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Revealed: the Salmond-Osborne Tapes

17 February 2014

17 February 2014

A recording of a conversation between Alex Salmond and George Osborne has been leaked* to The Spectator. An edited extract follows:

Alex Salmond: Scotland and England are different countries. So different, in fact, that we should no longer live together. Our interests have diverged and so must our futures.

George Osborne: I do not think that is the case. Nor, by the way, do I hope it is.

Alex Salmond: But it is!

George Osborne: [wearily] Perhaps you are right. Very well; if our interests and futures diverge then perhaps, as you suggest, present arrangements will no longer prove as satisfactory as once we thought they were.

Alex Salmond: I knew you would see the light.

George Osborne: Which is why I do not think it sensible, desirable or possible for us to maintain a currency union after independence.

Alex Salmond: Stop bullying me.

George Osborne: [leers] I am merely following your own logic, old boy.

Alex Salmond: You’re bluffing.

George Osborne: I assure you I am not. Why would I want to do that?

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Alex Salmond: Because that’s what bluffers do. Besides, why do you want to make English businesses pay hundreds of millions of pounds in avoidable transaction costs?

George Osborne: Actually, it’s you that will force them to do that.

Alex Salmond: More bluster!

George Osborne: Because, in case you had not noticed, all this is your fault. In any case we export more to the United States than to Scotland and no-one, not even you, proposes we should all use the dollar. Though fairness demands I acknowledge that using the dollar remains one of the options within your “range”. So perhaps you can have a fourth preferred currency position…

Alex Salmond: Bigot.

George Osborne: Hear me out…

Alex Salmond: Tory bigot.

George Osborne: Independence is your idea, not mine. It has consequences. For us as well as for you. Some of those may be regrettable, some may involve additional costs. So be it. Prudence – remember her? – demands we pay attention to our insurance policies, however…

Alex Salmond: What gives you the right…

George Osborne: I neither need nor will seek permission to act in the best interests of English and Welsh and Northern Irish citizens. You’re neither my problem nor my concern now.

Alex Salmond: Mercifully. No more Tory rule!

George Osborne:  Once you’ve calmed down, perhaps you will thank me…

Alex Salmond: Not until hell freezes over or, even less likely, Hibernian win the Scottish Cup again…

George Osborne: I thought you wished to have nothing to do with a Conservative government in London?

Alex Salmond: Obviously not.

George Osborne: Then, Jocko, you shouldn’t want a currency union after you’ve “won” your “independence”. Let me explain it to you. Because a monetary union will necessitate a banking union which in turn demands a fiscal union. Which means your freedom to set your own budget will be sharply curtailed. You will have your liberty but it will be a constrained liberty subject to Westminster supervision. Which means, in the end, that your margin for manoevre will often be determined by a Conservative government in London. We will hold the purse strings. You would have a Tory government after all. Informally, it is true, but still, you know, with some power to influence you. Moreover, if what you allege is true and UK government policy ignores Scotland and favours the south of England then, you know, perhaps you should establish your own currency and central bank and run your own monetary and fiscal policy? Just an idea, old boy.

Alex Salmond: This is preposterous. Another bluff. More bluster. Bullying.

George Osborne: Are you suggesting the people are not ready for independence? Surely you can’t actually be scared of these things? Well I never…

Alex Salmond: [silence]

George Osborne Life’s a bitch, ain’t it? Especially [sniggers] in Linlithgow, eh?

Alex Salmond: [ruefully] It’s only a flesh wound

*If you believe that then, well, you should as the Irish say cop on to yourself.


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Show comments
  • AJConstantine

    A poor article.

    Here am I, an English nationalist, having to point out to a Scotsman that he needs to be fairer to his own nation.

    We need to keep in the forefront of our minds that the backbone of the United Kingdom are those two Scottish and English Treaties of Union of 1707.

    Neither Northern Ireland nor Wales count for much in the run-up to the Scottish independence vote. In 1707 Wales was subsumed into England and even today is of such little account that it has only a very limited role to play in this major issue. I suspect that the British elites are preparing the way for Northern Ireland eventually to leave the UK and whatever Ulster thinks of this matter, the British elites can be expected to choose not to listen.

    So it’s down to the Scots to decide and for the London-based British elites to respond. If the latter were wise, they would seek to expedite whichever route Scotland takes. There is no point in the British elites or their attack dogs trying to blacken the reputation of Mr Salmond or his government.

    If Scotland secedes then that’s the end of the United Kingdom and then England will re-emerge as a nation state.

    In the negotiations on the break-up of the Union, I propose that England agrees to take on a limited role of supporting Wales with the aim of making it able to stand on its own feet. Perhaps Scotland might agree to support the Scotch settled parts of Ulster?

    Of course if Englishmen and women ran England we would wish to deal fairly with Scotland on all issues arising on Scotland breaking up the Union. That’s English values for you….

  • JPJ2

    What an appallingly one sided article from Alex Massie who has the cheek to appear on BBC referendum programmes as “undecided”

    • ChuckieStane

      It was embarrassing, Alex declaring himself on the fence.
      It did, however, give the BBC a chance to skew the panel 2:1 pro-union with one genuine undecided (Kohli). As a TV debate it actually spoiled the programme for any neutral.
      If Alex believes the union is so great he should at least have had the courage of his conviction to declare his position.

  • FrankieThompson

    Don’t give up the day job, Alex ( Massie)

  • justejudexultionis
  • serialluncher

    Osborne is growing on me. I don’t care who knows.

    • justejudexultionis

      You might want to get some treatment for that.

  • terregles2

    I would have listened to it if I could have listened to the tape. Can’t be bothered to read through an edited version thanks all the same.

    • CortUK

      Oh dear. Shall I tell him or does someone else want to do it?

      [I’m just being facetious. He’s already read it. But he oh-so wants us to think he isn’t that interested. Puberty, eh?]

      • terregles2

        I know I was, like Mr Massie trying to be funny with the same result.

  • CortUK

    Salmond and the SNP today…

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dx32b5igLwA

  • asalord

    Seven more months of threats and intransigence from Westminster’s British nationalists.

    Seven more months of anti-Scottish rhetoric from the British nationalist media.

    • CortUK

      Oh bless. The victim card. How is “we choose not to create a currency union with a foreign country because it is not in our interests” a threat?

      If you want away, go away. Don’t leave then demand we support you in every single way you demand. You’re like a 15-year old who wants independence from his parents – but still demands his dinners cooked, clothes washed and pocket money forwarded.

      But I do have to say, I am enjoying all the pro-English rhetoric from the Scottish nationalist media. Not.

      What’s good for the goose, eh?

      • asalord

        That’s the way,CortUK. More please.

        • CortUK

          It’s a school night. Go to bed.

    • Michael Mckeown

      At least you never used ‘scaremongering’ this time, well done!

    • terregles2

      Ir is surprising that so many Britnats are congratulating Mr Osborne for making his announcement on a currency union this week.
      It seems like a lack of judgement to play what you believe to be your trump card so early on in the game.
      Mr Osborne mistakingly believes he has dropped an economic bombshell. If he believes that, how much better would it have been to leave that announcement till just a few weeks before the referendum in September. That would have made it much more effective.

      • asalord

        Osborne is incapable of understanding anything other than the grasping greed inherent in the city of London.
        I’m sure all his business chums in London will be praising him to the skies. Pity they don’t have the vote in the referendum.
        Osborne simply doesn’t understand Scottish politics,or the people of Scotland. This “united” kingdom is a joke.

        • CortUK

          You forgot “bullying”.

        • terregles2

          I must admit it is hard not to smile at all the abuse and mockery of Scottish independence on this forum. The unionist fanatics triumphalism is more than entertaining. I hope they keep it going. They are so removed from political reality they actually believe that Osborne has ” sorted ” out the Scottish electorate.
          The tale of the tortiose and the hare keeps coming to mind. It is fun though watching them gloat and sneer.

          • Nicholas chuzzlewit

            I think you deliberately misread a lot of the commentaries. I believe Many UK citizens, including myself, fervently believe that the people of Scotland should have the right to determine their own futures either as an independent country or remain part of the UK. It is the very essence of a hard won, if imperfect, democracy. What is totally unacceptable however is that Scottish voters choose the future for the citizens of the UK. There is no possible reason why the UK should be required to underwrite, without limitation or restraint, the public debt issuance of a foreign country and act as lender of last resort, without limit, to that country’s banks. Indeed, where that foreign country’s banks are 12 times the size of its economy it would be an act of irresponsible folly by the government in question. Of course there would be downsides for The UK if Scotland left the union and had a different currency but those risks are for us to manage and of no concern to Mr Salmond or the rest of Scotland. The very best of luck to the Scottish people whatever you decide for yourselves but please do not believe that you then get to decide how matters proceed for the UK.

            • terregles2

              I appreciate what you are saying but if Westminster refuses a shared currency then there is no problem for England. If Westminster says no then it does not matter what anyone else says or thinks the answer is no.
              I would personally prefer an independent currency. If there is a YES vote it will be a cross party team from Scotland and England who will negotiate the terms of the separation so no doubt many other proposals may emerge from that.

              • Nicholas chuzzlewit

                As mentioned in an earlier response, I think an independent currency would be the best option for Scotland in the long term thereby avoiding fractious entanglements with either the UK or Europe. The problem would be the short and medium terms. Establishing the tradability/acceptability of a new currency would not happen on day one. The market would look beyond the positives of Oil revenues, dynamic economy etc etc and look at negative factors as well: high welfare bills, huge banking sector(12 times GDP), government with high spending ambitions etc and I suspect, put a premium on Scottish debt above that of Ireland for example, whose debt issuance has the ‘theoretical’ support of the ECB. Perhaps the strongest case against a new currency is Salmond himself. He has described the pound as Being “a millstone around Scotland’s neck for too long” and would presumably be happy to pursue a ‘Scottish pound’ if he deemed it viable. He said this of course when the euro was his favoured option

        • DazEng

          So…let me get this right.
          When we had 13 years of socialist rule which decimated our economy & destroyed our cultural identity inflicted upon us by you Scottish idiots, that was ok?

          • terregles2

            Tony Blair was elected by a large majority of 179 seats. He would have had a large English majority without any Scottish MPs.
            His government was also supported by MP’s and cabinet members who were not Scottish.

          • Jambo25

            “you Scottish idiots”. Lovely. Keep it coming boys.

      • Nicholas chuzzlewit

        Has it occurred to you (doubtless not) that messrs Osborne, Balls, Carney etc etc are simply acting in the best interests of the people of the UK? Of course there is a political dimension because they all want to keep the UK intact but the timing etc is as open to them as it is Mr Salmond who regularly stages grand announcements at times to discomfort Cameron etc. they are simply responding in kind. The irrefutable point is that it would not be in the interest of the UK to join in a currency union which required the UK treasury and Central Bank respectively to underwrite the government borrowing and act as ‘lender of last resort’ to the banks of a foreign country. Indeed, an increasingly hostile foreign country judging by Mr Salmond’s contemptuous rhetoric. The suggestion that Mr Salmond is acting in the best interests of UK businesses is laughable. British business manages foreign exchange and interest rate exposures to countries all over the World including, as Mr Massie points out, the USA with whom the UK has a massive trading relationship and there is no suggestion that we should adopt the dollar as our currency.

        • CortUK

          Don’t be stupid. Their actions are designed to attack, insult and enrage the Scots so they, er, vote, er, “no” and, er, stay in the union under the yokel of the English…..

          [Have I got that right, CyberNats?]

          • Nicholas chuzzlewit

            I consider myself suitably admonished.

          • terregles2

            Don’t think many of us have ever been under an English yokel.

          • Holly

            Don’t be stupid!
            Their actions are designed to ‘attack’, ‘insult’ and ‘enrage’ the Scots so they…erm…..vote….erm…’YES’!
            Either way, Cameron can not lose.
            IF Scotland vote ‘YES’ it is to the benefit of the Conservatives politically.
            IF Scotland vote ‘NO’ Cameron has held the ‘union’ together.
            Salmond will have LOST.

            Don’t you ‘get it’ yet?

        • terregles2

          Of course Osborne Balls Cemeron etc are all working in the best interests of the biggest country in the UK. Of course they will and they must always do that. I have previously said that I do not blame them for that they have a duty to do so. Nobody would expect otherwise.
          The point I was making was that the great rejoicing over Osborne’s comments surprised me. If he was wanting to throw the YES campaign into disarray then personally I think he would have had a better chance of doing that if he made that statement closer to the referendum date.
          You state that the suggestion that Salmond is acting in the best interests of UK business is laughable. Equally the idea that George Osborne would ever work in the best interests of Scotland is equally laughable.

          • flippit

            I think they want the Scottish people to know what’s what. Osborne gave, at last, some clarity on the most important issue of currency.

            • terregles2

              Well they have never cared about the Scottish people previously.

      • Holly

        How do you figure it is ‘so early in the game’?
        We are heading into March, and the Scottish people have to make their decision in September!
        Seven months to go, and Salmond is heading ‘back to the drawing board’!
        We are not so much ‘congratulating’ Osborne, as berating the ineptitude, and lack of proper planning and negotiating by Salmond & Co.
        Salmond led the Scots to believe everything was a done deal, now they are finding out what a novice he is.
        Salmond is great at stirring up anti-Westminster feelings, but that is his limit/capability.

        Come 2015, if Scotland is independent simply, ‘voting Labour’ won’t make any difference either.
        Salmond has made a right dogs breakfast of HIS dream plan, and is now running out of time.

        • terregles2

          I am surprised that you are denigrating the negotiation skills of Alex Salmond when he has never taken part in any negotiation. If there is a YES vote in September negotiations will take place between a cross party team of politicians from Scotland and a cross party team of politicians from England. it will not depend on any one individual person. That would be too silly for words.
          Alex Salmond won the majority of Scottish votes because a majority of Scots were and are very dissatisfied with Westminster government. If Scots had been happy in the union there would have been no SNP support.
          Salmond is no novice. He proposed a currency union as it would be in the best interests of both Scotland and England. If England choose to disagree with that plan then it is their right to do so but you would be naive in the extreme not to think there are not several other options for Scotland which will now be proposed.
          The reason I thought Osborne was foolish was because he has been campaigning for a no vote. He could have caused much more panic amongst the undecided voters if he had made his announcement at the beginning of September and given the YES campaign less time to present their alternative choices.
          Scottish independence is not the dream plan of any one person it will be decided by a majority vote from everyone living in Scotland. English people living in Scotland included.

          • HJ777

            Alex Salmond has never won the majority of Scottish votes in any election.

            Sorry to intrude with facts.I know you find them difficult to deal with.

            If a majority of Scots had been so dissatisfied with Westminster government then you might imagine that they would have voted for the SNP in the 2010 general election. In fact, the SNP came third in the popular vote, polling about one vote for every four votes cast for pro-union parties.

            • terregles2

              People in Scotland voted in 41 Labour MP’s in the 2010 general election in the hope that they could prevent a Conservative government. The fact that they failed to do so meant that the SNP vote subsequently continued to rise so in effect Salmond was the biggest beneficiary of the 2010 Conservative vote in England.

              • HJ777

                Irrelevant to the fact that you were wrong to claim that Salmond has ever won a majority of the votes.

                • terregles2

                  In the Holyrood election of 2011 SNP won 69 seats Labour 37 Scottish Condervatives 15 Libdems 5 and the Greens 2.
                  A pedant would argue that if you add all the votes up the opposition votes would be more than the total won by the SNP.
                  The fact is that the SNP has a larger percentage of the popular vote in Scotland than the coalition has at Westminster. It is also a fact that the Scottish electorate sent 1 Tory MP to Westminster in 2010.

                • HJ777

                  Once again, wrong.

                  We are not talking about seats, we are talking about share of the vote (as per your claim) and Salmond (the SNP) did not get the majority of the vote in the Scottish parliament elections. He got 45.4% of the constituency vote and 44% of the list vote.

                  In the general election, the coalition parties received 59.1% of the UK vote.

                  Can’t you get any facts right?

                • terregles2

                  I do apologise I did not express myself clearly. I meant that the SNP got a higher percentage of the Scottish vote in Holyrood in the 2011 election than the percentage of the Scottish vote that the coalition received in Westminster in the 2010 general election.
                  The SNP will never pick up a high percentage of the vote in a Westminster election. Scottish voters who do not want Tory government always vote for the Westminster party who are most likely to prevent a Tory majority. They hope that if they add their votes to the Labour party it will stop a Tory win. They see an SNP vote at Westminster as splitting the Labour vote.

                • HJ777

                  You expressed yourself clearly – you were just wrong to claim that Salmond achieved a majority of the votes.

                  As for your claim about Westminster elections, on that basis it can equally be argued, and probably correctly, that many people only vote SNP in Holyrood elections to keep Labour out.

                • terregles2

                  Sorry I don’t quite get the logic in that one. You are saying that we try hard to have a Labour government in Westminster while at the same time we try hard not to have one at Holyrood.
                  Sorry you’ve lost me on that one.

                • HJ777

                  It’s very simple.

                  Your argument is that people whose natural preference is for the SNP, switch to Labour in general elections in order to prevent a Tory government. Yet, even if this is true, Labour still failed to get a majority of the votes in Scotland – so most people in Scotland obviously don’t want Labour.

                  So when it comes to a Holyrood election, the anti-Labour vote coalesces around the SNP, including voters whose preference is normally LibDem or Tory. This explains why the combined LibDem and Tory vote in the GE was 35.6%, yet for Holyrood it was only 21.8%.

                  The difference between these figures (13.8%) is almost the same as the drop in the Labour vote (13%) between the GE and the Holyrood election (from 42% to 29% – 29% being the mean of Labour’s constituency and list vote for the Holyrood election). In other words, it is consistent with the suggestion that many LibDems and Tories switched to the SNP in order to keep Labour out at Holyrood (which doesn’t prove it’s true, but does suggest that it is quite likely).

          • HJ777

            Could you point me towards the ‘several other options for Scotland’ which will now be proposed”?

            Salmond insisted again today that there will be a currency union. He appears not to be considering another option, which is strange (and always was) because that option is not in his power to deliver.

            The electorate in Scotland might, quite rightly, wonder in what position Scotland would be left were they to vote “Yes”. At the moment, it’s as clear as mud.

          • No1important

            So let me get this straight, from your post, in a nutshell Alex Salmond is lying to the Scottish people about what they will get out of independence because he is promising things he has not negotiated and are not in his power to grant without such negotiation. He also leading Scotland down a road he has no idea where it leads and has not done the necessary planning for because he has not even discussed and agreed the fundamentals. So in fact he is taking a big gamble with the Scotland’s future with no vision or reason other than his dislike of the English. And you think this makes him a great person to trust as a leader.

            Did I read it right?

            • terregles2

              No you got it completely wrong. no negotiations can take place until after a YES vote.
              Independence will be negotiated by cross party teams from both Scotland and England.
              People are voting on independence not on Alex Salmond.
              We know exactly what we will be getting after independence. We will have self determination just like almost every other country in the world. We will make our own decisions and we will vote for the governments that we want. We wont sit and wait to see what decisions the country next door chooses for us. We will choose whether or not we keep Trident nuclear weapons we will decide our own immigration. social security, taxation,defence, foreign policies etc. We will decide what energy policies we think are best for our country.
              There is no unknown about it we all what independence means that is why most countries want it. not many countries pass the running of their government to the larher country next door. If it was a good idea more countries would do it.
              I would never in a million years trust Cameron,Clegg, Miliband or any of the Westminster government.

              • No1important

                Sorry but you reply is full inconsistencies an contradictions. If you don’t know what currency you are using or it’s structure you don’t know what you are voting for, if you don’t know the impact of your vote on membership of the EU then you don’t know what you are voting for and if you don’t know how rUK, EU, big business, global markets.. etc will react after a yes vote then you not know what you are getting.

                With respect to what you say you want you contradict yourself. You say you want independence to make your decisions, yet you want a currency union with the rUK and continued membership of the EU, both which mean you will not have independence and a lot of your policy will be decided for you by entities that you will have less influence than you do now. You say you do not vote your own government and have decisions imposed on you by your larger neighbour, however you vote your own MSPs and you also vote for MPs and in fact we just had years of the most powerful jobs in the country (and by this I mean the UK), PM and Chancellor being Scottish, ergo having massive impact on the direction of policy for the UK.

                So you don’t have a clue what you are getting under a Yes vote; but it is unlikely to be what you think it will be.

                But under a No vote, you get stability, certainty, more international influence and the continued ability to take part in the policy decision making of UK that you have for the past 300 years

                • terregles2

                  I actually favour an independent currency for Scotland. I do know that Scotland is a country rich in natural resources and like all countries with valuable resources it will attract business and investment.
                  I know very well what I will be getting under a YES vote. I will live in a country that is like every other country and makes our own decisions. Every country in the world can govern themselves and Scotland is no different, we will do the same.
                  After a YES vote we will have a general election and vote for whichever party we think is best. We wont sit and wait to see what the remainder of the UK votes for. We will also decide if we want to join the EU we will not sit and wait to see if the remainder of the UK takes us out of the EU.
                  We will also decide if we want to get rid of Trident nuclear weapons and we will also decide what kind of energy policy we wish to pursue. We will decide our own immigration, defence and foreign policy/
                  It is called independence haven’t yet heard of any country that didn’t like it.

            • terregles2

              No you didn’t read it right.

        • terregles2

          If Osborne had made that announcement beginning of September he could have caused panic amongst some no voters. He has thrown down his card way too soon.

    • manonthebus

      Yes it’s odd really. If you read all this anti-Scottish rhetoric, you might get the impression that we wanted you to stay.

  • Darnell Jackson

    This is the only thing written by Massie that I have read to the end.

  • kyalami
  • Jambo25

    I think its funny. I’ll be wetting myself when it finally dawns on Gideon and co that they’ve probably offered to pay Scotland’s share of the national debt for us. Chin chin.

    • CortUK

      And we’ll laugh harder when the global money markets tell Salmond to go **** himself when he asks to borrow a few hundred billions of, er, I’m going to say groats.

      • Jambo25

        And why do you think 1) An iScotland would want to borrow hundreds of billions of whatever when it starts off debt free? 2) Why do you think if it started that way on the initiative of rUK and geniuses like Gideon, the money markets wouldn’t look favourably on a super solvent Scotland?

        • CortUK

          To fund all those promises which far exceed your income, when you’ve told the markets a) that you don’t want to honour your liabilities and b) you like to waive around threats of economic sanctions when you don’t get what you want.

          That is why.

          And don’t try the “no assets, no liabilities” nonsense. It is illiterate. Sterling is not an asset, it is a currency. You (and Salmond) should learn what the difference is.

          • Andrew MacGregor

            Erm, they don’t exceed by far, the income of Scotland. Scotland is instantly 10% better off on its budget as a result of dumping the UK. The amount saved by keeping the NET contribution to the UK Treasury, and the amount saved by not having to contribute to vanity defence projects is quite significant on the Budget.

            • HJ777
              • Andrew MacGregor

                That is good, except the OBR is used as the prime provider of predictions for N Sea Oil. The OBR of course is facing legal action from industry sources for its poor predictions. At present it is about $10/barrel out on price of Brent Crude, suggesting the price this month would be around $98/barrel when it’s at $107+. Furthermore the report suggests Scottish spending remains unchanged at the point of independence. That isn’t the case. The deficit outlined (with oil as it is an income resource) is about 5% of GDP. This includes however the ridiculously high spend on defence of £100Bn+ on Trident and its £10Bn/year upkeep. It also includes spend on other vanity projects that will not apply to Scotland in the long term as well. That frees up money to spend on the economic plan itself.
                At present despite all the claims about how much more Scotland gets from the Barnett Formula, Scotland is a net contributor per capita of £500-£900 per year. That means the release of those funds for Scottish use means a better budget outcome.
                Even the IFS stated as much in their ‘spun’ report on the BBC.

        • Holly

          It welched on it’s part of the debt….BAD DEBTOR.
          Salmond could end up begging Wonga.

          He will more than likely join the Euro, which will make entry a lot easier and quicker, handing over Scotland’s new found independence to Europe.
          This is what a REAL omnishambles looks like.

          I still reckon the Scottish do not have the gonads to vote ‘Yes’, and now have quite a few bods to stick the blame on for their staying tied to Westminster.

          • Jambo25

            Reality check. 1) If Osborne and the rest of rUK continue on the present course then they will be making rUK the Successor or Continuation state. They will be volunteering to pay the whole national debt. They have, to a large extent already done this through last month’s Treasury declaration. Salmond hasn’t welched on anything. The rUK will have put itself in this position. 2) As to the EU. Ask if Ireland, despite its recent travails, wishes to dump the EU and the Euro to come back to the welcoming grasp of Mother England? The Euro, for all its demonisation is a real hard currency and its adoption does now impose real budgetary discipline on its members. I’d have thought that Speccie readers were in favour of that. 3) I suspect that this September the answer will be ‘No’ but don’t get too excited the direction of travel is all one way and that is to dissolution of the Union.

            • HJ777

              As you are so keen on reality checks, perhaps you would like to read this from a Professor of Public Law at Glasgow University and then explain – in detail – precisely why he is wrong:

              http://notesfromnorthbritain.wordpress.com/2014/02/16/the-snps-currency-nightmare/

              • Jambo25

                A Professor of Public Law at the University of Glasgow commenting on what is largely economics. If you wish you could look at ESRC web site, Future of the UK and Scotland, Currncy Reflections: The Issues. Professor Christine Bell, Professor of Constitutional Law, The University of Edinburgh commenting on what are mainly issues of international law.

                • HJ777

                  So you can’t explain where he is wrong then.

            • mikewaller

              There is not a cat in hell’s chance that Ireland would wish to reunite with the UK; but that is all to do with history and politics, not economics. In respect of the latter, the probability is that Ireland would have weathered the present crisis rather better had she been part of the UK. As for your claims in respect of the Euro, they might have sounded plausible to the unwary in 2000, now they are seen for what they always were: so much crap. Ask any Greek.

              Indeed, it is the problems with the Euro that underlie the fair warning given by GO with regard Sterling. There is nothing to stop an independent Scotland using Sterling much as Zimbabwe uses the dollar, but what it cannot expect and should not want is any involvement in the management of that currency. Regional differences in economic circumstances already cause problems in England alone. A few years ago some journalistic smart-arse from the NE asked the Governor of the Bank of England whether his declared intention to raise interest rates to curb overheating in the SE would be damaging to the NE, The Governor gave an honest “yes” and you can guess what the headlines in the NE were the next day. Yet the Governor was right. In England the SE is the economic powerhouse and must be protected even at some cost to the regions it subsidises. But surely even the most purblind fool can see that this approach would not work if one element of a sterling management body was exclusively interested in the effective management of its own economy with little or no regard for the rest.

              As far as I can see you either accept the truth of this, or continue whinging on about Westminster bullies like some stroppy teenager.

              • terregles2

                The UK national debt is rising by the moment even as we speak. It is now at an eye watering level in spite of government cutbacks. Westminster has lost control of the debt it is frightening,

                • mikewaller

                  I wholeheartedly agree but how is that germane to this discussion?

              • Jambo25

                Greece and the other Club Med countries were in trouble not because of the strength of the Euro but due to their appalling economic management and the unwillingness of large sections of their population to pay taxes.

              • HJ777

                Interest rates are decided by a weighting of factors in all the regions of the UK – the North East has exactly the same weighting as London, as does Scotland, in proportion to GDP.

                If, as some claim, only the interests of London (or London/South East) were taken into account, the BoE would have raised interest rates by now.

              • mikewaller

                Some might think that my remarks concerning the outcome of the economic conflict of interest between the NE and the SE reflect a heavy London bias. Far from it. It is simply that those running the UK economy have to take the least worse options in running a complex, regionalised economy. Indeed if the SE could detach itself from the rest of the UK, it would be a great deal better off. Most other areas would be a great deal worse of although the position with Scotland – assuming it too went its own way and similarly escaped subsidising other elements of the UK – would be much more marginal.

                As to Scotland’s position, it really is a question of choosing the higher risk option of going it alone which could bring substantial benefits or could result in disaster; or the lower risk, lower possible rewards option of sticking with the UK. However, on the narrow issue of Sterling it really is obvious that Scotland cannot go it alone and be part of the management of Sterling. The conflicts of interest would be too great. And that was all Osborne et al were saying. Pity that Salmond et al cannot man-up and face it.

          • Andrew MacGregor

            Like the IMF when Wastemonster went cap in hand to beg for money to avoid bankruptcy? We’re still paying for that and the UK Govt had to surrender a lot of ‘sovereignty’ when they did that in ’76. Scotland was foisted with debts by England.

            • mikewaller

              This really is so much rubbish. In almost all cases it was the very large number of Scottish Labour MPs that created the Labour majorities that did most of the spending. Arguably for this reason Scotland should take on a larger proportion of the debt.

              There is also another factor that Scots conveniently forget. Take Northern Ireland and Wales out of the equation and England and Scotland are in roughly comparable economic positions. Now Wales has always been England’s issue so there can be no argument there; but NI is a different story. As I pointed out a couple of days ago, QEI may have driven the two Earls into flight, but it was our first Scottish King, James I/VI who enthusiastically set about planting protestants on Irish land. Significantly, on the mainland, it is in Scotland that the old sectarian rivalries remain at their most potent. So having played such a seminal part in bringing forth this difficult child it would seem to me monstrously unfair were Scotland to walk away leaving poor old England with all the maintenance costs.

              • terregles2

                Good heavens what a biased version of history. You’ll be telling us next that Oliver Cromwell was Scottish.

                • mikewaller

                  Plantation of Ulster

                  From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

                  The counties of Ulster (modern boundaries) that were colonised during the plantations. This map is a simplified one, as the amount of land actually colonised did not cover the entire shaded area.

                  The Plantation of Ulster (Irish: Plandáil Uladh; Ulster-Scots: Plantin o Ulstèr)[1] was the organised colonisation (plantation) of Ulster – a province ofIreland – by people from Britain during the reign of King James I. Most of the colonists came from Scotland and England. Small private plantation by wealthy landowners began in 1606,[2] while the official plantation began in 1609. An estimated half a million acres (2,000 km²) spanning counties Tyrconnell,Tyrone, Fermanagh, Cavan, Coleraine and Armagh,[3] was confiscated fromGaelic chiefs, most of whom had fled Ireland in the 1607 Flight of the Earls. Most of counties Antrim and Down were privately colonised.[2] Colonising Ulster with loyal settlers was seen as a way to prevent further rebellion, as it had been the region most resistant to English control during the preceding century.

                  King James wanted the Plantation to be “a civilising enterprise” that would settle Protestants in Ulster,[4] a land that was mainly Gaelic-speaking and of the Catholic faith. The Lord Deputy of Ireland, Arthur Chichester, also saw the Plantation as a scheme to anglicise the Irish.[5] Accordingly the colonists (or “British tenants”)[6][7] were required to be English-speaking and Protestant.[8][9] Some of the undertakers and colonists however were Catholic and it has been suggested that a significant number of the Scots spoke Gaelic.[10][11][12] The Scottish colonists were mostly Presbyterian[6] and the English mostly members of theChurch of England. The Plantation of Ulster was the biggest of the Plantations of Ireland.

                • terregles2

                  Well Cromwell invaded Ireland in 1649 and inflicted the most cruel abuse and savagery. That was well before the union of parliaments in 1707.
                  Ireland was partitioned in 1920 in by the British government. The British government created the problem in 1920 and it is up to the government who created the problem to deal with it.
                  People in Ireland are the best people to decide what they want to do in the future. It has nothing to do with Scottish people.
                  Westminster has ruled all of Britain since 1707.

                • mikewaller

                  Start down that road and nobody is responsible for anything as nothing like mass democracy existed until the nineteenth century. The fact is that the Ulster problem is a Anglo-Scottish creation as it was English and Scottish people who were decanted into Ulster by an Anglo-Scottish king.

                  Perhaps the best outcome of Scotland becoming independent would be the creation of an Andorra-like grand council for Northern Ireland in which England/Wales, Scotland and Ireland were all equal participants, although we English would no doubt do the decent thing by funding it on a per capita basis.

                • terregles2

                  No doubt at all that you English would do the decent thing. Your history of doing the decent thing on the global stage is well documented throughout the centuries..

                • mikewaller

                  I am always amused at the speed, when it suits, with which the Irish and the Scots write themselves out of the imperial project. Why do you think that Glasgow was known as “the second city of empire”? I don’t think that it was because it was sending food parcels out to the natives.

                • terregles2

                  Scottish people were as guilty as all the British people of exploiting other countries under the British Empire. Don’t think i have ever heard anyone deny that. When it comes to the destruction exploitation and partition of Ireland it was done by a Westminster parliament. You seemed to suggest earlier that the Scottish nation should take responsibility for Ireland although we have been governed from England since 1707. Partition of Ireland was inflicted by the British government in 1920.

                • mikewaller

                  As the leading light in that was the Welshman, Lloyd George, does that mean the English can do the Pontius Pilot act as well?

                  Regarding the actualities of the relationship between GB and Ireland, you have either to say that no modern populations have any responsibility for what earlier administrations did; or, if such responsibilities do exist, they should be shared amongst all populations living in the responsible countries. After all, Scotland was not an enslaved colony, it was a fully participating partner.

                • terregles2

                  A PM is supported by a cabinet. A Welsh PM is as British as an English PM . The British government.
                  British government governed Britian, When Scotland is independent there will still be Britain it will be up to them to deal with British problems. It was British government that created them

                • mikewaller

                  Rubbish! I as an Englishman I currently stand in relationship to British liabilities exactly as you do as a Scot. Simply dissolving the partnership would not get you off the hook in commercial law, nor should it in breaking away from the UK. Indeed, all the talk about reneging on debt is hardly suggestive of a future successful monetary union. Follow that route and were you a company, you would finish up on “Face the Facts”!

                • terregles2

                  Scotland has no wish to walk away from the debt. We are happy to pay our share and that was always the intention. The problem is the rhetoric coming from Westminster telling us what we are not entitled to. We have paid tax and national insurance. We have sent all the money raised from all oil, whisky, food exports etc to Westminster. They cannot then tell us that we are a non country and are not entitled to our share of British assets.
                  if we are not entitled to our shae of assets then we are not entitled to our share of the debt,
                  No doubt common sense will prevail and we will take our proportion of the assets and our proportion of the debt. I am sure that we all would wish to be fair.

                • mikewaller

                  The underlying issue throughout this is the question of whether the currency is an asset that can simply be divided up or held in common. Unknowingly, Nicola Sturgeon, in answering questions posed by a Scottish select committee a couple of days ago, made my point for me. She said that an economy run by the Scots for the Scots would enable policies to be adopted that would not have to take account of the special significance assigned to the City of London in a UK context. Indeed, she went on to say that this would enable Scotland to be better able to compete with the City of London. Neither she nor anybody sensible would argue that this special treatment is wrong in a UK context, the City being the biggest of the golden geese and as such has very significantly reduced the burden placed on Scotland and wider SE England arising from supporting the poorer parts of the UK.

                  However, it would have very marginal significance to an independent Scotland but yet greater significance to a Scotland-less UK. As a result those running the latter would wish further to cosset the City, whilst those running Scotland would want entirely the reverse. So how could you possibility manage the currency with two such disparate sets of objectives?

                  Surely the sensible answer would be for an independent Scotland simply to use Sterling for a period whilst it set about either joining the Euro or establishing its own currency.

                • terregles2

                  i agree I think any currency union would just be for a limited period of time. I am sure that the cross party teams from Sotland and England will come to as many decisions that suit both Scotland and England equally whenever possible. We would want as smooth and as friendly separation as possible. It makes sense for both countries. Obviously each will push hard for the best deal for their own country but hopefully both countries will go on to more democratic and prosperous futures.

              • Andrew MacGregor

                Utter and complete nonsense. James was simply completing the task that had started under Henry VIII and carried on throughout the reign of Elizabeth. The majority of the ‘plantation’ had already occurred by the time James had inherited the English crown.
                Now looking at the debt, The White Paper stated quite clearly the debt would be negotiated as part of the separation of the two states economies. That is fact. The amount mentioned was fluid because the debt keeps rising. However the %age terms are either on population 8.4% or GDP 9.9% or somewhere in between. That was the planned outcome.
                However the UK Treasury stated it would honour all debt. That’s great, however the position of the Scots never changed. We’d be happy to pay to the ‘joint account’ to pay the debt. Then came the pointless and churlish ‘no use of sterling’ and intimations of ‘no use of joint assets’ and ‘no splitting of joint assets’ that have been flying around. So having contributed extensively to the Wealth and standing of the UK, Scotland is to be treated as a pariah and of no value. So, where’s the incentive to pay any part of the debt?
                And in terms of relative economic positions, only one region outside London – the South East is like Scotland a net contributor to the Treasury. That means Scotland and two English regions contribute to the wellbeing not only of NI and Wales but also of English regions. Hardly the same economic standing really.
                Even now, Scotland is being disadvantaged. The borrowing allowed by the UK Govt for Scotland is already charged at 0.2% higher for Scotland than the rest of the UK. In other words, actually assisting to subsidise further the rUK.

                • mikewaller

                  Please check facts before hitting keyboard. The passage from Wikipedia I have reproduced several posts below makes clear just how wrong you are. It was as much as H8 and E1 could do to passify Ireland. Indeed it was his failure to do so that ruined Essex’s career. Although towards the end of her reign Elizabeth achieved dominance, it took a hard-nosed Scot to set about re-peopling Ulster with folks more to his liking.

                  The stuff about Sterling being an asset is also nonsense, particularly as it is not that long ago that Salmond was calling it a millstone round Scotland’s neck. All Sterling is is a currency and as such has to be managed in terms of fiscal and monetary policy. Within the UK this can be done by making trade-offs between the effects any given action has on different parts of the economy for the overall good. This simply would not work in a new world in which one major element of that economy would be driving their own economic policies. For example, what Scottish leader is going to be able to tell its people, sorry folk we are going to have to kill off our investment programme by accepting raised interest rates because the SE of England is overheating? The simple truth is that you cannot have it both ways. Independence means standing on your own feet entirely.

                • Andrew MacGregor

                  Mike, really? The millstone sppech? It’s not that long ago since the Tories took the UK into the ERM and even more recent that Brown was lining the UK up for the Euro. Try for some credibility on the Sterling aspect. And as for the SE England aspect overheating, that would be a matter for the BoE to manage. It’s not controlled any more by Westminster. They would also have to surrender some fiscal sovereignty. And even if interest rates were going up to counteract the overheat or bubble effect it is not outside the realms of common sense that a Scottish Finance ministry can introduce mitigation in a regional sense. It happens in the Eurozone.

                • mikewaller

                  This is an extract from the International Business Times which suggests that the actuality lies somewhere between our competing claims. On my part this shows the dangers of relying on impressions without checking. However, I do think that the second paragraph should count at least 50% in my favour on the basis that Scotland, in effect, dictated the kind of government we now have. Indeed, had the LD’s jumped the other way, we would have had a Labour led government.

                  You will find that I have included another quote after the IBT’s one. It comes from History Today and, at least to me, makes clear why a joint Scottish/English management of sterling simply would not work. The political philosophies are likely to be too divergent. See what you think.

                  “Tory MPs who secretly believe that Scottish independence would hand them a perpetual majority in Westminster have been branded “foolish” by former Conservative Scottish secretary Lord Forsyth.

                  Forsyth, a long-standing anti-devolutionist, claimed there were a number of Tories who privately thought that the breaking up of the union would benefit their party electorally because if Scottish constituencies had been excluded at the last election, the Conservatives would have won with a majority of 21.

                  Labour held 41 seats north of the border compared to just one for the Tories.

                  “There are number of foolish people in the Conservative Party in the south who are keen on independence,” said Forsyth.

                  “Labour thought that by creating devolution they would have permanent power in Scotland. I don’t think political parties can establish support by trying to gerrymander the constitution – the voters are smarter than that.”

                  It is true that there are those in both Labour and the Conservative parties who believe that if Scotland becomes independent, depriving Labour of a large number of Westminster seats, the party could never win again in Westminster.

                  But the fear was based on the belief that the days of large parliamentary majorities were over and Britain was likely to be in hung parliament territory in the future.

                  Since World War II, Labour only needed Scottish votes to win power in the 1950, 1964 and 1974 elections.

                  And Tony Blair would still have won his three large majorities in 1997, 2001 and 2005 even without Scottish votes. In 1997 it would have been 40 less at 139, in 2001 it would have been 38 less at 129, and even in 2005 it would still have been a majority of 43 instead of the 66 achieved.”

                  Extract from History Today

                  “The significance of Scottish Labour is increasingly not that it is Unionist, but that it is Scots. Its Labour identity aligns it with Scottish Nationalists in one key respect. Their shared raison d’être is now to demand handouts from Westminster; to defend public spending in Scotland against ‘the cuts’, that bogey long anticipated and now a reality. In an era of fiscal contraction, such ideals will be continually affronted.”

                • mikewaller

                  I think that “Try for some credibility” comes a bit rich from somebody who having been wiped over the floor with regard to history simply sails on without acknowledging it! [:-)]

                  I have just dealt with why I think any English/Scottish monetary union would be bound to fail (the political philosophies of the likely administrations would be too divergent) in another reply to you.

              • Andrew MacGregor

                Oh, meant also to point out that a) the UK debt is all held by UK in Sterling. That is why they guaranteed to settle it. and b) Alistair Darling just shot down your Scottish MP’s argument today. He stated it is nonsense that Labour needed Scotland to win a GE.

                • mikewaller

                  He’s a politician; I am an old man addicted to the truth. The Blair landslide would have yielded a Labour majority without Scotland, but as far as I can recall in all other cases it was Scotland that tipped the balance.

                • Andrew MacGregor

                  Facts? The only occasion that the Scots MP’s have tipped the balance is in 1964.

        • HJ777

          Government always need to borrow. This is because their income tends to be ‘lumpy’.

          • Jambo25

            He’s giving a matter of opinion. and its an opinion I don’t share. If I want what is largely an opinion on economics, I’ll go to an economist. In any case I’ve been to the library which is far more interesting.

            • HJ777

              There’s plenty of facts in there. It’s just that you find them rather inconvenient.

              • Jambo25

                No, its overwhelmingly opinion. I presume its Adam Tomkins.

                • HJ777

                  So you can’t challenge the facts he presents and you aren’t capable of arguing against the opinion.

                  Typically weak of you.

                • Jambo25

                  Opinion and assertion is not proof. We can fling opinions back and forward all day. You produce yours. I’ll produce Professor bell and Mirlees and Stiglitz. Bingo.

                • HJ777

                  Well, let’s start with something simple for you, shall we?

                  You say that Scotland could walk away without debt. Let’s leave aside for one moment whether that is even possible or whether it would be in Scotland’s best interests.

                  On what basis would you be advocating it? For what reason? What is the justification?

                • Jambo25

                  I’ve already done it. I’ve made clear to you that the rUK would be doing it themselves due to taking the position of Successor or Continuation state. If you haven’t already done so read the article on the ESRC web site by Professor Bell.

                • HJ777

                  There would have to be a successor state for all sorts of legal reasons – that’s not the point.

                  I asked on what basis a seceded Scotland would try to walk away without debt and why you think this would be justified.

                • Jambo25

                  Self interest . Exactly the same basis on which we are told that Osborne is making policy. Oh and international law. If you want sharing of the national debt and other matters to be settled by negotiation, then negotiate. It might lead to a currency union. It might not but you are getting nothing if all by diktat.

                • HJ777

                  You misunderstand the question.

                  Of course, in any negotiation you pursue self-interest.

                  I was asking for the justification of the position that Scotland could walk away debt free. The rest of the UK could then insist that it walks away debt free and that all the debt goes to Scotland. Or that Scotland assumes no assets whatsoever. We can all come up with ludicrous positions. What’s more, Westminster would hold all the cards because only it has the power to grant secession.

                  I’m asking you to justify your position. I really don’t understand your ‘diktat’ argument – at the moment, the only attempt at a diktat is coming from Salmond where he wants to force the rest of the UK into a currency union. Why does he thinks that a country has not the right to decide its own currency policy? What if Salmond wanted to join the Euro and Osborne had told him that no, Scotland must join a currency union with the rest of the UK? The negotiations would be about dividing up assets and debts and transitionary arrangements – not about what the policies of what would be independent and separate countries would be after separation.

                  I thought Salmond (and you) wanted independence so that separate decisions could be made? Do you not?

          • Jambo25

            The level and amount of borrowing does tend to be fairly crucial to how the bond markets view the borrowers of course.

      • Andrew MacGregor

        Why would they? All that dosh rolling in. No debt to worry about. No Trident to pay for….. Hmmm, a good risk according to the father of my sons friend who works for Standard & Poor rating agency here in Oxford….. He says Scotland will be considered very good value for money.

      • Andrew MacGregor

        According to the father of a friend of my son’s at school, it is unlikely Scotland will receive less than a double A rating when independence comes. The resource base of Scotland makes it a good option to lend to. He works for Standard & Poor.

    • Kennybhoy

      Oh Jambo… :-(

      • Jambo25

        Salmond and the nats are attacked as being unrealistic but somehow or other our Unionist pals and some of our English cousins think that they will have it all their own way if there is a Scottish independence vote. I’m simply pointing out that if they insist on sole use of the £, BoE, and sole access to diplomatic recognition , international organisation memberships etc then there are consequences. In international law they become the Successor or Continuation state and they take responsibility for the whole national debt.
        To quote Peter Mandelson “I am intensely relaxed” about leaving the £, BoE and total national debt with rUK and I’ll thank them for their generosity.

        • the viceroy’s gin

          …but it’s not going to happen. The jocks aren’t going to give up the suckling teat of government.

          • Jambo25

            Possibly this time but it’ll only be a stay of execution for the Union as few people up here really feel British any longer.

            • vieuxceps2

              Quite agree. In fact all these arguments about sterling and debt and oil and Barnett are trivial, The fact is that the Union is dead where it matters, in the hearts and minds of the people of England and of Scotland.Our long-held sense of kinship has been destroyed by the underlying malice and resentment of those in Scotland who seek not freedom but revenge for”the past”.Sad to say ,this is now apparent to the English who were slow to learn it Go your own way and leave us to do likewise.

              • con

                it is salmond that has infected the hearts and minds both in scotland and england with his poisonous rhetoric.
                i notice how immediately salmond says something, however ill thought out or stupid, most of the scots on these comment sections parrot it verbatim.
                it’s like the hangers on to a playground bully.

                • terregles2

                  You choose to ignore the English people who live in Scotland and are campaigning for a YES vote and the many Scots who have never voted SNP and are campaigning for YES.

              • Jambo25

                Here we go again . This childish and ludicrous desire on the part of a large chunk of the English right for victimhood and self-pity. The Union and a sense of Britishness are both dying due to the weakening or destruction of those things which made us feel British.
                The Empire, large scale military service, all-UK nationalised industries, all-UK trades unions, British controlled mass media, the Co-op, all-UK cultural institutions which used to tour widely throughout the UK, strong Home Nations sporting links etc etc.
                These things weren’t destroyed by evil Scotnats but by globalisation, privatisation and marketisation and those things were pushed by the Tories. If or when Scottish independence comes about its patron saint will not be Alex Salmond but Margaret Hilda Thatcher.

                • HJ777

                  So you’d have cut Scotland off from globalisation and rejected market-based reforms and privatisation, almost uniquely amongst western countries?

                  That would have made Scotland an economic basket case.

                • Jambo25

                  There never was any need to sell off previously publically owned utilities to foreign buyers. There never was any need to declare trades unionists as “the enemy within”. There never was any need to sell off the British mass media to foreign ownership. It never was either/or. There were choices to be made and Thatcher and her successors made ones which promoted Scottish nationalism.

                • HJ777

                  What a one-man whingefest you are.

                • Jambo25

                  No answer therefore resort to personal insult. Par for the course.

                • HJ777

                  You don’t do rational argument do you? Just whinges.

                  Pot. Kettle. Black.

                • terregles2

                  He forgot to accuse you of hating the English. That is his usual insult.

                • Jambo25

                  I think quite a lot of the southern posters on here see anti-English hatred round every corner. Its the same on any discussion covering the EU. Foreigners are against them as well. Incidentally, does the name Terregles have anything to do with the village in Dumfriesshire?

                • Jambo25

                  It could be split into 1 Thatcher = 100 Hayeks.

                • terregles2

                  On the foreigners issue. Think they should remember that we are all foreigners to somebody. The anti English accusation can only really be laughed at when so many of us have such close ties with England and English people. Dumfriesshire is a lovely part of the country and my Terregles does originate there but I came by it after the road names in my area Terregles, Nithsdale, Maxwell etc.

                • vieuxceps2

                  There’s no sense of English victimhood or self-pity.We leave that to the Scotch.However I do accept your list of long-gone binding factors,the first of which, the Empire, was of great importance to us all. Gone now, so I suspect that’s when Scotland began to look elsewhere for their daily bread.
                  The nationalists have cottoned on to this and fomented the latent anti- English feeling in many Scots to bring about the present situation.
                  There was ever a comradely attitude in England towards Scotland until now.We’ve realised how wrong we were ,so I say again, go your way and we’ll go ours.

                • HJ777

                  Don’t make the mistake of thinking that a few very vocal separatists are in any way representative of the silent majority of Scots.

                  Especially if you live in England, you will probably know quite a few Scots – and you will note that, most likely, none of them share this attitude.

                • Jambo25

                  My anti-English English wife and most of my anti-English English friends, up here, are voting ‘Yes’ because of this anti-English feeling formented by the nationalists.

                • vieuxceps2

                  But the people you mention are hardly representative of the population in Scotland. are they? PS:Fomented, not formented.

                • Jambo25

                  They are the only English people living in Scotland that I know apart, that is, from the largeish number of English neighbours living near our place down in Dumfriesshire. None of them have ever had any problems with nationalist formented anti-English feeling either. I’ve never asked how they’re voting in September.
                  Of course, if you have examples of nationalists formenting anti-English feeling: be my guest and give me examples.

                • vieuxceps2

                  Jambo,despite my strictures you continue to miss-spell foment.I put it to you, in the bowels of Christ think it possible that you may be mistaken……..

                • Jambo25

                  Sorry, did I write “forment”. Apologies. It should have been foment. On the substantive issue; I doubt I am wrong and I look forward to you producing the examples of nationalists fomenting anti-English feeling.

                • terregles2

                  There has been some suggestion that we could call our new currency the Thatcher.
                  A fitting tribute to her outstanding contribution to self determination for Scotland.

              • terregles2

                Voting YES is choosing self determination for Scotland and be like every other country. We dislike Westminster government and like English people. We will never dislike English people. Revenge for the past what a silly remark. Most people are too busy worrying about the present and the future to care about the past.

        • Fergus Pickering

          Nothing can stop yu using the pound as Panama (is it?) uses the dollar. What Osborne is saying is that the Bank of England will no longer guarantee Scottish debt. If a Scottish financial institution goes bust, then that is what will happen. With no guarantees all Scottish financial institutions will relocate south immediately and Edinburgh will cease to be a financial centre. But you can certainly use pounds if you have any.

        • Nicholas chuzzlewit

          Nobody can stop you using the pound and good luck to you, it has been your medium of exchange (not an asset) for centuries. The objection lies in expecting the UK to underwrite any public debt Scotland might issue and act as lender of last resort for its enormous (12 x GDP) banking sector. You might well trust and be very fond of your neighbour but would you sign, without question or subsequent veto, an unlimited guarantee of any debt he or she might incur at any time in the future? Most people with a modicum of commercial sense, would at least limit the guarantee to x£ in total. That is the essence of the UK position there is no bullying involved it is just a sound commercial decision.

        • HJ777

          Nobody is insisting on “sole use of the pound”.

          Anyone, anywhere, can use the pound. What is being said is that a seceded Scotland cannot force the rest of the UK to engage in a currency union, with all that implies.

          Your preferred option for a seceded Scotland is the Euro (it was once Salmond’s preferred option too). If this were still Salmond’s and the Yes campaign’s preferred option, can you imagine what his (or the Yes campaign in general) reaction would be if Osborne had told them that they had, instead, to enter a currency union with the rest of the UK?

          The why does the “Yes” campaign think that it is reasonable to make this demand of the rest of the UK, backing it with threats over debt?

          • Jambo25

            The currency union idea is only one part. So far HMG is also insisting on also taking the diplomatic and other benefits of the present UK as well. That makes rUK he Successor state or Continuation state.

            • HJ777

              So you are accepting that there are benefits of the present UK then?

              What do you propose? Do you think a seceded Scotland should have 10% of the UK’s Foreign Secretary? 10% of the rooms in embassies?

              I thought that your whole point was that you “no longer feel British” and therefore want to go your own way. The things you refer to can be shared only if Scotland stays in the union.

              • Jambo25

                No, the point is that by their actions HMG are pushing themselves towards being the Successor or Continuation state and that has consequences.

                • HJ777

                  What actions?

                  HMG have simply allowed Salmond to have what he wants – a referendum. Every consequence would flow from that (or most likely none, as there will almost certainly be a “No” majority).

                  The government has done nothing – merely asserted that some of Salmond’s assertions as to what they will agree to are incorrect.

        • HJ777
          • Jambo25

            Before you pray Ian Smart in support of anything, check out who he is, what his previous conduct has been and what his own brother wrote of him. Its interesting.

            • HJ777

              Why are you afraid of addressing the arguments – preferring instead to attack the person making them?

            • HJ777

              I prefer to listen to the argument.

          • ChuckieStane

            That would be Ian Smart the racist?

            • HJ777

              I have no idea.

              Address the argument, don’t attack the man.

              • ChuckieStane

                No, after his “poles and pakis” remarks I have no time for his arguments

    • Makroon

      You do realise this is a spoof, don’t you ?
      It is lame Speccie journos who think Osborne sees all Scots as the same, and addresses them as “jockos”, not Osborne, nor many other Englishmen.
      Massie often comes over as an agent provocateur working for Salmond.
      Dream on mate, the bile all comes down on the wind from Salmond and Sturgeon – it’s all they’ve got really.

      • Jambo25

        Of course I know its a spoof but I still think that Gideon offered a bit more than he thought he was last week.

    • con

      you do realise scotland would need rUK’s vote to join the eu? chin chin.

      • Jambo25

        And you do realise that rUK would need Scottish agreement not to drop Corporation taxes by a sufficient amount to ‘poach’ company HQs from London.

        • Nicholas chuzzlewit

          We already compete with Ireland, Switzerland etc etc in that respect so what material difference would it make?

          • Jambo25

            Its one more competitor

            • HJ777

              One more out of dozens. So why would that, uniquely, cause the UK to want prevent it?

            • Nicholas chuzzlewit

              I suspect we will manage.

        • HJ777

          The idea that the rest of the UK would want to try to prevent a seceded Scotland from setting its Corporation Tax levels at whatever level it chose is fanciful.

          Eire set its Corporation Tax levels lower than the UK for many years – has the UK government ever complained or tried to stop them? Has it ever tried to tell another country what tax levels it should levy?

          • Jambo25

            Actually, the UK doesn’t like it at all and there have been discussions as to whether or not to allow N Ireland to diverge from UK rates in order to meet Irish competition.

            • HJ777

              As I said, the UK government has never tried to prevent the situation with Eire and has never complained about it either.

              It is up to Eire what Corporation Tax rates it sets.

              Now if you are saying that tax competition may force the UK to react by changing its own tax rates, then I agree.

    • Nicholas chuzzlewit

      Thereby closing the international debt markets to Scotland for decades.

      • Jambo25

        Why would money markets refuse to deal with a country which rUK’s actions left super solvent with no national debt or debt service?

        • Nicholas chuzzlewit

          Firstly, this walking away from the debt nonsense is just that, nonsense. Second, if it were possible, the markets would regard Scotland as a deliberate and malicious defaulter and therefore untrustworthy when it comes to lending it somebody else’s money. Finally we are not the rUK we are the UK regardless of logic etc. Whatever way you vote in September you do not get to rename our country.

        • HJ777

          Seriously, do you really believe that there is any option for Scotland to “walk away” from its share of debt?

          Please be sensible.

          • Jambo25

            Scotland wouldn’t be “walking away”. rUK would create the situation by its own actions.

            • HJ777

              Oh yes? How?

              It really is hard to debate sensibly with you because you just assert things to be the case. Scotland will not and cannot leave the union without assuming its share of the debt – you are living in a fantasy world.

  • Sue Posi-Tory

    Suggestions for the name of the new currency unit for Scotland…North British Dollar, or perhaps the Jock Groat. Rate of exchange against the Pound Sterling tied to that the Zimbabwean Dollar?

    • almondaxles

      Apparently the new Scottish currency will be the Oat Biscuit, which comes with the advantage that once it becomes worthless it can be eaten, a point will be surely be much appreciated by Mr Salmond.

    • Jabez Foodbotham

      Ha, ha. It’s hardly surprising that the Scots want independence when you see some of the arrogant boors to whom they are currently shackled in action. And that’s before we even get on to George O.

    • starfish

      I thought it was going to be the ‘Chip’, with each chip consisting of 100 ‘whinges’

      • terregles2

        I heard it was going to be the Thatcher becuase she did so much to boost Scottish independence.

  • almondaxles

    Excellent!

  • Kitty MLB

    That was meritorious George, defender of the United Kingdom-
    You won! clearly if you both were in battle, you would have him on the end of your sword.
    Wee Eck, Yer bum’s oot the windae, as usual, and most Scots do not do humour.
    apart from Ally, our very own Celtic Warrior ( in this place)
    Also Fragrant Nicola, was hovering in the background as Craig stated-
    a clandestine mystical presence by the door.

  • Redrose82

    I call that a win for wee Georgie by a knockout.

  • HookesLaw
  • Alex Creel

    I think Mr Massie just invented a new art form….. shatire.

    • Wessex Man

      no not really.

    • Nick

      I asked Sean Connery what his favourite London landmark was. He said “Shard”. I said I know, mate, there’s loads of them, but have a go……

      • CortUK

        You went to Spain?

  • allymax bruce

    Alex Massie; But I’m Alex Massie, a freelance journalist and former Washington correspondent for The Scotsman.

    allymax; Maybe so, Alex, but all your ‘credentials’ are from your own wee Marxist Labour journo clique. And any prize or credential they bestow upon you is actually seen by the mass readerhip of the UK as a millstone, rather than a credit!

    Alex Massie; But, hey wait a minute, I was short-listed for the 2012 Orwell Prize for … blogging.

    allymax; Yeh, but any cretin can write a blog!

    Alex Massie; So, Ally, you’re saying I’m not actually Jesus?

    allymax; Alex’ that’s not what I’m saying. I’m saying you’re a cretin that thinks he’s great; but isn’t. As for being Jesus, you seem to think you can walk on water, so go-on, big fella, give it a go, and let’s see!

    Alex Massie; Ok, here go……… blurb, ……..HELP! …….blurb …blurb ……….Silence!

    • the viceroy’s gin

      Well, I at least managed to slog through yours, probably because it was short.

      From Washington, is he? That would explain a lot.

  • asalord

    The First Minister is right to hold to the middle ground of currency
    union. Intransigence from British nationalists will only increase the
    Yes vote in Scotland. The same intransigence will gradually crank up the
    nervousness in the City of London.
    As ever the First Minister is playing the long game. I suggest we all sit back and wait for the squeals from Osborne and company.

    • Swiss Bob

      The City of London is so nervous that when it was announced the UK would continue to guarantee all UK debt the markets never budged, although the Pound Sterling, is up recently!

    • Holly

      I think the plan, ALL ALONG, was to get the Scottish to vote ‘yes’.
      You see the Westminster lot are in the driving seat, and Salmond is just along for the ride…in the boot.
      ‘The middle ground of currency’….Now that’s very ‘Matrix’….There IS NO CURRENCY!

  • Malcolm McCandless

    Stick to what you know Alex. Attempts at humour are beyond your ken.

    • CortUK

      Oh dear, these cybernats don’t like it up ’em do they.

      • terregles2

        Many YES voters don’t vote SNP they support some of the other Scottish parties who are campaigning for a YES vote. They wont be bothered what SNP voters think.

      • Nicholas chuzzlewit

        Don’t panic, captain Salmond don’t panic.

    • Fergus Pickering

      I think it’s funny. I think the whole independence thing just gets funnier and funnier.

    • Nicholas chuzzlewit

      Whilst dressed humorously, this article neatly outlines the position of the UK and Mr Salmond’s ‘response’.

      • Andrew MacGregor

        It doesn’t though really. 61% of Gaurdian readers think the ‘No to Currency Union’ is a bad idea for rUK business. Whatis happening is that rUK is continuing to act as though they are a major player, when in reality, they’re fighting a losing battle against globalisation and realisation.
        Salmond is perfectly right to question the sudden and frantic change of heart. The Gidiot and Balls – not to mention ginger – were all in favour last year. Now, they’re not. Darling said it was logical and desirable. So, it really is a surprising turn of events that Labour should read from cards scripted by Osborne and that Osborne should – posh Tory boy – come to Scotland to lecture Scots about the safety of staying in.
        The ‘advice’ from Sir Humphrey regarding the union was so utterly craven it beggared belief. In it he whines ‘the Scottish government make no commitment to keeping a currency union for any length of time’. Irrespective of the pros and cons of the argument, surely Westminster is capable of suggesting that the idea of a currency union is based on fixed terms including reference to length of commitments? Is Westminster so utterly scared of negotiating with Salmond or in general?

  • asalord

    Wet dreams for British nationalists.
    And with one bound the glorious “united” kingdom is saved,and everyone holds hands and sings Kumbaya as the Scottish independence movement goes away for ever.
    Tee hee.

    • CortUK

      What’s a British nationalist? Don’t you mean unionist?

  • BarkingAtTreehuggers

    It is increasingly evident that an unprecedented asset transfer in the history of
    the British Isles is about to take place.

    It is Cameron’s/Osborne’s/Carney’s plan to ‘sell’ Scotland to the Eurozone.

    Why else would they *refuse* to continue controlling the Scottish economy if they could? The reason for that is that the deal has long been done.

    There simply are not enough people in Britain to continue to support massive
    bankster losses/bail outs and massive year on year structural deficits as a result. Transferring all Scottish assets from London to Frankfurt is the answer – it is the preferred way of the elite to regain control of the capital markets – by selling parts of the loss-making enterprise.

    Britain take note – you are about to be SOLD by your ruling elite (!)

    Of course the Scots will need to be made to agree to that, and they will by voting YES in September. They have had enough of foreign ineptocrat rule and will go.

    ( I again look forward to being lectured by the likes of Ulysses, LadyDingDong and Colonel with regards to superior right-wing morality)

    • Count Dooku

      What in God’s name are you on about?

      • HookesLaw

        Barking is as barking does. I gather he sleeps in doorways and shouts at the cracks in the pavement.

      • BarkingAtTreehuggers

        What in the Holy Mother of God’s name has God got to do with this?

    • CortUK

      Nurse. Nurse! NURSE!!

    • M2

      Eurozone won’t take you even if we pay them lol!

    • allymax bruce

      China dumped $48 billion ust on the market today; guess who picked up the tab?

      Brussells!

  • Magnolia

    Well done Speccie, and well done Mr Osborne.

    • allymax bruce

      So, will you be moving South upon the Yes vote?

      • Ronnie Strachan

        YES – sadly because I will have no say in a national socialist country

        • Andrew MacGregor

          What an utterly ridiculous comment. You have no say in the Westminster Government. FPTP is a democratic deception.

    • Magnolia

      Silly me!

  • CraigStrachan

    Nicola Sturgeon also features briefly on the tapes, distant and indistinct, as if putting her head around a door that is some way from the recording device. The content of her interjections cannot be fully deciphered, but forensic sound experts retained by The Spectator have identified at least twenty-two separate uses of the phrase “with the greatest respect”.

    • Barakzai

      Ah, is that what she was saying?

      I thought it was her singing:
      ‘One wheel on our wagon, but we’re still rollin’ along, them Tori-ees are buggin’ me, but we’re keepin’ the monarch-ee . . . ‘

      • terregles2

        Scotland at the momet has no control over any aspect of the monarchy. The union of the crowns in 1603 means that unless the queen abdicates from Scotland she remains queen.

        • Barakzai

          ‘Scotland at the moment has no control over any aspect of the monarchy.’

          That so? Doubtless Mr Salmond will call another people’s referendum – for Scottish residents only, of course – as soon as he deems that absence of sovereign ‘control’ unsatisfactory.

          • terregles2

            Mr Salmond has spoken in support of the monarchy on many occasions. That is one of the reasons that some people do not vote SNP they prefer some of the other Scottish independence parties.
            The SNP might not win the next general election in Scotland so SNP policy may or may note be relevant.

            • CraigStrachan

              I doubt the SNP could win a general election a little more than a year out from a big loss in the referendum, which would amount to a popular rejection of their one core policy, their very reason for being. And they certainly couldn’t win it with Alex Salmond, who will be looking very shopworn indeed by then.

              • terregles2

                Well i never like to make any political predictions as they say a week is long time in politics.
                I don’t agree about Mr Salmond winning. I know quite a few people who did not support independence but they liked the policies of the SNP in Holyrood and voted for SNP. I think there is more dissatisfaction of the Cameron government in Scotland than of the Salmond administration in Holyrood.
                I also think the referendum will be quite a close result and I certainly would not like to predict the outcome.
                It is possible that the no vote could win and yet people would still vote to have SNP in Holyrood. Can’t see who would defeat them at the moment

                • CraigStrachan

                  I’ll go ahead and predict a heavy loss for “Yes” in the referendum, and loss of government at Holyrood by the SNP in 2016.

                • terregles2

                  Time will tell.

                • CraigStrachan

                  And not very much time at that.

                • Andrew MacGregor

                  Craig, they said that in 1979. Yes won the actual vote, but were cheated out of it by use of a clause that stated non-voters counted as no votes.

                • CraigStrachan

                  But there’s no such clause in effect this time, so Yes will lose fair ‘n square.

                • Andrew MacGregor

                  The biggest issue for the No campaign is apathy amongst No voters.
                  There are almost no campaigners on the ground. That was admitted by John ‘Malcolm Fucking Tucker’ McTernan recently when he said they had no footsoldiers.
                  The vote for Yes was lower at the same stage in ’78 and they in fact won the day.
                  Getting the vote motivated to go out and commit is not a problem for Yes. It is for No.

                • CraigStrachan

                  A Yes vote in 1978 was a yes to devolution, which Scotland now has. A Yes vote in 2014 is a vote to leave the UK, leave the EU, ditch the pound and (if the latest threats from the SNP are to be taken at face value) default on the national debt and lose access to the UK National Insurance Fund, jeopardising the hard-earned pensions of Scots.

                • Andrew MacGregor

                  The pensions argument is utter hypocrisy. You don’t have to take my word for it. Go to any serviceman/woman who has served at least 20 years and ask them about how safe their pension was under Gordon Brown. A man who stood in the HoC and ‘praised’ the troops in Afghanistan and Iraq, whilst reducing the pensions and lump sums they received on retiring from the forces.
                  Ask the pension funds whom Gordon robbed and pickpocketed whilst he was CoE and they’ll tell you pensioners would have been better off had he not taxed and raided the funds.
                  And I’ll let you into a big ‘not so secret’ secret. Pensioners are going to be hit by the Labour Party should they win the election. Rich pensioners will be taxed at a higher rate or lose the universal state pension. Tax on ‘mansions’ will be applied to rich pensioners. Further raids on funds and tax free allowances of contributions are going to happen.
                  Definitely safe staying with that on the horizon.

                • terregles2

                  There was no clause in the 1979 vote either. That was put in after the YES vote won. What else could we expect from the Labour party but cheating.?

                • CraigStrachan

                  No, the 40% (of the electorate) rule was in the Scotland Act (1978), so was not “put in after the YES vote won” in 1979.

                  You may not like Labour – I know I don’t – but it was they who ultimately delivered devolution, wasn’t it?

                • terregles2

                  The ammendment to the bill was added by George Cunningham while it was being passed through parliament he added the 40% rule rather than than the original clause of merely a simple majority. Devolution was then abandoned and the next Scotland Act did not appear until 1998. It was not the discredited disgraceful Labour party that brought about devolution. It was the rise in the SNP vote that forced them to try and do something to reclaim Labour party power in Scotland. Glad to say it backfired on them.

                • CraigStrachan

                  Yes, the 40% rule was added to the bill when it was going through Parliament in 1978. So it was not “put in after the YES vote” in 1979.

                  Labour of course lost power a couple of months after the 1979 referendum, after losing a confidence vote in Parliament by a single vote. SNP MPs did not support the government, largely out of pique at the 40% rule, thus playing their part in bringing Maggie and the Tories to power and putting devolution off the agenda for 18 years.

                  Ironic, that!

                • terregles2

                  The real irony is that Labour killed off devolution and Thatcher then killed off the Labour party. Poetic justice indeed.
                  Thatcher put devolution off the agenda but bless her forever she gave birth to rise in the SNP and we can thank her for giving birth to our referendum this September.

                • CraigStrachan

                  Except Labour wasn’t dead, as it turned out: resurrected by Blair, it returned to government to enact devolution.

                • terregles2

                  Well it was dead to its former policies. Still called Labour but did not pursue Labour policies. Went to war in Iraq and pursued PFI for funding schools and hospitals. Even now they intend to continue with awarding private contracts to the NHS in the unlikely event that they are ever elected to government. Mrs Thatcher at one point spoke in praise of Tony Blair.

                • CraigStrachan

                  But the one policy it moved to deliver early was the unfinished business of 1979 – devolution.

                • terregles2

                  Well the discredited unprincipled Labour party does anything for power. They have proved that on numerous occasions. They brought in devolution to stem the tide of SNP votes there was never any other reason.

                • CraigStrachan

                  Discredited and unprincipled is a description that fits many a politician, but not Donald Dewar.

                • terregles2

                  Especially Donald Dewar. He helped the discredited disgraceful Tony Blair move the maritme border up from Berwick on Tweed to Carnoustie.

                • CraigStrachan

                  Oh, now. If we’re going to speak ill of the dead, it can’t be long before we get on to Margaret Ewing.

                • terregles2

                  Why is it speaking ill of the dead?. It is quite simply a fact that is what he did. I am sure if the man was still here he would hold up his hand and say that he did it. It would be interesting to hear his reasons for doing so. Discussing political decisions that politicians made after they are dead is not speaking ill of them it is simply discussing the political decisions that they made while the held office good, bad or indifferent.

                • HJ777

                  There you go again.

                  Anything or anyone you don’t like is always “discredited” aren’t they?

                  Can you not think of another word?

                • HJ777

                  She always calls anything she doesn’t like, or anyone she doesn’t agree with “discredited”.

                  She never manages to explain why.

                  To her, it just means “I don’t like it”

              • Andrew MacGregor

                I’ve said this once and I’ll say it again. Scots voters will vote for the party most competent to run the economy. That is SNP in Scotland. Not Labour – run by and for incompetents.

                • CraigStrachan

                  You might be right, and I thought the one persuasive part of Alex Salmond’s speech yesterday was when he talked up the Scottish economy, claiming record inward investment, lower unemployment and higher growth than the U.K average.

                  All of which tends to convince that Scotland is doing pretty well within the U.K.

        • Andrew MacGregor

          That’s not a problem is it. The problem you have is that the Scottish Queen also has to abdicate from the English crown for you guys to have control. Jeez, a pointless argument as Scotland will retain the Queen as titular head of state.

  • Daniel Maris

    I can’t be bothered to read it.

    • tastemylogos

      ha course not.

      • Daniel Maris

        I’m reading the comments though. Much more interesting, I surmise.

        • Kitty MLB

          That happens quite a lot, here and on ConservativeHome
          comments from posters are a lot more interesting then
          the actual articles themselves, sometimes.
          Some of us asked in the other place if we could produce
          an article of some interest, yet unfortunately we were refused.

        • tastemylogos

          But you would’t know would you, Maris? You are a caricature, pal. Won’t read something but will draw judgement.

          Why don’t you like reading things that sit uncomfortably with your world view? Not exactly intellectually honest, are you?

          Being open minded, and true to logic allows people like myself or Peter Hitchens to respect the likes of Tony Benn and Frank Fields. Can you say the same about anybody from opposing positions?

  • Ronnie Strachan

    and there folks is the reality of the relative positions even though said in jest

    • Andrew MacGregor

      Erm, utter bollocks Ronnie

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