Coffee House

Alex Salmond fails to land the blow he desperately needed

5 August 2014

10:58 PM

5 August 2014

10:58 PM

Many people, I’m sure, will already be calling the first TV debate in Alistair Darling’s favour. That is a fair point to make but it was not quite as straightforward as that.

I think a truer reflection would be this: Darling won on substance but lost on style, while Alex Salmond won on style but lost on substance. That may seem a bit pedantic, but it matters.

First, the question of style: Salmond was – as we knew he would be – calm, composed and articulate.

Darling was – as many in his camp feared he would be – anxious, shouty and irritable. The former Chancellor looked nervous. He had trouble getting his message across. Indeed, even his eyebrows kept darting up and down as if constantly looking for a way out. In short, he allowed himself to get flustered by the event, by the audience, and by the First Minister who, when he saw Darling starting to get agitated, just smiled and kept on winding him up.

So, if anybody watched the debate with the sound off (and many might well have done given that the STV player was having trouble coping with the online demand) it would have looked like a clear and comfortable victory for the First Minister.

But then we come to substance, and, as has been the case for the whole of the campaign, it all boiled down to the currency.

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Darling got his chance in the second section of the two-hour long STV special when he cross-examined Salmond on his plan B, if, as the Treasury has made clear, the UK refuses to share sterling with an independent Scotland.

Darling hammered away at this point. He wouldn’t let it go. Time and again he asked Salmond what his ‘plan B’ was. Each time Salmond refused to answer, Darling went at it again.

Sections of the audience – carefully picked to reflect Yes, No and undecided opinion – started booing and there was nothing Salmond or his supporters could do. He was on the ropes.

Salmond did come back at Darling and made him squirm, but this was simply on whether he agreed with a quote made by David Cameron on Scotland’s ability to be successful as a small, independent country. That wasn’t a game-changing point, but the currency question was.

Overall, voters on both sides will take what they want from it, using the performances of both politicians to justify the decision they have already made.

But this debate wasn’t about them. It was about the 10–15 per cent in the middle who still claim to be undecided, and this is where Darling’s success on the currency, and his win on this most important matter of substance, will be most telling.

The big question hanging over this whole campaign has been Scotland’s currency post-independence, and there can’t have been a single undecided voter who was reassured by the First Minister’s claims on it tonight.

Darling didn’t perform that well. He appeared anxious, flustered and occasionally panicky; but he got over the one key message of the night, and, in a campaign focused as narrowly as this one has been on a small number of key issues, that is going to have an effect.

Darling effectively got Salmond to admit there really is no ‘plan B’ – or, as Darling said towards the end: ‘far too much of this debate has been characterised by guesswork, blind faith and crossed fingers’.

And if – as I suspect – that is the one message undecided voters take from this debate, then in the final analysis, whatever is said by both sides about this particular confrontation, Salmond may well end up losing far more than just a debate.

And so the odds seem to suggest in the aftermath: Ladbrokes reports that the odds on a victory for Salmond’s camp have lengthened to 4/1 from 7/2, with ‘No’ holding fast at 1/6.


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Show comments
  • Icebow

    Has anyone raised the question of the cost of establishing Scottish embassies around the world, and/or their counterparts in Scotland? Or is this a non-issue?

    • HJ777

      It’s not even mentioned in Salmond 700-page white paper so clearly it is a trivial matter with no cost attached.

      You can take Salmond’s word on that.

    • Holly

      Never mind that.
      This is way more relevant….
      What does it say about the National Lottery/European lottery?
      Will Salmond be able to claim any winnings, in his last ditch attempt to rustle up some extra cash?
      What currency would any potential winnings be made in?
      Would no longer being part of the UK, or Europe have a drastic effect on Lottery punters?
      Did he even think about important stuff like this??

  • Will Rees

    If we have more tv debates, and I presume we do, it just gets worse for Salmond, you can’t rely on “but you said this four years ago” to cover up the holes in the prospectus a second time. But what choice has he

  • CharlietheChump

    Oh crap. We’re going to be stuck with the moaning bastards for another 300 years.

  • http://www.kenbell.info/ Ken Bell

    God knows what went wrong last night, but the man who cannot coordinate his hair with his eyebrows scored some heavy punches with the currency line.

    On the matter of the currency, the obvious answer is that if the UK wants to play hardball, then good luck basing their nuclear dildos anywhere in Scotland, and they can take Scotland’s share of the national debt and shove it. A nasty divorce like that is in no one’s interests, so there is plenty of wriggle room that will leave Scotland with the pound. Sadly, Salmond did not make those points.

    Luckily the quick poll for the Guardian showed that the undecided voters
    thought that Salmond won the night, which shows that there is no
    justice in the political world.

    • HJ777

      What you call “the obvious answer” would entail having no central bank and effectively defaulting on debt. That’s even less credible than Salmond’s current position.

      • http://www.kenbell.info/ Ken Bell

        To get rid of scummy Tories I would accept an economy based on barter. The point is that none of that would happen as both sides have enough to allow for a trade off.

        • HJ777

          Many Scots vote Tory, you know. Would you expel them?

          • http://www.kenbell.info/ Ken Bell

            Where did I say that? Don’t be silly. The Tories have 16 MSPs, so can be just ignored.

            • HJ777

              You said that you wanted to “get rid of Scummy Tories’.

              • http://www.kenbell.info/ Ken Bell

                I am English! The basic rule of debate is to have some idea of the person that you are up against otherwise you end up looking like a wally.

                • HJ777

                  I was trying to be polite but as you refer to yourself as a ‘wally’ then I can only agree.

                • http://www.kenbell.info/ Ken Bell

                  Quite how you reached that conclusion is anyone’s guess, but then again, given the silliness of your other comments I should not be surprised.

                  You decided that I had to be some anti-English Braveheart, a person who only exists in your febrile little mind. Actually, I am from Manchester, and will vote yes on the 18th September knowing full well that this is a gamble. It is worth it to be rid of the Tories and their odious policies forever.

                • HJ777

                  I decided that you were a wally – which you have kindly confirmed.

                • http://www.kenbell.info/ Ken Bell

                  Ah, so your reading comprehension is lacking. OK, that’s fine.

                • HJ777

                  My reading comprehension is fine.

                  Your ability to present a coherent argument, however, is non-existent.

                • Wessex Man

                  How do you do it every day it seems you have a magnet that drags these demented people to you, be honest you like winding them up.

                • HJ777

                  It seems that my habit of presenting coherent arguments supported by facts attracts and infuriates them.

                • Inverted Meniscus

                  Yeah and I really enjoy watching those cybernat morons turn somersaults of logic when trying to reply and then just resorting to ad hominem attacks.

                • Holly

                  Yet the ‘scummy Tories’ will be calling the shots, and IF Labour win next year, the ‘shots’ they will be calling will be more or less identical.

                • http://www.kenbell.info/ Ken Bell

                  Yeah, sounds about right. The problem that Labour has is that it cannot
                  get elected without some of the “aspirational” vote. Scotland can
                  ignore such people to a far greater extent.

                • allymax bruce

                  Ken, it’s best not to try and reason opinions, or argue with these cretins that harass you; they are only on this forum because their wives beat them. Your comments are perfectly reasonable; their comments are manifest trauma in catharsis.

            • Inverted Meniscus

              So what you mean is you just want to be rid of English Tories, some of whom live in Scotland, but are scared of appearing anti-English. Will you be expelling the “scummy Tories” who happen to be English but live in Scotland or will you place them in concentration camps?

              • http://www.kenbell.info/ Ken Bell

                Don’t be silly. As I pointed out that some other wally, I am English. I am voting for that bit of North Britain that wants nothing to do with modern Tory scrotism, that’s all.

                • Inverted Meniscus

                  No lad you are a cybernat nutter.

                • http://www.kenbell.info/ Ken Bell

                  Only in your dreams.

                • Inverted Meniscus

                  No laddie it is fact. You only have to read some of your misguided blathering about currency to tell that.

          • GUBU

            To be fair to Mr Bell, I can see the makings of a deal here.

            England could agree to take these ‘scummy Tories’ off the hands of a newly independent Scotland, and in return the UK ships back the sort of ‘progressive’ types that Mr Bell would evidently be happy to share his space with – council diversity officers, second rate comedians, minor novelists…you know the sort.

            Indeed, if I was you I would cut to the chase and offer to take the lot in return for Russell Brand.

            • http://www.kenbell.info/ Ken Bell

              Very droll – yes, very droll indeed.

              Actually, there are quite a few English people who are making the move up here and voting yes as well. I blog about them a lot. None of them are local government types. They are ordinary working class people who have had enough of the Land of Dopey Tories.

              • HJ777

                You have a blog and you blog a lot! Oh dear.

                In the old days people like you used to just rant in the solitude of their own home. Now you do it in the solitude of your own blog.

                • http://www.kenbell.info/ Ken Bell

                  Please stop wriggling as it is getting tiresome. I wondered how long it would take you to get to the old ad-hom level – wasn’t long was it?

                • HJ777

                  To give you due credit, you were quicker to the ad hominem attacks than I was.

                  CyberNats are invariably very good at those. After all, they have precious little else to argue with, so they have become experts at playing the man and not the ball. Salmond, of course, is the master, and you faithful like to follow your great leader’s example.

                  Of course, you also like to get an intemperate anti-Tory rant in along the way, combined with a bit of blame culture, as if economic realities can he suspended just by getting rid of Tories.

                • http://www.kenbell.info/ Ken Bell

                  Please, just stop being silly. First you assumed that I was somehow anti-English, now you have it in your little hamster brain that I will vote SNP.

                • HJ777

                  You really are very good at the ad hominen attacks aren’t you?

                  Of course, you try extra hard when I point out why you have to concentrate on ad hominem attacks.

                • Inverted Meniscus

                  On the basis that you have dished out a stream of ad hominem attacks that is very funny lad.

            • HJ777

              Ken Bell probably is a council diversity officer.

              • GUBU

                I dislike no-one quite enough to claim that of them.

                Personally, if I was English I would exchange any number of the ‘aspirational scrotes’ Mr Bell whines about on his blog in return for Russell Brand. I’m pretty certain that throughout history ‘aspirational scrotes’ have done a lot more to advance human dignity and self-determination than second rate comedians, even ones with a string of mediocre film roles to their credit.

                I suspect many Scots would agree to keep Faslane – indeed, not only keep it but double it in size – if the England threaten to force Mr Brand over the border at Gretna, dressed like a piper doll.

                And if you send Steve Coogan with him, you can probably keep the pound.

    • Inverted Meniscus

      Only trouble with that laddie is that if you renege on your share of the National Debt, the markets will deem Scotland to have defaulted. Good luck accessing international debt markets after that. Also, no share of the debt means no share of the non-Scottish based assets and you will thus have to acquire alternatives and pay for them from scratch. Finally, you can keep the pound but what you most emphatically cannot have is a currency union.

      • http://www.kenbell.info/ Ken Bell

        Not true, because as London has already admitted, legally the debt is theirs. That said, I do not think it will happen, since the added debt would also effect England’s credit rating as well, to say nothing about the problems of where to base their nuclear toys.

        There is enough to trade off.

        • HJ777

          ‘London’ hasn’t ‘admitted’ anything of the sort.

          The UK government has made it clear that it is the guarantor of debt. Scotland is part of the UK and could no more walk away from the debt than the rest of the UK could. The debt split would have to be agreed in the unlikely event of a “Yes” vote. otherwise the UK government doesn’t have to agree to secession.

        • Inverted Meniscus

          Sorry laddie but you are fantasising like all cybernat nutters. The UK treasury, to calm market fears, has guaranteed all existing debt but it is accepted, even by Dalmond, the Scotland should take its per capita share which would nevertheless remain guaranteed by the UK treasury. Newly issued debt is a different matter. If Scotland walks away from its per capita share of the existing debt the UK is pretty much in the same position it was always in, responsible for that debt. Scotland however would be deemed by the markets to have reneged on its share of the debt and thus would effectively be in default. Borrowing new money would thus be difficult or impossible. Ask yourself why Salmond is so desperate for a currency union and has no plan A let alone planB. It is because debt will cost Scotland a great deal more without UK treasury support which means personal borrowing costs in Scotland, including mortgages, will rise above those in the UK. That is why he is wetting his pants on this issue and why Darling kept pinning him down.

  • George Smiley

    I’m a instinctively a supporter of the No campaign but I honestly don’t find Salmond’s presumptions that far-fetched.
    If there were a Yes victory, it seems quite obvious to me that in the ensuing negotiations rUK would let Scotland keep the pound in exchange for the required assurances around Faslane; moving Trident would costs “tens of billions”.
    This is why, speaking as the son of a Scot, I’d have preferred the No campaign to have made an emotional argument for the union, not just a dry technical one.

    • HJ777

      When to comes to currency, emotional questions simply aren’t relevant. It comes down to ‘how would this work in practice’ and whether what is being proposed is desirable or advantageous.

      Neither is it a question of ‘keeping the pound’ – it is about whether Salmond could force a currency union on another party that doesn’t want it. He couldn’t, just as the rest of the UK couldn’t force it on a seceded Scotland if it didn’t want it.

      Trident is an entirely separate issue. The rest of the UK would have plenty of counter bargaining strength over many other issues.

    • Inverted Meniscus

      No a currency union along the lines demanded bybSalmond would require the UK to guarantee the newly issued public debt of a foreign country while not be able to control how much that country borrowed or for how long. Would you do that for your next door neighbour? The UK would still house 91.7% of the population and would have considerably more bargaining power than simply Sterling for Submarine bases. A currency union with a foreign country could simply not be imposed by that foreign country upon the taxpayers of England, Wales and NI.

    • GUBU

      Obvious to you, perhaps, but not necessarily so obvious to everyone else.

      A currency union would be unsustainable without the active consent of the electorate in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, which would almost certainly mean a referendum. My guess would be a resounding ‘No’ on that one.

      But we might not even get that far, even hypothetically. I very much doubt that some of the more ‘progressive’ elements of Salmond’s support would accept a trade off between Faslane and a currency union as part of negotiations.

      To be fair to them – which I wouldn’t normally be inclined to be – it strikes me that agreeing to hand another country de facto control of your economic policy and in return then agreed to keep their nuclear weapons on your soil is actually not much of a bargain if you want to be independent in any meaningful sense.

  • swatnan

    Its not over till the f*t lady sings. Salmond did quite well considering. All Darling could come up with is ‘the pound’. But the quality of your love for yoir country is above the price of rubies and pearls.There’s bound to be a transition period say 10 yaers for Scots to adjust to the Euro jingling in their trouser pockets or their sporrans. 10 years to adjust and dismantle the affairs of Scotland and England. So even if the Ref says YES, you’ll have 10 years to adjust. Independence Day could be Ist sept 2024. Free at last!

    • Holly

      Hope you are young enough to see it.
      Politicians like Salmond, Darling, Bozo etc, would never be able to sort something so vital out in fifty years, let alone ten.

    • HJ777

      If that is the case, why has the SNP been making promises about how much financially better off Scots would be?

      Why aren’t they being honest about the adverse transitionary impact of secession?

      • Holly

        Clueless?
        Believe in the magic money tree?
        Thinks he’s campaigning for a general election?
        Thinks he’s ‘king’ of Scotland?
        Who knows, but he has ensured defeat, maybe that’s what he secretly played for all along, so he can then just carp on about how horrid England is.
        I hope the next English government ‘slap his @rse’.

    • Gwangi

      Yes, but you are Pakistani so what do you care?

      • swatnan

        british indian; so it concerns me, greatly
        the fate of the union should concern anyone residing here, because it affects everyone residing here

        • Wessex Man

          Doesn’t concern me, it can be done away with entirely as far as I’m concerned.

  • Gwangi

    Salmond reminds me of a guy I once bought a house off, who then expected to still come round and wander into the house to get his post, use the bathroom, sit in the garden as if he still owned it! Maybe he had Scottish blood eh?

    If Scotland goes 100% independent (which means gets controlled by the EU – NOT real independence) the you CANNAE have Sterling (or use that non-legal tender money you pretend is your own currency now), you CANNAE expect the rest of the UK to bail out your banks or take ANY risk whatsoever on your economy run by socialists, and you CANNAE have our defence jobs either – or other UK state jobs.

    I reckon if that disaster (for the Scots) does happen, the ‘Scottish Pound’ will devalue sharp, and plenty of business will be heading over the border to England, Wales or NI.

    The SNP should be seen for what it is: a one man band with Salmond the dreamer dictator in charge. Any Scot would be mad to vote YES just because they hate the Tories (or maybe Scots really have been that brainwashed by their media and school system).

    • mightymark

      What I find hard to fathom is how Salmond logically can want to keep sterling. He sees Scotland as an oil rich economy – that is a large part of the strength of the “yes” case. Surely that has implications for how the currency of such a country is managed that differ from those of what would remain of the UK which would be oil poor.

  • HJ777

    As usual, Salmond resorted to making false claims, such as the one where he claimed that the majority of Scots voted for the SNP in the Holyrood elections.

    His position on currency is ridiculous. He thinks he can demand that what he wants to be separate countries join in a currency union without the agreement of one of them. Imagine his reaction if the party that didn’t want a currency union was a seceded Scotland and it was being told that it had to against its will – his indignation and outrage would be a thing to behold.

  • Roger Hudson

    What’s with all the economic detail? Nationhood is about identity.
    A nation once again!

    • Inverted Meniscus

      Yes but people need inconvenient little things like ‘money’ to live their daily lives. They can’t buy things or pay their mortgages by watching a screening of Braveheart and screaming freedom. That is why Salmond wets his pants every time he is told to get stuffed in respect of a currency union. Study history laddie, everyone and everything is driven by “economic detail” and commercial imperatives.

    • HJ777

      In which case, why is the SNP promising riches if people vote yes?

      They know they have insufficient support for their ideas so they are attempting to bribe the electorate with false promises.

      • ButcombeMan

        Salmond is the political equivalent of a cheap double glazing salesman, that is why.

        • Inverted Meniscus

          A wicked slur upon Double glazing salesmen!

    • saffrin

      With that nation being Great Britain.
      Vote UKIP for true independence….or be part of the eurozone with no more say or influence over Scotland’s future than Estonia has over it’s own.

    • serialluncher

      In the grand scheme of things, you don’t have much of a separate identity. It may seem like it because you have a few things like your own eggs and pancakes (and tape I think). Anyone who’s traveled and speaks other languages knows this particularly well. You’re a hard wired component of the British identity which you helped to build.

      • Holly

        Square sausages and matching bread.

    • Holly

      A nation with no currency.
      Oh dear…
      Now what?
      Never mind eh….
      At least you’ll have your national identity to ‘tide’ you over.

    • GUBU

      Nationhood is ultimately about sovereignty.

  • e2toe4

    The currency issue isn’t just ‘the currency issue’…it’s one area which ought to be dead easy-position sorted-.by the SNP years ago.

    Instead it is a real ‘if they can’t sort something THIS obvious out..then what about everything else?” trigger.

    After years to think about it all, work the possibilities and get the what-ifs sorted out, on one of the most basic things in a country (which as history has shown over and over again if it goes wrong EVERYTHING in the country goes wrong)…..we find they’re stuck basically having to blag ‘currency union’, and relying on selective cut and paste quotes such as Darling supposedly saying it was logical and desirable… but leaving out the ‘ but without a political union a currency union is a recipe for disaster’ part.

    And …er…we already have a political union underpinning a currency union.

    I have expected for ages, especially if the polls stay stuck for the separatist campaign, the thuddingly obvious game changer may well be some sort of announcement about in fact having well worked plans for their own currency—- probably with the line: “…. as the last few months have shown we may be faced (or more likely on past form ‘will’ would be used instead of may) with a nasty Westminster playing hard ball..”

    Leading to the dramatic revelation that all along there has been ..gasp…a plan B all along…not one thunked up just a minute ago, but worked out over many years with top working out stuff experts.

    Kept secret because Plan A IS the best option for Scotland AND the UK remaining post-separation BUT as nasty Westminster are the ones destroying the possibility of that solution, of course now is the right time to reveal our….etc etc…

    Obviously it’s a death ray on roller skate on a North sea trawler deck, liable to incinerate their own chances as provide glorious victory…but I cannot believe they can just march on to September with what they have at present.

  • RavenRandom

    Everyone expected Salmon to win, he lost, perhaps narrowly, but compared to expectations he was woeful. Darling will be pleased overall; Salmon at times looked too slick, a lot like a con man.

    • HJ777

      I always expected Salmond to lose simply because it is obvious that he can’t answer basic questions and instead resorts to bluster.

    • Holly

      A ‘con man’ eh?
      Who’d a thunk it, and him a politician an’ all.
      Darling got Salmond over the barrel over money and won.
      Simples.

      I said previously that Salmond made the mistake of using the white paper in the same way he would at an election, when he should have used it as a referendum for independence, with all the ‘i’s’ dotted and the ‘T’s’ crossed.
      Plan A to Plan whatever, with contingencies in-between.

      Neither of them have actually ‘won’ anything, because Salmond has been useless, and Darling is not in government.

      Cameron and the Conservatives are quite right to fire out the realities of it all, and steer clear of getting dragged in to a campaign where the Scottish people now have no option but to cling to the teat of England.
      Thanks Salmond…

      • Wessex Man

        I don’t know why you are so cheerful about that Holly instead of giving Scotland more powers all powers right across the country including England. The opportunity should be taken to do away with the Barnett Formula and to address the West Lothian Question.

        I don’t want the Scots on the teat of England for ever, nor the Welsh for that matter!

        • Holly

          The status quo is what ALL the politicians are all rooting for, no matter what they come out with.
          The Scottish people have been left with no plausible, or workable option other than to do what they have been lumbered with….Remaining on the teat of England.

          I am not ‘cheerful’ about it, I have known all along that the calibre of the politicians involved are incapable of real changes for the better, let alone actually carrying them out, without the people involved being the one’s who always end up paying for the politicians uselessness.
          It has FOREVER been thus.

          We will see the same arguments, made by the same inept bods over our continued membership to Europe.
          On that score, I will be voting ‘OUT’, and there is NOTHING the politicians can come out with, or up with that will ever change my mind….NOTHING.
          Far, far better for all of us in the medium/long term.

          The Scottish independence referendum is clearly a different kettle of fish, badly sold to the Scottish people, with no real plan A, or B to convince them otherwise.
          With the European referendum we do at least have a ‘rough’ idea of what that would entail.
          Both my head and my heart tell me ‘OUT’ is in the nations interest.
          I ‘fear’ more about the consequences of staying ‘IN’ Europe, than I do of voting ‘Out’, and leaving it, to implode.

    • Wessex Man

      I must admit I was amazed how easily Darling dealt with him and made him look like a bellowing bore.

      • HJ777

        Salmond does that without any help from Darling.

      • monty61

        Some of us have been aware of this for some time!

  • In2minds

    ‘Alex Salmond fails…….’ Oh so unfair!

  • Roger Hudson

    This is not about economics, if independence is good enough for Tuvalu then why not for a nation like Scotland.

    • HookesLaw

      or the Orkneys?

      • Whyshouldihavetoregister

        There’s no such place. It’s Orkney, or the Orkney Islands. Ditto for Shetland/Shetland Islands.

    • Makroon

      Do you not realise just how ridiculous your post is ?
      Talk about non sequiturs.

    • e2toe4

      “She’s holed Cap’n!!…See!!… their flagship….The ‘Economic Advantage’, she’s striking her colours”

      “We haven’t fired yet!!”

      “I think they’ve had trouble working out their angles —– the Admiral shot himself in the foot and in the confusion they fired a broadside through their own hull.”

    • Colonel Mustard

      Hmm. 65% public sector employment and an LDC economy that depends on remittances from expatriate Tuvaluans working abroad as well as subsidy payments from UK, Oz, NZ, EU, Japan and South Korea.

      Probably not a great comparison…

    • HJ777

      Tuvalu doesn’t share an island.

  • Mike, Preston

    You know, I’m a passionate Unionist but I’m not sure that I want the Scots to remain in the UK if the only reason they stay is if it is economically advantageous for them. If they can’t do it because of our shared history for the past 307 years then they should leave and I’m not sure I’ll even wish them good luck for the future.

    • e2toe4

      The ‘annoy the rest of the UK and especially the English’ tactic is clearly one they have..in order to feed that reaction back into the domestic debate north of the Border…sort of…’See..they don’t want us anyway…even the English see we ARE different.’

      Your last line illustrates an effect that the SNP, as with any downside risk ever found with anything, are in deep denial about this..but I know great numbers of people with guest houses, hotels and the rest who are very anxious as to how all this will play with English people, Welsh and N Irelanders whatever the vote ends up as.

      But I think at least 3 good things are coming out of this:

      (I am a passionate unionist as well) and I feel the positive case to keep what is a great country is now being ignited…and that is a case for modern virtues of sharing, coming together, and the rest of it as opposed to their slightly outdated and divisive message.

      There will be devo-more-than max for Scotland and that will spark similar calls for it in the other countries of the union but without splintering the union.

      These first two things, will lead to a long overdue sustained and positive effort to reduce the unhealthy dominance of London that so unbalances the economy…and really is at the heart of the few parts of the SNP message with any truth or resonance…

      These three things will ensure a different union…but a better one, not one stuck in the past but, aware of a great past, really looking forward to be as great country (possibly absent the conquering part) in the next 3 centuries years as it has been in the last 3, not ‘Better Together’ but ‘Better than ever together’.

      Cue dambusters march, ..fade out on idyllic sunrise view over a green and pleasant land….

      Don’t know what came over me there…best go for a lie down…

      • Wessex Man

        That’s all very well and after the defeat of the Fat Controller, we’ll all be the best of buddies only it won’t work out like that.

        Years ago and it was there were few English people interested in the whole devolution debate, now despite denials there are. England is waking up to what a raw deal it got from New Labour with Scottish and Welsh devolution and now the Uk government is as a bribe going to give Scots even more.

        It’s a strange democracy in which the largest part of the country is refused equality with the very small minorities. If Salmond had intended to stir up we English as some of you say He’s succeeded.

        Theres a growing opinion that we the English must have equality and Cameron isn’t the man to deliver it.

        • allymax bruce

          What makes you think it was a defeat for Scotland’s First Minister? Alex’ Salmond told Doom Darling in every way, we are keeping the pound sterling; and there’s no if’s but’s or maybe’s!
          Moreover, Doom Darling walked right into the Westminster shill placement, perfectly set out for him; Darling can’t be trusted, and now, he has shown himself to represent Westminster bullying; aye, pure dead brilliant!

          • HJ777

            Good to see even CyberNats are ridiculing Salmond’s position now.

            • allymax bruce

              Hehe, you don’t know what you’re talking about; Scotland’s First Minister Alex’ Salmond made huge gains last night, but I wouldn’t expect you to see what they were. Alex’ Salmond is a genius; he doesn’t need my political nouse help. Scotland will be Independent; it is written. The two Politicians in the World that are head & shoulders above all else are President Obama, and First Minister Alex’ Salmond; and it lifts my heart with psalms of Joy to see these two brillaint genius’ at work. Scottish Independence will all be down to the good hearts & minds of the Scottish People, and the excellent hard work of Scotland’s First Minister, Alex’ Salmond, Deputy Nicola Sturgeon, Finance Secretary John Swinney, Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill, Fiona, Shona, Rosanna, the list goes on; sorry if I’ve missed anyone. Scotland’s SNP Scottish Government deserve all the credit for doing excellent work for all Scots & Scotland over these hard fought years; not punters like me. A forethought; I seen Frank Mulholland on tv tonight, and he is absolutely right about ‘bringing those to justice’ that he can. There’s a new raft of EU legislation coming through soon; we must all be ready to bone-up on all the new EU fandangled stuff; especially Human Rights.

              • HJ777

                I have no doubt that by your intellectual standards, Salmond is a genius. After all, you are consistently fooled by him.

                By the way, the plural of genius is not genius’ (what on earth is the apostrophe for?) – it is geniuses.

                • allymax bruce

                  Punctuation corrected; but you’re still as ignorant to what I meant. I expect that from veerins like you; your only method of communication is to attack it; in p-a terms, you have a neurosis. Probably ‘compulsive obsessive’. In layman terms, you’ve got a bug up your r’s. Either way, you’re a very obnoxious person; you attack everybody that doesn’t have your opinions. Kitty asked me if I’ll stay on this forum after 18 Sept; probably not because of ugly people like you.

                • HJ777

                  I look forward to you leaving and Scotland staying.

                  Then the adults can get on with reasoned discussion.

          • Inverted Meniscus

            Yes you can keep the pound but outside of a currency union. Do you understand the difference? There is no appetite amongst UK taxpayers to guarantee the newly issued public debt of a foreign country without limitation on amount or term. Can you get that through your unfeasibly thick head? You can keep the pound but you cannot have a currency union. Got that?

          • monty61

            From zealotry to parody … nice to see you coming on board, Aly. The fact is, having escaped from the clutches of the Euro there’s no way ‘rUK’ politicians would sign up for another currency union with exactly the same problems. No Plan B makes Salmond look ridiculous as most Gnats know all too well. All you have left is emotional rhetoric which is not enough to win the argument.

            • allymax bruce

              monty61, I’m a dedicated YES voter; Scotland will win the YES vote on Sept 18th. What made you think I had switched sides? I haven’t. Just because I strive for Cameron, doesn’t mean to say anything else; there’s lots of highly technical Political reasons I’m doing this; but please don’t make any mistake; I’m a definite YES voter, and I definitely want Scotland to vote a winning YES on Sept’ 18th, and become Independent March 24th 2016.

      • Cymrugel

        I doubt the welsh or Irish will take Scottish independence as a personal affront.

        They do not have the inflated sense of self importance that many English people suffer from

    • Damaris Tighe

      Call me a cynic, but I was thinking just before I read your post that I suspect people would have voted for Britain to join the USSR if they could have been persuaded that they would be economically better off. At bottom the pound in our pockets probably trumps all. For this reason I doubt that a referendum on our EU membership would produce an ‘out’ result. There will be too much fear about those pounds in our pockets.

    • Ronnie Strachan

      Mike – dont make your decision on what Salmond and his wild Nats say. There is still a firm majority of us up here who regard ourselves as British and have absolutely no truck whatsoever with nationalism and salmond and his wrecking crew

      • Inverted Meniscus

        Well said Ronnie and if it doesn’t sound too condescending, we saw the true spirit and generosity of Scotland in the Commonwealth Games. Fantastic.

      • Spectre

        I sincerely hope you’re right.

    • Inverted Meniscus

      Remember Mike, there are an awful lot of bigoted cybernat nutters screaming their heads off and dealing in economic fantasy on these and other threads. They are very noisy, very stupid and very embittered by their trivial lives. The vast majority of Scots seem to me to be pragmatic, intelligent and conscious of a ‘bigger picture’ which is our shared heritage and their good sense will hopefully prevail. That is what this Englishman is hoping anyway.

      • you_kid

        Pathetic – are you sure you are not a pork-despising ex-bankster of Greek origin, Chuzzlewitz?

        • Inverted Meniscus

          More gibberish lad? How is the Goat?

      • monty61

        Nicely summarised. I’ve been arguing with Gnats since I was at school in Aberdeen with some of these chumps in the 70s, they change the record every now and again (remember the ‘arc of prosperity’?) but they are completely unamenable to common sense or reason. Thankfully they are in the minority and always will be.

    • Spectre

      Agreed. ‘Britain’ is an extended family – an ethnic group forged by millions over the course of several generations. This notion of Britain as an inheritance, a shared endeavour, is what I value. I’m dismayed by the tone of the debate which seems to reduce the whole issue to an exercise in counting coppers. It is about identity and allegiance – national destiny – not, whether i’m a few quid richer.

    • Cymrugel

      The vote will not be made primarily on economic grounds, though these are obviously important.

      I would say Darling has made a big error just banging on about the currency. It’s a big issue but not the only one.

      Its a big jump from limited home rule to total independence and I suspect that Scotland has simply not had enough time for the nats to win this. They have jumped the gun.

      This issue isn’t going to go away, but I suspect Westminster will try to neuter it for the foreseeable future. Far from extending democracy I predict that the UK government will get ever more London-centric as a direct reaction to this challenge

    • Tom M

      Quite so Mike, the question of Scottish Independence should be about more than whether there is £400 more a year (I think the poll asked) in your pocket.

    • FF42

      You hit a sensitive point there. Ultimately the Union has always been about the economy for Scotland. That’s why neither the YES nor the NO team are discussing this properly from Scottish perspective. I should be about whether the Union benefits Scotland, or doesn’t, and the Scottish people exercising their sovereign choice whether to be in or out. I can see this appears totally mercenary, but I think there is scope for give and take and mutual respect. It’s a bit like an arranged marriage where you find love in the marriage. But I wouldn’t blame you if you don’t buy it.

    • James Richardson

      Though you might enjoy this satire of the nationalist currency position http://theoccasionalpigeonuk.blogspot.co.uk/2014/08/an-independent-scotland-could-use.html

  • CraigStrachan

    To be fair, Salmond still has six weeks to come up with a Plan B.

    • Kennybhoy

      lol :-)

    • e2toe4

      Probably six weeks to get finally desperate enough to press the button marked ‘Only press if absolutely desperate’…

    • Inverted Meniscus

      Well the SNP have only had about 80 years to come up with plan B after all.

      • Holly

        A coherent, workable plan A wouldn’t have gone done him any harm either.

      • Wessex Man

        In that 80 year period, quite close to the end of it Salmond wanted to join the Euro, couldn’t wait to join the Euro as the Pound Sterling in his own words was a noose around Scotland’s neck, that it was causing damage to Scottish Industry.

        He truly is a economic incompetent, he fully endorsed Fred Goodwin after RBS had aquired ABN for £49 billion and even offered any assistance my office can provide with the e-mail that read “I wanted you to know that I’m watching events closely on the ABN front.”

        He couldn’t have been watching that closely because RBS had to be bailed out with government money to the tune of £45 billion shortly after.

        • Inverted Meniscus

          It defies belief that this lunatic is running a country. Then again, we allowed an even bigger lunatic, Gordon Brown, to run The UK’s finances for 10 years and the then the entire country for 3 years.

  • HookesLaw

    ‘far too much of this debate has been characterised by guesswork, blind faith and crossed fingers’ — this is a fair point and really why the vote should go NO.
    There may be merits in independence (I think there are not) but there is no clear plan by its proponents that they can explain.
    PS
    as far as looks go there seems a lot of the tricky dickie about Salmond with the 5 o’clock shadow the puffy eyes and the short back and sides

    • dado_trunking

      Your people do not even know what impact a YES vote would have on the status of Scottish MP in a 2015 general election.
      Your people don’t know. Your MSM fail to inform the people about the basics of anything in a structured fashion. You might as well close down the British MSM and have the Russians and Radio Luxemburg deliver the relevant messages instead.

      • Chingford Man

        The Speccie kids are here to retail the gossip they hear over drinks at the Intercontinental. Be realistic.

      • HookesLaw

        ‘My people’? I don’t have any ‘people’.
        What we do have is another incoherent post from you.

        • Whyshouldihavetoregister

          ‘Incoherent’? Too kind by half. Tinfoil hattery at its shiniest.

          • dado_trunking

            Ahh bless …

            • Inverted Meniscus

              Ahhhh Gibberish.

          • Inverted Meniscus

            Well he is an EU sponsored socialist nutter.

        • Colonel Mustard

          He’s come out from behind his unconvincing attempts to appear British and now just posts disruptive Anglophobe garbage on behalf of EU-supremacists in Brussels. Lord Haw-Haw for 2014.

          • dado_trunking

            Radio (Free) Luxemburg – you should try it sometime given your Juncker future, haha …
            before you *abolish the BBC* that is, just because millions of your people can no longer afford to pay for a licence. You see, you could have split the BBC decades ago into centre left and centre right channels (like everyone else with a brain did). But no, you cannot afford that. That’s why you’re not doing it.

            • Colonel Mustard

              We can afford to subsidise your EU to the tune of more than £30m a day though. It’s a crime that some of that pays for water melon twats like you to post Anglophobe garbage here.

              • dado_trunking

                I do not post ‘Anglophobe garbage’ – I am kindly asking you to get better at what you do, in my unique and humble way.

                £60 per capita per annum does not break my bank.
                Germany, France and Italy contribute far larger sums.
                Finland and Denmark pay much higher rates per capita.
                Stop trying to feel special. We all know you think you are.

                • Inverted Meniscus

                  Go back to your Brussels paymasters lad and take the goat with you.

                • you_kid

                  Eat more pork. Millions of indigenous Brits cannot be wrong.

                • Inverted Meniscus

                  He is the goat laddie?

                • you_kid

                  Capish, laddie?

                • Inverted Meniscus

                  Gibberish.

      • Inverted Meniscus

        Spare us your EU sponsored Brussels based gibberish on this one laddie. This has got nothing to do with you and your EU paymasters. Or the goat for that matter.

    • ButcombeMan

      Yes . Salmond also needs a history lesson. He keeps repeating that Scotland can keep the pound because it is Scotlands pound as well.

      This is absolutely untrue, there certainly WAS a Scottish pound, for several hundred years,but it was gradually debased against the English pound. At the Act of Union it was exchanged at a rate of 12 to 1.

      So Scotland uses the ENGLISH pound (clue Alec is in the name of the Bank).

      There is just no way any r UK politician could survive trying to make England responsible for the currency of an independent Scotland.

      An independent Scotland will be lucky to avoid a currency run, capital flight and higher interest rates.

      The effect on pensions could be catastrophic.

      • telemachus

        All of which was put very eloquently by the former Labour Chancellor, who also reminded us that his rescue of the Royal Bank of Scotland would not have been possible in an independent Scotland

        • Inverted Meniscus

          Who followed the line of the real Chancellor of the Exchequer. No doubt a duplicitous little Sh*t like Ed Balls would quickly renege on his words if he could see some kind of advantage.

        • Holly

          Would it have needed to bail it out if Scotland had been independent and regulating their banking system, unlike Darling’s useless bunch?
          Salmond was dire when it came to explaining WTF will happen when he can not keep the English pound.
          Yet another trouncing, so close to the trouncing in the CG.
          They have no intention of ‘going it alone’ especially not without a great deal of financial help from the English, who they claim to want to break away from.
          Got them by the short & curly’s I’m afraid.
          To be forever governed by Westminster, with their hand out.

      • Inverted Meniscus

        Actually ButcombeMan, Scotland can keep the pound Sterling because it is a freely tradable and convertible medium of exchange. Indeed, any country could adopt Sterling if they so choose. What is being excluded is a currency union whereby Scotland would enjoy the benefits of UK Treasury support for the issuance of its public debt and the Bank of England would act as lender if last resort to its banks. The former is a horrifying prospect for the UK because why would we, the UK taxpayers, want to underwrite the newly issued public debt of a foreign country without being able to limit how much debt was raised and for how long? Absent a currency union, Scotlsnd’s debt would trade at a premium to UK debt and thus mortgage rates etc for Scottish residents would rise as well. This is why Salmond throws a his say fit on this subject because he knows that his whole argument falls to pieces on this point.

        • HJ777

          It’s a horrifying prospect not just for the reasons you correctly state but also because anyone looking at the white paper can see that the SNP’s fiscal plans promise all sorts of extra spending, make no provision for transition costs of independence, and rely on heroic optimism about oil and other revenues. Underwriting a new state that hasn’t credible fiscal plans would be hugely dangerous.

          • Inverted Meniscus

            The problem is none of the cybernat headbangers understand this reality or refuse to contemplate this insurmountable obstacle.

          • flippit

            Can’t understand why they haven’t put their heads together on this, buckled down and got some serious thinking done. They keep referring to input of Noble Laureate experts blah blah but they don’t convince because they don’t have the detail. They remind me of students.

            • Inverted Meniscus

              Agreed, after all, the SNP have had 80 odd years to come up with a Plan B.

            • HJ777

              Because any realistic answer they know would be unpalatable to Scots.

              So they pretend that Scots could have their cake and eat it.

          • realfish

            Salmond has repeatedly looked across the North Sea to describe Scotland as analogous to Norway. A deeply divided, debt ridden, undemocratic Venezuela would be a more apt comparator.

        • ButcombeMan

          Yes of course, An independent Scotland could USE the pound, just as eventually Zinbabwe used the dollar when its currency became debased.
          In such circumstances any government is constrained. It will be taken less than seriously in capital markets,
          If that is what Salmond intends as his plan B, he ought to be honest about it.

          Capital flight is a certainty in that circumstance. Who exactly would be guaranteeing depositors funds?

          The fact that he blatantly lies about ownership of the pound sterling is not a good omen.

          It absolutely astonishes me that he can have got to this point without a thought through plan.

          • Inverted Meniscus

            Agreed. Is Salmond just lazy or so egotistical he believes that a currency union will be established because he wants one even if it is to the detriment of 91.7% of the UK population. The SNP have had 80 years to come up with a ‘Plan B’ and all Salmond can manage is a hissy fit when told that a CU is not on the cards.

            • HJ777

              Salmond doesn’t believe it any more than you or I do.

              He knows he doesn’t have a credible plan but is desperately trying to conceal this from Scots. He also knows that any of the alternatives would be unpalatable to Scots.

              Hence his public stance. Totally dishonest? Of course, but then he’s just trying to win a one-off vote.

              • Bonzodog

                You sure it is a “one-off vote”? My suspicion is that the SNP will try to repeat the exercise until, like the EU, they get the “right” result.

                • HJ777

                  I take your point.

                  What I meant, however, is that Salmond only needs to win once because if he can fool Scots once, then the decision is irreversible even though his claims about a land of milk and honey will be shown to have been false.

                  The SNP may try to repeat the vote when they lose but they won’t be able to. Scots will have had enough and separatism will fall away just like it did in Quebec and Western Australia.

                • Damon

                  Indeed. One of the greatest dangers here is that the SNP will pursue a ‘Forever-endum’. That will create a permanent atmosphere of uncertainty around Scotland that will, among other things, deter investors. So, Scottish friends: don’t just deliver a ‘no’ in September. Deliver a *resounding* no that will kill this pernicious question for a generation.

  • dado_trunking

    YES means YES and NO means YES. If the accountant says so …

    You inventors of the modern democracy and yooman rites crack me up.
    You don’t even know what these phrases mean.

    • Wessex Man

      Get the toys out.

    • Inverted Meniscus

      Well go back to Brussels where you belong then laddie. Oh and take the goat with you.

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