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After Scotland, whither Britain? Divorce is a costly business.

14 August 2014

5:48 PM

14 August 2014

5:48 PM

If, like me, you missed Andrew Neil’s BBC programme exploring What the Hell Happens to the United Kingdom if Scotland Votes for Independence Next Month you might be interested to know that it remains available on the BBC iPlayer here.

Prudently, dear reader, I liked it.

It’s a film best viewed as a companion piece to James Forsyth’s Spectator cover story published last month. A call to arms to England – and Westminster in particular – to ponder the consequences and implications of Scottish independence. There is little sign that much thought has been devoted to these issues.

Indeed, not only has the Ministry of Defence apparently failed to make contingency plans for the future, inter alia, of Britain’s nuclear deterrent in the event of a Yes vote next month, the UK government has done no work on preparing anything that might even be tangentially related to the independence negotiations that would follow a vote for independence.

Like everything else, this is a matter of politics, not preference. Making any such preparation would add weight to the notion independence is the inevitable, natural, outcome to this process. See, Alex Salmond would trumpet, even London is ready for our independence.

Still, it is, if you will, a thistle that will have to be grasped at some point. Not least because, as the programme made clear, the story doesn’t end with a No vote. You might doubt the unionist parties’ commitments to further devolution – though I’d doubt Labour’s more than I question the Tories’ – but it will be devilishly difficult to wriggle out of doing something at some point in the next parliament. The legislative timetable will be stuffed full of other projects, for sure, but there’ll need to be at least some gesture towards a new Scotland bill before the 2016 Holyrood election gets going. Especially if Ed Miliband is Prime Minister. Because otherwise Labour will be consigned to a third term in opposition in Edinburgh.


In any case, if you peer closely you can find glimpses of what you might dub the federalisation of Britain. Not just in terms of Edinburgh but also with regard to Cardiff and Belfast (where, as David Trimble observed, Scottish independence might revive the currently parked question of a United Ireland). A new patchwork of arrangements in which, doubtless, asymmetries and anomalies will continue to abound but by which the political landscape is still, nevertheless, transformed. Not just for the so-called fringe either but for England’s cities – including London – and even, perhaps, the whole of the long-quietened northern counties of England.

Perhaps. The truth is that the British state – a state of unions, not a union state – has always been more flexible than its critics allow. It may only move when prodded by a sharp stick but it can, and has, moved.

But what if Scotland does vote Yes? The odds may be against such an outcome, and it may look less likely than it did six months ago, but weirder, wilder, things have happened. I wouldn’t rule it out. Not completely. Not by any stretch of the imagination.

London, Peter Hennessy suggested, is entirely unprepared for such an outcome. (So, cynics might note, is Alex Salmond but let’s leave that be for the moment.) Britain might, the noble Whitehall chronicler suggested,  become ‘just a modest little country’ after an event of such ‘immense magnitude’ that it must surely have an impact on how the rump UK ‘sees itself and imagines itself’. I think that is correct. Scottish independence would be a kind of repudiation.

The immediate chaos would be real and widespread. I am not sure the SNP’s 18-month timetable for independence is altogether realistic, though, doubtless, the broad framework of a treaty could be thrashed out in that time even if many other matters would necessarily remain unresolved.

We underestimate – all of us – the complexity involved. As the programme pointed out, the Czech and Slovak so-called Velvet Divorce required 31 different treaties and some 12,000 legal agreements. Unravelling Britain will be more complicated than that.

And it might be an uglier process that often thought. Up-jumped Nigel Farage to observe that his party would be left to ‘stand up for England’ and that many people would ‘be calling for quite tough separation terms’. At this point in the programme, I confess to feeling a greater tenderness for the SNP than is always the case.

The easiest way to avoid all that, of course, is to vote No, but Farage and those English citizens quoted who think the independence movement is animated by anti-English grievance are gifts to the SNP. (To be clear: you can find anglophobia in Scotland, and you need not always search hard to discover it, but it is not, in general, the motivating force behind most of what the Yes campaign stands for.)

Would life go on? Of course it would. It might even, as the insufferably smug Simon Jenkins put it, make politics interesting. But it would not go on as it had previously. Britain – that is, the rump United Kingdom – would be a diminished place and considered so by its international peers. Something would be lost even if, in a very British fashion, the precise nature of that loss, that diminishment, might resist easy explanation. Out of sight perhaps, but somewhere becoming rain nonetheless.

Politics is not just questions of policy; it’s a business built on feelings and impressions and imagination too. How these would change in the event of a Yes vote is hard to say until or if it happens, but change they would and in ways, as Andrew’s programme evinced, that might surprise us all.

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Show comments
  • steve

    This argument started the moment the Country’s of Scotland Wales and England all joined because not all the people wanted to join. Ever since the German, Dutch, Flemish, Jute and other foreigner’s now called the English came to this island they have forced them selfs on the indigenous people (Celtic people). Get it into your heads that we want you to be more proud to be English so that you see this notion of “Empire” has gone and it is time to stand on your own.
    Your vanity about your position on the world stage is pathetic and that is why the WHOLE island/country has been brought to it’s knees.
    Maybee it’s you English that are unwilling for Scotland and hopefully Wales to go it’s seperate way. EVERY EMPIRE WILL AND DOES FALL and this British one has run it’s course.

  • Bob

    You mention “rump” a number of times. OED defines the term as a small or unimportant remnant of something originally larger. Does England , Wales, and N Ireland become unimportant if Scotland left?

  • Barb Searle

    It seems to be the ‘thing’ that’s sweeping across the world..
    revolution, separation, independance… it’s so chaotic and bloody
    though and sometimes the effort does not seem worth it.. If Scotland
    goes I think Everyone of us and each of the countries in the ‘UK’ will
    be devastated by it, and I doubt it will be pretty.. it will prob last
    for decades and we’ll end up enemies – which is just so bloody
    ridiculous for small countries who share a landmass and common bond to
    end up – WHY not just remove all the nuclear junk from Scotland if they
    don’t want it there? WHY Not just let everyone have their own
    Parliaments/ laws and own accountability – but contribute a Union Treaty
    ‘tithe’ every year for the common – ‘wealth’ of the UK… these things –
    instead of separating over them, we can negotiate a better deal? …

    • Simon Fay

      Perhaps the vote will lead to a new union between the home nations, one not mediated through Brussels and the Gherkin. The present set-up is b0ll0cks. If it doesn’t goes the ‘yes’ side’s way next month I could see a few incidents of, er, vandalism occurring up North.

  • smilingvulture

    Programme got ripped to pieces ,TV critic,the herald

  • Dean Jackson

    The concept of Union has always meant security from outside invasion. What else would bring two diverse cultures together, the Celts of Scotland and the Anglo-Saxon Normans of England? And the threat of foreign invasion is more subtle today, even unseen, because the enemy is weak in numbers, hence the enemy’s need to conceal its identity. Who is this enemy that threatens Britain?

    The enemy is within and without, and are Marxists who’ve co-opted the political parties of the West, including the West’s leading institutions, from the media to religion. We know this to be true not only because we were warned of the enemy within by KGB defector Major Anatoliy Golitsyn in 1962, but because the West’s institutions failed to warn its populations that the collapse of the USSR (and East Bloc nations) was a strategic disinformation operation, as proved by the West’s failure to not only verify the collapse, but de-Communize the Soviet Armed Forces officer corps (which was 90% Communist Party officered in late 1991), and failure to de-mobilize the six-million vigilantes that assisted the Soviet Ministry of Interior and militia to control the populations in the larger Soviet cities.

    The West’s fate depended on verification of the collapse of the USSR, verification’s absence proving co-option of the West’s institutions. On the Soviet side, there could be no collapse when (1) the Soviet Armed Forces officer corps remained Communist Party dominated; and (2) six-million vigilantes continued to control the population.

    In order for Scotland to decide on Union or independence, Scots must be armed with all the information that’s necessary to make the correct decision. The co-opted media will not present the facts as laid out above.

  • The_greyhound

    Not sure this article has any relevance.

    The SNP’s independence campaign is paralyzed by stroke (the one Darling dealt last Tuesday on the currency), and cannot recover. Even if the poison dwarf were to stagger to his feet again, Darling will simply smash him into the ground over his lies and evasions over the huge problem of rejoining the European Union.

    It’s time to start planning a future without the odious embarrassing little squirt and his rancid SNP. We are proposing that on March 24, 2016 we should have a public holiday to celebrate the fact that Scotland will be salmond- and nationalist-free.

    • AtMyDeskToday

      “We are proposing that on March 24, 2016 we should have a public holiday to celebrate the fact that Scotland will be salmond- and nationalist-free.”

      Hope springs eh? However, if your vivid imagination envisages a Labour administration then I think your hopes will be dashed. Good luck anyway, you will need it in spades.
      BTW…judging from your words, the only poison dwarf around is you.

  • Cymrugel

    I am glad that you are finally conceding that a yes vote is not only remotely but quite possible.

    Your obvious irritation with the smuggles who run Westminster is also showing.

    But do you not see that it is this insular complacency that has led us to the current situation?

    I spent 14 years living in London and was startled by the insularity of the people I worked with ; all of them well educated professionals. Little that happened outside of the city seemed to matter to them. If this attitude was confined to the locals then no matter, but it was endemic and we are now at the point where London and the UK government effectively operate as a city state.

    The UK is not well served by its government and all attempts to address this have been squashed.

    Any suggestions that regions of the UK should largely run their own affairs have been dismissed as adding “red tape” or another layer of (presumably unnecessary) government, while in fact the regions have been paralysed by having no control over their economies and no authority to appeal to that has any interest in their needs where these do not coincide with those of London.

    The current devolution settlement is simply there to appease nationalist movements in Scotland and Wales and any actions in Scotland that do not correspond to UK policy are treated with squeals of outrage; but what is the point in devolution if the Parliament is to simply duplicate whatever Westminster does?
    Scotland after all runs its own budget and if the parliament chooses to provide free prescriptions or not to charge university fees that is their prerogative, but even these modest measures are condemned as an outrage.

    The UK has a highly centralised system of government where the needs and aspirations of most of the country are set aside in favour of the needs of the money men in London. We are told that they in fact pay for our lives – but given that we are not free to develop our economies to meet the needs of local communities this is a self fulfilling prophecy. Give us the power and we will quite happily support ourselves.

    I will vote Yes in September, not out of an excess of patriotism or a dislike of the English (although I think it is time they got off their high horse in relations with other nations at home and abroad) – I am after all ethnically more Welsh and English than Scots, as if such things mattered.

    Yet I, and people like me would be quite content with a fully federalised Britain where, as in most advanced countries, regions run their own affairs largely undisturbed, except for issues of defence and foreign policy that are the rightful prerogative of the national government.

    But this is not an option, as Westminster would fight it tooth and nail and the English seem content to bewail their condition while yet doing nothing to change it.
    Well sorry, but I and many others have had enough.

    We are not content to sit and wait for some sort of epiphany south of the border any longer; we are tired of the English nationalism and jingoism that bizarrely tries to present itself as cosmopolitanism; of the faded aspirations to great power status and preoccupation with past glories; of having our economy undermined to prop up an undeclared city state and governments with no mandate that push an agenda of giving yet more to those pockets are bulging.

    That is why the Yes campaign exists and why many of us will vote for it in September.

    Join us.

    • Inverted Meniscus

      Fine and good luck to you but no currency union thank you very much. We have no desire to guarantee, without limitation, the newly issued public debt of a resentful foreign country and I am sure you have no wish to join such an agreement with us wicked “English Nationalist Jingoists” and all of the other pejorative descriptions included in your note. And yes you can keep using Sterling but you had better break it gently to Salmond because he wants a CU and has been told to FO.

    • Denis_Cooper

      If you recall in the autumn of 2004 the people in north east England were asked whether they wanted an elected regional assembly and they very clearly said “No”, and in that they were actually speaking for most of the English, who do not want England to be broken up into EU Regions.

      Since then it has been paralysis; what is not being offered as the alternative to the previous plan of breaking up England into euroregions is a Parliament for the whole of England, with devolved powers comparable to those which have been granted to the Scottish Parliament.

      The old parties either refuse to address the blatant injustice of the present arrangements, or in the case of the Tories come up with a half-baked idea about “English votes for English laws” in the UK Parliament.

      That will not do, and every time somebody suggests euroregionalisation of England that offers further proof that it will not do.

  • Denis_Cooper

    Interesting headline in the Scotsman today:

    “Expats ‘moving back from rUK before referendum’”

    And then in the article, that word “expats” again:

    “THE PROSPECT of Scottish independence has not stopped people from the rest of the UK moving north as numbers more than doubled last year.

    The economic revival is believed to be behind the surge, although it may also be down to some expats returning home to vote in the referendum.”

    Maybe some Scots have returned home to vote, but why should they have to do that?

    If this was a UK general election then UK citizens living abroad, “expats”, could apply to vote in that UK election provided they hadn’t been away for more than fifteen years, but if a Scot lives outside Scotland for just fifteen months then he is deprived of a vote in a referendum on whether Scotland should separate from the rest of the UK.

    Is this the way that the putative independent Scottish state would treat its citizens, if in the course of their work or for any other reasons they had to live abroad then they would be treated as longer being Scottish citizens and would be disenfranchised?

    • allan

      Salmond and the SNP played a blinder in negotiating the terms of the referendum, with the UK government. Exclude Scots living outside Scotland, allow 16 year olds to vote, have a YES/NO question rather than something worded neutrally, no ‘devo max’ option. Then we have the totally ineffectual ‘stay in the UK’ campaign. The ‘NO’ campaign material has looked second rate compared to the ‘YES’ offering. I’m surprised the ‘NO’ option has stayed ahead in the polls (so far).

  • Denis_Cooper

    “Farage and those English citizens quoted who think the independence movement is animated by anti-English grievance are gifts to the SNP.”

    So eventually you work it round to slagging off Farage, of course you do.

    Just a reminder: UKIP bears no responsibility for creating the divisions within the UK which have created the impetus for the Scottish separatism; the blame for that lies with the three old parties, not UKIP, and in my estimation two thirds of the blame lies with the bloody Tory party.

    Just how stupid does a party have to be to go from getting over half of the votes and seats in Scotland in the 1955 general election to being close to extinction by 1997?

    • terence patrick hewett

      A party that is stupid enough to alienate its own core vote in the towns and shires as well as in Scotland and Wales.

  • Wessex Man

    Strange, no not really, not once did Mr Massie mention an English parlament, yet brought into the conservation both Wales and NI as usual.

    I rather thinik that England would flourish as a state freed from the celtic fringe of whinners. It wouldn’t worry me in the least if this uneven Union was broken up. In my opinion we surge ahead without the dour Scots!

    • allan

      England has always had it’s own parliament. It’s called Westminster.

  • Smithersjones2013

    So putting aside all the theories, wild speculation and vague scaremongering the only serious substantive issue raised by the BBC documentary is the military concerns and particularly the future of the UK’s nuclear solution.

    How amusing to see Massie and co running around like headless chickens about such issues. Why because the reason there are no contingency plans specifically for the Independence vote is because the plans should already exist .

    Surely it must occur to the even most dim-witted of navel gazing creatures from the depths of the Westminster Freakshow that Faslane would be an obvious target in the event of a Nuclear attack by another Nuclear power. Therefore there are bound to be Government contingency plans in existence for the loss of Faslane which given they are a critical part of our national security the government are not going to admit to or reveal.

    The government simply are not going to reveal critical national secrets purely to placate a bunch of Westminster Freakshow headless chickens and a bunch of rabid blue faced skirt lifters who start a-wailing and a handwringing over the issue..

    As for the rest, I can see the debate over the flag swelling the ranks of UKIP no end (particular if PC Dave is still leading the Tories) and I can see the English treating the Scots with the contempt that the SNP have treated the English for decades and there is no question that the English will expect a damn site tougher deal than the SNP are prepared for (why should the Scots swan off with a third of the land for example?) but otherwise its a case of so what? If Scotland want a divorce then so be it. No point fretting about it. Just get on and deal with it. It will be good if the Labour bias in our politics is undermined. It will be good if England regains its identity. it will be good if Wales and Northern Ireland get a better shake. it will be good if there is a rebalancing between the regions and London.

    The only people who really do lose out in all this if Scotland votes yes are the SNP (who would lose their raison d’etre and there uniqueness becoming just another party and the Westminster Freakshow who would find that Scottish independence would likely be the driver for a far wider redistribution of their and their masters in Brussels powers down to the rest of the remaining United Kingdom.

    • Cymrugel

      Re : your point on relative population sizes – are you saying that you expect the rUK to annexe large chunks of Scotland on the grounds that they are not “entitled” to more and just let the Scots keep a bit of it?

      Are you challenging the actual definition of the area that is Scotland?

      Tell you what; try telling the USA or Canada and Australia with their very low population density that they are only “entitled” to a proportion of their national land mass defined by you and let me know how you get on.

      • terence patrick hewett

        Don’t be silly: he did not say any such thing.

        • HFC

          No, but it’s an idea that may have some merit…

          • Cymrugel

            Not if you don’t want to start a civil war it hasn’t.

            That and turn England into an international pariah

        • Cymrugel


          Then pray explain the following :

          “there is no question that the English will expect a damn site tougher deal than the SNP are prepared for (why should the Scots swan off with a third of the land for example when they have only 10% of the population?) but otherwise its a case of so what?”

          If that isn’t an assertion that the Scots are only entitled to a proportion of the UK land mass on the basis of their population I don’t know what is.

          Scotland is a territorial and national entity with recognised dimensions and borders. what he is saying is that we are a minority within the UK and should be allocated a share of the available land based upon our percentage in the population.

          A reservation in effect.

          Well sorry but no sale.

      • The_greyhound

        You ignore the fact that in the unlikely event of a yes vote, half of Scotland will secede from the toxic independent state, and rejoin the United Kingdom.

        • AtMyDeskToday

          In what dystopian world do you live?

        • Cymrugel


  • john

    One of the clarion calls of the monachist faction has always been that the monarchy “holds the UK together”. This is of course nonsense. However, I note that nobody ever acknowledges that this purported role has utterly failed. Whether Scotland stays or goes – the royals have had no value in protecting the Union and may well be a reason why the Scots want away.

    • Michele Keighley

      Yet they still intend to keep them – so to speak; which completely demolishes your argument.

      • terregles2

        I don’t believe there has ever been a referendum in the UK regarding the monarchy. If nobody has ever voted on this issue I’m not sure how anyone can know how many in Scotland or anywhere else in the UK are in favour of keeping the monarchy.

        • Denis_Cooper

          Salmond knows that there is enough support for the monarchy in Scotland to make it very unwise to talk about ditching it until after he has won the referendum.

      • john

        Your comment does not address my point. The Scots pulling away shows that the monarchy does not “keep the UK unified”. The Queen I am sure will be outraged if her loyal ghillies show disloyalty. Chuck will wobble in his handmade boots.

        • Michele Keighley

          Yes it does – you claim it could be one of the reasons why ‘the Scots want away’. I am merely pointing out to you that Alex Salmond has included retention of the monarchy in his vision for an independent Scotland. Had your argument been true, then his vision would have been of a republican Scotland.

          While I do not doubt there are many republicans in Scotland – it certainly is not a factor in independence hence it is not one of their reasons for independence.

    • Inverted Meniscus

      Except that Salmond is promising Scots that they will keep the Monarchy and so we can safely ignore your argument as utter bollux.

      • Denis_Cooper

        He’s only promising that because he knows that telling the truth, that he really wants a republic with an elected president, would cost too many votes in the referendum.

        Just as he’s only insisting on keeping the pound because he knows that telling the truth, that he really wants the euro, would cost too many votes in the referendum.

        Once the votes had been cast and counted and he’d got the result he wanted then the truth could start to emerge.

        • john

          I really hope so!

      • john

        Your time horizon is far too short. Salmond has enough change on his hands with independence and is leaving the monarchy out of it. However, there is zero doubt that the Scots will dump the Windsors sooner or later.

        • Inverted Meniscus

          How very elegantly expressed. Does it ever occur to you that we English would be delighted to “dump” you Scots and thus rid ourselves of your eternal whining and bogus claims of subsidising the rest of us.

    • ChuckieStane

      The Queen would appear to be relaxed about possible independence. In her letter to the General Assembly she notably stressed the importance of Scotland staying united after the referendum.

      • john

        Totally wrong. THe Windsors will begin to disappear if stalwart members of the Commonwealth (whatever that is) start to pull the plug (Aussies, Scots etc). Just being fake panjandrum of RUK won’t do it.

  • The Masked Marvel

    We still haven’t been told what will happen to the price of single malts.

  • Andy

    The question of devolution for England can no longer be ignored.

    • Wessex Man

      Andy it’s not anymore, The Freedom Association has made John Redwood Parliamentarian of the week over this very issue.

  • swatnan

    Its not going to make much difference; Scots will still bve part of the CW of Nations and will opt for Dual Nationality, so the Queen will still be their head and they’ll still be able to cross the Border without much trouble. OK they may be slightly better off in terms of their Economy with cheaper energy on tap and petrol and free personal care and lower taxes and a better deal being in the Euro and not lumbered by the vagaries of the pound, and focusing on their superior Scottish Law and better comprehensive Education system plus excellent Universities, but on the whole its not going to make all that much difference. They’ll still have the copyright on whisky.

    • HookesLaw

      Any university that educated Gordon Brown cannot be that good.

      • Wessex Man

        You could also say the same of Call me Dave!

        • Inverted Meniscus

          Careful, I went there!

          • Wessex Man

            Well there a bound to be exceptions to the rule as if I may be so bold you have proved to be!

    • Smithersjones2013

      They’ll still have the copyright on whisky.

      Someone better tell the Irish and Tennessee then because they’ve also been making Whisky for centuries,,,,,,,,

      • AndrewMelville

        Common swill.

        • Smithersjones2013

          You should apply for the Scottish Diplomatic Corps. You’ll go far!

          • Jambo25

            You should know something about what you’re commenting on prior to showing your ignorance.

          • AndrewMelville

            Thank you. You clearly have an eye for talent as I have a taste for whisky

      • Jambo25

        ‘Whiskey’ is how they spell it. So ignorant of others apart from the Scots.

        • Wessex Man

          do get over yourself, do you think we care how you spell Whisky/whiskey!

          • Jambo25

            You obviously don’t as you appear to glory in your ignorance.

            • Wessex Man

              I most certainly do glory in my ignorance on this matter!

    • Tea and crumpets?

      I’m not sure if your being sarcastic or not? True r.e. The CW and Lizzie but unless you are born in another part of the UK you’ll get a scottish passport when your british one is up for renewal. Also if the worst should happen and rUK leave the EU in a few years, god forbid, crossing the border might not be as easy. As for energy, with only Torness in the future pumping out the leccy, things don’t look so good there. If your thinking scotland has 25% of renewable energy! you’re having a laugh. Has anyone ever mentioned where all those lovely turbines are manufactured, Germany and Denmark. And how will we have lower taxes? Maybe if your a corporation, not if your jock blogs. As for unis, well that’s a test of time, all the good profs will go where the money and research is and it won’t be in gov funded uni.

    • GUBU

      Without impunity? That conjures up pictures of Scots being frogmarched off the Stagecoach, strip searched and then having any haggis, lorne sausage or Irn Bru they might be carrying confiscated by armed police.

      A scenario every bit as likely as the nonsense you’re spouting.

      • Wessex Man

        They’d better not try to bring in any fried Marbars either!

  • Aline Dobbie

    I am glad that someone called Simon Jenkins smug….I found him totally irresponsible in his approach and deeply resented that as an active proud Scot who is delighted to be United and working hard to encourage a large NO vote. Very good programme other than him and also the slightly inaccurate material on Wallace, Braveheart and the myth that was promoted through that film….naive types actually believe it as gospel.

    • Count Dooku

      I was just about to type that on Jenkins! His face comes to mind when I even think of the word “smug”.

    • Denis_Cooper

      His attitude was unbelievably stupid. Let’s break up the UK because that would make England “more interesting”, for God’s sake.

  • cambridgeelephant

    The question isn’t so much what happens if there is a Yes – as in 51% voting ‘Yes’. It’s what happens if 40% – or thereabouts – vote ‘Yes’ ? Because that’s what is going to happen and the question will not disappear; not least because Salmond will claim a moral victory – and with some justification.

    A narrow Unionist victory simply leave the pot simmering. Only a ‘Yes’ or decisive defeat for ‘Yes’ – less than 30% will settle it. Neither is likely.

    • you_kid

      it’s not difficult really
      >50% – it’s over, pack your bags
      >40% – devo max
      >30% – devo min
      >20% – do nothing
      >10% – Alex Salmond will be summoned to the Tower of London for permanent ‘exhibition purposes’ in an historic ambience.

      • HFC

        At >10% (of votes cast, not population, remember) AS may well be offered a seat in the HoL.

      • eclair

        Ah, I get it, He’s stuffed! with petard no doubt.

    • HJ777

      I disagree. There is no evidence that most Scots ever wanted this referendum.

      The SNP has gone around stirring up false resentment and grievance and trying to create division where none previously existed – and will still fail in its quest. People will have had enough of them. They will fall away from their high water mark after a “No” vote.

      • Wessex Man

        Not only that they’ve stirred up as was their intention resentment and real grievance in England and there is most certainly division with the English now.

      • Jambo25

        No they won’t. Polls show the SNP well in the lead, so far, for the next Holyrood election.

  • Kitty MLB

    I should imagine divorce is a expensive business. But divorce doesn’t mean a shared
    bank account, which is a security blanket for one half of the ex- couple. Divorce means just that.. No shared currency. Besides why would Scotland still wish to be linked to England.

    • KestrelSprite

      No shared electricity for Scotland either. Let them rely on their wind turbines.

      • Iain Hill

        Get the facts.

        • Inverted Meniscus

          Here’s one the notional GNP of Scotland is around US$235 billion. The notional GNP for the UK is US$2.2 Trillion (excluding Scotland). We will survive.

          • Jambo25

            Nobody said you wouldn’t.

          • Paul Isclosed

            Why are you using GNP as a measure of economic output in the 21st Century?

      • Jambo25

        You do realise that the flow of electricity is from Scotland to England?

        • GUBU

          Is that because it’s downhill?

    • HFC


    • Paul Isclosed

      You can’t expect Scotland to take on a share of the debt then. No country with a competent economic policy would ever have all of it’s debt issued in a foreign currency.

  • Bonkim

    We will all be in a right Pickle if Scotland decides to leave the Union. Will only start feeling the pain when that happens.

    • Michele Keighley

      Why so? They are less than 10% of the population, they make up only 10% of your exports [between nations of the union that is] yet 70% if their exports are to the rest of the UK] – and they receive a more generous proportion [by population NOT need] of the gravy pot! I would have thought that any one south of the border would be crossing their fingers and would heave a great sigh of relief if they did get up the gumption to vote ‘yes’.

      • Bonkim

        Economic interdependency is not the main thing binding nations together. Shared values and history, and trust. Britain will be diminished on the world scene. Nationalism will heighten in England, Wales and NI – not the same – the ‘Great’ will go from Britain.

        • Steve Stubbs

          “Britain will be diminished on the world scene.”

          So what? Who in this country gives a toss if our politicians who love to posture around the world have to cut back a bit?

          • Bonkim

            Increases leverage in negotiations for what Britain wants to safeguard its economic and political interests.

            Britain is 75% dependent on the outside world, £ sterling is the second world reserve currency after the US$, UK’s finance/insurance industry (the main export earner) up their in the front, Britain punches above its weight in the world because of its history, unity and stability projected that generates trust in Great Britain Inc.

            Image of Britain will be diminished if it is broken.

            • Jambo25

              The Euro is used far more as a reserve currency than the £.

              • Bonkim

                Yes in absolute terms – continuation of the D Mark and as EU countries form a major block. outside of Europe where Britain trades with – £sterling dominates. Most international contracts are in US$ or £sterling. Euro has lost its gloss.

                • Wessex Man

                  It’s more than lost it’s gloss it’s gone into recession again while the rest of the world grows, even mighty Germany has gone T*** up!

                  Meanwhile dear old Francois Hallande has succedded in casting France into ruin with his mad policies.

                  It’s all rather lucky that the Fat Controller lost his healthy appetite for the Euro, which he once lauded when copating it to the pound and telling the Europeans that the Pound Sterling was a noose around the neck of Scotland anf is already harming Scotland and Scottish industry.

                  it’s a good job that Alex doesn’t stoop to be a hypocrite isn’t it?

          • Barb Searle

            Lol agree… not sure where he got that from.. Scotland have only been with the Union 300 years so doubt England will be diminished if they leave! 🙂

        • Barb Searle

          Well, .. Scotland have only been
          with the Union 300 years so doubt England or the rest of ‘Great’ Britain will be diminished if they
          leave ….Unless it is diminished by one quarter of that 300 years? 🙂

      • Jambo25

        You did notice the guy from the IFS who noted that there would be no economic bonus to rUK from Scottish independence? No of course you didn’t because it would have contradicted your prejudices.

        • Wessex Man

          and the one who said it would make little difference to the Uk. No of course you didn’t because it would have contradicted your prejudices.

          • Jambo25

            I was answering Michael Keighley’s claim so you have to jump in with some weird form of English self pity.

            • Wessex Man

              how do you make me asking the very same question as you but in an English context self pity, unless of course you admit to your own whining self inflicted chippy misery laden life which seems to be a way of life to you!

    • Wessex Man

      I’ll take the pain!

  • flippit

    I didn’t buy it (Andrew Neils programme) but then I didn’t think it told us anything much we didn’t know. I thought he’d been knobbled by the BBC to do a programme that would even things up in terms of ‘scaremongering’. But seems to me if its a yes vote we will recover the 10% population very quickly, the resources longer. Other voices say that Trident can be sorted but will cost. The untangling will be a nightmare, true, and all the while Scotland will be struggling and the currency union thing will go on an on. I don’t think for one moment that Westminster hasn’t done any contingency planning.
    I’m more worried about the federalisation drift if there’s a no vote. That’s the next big thing and it is big, but thankfully the people of England should get a vote on it somewhere.

    • Iain Hill

      Currencies are settled by markets, not ignorant politicians. There will be no problem.

      • Inverted Meniscus

        Correct nobody can stop Scotland using the pound Sterling. There will not however be a currency union because that is a decision to be taken by UK taxpayers. Amazingly, UK taxpayers do not wish to guarantee the newly issued public debt of a foreign country while having no control over how much debt is issued by that foreign country and for how long.

    • Jambo25

      Love the condescension flippit. “all the while Scotland will be struggling”. Obvious: its cos they’re Jocks. Innit.