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Scottish independence: an exemplary or cautionary foreign policy Rorschach Test?

9 April 2014

3:35 PM

9 April 2014

3:35 PM

The eyes of the world are upon us. Or so Scottish Nationalists like to say. Whae’s like us? There is some truth to this even if you think unseemly all the boasting we heard about the number of foreign journalists attending, say, the launch of the Scottish Government’s White Paper on independence. It’s all a bit Sally Field for me. A kind of cringe, if you will.

What’s less frequently said is that almost all foreign governments would prefer Scotland to vote No. “We all prefer the status quo” one western diplomat told me recently. “That’s just the way states operate.” Known things are preferable to unknown things, even if the unknown things might be fine.

Which brings me to Lord Robertson of Port Ellen’s speech to the Brookings Institute yesterday. Islay’s finest suggested Scottish independence might have “cataclysmic” geo-political consequences, an unfortunate – and perhaps needlessly inflammatory – suggestion declared “insulting and offensive” by Nicola Sturgeon.

As it happens, I think Robertson could have chosen his words more carefully. It is difficult to talk about “the forces of darkness” who might welcome Scottish independence without seeming just a little bit odd.

Nevertheless – and in solipsistic Scotland this seems to have been missed – it is worth observing that Robertson was not actually talking about Scotland. Not really. He was talking about Britain.

Robertson is a Unionist and he thinks Britain would be left weaker if Scotland votes for independence. I see nothing controversial about that. By definition decimating the United Kingdom must leave it smaller than it was pre-decimation. Weaker too. Perhaps even less influential.

If we really are Better Together the betterness applies to the rump UK as well as to Scotland. That is, Scotland matters to the UK just as surely as, from a Unionist perspective, the UK matters to Scotland. Collectively we are greater than the sum of our individual parts.

Perhaps you disagree with that. Fine. But that’s what Robertson was arguing. He was at Brookings to discuss the international implications of independence. He may be mistaken in thinking that “The loudest cheers for the breakup of Britain would be from our adversaries and from our enemies” but that doesn’t make his argument disgraceful or insulting or even, god help us, offensive.

He was not, I think, suggesting that voting Yes makes you a de facto ally of Vladimir Putin or the Iranian mullahs. He was, instead, arguing that independence would be a disaster for Britain. (Whether it would be a disaster for Scotland is a different matter. Lord Robertson certainly believes it would be sub-optimal but that, again, was not the focus of his remarks.) Rather than bullying or threatening Scots he was, I think, taking a detached view of the argument, analysing it not simply in terms of Scotland and England but, instead, in terms of Britain and the world.

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A weaker Britain – weaker not least because the UK’s armed forces and defence needs would, presumably, remain the same but require to be recruited from not much more than 90% of its present population – would be less well-placed to play a leading role in international affairs. Which is why he thinks independence would cheer “the dictators, the persecutors, the oppressors, the annexers, the aggressors and the adventurers around the planet”.

You may think this exaggerated. You might even think it nonsense. But that rather depends, I fancy, on whether you think the United Kingdom a force for good in international affairs. Not perfect and not without its share of past blunders but, in general and on the whole, one of the better guys.

Which led Robertson to worry that:

I fear from time to time that we Scots are living in a veritable bubble in this debate and outside of that increasingly fractious bubble, we’re losing sight of the fact that our decision on the 18th of September will have much wider and bigger implications that any of us yet grasp.

On this, actually, the noble Lord and his nationalist opponents agree. But where nationalists see independence as exemplary, Robertson (and others) consider it cautionary. It’s a kind of constitutional Rorschach test.

The unity of Spain or Belgium are questions to which I am supremely indifferent not least because these are matters for others to determine. Nevertheless, it’s certainly the case that some Scottish nationalists cheer on the Catalan separatists (and vice versa) and you can see why the Spanish government might be hostile to Scottish independence for fear it would encourage Spain’s own centrifugal forces. Perhaps Scottish independence would not have any international impact or spillover effects but, from the perspective of politicians for whom the status quo is comfortable, you can see why they fear what Robertson termed the Balkanisation of europe. You need not agree with him to understand that it’s hardly an idiotic or ignoble perspective.

As it happens, Lord Robertson was not the only prominent Scotsman speechifying in the United States this week. Alex Salmond was in New York where he spoke about an independent Scotland’s (figurative) place in the world. Much of it, frankly, was the usual boilerplate stuff about Scots’ contributions to the United States and little of it was in any way objectionable. Scotland would aspire to be “a good global citizen” working “in partnership with countries across the planet” and who could really be driven mad by that sort of padding?

“You can aspire to be a great nation, without desiring to be a great power” the First Minister said which, of course, is both true and, in Scotland’s case, meaningless since the opportunity to be a great power is not available. But here we find Salmond’s critique of Britain: most nations cannot be a great power “and they reduce their chance to be a great nation, if they pretend to be a great power.” In case you missed the message, he added that he seeks a Scotland “whose importance is judged on its usefulness to the rest of humanity, not on fading imperial grandeur”.

Which is fine and a perfectly respectable perspective. But also one, I hazard, that shows the limitations of the SNP’s understanding of Britain. There is a view in nationalist circles that there is something ridiculous about Britain’s role in the world.

It is time, as the Irish say, Britain copped on to itself. Time she recognised that the sun set on empire long ago and that it ain’t ever going to shine again. Time she accepted she’s just another second, or perhaps even third-rate, power with neither the right nor the ability to insist upon a leading international role. Her foreign policy runs the gamut all the way from folly to calamity and there sure as hell isn’t anything of which to be proud. On the contrary, introspective shame would be more appropriate. Here, more than in most places, you hear remnants of a leftism the modern SNP has generally preferred to marginalise.

But most people in Britain don’t think this way. It’s possible most people in Scotland don’t think this way. They don’t necessarily see Britain’s still-modestly-leading role in the world as an absurdity or some brand of posturing foreign policy peacockery. They see, instead, a country that is, generally speaking, a force for good that tries to spread good principles to other parts of the world. (Consider, for instance, William Hague’s efforts to establish the principle that organised rape should be considered a war crime.)

Of course there are moments of hyprocrisy. Times when rhetoric and action are ill-matched. Such is the price of power and responsibility. The world is not as we might wish it and we lack the power to rearrange it thus. Sometimes, quite often in fact, we must endure imperfect reality. But you do what you can where you can when you can. That was a view that, generally speaking, Tony Blair shared with both his immediate predecessors. If not us, then who?

Nor is this only a matter of hard power (though that is important). Soft power, as Salmond and everyone else agrees, is important too. It is not a commodity Britain lacks. Even so and as we see in the Ukraine and elsewhere hard power still matters. An independent Scotland will not, of course, be a major military player but it will be expected to play its part. Why else would it join NATO?

(Suppose, just for a moment, Scotland had become independent in 2000 and become a NATO member? Would she have sent troops to Afghanistan? She would have been expected to since that was a Treaty War. Would she have deployed some troops to Iraq? Perhaps not, though quite possibly. Many NATO members did, after all.)

I digress. The point is that there is an odd discrepancy in the nationalist approach to foreign and defence policy. It is only right and seemly that an independent Scotland would do its bit for international order, all the better to make its mark on the world. But it is obviously absurd and vainglorious for the United Kingdom to do the same. (The Nats take no view, I think, on French actions. I assume this is because it is not axiomatic that Paris is the bad guy.)

The UK is not, as despite everything the United States remains , an indispensable country. That is, intractable international problems can be solved, or at least ameliorated, without UK involvement. But it becomes, most of the time and in most places, easier for those problems to be addressed if countries such as the UK and France take them seriously and exert what pressure and influence they can. The nationalist tendency (I put it no stronger than that) towards myopia prevents them from seeing this clearly, however.

 


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Show comments
  • Margarita Romanova

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  • Jeanne Tomlin

    Just came across this when doing a Google search for something else and had to giggle at the author thinking that “leaving Britain weaker” would could justifiably be called a “world-wide cataclysm”. Oh, dearie me. Poor lad really thinks that Britain is still a power.

  • Charles Patrick O’Brien

    I have a few points to add,one when the scribe talks of nationalism does he mean British nationalism,for that seems to be OK,its just other nationalists that are wrong,or supposedly so.Before Robertson uttered his forces of darkness and catalytic predictions he was saying Scotland was almost insignificant,and now this dissolving of the UK and yes I mean the dissolution,as there were only two countries who made up the United Kingdom,Armageddon may occur.A bit dramatic and possibly from his nightmare,but remember this man is not without his worries over Scottish independence,for he may lose his ermine pension,as will several of these British Nationalists.Now I dream of independence for Scotland and all other nations to be self aware and responsible for themselves.Specsavers ensure I see properly perhaps the scribe believes that only the Britnat opinion is valid! I like some of the hypocrisy about Trident,and the words being used like,if you get rid of Trident you cant be in NATO,OK,so an independent Scotland keeps Trident,what happens to England? when England has no nuclear deterrent,will England be asked to leave NATO? or have those clever(mouthy) people not thought their words and the meanings all the way through?

  • Geoffrey Brittan

    “A kind of cringe, if you will.”

    ” If you will” what? What is this phrase people use? Perhaps it is an abbreviation for the phrase “if you will allow me to put it that way,” but it ranks as one of the most over-used expressions in English. “And a kind of cringe, if you will” isn’t a sentence anyway.

    “Weaker too. Perhaps even less influential.” These are not sentences. They are verbal stutters.

    What has happened to Journalism? Is it mandatory that a writer use the fractured language familiar to their readers? Is that it?

    It doesn’t surprise me that standards have fallen, but one imagined that they may have survived here.

  • Raw England

    Here’s the facts: England will be stronger without Scotland.

    The ‘Union’ helps only far-Left, pro-mass immigration, pro-multiculturalism people like yourself.

    I’m not surprised you want the failed, sickening, London-ruled ‘Union’ to continue, though, as you probably know Scotland is nothing without England. And you love the status-quo, in which far-Left Marxists such as yourself rule over the severely oppressed English working class.

  • The_greyhound

    “Suppose, just for a moment, Scotland had become independent in 2000 and
    become a NATO member? Would she have sent troops to Afghanistan?”

    After the crash in 2008-9, a Scotland bankrupted by RBS-ABN, would be sending peace-keepers/mercenaries abroad wherever and whenever someone else was would pay for them.

    • Charles Patrick O’Brien

      You think we would have bailed the banks no we would have prosecuted the bankers,and our share would have been smaller than what we had to pay because of being in the UK.Go check out the truth of the matter banks got bailed out in the country they operated in,and we never allowed them to gamble here in Scotland only the London Casino/City allowed the gambling to be done.

  • FrankieThompson

    “Not perfect and not without its share of past blunders but, in general and on the whole, one of the better guys.”

    A few years ago, Alex, I would unhesitatingly have agreed with that. However, recent years have made me question the veracity of it.

    1. The attack on Serbia on behalf of the KLA in 1999 chilled me to the bone. The pretext for war was overblown and distorted by the likes of, dare I say, George Robertson, with his infamous “atrocities not seen in Europe since the Middle Ages” statement, a statement wrong on every level, and one which if Robertson thought was true, makes him a fool, and if said with artifice, makes him a brigand. The silence and background chicanery since 1999 sickens me further.

    2. The scandalous, fruitless, and prolonged, deployment of our troops in Helmand. This deployment should never have taken place, it should have been halted much earlier, and ranks as one of the most disgracefully futile and calculated waste of lives in British military history.

    3. The intervention in Libya was misguided and has produced more death, lawlessness and gangsterism than could ever have been countenanced, except by people who knew what was going to happen, and that did not include our leaders. Cameron, in particular, with his trip to Benghazi to declare victory, was a particular casualty of this adventure. As for Clegg’s “mildly Al Queda” contribution, the least said the better.

    4. The attempted intervention in Syria was, and is, simply beyond belief. Hague, in particular, has looked, frankly, absurd.

    5. The fiasco in the Ukraine looks to me like a foreign policy without principle or any hint of realpolitik, a lethal combination.

    The West’s Henry Jekyll has been taken too much of the potion and Mr. Edward Hyde might just win out, again.

  • Charles Patrick O’Brien

    Defence OK what is the only country that actually had ideas of conquering Scotland? is that a hard one hmm.Now the mistake the aggressor makes is in thinking that by attacking other countries its in defence of their own,no its not when you and your ilk decide that another country is wrong and you should invade to put them on the path to democracy,first I would say is to have democracy here first,for in a monarchy there is no democracy,no matter how many folk you fool not all of us are fooled.By re-claiming independence Scotland will make a large contribution to world peace and democracy,unlike the form of government in Wastmonster,they have privilege and title as a base for their pretend “democracy” Perhaps lessons of democracy can be learned from Scotland by Massie and his ilk.

  • Tamas Marcuis

    The Britain Massie seems to dearly desire would compare to a family where the Father buys a new sports car every year and a golf club membership, while at the sametime the house roof leaks the family lives on chips and has holes in their shoes. Everybody has to make sacrifices so Dad can hold his head high down the Golf Club with the big boys.
    A big factor in favour of independence was that Scotland would be a small country that had no pretensions of grandeur. It is said that this is specifically a Scottish desire but I think most English people would agree they wanted to be just a normal average country. Yet every one is told by Robertson and Massie that they have to be something else “Air Strip One” in a forever war against unspecified but immediate enemies lurking under the bed. Apparently we need to pay £360 billion for a hand cart full of rocks for the government wheel around the world as it is required for membership to the super club room at the UN.

    • Doggie Roussel

      Keep taking the pills…

  • Tamas Marcuis

    Next article by Massie will be a defence of Slavery.

  • scotcanadien

    “The eyes of the world are upon us. Or so Scottish Nationalists like to say”

    Not only the “Scottish Nationalists” but Lord George Robertson a rabid anti-Indy supporter and the ‘Noble Lord’ also claims the Apocalypse would be upon the whole wide world if Scots vote YES. Crikey Scots really ARE important.

    • Wessex Man

      only in your head sunny Jim!

      • Charles Patrick O’Brien

        We are more important than you realise.

        • Wessex Man

          You may be but he’s not!

  • Cymrugel

    I think you are trying to defend the indefensible Mr Massie and you are going to find your job increasingly hard as the countdown to the referendum ticks away.
    Robertson’s comments were preposterous and you know it.
    There are plenty of dark forces in the world but these are not salivating at the thought of Scottish independence.
    Scotland aspires to be – and will be – a modern western nation, fully integrated into all the western alliances including Nato and the EU, with strong bonds of mutual interest and friendship with the rest of the western world. It’s not planning on drifting off into the Atlantic ocean in splendid isolation. The simple and only difference is that the country will be ruled by priorities decided in Edinburgh not those of London.

    Britain is not a third rate power. Yes its glory days of empire are over, but when all is said and done its still a very important nation and a major power in the world. It’s problem is that it is not content with this and seeks to behave as if it is the dominant western power.
    It will continue to be important after Scottish independence, as long as it doesn’t drive itself completely into serving as nothing more than the backdrop for a London city state, propped up with dodgy foreign money.
    But it needs to behave like one.
    It’s hard to posture as a world power, when you are letting most of your country outside the capital city fall into ruin; when your people are increasingly out of work or on minimum wages; when you are importing cheap labour to act as a servant class; failing to apply your own laws so that rich foreign criminals who belong in jail will not take their money elsewhere and when you are cutting your armed forces to the bone to save money.
    As a traditional Tory once said about the Thatcher governments behaviour “if you want to be the officer class, sometimes you have to behave like an officer”. The UK wants to behave like a leading western power while reducing its society to third world status and its people to penury – all the while telling them how useless and lazy they are.
    Scotland does not aspire to be world power; just a modern forward looking western state, with a contented population, respected by its peers.
    Unlike the UK, we are content to be a member of the club without insisting that we must be in charge.

  • Iain Hill

    Don’t worry Nicola, just laugh at him. He feels impelled to defend a system which has given him wealth and notoriety which he could never have aspired to anywhere else.

  • http://weourselves.com/ Christian Wright

    Alex Massie has done his level best to wordsmith his way around the obvious uncomfortable truth of Robertson’s intervention. He is wrong in asserting that Britain and not Scotland was the subject of Lord George’s remarks.

    W’ur doomed, DOOMED!
    Robertson’s take is that Scotland is the core without which Britain cannot be an essential foundation for stability in the world; a necessary guarantor of Western influence, and indeed, Western civilisation. [Of course without Scotland there is no Britain in the legal and political sense, so let’s call it what is really is – England (incorporating Wales)]

    Robertson then, is asserting that Scotland is the keystone of civilisation (of course this is something every Scot knows instinctively anyway).

    For if England is reliant upon it to be effective and to do good works, AND the wider world’s destiny is directly tied to England’s prowess, then it IS the case that the subject of Robertson’s thesis is Scotland. Remove it from the equation, Robertson tells us, and England will collapse in on itself and be ground to powder.

    The wuruld is doomed.
    The European Union will Balkanise, Spain will splinter, Belgium will bifurcate, and nation shall no longer speak unto nation. The influence of the West will wane until it is forever extinguished.

    Oh the humanity!
    Western culture will be eviscerated at the instant Scottish independence is formally declared. And Lord George tells us, as Scotland goes, so goes the wuruld. The Global Economy will be as a dried prune – its precious bodily fluids sucked out of it.

    Yes indeed, that would be the same precious bodily fluids cited by US General Jack D. Ripper in Dr Strangelove, and there is something disturbingly Ripperesque about Robertson’s intervention. In this speech to Brookings he has raised camp and hyperbole to the level of a clinical disorder.

    I’m seriously worried about George.

    • allymax bruce

      We’re Aw Doomed; Doomed a’ tell ye! … The Vicar’s not going to like this … Mum won’t like it … Put that light out! … You silly old fool … Do you think that’s wise, sir? … Ruddy Hooligans! … You stupid boy,Pike …I’ll tell my Mum … Permission to speak,Sir … Now look ‘ere, Napoleon … How absolutely lovely! … I wondered how long it would take you to work that one out … I never doubted you for a minute … Don’t tell him (your name) Pike … It was a wild and lonely place … Please may I be excused … That’s enough of that … Don’t Panic! Don’t
      Panic! … Would you mind awfully just falling in.

      This is the No campaign; it resembles Dad’s Army japes; the jocose is on them!

      • Kitty MLB

        Oh don’t worry, dear Ally. ‘ I see you stand like greyhounds in the slips,
        follow your spirit , upon this charge.. for God for England and for Saint
        George.’
        I’d also summon up thy blood and stiffen up thy sinews, if I were you.
        ( Shakespeare is the main topic of the day on the spectator)
        It could be for God, for Scotland and for St Andrew if you prefer-
        but that doesn’t sit quite the same- I assume you agree Ally.
        But as you say, Scotland wants to be free- and this Robertson
        is an opinionated chap.
        And one must hope that Shetland doesn’t want the same…
        I know its not possible…you have explained.

        • Wessex Man

          er Kitty if that’s right why was it reported to the best of my knowledge in two different dailies a couple of weeks ago that the Orkney and Shetlands have demanded referendums-seperate to the one across Scotland as a whole-to say whether or not they wish to stay in the UK?

          Try goggle to see which two papers featured it, it seems all is not well in the ranks!

          • Charles Patrick O’Brien

            It was their Lib-Dem man that was shouting for the Island councils to be strengthened,that also includes the Inner and Outer Hebrides.

          • JPJ2

            It is a campaign garnering minimal support.

          • Wessex Man

            oh dear I’ve said to goggle not google Kitty but I’m sure you understand.

            • allymax bruce

              Village Idiot.

        • allymax bruce

          For A’ That An’ A’ That.
          (1814)
          The thistle, though her leaf be rude,
          Yet faith we’ll no misca’ that,
          She shelter’d in her solitude
          The fluer-de-lis, for a’ that.
          (Sir walter Scott).

          • Kitty MLB

            Excellent, delightful words from Scott.
            I so love imaginative beautiful words,
            little xrays into the souls of others,
            thats what they are, dear Ally.

            • allymax bruce

              Kitty, my dear, thank you for your wonderous reply; I think you are wonderful to notice, and describe Scott’s words like so. Kitty, I put them up as a fantastic retort to Shakespeare, of whom, belittled, beguiled and taunted James I; see ‘That Play’! Moreover, I thought it absolutely wonderful that you could search your soul, and find the hidden narrative; if you research Scott’s verse here, it’s not specifically about great britian, rather, he’s giving us a secret, that is an amazing thing of Scotland. I mean, who, is ‘She’? ‘shelter’d in her solitude’? I know; and I think you’ll figure it out too, Kitty. You’re intelligent, and inquisitive; search ‘The fluer-de-lis, for a’ that.’
              Really happy you searched your soul for this, Kitty. Ally.

              • Kitty MLB

                I will fail but will try and find “she”. She preserves her little gems. Her Lochs, Bays and Glens. Sheltered landscapes
                hidden within the bliss of solitude- that’s just a feeling about “her”.
                and I might be on the completely wrong track, my dear Ally.
                You know that, but I don’t. More thinking I believe.
                Shall read other works of his about beloved Scotland to find out.

                • allymax bruce

                  Forman Armorial; (1562); Madeleine of France; it’s all there.

                • Kitty MLB

                  Indeed I shall read about someone I have vaguely heard of.
                  Madeleine, the beautiful, poorly girl, James fell instantly
                  in love with ( and she with him) She became his Queen,
                  the King saw her as the sun that shone through the early
                  morning mists and she was with him for the briefest moment
                  in time- so heartbreakingly tragic.
                  I shall think of it as a honour to learn more about
                  Scotland’s beautiful young Queen Madeleine,
                  and the poetry, clearly inspired by her- ( I had a feeling
                  it was a women- but didn’t go with that)
                  I will read what you have advised, Ally.

  • http://weourselves.com/ Christian Wright

    Alex wrote: “… all the boasting we heard about the number of foreign journalists attending, say, the launch of the Scottish Government’s White Paper on independence. It’s all a bit Sally Field for me. A kind of cringe, if you will.”

    Ah, that cringe you discern is an outward sign of your inward disgrace. You’re twisting yourself into knots to ameliorate that cognitive dissonance. Take your finger out your ar$e and find a mirror, son, for it is clear your eye sees not itself but by reflection.

    ‘Nuff said.

    • allymax bruce

      Well said, Mr Wright. And correct too.
      But is he ‘doing it on purpose’?

  • abystander

    Interesting polling technique.

    A Western diplomat, perhaps in a bar, tells Alex “we all prefer the status quo” from which sample we conclude almost all foreign governments would prefer a No vote.

    • Tony_E

      They certainly would in the EU at present. Scots independence would leave a blueprint for separation which others could follow, and expect to see ratified by the ECJ if it rules that Scots self determination is sacrosanct.

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

    There may be no myopia more debilitating than the British exceptionalism displayed by Alex Massie. It is that notion of the imagined nation of Britain as some kind of exemplar of righteousness that allows Massie to rationalise George Robertson’s idiocy without embarrassment. He throws in the token deprecation, of course. But even in admitting that the UK may be less than perfect he casually brushes aside “mistakes” such as Iraq in a way that one suspects he would not for “lesser” nations. And for no more substantial reason than that Britain is supposedly special. Those who fail to see this specialness are dismissed as myopic.

    Massie is at his pompously patronising best here. Apparently, Robertson didn’t say the things that the rest of us heard. We were listening wrong. We weren’t using that special British listening that Massie has mastered. Silly us!

    Another of Massie’s irksome idiosyncrasies is his presumption in telling nationalists how and what they think. The penultimate paragraph is a case in point as he justifies his criticism of independence supporters by stipulating an attitude that is, in fact, a product of his own prejudices rather than anything that might reasonably be assumed from the words of actual nationalists. I know of no nationalist who regards efforts such as that to establish the principle that organised rape should be considered a war crime as “absurd and vainglorious”. What is absurd and vainglorious is the insistence that the British establishment must be the final arbiter of what efforts in the world are worthy. As well as the insistence that Scotland cannot make such judgements for itself but must always subordinate its perspective to that of the British state.

    Massie sympathises with George Robertson because both believe, with some fervour, that the needs and priorities of the British state must always take precedence over the needs and priorities of the people of these islands – particularly Scotland. Both take the view that Scotland must be prepared to sacrifice the normal constitutional status of a nation and the sovereignty of its people in the service of the British state, its ruling elites and its structures of power and privilege. In fact, they don’t see this as a sacrifice at all. They see it as the “natural order”.

    They cannot understand Scotland’s independence movement because they genuinely cannot comprehend why anybody would not want to be part of the British state. The British state whose exceptionalism they have never questioned.

    • flippit

      “Pompously patronising” perfectly describes this post. Inaccurate too; Massie does not say that “the British Establishment must be the final arbiter of what efforts in the world are worthy” but that despite mistakes, British input is generally to the good. So read it again and get it right this time.

      • Tamas Marcuis

        Since I and my countrymen were on the receiving end of “British input” I deny that it represented any good. Your narrow ethnic view requires you to believe in exceptions to the normal rules apply to your country. I can and have sat in a conference room with more than a dozen nationalities all who have histories often personal of crimes commited against them by the British state. Mass murder, rape, torture and wholesale sacking of entire cities. Robertson is just the modern face. He warns arms the forces of darkness when it was often the action of Britain that put out the lights.

        • Wessex Man

          Where are you from and where do you now reside?

          • komment

            It doesn’t,t matter where he is from or where he resides, what matters is if he is telling the truth or not.

            • HJ777

              Which he obviously isn’t. “Mass murder, rape, torture and wholesale sacking of cities” by the British state?

              Where, when, to whom?

    • HJ777

      Do you think that your random selection of long words constitutes an argument?

      • Jimmy McHeggis

        You didn’t understand the post? Ask yer Daddy to explain it.

  • The_Missing_Think

    Given the rate at which the Scottish torpedo has been consistently acclerating at, week by week, closer and closer, I’d have thought it’d be most likey, that by the time of the September vote, it’ll be about around 60% pro independant.

    The power of non-cyber word of mouth.

    The ramifications are head stretchingly excellent.

    Ukrainian style Punch and Judy PMQs wouldn’t surprise me at all.

    • flippit

      ;The Missing Think’. Perfect.

      • The_Missing_Think

        Thanks for your support, it’s a bit too nuanced and lateral for most…

        Do you enjoy watching sports a lot?

  • ArchiePonsonby

    What are the latest polls showing for or against separation? Just asking.

    • HJ777

      Most against, as always.

      • Doggie Roussel

        Yes, because there is an English milch cow, stabled in the dairy of the Palace of Westminster which keeps all those Scottish parasites in clover.

        Of course those awful leeches are going to vote NO to secession…

        • scotcanadien

          You are obviously of the thick English thieving, cheapskate persuasion, a man who has no pockets in his trousers because his hands are always in other peoples’ pockets. You are thick because your silly argument about parasites has been widely disproved at least 6 months ago yet you don’t know about it; or are too stupid to understand it.

          • Wessex Man

            whilst not being able to justify Doggie’s comment, you seek to show him that he has an awlful long way to fall before attaining your levels of thickoness!

            • scotcanadien

              And wherever I fall it will be a long way up from your level of stupidity.

          • Doggie Roussel

            Ah… I see you are out on day-release from Broadmoor yet again…

      • ArchiePonsonby

        Thanks. I thought that it was too close to call!

    • allymax bruce

      What are the latest polls suggesting the Labour Party will always have the “ma’ granny n’ granda’ voted Labour; so a’m votin Labour” ?
      Irrevocable now, Archie. Your ‘fmaily in the North of England’ will be voting UKIP; and Scotch Labour are all-but-wiped out in a future iScotland.

      • ArchiePonsonby

        Well, it seems that you’re labouring (Geddit??!!?) under the misapprehension that I’m a Labour supporter? Far from it, in fact
        I’m a lapsed Tory, and if what’s left of my family “oop North” have finally seen sense and do in fact vote UKIP, that’s to be applauded. The Scottish, er, situation is interesting, as a vote for independence will mean that we’ll never again have a Labour government. Every cloud and all that!

        • allymax bruce

          So, a’ wiz rite.

          • ArchiePonsonby

            Rite aboot wha’?

            • allymax bruce

              Hi Archie, ‘So, as wiz rite’, is a wee joke; it is basically a longevity answer to a question you asked me months ago; about how would I explain the Labour core vote? You know, the ‘ma granny n’ granda’ voted labour blah, blah, balh.’ The ‘rite’ perspective, I use, and the diminishing returns of the Labour core vote, shows that it’s no longer a ‘rite’. Thanks for your comment, Archie.

              • ArchiePonsonby

                Er, I THINK that I ken wha’ ye mean. You’re very welcome anyway.

    • scotcanadien

      The trend should be your friend NOT individual polls. And my view is that most polls are grossly under-estimating the YES vote due to problems with who is being polled, where they are located, how they are polled and the weighting factors used. They are wrong just like they were the 2011 Holyrood elections.

  • Malcolm McCandless

    Did you draw the short straw Alex in being the person that was given the unenviable job of defending this embarrassing rubbish by Lord Robertson?

    I suppose someone from the unionist camp had to.

  • Tony_E

    I’m not so sure that England would be significantly weakened in international affairs if Scotland were to vote for independence.

    The USA will still not look to Paris or Berlin for its main ally. The EU which the USA so
    Desperately wanted us to be part of has now proven itself to be totally divided when it comes to military affairs, attempts to revive the WEU failed in the 90’s and will always fail. Crimea has also shown the weakness of The Germans and French for achieving the communities strategic objectives.

    England however, rediscovered her backbone, in 1982. She has a reputation for being able to back her words with force. This would not change with the loss of Scotland. Nor would England cease to be a nuclear power, for the USA would not want to see the UK removed from the security council and would supply a ground based alternative if we lost trident.

    So I think the fallout from Scottish independence would be less than feared

  • Jimmy McHeggis

    Scotland is tired of being a part of Westminster’s Foreign policy, that includes sabre ratting, jingoistic celebrations and rhetoric and anachronistic interference in other states business.

    Massie’s tendency (I put it no stronger than that) towards myopia prevents him from seeing this clearly, however.

    Your final paragraph doesn’t make sense.

    • HJ777

      Who appointed you to speak on behalf of Scotland?

      • Doggie Roussel

        Himself

    • terregles2

      Think the little chaps who mismanage the UK from Westminster are getting a little nervous about the loss of their big Trident weapon.
      It will be harder for them to try and strut around the world stage with only their little weapons to wave around.
      Still you have to hand it to the bitter together campaigners they give us a different laugh every day.
      George Robertson is no exception he surpassed them all.

      • Tom Tom

        I think they could offer naval facilities to that navy flying the Saltire so they can have another warm-water port

      • mightymark

        Who realistically do you prefer to “strut the world stage” – if that is actually what we do – and why would they be better than the UK. Someone is going to do so are they not?

        • HJ777

          I think she’s with the SNP leaders who opposed Scots signing up to fight the Nazis and instead saw them as allies in breaking up the UK. Never mind the fact that the UK (including Scots) were fighting against a great evil.

          You can tell a lot about people by the friends they choose.

          • terregles2

            I have great uncles who died in WW2. The difference between them and yourself is courage.
            . My family lost several people in WW1 and WW2 and I certainly do not need any boorish ignoramus to tell me what wars Scots fought and died in.

            • HJ777

              The usual insults from the terminally dim woman.

              Am I discredited?

      • HJ777

        You have made some ridiculous posts before, but this one takes the biscuit.

        However, at least you didn’t describe the Westminster Parliament (or indeed anyone or anything) as “discredited” this time, so that’s progress, I suppose.

    • HJ777

      And you were elected as the spokesman for Scotland when, exactly?

      Your views are your own – and that is all.

      • Jimmy McHeggis

        Sure they are. :)

  • Jimmy McHeggis

    “What’s less frequently said is that almost all foreign governments would prefer Scotland to vote No.”

    Do you have stats on this?

    • Wessex Man

      who cares? Alex will be writing next week claiming it’s the best thing that can happen to the world, keep up!

  • komment

    There is really no excuse for Robertson’s turn of phrase, it IS offensive for the reason it suggests an outcome that is not existential. He was expressing views whilst at the same time looking at the world through his NATO lens where if a problem does not exist it can be created.
    As the date of the referendum vote nears and the Yes voter continues to grow the poor voters of Scotland can expect more of this meaningless rhetoric from those who oppose Independence. It is a pity that Mr. Massie undeservedly chose to give it another outing.

    • Iain Hill

      We look forward with amusement to the U-turns which will be forced on these people after the Yes vote.

      I do wonder how the powers that be – the Americans, the Establishment, the City, and all of those who really run the Yookay- will react. Will they allow independence, which is likely to shatter their dreamworlds, or simply move the goalposts?

      • komment

        By their malevolent threats and rhetoric they are conspiring to build a new Hadrian’s wall, not of stone or clods of earth but of animosity that will cause all thinking people in Scotland to ask ‘Do I really want to go forward in partnership with these same people’. This may be one reason the YES vote is growing and the no vote is shrinking. There is little doubt they will try to move the goalposts but the move towards Independence has the momentum of an avalanche, unstoppable.

        • Wessex Man

          Good grief you are as bad as Iain hill, what threats, we most of the English that I know look forward to the break up of the Union.

          I hate to think who you will turh your ire on in an Idependent

          Scotland, will it be all ginger people?

          • JPJ2

            Better not be-although mine is greying a little now so I should be safe, and my sons may have the recessive gene for it but it is not made manifest in their outward appearance :-)

          • komment

            I offered up no ire, I simply offered up mv interpretation of what has and still is the rhetoric coming from the NO camp and its likely consequences. It is not for me to tell the NO camp where they are going wrong, and it IS going very badly for them. If they can’t work it out for themselves that is their problem not mine.
            I accept that many in England feel as you do and that the Union is bust to the extent it should be declared over and done with. I would hope you, and your, friends would lend your support for a campaign ENGLAND FOR SCOTTISH INDEPENDENCE, and go forward with civility and mutual respect.
            Only the ‘Troika’ of the three main parties belive the rancour that is didisplayed here and on othe platforms constitutes proper debate. Without a credible alternative to Independence they have no case/cause to pursue.

      • Wessex Man

        Oh do grow up, who on earth do you think in the modern democracy that is the United Kingdom would allow not Scotland to become an Independent country if it is the will of the Scottish people. We all know you intentions and beliefs yet you still, like a child make up all these fantasy scenarios. Just do it and I promise I will hang out the bunting on your behalf here!

      • Clutha

        Nah, in the real world, as opposed to George Robertson’s head, the world will keep turning and everyone will get used to it very quickly.

  • allymax bruce

    Lions, Tigers and Bears; OH MY !
    You out-done yourself on this one, Massie; too much ‘pseudo-psyhology’ melded into one article make for brainfreeze. As President Obama says, forget the myth, do the math! btw, a Rorschach test, only presumes to imply; it’s not a DSMIV; is what Corbie needs! Anyway, “Robertson was not actually talking about Scotland. Not really. He was talking about Britain.” … ‘Rubric, old-boy. Read the rubric, then answer the question!’ Was my old Politics Professor’s way of telling me he marked me down for ‘meandering around the point’. I think your ‘digression’ is worthwhile.

    Your article only comes alive fronm the 17th para’; although, you lack the finesse to ‘finish’ a point; finely. As for Tony Bliar, etc, you are referring to insincere ungenuine lying cheating deceitful Postmodern tactics of Political Philosophy; Alex’ Salmond is sincere, genuine, honest, true, and trustworthy; hardly a complementive comparison, Alex! Interesting ‘however’, to finish with!

  • MichtyMe

    Being frequently told in the past by the NO folk that Scotland is too small and insignificiant to have any influence in the world and now, a YES, would have “cataclysmic geo-political consequences” I am confused.

    • HJ777

      You usually are confused. Why are you suddenly concerned about it?

      • Jambo25

        More insults I see.

        • HJ777

          I was merely agreeing.

          In any case, given your propensity to issue insults regularly and liberally whenever you are unable to answer perfectly civil questions, what is the basis of your objection?

          • Jambo25

            Just to you and Chuzzlewit who deserve nothing else given your propensity to badmouth anyone with the temerity to disagree with you.

            • HJ777

              The badmouthing comes from you when anyone has the temerity to put a perfectly reasonable point or question to you to which you have no answer.

              Anyone here can trawl through your posts to see that that is the case. You do it to anyone who successfully contradicts your assertions with evidence.

              • Jambo25

                And people can trawl through your postings and I leaven them to see what they think.

                • HJ777

                  …and they will see that a large proportion of them are simply trying to get you to reply to or address simple questions and you refusing or issuing insults or making assertions without justification in response.

                • Wessex Man

                  I can confirm this is a true statement and dear old Jambo is having a bad hair day yet again!

    • Clutha

      It is a bit tricky, isn’t it, to know whether we are an insignificant nonentity or the only bulwark against the forces of darkness. Perhaps we could be each one on alternate days, and just toss a coin for what to be on Sundays.

  • dado_trunking

    If a nation is so lethargic and cannot find enough support amongst its people to become independent, then they will remain on a leash forever. Fair deuce. There are frankly enough independent nations on the planet – we do not need another.

  • CharlesAStrickland

    The point is that there is an odd discrepancy in the nationalist approach to foreign and defence policy. It is only right and seemly that an independent Scotland would do its bit for international order, all the better to make its mark on the world. http://qr.net/stx3

    • Jambo25

      Why? Who asked us to? Who asked the UK to?

      • HJ777

        Quite right – who asked the UK to stand up to the Nazis or the Communist bloc?

        I realise that you don’t understand the concept of a country standing up for what is right and opposing despotism, but some of us do.

        • Jambo25

          That was a long time ago and morally fairly unambiguous. Who asked us to invade Iraq or to try and give Afghanistan a government in our image?
          Britain is now a second rate power rapidly sliding towards third rate. We should take Candide’s advice and cultivate our own garden.

          • HJ777

            If standing up to the Nazis was morally unambiguous, then why did the SNP’s leaders at the time urge Scots not to do so? I realise that you don’t understand doing something on principle, but how long ago it was has nothing to do with whether it was correct or not.

            Let me remind you that Afghanistan was a NATO operation – and all NATO members participated as it was precipitated by an Afghan-sponsored attack on a NATO member. We are told that a seceded Scotland would want to be a NATO member. And the people of Afghanistan seem to support their new constitution judging from the turnout in elections. Previously, a despotic regime didn’t bother to ask them.

            As for Iraq, I suggest that you look a the list of nations that were involved in Iraq – including most of those cited as models for a seceded Scotland by the “Yes” campaign. And was there anything morally ambiguous about the Iraqi regime?

            All military nations are second rate compared to the USA. However, the UK is clearly right towards the top of that second rank – your assertion that it is “rapidly sliding towards third rate” is just a stupid slogan, which you cannot back up with reference to facts.

            You really do want Scotland to become as selfish, small-minded and inwards looking as you are, don’t you? It’s not an appealing prospect.

  • jdchristie

    You are right that there is a good argument to be made for Scottish independence weakening Britain’s role in the world, such as it is. However, Lord Robertson completely blew that argument with his choice of language. He ensured the ensuing debate was all about him rather than the issues. It was a wretched own goal and he did his own cause a disservice. It looked rather self-indulgent. His follow up on Newsnight Scotland only made matters worse. Whatever a cataclysm is it is not, and I quote precisely, “an event that has major repercussions and change”. That feeble redefinition just made the presentation of a perfectly valid argument utterly incoherent.

    • Doggie Roussel

      Robertson has always been a hyper-inflated, self-regarding and mealy-mouthed Scot; so typical of the many Scottish politicians who have weaseled their way into Westminster and proceeded to devalue Great Britain’s worth:

      Blair, Brown, Dewar, Martin (ex speaker), Foulkes, Galloway… the list is endless of the scrounging, self-servings Scots who have feathered their own nests while destroying and polluting our parliament.

      There has only been one Scottish MP who has spoken the truth and revealed the inequality and unfairness of the 40 odd Scottish MPs who can vote on English affairs; Tam Dalyell of the Labour Party, who brought up the West Lothian question, about which there has been a deafening silence from all sides.

      Yes, bring on secession and rid us of the pestilential parasites from north of the border.

      • komment

        Independence seeks to resolve the West Lothian Questioon once and for all.
        Be happy, rejoice!!

      • John Smith

        If in doubt bring out the insults.
        Good riddance to you all.

        • Jambo25

          Mr. Roussel makes a point of insulting Scots. I think its how he gets his jollies. Every now and again some Scot will insult him back.

          • Kitty MLB

            Is fhearr teicheadh math na droch fhuireach- You will think that
            England should do that, I am sure, Lovely Jambo.
            Also, how can anyone insult the wee Scots- as a new honorary
            Scots type person myself- I should never be so ungracious.

      • AndrewMelville

        It is Inglish gits such as you that are one of the strongest arguments for Scottish independence.

        • Doggie Roussel

          Thank you for the compliment and I’m always ready for any argument in favour of being rid of the Scots.

          • Tamas Marcuis

            In Lithuania we would call you “šuo skandalistas” – dog botherer. The kind of silly boy who teases a dog then complains bitterly when he gets bitten.
            Is that how you claim any one who disagrees with you is an anti-English nationalist?
            I have a vote in this referendum as a Scottish resident, I care not a jot for the past. It is the present and future that counts. You go on about WestLothian questions forcing yourself to claim the ridiculous 8% outweighs 92%. Or that a small twelth part of a second rank European state is somehow the linch pin of the Western World. It’s 2014 not 1814.

            • Wessex Man

              my you are a bad tempered little person arn’t you? So going by your earlier pathetic rant about the UK, perhaps you can explain how you were on the receiving end of “British Imput” in lithuania?

              You seem to have a very deep dislike of all things British, so I have to ask what on earth are you doing in this country? Or are you one of numerous overseas hypocrites who seek our comfort but still hate us?

              • terregles2

                You are being rather rude to Tamas as he is as entitled to his opinion as you are entitled to have yours.
                He lives in Scotland and has a vote so his opinion is perhaps more relevant.
                You complain that he has a dislike of all things British. You though are happy to complain and carp about any Scottish politician who has ever had a position of power within our “British ” Westminster parliament.
                You seem to want it all ways Tamas lives in Scotland and you scold him for being anti British. Yet you destest having Scottish politicians in your British parliament

                • Doggie Roussel

                  Continuing on your prolix and incoherent justification of the Lithuanian Scot’s declaration of deep Scotch patriotism… why don’t you invite and import the 28 million Bulgarians and Romanians who are now eligible to claim benefits anywhere in the EU to bolster and fund your lilliputian Scotch super-state dream which Salmond and his cronies are aiming for.

                  The Scots, having convicted Megrahi for the Pan Am terrorist atrocity, then released him under the false pretence of his imminent death… knowing all along that he had not been the prime culprit, but was a suitable stooge for gaining Scotland some closure on the atrocity…

                  Wow… did we all rejoice at all the Saltires being waved at the airport in Tripoli when Megrahi returned to a hero’s reception in Libya to enjoy another comfortable 4 years of life after Scotland’s most highly qualified oncologist gave him three months maximum !

                  Don’t get sick in the new Scottish utopia.

                • terregles2

                  You sound really bitter and resentful. Best to chill out and stop labeling people because they were born in a different country. Why do you assume that immigrants to the UK all claim benefits. The majority of them work hard and pay taxes. I don’t think there will a Utopia in Scotland. I think Scotland will be like every other country and face challenges and problems. The only difference will be, we will be like every other country and work out the problems ourselves.
                  I think I would be more worried about being sick in England with all the privatisation that is going on in the English NHS. Some of my English friends say they would want to come and live in an independent Scotland. They are unhappy with the Westminster government. They will be very welcome as they are like most English people good fun and they like a good party and a laugh.

                • Doggie Roussel

                  You have a point… at present we English should travel to Scotland for medical treatment…. simply because England (Westminster) puts far more into health care for Scotland than it does for the English in England..

                • HJ777

                  So, after the “No” vote, I presume that you will go and live outside the UK, so unhappy are you with the “discredited” Westminster parliament. I look forward to it.

                  “I think I would be more worried about being sick in England with all the privatisation that is going on in the English NHS.”

                  Nearly every other country has a much larger private sector involvement in providing medical care than we do in the UK – and they mostly have better and more efficient services, according to major research from the OECD.

                  As for Scotland vs England:

                  http://www.healthpowerhouse.com/files/ehci-2013/ehci-2013-uk.pdf

                  http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-26928204

                  So NHS services in England are not worse than in Scotland (although they are cheaper).

                  Still, you don’t deal with facts, do you?

            • Doggie Roussel

              Thanks for flagging me, you commie jerk !

          • AndrewMelville

            Life is complicated, so I can be fully a Scottish nationalist and a British nationalist. What I can’t be is accepting of the insular, wilfully stupid Inglishness which is displayed all too often on the comment pages of the Speccie. I say Inglish to distinguish that foul breed from the charming and pleasant English for whom I have affection and among whom I count many friends.

            • Doggie Roussel

              Yes, and you owe a very big thank you to the “Inglish” for subsidising you parasitic whingers to the tune of more than £1600.00 per person than any English citizen receives…

              Free Prescriptions, OAP benefits, educational inequalities… the list is endless and yet you parasites just keep whining and complaining.

              Go, in the name of God, just go !

              • allymax bruce

                is that ‘whingers’, or whinge-ers ?

                • Doggie Roussel

                  Let’s just call them whiners, shall we !

              • AndrewMelville

                What silly prat. You can’t even do your sums. Scotland has been subsidizing England since the union. As well as providing Britain’s leaders, commerce, artists, scientists, engineers and football managers. But it’s a fair exchange, England has sent us a lot of retired people to run B&Bs in the Borders and the Highlands.

      • Jambo25

        I was a constituent of Dalyell. He was the most useless of any of the MPs, MEPs, or MSPs who ever represented me and I had Alex Eadie, Jim Devine and George Cunningham as MPs for a while.

        • HJ777

          You mean you didn’t agree with him, therefore he was “useless”.

          Your usual train of thought, I see. No critique, no argument, just an assertion that he was useless.

          • Jambo25

            No, virtually everyone I ever spoke to; Labour or otherwise, thought he was useless. You, of course, will know otherwise as you clearly lived in the same constituency as I did, with Dalyell as MP, for over a decade. As for a critique. Dalyell sat as MP for West Lothian and Linlithgow

            • HJ777

              “…virtually everyone I ever spoke to; Labour or otherwise, thought he was useless” hardly constitutes an argument.

              If the people you speak to are anything like you…

            • Wessex Man

              You are in a particular bad mood today even for you, still not long now for you and me to breath a sigh of relief.

              • Jambo25

                What I found. Some tribal Labour voters thought Tam was great but most people I knew, from a multiplicity of parties, thought he was useless. There are good Labour MPs and MSPs but he wasn’t one of them. The London based press used to make a bit of a fuss over him but most people I knew who came into contact with him were highly unimpressed. The one time I took a constituency matter to him he was utterly useless and it was a rather nice Tory MP (we still had them back in the 70s.) who helped my wife and I (and a number of other people as well).

                • HJ777

                  As usual, you are not able to provide any details of or argument to say why he was “useless” – you just assert repeatedly that he was and that plenty of people agree with you. It may just be a case of fools seldom differing for all anyone can judge from your comments.

                  Next you’ll be adopting terregles2’s style and denouncing everything and everyone you don’t like as ‘discredited’ without ever providing (or more likely having the ability to provide) a supporting argument.

            • Doggie Roussel

              Well, he was an old Etonian member of the Labour Party, wasn’t he ?

              One of the toffs, like Gaitskell, Crossman, and Crossland who took such delight in patronising the working classes.

      • Clutha

        I think you’ll find there are at present 59 Scottish MPs. The SNP MPs do not, as a matter of principle, vote on purely English matters.

        • Doggie Roussel

          So what are you trying to say, Dumbo ?

          There may be 59 Scottish MPs in Westminster… but at least 40 of those are Labour MPs,… all voting on matters affecting only England.

          Your brains are located somewhere below your waistline…

          So like your Scottish heroes: Connery, Andrew Neill, and all the Scotch-infested media, who choose to live anywhere but Scotland are screaming for secession, are they ?

          Like you, they know that there is a much better life in anywhere but Scotland and yet their overwhelming inferiority complexes and greed force them to keep bleating about the injustice of it all.

          Well, just sod off and take your rain-sodden, culture-free and bile-filled fiefdom and do us English a huge favour.

          • allymax bruce

            “Well, just sod off and take your rain-sodden, culture-free and bile-filled fiefdom and do us English a huge favour.”

            gaen yersel loon!

          • terregles2

            I love your outbursts you are a tonic. Bile ridden fiefdom Brilliant.

    • monty61

      Indeed. Another case of making a sensible but complicated case in a really idiotic way, easily twisted and used against the pro-Union campaign by Wee Eck and his zealot cronies who are unashamedly going for the numpty vote (including the shameless vote grab of clueless under 16s).

      • JPJ2

        Under 16s have not been given the vote :-)

        • monty61

          lol what was that I wrote about the numpty vote?

          • Jambo25

            ie Anyone who doesn’t agree with you. New definition of “numpty”.

    • Iain Hill

      One subsidiary role of Scottish independence will be to force England to completely think its role in the world, instead of clinging to its imperial delusions.

      • Wessex Man

        England has no imperial delusions, rather, Blair, Brown, Reid and Cameron all Scots seem to itch to make their mark with a war!

        We’d rather watch our Rugby and Football teams make fools of you, so much more fun than a war.

        • JPJ2

          None of the 4 you mentioned liked to refer to themselves as Scots as they were all unionists.
          Blair said he was English-just another Blair lie, I admit, but that is what he said :-)
          Brown said he was North British.
          Cameron is English with some Scots ancestry sufficiently distant that on similar grounds I myself could claim to be English rather than Scots.
          Reid is indeed a Scot but much prefers to sing Irish Republican songs and is entitled to an Irish passport (as happily am I , in case anyone gets the wrong idea).

          • Wessex Man

            Beg to differ, Blair in his early years gave a lecture at the UWE about his proud Scottish roots and Call me Dave boasted at the Scottish Parliament that “He was proud of the Scottish blood pounding in his veins.” If Reid sings Republican songsit makes him no different that many Catholic Scots, he’s still a Scot!

            • JPJ2

              Essentially you are not differing with me-go and tell Blair that he must regard himself as a Scot. He said he regarded himself as English. I AGREE with you that he is Scottish-he being the fraud that he is, does not :-)
              I rather thought I had made the point about Cameron but I will spell it out-I am proud of the English blood pounding in my veins but it would be deceitful to call myself English :-)

          • HJ777

            Brown was born in Scotland, grew up in Scotland, went to school and university in Scotland and is an MP for a Scottish constituency. In what way is he not Scottish?

            Is this how a seceded Scotland would be, run by people like you? You’d denounce anyone who you don’t like as not being Scottish just because they don’t share your views.

            • JPJ2

              As with Tony Blair and Wessex man, I AGREE with you that Brown is Scottish. Take it up with him-HE declared he was North British.
              Don’t front me up with your straw man arguments :-)

              • HJ777

                He declared it where and when, exactly?

                And when has he ever declared that he is not Scottish?

      • Clutha

        Yes, indeed. In fact, Scottish independence could well be a catalyst for a bit of self-examination and change in the governance of the remainder of the U.K., or EW&NI or whatever its name will be.

      • terregles2

        The boys in Westminster are about to lose their big weapon on the Clyde. It is hard for them to deal with. They have run the armed services into the ground and now they are about to lose their big one.
        How can they police the world and invade other countries illegally without any military strength.?
        Give the boys time to adjust from thinking they are a world power to realising the Empire has gone and they are just a tiny country with little power.

    • mightymark

      “You are right that there is a good argument to be made for Scottish independence weakening Britain’s role in the world, such as it is. However, Lord Robertson completely blew that argument with his choice of language. He ensured the ensuing debate was all about him rather than the issues.”

      Maybe but it shows the lack of seriousness about the issues here that people prefer to concentrate on the boob than on the important and substantive “good argument” – except for a few cybernat idiots who cheer the weakening as if it is all about some kind of football match.

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