Coffee House

Alex Salmond is wrong. Scotland isn’t more ‘socially just’ than the rest of Britain

9 August 2014

12:59 PM

9 August 2014

12:59 PM

Alex Salmond’s suggestion that Scotland is more predisposed towards ‘social justice’ than other parts of Britain is absurd, repellent, and embarrassing. Let’s take those points in order.

From the Left’s perspective first. To care about the dispossessed must surely imply a sense of solidarity. I walked to the BBC studio this morning through a nearly empty, still cold Brighton. Only nearly empty – the people who’d slept rough the night before were in evidence, of course. Salmond’s message of solidarity, of concern for the dispossessed in England, is: ‘Get lost. You don’t matter, except that my new socially just Scotland will act as a beacon to the socially unjust English.’

That Salmond beacon, unfortunately, would not warm a single, homeless, English soul. If you think political action can alleviate poverty, on what basis do you make such action more efficacious, by drawing an arbitrary circumference around those you seek to help?

During the discussion on the Today programme, my opponent claimed it was ‘specious’ of me to ask whether my English father had less concern for justice than my Scottish mother. But it’s entirely the right question to ask: it’s not those of us who are happy being Scottish and British who claim that such a qualititative difference exists. Nationalists do not like to follow through their arguments, but ‘Scotland is more in favour of social justice than England’ must have such a follow-on, direct interpretation, or it is a void claim. Well, it is void, as void as it is repellent. No-one should fall for the dog whistles of a demagogue, waxing on misty-eyed about the properties of his ‘people’.

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To see how embarrassing Salmond’s claim is, even on its own terms, we should move our perspective a little to the Right (but we’ll stay personal). I was born in 1970 in Ayrshire, a county that has been run for all that time by the Labour party or the SNP. Strathclyde Regional Council had far more influence on my schooling (and hence my life chances), and my parent’s jobs, than Thatcher ever did. How successful have the Left been, in delivering their social justice agenda?

It’s hard to think about that question without locating some of my own anger – which is real, and not synthetic, unlike (I suspect) that of the shouty nationalist I encountered on Today. We’ve had fifteen years of Scottish Parliament, plenty of time (for example) to do something about the inequalities in state education. Nothing doing. Those famous PISA surveys show that the gap in maths achievement between the most and least advantaged Scottish children is the equivalent of comparing Hong Kong (3rd in the PISA rankings) with Turkey (44th.) Educational policy is under the entire control of the Scottish parliament: this cannot be blamed on ‘English Tories’.

Fifteen years is long enough, too, to wonder if there might not be a link between the unchanging politics on offer from Salmond’s parliament, and the shameful life expectancies in parts of Glasgow. But the most eye-catching of Salmond’s commitments to tackling social justice has been to discriminate against English students who study in our universities (they pay fees; Scots – and others – don’t.)

There is a British politician who was radicalised by Scottish poverty, of course, who was moved to create an entire movement for social justice as a result of his Easterhouse conversion. I presume even Iain Duncan Smith’s critics wouldn’t suggest that his mission in government is not fuelled by what he first saw in Glasgow.

His – and the Right’s –insight is that you can’t have any justice if you don’t tackle unemployment. The irony is that the jobs which are coming to Scotland are the product of an English radical system, and not a platitudinous Scottish nationalist one.

That I disagree with Salmond (and his pop singing supporters) doesn’t, of course, invalidate the right of Scotland to be independent, should the current generation of people who live there so wish. I’m not the one who claims to be able to see into the soul of a nation. But I trust my compatriots – Left, Right or Centre, Ayrshire-born or arrivals from elsewhere – to look at what Salmond is offering, look at what he’s done … and to turn him down, with a polite (are you reading, Pat Kane?) ‘no thanks’.

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Show comments
  • Marcus King

    I had to laugh at Mr Kane’s attempting to do a ‘Glasgow hard man’ impression that was somewhat at odds to the rather effete pop musician of yesteryear.

    Vote ‘yes’ or I’ll smash your face in, or even more frighteningly I’ll sing for you!

    A very sad and desperate man indeed.

  • Ordinaryman

    Independence will not happen for the following reasons:
    1) The majority of Scots are too canny to leave the Union
    2) Salmond doesn’t want independence; he wants devo-max because this will give him the best of independence and still leave him with a scapegoat when things go wrong.

  • David Ganz

    Iain Duncan Smith should be expelled from the Conservative party, he is the embodiment of self righteous mendacity and social bullying. The party of Duncan Smith and Lord Freud ought to be unelectable.

  • ChuckieStane

    Mr. Archer says he is keen on the facts yet states that Ayrshire is a county that has been run by Labour or SNP all the time since 1970.
    Ayrshire ceased to exist in 1975 as an administrative area. Kyle & Carrick/South Ayrshire has been something of a conservative outpost with conservative control on a number of occasions. Even Cunninghame during a period of NOC after 1978 had a large moderate conservative group.
    Mr. Archer’s MP for most of his time in Ayrshire was Fitzroy McLean then John Corrie.

    • Jambo25

      I noticed that as well. I have close friends who live in Ayrshire and I spend half my time in nearby Dumfriesshire. Ayrshire’s problems really date from the Thatcher period when much of the local economy simply collapsed. East Ayrshire which was quite dependent on coal has never recovered. Places like New Cumnock and Auchinleck are disaster areas economically. The old Scottish Aviation at Prestwick, where one of my friends worked, was taken over by BAe, starved of investment and eventually closed down. A fairly common fate for Scottish firms taken over by bigger English based companies and no that isn’t an attack on English people but simply a statement of what happened to many Scottish firms from the 50s onwards.

      • HJ777

        Please detail which areas in Europe reliant on the deep mined coal business have prospered since those days.

        And could you explain why a company based in England would close down a site in Scotland were it able to make an acceptably profitable return on it? And why would it keep a site open were it not able to?

        By the way, have no foreign-owned businesses shut down sites in England. Have none shut down sites in Scotland? Have no English based companies shut down sites in England? Economies change – some industries and regions prosper, others decline. It s the same over the world and isn’t exclusively down to people making decisions in England.

        • Jambo25

          1) I didn’t ask for deep mining in Ayrshire to be carried on though a slower closure rate of the old coalfields might have been a way of easing transition to a different type of economy which gave some hope to the people who lived in or around the old coalfields. Rather, some intelligent planning might have been done to get some kind of future for the old coal and rustbelt areas; the way that Germany tackled areas like the Saarland and the Ruhr. There appears to have been very little of that done for old coal and heavy industrial areas in Scotland, Wales and Northern or Midlands England.
          2) Companies based in England or overseas have closed down actually or potentially profitable factories in Scotland and elsewhere for a variety of reasons. I’ll give you a couple. Caterpillar had a large factory at Uddingston in Lanarkshire. It was profitable: highly profitable at times and was still making money at the time of its closure. So, why did Caterpillar close the plant down? Simple really. Caterpillar had an over-capacity problem in Europe with 2 similarly sized plants in France and Scotland. The Scottish plant was probably more efficient and profitable than the French one but not by much. However it was far cheaper, quicker and legally easier to sack Scottish workers so they got the bullet and their French colleagues continued in work.

  • Robert Ross

    There are no truths in these debates, only assertions. Those in Scotland who wish to use reason on which to base there decisions continue t

  • https://sites.google.com/site/deanjackson60/home 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 week 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 collapses, 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.

  • pedestrianblogger

    I will be SO glad when all this bollocks is over, one way or the other.

  • SilentHunter

    Oh dear!

    A right-wing journalist get’s “monstered” on the Today programme and this appears to be the equivalent of a childish tantrum in response.

    No doubt there will be plenty of little Englanders willing to dry Graeme’s tears.

    Diddums.

  • David B

    I am neither English nor scotish, but from the outside the nationalist seem to want to turn the debate into an anti English referndum. Starting with the call to debate with Cameron when he had no vote, through to the demand for a currency union that holds many advantages to Scotland but forces England to underwrite their spending.

    I heard the interview on Today. Apart from being shouted down the general theme was you live in England so your opinion should no have airtime.

  • disqus_X0PDEWMqMH

    Weak, albeit tangentially titillating article, calling on genetic inheritance and belittling the yes voters as pop-singing la-di-das to get some attention. The worst aspect is again equating the push for independence to the effort of one single person. Patronising or what?

  • trace9

    Having heard Archer being flattened by his SNP opponent, wondered if he’d try to blog a recoup in the Telegraph. Not Quite right. Suuch a pathetic performance ‘live’, & it Is silly to base so much on your own background – in the end you sound like a chattering boomerang, in his case one that tipped onto wet grass half-way around the circuit. In Brighton.

  • global city

    Marxists and soft socialists have always thrived on the assumption that they and their nutty ideas are morally and intellectually superior, so no surprise.

    I watched that ‘Big Question’ show on a Sunday morning a few years ago….about this Scottish culture…. it was embarrassing.

  • Scradje

    Scotland was once more conservative than England. In sixty odd years, the Lab/SNP ‘progressives’ have succeeded in transforming a dynamic country into a hopelessly socialist nation of moaners and moochers. Highly skilled Scots Protestants emigrated in droves and were replaced with a gigantic welfare Ponzi scheme.

    • hoddles

      England – the land of the whinge:

      “It’s not fair – The Scots have a parliament and we don’t”
      “It’s not fair – the Scots have free prescriptions and we don’t”
      “It’s not fair – the Scots don’t charge their students tuition fees”
      It’s not fair – the Scots give their elderly free home care2
      “It’s not fair – the Scots have the bedroom tax paid for them2
      “It’s not fair – we sometimes have a Scottish PM”
      “it’s not fair – the Scots don’t support our football team”

      It’s time the English grew a collective pair.

      • vieuxceps2

        “A collective pair” of purses do you mean? We need them to keep you scroungers happy.And no,it’s not fair, not bloody fair at all.You call us whingersbut you’ve got all the above more than us and STILL you bellyache like sick cattle.Go, let us have done with you!

        • hoddles

          Whinge, whinge, whinge.

          • vieuxceps2

            Ah, the schoolboy wit that speaks the vacant mind……

            • hoddles

              Why don’t the English do something about their predicament rather than just whinge about it? You would never guess that the biggest nation represented at Westminster was England. They behave like some kind of put-upon minority.

              • HookesLaw

                Scots benefits are paid by the English – ever heard of the Barnett Formula.

                • hoddles

                  Oh dear, yet another one who doesn’t know what he is talking about.

                  Barnett is one side of the equation – monies flowing into Scotland from the rest of the UK. The other side of the equation which you have neglected to mention or are ignorant of are the monies flowing from Scotland to the rest of the UK. In most years Scotland contributes a higher proportion of the Exchequer’s revenue than it gets back in spending.

                • HookesLaw

                  According to the FT ‘Total Scottish revenue was about £53bn including a geographical share of the North Sea, the report said, while total government spending on Scotland was £65bn’.

                • hoddles

                  Last year? I said “in most years”

                  2009-10 Revenues paid into exchequer 9.4% of total. Spending received from exchequer 9.3% of total
                  2010-11 Revenues 9.6% of total. Spending 9.3% of total
                  2011-12 Revenues 9.9% of total. Spending 9.3% of total
                  2012-13 Revenues 9.1% of total Spending 9.3% of total

                  Source: GERS

                • Wessex Man

                  do get a life!

      • Scradje

        It reads as if you are replying to a different post. Mine was how a great people have been emasculated by the toxic effects of creeping socialism. I feel sorry for the 20% or so of the Scottish electorate who do not vote for the so called prog parties.

        • hoddles

          No, I was replying to a post about “socialist moaners and moochers”.

          All we hear is the great big whinge from south of the border, jealous of the better provision for the sick, the young and the elderly.

          Of course, people like you stuck to the Thatcherite ideology of selfishness and greed wouldn’t understand that.

          • Scradje

            The sick, the young and the elderly? I am all for looking after them. I am not particularly Thatcherite as it happens, but I would not characterise it as selfishness and greed; that sounds a lot more like the philosophy of the socialist moaners and moochers to me. They want everything they can get, as long as someone else pays for it.

            • hoddles

              What utter nonsense. The people of Scotland are willing to contribute funds towards looking after the sick, young and elderly in rather more humane and socially responsible ways than the tory-voting English – fixated by greed, selfishness and and a hatred of paying taxes.

      • HookesLaw

        Then again you have the Edinburgh Trams which was delayed because you had no money and which in the end tripled in cost to over a billion.

        • hoddles

          A LibDem/Labour cock-up salvaged by the Scottish SNP government.

          The SNP had been against the project from the start.

      • Wessex Man

        Good grief your hatred runs deep and danerous!

        you are going to have get over it, sadly for you and annoyingly for me most English people don’t think about Scotland at all, except when planning an ocassional holiday there which they immediately regret!

        You need to go and have a nice lay down in a dark room for ever.

        • http://ajbrenchley.com/ Fenton!

          ‘a lay down’? When did you abandon educated English, sir?

  • Bonkim

    Reads more like a personal opinion than reasoned argument.

  • http://ajbrenchley.com/ Fenton!

    I saw the opening lines while not yet in the article and thought you were going to write ‘absurd, repellent, and socialist‘. Which is even more accurate and relevant than ’embarrassing’, though of course it is that, too.

  • ohforheavensake

    To bolster your argument, you use Iain Duncan Smith. Thereby invalidating the argument. Well done.

  • HandandShrimp

    The Today programme did not go well for Mr Archer. I think this is called venting one’s spleen. 🙂

    As to the right Mr Archer, No Thanks

  • victor67

    I don’t think Scotland is particularly more socially just than some parts of England and Wales. They reject the crass wealth divide that neo-liberalism produces as much as the Scots.

  • Chris Hammond

    If you want to know how Scotland would fare out there in the big cold world after a YES vote then you have to look no further than the Scottish football team and it’s place in the international football firmament. It’s cold and friendless out there. The Sepp Blatters are waiting for you.

    • Jambo25

      English FIFA ranking 20 Scottish FIFA ranking 27. That’s out of a couple of hundred countries. England’s population is 10X Scotland’s. Total underachievers aren’t you?

    • HookesLaw

      If we are relying on you to keep the union then its lost. What has football got to do with it any more than curling?
      Equally if Scots think that the nutjob tendencies comment reflect Englend then again we are lost. Salmond of cousrse hoopes that by antagonising the English it will provoke a backlash that will help him.

      England will not particularly lose out if Scotland votes independence, only Scotland stands to suffer. But we are all better off and enriched by continuing our 300 … 400 year union. Its been a great success and should continue.

      It follows that following the vacuus performance by Salmond and the nats, that their votes are up for grabs.

      • Jambo25

        Incidentally statements from you such as “England will not particularly lose out if Scotland votes independence, only Scotland stands to suffer” makes me want to ask you why? and think that you are grossly patronising and insulting as you seem to be suggesting that somehow Scots are incapable of satisfactorily running their own society. In fact I find your comment more insulting than Chris Hammond’s.

        • The_greyhound

          Stop whining. Your idiot independence campaign is over, the SNP toast, and salmond a laughing stock.

          Find something useful to do instead of sitting around being offended all the time.

          • Jambo25

            Na I’ll stick around so I can laugh at balloons like you.

        • HookesLaw

          England is a massive country in its own right and can withstand economic turbulance and generate revenues. Scotland is not, and has a future where it cannot make its mind up about a currency and with its major revenue stream in decline. As I say only Scotland has an uncertain future.

          • hoddles

            Can you explain how all the other W European countries of approximately Scotland’s size or smaller manage to withstand economic turbulence and generate revenues?

            • HookesLaw

              They are inn the Euro. But if you call the state of Spain Portugal and Greece ‘surviving’ then you are a bit short sighted. The French economy?

              http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/06a01fe4-dfe0-11e3-b709-00144feabdc0.html#ixzz39zGwT2WJ
              ‘The
              Netherlands saw the deepest slump in the EU, with its economy
              contracting 1.4 per cent in the first three months. Meanwhile, Finland
              recorded its eighth consecutive quarter without growth. All this comes
              only months after the Netherlands lost its cherished triple-A credit rating from a leading agency and Finland was threatened with a downgrade.’

              • hoddles

                Small nations like Scotland do considerably better than overgrown monoliths like the UK

                per capita GDP 2013 $

                Monaco
                132,177

                Liechtenstein
                98,432

                Luxembourg
                91,388

                Norway
                65,640

                Switzerland
                53,367

                Austria 44,208

                SCOTLAND 43,632

                Ireland
                43,592

                Netherlands
                43,198

                Sweden
                43,180

                Denmark
                42,086

                Germany
                40,901

                Belgium
                39,788

                Finland
                38,655

                Iceland
                37,852

                Andorra
                37,200

                United Kingdom
                36,901

                France
                36,104

                San Marino
                35,928

                Italy
                33,111

          • Jambo25

            England is a medium-large sized nation with a medium-large sized economy and I’m not sure your analysis necessarily holds up. My view is that the economic future belongs to 2 distinct types of economic units. Firstly there are going to be a few (very few) giqantic, continental sized economic and political superpowers. The USA and PRC certainly and they may be joined by India and the EU. They will have the scale and power to make and control, to a certain extent, the economic world facing them. Then there are going to be small, flexible states, generally resource rich and with homogeneous, easily cooperating populations. I can see where Scotland would fit here but not rUK or England. Too small to be the first but far too big to be the second.

    • hoddles

      Thank goodness England isn’t seeking independence then. England pop 55 million ranked 20 Scotland pop 5 million ranked 27.

      You English have a good conceit of yourselves.

      • Wessex Man

        er, your chip on your shoulder as wide as the Clyde is showing again!

  • Bourne18

    You lost the argument completely in your paragraph about IDS. To assert that he was “radicalised” and “moved to create an entire movement for social justice” is, to put it mildly, bonkers.

  • Blindsideflanker

    The Scots claim to have a greater sense of social justice than the English, but the referendum shows the opposite, where the Yes No debate has come down to money, and don’t the Scots love talking about money, they seem to know the price of everything but the value of nothing, for god forbid there is a chance the Scots might be contributing more to the exchequer than they get they will be off without any care about anybody else than their own interests.

    They claim to be part of the Celtic brotherhood, but the ethnic bonds don’t stretch to helping support them , no, Wales and NI they will dump on the generosity of English.

    • Jambo25

      I know no one who claims to be part of a Celtic brotherhood. The overuse of the word ‘Celt’ seems to be particularly prevalent amongst right wing English rugby fans who seem to really hate the Welsh. The rugby columns of the Telegraph BTL seems to be their main haunt.

      • Blindsideflanker

        Try Salmond. He made this argument.

        As for the English hating the Welsh , well I think you have discredited any argument you sought to make by trying that one on.

        • Jambo25

          Talk to Welsh Rugby Fans about the abuse they and Welsh Rugby get in the Telegraph ATL and BTL.

          • Wessex Man

            Talk to the English who get their cars keyed in Scotland or abused here!

            • Jambo25

              Nah, I’ll just ask people to read the rugby columns in Telegraph on-line.

  • Gwangi

    Salmond is a racist – end of. He has the same view of ethnicity as all nationalist bigots – he thinks his ‘master race’ of Scots is somehow genetically superior to other ‘races’ like the English.
    Well that may well be the numpty’s fantasy pipe dream – but actually, the science says different – that there are in fact negligible differences between (white) English and Scottish populations. The myth that Scots are Celtic purebloods and the English nasty Anglo-Saxons is just that: a lie.
    But then, rabid nationalists love lies. And I actually thank this whole debate on the referendum for exposing how small-minded, backwards and bigoted the Scottish political class is. A real throwback and as illiberal as any Sassenach NF supporter dawn sowf.
    And for Salmond to say Scot are innately more socially just is not only racist and weird, but takes some cheek – seeing as the extra benefits given to Scots by their parliament are funded by huge English subsidy (and the fact that Scotland aimed to racially discriminate against the English whenever it can – as with charging English students but NO other EU students at their universities – which I wouldn’t go to if you paid me, frankly).

    • Jambo25

      Please produce any evidence you have of your contentions in the first sentence.

      • Jambo25

        Still waiting for evidence.

        • Wessex Man

          You’re a fine one to ask anyone for evidence, you seem to forget to remember all the time!

          • Jambo25

            Bothered reading the bit by dear old HJ that you said I’d lied about him writing yet?

            • Wessex Man

              YEP!

              • Jambo25

                And you’re still lying in saying he never wrote it.

        • Gwangi

          You’ll be waiting as long as you’ll be waiting for Scotland to be a successful Scandinavian-style independent country or for Scotland to win the football world cup!
          Listen to Salmond. Learn to read between the lines. Just as Muslims scream ZIONIST with their racist bile to avoid the Race Relations Act coming into force as it would with the word Jew, so Salmond slimes and squirms his way along his racist subtext road. His motivation is racist and his world view. Because he sees the Scots as a race apart from the English (utterly bizarre and scientifically incorrect). Learn some science eh? Learn some history too – Scotland is made up of Irish immigrants, English immigrants, Scandinavian immigrants and was a land of warring tribes until relatively recently. Are you a Pict then?

          • Jambo25

            Still waiting for evidence. Notice you admit you haven’t got any to back up your hysterical rant.

    • Moderator

      You are a tool – end of…

  • alabenn

    Alex Salmond’s suggestion that Scotland is more predisposed towards ‘social justice’ than other parts of Britain is absurd, repellent, and embarrassing.
    It is standard fare for all socialists, Salmond in Scotland, Miliband in England, poke any and they react the same way, lies is what masks the bile and spite that is their sole motivation, was ever thus.

  • Colin

    Great article !
    The truth hurts. Seventy years of socialist insanity (Especially the last 40), has done nothing but bad; for those unfortunate to be on the wrong end of it. Your comments about Thatcher v The socialist scumbags who actually were / are responsible for all the rotten outcomes are spot on.

  • Mukkinese

    Holding up IDS as proof of Caring conservatism is like holding up Torquemada as an example of tolerance.

    Scotland does tend to kick out Tories which indicates a rejection of outright social injustice…

  • Elly

    For next time, Darling has so much ammunition – Salmond’s EU stance including his denial of Scotland’s right to vote on an in/out of that monster. Darling should also have a complete arsenal of the things that the Scottish SNP Government have deliberately failed to tackle in order to use it as a failing of the UK Government.
    As for the currency Alistair, you should ask Salmond who he will blame when the Sterling interest rates and currency value increase as a result of an over-heating London property market to the detriment of the Scottish economy and other parts of the UK that need lower interest rates. That would be the same situation as now, only without political union, Salmond will be responsible for counteracting the economic levers. No doubt he will blame Cameron and Osborne as usual.

    • Conway

      You’d have thought that the example of the euro would have been enough warning about what happens to countries when interest rates and currency values are set to suit another country with a different economy, but it appears not.

  • Brian K

    I heard that interview this morning and frankly it was a waste of time for you. Pat Kane said his piece and then kept talking over you while you were speaking and to make matters worse the present then also started speaking over you. I didn’t hear a word you said.

  • MountainousIpswich

    As a Tory I wholeheartedly support Scottish Independence. A conservative country right next to a socialist one. Maybe that’ll knock some sense into people when they see the absolute disaster Scotland will end up as.

    • Alexsandr

      well we bailed them out after darien. Maybe they will ask us to do it again. Wonder hat the answer will be the next time.

    • Count Dooku

      In case you haven’t noticed England and Germany are right next to France.
      Yet, we have a Labour poll lead in the UK.

      • MountainousIpswich

        Not close enough for idiots at the Guardian.

        • Count Dooku

          Yup. They never learn. Now the million dollar question:

          Are people poor because they are socialist or are they socialist because they are poor?

          • MountainousIpswich

            People are poor because socialists are in power. Socialism traps people in poverty. Why work when you can receive everything on the state?

            • Count Dooku

              But who votes the socialists into power? There aren’t enough champagne-drinking Guardian readers to vote labour into power for example.

  • whs1954

    Looks like the Scottish referendum is turning into the AV referendum redux – the yes side dominated by the mouthy, the lefty, the trendy – and their shrieks of outrage that anyone could hold the contrary view getting louder and shriller, moving to reach a crescendo when they lose.

  • hoddles

    Free prescriptions. No tuition fees. Free care for the elderly. Rejection of the Tory doctrine of greed. Funding of the Tory bedroom tax. Sounds good to me.

    • Holly

      So you reckon that all them ‘freebies’, all paid for by someone else I presume, and now the expected norm by the recipient, somehow makes the Scottish people…erm…..less greedy?
      it sounds quite greedy to me.

      We all know the Scottish people are never going to vote for change, and after the disastrous debate fiasco, they can now use the inept Salmond as their excuse for wimping out.

      • hoddles

        Dearie me.

        You people just don’t get it do you. Over the past 30 years Scotland has contributed more to the Exchequer relative to population than the rest of the UK.

        The only reason Scotland has these things is that Scotland has different social priorities from the rest of the UK – difference Fraser is trying to claim do not exist. England – and I mean England prefers grand schemes like the London Olympics, HS2, Crossrail. Scotland prefers to look after its sick, young and elderly.

        • Colonel Mustard

          “England – and I mean England”

          No you don’t. England does not have a government or even a national assembly. The EU puppet Westminster parliament decided that the English should pay tuition fees, prescription charges, hospital parking, etc., and the MPs who voted for it, under a New Labour government, included Scots, Welsh and Irish MPs as well as the Scots MPs representing English constituencies, a Scots PM and a Scots Chancellor. I well remember that New Labour orange skunk Hain dodging the issue on QT and blathering that the reason for the inequality was devolved power. No devolved power for the English. That was the party of “equality” and “fairness”.

          So none of your old baloney.

          • hoddles

            Yes I do mean England. The overwhelming English majority at WM. If you think you have a puppet parliament then the English have no one to blame put themselves. They are the ones who elected it.

            • Wessex Man

              You are quite poitically ignorant arn’t you the Labour Scottish MPs in the Blair and Brown govenments 1997-2010 outnumbered all others and they, the Scottish Members of the Cabinet had all signed the Scottish Claim of right! They should not have been allowed to serve in UK Government at all!

              That’s why the press called them the Scottish Taliban and my didn’t do an awlful lot of damage to this country.

              • hoddles

                “the Labour Scottish MPs in the Blair and Brown govenments 1997-2010 outnumbered all others”

                Utter rubbish

                • Wessex Man

                  Mmmm,

                  I was going to have a pop at you but reading my comment it’s a bit of a babbling brook!

                  Here’s what I meant to say- Labour Scottish MPs in the Blair and Brown governments 1997-2010 in the Government Cabinets outnumbered all other MPs from the other countries of the UK combined. They had all signed the Scottish Claim of Right and should never have been allowed to serve in the Uk Government at all!

                  That’s why the press called them the Scottish Talidan and my didn’t they do an awlful lot of damage to this country.

                  apolgises all round for babbling with previous comment!

                • hoddles

                  So far as I can see it’s still nonsense. Scottish cabinet members did not outnumber all other MPs from the the other countries of the UK combined.

            • Colonel Mustard

              No, we elected MPs to a UK parliament, as did the Scots. The difference is that you also elected MPs to your own parliament. We English don’t have our own parliament.

              Since your parliament was bestowed on you by a UK parliament and a Labour government led by Scots we, the English, are not to blame for anything.

              Previously you wrote “You people just don’t get it do you”. Well, you people just don’t get it either. Your hard done by and put upon act wears thin on an English people who have had Scots politicians meddling in their affairs for far too long and who have no parliament of their own.

              • hoddles

                Hilarious. Everyone is to blame but the English. The 85% English majority at WM just does what a handful of Scots tell them to do. What a shower. And to think it was the English who voted for them.

                When it comes to blaming others for their own inadequacies the english are sans pareil.

                • Colonel Mustard

                  “Hilarious” – never said that

                  “Everyone is to blame but the English” – never said that

                  “The 85% English majority at WM just does what a handful of Scots tell them to do.” – never said that.

                  What “inadequacies” would those be attributed to the “english” as a stereotyped whole? What was that you were saying about not being a racist bigot?

                • Jambo25

                  There really is no point trying to be rational with these people.

                • Colonel Mustard

                  Well you seem to try it often enough judging by your long argumentative interventions.

                  Who are “these people”?

                • Jambo25

                  A group of posters on here who seem to think that denigration of others on an ad hominem level is the way to carry out arguments and who think that mere assertion is equivalent to proof.

                • Andy

                  We want our own Parliament. Every issue that is devolved must be devolved to an English Parliament – health, education, justice etc, etc, etc. At the last election there was a 60+ seat Tory majority in England. The English should have been able to implement policy in those areas that are devolved both to Scotland and Wales, unhindered by Scottish and Welsh MPs.

            • Andy

              No. We blame the Fascist Labour Party who created devolution for their own selfish interests. Come the referendum next month we, the people of England, have a message to your Scots: Get your noses out of our affairs. Home rule for England.

            • vieuxceps2

              Must agree with you there Jock.We English have faied to look after ourselves. But not any more

        • Wessex Man

          Where do you get those figures from links please.

          • hoddles

            The figures for Scotland’s contribution to the Exchequer? Here’s a start for you. http://www.businessforscotland.co.uk/new-figures-confirm-that-scotland-would-have-been-8-3-billion-better-off-an-independent-country/

            It always astonishes me the number of English people who can pontificate about Scotland and its economy yet know nothing about either.

            • Colonel Mustard

              And yet you are quite happy to pontificate about England. Clearly you dislike English people. You are nothing but a racist bigot.

              • hoddles

                Oh dear now they have to play the racist card because they can’t cope with the truth.

                Pathetic.

                • Colonel Mustard

                  I’m not playing a card. You are a racist bigot. It reeks from every one of your comments so far.

                • hoddles

                  Hilarious. Pointing out the differences between England and Scotland and showing the lack of comprehension of many of the English towards Scotland and the Scottish economy is not being racist.

                  Still, whatever floats your boat. If you can’t argue your case I understand why you have to play the racist card.

                • Colonel Mustard

                  “When it comes to blaming others for their own inadequacies the english are sans pareil.”

                  vs

                  “When it comes to blaming others for their own inadequacies the Scots are sans pareil.”

                  You just don’t get it do you?

                  PS I have argued my case. You are never going to agree with it anyway.

                • Wessex Man

                  does it float your boat that most of the Nationalist chant is coming from BATH ENGLAND because he prefers it to Scotland, oh dear.

                • Jambo25

                  My son would vote Yes and would love to move back to Edinburgh but his job and personal relationships keep him in the London area for now. So what?

                • Wessex Man

                  makw sure you don’t trip over it!

                • Holly

                  What ‘truth’ is that then?
                  Scotland’s electorate don’t like the sound of Salmond’s utopia.
                  Who’d a thunk it eh.
                  The truth is, Scotland has never piped down over getting their independence from the rest of the UK(played on the hate of Westminster/England) yet when it is within their grasp they bail.
                  Why?
                  Because the plank they elected, has no idea WTF he is doing and ran it as a standard election campaign, complete with all the financial bribes….dull, dull, dull.
                  Oh I forgot…clueless, sorry….clueless.
                  Now we are stuck with you, just as you are stuck with us…
                  Only difference being ‘we’ can mock you.

              • Jambo25

                I have seen very little sign that hoddles dislikes English people in general. He may dislike some of the English people who comment in the Spectator of course.

                • Holly

                  Personally, I hope he dislikes me enough to vote for independence, but hey….bet they brick it.

                • Jambo25

                  Don’t worry Holly, I’m sure that lots of people don’t like you.

                • Holly

                  Hope they’re all Scottish then eh.
                  Couldn’t give a fig.
                  Mr H loves me, my pets love me, not sure about the hedgehogs, and the birds come back year after year.
                  People…. say one thing and do another.
                  Just ask the Scots.

                • Wessex Man

                  Isn’t it strange however much of the childish remarks that come from Jambo25 and hoddles it’s always we the English that according to their lights that are saying the very things that’s dripping from their comments.

                • Colonel Mustard

                  Which part of “When it comes to blaming others for their own inadequacies the english are sans pareil.” did you fail to understand? Or perhaps you think stereotyping a whole nation as “blaming others for their own inadequacies” is an expression of fondness?

                  The verbal gymnastics you and other cybernats indulge in are a wonder to behold. You especially, who always has an answer for everything and a nice line in denial that any of your SNP comrades would ever say anything remotely Anglophobe when most of their comments reek of it. Plausible deniability I think they call it.

                • Jambo25

                  I think some characteristics of Scottish society are deeply unlikeable but that does not mean I have a general dislike of the Scottish people. If I did I would write it down. I presume if Hoddles had a general disliking of the English people he would write it down as well.

            • Colonel Mustard
              • hoddles

                Your link concludes there would have been a financial benefit to Scotland if it had been independent.

                • Adro

                  “The fiscal dividend to independence can therefore be considered to be very small and appears likely to be negative in the near future.”

                  I’m going to assume you chose to ignore that. Maybe have a read of this: http://www.economist.com/news/britain/21606869-independent-scotland-would-be-rich-country-terrible-prospects-costly-solitude

                  This is the problem with the Nat argument. No one with a brain thinks Scotland couldn’t be an independent country. To claim that No campaigners think otherwise is a massive straw man. London could also be independent, or Cornwall, or Anglesey. Anywhere can declare itself independent and act as a sovereign state. The question becomes what sort of country would it be, and the fact is that for Scotland while short-term prospects would be reasonable, the long-term is a real problem. The Nationalist argument throughout this campaign has presented a future Scotland as a land of milk & honey, where money will be spent like water but nothing negative will happen. The truth is that your numbers just don’t add up, and everyone who isn’t utterly deluded knows it.

                  Going on about how Scotland has supposedly contributed more to tax (which only stands up if all oil revenues are included, where traditionally resources are deliberately removed from such analysis – and on every other measure Scotland has a deficit of roughly £1800 per head due to increased spending versus lower receipts) is pointless and you know it. What matters is the long term future for an independent Scotland, and on every proper analysis, that future is fairly bleak without long term structural change.

                • Jambo25

                  I read the Economist link you provided with interest. Unfortunately the first few BTL respondents utterly destroyed the whole articles case.

                • Adro

                  Except they didn’t really. Every independent analysis shows that the likely case is that Scotland would end up in real trouble without serious reforms. It’s not just the Economist that thinks this. It’s the IFS, CBI et al.

                  The commenters assertions actually demonstrate precisely what I’m saying. Take for example immigration. The pro Nat commenters argue that Scotland will just address its demographic issue by magically summoning migration. What evidence is there that an independent Scotland would attract the required numbers of migrants? What evidence is there that the Scottish people would accept the numbers required? None, it is pure speculation. On the other hand, it is a fact that Scotland faces a demographic problem over the coming years.

                  I’ll grant you both sides rely on a level of speculation, but the No campaign generally has what numbers we do have on its side.

                • Jambo25

                  Except they did. On about a 30 second perusal of the article it came across as something prepared by a not too bright undergraduate. On the immigration issue. I’ve seen figures which suggest that something like 24,000 net immigrants would be required over a short-medium term. Immigration to Scotland has frequently been not too far short of that. It varies of course from year to year so active steps would have to be taken to encourage immigration.

                • Adro

                  Look, I appreciate accepting that Scotland cannot sustain itself in its current form undermines the whole Nationalist argument, but you’re just going to have to accept reality.

                  Take a look at this, by way of example: http://www.ifs.org.uk/comms/r88.pdf – feel free to head to page 47 for the conclusion – I’ll give you a preview:

                  “The fiscal gap for Scotland (using the same
                  definition) is estimated to be 1.9% of Scotland’s national income even in a relatively optimistic scenario in which it continues to implement the spending cuts currently planned by the UK government in 2016–17 and 2017–18, experiences higher inward migration, enjoys a much later decline in North Sea revenues than forecast by the OBR, only takes on debt equal to 40% of national income at the point of independence, and is able to continue borrowing at the same interest rate as forecast for the UK. All the other scenarios we consider in this report have a considerably worse outlook for the long-run public finance position of Scotland.”

                  Or this: http://www.economist.com/news/britain/21603055-alex-salmonds-long-term-forecasts-independent-scotland-look-far-too-optimistic-oracle

                  Or this: http://www.economist.com/news/britain/21590592-new-report-finances-north-border-headache-nationalists-scotch-rocks (which references the IFS report).

                  Every prediction made by the Nationalist side has turned out to be based on optimism, obfuscation or downright misreading of figures.

                  I’ll repeat something I wrote elsewhere on this thread. No one thinks Scotland couldn’t be an independent nation. The question is what sort of nation it would be. On the Nat side, you claim constantly that nothing will really change, except getting rid of the evil yoke of Westminster. That is simply not true and to pretend otherwise is to lie to the Scots. A debate about breaking up the single most successful union of nations on the planet deserves better.

                • Jambo25

                  I gave a swift perusal of the IFS report but I simply do not ascribe the oracle like status to the organisation that you seem to. I particularly switched off when I came to its pontifications on hat will happen 50 years in the future. I happen to think that 50 years in the future we will all have private jet packs and transmat machines and I think my view is as potentially accurate as anything produced by IFS
                  There’s an old saying that economists assess things to point 1 or 2 or 3 of a percent for one reason and one reason only and that is to show that they have a sense of humour. I think the same thing can be ascribed to think tanks which project predictions 50 years into the future, particularly when they base some of those predictions on figures produced by the OBR.
                  I think that if there is an independent Scotland in the future and it makes stupid social and economic decisions it will be poor. If it makes intelligent decisions it will do just fine. You know, that applies to the UK as well.

                • Wessex Man

                  Adro

                  Please, please, don’t do anything more to stop the Cybernat nutjobs voting yes in September.

                  Although only someone like Jambo25 could then argue against hard fact!

            • Ordinaryman

              Could you provide an independent assessment of Scotland’s finances?

              • hoddles

                Well the one provided by Colonel Mustard concludes Scotland would have been better off had it been independent. Will that do for you?

              • Adro

                He won’t, so I will: http://www.ifs.org.uk/comms/r88.pdf

                • Ordinaryman

                  Thank you. An extremely interesting read. At the very least, supporters of Scottish independence should read the conclusions contained in the report, although I very much doubt that it will make any difference to their views on the matter.

            • Wessex Man

              Thank you for that, had a look, they got the figures from the Daily Herald, who got the figures from Wings Over Scotland based in Bath, England. Who when you study them they have been altered to show that hey presto the Oil Companies would get the Oil from the North Sea and give it to the Independent Scottish Government!

            • vieuxceps2

              Or indeed Scottish people who do the same.Cap fit ,does it?

            • Holly

              It astonishes me the number of Scots who’ve been gagging for independence from England for years, yet when push comes to shove, they too come to realise Scottish politicians aren’t all that great, and sticking with the Eton educated Tory lot seems more appealing.
              That’s logic for ya.
              I just hope that after the NO! vote, you put a sock in it.
              Where as I can mock you for the rest of my days for wimping out.

              • Colonel Mustard

                Cake. Eat it. Or as it is now known – Devo Max.

              • hoddles

                Another one clueless about Scotland. The proportion of the population favouring independence has ranged between 30-40% for the past 30 years. Nothing has changed

        • Holly

          So you are going to vote for independence then.

          The ‘different’ social priorities from the rest of the UK you mention are precisely the same as the ones that Scottish halfwit, Bozo bestowed on England – and I mean England, that we are just financially escaping from.
          It is the ‘Tory doctrine of greed’ you mention that is enabling people to escape from the teat of the state, and what the state reckons you should have financially, while you apparently still believe in the magic money tree, and wish to cling to state teat…..

          Even though the inept Salmond hasn’t quite got his head around what currency will magically drop from it once you and other England hating Scots vote yes to independence.

          Poll ratings after the debate show that the Scots know which side their bread is buttered, so for all your pontificating that the Tories are greedy, it is in fact you and your ilk who are the greedy one’s.

          • hoddles

            Logical argument isn’t really your strongpoint is it. There are more non sequiturs there than in a bagful of non sequiturs.

            • Holly

              Going by the 2010 General election result, and the polls showing Salmond has blown it, I reckon more folk agree with me than you think.
              Funny that innit.

          • Jambo25

            I do like rational discussion. Its a pity that you clearly don’t.

            • Inverted Meniscus

              Yes but you seem to think a rational discussion is one in which other people agree with everything you say. That is not the case. Yes supporters make all manner of fantastic claims and you cannot be surprised when people seek to repudiate those claims.

              • Jambo25

                No but I think rational discussion doesn’t involve phrases such as “That Scottish, halfwit Bozo”

        • Holly

          That’s the trouble…
          We DO get it.
          Salmond ‘gets it’, Bozo ‘got it’, it would appear it is you who doesn’t.

    • P_S_W

      No more Conservatives, eh?

      I think you may well be in for a shock, old chap. May take a while but you will get a natural opposition to all those socialist policies you are all looking forward to.

      • Kitty MLB

        Very well said P-S-W.

      • hoddles

        Who said “no more conservatives”? Not me, old boy. The best thing that could happen to the Conservatives in Scotland is independence. At last they will be freed of the millstone of ENglish conservatism – the worship of greed and selfishness. The legacy of Thatcher and her Scottish gauleiters.

        • Holly

          I think you will find the socialist nutjobs who were in Westminster ’97-2010 did more for greed and selfishness than the late Maggie ever did.
          What was it Bozo told an audience of bankers?
          I think it was along the lines of,…I am in awe at your ‘imaginative’ ways of inventing new products to your customers.
          That’ll be the PPI scam, interest rate scams, and the like.
          Not forgetting the unmerited/unearned bonus culture that morphed into existence under the ‘prudent’ eye of the great, and world saving Bozo. Who then went on to give a knighthood to the greediest.
          Then we have all the PFI contracts.
          I do not think he was English either, but hey I could be wrong,
          But he did do a great hatchet job on the working class down here, and undid everything Maggie offered them, while he, sucked up to the filthy rich.

        • P_S_W

          It was implied in your response and it’s a major part of Salmond’s schtick.

          • hoddles

            It wasn’t implied in my response. Talking about the present is not talking about the future. I’m sorry that is too difficult a concept for you to understand.

            • P_S_W

              “Rejection of the Tory doctrine of greed. Funding of the Tory bedroom tax. ”

              So this doesn’t in any way imply no more Conservative governments in Scotland?

              • hoddles

                No it describes the present and recent past.

                It says nothing of the future.

                Who knows? Some time in the future, even if Scotland remains in the UK, the Tories might drop their doctrine of greed and selfishness and hating Europe and become one-nation Tories again as they were when they won the majority of seats in Scotland. At the moment they simply pander to the greed of the southern English.

                • P_S_W

                  I see.

                • hoddles

                  Good. Happy to help.

                • Wessex Man

                  He doesn’t even understand irony!

      • Jambo25

        I devoutly hope you are correct but not the party of frivolous chancers that the London based Tories have become.

    • Inverted Meniscus

      So who will be paying for all those ‘Free’ things?

      • hoddles

        Those who pay now. The people of Scotland. Scotland receives a smaller proportion of Exchequer spending than it contributes. Freed from having to pay for English HS2, English Crossrail, Trident that only England loves, foreign military adventures there will be more than enough resources to continue to look after the sick, young and elderly.

        Thank god Scotland’s NHS is not controlled by ENglish conservatives.

        • Inverted Meniscus

          And they all lived happily every after. Sounds as if you are determined to be absolutely free of us English and thus will have no problem with our emphatic refusal to join a currency union with Scotland. Just as you have no interest in Trident, HS2 etc etc we have no interest in guaranteeing any newly issued public debt Scotland might want to issue without the ability to control how much you borrow and for how long. Great news but you had better break it to the ‘great leader’ gently because he is still deluding himself that he is going to get one. But he isn’t.

        • Wessex Man

          Still waiting for those links that will prove Scotland contributes more than it receives!

          • hoddles

            This is getting quite laughable. I have provided lower down the link for the question you asked. It follows your question. By the way I didn’t say what you have just claimed I said. If I were you I would take a course in reading comprehension.

            • telemachus

              3 years ago you wrote in your spiritual home the a telegraph a suggestion that since all debates there ended in references to H*tler and the N*zis a new norm should ensure all threads ended with a reference to Braveheart
              *
              Well there it is
              Let there be an end to this ridiculous string

              • vieuxceps2

                J*s*s Teleboy,have you PC loonies decided tostart blanking out historical references now? No more C***t***s,no more K**r H****e? No more A*****n B***n? Is it the for G*itsK***l?

              • Holly

                telemachus!
                Where ya bin.

            • Wessex Man

              Well you are a fine one to say that.

            • Wessex Man

              You provided a link which lead which when I investigated it’s long and winding road, though newspapers etc found it at the doorstep of Wings over Scotland’s head Office here in England at Bath of all places where the figures were manipulated to fit the narrow views of Wings over Scotland.

              how sad that you are fooled by such rubbish!

        • vieuxceps2

          Check the Barnett formula.The payment per head in Scotland is £1600 per year more than in England. Fortunately, secession will put an end to that.

          • Adro

            …I think you’ve somewhat missed the point – I was noting that the Barnett formula is ridiculous and unfair, but that the ScotNat habit of portraying it as a Scotland v England issue is a nonsense. England is disadvantaged, and this should be addressed, but the Scots are also hitting the Welsh and Northern Irish out of money they deserve (Especially given the development required in Northern Ireland).

            The Scotland v England argument is a convenient one for the Nationalists, but in reality it’s Scotland v England, Wales and Northern Ireland on this issue.

          • hoddles

            Oh dear another clueless one.

            Scotland receives more than most regions (not London though). It also contributes more than most regions. Are you another one who fails to understand that Barnett is just one side of the equation?

            When people like you whine on about Barnett what you are really saying is you want a bigger subsidy from Scotland.

        • Adro

          “Thank god Scotland’s NHS is not controlled by ENglish conservatives [sic]”

          So I take it when Salmond was moaning about the state of the NHS to Darling he was really moaning about his own ministers and policies.

          A couple of other points:

          These ‘foreign military adventures’ you claim England so loves – would these be the ones that were based on a lie concocted by a Government led by two Scotsmen, voted for by Scots MPs? or would they be the kind of deployments that Scottish soldiers (when surveyed) stated they would rejoin the UK armed forces to go on if independence occurred, rather than joining some half-baked ‘Scottish Defence Force’?

          And please, stop peddling the nonsense that Scotland contributes more than it takes. That is a fallacy, based on skewed additions in terms of oil. You receive a subsidy of about £1800 per head from the rest of us.

          Oh, and while we’re on it, the biggest losers from Scottish dependency are not the English, but the Welsh and Northern Irish. They get the least given thanks to the mess that is the Barnett Formula. The sooner these islands get a PM with the balls to stand up to whinging Scots and put in place a fair funding formula the better.

          • hoddles

            “And please, stop peddling the nonsense that Scotland contributes more
            than it takes. That is a fallacy, based on skewed additions in terms of
            oil.”

            You couldn’t make it up. Tell us whose waters the oil will be when Scotland is independent., Tell us why the UK government chooses to regard oil revenues alone as extra-regio. Tell us why the McCrone report was suppressed. You people know nothing.

            • Adro

              Right, another Nationalist who doesn’t understand economics, or how government works (quelle surprise).

              For a start, Oil resources are not alone in being regarded this way. Historically all national resources, be they coal or gas etc were included this way on government balance sheets, as the tax is taken centrally and distributed centrally. Even IF we accept your point of view, which we’ll do for a moment, the majority of the investment in North Sea Oil was derived from the UK as a whole, not Scotland alone. Without the UK an independent Scotland could not have developed the Oil industry as it stands today. It may well have been (in the words of the old Nat battle cry) “Scotland’s Oil”, but you wouldn’t have been able to get it, or it would have at least taken a significant amount of time longer.

              As for the oft-cited McCrone Report – and before I start, can I just say I do love busting a good Nationalist totemic myth, especially one that gets your backs up as much as this! – have you actually read the damn thing? Are you aware of what it actually does?

              The report was a series of projections for oil production made in 1974 for the period up to around 1980. The report predicted a range of 70m-100m tons of production by 1980, and in 1980 true production was 80.5m tons. The entire nationalist myth depends on the idea that these production estimates were ‘suppressed’. Except they weren’t. In 1973 the government put it on the record in a Parliamentary answer: http://hansard.millbanksystems.com/written_answers/1973/oct/23/north-sea-oil#S5CV0861P0_19731023_CWA_272

              Note where Mr Boardman says that “with further discoveries it [the lower end of the estimates e.g. 70m] should be exceeded” – and it was, by about 10.5m tons of oil.

              So please, keep telling us all how poor Scotland was lied to about a report (which by the way is only 18 pages plus a over letter, not some hefty tome) which broadly got things right and was an attempt at estimating oil production.

              Pathetic really.

              • hoddles

                Dearie me

                “For a start, Oil resources are not alone in being regarded this way.
                Historically all national resources, be they coal or gas etc were
                included this way on government balance sheets, as the tax is taken
                centrally and distributed centrally.”

                This is utter nonsense and shows a lack of understanding on your part.

                Revenues from coal etc are allocated to regions. Scottish oil is the odd one out. It is extra-regio because, so the argument goes it is offshore..

                “Without the UK an independent Scotland could not have developed the Oil industry as it stands today.”

                How did Norway manage without the UK?

                “The entire nationalist myth depends on the idea that these production estimates were ‘suppressed’. ”

                The McCrone Report was top secret for 30 years. It wasn’t the output that was suppressed it was the consequences:

                Here are some of McCrone’s findings – marked “SECRET”

                “It must be concluded therefore that large revenues and balance of payments gains would indeed accrue to a Scottish Government in the event of independence provided that steps were taken either by carried interest or bytaxation to secure the Government ‘take’. Undoubtedly this would banish any
                anxieties the Government might have had about its budgetary position or its balance of payments. The country would tend to be in chronic surplus to a
                quite embarrassing degree and its currency would become the hardest inEurope, with the exception perhaps of the Norwegian kroner. Just as deposed
                monarchs and African leaders have in the past used the Swiss franc as a haven of security, so now would the Scottish pound be seen as a good hedge
                against inflation and devaluation and the Scottish banks could expect to findthemselves inundated with a speculative inflow of foreign funds.”

                Denis Healey 2013 : “I think we did underplay the value of the oil to the country because of the threat of [Scottish] nationalism… I think they [Westminster politicians] are concerned about Scotland taking the oil, I think they
                are worried stiff about it.” ”

                You really need to educate yourself.

                • Wessex Man

                  You really need to stop throwing the insuilts at anyone who takes a differnt view to you. If you were to srtop forthing at the mouth for a few seconds you would see that most of the English contributors here want you to have ‘independence’ as well!

              • Wessex Man

                Did you know that dear old McCrone has suggested that they revert back to the merk as their currency, there we have it Salmond’s plan B-!

      • Jambo25

        Scottish tax payers embedded in a rather more productive economy than England has at present. The reality which has still to dawn on a lot of people down south is that outside London and the South East, England is a bit of an economic wasteland.
        The economic rebalancing which Osborne, Clegg, Alexander et al were so in favour of appears not to have taken place

        • Inverted Meniscus

          Many of those “taxpayers” work in the public sector who merely recycle private sector taxes and thus do not generate the wealth necessary to pay for theses services. The bulk of those private sector revenues come from England because over 50 million people live here. Most economic comparisons between England and Scotland are cited by the SNP on a per capita basis but you cannot pay for things with ratios. Rebalancing an economy takes decades because most politicians are unwilling to slash public expenditure significantly enough to redirect sufficient resources to the private sector for new businesses and industries to grow rapidly and contribute significantly. It would also require a consistent approach from successive governments something that is unlikely in either England or Scotland although the loss of 50 plus leftist MPs would certainly help England. Should Scotland become independent, although this looks increasingly unlikely, then it would have to try and grow its economy outside of a currency union. That is not impossible but it makes raising money for investment more expensive and thus more difficult to achieve a positive investment return.

        • Holly

          You need to get out more.
          The North is growing faster under Osborne, and when you’ve been dumped at the bottom by the champagne socialists, and once the thumb of state dependency is taken away, the only way is up.

          • Jambo25

            Actually, its not.

      • artemis in france

        The English will as the No vote will win quite easily. Unfortunately for the rest of Britain, you’re still going to get whingeing Scots blaming you for everything, although the life expectancy in Glasgow could be a tricky one to lay at the door of Westminster. Still, they’ll try.

        • Andy

          Well Mars Bars are made in Slough, so you can rest assured the English will get the blame.

        • Holly

          …And when they ‘whinge’ we can mock them.

    • Ronnie Strachan

      see how long any of these last without getting their annual bag of cash from Westminster

    • Dutchnick

      When the debt collector call round you will find that all this largess has to be paid for. 10% of Scots on antidepressants seems to quantify the Socialist imperative. Mind you adding Valium to the water like fluoride could be the answer but that could be considered vote rigging.

      • hoddles

        Largesse in paying for London’s Olympics. Largesse in paying for England’s HS2 and HS3. Largesse in paying for a Trident system we don’t want. Largesse which will end with independence.

        • HookesLaw

          Every part of the country pays for every bit of public spending. And every part of the country gets its share.

        • Inverted Meniscus

          Ridiculous. Scotland made, or would be expected to make a contribution, to these things but you did not pay for them. Scotland’s GDP is around $235 billion while the rest of the UK’s economy is around $2.3 Trillion. It is simply not credible to suggest that you are paying for everything.

        • Holly

          YEAH RIGHT!

        • Adro

          Given that Scotland as a whole generates about 8.3% of the UK tax take (and takes more in public spending per head than any other part of the UK), and London’s financial services alone (without any other forms of tax from the city) generate around 12-14% of the total, I think you’ll find it’s our largesse you’re living on.

          • hoddles

            “Given that Scotland as a whole generates about 8.3% of the UK tax take”

            Stop right there. The figures in the last 4 years have ranged from 9.1% to 9.9% of total Exchequer revenues. Spending each year has been 9.3% of Exchequer spending.

            • Adro

              Again, your figure only ads up if oil revenues based on a geographical share are included. Take them out and Scotland contributes 8.3%. Either way it still consumes more public spending per head than elsewhere.

              Leaving an argument about whether Oil should/shouldn’t be included, the simple fact is that Scottish spending as it stands is not viable should it become independent. The nationalists should stop peddling the myth that nothing will change should Scotland go independent.

              EDIT: Further, my point still stands that one industry in London alone generates more money than the whole of Scotland, so your argument about supposed Scottish largesse is a nonsense.

              • hoddles

                Of course they include oil coming from the Scottish sector of the North Sea. Why wouldn’t they? Is it going to move into English waters when Scotland is independent.

                Scotland does not consume more per head than elsewhere. London gets more, N Ireland gets more. It contributes more per head than nearly everywhere else.

                Think of Barnett as compensation to Scotland for its oil revenues being used by the whole of the UK

                “Scottish spending as it stands is not viable should it become independent”

                That is utter nonsense. In most years Scotland has a better fiscal balance than the rest of the UK. Check some basic facts before spouting such ill-informed nonsense.

                • Adro

                  Wow, you really have gone for a swim in the swill of the Nationalist kool-aid. Barnett as compensation? Pull the other one. Barnett is an outdated nonsense, disadvantaging other parts of the UK to Scotland’s benefit, whilst at the same time you hoover up spending to the tune of £1800 per head more.

                  And if you seriously think your fiscal position as it stands is viable in the long term I suggest you do some reading. http://www.ifs.org.uk/comms/r88.pdf – I’ll give you some lines from the conclusion:

                  “the main conclusion of our analysis is that Scotland would require a significant additional fiscal tightening, over-and-above that already announced by the UK government, in order to bring its long-term public finances on to a sustainable footing. The same is true for the UK as a whole, though the scale of fiscal tightening required is smaller. We estimate that the UK as a whole would require a permanent fiscal tightening worth 0.8% of national income (or about £13 billion in today’s terms), to be implemented in 2021–22, in order to be on course for debt to return to 40% of national income by 2062–63. The fiscal gap for Scotland (using the same definition) is estimated to be 1.9% of Scotland’s national income even in a relatively optimistic scenario in which it continues to implement the spending cuts currently planned by the UK government in 2016–17 and 2017–18, experiences higher inward migration, enjoys a much later decline in North Sea revenues than forecast by the OBR, only takes on debt equal to 40% of national income at the point of independence, and is able to continue borrowing at the same interest rate as forecast for the UK. All the other scenarios we consider in this report have a considerably worse outlook for the long-run public finance position of Scotland.”

                  But you know what? Frankly I’m fed up with it. If you want to go, go. Save us all some money and more importantly free the rest of this country from the constant whinging and self-pity of a vocal minority of Scots. And when you do go, have fun with your new currency. Oh wait, you won’t have one. It’s going to be fun trying to pay pensions in groats.

                • hoddles

                  “New currency”? Scotland will be using sterling – in the short term at least.

                  “The big independence lie”
                  http://www.cityam.com/article/1394565144/big-independence-lie-scotland-could-keep-pound

                  “Salmond: there is literally nothing anyone can do to stop an independent Scotland using the pound”
                  http://www.heraldscotland.com/politics/referendum-news/if-the-no-camp-think-telling-ordinary-scots-they-have-zero-entitlement-to-a.25003848

    • Ordinaryman

      Having read through your comments in this post, you are sounding like a very worried person. Are you starting to suspect that the majority of your fellow Scots are in favour of staying in the Union? Think positively, if Scotland does remain in the Union, you can carry on hating the English.

  • CraigStrachan

    You are of course right to draw attention to the scant achievements of the Scottish Parliament over 15 years, and the perpetual uselessness of west of Scotland Labour cooncils.

    • Jambo25

      What’s the Westminster Parliament achieved Mr Strachan? Remember control over fiscal and wider macro-economic policy decisions have been the prerogative of that parliament over that period. As has control over welfare policy.

      • CraigStrachan

        What has the Westminster Parliament achieved? In just the past four years it has achieved the rescue of the UK economy and financial system from collapse and the restoration of strong growth to the UK economy – stronger in Scotland than anywhere outside London and the SE.

        In the past 300 years, it has achieved the modernisation and industrialisation of Scotland, opened up fabulous global prospects to Scots in the age of Empire (which they fully availed themselves of), and defeated Napoleon, Kaiser Bill, Hitler and the Soviet gerontocrats, while delivering steadily growing prosperity to the people of Scotland and the UK, and creating the NHS and the welfare state (which, again,Scots fully avail themselves of.)

        All in, not too shabby.

        • Jambo25

          1) It ‘rescued’ (and believe that if you will) the UK economy from a disaster which it had help create over the previous 20-30 years or so.
          2) There is no strong growth in the UK economy. The UK economy may be growing slightly more quickly than some other EU states at present but that’s because we started our ‘recovery’ much later. The economic genius that is George Osborne probably delayed our recovery by a few years. Even now that some kind of growth has been got back into the UK economy it is weak, sporadic and slow by the standards of previous recoveries. Economists are already worried that there are some signs of it running out of steam. The main tranche of public spending cuts are not due to take place until after 2015.
          3) Real living standards have been falling since 2008 or so and probably from before that for some people. Real wages might start to increase again at the end of this year. Note that ‘might’.
          4) I don’t think that the Westminster Parliament created the deposits of coal, iron ore, salts and other chemicals that underpinned the Scottish industrial revolution. I don’t think that the Westminster Parliament created the conditions which made Scots possibly the best educated people in the world by the 18th century. That had more to do with the Church of Scotland and laws passed by the pre 1707 Old Scots Parliament.
          5) Access to the British Empire certainly helped but whether being part of the greatest imperial enterprise in history is something to be proud of is a moot point. In any case there was a ‘control’ experiment built into the British system and that was Ireland. If Scotland’s success in the post 1707 period was largely down to the Westminster Parliament then Ireland would, obviously, have prospered to the same extent except…..

          • CraigStrachan

            1) A global disaster that affected small states such as Ireland much worse than larger ones such as the UK, which had the tools to intervene effectively.

            2) 3% plus growth is strong in my book. But the contrast with small countries in the Eurozone (of which the SNP for the longest time wanted Scotland to be one) is again instructive.

            3) Yes, real living standards have fallen, and are now recovering. Living standards fell a lot further in Ireland, Iceland, Greece, Portugal…

            4) No, Westminster didn’t create the natural resouces, just the financial and industrial infrastructure that allowed for their effective exploitation. (And why isn’t the Scottish government moving forward with fracking?)

            5) So we agree that Scotland was successful post 1707.(And I can’t think of a single historian who doesn’t credit the Union with creating the conditions for the Scottish Enlightenment. I can, however, think of a number who reckon Ireland did better out of the Union than you seem to allow.)

            • Jambo25

              1 Ireland still has higher GDP per

              • CraigStrachan

                And more than double the UK unemployment rate.

                • Jambo25

                  Are we sure of that? It depends how you define unemployment and how you number the formally available labour force.

                • CraigStrachan

                  Well, the formally available labur force in Ireland has been shrinking due to resumed emigration post-crisis, to be sure. But, yes, we are sure of that.

                • Jambo25

                  Really! Do the Irish have as many people on the sick or classified as permanently disabled as we Brits do? Various things like that.

                • CraigStrachan

                  The Irish don’t have as many people, period. Which is why they needed more populous countries like Germany and the UK to bail them out.

                • Jambo25

                  As indeed the UK did when we called in the IMF some decades ago. We also now have our begging bowls out to the Chinese, Arabs and others to pay for the things which we should be investing in ourselves.

                • CraigStrachan

                  Well, the Irish bailout was 20-plus times the size of the iMF loan to the UK in 1976. The IMF simply could not have bailed out Ireland, such was the scale of the problem. And of course Ireland was locked out of debt markets for years. The UK has had no trouble selling its bonds throughout the crisis.

                  During the finacial crisis would an independent Scotland, with its outsized banking sector, have been in a position more like Ireland? I think the answer to that one is obvious.

                • Jambo25

                  The 1976 bail out has to be adjusted up to take account of inflation. You also have to remember that the Irish banks, like the Scottish ones were effectively integrated into a London based financial system which under prompting from New York collapsed. UK Banks had up to £140 billion worth of bad debts in Irish investments. One of my relatives who works for a large bank has spent a fair bit of time over the last years trying to dispose of bad Irish investments in an orderly fashion and in a way which brings as much money back to the bank as possible. I doubt it will be much Once again you seem to be defending a system which collapsed due to a great deal of stupidity from very clever people who were meant to be regulating it and who were based in London. It may well be the case that Scotland would have ended up in the same crud as Ireland but on the other hand it may be that an independent Scottish state might have been far more conservative in the way it regulated its financial institutions. We’ll never know: will we?

                • CraigStrachan

                  The way the polls are moving, NO we’ll never know.

                • Jambo25

                  I think you’re right and have made no secret of thinking so since the referendum campaign began. I’ll just add 2 words; ‘this time’ as this question isn’t going to go away if for no other reason than there is a continuing collapse of British identity.

                • CraigStrachan

                  Alex Salmond says this is a once-in-lifetime opportunity. I agree with him about that!

                • Jambo25

                  And I think he’s wrong. I think its a process of chip, chip, chip. As a Unionist you hope its once in a lifetime. Prepare to be disappointed.

                • CraigStrachan

                  See? You’re an SNP supporter and even you don’t believe Alex Salmond. Nae wunner he’s losin!

                • Jambo25

                  Strangely enough, contrary to popular belief pro Yes supporters aren’t all controlled by the evil ‘Alicsammin’ but do think for themselves. A number of us, right from the start thought that the Yes campaign was unlikely to win ‘thid time’. Those 2 words again.

                • CraigStrachan

                  After the big braw Naw, I’d be surprised if the SNP even campaign on a promise to hold another referendum any time soon – certainly not in the next Holyrood election, and probably not even the one after that.

                • Jambo25

                  I notice you didn’t answer the question I asked but one you made up which has no relevance to the topic under discussion.

                • CraigStrachan

                  The topic under discussion is whether Scotland should become a small, peripheral economy like Ireland, or remain part of a large economy and country, whose capital is at the heart of the world financial system.

                • Jambo25

                  Why on earth should the average Scottish citizen care about being in a country whose capital is at the heart of the world financial system?

                • CraigStrachan

                  Perhaps because a lot of Scots, especially younger ones, like to move and work there. Or perhaps because of the sturdy backstop to the financial system, which Scotland presently has, and Ireland doesn’t.

                • Jambo25

                  My son works in the London area. He actually worked in London for a while. He has also considered working in Toronto, Frankfurt a Main and Madison Wisconsin. None of these things required an incorporating Union with the rUK.

                • CraigStrachan

                  True but he’d need to obtain a work permit for Toronto and Madison, with no guarantee it would be granted. He would have a right to work in Frankfurt under EU freedom of movement. Which brings us to the vexed question of whether an independent Scotland would be an EU member, and the prospect of a hard international border splitting the island of Great Britain.

                • Jambo25

                  My family has had no difficulty moving to the USA, Canada, New Zealand, Australia etc. Friends now work in the EU. They didn’t find much difficulty in moving from place to place. Please look at the various meetings held by the committees of the Scottish Parliament where the overwhelming view by expert after expert was that membership of the EU was pretty much a given varying only between those who thought Scottish membership would be seamless and those who thought there might be an 18 month partial hiatus.

                • CraigStrachan

                  Didn’t Alex Salmond say he had a legal opinion on this very matter? What did it say again?

              • Inverted Meniscus

                But as I said, you cannot pay for goods and services with a ratio.

              • Inverted Meniscus

                Also, do you have the stomach for the kind of public sector cuts that Ireland have made? They have made large numbers of public sector employees redundant, cut wages and reduced benefits considerably. Their reward will be to emerge many years from now in a better state than they might have done otherwise. Simply comparing the GDP per capita of Ireland with that of a country with 20’times its population is hardly a decisive argument.

                • Jambo25

                  Which is why I took the GDP per capita as a comparison.

                • Inverted Meniscus

                  But you can’t buy things with a ratio.

                • Count Dooku

                  Actually, Ireland’s GDP is very skewed as they have lots of companies “producing” things there but repatriating the income elsewhere for tax purposes.

                  Look at GNI per capita. That’s more representative for the likes of Ireland, Luxembourg et al.

                • Jambo25

                  Ireland and especially Luxembourg still have higher living standards than the UK and Ireland still has only 5.5% of its population below the poverty line as opposed to 16.2% of ours.

                • Count Dooku

                  Living standards are debatable for Ireland. Why do you think they all emigrate? Agreed on Luxembourg. I’m just pointing out that for tax haven countries, GNI is more reliable to measure wealth than GDP.

                  Also, really good of you to argue things out properly. You’re the first independence supporter I’ve seen do that!

                • Jambo25

                  Net Irish emigration had stopped and turned into net immigration prior to the economic collapse. I suspect we’ll see the same thing happening again as the Irish economy continues to recover. In addition what does the high emigration rate tell you about the success and desirability of the political and economic structures of nations which have such high emigration rates as, of course, the Scottish population was virtually static for 50 or 60 years due at least partly to, err, high emigration rates? Surely that’s a major mark down of the desirability of staying in a British state for Scots?
                  As for the effects that rules allowing repatriation of profits to 2nd or 3rd countries have; well, I’m not sure that they really matter that much more to living standards in Ireland than the situation which currently pertains in the UK and other parts of the ‘Anglosphere’ where the way in which GDP is being distributed is going back to a pattern reminiscent of the pre 1945 or even 1929 period with more and more of the national cakes going to corporates and the hyper rich. After all, governments of both parties have been lowering corporation taxes over the past few decades.
                  As for discussing things rationally, with proofs, I must say that I see the situation as being completely different with much of the Unionist argument being based on assertion rather than proven facts.

                • Count Dooku

                  The whole debate has to be based on conjecture as we cannot predict the future. We do know however that the union of 307 years was extremely successful for the Scots and the rest of the UK. It created the greatest empire man has ever seen and may ever see

                • Jambo25

                  When the Union was joined in 1707 England’s population was 5x Scotland’s. It is now 10x-11x Scotland’s. Most of my family now live abroad as the opportunities they wanted could not be found in Scotland as part of the Union. From about the early 50s to the early 200os Scotland’s population was static thanks to mass emigration. On that count I doubt you could call the Union an unalloyed success.

                • Inverted Meniscus

                  Which is why I said “GDP per capita of Ireland” etc in response and pointed out why it is of limited value.

              • CraigStrachan

                1) Ireland has more than double the unemployment rate of the UK, and is paying its (much higher, proportionally) public debt faster as a consequence of the far more severe austerity that has been imposed upon the Irish people. The SNP, of course, plans to address the on-going deficit by increasing public spending, post-independence, as Alex Salmond confirmed again the other night. Can’t quite see how that adds up, can you?

                2) Are you sure that bigger EU states such as France, Italy and Spain recovered quicker than the UK?

                3) No, I’m comparing a notional independent Scotland with the worst-managed economies in the EU, as it would certainly be one under current SNP plans. (Although, of course, not likely to actually be in the EU).

                4) Belfast industrialised at much the same pace and manner as Glasgow.

                5) Can you name a historian who contends that the Union was not a sine qua non for the Enlightenment? I’d be very interested in reading the argument.

                • Jambo25

                  1) Ireland has higher unemployment but still has a GDP per capita about 11% higher than the UK. I doubt that Irish living standards are lower than in the UK even with greater short term austerity but they are still poster boys for paying off public debt in comparison to the UK. Our main spending cuts aren’t due until post 2015.
                  2 ) Scandinavia, the Netherlands, Germany, Poland , Austria etc certainly did. Others didn’t. The point is that there was no particular virtue or cleverness inherent in Westminster.
                  3) Strangely enough Scotland reached pre recession peak GDP rather quicker than the UK as a whole. Not by much to be honest but once again why the assumption that there is a greater store of wisdom and competence in Westminster than up here. There is simply no proof of that.
                  4) Belfast may have industrialised at roughly the same time as Scotland but the rest of Ireland didn’t and Belfast was part of the Lowland Scottish society which existed both sides of the North Channel. If anything this makes my point, not yours. If Ireland, as a whole had not industrialised then that could have been blamed on simple lack of raw materials. However, North East Ireland had no raw materials to industrialise with either; yet industrialise it did. It was, however, largely Lowland Scots in culture which leads me to think that the process of industrialisation might have had something more to do with Lowland Scots and Midlands/Northern English culture than it did with Westminster. After all, large areas of England didn’t industrialise. Back to dear old Max Weber.
                  5) I’ve not read his latest work but I’d suspect that Tom Devine comes into that category.

                • CraigStrachan

                  1) Ireland has double the unemployment, a much higher debt, has endured far greater austerity,and has higher levels of personal taxation than the U.K. I know where I’d rather take my chances. (Ireland does of course practice a form of corporate welfare to lure and retain the foreign companies whose investments help bolster the GDP per capita you seem to set such store by, although much such investment is of the sort that cycles through Ireland without really sticking.)

                  2) Scandinavia is not a country, and the Netherlands and Austria are not big EU states. Poland is big by population, not by GDP. You seem to concede that the EU states that are most comparable to the UK by GDP and population – France, Italy, and Spain – don’t exactly help your case. So that leaves Germany, which is – shocker – a stronger economy than the UK by most measures. Whether it will remain so, given current population trends, remains to be seen. But I’m curious: what it is about the likely characteristics of an independent Scotland that make you think it’s economic performance would be more like Germany than, say, Ireland?

                  3) So Scotland recovered quicker, and is doing pretty well within the UK. Great!

                  4) Yes, Irish industrialisation was concentrated in Belfast, as Scottish industrialisation was concentrated in and around Glasgow. The rest of Scotland, like the rest of Ireland, didn’t industrialise “as a whole”. One of Ireland’s economic sproblem, for decades after independence, was that the southern state had cut itself from from the island’s industrial heart – maybe that should be head – and distanced itself from its most natural market, the U.K.

                  5) I haven’t read his latest work either, but I’d be surprised, given what he has written about the Enlightenment in the past.

                • Jambo25

                  1) Irish unemployment is probably higher than the UK’s though by how much is difficult to say given the large level of hidden unemployment in this country. Irish public debt is still higher though not by as much as you’d think and it’s reducing quicker. Ireland is running a healthy Balance of Payments surplus and we are running a massive deficit. As a result of that and its quicker pay back Ireland pays less than the UK to borrow. Ireland has a higher savings ratio than the UK and lower inflation. It also has, despite recent austerity, 5.5% of its population below the poverty line. We have 16.2%. Overall taxation appears to be lower as well. Where would I rather be? Well, if poor, probably Ireland.
                  2) Scandinavia is not a country. It is 3 countries. Add in Finland and you have 4. All have coped with the recession better than the UK. Poland was certainly starting from a lower base following 50 0dd years of communist mismanagement but it has also grown quicker and more steadily over the past decade than the UK

                • CraigStrachan

                  1) Irish unemployment is definitely higher than the UK’s. About twice as high, on official figures. Irish public debt is higher by about half again, proportionately. Personal taxation is certainy higher, although corporate welfare distorts the overall picture, and the burden of austerity has fallen squarely on wage earners. I’d rather be in Ireland if I were a US multi-national corporation looking for a tax break. If I’m a average person, I’m moving to the UK, Australia or the US – as many Irish once again are.

                  2) Yes, Scandinavia is 4 countries. 4 rather small countries. You were looking for big EU states to compare to the UK. Spain, Italy and especially France are the closest comparables. And, just at the moment, the UK is growing faster than them all. It’s even growing faster than Germany – fancy that. As far as Poland goes, it’s great that they had no recession to speak of there – but I reckor the million of so Poles who moved to the UK in the past decade had to help!

                  3) Yes, we had a pretty big hole to dig out of due to the high-spending recklessness of Gordon Brown. Now we’re getting there, and, as you say, Scotland got there a bit ahead of the rUK. So Scotland is doing pretty well in the UK context. Why gamble that hard-won progress on Salmond’s sketchy schemes?

                  4)Well, you have offered your explanation of the difference between Belfast and the North and the rest of Ireland, to whit that the North was more integrated with Scotland the rest of the UK. Isn’t Scotland even more integrated with the rest of the UK?

                  5) I think I’ll stick with what he wrote in “The Scottish Nation”, rather than his introduction to an on-line primer.

            • http://owsblog.blogspot.com Span Ows

              That had more to do with the Church of Scotland and laws passed by the pre 1707 Old Scots Parliament.

              Yes, just a complete coincidence really. Had there been no Union Scotland would be Utopia, why can’t we all see that [sarc off]

              • Jambo25

                If I wrote that then please quote me where I did.

                • http://owsblog.blogspot.com Span Ows

                  It is a direct quote from point 4 of one of the comments above in your reply to Craig Strachan I have emphasised in bold to help you remember.:

                  “4) I don’t think that the Westminster Parliament created the deposits of coal, iron ore, salts and other chemicals that underpinned the Scottish industrial revolution. I don’t think that the Westminster Parliament created the conditions which made Scots possibly the best educated people in the world by the 18th century. That had more to do with the Church of Scotland and laws passed by the pre 1707 Old Scots Parliament.

                • Jambo25

                  No; where I wrote “Had there been no Union Scotland would be Utopia”. Where did I write that. I certainly did write ” I don’t think that the Westminster Parliament created the conditions which made Scots possibly the best educated people in the world by the 19th century. That had more to do with the Church of Scotland and laws passed by the pre 1707 Old Scots Parliament”.
                  I wrote that because its true. If you can prove otherwise then knock yourself out. Here’s another couple of things you won’t like. The only societies which were about as well educated as the Scots were Prussia, The New England Colonies and just possibly the Netherlands. That had nothing to do with the Union either.

                • http://owsblog.blogspot.com Span Ows

                  Where did I say you wrote that bit? Where did I even hint you wrote it? Seems you’re being a wee bit silly, probably trying to wriggle out …oh, maybe not: I see you’ve dug your hole deeper: please present proof of your statement that it is true, otherwise I (and anyone else happening along) will just presume it more hot air.

                • Jambo25

                  Your posting of 4 hours ago. Second short paragraph. If that’s not being addressed to me to suggest that that’s what I believe what’s it there for?

                • http://owsblog.blogspot.com Span Ows

                  yawn…It was addressed to you! (and any other reader). It is clearly an answer to your comment as I quote from your comment! Who is talking about not addressing you? Your earlier comment said you didn’t write what I commented, which I know and never said you did. Stop changing the subject; if you’re not going to post proof of your ‘true’ statement I’m going to bed….waited up especially.

                • Jambo25

                  I take it you simply pulled words out of a sock at random and randomly arranged them for that posting.

                • http://owsblog.blogspot.com Span Ows

                  If you didn’t understand my original comment then just say so. And if you can’t provide proof that your statement is true just say so.

                • Jambo25

                  Proclamations and acts of the Privy Council and Old Scots Parliamnet were passed in 1496,1616,1633,1646,and 1696 to establish a system of parish schools in the Lowlands and parts of the Highlands. By 1582 there were also 5 Scottish universities. You’ll notice that all these things were done pre-1707. If you want confirmation you can read various books by Tom Devine, Michael Lynch, Alexander Broadie etc. If you want a short cut google ‘History of Education in Scotland’

                • http://owsblog.blogspot.com Span Ows

                  Excellent! I am surprised you didn’t add “compared to England’s two” when mentioning the ancient universities. All made possible by the Scottish Reformation, which followed the English Reformation so although not the Westminster Parliament (Craig’s point I think) it was certainly English events that created the conditions.

                  Now, back to what I said: “Yes, just a complete coincidence really. Had there been no Union Scotland would be Utopia, why can’t we all see that [sarc off]” …please note the bit [in brackets]

                • Moderator

                  “when mentioning the ancient universities. All made possible by the Scottish Reformation”

                  Illiterate rubbish. St.Andrews. Glasgow and Aberdeen (Kings) were all Catholic foundations. Edinburgh and Aberdeen (Marishal) are later protestant foundations.

                  ” the Scottish Reformation, which followed the English Reformation”

                  Rubbish. The Scottish Reformation stemmed entirely from the continent. Hence we had Calvinism from Switzerland and not fake-Protestantism of England.

                • http://owsblog.blogspot.com Span Ows

                  yippee…hardly illiterate although perhaps a paragraph break may have helped: the ‘all made possible’ was the education reforms not the formation of the universities. That said, I don’t really care, hence the sarcasm. I’m off to watch the footy.

                • Jambo25

                  I would probably have termed the posting which Moderator refers to as deeply stupid and ill-informed. He is historically correct and you are merely ignorant, apparently, of Scottish history.

                • http://owsblog.blogspot.com Span Ows

                  LOL, Ah, so you sneaked back here: so “deeply stupid and ill informed” yet I was agreeing with you.

                  Jambo (the first sentence of yours that I quoted before) “That had more to do with the Church of Scotland and laws passed by the pre 1707 Old Scots Parliament”.

                  That would be after the Church of Scotland after the Scottish Reformation, would it not? Moderator is right only about the bit he misunderstood! If only he had not jumped in: read what I wrote and what he misunderstood (due to missing paragraph break admittedly) I mention the ancient universities when saying I was surprised “you didn’t add “compared to England’s two””, nothing more. So that’s his first point batted away. Secondly he claims “The Scottish Reformation stemmed entirely from the continent” Patently untrue! As ANY reading will easily show (try Wiki if you need an easily understandable start).

                • Jambo25

                  Moderator may be forgiven if he ,made a slight mistake in interpreting your meaning as, frankly, your prose isn’t exactly a model of clarity. More, “through a glass darkly”. However, he is entirely correct in his general view that the Scottish Reformation owed little to what was happening in England. We didn’t have an ‘accidental’ Reformation due to our monarch wanting to dump his wife.
                  ‘Our’ Reformation came pretty directly from Geneva and Jean Calvin. That explains the tensions between Scotland and England over religion right up until the 18th century and even later.

                • http://owsblog.blogspot.com Span Ows

                  Excuses, thou doth protest too much: it was a paragraph break missing. Nothing else; if he had read the thread and context of replies it was easily understandable.

                  Also, Moderator wrote: “Rubbish. The Scottish Reformation stemmed entirely from the continent.”

                  You wrote ” the Scottish Reformation owed little to what was happening in England”

                  We all know you are nearer to the truth than him…

                • Jambo25

                  In that case ‘ll be more specific. I’m 90 odd percent on the side of Moderator. I will offer no support to your view.

          • BigAl

            You mention education, an area covered by the Scottish Parliament but woeful in results for a large proportion of the population. I think Mr Gove could help you….

            • Jambo25

              But apparently we still do rather better than the English in terms of producing people with tertiary education qualifications. According to a recent survey we’re about the most highly educated people in the world on that measurement. We also seem to produce more STEM qualified people than England.

              • vieuxceps2

                “than England” seem,s to be an oft-repeated term in the Scotch vocabulary.Everything is ok if it’s actually bigger, smaller, or anyhting else in Scotland “than England” Is there any other people on the planet who judge their status only in relation to their neighbours? How strange.

                • Jambo25

                  I was replying to Big Al who seemed to think that Mr Gove (A Scot who was English Education Minister) could somehow help us overcome our woeful results. Given such a start doing some Scots/English comparison becomes rather inevitable. It generally appears to be that such comparisons, on here, start with our English cousins down south.

              • HJ777

                What a pity that the SNP government has slashed FE spending in Scotland. Do Scots who don’t go to university not matter?

                Switzerland has one of the world’s best educated populations – but proportionately fewer graduates than most advanced countries. Grade and qualification inflation do not a more educated population make.

                • Jambo25

                  Strangely enough, for once, I rather agree with you. I want to keep levels of tertiary education up but I’d rather see greater levels of high grade technician training and rather fewer business studies degrees. Given the way that the A level system was buggered about with over a number of decades I suspect that grade inflation has been a bigger problem down south than up here. We’ve had our problems with it up here but not quite to the same extent. Some years ago it became apparent that one or two of the ‘blue chip’ Scottish university courses which at one point preferred pupils with English A levels abandoned that position and began to favour pupils with a mix of Scottish Highers and Advanced Highers.

        • Kennybhoy

          God bless you sir!

      • launcher

        I think Scotland will end up in “Administration” if it votes for independence, just like the sad failure of the “Jambos”.

  • In2minds

    Weekend, no cybernats!

    • Inverted Meniscus

      I think you will find they are currently being ‘briefed’ and will be along shortly with the usually heady blend of lies, hyperbole, lies, bigotry, lies, more lies and my absolute favourite, a claim that they are ahead in the polls. Oh and I nearly forgot, more lies.

      • Holly

        You reckon they’re liars then?

        • Inverted Meniscus

          Its a strong possibility.

    • justejudexultionis

      Yes, only Britnats here!

      SAOR ALBA

      • Holly

        At least we’d have the bottle to vote not to be handcuffed to Scotland.
        We wouldn’t brick it just because the present inept leader has no clue what he is doing. We would simply get rid of him at the earliest opportunity and enjoy our freedom.
        The Scots however…..

        • Wessex Man

          SAOR ALBA to them Kitty and while they are about it free England for ever my dear!

          • Wessex Man

            Dear Holly, how can I apologise confusing you with Kitty? too much cider at the first game of the season and then coming on this comments page I’m afraid!

            • Kitty MLB

              Best stay off the Cider if I were you or you’ll be
              confusing me with the wasp that is dear telemachus.

  • cambridgeelephant

    Nice – and truthful – article. Not that the Labour/SNP chorus would see it that way. But it all the same.

  • Kitty MLB

    Lies and deceit..and as oily as a fish.
    When will honesty raise her head…Scotland deserves nothing less.

    • Ronnie Strachan

      as long as the SNP are a factor in Scottish Politics there will be no honesty – what we need up here is a strong right of centre representation to counteract the lefties of Labour and SNP because at the moment we have nothing to look forward to but tired and rotten socialist regimes

      • Jambo25

        The Tories committed electoral suicide, in Scotland, from the early 70s onwards. They have no chance of a recovery until they completely sever their links with the London Tories. I’d like to vote for a centre right Scottish party on a European Christian Democrat model but I wouldn’t touch the Tories with a barge pole.

  • the baracus

    Rushing to inhabit the perceived moral high ground is the only thing that modern politicians can do these days. what is desperately needed is some pragmatism. Something sadly lacking from those careerist Politico’s whom have never had a proper job in their lives….

    • Inverted Meniscus

      Which is ironic given that most of them are totally amoral.

  • Ordinaryman

    Did he actually mean that Scotland is more socially dependant than the rest of Britain?

    • The Masked Marvel

      SFX: *Sound of hitting nail on head*

      And contrary to Archer’s confusion, Salmond’s “beacon” wasn’t meant to exclude England’s dispossessed at all. It was simple grandstanding, nothing more. Salmond himself, of course, isn’t even remotely thinking about the logical consequences of what he’s said. To him it’s just another sound bite to puff himself up and get the usual suspects to make noise for his cause. It seems to have worked.

      If we’ve learned anything from a couple of decades of
      benefits tourism economic migration, it
      will attract them. Not even Robert Peston’s magical national oil fund
      could support all those dependents. Naughty people might see that as a
      reason to hope for a Yes result.

    • Emulous

      Just where is the Social Justice in subjecting your population to a treasury regime that cannot afford the current provision of health, welfare and pensions?
      Salmond will deprive his subjects of the pound risking economic collapse.
      He will try to retaliate by reneging on the debt.
      The nascent country will be internationally bankrupted.
      And we in England will not step in short of re-entry to our Kingdom.
      Mr Salmond says he is a Socialist but in truth is a buccaneer glory boy.

      • High Sheriff

        Professor John Kay, formerly on Alex Salmond’s Council of Economic Advisers encapsulated things well:

        “Alex Salmond has said I think rather stupidly that there is no plan B. The trouble with having no plan B is you don’t have any negotiating power if you don’t have a Plan B. So there has to be a Plan B. And Plan B has to be an independent currency.

        “The Scottish Government has stated definitively that it would continue to use Stirling in a monetary union. There is a slight problem about that, in that you have to negotiate a monetary union – it’s not entirely clear that you could negotiate a monetary union.

        “It’s rather hard to see a country that represents 91.5% of a monetary union granting a great deal of oversight of its banking policies and fiscal policies to a country that represents 8.5% of the monetary union.”

        • Emulous

          The last paragraph shows best the stupidity of Salmond.
          What is the point of pursuing independence if Whitehall continues to effectively control your economy.
          I guess we are back to see the purpose of all this being to add Alex Salmond to the credits on Braveheart.

          • Portendorfer

            Alex Salmond is h*ll bent on emulating his hero King Robert the Bruce who retreated to a cave hiding from the hated English who dominated his country.

            There he gained inspiration from the spider to consider the resurrection of the Scottish cause that was secured with his victory at Bannockburn in June 1314
            Well Braveheart tells us that Bruce acted in a timely manner. Salmond left it 3 months too late and as we see Darling destroyed him in the meantime.

            • Gwangi

              And don’t forget that Robert the Bruce murdered his way to the throne, dispatching competitors for that office as brutally as any ambitious would-be dictator. The SNP IS Salmond of course – l’etat c’est moi, innit? Are the Scots really thick enough to vote to become independent (in effect to be controlled by the EU and the banks though – true independence is not on offer) just because of they like one man? Who will follow him? Who will be in charge in 50 years if Scotland goes independent? I dread to think. But suspect it’ll be the President of the EU and the IMF anyway. To pretend that Scotland will be truly independent if it votes yes is as silly as pretending its play-money with pretty pictures on it is legal tender – IT IS NOT! Why I would always refuse it in change.

              The funny thing is, so many of the Scots I have worked with over the years in England and abroad, left Scotland to get away from the small-minded, parochial, intolerant, drunken, bigoted attitudes they had grown up with, which were utterly un-modern and which isolated and bullied minorities – views that were anti-gay, anti-English, racist, anti-women, religiously as sectarian as nutjob Northern Ireland, and I am sure much more too.

              Now unless Scotland has changed utterly in the past 25 years, with some sort of tolerance renaissance, I suspect those attitudes are still prevalent in much of the population – especially the lower class, uneducated types who are the ugly bullying stormtroopers for the YES campaign.

        • Stephen Green

          Would that be Stirling Castle or Stirling University?

        • Inverted Meniscus

          Bullying, blustering, scaremongering, Nobel laureates in favour, bullying, scaremongering etc etc repeat ad infinitum to the tune of Flower of Scotland and never let facts or reason like the above intervene.

          • Emulous

            Furthermore Salmond cannot be forgiven for being fat and ugly.

    • James Richardson
    • Clock

      It’s part of Salmond’s mendicant nature; someone else can pay.

  • Hegelguy

    I had some sympathy with your point until you lauded the crocodile Duncan Smith as your ideal of social justice. Just as well laud nineteenth century chimney sweeps sending boys up chimneys as an example of providing jobs. Brrrr…..Life is getting grim when your kind of cold blooded arguments are made. We live in a bad time.

    • Andy

      You talk utter bollocks. Iain Duncan Smith’s Welfare reforms are long overdue. They are gradually starting to have effect. There is nothing wrong with actually have a job and supporting your family. What is wrong is expected, net demanding, that the taxpayer, other people, support you and your life style of choice.

      • LadyDingDong

        The left hate IDS, as they hated Gove, because he lays bare their failure and both have broken their hegemony on their socially engineered welfare-dependent client state. This is Gordon Brown’s triumph and it is difficult t see how Britain will ever recover while the likes of the idiot above, and the other leftard trolls here, still have the vote.

        • Ingenious Cognomen

          Now that’s a good idea – deprive those nasty lefties of the ability to vote! Perhaps we could later progress to throwing them out of helicopters, or gassing them?

      • HookesLaw

        Which is why we need 5 more years of tory rule.

        • Andy

          Only 5 ????

          • P_S_W

            It would be a start.

      • Hegelguy

        You are talking of the Royal family, I see. And of banking gangsters.

        • Andy

          The Civil List has been abolished. And by ‘banking gangsters’ I assume you mean Northern Rock.

    • http://owsblog.blogspot.com Span Ows

      Firstly he does not ‘laud’ IDS but your comment and especially the hyperbole (‘crocodile’, ‘cold-blooded’) is just pathetic; the comments already in reply to you make this clear.

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