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Alex Salmond’s taxing realism: Scotland cannot afford socialist dreams

5 March 2014

9:59 AM

5 March 2014

9:59 AM

Alex Salmond ventured south last night to lecture inform the citizens of what he termed Britain’s ‘Dark Star’ of his latest plans. You can read his New Statesman lecture here. The most telling moment of the evening came, however, when George Eaton asked if Salmond favoured raising taxes on the wealthiest Scots. Specifically, did he find the notion of raising the top rate of income tax to 50 per cent attractive?

No.

Or as the First Minister put it:

‘We don’t have proposals for changing taxation. We certainly are not going to put ourselves at a tax disadvantage with the rest of the UK.’

It’s not quite read my lips, no new taxes but it’s not far from it. This should not surprise long-term readers. Some of us have been pointing out for years that Alex Salmond is not really very much of a socialist. He is, in terms of economics, much closer to the neoliberal end of the spectrum. He would doubtless bridle at the suggestion he’s much of a Thatcherite but when it comes to tax no other British politician in recent years has cited Arthur Laffer more frequently than Alex Salmond.

Of course the future of an independent Scotland will not be decided by Alex Salmond alone. The left (or some of the left) see independence as a means to an end: the creation of a socialist Scotland. They are entitled to their dreams but dreams is all they are. There is much less enthusiasm for this sort of stuff than they imagine.

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Polls consistently show that as many as 60 per cent of Scots expect their tax bill to rise after independence and rather fewer anticipate a dramatic improvement in public services that would compensate for that additional pain. It seems reasonable to suppose that this puts a brake upon their enthusiasm for independence. Hence Salmond’s desire to reassure Scots that tax increases are not on the agenda.

Of course, squaring this with the SNP’s spending commitments and the suggestion Scotland could borrow less too requires some finesse but that’s a different matter. The SNP have enjoyed great success by being one thing in Aberdeenshire and another in Lanarkshire but the bigger the promises the harder it becomes to straddle those two horses.

Still, Salmond is right: an independent Scotland will find itself in competition with the rump United Kingdom. The risks of capital, corporate and personal flight to a lower-taxed rUK are significant. Moving south of the border is neither difficult nor frightening.

And so Scotland’s policy options will inevitably be influenced and sometimes even constrained by decisions made in London. The Dark Star will still cast a long shadow. There is less room for manoeuvre than many Scots imagine. In this respect at least, the First Minister is a realist.

Are there no alternatives? Of course there are. Salmond could suggest he’d like, in time, to implement the thorough overhaul of the tax system recommended by the Mirrlees Report. That might be no bad thing. It could well leave Scotland with a better, more logical, more efficient tax system.

But making that promise now might scare people and scaring folk is not part of Project Reassurance. Hence Salmond’s plea to wealthy Scots that they have much less to fear than they think. Less will change than they assume.

I am not sure how many of those wealthy Scots will believe the First Minister but I don’t blame him for trying to persuade them that they will not be asked to pay very much more.

The independence vote is, of course, a bigger thing than a plebiscite on the SNP’s programme for the governance of an independent Scotland. It’s for life, not just for a parliament. Be that as it may, one would expect the SNP to form the first government after independence (and quite possibly the first several administrations) so the SNP’s platform is hardly an irrelevance nor something voters can reasonably be expected to avoid factoring in to their calculations.

So two cheers for Alex Salmond’s realism today even if it is also reasonable to wonder if that realism might be challenged by, for the first time in his political career, the experience of actually being asked to raise money as well as spend it.

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Show comments
  • Ahithophel

    It’s good to see Alex Salmond citing Arthur Laffer and promising not to raise marginal rates if Scotland votes for independence. All that’s missing is some references to Adam Smith and “The Wealth of Nations”. Anyway, hopefully the low tax and free market talk is genuine as it’s one thing to lean socialist if Westminster has to foot the bill, but that a responsible leader of a brand new/old independent nation would have to take a low tax approach.

  • rjbh

    Only a few months ago Scots we’re derided as “Subsidy Junkies” One wonders why the change in attitude.

  • Wessex Man

    Don’t panic! no need to to panic- The man who saved the world is on the case, yes good Gordi Brown has annouced that he is going on the road to promote the Better Together Campaign starting next week!

    Let’s hope he doesn’t meet too many Scottish Gillian Duffys on his travels and that rentamob arn’t too cruel to him.

    Meanwhile now that he’s onboard I’m off down the Bookies to lay a substantial pot on the Yes Campaign winning!

  • Daniel Maris

    Question for Alex Massie:

    Does he accept (given it’s a fact) that social welfare provision in countries such as Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Finland – on similar latitudes to Scotland – is much more generous than in the UK?

    If so, why does he think Scotland cannot reach such levels? Does he think there is something wrong with the Scottish people? Especially given they have oil and gas that Denmark, Sweden and Finland don’t have.

    • mightymark

      Daniel, those countries pay considerably more in taxes than the UK. I’ve averaged three different measures given on a Wiki list of average tax burdens (easilly googleable if you want to check). This gives the tax burden as a propotion of GDP for Sweden as 45.5%, Finland 43.3% nd Denmark 48.3%. Even Norway with its oil comes out at 42.3%. The UK is 36.4% so Scotland would have a gap to be filled if it decided on more welfare. Given that Salmond says as quoted here that:

      ‘We don’t have proposals for changing taxation. We certainly are not going to put ourselves at a tax disadvantage with the rest of the UK.’

      and that the Tories at least, will undoubtedly try to further reduce the UK tax burden, we must assume the gap is is all going to come from oil revenues which fluctuate a lot and will presumably diminish as stocks fall.

      • Roddy Mac

        You of course did not do the comparison with incomes.
        Norway for example has incomes some 60-70% higher than UK.
        Tax rates are a nonsense for example our CT rate means nothing ,just ask Amazon ,Starbucks et al.
        Go read the Common Weal at Reid Foundation.

        • mightymark

          Roddy – the % tax take remains the same whatever the actual income. Sorry, but I don’t see the point you are making or how it defeats the overall point I made. I don’t doubt Norway has a higher standard of living by the way.

          Your reference to Amazon etc is presumably to tax due but not paid – a fair point, but I think the figures I quote are to actual tax take, not to tax due – paid or otherwise (unless you know otherwise of course). The gap I refer to remains.

        • HookesLaw

          By all means compare Scotland with Norway. By all means say you want Scotland to be like norwat

          http://www.numbeo.com/cost-of-living/compare_countries_result.jsp?country1=Norway&country2=United+Kingdom
          ‘Local Purchasing Power in United Kingdom is 1.20% higher than in Norway’
          A meal in Resaurant can be over 40% more expensive.
          Despie all Norway’s oil – basic utility prices are more expensive.

  • Jupiter

    Try telling the Scottish voters that.

    The vast majority of them always vote for socialist numpties. Which is one reason an independent Scotland would be a disaster.

    • ChuckieStane

      Who knows what the political make up of Scotland will be?

      The Scottish Unionist Party won an overall majority in the 50s. They then merged with the Tories and the vote has declined ever since. The conservatives are seen as an English Party rather than a British Party.

      All countries have right wingers. After indy a Scottish right wing party free of the toxic tory branding may thrive. i suspect, however, Scotland will be social democratic.

      • Daniel Maris

        Yes, the history of the Scottish Unionist Party is very interesting.

    • Daniel Maris

      Same is true in Sweden, Denmark and Norway. Are they disaster areas?

    • Roddy Mac

      Are you one of the uninformed that still thinks and calls Labour Party ,SOCIALIST??
      You are truly brainwashed and deluded.

  • john

    Why is the Speccie so determined to offer a never ending stream of articles opposing Scottish Independece? Can it be they they – and their London buddies – are worried that if the Scottish plebs win, their comfy world will have to change? The invisible punters north of the M25 may also get ideas above their station.

    • Wessex Man

      Thet’re not they are very well balanced get that chip off your shoulder!

    • ChuckieStane

      Perhaps it is because a fair number of the Speccy staff are Scottish exiles doing rather well hob-nobbing with the London establishment and fear their position may be threatened post-indy? They have nothing to fear, London is a world city and just like many Irish they will continue to thrive in EWNI should they choose to remain after indy.
      Mr. Massie, of course, is not one of the exiles. His postings seem to vary between rational, thoughtful (albeit pro-union) pieces and nat bashing copy designed to keep his masters happy.

      • john

        Yes, I’m sure there are many members of that well known species the “South Kensington Scot”

    • Slicer

      I wonder why the Spectator runs so many articles on Scotland since it’s not read in Scotland and most of its English readers aren’t all that bothered about Scotland.

      • Michael Mckeown

        This is an online version, remember you logged in!

      • john

        Good point. The anti-independence cabal is essentially London-based Tory sympathizers. They are motivated to resist any signficant constitutional change which may threaten their dominance. If the Scots quit, who knows what further repercussions there may be.
        NB I note Willi, Kate and George are all off on an Antipodean boondogle – to keep the Aussies and Kiwis on side?

        • HookesLaw

          More hilarity

      • flippit

        I don’t agree, I’m following it and know a few others who are. It will affect us, if only to cost quite a bit, and it will definitely affect the conservatives – for good in that it will reduce Scottish MPs at Westminster and for bad in that it will be the end of the union and the Conservatives are supposed to be the party of union. It’s interesting politics.

      • Roddy Mac

        no they are North Brits , not Scots, or Uncle Jocks if you prefer.

      • Wessex Man

        The speecie runs so many Scottish items because it’s dominated by Scots.

      • HookesLaw

        Are people reading anything in Scotland? Circulations are down everywhere. The Speccy only sells about 70,000 anyway.

    • Daniel Maris

      I think that’s it. They like the status quo, because it’s put them where they are and of course many of them (e.g. Nelson and Forsyth) are Scots swimming in English waters.

      • john

        Danny: We’re on the same page. It’s my view that the UK is still a class-dominated society with the monarchy, HofL and (largely) London based elite calling the shots. This leaves 99% of the population as followers rather than leaders. The Scots pulling the plug will be a huge blow to this status quo.

        • HookesLaw

          Hilarious. Go back to your Janet and John books.

    • HookesLaw

      Is the Spectator not entitled to an opinion then? I thought that was what magazines and newpapers were there to express.

  • E Hart

    Self-serving mince and pish. Stasis isn’t appealing. What are we to suppose? That Scotland couldn’t do better? It can, it should and it will. You obsess about tax rates, yet those countries with higher rates dominate the more respectable end of the Gini index and don’t have the yawning gaps in inequality found where devotees of the Laffer curve prevail.

    Your argument has more holes in it than Rab C Nesbitt’s string vest. It’s lazy, ill-informed and specious. Why not quote the lengthy research of Diamond and Saez (http://elsa.berkeley.edu/~saez/diamond-saezJEP11full.pdf) which shows that progressive taxation is actually more constructive and effective? Similarly, by now it ought to have dawned on you that in 30 years “of having a Laffer”, inequality has got worse everywhere that lower tax regimes have prevailed. Time for a bit of empiricism, eh? It doesn’t work. Should we pursue further failure and inequality, or should we try and do something about it?

    There is one further but important consideration. Not everyone is so purblind or foolish to think that lower taxation is some sort of social and economic elixir which is an end in itself. Were that the case the UAE would heaven on earth rather than a khazi on the Persian Gulf. Plenty of economies “get by” on higher personal rates of taxation and corporation tax than we do and they are much more successful (i.e. wealthier, less unequal and happier). Open your eyes. Take a look.

    The shape of things to come following your daft, defunct, prejudicial and baseless argument can be seen in the way that Britain is inching up on Brazil and Chile in the inequality stakes. Fab. http://milescorak.com/2012/01/12/here-is-the-source-for-the-great-gatsby-curve-in-the-alan-krueger-speech-at-the-center-for-american-progress/

  • Jambo25

    Rather than trying to scare people in Scotland (Sorry, inform the citizens.) perhaps journos could actually sit down and look at the sober and rather boring hearings taking place in various committees of the Scottish Parliament .We’ve had hearings in the European and External Affairs Committee which posited from virtually all expert witnesses that entry into the EU, for an iScotland, would be fairly painless. We’ve had various meetings of the Economic Affairs Committee taking evidence on the possible futures for Scotland, independent or not. I watched one, from my bed, on a lie in, this morning. A variety of witnesses disagreed on some things but did appear to agree that the Scottish economy; independent or not; looks an awful lot healthier, on a number of metrics, than the economy of all UK.
    Perhaps Shinsei could make an attempt too watch these committee meetings on BBC or YouTube to get the answers he seeks. Quite simple really.

    • Michael Mckeown

      You get frightened very easily, sane people call ‘scaremongering’ reality.

      • terregles2

        If every other country in the world is capable of having self government what is different about Scotland that it would be unable to have the same,?

        • Michael Mckeown

          No other country in the world sought independence while simultaneously begging to keep the establishments of the country they want to be independent from.

          • john

            Mike: You need to pay more attention. Newly independent countries often ask for bennys from their prior masters. France ships millions to its ex colonies. What do you think the Commonwealth is?

            • Wessex Man

              what’s that got to do with the price of milk?

            • Michael Mckeown

              The Commonwealth is a group of independent countries with a shared history with Britain, none of its members use the Bank Of England.

              Scotland is not a colony and according to the SNP is more than capable of being independent so why dont you do what they dare to and campaign for independence?

        • E Hart

          Simple. Scotland’s sitting on a huge stash of energy – both finite and renewable – and that is clearly a very poor basis for setting up an independent, wealthy country. We don’t want to go the same way as Norway, do we?

          • Michael Mckeown

            If that were really true then plan A would have been for a strong Scottish £ backed up by ‘a huge stash of energy’ with control over interest rates and borrowing being in Scotland instead of using a foreign countries currency with no central bank and interest rates being set in the best interests of others.

            The second the SNP said they preferred a currency union was the second the penny should have dropped that the economic case for independence is very, very, weak.

            What good is the abundance of renuables when 90% of the market is gone?

            • E Hart

              I agree. But there needs to be a transition. This happened with the Irish Free State albeit in different financial circumstances.

              • Michael Mckeown

                There will be no transition you know, Salmond said he wont take on the debt if there is no currency union and Osbourne said, knowing that, there will be no currency union and neither will back down so you can be assured no one in the rest of the UK will be making things easy when you lot owe over 100 billion.

                • terregles2

                  What you lot.?
                  Oh Michael what happened to the love bomb Mr Cameron said you were to send us. It never quite materialised. More of a damp squib really.

                • Wessex Man

                  who cares, when do you want me up your place?

                • ButcombeMan

                  The love bomb was destroyed in mid air by Sturgeon saying Scotland intended to renege on its share of UK debt if it could not have a currency union on Scotland’s terms.

                  That was the most stupid remark, in advance of a negotiation, I have ever heard any politician, anywhere, utter. Absolutely mindless.

                  She should not be let out on her own. She needs a chaperone.

                • terregles2

                  If there is a YES vote negotiations between Scotland and England would be carried out by two teams of cross party negotiators not any of the politicians in government at the moment. Sturgeon did not quite say what you quote but no matter we do not expect any unbiased reporting by the main stream media.
                  They manipulate the news to suit their own agenda. They have certainly managed to downplay the angry exchanges in the House of Commons today over the latest Westminster cover up. Scotland had yet another nuclear leak from the submarines that Westminster stores in our country. They decided to hide it from the Scottish people for two years.
                  Don’t expect the London media to say much about that.
                  Better together …. I think not.

                • ButcombeMan

                  http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2014/feb/12/uk-parties-bully-rejecting-scottish-independence-snp-currency-union

                  Can you please evidence exactly what she did say and what is the true SNP position.

                  Even saying anything like what I and the Guardian suggest was incredibly stupid.

                  The Guardian report is not the first time this has been mentioned. I hope you stay but if you do not and you behave like this, you will deserve everything that will follow.

                  This could get very ugly. Sturgeons attitude is not in the interests of an independent Scotland or, of rUK.

                  One wonders if she is quite sane. This is classroom politics for 16 year olds.

                • terregles2

                  One wonders if she is quite sane? One wonders if anyone in Scotland is quite sane if they vote to continue to pass the governance of Scotland to the Westminster parliament. We have just learned that this is the FOURTH nuclear leak that Westminster has hidden from the Scottish people. The most recent one they concealed was two years ago.
                  We have read the McCrone report we also now know that the MOD blocked the exploration for oil in the Firth of Clyde as it was too close to Trident. We know that we had our maritime border moved from Berwick on Tweed to Carnoustie. Why would we not want to govern ourselves.?
                  We are not voting in September for the SNP we are voting on being like every other country and having independence. I would not look for any facts on Scotland in the Gueardian I would read the Herald. It is slightly more accurate.

                • ButcombeMan

                  I notice, when challenged, you do not provide an alternative account of what she said or what the SNP position is.

                  Bluff called then.

                • terregles2

                  I am not interested in the SNP I have never voted for them so why should I take time to explain what Ms Sturgeon said. I read the facts in the Herald and I know what she said. If you choose to believe otherwise that is your right to do so. Why would it bother me what you think of the SNP I am voting YES in September I am not voting for the SNP. I am voting on Scottish governance not a particular Scottish political party.
                  I notice that the nuclear leaks that Westminster tried to hide from the Scottish people are of no concern to you. You deem it more important to point score over a Scottish politician than to care about your fellow British citizens being exposed to nuiclear accidents and the government that is supposed to care about them deliberately covering it up.

                • ButcombeMan

                  Politicians like Sturgeon and Salmond are important
                  because they will be behind any negotiations after a Yes vote. If they repudiate a share of the debt they create a pariah state that will inevitably have currency problems which will cost an independent Scotland dear.

                  Scotland has low interest rates and a stable currency now by being part of the whole UK including England which, unlike Scotland, has always been able, even when a struggle, to meet its debt obligations.

                  Plainly Salmond and co want a currency union because they know how vulnerable an independent Scotland will be.

                • terregles2

                  Scotland is a wealthy country with a very healthy export market. We know how much wealth we create for the UK by the way in which the Westminster government is fighting hard to scare the Scots out of independence. Some of Scotland’s exports are not counted in our figures if they leave from English ports. Even allowing for that our exports to the burgeoning markets of India and China are booming. The rest of the UK does not have one resource that Scotland does not and we will de well enough with our exports and resources of Whisky, Food Exports, Renewables, Textiles, Minerals, Construction, Oil, Fisheries, Forestry, Gas, Agriculture,Electronics, Tourism, Hydro Power etc.
                  Biggest bonus though will be having a government that we vote for and not one that conceals nuclear accidents from us.
                  The Westminster government still cannot even control the spiralling national debt they are hopeless.

                • E Hart

                  They’ll have to be. Political and economic realities will trump conjecture.

            • terregles2

              If there is a Yes vote in September a team of cross party politicians from Scotland and England will negotiate the terms of iddependence. It will not be ngotiated by any individual.

              • Michael Mckeown

                Osbourne is chancellor so it is he who decides on a currency union and he, one individual, said no.

                • terregles2

                  Personally I would prefer not to have a currency union. When the negotiations take place Osborne may not even still be the Chancellor. It would be detrimental to England’s balance of payments if we don’t share the pound for an initial period so whover is Chancellor at that time may see things differently. I am not bothered either way.

                • ChuckieStane

                  He might not be chancellor in 2015.
                  In fact Scottish MPs (untied across all parties) may hold the balance of power after the 2015 GE. Would the Labour or the tories give up the chance of power just to antagonise a soon to be independent Scotland?

                • Michael Mckeown

                  Hold on, so you vote yes in 2014 but still for reasons unknown get to vote in elections in 2015 for a country you chose to leave?

                • ChuckieStane

                  Michael,
                  If Scotland votes yes, independence day would not be until 2016.

                  Until then Westminster would still raise taxes, pay pension and Scots would fight in UK wars. Scotland will therefore vote in the 2015 general election.

                  All Scots MPs regardless of party will be motivated only by getting the best deal for Scotland. If they hold the balance of power then currency union suddenly becomes much more likely. Even if the Tories got seats they would fight for Scotland. Jackson Carlaw, for example, has already said that he will fight for CU if there is a yes

                • Michael Mckeown

                  Rubbish, the SNP do not dictate when Westminster legislate for independence. 2016 was plucked out of thin air with the straw Salmond was clutching.

                • ChuckieStane

                  The SNP (Angus Robertson) offered to discuss this very issue with a view to removing this anomaly but the Westminster government refused to discuss it, so as Scots will still be taxed they will still get representation.

                  All the UK will vote in the 2015 GE regardless of the Indy result. It will be political dynamite if it’s an indy yes and a hung parliament.

                  Many London commentators repeatedly claim that the Yes campaign have not thought things through. The truth is that Westminster, through smug and misplaced confidence have not thought through half of the issues.

                • Michael Mckeown

                  Look, in the unlikely event of a yes vote you will be kicked out of the UK so fast you wont have time to say ‘currency union’.

                • ChuckieStane

                  Michael, that may be your wish but it is simply not true.
                  Many in Westminster have claimed that the 18 month yes vote to independence timescale is far too short.
                  And why do you say “you will be kicked out of the UK”? You stated earlier that you had a vote so your primary residence must be in Scotland 😉 So we would be kicked out.

                • Michael Mckeown

                  Look, in the unlikely event of a yes vote you will be kicked out of the UK so fast you wont have time to say ‘currency union’.

                • HookesLaw

                  I see no reason why a vote sholuld not be held in the UK parliament to extend the next General Election date to tie in with any independence for Scotland.

                • HookesLaw

                  Backed up by advice from the Treasury.

          • HookesLaw

            Scotland is not sitting on anythink like the same stash of energy both finite and renewable as Norway.
            As I point out elsewhere Norway has a much higher cost of living than the UK.

        • Rockin Ron

          I don’t think every country is capable of having self government. That is a big ‘if’ you have at the beginning of your sentence. Scotland could be independent, but it won’t choose to be for the same reason turkeys don’t vote for Christmas. End of.

        • HookesLaw

          Who is saying Scotland cannot govern themselves? You can. You have to face the consequences.

      • Jambo25

        I know that Unionists appear to have no sense of humour or sarcasm but try reading the first sentence of Massie’s article.

  • Frank

    Heavens, just let them go and experience the joys and pains of independence. They may all be deluded and it may all turn to ashes – but that is all part of growing up. I hope that it is a success, but …
    England is close to being an economic basket case and the fewer the complexities, the better the chance our “leaders” have of sorting it out.
    In addition, Scotland’s independence will transform the English political landscape, so we might actually get better government in England?
    Finally, can we please have the clock adjusted to suit England!

    • terregles2

      I think many would agree with you. I think Scotland voting for independence will be bring about a much more democratic England. Good luck to both our countries, everyone in the UK deserve so much better than what we have now.

    • vieuxceps2

      It will give us back our English Parliament and from that will follow many good things, including the clocks,once the burden of having to take the “British” into account has been removed.

      • terregles2

        Couldn’t agree with you more. I think it will benefit everyone in the UK..

  • Rockin Ron

    Look, we all know the Scots won’t go with Salmond, because to do so would be to turn off the benefits tap so many of them are sucking on. Turkeys don’t vote for Christmas. All other arguments are superfluous. Big win for the No campaign. End of.

    • FrankieThompson

      Do you seriously believe that England is turning on a “benefits tap” of its own money which it is allowing Scots to “suck on” ?

      Is that how you see The Union operating in 2014?

      • Rockin Ron

        Well it has been the case since the Welfare State began, so I think Scotland will vote for no change. Why would they risk losing their state benefits?

        • FrankieThompson

          Have you ever been in Scotland ?

          • Rockin Ron

            Love Scotland, met many wonderful people during my visits to Scotland. I have visited many parts of Scotland from John O’ Groats right down to Gretna Green including many towns cities and villages.

            • FrankieThompson

              And you think we are sucking on England’s benefits tap do you?

              • Rockin Ron

                Absolutely. For example, your link to the BBC site shows public expenditure in Scotland in 2011-12 was £12,100 per person compared to £10,900 per person in the UK. Your source backs my point.

                • FrankieThompson

                  Any thoughts on why that might be, and are there any other figures that might be of interest(GDP per capita for instance), and have you heard of GERS, and McCrone, and “identifiable public expenditure”?

                  Our scenery’s lovely though, isn’t it?

                  If we are a basket case, why are your politicians so keen to hold on to us?

                • Rockin Ron

                  I’m not here to educate you. I trust you can reach your own conclusions and find out the facts as they best suit you.

                • terregles2

                  Your argument suggests that every Westminster Prime minister and every Westminster mainstream political party is barking mad and working against English prosperity.
                  You seriously expect us to believe that the Cameron, Clegg. Miliband and Darling are all campaigning hard to keep hold of Scotland if they do not make money from us.
                  Tories have one Scottish MP in Westminster. Tories get few Scottish votes and to suggest they want to keep us because they care about us is beyond ridiculous. If Scotland did not make them money then we would heve been independent decades ago.

                • Wessex Man

                  Cameron doesn’t want to be known to future generations as the last PM of the United Kingdom. To most English people it’s a matter of supreme indifference and to those who bother study the matter, like myself, it’s a joy to see the Yes Campaign picking up percentage points!

                • terregles2

                  I know you are a passionate supporter of Scottish independence. I don’t really think that the reason you have given for Cameron campaigning against independence is very convincing. It would be a wonderful opportunity for him to stand before the English people and say. I am the man who made history and ensured a brighter future for England for now and forever.
                  I am the man who encouraged the Scots to go for independence. He could then tell the English how much per year he has saved England by getting rid of us. The icing on the cake would be to remind the English that they would never again have to suffer any Scottish Labour MPs in Westminster. The man would be an English hero he could be PM for decades and would go down in history as one of the greatest Englishmen ever.
                  There must be some other reason for him not choosing to do that.

                • Wessex Man

                  In his mind, the plebs in the north leaving the Union would be terrible and the plebs he’s left to lord it over in the south are awlful people and he really hasn’t got a clue whats going to happen in 2015.

                • HookesLaw

                  Any blame is down to Labour anyway. They gave away devolution.
                  Their performance in a devolved Scotland encouraged the SNP who then gained a majority in the Scottish parliament. Once the SNP gained a majority then a referendum was inevitable and that majority followed a disasterous performance by Labour nationally the year before.
                  The referendum NO campaign is headed by a socialist.

                • HookesLaw

                  No – the Union has been good for Scotland and also England (and NI and Wales). It’s corny but we are better off together. Scotland will be worse off and face difficulties if independent and England too will face difficulties. I am confident England will overcome them. Scotland are free to vote how they want. But does anybody seriously suggest that say California should declare independence ?

                • Rockin Ron

                  Let us see what happens after 18 September. Then you can agree that I was right and I will promise not to mention it. Repeat – turkeys do not vote for Christmas. For the same reason, Scotland will not vote for independence.

                • terregles2

                  If you believe that Scotland costs the rest of the UK money then the biggest turkeys voting for Christmas are Cameron and his dippy chancellor Osborne.
                  Perhaps you should tell them before it’s too late.

                • HookesLaw

                  Your argument is facile. It assumes in the first place that its all down to narrow self interest. The original union was based on generosity in bailing out a bankrupt Scotland. As others have pointed out if the situation is so clear cut then why does Scotland need to keep a currency union?

                • Wessex Man

                  Have you ever heard of the Goschen Formula, which preceded the Barnett Formula and ran from 1888?

                • Jambo25

                  And we also pay rather higher taxes per capita. You left that bit out. The harsh reality of the UK economy is that once you take out London the South East, Scotland and possibly East Anglia, most other places are basket cases. The real drag on the UK economy comes from the South West, Wales, most of the North and Midlands and N Ireland.

                • Michael Mckeown

                  ‘we’ do not although a certain industry sucking free oil out the ground does.

                • Jambo25

                  Unfortunately “a certain industry” is there so Scotland is paying higher taxes on a per capita basis. As for the West Midlands

                • Michael Mckeown

                  You are trying to make something out of nothing, the people in Scotland pay the exact same taxes as the people in the rest of the UK, no one gives a f#ck about ‘per capita’ taxes as they dont pay per capita they pay per person.

                • Jambo25

                  You brought the wonderful West Midlands up. I simply pointed out harsh facts that you don’t like. It was one of your fellow Scotland denigrators (Rockin Ron) who brought up the Scots’ supposed subsidisation. I simply pointed out the whole background. Incidentally, I would imagine that even without oil that Scottish taxation per capita is higher than the West Midland’s.

                • Michael Mckeown
                • Jambo25

                  No, I pointed out that most of England, plus Wales and Northern Ireland trailed behind Scotland in economic performance. You pushed West Midlands, specifically, forward. Incidentally, as you did bring the West Midland up you might wish to comment on the comparative economic decline of the West Midlands over the past 30-40 years, its dragging behind Scotland in terms of unemployment and the need, announced today, for Birmingham council to sell off the NEC group.

                • Michael Mckeown

                  You mentioned the midlands, specifically, and now because it was pointed out to you that the midlands is the heart of UK manufacturing that accounts for a staggering near 10% of GDP you seek deflect away.

                  England as a whole is a very strong economy, in fact it is an economic powerhouse, so stop trying to do it down and stop comparing England that is huge in economy and population with Scotland that is not as it is best to compair Scotland with other little places to get a true comparison.

                • Jambo25

                  England has a reasonably strong economy. I never said it didn’t The trouble is the strength of that economy is artificially boosted by the largely atypicaI performance of the London area. I did say that much of it drags behind Scotland in economic performance. That is a fact. Deal with it. Sizable areas of the Midlands are dying on their feet. Look at the state of places like Stoke or Wolverhampton. The West Midlands has a population a few hundred thousand larger than Scotland’s but a GDP lower. It’s GVA is lower and its unemployment higher.

                • Michael Mckeown

                  There is no artificial boost from London as the boos is real, dont kid yourself as everyone knows the Scottish nationalists would love nothing more than to make Edinburgh as rich as London.

                • Jambo25

                  The artificial boost is to GVA per head for England as the London figure is far higher than anywhere else in England. Incidentally, in GVA per capita terms, Edinburgh is about as rich as London. It’s per capita figure is about £35,000 per annum. In contrast the West Midlands figure is about £17,000 per annum. That means it also lags behind Aberdeen and Glasgow.
                  One last point. I came across some figures a week or so ago which showed that even in the aftermath of the banks bust in 2007/2008 Edinburgh was still adding private sector jobs faster than Birmingham and Birmingham has twice Edinburgh’s population. As I said earlier on; don’t worry too much about us: worry more about how you get the West Midlands out of the economic mire.

                • HookesLaw

                  So London is a massive important region which happens to be in England and as such you want to ignore it.

                • Jambo25

                  No I didn’t say that. What I am saying is that the enormous upward push effect London has on the average GVA figure for England masks the real economic problems in numerous parts of England. A lot of English cities now have economies which are very fragile and are badly underperforming

                • Rockin Ron

                  I am not a Scotland denigrator. My point is Scotland will not vote for independence. To see why, look further up these comments.

                • Jambo25

                  Scotland may not vote for independence but not for the rather insulting reasons you give.

                • Rockin Ron

                  I apologise for offending you. My point was simply that faced with the uncertainty of having free prescriptions, no university fees and no care costs not many would want to risk those benefits under a new settlement that may, or may not, grant those benefits.

                  I have no time for the malign stereotype that says all Scottish people are mean, tight fisted, ginger haired, lily white, freckled haggis eaters where the men wear skirts and the women wear leggings. I think it is a calumny to all Scottish people to say that they all love The Proclaimers, Billy Connolly or being violent at football matches, that they hate the English and love William Wallace, that they play bagpipes, that they think a fried fish supper is healthy eating or that they are dour, string vested drunkards ever ready to fight. That is wrong.

                • Jambo25

                  I think Scots will vote ‘No’ in September (I’ll vote ‘Yes’) because they haven’t been persuaded yet that they’ll be better off leaving. However, don’t get over-excited as that isn’t the end of it; just a stay of execution. Think of us as your Quebec.

                • Michael Mckeown

                  They wont be better off leaving this year or any year as the reasons for making it a bad choice will always remain.

                • Jambo25

                  That’s your opinion. Apart from anything else, I detect no great love for the status quo or even any great feeling of Britishness.

                • Rockin Ron

                  Quebec is still part of Canada. They voted no in 1980 and 1995. So, a No vote could take this off the agenda for a decade and a half. Following the No vote, SNP will push for devomax.

                • Jambo25

                  That’s what happened in Canada. The 2 things went in tandem. Quebec is, at best, a semi-detached part of Canada now. That, I suspect, is what will happen: actually is happening with Scotland.

                • HookesLaw

                  Laughable. ‘once you take out’ half of England indeed!

                • Jambo25

                  OK, how many of the English economic regions outperform Scotland? I looked up the figures and Scotland’s GVA is about exactly the same as the UK average. That is without oil revenues taken into account. London and the South East have higher GVA figures though the South East’s figures aren’t that much higher than the Scottish average. All the other UK economic regions are lower than Scotland’s and lower than the UK average.

          • FrankieThompson
          • Wessex Man

            I have, many many times, years ago we used to love to go to Scotland, we have family there and would spend nearly every night out and felt very comfortable. Since Mad Mel made Braveheart and since devolution the attitude of the most same Scots we had good times with has completely changed. It got to the stage where we didn’t bother the last time we had the chance to go to Scotland.

            Don’t tell me that it’s all bonny and good natured there’s a peppery air of anti Englishness. Whatever the result of the referendum damage has been done that quite frankly I can’t see being put right.

        • groo

          If Scotland is such a vast financial drain on England why would a government committed to vastly reducing the deficit and public spending be in favour of maintaining the union?

          • Rockin Ron

            Because we have a system of public sector dependency that the current Government has done little to dismantle.

            • terregles2

              You are not really answering the question. If Scotland costs the English taxpayer money why are the three main Westminster political parties campaigning hard to keep this unfair system in place.?

              • Wessex Man

                Cameron doesn’t want to be known as the last PM of the UK, Milband is terrified of losing the 50+ Labour UK MPs that Scotland produces without fail and Clegg’s a don’t know but when you see how many MPs he’s actually got, his Scottish UK MPs mean the world to him!

              • HookesLaw

                Scotland is one region of the UK – it does not cost ‘England’ money.

    • Dave Ward

      Read much? Subsidies goes North to South, not vice versa. :)

  • allymax bruce

    Alex Massie, journo-cretin for Westminster, here, has intentionally tried to misrepresent the important aspects of Alex’ Salmond, Scotland’s First Minister’s Speech; the Westminster journos do it all the time. They take the important points out, then expect us gadges to ‘pour-over’ the remnant journo-crap reported. Here’s a flavour to real political activism, that gets straight into the heart of the matter. Labour’s Ian Davidson and allymax getting to it on this article, ‘Osborne nixes currency union; Salmond hops around claiming it’s only a flesh wound.’

    l.davidson replied to allymax bruce 18 days ago
    The Scotsman is a right wing paper. The Herald tries to portray all
    views as any cursory glance of the letter pages or the differing party
    opinions will display. The literacy level of both papers is of a high
    standard and do not rely on vulgar or puerile language to make a point.

    allymax bruce replied to l.davidson 17 days ago
    And the ethical & moral differences, between puerile/vulgar,
    verses lying,cheating,conning/psychological warfare brainwashing
    propaganda, is exactly what, Iain? Are your Labour Party ‘more moral
    than thee’? No! Less moral! Can’t your Labour Party hack-it just being
    honest politicians; instead of all these ‘dark arts’ shenanigens? No! It
    was your Labour Party that invented this game of postmodern ‘dark arts’
    politiking, so don’t try and con anyone, least your self, Iain, with
    fake faculties of virtue, when your Party professes in the highest
    priest of ‘dark arts’! The fact your soul popped up from the inferno
    means childish latin, (artfully expressed), is spot-on! The Scotchman,
    BBC News/STV News, Herod, are nothing but Labour Party hate propaganda
    transmitters. And, ‘right to reply’ Letters doesn’t excuse the
    overwhelming hate pumped out by the journos/tv programs. No other
    European country acts like this; why only Westminster Unionists? The
    Labour Party/Unionists are past their sell-by date, and getting more
    rotten by the minute; Unionist politiking is to all intents &
    purposes defunct; but yoos can’t see it. If you really want to see
    ‘puerile & vulgar’, then see Labour/Tories/Libs at Scotland’s
    Parliament; body language & faces so contorted with hate &
    aggression, anyone would think the Scotch Unionists need exorcism more
    than unionism!

    I’m not scared to get stuck-in; Scotland will be independent; even if activists like me have to get a smearing from the Westminster Press, and all their BBC STV Scotchman Herod Press media outlets.

    • Wessex Man

      sorry to disappoint you allymax bruce but I don’t think that the London Press will have heard of you, won’t bother to smear you if they had and if they wanted to show what an idiot you are would just print a few of your contributions on here!

  • Rev. Stuart Campbell

    “The most telling moment of the evening came, however, when George Eaton asked if Salmond favoured raising taxes on the wealthiest Scots. Specifically,
    did he find the notion of raising the top rate of income tax to 50 per
    cent attractive?”

    That’s not what George asked him. He didn’t mention “attractiveness”, merely whether he’d match Labour’s pledge to restore a 50p rate.

    The most recent reference to the Laffer Curve I can find Alex Salmond making dates from 2003.

    • Jambo25

      I’ve just read the Eaton article, in the New Statesman, where Eaton attacks Salmond as some kind of crypto neo-Liberal and over here Massie is attacking him as some kind of leftie. Well, what is it?

      • Wessex Man

        how would anyone sane person know? in one instance he’s saying the pound is a millstone around Scotland’s neck, then he’s saying it Scot’s right to share it- then he’s saying he’s got legal advice from the EU that an Independent Scotland would be a full member then many months after and after a FOI request, his Deputy stands up in the Scottish Parliament and says they haven’t.

        • Jambo25

          What you have posted above has absolutely no relevance to my initial posting.

  • allymax bruce

    Massie, ye’r a cretin; here’s what Scotland’s First Minister Alex’ Salmond really said; “After Scottish independence, the growth of a strong economic power in the north of these islands would benefit everyone, – our closest neighbours in the north of England more than anyone. … There would be a Northern Light to redress the influence of the ‘dark star’ – rebalancing the economic centre of gravity of the islands.” (Financial Times 0432014).

    • ButcombeMan

      Lobbing around words like “cretin” as you do is not very grown up.

      The north of England will indeed benefit as some jobs move there from Scotland and cross border shopping for the Scots takes off.

      • allymax bruce

        So, you reckon it’s just fine for Massie to ‘divert attention’, by his perfected Westminster sleight-of-hand, away from what the kernel of ‘the speech’ was about? Cretin is, as cretin does. Besides, journos expect to be ‘held to account’; they even write aggravated articles to ‘spike’ the comments section to see what reaction/comments they get.
        But, most of all, I really don’t think you should be trying to defend a journo’s ‘moral credentials’; they don’t have any, so why should we acredit them with them?

        • ButcombeMan

          I am not at all defending Massie.

          I am trying to persuade you to behave with a reasonable civility. Obviously without success. That is a pity.

          Your passion shows but the issue is not worth the vitriol.

          We all have to live together after the vote.

          • allymax bruce

            Here are some of your comments, ButcombeMan;

            * ‘Say it loud, say it proud: UKIP are a party for reactionary xenophobes’
            ButcombeMan 3 days ago
            “I hope nobody actually pays Massie for this crap.”

            * ‘Conservative ministers link Russian aggression to Miliband’s Syria stance’
            ButcombeMan 4 days ago
            “Equally stupid then.”

            * ‘Standard Life intervention in inde- pendence debate suggests business nerves a chance Scotland could vote ‘yes’ ‘
            ButcombeMan 7 days ago
            “we must not let the cranky cybernats wind us up. That is playing
            along with Salmonds odious “create an external enemy” tactics. His game
            is an evil one. … We can break Salmond.”

            Seems to me, ButcombeMan, you have a hidden agenda on this issue; trying to defame my moral character, as I’m attacked by trolls, idiots, and gadges, while you pretend to ascrtain the ‘moral high ground’. I would tell you to fuck off you sneaky barsteward, but I’m going to reserve that for another day, and just tell you to get lost; politely!

            • Wessex Man

              Do you have a life outside of the Speccie blogs?

            • ButcombeMan

              I cannot quite see how my comments on Syria are relevant but no matter.

              You come across as a Cybernat “Mr Angry”.

              I wonder if you know why?

              Win or lose your somewhat obsessive independence vote, the point I make is that we all have to get along together later.

              I want Scotland to stay in the Union.

              I perfectly well understand why some Scots might want to leave, even if, economically, it is not in your best interests. I find the Cybernat vitriol ridiculous. It is like religious fanaticism.

              • allymax bruce

                No, the point you were ‘attempting’ to make was a moral point on moral & ethical grounds; you were blown out the water when I posted up your nasty sleekit comments!
                You saying something doesn’t make it so; you’re an idiot that thinks he’s/she’s clever, but isn’t.
                Blown out the water you two-faced Janus.
                Still reserved for another time, ButcombeMan!
                But I’m looking forward to using it!

                • ButcombeMan

                  The point I was making is that if you called someone a “cretin” face to face it is very offensive indeed.

                  I see you cannot be persuaded you are out of order.

                • allymax bruce

                  Come in #6 your time is up

        • HookesLaw

          methinks you protest too much

          • allymax bruce

            methinks you need to stop bending forward.

  • Gwangi

    Funnily enough, I have just discovered that the office that deals with my taxes is in Glasgow. Well, the jobs at that office would go after independence and the tax offices for all English, Welsh and Northern Irish people would be moved to their nations.

    Salmond is just an opportunist whose endless promises of prosperity, a better life and peace n love remind me of a stoned hippie; either that, or a dodgy used car salesman.

    Beware of those promising the earth – because they usually do so on other people’s money.

    Life is real, life is earnest. Scottish people would be financially worse off after independence, by any calculation.

    • Jambo25

      And a number of civil service jobs dealing with Scotland would move north.

      • ChuckieStane

        In the public sector hundreds of government and quasi-governmental departments are headquartered in the south. Similarly in the military command, control, administration and procurement are all in the south. Consequently Scotland’s brightest talent has to move south to further their careers. This talent has more often than not been eductated to a high level from Scottish education budgets.
        As well as yet further concentrating wealth outwith Scotland, the resultant loss in talent is matched by knock-on detrimental effects to services, infrastructure and transport links. Consequential lost wealth affects academia, the press and media and even salaries and commercial and domestic property prices.
        By returning some (albeit less bloated) senior functions to Scotland benefits will be multi-layered and compound.

      • Gwangi

        So Scottish offices would lose 90% of their jobs, and English ones would lose 10% of theirs.
        Are you seriously trying to argue that England would lose as much as Scotland here?
        Look at populations please. England circa 50 million; Scotland circa 5 million. Then do the maths.

        • Jambo25

          I’m saying that the situation would be neutral. One or two big offices, dealing with UK wide services would see lots of jobs going south but there would be rather large5 numbers of smaller offices coming north.

          • Gwangi

            Neutral? Nonsense.
            Because of sheer numbers, Scotland would lose 90% of all jobs if they lost English ‘business’; England would lose the 10% that is represented by Scotland’s population.
            If England/Wales and Scotland each had 30 million people, maybe it would be neutral.
            But the maths of population show that the jobs in Scotland that depend on English people would move south, and a fraction of that number would move north as England state offices jettisoned Scottish individuals.
            Scotland would be a BIG loser.

            • Jambo25

              Now you seem to be moving from civil service jobs to private sector jobs. What on earth are you trying to say? If you are talking civil service jobs then Scotland would lose jobs in a few big back office functions centres such as the HMRC. However, other civil service functions would be transferred back to Scotland in various state agencies in defence, foreign affairs and other functions.

    • Dave Ward

      So you think people paying tax to that office will no longer pay tax after a Yes? Maybe, and I know its a crazy thought, maybe that office could carry on doing its work! Amazing! And I respect full say your ‘any calculations’ either dontvexist or are based on twisted facts like using oil revenue per head not geographical share. :)

      • Gwangi

        You misunderstand (probably deliberately).
        I and many like me in England and Wales have their tax affairs dealt with in that Glasgow office. If Scotland goes independent, you can’t surely expect that situation to continue?
        My tax office – and that of those like me – would be in England or Wales after Scottish independence.
        So most staff in that Glasgow office would lose their jobs (90% surely, as the remainder would only deal with Scots’ tax affairs, as Scots are 10% of the population, 9 out of 10 from that officewould be on the dole).
        Ditto for when I had a student loan. Offices in Glasgow. Ditto for some passport affairs. Ditto for many other state functions – BBC helplines etc.
        That is not even to mention call centres for private corporate companies. I would certainly not want to speak to an office in a foreign country called Scotland about my bank account, thank you (India maybe, but they speak English so much better there, don’t they? – and one can actually understand what they’re saying most of the time).
        There are so many state jobs in Scotland dependent on non-Scots UK affairs – ALL those jobs would go. Agreed?

        • ChuckieStane

          HMRC spending per head 2011
          in England £582
          in Scotland £543

          • Wessex Man

            Where did you get that from? LINKS PLEASE!

        • terregles2

          The people in the Glasgow UK tax office can be employed in the Scottish tax office. We will still be paying tax to Holyrood after independence.

          • Michael Mckeown

            Glasgow serves about 5 million people so does Edinburgh, Scotland’s population is 5 million so somethings got to give.

            • terregles2

              Lots of other government offices though will need to be set up. The departments that are now administered from England will now need to be run by Holyrood. governments need departments to function. No getting away from that fact.

              • Michael Mckeown

                Of course but not on the same scale as we see now, the reality is Scotland does very well out of the UK with all credit reference agency’s saying right now that a Scotland in the UK is a safe bet but obviously a reassessment would be needed after independence to factor in the loss of the defence industry and most of the financial sector along with all the UK departments and UK spending.

              • HookesLaw

                And the cost of all those spurious offices will have to be spread over the 5 million Scots.

        • HookesLaw

          Ah yes but we must remember that all of Scotlands driving licences are currently processed in Swansea. The will be masses of jobs doing that internally in Scotland. Oh dear – plus all the expense. Poor people of Scotland having to apply for their driving licences again. I am surprised Salmond is not promising to wipe off all the points at the same time.

    • terregles2

      We are voting on independence not Alex Salmond.

      • Gwangi

        Have you told him that?

        • terregles2

          No we don’t need to tell him that everyone who has the vote for the referendum in September knows we are voting on independence and nothing else. It is only the British media who tries to make it a popularity contest for Alex Salmond.

      • E Hart

        Keep saying it. Salmond’s future is dependent on how he measures up post-independence. At least the Scots will get seats proportionate to their preferences.

        • Michael Mckeown

          Westminster only has seats proportionate to the constituencies.

          • E Hart

            Yes, but this does not reflect the popular vote even in our threadbare variant of pluralism. That’s why less than two-thirds of the electorate can be bothered to vote. If you can outline what the substantive differences are between the Cameron, Clegg, Miliband and Farage, please do.

            Britannia is disheveled, dressed in beige, giving off ammonia, nursing a terminal case of political sclerosis and unable to remember where she parked her own car.

            • Michael Mckeown

              It does reflect the popular vote as people elect MP’s they do not elect governments.

              • E Hart

                Just go through the electoral statistics (any election) and note the discrepancies between votes cast and seats won.

                • Michael Mckeown

                  In each constituency the candidate that gets the most votes becomes the MP, it’s not hard to grasp!

                • E Hart

                  You don’t say.

                • Wessex Man

                  Vote Ukip!

                • HookesLaw

                  For Englands version of Salmond?

          • Wessex Man

            no we don’t your Lib/dem buddies saw to that torpedoing the plans to reduce numbers of MPs and equalise contituencies!

    • terregles2

      Funnily enough I have just discovered that the office that takes in all the taxes and profit from Scotland is in Westminster. They count it out and send some pocket back up to Holyrood.
      There will be far more jobs when we have to distribute and organise all our own money and send it to the appropriate departments in Holyrood.

      • HookesLaw

        You have a very simple mind but you will have to live with it. Faslane jobs will go as well if you get independence. I suppose the Scottish Airforce Fighter Pilot Training School will take a few of those back.

  • Shinsei1967

    What is interesting about the recent Independence debates is that we are finally getting the SNP to, very reluctantly, move from talking in nice but vacuous sound bites, and to deal with actual policies.

    The result has been the wheels have come off Salmond’s attempts to be all things to all men. The 50p tax rate is a case in point. The majority of voters for Independence are totally opposed to what they describe as “nasty neo-liberal banker-loving Westminster elite” politics (which includes New Labour and not just Tory toffs) and want more progressive taxation – which means a much higher tax rate on the rich (why stop at 50p, why not 60p), and a Mansion tax, and other wealth taxes.

    Salmond is bright enough (he was a nasty banker himself for many years at RBS) to know that this would be the kiss-of-death for Scottish business and industry and so can’t promise it. But as his supporters realise that a vote for Independence won’t be a vote for a northern socialist paradise, paid for by the endless money tree of taxing the rich and the banks, then I expect the cracks to start appearing within the Yes camp.

    • allymax bruce

      Shinsei1967, said, “What is interesting about the recent Independence debates is that we are finally getting the SNP to, very reluctantly, move from talking in nice but vacuous sound bites, and to deal with actual policies”
      Yes, and the reason for that is if Scotland put out the policy arguments first, then Scotland would not have known the points in which ‘Sanctimony’, (aka Danny Alexander), ‘Sanctimonious git’, (aka George Osborne), and ‘Dr Doom’, (aka Ali Darling), were going to use to try & shoot Scotland down with lies, smearing, & scaremongering. Doing it this way, letting the Westminster cretins do all the ‘leg-work’ first, ensures Scotland has the right target, with all the right calibrations, needed to defuse any such malice hate scaremongering etc. Thus, giving Scotland the best possible opportunities to get iScotland policies past the Westminster media blitz. allymax.

      • Bill Kenny

        Dear Ally, loud mouthed and outraged – whaes like us?

        • allymax bruce

          Dear Bill, the letters on the screen (my comments), are only black & white, big & small; it’s up to you how you want to interpet them. I think it’s normal ‘cyber-parlance’, to acknowledge a sudden ‘use’ of big letters, among a stream of small letters, as ‘cyber-shouting’. I really can’t find where I was ‘shouting’, or, being ‘loud-mouthed’ or ‘outraged’ in my comment you have replied to. Maybe what you’re doing, Bill, is conflating your ‘impression’ of my character, with a ‘preferred character trait’ you believe is concomitant to some Scots? But that’s not my fault; it’s all your own doing, Bill. I have no problem ‘holding the journo’ to account when I see their finely tuned sleight-of-hand at work on the Truth; like Massie here. As outlined in my comment below. The Spectator ‘expects’ it’s readers to be as artistic with participation; just look at Rod Liddle’s articles, and Alex Massie’s; both frequently swear, but I don’t see you calling them ‘loud mouthed and outraged’. are you being unfair to me, Bill? I’ll leave that to you to consider. Besides, it’s normal for me to try and debate a reply; if even, it’s abusive, like anncalba’s hateful comments. I never embarked on ‘talking-to-her’, why she felt the need to target me, (like you’re doing now, Bill), and then direct many insults, wrong, false, incorrect and abusive accussations & assumptions at me, is her ‘character trait’. Even then, I tried to accommodate her abuse with reasoned & respectful reply; I even asked her not to ‘bother me’; but she did bother me again; with disrespectful & hateful remarks. Look and see for yourself, Bill. Now, it seems you are doing the same thing to me as anncalba! I never made a direct comment to you, but you somehow felt it in your ‘self’ to insult and assume the incorrect. Aye, Bill, ‘wha’s like us.

          • HookesLaw

            You are not holding anybody to account. You are just exposing yourself as a fool.

      • HookesLaw

        Your foul mouthed spittle infested rant betrays a small brain and a lack of argument. You are irredeemably bigoted. The facts of independent life are made clear and you do not like it.

        • allymax bruce

          Watch you don’t get dizzy when you bend forward!

        • anncalba

          Wee ally is a typical CyberNat, bullying, arrogant and very very ignorant. And they dare to call the Tories the nasty party, nothing as deeply unpleasant as a Nat in full flow, just have to keep your head down and smile if you encounter one in real life.

          • terregles2

            Anna
            You present yourself as what you are denigrating. I am voting YES for Scottish independence. I am not an SNP.LABOUR, LIBDEM, SSP any other voter. i am voting for people in Scotland voting for wharevr governmet they want. I don’t care what they choose as long as it is self determination.
            You want Scottish boys,to,die,to defend votes in other countries, Fight for self determination as long as it’s not your own. Aye right

    • terregles2

      Very many who are voting YES never have and probably never would vote SNP so what the SNP say is irrelevanrt to them.
      We are voting on independence not for any political party. We will choose how we wish to be governed after independence when we have te first Scottish general election.

      • Clavers

        On the other hand very many of us who will vote NO have already voted SNP, it is why they are the majority in Holyrood and conversely why they will lose the referendum.

        • anncalba

          Yep, have voted SNP in the past, but will never vote for Wee Eck again.

          • terregles2

            We are voting on independence not on any individual party. After independence we have a general election that the SNP may or not win.

            • Rob Murray Brown

              Yes but you have missed the main point – the ‘independence’ that is on offer is an SNP independence – its their white paper. If the white paper had had any substance I believe Yes would have won hands down – but like Salmond it is retail politics, full of hollow statements and gimmicks. We derserved a better leader for this monumental task. It is also the case that if the vote had been Uk wide that an iScotland would have been guaranteed.

              • terregles2

                With respect you have missed the main point. There is only one question to be answered by everyone voting in Scotland on September 18th 2014.
                Do you want Scotland to be an independent country and have self government..
                We are not being asked our opinion on Alex Salmond. We are not being asked our opinion on the SNP. We are not being asked our opinion on the White paper.
                Either people believe that Scotland is just as capable of governing themselves or they believe the people of Scotland are incapable of managing their own affairs and need Westminster to look after their best interests.
                The White paper, Alex Salmond and the SNP are irrelevant. We are voting on independence no more and no less. I have never voted SNP I am unlikely to vote for them after independence but I will be voting YES in September.
                Unionists cannot hide behind the SNP forever. Denigrating the SNP and Alex Salmond is not answering the main question that the unionists refuse to answer.
                What is it about Scotland that makes it different from every other country in the world and makes self determination a bad option for the Scottish people.?

                • Rob Murray Brown

                  With respect and it is nice to have a debate without being called all sorts of foul names, I think you are being little too sentimental. We are being offered an iScotland, the vision of which has been presented by the SNP’s white paper – that is the iScotland on offer. The idea of self determination is highly commendable but how in practice will it work? What currency will we use, how will we join the EU and when, will there be a movement of jobs and capital down to rUk, what legislation for Edinburgh’s finance sector will be adopted, will we have a central bank, will the R&A move down to Sandwich. All of these questions(apart from the last one) are part of the debate. The SNP have given their answers and they are the party who will negotiate the deal with rUK. So to claim that none of this matters and it will be ok if we believe just doesnt make sense to me. I was pro the idea before the white paper came out but not now.

                • terregles2

                  Rob what foul names have I called you or anyone else.? Th

                • terregles2

                  My apologies Rob if I misread your comments about foul names. I agree it is nice to exchange opinion with people who debate rather than point score or offer only abuse.
                  I don’t share your belief that if we press for more power we will surely get it. In fairness to the Westminster government why should they give any more power. If there is a no vote they will say you made your decision it is business as usual. If they had been willing to offer more I think they would have offered a Devomax option in the referendum. The majority would most likely have voted for Devomax and independence would have been all but killed off.
                  I still do not see independence in only SNP options. If there is a YES vote than I think all the differing political opinion will soon see that their future lies in persuading Scots to vote for them in Holyrood. Contrary to popular opinion I also think there will be a resurgence of Scottish Conservatism post independence. Before Margaret Thatcher the Conservatives enjoyed a significant share of the Scottish vote. That may well return.
                  My understanding is that after independence it will be a cross party team from both Scotland and England who will negotiate the independence agreement. It will certainly not be left to just the SNP and Westminster Conservatives.
                  Like many people I do not have a particularly high opinion of any politicians but another reason I want independence is because I think it will be easier to keep an eye on their behaviour in Holyrood and vote them out accordingly.
                  I really don’t see anything different about Scotland having self determination than all the countries who have chosen independence in the past. They all overcame currency and policy problems and none of them have ever regretted that they chose to govern themselves.
                  We will be like every other country we will face problems and challenges but like every other country we will deal with them in the way we think best.
                  I am sorry that the St Andrew’s Day festival did not continue and prosper but never say never. Who knows what the future holds.

                • Rob Murray Brown

                  I can sympathise with your view but dont see it as a black or white issue in quite the same way. I am half Scottish and half Canadian, brought up in Suffolk as my father was stationed there. I have lived in Scotland for most of my years since 1980 – so a while. All that time, I have had constant hassle with my mid England accent – ie not Scottish so you cant be. Having taken part in a load of these forums to try to learn what an iScotland might be like, my impression is that it might be a small minded, bigoted, very anti English place. That’s not what I would vote for. It is certainly the image that Salmond promotes with his rather pathetic old Etonian jibes etc – I like you have no time for politicains north or south but his particular brand of cheeky chappy I find childish and ignorant. One might say chippy. As to conservatives getting back into Scotland – God forbid!

                  Regarding other countries that have left a voluntary union, I cant think of many? It is not like we are being occupied by a foreign force. I understand and agree with the argument that we do rarely get a Westminster governemnt of our choosing, but the same could be said for most places north of the Wash. This cannot last as a very large number of rUK are fed up with it – hence the low turn outs.

                  Given all this, Im inclined to hang on in and push for more devolved power – the alternative is in my opinion now slightly alarming and as the SNP will ost definately be doing the negotiating im not convinced we wownt end up with a rUK government that is more anti Scotland than you think it is already. This would not be good for our trade.

                • terregles2

                  I am surprised Rob that you have experienced any hassle through having an English accent. I have many English friends here in Scotland and none of them have experienced any anti English nonsense. There are a few Scottish idiots who make anti English remarks just as there are a few English idiots who make anti Scottish remarks. Thankfully they are a minority and the majority of Scots and English get on well together why would we not.? I have English neighbours here who are campaigning hard for a YES vote. Like me they do not see independence in terms of being Scottish or English. It is simply choosing a better form of governance for all the people who live in Scotland whatever their nationality.
                  I was not saying that I hoped the Conservatives got back into power in Holyrood I was just saying that I think there will be much more political diversity within an independent Scotland.
                  The union between Scotland and England was not really ever a voluntary union. It was a sell out by Scottish nobility and there were riots in the streets of Edinburgh over this issue. It was not popular with ordinary English people either but as none of them had any vote then they were powerless to stop the union.
                  To hang on in and wait for more devolved powers is really for me too big a gamble to take. If there were going to be any extra powers they would have been offered before now.
                  It is not the SNP or Conservatives who will negotiate independence settlement. It will be cross party negotiators from both sides of the border.
                  I can see no logical reason for Scotland not to be like almost every other country in the world and be independent. I asked quite a few questions on the http://www.yesscotland.net/ website and was quite happy with the answers that I received. I am sure that whatever way the votes goes in September we will accept the majority vote and get on with life as we are doing now.

                • Rob Murray Brown

                  For me we already have a country called the UK or GB and to change that Id have to be sure it was going to be an improvement. I just dont see Salmond, who will without any doubt be the main force behind the negotiation (is there any other force in Scottish politics) will deliver a deal that is good for us – the peole who live here. If he can convince me otherwise then i’ll reconsider but he isnt doing anything at the moment – quite the opposite. You have made up your mind no matter what the consequences which if I might say so is slightly irresponsible for those following us? Im sure you wont agree!

                  Its hard to believe you havent noticed the England v Germany football games with the whole of Scotland supporting Germany or anyone in fact who is not England. Just pop into a pub during the world cup – or next weekend when Italy will be the new Scotland. You may not be like this but most of the WC Scots I have come across in the past 30 years are – it goes with that dreadful national anthem. This is where Salmond gets his support and why he wanted to get the 16yo votes included. He has missed one massive trick and that is by not opening the Q up to the whole UK he is not guaranteed a win. If he had, Im certain he would have.

                  What is your opinion on the currency issue?

                • terregles2

                  If you believe in the union Rob and are happy with how things are then I respect your opinion. I wish for independence for Scotland but we are all entitled to our own opinion. My uncle is a YES voter and unlike me he votes for Alex Salmond. This uncle also has photos of him in 1966 when England won the World Cup. There are photos of my Scottish uncle and grandpa both celebrating England’s win over Germany at a big party they attended in a Scottish pub.. I just don’t buy this SNP are against English people it is simply not true. The SNP have English members and many English people living in Scotland are big YES campaigners. I am voting YES. We are voting against English government NEVER against English people. I work beside both Scottish and English guys and they do have banter over the football but it is all good natured. Our English mates have had the biggest laugh for quite a while now with Scotland playing so badly.
                  I am well aware that my YES vote will affect future generations that is why I am eager to have independence. I wish my grandparents could have voted for it.
                  I think it is right 16 yo have the vote it is their future and I have had many intelligent debates with 16 yos on many topics. I don’t think anyone living outside Scotland should have the vote. If you live here you have more right to vote than those who have left. I am quite laid back about the currency. Scotland will do well enough whatever currency we use.

                • Rob Murray Brown

                  Your final comments says it all for me. That is not a idea that I could vote for. We’ll just have to wait and see.

        • terregles2

          I wouldn’t like to predict any outcome a week is a long time in politics and 6 months is a lifetime. I am hoping for independence as I rhink it is a wonderful opportunity for Scotland. If people believe we have a brighter future governed from Westminster then I respect their view I just could never share it. Whatever the result I hope that there is a high turnout and people realise they are voting on independence and not on any individual politician or individual party.
          Whatever the result I am sure we will all appreciate that it is the democratic wish of the majority and will make the best of the result regardless.

    • Rob Murray Brown

      Im not sure he is bright – certainly not enough. A 2:2 from my alma mater ( even I managed a 2:1) and a few years at RBS in the back rooms doesnt really make a great conbination. Without him the Yes vote would win.

  • asalord

    Vote No for more austerity.

    • FF42

      And vote Yes for even more austerity.

      When you add up the best estimate figures, including the real costs of independence, there will simply be less money around after independence. You have to make choices.

      • groo

        I think you are missing the point – the whole idea is that Scotland can autonomously choose for itself.

        For me voting yes is more than about simply being better or worse off , it’s about making those decisions ourselves.

        • FF42

          That seems to me a very good argument for independence: yes there will be costs and uncertainties but we will work through them and it all will be worth it in the end.

          But, let’s be clear that’s not the argument the SNP are making to the Scottish people. Instead they claim there will be a bonanza of money; there will be no costs; everything is certain because they say so; other parties will make their decisions just to favour Scotland. This argument is not just dishonest. It makes no sense.

          • groo

            I see what you are saying, but for me the SNP could have the most nonsensical argument in the world and I would still be in favour of independence. That is the bigger picture. Let’s not base the decision to make Scotland more democratic entirely on the rhetoric and proposals of Alex Salmond in 2014, look to ten, twenty years time.

            I am in favour of decentralisation of power, I am in favour of the creation of a Scottish constitution and I am in favour of more effective and democratic government for the entire UK. I believe Scottish independence will pave the way for these changes. That’s why I will be voting yes, not necessarily because of the SNP’s political manoeuvres.

            • Michael Mckeown

              How can you be in favor of independence because of decentralizing power when all the SNP want to do is replace Westminster with Hollyrood?

              • groo

                Because that development would still be more democratic than the status quo, which is what I assume you are defending?

                • Michael Mckeown

                  Crap, instead of the West Lothian question we would see the Strathclyde question.

                • groo

                  So be it. Leave Scotland to worry about that. This is what I mean by democratic – it is Scotland’s issue to deal with, not Westminster’s.

                • Michael Mckeown

                  You are a complete joke, you go on about democratic deficits but dont care that a new one would be created.

                • groo

                  What is your proposal then? Maintaining the status quo?

                • Michael Mckeown

                  Regional government.

                • groo

                  Well I think our views diverge as to by what means this can be achieved. I feel Scottish independence is devolving power from Westminster and is a good start towards decentralizing power. It may not be perfect but has potential. More potential than remaining in the UK I think.

                • Michael Mckeown

                  A Scottish state based on how Scotland is right now would be a total democratic disaster as the minority in Edinburgh would be dictating to the majority in Glasgow and already the councils in Scotland have had enough of Hollyrood dictating.

                • groo

                  But how on earth is voting no in any way going to remedy any of the issues you have just outlined?

                  At least devolution removes the West Lothian question you quite rightly pointed out.

                  And Scottish independence would give Scotland rightful power and autonomy to deal with it’s own issues as it likes. It also creates huge potential for change.

                  If you truly are advocating regional government I am struggling to see how defending the stagnant status quo is going to further your cause.

                • Michael Mckeown

                  Voting yes only replicates the problem.

                • groo

                  This is where I completely disagree.

                  I don’t see how an independent Scotland could simply spew out the same stagnancy facing Westminster, I dont think people in Scotland will blindly allow the SNP replicate the problems we are trying to remedy by voting yes.

                  Anyhow, it doesn’t look like you are going to be convinced, but alas, you do not have the vote in September.

                • Michael Mckeown

                  I have got a vote so you can look on it this way; your vote you waited all your life for is cancelled out by the postal vote I have.

                • groo

                  Hahaha! Ouch Michael right where it hurts!!!!

                  I wish you the best of luck with your regional government.

                • Michael Mckeown

                  Its not going to happen but it is a posible cure for democratic deficits whereas independence simply creates the exact same issue you have a problem with.

                • groo

                  You telling me you are voting no because you would rather have a system that is not going to happen is rather unconvincing.

                • Michael Mckeown

                  I’m voting no because I believe in our island being united and I believe all of our interests are best served working together.

                • groo

                  And I yes because I believe our interests have clearly not been best served through ‘working together’ (through stagnant and widely detested Westminster) are best served by more localised powers (similar concept to regionalism as you advocated earlier)

                • Michael Mckeown

                  Scotland is doing very well right now, did Salmond not say Scotland was the 6th richest country in the world?

                  Oh and Edinburgh is only local to Edinburgh.

                • Wessex Man

                  way too late! it’s gone beyond any repair, ask terregles2 who wants to start campaigning for a referendum if the yes vote lose straight away!

                • HookesLaw

                  Some obscure nutjob on a blog does not reflect all of Scotland.

                • terregles2

                  If there is a no vote I would need to be up early in the morning to start another YES campaign to get ahead of you.I know you will be devastated if the vote is no. You will be out with the new YES posters before me.

                • Jambo25

                  With a proportional representation system how would a minority in Edinburgh dictate to a majority in Glasgow?

                • Wessex Man

                  if you feel that bad about the place feel free to go elsewhere.

                • Wessex Man

                  oh dear, I thought you were quite sensible, now you show you arn’t.

                • Guest

                  oh no! which part of what I’ve said has changed your mind?

                • Wessex Man

                  so is this Michael Mckeown or Guest or the same person, or this a regional nutter along the lines Billy Bragg?

                • Michael Mckeown

                  It was groo, presumably he thought you were talking to him.

              • terregles2

                Because the government we have in Holyrood will be elected by the majority living in Scotland,
                The government that we get in Westminster is the choice of the majority living in England.
                We will obviously favour the more democratic alternative.

                • Michael Mckeown

                  Ahh, I take it the SNP last term as a minority government was OK because it happened in Scotland.

                • HookesLaw

                  The govt in Westminster governs all the country which includes Scotland – and Wales and Yorkshire and Birmingham.
                  Shockingly the govt in Paris governs from Calais to Toulouse.

                • terregles2

                  There are many people throughout the UK just like yourself are very happy with Westminster government and are very happy with the union.
                  There are also some people in Scotland who do not have much confidence in how Scotland is governed from Westminster. The latest debate this afternoon in the House of Commons where it was revealed that the Westminster government covered up the nuclear submarine leak that occurred in Scotland two years ago has done little to inspire confidence in Westminster and how it governs Scotland. I could list dozens of reasons why I and many others are unhappy with Westminster government from the McCrone report to the moving of the Scottish maritime border and the annexing of 6000 square miles of Scottish sea to this dreadful coalition government that we did not vote for. The list is endless but there is no point in going over it as it is all in the past. It is the future now that is important.
                  You are a unionist I believe in independence for Scotland. There is nothing left to say really. I respect your opinion but I could never share it.

        • anncalba

          Big mistake for the SNP was not making this UK wide vote – had the rest of the UK been included in the referendum, it would almost certainly get a resounding yes.

      • terregles2

        Well we will save quite a bit of our taxes if we don’t spend billions on replacing Trident and don’t spend further billions on HS2 which will be of no benefit to Scotland.
        We will also not need to keep as many billions in the war chest as Britain does in case we want to invade another country.
        Little Scotland wll never have to bomb any other countries again that will save a few billion.

        • Michael Mckeown

          In other words; 4000+ jobs are gone at Faslane with 10.000+ jobs gone in the defence industry that in turn accounts for about 8% of GDP.

          • ChuckieStane

            Genuine question Michael, where do you get the 10,000+ defence jobs that will be lost and how does this equate to 8% of GDP?

            • Michael Mckeown

              12,600 people are employed by the UK’s defence industry in Scotland generating about 8% of GDP (not including military personnel).

              These people are making things for the UK armed forces and these things are ships and missiles and airplane equipment mostly and all of those thins are exempt from EU procurement rules so the MOD can direct the companies to build in the UK and as you have just stated Scotland wont be invading countries or bombing them so there wont be any need to replace the UK contracts with Scottish ones.

              • ChuckieStane

                Michael,

                In your linked HoC report, I can’t see any reference to defence industries contributing 8% of Scotland’s GDP. Bearing UK total defence procurement is £16bn and Scotland GDP is £145bn I find it hard to believe that 72.5% of all UK defence spending is in Scotland (excluding service personnel).

                Also can’t find the 12,600 figure in the report but it is probably not too far of the mark. Shipbuilding jobs (the largest contributor to this total) will fall off a cliff even in the event of a no vote as the carrier project comes to an end.

                The HoC report is, however, one-sided and assembles a series of facts to try to make a case against Indy. For example, Mr. Davidson’s committee report mentions the T45 programme and how each destroyer cost £1bn inferring that Scotland’s economy benefitted £1bn for each ship. Of course well over half of the cost of each ship goes on the PAAMS (French) missile systems; the steel came from the Czech Republic and equipment from all over Europe and America. The T45 contract is also finished.

                In common with Mr. Davidson you are obviously a believer that Scottish defence industry is too inefficient and too lacking in expertise to complete in the open market. It is typical of the lack of ambition of those that favour only dependency.

                • Michael Mckeown

                  Defense is an industry that does not fare well in the open market due to national security issues, Scotland’s defence budget would be a fraction of what the UK spends in Scotland now so there would be severe cuts due to the UK not using Scotland as it does now.

                • Jambo25

                  Actually the UK now spends far less in Scotland than is paid into the Defence budget by Scottish tax payers.

                • Michael Mckeown

                  That is simply not true.

                • Jambo25

                  Wrong. Scottish proportional contribution to the Defence budget is about £3.5 billion. As far as anyone can make out the UK defence spend in Scotland is somewhere near about £2 billion.

                • Michael Mckeown

                  ‘as far as anyone can make out’? is that code for you can’t be arsed to research so you’ll just make up a figure to suite your argument?

                • Jambo25

                  We know that Scotland’s proportional defence spend is about £3.5 billion. It will depend on the total size of the budget. We also know from an FoI answer that between the years 2008 and 2011/12 there was on one type of defence spending of about £60 billion alone a shortfall in spending in Scotland of about £1.9 billion. It has to be stressed that was on one type of (not all) defence spending. We don’t know what the total shortfall was. That story, by the way, was carried in the ‘Scotsman’ ; a paper not known for its nationalist sympathies.

                • HookesLaw

                  There will be more frigate contracts and if Scotland goes independent they will be built in England.

              • MichtyMe

                Defense is 2.5% of the UK GDP, how UK defense procurement part could be 8% of Scotlands GDP you need to explain.
                Not so many years ago Rosyth employed 15,000 now about 1,000. A couple of years ago there were three RAF bases in Scotland now there is one. The UK defense footprint in Scotland has been fast reducing, only Scotlands cash contribution to the defence budget is immune from reduction.

                • Michael Mckeown

                  I already have, Scotland’s largest single site employer is the UK’s Royal Navy Base HMNB Clyde with Scotlands largest fabrication yards dedicated to building UK navy ships so the loss of theses jobs (nearly 20.000) is in excess of 8% of Scotlands GDP, remember 8% of Scotland’s GDP is not that big a number given Scotlands small overall GDP.

                • MichtyMe

                  This is mince, the NHS consumes about 8% of GDP and it employs 140,000 in Scotland.

                • Michael Mckeown

                  How many of the 140.000 NHS staff wont be needed when these tens of thousands of jobs flow south? Yet again another area of deep concern regarding Scottish separation!

                • Jambo25

                  I have no idea where you get those figures from. They are complete nonsense. Even the most rabid Unionists have never claimed employment or spending figures like these for the Defence spend in Scotland. Scottish GDP is somewhere about £160 billion. 8% of that would be £12.5 billion. Most reliable estimates put the Scottish defence spend at about £2 billion.

                • Michael Mckeown
                • Jambo25

                  12,600 people in the entire civilian defence estate sounds about right and similar numbers would be employed in that defence estate after Scottish independence. As far as I know there are no mainstream Scottish parties which are pacifist so we would go on having defence forces.

          • terregles2

            There will be more than jobs gone if we have another bigger nuclear leak than the one that the Westminster government covered up two years ago.

        • Wessex Man

          Let’s not forget who our political leaders were in the invasions and where they were born and bred!

          • terregles2

            That is yet another reason why we would expect all Westminster parties to be trying to get rid of Scotland instead of the opposite. Even UKIP have let England down by putting up candidates in Scotland. It is all very puzzling why do they all want to keep us?

            • Michael Mckeown

              Only the deranged seek to partition our island.

              • terregles2

                Don’t think there is anything dedranged about any country wanting to govern itself. We are not partitioning anything we are choosing self determination nothing deranged about it. Some might argue it is a sign of madness to let the bigger country next door decide how you should be governed.

                • Michael Mckeown

                  Its deranged to deliberately jeopardize hundreds of thousands of jobs along with 80% of exports and wanting to deliberately cut the domestic market by over 90%.

                • Wessex Man

                  only time will tell…..hopefully!

            • Wessex Man

              we don’t, take no notice of Michael’s quaint pleas!

            • ButcombeMan

              One reason is that many of us have joint heritage

    • Michael Mckeown

      Austerity is not permanent and is happening regardless of the vote result so as soon as you socialists wake up to the fact that debt and borrowing are bad the sooner we can all move forward.

      • Jambo25

        Actually, there is very good reason to think that Cameron and Osborne would like austerity to be permanent after some of the things they have said and published recently. Simply type in ‘David Cameron and austerity’ on Bing or Google. This is a government that wants government spending patterns to go back to what they were roughly in 1948.

        • Michael Mckeown

          If you think any person wanted to inflict cuts in services and benefits then I would say you are deluded, things happened because they had to and no one got any pleasure out of it, there is more to come but when things are balanced there wont be any need for austerity.

          • Jambo25

            That may have been the case in 2008 on but that’s no what the information I suggested you look at says. That says, from Cameron and Osborne’s own mouths that they want to follow an austerity programme into the future as a matter of ideology so that if they have their way austerity will be permanent.

            • Michael Mckeown

              It is the case right now, dont know about the other regions but West Midlands is pulling its weight, more than its weight, right now.

              Austerity effects typically the public sector so its fair to say its the socialists that take issue with it more.

        • HookesLaw

          Yes well….
          I have taken your advice and of course all that proves is that the lefty bigots in the Guardian and Independent (led by well known objective commentator Blanchflower) seek to put their own spin on the facts. It proves nothing except both your gullibility and your desire to treat us all as idiots.
          The govt has to cut its spending to match its income. ie it needs so cut the structural deficit created by Brown and after that hopefully run surpluses to start paying back some of the debt. The trapdoor of debt opened by Brown is enormous though.

          • Jambo25

            I have nothing against cutting debt. In facvt I’d probably be a bit fiscally drier than Osborne. The difference is that I’d be honest about it.

  • ChuckieStane

    “one would expect the SNP to form the first government after independence (and quite possibly the first several administrations)” Maybe aye, maybe naw but getting hung up on tax and spend of the first or even “first several” adminstrations misses the whole point of indy.

    It is a decision that affects centuries not years.

    The choice is about one thing and one thing only – power.

    This clear and fundamental choice seems to be side-lined while the debate and, in particular media commentary, has been bogged down in hypothetical discussions on often very specific future policy options. Many of the concerns raised are indeed important and the discussions give insight into the nature of the nation that we could become. Such insights can be both inspirational and cautionary.

    If Scotland chooses to bring power home to Edinburgh then normal democratic politics will decide everything else. Maybe be Scotland will be “socialist”, more likely North European Social Democratic.

    Who knows what the tax rates will be in ten years in and independent Scotland? Who knows what they will be in a UK with or without Scotland? People need to concentrate on the big issue not on transient tax and spend issues.

    • groo

      could not have put it better myself.

    • terregles2

      Many seem more than eager to try and turn this into a debate about the SNP government rather than Scottish independent governance. Possibly because they have no logical argument against the latter.

      • mikewaller

        The logical argument against is that which underpins the insurance industry: pooling risk increases the chances of being able to cope with disaster.

        • terregles2

          It is all about balance. The power to make the decisions which are best for your country outweighs any imagined disaster.
          All counries face challenges problems and tough decisions. The difference will be that we will deal with the challenges and problems just like every other country and not pass that responsibility to the country next door. Most smaller countries do well enough with independence and Scotland will be no exception.

          • mikewaller

            I appreciate your point but my truth detector was simply reacting to your clearly false statement that there is no logical counter argument. I could have added economies of scale as another factor. Again, not a killer argument, but clearly logical. Frankly, is the “we know we are right and there can be no sensible counter-view” attitude as espoused by Salmond et al (yourself included) that makes folk wonder what scam is being pulled.

      • Wessex Man

        that will be because down here the only Yes Campaigners ever heard or read in the papers are all members of the SNP!

        • Paul Bethune

          That’s the MSM for you, completely out of touch.

    • anncalba

      Sadly, most Scottish politicans, of whatever party, are pretty much rubbish.

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