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Yes voters are the Union’s secret weapon

1 May 2014

1:21 PM

1 May 2014

1:21 PM

Well some of them are anyway. Consider the tweet above. It’s since been deleted and you can see why. Gerry Adams’ arrest might not be an obvious element of the Pan-Unionist Conspiracy but if you think that you lack the imagination necessary to be the wilder kind of Scottish nationalist. Then again paranoia is a consequence of monomania and breathtaking solipsism.

Of course it’s just a tweet and only a single one at that. But there are plenty others like it. And yes, for sure, there are loonies on the Unionist side too. There really are people who think Alex Salmond evil and, lord knows, there are any number of Unionists making daft claims about the consequences of independence.

But it’s nationalists – or Yes voters – who need to make the case for change. I think it would be useful if Unionists offered a more upbeat and emotional argument for what the Union can offer in the future (as well as, sure, what it has given in the past) but it’s not necessarily a necessary part of their remit. And when nationalists promise the earth someone ought to ask if voters are being sold a unicorn.

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Still, perhaps Salmond’s neatest ploy in this campaign has been to put the Union on trial, switching the burden of proof from the Yes side to the No campaign. It’s not a daft notion either; if the Union has been and will continue to be so great for Scotland then it should be easy to demonstrate its advantages.

It’s not a secret, however, that many senior nationalists gaze upon some of their followers with some measure of despair and even, occasionally, horror. The heidbangers tarnish the brand, if you like.

They are the Union’s secret weapon. I wrote about this in The Times last month. Annoyingly the article appears to have vanished from the paper’s website but here’s the gist of it:

The SNP leadership generally eschews bigotry. John Swinney no longer tells the “Brits” where “to get off”; Alex Salmond no longer labels his opponents “Uncle Tams” who are “Scottish on the outside and British on the inside”. Sensible, or grown-up, Nationalists acknowledge they enjoy no monopoly on Scottishness or patriotism.

And yet a reasonable person might reasonably wonder if the SNP’s newfound respect, even appreciation, for Britain and Britishness is anything more than a tactical ploy designed to woo suspicious – or easily gulled – voters. It is certainly convenient and perhaps too convenient to be entirely plausible. Apparently you can be British and still favour independence but this is, if pursued to its logical conclusion, a contradiction in terms bordering on absurdity. Whatever next: Unionists for Independence?

Nevertheless, fairness demands we acknowledge the existence of a significant gulf between the moderate SNP leadership and a good chunk of the nationalist movement. Only a few headbangers turned up at Labour’s spring conference sporting signs labelled “Quisling” but a disconcerting number of Yes supporters plainly consider themselves more authentic Scots than their opponents. They are not just right, they are better people too. There is an arrogance here – often expressed with sneering certainty – that is deeply unattractive.

There has been much talk – perhaps too much – about the “negativity” espoused by Unionists. Some of this has been justified. No-one would accuse the Better Together campaign of running a campaign of unbridled optimism. But too little attention has been paid to the negative aspects of the Yes campaign. It is, after all, predicated on the rejection of three hundred years of British constitutional history.

The notion that Britain is a clapped-out country offering Scots no kind of viable future will surprise the 38% of Scots who, according to the latest Social Attitudes Survey, feel “very proud” of their British identity but there you have it. Perhaps they have been brainwashed. Certainly no right-thinking patriot could sensibly dispute the uber-nationalist interpretation of Scottish history.

It is a worldview that bathes itself in victimhood. Scotland is so small, even so impoverished, that she is easily oppressed. Everything is rotten and poor Scotland can never catch a break. It takes a peculiar solipsism to suppose that everything from the Olympic Games to Armistice Day is part of a plot to deny Scotland her rightful place in the world but it all makes sense to the kind of nationalist who considers the Great British Bake-Off part of a BBC-sponsored Unionist conspiracy.

As “civic” nationalism goes, this brand is pretty ethnic. Britain is always guilty until proven innocent (though other countries, no matter how vile, are given the benefit of the doubt, especially if they’re the target of British foreign policy). It is a worldview that condemns Britain’s participation in the slave trade but affords this country no credit for ending it. A worldview that sincerely believes Scottish soldiers are deliberately used as cannon fodder by heartless British generals who prefer to save the lives of English troops.

Keeping up with all this exhausting chippyness is itself exhausting. Who can be bothered with it? It is bad enough sharing a country with people as utterly humourless and small-minded as this; intolerable to do so in circumstances that would cheer them. This may not be an ennobling or especially virtuous reason to vote No but it remains a tempting one.

If you felt like being pretentious you might say some Scottish Nationalists have invented an unrecognisable Britain against which they can define their imaginary, but perfect, Scotland. It is both an illusion and a prospectus for independence built upon a false bill of goods.

The problem the nationalists have – one acknowledged by more thoughtful Yes voters – is that plenty of their compatriots are quite comfortable with an identity that is Scottish and British. To reject the latter would be, in some sense, to reject a part of themselves. This is not some kind of Caledonian “false consciousness” or Scottish cringe. The Scots are rather bigger, and better, than that. But if this kind of loopy, whining, paranoid nationalist did not exist Better Together might have wanted to invent them, all the better to discredit the nationalist cause.

Since the burden of proof rests with those advocating separatism each Yes-voting Scot is, in effect, a “brand ambassador” for independence. Their arguments leave an impression and so does the manner in which the case for independence is made. Bluff, bluster and bullying are by no means confined to one side of the argument.

Of course there is more to the Nationalist cause than this and it is not altogether fair to judge the Yes campaign – or any campaign – by the worst of its followers. The plausible case for independence is not substantively damaged by its mankier, more idiotic followers. Reason tells you that. But reason, as we all know, is only part of politics. Emotion matters too and the worst kind of nationalists may yet have an impact on the referendum that is both not what they might hope it to be and disproportionate to their numbers.

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Show comments
  • Kennybhoy

    Regarding Unionist reticence Maister M.

    ” In a raucous voice, he cried aloud little matters, like the hope of Honor and the dream of Glory, that boys do not discuss even with their most intimate equals, cheerfully assuming that, till he spoke, they had never considered these possibilities. He pointed them to shining goals, with fingers which smudged out all radiance on all horizons. He profaned the most secret places of their souls with outcries and gesticulations, he bade them consider the deeds of their ancestors in such a fashion that they were flushed to their tingling ears.”

    and

    “They looked in silence. They had certainly seen the thing before down at the coastguard station, or through a telescope, half-mast high when a brig went ashore on Braunton sands; above the roof of the Golf Club, and in Keyte’s [the grocer’s] window, where a certain kind of striped sweetmeat bore it in paper on each box. But the College never displayed it; it was no part of the scheme of their lives; the Head had never alluded to it; their fathers had not declared it unto them. It was a matter shut up, sacred and apart. What, in the name of everything caddish, was he driving at, who waved that horror before their eyes?”

    Think on’t…

  • Maidmarrion

    Yeeha! The Sunday herald is supporting independence!
    Now I’m old enough and ugly enough to recognise expediency but for now I am happy to invest for a few weeks – suck it and see but rejoicing in the fact that there is ONE newspaper willing to offer an opposite view from the other unionist hordes we endure.
    May the Wings Over Scotland protect and inform her for ever!

    • terregles2

      I think that the Sunday Herald is responding to the upsurge in excellent political debates which are taking place throughout Scotland.
      There is a real growing optimism and hope for the future in Scotland which is reflected in the rise of the YES voting intentions.
      It is also to the Herald’s credit that they promise to continue presenting the BetterTogether point of view in spite of their support for independence. They have assured us that they will continue to respect all opinion. It makes such a refreshing change from the publications that sneer, abuse and manipulate the facts.

  • JPJ2

    Alex Massie, apparently still pretending to be undecided, knows perfectly well that much greater abuse comes from the unionist side than from the Yes side.

    He only needs to look at the online comments column of the Scotsman to verify my comment, as both he, and more often his father, regularly write for it. He cannot be unaware that I am writing the truth here.

    Mind you, you don’t even have to look further today than THE MOST POPULAR COMMENT HERE, which says “How on earth is Salmond not evil?”

    Destroyed by your own supporters, Alex-one has to laugh 🙂

  • allymax bruce

    “I think it would be useful if Unionists offered a more upbeat and emotional argument for what the Union can offer in the future (as well as, sure, what it has given in the past) but it’s not necessarily a necessary part of their remit.”

    Massie, ye’r n’ eejit; The voting figures are the lowest ever; why do you think that is? It’s because the electorate are disenfranchised from Westminster politics & politicians. That’s enough reason for the ‘union’, as you call it, to ‘offer [any] argument’! It is absolutely their ‘remit’ to enfranchise the electorate, but they’re ignoring the electorate as usual. And you try to tell us lies in-favour of covering this malpractice up? That’s why your pathetic article was ‘pulled’ from The Times.

  • anncalba

    I’m old enough to remember the dismantling of British rule in Africa and India. Our colonial subjects were sure that with self rule, everything would be so much better. Well, their choice of rulers since then. And many African contries are basket cases. But they still love to blame the Brits. I’m guessing that in 60 years time the Scots will still be blaming the English for all their troubles.

    • terregles2

      Just as well then that Scotland is an ancient country and not a colony.We have our own legal and educational system and our own church . We wont be blaming anyone for anything in the future. We will be too busy using our own rich natural resources to build a better country.

  • Maidmarrion

    I have read a deal of drivel in my time but this really takes the biscuit.
    Mr Massie may I suggest there are a couple of websites you should visit from the NO side which contain foul language and pejorative statements , not to mention physical threats .
    Your article is nonsense and please accept no invitations from any television studio to appear as an ” undecided” – your bolt is well and truly shot.

    • Kennybhoy

      Suggest them then…?

  • terregles2

    I don’t see how any writing on the YES campaign and on Scottish independence can be taken as serious analysis while it persists in equating the YES campaign only with the SNP and only with Scottish people..
    Anyone familiar with Scottish politics knows that there are five political parties campaigning for a YES vote. I have many of my friends and family in Scotland who are a mixture of YES/NOs and undecided.
    Of about a dozen of the YES voters only rwo of them are SNP supporters.The rest are a mixture of Libdem, one Conservative and three Greens and another two who often decide on the basis of the candidate rather than the party.
    The YES campaign is now a movement made up of many political parties and to call all YES voters SNP followers is just not a reflection of reality. It is also wrong to try and paint those wanting self government for Scotland as anti English as quite a substantial amount of English people living in Scotland are YES campaigners.
    Some Scottish Conservative politicians including Nick Johnston are also supporting independence. They see independence as an opportunity for Scottish Conservatives to rebuild some of the support they had in Scotland in the past.
    There is some bad feeling towards the Scottish Labour party particularly from the SNP but then I don’t think Labour are top of any popularity poll in EWNI either.

    • HJ777

      What would you know about serious analysis?

      The SNP and particularly Salmond is in charge of the “Yes” campaign and they are making policy promises galore whilst mysteriously forgetting to account for costs (such as the impact on GDP of the transition costs of secession).

      You have friends and family who are a mixture of “Yes”, “No” and undecided? How come? Not long ago you were telling us that whenever you spoke to people and explained things they shifted to “Yes”. What went wrong?

    • The_greyhound

      The usual specious nonsense..

      The yes proposition is a wholly SNP proposition. Together with its mendacious little fronts (Business for Scotland, Wings over Scotland etc) this pointless stuff is just an exercise in the SNP trying to rebrand itself. And failing.

      And its endless negative campaigning and obsessing over the unionist position merely reminds us what a sad, intellectually disordered crew nationalists are.

      • terregles2

        I am not an SNP voter but i think you are being rather unfair and misleading to dismiss their campaign as a collection of mendacious little fronts.
        The SNP for decades now have campaigned for Scottish independence. They believe that it will be best for Scotland. You can disagree with that opinion but they have been quite open about their aims..
        The YES campaign now includes a wide range of political opinion both from the left right and centre of the political spectrum and many non SNP supporters.
        You denying that fact does not make it untrue.
        I don’t think you issuing insults to anyone who disagrees with you really adds much to any debate. I am a YES voter but I respect the opinion of anyone in Scotland choosing to vote NO. Unionists just like YES voters are a wide mixture of different political aspirations and a mixture of intellectual capabilities.

        • mightymark

          The kudos of a “yes” vote will attach to Salmond. How could it not do?

          • terregles2

            Really nobody will know the answer to that until after the first general election post Scottish independence. It is only then when all the political parties stand for election will we know which party is the most popular.

        • Alex Creel

          Just to mention, I’m an SNP member and campaign vigorously for the YES campaign but every time I knock on a door I tell prospective voters – this isn’t a vote for the SNP this is a vote for independence, in 2016 you put whoever you like in government. I’m just campaigning to make sure they’re more likely to get the government they vote for…even if that means labour.

          • terregles2

            Indeed Alex everyone in Scotland knows that people from all political parties are supporting YES not just the SNP.

      • abystander

        So I suppose the Green Party and Labour for Independence and National Collective and Radical Independence Movement and Prosperous Nation of right wing inclination and Trade Unionists for independence etc are all mendacious.

        In short anyone who is not a Unionist is a mendacious dupe.

        What a high view you have of so many of my compatriots.

  • Tony Collins

    How ironic. See below for some fine examples of Brit Nats doing their on-line trolling thing..

  • anncalba

    Have learned over the last couple of years that those in the “No” camp keep their opinions to themselves, because otherwise you will be bullied and screamed at by the Cybernats. Example, in the hairdresser the other week, hairdresser asked what I thought about Independence – I know If I had said I was in favour, that would have been the end of the conversation, said I wasn’t sure – conversation continued and the woman who washes hair said ” But We’ll be okay because we have all the strong banks”. Was pointed out to her that RBS is 80% owned by ther British Tax Payer and Clydesdale bank by an Australian company – she was amazed, and plainly thought we were lying. Got a newspaper from the SNP in the post last week – hillarious stuff full of unfunded promises of Scotland in wonderland, and endorsements from c list celebrities. Meant to keep it, to compare the reality in 10 years if the Yes vote wins, but it sadly got chucked out with the rest of the rubbish.

    • asalord

      Got a leaflet from the No camp through the letterbox last week – hilarious stuff full of unfounded promises of more devolution should Scotland decide to stay in this unionist utopia, and endorsements from d list celebrities. Meant to keep it, to compare the reality when a new Westminster government is elected in 2015 and kicks the devolution promises into the long grass, but I had ran out of toilet paper so…

      • Inverted Meniscus

        As opposed to promises of a currency union with the UK. Now that really is hilarious.

      • anncalba

        Oooh, wish I had your original ideas, how did you manage to think all this up? Typical Cypergnat. Thanks for the laugh.

    • Andrian Harsono

      I’m a volunteer with the Better Together campaign and I strongly relate to what you’re saying. Given all the accusations about the “No” campaign being overly negative, we now end up simply biting the bullet and putting up with passionate “Yes” voters having a rant at us on the streets.

      Without sounding negative, the odds are stacked against us. There is obviously strong anti-Westminster sentiment here (that is kind of the whole point of independence) and so whenever we put a point forward disagreeing with their opinions, we are accused of Westminster bullying (which resonates with the Scottish people) and if they were to disagree with our opinions, that is seen as Scotland standing up to Westminster (which resonates with the Scottish people). Can’t win either way, really.

      I also totally agree with what you said about the Cybernats. If you go on youtube and watch clips on the Scottish Independence Referendum debates, the “Yes” commenters are far more aggressive, abusive and bitter, but of course, I am not allowed to say that, because I will be accused of negative campaigning.

  • FF42

    It’s a competition of negativity. The Union is the status quo, which means any advantages of the Union to Scotland, such as the single currency, fewer trade barriers etc, are already banked. Independence would therefore mean a loss of these benefits, but remaining in the Union doesn’t give you anything you don’t already have.

    It is in the interests of those promoting independence to downplay these advantages of the Union to Scotland and at the same time to stress any negative aspects of the Union. That’s because there aren’t any corresponding advantages to independence. “We’re better off separate” only makes sense if being together is bad.

    So both sides end up stressing the negative, for perfectly logical reasons.

    • Derick Tulloch

      The thing is: the international datasets (OECD, UN) all show the UK is way down the rankings. A ranking of 28th on the UN Quality of Life Index (with Greece at 29th) is not thrilling. The second worst pension of all 29 OECD states, with only Mexico worse is rather dull. A GINI index of 40, when the Scandinavian nations are in the twenties, does not my fire light. Scotland can do better. We must do better. The alternative is to go down with Titanic UK. Would rather not thanks. To the lifeboats

      • FF42

        If you think a lifeboat is better you are hardly making a positive case for independence, are you?

  • Gregor Addison

    Scottish independence is about democracy. It is about the fact that despite voting Labour (we have only 1 Tory MP), Scotland only gets a Labour government when it is voted for by voters in England. Scotland is an electoral minority within the UK and so have to put our social and political aspirations on hold until voters in England vote in a similar fashion. Now, there are parts of England who do vote Labour and they don’t get the government they want either. So given that, why don’t Labour activists in England argue for a federal Britain?

    My own view is that a federal Britain is unlikely. So rather than be constantly frustrated by the lack of a real grassroots movement in England, I think Scotland should vote for independence. It is an opportunity for Scotland to remodel itself with a constitution, a system of proportional representation (which we already have for the Scottish Parliament), and to put a greater emphasis on social justice. Scotland would not have to endure Conservative government, or watered down Labour governments. In the YES campaign, which is very much a grassroots movement, there are a great many people from the left of politics in Scotland who want exactly this kind of change. Many are ex-Labour voters. But they see an opportunity to create a better society away from the Westminster model.

    Now that brings me to solidarity. Should Scotland stay in the Union to show solidarity with working people in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, if that means having to give up the promise of change and endure further Tory rule? Is it fair to ask Scotland to do this, if you believe in improving social justice? The Communist Party recently said that they prefer “radical federalism” but where is that anything more than two words? Where is the fleshed out commitment to delivering such a thing? An independent Scotland can show solidarity with other working people without being in a political union with them. I’d like to think we show solidarity with people in Greece or in France or anywhere else (yes, England, Wales, and Northern Ireland) without being in a political union with them. If people in England and other parts of the UK want better social justice then they need to build a movement to achieve that. I see very little evidence of such a movement. Are we really saying that Scotland accept its minority status and wait for others to make decisions on its behalf? Is that something you would find acceptable yourself, wherever in the UK you come from? It seems to me it encourages a kind of political quietism and I’m glad to say that there is, rather, a sense of empowerment in Scotland amongst grassroots activists in the YES campaign who are on the left of politics. A vote for independence isn’t about hating the English, or hating Etonian Tory boys (let’s face it, Labour taught us to do that), or about abandoning working people elsewhere in the world; it’s about seizing the opportunity to build a better society with real political power and targeting the social needs of those who are worst off in our communities. That’s why I’m voting YES with no sense of guilt, or hatred.

    • EU thrall

      Ha, what a dire read.

      So what if Scotland have a minority vote until the majority vote in their favour?…. Which I might add has recently been the case. So what? It’s the same in all democracies, its the same for every individual in the union.

      And this is where I stopped reading your bile.

      • Gregor Addison

        Thank you for making the effort all the same.

        • EU thrall

          Next you’ll be complaining that Perthshire don’t have a voice unless the rest of Scotland agrees with them.

          • Gregor Addison

            Not at all. Scotland is a country with its own government. I want that government to be independent, then we can work out how we can have a federal Scotland. You seem happy with central absolute rule. Happy with the majority votes in the EU?

            • EU thrall

              Ah, so you are allowed to draw your line at countries to Shires, yet you deny me the prerogative of countries to unions/continents?

              • Gregor Addison

                Sorry, I thought you were denying Scotland its right to be independent by suggesting that ever small divisible units would be the logical consequence of such an act. I was pointing out that people who don’t like the EU and want to come out of it are arguing to leave a political union that they think does not work for them. I was assuming that this latter point is your position?

                • fordetina9@gmail.com

                  Don’t apologise to the troll. He described your considered piece as bile.

                • Realpolitik/ fruitcake/ racist

                  How is he a troll, you need to understand that not everyone shares your ignorant opinions.

                • Tina Forde

                  The troll can reply for himself. Suffice to say to you that disagreeing with someone’s opinion does not give you the right to describe it as bile. And as for my opinions. As I haven’t expressed any in this thread, your point is entirely moot.

                • Realpolitik/ fruitcake/ racist

                  You expressed your opinion of “EU Thrall” – a “troll”. I have personally defended EU Thrall’s argument in my response to Addison. Whereas all you have done is judge and smear, the very actions of a troll.

                • Tina Forde

                  See above. The comment to the troll was addressed to the troll in question. Do you wish to nominate yourself as a.n.other troll?

                  Describing someone’s opinion as bile is trolling. Defending it, is trolling. End of.

                • Realpolitik/ fruitcake/ racist

                  You can clearly see he was attempting to start a conversation about it and subsequently developed his point. You on the other hand have behaved in a manner akin to a troll.

                • Tina Forde

                  I have no interest in your deflections – particularly on behalf of a third party on whose behalf you have no authority to speak. The poster was a troll. S/he can or not defend.

                • Realpolitik/ fruitcake/ racist

                  You meet your own definition of a troll.

                • Realpolitik/ fruitcake/ racist

                  You’ve totally ignored his point. Why do you think that a Scotland which occasionally votes a different way to the rest of GB has a lesser voice? Could that argument not be applied to everything? He then cites the example of Perthshire, when you get your independence will you then insist that because Perth vote a different way to the rest of the country in a single election they should seek independence?

                  And how will you have a greater voice with in a undemocratic conglomerate of 30 countries which you will inevitably join?

    • FF42

      Actually I agree with you that governments in England generally ignore Scotland, for the compelling reason (from their point of view) that intervening in Scotland brings them hassle.

      I take issue with your argument about building a better society in independent Scotland. Under the Union, Scotland is in fact a more socially divided country than England is. There is nothing stopping Scotland doing something about inequality now and at least get to the level of England. Secondly, the SNP, who are obviously the ones pushing for independence, have been in power in Holyrood for some time now have done very little to reduce inequality in Scotland using the considerable tools they already have. Why should we believe their promises of transformation later? Perhaps most important, trade and economic activity provide jobs that take people out of poverty and provide taxes to fund welfare for those that remain stuck. Leaving the Union will result in less trade and economic activity for Scotland and a consequent rise in poverty.

      • FF42

        It seems I got an important fact wrong. Poverty levels have fallen faster on Scotland than in England in the last ten years and poverty levels in Scotland are now lower.

        That fall is due to increased economic activity in Scotland and elsewhere in the UK, which is my other more important point. The fall is smaller in England because of unaffordable increases in housing costs in the south east.

        http://policyscotland.gla.ac.uk/scotlands-improving-poverty-rate-worth-one-cheer/

        • anncalba

          Glasgow recently overtook Liverpool as the city in the UK with the most people living on welfare. Just a thought.

    • Inverted Meniscus

      Well good luck with creating your very own leftist utopia. I for one will be delighted to rid England of 41 Labour MPs who will be free to concentrate their deranged socialist madness where it will be welcomed and enjoyed.

      • Gregor Addison

        Thanks. Good luck with your…whatever it turns out to be…

        • mightymark

          Your problem however is that it is clear that, were Scotland to become independent, there will need to be considerable cross border cooperation. This much is evident from both hard nosed practical features of the “Yes” campaign, not least the desire (need!) for a currency union (even if it isn’t on offer)and more existential ones like the denial one sometimes hears from the Nats that Scotland will “cease to be “British”.

          Very well. Now if you will, take look at a number of post here – that from “Inverted Meniscus” above is a “good” example – positively salivating at the prospect of a more Tory rUK after Scottish independence. That will in all probability be the rUK an independent Scotland will have to negotiate these cross border matters with. And in most matters it will be just that more Tory rUK that will hold the negotiating cards especially since Salmond has ruled out using Rosyth as bargaining chip.

          At very least it doesn’t exactly bode well for the cosy relations we are assured of by the sanguine Salmond and crew! Of course, it may be that the politics Scotland and the rest of the (current )UK are not in fact so far apart as to prevent good relations post independence but then why are we even debating a proposal for independence which, from what I can make of it, appears to rest very largely on the alleged existence of precisely such differences?

          • Gregor Addison

            Well I think there will be co-operation but there will also be differences in terms of approaches to policy. We see that already between the priorities of the Scottish Parliament and Westminster. I’d like to see a shake up in English politics with those on the left going for a federal England but I see no evidence of that happening and, ultimately, that is a matter for voters in England. So what form co-operation takes can only be guessed at. I would add, however, that up to 70% of people polled in Scotland over the last few years want more powers for the Scottish Parliament (in the event of a NO vote), so what does that say of current co-operation?

            I see myself as “British” and “Scottish”. I also see myself as “European”. Independence will not remove Scotland from these British Isles but the meaning of “British” – the meaning of our relationship with one another – will change. I will still be “British” but not in the same sense as ruled from Westminster with a side-helping of Devolution. As for using “Rosyth” as a bargaining chip, I think you mean Faslane and Coulport where the submarine fleet is based. I don’t know how negotiations over Trident will go and neither, I suspect, do you. It’s odd that some people see the Royal Navy as English, not British, although the WMDs are based in Scotland. The cry “We’ll take our navy back” doesn’t often extend so far as WMDs but there you are.

            I enjoyed your alliteration “Sanguine Salmond” – very good – why are we debating this? Because a significant number of people in Scotland believe we need independence (polls suggest it’s moving towards 50/50 but not all polls agree) or at least further significant powers, a viewpoint that is still being ignored, and the Holyrood and Westminster governments agreed we should have this debate. The real problem for Labour and other Unionist parties in Scotland will come if there is a NO vote, since they will be expected to deliver further change. It is not clear that any of the Unionist parties intend to do so.

            • mightymark

              I rather wonder if you quite realise what exactly the word “independence” means. You talk about “co-operation” as if it is a some kind of gentlemanly game. I repeat – you will, by removing Scotland from the union have turned the rest of the UK into a more solidly Tory place – as I said earlier the kind of place for which many here are looking forward. A good part of the nationalist campaign is based on its dislike of the Tories and yet you assume an even more Tory rUK will just fall into line and co-operate. Can you really not see the seeds of conflict there?

              And I rub my eyes in wonder at your “We’ll take our navy back”. Salmond wants it out. Indeed offered the opportunity the other day to embarrass the “no campaign when the minister envisaged the possibility of a deal on Trident for a currency union – which so far has been the Achilles heel of the “yes” campaign – he said no.

              Finally you say you are among other things “British” – presumably implying you would continue to be so after independence. But in what sense other than the geographical? Your passport, flag and national anthem would be Scottish. Even if you retain the monarchy you would be no more British than say, Australia.

              Actually, for unionists there is a degree of comfort in people like yourself that suggests many “yes” sayers are not really serious about it and that – just maybe – the union will be saved at the last minute by enough people who having taken themselves to the precipice. looked over it and realised what a truly rotten deal is on offer, pull back.

              • Gregor Addison

                I’ve supported YES for thirty years so what you see as a precipice, I see as an opportunity. As for the term “British” I mean in the sense that Norwegians stopped being “Scandinavian” in the sense of being politically bound to Sweden. Now they are “Scandinavian” in a different sense, involving a different relationship which shows “co-operation” but not the kind of “co-operation” that means doing as you’re told from Stockholm because you’re legally bound to.

                Did you mis-read my “We’ll take our navy back” statement? It’s a phrase I hear from those who think the navy is English. Salmond wants an independent Scotland and so a Scottish Navy – he doesn’t want the navy “out” – he wants a navy for an independent Scotland.

                • mightymark

                  The term “Scandinavia” was never used to refer to a political entity so that analogy falls at the first hurdle.

                  I doubt if there are many who think the Royal Navy is “English”. There are certainly a few of English wind up merchants – disproportionately represented here – who hope Scotland separates, think insulting it will help and so who might go in for that sort of stuff. They are effectively your allies and you should treasure their service to the cause.

                  Your silence on the fundamental point of what I say above is noted.

                • Gregor Addison

                  Ok.

      • terregles2

        Glad that you are coming round to the idea. I knew you would appreciate the benefits in the long run.

    • The_greyhound

      “Scottish independence is about democracy.”

      No. it’s about the delusional ambition of the ridiculous Salmond. Hence the barrage of ranting, lies, and pestilent trolling that has come from the SNP “campaign”.

      • abystander

        Its about democracy and our desire not to be governed by the likes of you.

        Sorry, but no thanks.

    • BillyShears67

      The obsession of creating a socialist utopia as a means for voting yes is desperately ill informed. Do you think that a vision almost wholly exported within Glasgow reflects that of wider Scottish society? Absolutely not. Banging on about an ambition to achieve a Scandinavian style state is moronic to say the least when you consider that Salmond and co have promised to keep or merely extend the system of welfare that is prevalent across the UK.

      It’s laughable also that you dismiss ‘radical federalism’ as just two words. It’s a far more realistic prospect than independence for Scotland and far more realistic than your deluded idea of a socialist utopia equivalent to that of the Scandinavian model. You should refer yourself to proper academics like Vernon Bogdanor who state that devolution in 1999 was the beginning of a quasi federal state that would ultimately flourish into full federalism. I’d rather listen to people like him rather than your aggressive YES keyboard warriors you choose to listen to.

      Or is the likes of Bogdanor all part of the Unionist conspiracy against us poor wee Scots?

  • Jabez Foodbotham

    This is just the old anti-UKIP libel revised for anti-Yes use. Some of their supporters are loonies, so the whole damn lot of them are loonies.

  • Rhoda Klapp8

    Can I assume that when Massie writes on subjects of which I know little he exhibits the same lack of judgment and dishonest arguments, the rhetorical tricks and downright lies he used in his recent UKIP rant? How glad I will be when he is living in a foreign country and won’t be writing here. That IS what’s going to happen, isn’t it?

    • Kennybhoy

      “That IS what’s going to happen, isn’t it?”

      Nae chance! 🙂

  • JohnMcDonaldish

    Good grief. Alex Massie has the obvious right to express a negative view on Scottish independence but please don’t expect me or the millions of Yes supporters to take his comments seriously.

    Silly and idiotic comments are to be found on both sides of this debate but nothing compares to the avalanche of silly and idiotic statements from the leaders of the No campaign. Scotland will be outside the EU and Nato; we won’t be able to support ourselves, our economy will collapse, independence will lead to catastrophe for Western civilisation.

    No are losing the argument and losing it in the most spectacular fashion.

    • Realpolitik/ fruitcake/ racist

      What is the point of independence within a conglomerate of 30 nations with about as much democracy as the USSR?

      • JohnMcDonaldish

        Well, that’s a choice we will have after independence. The thing is we will have that choice.

        • Realpolitik/ fruitcake/ racist

          Are you unaware of Salmond’s love of the EU and intentions (he’s certainly not quiet about it) to hand your independence over? Do you remember Ireland?

        • Damon

          I like the way you “Yes” voters all seem to write as if the referendum were over and won. Why not wait and let the Scottish people speak before you presume to know the outcome?

          • Inverted Meniscus

            A ha ha ha ha ha ha. You don’t think they are going to listen to the voice of common sense and fair play do you? These cyber nutters believe in the self fulfilling prophesy and ‘we will get all we want, when we want and how we want regardless of the needs of the mere 91.7% of the UK who don’t live in Scotland. The currency union being a perfect example of their arrogant madness.

            • Alex Creel

              It’s an old political trick, he who owns the language owns the argument. This is beautifully illustrated by our Mr Salmond who stole ‘Yes’ before unionists could make it ‘vote yes for the union’. Take the positive slant and make it work for you. The same will remain true after independence 🙂

              • Inverted Meniscus

                Fair comment and good luck to you. I am perfectly happy to see Scotland go it alone accompanied by a fair per capita division of assets and liabilities wherever practicable. My only concern is that the electorate of EWNI who will get no say in the issue will be expected to pick up some of the, probably, enormous transition costs. They should be for the account of the Scottish electorate exclusively. Also, no currency union thank you very much. We can manage a little foreign exchange translation risk on cross border trade but there is no desire to see the UK Treasury (UK taxpayer) underwriting the newly issued public debt of a foreign country. The UK is already committed to guaranteeing all existing public debt even Scotland’s share if it becomes independent. There is no appetite for guaranteeing any more when you are a foreign country and we will not have any control over what you borrow and for what term. Sorry but the thought of handing Mr Salmond my credit card has no appeal whatsoever.

                • Alex Creel

                  I understand your concerns and sympathise- the horrible feeling that Scotland may become a debt-ridden drag on your finances (something you never got to vote on) is unenviable. However, I’d make 2 points – firstly, Scotland continues to attract inward investment at a higher rate than the rest of the UK, has a good level of employment and would effectively carry the same level of debt per capita as EWNI so we’re in a strong position to launch a new nation. Second, I honestly believe that the currency union option – sought after by SNP – is purely so we don’t scare the horses and achieve independence. in 2016 parties in Scotland can propose any of a number of plan B’s in their manifestos and the people will decide the best route. I’d hope that we’d use a Scottish pound and come to an agreement with your next Conservative government over our remaining share of the national debt….time will tell.

                • Inverted Meniscus

                  I agree Alex although I have neither read a properly objective economic analysis projection of Scotland’s independent economic future there is no reason to believe it would not be viable. The currency union remains a truly terrifying prospect for EWNI taxpayers and no responsible, informed UK politician could agree to it without an unequivocal veto on any and all Scottish borrowing proposals and a full fiscal and monetary union. That however would hardly be independence for Scotland and were I a Scot, would be unacceptable. Hence the suggestion that a ‘plan B’ is a good idea. The suggestion by Salmond that a CU would avoid foreign exchange translation risk on cross border trade is technically valid but also totally disingenuous. That risk is managed by corporate treasurers on a daily basis and is a nominal commercial risk compared to the open-ended exposure of underwriting the newly issued sovereign debt of a foreign country with no previous borrowing record (through no fault of its own) and governed by parties with highly spendthrift inclinations. The most rabid SNP supporter should understand that that is not a persuasive trade off for the UK taxpayer who is in any event, responsible for all current debt whether or not Scotland assumes its per capita share. Incidentally, just try borrowing money having repudiated that obligation. The transition costs seem to me a ‘no brainier’. No exercise of democratic right requires no assumption of these costs which must fall entirely upon Scotland. EWNI will not have incurred them so why should we pay any of them? I have both Scottish relatives and friends and whilst, on balance, feel that nations who have prevailed in two world wars and survived endless financial crises have achieved something worth preserving, the will of the Scottish electorate appears to believe otherwise and must be respected. It seems reasonable to assert however that those who will have no say in the dissolution of the UK , should not have to meet the costs.

                • Alex Creel

                  Good points, thanks. Re spenthrift inclinations – I joined the SNP after having been a lifelong Conservative voter, which may sound bizarre…but….there are far fewer flys on Salmond et al than the UK media like to pretend. Getting the party to roll over on non NATO membership in order to make independence viable was a good example of the SNPs pragmatic approach. I’m keen to see the gap between rich and poor reduce (by making the poor richer, not the rich poorer) but i don’t think for a moment that the SNP share labours ‘put it on tick’ philoshophy.
                  If nothing else this year we should all be glad that we were here to see this tussle – until now having a coalition government was the most exciting thing to happen to UK politics in decades!

            • terregles2

              Why are you always so rude and aggressive it adds nothing to the debate.?

              • Inverted Meniscus

                You don’t debate. Like Salmond, you just ignore the difficult questions such as currency union, transition costs or claim that raising such matters is wishing ill upon Scotland or that we should all just wait until clever people ‘negotiate’ the terms of separation. It is all bland rubbish and to borrow your words, “adds nothing to the debate”. I have repeatedly asked why the EWNI tax payers should cover any of the enormous transition costs when they have not been able to vote. No problem with a per capita share of assets and liabilities but why should we pay any of the costs? Come on debate that. Justify why the 58 million people who get no say in the dissolution of the UK should pay the costs incurred by the 5.3 million who do. I suspect I will have a very long wait save for all the usual blustering, bullying, why do you want to harm Scotland self pitying nonsense.

                • terregles2

                  I have debated with you before on what you call the difficult questions. I really enjoyed that debate because you raised the points listened to the reply and responded with good points well presented.
                  Since then you have become rather abrasive and confrontational. I will leave you to chat with H777 you seem now to have become more in tune with his style of debate.

                • Inverted Meniscus

                  No you do not debate. I have just had a debate with an SNP supporter called Alex Creel, check it out because uniquely for an SNP he confronts the issues and politely makes his points while acknowledging mine. Try it out sometime.

        • mightymark

          That is interesting. I thought the “yes” position was that Scotland would be automatically an EU member from day one of independence. At least that is what the say when challenged that their membership application might not be accepted.

          Is this a case of porkies or just singing from different hymn sheets?

    • anyfool

      Quite right, he is also making the case for after the referendum regardless of the result, that Labour should never again be allowed office in Scotland, all this negative rubbish came from Labour, they see you as an incompetent people who cannot be trust to run your own country, no Tory would have dared to initiate that sentiment, although to their shame they went along with it.

    • Damon

      “Scotland will be outside the EU and Nato; we won’t be able to support
      ourselves, our economy will collapse, independence will lead to
      catastrophe for Western civilisation.”

      Straw men, straw men, straw men. This is NOT what most Unionists say. We say that Britain is a synergy, greater than the sum of its collective parts. Of course both England and Scotland can survive separately. But they can only be “great” together. The clue’s in the brand name.

      • Derick Tulloch

        It’s just a geographical descriptor. Great Britain because it is larger than Britanny

    • Inverted Meniscus

      Well let’s hope you are right because after that statement you are going to look monumentally stupid if The No vote wins.

    • flippit

      I don’t think you’ve really thought things through. You think everything’s going to be all right because it always has been and everyone else will be reasonable and sensible (give you what you want).

  • anyfool

    Annoyingly the article appears to have vanished from the paper’s website but here’s the gist of it:

    It disappeared because it would drive people to the yes camp.
    You state,
    But it’s nationalists – or Yes voters – who need to make the case for change.

    Surely you mean Better Together should be the ones making the case for “no change ” , after all why would people contemplate changing something so good that it lasted 300+ years.
    Don`t you progressive types always hammer the majority with the mantra, its time we brought ourselves into the real world, ( actually you mean us, into your world ) with things like Europe, gay marriage, easy divorce, multiculturalism and all the other fads of the last couple of decades.
    Maybe Scottish independence and currently the English thumbing their noses at your kind of arguments are reflecting your failure to live in the real, real world, not the fantasies of your minds.

  • Realpolitik/ fruitcake/ racist

    Why the English can’t wait for Scottish independence:

    I for one am pro-independence as an Englishman, but the Scots will be pulled further into the EU.
    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 suffer as a result of political hubris; of tearing a sucking nation from its teat. How long until the oil runs out? Scotland is many things, but not English.
 Scotland is a foreign country. linguistic idioms, architecture, urbanism are alien and beguiling. It is foreign because of its very familiarity.

    Economy: From our former names of Alba, Alban to Albania, we have always been divided. Scotland hate the Tories as we can see from another article on here, this is because she closed down their mining industry, although it was economically exhausted, it was socially cohesive. Tens of thousands were rationalised into voluntary idleness, their unemployment benefit could arguably cost more.

    Drug use: Scotland has western-Europe’s highest proportion of population of Heroin users, 50,000 people. Still only 1%; which makes one wonder on the willpower of the remaining 99%; how do they get by. Heroin in Scotland is incidentally the cheapest in Western-Europe
Diet: The Scottish diet is notoriously reliant on; white sugar and white flour. it constitutes an anti-gastronomic, anti-sybaritic, anti-hygienic assault on the body; an assault which is undertaken with proletcultish pride and inadvertent snobbery; the twin poles of impressive obesity and hatchet-faced cadaverousness are amply represented. You don’t need to go to Switzerland; Scottish chip shops provide an effective euthanasia service. Unsurprisingly coronary disease
    and lung cancer are so prevalent in Scotland that average life expectancy is the shortage in Western-Europe; 74 may still seem too many years for a man to endure if he is condemned to live in surroundings
    like that of Scotland.
Scotland’s demographic complexion owes more to Europe than to England. Scotland enjoys an extremely high level of teenage pregnancy, “Duff” is after all a Scottish name. 11% of Scotland’s
    inhabitants receive disability benefits; some of them are not all that disabled; for instance, a supposedly one-legged man who worked as a roofer.


    Crime: According to the UN (given its quaint array of biases, isn’t necessarily the most reliable of sources) you’re more likely to be assaulted in Scotland than in any other developed country; that’s something to write home about; unless of course your hands has been crushed in the assault. The murder rate is among the highest is Western-Europe; so too is the population of percentage in prison -8,000. Scotland shares Brazil’s propensity to self-annihilation, violent crime deprivation and hardly unrelated a grotesquely inequitable division of wealth.

    
Society: “If a thing is worth doing; it is worth doing badly” G.K Chesterton seems to be taken literally by Scotland; its utilitarian drabness. Imagination costs nothing. Scotland loves oppression and curtailment; “You’re going to live like your grandparents and you’re going to be grateful for it”. “This is your place” Grants primacy to the past, rather than to the future. fetishists roots rather than branches. An inhibition to social mobility which is conditional on actual mobility. People know their place.
340 people own 58% of rural Scotland, and 52% of the highlands is owned by 90 people. The public purse provides most of the jobs, and they provide the government with votes- Quid pro quo.

    • MichtyMe

      Well, well, Massie’s article has certainly provided an opportunity for this ill informed kipper to display his ignorance. For the sake of brevity let’s just deal with the final fatuous claim “the public purse provided most of the jobs” No Sir, the percentage is 22.7% very similar to the UK average. Indeed the proportion of the population that is “economically active” is larger north of the border.

      • Realpolitik/ fruitcake/ racist

        It’s merely one of several forms of dependency which constitute a sociopolitical glue.

    • EU thrall

      Brilliantly written piece as always my friend.

    • Keith D

      You may be pro Independence but you don’t speak for “the English” do you ?.Its a complete irrelevance how many PM’s were born in Scotland, except perhaps it was a reflection of that country’s once much vaunted education system.
      I’m Scottish living in the South East. Few of my friends want to see Scotland depart thanks.
      UKIP wants to see Britain out of the EU so why on earth would you want to terminate the UK and allow an independent Scotland to swiftly join the ranks of that monstrosity?
      Of course, given Scotlands past record of voting feeble Labour MP’s into Westminster it would benefit the Tories, if they weren’t so busy trying to make themselves clones of Blairite Labour.
      Regarding the various points you made re the health, crime and social mobility conditions, well yes but so what? The countries are different, so is Wales and NI.

      Its a different world to what it was 50 years ago even, and we’re going to have to face new challenges brought about by the 2 dominant parties Multicultural project. Better doing that without cutting off our friends, eh?

      • Realpolitik/ fruitcake/ racist

        It’s relevant as a preamble.

        I don’t want Scotland to “independently” join the EU, what on earth gave you that idea?

        • Keith D

          I’m saying that separation would inevitably lead to that very thing happening. As you attest to in your your reply to John Mcdonaldish.
          Just saying.

          • EU thrall

            I think Realpolitik is quite clear in saying he is pro- Scottish independence and anti-EU. Those two things are not mutually exclusive.

            • Keith D

              And I’m quite clear that if we get out of Europe, which I want, that Scottish separation would see Scotland back in.

              • EU thrall

                It’s Scotland’s decision to go further into the pork-barrel of democracy.

                To want Scottish independence and to want a breakdown of the EU is by no means contradictory, it may be presently unrealistic, but it’s a ‘want’.

                Sacrifice Scotland to prevent a Labour government? Happily. If it comes to our neck or theirs, and they reach this decision through a referendum, who cares?

                • Keith D

                  Who cares? Me for one.
                  Our neck or theirs? All becomes clear.

                • EU thrall

                  I think the death of 1,000 via a democratic vote (suicide vote) is better than a death of 10,000 via an undemocratic means.

                • Keith D

                  You and realpolitik really should stop sharing a keyboard.

                • EU thrall

                  We share many of the same views as old school friends often do.

                • Keith D

                  I probably share some of them too. But on Scotland ? You’re wrong. Both of you.

                • EU thrall

                  Let me know when you can put your emotions into words.

                • Keith D

                  I can and always have thanks. I’ve explained why you’re wrong to think an independent Scotland doesn’t help anyone thats anti EU. deal with it. You’re allowed to disagree without getting personal.

                • EU thrall

                  You seem to think these two things are mutually exclusive, you are wrong.

                • Keith D

                  Of course I do. Salmond wins the referendum the first place he’s visiting is Brussels. Dont you get that?
                  Oh and cut out the personal stuff, you’re pissing me off.

                • EU thrall

                  Yes, I get that, loud and clear, volume is not a problem, he’s made no denial of this. The problem is you are not seeing that to want one specific thing does not necessarily mean you want another. I might want to go to France for the weekend, there are several ways of getting there. More than one way to skin a cat, if you will.

                  I don’t know what I’ve said that can in any way be considered personal. Let’s dissect my last comment. Do you think my statement “you are wrong” was on a genetic basis?

                • Keith D

                  “Let me know when you can put your emotions into words”
                  That was an attack. Fine if thats the way you roll, just saying.

                • EU thrall

                  And you had already told me “You’re allowed to disagree without getting personal.” in the comment before the one to which I was referring.

                • Keith D

                  A simple ok would have been fine. Have a good night. I’m off.

                • Realpolitik/ fruitcake/ racist

                  Scots seem to go to be early.

                • Keith D

                  Some of us get a shag, I’ll tell you what its like.

                • Realpolitik/ fruitcake/ racist

                  5 hours into it you have time to reply?

                • Keith D

                  PE,
                  Better than no E

                • Realpolitik/ fruitcake/ racist

                  What a vulgar little man.

                • terregles2

                  Well said many agree with you.

      • Andy

        What we English want is English Votes for English Laws. We want our own Parliament to look after our affairs without meddling by 41 Scottish Labour MPs and 12 LibDem MPs.

        • EU thrall

          They might argue something similar, yet opposite.

        • Keith D

          Fine. Another one who speaks who speaks for “we English”. Boring now.

          • Inverted Meniscus

            Sorry, Andy obviously forgot the we English are not entitled to an opinion. Apologies if you feel blustered and bullied.

            • Keith D

              Not blustered. Not bullied. Just amazed that certain people have made it clear there are swivel eyed loons suppoting UKIP.Tossers doing damage to a party I support

        • terregles2

          Well said Andy many in Scotland support you in that. Onwards and upwards. Both countries will improve after Scottish independence. We all need a more democratic voice..

    • allymax bruce

      Guff.

  • Makroon

    Murdoch probably ordered the removal of Massie’s piece in the Times, he is partial to a bit of Scottish jingoism.

    • Barakzai

      ‘Braveheart’s’ his favourite film, is that it?

  • http://batman-news.com LindsayScott

    So Yes supporters had better clean up their acts ot they’ll lose the game. Most of the nutters I’ve seen online and in the flesh are in the No (unionist) camp but then, their game’s already up!

    • Damon

      Why is their game “already up” when they’re still leading you in the opinion polls?

    • Inverted Meniscus

      So why are you bothering to vote?

  • Wessex Man

    Dear old Alex Massie, you just don’t get it do you, you think you are part some sort of a Union, when the majority of the people of England don’t really care whether you go or not, closely followed by the people who really hope that you do. A very small minority of the English, mostly Tories hope you stay.

    • Realpolitik/ fruitcake/ racist

      Couldn’t care? I would love for Scotland to leave the Union. I just worry about them getting deeper in the EU.

    • Makroon

      Who needs opinion polls when we’ve got Wessex Man.

      • Realpolitik/ fruitcake/ racist

        Who needs opinions when we’ve got a government “who knows best”?

  • dmitri the impostor

    Alex Massie and the sound of his own voice. The greatest love story since Tristan and Isolde.

  • Rab Dickson
  • Realpolitik/ fruitcake/ racist

    How on earth is Salmond not evil?

    Scotland’s fight for independence is reflecting that of Ireland’s. A fight for “FREEDOM” “INDEPENDENCE”, great words, but less meaningful when you are a Euro-fanatic and intend to submerge your country into a bankrupt conglomerate of corruption, fascism and bureaucracy.

    Ireland fought the good fight, then handed their hard fought independence to the EU. Now look at the mess they’re in.

    • SonOfSands

      Mess we are in? Fastest growing economy in Europe my boy 🙂

      • Realpolitik/ fruitcake/ racist

        That’s the UK, my boy. Also had you stayed out of the Euro you’d not have the huge debts you have now, seen as you bailed out 40% of the EU’s banks.

        • SonOfSands

          I don’t think so chum – Ireland is roaring back….That’s right the UK is virtually debt free, I forgot about that 🙂 also don’t forget we had to bail out some British banks too. That’s why your Chancellor was so quick to lend us a few shillings…

          • Realpolitik/ fruitcake/ racist

            Well the UK is, so maybe you should check your facts. boy.

            When was the last time you looked at your debt mountain? 1970?

            • SonOfSands

              1970! That’s 20 years in the future for UKIP supporters..

              • Realpolitik/ fruitcake/ racist

                How so?

                • EU thrall

                  I did see a flicker of “someone is typing a reply” or something to that effect, I guess he bottled it.

                • Kennybhoy

                  “…he bottled it.”

                  He’s got form.

          • HJ777

            Ireland has an unemployment rate of 12% and a national debt of around 125% of GDP, not to mention perhaps the most highly indebted consumers in the world.

            We are in much better shape.

          • terregles2

            There is really strong evidence that there will soon be the advanced equipment to extract the oil off the west coast of Ireland. You will be roaring back even more loudly then.

            • HJ777

              I suppose you are an expert on the oil business – just like you know so much about the nuclear industry and weapons.

              • Inverted Meniscus

                Trust me her expertise lies in telling everybody to calm down and accept whatever rubbish Alex Salmond happens to be spouting on any particular day. My personal favourites are transition costs will be subject to negotiations n good spirits. As if the taxpayers of EWNI will have any say in their creation. Second, a currency union will be best for all concerned because, heaven forbid, we could not possibly manage all that foreign exchange translation risk. No it has absolutely nothing to do with Salmond wanting newly issued public debt to be underwritten by the UK Treasury thus keeping Scottish borrowing costs such as mortgage payments down. Oh and for the privilege of underwriting that debt the UK gets no right to control how much is issued and for how long.

      • allymax bruce

        In London, only. The rest of UK are sufering badly.

      • Kennybhoy

        SonOfSands!

        My man!

        You never did get back to us back on “Truth, lies and Martin McGuinness”…? And I note with interest your absence from Douglas Murray’s subsequent Gerry Adams and Peter Hain posts.

    • Galleyk

      ” intend to submerge your country into a bankrupt conglomerate of corruption, fascism and bureaucracy” – We already are, its called the UK.

      • EU thrall

        You’re essentially complaining about the size of the pond. Let’s see if a bigger pond full of bigger fish gives you a bigger voice.

      • terregles2

        The latest Smith allegations are horrific and the subsequent treatment of the victims is dreadful.
        People deserve so much better than the Westminster failure of government.

        • HJ777

          Westminster government is a failure because of Cyril Smith?

          I knew you were unhinged but that’s pathetic even by your standards.

          For all its faults, Westminster is one of the least corrupt parliaments in the world. After all, it lacks ministers who spent £20k of public money trying to cover up the fact that they lied about receiving legal advice.

          • Realpolitik/ fruitcake/ racist

            You apply the same logic to UKIP.

        • Kennybhoy

          Do you posess any capacity for self-awareness whatsoever? Your post is a perfect example of what Maister M is on about. You prove his point…

      • HJ777

        Don’t be ridiculous. For all its faults, the UK is one of the least corrupt, freest and most stable countries in the world.

        Fascist? Listen to yourself? You’re absurd.

      • terregles2

        The most incredible thing is that Westminster politicians after being caught out in so much sleaze still have individuals who defend the Westminster system. We even have peers who have served time in prison. Some members of the public settle for such low standards. Says a lot about them.

        • HJ777

          Members of Parliament (any Parliament) are people with all the flaws of people in every other walk of life. Only a naive fool would believe otherwise

          Westminster politicians are lily-white compared to those in most countries, including European countries, largely because of the scrutiny of the press and a culture and tradition of openness. That is why the Westminster Parliament, for all its faults, is so respected all over the world.

          I know of one parliament where the most senior member spent £20k of taxpayers money trying to cover up the fact that the legal advice he said he had received never actually existed. When found out, he just carried on without resigning over hid dishonesty! I wonder if you can guess where that was?

  • dougthedug

    Alex Massie’s article condensed to 250 words. (No additional words or changes or moving of chunks of text.)

    You lack the imagination necessary to be the wilder kind of Scottish nationalist.

    Then again paranoia is a consequence of monomania and breathtaking solipsism and when nationalists promise the earth someone ought to ask if voters are being sold a unicorn. It’s not a secret, however, that many senior nationalists gaze upon some of their followers with some measure of despair and even, occasionally, horror.

    A disconcerting number of Yes supporters plainly consider themselves more authentic Scots than their opponents. The uber-nationalist interpretation of Scottish history is a worldview that bathes itself in victimhood. Scotland is so small, even so impoverished, that she is easily oppressed. It all makes sense to the kind of nationalist who considers the Great British Bake-Off part of a BBC-sponsored Unionist conspiracy. Keeping up with all this exhausting chippyness is itself exhausting. Who can be bothered with it? It is bad enough sharing a country with people as utterly humourless and small-minded as this; intolerable to do so in circumstances that would cheer them.

    You might say some Scottish Nationalists have invented an unrecognisable Britain against which they can define their imaginary, but perfect, Scotland. It is both an illusion and a prospectus for independence built upon a false bill of goods. But if this kind of loopy, whining, paranoid nationalist did not exist Better Together might have wanted to invent them, all the better to discredit the nationalist cause. Bluff, bluster and bullying are by no means confined to one side of the argument.

    Wait a minute. I though he was an undecided?

    • allymax bruce

      Massie saying Scotland is full of Cringers.

  • Douglas Guy

    Simple question Alex. You have read comments on newspaper sites, magazine sites, political sites and other blogs. Who predominantly has more nutters coming out with insane nonsense? Yes or No?

    • Inverted Meniscus

      Simple answer Douglas, unquestionbly the ‘Yes’ side. Most ‘No’ voters who respond in the ‘get lost Scotland’ mode are being reactive to what they believe to be the actively arrogant attitude of the ‘Yes’ campaign: “we will have a currency union, we will do this we will do that, its all bluster and bullying etc etc”. Many on the ‘Yes’ side completely ignore the possibility that the requirements of 8.7% of the current UK population might be completely at odds with the needs of the other 91.3% who have no direct say in the matter. The threat to walk away from Scotland’s per capita share of the National Debt if they dont get their way is a particularly incendiary taunt to those who have no say in the break up of the UK. It is even more galling for those who understand that the UK will be undewriting Scotland’s share of the existing debt come what may. I am sure you addressed that question to Mr massie in a rhetorical fashion the implication being that it is the unionist side which has the greater share of ‘nutters,. That is not however, necessarily the case as the likely response to this contribution will amply attest.

      • CraigStrachan

        I don’t think many ‘No’ voters respond in “get lost Scotland” mode. ‘No’ voters by definition want Scotland to stay, not to get lost. The “get lost Scotlanders” tend to be narrow English nationalists who don’t have a vote in the referendum.

        • Damon

          And I doubt very much whether the vast majority of English people want Scotland to “get lost”, either. There’s apathy, reflecting decadence and ignorance, but very little antipathy.

          As a patriotic Briton from England, I hope and expect Scotland will stay. I’d also remind our Scottish friends that the offensive Little Englanders are not typical of opinion south of the border; they just make a lot of noise. Pay no attention, and vote for OUR country – yours and mine – to continue.

          • Derick Tulloch

            I respect your sentiment Damon, but the UK is not a ‘country’, but a multinational state created by treaty, and which can be dismantled by either party resiling from said treaty.

            As an Anglophile Scot Nat (from Shetland) I am not that interested, or bothered, by the nutters. I am bothered by the UK’s relentless decline against all our competitors, and I have a way to get away from that. No disrespect, but I don’t want to grow old in a failed state – the UK. A pension that is half the OECD average? Not for me, thanks.

            Incidentally, this is a fine article that touches on the subject here http://derekbateman.co.uk/2014/05/01/england-my-england/

            • HJ777

              If you look at the GDP figures, the UK has grown noticeably faster in the last 30 years than most EU countries. In the 1970s we were miles behind in many respects – this is no longer, for all our problems, the case.

              State pensions may look more generous in other countries but that is simply because other countries have made unfunded promises that they will find very difficult to honour – and far fewer people have private pension provision.

              A few years ago I worked in Belgium. Things seemed rosy from the outside and for a while after, when I got there. When I got to know the place better, I realised that their politicians make ours look lily-white and that they have equally intractable problems. There is even a Flemish party nationalist secessionist party (Vlaaams Blok) which blames all their problems on the rest of Belgium.

              Given all the promises being made by the “Yes” campaign (a menu without prices) and their failure to acknowledge any economic impact of the transition costs of secession (most independent economists say that these would have a substantial impact on Scottish GDP), do you really think secession will automatically make Scotland more successful? Could the opposite not be the case?

              • Derick Tulloch

                Self-determination: taking control of your own affairs, accepting responsibility for your own decisions and the associated costs and benefits. Good for individuals and good for societies. You would think the readership of this magazine would get that.

                What you see as ‘transition costs’, I see as transition opportunities. We will need to set up analogues to the Offices of State that we currently pay for in London. A pound spent on a civil servant in the Scottish Foreign Office, or in expanding Revenue Scotland to fulfill the full range of functions of a normal state. A pound spent in the Scottish economy, and not spent in London is a cost, and also an opportunity.

                Why is the UK so far down the international rankings? 26th on the UN Human Development Index (2013) – one point above the Czech Republic, and two points above Greece.

                Why is the GINI index for the UK so much worse than that of our neighbours?
                GINI Index and date (most recent on the CIA database)
                Norway 25.0 2008
                Ireland 33.9 2010
                Sweden 23.0 2005
                Iceland 28.0 2006
                Denmark 24.8 2011
                Finland 26.8 2008
                UK 40.0 2008/2009

                • HJ777

                  No, transition costs are costs, pure and simple. You may think there are counterbalancing opportunities but that is quite another issue. That is no reason to simply fail to acknowledge the costs.

                  As for self-determination, Scotland has self-determination already. That is why there will be a referendum. If your argument is that people need to be taking responsibility for their own decisions, then that is hardly going to be advanced by the collectivist high spending agenda outlined in the white paper (without mentioning costs) – exactly the opposite, in fact.

                  You are very fond of international indices – but only selectively so. The UK ranks near the top in many in areas such as economic freedom, quality of educational institutions, etc..

                  It is well known that GINI coefficients have a inbuilt strong downwards bias for countries with small populations – that’s simply because they are smaller and have less diverse populations and regions. Carry out a separate assessment for Scotland right now (as opposed to the UK) and you will find that it already has a lower GINI coefficient. Divide the UK into regions and within each region you will find a lower GINI coefficient than you will within the UK as a whole. Slovenia has a very low GINI coefficient – yet is much poorer than either Scotland or the UK.

                • FF42

                  Agree with this. A couple of notes.

                  More cross-border trade, cheaper prices in shops, cheaper mortgages etc are the benefits that come from Scotland’s membership of the British Union. Those benefits will be lost permanently to Scotland if it leaves the Union (as is permanently the case in Ireland, with the exception of mortgages rates that are set by Ireland’s membership of the Eurozone). These aren’t transition costs.

                  The poverty rate is the relevant measure, not GINI. If times are good, more people will be employed. There will be less poverty due to the extra employment but the GINI coeffiecient of inequality goes up because of the extra millionaires.

          • Fergus Pickering

            I don’t think most English care much one way or the other. How much difference will it make to us? Not much.

            • terregles2

              Well it will give you greater democracy which can’t be bad.

    • Damon

      Simple answer Douglas, it’s pretty even.

    • allymax bruce

      It’s journo’s like Massie that are the imbeciles, nutters, gadges; the voters have a right to their opinions, regardless of their vociferous nature, but scumbag journo’s like Massie aid & abet, if not contrive said ‘vocifrous opinions’ with their ugly nasty hateful ‘articles’.
      It’s the MSM journo’s that did it !

  • Aidan Kerr

    I applaud Alex Massie for his use of ‘heiidbangers’ in a Spectator piece.

    • Realpolitik/ fruitcake/ racist

      I applaud him for not slandering UKIP in a Spectator blog.

    • Kennybhoy

      Been done several times before back on the old Wall.

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