Coffee House

Alex Salmond’s message to Labour supporters: vote ‘yes’ to escape the Tories

12 April 2014

5:28 PM

12 April 2014

5:28 PM

When is a conference not a conference? When it’s a rally. Sitting in the hall listening to Alex Salmond this afternoon, it was hard to ignore the feeling that this SNP Spring Conference was about as far away from a party conference as it was possible to get. It really was a political rally – and quite a scary one too.

The warm-up acts for the Scottish First Minister consisted of folk singers from the Hebrides singing ‘it’s our country’ and a group of shouty actors putting on extracts from a pro-independence play which will premiere in Edinburgh this summer.

Then, when one of the actors had a clear go at the press for being unionist, the audience cheered with a vehemence and belligerence that was almost frightening – particularly for those of us sitting in the press seats as hundreds of angry eyes turned to seek us out.

It quickly became clear that Aberdeen’s conference centre this afternoon was not a place of debate but a venue for a rallying cry designed to send all those activists out on to the streets to work hard for the next five months.

But there was another sub-text to this event. SNP strategists know the referendum is in the hands of wavering Labour voters who may jump over to the Yes camp if they can be persuaded their future in the UK will be dominated by Tory governments.

This was the scenario which greeted Mr Salmond as he strode out to make his last set-piece conference speech before the referendum.

He is good when addressing his own party – but it would be hard not to be, given that he has led the SNP for a quarter of its existence.

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He also knows which buttons to press and he did so with ease.

‘This is our moment to be a beacon of hope,’ he declared, ‘A land of achievement: our country, our Scotland, our independence.’

For the first part of the strategy – energising SNP activists – the First Minister used the usual tub-thumping rhetoric he is quite practised in.

‘The eyes of the world will be on Scotland in September: watching intently to see how we will vote,’ he said.

And he added: ‘When the polls are closed and the voting has been done, let’s resolve this: let’s keep the eyes of the world on Scotland, not to see how we are voting but to watch in admiration at what we will be building.’

For the second part – the courting of the Labour vote – Mr Salmond went on to more unfamiliar ground.

He even raised the prospect of Labour beating the SNP to form the first government in an independent Scotland.

‘This referendum is not about this party or this First Minister or even the wider Yes campaign: it’s about putting Scotland’s future in Scotland’s hands.

‘A Yes vote in September is not a vote for an SNP government in 2016, it’s a vote for a government in Scotland that the people of Scotland choose, pursuing policies the people of Scotland support.’

And he added: ‘That may be the SNP, it may be Labour, it may be a coalition but I tell you what it won’t be, it won’t be a government led by a party with a single MP in Scotland.’

This last point – ‘a government led by a party with a single MP’ is worth commenting on. The Tories won 17 per cent of the votes and the Liberal Democrats 19 per cent. So the UK is governed by parties who drew 36 per cent of the vote in Scotland – far more than the 20 per cent the SNP garnered. Yes, the Westminster voting system left the Tories with one seat to the SNP’s six seats. But when it comes to national government, Tory and SNP support are far closer than Salmond likes to admit (see below).

Anyway, the separatists have narrowed the gap and cut the No camp’s lead to somewhere around ten points, but Mr Salmond and his SNP lieutenants know that this last bit, overtaking the No side, will be the hardest.

That is why he is pushing this divide-and-rule approach, trying to splinter the unionist vote by enticing Labour voters over to the Yes campaign.

This offer, this olive branch to Labour waverers was clearly there yesterday in the midst of all the passion and nationalist rhetoric.

And, as those wavering Labour voters are likely to decide this referendum, don’t be surprised if you hear it again and again and again before this campaign is, finally, over.

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Show comments
  • john

    Another objective report by the Speccie with the usual subtle sub title – only nutters will vote YES!

  • Kitty MLB

    A sly slippery serpent in the same vein as the massiah Blair.
    Independence is his vanity project, one way or another
    Wee Eck is heading for a massive fall.

  • DougDaniel

    “This last point – ‘a government led by a party with a single MP’ is worth commenting on. The Tories won 17 per cent of the votes and the Liberal Democrats 19 per cent. So the UK is governed by parties who drew 36 per cent of the vote in Scotland – far more than the 20 per cent the SNP garnered. Yes, the Westminster voting system left the Tories with one seat to the SNP’s six seats. But when it comes to national government, Tory and SNP support are far closer than Salmond likes to admit (see below).”

    This is pretty disingenuous, for a few reasons.

    Firstly, the performance of the SNP in the 2010 election is neither here nor there because Salmond is not trying to suggest that the SNP should have won the 2010 election. The point is that Scotland voted overwhelmingly for a party that is not in government. 41 of 59 seats went to Labour alone, and even if you do lump the Lib Dem seats in with the Tories, we’re still being governed by parties that got only 20% of the seats in Scotland.

    Secondly, the UK voting system is FPTP, so people have to vote accordingly, often tactically. I distinctly remember what Labour’s campaign materials said in 2010 – “vote Labour to stop the Tories”. 42% of Scotland did just that, except doing so did not “keep out the Tories” after all. I live in a classic “Labour MP/SNP MSP” constituency, where voters change who they vote for depending on the election. I’m an SNP member, and even I’ve only ever once voted for the SNP in a UK election (and that was in a Glasgow constituency where the SNP were the runners-up). If your favoured party is not one of the top two parties in a Westminster constituency, many people pick whoever they dislike least from the incumbent and their main opposition. That’s why FPTP is a rubbish system. It really shouldn’t be necessary for someone to point this out to an experienced political journalist.

    Thirdly, the SNP can never win a UK election. So even if the UK adopted a proportional voting system, many people would still vote for one of the UK parties rather than the SNP, because many people vote for who they want to be the party of government, or even who they want to be Prime Minister. For these people, the SNP represent a wasted vote in UK elections, even though they might vote SNP in Scottish elections.

    Your diagram, of course, takes none of this into account. A classic example of how facts can be used to distort the truth.

  • Chris Hobson

    Using that argument why not Yorkshire & Humber independence or Shetland Islands etc Maybe down to individual constituencies.

    • DougDaniel

      Yorkshire have their own legal system, education system, health service and sporting teams, aye? Must have missed that one.

      • Chris Hobson

        I al still determined to go up to the Scottish constituency with a conservative MP and vote to join the UK. Crimea style.

  • swatnan

    Who do you think you are kidding Mr…..?

  • jazz606

    Someone should have provided free booze (as much as you can drink) at the SNP conference and then stood back and watched the ‘fun’.

    • scotcanadien

      Wouldn’t have mattered. The English are the freeloading cheapskate champs of the world. Show or give them anything free and they fill their (car) boots. If they gave free booze at an Eglish Conference there would be rioting within 30 mins.

      • jazz606

        Rubbish

  • jazz606

    The sad fact is that England would now be far better off without Scotland. Something that the English themselves appreciate, even if their politicians (at least in public) do not.

    • Denis_Cooper

      There is no way that “England would now be far better off without Scotland”; it would be better off if MPs elected in Scotland were not allowed casting votes on the laws imposed on England, but that does not require the dissolution of the Union. If you think that people in England would pay less tax if Scotland became independent then you would be sorely disappointed when taxes rose to pay for the costs of dealing with the consequences of breaking up the UK, not least the costs of ensuring the security and defence of England when the northernmost third of the island had become a foreign country and no longer allowed UK armed forces to have bases on its territory. If you think that freed from the Scots the English would become a more enterprising and inventive and therefore more prosperous nation then you are wrong about that as well, historically the Scots have made disproportionate contributions in those areas and would no doubt continue to do so.

      • jazz606

        You are completely wrong, not least because you underestimate the English.

        • Denis_Cooper

          I don’t underestimate the English, but it may take time for them to properly think through all the consequences and realise that an independent Scotland is not something they should wish for. If it happens it happens, but the English should not be rooting for it to happen.

          • jazz606

            “..but the English should not be rooting for it to happen..’

            They’re not exactly rooting, but they won’t be sorry to see the back of you.

            • Denis_Cooper

              I’m English.

              • jazz606

                Congratulations.

                • Denis_Cooper

                  So you won’t be seeing the back of me.

      • Tony_E

        I think you overstate the importance of modern Scotland.

        In the past I would have agreed that she was vital to English interests, from both a strategic, political and financial point of view. But outside the fact that Scotland may invite an invading force to use its land to push south (and we may well have prospective enemies if the EU and NATO at some stage fail) then it’s difficult to see what necessity Scotland is to England.

        Modern Scotland is a brake on economic development in the rest of the UK, not the driving force behind it’s development.

        • Denis_Cooper

          To me Scotland potentially inviting an invading force to use its land to push south would seem a pretty important problem for England, not one to be lightly dismissed. But before we got to that extreme scenario there could be Scotland denying bases to the armed forces of the continuing UK but allowing enemies of the continuing UK to have bases.

          Plus unless the border was properly controlled there would be nothing to stop an influx of legal and illegal immigrants into England via Scotland.

          Where is the evidence that “Modern Scotland is a brake on economic development in the rest of the UK”? In terms of per capita GDP Scotland is about average for the UK. Wales is far below, so should we encourage the Welsh to secede as well? But then parts of England are also far below the average, should we also get rid of them?

          • Wessex Man

            Yes it would be good to get rid of Wales and NI at the same time, as for parts of England being far below the average, all the money we waste with the Barnett Formula could be stopped and Call me Dave wouldn’t be able to take EU grantts to more deprived areas of England, South Yorkshire, Devon and Cornwall and give it to Scotland as a bribe with the words ‘that it should be shared around.’

            • Denis_Cooper

              Well it’s good to be clear that you’d prefer to get rid of Wales and Northern Ireland as well. However you are quite wrong to suppose that the process of disintegration could be halted at England’s borders. It would inevitably continue until England itself had been broken up – there are those who claim that Cornwall is not really part of England, and the same for the north east, and even more so for London – which of course is what some people in the EU, and in some of the other EU member states, would be very happy to see happen.

              • Wessex Man

                This is quite true and why I am a member of UKip, the Royal Society of St George and the Freedom Association.

                remember

                “There is a forgotten, nay almost forbidden word, which means more to me than any other.

                That word is ENGLAND.”

                Sir Winston Churchill.

                • Denis_Cooper

                  There wouldn’t be any “England”, just a collection of EU regions.

      • jazz606

        Whatever makes you happy.

  • Tony_E

    So the message now is that Scotland can only become a truly socialist country if it is independent of England.

    That then show the weakness of Salmond’s argument for independence altogether. He is now so desperate that he is willing to sell his people utopia when every other state which has implemented such a socialist programme has failed in a mixture of debt, depreciation, unemployment and social unrest.

    The SNP now looks more and more like a cult of personality, a not uncommon phenomenon when studying nationalist movements.

  • Framer

    The cost of independence will be layers of extra national bureaucracy plus border controls.

    • Wessex Man

      and?

      • Denis_Cooper

        And read this about the consequences for the defence of England and the rest of the continuing UK:

        http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/scotland/10701689/Scotland-will-be-powerless-to-defend-itself.html

        “It is not only Scotland, however, that would suffer. Indeed, the damage that a divorce would inflict is perhaps the biggest strategic threat faced by our Armed Forces.”

        • Wessex Man

          I’m rather more worried by the American report that our aircraft to go on the as yet not ready carrier will not be armed, you couldn’t make it up, hang on Call me Dave has!

    • Jambo25

      Why? The bureaucracy in London will simply be relocated to Edinburgh, Glasgow, Dundee ,Aberdeen etc.

  • chudsmania

    I’m still trying to figure why Scotland can have a referendum after 300 odd years , but we cant over the EU after 40 and being lied to by Heath…….

    • Deckers Synchronicity

      Because Scotland voted for a party that was offering a referendum on independence. If you want one over the EU, vote UKIP. It’s really very simple.

  • rjbh

    The view of the average typical scribe, trying to smear us as facists now, nothing new, all you have left is fear and smear.

  • Call me Dave.

    Of the 20 British PMs since 1900 8 were born in Scotland. The greatest beneficiary of Scottish succession will be the English Tories. The conservative and unionist party which is; self-evidently, committed to the continuation of the Union. BUT which would, by supporting the union’s rapture gain a massive political advantage. “Call me Dave” has a choice respect the heritage of his party, or be a radical PM with a ruthless grasp of realpolitik. it is the Scottish people who will suffers as a result of political curbs; of tearing a sucking nation from its teat. How long until the oil runs out?

    • Wessex Man

      Oh my word! You really are Call me Dave, or as daft as!

      • Call me Dave.

        How so?

    • Denis_Cooper

      “tearing a suckling nation from its teat”.
      Complete nonsense, and it’s not surprising that many Scots want to get away from people who view them with such contempt.

      • Call me Dave.

        I’m glad you’ve countered my statement with clear coherent argument.

        • Denis_Cooper

          Good, now don’t repeat such arrant nonsense in the future.

          • Call me Dave.

            Do you have any sense of sarcasm? In fact, let’s leave that at ‘any sense’.

            • Denis_Cooper

              Do you have any sense of respect for your fellow citizens who happen to live in the northernmost third of the island?

              • Call me Dave.

                Still waiting for your counterargument.

                • Denis_Cooper

                  Keep waiting, it would probably be the best use of your time.

                • Call me Dave.

                  Thanks for admitting you’re to dense to come up with one.

  • saffrin

    Saffrin’s message to Scottish Labour, Tory and LibDem supporters: vote ‘UKIP’ to escape the Tories, Labour, the LibDem’s and still be part of a United Kingdom.
    It goes without saying the same advice goes for N.Ireland, Wales and all of England.
    All should be aware, Salmond is nothing other than a chancing liar whose promises have all been found wanting.
    No Pound, Oil or EU.
    Leave now and the Scot’s will lose all benefit from the South Atlantic oil and fish factory fleets.
    Vote UKIP, get your/our democracy back.

    • HookesLaw

      Whats clear is that there is no difference between Salmond’s loons and Farage’s loons.

      • saffrin

        If one wants IN the EU and the other wants OUT.

        • Wessex Man

          oh don’t complicate things for poor old Hooky, you do it all the time, he comes up with a long thought out comment and you blow him away, poor old fool.

      • Jambo25

        Apart from the facts that one set are centrists on a European basis, mildly pro-immigration and pro EU and the other lot are right wing, anti-immigration, anti-EU etc etc.

      • Doggie Roussel

        Blimey !

        Have you considered a brain scan of late ?

  • Everyman_Shall_do_his_duty

    “Vote Yes to escape the Tories” conveniently ignoring the recent 13 years of Labour government.

    Typical of Salmond, the snake oil salesman.

    • telemachus

      A clever demagogue

    • justejudexultionis

      New Labour was Thatcherite Tory in all but name!
      SAOR ALBA

      • telemachus

        Scotland is free you dense Scot
        We gave you all the powers you can handle
        And we underwrote your banks to the tune of billions when fellow Scots like Alfred the Shed screwed up
        We are being kind by denying you a yes in the referendum

        • allymax bruce

          What you, Labour, gave us, Scots, was evil realpoliticks; ‘divide & conquer’ cringing self-hate third-raters. Nasty, ugly, hating, negative, cringing, evil politicians. Everything Labour did/do with power, was/is evil. Labour are inherently evil; they know of no other way.

          • Kitty MLB

            And one may say similar words about those ignorant hate filled
            caterwauling Labour voters. And yet wee Eck wishes them to
            help him keep out the Tories. And in reality he may also have a lot of the MP’s back. But I suppose you are welcome to them.

            • allymax bruce

              Hi Kitty, a house of sturdy-brick, made on the foundations of slippery-sand, will always ‘fail’. I think what we are seeing in Scottish politics just now is all for the iReferendum. After the Yes vote in 5 months time, we should see SNP turn the page. I don’t expect Labour to though; like I said before, they, Labour, know of no other way, than disingenuous cringe-politics.

      • Real Scot

        New Labour was run by Scotsmen.

        • Kitty MLB

          Indeed, bonkers Brown, Darling and all the rest.
          As well as all the other Scottish Labour MP’s
          having a say in how England is run.
          Pray tell me sir, are Scottish Labour voters
          Caterwauling fruit bats in the same vein
          as the English versons who forever
          vote for their own destruction- the SNP
          what these.

          • Call me Dave.

            The ‘new labour’ “project”was the creation of a clan; a Scottish raj; a caledonian-camorra… Blair, Brown, Campbell, Cook, Darling, Irvine…..

            • Colonel Mustard

              And Brown was a scion of the Communist Manifesto. Perhaps the first of the Labour Trojan Horse passengers to get into No.10 (Wilson was a tool of the Soviet Union bit constrained by his era).

          • Jambo25

            The main progenitor of New Labour was Peter Mandelson. Not a Scottish bone in his body.

            • Wessex Man

              There I was thinking it was Smith but why let factas intrude upon your biased little world.

              • Jambo25

                No, the inventor of ‘triangulation’ was Mandelson, not Smith.

        • Jambo25

          In order to be elected by “Middle England”. It was a con trick.

      • HookesLaw

        Hilariaous.

      • Call me Dave.

        Alba, Alban Albania.

      • jazz606

        Rubbish.

    • Kitty MLB

      Well, yes Scotland hate the Tories far more then they
      dislike England. Wee Eck is playing a very manipulative
      game- very clever just like the Messiah Blair.
      I do worry about beautiful Scotland and her people
      both of which I am very fond of.I feel as if they are
      pawns in some kind of game.

      • JamesH12

        i,m sure you could be even more patronising if you made the effort.On second thoughts-you couldn’t!

        • Kitty MLB

          James, named after Scotlands misunderstood
          and brave king.I dearly hope he understood
          the sense of the ridiculous.Do lighten up
          Blair was not the massiah and nor is Salmond,
          Those with extreme views are hardly rational
          human beings as you will find our, dearest
          James….

          • telemachus

            The key thing about James is that he united our great kingdoms before the parliaments got round to ratifying true union
            We have clearly stated that the Scots canno have the pound or EU membership
            Should we deny them Queen Elizabeth
            I for one would be in favour

            • Kitty MLB

              Yes, indeed Telemachus. I am reading rather a lot about
              James at the moment.
              No indeed, Scotland cannot keep the Pound as some
              kind of’ security blanket” to have at the expense of the English taxpayer. Independence means just that.
              The Queen is also the Queen of Scotland- but some might
              say, actually the United Kingdom..I am not going to open
              that can of worms.

              • telemachus

                No but Salmond would no doubt agree that the concept of hereditary privelege exemplified by the monarchy and hangers on is iniquitous i this day and age

      • jazz606

        They blame Mrs T for shutting down their basket case industries when the fault was entirely their own.

        • Kitty MLB

          Not ones for holding a ill- conceived grudge for too long are they. And what about Labours last rampage..
          Oh, that is ok they are not ‘ evil ‘ Tories.

      • P_S_W

        It is clearly Salmond’s strategy to appeal to the Conservative hating majority to gain independence, but this is a very disingenuous strategy.
        Should Scotland gain independence and go their own way (please), then a conservative opposition will form to counter the profligate spending of all the left-leaning parties.
        This is natural, so anyone thinking that independence will mean the end of Conservative opposition to Salmond’s plans is fooling themselves.

        • Kitty MLB

          Hello, you will not remember me from the other place , you never approved of me calling Cameron a serpent. Yes you are correct. I remember Saltire telling me what Scotland hate more then the English are the Conservatives, and Salmond
          is playing to the most common denominator. Yet he is forgetting that the SNP is closer to the Conservatives the Labour and why would anyone want Labour’s caterwauling
          voters.

    • Real Scot

      Salmond is disingenuous and embittered; little men are always officious.

      The Army has a name for men like him, LMS: Little Man Syndrome.

    • Call me Dave.

      Blair was a Scot. As were 1/3 of Labour’s cabinet.

      • Jambo25

        So 2/3 of the cabinet weren’t Scottish and the vast majority of its MPs weren’t either.

        • Call me Dave.

          England would lose hitherto disenfranchised Scottish MPs 2/3 of them labour; the demography of the commons would be changed overnight….. Thus, ensuring a yawningly long Tory mandate.

          It matters not how many Labour MPs are Scottish; though the list is exceedingly long. What matters is the cabinet, the leaders, the face of Labour is very Scottish. Hence their attack on the Tories, who have few.

          • Wessex Man

            You Call me Dave and Jambo are both completely wrong as to the make up of the Blair/Brown Cabinets, youCall me Dave probalby because you’ve no idea to numbers but Jambo 25 knows perfectly well because I have listed them before, when he asked me to list them and I did.

            There were actually twenty Scottish Labour Cabinet Ministers in those Cabinets dominating them completely and thet had all signed the Scottish Claim of Right vowing to put the interests of Scotland above all others.

            The number of English Cabinet Members were very small at one time four.

            • Denis_Cooper

              The irritatingly excessive Scottishness of the Blair government was a direct consequence of Thatcher having driven Labour out of most parts of England, apart from London and other cities, but at the same time allowing the Tories to be driven out of Scotland and also Wales. Hence the change from a Tory government to a Labour government after the 1997 election necessarily meant that the new government was over reliant on senior party members who had survived Thatcher by being elected in Scotland or Wales. It had many new MPs elected in England in its 1997 landslide victory, but they were junior in the parliamentary party and only began to rise into the government later on.

              • Jambo25

                “The irritatingly excessive Scottishness of the Blair government.”. I think if I started writing or talking about the ‘irritatingly excessive Englishness’ of every other government I’ve ever lived under I might get some interesting replies from the ‘usual suspects’ down south.

                • Denis_Cooper

                  Of course you will tend to get irritatingly excessive Englishness of a government if the governing party is only capable of getting parliamentary candidates elected in England, although that is mitigated to some extent by chosen refugees from the increasingly hostile political environment in Scotland being handed seats in England, as with Rifkind.

                • Wessex Man

                  and James Gray.

                • Jambo25

                  You cannot blame Scots for not voting for a Tory Party that has been going out of its way to alienate them since about the time of Heath. The same thing is true of the North of England and the vast bulk of Wales.

                • Denis_Cooper

                  I don’t blame the Scots for not voting for the Tories, I blame the Tories for alienating voters in Scotland. And the same in those other parts of the UK that you mention.

                • HJ777

                  Instead of assertions, why not supply an argument for a change?

                  In what way has the Tory party gone out of its way to ‘alienate’ Scots? I am no Tory, but I simply cannot see that there is any truth in this assertion.

                • Jambo25

                  1) Having a series of leaders from Heath onwards who went right up the noses of most of the Scottish electorate.
                  2) Pushing policies which made little sense to much of the Scottish electorate.
                  If I am wrong then you can supply the answer to why huge areas of Scotland, which have all the markings of ‘natural’ Tory country, such as the Borders, Edinburgh, Perthshire etc, steadfastly vote for virtually anyone but the Tories,

                • HJ777

                  I suppose that it was purest optimism on my part to hope for any specifics or facts from you rather than your usual bunch of assertions.

                • Call me Dave.

                  Perhaps you should invade England to change the constituency boundries if you want an even more disproportionate Scottish presence.

                • Jambo25

                  I, however, don’t necessarily object to English people holding power if they are elected. You don’t seem to like Scottish born people holding power. Its part of being in a multi-national union unless you want some regulation to stop Scots holding office.

                • Realpolitik

                  You’re such a liar, what makes you think I don’t like scots in office????

                  I was making the point that labour has had 2 Scottish leaders and a much more Scottish cabinet than the Tories,hence, salmond attacking the Tories not labour who have a lot of Scottish representatives

                  It’s that simple, perhaps not simple enough for you

                • Realpolitik

                  Still waiting for an answer, unless of course you accused me of it to be invidious and persuade 3rd party readers…. It appears to have worked, a lot of thick people on this thread,; you must feel at home

                  How about answering the question?

                • Jambo25

                  What question?

                • Realpolitik

                  The one you’ve ignored of course……”what makes you think I don’t like scots in office????”

                • allymax bruce

                  Like your-man Nigel is doing in France?
                  Strange how Nigel says he wants out of Europe, but goes to ‘rally foreign citizens’ IN Europe!

                • Realpolitik

                  Farage loves the countries of Europe as much as I or the next man, he enjoys fine French wines daily. He just doesn’t support the EU.

                • allymax bruce

                  I’m a wee bit curious as to why Nigel ‘swerved’ Marine Le Pen and Front National, and went for a tiny anti-EU party to support?

                • Realpolitik

                  Really? Try watching have I got news for you

                  http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b040ql1r/Have_I_Got_News_for_You_Series_47_Episode_2/

                  and this is a “politically neutral” public funded organisation.

              • terregles2

                You want a British government to remain in Westminster yet get irritated when anyone from the British state serving in that British government is Scottish.
                Hopefully we will end your irritation in September.

                • Denis_Cooper

                  You seem to have skipped over the word “excessive”.

                • Jambo25

                  What do you define as “excessive”?

                • Denis_Cooper

                  Greatly disproportionate to the relative populations and numbers of voters in different parts of the UK. Not just rather more than would have been expected if the government had been drawn uniformly from across the UK, but a lot more, to the point where it began to grate even for an Englishman of Unionist inclination to hear yet another Scot laying down the law for England. Which of course the Labour MPs elected in Scotland insisted on doing even after it had got to the point where in effect they were using their casting votes to impose a law on England (and often Wales) which they knew would not apply to Scotland and their own constituents. However as I said in my original comment this was the indirect result of Thatcher having previously beaten Labour so soundly but in the process having created deep political divisions not just within the UK as a whole but between different parts of the UK. It just so happens that there is still a defined border between England and Scotland, an existing fault line, otherwise we might now be seeing people in parts of northern England also wondering about whether to leave the UK and get away from domination by Tories elected in the south. There is however another difference, which is that those parts of northern England depend on significant net subsidies from southern England while Scotland does not, despite many people in England still labouring under the “England subsidising Scotland” delusion promoted by the likes of Boris Johnson in an attempt to garner votes for the Tories in England. I don’t suppose that he and some other senior Tories would shed many tears if the Scots did vote for Scotland to leave the UK, on the contrary they would celebrate it as a good job for their party.

              • allymax bruce

                Denis, I’m inclined to agree with you; Scots must stop making excuses for the most evil politicians that have plagued these isalnds; it doesn’t matter if they were Scots, English, Welsh or otherwise’, they, Labour, were, and still are inherently evil. Don’t vote Labour!

                • Realpolitik

                  So back to my point; labour are more scottish than the Tories.

                  Also the Tories are unionists; unlike labour.

                  Hence, Slamond’s attack on labour.

                  P.S Jambo25 Dennis the menace etc, this is not me saying “I hate Scots in government” or “Labour are a wholly Scottish party”…. as much as you like to twist what I say.

                • allymax bruce

                  Sorry mate, I haven’t been following yer ‘ding-dong’ with other forum commentors; I really can’t say.
                  However, I do like a bit o’ drama; the article says, “and a group of shouty actors putting on extracts from a pro-independence play which will premiere in Edinburgh this summer.” … I did the same at a iReferendum debate two weeks ago, and nobody cottoned-on; Liz Lochhead, our Scots National Poet, was on the ‘poliitcal panel’, and she gave an ’emotional exposition’ to what was otherwise a boring political Yes-slam_fest by the politicos. I thought Liz was great; she got up from her seat, went up to the orators podium, stretched out her arms to the audience in the hall, (a existential manifest, of latent desire/purpose of projection), and read poetry! Well, I thought this was great! No plodding political-issue posturing; rather, a wee muse of how Scots can be self-doubting, at not seeing the ‘dark noise’ propaganda being piled into them, from their own ‘British’ State propaganda tv’s. So, I wonder if I will get a call from the Fringe organisers?

            • Jambo25

              There may have been 20 individuals who were Scottish in the Blair/Brown cabinets but that was over a 13 year period. How many English/Welsh cabinet members over that period?

              • Wessex Man

                You know as well as I that I am talking about the period 1997-1999 when I last compiled the list of them at your request, they were and still are referred to as the Labour Scottish Mafia, who controlled all matters and forced through the Devolution of Scotland and Wales and the English Regions. Yes, that’s just how it was phrased. They fully intended to break up England into Regions and they tasked John Prescott, a Welshman and Lord Falconer an unelected flatmate of Tony blair to impose it on England.

                • Jambo25

                  Strange that no one refers to the overwhelming hold of the English on all the Westminster parties as ‘the English Mafia’.
                  There were a lot of prominent Scots in 1997 for a very simple reason. English Labour had largely committed suicide during the 80s and 90s and the Scots Labour prominente were the last men standing. The reason why you, in England, didn’t get a parliament is very simple. You didn’t get off your behinds and demand one. You still aren’t doing so now. You prefer to whine about the Scots instead.

            • Andy Dowland

              I don’t think your research is correct, Wessex Man. The lowest number of English cabinet ministers in the Blair ministry was 8 on two separate periods

              June to October 2003; Beckett, Blunkett, Boateng, Clarke, Hoon, Jowell, Andrew Smith, Straw.

              November 2005 to May 2006; Beckett, Benn, Clarke, Hoon, Hutton, Johnson, Jowell, Straw.

              Brown’s ministry never had less than an English majority in cabinet.

            • Call me Dave.

              It amazes me you say this, given I made my point quite clear, between the two possible parties he could have chosen from; he chose the Tories, the question is “why the Tories”; the answer is because labour was disproportionately represented by Scots and had consecutive Scottish leaders UNLIKE the Tories.

          • Jambo25

            There would be comparatively little change in the overall balance of party power in the Commons. Look back over election results since 1945. Scotland has hardly ever had a major effect on the party in power.

            • Doggie Roussel

              So 40 + Scottish MPs disappearing from Westminster wouldn’t make a difference…

              That’s an almost unbelievable statement… you think Labour losing so many seats wouldn’t change the political landscape…

              • Jambo25

                Not really. That’s about 6% of Commons seats.

                • Call me Dave.

                  But these seats are LABOUR SEATS not “commons seats” WOW. Stop drinking the highland water.

                • Jambo25

                  Which means that there are 19 non Labour seats in the mix as well. That’s about 3% of Commons seats. So Labour has an advantage of about 21 seats in the Commons. Once again; look at election results since 1945. They have virtually always given the result the way England votes.

                • Realpolitik

                  So how will this not give the Tories a huge advantage given Labour will lose a lot of seats? The coming election is likely to be a very close one and the Tories will welcome this.

              • Tony Quintus

                40? try nearly 60, 19 Burgh and 40 County, 40 is just the number of Labour MPs.

              • Colonel Mustard

                In the 2010 GE the Tories got 7% more of the vote than Labour but won only 48 more seats.

                In the 2005 GE Labour got less than 3% more of the vote than the Tories but won 139 more seats.

                The system is rotten and gives Labour a built-in advantage.

              • Call me Dave.

                Hear hear.

                • allymax bruce

                  Why would bother about us Scots?
                  Sort yer ane moose-hoose oot!

          • Jambo25

            What proportion of Scots, in a party, in your view, makes it a ‘Scottish’ party/ 10%, 15%, 20%.

            • Realpolitik

              You’re so thick it’s incredible, labour are more Scottish than the Tories, with 2 Scottish leaders and many scots in their cabinet, unlike the Tories

              Do you really not understand it? I’ve explained it about 10 times now; labour are more Scottish than the Tories. That is it . So simple.

              I never said they were a Scottish party, I never said I hated scots being in office, I simply said labour are more Scottish than the Tories, get it thicko?

        • Greenslime

          So with just under 8.4% of the UK population comprising people who live in Scotland and Scottish MPs comprising just over 9% of the total sitting at Westminster it strikes me that a 33% presence in the cabinet pretty much ensured that Scotland was very well represented during those years of Labour.

          • Jambo25

            That only leaves the other 294 years of the Union to worry about.

            • BobH2003

              Yes, that was when the real rot started, about 300 years ago when that Scottish king took the throne of England.

      • terregles2

        What are you saying that the Briitish government should only have English people serving on it.
        Or is it alright for the Scots and Welsh and Northern Irish to be elected to Westminster so long as all the top jobs are always reserved for English politicians only.

        • Wessex Man

          Hello terregles2, have you been away girl? you really shouldn’t at this time you should be pounding those pavements and knocking on those doors with vigour. You still haven’t said when you want me to come up and help.

        • Call me Dave.

          When have I ever said that? I’m in shock that my point has been transposed, when the meaning is so unambiguous.

          I am saying; the Tories have fewer Scots than Labour did, labour’s leaders were Scots, they had more Scots in their cabinet…..

          let me ask you, if I have a hand containing 4 nuts and 10 dried fruits, and another hand containing 1 nut and 13 dried fruits which would you consider to be the “nuttiest” hand?

          • Jambo25

            What are you saying? You, the man, who throws accusations of stupidity around doesn’t seem to be too sure.

            • Realpolitik

              I’m simply amazed by your stupidity, I’m begging to think you’re just a troll.
              All I said was labour are more Scottish than the Tories, I gave examples such as their 2 previous leaders and the number if scots in their cabinet

              Since then you’ve accused me of calling them a Scottish party and claimed I hated the idea of scots in office, you’re very delusional or/and ignorant

              • Jambo25

                You’re simply not very good at expressing yourself.

                • Realpolitik

                  I explained it in over 10 comments, the vast majority understood, I used child-like analogy of fruits in hands and dumbed it down so much that it was painful to type.

                • Jambo25

                  There’s your problem. I respond better to something more sophisticated.

                • Realpolitik

                  Yet you weren’t able to understand it, and your replies proved as much.

          • allymax bruce

            ” if I have a hand containing 4 nuts and 10 dried fruits, and another hand containing 1 nut and 13 dried fruits which would you consider to be the “nuttiest” hand? ”

            I would say you fit the Palace of Sexminster sleaze portfolio quite well!

            • Realpolitik

              The fruits were of course dried banana.

              • allymax bruce

                I was going to guess that next.

                • Realpolitik

                  Miniature bananas ~ naturally, very dry and shriveled.

          • HJ777

            If you are shocked by the stupidity of comments from Terregles2 then clearly you have not come across her before.

            I would be shocked if she made an intelligent comment.

            • Realpolitik

              It just amazes me; I often wonder how on earth Labour were elected for three terms, now I know.

        • Kitty MLB

          We have a somewhat extortionate amount of Scottish MP’s
          in Westminster voting on English concerns and then mindboggling reason complaining about Westminster.
          Maybe some Scots just like moaning..I wonder who will
          be the next big bad wolf, clearly, some must always have one.

          • terregles2

            You are right Kitty. I expect after Scottish independence some English people will keep whinging.
            With the Scots gone they will probably blame the EU or immigrants.
            They seem to be constantly moaning about them at the moment so expect that will just get worse.

            • Kitty MLB

              Well you might be moaning even more then usual soon
              when you no longer have the pound as a security blanket.
              Forge a closer relationship with the EU.. mind you,
              do you not have to apply to be a member as a new small
              country. Well see if life is better in Salmond’ s brave new world, full of milk and honey. We will safe a fortune and
              will be able to send you back all the useless MP’s .

              • terregles2

                Dear sweet Kitty you seem to be showing your claws you are usually so kittenish and loving.
                If you think the vote for a change in the governance of Scotland is about Alex Salmond then you have not really grasped the basics.
                There are five political parties campaigning for a YES vote. After independence there will be a general election and we do not know which party will win it nor indeed who will still be leader of each party.
                Bitter unionists cannot present a convincing argument in favour of the union and demonise the first Minister instead.
                I’ll leave you to carry on with your sniping at Scotland on your scratching post.

    • Spammo Twatbury

      You’d need the brains of a piece of cold toast to describe Blair’s government as “Labour” in anything but name.

    • allymax bruce

      Ahh! Your manifest cringing surfaces from your latent dark-soul of self-hate!
      Everyman …, (late 15th, early 16th century play on immorality!), your ‘cringe’ is showing!

  • DaveTheRave

    At least they have a ‘choice’ north of the border. But why oh why give up that new found ‘freedom’ from the Tories (the English)… and give it to Brussels???

    • telemachus

      Come to think of it if I were a Scot I would not think that a bad deal
      Get away from the yoke of the hated Tories
      And away from the English politicians whining about Brusslels constantly
      Without London the Scots could forge a great future with Merkel Hollande etc

      • Call me Dave.

        Do you realise Scottish independence will give the Tories a MASSIVE advantage in the elections? Thought I’d enlighten you to that fact – being a labour supporter and all.

        • Wessex Man

          Typical toryboy tactics, the Tories are fading faster than Labour.

          Vote UKip!

          • Call me Dave.

            I’m not a Tory, I’m a UKIP supporter; formerly known as DaveEd CamerBand

            • Kitty MLB

              I Quite liked the other name, although you left
              out Cleggie for some reason.And that photo
              you have of Cameron looking somewhat
              menacing is a little disconcerning.

              • Realpolitik

                people’s sense of irony on here makes it difficult.

                • Kitty MLB

                  Including George Galloway and Caroline Lucas – Hmm !
                  I see you point. You’ll find a suitable and original one I am sure.

                • Realpolitik

                  From what I’ve heard the Lib-dems are taking a few of the MRL party votes. Just received a UKIP European election leaflet through my door, I do wish they didn’t waste money on such things, as if they won’t win.

                • Kitty MLB

                  We never receive any leaflets through our
                  door, regarding any elections, ever.
                  MRL have an excellent selection of hats,
                  you can tell a lot about a person by their
                  head wear .

                • Realpolitik

                  Particularly Miliband’s pilleus cornutus.

                • Kitty MLB

                  Ah, Harriet Hateman has a fetching steeple- crowned hat and
                  ( with matching broomstick) and Cleggie, a somewhat debonair Dutch hoed.

  • Call me Dave.

    Vote ‘yes’ to join the EU.

  • Kitty MLB

    Wee Eck, standing there, almost floating in the air of his own
    self esteem. I notice the fragrant Nicola standing close,
    she with hidden teeth, who criticized Salmond last week,
    over some evil….remember Mr Ego the woman of the
    species, especially when ambitious can be deadly.
    We would not her to burst that balloon and for
    Wee Eck to float off to his oblivion.

    • Kitty MLB

      A correction, not over some evil, just something
      or the other- apologies.

      • telemachus

        MLB?

        • Kitty MLB

          I have explained that to you, but not going into
          details you noisy parker , just kitty is all
          you need to know, not that you know little me.
          Remove the Sherlock Holmes hat, it really
          doesn’t suit you, telemachus- whoever you
          may or maynot be.

          • telemachus

            My husband is always accusing me of snooping but I am a little old to be called a nosy parker

            • Kitty MLB

              Indeed, nosy parker.Glad you still have those
              marbles and sharp eyes, Miss Marple dear.
              You toddle off and make yourself a nice milky
              drink and I hope the bugs do not bite….

              • telemachus

                Our team are sharp and everywhere

                • Real Scot

                  I’m not interested in the personal sniping between the two of you: let’s get back to something far more interesting, our mutual hatred of Salmond.

                • Wessex Man

                  Who hates Salmond? life is too short!

                • Kitty MLB

                  ” Hate” is a very ugly word. And Telemachus and I never snipe.

                • Colonel Mustard

                  As sharp as billiard balls. They come in different colours too but you always know what sound they make.

    • telemachus

      Just so Kitty
      Salmond’s bubble will,burst in September
      Lots of good cooking fat

  • @PhilKean1

    .
    An acquaintance of mine is desperately trying to sell his Edinburgh based properties because the word is there’ll be a property price crash if the Scottish people vote for independence.
    .

    • telemachus

      He can safely hang on to them

      • @PhilKean1

        .
        I think he has a point.

        A lot of UK pension, insurance and finance companies are based in Scotland and are currently looking for premises south of the border in case the Scots vote for independence.

        That’s a lot of staff moving to England and a lot of empty and for sale houses and flats for sale.
        And don’t forget that English property investors are not going to want part of their portfolio based in a country that, whatever the naive and economically-illiterate Mr Salmond says, WILL end up signed up to the Euro currency.
        .

        • telemachus

          Come September they will all be back
          Your friend should take the opportunity of the current scare to invest in property in anticipation of the September/October boom

        • JayPee28bpr

          Sorry, but this is nonsense. Very few finance jobs in Edinburgh are in regulated roles, and it is unlikely those jobs will migrate to London, if only because salaries and office rents in Edinburgh are roughly 50% lower than London. It’s no different to the low-skill jobs in finance that have all been moved to India over the last 10 years or so. The most likely finance job losses in Edinburgh are likely to be at RBS’ HQ, and that’s down to the announced restructuring of RBS: unrelated to the referendum completely.
          I’ve just relocated to Edinburgh, and I can assure you there are few attractive properties that fail to sell quickly and at good prices.
          I very much hope for a No vote in September, but the idea that the world will end if there is a Yes vote is laughable. My bigger concern in the event of a Yes vote is that nationalists will soon become very disillusioned, and how that will play out is hard to predict. Scotland faces significant fiscal challenges whatever the result. It is hard to see current levels of public expenditure being maintained for very long and, in an iScotland, the government will have less time to adjust than would be the case if it were simply a 10%-ish component of wider UK expenditure.
          One final point, virtually every No voter I know has as little time for the Etonocracy at Westminster as any Yes voter. Cameron’s idiotic speech from the Olympic velodrome was nauseating. We all want more power devolving to Scotland, and none of us see Cameron’s mob as delivering that. May 2015 will see a return to zero representatives from Scotland for the Conservative party, irrespective of the referendum result.

          • @PhilKean1

            You obviously haven’t heard that two of the UK’s biggest, Scottish-based pension companies are frantically making plans to shift their base of operations to England.

            And from what I am hearing, they feel they can’t wait and take the risk that Scotland breaks away. They are going anyway.

            I saw an interview with one of the bosses of one of the companies who said it would be impossible to stay in Scotland when the vast majority of their customers are English – and especially as Scotland must end up using the Euro.
            .

            • Kitty MLB

              Scotland believes that Edinburgh will
              be considered in the same way as London
              as far as the big wide world is concerned.
              But at least Edinburgh has a beautiful
              imposing castle and one of the best universities.

            • Jambo25

              No they aren’t.

              • Wessex Man

                that’s very insightful as usual.

              • @PhilKean1

                Yes, I agree with Wessex. Flooded with reasoning.
                .

                • Jambo25

                  Agree with what?

            • JayPee28bpr

              Phil,
              I’ve worked in this industry for over 20 years, holding positions up to Board level. None of the big firms will move jobs en masse away from Edinburgh. The cost of doing so would far outweigh any (risk) benefits associated with possible currency exposure etc. The income of these firms already has substantial currency exposure. Why? Because fees are typically a %age of assets managed, and a high proportion of those assets are non-GBP denominated. Investors of all stripes typically run geographically-diversified portfolios, so the manager’s income is a %age of the USD/EUR/GBP assets. Hence they already must run (or more typically manage) their own exposure between fees earned on GBP and non-GBP holdings. In any case, most of the big players in the UK are actually owned by non-UK parents (mostly US and some European). So GBP is not their main group currency of operation anyway. There really is no such thing as a UK insurer/asset manager. Even if they have an exclusively UK client base, they will not be running anything like a 100% GBP income stream. The impact of iScotland is far more to do with regulation, in particular continued access to EU Directives such as UCITS, AIFMD, Solvency II etc. Hence regulated activities may move south if iScotland could not maintain access to EU law seamlessly in 2016. However, that is more a case of setting up mirror legal structures in England. Much of the actual work would continue to be done in Scotland, but ultimate management and control would be in England. Only those roles specifically requiring regulation would be likely to move, and most of the jobs in Edinburgh are in activities that are not subject to regulation. Worth noting that UK leaving EU would more likely have a bigger impact on financial firms than Scotland leaving UK.

              • @PhilKean1

                This isn’t what I am hearing.

                But if they don’t move to England, a lot of pension savers, including myself, will be on the phone asking for our transfer statements.
                .

        • Lady Magdalene

          I’m giving it until July. Then, if Standard Life hasn’t announced it’s moving south my pension and investments will be …… to an English-based company.

          • @PhilKean1

            I am in the same boat as you.

            It will be unacceptable to stay with the same company if they stay in a Scotland which leaves the Union.
            .

    • Shinsei1967

      I can assure you that the Edinburgh property market is extremely bubbly at the moment. Prices are rising and sealed bids are being employed for the better properties.

      What this has to say about people’s views on whether independence will or will not happen I don’t know.

      And a lot of the buyers are Londoners. Edinburgh is about a fifth the price of London.

      • justejudexultionis

        And the quality of the real estate is generally high – there are beautiful properties available in the New Town at a fraction of the cost of an equivalent property anywhere in London.

      • Erictheowl

        All the better time to sell, then, before the inevitable crash.

  • Denis_Cooper

    I’m just about old enough to remember when the Tories and their Unionist allies won more than 50% of the votes in Scotland, not just 17%. Not that I can say that I do remember it, because I was more interested in other things in 1955 and didn’t notice it happening. Still, it is an interesting thought that by its actions and inactions over six decades a party can manage to throw away such strong support and not only reduce itself to near irrelevance but actually get itself widely hated.

    • telemachus

      Those Tories said the Union should be of the wedding ring not the handcuff
      Our problem is that we all forgot this
      Letting the Odious Lard Tub gain credence

    • Wessex Man

      By doing exactly what they are doing now so successfully in England alienating everyone not of the elist view point. I know you would prefer to keep the Union but it’s not working for the people of England either and nor is the Tory party, Call me Dave has merely completed the task started by previous Tory leaders.

      • Denis_Cooper

        If the Tory party is the root of the problem, as it is, then we should get rid of the Tory party but try to keep the Scots within the UK.

        • Colonel Mustard

          The Tory party is only a “problem” for the collective wishing to create a single party state which includes, unfortunately, people at the top of the Tory party.

        • Wessex Man

          The will of the Scottish people will prevail, we have no say as to whether they stay in the Union.

          The only thing I want a say in if the Scots gain “Independence” is a referendum of all English, Welsh and N.I. people before the UK Government agrees to share currency with what will be a very left wing Socialist Country, running alongside a long overdue referendum of the English about a Parliament of our own.

          • Denis_Cooper

            There is no sign that the present UK government would agree to either of those referendums, despite relying on the support of MPs elected in England. That’s because they view us with contempt bordering on loathing and don’t think we deserve what they willingly allow for the other parts of the UK.

        • terregles2

          The tory party is not the root problem in Scotland. new Labour are equally bad.

          Many people in Scotland want to be like every other country in the world and have self determination.. Can you give one reason why Scottish people should not wish to have control of their own country?

          • Wessex Man

            There is none, however there is no need to be quite so agressively anti English as most of the pro Yes Campaign are on these blogs.

            • Kitty MLB

              There are some very aggressive Scottish people here.
              Who want someone to throw stones at whilst they cry into
              their Haggis. If they leave, I wonder who they will throw stones at then- they clearly need a ‘ big bad wolf’.

          • Denis_Cooper

            And yet only yesterday Salmond highlighted the Tories in his speech.

          • Kitty MLB

            And yet wee Eck has made it about the Tories
            has he said in his speech.Slyly playing to
            the most common denominator.Tony Blair
            would have been so impressed.

        • Kitty MLB

          And have the Labour running the country ?

    • jazz606

      Yes, that was before the socialists destroyed much of British Industry.

  • Andy

    Did Leni Riefenstahl film it ?

    • telemachus

      Salmond’s Triumph of the Will

      • Andy

        or Triumph of the Lard.

    • justejudexultionis

      Probably, it was easily as scary as any Thatcherite rally of the early 1980s.

    • Colin

      “Did Leni Riefenstahl film it ?”

      I think she may have filmed this little gem, though.

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7TOgB3Smvro

      “We’re alright !”

  • In2minds

    Alex Salmond –

    “He is good when addressing his own party – but it would be hard not to
    be, given that he has led the SNP for a quarter of its existence” –

    So that would longer than Kim Jong-il led North Korea then?

    • telemachus

      Kim Jong-il is positively charismatic by comparison

      • Wessex Man

        oh come Tele, as compared to Gordon Brown or John Reid?

        • Kitty MLB

          Or Dennis Skinner & the enigmatic Eagle sisters.
          Now I must actually find a charismatic Labour person-
          I suppose there is Chris Bryant

          • Wessex Man

            fingers burnt Kitty!

  • Hexhamgeezer

    Funny and tragic.

    Wee ‘Eck sees his life’s ambition slipping away. The Promised Land of being a satrapy of Brussels looking ever more distant, prompting desperate appeals to an opposing clan.

    Tragic that while mad McBroon attained his ultimate prize, despite losing ‘his’ precious’ through indecision, yet he is consigned to being CEO of a subsidiary.

    • telemachus

      The opposing clan will have no truck with this tub of lard
      Strategy has to be however to keep heads down and let megalomania speak for itself
      The 41 Scottish MP’s are part of the strategy to be done with the party with just one Scottish MP
      Relax
      Watch the famous victory for the charismatic one at the London Marathon tomorrow

      • allymax bruce

        So, you’re not really in Politcal Democracy for Representing the People then. All you want is Power; by any means.

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