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Spectator debate: Independence is the greatest threat to Edinburgh

25 June 2014

12:51 PM

25 June 2014

12:51 PM

Listen:


A kicking. A good, old-fashioned, brutal Glasgow-kissing thrashing. Last night’s Spectator debate on Scottish independence, held at the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh and generously sponsored by the fine folk from Brewin Dolphin, attracted the kind of audience Unionist dreams are made of. Before proceedings began 119 members of the audience agreed with the motion that ‘Independence is the greatest threat to Edinburgh’, 27 disagreed and 36 did not know what they thought. Two hours later opinion had hardened: 169 for the proposition, 19 against and only 6 poor undecided souls.

A tough crowd for nationalists, then. So tough, in fact, that they tittered when Andrew Wilson — once reckoned to be the future of the SNP until the SNP’s members disagreed — suggested that, good grief, of course you can be British and vote for independence. So tough that when Blair Jenkins, head honcho at Yes Scotland, suggested getting rid of Trident would be a bonny notion he was hissed and tut-tutted to death. It was refreshing, I thought, to be part of a pro-WMD crowd. Doesn’t happen often.

Jeane Freeman, former advisor to Jack McConnell and now a prominent voice in the Women for Independence movement, gave the best pro-Yes speech but her focus on the UK’s shortcomings and inability to alleviate persistent poverty was, while honest and well-intentioned, perhaps not the most persuasive message to deliver to an overwhelmingly well-heeled audience. Even so, there was logic and strength to her suggestion that: ‘Let’s trust ourselves to vote Yes and build our country anew’. But when she suggested that Scottish leftists could light a beacon for English leftists and inspire, by their example, radical change in England too, I detected a frisson of dread rippling through the audience.

In any case well-heeled Scots are still Scots and their voices, while hardly marginalised, still count. Even so, you know that strange things are afoot when George Galloway is cheered to the echo by an audience of Edinburgh lawyers, bankers and fund managers. George Galloway! This may be taking the concept of my enemy’s enemy is my chum just a little bit too far.

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Gorgeous George was in splendid form, however. Mercifully, he declined to predict dark times ahead for Scotland’s Catholics in the event of independence (a theme of his appearance in Coatbridge the night before) and nor did he suggest Scotland lacked the necessary indefatigability and courage to be a Cuba or an Albania but most of the other tunes from George’s Greatest Hits were trotted out to tickle the audience. Remember, he said, that when London was burning during the blitz the SNP was cheering: it’s England’s war and Scotland’s opportunity. As for pensions, ‘How do you fancy having it paid in Groats?’.

‘I am tired of being called a Quisling or a traitor,’ Galloway roared and, for the record, let it be noted that Galloway is not one of those dreamers who think Scotland can be another Norway. ‘I’m with JK Rowling,’ he boasted. Sadly Ms Rowling was not available for comment.

Speaking for the opposition Blair Jenkins painted a mildly dystopian picture of life in modern Britain. ‘We are a wealthy country but not a wealthy society,’ he claimed, which is one of those lines that sounds quite good until you examine it more closely. We’re rich enough to make a go of independence and poor enough to make it a necessity. Or something like that. Mysteriously, he added that Scotland’s constitutional predicament left him with the ‘feeling you’re living someone else’s life’. Independence would, ‘for the first time give us a complete set of policies designed in Scotland for Scotland’.

For the proposition Ian Murray, Labour MP for Edinburgh South, made a narrowly Edinburgh-focused case for the status quo. Auld Reekie is braw, he said, and why risk changing that? ‘We must keep Scotland leading the UK, not leaving it,’ he boasted. Citing the nationalists’ desire for a currency union with the rump UK, he suggested they wish to ‘dismantle everything only to reconstruct it again’. What’s the point of that? In any case, we’re all right Jock.

Fiddlesticks, Andrew Wilson responded. ‘We’re just changing politics but nothing else,’ and, besides, ‘we’re in a reform era so the question is do we stand still or do we go with it?’. This also sounds good until you ask yourself which eras are not reform eras. Equally — as every pro-independence speaker reminded us — lots of small countries do very well. Scotland is a small country. Therefore Scotland will do well. Unsaid: most countries in the world are small and so it is probable that many successful countries will be small. Equally probable that many small countries will be basket-cases.

Sometimes Wilson is too honest for his own good, however. He conceded that, look, Scottish banks such as RBS are now Scottish name only. The real decisions have already flitted to London. They won’t come back and independence won’t change that. Edinburgh’s financial services industry has already taken a hit. Despite that, the city will thrive and the opportunities afforded by being the capital of a newly-independent state are neither trivial nor unattractive.

Annabel Goldie, erstwhile leader of the Scottish Conservative and Unionist party, condemned what she saw as the narrow, limiting, worldview of the SNP. Britain is a grand country and we should be proud to be part of a state that punches above its weight in world affairs. Scotland can best express its internationalism through the UK. Independence, while plainly feasible, would diminish us and our role in the world.

Curiously absent from the debate — as is so often the case in these affairs — was any real consideration of identity. Only Wilson, for the opposition, and Goldie, for the proposition, gave it any real attention. Much of the evening was spent chewing the technical aspects of independence. But even dry matters of accountancy can make for a fine rammy — and that proved the case in Edinburgh last night.

A defeat for the pro-independence side, then, on an evening that was spirited and lively even if it was also, in the end, a lynching. The result in September, of course, will be rather different and altogether closer.

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Show comments
  • David Rusinas

    So, have I got this right? George Galloway doesn’t support Scottish independence. Could it have anything to do with Scots representing English constituencies? Not really an issue at the moment but come the referendum result…..

  • smilingvulture

    UKIP’s newly elected MEP for Scotland claims same-sex marriage “breeds homophobia” and that civil partnerships “should be enough”.
    David Coburn, who is gay and has been in a same-sex relationship for more than 30 years, was elected on Sunday night as his party’s first MEP in Scotland.

    David Coburn ukip MEP

    Best speech by far I have yet heard to preserve Union #Scotland – @georgegalloway

  • smilingvulture

    George Galloway will be offered a seat House of Lords,if it’s a No vote.

  • HenBroon

    WTF is it with Galloway now and the hat? He has also adopted a bizarre kind of Iranian comedian accent whose name escapes me. He really is of his bloody trolley.

  • Malcolm McCandless

    It looks like George is going to miss that working class revolution he is been working so hard for all these years.

    Tens of thousands of people from the poorest parts of Scotland have been filling in forms and registering their vote. We are likely to see the biggest turnout ever in this referendum.

    How will these people who reside in Labour’s heartlands vote? Canvassing returns now show a majority will vote YES.

    So George whilst you are cosying up to lawyers and hedge fund managers, the proletariat are plotting to overthrow the union with the pen being the weapon of choice.

    • CoinneachCu

      That seems statistically improbable. Opinion polls of those who have expressed a view are 57% No, 43% Yes since the start of May. 42% voted Labour in the last election. Say they are just in favour of Yes, that makes 22 percentage points for Yes from that source, 20 p.p. for No. Assume the 21 p.p. for SNP and Green are all Yes. That gets you to 43 percentage points voting Yes i.e. all the Yeses in the opinion polls. That would mean that everyone who voted Lib Dem and Tory are now Noes. While possible, common sense suggests it’s very unlikely.

      Canvassing returns don’t need to be released to the public. Therefore always, always treat their use as evidence of public opinion with a hefty pinch of salt.

      • CoinneachCu

        I also don’t think there are many hedge fund managers in Scotland.

  • Graeme McDonald

    Independence is obviously the biggest threat to Edinburgh, because Edinburgh is a financial hub; the second biggest in the UK after London and independence will make a lot of financial services companies to London like RBS has lately announced and HBOS, Barclays, Lloyds and other companies have previously announced. I’ved worked in the financial services industry in Scotland for years and have contacts in many companies in the industry and the vast majority of them are making contingency plans to relocate in case of a yes vote, which will kill the financial industry in Scotland.

    • Malcolm McCandless

      Nonsense.

      This is the same argument that was put forward in 1979 (Scottish Assembly referendum), in 1997 (Scottish parliament referendum) and in 2007 (SNP victory in Scottish elections).

      The Standard Life approach in attempting to scare Scots to vote No simply has no credence.

      • Graeme McDonald

        1) you are making that up, that’s not true.
        2) Even if it was true; that has nothing to do with devolution refs; devolution doesn’t imply losing the pound, BoE, treasury and lender of last resort, which is what would hurt our economy

        You might be our of your mind; do you think these big companies are going to spend money on contingency plans to scare votes? you have been brainwashed by Salmond if you think so

  • James Morrison

    Rather disappointing that the Spectator decided to queer the pitch of what may have been an interesting debate by framing it in such an obviously biased way.

  • nae a belger

    I tend to think that GG is a great orator (the best speaker in the UK bar none) but his arguments don’t read as well as he makes them sound.
    His argument re language needs further examination.
    Considering the non Gaelic speakers only is it true that Scots speak English or do they speak Scots? If they speak Scots then he is incorrect. If English then he might be correct.
    However assuming that is correct we then need to ask how did that occur?
    If a natural popular movement to Anglify post Union then yes he is correct and has the moral right on his side.
    If it is a top down instruction from the elites then no he might be observationally correct but by no means has any moral right on his side.

    I know where I stand on his argument but I think that when people think in any depth about what he says they will come to realise that he is somewhat of a hype merchant.

  • Jeanne Tomlin

    Galloway in his spiv hat. How charming.

    • Wessex Man

      Now if anyone said that about the Fat Controller you would be raging, absolutely raging on here for ever.

      • Inverted Meniscus

        Give her time, give her time. Mr Bell may be the cybernat nutter in chief but she is a very able deputy.

      • Jeanne Tomlin

        Considering that you couldn’t manage any reference to the First Minister without some nasty insult, you’re a fine one to talk.

      • Jeanne Tomlin

        The real question is will help help him fit right in when he joins in friends in the No campaign, such as the Orange Order which is now a registered campaign organisation on his side.

  • arkletten

    Well heeled says it all. Thankfully the middle class have never had much clout or voting power in Scotland.

  • arkletten

    Well-heeled audience says it all. Thankfully the middle class have never wielded much influence or voting power in Scotland.

  • Wessex Man

    I’ve come to the conclusion that Peter A Bell is Cybernat nutjob in chief!

    • Inverted Meniscus

      You could well have a point. Would not want to be near him if Scotland votes no. Imagine the explosion of a giant blister and you get the picture.

  • DaveTheRave

    Edinburgh will be just fine. Scotland will be just fine.

  • Malcolm McCandless

    George Galloway being cheered on by assorted lawyers, advocates, bankers and hedge fund managers shows how far George has travelled. Many moons ago they would have been the first to be shot if a younger Galloway had his way.

    The Red Flag has never looked so pale, but it looks like George has finally gotten the foreman’s job at last.

    • terregles2

      Bitter little George he will never forgive Scots for rejecting him at the ballot box.

  • George Laird

    Dear All

    Alex Massie says:

    “169 for the proposition, 19 against and only 6 poor undecided souls”.

    You have to laugh.

    As to the Nationalists putting up Mr. Wilson, Blair Jenkins and Ms. Freeman, well the rearguard didn’t appear to cut the mustard.

    In battles you send in the A Team, sadly the Nationalist camp is so bad that Z Team is all they could manage to scrap up.

    I said on twitter that George Galloway would do an entertaining turn and by all accounts he didn’t disappoint.

    As to Peter A Bell taking “comfort” that Scotland’s future will not be in the hands of that baying bigot, George Galloway, or his Scotland-hating fan club.

    Oh, a sore loser!

    My one regret was that I was unaware of this event, I would have like to have went because I have an interesting turn of phrase myself when questioning people, and like to nail them to the wall.

    Looks bad for Alex Salmond, ‘Nats and Co’ utter slaughtered in Edinburgh.

    Yours sincerely

    George Laird
    The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

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

      LOONY ALERT!!!

      • Kitty MLB

        Mr Bell, you really are a talkative chap, but we are all guilty of that
        apart from being a chap ( I am a lady) I must inform you that
        George Laird is not the slightest part LOONY.

        • Inverted Meniscus

          Oh he is if he disagrees with that idiot.

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

          So long as the prosecution has the evidence of his “blog”, all efforts to mount a defence of George Laird on the charge of being a loony are doomed.

      • rollo_tommasi

        Dont attack the argument. Attack the man.

        So much for that positive YES campaign.

      • Wessex Man

        You making that remark is beyond parody, Nurse!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

        • Inverted Meniscus

          Yeah that made me chuckle. But then he is a cybernat nutter.

    • terregles2

      Surprised that anyone associated with Glasgow university would write * i would like to have went.*.

      Would have expected you to say, * I would like to have gone *

  • CraigStrachan

    The result in September won’t be close.

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

      Perhaps not. But I don’t think your bosses at Project Fear would be happy with you conceding defeat at this stage.

      • CraigStrachan

        See you here Sept 19th to compare notes on the result, then?

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

          I’ll be partying on 19 September. But I’m sure you can whine about the defeat of British nationalism without any help from me.

          • CraigStrachan

            Well, enjoy the party. I’ll be thinking of you fondly.

            • Inverted Meniscus

              One sad cybernat in a room does not constitute a party.

          • CoinneachCu

            Willing to have a small bet for the charity of our choices, Peter? Money and mouth, etc.

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

              I don’t subscribe to the inane superstition that placing bets affects outcomes.

        • Inverted Meniscus

          You won’t see him for dust on 19th September.

  • monty61

    Indeed. In real life the small number of zealot are driving hard for the numpty vote. Unfortunately there are rather a lot them.

    • mattghg

      Rather a lot of zealots, or numpties?

      • monty61

        The zealots are few but noisy. I’m hopeful the result will shut them up, for a while at least.

        • ChuckieStane

          You’ll never shut Galloway up.

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

          If the British nationalists don’t shut up after the Yes vote, how long do you think it will be before they start agitating to have Scotland hand back all its new-won powers to Westminster?

          How much success do you anticipate for this campaign to have Scotland renounce its independence?

          • monty61

            I haven’t heard a single voice ever call for that – such a ‘threat’ is just the usual Gnat small-minded chippy rubbish.

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

              Well! That one went way over your head, didn’t it?

            • ChuckieStane

              Michael Kelly, Senior Labour figure and ex Lord Provost of Glasgow:

              “When Yes loses, as it will, its supporters should not be awarded the consolation prize of additional powers for Holyrood… The dream consequence of this loss should be a steady erosion of Holyrood’s powers until it can be abolished and the previous efficient unitary form of government restored.”

              http://www.scotsman.com/news/michael-kelly-an-all-or-nothing-independence-vote-1-3034293

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

      Which is it? A “small number”? Or “rather a lot”?

      In your opinion, are these “zealots” part of the official No campaign? Or are they on fringes?

      Can Better Together only appeal to the “numpty vote”? Or is there a possibility that they might find something to say to the people of Scotland more generally?

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

    Perhaps Annabel Goldie would care to provide us with a list of the countries which she supposes have been diminished by independence.

    • Richard Ferguson

      A nice sweeping line for sure. However, on a statistical basis, it would probably be fair to say that most countries in the immediate aftermath of “independence” (no doubt we could debate that term to death and what it actually means, the caveats, the “Ah buts” etc) are massively diminished. Ireland: civil war. India: partition and inter-communal violence. Most of Sub-Saharan Africa. Every country in what was once Yugoslavia (with the exception of Slovenia).

      How did Lee Kuan Yew feel in 1965 when his country – yes, the mighty, wealthy, economic powerhouse that is Singapore – left the Federation of Malay States. Better still, check out his reaction: I’m sure there will be a clip on you tube or somewhere of him in tears over what he saw as nothing short of a disaster.

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

        What you refer to is not a function of independence but the toxic legacy of imperialism wreaking havoc.

        • Richard Ferguson

          The “ah but” caveat. Anyway, there’s your answer to the Annabel Goldie question. Unfortunately, it’s a bit tough to provide a list if you discount, oh I don’t know, most countries in the world.

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

            That was a very clumsy evasion.

            You’re a bit vague on the matter of countries which, according to you and Annabel Goldie, have been diminished by independence. It’s not clear whether you are claiming that all of the world’s nations have been so diminished, or that Scotland is somehow the exception to an invariable rule and would, uniquely, be diminished by independence.

            Whatever you were trying to say, you have some explaining to do.

            • Richard Ferguson

              Ok, if you wish me to overstate the bleedin’ obvious then let me do so. I refer the gentlemen to his first question on “Name any country diminished by independence”. I named a bunch of countries which were diminished in the immediate aftermath of independence. Your response was that this was to do with the toxic legacy of imperialism and somehow that my answer was a non-sequiter.

              I’m a bit vague? What is vague about India, Ireland, ex-Yugoslavia and let me throw in a dozen Hapsburg countries plus the ex-Soviet Union, Singapore, Sub-Saharan Africa?

              Anyway, as usual, we have reached a typical referendum blind alley. No doubt you will have the last word.

              Let me go slightly off topic: six months ago I was up for secession/YES for all the reasons that people have voiced over the last generation: centralisation, accountability, the corruption and debasement of Westminster, the intellectual emptiness of the BT campaign etc. But despite all that, two broad factors pushed me back to the other side: (1) the inability of Nationalists to see shades of grey or contradictions within their own arguments and (2) this endless sense of righteousness where black becomes white, white becomes black and the endless straw man constructs.

              What’s really tragic is that you are highly likely to lose to Westminster/Better Together/Unionists because Holyrood/YES/Nationalists can’t convince a majority of people in their own country to go with them. An open goal, a once-in-the-lifetime opportunity and you won’t make it stick.

              Here’s a question for you: I think the UK is well buggered right now. I think Westminster is crap, I can’t stand all three mainstream parties. I dislike the centralisation of political, economic and cultural life on London and I think we need to devolve power significantly from both Westminster and Brussels and possibly even down from Edinburgh to local level. Despite all these huge indictments of the status quo, the YES camp doesn’t convince me. So my question is this: name me one, just one, single policy issue where you might have it wrong. Just one.

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

                You completely missed the point about the consequences of imperialism. But I suspect you were always going to. Ho-hum!

                So you are now going to vote against your own sovereignty on account of some caricature of the independence campaign that you’ve conjured in your mind – doubtless with the help of the very unionist propaganda that you claim to abhor. That doesn’t strike me as a being entirely rational. But, of course, your vote in the referendum, assuming you have one, is not predicated on a test of rationality.

                Which is just as well. Because, in your final paragraph, you offer a fairly comprehensive list of all the things that you despise, but are going to vote for regardless.

                Even your final question doesn’t make any sense. This is a referendum, not an election. We are not voting for parties or candidates or policies. We are voting on a question which, in any other nation, would be regarded as being every bit as irrational as voting for the things that you’re against.

                Should Scotland be an independent? Should the nation of Scotland have the constitutional status that every other nation regards as normal?

                There are no policies involved. But if you are referring to the policies that I personally would like to see implemented in Scotland after independence then, of course, I do not think any of those policies might be wrong. If I thought they might be wrong, I wouldn’t favour them. Duh!

                If you are referring to the policies of the Scottish Government or those advocated by any of the myriad political parties and campaigning organisations which support the restoration of Scotland’s rightful constitutional status then, of course, I disagree with some of them. How could it be otherwise when these policies are so varied?

                But I’m not voting on any of these policies in September. None of us are. We won’t be voting on matters of policy in an independent Scotland until 2016. At that time, I will cast my vote according to which of the party manifestos most closely matches my preferences. Just like in any other democracy.

                On 18 September, however, I will be voting solely on the constitutional question. The referendum is not about what policies are pursued in Scotland. It is about who decides what policies are pursued in Scotland. It is not about the character of our nation. It is about the forces which will shape that character.

                It is about power. It is about sovereignty. I maintain that the people are sovereign. That the people are the ultimate authority. That political power is only legitimate when it is exercised with the informed consent of the people and subject to the constraints that the people choose to impose.

                I suspect that you and I may not be so very far apart on this. The difference being that I will not be deterred from seizing the opportunity offered by the referendum by matters which are irrelevant to the question being asked. I will vote to bring Scotland’s government home where it belongs and then I shall be content to let the people of Scotland decide on matters of policy.

                You, if what you say is to be believed, intend to vote to take the power that we will hold in our hands on 18 September and hand it back to a system that you acknowledge is corrupt and debased.

                That simply makes no sense.

                • Richard Ferguson

                  It’s the thought that people like you, Mr Bell, might one day be in charge.

                  It’s like listening to a cross between a whisky-induced Calvinist Minister/Irish priest (take your pick) and Ford Kiernan’s “Big Jock” character from Chewin’ the fat. No doubt you provide most of the entertainment at your local bowling club/golf club/rotary club (again, take your pick…).

                  There, you see what you have made me do? I’ve just made a personal attack. Something I promised I would never do online.

                  You have your Scotland; I’ll have mine.

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

                  Petulant evasion.

    • rollo_tommasi
    • Kaine

      Every member of the former Yugoslavia, with possible exception of Slovenia, and only then because the Austrians took them on as a pet project.

      Also South Africa didn’t do great for a while…

    • Mr Grumpy

      Czechoslovakia was a country enjoying considerable respect and sympathy internationally. It had the image of standing for something more than narrow nationalism. Then it split. Nothing cataclysmic about that, for sure, but I’d say that in the world’s eyes the sum of the parts is less than the whole was.

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

        How modest of you to presume to speak only for the whole world.

        • Mr Grumpy

          Goodness me, I didn’t expect quite such an immediate descent into ad hominem.

          You, then, are too modest to want Scotland to cut any kind of figure on the world stage?

          And you feel that the Czechs and Slovaks enhanced the regard in which they were held by demonstrating their unwillingness to get along together? That it was not an anti-climatic coda to a story of shared oppression, resistance and liberation?

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

            You have a strange idea of what constitutes ad hominem. But then, British nationalists seem to have been conditioned to squeal “Abuse!” in response to nothing more than a standard social greeting. It is a trait which long since crossed the line between amusing and tiresome. I recommend that you try to grow out of it.

            I have enough respect for the people of Scotland to assume that our country will surely “cut a figure” on the world stage without your pathetic need to cling to Nanny Britannia’s petticoats.

            The Czechs and Slovaks made their choice. Unlike you, I respect that choice. Frankly, I find your ill-concealed contempt for other peoples quite offensive. Also your sneering attitude to small countries.

            I see no sign that the Czechs and Slovaks regret their decision to dissolve the political union that had been contrived to bind them. I am aware of no significant campaign for reunification. And, notwithstanding your disdain for these nations and their people, I detect no generalised lack of respect for them and certainly no diminution of their standing in the world. For example, both are now members of the UN and various other international bodies in their own right. That most assuredly does not imply loss of status. Quite the contrary.

            I certainly don’t see Czechs or Slovaks clamouring to be the subordinate partner in an asymmetric political union such as you think is all Scotland is worthy of.

            I look forward to Scotland being free of the British state and part of the global family of nations again. To me, that seems both a modest ambition and the very least that any nation should aspire to.

            • Mr Grumpy

              A choice collection of insults from someone who doesn’t do ad hominem. Before I leave you to your anger issues, may I just inquire whether it was the Czechs or the Slovaks who were excluded from the global family of nations by their membership of the democratic state of Czechoslovakia?

  • ChuckieStane

    The glib way Mr. Massie glosses over George Galloway’s sectarian dog whistle politics in Coatbridge is as disgraceful as his repetition of the SNP=Nazi line.

    Galloway campaigned for the last Holyrood election on a barely disguised sectarian ticket. The good people of Glasgow thankfully rejected his poison. That Massie, Goldie and Murray wish to be associated with such hate just to have Galloway’s powers of oratory on their side highlights how bereft of a vision of a better Scotland the unionists are.

    • Kaine

      The YES campaign don’t really have a leg to stand on when it comes to criticising ‘hate’, not while they take Brian Souter’s money.

  • Malcolm McCandless

    What is happening on Scottish doorsteps.

    http://radicalindependence.org/2014/06/24/mass-canvass-results/

    20,000 doors chapped, Over 8,000 responses. Results;

    Yes: 40%
    No: 29.5%
    DK: 30.5%

    Excluding the DKs

    Yes: 57.6%
    No: 42.4%

    • Ollie

      That source looks *really* reliable. Its not like YouGov or Comres know any better, amirite?

    • Andy Long

      Ever considered that a big chunk of those don’t knows are likely Yes voters who would rather not say so when confronted on their doorstep by a Radical Independence campaign canvasser?

      • Inverted Meniscus

        Or even No voters. But that wouldn’t fit your narrative and bias would it?

        • Andy Long

          Oops, I -meant- No voters. Edited.

  • 7leagueboots

    OECD figures suggest being poor in the UK is more like being poor in the former Soviet Bloc than in Western Europe. That’s probably the sort of thing Blair Jenkins was getting at.
    http://t.co/2GS6vD9tsT

  • ChuckieStane

    So Alex, were you one of the 6 poor undecided souls? Or were you a ringer on the BBC debate when you declared as an undecided?

  • allymax bruce

    Alex, the Spectator Debate sounds very much like another elitist Westminster spivs, specs, and toffs ‘day-out’. I’m sure Blair Jenkins comment, ‘We are a wealthy country but not a wealthy society,’ [interpreted as] We’re rich enough to make a go of independence and poor enough to make it a necessity. (Alex Massie), hangs on the minds of most Scots suffering because of Westminster’s horrendous Class System agenda. So, Fatty Arbuckle brings ‘Westminster privilege’ to Scotland; but only for ‘the privileged’!

    “‘I am tired of being called a Quisling or a traitor,’ … ‘I’m with JK
    Rowling,’ he boasted. Sadly Ms Rowling was not available for comment.” …… Hehe.
    Aye George was hectored by his own Labour Party, then by the Tories, then by USA, then by all those opposed to his unsuccessful Holyrood attempt; and again, by his own Respect Party! I’m not surprised he’s getting hacked-off!

  • pinkgunnergirl

    Alex, I’m glad you mentioned the “identity issue”. Identity politics is becoming increasingly important in both Scotland AND England. It’s why UKIP and the SNP are getting stronger not weaker. The established parties refuse to talk about it because they fear the can of worms it will open.

  • weescamp

    Surprising also why nobody asked this audience of lawyer, bankers and fund managers what they thought were the main reasons most of our competitors had a flourishing shipbuilding industry and we didn’t. Or why is it 80% of oil/gas industry related post tax profits worth around £18bn were remitted overseas. Could an independent Scotland do a lot better or would they all disappear to London?

    • El_Sid

      Ireland and Iceland have no shipbuilding industry to speak of, Denmark used to have a significant one but closed it down a few years ago, despite it being Maersk’s inhouse yard. EU competition law means that if you’re in the EU, anything other than warship building is going to head East. Norway’s industry is a)outside the EU and b)has survived on a lot of contracts from state-controlled oil companies. In the UK shipbuilding only survives on cash from the UK MoD, as it’s exempt from EU competition law. An iScotland will only want a couple of fisheries ships and perhaps 2 frigates every 30 years – nowhere near enough to support a shipbuilding industry.

      Those profits are the result of people investing their capital – Scottish-based companies have an equal opportunity to make such investments, regardless of the status of Scotland. But they’ve traditionally chosen to take their capital elsewhere – eg Cairn’s investments in India and Greenland.

      • weescamp

        Oh dear. Finland, Germany, Holland, France, Spain, Italy and of course Norway and others do have thriving shipbuilders. And of course you’re wrong about Norway. Many of the vessels it builds are extremely high tech, high value units bought by major private sector offshore contractors not oil companies

        The profits I referred to are being generated by foreign companies who tend to be Norwegian, French, American and so on and not UK companies. It’s just indicative of how little the UK has actually invested in the industry due to the generally short termist & risk averse attitude of its financial institutions.

  • finlayct

    Whoop-de-doo, bettertogether won 1 debate in Edinburgh. Hold the front-page. Going by Alex’s account of the evening the arguments from the No side are just the same old trotted out empty platitudes and scare stories; they still don’t offer a bright future, they’re just spinning a vision that it’s less dark than independence. I don’t want Scotland’s future defined from the foundation of fear.

  • benbecula

    I’d rather listen to barking dogs than experience a room of self righteous Edinburgh luvvies,leftist’s and loonies * pontificating about a very narrow concept of independence.

    * collectively known as the Scottish Gliteratti.

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

    What is strange is that here is nothing at all strange about George Galloway being cheered to the echo by an audience of Edinburgh lawyers, bankers and fund managers. Those with a vested interest in the preservation of the British state naturally flock together. Galloway and Goldie sharing a platform is mere commonplace in a time when British Labour and British Conservatives are working together in a formal alliance to thwart the aspirations of Scotland’s people.

    • mattghg

      Yeah of course you just KNOW that it’s nationalists who *really* speak for Scotland’s people and their aspirations, and not unionists…

      • weescamp

        Well yes. I’ve not yet met a unionist that aspires to anything more than “business as usual”.

        • Kaine

          Actually I aspire for independence for Orkney and Shetland (and their oil) from the jackboot of Hollyrood.

          • Kitty MLB

            Indeed, why shouldn’t Shetland have independence from Scotland, they don’t feel any
            closer to Edinburgh then they do London.
            In fact they feel closer to Norway.

          • Cath Ferguson

            Then vote yes and you’ll more or less have it. I assumed you’ve read the Scottish government proposals for Orkney and Shetland after independence given your obvious interest.

          • scotcanadien

            That’s just an anti-scottish hate remark by a dope.

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

        I’ve yet to hear an aspirational word from any unionist. Only grinding negativity about Scotland and an increasingly frantic desperation to preserve the old order and the old ways regardless of the cost to the people of Scotland – or, for that matter, any of the people of these islands.

    • rollo_tommasi

      Guess what….

      Nicola Sturgeon – Ex Lawyer.
      Alex Salmond – Ex Banker.

  • DougDaniel

    “Speaking for the opposition Blair Jenkins painted a mildly dystopian picture of life in modern Britain. ‘We are a wealthy country but not a wealthy society,’ he claimed, which is one of those lines that sounds quite good until you examine it more closely. We’re rich enough to make a go of independence and poor enough to make it a necessity. Or something like that.”

    It’s a pretty basic concept so I’m surprised Alex doesn’t get it. There is a lot of wealth in Scotland, but its concentrated in such a way that people don’t feel like we’re a wealthy country. That’s why you have people in this, one of the top 15 richest countries in the world – above even the likes of France, Germany, Japan and South Korea, none of which any sane person would claim were too poor to be independent countries – saying “but we couldn’t afford it”.

    It’s that thing Spectator readers abhor: the idea of reducing wealth inequality. No wonder this was possibly the first debate so far to see the No vote actually increase. I have absolutely no idea why people who were going to make a left-leaning message were sent to this debate – far better getting John Swinney or someone from Business for Scotland or Wealthy Nation. You might as well send a Tory to go canvassing around Easterhouse…

  • sarah_13

    I did register my objection to the despicable George Galloway being invited to a debate when he discriminates against those he debates against. As a subscriber I am disappointed that I have still not received a satisfactory response. The idea that my enemies enemy is justification is simply not good enough. The man is a racist, sexist, liar and above all an opportunist and the Spectator has given him the oxygen he seeks to further disseminate his hateful diatribes. It’s bad enough that he is given air time by the likes of Press TV and other sectarian outlets but for the Spectator to give him press is lamentable.

    • Wessex Man

      I absolutely shudder whenever I hear people saying that things like that sarah, a democracy only thrives when debate and dissent is allowed.

      • Inverted Meniscus

        She only does opinions which concur exactly with her own.

        • sarah_13

          I do not. It bears repeating it is Mr Galloway who wishes to limit the speech by predetermining who can speak. If he refuses to debate with certain nationalities then I would have thought that the Spectator would say to him you debate with whoever we invite or you will not be invited. It is Mr Galloway who wishes to limit the speech.

          • Inverted Meniscus

            So two wrongs make a right in your bonkers World?

            • sarah_13

              My point bears further repetition. In a democracy all are entitled to debate and speech it is only in theocracies and totalitarian regimes where the powers that be determine who can be heard! That is my point. It has nothing to do with two wrongs it is simply that in a democracy all are entitled to be heard, the arbiter is not Mr Galloway and I as a Spectator subscriber am surprised and disappointed that the Spectator should be a party to his silencing.

              • Inverted Meniscus

                And yet you wish to deny this man’s freedom of speech.

                • sarah_13

                  I will repeat it again. He has all the right in the world to speak but to be party to his silencing of israelis by allowing him to predetermine the parameters and arguments by excluding many who would be eminently informed about his pet subject is to stifle free expression. Part of Mill’s argument about free expression is that we have it in order that not only the speaker has a right but the hearer has the right to hear all the arguments on the subject discussed so that the truth will prevail. Mr Galloway wishes to limit our right to hear those who challenge his views. The spectator is party to the silencing of israelis. He is depriving us of hearing all the arguments. That is the point. He can debate all he likes wherever he likes but he has no right to pre-determine those who would debate and argue against his views.

                • Inverted Meniscus

                  “Once again I must object to George Gallaway’s presence at this debate”. Sounds like denying his right to freedom of speech to me but keep on digging and waffling.

                • sarah_13

                  Like I said, the spectator should not invite someone who predetermines the parameters and the parties to the debate. If you take part in a debate then you debate with whoever is invited you don’t say “I am only going to debate with scots!” That is the point.

                • Inverted Meniscus

                  Did you take an exam in being thick or something. By determining who can or cannot join a debate you are restricting freedom of speech. The Spectator can invite whomsoever it wants without seeking approval from you or anybody else. So ironic, that somebody beating their chest about loving democracy and the usual coterie of platitudes wants to restrict it whenever something fails to meet with their approval.

                • sarah_13

                  Perhaps, but then I’m probably too thick to remember.

                  In respect of your point, I refer you to my previous arguments which are exhaustively explicated.

                • Inverted Meniscus

                  No they are just obfuscatory gibberish and an attempt to justify your ridiculous hypocrisy and sanctimony.

                • sarah_13

                  I don’t accept they are. My argument is clear and I’m not a hypocrite nor sanctimonious. I am a libertarian who believes in free speech. I agreed with all Mr Galloway’s points in his speech on the union and understand the temptation to invite him. However the principle remains if the spectator believes in free expression then to invite someone who will not debate with certain nationalities means that the “speech” is being limited and predetermined, the arguments are not free.

          • terregles2

            You are right Sarah his refusal to debate with an Israeli was boorish in the extreme. What else can we expect from a man who flattered Saddam Hussein

        • terregles2

          Rather like George Galloway. A bitter little man who will never forgive Scots for rejecting him at the ballot box

      • sarah_13

        My position bears repeating. It is not that I believe he has no right to speak. On the contrary he should spout his nonsense all he likes. The point I make is he will not debate with israelis, he predetermines what is to be heard and who he will speak to. If I were an israeli and identified myself as such I would be excluded from the debate. The Spectator should not be a party to that. Is that freedom of speech? I can only imagine that he wants to exclude certain people from debating with him because they will be the only ones likely to challenge his views with enough relevant facts.

    • Inverted Meniscus

      You really hate this democracy thing don’t you.

      • sarah_13

        I think it bears further repetition. I love this country and our long history of freedom of expression. Mr Galloway has the same right as everyone else to speak but if he is invited to debate he should debate with whoever is invited irrespective of their nationality, to do otherwise is to restrict the expression of those who would wish to enter the debate to expose him for the charlatan that he is. I do not want him silenced but why is the Spectator party to his silencing of israelis? That is my point.

        • Inverted Meniscus

          You just have a very funny way of showing it like opposing freedom of speech.

          • sarah_13

            No Mr Galloway opposes free speech not me. Mr Galloway goes to a debate and says I will only debate with certain nationalities! That is what dictators do, they tell you within what parameters you can speak. My point is clear one expects the likes of Press TV, paid for by the Iranian government, to be ok with that a debate held on those terms but not the Spectator. He can speak all he likes but he must not restrict those who speak in response.

    • Kennybhoy

      Shame on you…

      • sarah_13

        Why? What do I have to be ashamed of?

  • http://batman-news.com Angus McIonnach

    Ouch.

  • Shinsei1967

    A very good review of what was an entertaining evening. And yes it was a bizarre sight to see George Galloway after the debate coming out of the gents being cheered to the echo by the queue of lawyers & fund managers.

    I’d only add one point to Mr Massie’s review and that is to add that although Jeane Freeman was a very articulate Yes supporter she was like Polly Toynbee on a bad day in terms of fact-checking. We had claims that Scotland has the poorest pensioners in Europe (really ?), that Scotland has the oldest university in the UK (forgetting Oxford & Cambridge predate St Andrews by 250 and 200 years respectively) and that the UK government didn’t bail out the banks (supposedly it was the Americans (!)).

    Unfortunately I didn’t get to ask my question last night. So here goes:

    Almost every country that fights or votes for its independence does so with the OVERWHELMING support of its population. At best the Yes vote will “win” by a few percentage points, is this really a sound foundation on which to build a new nation ?

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

      When was the result of the referendum announced? Or are you just being arrogantly presumptuous?

      • Shinsei1967

        Purely going by opinion polls. In 1905 Norway voted 99% to dissolve its union with Sweden. The Yes campaign are currently polling mid-40s if you include don’t knows.

        Personally I think it crazy to upset the status quo unless you have the support of two thirds of the country.

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

          You don’t get to change the rules now.

          If you find comfort in imagining that polls predict results rather than indicate trends, please feel free to proceed on that fallacious basis with my blessing.

          • CraigStrachan

            I’ll predict the result – a 61/39 win for No.

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

              What a shame that a goat had to be eviscerated for the sake of such drivel.

              • CraigStrachan

                You heard it here first!

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

                  Hardly. We’ve been hearing such pish from British nationalists since the start of the campaign.

                • Fergus Pickering

                  Mr Bell, how many posts have you made here? It seems like an awful lot.

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

                  What is the limit?

                • Kitty MLB

                  Mr Bell is indeed a very talkative fellow, some of us have been doing
                  rather a lot of that ourselves today, apart from being a fellow.

                • Inverted Meniscus

                  Agreed. He is like some deranged Violet Elizabeth Bott and will no doubt Skweem, and Skweem and Skweem when Scotland votes no.

                • CraigStrachan

                  What does the “A” stand for?

                • Inverted Meniscus

                  Wow, I am really tempted but it is much too obvious.

                • Kaine

                  There are Scottish nationalists. The Britons arguing with you are patriots. If you don’t understand the difference may I suggest you read Mr Blair’s essay on the subject? That would be the English Eric Blair as opposed to the Scottish Tony Blair.

          • Inverted Meniscus

            You really are going to blow a gasket when you lose aren’t you. Should be quite amusing.

            • Richard Ferguson

              Not so inverted. They’ll spin some kind of positive out of it. It’s in their nature. They simply make it up as they go along.

              • Kennybhoy

                I would have agreed with you until recently man….

                • Richard Ferguson

                  You’ll have to help me here Kennybhoy. Where have I erred in your view? Or, rather, where did you agree with me earlier? I can barely recall the names of my children in the morning.

                • Kennybhoy

                  That they, the Nats, will content themselves with positive spinning…

                • Richard Ferguson

                  Indeed. After a day of Mr Bell’s diatribes I’m beginning to understand that.

                • Richard Ferguson

                  Indeed. A day of Mr Bell’s diatribes seemed to confirm that!

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

              You make the foolish error, common among bigots and assorted fanatics, of mistaking for reality that which is recounted to you by the voices of dumb prejudice echoing in your head. You imagine what you would like to happen, and lack the intellectual facility to distinguish that which you have merely imagined from objective knowledge.

              I have, of course, reflected on the possibility of a No vote. But, while I would obviously be disappointed by such a turn of events, I would not suffer the extreme distress which, in your bitter pettiness, you wish for me.

              You see, I will have the comfort of knowing that a No vote is no more than a set-back. The political union is broken beyond repair. Frantic efforts to patch it up with the sticky tape and wire coat-hangers of constitutional tinkering are doomed to fail as they have failed before – but ever more disastrously.

              Within days, perhaps hours, of a No vote being declared, the campaign for a new referendum will start. I will be far to engaged with that campaign to spend much time fretting over the result.

              The people who are going to suffer the most distress are not advocates of restoring Scotland’s rightful constitutional status such as myself. The people who will have most cause for profound regret will be those who have voted No only to find that they have been duped into doing so on an entirely false prospectus. Within months of a No vote it will become obvious to all but the most determinedly blinkered that those who voted No did so on the basis of a catalogue of lies and disinformation. They will belatedly realise that they have been deceived. They will be embarrassed, resentful and understandably angry.

              That wave of anger will be channelled into demands for another referendum – possibly within five years. Lessons having been learned, the result of that referendum will be a landslide for independence.

              All of which is, in fact, one of the reasons that the vote in September will surely be Yes. More and more people are realising that independence is inevitable and that it is better to make the move now, when circumstances are almost entirely favourable, than to put it off to a later date when conditions may not be quite as ideal and further damage will have been done to the relationship between Scotland and England.

              As the poet said, “Now’s the day and now’s the hour!”.

              • Inverted Meniscus

                You poor sad bigoted little man.

              • Kitty MLB

                Phew! Mr Bell this must be your longest post
                you clearly are awfully fond of writting. Might
                I add, I do hope you don’t honestly think
                English people think ill of Scotland, there have
                been alot of political games and stiring by
                politicians and its all become rather personal
                instead of factual.
                And was that poetry? It was not written by the
                man who wrote about Scotlands tragic and
                beautiful young Queen.

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

                  The very point that I was making is that there is not the generalised antipathy towards Scotland that some assume, and a few are trying to provoke. The efforts by some on the lunatic fringes of British nationalism to turn this referendum into an “ethnic” conflict are despicable. And I’m not talking about the odd nutter on Twitter. I’m talking about senior figures in the anti-independence campaign and journalists on this very paper.

                  The line at the end of my previous post is from “Scots Wha Hae” by Robert Burns. But used in a quite different context, of course.

              • Inverted Meniscus

                So no respector of democracy then. If you vote no you must keep n voting until you get the right answer. Priceless.

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

                  Being a blinkered bigot you naturally don’t see that it is your position that is anti-democratic. The right of self-determination is one of the basic pillars of democracy, as recognised by the United nations. But you and your fellow British nationalist fanatics would spit on this fundamental principle. You would deny the people of Scotland the right to determine their constitutional status.

                  In the name of preserving the structures of power and privilege which define the British state and in defence of its ruling elites you would gladly sacrifice democracy.

                  You would be dangerous if you were not confined to the slavering, swivel-eyed, spittle-flecked fringes of politics.

                • Inverted Meniscus

                  Coward. I have repeatedly supported Scotland’s right to self determination. But abuse is all you have.

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

                  And yet you would deny the people of Scotland the means to exercise that right. Which, of course, makes you a hypocrite, at the very least.

                • Inverted Meniscus

                  You are quite clearly insane and deranged. Iam happy for Scotland to become independent if that is what its citizens choose. I simply do not want that independence to work to the detriment of the UK as it would for example via a currency union. We don’t want to guarantee the debt of a foreign country and thankfully the Chancellor of the Exchequer and his equivalents in other parties have precluded this madness. Ironically, this is all academic because you will lose in September as Salmond is already fully aware. He is, I admit, playing a careful hand in order to win further devolved concessions post defeat.

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

                  Now this arrogant bigot claims to know what Alex Salmond is thinking. What a clown!

                • Inverted Meniscus

                  So tell us all why it is a good idea for the UK taxpayer to underwrite the debt of a foreign country without being able to limit how much and for how long?

                • Inverted Meniscus

                  You have absolutely no grounds to label me a bigot. I am more than happy for Scots to make whatever choices they want as long as they don’t harm my country in the process. But you define a bigot as anybody who does not agree entirely with your opinion.

        • ryongsong

          And yet you’re quite happy about the fact we formed a union without the consent of the population.

        • terregles2

          Do you also accept that a NO vote will be unacceptble unless it has the support of two thirds.

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

      I doubt if I would have found it “entertaining” to sit and listen to a bunch of British nationalists denigrate Scotland and its people. But each to his own, I suppose.

      • Shinsei1967

        No denigration of Scotland or its people at all.

        Lots of praise of how young men from “Suffolk to Sutherland” fought together to defeat the Nazis (and discover penicillin and build a prosperous & successful society etc).

        • http://batman-news.com Angus McIonnach

          “No denigration of Scotland or its people at all.”

          Given that Galloway said something like “Scotland only produced shortbread before oil was discovered” to much hilarity, I can see that you’re clearly providing an unbiased account of the evening. 😉

          • Shinsei1967

            Don’t recall Galloway saying that. Though I do recall one of the No speakers waxing lyrically on Scotlands contribution of the Enlightenment to the rest of the UK.

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

              That’s the positive veneer that naysayers are now instructed put on what is actually no more than the old “Too wee! Too poor! Too stupid!” insult to our intelligence.

            • http://batman-news.com Angus McIonnach

              Good heavens, they said positive things about Scotland, you say? The bare-faced cheek!

        • rammyorstramash

          Yes, a society where every year their descendants and what few of those young men are left alive have to choose between heating or eating. One of the most unequal societies in the world.

          They must surely be disappointed.

    • http://batman-news.com Angus McIonnach

      “We had claims that Scotland has the poorest pensioners in Europe”

      The UK Has one of the lowest pensions in Europe relative to incomes. That could be the basis for that claim. Or maybe you heard it wrong.

      “the UK government didn’t bail out the banks (supposedly it was the Americans”

      The American government (and even Qatar I believe) provided massively more bailout loan guarantees to Barclays than the UK government. That’s Barclays, a London headquartered bank. So yep – bank bailouts don’t as a rule come from government in the same country as a bank’s headquarters.

      • Shinsei1967

        Barclays had various rights issues during the crisis which were predominantly taken up by the Saudis and Qataris (who were already major shareholders) but it received no government bail out (and certainly not from the US government).

        The nearest you can get to US involvement is that the US government bailed out AIG, that Barclays (like every other bank) had some exposure to.

        You could also debate whether low interest rates or QE count as a bailout too. However the point remains that the actual “proper” bailouts of RBS & HBOS came from the BoE/UK Treasury.

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

          It is also a fact that, had Scotland been independent at the time, and had the Scottish Government accepted liability in the way that the UK Government did, the cost to taxpayers in Scotland would have been no more than it was as part of the UK.

          Alistair Darling has been lying through his teeth about this for years. Not all of us are gullible enough to be taken in by the brazen dishonesty of a former British Chancellor famed only for his failures.

          • Kaine

            Had Scotland been independent in 2008 it would have been under Salmond’s previous wheeze of being in the Euro, and its actions would be whatever the ECB had ordered.

    • Kate

      Eh, not true. The most recent referendum in geographical Europe, Montenegro, saw independence win by a small fraction. And, of course, in Slovakia there was no referendum.

    • Cath Ferguson

      Most countries which went independent also didn’t have an overwhelmingly negative media, the vast majority of which isn’t owned in the country and is produced outside, with broadcasting not even allowed to be devolved to it. If we had a genuinely Scottish media which acted even with balance the result would likely be overwhelming support for independence. Which is the normal state for a country. The idea of any other country on earth deciding it was better if it didn’t run itself but allowed decisions to be imposed from outside is bizarre. The media coverage over the past couple of years has been extremely eye-opening though.

      • monty61

        Oh the bid bad media. Diddums.

      • Shinsei1967

        The media are negative because they think independence is a bad idea.

      • treacle

        There are a lot of misconceptions here. The media aren’t negative: they just don’t buy in automatically to the SNP position. It is proposing the splitting up of the UK, for no good reason, that is negative. By “a genuinely Scottish media”, you mean limiting the media to nationalist cranks. And as for your notion that this country doesn’t run itself, of course it does: our country is the UK, and is run by British people in London and Edinburgh, as it should be. I’m afraid you’re going to get a wake-up call on 18 September when you discover that your narrow, parochial view of Scotland isn’t shared by the majority of Scots.

        • Cath Ferguson

          No, a genuinely Scottish media means media based and owned here, and which understands the political culture and landscape. Rather than one run from, and written in, another country and which totally fails to grasp it and has an entirely different culture. For example by producing people who think when someone says a Scottish media would be a good thing they mean “a media run by nationalist cranks”.

          • treacle

            England is not another country, but the same country. Your narrow parochialism does Scotland no favours. Returning Scotland to the political set-up of 300+ years ago is a laughably immature answer to today’s problems.

            • terregles2

              Almost every country in the world is independent what makes Scotland the only world country unable to have self government.?

      • Inverted Meniscus

        Yeah the media is evil because it doesn’t agree with you. Ridiculous.

      • rollo_tommasi

        Getting your excuses in early are we?

    • Cath Ferguson

      I’d also take issue with that as a “fact” though. Many countries had to fight civil wars to gain their independence, which suggests at some point there were at least enough people who could be persuaded against their country’s independence to fight against it. What you don’t ever appear see is those people as a force post-independence. While most non-independent countries will have an independence movement, you never get independent countries with “lets not be independent anymore” movements.

      • Kaine

        Yes you do. Not only the members of the European Union sharing sovereignty, but the constituent states of the German Empire, the Texans who joined the USA, the separate colonies which united to form Canada, the Spanish Kingdoms which united, the Italian duchies which became one state, the Indian princedoms that did the same…

        And of course, that’s how Scotland came into the Union in the first place.

        So yeah, you’re categorically wrong.

    • arkletten

      That’s because we were not allowed the devo-max option which 70% would have supported. This was calculated bad faith on Cameron’s part because he has absolutely no intention of allowing us anything.

    • James Morrison

      Montenegro voted for independence (from Serbia and Montenegro) in 2006. The result was 55.5% yes, 44.5% no.
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Montenegro_Independence_Referendum_2006

    • terregles2

      If the YES vote loses by a small % is that really a sound foundation to continue with Westminster government.?

  • Maidmarrion

    Another invited audience?
    I look forward to the debate twixt Mr Darling and Mr Salmond – goodness knows why a an anti war, Bradford MP excites the writer so much ,but he doesn’t exactly light up me – sadly it seems Mr darling has scuttled for cover.
    What is fascinating is the folk there who wouldn’t normally touch each other with a tarry pole huddled so closely together .
    From that ” massive ” audience – it appears 2 were lost somewhere.

  • Tamas Marcuis

    Everyone knows how these publicity events work. BOTH sides do these same in any political contest. Fill the audience with your hand picked supporters then manufacture a fake result that favours your prearranged media response. It just some thing that happens in the world of politics.
    It also makes for very boring propaganda. Frankly I’d rather have read a story on the fact that now LEGO’s patent has run out, anybody can make plastic play bricks.
    Well both stories would be about manufacturing and money making, just like George Galloway. We all grew out of LEGO just like we all grow out Galloway.

    • Kaine

      A man who is tired of Lego is tired of life.

      • nae a belger

        This, I agree with 100%!

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

    I take comfort from being fully confident that Scotland’s future will not be in the hands of that baying bigot, George Galloway, or his Scotland-hating fan club.

    If ever I had wavered, this account of a gathering of British nationalism’s finest minds would surely have stiffened my resolve to vote Yes.

    • Tamas Marcuis

      Galloway hasn’t got anything sincere to say. It’s all about George getting paid. About George getting attention and the money making events that are generated by the referendum.

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

        Galloway is a money-grubbing, self-regarding blow-hard elevated to the status of elder statesman by the terminally shallow, celebrity-obsessed media.

        • John Lea

          Phenomenal speaker, though, you have to admit. Can you name another Scottish political figure (Salmond included) with even a fraction of GG’s oratorical power?

          • ChuckieStane

            That may be true and it is plain to see from Mr. Massie’s report that he wowed his audience and Mr. Massie, however orators are most vehement when they have the weakest cause.

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

            Galloway is loquacious rather than erudite.

            • CraigStrachan

              Not like yourself at all, then.

          • rammyorstramash

            James Connolly, but he is no longer available.

          • ChuckieStane

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CBF8Iw4f0Io

            Ian Hamilton QC doing not bad for a 89 year old with a fairly impressive double act.

        • Inverted Meniscus

          So Tweedledee to Salmond’s Tweedledum then.

    • benbecula

      I’d have thought having George Galloway on one’s side is a bad omen, given that he’s been proven to be wrong on just about everything his whole life.

      • Kaine

        Has an intriguing knack for winning elections though, 25 of the last 27 years in Parliament.

      • newyork1974

        You mean like invading Iraq, for instance.

    • davidofkent

      Why are you making such a fuss. If you disagree with George Galloway, just vote YES in September. There has been quite a lot of hot air expended on this subject and all to no avail. People will vote from their own hearts and minds and will probably ignore everything else that they hear. Whatever the result in September, the relationship between the rest of the UK (especially England) and Scotland will never be the same again.

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

        I have as much right to comment as you do.

        Most informed commentators in both nations reckon that Scotland’s independence will lead to a better relationship between Scotland and England. It is only British nationalist fanatics who imagine that the rest of the UK will react to the restoration of Scotland’s rightful constitutional status with bitterness, resentment and a petty desire for revenge against those uppity Jocks.

        One of the reasons I’ll be voting Yes is so that Scotland and England can enjoy the relationship of equals that the union never delivered. It is unfortunate that some do not consider Scotland worthy of such a relationship. And sadder still that some think England incapable of it.

        But I am reassured by the fact that, as with all fanatics, those on the lunatic fringe of British nationalism are but a tiny minority. Most people in England will respect the democfratic choice of Scotland’s people and the toxic attitudes of the few will be flushed into history’s cesspit by the goodwill of the majority.

        • Ringstone

          Most informed commentators in both nations reckon that Scotland’s independence will lead to a better relationship between Scotland and England.
          In your dreams, the moral and constitutional landscape would have changed irrevocably from part of the UK to a competing sovereign nation, you’d be in a zero sum game with an economy eleven times your size looking after it’s own interests – best of luck with that.

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

            Independent nations compete – and cooperate – amicable in all manner of fields. What is it about England that you think makes it incapable of doing so?

            • Kaine

              First of all, it’s not ‘England’, unless Wales and NI cease to exist after the referendum.

              Second, the question isn’t why won’t the UK be amicable, it will be why should the UK concern itself at all with what is good for an independent Scotland?

            • Ringstone

              Cooperate doesn’t mean filling a Salmond shaped shopping list. The “yes” camp use the word like the club med nations in the EU use “solidarity” – both translate as someone else writing a cheque to cover their tab.

          • Inverted Meniscus

            What a nasty dose of reality you have just delivered.

          • HenBroon

            The Queen seems to think otherwise as she aplogised to Ireland and shook the hand of McGuinness. That is Ireland who by act of parliament are not to be considered as foreign to Britain. Perhaps one day her offspring will see fit to apologise to Scotland for their duplicity and bullying, and ethnic cleansing.

        • Inverted Meniscus

          By ‘informed’ of course you mean: people who agree with me. I wholeheartedly agree that Scotland should make up its own mind and have no problem with that, the proposition that we will all live happily ever after is ludicrous however. The UK has rejected a currency union with Scotland ( and yes, you can sill use the pound) and that will be the source of ever growing em tiny between Scotland and the rest of the UK.

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

            You utterly fail to explain why rUK’s choice to abolish the currency union – in the highly unlikely event that they actually do so – would be a “source of ever growing enmity” between the two countries. Many neighbouring nations function perfectly well without a currency union.

            It is evident that, in common with regrettably many British nationalists, you actually crave this state of conflict and you are groping for ways to justify it.

            In the real world, however, bitter, nasty little people rarely have significant influence on the course of events. Much as you may resent the fact, it is all but inevitable that, post-independence, Scotland and England (or rUK) will find arrangements that are convenient to both and facilitate “business as usual”.

            Those who resent the exercise of democracy will be disappointed. They will not get the pointless and mutually damaging low-level economic warfare that they long for. Their sick need to see Scotland punished for daring to challenge the divinely ordained British state will be overwhelmed by pragmatism and enlightened self-interest.

            There will be no “enmity”. You will just have to learn to live with that.

            • Inverted Meniscus

              Well let’s deal with this one misrepresentation at a time. I said at the outset that I “wholeheartedly agree that Scotland should make its own mind up”. Second, we have an effective currency union today because we have complete and untrammelled fiscal and monetary unity and total UK expenditure is governed by a central point. We also have a single central bank that acts as lender of last resort. Thus from the perspective of a currency union the UK is a single country. Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland can govern their own expenditure within certain agreed parameters but total expenditure is controlled by the UK Treasury. Should Scotland become an independent country, a currency union would only work if the UK treasury retained unfettered control of Scotland’s fiscal and monetary policies and that would hardly be independence would it. The alternative would be for the UK taxpayer to agree to guarantee the newly issued public debt of a foreign country without being able to limit how much is borrowed and for how long. The UK taxpayer is already on the hook for all of the existing national debt even if, as Salmond has threatened, to walk away from Scotland’s share of that debt. Adding to that burden without limitation or control is not an attractive proposition thank you very much. By all means keep using Sterling. Indeed, it is a freely convertible and tradable currency and we could do nothing to stop from using it even if we wanted to. What we do not want however is the obligation to guarantee the debts of a foreign country without limitation. That would become a considerable source of enmity. Even if limits were agreed, Salmond would invariably blame the English for thwarting his expenditure plans and even more enmity would ensue. I don’t expect you to read this objectively or even understand the concepts involved. You are clearly a “bitter, nasty little person” who clearly loathes and cannot tolerate opinions that differ from your own. I am happy for Scots to make their own minds up that is, after all, what my Grandfathers generation fought to preserve, but I will also defend the rights and interests of my own country. It is not all about Scotland.

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

                I have one word for you. Paragraphs!

                • Inverted Meniscus

                  But you cannot summon up the integrity or honesty to respond to the points about a currency union can you? That is because Salmond knows that without it, Scottish debt costs will rise, including mortgages, leaving the Yes campaign in tatters. Coward.

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

                  I will happily respond to anything you write when you learn to make it readable.

                  Having said that, if what you offer here is a précis of your previous slab of text then I can hardly do other than dismiss it is unsupported assertion and standard British nationalist scare-mongering.

                  How many times do the lies of the anti-independence campaign have to be exposed before you finally catch on?

                • Inverted Meniscus

                  Gutless coward. We do not want a currency union because it would require the UK taxpayer to underwrite the newly issued debt of a foreign country. Furthermore, the UK taxpayer would have no means of controlling how much debt was issued and for how long by that same foreign country. Scotland needs a currency union with the UK because without one, its public debt costs would rise and thus so would the cost of mortgages and other personal debt. We are not bothered about cross border trade exchange costs because we already manage such arrangements with many other countries. Now answer that you gutless coward.

                • scotcanadien

                  Peter A Bell 6 0 Inverted Meniscus
                  And as for
                  …”a qualified economist who spent 35 years in the City feel very comfortable disagreeing with this utter nonsense.”
                  More like a junior clerk.

                  “Qualified economist! Hilarious!!!”

                • Inverted Meniscus

                  You are an imbecile. Go away.

                • Inverted Meniscus

                  Then provide a technical rebuttal instead of pathetic allegations of ‘scaremongering’.

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

                  Why would your vacuous bluster and empty assertion merit a “technical rebuttal”?

                • Inverted Meniscus

                  Coward. Why is a currency union a good thing for UK taxpayers? Like every other cybernat you resort to bluster and lies whenever that question is raised.

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

                  You embarrass yourself with the childish name-calling. But I reckon you are more to be pitied than chastised.

                  If you don’t know, or can’t figure out, the benefits of the currency union then that only proves that you are an ill-informed blow-hard who is simply parroting Project Fear propaganda without knowing what you are talking about.

                  In the unlikely event that you are prepared to educate yourself in this matter I suggest you find,read and try to comprehend the article written for the Financial Times by Professor Anton Muscatelli under the title “Currency union would be best for all of Britain”.

                  Being the FT, there is a paywall. But reports can also be found in The Scotsman and The Herald by way of a simple search that even you should be able to manage.

                  To give a flavour of the article, here is a quote from Professor Muscatelli,

                  “I endorse the view, expressed by the Scottish Government following the recommendations of the Fiscal Commission Working Group, that maintaining a sterling currency union between Scotland and the rest of the UK (RUK) would be advantageous to both countries after independence.”

                • Inverted Meniscus

                  Whereas you shouting bigot at every opportunity is perfectly acceptable. I have read the article and as a qualified economist who spent 35 years in the City feel very comfortable disagreeing with this utter nonsense. There is no advantage to the UK taxpayer joining a currency union with a foreign country. If there was, we would have joined the Euro when we had the opportunity then we could be on the hook for lots of country’s debts. Perhs Scotland could join the Euro. Oh no, they have told you to get lost as well.

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

                  The bit about being a qualified economist is hilarious. A qualified economist would be aware of BOTH the advantages and disadvantages of currency union. By your insistence that currency union only has disadvantages you mark yourself as just another one of those tedious amateur propagandists who parrot whatever drivel they are fed by their political masters.

                  This inability to acknowledge that their are (at least) two sides to the issue is also the mark of the bigot whose mind it not merely closed but barricaded against any information which clashes with its comfortable prejudices.

                  It is also entertainingly reminiscent of the fact that, despite their being some 200 independent nations in the world, many of which suffered to secure that status and all of which defend it fiercely, the UK Government, British parties and Better Together can’t find a single positive thing to say about independence.

                  This is far from the least of the reasons why thinking people are rejecting the unremittingly negative message of the No campaign. Thinking people know that things are never so clear-cut.

                  I genuinely do not want to make a fool of you. But you are making it all but impossible to avoid doing so. So I’ll leave you to wallow in your bigoted ignorance..

                  Qualified economist! Hilarious!!!

                • Inverted Meniscus

                  Of course their are two sides you ignorant little man but, as mentioned previously but ignored by you, foreign exchange translation costs are a minimal consideration ( the ‘George Tax’ as that dissembling idiot Salmond called it) is entirely inconsequential compared to an unlimited public debt guarantee to a foreign country. British companies manage cross-border forex exposures every day and adding one more country to the list is easily manageable. It is also a commercial risk rather than a direct imposition on UK taxpayers. In the unlikely event of Scottish independence, our economies will diverge because, under European law, the UK will be forced to seek competitive tenders for State expenditure such as shipbuilding etc.

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

                  Qualified economist! Hilarious!!!

                • Inverted Meniscus

                  But like every other cybernat fascist you cannot tell me why it is in the best interests of the UK Taxpayer to underwrite the debt of a foreign country without being able to limit how much that country borrows and for how long. Why is that a good thing? Why don’t we do it with more countries if it is such a good thing?

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

                  When someone starts throwing around terms like “fascist” you know they have no rational arguments. If you hope to have people engage with you then you need to grow up and learn how to elicit responses. As it is, you simply come across as an ignorant boor. You are useful only because you reveal the deeply unpleasant nature of British nationalism.

                • Inverted Meniscus

                  You are totally intolerant of any contrary view so fascist describes you nicely. You are happy to label people as bigots etc but won’t accept the same treatment. But then you are a coward who refuses to address the currency union issue from a UK taxpayer perspective. Now get lost.

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

                  “You are totally intolerant…. Now get lost.”

                  The unwitting (or should that be witless?) irony is highly entertaining.

                • Inverted Meniscus

                  Enjoy your life as a mindless fanatic.

    • Wessex Man

      George Galloway signed the Scottish claim of right and likes to express his views loudly but although he totally disagreed with our arguments when we met him we found him to be charming and true to his beliefs. I would say don’t throw stones in Glasshouses!

      • DaveTheRave

        I concur.

    • Graeme McDonald

      And what do you think Salmond is? an honest person?

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