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Who are the real bullies in the Scottish independence debate?

19 February 2014

10:27 AM

19 February 2014

10:27 AM

Stewart Hosie, the SNP’s finance spokesman at Westminster, said something unwittingly revealing last night. Taking part in the latest of BBC Scotland’s referendum debates (you can catch it here), he observed that:

There is a plan from the Scottish government and the Yes side… What we don’t have is a plan a from the No people about what happens in the event of a No vote. So I want them to explain to you today when are they going to cut £4bn from Scotland’s budget?

[…] There is precisely nothing from the No camp to explain what they’re going to do to Scotland in the event of a no vote.

Give Hosie marks for honesty. You don’t often get it as clear as this. I don’t think Hosie mis-spoke here. Not when he’s inventing a phantom threat to the Scottish block grant. Not when he’s suggesting that the Unionist parties wish to punish Scotland for having merely the temerity to discuss its own future.

True, some backbenchers think the Barnett Formula needs re-examining (they are right, by the way) but David Cameron has made it perfectly clear that tinkering with Barnett is “not on the horizon”. Of course Cameron cannot bind future parliaments and this allows the nationalists – the keenest sophists in British politics – to pretend that Cameron has “let the cat out the bag” and secretly hankers to scrap Barnett.

In any case, who’s scaremongering now? Vote Yes, otherwise Westminster is going to do any number of nasty things to Scotland. Just to put the uppity Jocks in their place. A reasonable person might conclude this is, rhetorically, a form of bullying.

And since Unionist parties wish to punish Scotland it follows, quite clearly, that no proper patriot could in good conscience support a No vote. To do so is to out yourself as some kind of self-loathing Scot. And since no patriot could welcome such punishment it follows that voting No is a form of treachery.

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An honest disagreement of what is in the national interest cannot be had. No voters are at best careless of Scotland’s interests and, more probably, motivated by malice. You are, as George W Bush once said, with us or against us.

As dividing lines go this is as crude as it is effective. Real Scots vote for independence, plastic Scots vote No.

There will be more of this as the referendum day draws nearer. For all that the SNP offers a sober, technocratic vision of the future this debate still, in the end, comes down to identity. It was Alex Salmond, some years ago, who accused George Robertson of being an “Uncle Tam”: “Scottish on the outside, British on the inside. Tartan ties – Union Jack underpants”.

The SNP leadership don’t often talk of Uncle Tams these days but the instincts that lead to such accusations haven’t disappeared entirely. (It goes without saying that it’s a depressing way of thinking and one that, for anyone who knows anything about race relations in the United States, is an ugly one.)

Perhaps this should not surprise. The Nationalist rise to power at Holyrood was in large part predicated upon an acceptance that, even if one did not agree with all their policies, they would “stand up for Scotland”, acting as a shield or bulwark against Westminster governments of any party. It was – and is – a politics of pose or posture more than policy. Since this has proved a mightily effective frame for SNP operations it is understandable that it is being used again.

But the stakes are higher in this referendum campaign. Sensible Unionists – including David Cameron – acknowledge there’s no reason why an independent Scotland would have to be a basket case or shortbread republic. Sensible Unionists can admit there’s nothing reprehensible about desiring independence. Sensible Unionists know independence is feasible. (That there are plenty of stupid Unionists and that some of them are in the cabinet is a matter for another time)

I think sensible Nationalists know that a No vote is hardly the end of the world. After all, by their own arguments, Scotland is already an extremely successful little country. If it were not it would be less well-placed to begin life as an independent country. But to listen to them you would think Scotland faces a future as bleak as Sodom and Gomorroah, punished by a wrathful lord. This is scaremongering too.

It presents Scotland, curiously, as a place too small, too weak to withstand the wrath of Westminster. It suggests, perhaps even craves, a kind of victim status. If you vote No then heaven help us all but we shall reap what we sow and deserve everything we get. Good and hard, preferably.

Perhaps this will all prove effective. It might! But I don’t think suggesting Conservative, Labour and Liberal Democrat voters want to punish Scotland is an edifying approach. It reminds us, however, that identity – Scottishness – really is at the heart of this campaign no matter how many Yes supporters tell you it isn’t. Real Scots vote Yes; bad Scots vote No. And who wants to be the bad guy?

It’s a form of bullying. So be it, but at least be honest about it. For that at least, Stewart Hosie deserves some credit.

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Show comments
  • richard

    if it was England’s oil they would have split from the rest of the UK 30 years ago

  • richard

    England is skint, if we go it alone they have lost the cash cow

  • Hegelguy

    In these days when Scottish nationalism is so much talked about, I am surprised the press has not remembered in this connection one of the earliest and staunchest supporters of it – the bagpipe playing, often kilt-wearing Idi Amin, Life President of Uganda.

    Among Idi’s proudest titles, apart from “Conqueror of the British Empire”, was “Last King of Scotland”.

    Idi grew to love Scotland because many of his officers in the King’s African Rifles were Scots. When he visited Britain in 1971 shortly after seizing power by coup d’état, he was not satisfied with drinking tea with the Queen but insisted on visiting Scotland, and was duly taken there, by helicopter.

    Surely, when Scots have their separate currency, they will have Idi Amin on one of the more popular currency notes. It would go down well with the money market.

    Scots have an special gift for gratitude, and I do not believe the brave, loyal heart of Scotland has forgotten one of her staunchest friends in hard days of mutual English colonial oppression: Life President Al-Hajji Idi Amin Dada, VC DSO MC, Conqueror of the British Empire, Last King of Scotland.

  • I_am_not_completely_stupid

    If Salmond and the SNP have misled Scotland about the realities of Independence, and the Scots vote “Yes”, and it all goes horribly wrong, it will not be long before the SNP politicians are seeking political asylum as far away from Scotland as possible.
    Nobody likes to be taken for a fool.

    • BarkingAtTreehuggers

      Scots must *want* independence. This is no picnic and there will be no cherry picking either. When you are not seen to be wanting something you will not deserve to be given anything.

    • flippit

      Their reason for being is Inependence. That is the target. That’s why they have no answers to Plan B questions or what happens if EU entry is delayed or supermarket prices rise. In 50 years that won’t matter, because Scotland will be independent and they think that Scottish ingenuity will provide. They care about currency because it might sway the vote, not about hardship potential for Scots. They’ve just got to get across the line.

  • http://weourselves.com/ Christian Wright

    Of course the block grant will be cut by 4 billion, that is not in dispute by anyone other than perhaps Alex Massie. The signals are very strong that Barnett with be done away with severe economic repercussions to Scotland.

    This has been signaled by many leading Unionist pols. “dougthedug” has posted quotes from Curran and Cameron which simply do not gel with Mr Massie’s fantasy.

    With respect to bullying the Scottish people are clearly not drinking Massie’s sugar enriched Kool-Aid. Polling data released today reveals as whopping 6% jump in support for a YES vote and a 5% drop in support for a NO vote. http://weourselves.com

    These opinions were canvased AFTER the crooked intimidation by trust funded Osborne and the hysteria of Jose Manuel Barroso (Mon and Tues of this week). Folks had time to reflect on those events.

    Clearly, the Scottish electorate unlike Mr Massie are under no illusions about the acts and the intent of the acts of Orborne, his parliamentary cabal, or the Cameron regime . The boy acted like a hoodlum trying to put the fighteners on the people. demonstrably that hasn’t worked.

    • GUBU

      Can you produce evidence which definitively proves that the block grant will be cut by £4 billion? Not a claim, or an assertion, or an opinion – but conclusive proof?

  • Perseus Slade

    Yes but this was never about issues, just anti-Englishism.
    Mr Toad should save his hate for the real enemies of civilisation,
    not jump into bed with them.

  • Hegelguy

    I jolly well hope the Scots stay.
    I do not want to be left in England without that all important contingent of Scottish Labour MPs which has given this country such civilized decency as it has ever had.

    I do not want to be left alone to be eaten by the dread crocodile of unassailable Tory England which is even now edging nearer from the dank shadows, its malicious, yellow, glowering, unwinking eyes on me….

    The Scottish Labour MPs have been the valiant knights who have kept us out of the jaws of this most fearsome of slimy cold-blooded monsters for so long.

    Long may they stay!

    But…..what you forget is that this country is not like, say, Canada. Canada contained Quebec separatism because it is what the post-Thatcher UK is most definitely NOT: a decent society where governments do not go out of their way to penalise the weakest and serve the bloated rich at all costs and destroy social services.

    Thus, Quebec has reason to stay in Canada.

    What good reason has Scotland to stay in a Thatcherite Britain?

  • Hari

    So which side would be better off in case of a Yes vote _ Scotland or rUK ?

    • Derick Tulloch

      Both.
      Scotland financially
      rUK morally (as the ridiculous ‘Great Power’ (no sniggering at the back, there!) delusion would be that much harder to maintain. Which would be A Good Thing

  • abystander

    On this debt cost thing.
    If I have no legally contracted debt how can by debt servicing costs be greater than if I had legally contracted debt, albeit at a notionally lower rate of interest?

  • Jeezus

    Unlike the English, the Scots do not worship at the feet of the Royals. All you ‘Don’t Knows’ with Republican leanings should consider that given Independence it will only be a matter of time until we will take the opportunity to chuck the lot o’ them. That chance alone is worth a YES vote.

  • JWil42

    I’ll never forget Alex Massie’s tete a tete with a worker from BAE Govan shipyard (the yard that builds Britain’s warships). It was on Newsnight Scotland, when Alex claimed that their work was inferior to overseas shipyards then immediately climbed down at the response of the shop steward by saying he didn’t mean it. But thousands heard what he said. Massie should be sticking up for Scotland like many others, but prefers to talk it down.

  • JPJ2

    Mr Massie-At least Mr Hosie did not appear in the debate pretending to be “undecided” unlike yourself in the previous debate.
    Just out of interest, was it you who made that claim to be “undecided”, or were you put up to it by the institutionally unionist BBC?

    • JWil42

      I heard that one too.

    • ChuckieStane

      As I said on the last thread, it actually spoiled the debate skewing it to 2:1 in favour of the unionists.

      Alex has got a steady occasional income as a pundit on STV so presumably he needs to pretend he is undecided to keep the money coming in. At the same time he needs to provide this kind of copy to keep his gig at the Spectator

  • KingCuilean

    I have heard all this before only replace the word No with Yes and this is an article plagiarised from any number of Scottish reporters pens! (Does your editor know)?

  • JWil42

    Perhaps I think the point is here that there is the possibility that Scotland’s money will be cut and Scotland can do nothing about it. The way to stop even this possibility is to vote YES in September and allow Scotland to manage its own affairs without interference.

  • abystander

    Danny Alexander advises me my mortgage will cost more in an independent Scotland.
    These are the same people who assured me my Council tax bill would go up by 3000 smackeroonies a year if I voted for devolution in 1999.
    Its not so much a credibility gap as a yawning chasm.
    Get this. He knows my mortgage costs will increase if YES wins but its unfair to ask him if the Barnett formula will remain if No wins. His crystal ball won’t answer that one.

  • allymax bruce

    Vote Yes for Light.
    Vote No for Dark.

  • abgood

    Question from the U.S.: In what way is Scotland seeking “independence”? Will it have its own military, border security, head of state, currency, central bank, military, embassies and consulates, U.N. mission, etc.? From what I have read, the answer to these would be “no.” So, precisely what in the proposals constitutes “independence,” at least as George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, et al., would have understood it?

    • MichtyMe

      Its a good question. Independence is possibly not be best word, all nations are interdependent in a globalised world even the U.S. The vote is to establish Scotland as a sovereign state and all goes with that..

      • abgood

        How would it be sovereign?

        • MichtyMe

          By being recognised as such by the international community of states, in theory being supreme and free from external control.

          • abgood

            Would it send MPs to Westminster?

            • MichtyMe

              No, just as the sovereign state of Canada does not send Congressmen to Washington. I have been using the word “state” in a different sense from the U.S. “federal state” usage, that may have confused.

            • GUBU

              Sadly I doubt this will be possible.

              However we can console ourselves with the thought that Gordon Brown will be appointed Scotland’s first ambassador to the Antarctic, a fitting reflection of the high esteem in he is held on both sides of the border.

    • HJ777

      “Scotland” isn’t seeking independence.

      A minority of Scots are campaigning for it. They know that most Scots don’t support independence so they are busy making promises (earlier retirement, free childcare, etc.) whilst conveniently trying to ignore costs and denying any downsides whilst reassuring Scots that everything they don’t want to change will stay the same.

      If anyone points out the flaws in their argument or questions any aspect of their plans, they scream (with a few honourable exceptions such as Jim Sillars) “scaremongering” and “bullying”.

    • dougthedug

      Will it have its own military, border security, head of state
      Yes, yes and yes.

      currency, central bank
      No and no.

      military, embassies and consulates, U.N. mission, etc.?
      Yes, yes, yes, yes and yes.

      • GUBU

        So, all the trappings of an independent state without much of the substance?

        I wish you luck with that…

        • dougthedug

          So an independent state is a separate currency and central bank? I’d have a word with the Germans if I was you. They think they are independent.

          • HJ777

            Germany has a currency and a central bank.

            It was you who introduced the word “separate”.

            Germany does have a separate central bank, by the way.

            • dougthedug

              Informative as ever HJ.

              • HJ777

                Informative and correct.

          • abgood

            I think the Germans feel quite sovereign and peachy right now. They’ve had the economic benefits of a currency devaluation without the internal economic dislocation that would normally entail. Their political position within the Eurozone is dominant. The Greeks, Italians, Spanish and Portuguese, on the other hand, are caught in a vise not entirely of their own making and likely feel they’ve lost sovereignty. They’ve certainly lost freedom of action and their governments are subject to external dictates.

            • Jambo25

              That’s because they have grossly mismanaged their economies and limited their freedom of action in much the same way as the UK’s freedom of action was limited by the IMF in the 1970s.

            • JWil42

              And America has contributed to similar catastrophes by interfering in the internal politics of other countries, so what exactly is you point from where you are standing on the moral high ground?

      • abgood

        I thought it called for open borders and retaining the Queen of England?

        • dougthedug

          Open borders does not mean uncontrolled borders. She’s actually the Queen of Scots as well as the Queen of England.

    • Jambo25

      So that means that states which are members of the Schengen Agreement and the Euro are not really independent. Under present proposals Scotland would have its own head of state, military, embassies, border controls, consulates etc. I know that the USA likes to pretend that its fully sovereign in all respects but it isn’t and most smaller states have far less sovereignty than the USA. The reality is hat apart from a few huge continental sized powers the modern world limits the sovereignty of states.

      • Wessex Man

        well theres even more muddled thinking to a very good question, the last I heard you Scot Nats want to be a part of the EU, or have you changed your minds again?

        • Jambo25

          Where did I write that? I not only wish to see Scotland as an EU member but I would be perfectly happy to see it signed up to both Schengen and the Euro.

    • abystander

      Question from Scotland
      Are these the slave owning chaps who signed something saying all men were equal?

    • JWil42

      Then either you have read wrongly or you are telling lies.

  • AJConstantine

    I do wish Mr Massie would step down as the Union’s zealot-in-chief. This silly self-assumed role does I suggest no good either for his reputation or for his writing.

    For those who can be objective on this issue of Scotland’s future, I ask you to choose between the following two potential borrowers of your money.

    (i) Would you prefer to lend to a person who had already taken on too much debt and who can only afford to pay you back once inflation has reduced its real value?

    or

    (ii) would you prefer to lend to a person who has no existing debt and has never defaulted?

    The British government being legally responsible for all outstanding debts of the British state is the would-be borrower in (i). An independent Scotland if it chooses not to take on any share of the debts of the British state is the would-be borrower in (ii).

    The Scottish government’s position of course is that under a fair allocation of the assets and liabilities of the British state then it would take on a fair share of the debts of the British state. But if Scotland does not get fair treatment in the negotiations on the break-up of the British Union, then it will play a tough game … and why shouldn’t it?

    • William Haworth

      I suspect that both sides could play a tough game if they wanted to.

      Scotland being your case (ii) would, as far as the world would be concerned, have debts that it chose not to repay, and will have just seriously upset its largest neighbour, who could make life quite difficult if necessary. Sure the Chinese or Iranians might lend Salmond money, for a bit of mischief -making, but would the Germans or Americans?

      • Jambo25

        The Treasury has taken responsibility for the UK national debt. If it wants a possibly independent Scotland to take a, possibly, 8.5%-9.5% share I would have to bilaterally negotiate with Scotland.

        • HJ777

          You seem not to appreciate that Scotland could only become independent after concluding an agreement with the Westminster parliament.

          • Jambo25

            They could decide to disregard a democratic referendum if Scotland votes Yes. That kind of behaviour really worked in relation to Ireland.

            • HJ777

              You seem not to realise that there are limits to democracy.

              You cannot vote debt away any more than you can vote for prosperity and expect it to be delivered just because you voted for it.

              Jim Sillars (with whom I profoundly disagree on his independence and socialist views) does, at least, make honest arguments:

              “The reason currency has become central to the debate is that Alex Salmond put himself in a corner without contingencies and he can’t get out of it. The idea of a currency union is a nonsense. It puts one of his major policies in the hands of the other side. You need two to create a currency union and if the big partner in that potential currency union says it’s not going to do so, then you’ve got a problem, because you can’t force it. And I notice today, John Swinney’s out with this silly statement, that the pound is as much ours as it is Westminster’s. But that’s not the case. If there’s any reserves, gold, foreign currency, in the Bank of England, yes, we have a proportionate right to them but the pound sterling is a badge of sovereignty of the British state. At the moment, it is part of our badge of that sovereignty exercised by the British state, but when we become independent, the British state takes the pound as its sovereign currency. We’re not entitled to it. So Alex created the currency union problem. At one stage he threatened to default on Scotland’s debt if it didn’t let us in, but that didn’t last long. So he’s played right into the hands of the Unionists.”

              • Jambo25

                Since the Treasury has already laid claim to ‘ownership’ of the national debt and the rUK appears to be moving more and more towards continuation state status simply walking away becomes an option for Scotland. I’m not particularly in favour of it, but frankly, after the events of the past 10 days or so its one that I wouldn’t lose any sleep over taking.
                We’ve been told by ministers, journos and posters that decisions would be taken in rUK’s self interest and one of those decisions was simply presented as a diktat prior to any putative negotiations. Self interest cuts more than one way. As for Mr. Sillars. He is entitled to his view but his view, strangely enough, is one of a nationalist ‘fundie’.

                • HJ777

                  Oh come off it.

                  How does saying that a country is entitled to make its own decision about its currency without consulting (what would be) another country constitute a “diktat”?

                  Nobody tried to tell Salmond what his policy should be. He can have any policy he likes, but he could only implement a policy that either doesn’t require the consent of another country or where he attains that other country’s agreement.

                  If he tries to force his policy on another country, that would constitute a “diktat”.

                  You really are quite ridiculous.

                • Jambo25

                  If you wish to negotiate: you negotiate. If you wish to say ‘this is how its going to be’ ; that isn’t negotiation. At the end of negotiations you can have bottom lines which you aren’t willing to negotiate on but you come to them after negotiations.

                • HJ777

                  That’s just nonsense.

                  A separate country has the right to decide its own policies about its own currency WITHOUT discussion with any other. Salmond want independence but he doesn’t want it for anyone else.

                • GUBU

                  I would give up, if I were you.

                  There are none so blind as those who will not see…

                • HJ777

                  You’re right. It’s hopeless trying to discuss with such delusional people who think are so because they want them to be so.

                • Jambo25

                  So don’t complain if iScotland positions itself so rUK is the sole Successor state or Continuation state.

                • HJ777

                  You are pathetic.

                  Do you think that an independent Scotland would have the right to choose to have an independent currency without outside consultation or negotiation?

                  If so, then why do you not think that an independent rest of the UK wouldn’t have such a right? Why should it, uniquely, have to negotiate this with another party?

                  A straight answer for a change would be good.

                • HJ777

                  http://blogs.channel4.com/factcheck/factcheck-can-scotland-avoid-paying-uk-debt/13362

                  I know you don’t like facts, but here they are anyway.

          • Derick Tulloch

            Perhaps a wee read of the UN Charter would help refresh your memory. Specifically the bits regarding Self-Determination. Turn it the other way, if the Kippers get their way and there is a vote for the UK (if it still exists by then) to leave the EU – you suggest that the Germans and the French would have a veto? Har!

            • HJ777

              Where in the UN charter does it say that you can simply walk away from debt when you don’t get your own way?

              • Derick Tulloch

                What part of the Treasury statement that the UK Treasury will honour all the debt that, er, they issued in full do you not get? The Scottish Government has always said it will make an arrangement to pay a fair share of the UK’ debt, provided that a fair share of the assets is part of the deal

                How much clearer can that be? No asset share: no debt share. Do you actually expect Scotland to take a share of the debt, without a corresponding share of the assets.
                I fancy Big Ben as part of our share of the House of Commons btw. It would look fine in my garden.

                if EWNI wishes to be the sole successor state, it inherits both assets, the famouse Security Council seat unless India makes a fuss, and the debt.

                But the asset/debt negotiation – for that is what it will be – has no bearing whatsoever on whether Scotland becomes Independent. If there is a Yes vote the UK is dissolved. EWNI doesn’t have a veto. We are not your possession.

                • HJ777

                  Can you point me towards where anyone has said that a seceded Scotland would not get a fair share of the assets?

                  Nobody has suggested any such thing.

                • Derick Tulloch

                  Above all, the risible contention that Scotland would be entitled to no assets from our ‘marriage’ is the primary implication of this, the UK’s Government’s very first paper in it’s ‘Scotland Analysis’ series on the referendum:

                  37. For the purpose of this advice, it is not necessary to decide between these two views of the union of 1707. Whether or not England was also extinguished by the union, Scotland certainly was extinguished as a matter of international law, by merger either into an enlarged and renamed England or into an entirely new state.
                  [November 2012, Annex A: Opinion: Referendum on The Independence of Scotland, Internatioanl Law Aspects. page 75]
                  https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/79408/Annex_A.pdf

                  And this

                  http://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/457842/Breakaway-Scottish-state-could-not-claim-a-cut-of-UK-assets

                  and this

                  “The UK government hasn’t conceded that Scotland will get its fair share of the UK’s defence assets”
                  http://blogs.channel4.com/factcheck/factcheck-independent-scotland-faces-fight-uk-defence-assets/16480

                • HJ777

                  That’s just a nonsense assertion.

                  The discussion is about what a fair share would constitute – and in any case it has nothing to do with a currency union, as Andrew Lilico explains very clearly for the benefit of people like you who haven’t understood (or, more likely, prefer to deliberately distort).

                  Let’s look at what is at the heart of this. Without any consultation, Salmond announced a policy that requires another party to agree in order for him to implement the policy. But that other party would be entitled to make its own decision. So Salmond starts making threats.

                • Derick Tulloch

                  “Salmond announced a policy that requires another party to agree in order
                  for him to implement the policy”
                  True, albeit on the advice of the Fiscal Commission Working Group, who concluded a currency union would be in the best interests of both successor states. Which Working Group includes two Nobel Laureates.

                  “But that other party would be entitled
                  to make its own decision”

                  Agreed! They are free to do so. Silly, but free to do so.

                  Personally I am not keen on formal currency union as it would excessively restrict Scotland’s economic freedom. A Scottish Pound (as at present)! pegged 1:1 to Sterling would be preferable. But the downside is that Sterling would be likely to depreciate due to the loss of Scotland’s contribution to the Balance of Payments. So a peg wouldn’t last. Depends of course whether you think a ‘strong’ currency is a good thing! Not for manufacturing it ain’t.

                • HJ777

                  Silly not listen to the SNP’s report commissioned to say what they wanted it to say?

                  Well, call me crazy but I prefer the Treasury analysis which was unequivocal. It is these people’s jobs to know about the problems with currency unions and the potential liabilities they incur.

                  Independent economist have pointed out that from a balance of payments point of view, a Scottish secession would be approximately neutral. The SNP conveniently omit to account for imports from the rest of the Uk when they come up with their bunk on this issue. It’s simply laughable.

                • Derick Tulloch

                  Exactly the problem with the Treasury Paper ‘It is these people’s jobs’ (to provide answers that suit their master’s agenda).

                  The Fiscal Commission Working Group, by contrast have nothing to lose but their reputations. Considerable reputations as it happens.

                  Professor Andrew Hughes Hallett,
                  Sir Jim Mirrlees (Mark Carney’s PhD supervisor btw)
                  Frances Ruane
                  Professor Joseph Stiglitz.
                  Chair Crawford Beveridge.
                  CV’s of all concerned here.

                  http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Topics/Economy/Council-Economic-Advisers/Membership

                • HJ777

                  Irrelevant.

                  The decision would not be up to the SNP, it would be up to the rest of the UK.

                  A seceded Scotland could only take decisions for a seceded Scotland – and not for the rest of the UK.

                  Perhaps you could explain whether you think an independent Scotland should be able to choose a separate currency were it to want one, without outside interference?

                  if your answer is yes, then please explain why an independent rest of the UK shouldn’t have exactly the same right, but would instead be expected to do what the SNP says.

                • Derick Tulloch

                  rUK has the same right. I agree with you on this point.

                  A clean break is better, no asset share, no debt share, rUK can have their bawbee Security Council seat. Both states are vanishingly unlikely to be outwith EEA, even if England, sorry rUK, exits the EU after the ‘other’ referendum. Free movement and trade will continue

                • HJ777

                  You might like a clean break with no asset share and no debt share, but the SNP (unsurprisingly) disagrees with you. Even they aren’t that mad.

                  Since the UK government owns practically all major public assets in Scotland, that would leave a newly seceded Scotland with almost nothing – not even a parliament building (which is the property of the UK government).

                  Is that really what you want?

    • HJ777

      Two problems with your argument:

      – Credit providers always prefer borrowers with a reliable credit history. A seceded Scotland would have no credit history.

      – The idea that a seceded Scotland could just walk away from its share of the debt were it not to get what it unilaterally decided was “fair treatment” in negotiations is fanciful.

      • Jambo25

        1) Bond markets will look at the solvency or otherwise of the potential borrower. Selling government bonds on the money markets isn’t like applying for an Amex card.
        2) A J Constantine is exactly correct. We have been told by British pols such as Osborne et al that they were merely safeguarding rUK interests. Its been more than hinted by St Vince of the Cable, amongst others. that after putative Scottish independence our pals, down south, will whip RBS and others down south. Hate to tell people this but much of RBS has gone anyway. In addition other posters are rubbing their hands and telling us that they will dismantle as much of the Scottish finance sector and move it down south. The strange thing is that the Britnats think that there will be no consequences to acting like this or threatening to act like this. Well if they do there will be consequences. Scotland would negotiate the arrangements for the break up of the Union in good faith but, like all states, reserve the right to walk away if it wasn’t satisfied with the eventual settlement.

        • HJ777

          1) I didn’t make the analogy to a person – I merely responded to it.

          2) Where did the government or anyone associated with it say that they would “dismantle the Scottish finance sector and move it south”? Those businesses might choose to move south, but that would be their choice. Who is threatening anyone?

          So you’re saying that Scotland, were it to vote for secession, would walk away form the negotiations if it wasn’t satisfied with the settlement? Leaving aside the fact it wouldn’t be a settlement if it weren’t agreed, then that would also mean walking away from independence.

      • Paul Bethune

        Fanciful to your fantasies yes. Realistic if Westminster do not wish to negotiate fairly.

        The Treasury has already allayed to their creditors that Westminster will honour all UK debt in full. It is then for Westminster to negotiate with a Scottish government on the mutual management of that debt – and for a Scottish government to accept. Only a fool would believe that a favourable answer of mutual co-operation on debt won’t be based around a shared currency for servicing that debt.

        • HJ777

          You don’t need a “shared currency’ to service debt.

          A seceded Scotland could do what it likes about currency. So could the rest of the UK. What neither has the right to do is to force the other to take part in a currency union against its will.

          I’m sure that the rest of the UK wouldn’t be so impertinent to try to insist on any such thing. Neither should a seceded Scotland.

          Previously, Salmond wanted to join the Euro, now he wants a currency union with the rest of the UK. If he wants to join the Euro, then he must agree that with the Eurozone. If he wants a currency union with the rest of the UK, then he must agree that with rest of the UK. Neither is in any way obliged to agree with his request and neither should tell him what to do.

          Unfortunately, the SNP’s idea of fairness is that it decides and the rest of the UK then does what it wants.

          • Paul Bethune

            Times change H but it appears you’re stuck in it. How much debt was there back then when Salmond and half the UK fancied the single currency with Europe? 6-700 billion? Now it’s double that and growing. That is one massive reason to keep Sterling stabilised. Scotland is 10% of it’s market share and note circulation.

            You keep your rage burning over having to actually share rather than dictate. Thankfully all this pantomime politics will be forgotten about when more moderate voices chair the negotiations of shared currency and debt. Watching certain unionists froth at the mouth over the thought of any co-operation after independence, has been like watching an insecure lover scorned trying to score points. Where is the confidence, I thought the No vote is meant to be winning! Where is the positive vision for a shared government beyond this year, because we’re getting nothing, just bluff and more bluff (as Alex Massie alludes to), It’s called politics H, read up on it. What we do have is an insular old boys club that Westminster has been since its formation. They are desperate to hold on to it and plebs generation after generation have allowed it.

            Those times are changing. The fact that Scotland in the UK beyond 2014 is never talked about by unionist or nationalist sums it up.

            • HJ777

              I have no rage. The rage is coming from the SNP, as anyone reasonably sentient person can see.

              Neither is any Westminster politician dictating anything. They are merely saying what their policy would be, were Scotland to secede. Not agreeing to what Salmond wants does not constitute dictating anything.

              Did Salmond consult with Westminster before announcing his policy? Then why does he think he can dictate to it over currency?

            • Jambo25

              I think the problem with Mr. 777 and his fellows is that the world no longer runs to their schedule only and they haven’t fully realised that yet.. If (big if) Scotland votes Yes then the break will have to be negotiated between iScotland and rUK. It might well be that not sharing a currency union is a bottom line which they aren’t willing to concede. It might also be, hypothetically, something that iScotland might accept but only if major concessions in other areas are made, If no concessions which meet iScotland’s minimum interests and requirements are made then iScotland always has the option to walk, set up a new currency and central bank, debt free and see how the money markets react.
              Away from the last week or so’s bullshit there is a very good book which was published late last year and explains the nuts and bolts of the referendum. Where it came from. How its being carried out. What could happen in future. Even Mr.777 cannot claim that its biased towards the SNP as the author is ex-Tory adviser and noted Unionist, David Torrance. His views are put in ‘The Battle for Britain’ and are a lot more consensual and nuanced than the nonsense being seen on hear.

  • Malcolm McCandless

    Alex Massie knows full well that Unionist politicians of all shades and from all parts have called for the Barnett formula to be replaced by a needs based system.

    David Cameron has called for it, so too Alistair Carmichael, Margaret Curran, Carwyn Jones, etc. The list is long.

    Also there is no such thing as Real Scots, only Scots. That was a BIG FAIL on Massie’s part.

  • The Laughing Cavalier

    Nothing wrong with putting the uppity Jocks in their place.

  • Jon Ames

    It’s sort of odd that Salmond and Sturgeon obstinately insist that a currency union is the best thing for rUK and, at the same time, resent rUK having any view on what is best for Scotland. Ah, politics. Still, the Yes campaign is a busted flush now. It’s all over. We just have to wait a few months…

  • marquis1

    utter contemptuous rubbish. The Brits are sending the armed forces to Stirling on the same day as the Bannockburn celebrations following on from amassing the troops in Glasgow! We Scots can’t celebrate the foundations of our ancient freedom without the bullies flying overhead.

  • HookesLaw

    SNP=UKIP=racist bigots

    • dougthedug

      Surreal equations! Can I play?

      Pandas=Tigers=ferocious carnivores

      • Derick Tulloch

        droll!
        Tories = Badgers = probable TB threat

    • Wessex Man

      Oh dear Hooky you just can’t stop yourself can you? Now come on and give the SNP posters anf UKip posters on here hard evidence that either party is racist or withdraw your stupid statement.

  • FF42

    I am beginning to think the main motivation of voters come September 18th will be utter boredom. The “debate” linked to above is a taste (lasting for a full hour) of the tedium that we can expect for the remainder of the campaign. Will Scots (a) vote YES so we don’t ever have to face another neverendum? Or (b) will we vote NO and slink back to our Westminster made hole and not have to think about it again?

  • CraigStrachan

    “Sensible Unionists know independence is feasible”

    Of course it is. Which is why it is so very strange that what the SNP proposes looks nothing like real independence.

    • HJ777

      That’s because they know most Scots won’t vote for real independence.

  • monty61

    It seems the Gnats are shifting tactics – from Project Lalala I’m Not Listening to the real Project Fear.

  • MichtyMe

    As you rightly say Alex, in the end comes down to identity but is it REAL Scots for Yes and REEL Scots for No or other way about.

  • BarkingAtTreehuggers

    Why am I sensing the sudden emergence of Tea Party vocabulary on this blog?
    Could it be the use of the word ‘patriot’? May I suggest to add the phrase ‘God-fearing electorate’ to the discourse to make it all unambiguous as to what is actually going on?

  • BarkingAtTreehuggers

    “Vote Yes, otherwise Westminster is going to do any number of nasty things to Scotland.”

    What a devious tactic to restate that here, matey.

  • Barry Byrne

    Alex,

    I’m normally a fan of your articles, but this is surely mince.

    You begin with Stewart Hosie demanding from the Tories when they’re going to cut £4bn from Scotland (not an unreasonable speculation- though we have many of those too- since the Tories, Lib Dems and Labour are committed to further cuts with or without Scotland’s permission).

    Within four short paragraphs you take us to this:

    “An honest disagreement of what is in the national interest cannot be had. No voters are at best careless of Scotland’s interests and, more probably, motivated by malice. You are, as George W Bush once said, with us or against us.”

    Come off it! He was talking to the Tories, not ‘No voters.’ He didn’t mention malice. And considering the disagreement among the Yes campaign about issues such as currency and even how much north sea oil we ought to leave in the seabed; no sensible person can pull the George W Bush ‘with us or against us’ line out.

    Scotland’s funding is in Westminster’s gift, which may or may not wish to cut it. Scotland are allowed to send 52 MPs including a Secretary of State (in a more or less advisory capacity) to a parliament of 650.

    Owing to the rUK’s much larger population, that’s understandable but if the No campaign are here to tell us this arrangement is actually in Scotland’s best interests then they need to do better, much better, than they are now. Perhaps this is another forlorn request for the ‘Positive Case for the Union’ we keep hearing about.

    • ChuckieStane

      Barry,
      I think Alex is a trifled miffed. The BBC debate was on his home turf – the supposed heartland of conservative Scotland. A majority of audience seemed to be well-headed older types. Hosie and Harvie should have got a roasting.
      Yet with the exception of some old buffer types puffing and vigorously shaking their heads Ruth and Jenny failed to win the day. Ruth floundered, shouted and pulled faces as usual, Jenny tried but clearly did not believe half of what she was saying.
      If they can’t win with this audience where can they win? (Strathallan excepted)

    • HookesLaw

      Are you saying that an independent Scottish government will not make cuts in the same proportion as a UK one?
      By what standards do you expect the IMF and the ratings agencies to judge Scotland?

      • Barry Byrne

        I don’t thinkso. The Scottish deficit was 2.3% of GDP in 2012, compared to 6% for the UK. As things stand there’s no need to cut to the same extent

        We already know Scotland will no longer fund Trident (although removal costs are presumably for negotiation) and then there’s this debt palaver going on.

        I think, and hope, we will take our fair share but that will be commensurate with the assets it comes with. There’s even the chance Scotland could run a surplus (touch wood).

        In 2016 we have the Scottish Parliament elections, so your good questions could take centre stage in that campaign

        • HJ777

          Most analyses say that the Scottish situation may well be worse within 2-3 years.

          http://www.gla.ac.uk/media/media_273150_en.pdf

          Of course, in a union, the risk of this is shared.

          • Barry Byrne

            Thanks for that. I should have said my 2.3% deficit was the budget deficit, whereas the 7.9% deficit in the Glasgow Uni paper is the fiscal deficit (i.e. including a share of UK debt- how that share is divided I don’t know)

            http://scotland.gov.uk/Resource/0041/00415871.pdf

            The oil predictions are always going to be dodgy, as your link correctly explains. From the five scenarios in there, the OBR forecast is the lowest; in all others Scotland does just as well or perhaps better. And that’s with the additional public spending we have

            Anyway, need to shoot off. Good to speak to you

  • dougthedug

    “Not when he’s inventing a phantom threat to the Scottish block grant. ”

    Margaret Curran, the Shadow Scottish Secretary, said there are a “lot of question marks” about whether devolution has led to the improvements that its supporters claim. She also indicated her support for abolishing the Barnett formula, which gives Scots almost £1,200 per head more public spending than the UK average, and replacing it with a system based on need.
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/scotland/10329316/Margaret-Currans-doubts-over-Scottish-devolution.html

    The Prime Minister wrote to Mr Salmond stating that reform of the Barnett formula, which gives Scots £1,364 per head more spending than the UK average, was “not on the horizon”. However, he said he could not guarantee the formula would survive forever if Scots reject separation next year as he could not “bind” future UK Governments.
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/10525927/David-Cameron-tells-Alex-Salmond-No-plans-to-change-Barnett-formula-if-Scots-reject-independence.html

    11.14. In the case of a ‘No’ vote, the Barnett Formula must be replaced as a priority, with a needs -based formula for inter-regional resource allocation the best alternative, using the seven indicators of relative need identified by the Holtham Commission (§§5.26, 6.84).
    All-Party Parliamentary Taxation Group report 2013

    2.14 The Barnett Formula performs very poorly on equity, since there is no link between the relative funding allocated to Wales and the relative need to spend on devolved services. Our proposal to replace Barnett with a needs-based funding regime would address this fundamental problem.
    Independent Commission on Funding and Finance of Wales 2010

    What was that word again Alex, phantom?

    • HJ777

      Were you under the impression that our current politicians can guarantee future policy when they will no longer be in power?

      • dougthedug

        No. Why do you ask?

        • HJ777

          Then what was your point?

          • dougthedug

            Point of what?

            • HJ777

              The point of your post.

              • dougthedug

                You don’t get the point of my post?

                • HookesLaw

                  I think it’s you he does not get the point of

                • dougthedug

                  What is the point of me?

                • GUBU

                  That’s a question I do not feel qualified to answer…

                  However, as HJ777 rightly pointed out, none of the quotes you proffered can be taken as a definitive statement of UK government policy towards the allocation of the block grant, either now or in the future.

                  You are therefore effectively proving Mr Massie’s point about phantom threats – I’m sure he’d thank you for illustrating it so well.

                • dougthedug

                  None of them are definitive but they do show an intent from official commissions and parliamentary groups.

                  Do you have a definitive statement that the Barnett formula will remain unchanged after a no vote?

                • GUBU

                  No, but then I am not suggesting that it should remained fixed in perpetuity, which is the logic of your position.

                • dougthedug

                  I don’t want it fixed in perpetuity as I want rid of it and an independent Scotland. It is the unionist side who are claiming that it will be fixed in perpetuity after a no vote.

                • GUBU

                  If you want rid of it, why make such an issue of it in your original post, which claimed that unionists were threatening the continuation of the formula for allocating the block grant? Now you say that they want it fixed in perpetuity.

                  I’m confused – but not, it would appear, as confused as you are.

                • dougthedug

                  Oh dear.

                  1. Alex Massie claims that there is no threat at all to the Barnett formula after a no vote.

                  2. I list the politicians, commissions and parliamentary groups who have an opposite opinion.

                  3. You’re confused.

                • HJ777

                  Let me remind you of the question by Hosie:

                  “…I want them to explain to you today when are they going to cut £4bn from Scotland’s budget…”

                  This constitutes an assertion that it is definitely planned. He said “when” not “if”.

                  It is not currently planned, therefore that ‘threat’ does not exist.

                  However, nobody has ever suggested that it will be maintained in perpetuity, for the elementary reason that no-one can bind future governments.

                • GUBU

                  Oh dear, indeed.

                  Why make such a fuss about the future workings of an arrangement that you yourself want to end altogether?

                  F Scott Fitzgerald said that the test of a first rate mind was the ability to hold two opposing ideas at the same time and still function.

                  You’re clearly proof that he was wrong…

                • HJ777

                  His position doesn’t have logic.

                • dougthedug

                  Please point out the illogic of my position.

                • HJ777

                  A lack of logic doesn’t imply that something is illogical. It means simply a lack of logic.

                  My car is red. That is a statement that contains no logic, but it doesn’t mean that it is illogical.

                  I repeatedly asked you to explain your position, but you declined. Therefore I concluded, perfectly reasonably, that your position has no logic.

                • dougthedug

                  That is not logical Captain.

                • HJ777

                  I repeat my question:

                  Were you under the impression that our current politicians can guarantee future policy when they will no longer be in power?

                  No politician can make a definitive statement to this effect other than for the period they are in office. The current prime minister has said that he has no such intention.

                • dougthedug

                  Give it a rest HJ777. This is a political blog. Most of us here understand the concept of elections and government changes untrammelled by a written constitution.

                  No politician is going to go into the referendum with the slogan vote no and we’re going to slash the Barnett formula but that’s exactly what they’ll do once independence is removed as a threat.

                • HJ777

                  You mean in the same way as Salmond isn’t going into the referendum with a promise of anything other than extra spending commitments?

                • Wessex Man

                  You’d need a heart of stone not cry laughing at your twisted logic, have you been programmed by the Fat Controller?

                • Nicholas chuzzlewit

                  No. Programming suggests an element of coherence and he is anything but coherent or lucid.

                • Wessex Man

                  I know that only too well, it’s quite amazing what a silly billy bully the Fat Controller is.

                • dougthedug

                  Bzzzzt, crackle, bzzzt, cannot compute, cannot compute.

                • JWil42

                  Just remember Clegg’s promise about University fees.

                • MichtyMe

                  But a No vote has consequences, one of which is the doubt on the Barnett and the extent of that doubt will result from comment by those able to influence it in the future.

                • allymax bruce

                  Hmm, so you are saying there’s ‘doubt’ on both sides of the debate. Ok, then I’ll just vote Yes; why not? Nothing to lose.

                • Clavers

                  None whatsoever, we would be bet off Doug(less).

                • dougthedug

                  Dangle a worm and the true face of unionism shows.

  • HJ777

    If you want to decide who is trying to bully, look at Salmond’s and Sturgeon’s behaviour over the currency issue.

    They are making threats about debt if the rest of the UK doesn’t enter a currency union with a seceded Scotland.

    Let’s imagine that the situation was the other way around. Let’s assume that the Salmond’s preference was for a separate currency or to join the Euro (as it once was) and he was told that no, a seceded Scotland must join a currency union with the rest of the UK. What would Salmond’s reaction be? Yet he thinks that it is perfectly acceptable to tell the rest of the UK what its currency policy must be and to back it with threats.

    • telemachus

      The tub of lard has demonstrated his basic lack of economic knowledge and as such is unfit to run the current devolved economy let alone an independent State

      • JWil42

        You should not be insulting the author like that.

        • telemachus

          Tub of SNP Lard

      • Paul Wilson

        When your opening line is an insult one just knows you don’t know what you are talking about. Explain if you can in what way that Alex can’t run the devolved economy would that be because it is John Swinney that is in charge of finance so perhaps you can tell us in what way you think you can do the job better than he.

        • telemachus

          I do not have to run a province’ tub of lard does
          *
          Look at the effects of the stupidity of funding fully NH care without working thru the consequences
          This policy helps only the rich

          • Paul Wilson

            I think you will find that is a policy that the Scottish electorate wanted after all they gave the tub of Lard a land slide some back when you know what you are talking about and at the same time grow up.

    • JWil42

      “Lets imagine..etc”

      His answer would depend on what the benefits to Scotland would be, as it does in the present situation. If that situation ever arose it would mean that England had seen that there would be benefits to them by having a currency union.

      • HJ777

        I was suggesting that you imagine his reaction were he advocating (say) Euro entry (as he once did) if any Westminster politician then told him that a seceded Scotland must, instead, join a Sterling currency union – and backed that with threats about debt.

        • JWil42

          Danny Alexander has just effectively raised a threat to Scotland’s debt by allowing Scotland to sell bonds to raise money for capital projects which will attract a higher interest rate than the UK enjoys on its borrowing.

          • HJ777

            Irrelevant and ridiculous.

            All Osborne has done is to enable an additional method of raising funds for capital projects in Scotland. This method doesn’t have to be used. The UK government enjoys low borrowing rates because it is considered extremely safe and creditworthy – and where is the problem with this?

            Jim Sillars (with whom I profoundly disagree on independence and his socialism) is at least a man who makes an honest case. Here’s his view on the currency issue:

            “The reason currency has become central to the debate is that Alex Salmond put himself in a corner without contingencies and he can’t get out of it. The idea of a currency union is a nonsense. It puts one of his major policies in the hands of the other side. You need two to create a currency union and if the big partner in that potential currency union says it’s not going to do so, then you’ve got a problem, because you can’t force it. And I notice today, John Swinney’s out with this silly statement, that the pound is as much ours as it is Westminster’s. But that’s not the case. If there’s any reserves, gold, foreign currency, in the Bank of England, yes, we have a proportionate right to them but the pound sterling is a badge of sovereignty of the British state. At the moment, it is part of our badge of that sovereignty exercised by the British state, but when we become independent, the British state takes the pound as its sovereign currency. We’re not entitled to it. So Alex created the currency union problem. At one stage he threatened to default on Scotland’s debt if it didn’t let us in, but that didn’t last long. So he’s played right into the hands of the Unionists. “

            • JWil42

              “What is the problem with this”.

              The problem is that it is very likely that the conditions have been imposed by the Treasury’s assessment of the markets, not by the markets themselves. You might expect from past experience that the Treasury is not going to do anything that is particularly helpful to a Scottish Government that wishes to be independent.

              You see how all trust has disappeared by the way the UK Government is behaving towards Scotland.

              Jim Sillars has personal issues with Alex Salmond, so how can we trust him. He either wants independence as he says he does, or he is just promoting his own prejudices and don’t forget he has a book to sell.

              He has also said he will move back to the Labour Party if independence happens. How can you trust anyone who would want to be affiliated with the Labour Party after their past and recent performances?

              Anyone who has moved away from the Labour party, especially to the SNP, which he did, is not going to have much currency with the party now. So perhaps he is stirring it up with the SNP to make a case for getting back with Labour in the future. Who knows what goes on in the minds of politicians.

              • HJ777

                Eh?

                The interest rates will be set by the lender, not the Treasury.

                How is the UK Government behaving towards Scotland other than totally fairly? You mean that they won’t agree to anything the SNP says they should agree to?

                The problem is that you simply don’t understand the issue.

                Jim Sillars is correct, as Andrew Lilico (a highly respected economist) makes clear here:

                “The statements by George Osborne, Ed Balls and Danny Alexander that no currency union with an independent Scotland would be feasible have exposed a large degree of confusion amongst Scottish politicians and other commentators regarding what the dissolution of a currency union implies. For example, some have made remarks along the lines of “The pound is a shared asset – the English can’t deny Scotland its share” or “Scotland is entitled to its claim upon the assets of the Bank of England”. Each of those remarks is entirely correct, but have not the slightest thing to do with whether there is a formal currency union with England, rather suggesting that those making such remarks do not understand the basics of currency break-up.

                Thus there is no sense in which refusing to form a currency union with Scotland implies the rest of the UK attempting to deny Scotland its share of the pound or of the Bank of England’s assets.

                These are basic points. The independence debate in Scotland would benefit, considerably, if Scottish politicians and commentators were to grasp them.”

                http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/finance/andrewlilico/100026676/scotland-probably-would-not-have-to-have-its-own-separate-currency-first-before-joining-the-euro/

                • JWil42

                  “The interest rates will be set by the lender, not the Treasury.”

                  And you think they are not going to tale cognizance of Treasury opinion?

                  “Andrew Lilico (a highly respected economist) makes clear here…” (never heard of him,. So what’s his political leaning? – wasn’t he into inflatable beds?).

                  And the Scottish Government also have access to highly respected economists who have said that a currency union is the best arrangement for Scotland and for England.

                  Watch the recoding of FMQs from today. It will be on BBC IPlayer and shown on the parliament programme again on Sat morning.

                  Quoting the Telegraph articles does nothing for the truth of the arguments. We all know where the Telegraph is coming from.

                  To suggest that the Scottish Government do not know about Currency Unions is just beyond belief.

                  The truth is that the UK government are doing everything in their power (below and above board) to block the right of the Scottish people to hear the facts on the issues. They are running scared.

                • HJ777

                  You’ve never heard of Andrew Lilico?

                  Explain to me why, what would be a separate country should listen to what the SNP’s economists say is best for it? Who cares?

                  The point is that Andrew Lilico knows his subject and you are indulging in a fantasy that what you want to believe must be true. Explain why he is wrong.

                  You CyberNats are living in a fantasy world. The idea that the government is blocking anyone’s ability to discuss or hear facts is ludicrous.

                  Grow up.

                • JWil42

                  Two of the economists advising the Scottish Government are Nobel prize winners.

                  What’s Mr Lilico’s claim to fame and give me a link to where I can read what he says on this subject?

                  Here’s mine.

                  http://www.scotland.gov.uk/News/Releases/2011/11/03151921

                • HJ777

                  If you don’t know who Andrew Lilico is, why are you bothering to comment?

                  And where is your evidence that the economists you refer to disagree with him? His point is a clear one – the issue of a currency union has nothing to do with “sharing assets”.

                • JWil42

                  “where is your evidence that the economists you refer to disagree with him?”

                  Because the economists published a report saying that a currency union is the best (of a number of options), which is in the best interests of Scotland and the UK.

                  This is the solution that Scottish Government proposes.

                • HJ777

                  Lilico doesn’t comment on that issue.

                  Here’s what he says:

                  “Thus there is no sense in which refusing to form a currency union with Scotland implies the rest of the UK attempting to deny Scotland its share of the pound or of the Bank of England’s assets.

                  These are basic points. The independence debate in Scotland would benefit, considerably, if Scottish politicians and commentators were to grasp them.”

                  Where is your evidence that the economists you refer to disagree with him?

                • JWil42

                  Your quote is saying that your man doesn’t want a currency union and makes an excuse for the Treasury saying no to Scotland.

                • HJ777

                  You do realise that your response was pathetic, don’t you?

                • JWil42

                  I could say the same about your response, but we would then be in pantomime country.

                • HJ777

                  You could, but it would just be another attempt by you to avoid the question, wouldn’t it?

                  I repeat, where is your evidence that the economists you refer to in any way disagree with Andrew Lilico?

                • JWil42

                  I have just explained why they don’t agree. What’s your problem?

                  http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Topics/Economy/Council-Economic-Advisers

                  You can get your answers here.

                • HJ777

                  You’ve explained nothing of the sort.

                  You’ve asserted that they think a currency union is desirable, which may be true.

                  However, Lilico wasn’t talking about whether a currency union would be a good idea or not. He was explaining that it is a separate issue from division of assets. He says:

                  “”Thus there is no sense in which refusing to form a currency union with Scotland implies the rest of the UK attempting to deny Scotland its share of the pound or of the Bank of England’s assets.

                  These are basic points. The independence debate in Scotland would benefit, considerably, if Scottish politicians and commentators were to grasp them.”

                  Why are you so incapable of understanding? And why do you keep asserting that the economists you refer to disagree with him, when you have no such evidence?

                • JWil42

                  Why don’t you b**g*r off you crank.

                • HJ777

                  Show n to be factually wrong, so you resort to the usual charming CyberNat response.

                  Were you personally trained by Salmond?

                • HJ777

                  He doesn’t say anything of the sort. He merely explains that a currency union and a share of the assets are two separate things.

                  And I note that you can provide no evidence whatsoever that the economists that you claim support your contention do any such thing.

                • nativescot

                  the problem here really is, the UK gov refused point blank to discuss any options with the scottish gov in the event of a yes vote AND a NO vote. the edinburgh agreement said they must both WORK TOGETHER to have an idea of what will happen either way after the vote. the UK gov has said diddily squat, all they said was ‘we will not pre negotiate the break up of britain…. we want to know how your going to do this and how are you going to do that, you cant do this , that will never work’ etc etc they want all the answers to the questions that can only be answered after negotiations AFTER the vote. what they should be doing is at the VERY least take the whole thing seriously, when they did eventually start to take it seriously (after years and months of pretenting it wasnt happening and thinking that the yes movement was all just bravehearts that love alex salmond and the snp), they came out on national tv and said ‘were not letting you use the pound if you vote yes so there! and all our mates say so too, na na na na na’ its BLATANT poliTRICKS, and if they really really decided to pass on a currency union AFTER the vote and AFTER negotiations then. then LEGALLY scotland would not be liable to pay our share of the debt because the debt would not be ours, not a penny of it. but if we continued a currency union that percentage would still be ours to honour. but this is all in the future. the UK gov should be working hard on thinking up REAL reasons why scotland is better of sticking with it. but in the last 2 years i havent heard ONE good reason. it seems the only reason people feel it would be better to stay in the union is british patriotism. i’m voting yes. but i wish someone would give me at least one good reason for us to stay. just one. one POSITIVE reason, ‘because you all depend on the rUK for your money’ has already worn thin and we all know thats lies. the media coverage of the debate actually makes me sick, so so mis leading. and the underhand way it has genuinely TRIED to create bad feeling between the scots and the english. apart from a few hot heads i think the general public in england are supportive of OUR RIGHT to decide ourselves, but were being made out to be a bunch of nationalists that are trying to ‘grab all the best bits’ get a grip. and WAKE UP! its not just scotland thats getting screwed by westminster its all of us. BIG changes are needed, and by that i dont mean a high speed F*****g rail link the length of england!!

    • Andrew Leslie

      I think you have a basic misunderstanding of what ‘succession of states’ means. Allowing (for the moment) the idea that rUK will be the continuator state, the sucessor state has two options. Either it goes for the ‘clean break’ solution, in which the new state emerges without inheriting either debt or assets (c.f dissolution of USSR) or negotiates a share of both debt and assests (cf Czech/Slovak ‘velevt divorce’).
      The white paper marks clearly Scotland’s preference for the latter route. It is not only the sensible solution, but the fair one. However, it needs to be stressed that an independent Scotland has no obligation to take this route. A clean break solution is equally available, and has ample justification both in precedent and in international law.
      So, this is not a threat. It is a response to Westminster’s position that it will not share the fairly crucial assets of a central bank that belongs to both nations. If that is indeed to be the case, then Scotland has a perfect right to adopt the clean break solution. It has that right anyway, but would prefer – for reasons of co-operation and future friendship, not to exercise it.
      The currency is not the only issue over which Westminster has made its position clear. In the very first of its analysis papers, it argued that Scotland had no rights under international law. In its paper on the EU and International relations it re-stated that position, in saying that Scotland had no rights to any of the assets of the FCO (embassies abroad etc.)
      Now that may or may not be true, but if the negotiating position of Westminster is to start from this premise, then you can hardly blame the Scottish Government for pointing out that – in that case – it has no obligations

      • HJ777

        No – it is you who have the basic misunderstanding and are distorting facts.

        Nobody has suggested that Scotland would not be entitled to share the assets of the Bank of England. That is not the issue. The issue is one of currency union.

        Andrew Lilico (the economist) explains it here:

        “The statements by George Osborne, Ed Balls and Danny Alexander that no currency union with an independent Scotland would be feasible have exposed a large degree of confusion amongst Scottish politicians and other commentators regarding what the dissolution of a currency union implies. For example, some have made remarks along the lines of “The pound is a shared asset – the English can’t deny Scotland its share” or “Scotland is entitled to its claim upon the assets of the Bank of England”. Each of those remarks is entirely correct, but have not the slightest thing to do with whether there is a formal currency union with England, rather suggesting that those making such remarks do not understand the basics of currency break-up.

        When an independent Scotland left the pound to form its own new currency – let’s call it the Scotch dollar – it would pass a currency conversion law, changing all debt contracts that fall under Scottish law from pounds into Scotch dollars and, if this were thought necessary, mandating the exchange of all sterling notes and coin in Scotland into Scotch dollars and cents. Scotland would establish its own central bank – say, the Reserve Bank of Scotland, which would inherit the Scottish portion of the assets and liabilities of the Bank of England – e.g. the Reserve Bank of Scotland would get some Bank of England gold and foreign currency reserves and the claim on coupon payments from UK government debt held under QE presumably matching its portion of total UK government debt (which, in political terms at least, it is ludicrous to suggest Scotland could walk away from whilst hoping to become an EU member – does anyone believe Scotland would get into the EU if it repudiated its responsibilities for UK debt?).

        Thus there is no sense in which refusing to form a currency union with Scotland implies the rest of the UK attempting to deny Scotland its share of the pound or of the Bank of England’s assets.

        These are basic points. The independence debate in Scotland would benefit, considerably, if Scottish politicians and commentators were to grasp them.”

        http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/finance/andrewlilico/100026676/scotland-probably-would-not-have-to-have-its-own-separate-currency-first-before-joining-the-euro/

  • ChuckieStane

    Alex, I don’t believe Hosie was inventing a “phantom threat” but rather pointing out, as the IFS (so beloved of the Unionists) did, that 60% of Osborne’s austerity cuts are still to come.

    • HJ777

      That’s because there have hardly been any so far. Public spending has continued to rise in cash terms.

      • ChuckieStane

        HJ, don’t be spoiling the illusion that Gideon such an ace at running the economy. Never mind the fact that he’s piling on the debt as fast as Brown and Darling, there’s a GE next year and “money is no object”

        • HJ777

          The debt is still piling on fast because he inherited a record deficit. However, the rate of debt increase is slowing (i.e. the deficit is falling).

          You cannot simultaneously complain about “austerity” and then complain about not reducing the deficit.

          I have various criticisms of Osborne, but they are based on the reality of the situation, not on some mythical option where he simultaneously can increase spending and cut the deficit.

          • ChuckieStane

            HJ, I merely pointed out the fact that the austerity package has not reached half way. I made no comment on the desirability of austerity or deficit reduction.

            • HJ777

              Osborne’s spending plans are already laid out. There is no mystery.

            • HookesLaw

              A whole range of Scottish labour politians have wrecked the UK economy. An independent Scotland will face its share of the debt.

              • MichtyMe

                Now, now, Hookie, some could construe that as a wee bittie racist, I’m sure you would never say ” a jewish labour PM will wreck the UK ecomomy”.

                • Fergus Pickering

                  Oh for the Lord’s sake. The Scots are not a race.

                • MichtyMe

                  Aye, but it was Hookie who introduced the horrid word, see below.

                • Kitty MLB

                  That depends on how you look at it. Scots are a mixture between
                  Scotti and Picts , as well as Norse, mainly in the islands and N&E edges.
                  England we have Romanized Welsh ( Britons) Celts ( Cornish)
                  and Anglo Saxon Germanic tribes, I also believe I mentioned
                  the Normans.

                • JWil42

                  No we were told the other night on BBC two that England is mainly Anglo Saxon and the Celts are only found on the periphery of England. We were also told of the high pedigree of the Anglo Saxons, originally hailing from a corner of Holland in small numbers, but they were so intelligent that their off-spring survived and went forth and multiplied to such an extent that they filled the whole land with highly intelligent people.

                • Kitty MLB

                  BBC 2 Then then that must be the truth,
                  a beacon on honesty are the BBC.
                  Besides, Those who hail from Holland
                  are very effective in the way they deal with Holland’s
                  issues with floods- far greater then ours,
                  whereas we are utterly pathetic in that area, highly intelligent
                  as you say. :)

                • JWil42

                  “…a beacon on honesty are the BBC…”
                  Not sure whether this comment is sarcasm (which it should be) or you actually think that it’s the truth. If the latter you have not seen the antics of, “politically neutral”, BBC Scotland in their attempt to manipulate the referendum vote towards a NO.

                  A recent academic study over one year of broadcasting from The University of the West of Scotland, showed that both the BBC and STV were biasing their reporting in favour of the Better Together campaign, with BBC Scotland being shown to be the most biased.

                  I do agree that the Dutch seem to have their flooding problems ironed out and they have had decades to do it, but surprisingly, it appears it was a massive inundation of the sea not so long ago that drove them to getting their house in order.

                • John Standley

                  The Dutch have been “getting their house in order” for centuries, not just since ” a massive inundation of the sea not so long ago “. ( I assume this refers to the 1953 floods?)

                • JWil42

                  According to the Dutch expert who was asked by the UK Government to advise on the Somerset Levels flooding said just a week ago in an interview that the sea inundations were a wake up call for the Dutch. That is when they started taking sea defences seriously and began investing in robust sea defences so that it could not happen again.

                  If it was 1953 it wasn’t so long ago compared to the time before when they were reclaiming land from the sea and a wee intelligent boy stuck his finger in his… , well you know the rest of the story.

                • John Standley

                  The Dutch proposed the first “robust sea defences” such as the Afsluitdijk in the 17th century. They took it seriously then but did not have the technology until the 20th century. The Afsluitdijk was completed in 1932 and the Delta Works were begun in 1950, having been delayed by WW2.
                  The notion that they didn’t “take it seriously” is absurd – they simply didn’t have the technology and the resources.

                • JWil42

                  Well maybe I should have said they didn’t take it seriously enough as the early ones didn’t do the job, but I am just saying what the man said in the interview. Obviously you know better.

                • Jambo25

                  But we keep getting told by lots of lovely English posters that those Scots are guilty of anti-English racism. They aren’t lying. Are they?

                • Wessex Man

                  no they’re not.

                • Kitty MLB

                  No I shall second that Wessex Man.
                  Although we adore Our Celtic Warriors up their in the windy
                  and cold Highlands, how could we not :)
                  They do not feel such warmth within their little souls for us,
                  Mind you we have some very friendly Celts here
                  such as Ally and Teregles 2 and yet even they wish to
                  leave the mother nation, so to speak.

                • Jambo25

                  Once again proof.

              • terregles2

                They were British Labour politicians part of a British government. You can’t pick and choose. Either we are all equal British running our own British parliament or we are a separate nation with no right to participate in our British parliament.

                • Wessex Man

                  You of all the posters on these pages know full well we English support your ‘fight’ for freedom with great entusiam, I’m willing at the drop of a hat to come up and pound the streets along with many others to doorstep on behalf of the Yes Campaign.

                  We know we are not equal as you ask in your post and know we haven’t been since Blair, Brown, Dewer, Martin, Darling, Reid and Lord Falconer deliberately made it so!

              • Jambo25

                The people who ran Lehman rothers were Scottish Labour politicians?

            • allymax bruce

              Austery cuts only 40% implemented!
              The Public Sector is next to lose their jobs under Westminster plans! Vote Unionist No, and you will lose your job!

              • HJ777

                Vote “Yes” for the magic money tree!

          • Jambo25

            Good news said the surgeon to the patient. Your rate of blood loss has declined slightly. You’ll die in 2 hours not 1.

            • HJ777

              Have you ever studied calculus? Do you understand changes in the rate of change and how these can result in a change of direction?

              Silly me, I forgot you were politics student and therefore don’t understand these things.

        • Kitty MLB

          HIs name is George and not Gideon.
          Also he is a lot more trustworthy that that bunch of Leftie
          toadeaters.
          Do remember the economy is improving.

          • Jambo25

            Living standards are still falling.

            • HJ777

              They are what is called a lagging indicator.

              • Jambo25

                Having studied Economics at university I, strangely enough, know all about ‘leads and lags’. However, its worth pointing out that real wages and living standards have been falling since about 2005 or before the start of the recession.

                • HJ777

                  That’s strange, because previously you claimed that you studied politics and history at university and didn’t mention economics.

                  Clearly, you have studied economics at university in the last few weeks but your comments on economics reveal you to not have even grasped the most basic concepts yet.

                  Laughable.

                • Jambo25

                  I studied Economics to A level then studied it at degree level as a subsidiary subject as the structure of my course demanded. I studied for a degree prior to the standard of UK degree courses being watered down, when you were actually expected to work. In between the A Level and the degree work OI worked in the Board of Trade for a number of years: part of the time in the Secretariat.

                • HJ777

                  So you did a trivial amount of economics decades ago – and learned nothing.

                  Laughable.

                • Jambo25

                  Enough to pass my economics and maths exams.

                • HJ777

                  I bet the economics and maths exams in a politics and history course were really, really, tough.

                • Jambo25

                  Tough enough for most of thos3 who sat them to fail them. I didn’t.

                • HJ777

                  Which merely demonstrates that most politics and history students are entirely hopeless at maths and economics. You are just slightly less hopeless than some.

                  I was (still am) excellent at maths, but then, when you have to understand quantum physics you have to have real ability.

          • ChuckieStane

            He was Gideon until 13. It’s hardly the worst thing he’s ever been called.

            • Kitty MLB

              I just see him as George, named after the patron saint of England, EU and deficit slayer- yes I know, do not choke on any coffee please.

          • terregles2

            The balance of payments Kitty is a real worry. In spite of government policy and deep spending cuts it is spiralling higher and higher each day. It is a big worry they are not getting it under control.

            • HJ777

              You seem to be confusing the balance of payments with the debt.

              Why am I not surprised? You clearly have not the faintest understanding of the subject. No idea whatsoever.

              By the way, the rate of increase of the debt has slowed, so it is not “spiralling” and it is gradually coming under control. No commentator disputes that (apart from you, but then you understand little).

            • Kitty MLB

              Unfortunately we are in coalition with the Lib Dems
              who really do hinder progress.
              but yes, Osborne should have acted a lot quicker then he has. A lot has been shoved under the carpet, so to speak.
              Also the cuts have really not been that deep, we just
              need to look across to Europe to see what deep actually is.

      • terregles2

        Priti Patel says it should go down for Scotland if we vote no.

        • HJ777

          and Priti Patel is chancellor, is she?

          • terregles2

            Not yet… but she will go places in the Tory party if she can slash spending.
            None of the tory big beasts have contradicted her. She looks like a lady who will do well in the Tory party and be popular with the public especially if she does a bit of Scots bashing.

            • HJ777

              Nobody apart from Cameron, you mean?

              I don’t recall any “Scots bashing” from her. Can you provide a quote please?

  • Spammo Twatbury

    Of course, the only campaign that actually uses the phrase “Real Scots” is Better Together.

    • ChuckieStane

      And their cheerleaders in the arch-unionist Daily Record: “Real Scots read the Record”

      • terregles2

        broon should check with his tory colleagues what the script is before he makes a speech. While he was saying Scotland is too poor to pay pensions Tory Priti Patel was making a speech advising Westminster to cut Scotland’s budget if we vote no. Such confusions amongst the unionists.

        • HJ777

          Priti Patel is a backbench MP – not even a member of the government.

          Are you suggesting that all MPs should stick to a script?

          • ChuckieStane

            A. Darling is also backbench MP – not even a member of the government yet we are told we should listen to him

            • HJ777

              But he’s doesn’t claim to represent the government and neither does Priti Patel.

              That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t (or that you should) listen to either of them.

              I fail to see your logic.

        • Andy

          Barnett should be reformed. There is no excuse for this silly formula.

          • terregles2

            Barnett should be abolished. Scotland should keep all the money it raises and we should decide how to spend our own money. It is silly to let Westminster make choices for us. Independence for Scotland and England will be much better for both countries.

            • Andy

              Yes, lets be rid of these Scottish bigots.

    • HJ777

      You mean a bit like the phrase “too wee, too poor, too stupid” which is only ever used by “Yes” campaigners?

      • dougthedug

        What was Broon saying just yesterday? Scotland will be too poor to pay its pensions. And then there’s Scotland is too wee so it’s always better to be part of the UK and Scotland will be too stupid to run an economy where it has massive oil wealth on top of a per capita GDP which is 99% of the UK average.

        “Too wee, too poor, too stupid” is just a short hand for the endless predictions of doom coming from the Proud Scots but.

        • HJ777

          Brown said nothing of the sort.

          All that is being said is that the “Yes” campaign had failed to answer questions about how pensions would be funded.

          “… the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland (ICAS) recently published a report stating the document [the white paper] had failed to answer a series of key questions about pensions.”

          http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/10646056/Gordon-Brown-warns-Scots-independence-means-losing-British-state-pension.html

          • BarkingAtTreehuggers

            …by taxiation perhaps, like the £7 trillion black hole that is currently guaranteed by whom exactly?

            • HJ777

              Perhaps, but we don’t know.

              As the ICAS have made clear, the white paper – despite its length – simply doesn’t say.

              • Angus McLellan

                You clearly haven’t read the ICAS papers. Yes, there are questions for the Scottish Govt, but not nearly as many as there are for the UK one. And “how to pay for the state pension” wasn’t one of them. That’s up there with asking where the money for an oil fund will come from.

                • HJ777

                  You haven’t understood what ICAS was saying.

                  Of course there would be questions for the UK government. But at the moment everybody knows how the UK government proposes to pay for future pensions. The white paper simply doesn’t answer a number of questions that the ICAS says need to be answered.

                  ICAS said that funding the state pension in a separate Scotland would be “more of a challenge” because there would be fewer taxpayers for each OAP.

                  Your oil fund analogy is a false one, because an oil fund would not have liabilities.

          • Makroon

            I fear the battle for the Union is lost, now that Jonah Brown has waded into the debate on the No side.

        • terregles2

          Brown telling us on the Scottish news that we would not be able to afford to pay pensions must be the biggest laugh of the year. It was as funny as the discredited Darling giving a lecture on economics.

          • HJ777

            Brown didn’t say that.

            He said, as has the ICAS, that the “Yes” campaign hasn’t made clear how it would pay them after secession, despite having ample opportunity in the white paper to make this clear. It just asserts that they will be paid.

            Is it too much to expect an actuarial analysis form the SNP on such an important issue?

            According to you, everyone you don’t agree with and anything you don’t like is “discredited”. You’re like a stuck record.

            And what do you know about economics that you are in a position to make such an assessment of Darling? I happen to disagree with Darling on many aspects of economics but he does understand, and can explain, his case. I’ve never noticed you being able to do so.

          • Nicholas chuzzlewit

            Oh I would listen to Brown on pensions. He managed to destroy the entire private pension system of the UK by changing the ACT rules to fund some ridiculous social programmes that we could not afford. It is calculated that he removed an accumulated £110 Billion and rising from private pension funds. Listen to him, he knows a lot about destroying pensions.

            • terregles2

              i do not know how he can show his face in public after voting with Blair on the illegal Iraq war. Incredible that he might think anyone anywhere in the world would believe one word that he says.

              • HJ777

                Strangely, 42% of Scots voted Labour when he was the leader, so clearly you haven’t been anywhere near Scotland in the last few years.

                I recommend you go there sometime. Most of the people are very nice, but there are a few nutters that you can search out so that you have some company.

              • Nicholas chuzzlewit

                He rarely does, describing himself at one international forum as an “ex-politician”. Happy enough to draw his salary as a Westminster MP however.

                • terregles2

                  Bit of an all round parasite like so many of them and shameless with it.

        • Derick Tulloch

          Pretty much everybody despises the ‘Proud Scots, but’. Yes despise them. No despise them. They even despise themselves.
          I just pity them

      • JWil42

        Scotland – “too wee, too poor, too stupid.”

        That is exactly what Jenny Marra (Labour MSP) was saying in the BBC debate last night when she implied that Scotland needed the support of the UK to provide pensions to its citizens.

    • dougthedug

      The actual phrase used by their spokesmen is, “I’m a proud Scot but…”

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