No, the Irish are not afraid of Scottish independence

13 December 2013

3:06 PM

13 December 2013

3:06 PM

If I were to say that I admire Charles Moore tremendously you would know there must be a ‘but’ looming towards the end of the paragraph. Nevertheless I do admire Charles Moore an awful lot. His column is a weekly treat much enjoyed by all sensible folk. If you don’t do so already you should subscribe to ensure you never miss his weekly epistles from High Toryville. But…

I am not persuaded by his suggestion that people in the Republic of Ireland are worried by the prospect of Scotland voting to become an independent state. He says “most people” do not want Scotland to vote for independence. I daresay this is the case, at least amongst those folk favoured with Charles’s company but it still strikes me as an odd conclusion.

In my experience Irish people are, like people in most parts of the world, intensely indifferent to the referendum’s outcome. They will be able to live with the result, no matter which way it goes. My experience is that Scottish independence, in as much as it is ever raised, tends to be accompanied by a joshing What’s keeping you? kind of attitude. If Scots vote Yes there will be a friendly welcome from Dublin. Welcome to independence, the water’s lovely.

According to Charles – or according to the people to whom he has been talking – the Irish are, however, worried that an independent Scotland might reopen the parked question of a United Ireland, that Edinburgh might become a low-tax competitor for Dublin and that a Yes vote would “weaken the UK and therefore make it a less useful ally for Ireland in the EU”. Well, perhaps.

I suppose the further unravelling of the United Kingdom could reopen the Ulster question but it is hard to see how it could advance the cause of unification since it cannot do anything to resolve the knotty problem (sic) of consent.


As for the EU question, if one supposes – for the moment – that the interests of Dublin and London are often similar we might think that Edinburgh’s interests would, broadly speaking, be aligned with Dublin and London too. The rump UK’s influence might be marginally diminished but that would, at least to some extent, be compensated for by an additional English-speaking voice and vote at the table.

Finally, there is the question of tax. Scotland could become a low-tax haven for investment and enterprise within the EU. I think that preferable to many of the alternatives. It must be admitted, however, that this is a minority viewpoint in Scotland as a whole and an opinion not shared by very many people arguing for independence. The Irish, if they worry about this at all, may not have very much to worry about. At least not until reality bites.

Poor Ireland is, in any case, the abandoned step-son of the independence debate. Once upon a time Hibernia was used as a cautionary tale, then she became a model of aspiration and now she is, once again, ignored. Alex Salmond no longer talks of an Arc of Prosperity stretching from Dublin to Oslo and Rejkjavik via Edinburgh (an oddly-shaped arc but never mind) and we all know why that is the case. Comparisons with Dublin, once so envious, are now quietly forgotten.

Despite all this Ireland, rather more than Norway or Finland, remains the best country with which to compare an independent Scotland. It is a closer cultural fit than anything in Scandinavia and closer, if different, in history too.

And Ireland is still a successful place. It is worth noting that Scotland would begin its independent life in a much more fortuitous position than did the Free State and, god willing, we might not have to endure half a century of misgovernment as the Irish did.

We have a tendency, sometimes, to focus on the short-term at the expense of a broader, longer view. In Britain, for instance, it is true that median incomes for non-retired families remain 6.5% below their 2006-7 level. But, as Chris Dillow points out, they are still – in real terms – 18.6% higher than they were in 1998-99. It would have been good to avoid a crash but let’s not abandon the longer view. A lost decade is regrettable and comes at a heavy price but it is not quite the end of the world.

Similarly and despite its recent difficulties Ireland remains a much more prosperous – and better – place than it was when I first went there 20 years ago. Much has been gained and recent losses have not wiped out those profits.

So, actually, we should talk about Ireland and the Irish example more than we do. The Irish can still make a go of life as a quasi-independent republic; there is no reason why Scotland should not prove equally capable of doing so. (Memo to St Andrew’s House: crazy property booms are a bad idea.)

But, again, it is not really a debate about economics. Or rather it should not be a debate solely-centred on economics. It is about nationhood, identity and belonging. Here Scotland diverges from southern Ireland but the Irish example shouldn’t be used as a bogeyman warning Scots off from independence any more than it was a persuasive shining example in the years of the Celtic Tiger.

And, to return to Charles Moore, my fancy is that the Scottish vote looks more “multi-dimensionally dangerous” if it is viewed from London or Sussex than it does seen from Edinburgh or Dublin.

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  • UlsterMonaghan

    Don’t call NI Ulster. Ulster is larger than NI with 1/3 of its counties being in the ROI. Ulster is an Irish province and the red hand is that of the Irish O’Neill clan.

  • gunterprien

    Britain OUT of Ireland.

  • Daniel Maris

    WIth Scotland (having maybe a third of its population claiming Irish roots)part of the UK, there is a lot of sense in N Ireland (with maybe half or more of the people having Scottish roots) remaining part of the UK. Take Scotland out of the equation, and N Ireland becomes far less of a good fit. It becomes a very isolated statelet within the rump Union. The “one last push” Republicans there will have a lot of geography if not ethics on their side.

    • Eddie

      Yes, true. The Scots certainly are not a ‘pure’ race at all; the myth that all English are Anglo-Saxons, all Welsh and Scots are Celts is fantasy worthy of some official in North Korea. DNA shows there is not much difference actually. Scotland is a construct and was not a nation when it had warring tribes of Picts, Vikings and Irish (Scots).
      Funny too that it was the Welsh who first created Whisky…

      • Zeus

        Britons, Picts, Vikings, Irish and Northumbrians to be exact, 99% of the people being Britons/Picts (ie Welsh speakers).

        • g1

          Go wan outa that and stop having us on.

        • Neil Young

          Really? How do you know the Picts spoke P Celtic? do you realise there is no evidence to prove this oft spouted theory? The only language we know for certain the Picts spoke was Gaidhlig (Q Celtic). If they spoke another language before their amalgamation with the Scots then it isnt known. The Brythionics were here in strathclyde for certain, there is some suggestion they moved up north at the invite of the romans which certainly matches the Roman mo. Incidentally, you never mentioned the Scots anywhere in your summary of what the Scottish peoples ancestry was?

          • Crying out loud

            We know the ‘Picts’ spoke a different language from several sources, St Columba required an interpreter when trying to convert the Highlands, topographic names – P-Celtic Aber is widely used in Pictish areas instead of the Q-Celtic Inbhir/Inver to give just one example and there are many more – Strathclyde is P-Celtic (Ystrad Clud), Pen in Pencaitland, Pentland, Penicuik etc etc. The The Romans made it clear that the same language was spoken in almost all of the British isles – the only area was around Kent, where it is thought that the people spoke Belgic Celtic, now lost.

            • Neil Young

              St.Columbia needed an interpreter on 2 desperate occasions, he didn’t need an interpreter whilst living with the Picts or interacting with them on a daily basis, he needed the interpreter once in the highlands and once on the Isle of Skye and both times it was whilst explaining to a native some intricate specific religious matter( it’s not recorded what this mattersspecifically was). So really the interpreter thing is irrelevant as St Columba either spoke the Picts language or they shared a similar one.

              • Neil Young

                Seperate not desperate! 😉

            • Neil Young

              The aber thing is a nonsense,do you know that in the Strathclyde area ( the only area that we know had p_celtic people) there are no aber place names? The Aber place namesi Scotland came from a Gaidhglig word which was superseded Inver, meaning a confluence of a river. I’d love to see your roman evidence!

            • Neil Young

              Ah those old chestnuts, St Columba did not need an interpreter to converse with the Picts, he needed an interpreter on 2 separate occasions and both of those occasions were specifically to explain a complicated part of religious theology, I don’t know what but for example the holy trinity. That proves nothing. Aber is non existent in the only area of Scotland where we know for sure the Brythonic P Celtic speakers lived for any great length of time and they weren’t Picts!

          • Irene Palagrout

            Actually there is plenty of evidence, mainly from place names but also personal names found on inscriptions and recorded in Latin or Gaelic documents. There appears to have been, perhaps, an additional ceremonial language which may have been the indigenous language before the Picts adopted their form of Brythonic.

            • Neil Young

              Hi Irene, there is no linguistic “evidence”, (I hope you don’t refer to the word aber!) Skene has done a great job in blowing these theories out the water

          • jim

            Paternally they’re R1b L21 majority like the other Celtic areas in UK.

            • Neil Young

              Jim, that they spoke a Celtic language is not something im disputing, its whether they spoke P or Q Celtic which is the issue not their blood types.

  • MacRiada

    In the 1930s the State refused to continue making payments to the UK, Britain then waged an economic war on Ireland that lasted until 1938. During this period a policy of “self-sufficiency” was followed. The government established a national carrier, Aer Lingus and expanded the ESB and set about building further hydro electric powerplants. The State also opened emabssies around the world and established itself in international organisations. At the end of the Economic war Britain returned the Treaty ports, but WW2 insured the policy of self sufficiency had to continue. During this time the State was still forced to deal with constitutional issues as a legacy of Britain’s behaviour during the Treaty negotiations. Irish diplomats changed the commonwealth in their efforts to exploit the Treaty and the Irish Constitution of 1937 established the structure of the democratic state at a time when most of Europe was either Fascist, Communist, or good old fashioned imperialist.

    At the end of the war there was a brief boom in the late 40s, however the protectionist policies of the 1930s were continued for a decade longer than they should have been and that led to the disastrous decade of the 1950s.

    Beginning in the late 1950s (around the time that Britain had to go cap in hand to America for a loan) Sean Lemass and Tk Whitaker produced the First and Second Programmes for Economic Recovery and this led to the economic boom of the 1960s. From here we can track the development of modern Ireland, with the establishment of a national television service, RTE and the introduction of free secondary education and the introduction of third level grants and the establishment of several Institutes of Technology.

    • Eddie

      ‘the Irish Constitution of 1937 established the structure of the democratic state at a time when most of Europe was either Fascist, Communist, or good old fashioned imperialist. ‘
      Yep, but Ireland was in fact a dictatorship of the Catholic Church. It avoided being commie or fascist though largely because of the foundation built by the British – I know it will pain many to admit it, but as Ireland was essentially part of Britain for almost a millennia, it is and always will be largely a British creation (like India).
      Moreover, many Irish supported fascism and the Nazis. Who was the only world leader to sign the book of condolences when Hitler’s death was announced eh?

      • MacRiada

        A quarter of Ireland’s Presidents have been Protestant. In Britain today a Catholic is not entitled to even be married to the Head of State. For 50 the UK permitted the SOLE party governing one of its regions to ban citizens from even being a member based solely on their religion.

        In terms of foreign debt owed Britain owes more to Ireland than the other way around.

        Ireland has never had a Fascist party -unlike Britain. To this day Ireland does not have any far right parties unlike Britain. Britain could have easily stopped Fascist Italy building its empire in Africa by just closing the Suez -but then, the idea of a European power subjugating Africans wasn’t exactly alien to the British. As President of the League of Nations, De Valera called for action.

        The Written Irish Constitution was prescient in many areas. It was the first written constitution that gave express recognition to the Jewish faith -quite different to what was going on elsewhere in Europe at that time.

        Ireland provided much help to the allies, which Britain never acknowledged. De Valera followed empty protocol -it isn’t like he signed the Munich agreement that gave Hitler another country or The Naughty Document with Stalin.

        “I know it will pain many to admit it” but Ireland from its creation was a democracy.

      • TenMajor

        “Moreover, many Irish supported fascism and the Nazis.”
        Have you even the slightest shred of proof for this ridiculous claim? Brown shirts & King Edward ring a bell? Irish Republican were anti-fascist, yes they would take arms from Germany if offered, the same as British Loyalist did in Ulster (all 9 counties) in 1912.

        • jim

          some did, blue shirts mostly

  • MacRiada

    “we might not have to endure half a century of misgovernment as the Irish did.”

    On coming into existence in the 1920s, The Irish Free State had to contend with a great deal of adversity. It was partitioned from the industrialised North, it had no money and under the terms of the Treaty, it had to pay money to the UK under threat of immediate and terrible war. The terms of the treaty led to a civil war, which the state had to contend with in the early months of its establishment. Nevertheless, during the 1920s the government created political stability, established the apparatus of State and began large projects such as the Shannon scheme, the construction of the hydroelectric powerplant was the largest engineering project of its kind in the world at the time. They kept taxation low and balanced its budget in spite of the cost of paying for that destruction and making substantial payments to Britain. They also significantly improved export performance. At the end of the 1920s of course the world faced the great depression.

    (Alex might keep in mind that between 1921 and 1930 about 550,000 Scottish people left Scotland i.e. one fifth of the working population).

  • Two Bob

    How do you know what the Irish think?

    ‘But, again, it is not really a debate about economics. Or rather it should not be a debate solely-centred on economics. It is about nationhood, identity and belonging.’

    Just as the debate about the EU should NOT be a debate soley centred on economics….

    When it suits when it suits huh?

  • Bill McLean

    I wish people would stop conflating “Ulster” with Northern Ireland. Northern Ireland is comprised of 6 counties. Ulster comprises 9 counties – 3 of which are in the Irish Republic. Picky I know – but misinformation is as dangerous as Tory government!

    • Daniel Maris

      That’s a bit like saying “I wish people wouldn’t conflate the mainland of Europe with Europe including its offshore islands.” “Ulster” has a political and cultural reality that doesn’t depend on all counties being present and correct.

      • bedrock

        Dont talk rubbish Daniel. Ulster has 9 counties Fact. I live in ulster and im proud but I do not live in the Uk or Northern Ireland FACT

      • UlsterMonaghan

        What are you talking about fool? Ulster is a province of Ireland and is larger than NI. 1/3 of its counties lie outside NI. Ireland has 4 provinces! Ulster is an Irish name. The red hand of ulster is that of the Irish O’Neill family. Read an atlas!

  • CraigStrachan

    I’m sure you admire Charles Moore more than Rod Liddle.

  • WalterSEllis

    Do you think it’s too late to advocate for a fully devolved United Kingdom, including both Scotland AND Ireland, plus Wales, with some form of regional government for the English regions, that then takes its place in a reformed European Union?


    • terregles2

      The majority of Scots wanted devo max but were told it was not on offer. A straight yes or no was placed on the table.

      • Michele Keighley

        Because it smacks of demanding everything and giving nothing – and would only increase the resentment south of your border! Plus, there is no interest in having England split into regions, rather there is a growing swell of support for a re-convened English Parliament.

        Surely a real federal solution is the only way for each to achieve true national autonomy along with the strong umbrella of unionism.- so why is that on the table for discussion? And before you leap in with the argument that the size of England makes that impossible, so that nation *must* be split up, do a bit of research into successful federal states, Australia has vastly differing states in both size, wealth and population – yet it is a federation that works.

        But the biggest fallacy of course WalterSEllis – is that there will ever be a reformed European Union!!

        • terregles2

          I agree Michele devo max would be demanding everything and giving nothing. It will never be on offer, The difference between Australia with federal states etc is that Australia is one country. Scotland and England are two separate countries. They entered into a political union in 1707 but they continued to be two separate countries with different legal systems etc.
          I really don’t see what the problem is with Scottish independence. The vast majority of countries have it and I don’t see any real reason that Scotland should not return to self government. It will be much better for both Scotland and England when we can both live with more democratic government. We will often have common interests in world affairs and I think both governments would co-operate in any area of common interest.
          Can you imagine the resentment it would cause in the EU 2016 referendum if Scotland and England voted for a different outcome and entry or leaving was forced on either country by the other.?
          Norway and Sweden live side by side quite peacefully after they split up in 1905 no reason why we would not do the same.

          • Wessex Man

            so why did you bring up devo-max, the only people in Scotland who wanted devo-max were the pro independence sidewho realised thet are not going to win.

            • terregles2

              I brought up devo max because every opinion poll showed that many Scottish people did not want independence but preferred devo max. It will never happen for the reason’s Michele suggested,
              Pro independence people want independence and nothing else. The YES vote went up when people were only offered two options. The majority are unhappy with Westminster government but in a straight YES.NO choice it has pushed some devo max supporters towards a YES option.

            • Jambo25

              Actually Devomax was by far the most popular choice and attracted a majority of the Scottish pop;ulation polled in many polls.

          • HJ777

            Australia consisted of separate self-governing colonies that decided to federate in 1901. You might like to study the failure and subsequent decay of the Western Australian secessionist movement. Many of the arguments put forward by the advocates of ‘Weststralia’ mirrored those of the SNP.

            Devo max is a nonsense because it violates many of the economic principles of a union. It would create many of the problems from which the Eurozone suffers. Economics often has a nasty habit of trumping politics – you cannot ensure economic viability simply by voting for it.

            I am sick of people like you telling us what will be best for England, btw.. You know nothing about anything.

            • terregles2

              You are sick of people like me really…??? You are confusing me with someone who cares what you think. If you do not like anything I post then don’t read it. I do not read your boorish rants therefore you never have to read anything I post. I am replying to this because I had the misfortune to find your ramblings amongst my emails
              You are tired of me saying what would be best for England but Scottish people have to listen quietly while you pontificate about what Scottish people should think , how Scottish people should be governed and how Scottish people should vote.. What a pompous, condescending, rude little person you are.
              Please don’t respond to anything I post because I don’t like finding your drivel amongst my emails. I certainly would never respond to anything from you that is not in my inbox..

              • HJ777

                Your true character is gradually being revealed as the mask slips.

                Insults and abuse is what you specialise in. Nothing else. You have nothing else to offer.

                • Keith

                  you two guys are obviously convinced each other is Hitler just stop it spoils the debate and its childish

                • HJ777

                  I’m convinced that she is a thoroughly unpleasant person with nothing constructive to say and a propensity to indulge in personal attacks because she cannot abide anyone disagreeing with her.

              • Nicholas chuzzlewit

                Funny though, we have had the Autumn statement, Mandela passing away, huge immigration debate etc etc etc and yet we never hear a peep from you and the rest of the ‘single issue’ brigade on these small matters. But an aricle on Scottish independence comes along and you and the rest of the gang are all over it like a rash. My theory that you all sit around in a dreary office in Edinburgh waiting to pounce at Salmond’s behest whenever a potentially contentious article pops up is looking more and more credible.

                • terregles2

                  Think that you are being slightly unfair on that one. Why would anyone comment on Mandela, the Autumn statement or immigration on a forum discussing Ireland and Scottish Independence.
                  Independence has attracted a high level of comment just as I suspect that the EU referendum will do in 2016,
                  There are many comments from England so perhaps some of the posters are sitting around some office in London rather than Edinburgh. ” The Gang ” seems to include many people who have quite possibly never been anywhere near Edinburgh.
                  Glasgow changed the name of its’ Royal Exchange Square to Nelson Mandela Place and gave Mandela freedom of the city. Glasgow did that in 1981 before it was fashionable to support Mandela and while others were calling Mandela a terrorist. Somethimes actions speak louder than words and Scotland has an excellent record on showing concern and offering help and support to those suffering throughout the world.

                • Nicholas chuzzlewit

                  Let me explain. There have been other articles addressing the matters I mentioned and yet none of you seem to comment on those threads. Surprise, surprise I would not expect you to address those matters on a thread concerning Scottish independence but foolishly thought you might be able to draw the inference that I was referring to different articles by different authors. As it is, you have proved my point that you are all so focused on this single matter (and batting down any contrary views) that the rest of the World and its various happenings are just passing you by. Enjoy that dreary office in Edinburgh and wait for the phone to ring. It will be Mr Salmond directing you to the next case..

                • terregles2

                  Well I cannot speak for other people but I have previously commented on some of the topics you mentioned and I am flattered that you pay any attention to where I post anything.
                  I have never commented on immigration because I really do not agree with some of the extreme views that are posted on this forum but I have seen the vitriolic attacks that any who have disagreed are subjected to. Sometimes best to agree to disagree.
                  You cannot be following my postings all that closely or you would not be accusing me of being an SNP member. I have said often that I will be voting YES in 2014 but I am still unsure of which party I will vote for after independence.
                  There are many different parties campaigning for a YES vote many more than the SNP. Your assumption that I am an SNP supporter is wrong and anyone who knows me would know I would not be directed to do anything by anyone particularly by any politician.
                  Especially by any politician. I have a low opinion of all of them and one reason that I want governed from Holyrood is because I think it will be easier to keep an eye on their behaviour and throw them out if they let us down.

                • Jambo25

                  Or, just perhaps, being Scottish, their main interest lies in Scottish affairs

                • HJ777

                  Terregles2 is always telling is what is best for England, how discredited the Westminster parliament is, etc., so you’re wrong about that.

              • HJ777

                The purpose of this blog is to allow people to comment and to allow others to challenge their comments – that’s why there is a “Reply’ button.

                You seem to think that everyone should simply respectfully admire your contributions in all their vacuity and with all their demonstrably false assertions, as if they were the product of a great mind. You routinely insult others and yet whinge on about how others are so nasty to you.

                I am an Anglo-Welsh-Scots unionist. I am perfectly entitled to express my views on what I believe is the best for all the people of the UK. You, however, are a Scots separatist and yet you persist in trying to tell the people of England what will be good for them. The sheer hypocrisy of you ScotNat fanatics is astonishing.

                You were no more elected that I am to speak for Scots and all the poll evidence is that most Scots agree with me – not you. You criticise Cameron for not debating the independence issue with Salmond and yet you say that anyone who isn’t Scottish (or rather who doesn’t currently live in Scotland – which includes my very Scottish neighbours) has no right to comment on what is best for Scotland. You want it both ways.

                You are a hypocrite.

          • Keith

            Scotland and England will almost never agree on World affairs. Can see us agreeing with France cos they like us aren’t an atlantacist trojan horse for the USA in Europe

            • Wessex Man

              Do you think the English were happy to be taken into two wars lead by a Scot by the way, as the junior sidekicks of the USA, while we were and still are part of the UK?

              • Jambo25

                Your usual moan. ‘A big Scottish boy made me do it, then ran away.’

              • Keith

                I’m not sure how to reply best to start of with I dont hate the English. Which wars? are we talking about WW1 and 2 or the more recent Iraq and Afghanistan?

                WW1 Haig was not very clever but the guy who would of commanded the British army died the year before. In the 1913 war games Haig was tanked by that guy. Tony Blair who led Scotland into war was born and educated in Scotland but never acknowledged his Scottish identity(English father) he always claimed and sat for an English seat. Get an English parliament and you wont be dragged into these things

            • HJ777

              Scotland and England didn’t agree about standing together during two world wars, for example.

              Yeah, right.

        • allymax bruce

          When the Westminster Party’s say we’ll get Devo-Max if we vote for ‘jam tomorrow’, I’m filled with trepidation; I mean, we’ve already got Devolution that brings hate-speech, Class separist policies, Austerity of tax-payers to fund crooked bankers, and the massive Impoverishment of the poor by ‘sanctioning’ of their pittance unemployment benefits! The poor are left with NOTHING to live on! Gordon Brown even threatened to put tanks on Scotland’s streets if we tried to vote for Independence! All while Westminster give all our tax-payers money to the super-rich! I certainly don’t want this Devolution abuse ‘Maximised’! Scottish Independence is the only way to get away from this Westminster evil.

          • Wessex Man

            erm, Gordon Brown is a Scot but whilst I can’t stand the way he behaved, there was no alternative to bailing out the Banks, two of which were Scottish Banks who were the worst basket jobs and Gordon Brown didn’t take us into the Euro for which we all should be grateful. Having said that it was on his watch when thet did all those stupid moves.

        • WalterSEllis

          I’ve done the research. Australia, while some 50 times larger than England, has less than half its population. Size and numbers are not the issue. France is often regarded as a centralist country, but its 22 metropolitan regional councils do in fact have considerable powers and raise their own taxes. Germany is divided into 16 länder, some large, some small – all with legislative authority The Netherlands and Austria each have 12 provincial states. Even little Belgium is split into Flanders, Wallonia and Brussels, with some decisions further devolved to the tiny German-speaking minority in the east.

          English regional government within a larger federal system makes sense. The North-South Divide would vanish overnight. The Council of the North would see to that. The boundaries of the West Country, East Anglia, Mercia, Wessex and – well – the South East (minus London) would not be impossible to devise. The Westminster parliament could then concentrate on its larger role, with the emphasis on foreign policy, defence, security, constitutional matters, global trade, national infrastructure and the EU.

          But it ain’t going to happen. I realise that. Not anytime soon. As for Europe, yes, reform may be a while coming. I just hope we’re still in there when it happens.

          • Randy McDonald

            England is arguably the most centralized nation in Europe. France and Italy compare well to England in terms of total population, but these countries both have much more regional devolution than England does.

            What do the English want?

            • Swanky

              Good point, Randy. Centralization militates against freedom, which is to say the freedom of different people to live under slightly different agreed rules within the larger polity of Britain. This Englishwoman (me) wants England to be more decentralized, as the USA is: the counties should have powers akin to those of the 51 states. I also wish there were a mechanism to create more political accountability and therefore democracy, and that mechanism really is a short lease of power: MPs in Britain get elected for the PM’s full term and then ignore the electorate ever after. Representatives in America (inaccurately known as ‘Congressmen’) are up for election every two years and that makes them a great deal more responsive to the voters.

    • Keith

      It was too late as soon as the Edinburgh agreement was signed if anything makes me want independence its to get away from unionist incompetence
      like their failure to offer an alternative.

      • terregles2

        Unionists have only used scare tactics and nothing constructive for the future.

        • HJ777

          The usual lack of an argument and insults about unionists, I see.

          Talk about ‘nothing constructive’. You really are a total hypocrite.

          If unionists criticise an SNP plan in any way, rather than being prepared to defend it, you just simply throw the “scare tactics” allegation. It is tempting to think that you actually have no substantive arguments.

          • Zeus

            Unionists? You mean Englishmen or near-Englishmen?

    • vieuxceps2

      NO. Tell you what,you devolve yourselves into regions and leave England as England. How would you feel about balkanising your homeland?

  • Tom M

    “…that Edinburgh might become a low-tax competitor for Dublin…” With a Labour government in an Independent Scotland that, I doubt very much.

    • Keith

      Dont see Labour winning in 2016 they got a leader who is unelectable. However they do have a guy in the Jack Mconnell mould and if he gets James Kelly to be his finance minister then 2020 isnt impossible

  • asalord

    Mr Massie writes,”…my fancy is that the Scottish vote looks more “multi-dimensionally dangerous” if it is viewed from London or Sussex than it does seen from Edinburgh or Dublin.”

    A couple of days ago Mr Massie accused pro-independence supporters in Scotland of indulging in “victimhood” yet now accuses the fine folk of London or Sussex of seeing themselves as potential victims of some future multi-dimensional danger.
    I sense Mr Massie blows hot and cold on the topic of independence.
    The chiel’s gye taigl’t.

    • Kennybhoy


  • Spammo Twatbury

    “(Memo to St Andrew’s House: crazy property booms are a bad idea.)”

    Pretty sure it’s 11 Downing Street you ought to be addressing that memo to.

    • LisaR

      I think you’ll find its a message for post Indy, by then Downing Street can shove themselves up where sun don’t shine