Coffee House

Europe will affect the Scots referendum, but not in the way everyone expects

17 January 2014

5:59 PM

17 January 2014

5:59 PM

With William Hague in Glasgow this morning, the Scottish independence debate has swung round to Europe once again.

Europe is indeed going to be important as we head towards the referendum, but perhaps not in the way everyone expects.

The Foreign Secretary spent this morning warning that Scots would be worse off if they left the UK and then joined Europe as a separate country – without the UK’s rebate.

This will rumble on until the September 18 poll, with claim and counter claim from both sides and neither able to prove anything definitively.

Hague’s visit, though, has overshadowed one intriguing piece of polling data which could prove to be highly significant later in the year.

So far, the perceived wisdom ahead of May’s European elections has all been about Ukip and how well they are going to do this year.

According to a YouGov poll on European voting intentions, released this week, Ukip may well do very well in England.

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But the party will find it much harder going in Scotland. According to YouGov, Ukip is on just 10 per cent of the vote in Scotland (compared to 26 per cent in England), just one percentage point ahead of the Greens on nine per cent.

That means that while Ukip can expect to pick up seats all across England, they will have to battle it out with the Greens for the last of Scotland’s six seats (with two likely to go to Labour, two to the SNP and one to the Tories).

The Greens are bullish and believe they can take that final Scottish seat and they have form.

The Greens have been represented in the Scottish Parliament since its inception and are now polling ahead of the Liberal Democrats north of the border.

Now, this polling evidence does come with a cautionary proviso that the sample size for Scotland in a UK-wide poll is quite small. But there is a wider point here. Whether or not Ukip actually get a seat in Scotland, it is now clear that Scots see Europe very differently to their colleagues in England.

The polls show that Scots are generally much more Europhile than the English, they are more sympathetic to Europe and repelled by the brand of Eurobashing favoured by Nigel Farage and his acolytes that seems to be so effective south of the border.

So if, as expected, England elects Ukip MEPs in record numbers and if, as a result, the Tory-led coalition drifts towards a more overtly Europhobic stance, that will alienate a lot of Scots just a couple of months ahead of the referendum.

Alex Salmond’s government has made much of its pro-European approach and the First Minister will be the first to exploit what will then be a clear difference in approach to the continent north and south of the border.

And, with the coalition government standing by its decision to hold a referendum on European membership, the option of an independent Scotland defiantly and completely remaining within Europe will have growing appeal.

Ukip may get a seat in Scotland. If it does so, that will represent a major – and, it has to be said unexpected – breakthrough for the party.

The chances are, though, that Ukip will miss out and, if it does, then the contrast between an increasingly Eurosceptical England and a determinedly Eurofriendly Scotland will become stark.

And it will be that clear and obvious difference on Europe that will ultimately be most influential when it comes to the referendum, not arguments over the rebate or the Schengen agreement – however interesting those may be to Hague, Nicola Sturgeon and everyone else in the Holyrood bubble.

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Show comments
  • horserider

    The UKIP candidate in Scotland is a nasty little City boy with some very exteme views about foreigners.

  • Ringan

    There is more chance of pigs flying than UKIP winning a seat in Scotland in May.

  • Bonkim

    Yes good analysis and there is much fuel for thought.

  • Bonkim

    Yes good analysis and there is much fuel for thought.

  • JonBW

    Another strong argument for voting UKIP in May, then….

  • Bill Brinsmead

    UKIP will not, cannot, win any seats in Scotland in May as its sentiments and values only chime with a small, elderly and angry section of the English.

    • global city

      I thought that was the SNP filling that role?

  • DaHitman

    I hope Scotland does leave the Union because I’m tired of them blaming us for everything and if they don’t vote to leave it will only be a matter of years before the SNP do another referendum where we’d be going around in circles, sod them

    • terregles2

      People voting YES are not blaming English people for anything. They are voting against Westminster government not English people.
      Many people feel that the Westminster government has made some very bad decisions for Scotland over the past decades.
      There is no point in moaning about that it is in the past. The only way to ensure that Westminster cannot make any bad decisions for Scotland in the future is to choose to be governed by Holyrood. Many English people who now live in Scotland have come to the same conclusion and are campaigning for a YES vote.

      • DaHitman

        Oh come on we’re sick to death of them moaning about the English and the funny thing is if they wanted Independence they should have asked the the English to have a referendum too because you’d have got it.

        On and don’t forget the 13yrs of the Labour government was basically a Scottish one. Both leaders were Scottish and the high profile cabinet ministers!

        Please go

        • terregles2

          The dreadful Blair government was elected on a landslide vote. They would have been in power with a massive majority even without any Scottish votes..
          One leader was Scottish although because we are all at the moment British and share the same parliament that should not be an issue. Are you suggesting that every British Prime Minister has to be English.
          The apalling Blair’s father was the son of two English actors called Parsons from Yorkshire. He was only adopted by a Scottish family but Blair’s birth grandparents were English and his mother was Irish. Blair was educated in Edinburgh but would never consider himself Scottish.

        • Craig

          Six Prime Minister represented Scottish Constituencies Whilst Prime Minister:

          William Gladstone
          Henry Campbell Bannerman
          Herbert Henry Asquith
          Andrew Bonar Law
          Sir Alec Douglas-Home
          And of course Gordon Brown (who was never voted in as PM)
          PMs born in Scotland include Tony Blair (can you honestly say he was Scottish lol)

          So you are saying that in over 300 years you think it is okay for Scotland to be ruled by English Prime Ministers but on the rare occasion it has been Scottish PM, this is not acceptable.

          It is because of people like you and their stupid prejudiced views that Scotland wants to be independent. Don’t worry, the only difference for you next year will be having to swap your Union Jack swimshorts for St George ones when you go abroad on holiday to smash the place up

          • DaHitman

            No one is listening, we want you to leave the Union so you only have yourselves to moan at.

            Oh and if you don’t class Tony Blaiar as Scottish even though he was born there you could be classed as racist meaning you don’t class all the friggin Africans and Muslims here as “British” either

            • Craig

              A typical response I would have expected from a 5 year old. Putting your fingers in your ears doesn’t make it go away. “We want you to leave the Union”. That may your own personal opinion however polls at the beginning of the year state a majority of rUK in favour of Scotland remaining in the UK.

              In regards Blair, it was a rhetoric statement considering he has never shown any special treatment to his country of birth or provided little reference to it especially when campaiging. Obviously you cannot keep up with the debate and I should have simplified my comments for you.

              Finally, you may wish to continue ranting and making odd accusations, whereas I will instead debate with people more civilised and more grown up than you.

              • DaHitman

                Oh and now he’s being obtuse because he doesn’t like the honest answer.

                As I’ve said the vast majority of the English want to be rid of you. I suspect you’ll still blame us for everything but we can just shut the door then and tell you to FO

                • Craig

                  I do find you funny. To back up your “vast majority” statement , would that be a lick of the finger and hold it into the wind. Instead why don’t you send me the poll result which states this. Oops I forgot, you can’t because there is no poll that states this. All you can do is grunt some explicit viewpoint with no credence to it whatsoever.

                • DaHitman

                  Pal why do you think we English aren’t being given a say even though it does affect us, WAKE UP.

                  I’m actually supporting you by hoping you leave and you still have to moan, this is why we’re sick of you

                • Dusty01

                  The only person moaning here, is YOU.

  • black11hawk

    The problem with the Scottish independence referendum is the same as the problem with the EU in-out referendum. They are both generating huge amounts of ill will on the other side. The Scottish Nationalists seem to think they are going to live in some kind of utopian future and that even after all the England-bashing they have engaged in throughout the campaign and their evident dislike of the English their relationship with the rest of the UK will be entirely cordial post a Yes vote in September. The same is true of the EU in-out referendum, everyone over here thinks we’ll have this FTA and that’ll be the end of it. In reality the French, the Germans, the Spanish, the Italians, the Poles etc. are all sick of us. I was over in Brussels for a few months last year for work and they think we are a big bunch of whingers. They definitely have a different take on things and the majority of them are social democrats, nonetheless the perception that we are constantly whinging and blocking everything is definitely harming our interests over there. I am still undecided on how I will vote if there is an in-out referendum, but in the meantime we need to be careful not to damage our negotiating hand if we do leave.

    • Fergus Pickering

      You were in Brussels and… And of course Brussels is the beating heart of Europe. What Brussels thinks now the world will think by Wednesday week. And of course everybody in Brussels is eating an endless series of free lunches paid for by the poor all over the European Continent.

      • black11hawk

        Well, Brussels is the political heart of Europe, therefore what people there think is important, even if you dislike that fact. As for lunch, I paid for mine.

        • Fergus Pickering

          One balls and therefore two balls. Berlin is the political heart of Europe since Germany runs the place, Brussels is where all the idle bastards on vast salaries live and we know what they think. They go into battle with their drawn salaries in their hands, but only for ten minutes or so. They are deserving of our contempt but not our attention. What were you doing there?

    • Andy

      You will find that a number of European countries find it rather handy to hide behind the UK, getting the UK to block things they don’t want. This is partly because the EU is dominated by France and Germany, and others don’t want to incur the ‘displeasure’.

      The reality is the EU is a club which is not really suitable for the UK because of our very different history. It would be better if we left and I think in rather quick time the Continental Europeans would soon realise everyone is better off with such an arrangement. We can trade as we wish and they can federate as they wish.

    • terregles2

      You overlook the fact that there are several Scottish parties campaigning for a YES vote in Scotland it is a cross party issue. I don’t know anyone who thinks independence will bring in a Utopian Scotland. We will face challenges just like every other country. The difference will be that we will have control of the party we choose in Holyrood rather than just stand by and hope that Westminster makes the right decision for us.
      I was recently at an independence discussion held in a local Town Hall. There were YES and NO voters along with quite a few undecided. There was a good debate and exchange of ideas but none of the debate included any anti English rhetoric.
      It is all about a choice in government nothing to do with being anti any nation.

    • Dusty01

      “The Scottish Nationalists seem to think they are going to live in some kind of utopian future and that even after all the England-bashing they have engaged in throughout the campaign and their evident dislike of the English

      “England-bashing” Where?

  • Iain Hill

    Have you been asleep for some time?

  • Andrew Leslie

    Hamish: This point has been extensively debated among the evil cybernats, as you are no doubt aware. What you don’t mention is that UKIP in Scotland has suffered mass resignations among its leadership, making it hard to see how it could campaign effectively in the forthcoming elections.
    A second point is that UKIP in Scotland is not just unpopular because of its stance on the EU. It is perceived as a right-wing, London-based, group – which is never going to be popular in Scotland.
    Indeed, as I have pointed out to its remaining stalwarts, if Scottish UKIP became ScoKIP – coming out for independence on an anti-EU platform, while toning down the anti-immigrant rhetoric, it would probably do rather well.

    • Fergus Pickering

      No need to tone it down. The Scots hate black and brown immigrants almost as much as they ate the English.

      • Maidmarrion

        I do not understand how your offensive and inaccurate comment was not challenged and removed by the moderators.

        • Fergus Pickering

          Ah, that’s because they are all English, you know.

  • Smithersjones2013

    But the party will find it much harder going in Scotland. According to
    YouGov, Ukip is on just 10 per cent of the vote in Scotland (compared to
    26 per cent in England), just one percentage point ahead of the Greens
    on nine per cent.

    I do so hate it when writers are so psephologically innumerate and intellectually lazy (he hasn’t even compensated for the fact that the England & Wales [ he forgot about the Welsh] figures differ from the UK figures) in salami slicing the results. So let’s examine the whole subset and put it in context

    Lab 39 (Compared to 31% in England & Wales)
    SNP 24
    Con 13 (Compared to 24% in England & Wales)
    UKIP 10 (Compared to 28% in England & Wales)
    Green 9 (Compared to 5% in England & Wales)
    LD 5 (Compared to 10% in England & Wales)

    Clearly its not just Eurobashing the Scots are repelled by. Tories, Libdems and Coalitions come to mind as well.

    He rather understates that the sample for Scotland is not demographically weighted and is too small to be statistically significant. Basically the figures are meaningless but just for a moment lets suppose that the figures were accurate.

    MacDonell also fails to point out that UKIP came 6th BEHIND the Greens in 2009 on 5.2%. So currently UKIP are in 4th up two places (having overtaken both the Greens & Libdems as well) on almost double the vote share they had last time and with a good campaign and a small further swing from the Tories could overtake them and end up with 3rd place AND a vote share in excess of the 11.5% needed by the Libdems to secure an MEP in 2009 (i.m not sure what they would need this time to secure an MEP).

    So whilst UKIP are not going to set the Scottish political scene alight (Tory incompetence and mismanagement has seen centre right unionism banished for a generation or more in Scotland) its clear that UKIP has made a substantial advance in Scotland which is only hindered by the lack of potential voters as a result the Tory inadequacy and the SNP cornering the nationalist vote.

    That said Scotland is not good a good place for Euroscepticism. After all its the part of the country furthest away from the front line after all. The irony being that if Scotland did get independence and then joined the EU only then I believe would it realise how little influence and control it had over it’s own business (its very easy to blame Westminster for all their woes currently) and as such only after independence would a real Scottish Eurosceptic movement arise and I suspect it would arise within the SNP. Of course all that would be too late for UKIP.

    Still if UKIP does get an MEP that would be some achievement!

    • MichtyMe

      I have my doubts about this poll. Recent, specifically Scottish polling, for the Parliament, indicate the SNP is still ahead of Labour and UKIP less than 5%, which is what they polled in last years by elections.

      • Smithersjones2013

        Indeed as I said “Basically the figures are meaningless

        My main point really is that the author shouldn’t try to bend any old poll to the narrative they wish to write about but instead should be letting the poil tell the narrative that it has discovered..

        I have one provision on your assessment which seems perfectly plausible. Is it possible that Scots Tories might switch their votes in the Euros to UKIP as they have a practice of doing south of the border?

    • HookesLaw

      Of all the parties you list only one wants to leave Europe.
      That same party wants to replace elected MSPs with the members elected to Westminster. In other words turn the Scottish devolved Parliament into Westminster Grand Committee. Is that popular is Scotland?

      • Smithersjones2013

        Probably not. Which probably explains why that policy has been superceded by proposals for a federalised UK.

        I know you just lurve scratching around at the bottom of the pond furtively ferreting around for your “precious” (anything you can smear UKIP with) like some gormless Gollum but do keep up old fellow you are peddling yesteryear’s news

      • AnotherDave

        I think the Greens also want to leave the EU.

        http://policy.greenparty.org.uk/eu

        • SRD87

          The ‘Green Party’ and the ‘Scottish Green Party’ are completely different political parties…

  • Hello

    “and a determinedly Eurofriendly Scotland”

    Slight exaggeration I think.

    • MichtyMe

      Probably right, majority perhaps with no strong opinion and a smaller ferociously anti than down south. The SNP are not wildly enthusiastic europhiles, they are nationalists and want as much power as possible for national government but they are pragmatists.

  • berosos_bubos

    In England 1 in 5 children has a parent born abroad. What is the proportion for Scotland ?

    • Crumbs

      It’s a very good question, Berosos. In Scotland we simply haven’t felt the impact of open doors immigration. The dominant narrative amongst educated Scots is still international socialism, multiculturalism and Europhilia. Plus we define ourselves partly against what we perceive as English xenophobia. We project our feelings of guilt over Britain’s imperial past onto England and imagine that whereas former colonial cultures hate the English, they just love us. So people are still calling for open door immigration, and there is almost zero awareness of the threat posed to any Western society by a large aggressive Muslim element.

      • Fergus Pickering

        Scotland is infested with the immigrant English. I lived there for years and I was ONLY HALF Scots. No wonder I keep being rude anout Commisar Salmond. How right the Scots were to expel me.

    • Fergus Pickering

      By abroad do you mean out of Scotland? At least half I reckon.

    • terregles2

      Why would that matter. If their parents live and work in Scotland and pay taxes why would anyone care where they were born.?

  • Denis_Cooper

    “According to a YouGov poll on European voting intentions, released this week, Ukip may well do very well in England.

    But the party will find it much harder going in Scotland. According to YouGov, Ukip is on just 10 per cent of the vote in Scotland (compared to 26 per cent in England), just one percentage point ahead of the Greens on nine per cent.”

    Right, I can find those numbers of 10% for UKIP in Scotland and 9% for the Greens in Scotland, and the number of 26% for UKIP across the whole of Great Britain – not just England, mind, but the whole of Great Britain – on page 4 of this YouGov poll carried out earlier this week:

    http://d25d2506sfb94s.cloudfront.net/cumulus_uploads/document/6wgo4zg4lp/YG-Archive-140115-EU-Elections.pdf

    But what I don’t find in that poll report is anything about the attitudes of Scots towards the EU, rather than their attitudes towards UKIP; the article says:

    “it is now clear that Scots see Europe very differently to their colleagues in England … The polls show that Scots are generally much more Europhile than the English, they are more sympathetic to Europe …”

    as if that was something which has emerged from this recent poll when in fact it says nothing about it.

    Of course things may have changed since 2007, but I come back to this report on the subject commissioned by the Scottish Executive:

    http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Resource/Doc/163772/0044574.pdf

    which came to conclusions that some people may not like.
    On page Page 5:

    “There is very little difference between Scotland and the UK as a whole on attitudes to Europe.”

    And again on page 7:

    “It is often believed that within the UK, Scotland is one of the most pro-European areas. The evidence within this review suggests that on the whole this is not the case, with people in Scotland reporting broadly similar Eurosceptic views as people in Britain as a whole.”

    • AnotherDave

      John Curtice said much the same last year:

      “…an analysis of opinion poll data collected during the course of this year suggests that whereas across Britain as a whole only 37% would vote to stay in the European Union, in Scotland that figure is rather higher, 43% – a difference of six points. Equally, the proportion who would vote to leave is six points lower in Scotland.

      While that difference is potentially enough to alter the majority outcome, it is not enough to suggest that there is a far stronger groundswell in favour of the European project north of the border.”

      http://blog.whatscotlandthinks.org/2013/10/two-different-countries-scottish-and-english-attitudes-to-equality-and-europe/

      • Denis_Cooper

        Thanks for that. The article claims:

        “… the contrast between an increasingly Eurosceptical England and a determinedly Eurofriendly Scotland will become stark”

        but there is no such contrast, just rather small differences.

        In 1999 UKIP got only 1.3% of the votes cast in Scotland at the same time that it got three MEPs elected in the South East, the South West and the East on just below 10% in each case, since then its support has gradually spread out across the rest of the country and now it’s got up to the same level in Scotland as it was in southern England 15 years ago.

        • AnotherDave

          Another one today from ComRes.

          17% of Scots have a favourable impression of UKIP.

          http://www.comres.co.uk/polls/SM_IoS_Political_Poll_19_January_2014.pdf

          (its a sub-sample, but I like it!)

          • Denis_Cooper

            Thanks. And that 17% for Scotland is only 5% below the 22% for north east England, also 7% below the 24% for London.

          • terregles2

            They must have been the ones who were sweet talked into supporting UKIP by Ron Northcott and Lord Monckton..

      • Jambo25

        However, it is very difficult to find many people, in Scotland, who have the level of Europhobia which appears to be quite common in England. As for UKIP: I know virtually nobody who would give the idea of support for the party house room. In fact, given the recent complete implosion of the party, in Scotland, I find the idea that it is attracting even 10% support simply unbelievable.
        Scots are not wild Europhiles. We are simply not Europhobic. Getting out of the EU would be about number 35 on the list of choices and we certainly don’t want to be dragged out by a, seemingly increasingly xenophobic ‘Middle England’.

        • http://ajbrenchley.com/ Swanky

          Why, if that is so (your first sentence) do the Scots not see the EU faceless bureaucracy as 1) irritatingly impractical and careless of reality — as bureaucracies tend to be; and 2) universalizing when Scotland presumably wants more local control and more sovereignty?

          • Jambo25

            Because, quite simply, we are a small country and recognise that virtually no states apart from the USA and PRC have full sovereignty any longer. All states, now, have constraints upon their actions and behaviour. Virtually everybody else in Europe recognises that as well. Only a large portion of English people seem not to.

            • http://ajbrenchley.com/ Swanky

              Gosh, that seems awfully spineless. Why not cave in to everything in life? It’s amazing the Scots have the gumption even to think about secession.

              As for ‘full sovereignty’: all nations have always had contingent power, and depended on pacts and understandings with other countries. It’s the way the world works. But to make that an excuse….

              • Jambo25

                Possibly we are simply more realistic than our English cousins who still think that they are a great power.

                • http://ajbrenchley.com/ Swanky

                  I think you’re mistaken there. The English think they are a free people and they know that freedom needs defending. Nothing to do with being a ‘great’ power. If anything, I wish the English thought more of themselves, as they ought to.

          • Craig

            Because these faceless bureaucrats are not subservient to the aspirations and ambitions of any political party who use them for their own means . Case in point being Whitehall which is constantly changed by each party and as I said above is currently being utilised heavily by David “it up to only Scottish voters” Cameron to assist the No campaign

            • http://ajbrenchley.com/ Swanky

              Big Brother was faceless, too. Without faces you have no accountability. And without accountability you have no democracy and no freedom. That’s my warning and complaint.

              • Craig

                Let’s not get carried away Swanky. Your everyday life is not controlled by Brussels. Certain laws and legislations are but on the whole Westminster governs. To be honest being governed 100% by the state is totalitarianism and a dictatorship. Relinquishing some powers is good and makes the state accountable.

                • http://ajbrenchley.com/ Swanky

                  Freaky. I never relinquish power I don’t have to… especially to some other power I can’t correct and rebuke when necessary.

                  As for getting carried away: I love it. Trouble is, it happens so rarely!

                • Denis_Cooper

                  According to research by the House of Commons Library an average of about 47% of the new laws in the UK derive from EU directives and regulations. Many of them are of no great importance, but some are very important. Plus there are the binding judgements from the EU’s Court of Justice, which can also be very important.

        • marksheasby

          “…increasingly xenophobic ‘Middle England” ??????

          An unelected Euro elite control decisions that have been democratically accountable in the UK for a century. Is a desire to return to democracy xenophobic? If so what wild hyperbole should we chose for Scotland’s independence campaign?

          And who is this mythical ‘Middle England”?

          There are respectable arguments for and against Scotland’s independence but it seems decisions will be based on prejudice.

      • Wessex Man

        ah opinion polls, ah John Curtice, ah pass the sick bag!

    • Iain Hill

      It does not need a poll. History confirms it. See our 1295 alliance with France.

      • Denis_Cooper

        More recent history shows that opposition to joining the EEC was stronger in Scotland than anywhere else in the UK, so much so that the proponents of the EEC deemed it worthy of special propaganda efforts.

        • Craig

          Mmmm. So no party has ever or are ever allowed to change their policy to coincide with the view of the people. No u turns ever performed. No point in having elections , each party just uses their original manifesto issued since their creation and just presents that each election. I wish people would stop harping on about “ah but in the past”. Today’s decisions are taken for today’s people otherwise parties would die or become extremely unpopular. Without naming parties the u turns or policy changes encompass: no nukes, euro currency, fuel duty rises, pasty tax, forestry, equal marriage etc etc etc

          • Denis_Cooper

            ‘Twas not I brought up a treaty of 1295 as relevant to the attitudes of Scots in 2014.

      • Fergus Pickering

        See your what? You cannot be serious.

  • Geronimo von Huxley

    The Scotts referendum will affect the British GE 2015, but not in the way everyone expects.

    • the viceroy’s gin

      What a sly observation you’ve made there, and it makes sense, too.

      • Craig

        I was thinking that aswell but not good for Scotland:
        1) Scotland votes ukip in protest to weaken Tories but all that would mean is definite EU departure in 2017 if Scotland voted no
        2) Scotland votes ukip in protest and Better Together campaign use that as argument against Yes campaigns policy to join EU.

  • Pootles

    I am a pro-Scotland Englishman, and I would love to see the Scots have the courage to really embrace independence – which would have to include staying out of the EU. If they don’t, then there doesn’t seem to be much point in getting out of the elephant’s bed, only to squeeze in under the woolly mammoth of the EU.

    • http://ajbrenchley.com/namaskar Swanky

      A nice bit of writing there, Pootles.

      • Pootles

        My thanks, good lady. The mammoth is very large, with nasty things hidden in its matted hide.

        • http://ajbrenchley.com/namaskar Swanky

          Mmmm, amazing it can get anyone to mate with it!

          • the viceroy’s gin

            …well, maybe the jocks see their chance there.

            😉

            • Iain Hill

              Thank you, Sassenach! Insults can go two ways.

              • fubarroso

                Being referred to as a Saxon is not an insult pal!

                • Wessex Man

                  no of course not, why Scotlands DNA programme revealed that most of the populations of Glasgow and Edinburugh are made up of Anglo-Saxons!

                • Fergus Pickering

                  Naw. Edinburgh is infested with jews.And homosexualists.

    • Bluesman_1

      Indeed good citizen. Someone needs to make the point that a change of master is not independence.

      • MichtyMe

        But possibly preferable to obeying the masters servant.

        • asalord

          Agreed. First things first: an end to this debilitating union with England and with it an end to Westminster putting its own interests, concerning foreign affairs, above Scotland’s interests when dealing with other nations..

          • http://ajbrenchley.com/namaskar Swanky

            What are Scotland’s interests?

            • asalord

              Being no part of Westminster’s continuing delusions of superpower status.
              Staying out of pointless wars in the Middle East and Afghanistan and thereby saving the lives of hundreds of thousands of innocent people.
              Concentrating money on medical aid and help for refugees in war-torn areas and not on wasting money on armaments and arms dealers.
              Not wasting money on nuclear bases in Scotland..

              • http://ajbrenchley.com/namaskar Swanky

                Self-defence not a concern?

                • Jambo25

                  Self defence does not require us to fight pointless wars in the Mid-East or Afghanistan.

                • http://ajbrenchley.com/ Swanky

                  Mmm. I’d rather fight them where they live than have them continue to bring the fight to us. In my view, it’s a question of whether we want more or fewer murdered Lee Rigbys.

                • Jambo25

                  I wasn’t aware that Iraq or Afghanistan were about to invade Scotland.

                • http://ajbrenchley.com/ Swanky

                  You know what I’m saying. You won’t cease to have enemies of modernity with Scotland in its sights just because you’ve decided not to be in the UK!

                • Jambo25

                  If we do then I’m sue we’ll have sufficient security forces to protect us. We’ll simply not go looking for trouble.

                • http://ajbrenchley.com/ Swanky

                  ‘We’ll simply not go looking for trouble’
                  I should hope not. But trouble might come looking for you.

                • terregles2

                  The threat of a nuclear accident on the Holy Loch is a bigger worry.

                • terregles2

                  Well if we were relying on the British armed forces we would be sadly disappointed. With the cutbacks they would struggle to defend England never mind Scotland.

                • http://ajbrenchley.com/ Swanky

                  Maybe — but that’s a completely different argument. Britain should spend more on defence and not have ridiculous rules of engagement such that Iranian pirates of the state can take naval personnel hostage without a fight!

                • terregles2

                  It’s because we have fought with them where they live that more of them have brought the battle to where we live.

                • http://ajbrenchley.com/ Swanky

                  No, I’m afraid that’s a total misconception. What you want is appeasement. The events of Hitler’s rise appear to have shown that appeasement doesn’t work. Even our small or near non-response to terrorist acts against Westerners in the past two decades did not prevent them coming over HERE to massacre.

                • terregles2

                  I do not want appeasement I just want to be no part of invading other countries. I also want Trident out of Scotland. If there is ever a nuclear accident I don’t want it to happen where I live. Westminster squandering billions on Trident while we have food banks in our country. Unbelievable.

                • http://ajbrenchley.com/ Swanky

                  I have one thing to say to you: Lockerbie.

                • terregles2

                  History shows that terrorism is never defeated by force. In the end it is always defeated by talking and compromise. One recent example of that is Ireland.

                • http://ajbrenchley.com/ Swanky

                  Jeez, and there was I thinking that the Axis powers were defeated not by roses and candy but by guns and bombs….

                • Craig

                  Self defence is not a concern. Scotland contributes £3.3billion towards the UK defence budget however only £1.9billion is actually spent in Scotland. For that Scotland get no patrols around the UK as they cannot afford the fuel, 2 of the 4 nuke subs always in port for repairs and to save running costs and any spare destroyer/frigate sitting in Portsmouth. Evidenced by recent scramble by MOD to send destroyer to Scotland as Russian destroyer sitting 30miles off the scottish coastline. It took the navy 24hrs to get a ship there. Furthermore UK navy pulled out of North Atlantic navy exercises with the US navy as they could not afford the fuel. Embarrassingly the US offered to pay for our fuel.
                  Scotland after independence intends to spend £2.5billion on its defence. This is as stated above more than what is received at present and coherent with similar sized countries. Finally. An independent Scotland will not therefore need to contribute £12billion towards renewing trident.

                • Karl Montague

                  No. Not a concern at all. Why, is someone going to attack?

                • http://ajbrenchley.com/ Swanky

                  The naivety expressed in this comments section beggars belief, really. Scotland isn’t just another country: it seems to be another planet….

              • Iain Hill

                12 out of 10

            • Karl Montague

              Feeding the poor, housing the homeless, education and health care.

              They used to be Britain’s interests at one point…

              • http://ajbrenchley.com/ Swanky

                Let the poor feed themselves by not over-taxing potential employers that would hire them, and by not over-taxing the paycheque the poor receive. Then they can work their way out of poordom. Capitalist democracy has the best record of relieving poverty of any system of rule anywhere in the history of the world.

                • Karl Montague

                  Well exactly. That’s the cultural divide I’m talking about. Because the Tories think like you, we got rid of them. When Labour went the same way, we got rid of them. Our main party bases their manifesto around social capitalism, such as practiced in Norway, who we voted in again.

                  Culturally, the Scots care more about looking after each other than being rich, although they’re not averse to it if offered. If you want Scots to stay with the union, you have to talk that language. It’s actually a priority for the people of Scotland. You won’t convince anyone away from their vote for independence with an unworkable right-wing ideology.

                  As the unemployed to available jobs ratio is about 10:1, and is only going to get worse as technology automates more unskilled and skilled jobs, your argument is moot. America has hideous poverty levels. The UK as it stands has hideous poverty levels, and incredibly wealthy people dodging taxes. Our wealthy won’t help their fellow man, but leave that to the Red Cross.

                  I don’t want to live in this country anymore. Many people in Scotland agree with me. If the people of England and Wales want their taxes and wages diverted into the pockets of the super rich while hospitalised malnutrition increases exponentially, they’re welcome to it. We want something else. Many of us don’t even care what it costs.

                • http://ajbrenchley.com/ Swanky

                  No, America does NOT have ‘hideous’ poverty levels. We have an exceedingly generous safety net. Better than that, we have opportunity in this country so that people can improve their lives and spend their money as they see fit. The average American (economically speaking) is wealthier than the average Brit, by a significant margin. That includes the sanctimonious Scots.

                  Do not confuse the underclass in America — largely a creation of the Equality-Above-All Left, by the way (Detroit is Exhibit A, a city demolished by Leftist policies since the 1960s) — with the working poor. The underclass is unemployable. Whereas anyone with a high school diploma or a college degree in this country can get a job: and most people have both. The fact that some people make poor parents is not the fault of their fellow citizens or of government.

                  Not caring what it costs is a childish attitude. In time, you will care. And don’t come running to the rest of us.

                • Karl Montague

                  Oh, I’m sorry, only your “underclass” is in hideous poverty. Those who could afford a college degree are all doing okay.

                  I seeeee….

                • http://ajbrenchley.com/ Swanky

                  You really are ignorant, aren’t you? Again, we are extraordinarily generous in this country in helping the poor get an education. In fact I think we are bending so far backwards to make sure that everyone gets the same level of ed. that we’re in danger of breaking our spine.

                  But Leftists like you don’t like reality because it tells against them.

                • http://ajbrenchley.com/ Swanky

                  Another thing: the underclass isn’t under because it’s poor — it’s under because it’s criminal and has nothing to offer employers or decent neighbours. By many standards in the world, it’s not poor at all but is living very well on taxpayer handouts.

                • pedestrianblogger
                • pedestrianblogger

                  “Many of us don’t even care what it costs”. Of course you don’t. It’s not your money that will be used to pay for “it”.

          • HookesLaw

            Its not debilitating. Scotland are doing very well out of the Union.
            http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/news/uk/scotland/article3976692.ece

            You have no arguments worthy of the name. All you can do is badmoutyh the English and hope they react badly.

            • Bob Siren

              Doing well out of the Union? LOL!
              http://wingsoverscotland.com/ghosts-in-the-machine/

              We have many, many arguments worthy of the name, but perhaps none that would enlighten your shallow mind.

            • terregles2

              I don’t think pointing out how the Westminster government has failed everyone in the UK is badmouthing the English. We are all victims of Westminster incompetence the English Scottish Welsh and Northern Irish.
              When the North sea oil industry was booming in past decades a competent government would have set up an oil fund that would help our country now. That is what Norway did we could have done the same.
              Scotland is not doing well out of the union. We are doing well because we are rich in natural resources. We will do even better when we have independence and can manage our natural resources properly.

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          • Rocksy

            Better the Devil we know.

    • asalord

      But the No camp has repeatedly said the Spanish PM, because Spain wants to discourage the independence movement in Catalonia, will veto any attempt by an independent Scotland to join the EU.
      Surely the No camp would never lie about this to the Scottish public.

      • MirthaTidville

        Unfortunately for the Yes group this is a reality, as spoken by Rojoy himself, not some scare story put about by the opposition. Do keep up

        • MichtyMe

          Rojoy is just politicking. The European Commission’s Viviane Reding, among others, have said that there is no legal procedure that should Scotland become an independent territory it would leave the EU.
          There is simply no provision for an independent Scotland to be removed from the EU. Scotland is part of the EU and there is no procedure for this to change upon independence.

        • asalord

          I think it’s Pootles,your fellow British nationalist,who needs to keep up. See his comment above.

          • Pootles

            My dear fellow, you are mistaken. I am not a ‘British nationalist’.Like I said, I am an Englishman who is pro-Scotland. I have strong personal ties with Scotland -my wife is an Islander, I have lived, worked and studied in Scotland, my father is buried there, my mother lives there. I am glad that there is a referendum, it is up to Scotland to choose. I don’t think any of that makes me a ‘British nationalist’.

    • terregles2

      After independence Scots will choose whether or not they want to remain in the EU. If there is a no vote in September then the rest of the UK will decide if Scotland is in or out of the EU in 2017.
      Think most would agree the first option is the most democratic.

      • Pootles

        Good luck. If it is a ‘yes’ this year, then it would be good to think it would be a ‘yes’ to any Scots EU referendum. Given that the September vote is about fundamentally changing the constitutional position of Scotland, it would probably be the right time to have a referendum on the EU. Have wee Eck and the SNP promised that?

        • terregles2

          Well after independence there will be a general election. Some parties will include the promise of a vote on the EU within their manifesto others will not.
          Scots will decide which party they prefer which may or may not be the SNP.
          Independence is a cross party issue we are only voting on independence this September. We can hardly be expected to vote on other issues at the same time as we have to wait and see what each party offers in their manifesto.

          • Pootles

            Indeed. I didn’t mean at the same time, but shortly after. One of the interesting things will be (assuming a ‘yes’ vote) how long the SNP will survive in its current form following independence. It is, I suppose, likely that different factions within the SNP will split off once independence (at least, from the UK) is achieved. The SNP will also no longer have to present itself in different forms to, for example, the voters of Perth and those of Glasgow. There might even be echoes of the original NPS, SNL, SNM, SP tensions that characterised Scottish nationalism in the late 1920s/early 1930s, before the SNP emerged.

            • terregles2

              I quite agree after independence the SNP might well disband and their members join an existing Scottish political party which is closest to their political aspirations. I would imagine we will end up with the usual Left wing, Right wing. Left of centre, right of centre parties etc but after independence there will be no need for any party to campaign on independence because we will have it.
              The SNP might still exist and put forward what would most likely be a left of centre manifesto to the electorate but who knows ?. the main thing is people in Scotland will be able to elect the type of government that will deliver what they believe will be best for Scotland and have a parliament that the majority have voted for..

            • Craig

              the main goal of the SNP has been independence yet over the past 7 years no-one can deny they have done a good job in power in Holyrood. I think you will find no nationalist party has ever folded once independence was achieved. Instead they have put forward new policies and commitments as all other parties do.

              • Pootles

                I agree that the SNP would be unlikely to disappear, which is why I said ‘survive in its current form’. As for ‘no nationalist party ever folded’ etc – notwithstanding the totally different context, how about Sinn Fein splitting, and Fianna Fail and Cumann na nGaedheal as the resultant parties in the Free State?

                • Craig

                  Sorry – I should have stated peaceful

    • Craig

      Will the EU ask for all Scottish revenue to be sent to them? NO
      Will the EU dictate Scotland’s Air Passenger Duty %? NO
      Will the EU dictate Scotland’s Corporation Tax Level? NO
      Will the EU force Scotland to house trident? NO
      Will the EU impose a bedroom tax? NO
      Would the EU have imposed a Poll Tax? NO
      Could the EU privatise national industries and institutions e.g trains, NHS? NO

      The list goes on

      To summarise, the EU is mainly aligned to shared laws and NOT dictating how countries run their finances.

      • Pootles

        ‘shared laws’ – indeed, but utilising a technocratic system based upon the norms of the French Fourth Republic when civil servants had the leading role in the creation of the legal structures of France (something that they had inherited from the Third Republic). That contrasts with the British tradition of civil servants being subservient to directly elected (or, largely elected) representatives. In other words, the ‘shared laws’ are not created as the result of any form of direct or representative democratic process, but by civil servants empowered to push forward the total integration of Europe, which has been the model ever since the days of Monnet, de Gasperi, Schumann et al. On another point, in relation to tax revenue, corporation tax, nuclear weapons, and the maintenance of a privatised rail system, all those policies were either originated or maintained by UK governments that had majority support in Scotland, i.e., were approved of by the Scottish voter.

        • Craig

          You cannot honestly say Scotland has approved of Tory Governments being forced on them continually over the past 60 years when they never voted for them. Also, why are over 800 Whitehall civil servants currently empowered to collate data and write papers on behalf of the UK government to help with the No Campaign. Oops I forgot, Cameron stated he would not get involved as , “this is entirely up to Scottish voters” yet has the Whitehall machine working against Scotland, sends Westminster MPS like Hague, Osbourne, Alexander to Scotland to make speeches. Approaches Putin for help. So much for Cameron saying it was up to Scottish voters. I would gladly take EU civil servants over Whitehall ones.

          • Pootles

            In the last 60 years the UK has had 26 years of Labour government, and in each general election that Labour won in that time, the majority of Scottish MPs have been Labour MPs. As a result, all those policies that you mentioned, and that I picked up on, were approved of by the Scottish electorate.

            As for it being up to Scottish voters, well it is. Only voters in Scotland can vote in the referendum – it is therefore up to Scottish voters. Interestingly, although the SNP says that it will offer all Scots (i.e., those born in Scotland, those with Scottish grandparents or parents, and those living in Scotland) Scottish citizenship, it chose not to allow all those to participate in the referendum.

            • Craig

              The difference being that with an independent Scotland we get the party we vote for EVERY election and not have decades of being governed by parties we did not vote. As for Scottish MPs in Westminster, this is a very small % in comparison to all the English MPs and a ridiculous statement to make. “Oh you are Scottish you must therefore be in the cabinet”. Moreover, these Scottish MPs showed the most competence and hence were promoted to cabinet above other English MPs who obviously were not deemed good enough.
              As for who can vote get your facts right. Only if you reside in Scotland do you get to vote. If you don’t live in Scotland you don’t get to vote. Seems fair. England has roots all over the world, would you want people who decided to leave England have a say. How would you feel if it became apparent those outside England determined the result of an election which was opposed by the majority living in England.

              • Pootles

                Craig, you’re getting all cross for no good reason. Have a look at what I’ve said above – I am pro-Scotland, I’m married to a Scot, my father’s buried there, I am an Edinburgh Uni graduate, my mother lives in Scotland. In fact, I was the first demonstrator in George Square, Glasgow, for the first ‘Scotland United’ demo in 1992. My response to your ’60 years’ of Tory misrule point was that for 26 of those years Britain had a Labour UK government and for each of those general elections, Scotland returned a majority of Labour MPs, i.e. Scotland voted for the same government as did England and Wales, and for the same policies – they were not imposed on Scotland.

                Secondly, I did get my facts right – I didn’t say that it was wrong that only those resident in Scotland can vote in the referendum, I said that as only those in Scotland can vote then it is (as it should be) up to Scotland to decide. I then went on to say that it was odd, nonetheless, that Scottish citizenship will subsequently (if a yes vote) be open to a good deal more people.

                Stop being cross – there’s no point. There’s a referendum in September when it will all be settled vis-a-vis the Union, either for good (if ‘yes’) or for at least a generation (if ‘no’).

                • Craig

                  Apologies Pootles, been posting on many sites and probably frustrations getting the better of me especially when so many people from rUK just posting to be offensive and try and/or people just making unfounded comments.

                • Pootles

                  That’s ok, and Brownie points for apologising. I suppose the best thing to do with regard to the needlessly offensive is to just ignore the blighters. It will be best for all of us on these islands if as much light, and as little heat as possible characterises the referendum business.

                • terregles2

                  Unfortunately being Scottish as we all know does not guarantee that you are an honourable politician. It was Scottish politicians who helped to cover up the McCrone report and it was Scottish politicians who helped Tony Blair move the Scottish maritime boundary in 1999 annexing 6000 sq miles of Scottish sea. Many politicians put their career before the electorate.
                  Regarding Scotland getting the government that we want we certainly did not get that during the Thatcher years.

                • terregles2

                  My apologies also I misread your point on Scottish passports I think though it is not an uncommon rule that having grandparents from a particular country gives you passport rights. I know that applies in Ireland.

                • bobduncan

                  Pootles, you are mixing up two quite separate issues here. The referendum is to decide the issue of self-determination for those who live and work in Scotland. The franchise reflects this and is the same as that which will be used in the 2016 general election, this first independent one. There is no ethnic element to the franchise at all.

                  The issue of passports, however, is an ethnic one. Ethnic Scots, and those who are not ethnically Scottish but who nonetheless qualify for other reasons such as residence, will be offered the chance to take up Scottish citizenship. That is in common with most modern countries.

                • Pootles

                  Yes, indeed. I’ve no problem at all with the referendum vote being confined to all those resident in Scotland. I suppose I was just reflecting the slight sense of surprise among family members who are ethnically Scots (but live in England, NZ, Australia and the US) when they learnt that although not voting, would, afterwards, be considered Scots.

            • terregles2

              I don’t think Westminsret will give the vote on the EU referendum to all the British people who have gone to live in other countries.

    • Karl Montague

      Well, in or out of EU, independence will give us more power to choose either way. Every vote we hold now will have ten times the power after independence.

      The EU isn’t starving our citizens, UK is. EU isn’t kicking people out of their homes, UK is. EU wants human rights enshrined in law for all, UK wants to remove those rights.

  • HookesLaw

    UKIP has barely any presence in Scotland and when you see how its apologists on here bad mouth Scotland you can see why.
    A good performance by UKIP in England will be a godsend to Salmond who will have all the evidence he needs to portray the English as Scots haters.
    BTW Farage’s Scottish policy in 2010 was to remove the Scottish parliament in all but name. Hardly likely to be a voter pleaser and hardly fits in with his localism blather.

    http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/home-news/ukips-scottish-meltdown-continues-as-yet-another-top-official-steps-down-from-post.23133584

    http://www.politics.co.uk/news/2013/11/18/ukip-s-scotland-operation-falls-apart

    • telemachus

      Unsurprising you should hate Ukip
      They will do for you 12 months on from the referendum

      • Wessex Man

        We’re coming after your lot as well pal!

        • telemachus

          Snag is that the demography of marginals means you will not get us

          • Nicholas chuzzlewit

            You really are determined to utterly bankrupt and destroy this country aren’t you.

            • telemachus

              If those words are synonyms for rescue

              • Nicholas chuzzlewit

                I don’t think the fastest growing economy in Europe needs rescuing by socialist scum.

          • Smithersjones2013

            Five years of Miliband’s Misfits will do that for us.

            • telemachus

              The vast majority of the population will feel better off
              Not as at present peering at the super rich

      • Chris lancashire

        Very true.

      • HookesLaw

        So thats a vote for UKIP will let in labour? You said it.

        • the viceroy’s gin

          Probably best if you Camerluvvies face facts, and not split UKIP’s vote. It’s over for you lot now, lad.

    • Wessex Man

      Coe blimey Hooky how long did it take you to think that one, how about The Tories proming a vote on Europe before the last election?

      You little old denier of the truth you!

      • HookesLaw

        The tories are offering a referendum on Europe.
        UKIP are seen as little Englanders in Scotland. Their spokesmen, when they are not falling out amongst themselves, are hounded. A strong UKIP vote will simply confirm Salmond’s propaganda and popular misconseptions.

        • the viceroy’s gin

          So it’s a win-win, then.

        • Wessex Man

          You couldn’t make it up Hooky but you frequently do, no tell a lie, you always do, why we had another Tory fruit cake down here telling us that that UKip was falling to pieces because Alan Sked was disgusted with the party and had left. What he didn’t say was the Sked had left the party in the 1990s and flung his support behind the then Tory Leader one William Hague because of Hagues anti-eu stance and promise of a refereandum!!!!!

          Like I say you could make it up unless you are a Tory tongue twister!

    • Smithersjones2013

      Only 3 point vote share behind the Tories. What does that say about the Tories then or for that matter their coalition partners who are five points behind UKIP?

    • Chris lancashire

      It matters not to the oldsters who are already foaming at the mouth at the thought of stealing one seat off the Greens in Scotland.

    • terregles2

      In fairness I don’t think Alex Salmond wants to portray English people in a bad light he has English people within his party. He argues the case for independence on the basis that he believes Scotland would be better off making our own decisions. Not on the basis that we dislike English people.
      People can agree or disagree with him on that point but he has never denigrated English people, only Westminster government.
      Unfortunately the same cannot be said for Ron Northcott or Viscount Christopher Monckton of Bletchley etc with their anti Scottish rhetoric.

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