • terregles2

        What a spiteful untrue comment. You might find such nastiness being censored as there has been quite a bit of censorship on the Speccie recently. There again perhaps not.

    • Jambo25

      Provide evidence: any evidence to show the SNP claiming that anything is an English plot.

      • Alexsandr

        Dont they have a future tense in Scotland? Or don’t you need it cos you all die early from a diet of deep fried mars bars and Tennents lager?

        • Jambo25

          Don’t know about where you live Alexsandr but I live in an are with one of the highest life expectancies in the UK. Moreover, according to recent figures Scottish health outcomes are improving quicker than those in rUK.

          • Alexsandr

            I was taking the pish a little.
            but I would check out Easterhouse for their life expectancy
            This article seems to point the finger at Glasgow.
            http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-1037116/The-REAL-health-map-Britain-From-lowest-life-expectancy-fattiest-diet-likely-fare.html

            • Jambo25

              And you can equally look at health statistics for de-industrialised areas of England and Wales. FWIW, there is some evidence appearing to suggest that female life expectancy, in Scotland, is starting to equal or surpass that in England.

              The problem, up here, lies with a largeish group of West of Scotland males who seem determined to dig their graves with their teeth.

              • Alexsandr

                i think you will find some tenacious smokers there too.

                • Jambo25

                  I think it’s partly to do with social class but also partly to do with a left over culture from the days of heavy industry.

            • terregles2

              Many people who have never taken alcohol before would be tempted to do so after reading the “pish” that you so eloquently refer to.

        • terregles2

          Not doing too well under the dead hand of Westminster tory halfwits are we?. Think we need a government who will use the wealth from oil and all the Scottish resources to build a better country.
          Westminster clearly does not work for Scotland. Time for a change.
          At least anyone abusing their bodies with a poor diet etc, are only abusing themselves unlike some politicians.

          • Colonel Mustard

            So your 59 Scots MPs in Westminster representing Scottish constituencies and voted for by Scottish people work for who exactly?

            Your argument relies on a grotesque misrepresentation of the UK parliament. As Reader said on QT Scotland is a socialist nation and you simply object to a UK Tory government.

            • MichtyMe

              Primarily the labour party i would have to say…disagree?

            • terregles2

              Obviously 59 MP’s in opposition can do very little to change anything for the people that they represent. You say that Scotland does not like having a Tory government. Well surely if we don’t vote for that but still get one the logical step is to change the system and introduce one that gives us the government that we want.
              We all believe in democracy if England wants a Tory government then it should have one and if Scotland wants something else then that is what we should have.

              • the viceroy’s gin

                …the 59 are socialists, lad. You jocks currently have socialism, which is what you want and voted for. You already have what you want.

      • kyalami

        Just read these message threads.

        • Jambo25

          Are any of the people who post on these threads official SNP representatives? Which of the messages are anti-English?

          • kyalami

            Who knows, any more than those accused of being nasty Tories are “official” spokesmen for the Tories …

            But there are plenty of anti-English messages. Have a read

            • Andy Ellis

              Nonsense. even a cursory examination of this and other threads shows plenty of anti-scottish bigotry, will assertion and failure to address issues or answer questions from the No camp. As is common amongst opponents of independence generally, they simply resort to wild assertion and abuse as many of your own posts amply demonstrate. None to self aware are you?

              • kyalami

                Actually, Andy, a simple search of the recent blogs about Scotland will show it’s you who is dishing out abuse and wild assertions. And your Marxist rhetoric has been a dead give-away.

                • Andy Ellis

                  Marxist? LOL. another evidence free assertion from you, like most of the rest of your posts. Habitually labelling anyone who disagrees with you a Marxist just makes you look as bats hit insane as that nut job Viceroy’s Gin who goes on about teats and the EUSSR all the time.

                  Only to be expected of anonymous trolls I suppose?

                • kyalami

                  “agitprop” and “cadres” are the language of Marxists, Andy. And just by clicking on your picture, people can see what kind of posts you make: the abuse comes from you, old chap.

    • terregles2

      Scotland does not need luck. We are a country rich in natural resources that has been mismanaged for far too long by Westminster.
      We know that Scotland will do well with independence simply because the Westminster chancers are so against it.
      We will not blame English Tories for anything after independence. We will be too busy building a better country.
      When we have shaken off the dead hand of Westminster government we will open up the oil exploration that the British MOD blocked on the Firth of Clyde due to the close proximity of Trident.
      Scotland will be a nuclear weapon free prosperous country governed by politicians that the majority of Scots have voted for.
      The only fantasy around the UK is that Scotland is better off being governed by Westminster politicians that Scots would not trust to run the local garden fete.

      • kyalami

        Excellent. Assuming there is a Yes vote (possible but unlikely) I look forward to seeing a prosperous Scotland, which would be in our mutual interests.

        • terregles2

          Of course it would be in all our interests to have two prosperous countries. Why would anyone wish otherwise?. I have lots of friends and family in England and I hope that both countries will do well living side by side with different governments.
          Some of the people who post anti ” Jock ” abuse really need to look at what they write.
          Scotland and England will always be geographically and historically close. That will not change when we both have separate governments. Those voting YES in 2014 are voting against Westminster government never against English people. Norway split from Sweden in 1905 and they are now good neighbours no reason why Scotland and England will not be the same.

          • Colonel Mustard

            “Those voting YES in 2014 are voting against Westminster government never against English people.”

            You’ve made this claim before but some of the pro-YES comments here belie your claim. And the “Westminster government” you decry contains 59 Scots MPs put there by Scottish people. That is just over 9% of the representation in Westminster for a population of just over 9% of the UK total. Seems pretty fair but you also have a Scottish parliament.

            • Andy Ellis

              Do you have reading difficulties? This and other Scotland related threads here and elsewhere are replete with various levels of anti Scottish spite, bigotry and bile. Much of this is fairly low voltage stuff, but ask yourself the question why is it that the overwhelming majority of the abuse comes from those supporting the No camp. Could it be because the have no positive case? Or do they just lack the intellect to express it?

            • terregles2

              I quite agree with what you say. Scotland has a fair proportion of Westminster MP’s. We are only a population of 5 million we do not expect to have any more representation in Westminster. The point is though it does not give us a government that we vote for or give us policies that are good for Scotland. That is why independence has become a necessity. Westminster and the House of Lords. I do not think they serve England very well either never mind Scotland. Almost every country has self government it is more than time for Scotland to do the same.

              • Alex

                I am with you there. This disjointed politics is not serving the England or the rest of the UK either. Following a Yes vote – Labour in England would be forced to rethink its direction to best suit the politics of its people

                To me it is as simple as this. If you believe Scotland and England are distinct countries AND you believe democracy is the best form of governance – then you have to believe Scottish independence is the best way forward for everyone.

    • malcolmG

      Given we are experiencing the reality of the union it should be a simple decision come September. It cannot be any worse on our own, things can only improve.

  • MichtyMe

    Odd, Conservatives concerned that power could be repatriated to a National parliament.

    • HookesLaw

      You are odd in the way you misrepresent the truth. The UK is one country with one national parliament. The SNP can call the thing in Edinburgh what they want but it is not a parliament.

      • MichtyMe

        Naw, I’d call the UK a system of governance, like the EU.

    • the viceroy’s gin

      They may be Conservatives, but they’re not conservatives. There is a huge difference.

  • Daniel Maris

    Well I have said the same for several months. Even with a lacklustre campaign, I think the closer we get to the referendum date, the more we will see the undecided opt for independence. It’s interesting that senior Tories are in a tizz.

    • HookesLaw

      Why would the undecided opt for independence?
      A recent poll suggest just 27% want independence.
      http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2516317/Poll-reveals-just-QUARTER-Scots-want-leave-UK-following-launch-referendum-campaign.html

      17% don’t know and if they all voted yes they would still lose. And of course there is no evidence at all that they would vote yes.

      Would you vote to be an independent country without your own currrency? Where have you the least shred of evidence to support your wild assertion?

      • Andy Ellis

        You can tell precisely zero from one poll; you need to look at the average of a large number, and even then be cautious, particularly 9 months out from the vote. What IS obvious is that the No lead over Yes has declined substantially over the past 9 months, and that a large number remain (or say when asked in polls which may not be the same thing!?) undecided.

        The limited polling on which way undecideds will vote when they are pressed suggests that as a block they tend to split 60% Yes, 40% No.

        Realistically, the polls are far closer than the No camp like to think, and likely to get closer the nearer September gets.

        Look at the evidence here:

        http://ukpollingreport.co.uk/scottish-independence-referendum

        The average over 34 polls since January 2012 is Yes 33%, No 50%, Don’t know 16%. also worth noting that over the past 9 months the No lead had decreased by one-third, with the loss going to both Don’t Know and Yes.

        If, as seems likely more Don’t Knows fall to the Yes camp than No camp, the swing required for Yes to go ahead isn’t that large. Predictions of victory from the No camp at this stage are brave indeed!

        • the viceroy’s gin

          Not brave in the slightest, lad. The numbers make that a probability.

          • Andy Ellis

            If the numbers were as bad as unionists and their useful fools say, you might have a point; but as detailed above, they aren’t so you don’t.

            • the viceroy’s gin

              Doesn’t matter what you spin, lad. I’ve been reviewing such numbers long before you were born or thought of.

              And let me explain something to you. Whimpering is the last thing you should be doing, if you wanted to win. This effort requires a strong and relentless positive touch, and you jock separatist zealots are ensuring this is going to fail, simply because the bulk of the jocks won’t risk their government teat suckling to you shrill zealots.

              • Daniel Maris

                Typically, you seem unable to address any evidence that doesn’t support your prejudices.

                We will see what the result brings, but in my view all the arguments are falling on the nationalist side. The idea that with modern technology a European nation with so much land and resources, matched with a realtively small population, can’t prosper is absurd.

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  …and the jock socialists are very much similar to socialist nutters like you.

      • Jambo25

        I don’t see the Dutch wanting governance from Paris.

      • Daniel Maris

        I agree the SNP have made tactical errors on the currency and Scotland’s EU status (they ought to have made it a big issue that the union was entered into on an equal basis and should be dissolved on an equal basis).

        However, if Crosby and others believe the vote may go for independence I think you have to ask why.

        • the viceroy’s gin

          No, you don’t have to ask why. He’s a dumb socialist just like you.

        • allymax bruce

          I disagree with you, Daniel; the SNP have made no errors. The way a ‘battle’ is conducted has more to do with strategy, timing, and tactics; certainly not gifting your strengths to the enemy. Charge! Was the cry; as 600 hurried to their demise.
          Moreover, it’s always good tactics to find your opponents sense of strengths; EU & Currency can now be ‘negotiated’ on our Scottish terms!

          • the viceroy’s gin

            …why would you fantasize that?

            Just ***presto*** and the world rolls over for Jockistan? Don’t be ridiculous.

          • paulus

            God you are so naive, half of Europe will block Scottish entry to the E.U terrified of their own regions breaking away.

            Negotiate a currency deal, you have no leverage, its lunatic, don’t you realise George Osbourne is seeing an opportunity to get rid of trillions of pounds worth of debt.

            They just need to convince Cameron and yous are away out the door. Your talking millions of people into absolute poverty, they will insist on taking everything you have. The Scottish economy cannot underwrite and support such a large banking sector. It incurred too much debt.

            These Scottish commentators and economists are trying to explain to you, Without frightening the horses.

            • terregles2

              Scotland is not a region it is a country. Catalonia etc has never been a seperate country.
              Because Catalonia is a region and there are many different opinions as to where the borders would be drawn with Spain you cannot compare it with the ancient country of Scotland,
              The biggest threat to Scotland not being part of the EU would be that after a no vote in 2014 England could vote to leave the EU in the EU referendum.

  • Tony_E

    I don’t care who leads it – so long as they lose.

  • RavenRandom

    Sometimes I wish I came from a country that believed in itself. We bow to the EU, we allow immigrants to flood into England (in particular), all we debate is how much money to distribute and not how we make more wealth, and we aren’t even sure if we stay together as a nation. It’s quite depressing.

    • HookesLaw

      You talk as if the UK was the only country in the world with immigrants. 25% of the population of Switzerland is immigrant. We are not in the Schengen area – Norway is, as is most of the rest of Europe.

      • saffrin

        I doubt very much that those immigrants have Swiss passports.
        Temporary work permits yes, passports no.

        • HookesLaw

          The rate of naturalisation was 7% in 1990 it was 28% in 2008. meantime i apologie my memory plys tricks the immigrant population of Switzerland is nearer to 20%. I think germany Italy and Spain have a bigger percentage than we do. I think France are not far behind.
          The point is that many other countries have significant immigrant populations and to talk about bowing and not believing and all the other self serving rubbish is to ignore reality. And that reality is that the worlds population is on the move for everybody.

          • the viceroy’s gin

            You mean, that’s your reality, as a citizen of the “world”.

            You and the rest of the socialist Camerluvvies.

            • HookesLaw

              Who talked about citizen of the world? You and your ignorant prejudices jump to that conclusion in a desperatre attempt to stave off reality.
              the facts are plain – plain all over the world, there is far more movement of people and the
              UK is not the only country with immigrant populations.
              As ever you have nothing to offer just your bigotry. How is the Grand Wizard – is it hard to keep up your red neck credentials?

              • the viceroy’s gin

                Spoken like a true socialist Camerluvvie. Let’s see what you’re speaking when Call Me Dave’s head is mounted on a spike, 16 months from now.

                Gosh, time’s flying, isn’t it?

              • Tom Tom

                UK needs Lebensraum

                • Kennybhoy

                  Who do you shill for?

                • Tom Tom

                  Oh Kennybhoy, don’t you recognise the policy ? We need Settlements for our expanding population so we should take the land we need and move the French into bantustans and we can then build a wall to protect our Settlers

                • Kennybhoy

                  Who do you shill for?

        • Denis_Cooper

          Indeed, the Swiss are very strict about granting citizenship and as things stand most of those immigrants have little chance of ever getting it. In fact there are numerous people who were born and bred in Switzerland of parents who were born and bred in Switzerland who are nonetheless not Swiss citizens, Swiss nationality law being based on the principle of “jus sanguinis”, blood, with no concessions to “jus soli”, soil:

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

          I expect that many Swiss politicians would be happy to hand out citizenship with the same profligacy as our politicians, but they get stymied by the right of Swiss citizens to demand and get legally binding referendums.

          And as only the existing body of Swiss citizens are eligible to vote in elections and referendums, which is absolutely the right thing, they have a great deal of control over who is allowed to join them as new citizens.

          • HookesLaw

            Switzerland a country of 8 million including all its immigrants naturalise about 45000 people a year.

            • Denis_Cooper

              According to wikipedia:

              http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Swiss_nationality_law#Naturalization

              But 45000 divided by 1.7 million resident non-citizens would be 2.6% of them naturalised per year, adding about 0.7% to the existing body of residents citizens per year; I’ve no idea where the wikipedia article has got those numbers of 8% in 1990 and 27% in 2007.

              I don’t know how many of those 45,000 fell within the various categories for simplified naturalisation, eg

              “women who lost Swiss citizenship through marriage to a non-Swiss citizen, or through the loss of Swiss citizenship by a husband, before 23 March 1992”

              and

              “children born to Swiss mothers who lost their citizenship due to the marriage of a non-Swiss before 23 March 1992 but became re-naturalised”

              etc.

              • HookesLaw

                blah blah blah.
                I do not know if the figures are good bad or indifferent but the figures are what they are. This article says 36,000. it also says around 900,000 people in Switzerland were eligible for citizenship, but many do not see the point.
                http://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/swiss_news/Why_some_residents_choose_not_to_become_Swiss.html?cid=35624994

                The other point of course is they live there buy houses use schools and pay taxes and use the welfare state etc etc etc.
                The central point I originally made is other countries beside the UK have significant immigrant populations.

                • Tom Tom

                  Cannot buy houses under Cantonal Law.

            • Tom Tom

              Yes but most of those are white

          • disqus_9I6C4azbIA

            If jus sanquinis is correct how did Albert Einstein gain Swiss citizenship ?

            • Tom Tom

              His family lived in Italy and he worked in CH gaining Swiss Citizenship 1901; German Citizenship 1914; US Citizenship 1940

              • disqus_9I6C4azbIA

                Einstein renounced his German citizenship in 1895 and never ever wished to re-apply. It is important to understand Einstiein was never a German scientist.

            • Denis_Cooper

              Dunno. why don’t you look into it and report back?

      • anyfool

        Switzerland does not have a large hostile incubus called Islam waiting to spread its cancer like ideology, they do not allow unemployable third world peasants in to bloat the welfare sector.
        A real leader would stop this regardless of a few pathetic sensibilities of the communist leaders of the EU.

        • HookesLaw

          you conflate 2 lies. large and hostile. You are a bigot. Non muslim, indeed anti muslim, hindus constitute a large part of our immigrant population. Where is your evidence that 3rd world peasants are bloating our welfare.
          Our biggest welfare problem is getting our indiginous population out of bed and into work.
          Your rant is a load of unadulterated ignorant hysteria. ie the usual for this increasingly useless blog.

          • anyfool

            They are a large contingent and outnumber any other group, they are very peaceful if you forget they are the largest section of the jail population for violence, oh and cutting heads off people and blowing up people on public transport are just a way of being friendly.
            Whatever you are on it must be illegal or everyone would be living in your little utopia.
            Big majorities of immigrants of Muslim extraction are on benefits according to the EU reports on this, not that the witless fools in government in this country would ever produce any information on this.

          • Jambo25

            Actually, since we’re discussing Scotland: that country has one of the highest economic participation rates in the UK and one of the lowest immigration rates.

            • D Roberts

              Low Immigration to ~Scotland. People have been leaving Scotland for all corners of the world since Edward I died and they forgot to patrol Hadrian’s Wall [just like Dover now] That’s because its it freezing and in darkness half the year. Why don’t the Scots adjust their Time Zone by an hour or two to make life a bit more bearable. They should have told Ted Heath to sod off back in the early 70’s when all this ‘Time’ thing came up last time. The EU have killed off the Fishing Industry so the only people left mainly work in the Oil Industry, which by and large [with the exceptions of those Bastards running Grangemouth] isn’t to badly paid. Actually, we should all have told Heath to Sod Off back in the 70’s. He reduced this country to ungovernably which Callagin of “Crisis? What Crisis?” [yes I know he never actually said it but it stuck to him like glue] failed to rectify which allowed that Mad Bitch ‘Slasher Thatcher’ to destroy our way of life [and no I don’t mean like lying in bed all day puffing away on a joint and watching daytime TV] She re-introduced Naked Greed and gave ‘the people’ licence not to give a flying fuck about anyone or anything else, apart from the value of their SODDING HOUSE! Mmm.

              • Jambo25

                1) Nothing we can do to extend the number of daylight hours this time of year. We can have late darkness in the morning or early darkness in the afternoon. The payback for this are the wonderful, long summer days in June -August.
                2) Also, of course, those who work in IT, biotech, specialist engineering, finance, food production etc etc. That’s why we have the second highest pay/salary rates after London and the S East. Much lower living costs as well.
                3) As for your assessment of British PMs of the 70s and 80s. I’d pretty much go along with it but that paranoid, twisted scumbag, Wilson, deserves much more of a kicking.

        • McRobbie

          Dont know if you should be so worried by islam..its clearly a dead end religion…any belief that advocates killing non believers and segregates half its population through sexist bigotry is going no where in the modern world.

          • HookesLaw

            You are right – and we should encourage its populations to act accordingly.

            • the viceroy’s gin

              …from the looks of things, in Libya and Syria, you socialist Camerluvvies are encouraging the islamofascists to continue chopping heads and slaughtering Christians, in fact you luvvies are paying them to do so.

          • glurk

            I’d like to believe that a rational approach like that would prevail but rationale does not form part of the function of any extreme belief while mob violence does.

          • anyfool

            Dead end for any in their way, millions would testify that the road to no where is paved with their bones.

          • D Roberts

            But they breed like rabbits once they are ‘arranged’ to get together

      • Two Bob

        Well England is a country with a very dense population……

        Guess what? The swiss had a referendum to reduce immigration.

        If only we could do that. Carry on your modernisation dream. It will destroy your party.

        • HookesLaw

          very dense commentators

          • Holly

            Very dense politicians, do far more damage than any dense immigrant…Citizen or not.

            • HookesLaw

              No – the problem we have is the special interest groups and pleaders who always stop anything being done. Its easy to blame politicians. Not least we are badly served by our media – a self serving media.

        • MichtyMe

          “dense”!!! yes, agree, tee hee.

          • Colonel Mustard

            And the SNP cheerleaders bleat that it is not about anglophobia.

            • MichtyMe

              No SoH PC Mustard.

      • Smithersjones2013

        You really don’t get it do you? You really are incapable of understanding what it means to be a sovereign independent nation? No doubt because you are such a sycophantic submissive slave to the Tory party.

        It means not being like any other country should we choose to be.So you can chunter and blether on about Switzerland, Norway, La La Land, Never Never Land or whoever you want but it does not limit this country’s options at all.

        Its irrelevant what others do. It what this government would do that matters first and foremost.

        • HookesLaw

          I know full well what a sovereign independent nation is. And I know I live in one. Its a small country in the middle of a big world and no matter how hard to wish that world is not going to go away.
          You have to invent my opinions because you are so sycophantic to Saint Nigel. Our shocking problem is the numbers we have on benefits who see no point in getting up in the morning. Its not easy for you to face up to that – something that has nothing to do with nasty foreigners. And its sad for you to learn that even out of the EU we will have to deal with it and in so doing give up some of our wonderful sovereignty.

          • Smithersjones2013

            Well clearly you have no idea if you think this country is truly sovereign (it doesn’t even have complete control over its tax policies) and I make nothing up. I speak as I find and I have not found such a pathetic and unoriginal sycophant as you (your childish “same to you.with knobs on” responses are particularly tiresome – can’t you think anything up for yourself?)

            Yes our shocking problem of idleness is so bad that we are reported to work longer hours than just about every other nation in Europe.

            http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-16082186

            Now if you weren’t such a purile and mean spirited little party puppet so enthusiastic and intent on putting your own compatriots down you might find you have the wherewithal to seek out such information yourself. Hard as it is to believe somewhere beneath your mindless clone like exterior there must be some form of intelligence however suppressed it is.

            Once upon a time there were Tories (like Margaret Thatcher) who stuck up for the British people. Now the Tories are nothing more than pernicious little quislings for Brussels and corporate vested interests. Its so sad to see them having sold out in such a self serving manner. Still I suppose that all that’s left for a party that will never win a majority again.

            As for dealing with the EU yes its a shame the entity will still exist when we leave, and yes we will have to deal with them but we have to be realistic and we will deal with them just as we deal with any other supra-national or national entity.

            That’s not an issue for sadness that is just a reality of life. How strange you think that such things have not been recognised and are not viewed with pragmatism? Freedom always comes with a price .

            Of course such concepts probably would not occur to you in your closeted world of sycophancy where you are spoon fed every thought. Perhaps you should take your head out of whatever orifice it is stuck in and take a look around. You might realise such things more readily and discover other realities as well (like the futility of the Tory party).

        • Jambo25

          The problem of population density lies, overwhelmingly, in England: not up here.

      • Tom Tom

        Switzerland is CONFEDERAL and you cannot easily get Swiss Citizenship. The immigrants you speak of are largely German

    • terregles2

      Alistair Darling is the biggest gift to the YES campaigners. The UK is now history.

  • Alexsandr

    why does the tory party need a scottish independance policy? They have no scottish tory MP’s. They should just say ‘do what you will, on your heads be it’, then shut up.
    anything else stinks of perfidious albion.

    • HookesLaw

      Can’t the tories aspire to win seats in Scotland? I know the kippers have given up but there is no reason for the tories to.

      • the viceroy’s gin

        If the jocks wanted a socialist party, why vote for the socialist Cameroons when they can have the socialist SNP?

        The jocks aren’t as confused as you are, lad.

        • Jambo25

          Look carefully. The SNP aren’t that socialist.

          • the viceroy’s gin

            Yes, they’re not that socialist. They’re this socialist

            • Jambo25

              The SNP could happily fit into the standard European Christian Democrat pattern. I doubt they’re much more left wing than Merkel and the German CDU.

              • the viceroy’s gin

                …who are socialist, and as you say, you’re even more socialist than them.

                • Jambo25

                  Ah well, when you start thinking that Merkel and the CDU are socialist we’re heading towards the wilder shores of weirdness.

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  No, actually, it’s standard political analysis.

                  It’s also standard that you leftists shift definitions. White is black. Up is down. Socialism is conservatism.

                  It’s normal for you types.

      • Smithersjones2013

        Still peddling your moronic lies are you?

        The Tories aspired to win seats in Northern Ireland in 2010. It didn’t mean they won any. The Tories have aspired to do lots of things.electorally Their problem is not aspiration but their ability to deliver.

        The best example at the moment is their ‘aspiration’ to win a majority when anyone who knows anything about our electoral system knows that bar Scotland voting for independence the Tories have about as much chance of winning a majority as Alex Salmond has of declaring himself ‘English’.

      • terregles2

        Before Thatcher the tories had quite a significant share of the Scottish vote. Some predict that after independence the Scottish conservatives will regain some of the support they have lost over the years.

    • Andy Ellis

      They do have 1 Scottish MP at Westminster. Their relative lack of support has more to do with the toxicity of their brand than the lack of right of centre voters in Scotland. Post a Yes vote, you can expect to see a re0invigorated centre-right party in Scotland I suspects, cleansed of the Britnat taint.

      • the viceroy’s gin

        …and pigs will be flying, too, is it?

        • Jambo25

          My ‘Yes’ voting friends and I are all right of centre European style Christian Democrats.

          • the viceroy’s gin

            …of course you’re rightist. And the pigs are flying already.

            • Jambo25

              Well, believe what you will but my friends and I are social conservatives who back a largely capitalist economic system operating efficiently to finance a decent welfare state. Pretty classic definition of a European centre right Christian Democrat.

              • the viceroy’s gin

                Actually, the only part of that which might describe conservatism would be the social conservative claim, and we’d have to test that claim to see whether it stands up. The rest fits comfortably into the socialist/leftist orb. LibLabCon agrees with you on that socialism, lad .

                You’ll need to shake your head and shake off the EUSSR driven cobwebs, in order to demonstrate what you’re claiming here.

                • Jambo25

                  No. You are making the classic mistake which some on the right of the Tory Party make in thinking that what Thatcher and chums provided was conservatism. It wasn’t. It was a mix of social and economic liberalism. There hasn’t been a real conservative party in the UK since Heath.

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  I’m not making any mistake or comparison, lad, with Thatcher or anybody else. You’re claiming you’re a conservative, by comparing yourself to European socialists.

                  Sorry, but you make my case for me. You’re a socialist.

                • Jambo25

                  I should make clear that I think Heath was the one who killed of traditional Conservatism.

              • Colonel Mustard

                Yes, socialists have embraced capitalism everywhere. Especially the capitalism of highly paid CEO jobs in the ideological propaganda peddling of the third sector funded by taxpayers. They love that.

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