Coffee House

Alex Salmond is impaling himself on problems of his own making

13 January 2014

3:39 PM

13 January 2014

3:39 PM

When the independence debate finally started to rumble last year, most people thought it would be the big issues which would dominate as we approached polling day – defence, foreign affairs, welfare, the future of the monarchy and so on.

But here we are, just eight months out from the 18 September referendum and there are two very different issues dominating the agenda – childcare and student tuition fees. On both of them, moreover, Alex Salmond has managed to get himself impaled on problems of his own making.

First, childcare: when he launched the White Paper on Independence back in November, the First Minister promised a ‘revolution’ in childcare if Scotland became independent. He pledged that Scottish two-year-olds would get 600 hours of childcare in the first year of independence, increasing to 1,140 hours for all youngsters from one to school age by the end of the second parliament.

But it did not take long for his opponents to realise that Salmond has complete control over childcare for Scotland at the moment. He could introduce those very changes now, under devolution, rather than holding them out as a carrot for Scots to vote Yes in September. Salmond’s argument then got somewhat convoluted. He said the changes would cost hundreds of millions of pounds to introduce and it was not worth the Scottish Government spending that money now when the benefits of the changes – in terms of a more productive economy and a greater tax take – would be enjoyed by the Westminster Government.

Salmond then went further and yesterday published the Scottish Government’s own analysis of the policy, claiming it would boost the Scottish economy by £2.2 billion if such ‘Swedish-style’ childcare was introduced. Again, he reiterated his argument that the Scottish Government had to enjoy the benefits of the change and would not be able to do so under devolution.

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So here we have an SNP First Minister claiming that childcare is the key issue for the independence vote yet advocating a policy which does not need independence to be implemented. But it is not just the SNP’s political opponents who have questioned the SNP’s approach to childcare. A series of experts spoke out over the weekend to warn that the Scottish Government’s figures were flawed.

They said that many of those who would benefit from free childcare were already paying for it privately now and were already in jobs. Therefore, any investment by the state in taxpayer-funded childcare for them would be wasted and not produce any extra tax revenues for the state nor economic boost for the country. They also warned that the childcare plans were still based around providing cover for school hours, which did nothing to help women go back to work on a full-time basis.

All of these criticisms, from experts and political opponents, have made the First Minister look hesitant, unsure of his ground and lacking in vision – not quite the impression he wants to make this close to polling day.

However, the First Minister has also got himself into a mess over tuition fees.

As is well-known, Scottish students don’t have to pay fees at Scottish institutions and neither do students from the rest of the EU. Students from the rest of the UK are the exception and they have to pay fees at Scottish universities. The Nationalists are very aware that, after independence, when the UK becomes a foreign country with the same status to Scotland as, say, France, there could be a flood of UK students into Scotland seeking free tuition fees. As a result, Salmond has insisted that the current – apparently discriminatory – system would continue after independence.

A group of unionist academics calling themselves Academics Together went public at the weekend attacking the policy and demanding that Salmond publish any legal advice he has supporting his policy. The First Minister, unsurprisingly, refused to do so, hiding behind his usual argument that governments never reveal the existence of, or the content, of legal advice.

The result is that the First Minister is being gently roasted over two policies which he thought would be vote winners – free university education for Scots and much more childcare for toddlers. Both policies were designed to show that Salmond’s administration was compassionate, family-friendly and forward looking.

But all they have done is show that there are very real problems with the little issues involved in independence, More than that, though, they have left many Scots with the uncomfortable feeling that, if the little things about independence are this difficult and complicated – how bad are they going to be when we get to the really big ones.

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Show comments
  • Anon

    GERMANY HAD SOMEBODY SIMILAR IN 1939……………CALLED HITLER

  • Don Briggs

    The No campaign have spent 2 years arguing Scotland wouldn’t be an automatic member of the EU and would be outside of the EU after independence. Now they are trying to argue Scotland would suffer because of EU laws over tuition fees, Schengen visas and Euro membership even though none of this would apply to an independent Scotland outside of the EU. Logic tells you you can’t argue Scotland will be inside and outside of the EU at the same time. And the author thinks it’s Salmond who’s got himself in a muddle. Priceless!

  • allymax bruce

    Hamish, you are typical of the ‘old-cringe’ sockpuppet churnalist; that would write any old crap your Westminster masters tell you to. Time for a new generation of Scots to write for Scotland; and not the inverted, inward silo-ing crap mags like Bella-ra-Fella, nor NewSnot Scutlund, Calamidonian Mercury. They are only yoos old-cringers in disguise. And a completely different Scottish tv presentation staff is needed too. Sick of the anti-Scottish, anti-SNP Labour propaganda ‘beamed-out’ every five minutes on BBC, STV, Sky, C4. It’s all crap! From crap old-cringe churnalists! By-the-way, yer pay-master Crash Gordon wants to send the starving cold homeless refugee children of Syria to school; is he serious? Scotland’s First Minister Alesx Salmond will feed our Scots children free school meals, (Labour Party traitors never did that!), but Crash Gordon wants to stick his nose into the Middle-East process; like his Labour crony Bliar! Couldn’t make up the hypocrasy & crap from yoos Westminster lackie churnalists, tv drones, and inward & backward looking e-Print titles in Scotland. Change please!

  • Stephen Gash

    Anything with ‘union’ or ‘united’ in its title is a euphemism for ‘robbing the English’. Time for England to get out of both the UK and EU.

  • Stephen Gash

    Devo-max is still the second choice on Scotland’s pretendy-inde referendum. Scots vote ‘yes’ for independence and ‘no’ for devo-max. So it looks like England will still be slinging money in that bottomless sporran for a few more decades yet.

    • Jambo25

      “bottomless sporran”. My, that’s amusing.

  • Q46

    So let me see if I understand the economic argument for childcare.

    Without it mothers would stay home and be childminders, isolated from productive activity in the economy.

    With it, others will be their childminders instead, isolated from productive activity in the economy.

    The contribution the mothers now make, will be used to pay those now looking after their children.

    So if you take a Pound from your left pocket and move it to your right pocket, you now have two Pounds due to the activity involved moving from left to right.

    And people ponder why we keep having economic crises every so often.

    • Allygally

      Slightly more sophisticated. 30,000 mothers (currently economically inactive) hire 30,000 childminders (currently economically inactive). Result; 30,000 childminders get paid to let mum go to work where she earns enough to pay the childminder. In the process, mum boosts the economy and both mum and childminder pay taxes.

      We could do it right now but apparently there’s some metaphysical barrier which stops us from doing so. That’s why the Nats voted against it today 🙂

      http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/home-news/scottish-government-rejects-attempts-to-bring-forward-childcare-plans-legislation.1389697179
      No really, they did.
      Doesn’t make sense to me either….

  • Don Briggs

    As the author and the SNP’s critics are only too well aware, The Scottish Government could implement the child care reforms now but as the Scottish budget is fixed and there is very little way to raise additional revenue through taxation, additional funding to child care would mean cutting costs elsewhere and provoke a storm of protest from opponents they had cut blah blah blah. Independence would mean the Scottish budget would include revenue from oil or excise duty, VAT revenue, etc and therefore the additional revenue could be spent accordingly.

    To put it another way, can you imagine the meltdown and implosion in the UK if all revenue raising powers like taxation were controlled by the EU and in return the UK government was handed a fixed budget by the EU?

  • HJ777

    In 2012-13 Scottish universities gained 10.7% of UK research council funding, against 8.4% of the population.

    How does Salmond propose to make up the shortfall if he is successful in his separatist campaign?

  • Doggie Roussel

    What an enormous waste of discussion and newsprint this whole independence farce has become.

    We all know that the Scots are avaricious enough not to sacrifice the benefits and advantages that flow from Westminster.

    In today’s issue, the Scottish Secretary has spelt out exactly how much the Scots will lose by voting YES

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/scotland/10570008

    .

    • terregles2

      Scots are avaricious. What does that make this Westminster government.?
      Beyond stupid.
      The Scottish Secretary says. Mmmm ….only problem with that is we all know who told him to say it.

  • HJ777

    Salmond is all over the shop on these issues – anyone can see that, but some will unconvincingly deny it because they will deny anything that doesn’t suit their agenda.

    Incidentally, the UK already spends exactly the same proportion of GDP (1.1%) on childcare as Sweden does.

    • Nicholas chuzzlewit

      Please don’t ruin their delusions with inconvenient facts.

  • ayemachrihanish

    “But here we are, just eight months out from the 18 September referendum and there are two very different issues dominating the agenda – childcare and student tuition fees”. 

    Sorry, what utter tosh!

    1. How about the “continuing UK government” would “in all circumstances honour the contractual terms of the debt issued by the UK government” (what an own goal!!) And

    2. The office of the PM confirming that David Cameron will now, in a live TV broadcast, debate with Scotland FM, Alex Salmond the key Scottish Independence Referendum Questions

    Now for British Nationalists these are the dominating (sleepless night) issues 

  • Daniel Maris

    Let’s face it, the Scots fell out of love with the idea of Britain after about 400 years of slaving, colonising, fighting and trading from the Yukon to Hong Kong i.e. once it became obvious they could no longer expend their energies on Empire building.

    It’s time they expended their energies on being an independent and successful country, which I have no doubt they will be.

    • Allygally

      400 years? The Nats aren’t suggesting breaking the union of the crowns. Are you?

      • Colonel Mustard

        Give it time.

      • Daniel Maris

        I’m saying the Scots were happy to join in Empire building when there were rich pickings to be had.

        The union of crowns is being broken, unless you are claiming there is a union of crowns between Australia and the UK. I think there is a commonality of crowns.

    • Jambo25

      You’re probably correct to a fair extent. In the long run it may well be seen that assent into an incorporating state was only given by the Scots as long as tangible economic benefits were seen to be being produced by that arrangement. When he Empire went belly up and the British state could no longer guarantee certain goodies then the Scots began to withdraw that assent.

  • Allygally

    “Alex Salmond is impaling himself on problems of his own making” Actually oor Eck is impaling himself on the problems of the ill-thought out idea of “independence”.

    • terregles2

      Good heavens the idea of any country having self government. What an ill thought out concept . That idea will never catch on. Can’t see any country anywhere in the world buying that idea.

  • FF42

    I just got a newspaper through my door from the SNP or YES! Scotland – they don’t seem to make the distinction. Apparently we can look forward to being £600 better off; 200 000 more jobs; childcare coming out of our ears; more generous pensions; cheap holidays; cheaper fuel prices; massive wealth fund. All thanks to independence!

    Will my fellow country men and women believe this nonsense? Surely Salmond and his cohorts discredit themselves? If they just said, we need to take charge of or destiny and leave it at that, then fair enough.

    • terregles2

      I have also had YES leaflets through my door but none of them are saying what your paper is saying.
      A couple of mine though were from different Scottish parties campaigning for a YES vote perhaps that explains it..

      • Allygally

        I got the stuffFF42 got. I didn’t get the stuff you got from the other lots. Funny that.

        • Jambo25

          Perhaps you merely saw what you want to see. Funny that.

        • terregles2

          Really funny that. I know you will be eager to listen to all the ideas that all the Scottish political parties have for an independent Scotland, We still have several months to go so no doubt you will soon get leaflets from all the other parties.
          All politicians get their message across one way or another. Mr Cameron has even had a chat with Mr Putin to help him get the unionist message across to the Scots. Funny that.

    • Jambo25

      So, do you wish to be worse off: have fewer jobs etc? To be perfectly honest, it wouldn’t be all that difficult to run the economy better than it’s being one now.

      • FF42

        I wish eternal health and happiness to everyone. I guess you have answered my question.

        • HJ777

          He’s delusional. It is an article of faith that a separate Scotland could only be run better, not worse, than it currently is.

    • Daniel Maris

      You think your less talented than the Danes who have far fewer resources than you lot? It’s not credible.

      • FF42

        Talent and hard work don’t come into it according to their propaganda. Tick the YES box and all this will become yours! Timeshare salesmen would be embarrassed.

        • terregles2

          Don’t think it sounds as embarrassing as Gordon Brown saying that Scotland will have more powers after a NO vote.
          He doesn’t say how that will happen without the unlikely event of a Labour majority in Westminster.
          If more powers would be good for Scotland why have we never had them before?
          Why is it good for all other countries to govern themselves but not Scotland.?
          Why is the Westminster government campaiging against independence.? Why do they wnt to keep control of our resources?

    • HJ777

      You forgot the better weather that will also come as a result of separation.

  • BoiledCabbage

    If Salmond gets a ‘Yes’, he has the UK Treasury by the throat. £sterling or no debt interest. So he gets the £, which will quickly be sold on the exchanges because of Scottish risk – inflation and UK [and Scots] interest rates rise, crashing the property market. If the Treasury deny the SNP the £, the same result, because UK debt effectively even larger, no oil revenues, and risk to £.

    A Yes vote is a disaster scenario for the £ and the UK economy, barely recovering.

    • Jambo25

      Actually, the SNP government has been much more financially prudent, over the past 6 and a bit years than the UK government has been. Swinney has been a model of financial caution.

      • Andy

        Perhaps so but you forgot to mention that it was that Scottish cretin, Gordon the moron Brown, who f*cked up the UK Governments finances in the first place.

        • Jambo25

          Supported in office by a vast horde of English MPs Were they English cretins? He was then followed by those other English cretins Cameron and Osborne. If you wish to fling terms like “Scottish cretin” around I’m more than willing to join in.

          • Andy

            Well Gordon the moron Brown is one of your own. He is unquestionably the worst Chancellor in living memory and the worst Prime Minister. The damage that moron has wrought will take at the very least a generation to repair, and some of his mess will never be properly sorted out. He should be hanged for what he has done.

            • Jambo25

              If Brown was the worst Chancellor and PM in living memory then you are either very young or have a very short memory

              • HJ777

                You seriously think there was a worse one?

                Like whom?

                • Jambo25

                  Hugh Dalton, Stafford Cripps, Peter Thorneycroft, Anthony Barber, Norman Lamont and the present one isn’t much to shout home about.
                  As for PMs-Eden, Heath, Wilson and although you thought she was probably wonderful-Thatcher.

                • HJ777

                  That you think Brown was better than them just demonstrates how deluded you are.

                  None of them presided over such a huge bust (having inherited a strong economy), nor generated a record deficit, nor doubled the complexity of the tax code, nor raised spending on benefits by over 60% (having descried a rising benefits bill as “the price of Tory failure”) during a period of claimed economic success.

                  Brown was incontestably the worst chancellor in living memory. Some of the others were bad, but at least they had the excuse of not inheriting an economy as strong as that which Brown inherited. As for his performance as PM – if you didn’t realise it at the time, subsequent revelations should have put you right. Of course, he was easily the biggest political figure to have come out of Scotland in decades – think what a mess he would have made of an independent Scotland.

                  But then we already know that when it comes to economics you are all over the shop, don’t we? Witness your doublethink confusion over retaining sterling.

              • Andy

                Brown produced the Mother of all booms and busts. The recession he created has been the worst since the Great Depression. To say his stewardship was anything other than a monumental disaster flies in the face of reality. The man was incompetent and a complete idiot.

                • Jambo25

                  I think it’s more accurate to say that the recession was produced by problems within the international banking system. Not just in the UK and not just down to Brown. Perhaps you’ve forgotten Lehman Brothers, the various Irish banks, ABN AMBRO, Fortis, various German Hypotheken etc. In fact virtually the whole European banking system came near to collapse.

                • Reconstruct

                  And of course you’ve forgotten which bank started the ball rolling: Northern Rock, which collapsed fully a year before Lehman’s bit the dust. And all because it had been allowed by Labour’s regulator to run a loan/deposit ratio of 250-300%. If you have spent any time considering banking, you’ll know just how bizarre and reckless this ‘regulation’ was. Directly Brown’s responsibility, and yes, it does make him the worse Chancellor in living memory by some distance. Truly, a catastrophe for Britain.

                • Jambo25

                  If you think that Northern Rock led on to Lehman Brothers then you have some odd beliefs. You’re not going to get me going out of my way to defend Brown. I’m an SNP voter and supporter and you may have noticed that we don’t like Labour much and hey don’t like us.
                  My only point is hat the hatred of Brown amongst the cousins, down south has got to ludicrous extremes and he is now being used as an alibi for the entire political class. The major criticism that Brown got from our present Wunderkind, at the Treasury, was that his regulation wasn’t ‘light touch’ enough though Gideon seems to forget that now.

              • Doggie Roussel

                Care to name any Chancellors or PMs who could be considered worse than Brown… apart from Blair, Heath or Lord North…

                Brown was a Cyclopean psycopath who threw terrifying tantrums, threw telephones at his staff and stapled his own hand to his desk during one of his frenzies.

                This wretched man was driven by a purely all-absorbing personal ambition and never had the intellect or temperament to justify high office.

                • Jambo25

                  See my reply to Andy.

      • BoiledCabbage

        Any country breaking up is a risk event as far as the markets go, for both sides. That is my point. There is no ‘winner’. And Swinney just has the devolved budget.

        • Jambo25

          There is if you happen to be breaking away from a failing economic model such as the UK. I’d rather have Swinney in charge of my national finances than Osborne or Balls.

          • HJ777

            The ‘failing economic model’ that was strong enough to baile out Scottish banks, you mean?

            You know – like RBS whose takeover of ABN Amro was cheerled by Alex Salmond and John Swinney.

            • Jambo25

              The failing economic model which got RBS and HBoS (Run by clever English people.), Barclays, Northern Rock, Co-op Bank etc. in deep brown stuff to start with. The failing economic model which is seeing our major utilities in the hands of foreigners, our industry in long term decline (again) and out living standards static o falling for the last 8 or so years.

              • HJ777

                The misjudgement of Salmond and Swinney over RBS should tell you all you need to know about the ‘economic model’ you could expect were those two in charge.

                I presume you mean that you’d prefer more Thatcherite polices – after all, industrial output grew substantially under her (and Major’s) government.

                Say what you like, the UK is still one of the richest and most stable countries in the world.

    • Doggie Roussel

      I don’t think you are going to trouble the legacy of John Maynard Keynes !

      I have never read more ill-reasoned comments on these pages.

      England will be infinitely better off, when shed of the parasitic yoke of Scotland.

      • terregles2

        The parasitic yoke of Scotland.???? Is that the same Scotland that Cameron has vowed to keep united with England with his every fibre.
        All the unionists of every political party in Westminster huddled together bringing out a different scare story every week to frighten Scots out of voting YES.
        Good heavens only a lunatic politician would want to keep hold of a country that was costing them money.
        .

  • Raw England

    Scotland: Announce independence now. We English are currently dying and suffering due to the indirect and direct effects of immigration and multiculturalism. You wouldn’t know because you have NONE of it in your country. We also know that Scottish ministers have voted for mass immigration for England at every turn.

    Please go away and keep to your own country. And you better STOP your politicians from taking part in English politics.

    Scotland: If you dare vote for a Devo Max option, where you’ll get EVEN MORE of OUR money, whilst STILL having a say in English affairs, then the hatred between us as two peoples will be irreversible.

  • abystander

    Thinking here seems to be that Scottish students at English universities should pay a fee while English students at Scottish universities should not.
    The famous sense of fair play at its very best.

    • Jambo25

      Yes, I haven’t quit followed that either.

  • dalai guevara

    Yet another topic which clearly exposes where the inspiration is coming from. The well-performing nations of Northern Europe offer all the answers a Scottish campaign would require – with regards to land reform, childcare, sovereign wealth funds, education policy and the financial aspect of it, public participation in society.
    These arguments are difficult to counter as the good and well working exemplars can be cherry picked, yet the Better Together campaign is left defending an unsatisfactory status quo. Come on darlings, you need to try harder…

  • asalord

    Amusing to read the anti-Scottish comments on this site.
    People in England are obsessed with Mr Salmond.
    They shouldn’t worry so much.

    When Scotland regains its independence Scotland’s problems,and their solutions,will be the responsibility of the people of Scotland and their representatives in Holyrood.
    The governments of an independent Scotland and England will,after all the initial negotiations are over,be in much better shape to forge a new,mature relationship between themselves.
    Any anti-Scottish feeling will soon disappear.

    • Andy

      What about the anti-English feeling, which is to widespread in Scotland ? Will that ‘soon disappear’ ? And you claim to be ‘amused’ to read the supposedly anti-Scottish comments on this site, but are you just as amused by the anti-English rhetoric, which is so prevalent in Scotland, or do you think that any anti-Scottish feeling there might be is a consequence of that anti-English attitude one so often finds in Scotland ? As ye sow, so shall ye reap.

      • asalord

        Bitter together,indeed.

        • rollo_tommasi

          Only with people like you around.

        • Nicholas chuzzlewit

          Repeating Your favourite fatuous cliche ad nauseum will not make it true.

      • Jambo25

        There are some anti-English lubes up here but far more anti-Scottish bile get fired up from down south than goes the other way.

      • terregles2

        There are an increasing number of English people now living and working in Scotland and very welcome they are too. . As there are increasing numbers of English coming here I think it is because they want to be in Scotland .My English neighbours are campaiging for a YES vote and they have had many debates with members of the public. Their Englishness has never been commented on.
        You say anti English feeling is widespread. Funny that those of us who live here have never heard of it. If there were any incidents of anti Englishness then it would be dealt with in the courts. We do have laws against it.

    • Fergus Pickering

      Few people in England give Mr Salmond a thought. Most of the posters on this sort of site are Scots. I am half scot myself and I live there when I was young. But I am an exception. Most people in England don’t give a toss. I doubt if most people in England know who Mr Salmond is.

      • asalord

        I think you should read the Daily Mail.

        • Andy

          Which sells 4 times as many copies every single day as that Fascist rag The Guardian.

        • Fergus Pickering

          Why on earth should I read the Daily Mail?

          • Andy

            Because it is better written than the Fascist Guardian, that’s why !

            • Fergus Pickering

              Well, that’s a good reason!

      • terregles2

        I wish you would remind the Speccie that nobody in England knows or cares about Salmond. They never tire of writing about him. The articles they churn out also attract an inordinate amount of comments.

        • Fergus Pickering

          Fraser is a Scot. I am half a Scot. But the average Englishman finds you mildly irritating, that’s all. You’re like Irishmen without the charm. Also without the bombs of course. And I hope it stays that way post the 2014 referendum

          • http://weourselves.com/ Christian Wright

            Reading your contributions I’d have thought is something of a cognitive contortion to be half Scots yet still manage to engaged in such anti-Scottish defamatory racist speech.

            • Fergus Pickering

              No, no. It’s easy. The Scots need proddng a bit. It is their misfortune to take themselves much too seriously. A word from a friend. Do not use the word racist. It always denotes want of thought. And the Scots are not a race, They may be a nation. Would you call the luxemburgers a race? O)f course not. You see what absurdity humourless pomposity gets you into. If you want to succeed as a nation all this will have to go overboard,. Small nations really cannot afford it.

            • Nicholas chuzzlewit

              A truly pathetic contribution. The accusation of racism where none exists is always the first refuge of the mindless coward.

          • terregles2

            Anyone who says that any nation is all one anything proves only that they are jumping with ignorance.
            Scots like every nation are a mixture of good bad and indifferent. People are the same the world over.
            I am glad that you find Irish people charming. My Irish friends who lived in England a few decades ago would have been relieved to be regarded as mildly irritaing they often encountered rather a different attitude.

            • HJ777

              So you’re snidely accusing the English of anti-Irish racism, in supposed contrast to the attitude in Scotland (have you ever been to a Rangers match?)

              You are an anti-English racist and you don’t hide it very well.

              • Wessex Man

                as always

            • Fergus Pickering

              That might just have had something to do with exploding bombs.

            • Fergus Pickering

              Bombs possibly had something to do with it. Don’t you think?

    • MirthaTidville

      A lot of English are really hoping Salmon gets his wish..Its ours too..bye bye

  • Spammo Twatbury

    Yawn. The childcare stuff was rubbish a fortnight ago when it was news, why it’s being dragged out again now is anyone’s guess. It will cost hundreds of millions of pounds, and if all the tax receipts go to Westminster that means hundreds of millions in cuts elsewhere. When anyone identifies what those would be, get back to us.

    • HookesLaw

      How then does Scotland afford it after indepenence? if Salmond is promising to spend hundreds of millions on child care after independence then where will the money or the savings come from then?

      The child care policy is nothing to do with independence – its within the power of the Scottish govt now. In an independent Scotland all the political parties can put forward proposals on how to spend such revenues as you have. Good luck to them on that. But the issue has nothing to do with it being currently denied them by Westminster.

      • abystander

        It affords it by not sending its tax revenue to Westminster.
        Cunning, eh.

      • terregles2

        Westminster is incapable of managing the economy. They always have been. Norway set up an oil fund when they discovered oil and now are in a really enviable economic position. What did Westminster do with North sea oil over hte past dew decades. Squandered the lot. In spite of deep cuts in spending now the UK debt continues to rocket rising every day.
        Westminster government is not fit for purpose. Scotland needs to take control of our resources and manage our own economy.

        • Andy

          What ‘deep cuts in spending’ ?? The Government will spend MORE in cash terms at the end of this Parliament that it did at the beginning.

          • terregles2

            That is the point I am making. They introduced the bedroom tax have cut disability benifits etc They took these measures to cut our national debt..and still the UK debt is spiralling every day.
            They are incompetent and unfit to run a country. They have proved that they are as incompetent as the dreadful Labour party.
            Imagine all the wealth that we got from the North sea in the past and they do not have a penny to show for it. Beyond useless. Many of us want away from Westminster and the waste of money that is the House of Lords.
            They are so incompetent we have just heard that MP’s now wasted hundreds of thousands on having their portraits painted.
            Scotland needs to cut loose from this incompetence and wastage,

            • HJ777

              More complete rubbish.

              The government has introduced no measures to cut our national debt and neither did it ever claim that it would. It is merely trying to reduce the deficit (debt reduction, if it happens, is many years away). There is also no such thing as the ‘Bedroom Tax” – it is an invention of the Labour Party yet, despite feigning to despise Labour, you are happy to adopt their meme.

              You seem to be under the illusion that Scottish politicians would be much more noble, competent, etc. in a separate Scotland – you have no evidence for this assertion.

        • Doggie Roussel

          I think two ex-PMs and both Scots and Scottishs educated were as responsible as anyone for the dissipation of oil revenues.

          And who discovered and harvested the oil…. US companies, I believe, for the most part.

          And isn’t most of the oil in international waters ?

          And take your paltry oil revenues. It’s only about £ 12 billion as compared to the £ 160 billion that Westminster wastes on Scotland.

          • terregles2

            Most of the oil money was squandered in the 1980’s long before any Scottish PM was in power. Think you need to brush up on international law and indeed the working of the oil insustry.
            Your bizarre assertion that Westminster wastes £160 billion on Scotland would (If it were true) yet again illustrate how incompetent the Westminster government is as Cameron stated that he will fight Scottish indepenedence with every fibre.

            • Andy

              Don’t forget that a chunk of the oil lies in English waters, or would do if the normal international conventions were followed rather than the Fascist Labour Parties strange way of allocating these waters.

              • terregles2

                Well a big chunk is now in English water as Tony Blair moved the Scottish maritime boundary up from Berwick on Tweed to Carnoustie in 1999. He annexed over 6000 square miles of Scottish sea to England. That is the behaviour that we would expect from the disgraceful Labour and Tory Westminster. I would not go as far as to describe it as facist behaviour but it is certainly rather unfair and some would describe it as theft.
                I thought that might be one policy of the disgraceful Blair Labour government that you would approve of.
                There again I am forgetting that you say the oil revenue is worthless.

  • John Ruddy

    I dont understand how he thought the same language he used to deflect the absence of the legal advice over EU membership would work here? He used word-for-word the exact same language – so the obvious inference is he has no such legal advice on tuition fees.

    • Spammo Twatbury

      He didn’t “deflect” anything. Everything he said regarding the conventions on government legal advice was, and continues to be, completely true.

      • tastemylogos

        and it begins. See below. I said 10 minutes and it actually took 13 though, so fair play

        • Spammo Twatbury

          Aw, sorry, do you not like it when people are allowed to disagree with your point of view? Is there a fixed period after which we’re allowed to express another opinion? Do let us know and we’ll try to be obedient.

          (Although according to the timestamps on the posts it was 13 minutes, not 3. You Unionists just can’t help lying about numbers, can you?)

          • tastemylogos

            Who said anything of a dislike for disagreement? The Nats always did like non sequitur and deflection. Deflect, deflect, deflect. There is a reason why talk of decoupling, centres on a general election manifesto. Utterly bizarre. Deflect, deflect, deflect.

            I’ll leave you and your fellow activists (the other 3) to agree it out from here 😉

            (PS your timestamp reference made no sense)

    • Jambo25

      Stick to the substantive point of the discussion which is HE fees. It was your SLAB colleagues who started the whole farce off by partially implementing Dearing then adopting a no fees policy in Scotland. So, what will SLAB do, Mr. Ruddy? You are a SLAB member and tireless activist on their behalf. so you’ll have the inside track.
      If Jo Jo and the gang get back into government , at Holyrood, will they force all Scottish domiciled students to pay £9,000 pa out of a feeling of Unionist solidarity? Another Union bonus. Will thy merely means test fees so that only the middle classes pay? If so, how far down the middle classes, in income terms, will you go? If our cousins , down south, decide to up fees to £12,000, £15,000 or remove the cap altogether will SLAB do likewise out of the same desire for solidarity?
      I remember when fees were first introduced and then SLAB decided to change the system back to no fees but loans system. Nobody had a clue what was going on. That included my good self who not only had a son just starting university but was a school adviser on HE. I phoned SLAB central, in Glasgow ( I think it was Delta House at that time.), and a very nice but obviously peed off man told me he hadn’t a clue as the SLABite heed bummers appeared to be making policy on the hoof. He did, however, give me a number to ring where he thought I might get some hard information. I rang said number and got some SLAB SPAD lite. It was a chappie called Derek Munn, I believe. He was not only of chocolate teapot utility but somewhat rude as well. All he seemed to care about was that I, somehow, had got his sacred telephone number and he wanted to know how I’d got it.
      Strangely enough, the talented Mr Munnis now a SLAB candidate for the Euro elections. What Jo Jo calls part of “a very strong team”.

  • tastemylogos

    And out come the activiats to protest against the article as bigoted, ignorant etc etc. I’ll give it 10 mnutes for the first one to appear. Followed by the same 4 protagonists filling up the thread with confirmation bias for the remainder of the day.

    • asalord

      You shouldn’t be so hard on yourself.Think positive.

  • sfin

    Actually I find his arguments on the issue of childcare quite logical.
    On the issue of tuition fees, his proposals wouldn’t be “apparently discriminatory” they would be definitely discriminatory and a single challenge to the European court would shoot it down in flames! That is of course if an independent Scotland were still to be in Europe…or the rest of the UK for that matter. The whole policy stinks of what this spiv is all about – anti English.

    • monty61

      This is more the point, Salmond’s anti-Englishness coming back to bite him.

      • MichtyMe

        I think it is Cameron who is being anti-english in not paying the fees of English students.

        • HookesLaw

          Saying something twice does not make it twice as true. The problem for Scottish Universities is and will be their funding without fees.

          • MichtyMe

            The Universities have funding for the students but it is from the Government not the students.

      • Jambo25

        Examples of Salmond’s anti-Englishness please. Real examples: not what the voices in your head tell you.

        • HJ777

          Do you deny that he wants to attract the anti-English vote?

          As you well know, he is absolutely relying on it and will say nothing to discourage it.

          • Jambo25

            If you can find Salmond going out of his way to attract an anti-English vote then give us the examples.

            • HJ777

              Do you deny that he is relying on it? Do you deny it exists? Do you claim that he doesn’t know it exists?

              Give me an example of where he has said anything to discourage it.

              • Jambo25

                He doesn’t have to discourage it. You have to prove, according to your claim, that he’s encouraging anti-English hatred. I’m waiting. Incidentally, if you engage your brain and fingers and do a bit of googling it is quite easy to find quotes from Salmond saying what a grand set of chaps and chapesses the English are and how we should all be good neighbour to each other. Look it up. Not hard to find.

                • HJ777

                  “You have to prove, according to your claim, that he’s encouraging anti-English hatred.”

                  You either failed English comprehension or are being deliberately dishonest. I neither said nor suggested that he is encouraging it – I said that he is relying on it and has said nothing to discourage it.

                  And if you think that your brain and fingers work so well, why not answer my perfectly reasonable questions, rather than ignoring them and resorting to false claims about what I said in an attempt to distract from your non-answers.

                  I will repeat them for you:

                  Do you deny that he is relying on it? Do you deny it exists? Do you claim that he doesn’t know it exists?

                  Give me an example of where he has said anything to discourage the numerous examples of it.

                • Jambo25

                  1) I totally deny that he is relying on anti-English attitudes.
                  2) I’m sure that Salmond knows that anti-English attitudes exist in Scotland just as I’m sure that he knows anti-Scottish attitudes exist in England.
                  3) Salmond is on record as praising the English as a great people and bigging up friendship between Scots and English. Search out the sources for yourself.

                • HJ777

                  Then you’re a fool or a liar.

                  What chance has he of winning the vote if the anti-English vote doesn’t vote “yes”? He knows, you know and I know that he has none without it. Even if it is just one-tenth of the potential “yes vote”, i.e. 5% or less of the voters, then without it he knows he has no chance – and so do you.

                  Whether anti-Scottish attitudes exist in England is irrelevant – England isn’t voting on this issue.

                • Jambo25

                  Thank you for your kind words. I note that you are regressing to your state of simply name calling when you lose the plot. All you’ve got to do is show that Salmond is counting on anti-English attitudes. I note that you haven’t done that. As for what motivates or will motivate people to vote in referenda or elections. My guess is as good as yours. Some may be motivated by anti-English feelings just as some UKIP voters are motivted by anti-EU xenophobia; some Tories by dislike of Scots or the orking class and some leftists by hatred of toffs. Who knows.

                • HJ777

                  I note that you are denying a self evident truth, yet you start accusing me of losing the plot.

                  You are all over this board telling us what the reasons for voting for separation are, yet when I point out that the “Yes” campaign needs and relies (not exclusively) on anti-English attitudes, then you claim that you have no idea what reasons anyone has for voting as they do.

                  Have you ever been to Scotland? You know perfectly well that anti-English attitudes are motivating a proportion of the “yes” support – yet you deny it.

                  We both know that your position is ridiculous.

                • HJ777

                  What do you suppose that Salmond meant when he said to the SNP conference:

                  “Why on earth do we allow this bunch of incompetent Lord Snootys to be in positions of authority over our country?”

                  Obviously “we”, were he referring to the UK, would mean the electorate that voted them in, so he must have been making a separatist point about Scotland. In which case, he is suggesting that there are no Scots “Lord Snooties” only English (or Welsh or NI) “Lord Snooties” and that “Lord Snooties” can be avoided in future by separation.

                  How is that not trying to pander to the anti-English vote?

                  By the way, Scottish politicians like Alistair Darling are pretty ‘posh’ – and nothing wrong with that. I don’t care whether someone is posh or not or whether they are English or Scottish or Welsh or Northern Irish, I care whether they are competent. So what point was Salmond making (as if we didn’t know)?

                • Jambo25

                  I think he meant that Scots should not continue to allow their country to be run by a group of incompetent upper class twits.
                  Lord Snooty, incidentally was originated and drawn by Dudley Watkins, an Englishman, who worked for the Scottish firm DC Thomson.

                • HJ777

                  Strangely, he said it in a section of his speech concentrating on separation, so he was saying that all the “incompetent upper class twits” are English or Welsh or Norther Irish and that they could be avoided in future by separation.

                  If that isn’t pandering to the stereotypes beloved of anti-English Scots and trying to get them to vote for him, then I don’t know what is.

                • Jambo25

                  No: just upper class twits.

                • HJ777

                  But separation, by itself, cannot avoid “incompetent Lord Snooties” from being in positions of authority in Scotland, unless he is claiming that all such people are English (or Welsh or Norther Irish) and none of them Scottish.

                  He was appealing to the anti-English sentiment. That was quite clear.

                  Incidentally, in my final year at university my room neighbour in college was an extremely posh upper-class Scot. People like you and Salmond would probably describe him as a “Lord Snooty”. I (who went to an ordinary comp) found that he was actually an extremely pleasant and very able chap. The difference between us is that, unlike you and Salmond, I do not indulge in inverse snobbery or covert racism in an unprincipled attempt to pander to baser instincts in order to attract support.

                • Jambo25

                  “separation” means we can pick “upper class twits” if we wish and will not have other people picking them for us. It comes into the category of ‘self determination’.
                  Incidentally, I went to a rather posh public school in Edinburgh and had some rather posh pals because of it. Some of them are pals still. I wouldn’t want them running Scotland though. If other people pick them, however, then, so be it.

                • HJ777

                  Salmond was claiming that “upper class Lord Snooties” wouldn’t have authority in Scotland as a direct consequence of separation, not as a result of voting after separation.

                  He was pandering to anti-English sentiment and we both know it.

                  You do yourself little credit by denying obvious truths.

                • Jambo25

                  No he wasn’t. He was pandering to the weird view that, we, the resident population of Scotland, should pick our government.

                • HJ777

                  In which case, why didn’t he simply say that rather than going on about “Upper class Lord Snooties”?

                  Otherwise people might mistake what he was saying as an exhortation to simply vote within the UK for people who aren’t upper class or snooty (which everyone is already free to do).

                  We both know what he is up to. You may try to feign incomprehension but you’re not at all convincing. You’re not even convincing yourself, let alone anyone else.

                  By the way, the resident population of Scotland already does pick its government as it is a constituent part of the UK and the population has exactly the same say as anyone else. There is no evidence to suggest that most Scots want to change this arrangement.

      • John Border

        AS is NOT anti English.

        • Michele Keighley

          Of course he isn’t — Which is why the Welsh [and possibliy the NI – not sure] are also disadvantaged and discriminated against by this policy. Makes it look so much fairer doesn’t it?

          • John Border

            Actually there’s a case for banning nonScots from commenting on this matter. Too many are resentful bigots who think that Scotland is a county of England.

            One thing is sure, England is trashing the UK name by its hatred of the world and its racist immigration policy. Scots want none of that.

            • HJ777

              You want to ban nonScots from commenting on the blog of an English-based publication, you talk about “too many nonScots” being “resentful bigots” and “England’s hatred of the world” and then you have the gall to describe the English as ‘racist’?

              You are a total hypocrite. And a racist.

              • John Border

                Well I agree with those who say Scots MPs should not vote on English issues in Westminster. So I’m consistent and correct.

                I know about English bigotry because I am English , live in England and hear what is said – it’s pure bigotry.

                England’s hatred is evident in hostility to Europe, lickspittling the US , attitudes to immigrants and so on ad nauseam. They are trashing all in these islands. Many Scots abroad have to explain that they are not part of England’s xenophobia.

                England, via Tories, hates society – just look at the vicious assaults of the bedroom tax and hatred of the unemployed.

                Scotland is a Tory free zone so is not to blame. You are.

                Bigot.

                • HJ777

                  Are you really as stupid and ignorant as you make out?

                  I fear you are.

                  Those that go around accusing everyone else of being bigots are invariably bigots themselves.

                  Approximately 20% of Scots vote Tory, by the way.

                • John Border

                  You should be afraid, very afraid.

                  ‘Those that go around accusing everyone else of being bigots are invariably bigots themselves.’

                  How do you know that?

                  Tories and child abusers are the same thing.

                • HJ777

                  You have perfectly demonstrated my point.

                • John Border

                  Everything I do or say is perfect.

                • Wessex Man

                  You are a juvenile bigot with shades of racist and insanity mixed in for good measure, bless!

                • Nicholas chuzzlewit

                  No, you are simply contemptible and disgusting.

                • Reconstruct

                  Wow! A new low, I think.

                  Actually, worse even than what I’ve seen in the Guardian’s notorious Comment is Free.

            • terregles2

              Think you are trashing Scotland’s name by denigrating English people and saying non Scots have no right to comment. The majority of people in Scotland are against English government not English people.
              Everyone in the UK has the right to comment on anything they choose to.

              • John Border

                ‘The majority of people in Scotland are against English government not English people.’

                Quite right. I agree.

                • terregles2

                  Glad that you agree. The minority who write wuch nasty things about Scottish people i know do not speak for the majority ot English people.

    • Alexsandr

      the European court is not part of the EU. it is part of the council of europe. membership of that body would be a different problem to membership of the EU

      • Andy

        He doesn’t say which ‘European Court’. There are actually two.

        • Alexsandr

          good point. but I thought as sfin was discussing discrimination, he was referring to the ECHR.

          • Andy

            I’m not quite sure he knows which one ! But let us be charitable and gloss over that.

    • HJ777

      He’s talking rubbish on childcare. He already has the power to do what he advocates after independence but he hasn’t chosen to do it.

      What’s more, the UK already spends the same percentage of GDP (1.1%) on childcare as Sweden – and more than most European countries.

      • sfin

        I agree with you. But my point was, as a Scottish politician looking after Scotland’s interests – his proposals on childcare are seeking a return to the Scottish taxpayer. It’s ‘sleekit’, sneaky, underhand and political (actually, I need only have said political) but it’s fair play and you have to hand it to the wee shyster.
        Tuition fees are another thing entirely – there is no answer to anti English bigotry.

        • terregles2

          The biggest shysters are found in Westminster. The shysters who concealed the McCrone report and annexed the 6000 square miles of Scottish maritime boundary in 1999.
          They now intend to squander billions on Trident and HS2 and the privatisation of the English NHS continues while the national debt rises.

          • sfin

            Agreed. The granddaddy of all was Anthony Charles Lynton Blair in carving up the UK into EU regions in accordance with the blueprint set out in the Maastricht treaty. The celtic nations readily bought the lie of ‘devolution’, the north east ‘region’ of England rejected it.

            • terregles2

              Most people would agree that Blair was a disgraceful PM. Unfortunatrely none that came after him were any better and what we have now is a joke.
              Scotland is not a region but a country and we did not buy into any lie on devolution. We discovered that Westminster shysters have lied to the Scottish people for decades. Blair hated the idea of devolution but it was done to stop the rise in the SNP vote.
              We have all read the McCrone report and the GERS figures and the Scottish export figures etc that is why Scotland will take independence from the discredited Westminster system

  • Reconstruct

    Couldn’t be happier than that Salmond has got himself impaled on the nakedly racist university fees issues. Scots should be deeply deeply ashamed of that policy. Deeply ashamed.

    • monty61

      Disagree. This sort of differentiation is precisely what Devolution is intended to enable.

      I’m no lover of the Gnats, but the real shame should be reserved for those in Westminster who inflicted this crushing burden on young people in the first place

    • MichtyMe

      The Scottish government pays the fees of its student residents, why do think it reasonable to pay the fees of English residents? The Westminster government does not pay the fees of Scots at English universities. The reasonable thing would be for the Westminster administration to pay the fees of English residents at Scots universities.

      • Reconstruct

        The things you must have to tell yourself. . . .

        Scottish students get treated the same as English students in England. In Scotland, not only do English students not get treated the same as Scots, they don’t even get treated the same as other EU nationals. If you happen to be from the ‘rest of the EU’ except England, you can expect your tuition fees to be fully covered by the Students Award Agency for Scotland. Only if you’re English. . . forget it.

        Quite how this can possibly be legal I have no idea. But, Michtyme, don’t kid yourself it isn’t a nasty and vindictive piece of anti-English racism in action, because it plainly is.

        Let me finally add that I don’t think the majority of Scots are anti-English racists, and I fully expect and hope we’ll be sticking together.

        But I do think the ScotNats have released a bunch of toxins into Scottish politics which will not be easily or quickly dissipated. The fact that people like Michtyme can tell themselves- and probably believe it too – that their ‘screw the English’ tuition fees policies isn’t straightforwardly discriminatory tells you a lot.

        • HookesLaw

          ‘But I do think the ScotNats have released a bunch of toxins into Scottish politics which will not be easily or quickly dissipated.’ True, and UKIP are doing it in England.

          • terregles2

            Independence is supported by several Scottish parties. They have not released toxins quite the reverse. They have released hope and enthusiasm for the future. For many people the possibility to be rid of Westminster mismanagement and the anachronistic House of Lords is a wonderful prospect indeed.

          • Wessex Man

            Hooky, you have to come into every thread and have a poke at UKip because you are and your Tory Party are so afraid of us and all you do is make yourself look silly. It’s not UKip that decribes itself as the Nasty Party but your own.

        • MichtyMe

          The Government is not being anti English, an English resident of Scotland will have their fees paid. It does not wish to pay the fees of EU residents, a far smaller number than the English, and its legal advisers are currently examining how this might be accomplished.

          • Reconstruct

            Whatever. . . .

            • Jambo25

              Still waiting for your suggestion.

              • Reconstruct

                Once the Scottish government made this grotesquely unfair decision which, you tell me, as bad luck would have it just happened to uniquely disadvantage the English, its difficult to know what to do.

                All I can tell you is that as a father of a daughter who actually looked at a Scottish university (before being offered by Oxford), the unfairness was painful to experience. To then have the Scottish pat themselves on the back about how enlightened their policy-making is, adds insult to fairly profound fiscal injury.

                A few years ago, someone made the point that since the Scots themselves are far too sensible to vote for independence, the best chance Salmond had was to introduce policies so offensive to the English that they would ultimately lobby to have rid of them. We’re not there yet, but you’d have to be mad to think that offense hasn’t been taken.

                • Nicholas chuzzlewit

                  Nice try but you are wasting your time with these people. Should Salmond claim to be the archangel Gabriel, they would be straight on the thread defending his claim albeit a more realistic proposition than most of the ludicrous rubbish he spouts on currency, national debt, defence etc etc.

        • Jambo25

          This is how it’s legal. All students from different EU states must be treated as favourably as home students when crossing an international border to study in a foreign state. So if English or Scottish students wish to study in the Netherlands they will be treated, roughly, as Dutch students.
          However, if there are internal divisions in Federal or quasi-Federal states then a student moving from one part of the state to another is not covered by that EU regulation. So, in Germany for example, a student moving to another Land to study certain subjects may be asked to pay rather more than a student from the Land he is moving to.
          The Scottish government operates the present system to protect it’s home domiciled students. Do you think that Scottish students should pay £9,000 pa simply to show solidarity with English domiciled students. Perhaps the SG should pay for all students out of it’s block grant. That would cost the Scotland at least £150,000,000 and almost certainly lead to a flood of English students moving north and freezing large numbers of Scottish students out of HE. All to dig England out of a ole of it’s own making.
          Come on sport! What’s your handy suggestion?

          • Andy

            Ah yes Tuition Fees in England upon which no Scottish MP voted of course.

            • Jambo25

              No SNP MPs voted. If you think that Scottish Labour MPs voting through HE fees while their Scottish colleagues voted against it, in Scotland, is a bit of n atrocity, then I’m not going to disagree with you. Remember, however, that the main Westminster parties are all London headquartered and controlled from that city. So, if you don’t like it; do something about it.

    • Jambo25

      Payment of fees followed on from the Dearing Report set up by the Major Government and implemented by the Blair government. Voted for and passed, overwhelmingly, by English MPs. SNP MPs voted against. The raising of fees to £9,000 pa was the policy of the present coalition. Virtually all Scottish MPs voted against it apart from the 1 Tory and a few LibDems.
      The abolition of fees, in Scotland, was voted through by the SLAB/LibDem coalition government in, I think 1999. The SNP only continued the policy. All the blame in this lies with Westminster and those who voted for the governments which implemented the policy in England.

      • Wessex Man

        Yes all you say is true but every single Scottish Labour MP at that time and theres quite a few of them and all of them had signed the Scottish Claim of Right voted to bring in University fees in England and Wales, despite rebel Labour MPs begging them not to. The Welsh Assembly then ‘found’ funds from The Barnett Formula to cover their fees.

        The SNP were the only honourable exception and I hope they win the referendum.

        • Andy

          Indeed. It does not alter the point that no Scottish MP should have voted for tuition fees because it was an English only measure so it was none of their bloody business.

        • HJ777

          In fact, he’s wrong, as usual.

          The raising of tuition fees to a maximum of £9000 was implemented by the current government but it was a result the recommendation of a review set up by the previous Labour government (which Labour would also have implemented).

          Those running Scottish universities are seriously worried about how they are going to remain financially and academically competitive in the absence of fees. ‘Free’ tuition is not a free lunch as the SNP would have us believe.

          • Jambo25

            I noted that the £9,000 pa charge was instituted by this government which you admit but hen say I’m wrong. Confused, much.

            • HJ777

              Well, you’re usually confused, so no surprise there then.

              You claimed that the £9000 charge was a policy of the current government. It was not. Its policy was to implement the recommendations of the funding review (you’ll recall that the LibDems were against the increase) which only reported AFTER they came to power.

              My daughter works at a Scottish university – trust me, Salmond’s policies on tuition fees are causing the management great concern and the situation is only going to get worse for them.

              • Jambo25

                The Browne Review was launched in 2009 but did not report until October 2010; some 5 months after the coalition took power. The proposal to raise fees to £9,000 was announced by Dvid Willetts in November 2010 and put into practise in 2012. The LibDems supported this. Ergo, it is the Coalition’s policy.
                I’ve got a sister in law and various friends who work as administrators and lecturers at a number of English universities. (One at Cambridge and the others at various non-Oxbridge Russell Groupers.) Guess what? They’re (Even bits of Cambridge) all short of money as well. There are rumblings from the undergrowth that the various university associations, particularly the Russell Group, are going to be pushing for a rise in fees. I’ve heard £12,000; even £15,000 pa.
                The essential problem with English universities was the Westminster government’s decision to withdraw financial support from virually all teaching of arts and social science subjects.

              • Maidmarrion

                Tosh!

                • HJ777

                  Yes, your post is literally that – Tosh.

                • terregles2

                  It is useful tosh though. I have let some of the people that I work beside view his postings and I think reading them has added to the YES votes.

                • Wessex Man

                  Well if telling the truth is all it takes to turn your fellow workers into members of the Yes campaign you should be very worried about the company you keep.

                • terregles2

                  Well the only person I have ever heard being more enthusiastic about Scottish independence than yourself is Allan Grogan.
                  I know you are a passionate supporter of Scottish independence so didn’t think you would worry about the reason for people switching to a YES vote just as long as they do vote YES. I know it would make you the happiest man in Britain..

        • Jambo25

          Your argument is with the Westminster parties who, wheel Scottish MPs through the lobbies to push through their policies. Conservatives and Lib Dems are as guilty as Labour. The only way this is going to stop is by there being Scottish independence or some form of DevoMax/federalism which carries over into England as well.
          In the case of the fees, however, you and other posters miss a very important point. there was no Scottish Parliament when the act introducing fees was introduced. Labour MPs were still the sole Scottish parliamentary representatives (Bar Lords) at that time. In fact, the initial act disadvantaged students attending Scottish universities due to the 4 rather than 3 year course. The Quigley proposal righted that but passed the cost of both Scottish and non Scottish domiciled students to the future Scottish Government. Something for which English MPs should apologise to the Scots.

          • Jambo25

            To the person who voted down my above post. Come back on and tell me, precisely, where I’m factually wrong.

            • John Border

              I’ve just voted you down too.

              • Jambo25

                Why? It would be nice to know hat you find inaccurate about the posting.

          • Andy

            As you well know Devolution was the Labour Partys way of gerrymandering. It was always totally and utter unacceptable for any Scottish, Welsh or Northern Irish MP to vote upon matters which are devolved and thus only apply to England. But the Fascists knew they might need those 40+ Scottish and 20+ Welsh MPs. Many policies have been denied to us in England because of those seats – the Conservatives have a 60+ majority in England.

            • Jambo25

              When the bill to implement the revised Dearing recommendations was brought forward there was still no devolved parliament so it was, at least arguably, correct for Scottish MPs to vote on the matter as it was going to apply o Scotland. It certainly applied to me and my son. It cost us money. Or, perhaps, you are saying that due to the expected advent of a Scottish government a yar and a half later hat the Scots simply shouldn’t have been represented at all for that period of time.

              • Andy

                There has been devolution since 1997, so why do Scottish MPs, of whatever party, continue to vote on purely English matters ? These are none of their, nor your, bloody business. We all know that the Labour Party gerrymander whenever they get a chance.

                • Jambo25

                  They shouldn’t and if you look back on my previous postings you may note that, in most cases, I hold by that position. You may also, however, note the phrase “in most cases”. There will be bits of English business that will have direct or indirect knock on effects on Scotland as long as we maintain something like the present governmental structure if only because of Barnett consequentials and in such circumstances it will be fit and proper for Scottish MPs to vote on such business.. That will be the case until there is either Scottish independence or a very loose confederal or federal structure for the UK.

                • Andy

                  Like what ? The principle is simple: any matter which is a devolved competance all MPs from Scotland, Wales & Northern Ireland are automatically unable to speak or vote. Devolution is fine, so get your nose out of English affairs.

                  As I say the present devolution mess was created by Labour for Labour.

                • Jambo25

                  The problem is given the Barnett formula and it’s ‘consequentials’ most money spending measures have knock on effects for Scotland. If a government in England cuts spending then spending is also cut in Scotland. Until a different method of money raising for the various parts of the UK is found that is going o be a problem.

                • John Border

                  ‘why do Scottish MPs, of whatever party, continue to vote on purely English matters ‘

                  Quite right and why does Scotland always get a Tory government when they never vote Tory as they are greedy nasty scum? Why do English MPs use their huge majority to bulldoze Scottish wishes?

                • Andy

                  Get lost Fascist.

    • terregles2

      Cameron should be more ashamed deeply ashamed of refusing to discuss an independent Scotland with any Scottish person and then discussing the issue with Putin.

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