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How is Alex Salmond like Robert Mugabe?

9 January 2014

11:15 AM

9 January 2014

11:15 AM

Who owns Scotland? The people who most commonly ask this question believe that the land has been wrested from ordinary Scots by evil lairds and rich foreigners (by which they chiefly mean the English). Now the Scottish government is bringing out a report on how to correct this alleged injustice. It may recommend extending community ‘right to buy’ powers and allowing tenants to buy their holdings even if the owners do not want to sell.  This would have the unintended effect of ending all new tenancies.

But the SNP’s misunderstanding of the situation is even more radical than that. It believes that big Scottish landowners are rich because they own the land. For a long time now, it has been the other way round. They own the land because they are rich. Once they own it, they tend to become a lot poorer. Then they sell it to new rich people with money to burn, and so on. Hardly any Highland land makes money.

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Without philanthropists, megalomaniacs and serious sportsmen pouring cash in to maintain these difficult places, their communities, and so the environment, would suffer. You can see this happening already in the islands where crofters’ rights have been exercised. One great independence leader who played this issue politically was Robert Mugabe, dividing the spoils among his followers and ruining the land in the process. Will the next be Alex Salmond?


GoveThis is an extract from Charles Moore’s Spectator’s Notes in this week’s magazine. Click here to read for free with a trial of The Spectator app for iPad and iPhone. You can also subscribe with a free trial on the Kindle Fire.

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Show comments
  • Brad Millar

    absolutely shocking article … David Cameron has far more in common with Mr Mugabe than our First Minister will ever have

  • Tim Morrison

    No, no everyone, you are missing the joke, To compare Salmond with Mugabe is delightfully funny. I am sure it shows that Moore is a closet campaigner for my side – the ‘yes’ movement. I hope in no way I have damaged his cover.

    ChuckieStane is of course right – and i would suggest as further reading ‘Our Scots Noble Families’ by Tom Johnston – In 1909 he showed exactly how our noblest families had murdered, cheated and slaughtered their way to their vast estates. And of course things have got only worse.

  • Jamie

    Absence of any evidence for his assertions. So hot air.

  • DMMMMMMMMMMMMM

    This is quite the most ignorant rant I have read in quite a while. Utter trash tabloid journalism. Who pays these people and why? It is one thing to have an opinion, but quite another to come out with this ignorance.
    Land reform has the support of Labour and other parties as well who criticise Salmond for not going far enough. Land reform was started before the SNP were even in power. They haven’t moved it on much since that. It is moronic and deceitful to try and link it to one man.
    It is also completely deceitful to try and suggest it consists of anti English sentiment. Just more chip on shoulder nonsense by someone who doesn’t feel the need to familiarise himself with any actual facts but feels very free to spout totally unfounded opinion tainted by their own ignorant predjudice.

  • muttley79

    Where is your famous positive case for the Union Charles Moore? There is not one, as this article proves.

  • TheGrouse

    There are much better debates to be had on the merits of independence for Scotland than whether Salmond’s agenda for land reform has anything in common with Mugabe. I believe Charles and his colleagues would find more fruitful ground in exploring topics such as how an ‘independent’ Scotland can function when its monetary policy is determined by the Bank of England, whether the European Union would indeed support Scottish membership (and if so whether use of the Euro is a likely pre-requisite) and the glaring and dangerous omissions in the Scottish Government’s White Paper on Independence on the true and on-going costs of establishing a separate nation. Try thegrouse.tumblr.com if you are lacking inspiration for more solid arguments for Union or at least against complete independence.

  • CharlesPtwo

    I was under the impression that the Spectator has had it Fingers burned, on so many occasions now, when writing about Scotland and in the process displaying nothing but their Ignorance.

    A quick perusal of the articles on this page shows where your ‘expertise’ lies, in articles ‘laying about’ everyone from Diane Abbot, a soul quite unable to defend herself, and His Holiness the Pope who would as much deign to acknowledge your miserable existence, as Fly in the Air.

    Stick to the Wasteminster Village and don’t overstretch yourself in the ‘Real World,’ you are about as ill equipped as Miss Abbot!

  • Angus_MacLellan

    He can’t be serious with this article. The Scottish government is behind the public opinion curve in this one.

    The Highlands are largely empty of Scots people these days. Most rural Scots can’t afford to live in their home village due to incomer inflated housing costs. As more and more of us converge in the increasingly crowded cities the rich foreigner lives a lap of luxury in their newly acquired country pile.

    The SNP government have done nothing about land reform in this country since they have taken power – despite being radical in so many other policy areas – which is rather puzzling from a so-called nationalist party.

  • Wessex Man

    Late to the debate, someone who is democratically elected can hardly be compared to a murdering despot, very lazy.

    • John Border

      Get back in your swamp.

    • the viceroy’s gin

      Well, he can be so compared if there’s any indication that the “democratically elected” someone is flagrantly rejecting property rights, which are a bedrock principle of modern Western liberal thought.

  • the viceroy’s gin

    Salmond seems to be proposing land reform, as did Mugabe, so on the surface this blogger has a point. But we’d have to invoke a Godwin corollary just because it’s Mugabe’s name being used to smear Salmond.

    But it’s still better if the separatists jocks ignore it, as it’s only going to help them if these bubble lumps pop off like this. And if he’s ignored, this blogger may very well flip out and compare Salmond to Pol Pot or something. That would be quite fun.

    • dalai guevara

      Mugabe brushes his teeth every morning, as Thatcher once did.
      Wow tovarishch, some deep thinking going on there tonight.

      What matters is that *Remembrement* in France and *Flurbereinigung* in Germany have delivered land reform right on our doorstep, the latter less than 40 years ago so people can actually tell a tale or two.

      Not that this would concern you, you have no interest in real outcome.

      Yet the outcome will be deafening.

      • John Border

        Please consider writing a post which did not suggest you know a little schoolboy German. They are fine people who will not take kindly to your buffoonery.
        Danke.

      • the viceroy’s gin

        …was there some particular reason this impenetrable gibberish was plastered after my post, lad?

        • Alex

          The Viceroy’s gin: If you receive constant downvotes for all of your posts. You tend to be, either an unconventional genius or a troll. Which of these do you believe you are?

          • the viceroy’s gin

            Actually, lad, if you check the composite vote counts, you’ll see that your statement is false.

  • Wang King

    Another cheap throw of dirt. When you have no arguments left attack the man I suppose. The last bastion of an ignoramus.

  • imrobertknight

    Don’t feed the troll – Charles Moore

  • Charles Patrick O’Brien

    Thought about this land ownership,and how its wrong and for just a couple of reasons.Firstly when the land was “bought” or “confiscated” from “clan chiefs” the land never was “owned” by the clan chiefs,it was owned by the clanspeople.The clan chief was not an inherited position it was an elected position,and he had to do what was best for all of the clan.So the simple fact is that the land was wrested from the ordinary citizen who was farming the land and making a living from it.Then came the time to clear the people from the land and put sheep on it,this has the myth of doing so for better profit,no it was to make sure that the population of the Highlands was kept down and could never wrest the land back to the rightful owners THE PEOPLE. Some folk speak before thinking others write before thinking.Many a town was emptied of all its people then razed to the ground,sometimes if they refused to leave they were rounded up and sold into slavery aye in 19th century Scotland it happened.I read recently that the population of Scotland would most likely be around the 15 million mark had the people not been forced off of their land.Which brings up another point about how Scotland has an ageing population like most countries,but most countries young don’t all leave because there is nothing left of their industries,like happens in Scotland and has been happening for many years,and gives us the pension problem.Now if only the young could be encouraged to stay and find their career here in Scotland we would not have such a big pension problem,perhaps.

    • Angus_MacLellan

      It isn’t just the population deficit, it was the loss of so many great people such as the first PM of Canada and hordes of other politicians,businessmen ,entrepreneurs , inventors,doctors and engineers that made their stamp in the world from Japan to USA. I just imagine how much better a country we would have today if they hadn’t been forced to emigrate.

  • terregles2

    Perhaps Mr Moore could read the excellent book The Poor Had No Laywers by Andy Wightman He would learn so much

  • Sam the man

    What a surprise. The likes of absentee land owners Paul Dacre and David Cameron’s father in law are terrified of any debate about land reform in Scotland and so their lackeys in the media demonise any elected politicians who discuss it with comparisons to Mugabe. Any serious debate about economic improvements in Scotland must include repopulating and investing in rural areas to reverse long term decline. Land reform has cross party support in this Scottish Parliament and under the previous Scottish Executive and pre-devolution backed by Lib Dem MPs who represent constituencies in the Highlands, rural campaigners believe progress is too slow. To try and portray this as purely a referendum issue shows just how woefully far behind some commentators are on Scottish politics.

    • Makroon

      Several NAT posts have, like yours, addressed the “English” as if we all have interests in Scottish grouse moors, and are directly responsible for suppressing the rural highlands – from where do you get this distinctly odd view of your southern neighbours ?

      I was brought up in the deep south of England, with a real respect for Scotland and the Scots. Ireland under Devalera, was however, a country which was regarded with a certain contempt.
      Nowadays, the average Englishman of my acquaintance has grown fond of the Irish and their obvious virtues and talents. At the same time, feeling towards the endlessly hostile and nit-picking Scots has cooled considerably. I suppose you guys would see that as some kind of success ?

      • terregles2

        Think you should appreciate the difference between anti Westminster government and anyone being anti English people. I have many friends and family in England and they have not changed their attitude to anyone in Scotland. Indeed many have said to me they wish they could vote to get rid of Westminster government as well.
        The Scottish people of my acquaintance are fond of the Irish English and Welsh why on earth would we not be. The Irish have proved that having self government results in them being more liked and respected in throughout UK.

      • Andrew Leslie

        I’m sorry to find you touching on another enduring theme – that there is an anti-English factor to the campaign for independence. There is not. How could there be, when so many of us have close friends and family in England? when people from England make up the large majority of people coming to Scotland? There’s something very disturbing (if blindly comforting) in the twin assumptions that if a country wishes to depart from a union that no longer serves its interests, it must ipso facto be run by a dictator and be riddled with hatred.

      • Zeus

        Most foreign owners of Scottish land are not Scottish – Arabs, Americans, Swiss etc now own more.

      • Don Briggs

        Actually it was Ian Davidson Labour MP who called Cameron an English toff from the Home Counties but why let facts get in the way of another way to attack the Nats eh? The fact remains many absentee landlords in Scotland are Tory donors, peers, media moguls etc who are from the South East who have historically used their political power to oppose land reforms dating back to the 1870s by local rural campaigners. To argue Alex Salmond and the SNP have been leading a campaign that dates back to the 19th century is preposterous because neither existed then. 432 people out of a population of 5 million own more than 50% of the private land in Scotland and you think anyone highlighting the obvious flaws in this economic model is merely harbouring an anti English grudge? The reason UK relations with Ireland are much improved is because after hundreds of years of suffering and needless brutality and killing, on both sides it has to be said, Westminster cottoned on to the fact countries like Ireland should run their own affairs. It is the natural order in the world.

      • Alex

        Makeroon, why are you misquoting the poster above? I don’t even see the word “English” in his post. Are you seeing things?

  • Bruce Milne

    Is this report a spoof? It has to be with so many inaccuracies. Learn more here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H2kTGLUh_c4

  • Iain Hill

    Sad and juvenile. No doubt he will go on spouting such rubbish when we have gone!

  • Colin Laing

    The highland estates are strangling… no have strangled rural Scotland for 150 years. There existence prevents cultivation an settlement and the proliferation of small business, resulting in a barely sustainable rural scene which bumps along the basement of the economy (save the super rich which chose to live among us and force us off the road with there Range Rovers) The estates should be broken up forthwith, BOUGHT off the present owners and returned to ordinary Scots and incomers wishing to settle, on a 25 year let to buy or strait lease basis. Mr Moore you have obviously never been poor or lived in a rural setting.

  • http://peterabell.blogspot.co.uk/ Peter A Bell

    Those “philanthropists, megalomaniacs and serious sportsmen” will surely be cringing at the thought of Charles Moore being their champion and spokesperson. Not least because he goes to such trouble to point out how poorly the huge assets of Scotland’s land perform under their stewardship.

    Will this clown even be aware that it is he who mentioned “the English”? Or will he already have convinced himself that it was those vile Jocks?

    We note too that Moore is not speaking from a position of knowledge, but merely speculating, from his own rather “idiosyncratic” point of view, about what the Scottish Government’s report might say. Was there any purpose to this gobbet of inanity other than an excuse to ludicrously juxtapose the names of Alex Salmond and Robert Mugabe?

    • Leithalyak

      Well put Peter.

    • Clavers

      Juxtaposing Salmond with Mugabe is ludicrous in the sense that Mugabe has been consistent in his mendacity.

  • gordon walker

    what an ignorant lot of rubbish , land ownership in scotland mahe a list , royalty and churches are biggest landowners , nobody is that worried about traditional estates , and our first minister is a total democrat no comparison with an african marxist despote

    • John Border

      Learn to write, spell and punctuate willya?

  • sfin

    Nice, stiletto, journalism!
    I have been a fervent admirer of all things Scottish – but my admiration has always been viewed through the rose tinted spectacles of history when, post the act of union, the Scots set about controlling, managing and inventing within the Empire out of all proportion to their numbers. Unfortunately, since then, they discovered and embraced socialism.
    You are right in saying that the land itself is inherently poor (it’s offshore assets are huge) and that, in order to exploit it, requires philanthropism (but do spare us Donald Trump!).
    Salmond is a spiv, and like Blair, should never be let near the levers of power.

    • John Border

      You prefer Tory pickpockets?

    • Andrew Leslie

      I am very far from being a Socialist (though looking at the current UK government’s idea of social justice is rapidly driving me in that direction). That does not stop me thinking that Scotland can do better as an independent nation, than as part of a union where it is outnumbered and outvoted. As for ‘Salmond is a spiv’ On what do you base this opinion?

      • sfin

        I’ve been won over to the independence cause – not least because England will be less likely to have socialist government in the future.
        As for ‘spiv’ Salmond…I don’t know, call it gut instinct – or the fact that he insists on touring his ‘fief’ by helicopter. Its like the Royal Mile – you walk down this magnificent street, steeped in history and Scottish greatness – and then you get to the municipal carpark that is the Scottish parliament – I just think the Scots deserve better.

        • terregles2

          Construction of the Scottish parliament building began in 1999. Why would you blame Alex Salmond for that ?. It was nothing to do with him.
          Some see the building as a monument to the Scottish Labour party and their discredited policies in Scotland.
          Fortunately even with an unattractive building we can make good policies within it that will build a better Scotland after independence.

      • tastemylogos

        A supporter of the SNP is not socialist? The SNP is not a socialist party that seeks to redistribute the wealth of the wealth maker? Do f*** off, pal.

  • asalord

    Another article underlining the fundamental societal differences between Scotland and England.They really are two very different countries.Scotland regaining its independence will underline,this time in a positive way,the differences.

    • Denis_Cooper

      Actually I think the differences between Charles Moore and the great majority of the population across the UK may be greater than those between Scotland and England.

      • Derick Tulloch

        Seconded!

        • Allygally

          Thirded!!!

  • Denis_Cooper

    It seems that the Tories’ best answer to Salmond is to try to demonise him in this stupid sort of way. If Charles Moore isn’t doing it here then Alan Cochrane is doing it in the Telegraph, and so on. It really is quite childish.

    • HookesLaw

      The following prompted the article.
      ‘Now the Scottish government is bringing out a report on how to correct
      this alleged injustice. It may recommend extending community ‘right to
      buy’ powers and allowing tenants to buy their holdings even if the
      owners do not want to sell. This would have the unintended effect of
      ending all new tenancies.’

      Now you can argue that mr Moore is wrong. it woluld be interesting to listen to anything cogently argued by you. A change, but interesting.
      So is he wrong ? If so explain.

      • ChuckieStane

        Mr Moore questions whether Alex Salmond will be “dividing the spoils among his followers and ruining the land in the process” in a manner similar to Mugabe without a single shred of evidence. You correctly report that the Scottish (democratically elected) government is bringing out a report on land reform. It is a bit of a leap from bringing out a report to dividing spoils and ruining land.
        Across Northern Europe marignal hill an coastal land still manages to support thriving communities because feudalism was swept away centuries before Scotland. The stranglehold of estate tenancy and tax-avoiding landlords has extinguished any hope of viable communities in many parts of Scotland.

        • Hamburger

          `Across Northern Europe marignal hill an coastal land still manages to
          support thriving communities because feudalism was swept away centuries
          before Scotland.` True, but only due to heavy subsidies.

          • ChuckieStane

            What folk sometimes do not appreciate the extent to which highland estates traditionally owned the whole community including villages, land and housing. The land itself is often non-viable but the control of the estates has strangled enterprise hence the tiny number of SMEs in the rural highlands compared to rural Scandinavia or Northern Europe.
            Not all estates are bad – some are enlightened and innovative but many are either playthings or hereditary fiefdoms

        • terregles2

          Think Mr Moore must have meant that is what happened centuries ago in the past to Scotland when he refers to dividing the spoils among his followers.
          Unbelievable …

      • Denis_Cooper

        So you agree that there are grounds for suggesting a comparison between Alex Salmond and Robert Mugabe.

        You really are a prat sometimes.

        If I lived in Scotland and I had voted for the SNP for various reasons which did not include a strong desire for independence, how do you think my voting intentions in the referendum might be influenced when I saw some English Tory-supporting toff implying that I had voted for a party led by somebody as bad as Mugabe?

        • dalai guevara

          …which implies that when such message is delivered through the channels of the red top information superhighway for the mentally challenged, it will attract the pillocks/responses as you imply. In this instance however it will simply attract interest and finally encourage those curiously silent so far to come to the table.

          • John Border

            I will kindly call your post “confused”.

        • terregles2

          The arrogance is eye watering. They really cannot see anything wrong with accusing intelligent politically astute Scottish people of being backward and naive enough to vote for any politician with one iota of a Mugabe characteristic Truly disgraceful and insulting.

          • tastemylogos

            Nice bit of confirmation bias there. But why not tackle the points made in the article.

            3 Posts now, and not one actual challenge.

            • terregles2

              I was commenting on the staggering arrogance of anyone not realising that to accuse Scottish people of supporting any person or party with any resemblance to the fiend Mugabe was beyond insulting.
              I don’t think anyone making a Mugabe comparison should have any of the drivel they have written taken seriously.
              It is a pity that people do not read The Poor Had No Lawyers by Andy Wightman before making any comment on Scottish Land reform.

              • tastemylogos

                1) I’ve just told you what he is comparing. not the men but a SPECIFIC policy. Grow up, cease the mock outrage and challenge it.

                2) If you think drivel doesn’t require a riposte, why make so many comments on it?

                3) You read the title but not the article before commenting didn’t you? No surprise.

                4) What you mean is, ‘It’s a shame people don’t read the books that agree with my prejudice and concur with its substance’.

                You’re clearly an intellectual bigot.

                • terregles2

                  Glad that we got that cleared up. You’ll feel better getting that off your chest.
                  You did make me smile though. thanks for that.

                • tastemylogos

                  …and it continues ad infintum.

                • terregles2

                  ……indeed it does ad infinitum…. What name calling are you referring to?
                  caricature,,parody…grow up….mock outrage…imtellectual bigot…..on the left….
                  If you cannot research the the whole issue. If you cannot read every point of view and more than one piece of historical fact then it is probably best not to shout too loudly.
                  Also best not to shout too loudly if you find it acceptable that a democratically elected politician in western Europe is compared to Mugabe in any way.
                  Your thinking seems slightly askewed.
                  If you have read the book The Poor Had No Lawyers then you should be happy to debate the points within the book that you disagree with,
                  If you have not read it then you cannot make any comment regarding what prejudice or anything else that it concurs with,

                • tastemylogos

                  and it continues.

                  on and on and on and on and on.

                  I like the distraction though. Democratically elected politician?? so?? policies, polices, policies.

                  sigh

                  When you read, Wealth of Nations and Treaties On Money, I might consider it. (no you haven’t).

                  don;t forget to bring aunt sally into your next reply.

                • terregles2

                  It was not really possible to have a Scottish education and not be introduced to the philosophy of Adam Smith. We also covered the English economist John Maynard Keynes and compared the ideas that both men held..

                • tastemylogos

                  at a state school?! Hahaha ye. Course you did. How would you ‘compare’ the two? They are not opposing theses.

                • terregles2

                  If anyone ever paid money to have you educated privately they must feel somewhat cheated. Shouldn’t think they would feel that investment in education that has produced such a boor was much of a deal.

                • tastemylogos

                  and the personal insuts continue. 9 messages later and NOTHING on the substance of policy symmetry identified in the article.

                  You’re a liar. You did not learn Adam Smith and Keynes in a state school. Why did you lie?

      • Andrew Leslie

        The Scottish Government set up a Land Reform Review Group to examine the whole question of Land Reform. Consultation has been called for from all interested bodies and individuals. It has asked for opinions on the question of tenancy, community right to buy, etc. In other words, it is looking for intelligent responses to what is a complex and difficult problem. This is a very long way from legislation, and still further from some kind of arbitrary gifting of land to Salmond’s followers, as Mr Moore implies.
        As I said above, approaching this question in the facile manner that Mr Moore espouses, does no one any favours. If Scottish land laws are to be changed, they will be done so democratically, and no doubt very slowly, as there is no solution to the problem that can be instituted overnight.

        • tastemylogos

          so no. No argument against? Typical. all I have read on this page is childish ad hominum as opposed to tackling the points made in the article.

          It’s all I EVER read from the Nats. Never substance.

          Try it…Still waiting. Surprise me.

          • Andrew Leslie

            I’m sorry… no argument against what? Could you maybe be more precise?

            • tastemylogos

              Don’t be glib. It’s unbecoming. The article points to the effective land grab by interested stakeholders whether or not land owners acquiesce.

              You have made a number of glib comments here without even engaging in substance.

              • Zeus

                Buying out large estates to make national parks would be warmly greeted by the public. £1 per acre sounds fair.

                • tastemylogos

                  fine. bonkers but fine.

                • Zeus

                  No one has a garden bigger than some countries.

      • terregles2

        I don’t suppose you will read it but if you really want to get the wider picture of Land ownership in Scotland there is an excellent book by Andy Wightman entitled The Poor Had No Lawyers.

    • ChuckieStane

      Regardless of whether one supports independence or not, the referendum is undeniably one of if not the most important democratic choices in British history. That a pillar of the UK journalistic establisment such as Mr. Moore can write such childish drivel shows how far British journalism has fallen.

      • John Border

        No, English journalism.

        • Jambo25

          Try reading some of the dross you get in the Scottish MSM. Possibly not quite as bad but getting here.

          • John Border

            MSM ?

            • Jambo25

              Main Stream Media

    • terregles2

      It is childish and counter productive. To be fair though there is no logical argument that can be presented in favour of giving Westminster the power to govern Scotland so what else can the unionists say. All they can do is try and frighten us into staying.

  • Andrew Leslie

    If Charles Moore cared to consider the matter at all, he would learn that the problem he dismisses so lightly is more complex than he realises. To sum up its two main components: 1) Because so much of Scotland is composed of huge estates which never release land onto the market, it is almost impossible for individuals or small businesses to move to rural areas – contributing to the continuing fragility of Highland (and Borders) communities. 2) Tenants on large estates – bought and sold for millions – are effectively subject to the whims of landlords – and a good landlord may arbitrarily be replaced by less good one, or by a corporate entity with the closest factor or lawyer in London or Zurich. For an object lesson in what can happen because of this, and how radical solutions are sometimes required, see the history of Doctor Green on Raasay , or of the German conceptual artist Maruma on the island of Eigg.
    Facile comparisons with Mugabe only demonstrate ignorance, help no one apart from those with prejudices to be reinforced, and merely make those of us working for a Yes vote even more determined to secure a future for Scotland in which this kind of thinking has no place.

    • HookesLaw

      Is so much owned by huge estates? Why would these estates not rent out land – if the demand was there? Are they not in the business of earning money?
      Since tennants provide landlords with income – why should the landlords seek to make life difficult both for existing tennants or potential ones?

      A tennant is not a slave. Thanks to our local union and our European one people are free to go where they want to earn their livings.

      I look forward to a newly independent Scottish govt providing all the schools hospicals doctors surgeries and pharmacies and police and fire services and water and sewage services that will be needed if people are to be supported in these remote rural areas.

      People should of course note that an independent scottish govt is likely to be almost always a labour one.

      • Denis_Cooper

        But for many Scots, including many who had actually voted against independence, the upside would be that at least it would never be a Tory government. More than any other party it has been the Tories who have led us to the position where our country might break up. Doesn’t it worry you at all that your party is hated, literally hated, across swathes of the UK, and not just in Scotland?

        • http://www.facebook.com/martin.adamson.75 Martin Adamson

          Bigotry is the the fault of the bigot, not the victim.

          • Denis_Cooper

            You mean like the bigotry displayed in your earlier comment, which I marked down for that reason …

          • Jambo25

            In the case of the Tories it’s their own fault. The Tory party abandoned ‘One Nation Conservatism’ when they got rid of Douglas-Home and elected the awful Heath as leader. They consciously turned themselves into a party of the suburban south with a few outliers. Looking at the Heath cabinets was like looking at a group of South eastern golf club bores. The Thatcher years merely intensified that impression and her numerous gaffes, in relation to Scotland and the Scots, pretty much guaranteed the Tory party’s decline into near political oblivion, in Scotland. It took a while but it happened.
            The really bad news for the Tories, up here, is that there is no sign of any revival at all. In fact, given the average age of Tory voters and members, the party is literally dying out. The harsh truth for Scottish conservatives is that the only chance they have of a revival, up here, is through Scottish independence or massively enhanced powers under Devo-max.

            • the viceroy’s gin

              …the “harsh truth” is that there are no conservative jocks. There are only leftists.

              • dalai guevara

                More ‘leftist’ than Thatcher who closed the mines and all industry with it whilst facilitating uncontrolled immigration in the bubble centric City of banksters? Not difficult to be that, is it?

                You need to make your mind up what it is you support tovarishch. You really sound confused. That is why the regions have had enough. We are bored with your ‘we are always right’ right wing posturing.

                No you are not, you Thatcherites have divided the country, now watch the regions finish the job.

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  …as I was saying…

                • dalai guevara

                  not being a Thatcherite does not make you a Leftist

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  …being a socialist nutter does make you a socialist nutter.

      • ChuckieStane

        You casually assert that a future Scottish government is likely to almost always be a labour one. Yet parties cannot operate simultaneously in different countries so what will the UK Labour, Conservatives and Lib Dems do? Will they simply split into Scottish clones of the former UK parties or will they disband and re-emerge in new realigned and reinvigorated groupings? Will the individual Westminster MPs and Peers commit to putting themselves to the electorate to serve Scotland post 2016? Will the SNP survive long-term or split after indy is won?
        It is extremely naive to suggest that “labour” in be in almost perpetual power and insulting to the intelligence of the electorate. Virtually all western democracies turn the parties over before they get too used to power (even when they are doing a good job). There is no reason to suggest Scotland will be any different.

        • Colonel Mustard

          Eddie Reader famously asserted on QT that Scotland is naturally a country of the left, which must have felt inclusive for Scots conservatives, especially those supporting independence. It reminded me of Blair’s assertion about Labour being the political wing of nothing less than the British people as a whole and more recently Miliband’s slogan of ‘One Nation Labour’.

          I’m not sure what the SNP might turn into after a victory for their cause but so much left wing rhetoric seems to be about condemning dissenting parties and political views by a presumption that the ruling party, state and public are an indivisible entity. That seems dangerous and undemocratic with many unfortunate precedents from Germany to Robert Mugabe.

          And just to stay objective I would have similar concerns about UKIP should they ever win a majority and succeed in extracting the UK from the EU. All single issue parties seem to have the potential to create single party states.

          • ChuckieStane

            The Scottish electorate have shown themselves to be extremely sophisticated in their voting patterns, setting aside tribal loyalties for alternate Westminster, Holyrood and local elections to maximise the impact of their vote. There is no reason to imagine they would suddenly vote for a perpetual one-party state.

            • John Clegg

              All together now, “OH NO THEY HAVEN’T”

              • ChuckieStane

                Oh yes they have.
                Perhaps the Lib Dem vote has been constant, being as it is confined largely to stronghold but the labour, tory and SNP vote has been variable between the two legislatures.

            • Colonel Mustard

              But if a left of centre post-independent Scottish National Party is seen as the natural government of Scotland, bearing in mind they already control 50% of the seats in the Scots Parliament, and the other parties Lab/Lib/Con become essentially foreign, e.g., Westminster, constructions, the question of viable alternative parties must arise. Independence will change everything and Scotland will be, in effect, a new country.

              I’m not convinced the collective left in the UK really understand the implications, north or south of the border. Scotland might gain independence but it will also lose any say in what happens at Westminster. Or at least any say will become bitterly resented by the people of England. Scots MPs in Westminster will become, essentially, foreign but for the period of transition after a Yes vote will be governing England. Bearing in mind current issues over Scots representation in Westminster it is going to be difficult to sell a post-Yes vote Labour win in 2015 as a legitimate mandate for England if it has depended on Scots Labour MPs.

              Salmond’s plan for Scotland might be forgetting the English, as Market Garden forgot the Germans. But in any event there will be plenty of issues that push the single party government tendency as the existing opposition parties will have to find new roles and must de facto lose their ties to Westminster.

              • Andrew Leslie

                Indeed the existing opposition parties must lose their links to Westminster, and, especially given their current performance, are unlikely to continue to exist in their present incarnations. But maybe what you are not seeing, Colonel, is that the first stirrings of a new political structure are already emerging. Thus we have both Labour for Independence and Wealthy Nation as the base for new left & right groups. The Greens, too, are gaining great respect for their ability to project their side of the argument through some very talented individuals. This is not to say that further groupings won’t emerge – it is likely that Scotland will need a party to represent its hinterland against the dominant central belt. Maybe none of these will come close to power in 2016. But under proportional representation, subsequent elections will likely see a completely renewed political set-up in Scotland. And compared to the sclerotic 2 1/4 party system in Westminster, I’d be inclined to welcome that kind of renewal.

              • terregles2

                When Scotland votes YES in September then Westminster must end the employment of Scottish MPs in Westminster immediately. They will be redundant and must be made to leave Westminter. If I were living in England I would also campaign to have any Scottish peers removed immediately from the House of Lords. When Scotland is independent then England must immediately be rid of any Scottish influence. It is only fair. I don’t want my friends and family in England to put up with any Scottish Labour deadwood in Westminster after independence.

                • Howard M. Kennedy

                  Just so long as we don’t have to have them back! Seriously though, there will be a transition period in the event of a YES vote, during which Scotland will remain part of the UK. I would be quite happy to see Scots MPs prohibited from voting on issues that only affect what will remain of the UK during that period.

                  As for the comparisons with Mugabe – well it’s funny how opportunist politicians with close ties to vested interests and their media partners have a tendency worldwide to make comparisons between popular politicians and dictators. Just look at how Obama is being portrayed in some quarters in the US. To any right thinking person such comparisons are morally reprehensible and say more about the motivation, intellect and prejudices of the person saying them.

            • John Border

              “alternate” is an American spelling which is inappropriate here.

          • terregles2

            Eddie Reader asserted. Oh then it must be true. As a politician Eddie Reader makes an excellent singer.
            Scotland prior to Margaret Thatcher enjoyed quite a significant proportion of the Scottish vote. Nobody could have predicted that the Tory vote would be all but wiped out. Nobody could ever have predicted that the Labour vote in Scotland would also slump. Who could have predicted that UKIP would ever pose a real threat to both the Tories and Labour? Anyone prediciting anything as a political certainty is likely to be left looking rather foolish. We do not know what the UK will be in one years time never mind ten years into the future. Will Scotland be independent will the UK still be members of the EU ?. We can predict none of this.
            If Scotland votes YES in September then the Scots may or may not choose to elect the SNP in the subsequent general election. It will be their democratic decision. If UKIP win in England that will be the democratic right of the English people. If Labour or Tory supporters do not like that idea then they just have to get used to it, that is what living in a democracy means.
            Alex Salmond was elected by the Scottish people we can vote him out any time that we choose. To make comparisons with Mugabe is offensive in the extreme. We live in a democracy within western Europe. Really suggesting that any party whose policies you do not agree with is potentially a dictatorship really will not do.

            • Colonel Mustard

              I observed that Eddie Reader asserted. Which she did. I did not suggest it was true. Try not to be so slow in jumping so hastily to conclusions. Perhaps you could read on and actually try to understand the point I was making about what she had said before huffing and puffing in your eagerness to pre-empt the referendum.

              • terregles2

                I understood that you were implying that SNP were somehow a bit of a danger to democracy as they were a single issue party.
                After independence they will be a multi issue party and like every other Scottish party they will present their manifesto to the electorate and we will decide which party we prefer. Whether or not that will be SNP remains to be seen. I know unionists are desperate but dragging Mugabe into the debate merely highlights the paucity of the better together argument.

      • The Laughing Cavalier

        How will a Scottish government pay for all the schools,hospitals, doctors surgeries, pharmacies, police & fire services and water and sewage services without the English subsidy?

        • Denis_Cooper

          There is no English subsidy. Gordon Brown said there was, what Labour called the “Union dividend”, purely to discourage voters in Scotland from defecting from Labour to the SNP, and Tories like Boris Johnson uncritically repeated that claim to try to sway voters in England away from Labour to supporting the Tories, but it was untrue from the start. I don’t think there can be many other instances where Brown, well known to be an habitual liar, made some claim and the Tories just accepted it as true and repeated it, but in this case it seemed to suit their short term interests to do so.

        • Derick Tulloch

          Rather easily, given that the ‘subsidy’ currently flows the other way!

          • Denis_Cooper

            May I leave it to you to continue any argument which may ensue, given that I have other thing to do and I’ve got a bit bored repeatedly pointing out to English commenters that they’ve been deceived on this matter?

            • Derick Tulloch

              Well OK – but only until I get bored. They don’t have a vote so it’s just a spare time hobby

        • taranaich

          Presumably from the 9.9% of UK taxes Scotland currently contributes to the UK from 8.4% of the UK population, equating to £1,700 more per head than in the rest of the UK.

        • Iain Hill

          Have you been asleep for some years? This one has been refuted to death.

        • Bruce Milne

          I’m not surprised you call yourself the laughing cavalier……you’re having a laugh. At least I hope you’re not serious about the English subsidy myth!

      • dalai guevara

        yes
        no
        no
        because they can

      • Zeus

        Agricultural subsidies and forestry grants are weighted so that the
        largest farms, owned by the biggest landowners, receive the largest
        handouts. Such owners can claim five-figure sums a week in subsidies.
        The landowners also cash in on windfarms on some of Scotland’s most
        beautiful places to the tune of £1bn a year.

        To go back to your question, ‘Why would these estates not rent out land – if the demand was there? Are they not in the business of earning money?’ the subsidies explain no.

    • Colonel Mustard

      ” . . . and merely make those of us working for a Yes vote even more determined to secure a future for Scotland in which this kind of thinking has no place.”

      What does “has no place” actually mean? Do you mean it is just to be disapproved of and unwelcome? Or to be demonised? Maybe to be proscribed or criminalised? Perhaps those who think that way and dare to express it to be re-educated, within a secure facility?

      Surely in a supposed democracy all kinds of “thinking” have a place, even that sort of “thinking” which you might disagree with or which a majority of ‘Yes vote workers’ might not welcome. We have already heard the First Minister’s views regarding certain legitimate British political parties that are apparently not welcome in Scotland.

      Whilst I happen to agree with your post regarding the actual land issues the stance being taken by the SNP and its supporters towards politics, parties and views they do not like does not bode well for open democracy. Scotland is not independent yet and the current discourse is being conducted within the UK. By all means disagree but please think twice about suggesting that certain kinds of thinking should have “no place”.

      • Derick Tulloch

        There’s an idea: we could make Charles Moore illegal. Sound!

        • dalai guevara

          CM is a revolutionary. He has highlighted the fundamental importance of land reforms without putting his finger on the issue that actually manifests itself. This conflation is mirrored by comparing the political leadership in Scotland with that of some African dictatorship. In that sense the entire piece is consistent.

          • John Border

            …about as consistent as your silly name.

            • dalai guevara

              You need to read the article in the mirror to make sense of it. You have no idea what CM has done here.

      • Andrew Leslie

        Colonel:
        Don’t you even find it mildly insulting that a democratically elected leader (and remember the Scottish Parliament elects the First Minister) can be compared – apparently quite seriously – to Mugabe? It is that sort of thinking – the suggestion that the Scottish Government is going to indulge in arbitrary and violent sequestration – that I suggest has no place in what ought to be a rational, thought-out approach to the problem. Flinging that level of invective around (we call it dictator bingo, since Salmond is habitually compared to everyone from Hitler to Chavez) is all very well for intemperate Twitterati, but to find it on the pages of a magazine that was once a beacon of the Enlightenment is, frankly, something we can do without. Hence my comment.

        • Colonel Mustard

          Well, hyperbole and polarisation seems to infuse politics as never before and not just when it comes to comparisons between Mr Salmond and Mugabe. The tectonic plates of politics in the UK are shifting, thanks to Messrs Salmond and Farage, whereas the three main parties still seem to be playing the politics of 20 years ago. All three talk liberally about progress, change and reform but the reality is it scares the crap out of them when it is not their progress, their change and their reform. And there is little that could be imagined to set a firecracker off amongst the cosy pigeons strutting in London more than an independent Scotland. So they tend to offer a good bit of scaremongering in return.

          Mr Cameron twists and turns on the EU and immigration in direct response to his support but still refers to Mr Farage in terms no dignified Prime Minister in a democratic, pluralist political system should resort to.

          It’s about power and the thought of losing it as the very poor arguments for preserving the Union demonstrate.

          • Andrew Leslie

            Colonel:
            Your are correct: It is about power and the thought of losing it. It is also about economics, and the recognition that the markets may well take a closer look at the Emperor’s new clothes of the UK recovery, should Scotland vote to leave.

            However, that is not the point. Charles Moore, however far to the right he may personally be, is an ex-editor of a respected magazine, a good biographer, and a commentator to whom some people pay attention. It’s disappointing therefore to find him not only writing an exceptionally superficial article, but gilding it (if that is the word) with the kind of aspersions more usually found on the outer fringes of the US Tea Party.

          • Makroon

            “Progress, change and reform” those three beacons of the huckster on the make (see across the pond), scare the crap out of any sane, sophisticated electorate, because they know what is really meant.

          • John Border

            The tectonic plates of politics in the UK are shifting, thanks to Messrs Salmond and Farage, sez Mustard.

            It is touching to see you attribute political change to an individual or two.

        • HenBroon

          Andrew, such comments are de rigueur for Unionists and have been for centuries when discussing Scotland and it’s inhabitants. Last Wedensday we were treated once more to the UK PM Cameron name calling a Scottish Nationalist MP Angus Robertson as a “lackey.”

          In a recent debate in the Lords we had the Unionist cabal positively wetting them selves as they induldged in juvenile name calling of Salmond. Foulkes and Wallace and the attempted murderer Watson could be seen snuffling and giggling like schoolboys as they squirmed in glee. One of their own Lord Empey had to point out to them that they were being disrespectfull to Scotland and our population by their words. That seemed to sober them up a bit.

          That vile obese mysoginist bully iain Davidson MP regularly gets away unchecked by the speaker, calling Salmond a fascist amongst other sneers and snide remarks. He caused the only SNP female member of his committee on Scottish affairs to leave due to his verbal bullying.

          If any of these behaviours were made against the Pakistani or Bangladeshi communities, the whole world would be in uproar. However Scotland is fair game for the Anglo Saxon supremacists.

          The only good thing to come of this will be that Scotland voters will reject their racist undemocratic union as they vote for independence in September. The harder they knock us the stronger we will become.

        • Nicholas chuzzlewit

          You should read what the Colonel has said more carefully because his point is valid and you are totally and utterly wrong. You have absolutely no right whatsoever to dictate the language of debate however offensive it may seem and in what ever medium it is expressed be it Twitter, the Spectator or ‘blokes down the pub’. God help us all if despicable attitudes like yours prevail. British democracy was a desperately hard won prize and its fulcrum is our increasingly besieged right to freedom of expression. I have not one scintilla of doubt that Mr Salmond is big enough and ugly enough to respond, if he sees fit, as powerfully and with whatever language he deems appropriate. Long may he be free to do so. What he does not need however is your disgusting suggestion that the likes of you get to frame the language of debate. No doubt you would also like to devise the punishment for those who dare to defy your prescription for acceptable discourse on controversial subjects.

          • Andrew Leslie

            Dear Mr Chuzzlewit. I seem to remember your Dickensian ancestor was a fairly mild-mannered gentleman. He might be surprised by your invective.

            • Nicholas chuzzlewit

              And absolutely disgusted by your intolerance. And for the record, the name is a conflation between two of His characters. I would not expect somebody with your attitude to be familiar with the work of a libertarian thinker like Dickens who would not allow the likes of you to dictate the language of debate.

              • terregles2

                Oh dear that remark was rather more Mr Pumblechook than Mr Nickelby or Mr Chuzzlewit.

      • terregles2

        An increasing number of people intend to vote YES in September. Many are people who do not support the SNP. There are even a group now called Scottish Conservatives for independence. Nick Johnston former Tory MSP is part of an increasing number of high profile right wing Scottish politicians who have come out in support of a YES vote. Really every other country chooses to have self government they do not leave the running of their government to the larger country next door. it makes no sense to do so.
        The desperate attempts to equate Scottish independence with Mugabe or any other dictatorship are the last futile attempts of the discredited better together campaign to denigrate the reasonable aspiration of people living in Scotland to have self determination.

        • HJ777

          “An increasing number of people intend to vote YES in September.”

          Yet another of your unsubstantiated assertions. You want this to be true therefore you assert that it is.

          Several polls have suggested that support for the YES campaign hasn’t changed.

          • Dave McEwan Hill

            Dave McEwan Hill

          • Dave McEwan Hill

            As a matter of fact all recent polls have shown a small steady movement away from NO and small steady movement towards YES.

            Reporting on polls (many of which are unbalanced because of “weighting” based oddly on the 2010 UK General Election rather than the 2011 Scottish Election) is very superficial and little coverage is given to the entirely respectable polls showing it to be a close run thing,even at the moment. No poll is showing majority in favour of the staus quo and it is indeed very foollish to assume the “don’t knows”,who make up a up to a third of respondents on many polls, are going to vote NO.
            Most in depth polling find that these are likelier to vote YES or not vote rather than vote NO.

            • terregles2

              Those of us who live and work in Scotland know that there has been a recent change in the voting intentions of many undecided voters in Scotland. The most recent ex MSP to come over to the YES campaigners is the Tory MSP Nick Johnston.
              I think Cameron’s desperate plea to Putin to help him to defeat the Scottish independence campaign has just boosted the YES vote even more. The UK Prime Minister refuses to debate in public with Alex Salmond but asks the Russian Leader Putin to help him stop Scottish self determination. Tells us all we need to know about Westmisnter government.

              • HJ777

                You ‘know’ what you want to believe, as usual.

                You are a hypocrite. You attack people in England for commenting on Scottish independence and then you criticise Cameron for not debating with Salmond.

            • HJ777

              As a matter of fact, your opinions do not constitute fact.

              Recent polls have shown nothing of the sort – they have barely changed over the past year and any variation between polls is exactly what you would expect through sampling error.

              Of course, you will continue to believe what you want to believe right up until the vote and probably even after.

          • LisaR

            I think YOU need to go check out Labour for Independence and Liberal Democrats for Independence, Scottish Socialist party and many others all voting Yes and have FB pages and twitter pages. I was Labour unionist for years and now very staunch Independent Labour. I look forward to my party getting rid of London control.

            • HJ777

              I didn’t realise that they had Facebook and Twitter pages – that settles it then, doesn’t it?

              Idiot.

            • terregles2

              I agree Lisa there has been such a shift recently in voting intentions. Some of the people that I work beside who have always said that they are undecided have said now they are YES voters. It is cross party no longer an SNP only issue. The biggest surprise was the Tory ex MSP Nick Johnston now advocating YES.
              I think Cameron refusing to debate with Salmond and then approaching Putin to ask for help in defeating Salmond will not do much to help the better together campaign.

  • Derick Tulloch

    About as much as Charles Moore is like a journalist

  • Grendal55

    Buying land in Scotland makes rich people poor? OK let’s save these rich people from poverty, and their own stupidity, by taking this land off their hands at no extra cost to themselves.

    • MikeBrighton

      Is it SNP policy to expropriate property post independance? Or only for English property?

      • Derick Tulloch

        No and No in that order.
        Mind you it was Mrs Thatcher’s policy to expropriate local authorities via the ‘Right’ to Buy.

      • Jambo25

        Compulsory purchase has been widely used by British state authorities for many decades.

    • Aloysius

      I think you’re slightly misunderstanding what Mr. Moore has written perhaps, but maybe I’m wrong.

    • El_Sid

      The royal estates are typical – profit made by Sandringham is used to subsidise Balmoral – and Balmoral is relatively economic compared to some estates in the Highlands proper. How would you make those estates self-sustaining? At the moment the only realistic answer seems to be leasing out land for subsidised wind farms; at the moment there’s a backlog waiting for the Beauly-Denny line to be completed and one might speculate what the subsidy environment might look like by then.

  • dalai guevara

    When there is no point owning the land, why own it? Rid yourself of the burden, hand it to the state.
    Interestingly, whenever attending a reception at some unspecified aristocratic Scottish castle and playing the room, the gene pool of the ‘farmers’ present appear curiously congrent with those meeting in the backrooms of unspecified Westphalian Gaststätten.

    • John Border

      Sorry, it’s not at all “interesting”.

      • dalai guevara

        Are you trolling me Border John.
        Why? Nowt better to do?
        I can accommodate you if you had anything to say, but you don’t, so please consider your options, one of which is to bugger off.

        • John Border

          No.not at all. But you are pompous and that requires exposing you as such.

          So cut the windbaggery.

          • dalai guevara

            And you have done that, lad? By ranting and tagging yourself to my unrefutable contributions? You appear to to have no insight into anything, coming here and disrupting the grown-ups.
            Will anyone take the children to bed?

            • John Border

              Your interest in children and bed is a worry.

              But you remain a pompous, pontificating git. Look -you can get annoyed, or think about it and change your ways. Now I can’t say fairer than that.

              My insight is sharp and to the point.

              ‘Irrefutable’ you say of yourself…well ok but all I see is puffing and preening which is fine but it’s presented in a very boring manner. To be honest, it’s windbaggery.

              Your reference to Westphalia above is pure onanism and apropos of nothing. Except your keen sense of hot air, and stale at that.

              I want to weep for you….and your daft name…

              • dalai guevara

                Matey, a piece of advice. When you do not have a clue about an issue or indeed do not understand what is presented to you, take a deep breath and a hike. My comment stands. Basta.

                • John Border

                  “Matey” – a bad start. Now you take a deep breath and hold it for 5 minutes.

                  Your comments falls – like a stone.

                • dalai guevara

                  you want to play? you need to say something interesting, child.

                • John Border

                  More reference to children….hmmm.

                  Where did you get that name? It’s…charming…

                • Nicholas chuzzlewit

                  We’ll that would preclude you from commenting on anything.

                • dalai guevara

                  hate hate hate hate yawn hate hate hate.

  • Makroon

    I don’t think it’s very helpful to compare Salmond to Mugabe.
    Under the union, it can also be tax-efficient to own a Scottish estate, which may help justify the out-goings.
    Aren’t the incomers mostly wealthy Scandinavians/Americans these days ?

    • John Border

      The comparison is called trolling.

    • HookesLaw

      Donald Trump you mean?

  • John Border

    Well the land IS owned by rich foreigners whether from England or further away. Scotland is NOT England so this is foreign ownership. If the land is such a burden to wealth eaters, then they can leave. No problem about that.

    • Mr Grumpy

      Schotten, wehrt euch! Kauft nicht bei Englaendern!

      • John Border

        Wir fahren gegen England.

        • Wessex Man

          How sad!

          • John Border

            Lighten up, plonker!LOL!

    • HookesLaw

      Both England and Scotland are British. The logic you apply could equally be applied to say Bavaria. But Bavarians display more sense and than you.

      • John Border

        Yes they are British but try asking someone south of the border – they all say “English” and they even named the Queen Eliz II when she’s not – she’s Eliz I. That is Eliz Iof Scotland and Great Britain. But we are nauseatingly supposed distort history to suit Little Englanders.

        Scots have largely given up waiting for the English to know they’re part of this Union. It’s still Little England.

        • Makroon

          Surely Salmond can find some Stuart relic who will agree to be installed on the Scottish throne and take over the royal estates in Scotland ? Why does Salmond cleave to the “alien” Windsors ?

          • John Border

            A half wise, half stupid post. Yes, Scotland should get rid of the sponging House of Windsor. But Salmond is going with it. I wonder if they will refer to the Queen as Eliz I or II? She is of course Eliz I. Otherwise she is an imposter. Well she is right now by calling herself Eliz II. She is not the second Eliz..

            We dont need sponging promiscuous monarchy in a modern Scotland which will return to its rightful place as a European country..leaving England behind to spout hate at the world.

            Forward Scotland, Tory free!

            • Colonel Mustard

              You’ve been doing a pretty good of spouting hate in almost every comment so far.

              “Wir fahren gegen England” is hardly a slogan of brotherly love for your neighbour.

              • John Border

                No – simply responding rigorously to hate and stupidity. The German song is of course simply there to tickle the little Englanders.

                I like my English comrades very much, as I do all working class wealth producers. I myself am half English(London) half Irish (Cork), half Indian (Calcutta) and half Scots (Glasgow) so I know about internationalism.

                But my comments on the Queen are indisputable. If the UK breaks up I will have mixed feelings. The problem is waiting for the English to stop voting Tory. Tories are also trashing our reputation internationally. Scots want no part of such bigotry and racism. We fought against that in WW2.

    • CraigStrachan

      What makes Anglicised Scots “so alien to the peope” in your view? Are there any other groups you regard as alien?

      • HookesLaw

        I note he says Anglicised Scots – clearly to him a vile class of person. The big R word applies in so many different ways but is ever popular with people on here.

      • John Border

        It’s a matter of class not race as the vile Hookeslaw says.

        I regard Tories and bankers as alien. And of course Hookelaw.

        “Out, vile jelly! As ole Bill Shakespeare said.

        • CraigStrachan

          Class, is it? A Scottish steelworker in, say, Corby may be “Anglicised” after decades living in England. What is the matter of class in that case?

          • John Border

            Rather clumsily, you shift the debate from a wealth eating toff to a wealth producing steelworker.

            I never met a wealth producing worker who owned vast tracts of land and tried to keep it for his exclusive use.

            That’s the class difference; innate greed on one hand and social awareness on the other.

            • CraigStrachan

              Actually, it was yourself who shifted when, after using an ethno-cultural signifier (Anglicised) to describe folk you regard as “alien to the people”, you turned around and said it was really about class. But it can’t be, not really, as there are surely plenty of Anglicised Scots who are working or middle class, and precious few who own vast tracts of land.

  • Nicholas chuzzlewit

    Cue terreglas, jambo, michtyme, allymax, as a lord and the rest of the Alex Salmond rapid rebuttal unit to be all over this thread like a rash having received their instructions from big Al himself. No logic will dent their determination to do his will. EU membership will be unquestioned and automatic, Scotland’s share of the National debt – not here thank you, Currency – we will use Sterling and it will be managed solely in Scotland’s interest, Defence – stop scaremongering, Oil – a never diminishing supply of bounty, the issue outlined above – the wicked English of course. Sit back and enjoy. They will then vanish in a puff of smoke when we start debating such inconsequential matters as the economy, Europe, immigration etc.

    • Grendal55

      You missed me, Nicholas, I was out on another subversive, anti-English mission when Big Al’s instructions came in so I was a bit late!

      • Nicholas chuzzlewit

        Sorry about that but I am sure you will bore us all to death as well.

        • Jambo25

          Yep. We’re all members of the No. 1 Krankies’ Boredom Suicide Commando. Each night we all meet in a secret clachan in the hills and after much eating of porridge, washed down with pints of draft Drambuie we receive our orders from our sinister commander (Code name ‘Big Haggis’). Next day we go to work boring the behinds of the innocent English.

          • Nicholas chuzzlewit

            Oh dear, not very good at satire are we. The idea is that you create satirical humour with subtle phrases not bludgeoning nonsense.

            • Jambo25

              Better than you sunshine. You show no sense of humour whatsoever.

              • Nicholas chuzzlewit

                Oh I don’t know, I am certainly laughing at your semi-literate ramblings.

                • Jambo25

                  Sez he dullard in h red corner.

    • terregles2

      Oh dear you keep jumping in and attacking in true Britnat troll fashion without separating fact from fiction.
      Yes voters include many English people who now live in Scotland. Many YES voters have never voted SNP in their lives and nobody thinks of English people as wicked.
      The latest former MSP Nick Johnston who is now advocating Scottish Independence is a Tory. Still don’t let facts get in the way of your rant against Salmond.
      As someone who has never voted Salmond but is voting YES in September I couldn’t care less what you think of any of his policies There will be plenty of other parties to choose from after independence.

      • Nicholas chuzzlewit

        QED.

        • terregles2

          Veritatem dilexi

      • Colonel Mustard

        “nobody thinks of English people as wicked.”

        Come now.

        • John Border

          Many English people do.

        • terregles2

          Every political party campaigning for Scottish independence have criticised Westminster government policy never ever have they said anything against English people or suggested they are wicked
          If a few Scottish people are rude about the English and a few English are rude about the Scots they are not representative of the majority of people and are best ignored. I don’t think anyone reading this forum could ever suggest that there is not a small group who write really horrible things about Scottish people.

  • ChuckieStane

    Tabloid headline and journalism at its worst.
    If Mr. Moore took the time to read A. Wightman’s “The Poor had No Lawyers” it is apparent that those proposing land reform are well aware that the vast majority of guilty men in Scotland’s various land grabs were native Scots aided and abetted by self-serving Scots law-makers and governments. It was the ancestors of many of today’s landowners who behaved like Mugabe but helping themselves to other people’s property with the help of a corrupt establishment. The passage of centuries and the relative decline in their wealth does not take anything away from the appalling behaviour of their forebears.

    • Makroon

      Nevertheless, Mr Moore does have a point – if the highlands are returned to the crofters, (assuming Salmond can actually find any volunteers), there will be an additional huge subsidy burden on the Scottish state

      • Grendal55

        Makroon, what kind of weird, parallel-nation do you inhabit where undeveloped land must always be a subsidised burden?

        • http://www.facebook.com/martin.adamson.75 Martin Adamson

          The one where the vast majority of Scottish land north of Perth is isolated and remote semi-arctic moor and bog, incapable of profitable agricultural exploitation and suitable only for scratching the kind of meagre living that only people seeking to recreate the austere and isolated lifestyle of medieval monks would be willing to accept.

          • Andrew Leslie

            In which case, an independent Scotland may undergo a remarkable spiritual revival! Iona, after all was an intellectual and spiritual beacon in the so-called ‘Dark Ages’.

          • Andrew Morton

            A large percentage of Scotland’s most fertile agricultural land lies North of Perth as a simple look at the map will show. Why, even the land around Wick and Thurso is rolling farmland. Agreed there is a lot of mountain and bog, equally there is a lot of land which was farmed in the past and could be again. One other drawback of the current land ownership pattern is the high price landowners charge tenants for land on which to build.

        • Makroon

          A post too daft to deserve a response.
          Unfortunately, but as per usual, the inept CH blog-meisters have so buggered up the post sequence that it is impossible to follow the debate – such as it is.
          It makes no difference to the NAT crowd though, they have a pat answer before any question, and are righteous in their certainty. Yawn.
          BTW, now that Salmond has fallen out with Trump, is this latest, just a way of removing that strange man ?

      • ChuckieStane

        Yet many of your beloved landowning class are the greatest recipients of subsidies through CAP payments and huge windfarm incomes.

        • HookesLaw

          You are suggesting the Highlands will be filled with windfarms post Independence? What CAP payments are made to the owners of non arable non cattle rearing buit grouse shooting highlands?
          If Mr Moore is wrong on the prohibitive cost and expense of holding land in Scotland then it behoves you to explain why.

          • ChuckieStane

            Many estates have appreciated 40 per cent since 2000. (FT 1st Nov 2013) Doesn’t sound like they are a suicidal investment to me

            • Mr Grumpy

              As, no doubt, have Picassos. Proving that lots of rich people want to own one, not that they are actually productive of wealth.

              • Andrew Leslie

                Of course most of them (with the exception of the big agricultural estates) aren’t productive of wealth (except through subsidies and increasing land values – which are nice earners for those prepared to buy and sell). The question is – how to make them productive of wealth which will ultimately benefit the people of Scotland, not just financially, but by giving more people a stake in the land? How to bring people back to rural Scotland, and the Highlands in particular, and enable them to make a living there? There is no single answer, but so long as land ownership remains the exclusive preserve of the owners of vast estates, there can be no progress towards a solution.

                • Mr Grumpy

                  So you haven’t a clue what to do with the land but you do know who should own it. Which was pretty much the point of Charles Moore’s simplistic and offensive Mugabe analogy.

                • dalai guevara

                  Ah matey, that does not mean there isn’t anyone with any ideas of what to do. Ich wuerde Demeter zertifizierte biodynamische Landwirtschaft betreiben und nach Gas graben, vielleicht ein Windrad aufstellen.
                  Perhaps a communal owner would allow you access to a sustainably-built Zero Carbon Passivhaus in the Hinterland. Who knows?

                • John Border

                  Keep taking the medication…

          • ChuckieStane

            Consider, for instance, Balnacoil Estate in Sutherland owned by Danish company AM Ejendomme APS, which has received £1,145,447 in Single Farm Payments since 2006 despite it being a sporting estate and having no livestock

          • ChuckieStane

            Regarding wind turbines, from the Telegraph:
            “Sir Alastair Gordon-Cumming, a seventh baronet, who runs the Altyre estate near Inverness, who has been given planning consent for 29 turbines on his land, said the wind farm was the “most exciting thing to happen to the estate” for more than 70 years.

            According to industry experts, the wind farm will generate income of about £18.5 million a year, half of it as subsidy. A spokeswoman for the Altyre estate refused to say how much money the estate would receive from the deal but industry experts estimate earnings of more than £400,000 a year, based on a going rate of £15,000 rental income per turbine.”

          • terregles2

            Don’t care what it is full of as long as we have fewer bloodthirsty bullies out shooting wildlife for pleasure and entertainment.

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