Blogs Coffee House

Two Sober Men Fight Over A Thistle

5 August 2014

8:36 AM

5 August 2014

8:36 AM

Never before have so many waited so keenly to hear Alistair Darling speak. Tonight’s the night, however, and the fate of a nation hangs upon his words. Or so some folk would have us believe. Anyway: two hours of Alistair Darling, live on prime time television. We chosen people, we.

In truth, Darling is still the Other Guy in tonight’s debate with Alex Salmond just as the Better Together campaign has been the Other Lot for most of the independence referendum campaign. What he says and what they do matter; just not nearly as much as what Alex Salmond says and what the Yes campaign does. They are the fellows making the running; they are the crew with the point to prove and the people to convince.

The No campaign have, as is traditional in these matters, have done their best to scuttle expectations. Salmond, apparently, must leave Darling ‘lying on the floor’ and any failure to do so will mean that, technically like, Salmond will have lost the debate. Even if he is ahead on points. Here’s a video representation of the only way Salmond can win:

Sporting metaphors, I’m afraid, are unavoidable in this arena.

Be that as it may, the dark and secret truth about this debate is that few people think it will really change very much. This is because there are relatively few genuinely undecided voters out there and because, rather importantly, TV debates tend to change how an election is covered much more easily than they change voters’ minds.

[Alt-Text]


We know this because our experience tells us so. The TV debates in 2010 dominated the last general election campaign but I’m not sure they had much impact on how people voted. Similarly, experience and research from the United States suggests that if presidential debates have an impact at all it is usually modest and short-lived.

It is, for sure, possible that Scotland and tonight will be different. Perhaps Darling will make some calamitous blunder; perhaps Salmond will wipe the floor with him. Perhaps this will matter. And you know, it might! The point is that there’s little reason – based on past experience – to think it will or must. Thinking this is a game-changing moment is, in the end, a faith-based approach to politics not a rational one. Which is fine. Sometimes faith is rewarded. Just not all that often.

Anyway, the point is that Darling does not need to sizzle. He just needs to be solid and hold his end up. True, he needs to avoid disparaging – even inadvertently – Scotland but pointing out the heroic optimism upon which the SNP’s economic forecasts depend is not the same as ‘talking Scotland down’. Sure, we can independent, the question is whether we need to be? And besides, why do we even have to make a choice? We can, he may say, have it all. Best of both worlds and all that jollity.

As for Salmond, well he’s having to settle for second-best. He desperately wanted to be debating David Cameron but must settle for Mr Darling. Going head to head with Cameron would have boosted Salmond’s status: a contest between Premiers. Sniping with Darling is not quite the same. In some ways it makes it a more parochial contest and one that, from a media perspective, is much less rewarding. Damn them all.

Still, I would expect Salmond to do well tonight and not just because he’s a competent media performer who’s been refining and rehearsing these arguments for 40 years. No, he will do well because the argument for independence is not idiotic or obviously the kind of thing in which only cranks and crackpots can believe. There is a credible, even respectable, case for it and Salmond will make it well.

There is a difference, admittedly, between what works in theory and the practical implementation and consequences of said theory but that is a different matter.

Still, anyone with any experience of any form of debating knows that these things rely on some measure of bluff and bluster. Moreover, you get away with what you can and if it ain’t challenged it ain’t falling down. Exaggeration, question-begging and special pleading are the orders of the day and if there will be few outright lies told tonight most things both men say will probably only be true up to a certain point. Truthiness will abound.

Viewers may not. Two hours of political debate is two hours more than some folk can stomach. Few will wish the programme longer.

Anyway, the fix is in you know. Salmond will win but not by enough to make a grand difference. That’s the story. Or, at any rate, the one people expect. Which, of course, colours the way we see, interpret and report the debate just as much as convinced Yes voters will persuade themselves that Salmond won a thumping victory and convinced No voters will cheer themselves with the thought that, actually, when you look at it properly you see that Darling won, technically speaking. But those are the rules of the game.

 

Subscribe to The Spectator today for a quality of argument not found in any other publication. Get more Spectator for less – just £12 for 12 issues.


Show comments
  • vahid

    Love the 12 practical tips. Organic reach or not, still one of the best places to connect with new people and ridiculously inexpensive.

    کرکره برقی
    درب اتوماتیک

    کرکره برقی
    کرکره برقی
    زومر
    درب پارکینگ

  • beenzrgud

    I’m looking forward to getting this all over and done with. In just a few weeks we will never have to look upon Salmond’s smug smirking face again. In or out that surely is cause for celebration !

  • Craig Millar

    cannot wait tonight for 2 hours of quality Netflix.

    roll on the 19th September and the no vote.

  • Ilya Grushevskiy

    The only reason I don’t like Salmond is because, while he has decent arguments – ones that must be considered by everyone who will cast their vote, it still feels like little more than a desire by an ambitious group of men to extend their reach within the power circles of the world..
    Independence will not have a significant impact on the lives of Scottish people either way.. Their politician’s lives however, will greatly improve, at least in their eyes – as they then get to sit at the bigger tables.

    • The_greyhound

      salmond has decent arguments?

      Was it the currency union or the automatic membership of the EU that impressed you so? Perhaps you were carried away by salmond’s infamous promise to join the arc of prosperity? You too perhaps felt that Sterling was a millstone around Scotland’s neck?

      • Ilya Grushevskiy

        No, I’m not particularly impressed by his arguments, but it’s not a simple clear cut “Yes is bad”, “No is good” kind of debate. There is an aspect of finesse, and while Salmond has pushed his side too far in trying to get his way, intrinsically the debate can’t be settled through intuition. That’s what I meant.

        Don’t get me wrong, I don’t particularly like the man for the reasons stated above, but his side does have arguments to present.

        I just don’t think there is much in it – Independence brings some more freedom of action, which given a decent leadership would be beneficial, but it also makes Scotland a micro-state (at least population wise), which will bring disadvantages.

        All in all, no matter how good your economic predictions etc, the outcome (beneficial or not) rests in the flip of a coin. And if you are on the wrong side in 5 years, return to the Union may be under rather different terms than now!

        • The_greyhound

          I’m afraid it is as simple as “Yes is bad”. The SNP has presented a tissue of nonsense on the economic front : in the unlikely event of a yes vote, Scotland would be the only country in the developed world operating its currency on the Zimbabwean basis, while exclusion from the EU screws up the rest of the economy. And in those circumstances an independent country has less, not more, freedom of action. The SNP’s promises to the poorer end of society are just cynical fantasies – but the costs are terribly real.

          • Ilya Grushevskiy

            I agree with you, but I’m simply not as pessimistic about the starting conditions the Scottish Nation would face.

            Zimbabwe is a bad example btw – hyperinflation is always a printing press (seigniorage) problem caused by uneducated policy – I’m sure Scotland can hire some decent economists to manage a new currency (there is some hyperbole from both sides on this point).

            The EU, that juggernaut is unavoidable and Scotland would remain in it. Not much of a change really. Again, fighting over loose change imo: for example – the UK contributes 0.4% of its GDP to the EU.

            Scotland would face much bigger drains on the economy from becoming a tiny northern state with little weight to its name. Such a small economy would also face a much larger risk from asymptomatic shocks to the world economy, which I would be much more afraid of than anything to do with a new currency or the EU.

            • Denis_Cooper

              At present Scotland is only in the EU as part of a member state, the UK, and it could only remain in the EU as a new member state in its own sovereign right if all the other EU member states agreed to the necessary treaty changes. There is no automaticity about that, and even if it happened it’s very unlikely that all the other member state governments would agree to it without demanding some kind of price.

              • Ilya Grushevskiy

                hmm, didn’t think of that – makes that argument even less enticing I guess! :p

        • Cymrugel

          Oh dear!

          I think you may have signed into the wrong website.

          You appear to want to have a rational conversation about the issues and that’s just not going to happen in this neck of the woods I fear.

          The BTL posters just will not concede there is a debate to be had at all. It’s all snarling at ungrateful Jocks who they dearly want to see the back of, yet fury at the effrontery of same jocks getting so uppity.

          Then there are course the wibblings about Salmond.

          Personally I view him as a bit of an irritating smartarse, but he’s a good bit more personable than most current politicians and far better value than the empty suits of Dave and his cabinet of posh merchant bankers. Yet on these pages old chubby chops goes from evil genius to dictator in waiting on a daily basis.

          There’s a debate to be had on the issue all right, but you won’t be having it here. There is no nuance and no real exchange of views. Just assertion and the denial that the opposition has any case at all. The occasional Nat will log on but as there is no means of engaging and it descends almost immediately to personal abuse there isn’t really much point.

          10 brownie points for giving it a go though

          • Wessex Man

            Priceless absolutely priceless! do the padded walls in your room keep you nice and warm?

            • Cymrugel

              Is there any point in this comment at all?

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

        “You too perhaps felt that Sterling was a millstone around Scotland’s neck?”

        Personally I agree with Alastair Darling that a currency union is the obvious and best option. I disagree with Labour and the LibDems about the Euro – I’m against joining.

      • Wessex Man

        Don’t forget the e-mail to Fred the Shred on his fantastic deal which ruined RBS which had to be saved by English tax payers!

    • Cymrugel

      Right.

      So let’s just keep things the way they are and leave power in the hands of those self effacing humble chaps in London.

      Good plan.

      It never ceases to amaze me how commentators expect Scottish voters to have motivations based on practically anything but self interest and Scottish politicians to be moral giants of Platonic proportions, while being quite happy to accept the same old same old at Westminster and an electorate that is currently being appealed to through Xenophobia and cheap patriotism.

  • dado_trunking

    AD the accountant
    He was chosen to deliver the message:
    YES means YES, NO means YES.

    The plebs remain as ill-informed as ever which is quite shocking actually.
    Broken Britain.

    • Colonel Mustard

      The EU is broken too. It just hasn’t fallen apart yet.

      • dado_trunking

        They have not even printed once, never mind revalued their hard asset base in London only as the Duke of Waldmeister did.
        The countries of the Northern Alliance remain largely unfussed by the AngloAmerican banking crisis whilst Britain remains the Greece of Northern Europe. Now, do some work.

        • Wessex Man

          oh good grief here’s another one, go tell that to the French who’s elite are leaving in droves and settlingin London, whilst their own country is crashing around their ears!

  • cambridgeelephant

    .Salmond has already won in the sense that Cameron has chickened out.

    And before Dave’s little fan club start squawking about that – ask yourself this :-

    If the PM was Thatcher, Churchill or even Harold Wilson, would they have stayed sulking in the Downing Street tent ? No they would have shown that they were the Prime Minster of the UK and acted accordingly.

    Cameron himself might accept that he would never measure up to the first to but ‘you are no Harold Wilson’ is a pretty damning indictment when applied from the point of view of Wilson’s superiority.

    • Denis_Cooper

      I’m pretty sure I saw his mug at the closing ceremony of the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, so presumably he must have screwed up his courage to leave Downing Street on that occasion.

    • ChuckieStane

      Your point about Thatcher, Churchill, Wilson (and I would add the hideous Blair) is well made.

      Cameron must be either very sure of a No or very scared of the debate.
      Either way, if on Sept 19, he finds Scotland voted Yes and he didn’t even stand up for the UK, history will judge him poorly.

      The last PM of the UK (since 1921 or 1707 depending on your take) will have left the very existence of his country in the hands of an opposition back-bencher.

      • Alex Creel

        Surely it’s so that when we get a YES vote Cameron can rightly say ‘it was nothing to do with me’?

      • Wessex Man

        maybe he rather fancies a Union without Scotland just like me.

    • The_greyhound

      Cameron doesn’t need to have a public debate with salmond, or indeed any other county council leader with delusions of grandeur. So he hasn’t.

      In fact the poison dwarf doesn’t deserve the oxygen of publicity – Darling appearing with him must be considered an act of charity.

      • ChuckieStane

        Neil,
        Why did Cameron sign the Edinburgh Agreement after the Tories said there could be no referendum?

        Why did Cameron agree to the question after saying the wording was biased?

        Why did Cameron agree to the timing after saying it had to be quick and he would decide the timing?

        Why has Cameron signed up to “more powers” after Ruth’s line in the sand for no more powers?

        Your man Cameron seems to be running scared of that county council leader.

        I know you’re only trollng, but the cringe has got you bad Neil. How many county councils control justice, criminal law, health and education?

        • The_greyhound

          Cameron didn’t need to have signed the Edinburgh agreement – he should simply have repealed the devolution legislation and abolished the county council in Edinburgh – after all the SNP had a mere 900,000 votes, so there was no democratic mandate for salmond worthy of the name. Half the country stayed away from the poll in 2011 – the only reason that this bunch of unrepresentative extremists got to form an administration.

          Still, salmond resigns on 19th September – what will you be doing with yourself then? Some of your mates already seem to have signed up trolling anti-semitic propaganda. A new career beckons?

  • swatnan

    Darling has lost before its even started. The Scottish People have already decided in their hearts that its Scotland the Brave, and they prefer to go it alone. Starnge how these extra tax raising powers never were offered in all of the Unions 300 year history, but only now.

    • The_greyhound

      I should take a little more water with it in future. The Weirs’ independence campaign tanked months ago, and even the bungling, corrupt and incompetent SNP administration in Edinburgh has stopped pretending it’s planning for independence. It’s all over for the idiot nationalists, bar the recriminations, of course.

  • smilingvulture

    Darlings campaign is already on the floor,he challenged Salmond to debate,not expecting him to say YES

    • The_greyhound

      Do you seriously expect tonight’s broadcast to do the poison dwarf and his capsized independence campaign any good?

      • Alex Creel

        Hmm. Capsized Independence campaign. That would be the campaign that has only increased it’s projected share of the vote over the last 12 months as opposed to the No campaign who haven’t grown their vote? Salmond can skipper us to independence, AYE AYE Cap’n

        • The_greyhound

          The SNP got out 10% of the electorate to support them in May. Actual votes, not iffy opinion polls of pre-registered nationalists. salmond has known for months that his goose is cooked. His poor deluded followers are just slower on the uptake.

          • Alex Creel

            Again, a red herring – if this was an SNP only campaign that would count but I’m out knocking doors with Labour, Lib Dems and Greens who wouldn’t be seen dead at at an SNP branch meeting!

            • The_greyhound

              How the lying SNP wishes us to believe that.

  • Cymrugel

    I am perplexed Mr Massie

    First there is the title ; two men fight over a thistle which seems to Imply that the debate is over something meaningless or of no value (though I appreciate that you may not have chosen this).

    Then you state that there is really no point in it as all the voters have already made up their minds.

    Then you say that Darling need not win, just not fall flat on his face, while Salmond should be circumspect and ever so ‘umble and not try too hard even if he does win as people will think he is smug and gloating.

    Then you admit he WILL win but that it doesn’t really matter.

    Finally you concede that Salmond will win, but no problem as the result is in the bag and No will prevail.

    Do you think we’re all daft or something?

    The debate is only taking place because the No camp feel that they really need to have it because they are not at all confident that they can win. If they were they wouldn’t bother.

    Its startling really given that they have the whole of the media apart from a few blogging sites, the UK government and effectively the entire power of the state backing them up, but they are still struggling.

    It is a testament to the power of the independence argument that a grassroots movement has got the entire might of the British state running scared in this way. I personally think Yes will lose; but by a whisker. If they had a fraction of the resources at the disposal of the No campaign, or even total commitment from one major media organisation they would romp home. As it is No are still on a knife edge.

    I appear to be one of the first commentators and the deluge of “why can’t we get rid of them” nastiness that will shortly ensue ,implying that Scotland is a basket case that should be grateful for British largesse only confirms me in my belief that Scotland should vote Yes.

    Hopefully more Scots will agree with me on the day.

    Meanwhile you appear to be pinning your hopes on people already having set views, not being influenced by argument and not seeing Mr Darling being bitch slapped across Scotland’s TV screens by his far more formidable opponent.

    Thin stuff sir, thin stuff.

    • Denis_Cooper

      How can you say that the No campaign has “effectively the entire power of the state backing them up”, when the Scottish government is constantly acting in support of the Yes campaign?

      Just as an example today, read what a “Scottish Government spokeswoman” is reported as saying here:

      http://www.scotsman.com/news/politics/top-stories/independence-economists-criticise-both-sides-1-3499044

      “Scotland is a successful and prosperous country. Our GDP per head is greater than in countries such as France, Japan and the UK itself, and independence will provide the opportunity to invest in our economy,
      grow our businesses and boost revenues by £5bn by 2030.”

      I thought it had been agreed long ago that when a question is put to the people for their direct decision in a referendum then the government should remain neutral and not take one side or the other during the campaign.

    • ChuckieStane

      The title is a reference to MacDiarmid’s poem “A Drunk Man Looks at the Thistle” published in 1926.

  • Denis_Cooper

    If everybody across the UK had a vote on September 18th then it might make more sense for the Prime Minister of the UK to debate with the Scottish separatist leader, but as the rest of us have no vote the latter should only expect to debate with another Scottish politician in Scotland. I was going to add that this is an exclusively Scottish affair, but of course that is not strictly true when foreign citizens resident in Scotland are allowed to vote on whether the UK should be broken up.

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

      Of course, if the Prime Minister of the UK were a Scot, the tune would be different. The argument is entirely ethnically-based. Scots will be presented with front-men of their ethnic group. Bettertogether’s position is to pretend the PM doesn’t exist while campaigning to keep him in power in Scotland. Keeping Brigadoon Scotland a proud region where somehow Alastair Darling is in charge. Deeply weird.

      • Inverted Meniscus

        This really is one of my favourite bits of hypocrisy. Cameron is placed by the cybernats into the ‘Hot air Balloon Conundrum’: if he goes up in the balloon he is a show off, if he refuses to go up he is a coward. Any intervention by Cameron in this debate is met with accusations of the metropolitan elite “interfering in Scotland’s business”,non intervention is deemed to be cowardice and fear of influencing the debate in the wrong way. It is not deeply weird it is merely a further illustration of cybernat bigotry and hypocrisy. “Ethnically based” pathetic.

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

          No camp claim that wanting the PM of the UK and hence Scotland to debate is “making it about England versus Scotland”. That’s ethnic all the way.

          As for criticism of Cameron’s interventions – we criticise the hypocrisy of claiming you’ll butt out but constantly intervening while refusing to put up (in a fair debate) or shut up.

          The PM should be defending his position of sovereignty over Scotland. If he were of a different ethnic group he would be doing so. Don’t agree? What if Brown were the PM?

          • Inverted Meniscus

            That’s right laddie you just keep telling yourself that and listening to the voices inside your head. You are a hypocrite pure and simple.

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

              Excellent argument you have there 🙂

              • Inverted Meniscus

                Yes it is so just keep listening to the voices in your head laddie.

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

                  Fantastic.

                • Inverted Meniscus

                  If that is what the voices in your cybernat nutter head are telling you lad then yes, it is fantastic. But you are still a hypocrite.

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

                  Do you want to have the last word or shall I?

                • Inverted Meniscus

                  No chance of me having the last word with all those voices going off in your head laddie.

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

                  Because it is only the internet – you really don’t *have* to have the last word – you’re a grown up after all.

                • Inverted Meniscus

                  That’s right lad those voices are still going off in your head. Try having a conversation with yourself.

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

                  Last word: here.

                • Denis_Cooper

                  I’m convinced that certain Tory politicians went out of their way to stir up the English against the Scots in the hope of getting some electoral advantage for the Tories in England.

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

                  Ach I doubt that – Scotland doesn’t even appear as a blip on English politicians’ radars in normal years.

                • Denis_Cooper

                  So you never noticed all those articles by Boris Johnson in the Telegraph some years back.

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

                  You’ll need to be a wee bit more specific than that Denis.

                • Wessex Man

                  I’m convinced that they are willing to bend over backwards to accomdate the Scots they will never be able to stand striaght again!

                • Inverted Meniscus

                  Well whatever the voices keep telling your witless, hypocritical head is fine by me laddie because your opinion is irrelevant. All that ‘problems in your personal life’ gibberish in respect of somebody of which you know nothing, hilarious. You need to be a bit careful with those voices lad.

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

                  So angry, man. So, so angry 🙂

                • Inverted Meniscus

                  Not me lad I am thoroughly enjoying myself. You keep blathering on about having the last word and how unecessary it is but then, like a true hypocrite, you keep trying to have it. It must be those voices in your head laddie because you don’t know where you are.

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

                  OK. hypocrite – voices in head – laddie etc. I think we’ve got the general idea. But feel free to repeat yourself 🙂

                • Inverted Meniscus

                  Oh I will lad with cybernat nutters like you around .

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

                  Will you though?

                • Inverted Meniscus

                  Oh yes laddie you cybernat nutters cannot help yourselves and provide plenty of amusement with your fantasies.

                • Wessex Man

                  His words don’t seem to involve anger, he’s winding you up and you are so deep into yourself and Scottish Independence you’ve not noticed.

                • Wessex Man

                  i’m butting in here, you get less of a distorted view here day by day with English reading how you Cybernat nutjobs feel about everything including the injustice of being connected to England by a land border, more and more Ehglish hope you go!

                • Joseph Alan Jones

                  No reason why the Scots should not cut a channel to separate themselves and then play their pipes and make rude gestures across the water!

                • eclair

                  I can assure you that Im not describable as ‘ unhappy middle-aged men with problems in their personal lives’ in any way whatever but I have a view. Odd that .In your terms anyway.

          • Denis_Cooper

            Of course it’s ethnic, the whole thing has always been ethnic and still is ethnic despite the SNP pretending otherwise when that is more convenient. The clue is really in the name of the party, isn’t it? And there’s nothing wrong with it being ethnic, provided that it is not too rigidly exclusive in practice. It’s not as if the present population of Scotland has just been gathered at random from across the world and dumped there, is it? Look at your own name, assuming that it is your real name, what does the “Mc” bit mean?

            • Alex Creel

              I’ve commented on these pages previously about my experience of YES campaigners – my local group has English, Scottish, Norwegian and Welsh members -puts paid to your idea of an ethnic element surely?

              • Denis_Cooper

                Hardly. You enlist some people who are not Scots, in some cases apparently people who are not even British, to press for the UK to be broken up, and why? Because you think that the Scots are sufficiently distinct from the English that they must rule themselves. And what is the basis for that distinction other than predominantly ethnic? Even if you do add on a
                few token non-Scots to give your cause what is essentially a politically correct veneer?

                • Alex Creel

                  Denis, I have no idea how ‘distinct’ the Scots are from the rest of the UK – I’m not Scottish. I’m merely campaigning and voting in my and my family’s best interests. This is no different to voting in a general election – you pick the party who’ll provide best for you and vote for them – simple. The ‘ethnic’ argument really is scraping the bottom of the barrel when there are so many (more sensible) economic and social reasons to vote YES…

                • Denis_Cooper

                  “This is no different to voting in a general election”

                  Are you mad?

                • Alex Creel

                  Merely pragmatic.

                • Denis_Cooper

                  So you really cannot see the difference between voting in an election to decide the next government of a country and voting in a referendum to decide whether to permanently break up the country. With enough people in Scotland thinking at that kind of level I’m sure that it’ll have a bright future.

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

              It’s all ethnic – are you sure it’s not about barrel-making? What does “Cooper” mean?

              • Denis_Cooper

                So what you’re saying is that your own Scottishness, and that of all the other Mcs and Macs, is not something that has been acquired by descent from Scottish ancestors but is just related to current residence in Scotland. Which will come as a surprise to all those people elsewhere around the world who think that they are at least partly Scottish, clearly that cannot be the case as they are not living in Scotland.

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

                  I see how it works now. You make barrels, right?

                • Denis_Cooper

                  Try not to show yourself up as a complete idiot.

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

                  You’re called Cooper – according to your argument that ethnicity emanates from surnames you must still have some desire to make barrels.

                • Denis_Cooper

                  If I did want to make barrels that would not be something that I acquired by descent, unlike Scottishness. so your argument is fatuous.

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

                  I’m just rephrasing your argument Denis – to highlight that it’s a bit silly.

                • Inverted Meniscus

                  Good luck with that. He is definitely an idiot.

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

                  Now now, laddie. No need for rudeness 🙂

                • Wessex Man

                  You do realise that Inverted Meniscus has gone off to have his tea and left you to debate with this idiot.

                • Denis_Cooper

                  🙂

                  Luckily it’s also time for my dinner.

                • Wessex Man

                  Mine as well, he’s going to get a bit lonely!

          • eclair

            England is paying for Scotland and as is usual, getting what it pays for. It like having a rebellious teenager who want all the freedoms, talks a lot but never yet had to fork out.

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

              Scotland is a net contributor to the UK, financially.

              • eclair

                Perhaps I should get round to calculating the benefits that go North of the border then. Having lived in some of the more broke areas of Scotland and also in one of the more beautiful too Im well aware of the benefits culture, the lack of work and the stimulus to come south which so many have done. Im also well aware of Scottish pride and the numerous other cultural differences too. I remember also the abject poverty damp sickness and appalling overcrowding in the Glasgow tenements and elsewhere before huge swathes were cleared. I work in the south with Scots and have many friends in Scotland. Im not anti Scottish as so many Scots are anti English. I know it to be true.Nevertheless the Scottish Nationalists need to grow up and stop attempting to lead people into a cloud cuckoo land which is largely airy fairy nonsense created by a small fringe and led by an egomaniac who would like to package you all to be as simplistic as they are. Dont prepare to lecture me on Scotland. Ive never seen it as another country. Its different, as different as Yorkshire is to Surrey. Im sure we can deal with that without setting adrift all the counties and other countries who operate under the umbrella of Britain.

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

                  I must admit I didn’t wade through your entire comment. However, it’s a proven fact that Scotland contributes more in taxation than it gets back in spending. Has done for decades.

                • eclair

                  Well that a shame. You might have got the last bit where I said that Scottish Nationalism is nothing more than a load of airy fairy nonsense run by an egomaniac who wanted you all to believe that everything is as simplistic as the mad contents of his head. All adolescents are more than entitled to leave home and quite often glad to be seen the last of. Just dont expect me to pay for your problems later. Slam the door on your way out.

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

                  Okay, that’s nice, but I’m not sure what it has to do with the fact that Scotland subsidises the rest-of-UK and has done for many, many years. It just seems like an angry and poor attempt at trolling. Am I missing something?

                • eclair

                  Possibly, just as the rest of us are wherever we come from, the solution to the many many divisions over this problem. Financial argument, rights to oil, parliamentary rights, political dissolution agreements, trade agreements, more than just who spent what on whom. Like it or not, this is not as simple as our Alex would have us all believe. So many of us inall these islands have so many mixtures of heritage and culture running through our veins that simply to dissolve a political union is fine but the mess left behind incalcuable. Its more than handing a man like Salmond a mandate that your wishing for. Please dont try to reduce it to cash and elegant argument. Its too important for that.

                • Wessex Man

                  Ridiculous, would be all the rubbish pumped out by “Wings over Scotland” which is actually a one man band operating out of the city of Bath in the West Counrty of England?

              • Inverted Meniscus

                And you believe that?

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

                  Yes, I do tend to believe facts.

        • Cymrugel

          I think most Scots would be quite happy to see Cameron debate Salmond

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

            Surveys agree with you. We kinda expect our PM to step up, even if the No campaign wants to pretend nothing exists outside Scotland’s borders. (look into my eyes – you are a proud country in a union of equals)

          • Inverted Meniscus

            Yes I quite enjoy watching that blustering oaf talk about currency unions when he has been told comprehensively to FO.

            • Alex Creel

              As opposed to today’s desperate, last minute attempt by Dave et al to woo back Scottish voters? I’m sure if we’d asked for control over income tax 6 months ago we’d have been told to FO then as well…

              • Inverted Meniscus

                I could care less about that laddie and even less about your opinion. I could also not care less about whether or not you continue to use Sterling (good luck with that), the euro or whatever. My only concern is that England, Wales and NI do not enter a currency union with a foreign country (Scotland) which would require UK taxpayers to guarantee the newly issued public debt of that foreign country without being able to control how much that foreign country borrowed or for what term. Apart from that, do what you like.

                • Alex Creel

                  Worry not IM, at this rate Dave will have given us your family silver by Sept 18th – you’ll end up wishing you’d had a currency union!

                • Inverted Meniscus

                  No thanks laddie guaranteeing the debt of a hostile foreign country is not what we need.

          • The_greyhound

            Most Scots don’t give a stuff, are heartily sick of salmond’s pointless vanity campaign, and will be voting NO.

            Only seven weeks to salmond’s resignation, and the clash of the titans – will sturgeon or swinney lead the wreckage of the SNP to its final oblivion?

          • Wessex Man

            I think most English would be happy to vote yes in the referendum and one on kicking Wales out of the Union!

      • Cymrugel

        The vote is confined to people who are resident in Scotland.

        This means that many ethnic Scots currently resident abroad or in the rest of the UK have no vote, unlike UK national elections in which thousands of people who rarely set foot in the country can still vote.

        It also means that many non Scots currently living in Scotland can vote – like my young colleague from the Wirral who has never set foot outside Edinburgh, knows nothing of the country and cares less will be able to vote. It’s quite annoying as she lives in an English–only bubble and knows no Scots despite having lived here for three years.

        All the same this is better than an ethnic voting system, as it is about what the people who live here want; not giving votes to people who’s granny happens to come from Auchtermuchty

        • Denis_Cooper

          If you are a UK citizen living abroad you aren’t allowed a vote in UK general elections just because of your granny living here, you’re allowed it because you are still a UK citizen even if you are living abroad. As I recall off hand you are permitted to register as an ex-patriate voter for up to fifteen years. By the same token there are many Scots living in England who would be eligible to become Scottish citizens if Scotland were to become independent, but while when it suits him Salmond likes to act as if Scotland were already independent that doesn’t extend to allowing those ex-patriate Scots to vote on whether Scotland should be sundered from England where they are at present living and in many cases working. If it was a case of including some of them in Team Scotland for the Commonwealth Games in the hope of bolstering Scotland’s haul of medals, well, I guess that would be a different matter; but perhaps you can say for sure what the eligibility criteria would be for that purpose. It would be a strange thing if Salmond could welcome a Scot living in England as part of Team Scotland but at the same time exclude that person from voting in a referendum on whether Scotland should separate from England and the rest of the UK.

        • The_greyhound

          The vote is confined to people who are resident in Scotland, only because it was the only formula that the SNP thought it could win with. If Salmond had thought Westminster would allow him to confine the vote to nationalists only, he would have done so – the SNP has few democratic instincts, and less democratic credibility.

          • Denis_Cooper

            Being weak Cameron gave way on it.

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

            Scottish residents vote because that’s how countries work – if you live there you should have a say. It’s only No campaigners that ever argue for a blood-based criterion for deciding who gets to vote.

      • Denis_Cooper

        No, the point is that the Prime Minister of the UK is the Prime Minister of the whole UK and is therefore working at a higher level then the First Minister of Scotland, notionally on behalf of all the citizens of the UK. Despite Salmond’s pretensions there is as yet no parity in status between them, and that has nothing to do with their respective ethnic backgrounds; indeed the whole point of the referendum is to decide whether there should be parity of status in the future.

        • Calzo

          Which is surely why it would make sense for the PM to defend his current status whilst it is being questioned and potentially diminished?

          • Denis_Cooper

            Which he is doing, just not by a direct personal debate with somebody who is constitutionally inferior.

    • Colonel Mustard

      And Scottish people resident elsewhere in the UK are not…

      It’s an unfortunate mess brought about by low grade politicians who have absolutely no concept of custodianship and who think change is a “good thing” per se regardless of its consequences and how ill thought it be. They tinker and meddle in the arrogant belief that they know better, working on the principle that it must need fixing and therefore they must break it.

      • Alex Creel

        As opposed to the wonderful status quo, 1.4trillion in debt and rising and Westminster’s plan to save the nation – HS2 – which doesn’t even reach Scotland. Any wonder we North of the border are looking for another way?

        • Wessex Man

          er remind me again who were Prime Minister and Chancellor in those wonderful times?

        • Colonel Mustard

          I think you must have my comment confused with another.

      • Denis_Cooper

        Indeed, Scottish people resident in England were welcome to join Team Scotland and hopefully add to Scotland’s haul of medals at the Commonwealth Games so that Salmond could boast about the new spirit of confidence infusing Scotland, which of course could only increase and flourish under his beneficent rule once independence had been achieved, but yet the same people would not be allowed to vote upon the question of whether they wanted to Scotland to become independent – and of course Cameron was weak enough to give way and allow this to happen, just as he allowed people who are not UK citizens to vote on whether the UK should be broken up.

        Out of interest I looked up the criteria for somebody to be eligible
        to compete as part of Team Scotland and supposedly representing Scotland, and at least for athletes they are as follows:

        http://www.scottishathletics.org.uk/athletes/performance/scottish-eligibility/

        “To be eligible to compete for Scotland in the Commonwealth Games, an athlete must be a citizen of a Commonwealth country.

        The following criteria must also be met:

        Be Born in Scotland

        and/or

        Have one or more parents born in Scotland

        and/or

        Show they have resided in that country for five years immediately prior to those Games

        and/or

        Have previously competed for Scotland in the Commonwealth Games or Commonwealth Youth Games.

        If none of these categories are met, then the athlete may not be eligible to compete for Scotland at the Commonwealth Games.”

        So far example if my son-in-law was an athlete he would have been eligible to compete for Scotland and potentially increase Salmond’s bragging rights on the basis that his father was born in Scotland, but as both he and his father live in England neither are allowed a vote on whether Scotland should be legally separated from England and the rest of the UK.

Close