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Scotland won’t become a foreign country just because of a vote

5 September 2014

5:02 PM

5 September 2014

5:02 PM

Hugo Rifkind had an interesting piece in the Times yesterday on the Scottish referendum arguing that the No campaign, by focussing on economics and pragmatism (where they obviously have the edge), had totally conceded the realm of emotion and attachment. Yet Rifkind, coming south in his twenties to settle in London, had found that England was his home, too, and ends his article explaining why Britain is indeed one country.

The whole No campaign seems devoid of any idea of British patriotism, indeed barely mentions the B-word in its literature, instead approaching the thing like an unhappy spouse weighing up the costs of sticking with it or leaving to end up poorer. If that’s the reason for union, then it’s not one that’s going to keep the marriage going for very long; and indeed opinion polls show a huge gulf between the over-sixties and the rest of the Scottish population, which suggests that whatever the result this month, independence will come eventually.

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And in the south many of those advocating the United Kingdom sound remarkably like they could be making the case for the European Union, using arguments for pooling resources to create a social democracy. JK Rowling’s version of British patriotism may have angered some of the SNP’s weirder supporters, but it would leave many Englishmen cold. Likewise with Eddie Izzard or Tony Robinson: the cheerleaders for union are mainly coming from the soft Left, the very people who least empathise with patriotism or understand the things that hold people together – history, mythology and hormones. The union was built on Protestantism, war and empire, ideas that the Left feels uncomfortable with, and no one has really come up with replacement reasons for its existence. (The most compelling patriotic case for union was made by the maverick George Galloway.)

In contrast, English patriotism is fairly strong, if proletarianised, and motivated partly by a sense of resentment over immigration, which is of far more concern to people than what happens beyond the Wall of Ice. If you’re from London or Birmingham and seen your country changed beyond recognition, whether it’s the Union Flag or St George’s Cross flying from the local council building makes little difference. South of the border, people have tended to see English and British as psychologically interchangeable anyway.

The good news for Scots unionists is that independence probably won’t make much difference to them either, if Ireland’s example is anything to go by. Ireland’s break from England was far more bitter – but today a majority of Brits don’t regard the Irish as foreigners and in every legal way the Irish are de facto British citizens, and an Irish accent is no impediment to almost any position in British society, except perhaps the Cabinet. What’s more, now that the countries are separate legal entities, Anglo-Irish relations have never been warmer. The Scots aren’t going to become foreigners just because of a vote.

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Show comments
  • Pacificweather

    Hugh Rifkind is correct. The 1901 census shows that there were more Scots in London than Edinburgh. There are four Scots amongst my neighbours in England. If the people of Scotland vote Yes they will be respected by the Westminster government and the people of the UK. If they vote No the Westminster government will lose all respect for them and many will be sad to lose a democratic country on this island and thus the hope of a second and third.

  • WFB56

    I think that Mr. West has captured the views of most Enlgish people, its not such a big deal to the rest of us, its all about politicians – north and south – wanting more serfs and not much more than that.

  • CO Jones

    Scotland won’t be a foreign country? I’m off for a lie down: I can’t take any more disappointment today …

  • Raddiy

    Can they just bugger off, and take the Welsh and the Northern Irish with them.

    It is like listening and watching a perpetual loop of Andy Stewart on New Years Eve, forever promising to take the Low Road rather than the HIgh Road, but never actually leaving the front of our house, where he is keeping the kids awake and the dogs howling.

  • John Mitchell

    Scotland is a foreign country to the UK if the people of Scotland vote to leave. It’s not possible to have it both ways.

  • AlecM

    In 2 years, the majority of Scots will turn round and say they want an immediate end to rule by Al-eck Edinbaghdadi and his Scots’ stormtroopers.

  • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wF4_LKQdDF4 Shenandoah

    Hey Ed, can you fault the No campaign? If you do, you’re asking them to tell people what they apparently don’t want to hear. That Britain is good, and that what it has fought for in the past two centuries is good. I submitted a tartan design to the Scottish Register: ‘British-American Friendship’. I was told — to my shock — that this would be viewed by the assessors as ‘disquieting’. Never mind that British-American friendship is a historical fact and a cultural reality, than which there has never been anything better on the planet. Apart from all the other splendours of our combined efforts, we defeated the N-zi horror — and the Communist horror. But such was the anti-England (and for all I know, anti-America) feeling that I was warned that my application would be denied unless I changed it. So I did. And that’s a d-mn shame.

  • Cymrugel

    Hugo Rifkind is a child of privilege. Starting off in a very posh private school in Edinburgh, an implausibly fast trajectory as a journalist and off to London where his connections ensured a fast track to yet more privilege.

    He doesn’t regard England as his home -has likely seen very little of it – he regards LONDON as his home; or at least those bits of it that matter to the well off. The rest is a grey mass that might as well have “here be dragons” written on it.

    This is the issue – the existence of an elite class that is essentially living in or aspiring to life in London and which has few links with the country in which they live (the odd weekend visit to a highland estate or an Edinburgh wine bar really doesn’t count). Yet they see no paradox with still aspiring to rule a nation they essentially are not really part of.

    It is a frighteningly hubristic and anti democratic outlook, more suited to the middle ages than the 21st century.

    He is right about the lacklustre NO campaign though. Obviously economics are important but I think few people have ever voted for independence solely on the cost of living. In my own experience most Yes voters know that they will be in for a few rocky years, but want to go for it anyway.

    NO are floundering despite the fantastic resources at their disposal simply because they have no heart – and despise those that have.

  • chouenlai

    Scotland has been a foreign country since about 1980. And good riddance.

  • Alexandria

    I am posting my say around lots of sites now – for the record as I have read a lot with great sadness.

    NB. Trolls – ye show up yer own brought-up-ness – look to yerselves and hang yer heeds.

    I am from a proud tenement in Glasgow. Many years ago my father met an English businessman on the train from Glasgow who was having travelling difficulties flying out – my father (a very proud ex wounded soldier) invited him home-my mother gave him tea – and as kids we were all enthralled with his stories – my father took him to the airport. For many many years thereafter he sent us gifts – not necessary. Scotland USED to be a country of proud people who took in guests and treated them as one of their own. What ever has happened to my country. I am ashamed of many of those in it.

    Years later my school had an exchange trip with Germany and my parents were thrilled about having a young German girl in our house – yet she got insulted on the way to school – but my pals all stood up for her. My parents were so excited as my great granny hated Germans due to the loss of her brother in the war and yet we were proud to welcome my German friend here and to us it was a greater honour than my German friend knew -she was bemused that a wee Glasgow man spoke to her In German – he was In Berlin as a proud Black Watch soldier in a kilt. How glad I am that he is not here to see the shame brought on his country – the shrapnel in his heart got him in the end.

    My granny was a proud Gaelic speaking Highlander (with not so great English skills) dressed in her widows long dark (sometimes) tartan dresses and was looked down on by so many people as “weirdo” as did most of my friends at school- and I am ashamed to say that even I felt it – more Scottish bigotry by many in Glasgow and surrounds – so I am always bemused that you are all highlanders now – where were you all those years earlier in my life?

    When people are harassed by anyone in YES or NO camp where are those who will stand up and say NO – not in my name – like my school pals. Good people being hounded out of their home and jobs – is a national shame and will hurt Scotland for many years to come. That could be me now here in England- yet it is not so. Shame on you Scotland my beloved country what have you become.

    I now live in England and I have had some flack on occasion here but nearly everyone I meet here is sad about breaking up the UK. I have NEVER been insulted as much here as when I take my English partner to Scotland. I took him to the Highlands and Islands and the pub staff on Skye were insulting England on a TV football match in front of all their English customer visitors – they should have walked out. I had some words with them and told them I was ashamed of them. Is this what Scotland has become?

    A few years ago i was on a train to London from Haslemere with my elderly in-laws (over 75) from Northumbria – a pile of Scottish scouting kids took up the seats on the train to London – yet offered none of the English pensioners/pregnant/disabled a seat (there were plenty of them) – again I stepped in to tell them of the shame they made me feel not to give up their seats and I emailed their headquarters in Scotland who apologised. Shame on you who bring down my beloved country – Scotland and Britain.

    As a nation you need to look at yourselves before criticising anyone in England or anywhere else. I now live in the South East of England and there are many people here who are angry about lots of things -with very good cause – your idea in the North – inc. North of England – that we get everything is a complete nonsense or that we are racist – when you have not got a clue what life is like here. I could be treated here In England like those who are so hateful in Scotland now – where is your shame?

    I am Glaswegian,Highlander, Scottish and British and no-one will ever stop me being proud of all of it and I will always endeavour to treat all with respect and dignity as my grandfather – who spent many years in the Desert Rats away from his beloved family – fought for and I will make him proud of that always..We all need to look to ourselves before trolling/insulting/blaming others.

    My English neighbours think on too about what I have reported above – ring a bell?- rise above the attempts of others to demean you – stay great and true – it will keep you safe and proud in the end.

    • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wF4_LKQdDF4 Shenandoah

      flak, so spelled

  • you_kid

    Fraser Nelson: Do you want Scots to stay in the UK? Say why – and be published in the Spectator – comments closed.

    If Scots were sick and tired of central monetary policy (and thus fiscal policy) concocted not in London but that tiny place called ‘the City of London’ and that affected everything the Scots do in Dundee, Orkney, Edinburgh or Glasgow, then why indeed would they carry on living in this silly dream world of having their money backed in that far awayplace of the Square Mile? So why worry, Fraser?

    If Scottish people decided they didn’t want to spend billions of their hard-earned cash on Trident, war ships, air craft carriers, tanks and other ridiculous cold war posturing stuff and spend it on themselves instead, then who in Westminster could make them? So why worry, Fraser?

    If the Scots decided to erect wind farms, dig for shale, use solar, geothermal and tidal power along their coastlines, build modern towns not erected by cheap and cheerful volume housebuilders, who in England would stop them? So why worry, Fraser?

    When Scotland becomes independent, why would they care about blatantly undemocratic First Past The Post elections to Westminster, a place that does not represent the people of Britain, and not just carry on using their superior system of proportional representation as the rest of the First World does? So why worry, Fraser?

    Upon independence, why would a Scottish citizenry bother about elitist English Magna Carta law when they already have their own legal system? So why worry, Fraser?

    If *The Crown* no longer owns the mineral rights in Scotland upon independence, who will? So why worry, Fraser?

    Why would anyone want to keep the pound, a currency that since the banking crisis lost >20% of its value even to a (supposedly) dismally underperforming Euro? So why worry, Fraser?

    Some Scottish-based Church Commission assets might not be Church Commission assets for long. So why worry, Fraser?

    Some foreign (English) landowners might just be wetting their pants by now. So why worry, Fraser?

    Some City oil and gas dealers will dread the fact that Scottish natural resources might just be bought and sold directly in Scotland, not the City, from now on. So why worry, Fraser?

    Some service sector workers will find that Scotland’s bloated financial services sector will no longer require their services. So why worry, Fraser?

    Some MPs will find they are redundant once Scotland goes it alone. So why worry, Fraser?

    Some journalists will find it increasingly difficulty to find work in a place that will not only be classed as a foreign country but a foreign nation state. Quality will succeed. Please don’t tell us you were worried, Fraser.

    • The_greyhound

      You’re overwrought.

      Something has clearly upset you. Have a glass of water and try again to explain what it was you had to say. If indeed it was anything, beyond indulging yourself in a little recreational victimhood..

      • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wF4_LKQdDF4 Shenandoah

        If I were ‘overwrought’ it would take more than a glass of water to set me straight.

    • Denis_Cooper

      You may not have noticed that Salmond still wants “central monetary policy (and thus fiscal policy) concocted not in London but that tiny place called ‘the City of London'”.

      • you_kid

        I have noticed he said that. Have you noticed why he said that?

        • Denis_Cooper

          Yes, because if the Scots knew the truth, that voting “yes” on September 18th would mean giving up the pound and most probably adopting the euro, then Salmond would have no chance at all of winning the referendum.

          • you_kid

            There we have it – the Westminster press lie about polls and sudden swings, MPs repeatedly lie about their expenses, the Ukip lie about the impact of foreign influx on NHS and future pension payments, councils lie about how they protect children in their care, bankers lying about the debt they not we raked up, the SNP lie about their true intentions.

            Lying and deceitful Britain – a nation of liars, lying and lies ready to be split up by our masters in Bruxelles.

            • Wessex Man

              Nurse!

  • flippit

    No and relations with Ireland are warmer because we are so helpful to them as their larger neighbour and yet have no responsibility for them. Actually it was Salmond who told the Scots nothing much would change and though I hate to say it, maybe he’s right. But no currency union! We should march the streets en masse over that one, we’re not going into currency union with anyone.

    • Newton Unthank

      You’d have thought the “Yes” mob would have been aware of the experience of the Czech Republic and Slovakia, who entered into an ill-advised currency union following their amicable split-up. Or maybe they ARE aware!

  • Lee Hallam

    Scotland has had it’s debate about the future of our country, as the rest of us looked on. Perhaps Scots should step back and look at the face they have presented to us and to the rest of the world. It is one of inward looking selfishness and greed. I disagree with Ed West, in that I think both sides have missed out on making a positive case. The No campaign has mostly warned about what goodies Scots will put at risk. While the Yes campaign is entirely based on an attitude of what is here is ours entirely, and we should have a fair bit of what they have got to.

    When you add to this the cocktail of anti Englishness, and hate, that pervades the Yes campaign, the damage done to Scotland’s reputation is considerable. Any negotiation will be bitter, and will further damage relations. We can be sure that Scottish governments will loudly blame England for every problem. Relations are indeed good with Ireland, now. But they were not when they were neutral during WW2, or when they sheltered terrorists. Scotland’s split will not have the violence, of the break with Ireland, but nor will it seem as justified. The Irish had genuine grievances, the Scots do not. It would not take 70 or 80 years to heal the relationship, but it would take a generation.

    • Noel

      Scots are not anti-English. Instead of pontificating from a position of ignorance why don’t you come up to Scotland for the final days of the campaign and find out what is really happening on the ground. The drive for independence is all about democracy and equality not selfishness and greed. People are excited about taking control of their own country because they think they can do much, much better than Westminster.

      When future history books write about Scottish Independence they will talk about an extreme right-wing constituency blinded by a misanthropic, free-market ideology which began with Thatcher and continued with Osborne and Cameron both of whom have unwisely pushed the country farther to the right than it could bear thus creating a clear fault line at the Scottish border which permanently reduced England’s power and standing in the world (not actually a bad thing since it has such an unrealistic view of its own importance).

      Do you realise that the Scots actually wanted to stay – I wanted to stay – but we’ve been driven out?

      • The_greyhound

        Scots are not anti-English, but nationalists certainly are.

        • Wessex Man

          at least as many Scots as intend to vote yes abuse we Englsh in the most basic way see Alexandria’s comment above!

      • Lee Hallam

        I am glad Noel that you are driven an excitement for the future. However my point was not what motivates Scots in this, but rather how it looks from here. You point seems to be that are unwilling to accept the result of democratic elections in the 1980s at which time Scotland was over-represented in Parliament. A democrat accepts that sometimes they lose. In any case it was during 13 years of Labour rule that the SNP took power in Scotland. And in the end you could not resist an anti-English remark.

        • Noel

          It wasn’t an anti-English remark but rather anti English exceptionalism. Thinking about what’s good for the English people is actually pro-English.

          Who knows: if Scotland becomes a successful social democracy it just might drag England along with it. Once ordinary people realise how much better life could be in a more equal and genuinely democratic country that could create a permanent change in English politics.

          If not, in ten years time, what’s the odds on northern English regions demanding their own referendum on joining an independent Scotland (who would be glad to welcome them)? And Wales? Soon you’ll have nothing left but a city-state plus a few home counties once all the lesser regions cotton on to how they are being exploited and neglected.

          • Lee Hallam

            I find it odd that you, (and Mr Salmond has expressed similar views), consider it pro-English to suggest dividing us up. It seems your commitment to governing yourself is not so strong, if you expect to reunite with Wales and most of England in a decade or so (No place for NI?). I can assure you that here in the north of England there is no desire to split ourselves off from London. We can moan about London as well as any Scot, but we have the sense to know that it is our capital and one of the great cities of the world. The last government’s attempt to set up regional governments in the northern regions generated no enthusiasm at all. I can assure you Scotland will never be put in the position of answering such a request. You assume that you can predict the way that Scottish voters will vote in the future, but changing circumstances would shift peoples views after independence. Will the SNP remain a force when it’s primary purpose is achieved? I suspect the main electoral winners in the long term will be the Scottish Conservatives or their successors. It is easy to for Scotland to vote the way it does when it expects others to pay.

            • Noel

              Every Scottish party is about to face some tough challenges – the one possible exception being the Scottish Tories. Freed from Westminster, they’ll be able to position themselves as a centre-right party more palatable to the Scottish electorate as a whole. If they sign up for some social justice basics I’d expect to see them significantly expand their support.

              Scottish Labour is in a terrible mess. They may find a way to reinvent themselves or they may just die back to an insignificant rump.

              The Greens will be hoping to fill a vacuum on the left. They’ve got a very capable leader in Patrick Harvie and Green is everybody’s future although they may not know it yet. The industrial revolution fired a starting gun but that race is done. Once we start hitting the limits of a finite planet we have no choice but to manage our consumption and population.

              The SNP may not hold together once their sole unifying purpose is achieved. Perhaps many will defect to the tories. Perhaps everybody will defect left and right to various parties and there won’t even be an SNP.

              Perhaps we’ll see some new parties and new ideas emerging. Scotland’s voting system doesn’t produce the same two-party deadlock and so is more responsive to the electorate.

              Personally I don’t care about any of that. I’m just looking forward to a resumption of border reiving.

              • Lee Hallam

                But then the SNP may not break up, if it wins independence it would be on the right side of history, and Labour divided and defeated. Middle class labour voters may well float off to the Greens, but not those working class voters in the old industrial towns and cities. If the SNP fixes itself as a economically left wing, socially conservative nationalist party, it may well win their support, as it has been doing, and keep it. The future could be one where the SNP is perpetually in power, as the largest party choosing it’s junior partner as suits it.
                As for the border reiving that would explain both Mr Salmond’s attitude to the national debt, and perhaps Mr Millibands talk about border posts. Personally I think there are great opportunities for the cities in the North of England to attract Scottish businesses who wish to relocate in the larger economy south of the border.

  • Denis_Cooper

    No comments allowed on the Spectator appeal article, so I will make mine here –

    IT IS TOO BLOODY LATE FOR THE TORY PARTY AND ITS SUPPORTERS IN THE MEDIA TO THINK ABOUT PRESERVING THE ANGLO-SCOTTISH UNION, WHEN YOU’VE SPENT DECADES UNDERMINING AND WEAKENING IT.

    • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wF4_LKQdDF4 Shenandoah

      Oh what a load of rubbish.

  • lakelander

    After the vote there will will be at least one consolation prize whoever wins. The sight of Salmond’s face in the event of a No majority or Miliband’s if they vote Yes.

  • lakelander

    If the Scots vote Yes will there need to be a secure border between England and Scotland?

    I think there will because of potential immigration problems. What do you think?

    • Wessex Man

      Yes, I can easily imagine a problem for England with illegals sneaking south in a few years time.

    • Denis_Cooper

      Of course there would need to be a secure border, but it would be expensive to operate, and guess who would be paying for it? Not taxpayers in Scotland, because the Scottish government would not be concerned about immigrants arriving in Scotland en route for England, but the taxpayers in the continuing UK which would above all mean taxpayers in England. Just like a lot of other things where taxpayers in England would have to bear additional costs as a consequence of Scottish independence, more than wiping out any putative benefits from supposedly no longer having to subsidise Scotland. As I have repeatedly warned, the English should not delude themselves that it would
      be to their advantage if the northernmost third of their home island reverted to being an independent sovereign state beyond the legal control of the Parliament in London dominated by representatives elected in England.

      • you_kid

        The moment Scotland joins Schengen it’s game over for rEngland.

        The choice would be between (a) an isolationist 1960s style Albanian/Ukip outlook or (b) biting the bullet of adopting a superior form of multi-national border control that is the Schengen agreement.

        • Ludo

          Scotland won’t be able to join Schengen because England won’t allow it. Indeed, we’ll have left the EU by then I hope.

          • Denis_Cooper

            Cameron would not be in a strong position with respect to
            the EU in the event of “yes” vote. On the contrary it would instantly turn him from somebody (allegedly) planning to boldly demand treaty changes to repatriate powers to UK into a supplicant begging for treaty changes just to cope with the consequences of the impending break up of the UK.

            Without the necessary treaty changes trade between Scotland and the rest of the UK would no longer have any legal basis once the Treaty of Union had been terminated, and as it would have become international trade that would immediately put it within the remit of the EU.

            That’s about a third of Scottish GDP at risk, which would have knock-on effects in the rest of the UK, plus about 3% of the GDP of the rest of the UK directly at risk which Cameron could ill afford to lose.

            So I wouldn’t expect that he could stop the other member states insisting that Scotland must commit to joining both the euro and Schengen if that was the price demanded for the agreement of all 27 of them to the treaty changes he would need, bearing in mind that each of them would have a veto.

        • Wessex Man

          Nurse! nurse!

  • benbecula

    The reason why Identity is not mentioned is because an agreement has been made between the media and the campaigns never to raise this subject or mass immigration – UKip have been banned from campaigning with the NO side for that reason.

    According to YES side, 1m immigrants will be imported in the medium term (just under 20% of the pop.) but there’s never been one discussion on it making a sham of the democratic process.

    • Denis_Cooper

      And the moment those 1 million immigrants from around the world set foot on Scottish soil they will become Scots and all the other Scots whose family trees in Scotland stretch back over centuries will say fine, we are a “civic” nation not an “ethnic” nation, notwithstanding the etymology of the word “nation”, and there’s no need to stick “Mac” in front of your surname to pretend that you have a long Scottish ancestry because that is of no importance except to small-minded people, see the comment from GreyNag below.

      Unless having arrived in Scotland they don’t stay there but instead take the high road down to England, when of course they must be instantly accepted as being English not Scottish or Bulgarian or Somali or whatever.

      That at least is the theory as publicly propagated by the leaders of the SNP, even though many of its supporters certainly don’t believe it and they probably don’t really believe it themselves.

    • Newton Unthank

      The Yes side are hell-bent on destroying the agreeable state of affairs which currently exists in Scotland – I am of course referring to the fact that the population north of the border is 96% white.

      • Noel

        Why would that be agreeable except for a racist?

        The thing I hate most about racists is their thorough ignorance of their own species. There are tens of thousands of genes in the human body (and no clearly-defined racial groups just multiple, overlapping clines) but they always without fail zero in on just one thing: melanogenesis.

        We all do it, in varying degrees. None of us is actually “white”.

        • Newton Unthank

          It is agreeable because it implies a low percentage of a certain cultural group which is implacably opposed to democracy, human rights, and all those other decadent Western practices.

          • Noel

            You mean Conservatives?

            • Newton Unthank

              Very droll.

  • Jambo25

    The fuse under some form of Anglo-Scottish break-up was lit a long time ago when the Tory Party gave up on the idea of ‘One Nation Toryism’ and became the party of the City and suburban South of England. This was done under the vile Heath and from then on ‘normal’ politics in Scotland became more and more difficult to maintain as the main centre right party committed slow suicide under Heath, Thatcher and Major.

    • Denis_Cooper

      Correct, if the UK does break up then in my estimation three quarters of the blame for that will lie with the Tory party.

      But of course as usual they will try to blame UKIP for their own failures, see the comment from global city below.

    • Colonel Mustard

      There is some truth in that. Not much but some.

      I would not put Thatcher in the same league as Heath and Major but no doubt there was a failure to understand the collective psyche of Scotland and the usual folly that doing something right was enough in and of itself. The puzzling thing is why Scotland’s MPs have been so supine. Maybe because they were and are, after all, a parcel of rogues.

    • ManOfKent

      If you are referring to the absorption of the Scottish Unionists in the 60’s, I think you will find it was as much because they received such a battering in the 1964 General election and were no longer really a viable option.

      However, it was a mistake because it left a void in Scottish politics that was filled by the SNP.

      That said I fail to see how merging the two parties undermined the ‘One Nation’ banner because arguably by merging them Heath was logically strengthening it by removing the distinction between the Scottish and English Parties’?

      • Jambo25

        It wasn’t simply the ending of the old Unionist Party in the 60s though that was a signifier of the destructive mania for central control and direction that seized British life and politics in the post war period. It was mainly the coming to the fore of the Selsdon man group with personalities which grated and policies which were not particularly applicable to Scotland. This was followed up by Thatcher and Douglas-Home lying to the Scottish people over Devolution in 1979.

  • ManOfKent

    Why do they bother with this boy. He’s not very bright. Wasn’t he the one who intended to vote Libdem in the council elections when everyone knew they would be slaughtered?

    1) The reason why they don’t use patriotism and a sense Britishness as a campaign line is because it can be destroyed very easily. The 2011 census indicates that 85% of those who identify as English or Welsh do not identify themselves as British contrary to the false propaganda West states above.

    2) People do not see Irish as foreign because part of Ireland is still part of the UK and Sinn Fein with their dubious past have chosen to stay out of Westminster business and out of the mainland’s face. Salmond is in our face all the time and will constantly be so taunting us (as with the racial prejudice against the English in Scottish higher education) until such time as he has screwed every cent he can out of the country. The level of resentment that the SNP will cause will ensure that the Scots are foreigners. Scotland will not be viewed in the same way as the Irish.

    3) Scotland would for at least some period be outside the EU, whether we are or not and there will be many who demand that we treat them as all other foreign nations not least because their immigration control will be desperate. The first time there is some sort of security breach via Scotland the demands to close the land border will begin.

    4) The Republic of Ireland does not expect to share our currency (if independence is granted their will be an almighty row over that that will finish political careers). If Scotland is still attached to Sterling and it hinders the UK economy in anyway then that also will cause immense resentment

    5) The problems of Ireland were largely presented as religious rather than nationalist as demonstrated by the general cessation of violence once Catholic Northern Ireland gained a significant voice in Belfast. Scotland is wholly about political independence and not about attaining any sort of local equality as such it is clear to all that Scotland want to be a ‘foreign country’

    PS And don’t call the English ‘prols’. Enough of this social class bigotry. When will worthless Urban liberals inside the Freakshow stop sneering down their noses at other social classes?

    • Denis_Cooper

      Well, actually I do see the Irish as foreign, despite Parliament having passed a law saying that they should not be treated as foreign even though they are the citizens of a foreign country. And if the Scots voted to also become foreign, which personally I hope will not happen, then I think that could be the trigger for a comprehensive reconsideration of who we should allow to vote in our elections and referendums. As far as I’m concerned, only the citizens of a country with their sole allegiance to that country should be allowed to vote on how it is governed, not the citizens of other countries including those with dual nationality and therefore divided allegiances, which at one time was not permitted under UK citizenship law.

      • ManOfKent

        I don’t disagree with you but I do accept the point that generally people do not see the Irish as foreign in the same way as we view the rest of Europe say.

      • Newton Unthank

        As far as I’m concerned, only the citizens of a country with their sole allegiance to that country should be allowed to vote on how it is governed

        I hope that will include Catholics, since their primary allegiance is to a foreign power, namely the Vatican.

  • global city

    Perhaps this is one of the reasons why the vapid ‘Better Together’ alliance has been losing ground?
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2745738/No-campaigners-plead-Farage-stay-away-Scotland-announces-plans-hold-pro-Union-rally.html

    They are being selective (restricting a platform to their own kind) just as the ‘Yes to AV’ crowd did….and we know how that turned out.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jxNmkKJ3kuE

    • Denis_Cooper

      I saw a segment on Newsnight where some Guardanista was fretting about the possibility that UKIP could swing the vote to “yes”. It didn’t seem to cross his mind that the three old UK parties have gradually brought about the situation where apparently there’s just a few percentage points between the support for “no” and that for “yes”, it may even be the other way round now, without UKIP having done anything – in fact without UKIP even existing for most of the time that this has been festering. And of the three old UK parties, the Tory party bears far more responsibility than either of the others; and as far as they are concerned UKIP is actually a much bigger threat than the SNP because the success of the SNP would only affect part of the present UK, and a part which no longer votes Tory anyway, while the success of UKIP would lead to the whole of the UK leaving the EU which for them is anathema.

      • Wessex Man

        Absolutely spot on, the Tories are continually bleating on and on that voting for UKip will let in Labour, this is a nonsense they don’t realise the contempt that they, Labour and the Lib/dums are held.

  • Frank

    Ed, do you actually live in England? Perhaps it is the effect of living in London and seeing everything through a metropolitan viewpoint? You may regard an Irish, or Scottish, accent as no impediment to any position in England, but very many English would probably disagree with you (I for one would be very happy for the Rifkinds to return en masse to Scotland and find my teeth grinding every time I hear Gordon Brown on TV).
    We English are not being given a vote on Scotland’s status, but if Scotland votes to stay in the Union, you can rest assured that there will be a massive rejection of the various anomalies as regards number of MPs, which MPs can vote for what, the per capita NHS subsidy, etc

    • GreyNag

      So you are a small minded ethnic nationalist, a bit of a bug eyed monster, rather than a civic nationalist a la Salmond

      • Denis_Cooper

        There’s nothing small minded about rejecting the idea that anybody in the world should have just as much right to be a citizen of a country as those who are its natural born citizens; nor did the SNP itself always propagate that idea, and it is clear that many of its supporters do not actually accept it now.

        • GreyNag

          I agree that there is nothing small minded about rejecting the idea that anybody has the right to be a citizen. However the tone of Franks input suggested England for the English rather than all who contribute to it. He seems to think Irish and Scots had no role to play and were not welcomed by his fellow countrymen.
          As a Scot who spent my adult working life in Southern England I find his remarks extremely offensive.

          • Denis_Cooper

            Didn’t the SNP start out by saying “Scotland for the Scots”?

            I don’t think it was “Scotland for whoever happens to turn up from anywhere in the world”, was it?

            What does the adjective “national” mean in its name, and how could the Scots be called a “nation” if all its members were just odd bods who’ve recently arrived from other countries:

            http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/nation

            “A large body of people united by common descent, history, culture, or language, inhabiting a particular state or territory”

            “Middle English: via Old French from Latin natio(n-), from nat- ‘born’, from the verb nasci.”

          • Wessex Man

            Come off it, until he realised that it was not what most Scots wanted to hear Salmond was always playing the English crad, it was never the UK from his lips it was the English.

            • GreyNag

              Absolute hogwash. He is a bloody anglophile. His objection is rule from Westminster, who’s policies are often the opposite from the route Scotland wants to take e.g., lower Corporation Tax, lower Air passenger duty and an increase on immigration for graduates from non EU countries.
              Scotland has lost thousnds of high quality jobs from our export industries to countries such as the Netherlands and Hungary due to the UK’s uncompetitive taxation system and Westminster’s over centralised rule.

              • Denis_Cooper

                Interesting that you, or indeed anyone, could see Salmond as an “anglophile”. If that is true then he has a very strange way of showing his love for us. All I ever detect is contempt for the English, and moreover springing from visceral ethnic hatred.

                • GreyNag

                  I think you should contact the English for Yes Group and ask them. Salmond has never shown any contempt for the English only their political masters.

                • Denis_Cooper

                  You are not the only one who has been observing Salmond over the years, and I’ve never seen any signs of this supposed anglophilia. Europhilia, yes, but not anglophilia.

            • Denis_Cooper

              Likewise Salmond was all in favour of ditching the pound and adopting the euro until he realised that it was not what most Scots wanted to hear. They will have a shock if the vote is “yes”, when it becomes clear that Merkel and others will not agree to the EU treaty changes required to keep Scotland in the EU without the pledge to join the euro which is imposed on all new EU member states. And as she’s no doubt realised that Salmond is a slippery character who has been pretending that joining the euro is “voluntary” she will probably want that to be cast in a rigorous form with a tightly defined schedule.

          • Frank

            I am sorry that you found my remarks offensive. I was reacting to the article. I am delighted to have Irish, Welsh and Scots living in England, it is even better if they don’t bore the pants off everyone moaning about what horrible England has done to their country. I support Scottish independence, not to get rid of the Scots, but because I feel that Britain would be a much happier ship if all the constituent parts (England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland) ran their own affairs and came together only for the supra-national legislative stuff.
            As for my comments, I assume that some English MPs may make you grind your teeth, and that some experts on Scotland not born in Scotland also possibly irritate you – perhaps you even wish them to depart en masse?

            • Denis_Cooper

              If Scotland becomes independent then Scotland and the rest of the UK will only come together for “supra-national legislative stuff” through international organisations such as the EU. This referendum is not about turning the UK into a sovereign federal state with federal UK institutions superior to the institutions of the four component states, it is about breaking up the UK into two separate sovereign independent states
              each of which will have its own separate existence on the international plane.

              • Hysteria

                Yup. Still reading “yes-ers” talking about “we’ll still be part of the UK”

                W.T.F.? We are approaching the break-up of our country, not some minor administrative “tweak” to the rules.

                English by birth – proud to be British…….

              • Frank

                Yes, but I was merely saying what I liked, not what route we were currently potentially heading for!

            • GreyNag

              I guess if you lived up here you would be a member of The English for Yes group. I feel the UK has a false capitalism that is controlled by Westminster. At heart I am a federalist, but Cameron, Clegg, Milliband et al refuse to go down that route. Despite the fact that their forefathers designed the modern Federal Germany.
              It is interesting that 2/3 of people in Scotland wanted Devo-Max at the time of Edinburgh meeting. Cameron refused to consider it. Now he and the others are talking about extra powers, but won’t name them nor can he tell us when they would arrive. So Scotland and other regions within the UK are expected to live with fewer powers than e.g., Bavaria or states in Federations such as the USA, Canada, Australia etc., etc.,

    • Denis_Cooper

      There isn’t actually any significant anomaly as regards the numbers of MPs for Scotland. There was before the Scottish Parliament was set up, but the same electoral quota is now used for Scotland as for England. Strict application of that rule would have led to 57 seats in Scotland; in fact there are 59, the extra 2 being allowed because of the geographical difficulties.

      • Frank

        You could be right, but I have read of some Westminster MPs being elected in Scotland from constituencies with really fairly small numbers of electors compared to most English seats.

        • Denis_Cooper

          Page 1 here:

          http://www.bcomm-scotland.independent.gov.uk/5th_westminster/report/chapter2.pdf

          “1. Section 86 of the Scotland Act 1998 made a number of changes to the Rules, the effect of which is as follows …

          1.3 Rule 5 was altered: for the first review following the Scotland Act 1998, the electoral quota for England must be used to determine the appropriate number of Scottish seats at Westminster.”

          “Rule 5 states that, for the first report of the Commission submitted under section 3(1) of the 1986 Act, ‘electoral quota’ means the number which, on the enumeration date in relation to that report, is the electoral quota for England (69,934 at June 2001, the enumeration date for our review).”

          “3. The electorate in Scotland at the enumeration date for our review was 3,995,489. A strict division of the electorate by the electoral quota for England would provide for 57
          constituencies, rather than the 72 which are presently allocated. At the start of our review, the average number of electors in existing Scottish constituencies was 55,454. On average, therefore, the electorate of constituencies in Scotland would need to increase by approximately 26 per cent to meet the requirement of using the electoral quota for England to determine the number and distribution of Scottish seats.”

          Page 10:

          “20. The implication of the treatment of Orkney Islands and Shetland Islands, of Na h-Eileanan an Iar and of Highland Council areas set out in paragraphs 17 and 19 above has led us to the designation of 59 constituencies instead of the 57 arrived at by strict application of the electoral quota.”

    • lakelander

      Unless Labour get in.

      • Wessex Man

        see my comment above.

      • Frank

        Labour could try to stop this revision but I don’t think that they will be able to resist the overwhelming public reaction.

    • Newton Unthank

      Despite being a Scot I am completely in agreement as regards the unfairness of Scots MPs being allowed to vote on English issues; it is an issue which badly needs rectifying.

  • Iain Hill

    Through the wrong end of a telescope ? Scots want to take their own decisions on equality, warmongering and social democracy. That apart, we will be the same charming people we have always been, and fraternise on the streets of London and elsewhere. Unfriendly nationalism is nowhere in our case.

  • artemis in france

    Eventually your prédictions may be correct, Ed, but, after reading the Mail today I’m afraid the atmosphère north of the border may be nasty for some time after the vote. If it goes “Yes” there will be an enormous amount of smug rejoicing from some of the nasty people who have been terrorising English accented folk who have lived in Scotland for years. If it goes “No” it’ll be worse with reprisais against thèse same folk. If I lived in Britain, I’d be hoping for “yes” just to shut them up and stop all this ridiculous Braveheart nonsense. When will nations stop playing the victim centuries after they were abused? I’m amazed anyone living in Britain would consider visiting Normandy, let alone risk life and limb landing there to save France from the Nazis. That William the Conqueror has a lot to answer for, you know.

  • Ludo

    Identity politics now rules the land. Whether Muslim, Black, immigrant, Asian. The Scots would be fools to miss the chance of securing their own identity in an age when the notion of Britishness has become one of shame to identity appeasers of London’s LibLabCon establishment.

  • Ludo

    We keep being told by the SNP that it’s just “Independence”. Well, no, it’s a divorce, a separation, and Scotland will be a foreign country and not a popular one.

  • CO Jones

    If Scotland votes “Yes”, the only thing that really concerns me is whether I will still be able to buy Islay single malt in England.

    If the answer to that question is yes, the whingeing b*ggers should go. If the answer is no, nuke ’em.

    In either case, the time frame should be: a soon as possible.

    • lakelander

      When I visited Islay I was surprised at how much cheaper the glorious nectar was in the shops there.

      By the way, I notice the predictive text on my iPad offers “Islam” when I type “Islay”. A depressing sign of the times.

      • CO Jones

        That is the gods’ way of telling you to buy in as much as you can, while you can, i.e. before sharia bans it completely.

  • Clive Mather

    If Scotland becomes independent, it might find in time that it has it has the same sort of internal differences that have lead to the break up of the UK. The first part of Scotland that might be tempted to break away, or at least demand special treatment in return for not breaking away, is the Shetlands.
    Shetlanders tend to see themselves as Shetlanders first, British second, and Scots not at all. Descended from Norwegian Vikings, their traditions are Scandinavian not Celtic, fiddles not bagpipes. Gaelic has never been spoken there (they had their own language until about 250 years ago, closely related to Faroese and Icelandic).
    Shetlanders have not always been well treated by the Scots (to put it mildly). While Scottish crofters were forced out by rapacious lairds, Shetlanders suffered at the hands of Scottish landowners, notably Dakers Black from Ayrshire.
    Most important of all, “It’s Shetland’s Oil” to a quite surprising degree. Not only is Shetland already important as a point to bring North Sea oil ashore, the sea bed between the Shetland and Faroes is being explored for new reserves.
    In the Faroes, Shetland has a model for what might be achieved. Though the Faroes are nominally part of Denmark, they are in effect self-governing.
    Holyrood could find itself in a very awkward situation. Would they give the Shetlanders special treatment to keep them sweet? If they did this, wouldn’t other areas (e.g. the Gaelic speaking ones) start to demand similar treatment?

    • Simon Delancey

      Why should Holyrood need to keep the Shetlanders sweet?

      Even if Orkney and Shetland followed the lead of the Faroes and achieved Independence, UNCLOS is quite clear on what the situation would be with regard to Shetland and Orkney’s ownership of oil reserves in the context of an independent Scotland – they wouldn’t have any at all.

      Under UNCLOS, the islands would be classed as an “enclave” residing wholly within Scotland’s “Exclusive Economic Zone” (see the paragraph “Continental shelf”), and as such would only have the right to resources within a 12-mile radius of their coastline of which there are very little if any.

      • Clive Mather

        Yes, and Scotland is an ‘enclave’ of Britain. If it is possible under UNCLOS for a (newly independent) Scotland to be allocated control over the sea bed around her coasts it would also be possible for Shetland to be given control of the sea bed around Shetland if the islands were subsequently to become independent of Scotland. It should also be noted that the Shetlands form a convenient point at which to bring oil ashore (hence the installation at Sullom Voe), avoiding very long and expensive pipelines to the Scottish mainland.

  • https://sites.google.com/site/deanjackson60/home Dean Jackson

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

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

    The West’s fate depended on verification of the collapse of the USSR, verification’s absence proving co-option of the West’s institutions. On the Soviet side, there could be no collapse when (1) the Soviet Armed Forces officer corps remained Communist Party dominated; and (2) six-million vigilantes continued to control the population. There can be no collapse of the USSR without…

    Verification, De-Communization and De-Mobilization.

    A United Britain is a threat to the USSR and her ally China, and a hindrance to their global strategy to “liberate” the world by means of infiltration of the West’s institutions.

    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.

    Read my comments to The Scotsman article, “JK Rowling honours Malala Yousafzai at Book Festival” for a concrete example of how the USSR co-opted Western media and governments act together to manipulate their populations to support political policies those populations would otherwise never support…

    http://www.scotsman.com/lifestyle/books/jk-rowling-honours-malala-yousafzai-at-book-festival-1-3520271

  • Redneck

    One of many Scots, proud to be British and not in any way concerned about possibility of a “yes” vote: we’ll remain an integral part of the mighty UK until enforced demographic change forces us into a minority. We certainly won’t be voting for destruction of one of the greatest nations of all time.

    • Hysteria

      I really hope you’re right. I am very much afraid that Pandora has opened her box though .

  • jazz606

    Good piece by Simon Winder in Standpoint

    Alex Salmond: The spirit of Scottish nationalism (credit: John Paul)

    Last summer, when I was checking the proofs for my book about the Habsburg Empire, Danubia, I found myself reflecting on the way that across Central Europe over the past century and a half different forms of nationalism have done almost untold damage. Wherever I travelled there were entire towns whose populations had been killed or expelled at the command of one form of nationalist zealot or another. My conclusion (which I am sure is an uncontentious one) was that anyone who makes exclusive claims based around flags, songs or mystical and immemorial borders was at some base level evil — that to believe in such things, which have more in common with magic than rationality, puts the believer and his disciples en route to catastrophe. And then I thought about Alex Salmond.

    The Habsburg Empire, which was destroyed during the course of the First World War, joined together part or whole of 12 modern European countries and stretched from the Alps to western Ukraine. It was hardly a model of rationality and could often be cynical or incompetent – but it seems like a vision of paradise compared to the nihilistic disaster that unfolded for its inhabitants from 1914 to the end of the Cold War. Several generations found themselves savaged by all the most horrible elements in Europe’s formidable armoury of creepy prejudices sprinkled with a dusting of intellectualism – what language you spoke, your religion, your political views had you herded into different camps at different times. In the end nobody won. Whatever terrible crimes the Communists carried out they at least had a salutary attitude towards the nationalists scattered across Central Europe who had done so much to support the Nazis and to poison community after community that had until then generally lived cheek-by-jowl for centuries, if not in harmony then in grudging indifference.

    The lesson of the Habsburg Empire’s demise is probably that multinational states are extremely valuable. They define themselves by some measure of tolerance and the heir to the throne, Franz Ferdinand, had until his assassination, planned for his accession all manner of schemes to federalise the Empire. Before the catastrophe of the First World War very few of the Empire’s inhabitants imagined that independence was even a rational option. Even Tomáš Masaryk, later to found Czechoslovakia, could only imagine a federal solution – the lands of Bohemia and Moravia which he wished to have autonomy were simply filled with too many people who could never be reconciled to rule by Czech-speakers, as turned out to be the case.

    This is when I started to think about Salmond. The United Kingdom is Europe’s last big multinational state – and in that sense vulnerable to what nationalists love to think of as “the tide of history”. But the disasters of the 20th century have perhaps taught us that there are many problems with nationalist ideas on sovereignty. Indeed the European Union was created specifically in order to neuter these problems. One hardly discussed reason why the EU might be antagonistic towards Scottish independence is that Salmond’s rhetoric and reality swim in exactly the opposite direction to all the most positive European trends since 1945. While most of Europe pools its sovereignty, here is someone yet again making mystical claims for the greater virtue that would emerge from drawing a ring around a particular chunk of land.

    When last summer I first started suggesting to friends that there was something about Salmond’s rhetoric that really worried me – that it could be seen as effectively fascist in its mix of flag-waving mysticism allied to socioeconomic gestures to the Left – I found few takers. But following February’s UK-SNP name calling, threats and counter-threats I am much more confident that Salmond is indeed a deeply dangerous figure for the UK and a disaster for Scotland. Nationalists anywhere are never driven by reason, because their position is unrelated to reason. Salmond was already a nationalist when American, British and Dutch multinationals were investing many millions of pounds in North Sea oil exploration. His central argument about the autonomy made possible through ownership of oil royalties is therefore merely a rhetorical extra. His socialism is a fraud — he claims that these redirected royalties will make life better in Glasgow, but he intends to do this only by taking those royalties away from the impoverished of those cities outside his new borders – so suddenly the people of Newcastle, say, are flung outside the pale and Scotland’s flagship role in improving the condition of the working class throughout the United Kingdom is abandoned. Driving back and forth across the Scottish border myself the other week it seemed incredible to imagine that very soon this could mark a real and hostile line. Salmond claims that a specific group has virtues which are unavailable to those south of that line. But this is only sustainable (because it is untrue) by imagining an “other”.

    This “other” has been somewhat vague until now. But just as I feared, the process of nationalist state-making inevitably creates and then feeds an enemy, and this phase is now apparent in two equally important and worrying groups. It is impossible not to speculate that the apparent incompetence of Salmond’s ideas about currency union and the EU were specifically designed to goad the UK government and the EU into lashing out. Until recently it was probably fair to say that the vast majority of those in most areas of the UK excluded from the referendum had no strong views, beyond a mild incredulity that Scotland could possibly find it desirable to become independent. In a composite state where so many people feel themselves to be British, the language did not really exist to conceive of a United Kingdom which might no longer include such a large element of its Britishness. The potential threat of a now predominantly English state for millions who relied on their Britishness was chilling, but remote. But the implications do now need to be thought through. They also need to be thought through for Ulster, which would become a futile exclave — a further measure of the weird, arbitrary nature of nationalism, with the SNP turning its back on an area with which Scots have as intricate and old a linkage as with England.

    The second group consists, of course, of those who vote No in the referendum. The best that the Yes camp can hope for is a very marginal victory — but this would mean that a little under half of those living in Scotland, perhaps at least as passionately, do not think independence a good idea. Any separate Scottish state will have to deal with “disloyalty” on a potentially huge scale. What happens to council areas which decisively vote No? Could these secede? Any new state has to define itself by loyalty to its institutions. I can think of almost no successful examples of this happening without threats and violence. A new Scottish state will be defined against the remainder of the UK. If it is not, then there was no point in creating such a state. But a state created by, say, even 55:45 is a mockery of real democracy – real democracy is about the regular reviewing of choice, not a one-shot plebiscite. Within weeks the legitimacy of such a place could be frighteningly compromised — but the damage could never be undone. Psychologically, how could a new, smaller UK not lash out at its neighbour? How could negotiations over military bases, say, or oil not be vituperative, egged on by the millions of Scots who never wanted independence in the first place? How has this been allowed to happen?

    Thinking about the Habsburgs, it is probably fair to say that they would have viewed the very idea of agreeing to a referendum as insane. We have somehow sleepwalked into a situation where our political classes have created something ruinous. The SNP are like the dwarves in The Hobbit who can only open the stone door into the mountain when the keyhole appears at a specific time on a specific day. To their amazement they found themselves in power through the implosion of Labour’s credibility, facing off against a comically rebarbative (and atypical) “southern English toff” government in London, and in the run-up to the 700th anniversary of the Battle of Bannockburn. This entirely fluky alignment has made a bid for independence plausible, for a few moments: and so something which will be irreversible and hugely damaging to almost everyone involved has been somehow allowed to go ahead. Incidentally, should there not perhaps be some minor element in Nato’s mission which involves dispatching squads to arrest anyone who organises political rallies around old battle commemorations? Or indeed arrests anyone who even tries to use some daft medieval scrimmage like Bannockburn to trump later centuries of cooperation and mutual respect? Anything involving slow drumbeats, flaming torches, body-paint, the usual junk, is so patently disturbing that it is hard to believe it is allowed to happen at all. It may be a grand day out for all the family, but there are plenty of places to put children’s bouncy-castles other than on a blood-soaked field. In what sense is this any different from commemorating Tannenberg or Kosovo Polje? The atavistic anti-Englishness is no less horrible and mad than the anti-Russian or anti-Muslim connotations of these other two examples. How can this be in any sense “socialist”, the key marker the SNP uses to differentiate itself and Scotland from a notionally less collectivist and welfarist England? But it in fact squares the circle in a very traditional way — it is “national socialist”.

    Whatever the result of a referendum, it will change how the UK feels about itself in deeply destabilising ways. There is a chance that it could be positive – that a long overdue general devolution of powers from London across the whole UK might happen. But the stakes are probably already too high for something so genial. Salmond has mortgaged his future on the idea that somehow an act of collective will by a group of people living at this moment within a specific geographical area and in a specific age group, will take a decision which will conjure into existence something better – a state which future generations, those outside these borders and those too young to vote now will be grateful for. To reach this mystical goal he has fuelled what amounts to ethnic hatred, the sundering of previously natural relationships, a dislike of Scotland that was simply non-existent before and an angry bitterness for a large minority whatever the result. As he points the finger at an ever more bulging number of “enemy” targets — the “Westminster government” (a hideously creepy piece of “othering”, transmuting Scotland’s democratic forum for over 300 years into a sort of hostile camp), the EU, economists, business leaders-it is impossible not to hear in his recent speeches the violent and perhaps irreversible ripping apart of the innumerable bonds that have so far held the UK together.
    The Habsburgs would have restored order with a mixture of large bribes, expulsions, prison sentences and the odd execution, because they rightly saw that there was a deeper poison in nationalism than in any countermeasure. Their reasons were self-serving, but subsequent events proved them correct. It is obviously admirable that the UK authorities cannot simply let Salmond cool his heels on the Isle of Man for a few years, but those who value the plurality and anti-nationalism of the UK have sleepily allowed themselves to drift into a situation where they find themselves face to face with something seriously malevolent which feeds off fear, misinformation, conspiracy, grandstanding and scapegoating. We have no choice but to be reasonable or we betray our own values, but this is, as so many times in Europe’s 20th century, to allow ourselves to be outflanked by more single-minded forces.

    Indeed it may well be already too late. It must surely be a nightmare to imagine a Scotland falling into the well-worn independence rut of a week or two of parading figures, giant flags and tiny singing children in traditional outfits, followed moments thereafter by impoverishment, a hostile border, flailing autarky and the ever widening hunt for “enemies within”, those who hate and challenge the barely legitimate new state, fuelled by dissident groups in England. This is an absurd vision – except that I cannot see a way round it. Or at least, the risks around it seem far too great. No part of Europe has proved immune to nationalist violence — even the dullest regions have been filled with burning houses in their quite recent pasts. Through a miracle of geography, luck, military strength and political intelligence, the island of Great Britain almost alone has avoided this contagion. Nationalism is unappeasable, it soils everything in its path and it has been allowed to cross the North Sea.

    If Salmond wants to share everything with the rest of the UK, then there is no need for independence. But this is not what he wants. The referendum is meant to be a moment of chain-shattering change — not just a mild and highly dubious redirecting of revenues to a new state’s smirking functionaries. Yet it is impossible to imagine this a happy place, or one which offers any actual benefit to most of its inhabitants. It could in turn promote a disgusting new variety of English nationalism. The SNP will be unable to deliver anything real and will instead create an excluding, under-siege Volk-community, with marginally better crèche facilities. This would be a state viewed with repugnance by most other Europeans and would be a fantastically retrograde step, one that is being managed into being with slipshod and juvenile helplessness by the “Westminster government” almost as much as it has been whipped up by the SNP itself.

    • Hysteria

      This is an excellent summary – well worth the read.

    • Blindsideflanker

      Typical, the English, the people who developed our parliamentary democracy, where the rule of law has been their DNA, who have been incredibly tolerant of the constitutional discrimination levelled against them, yet it is the English for whom you reserve the bogeyman status and warn of the potential of ‘disgusting English nationalism’.

      Well its about time you racist anti English haters were made to justify your insulting comments about the English. Justify your comments or be for ever condemned as a racist.

      • jazz606

        “…Well its about time you racist anti English haters were made to justify your insulting comments about the English. Justify your comments or be for ever condemned as a racist…”

        Well the comment was Mr Winder’s and not mine. I agree with most of what he says but I don’t think of English Nationalism as disgusting. In fact I think that the English are long overdue in recognising and defending their nationalism and that what is happening now is a natural reaction.
        I’m on their side, they have exercised restraint and toleration, in stark contrast to what is happening North of the border.

      • Denis_Cooper

        Did he?

        I stopped reading after the third paragraph!

  • Rik

    Excellent we remain good friends and get rid of 50+ labour seats at Westminster roll on the yes vote

  • Denis_Cooper

    “Scotland won’t become a foreign country just because of a vote”

    Perfectly true, it would be the subsequent Act to dissolve the Union that did that.

  • Simon Denis

    The only way I can deal with this repulsive saga of collapse is by ignoring it. To examine the craven way in which British identity has been trashed and thrown away – with the active connivance of the left – hard, soft or completely insane – is a sorry and embittering tale to which only a Gibbon or a Tacitus could do justice. And so we have the latest stage in the progress of the reds – Britain itself to be broken in two. The Unionist campaign has been attacked for an absence of vision but since when has any conservative cause – and Unionism is perhaps THE conservative cause – been allowed to pull out the stops? And in any case, the mechanism to which those stops were once connected has been deliberately decommissioned over the last thirty years. Well – what to do when that pimply, impoverished rump of a country has decided to take its chances as an international pauper-parasite? On no account do this: give it money; let it trash the pound; allow it a moment’s further posturing at the expense of English taxpayers; permit it to influence to the least degree a Westminster election. No – let them feel their yes vote as a pitiless expulsion and we shall see what consolation they may take in the homespun ramblings of their squat Fuhrer.

    • Fred Smith

      “No – let them feel their yes vote as a pitiless expulsion and we shall
      see what consolation they may take in the homespun ramblings of their
      squat Fuhrer.”

      As a rational poster with whose views I don’t agree at all, there’s something sad about this posting.

      This business brings about emotional nastiness and manufactures divisions which shouldn’t be there, between everyone touched by it.

      I don’t see Salmond as a “squat Fuhrer”; he’s a political adventurer who’s been lured well beyond his depth.

      • Simon Denis

        Anyone who destroys Great Britain is, in my view, a vandal. How can you adopt this tone of resigned patronage – “an adventurer out of his depth”? He may well plunge our lives into a degree of needless impoverishment and insecurity and all for a clapped out pairing of two discredited ideologies – hard nationalism and left socialism. It is precisely that combination which leads me to dub him a squat Fuhrer – a flaring of rhetorical license abundantly justified by the threat that he represents, surely?

        • Fred Smith

          Well I certainly don’t think it’s a small step to be undertaken lightly and for frivolous reasons, as it appears to be. And I do think it’s not being brought about by a visionary, if possibly misguided leader, but by a con man well beyond his depth, who’ll most likely end up on the run.

          It isn’t even hard nationalism or left socialism, it’s just a fantasy cocktail of both.

          However, when it comes down to it, it’s just something we’ll have to deal with, having an artificially contrived foreign state on a land border, and the way to do that is by calculation, not emotion based on what’s passed.

        • Wessex Man

          It’s a done now, Blair set this in motion with the help of the Scottish Taliban in 1997.

          We the English will have to muddle through somehow and if we fall bt the wayside our friends in the north will be proved correct.

          If however we carry on with a larger population than Spain of Italy with barely a noticeable dip in our progress we will be all the better for it.

      • GreyNag

        “I don’t see Salmond as a “squat Fuhrer”; he’s a political adventurer who’s been lured well beyond his depth”.

        He has also been voted GQ politician of the year!

        • Fred Smith

          Corr! Well that’s the last word.

          In that case he definitely isn’t a political adventurer who’s been lured well beyond his depth.

        • Inverted Meniscus

          Well you’ve got us all there laddie. How can we possibly argue with that. How stupid are you?

        • The_greyhound

          Is that the same GQ that voted Blair “Philanthropist of the Year”?

          • Wessex Man

            Yes that rag!

    • Noel

      Not that you will remotely understand but there is a phenomenal, ground-level surge in feeling in Scotland about democracy, equality and putting people first. It’s a beautiful thing.

      • Simon Denis

        Equality has never put people first; it involves a self-contradictory hierarchy devoted to keeping those beyond its purlieus down. It sates them with the opium of satisfied envy and even when it appears to have won, it finds that only more of that drug will do – hence show trials, purges, mass murder and genocide. Clearly this is beyond the powers of even so low and paltyr a creature as Salmond, but it is the real meaning of “equality”; it has nothing beautiful about it. Even in its first manifestations it is a Manichean, collectivist creed in urgent such of a demonised “other” – in this case, the English. I understand only too well the towering self-righteousness and abysmal vandalism which arise from this sort of “surge”.

        • Noel

          Told you you wouldn’t understand 😉 The need for equality – or rather limits on inequality – is in fact a fundamental, objective truth about the way human societies function which goes beyond political beliefs. Google down the TED talk by Richard Wilkinson about his, and Kate Pickett’s, book: The Spirit Level.

          • Colonel Mustard

            Tripe.

            • Noel

              You would first have to read the book to understand it.

              • Colonel Mustard

                Er, no I wouldn’t.

          • magpie5

            fantasy , as usual

      • The_greyhound

        Actually the nationalist thing is a load of cheap hysterics and anti-English ranting. The spectacle of the SNP and its childish, selfish, stupid supporters, its lies, deceits and false promises are suffcient to make all decent people sick.

        It’s a foul thing, and a permanent stain on Scotland.

        • Colonel Mustard

          What is so awful about it is that much of the boastful hubris and Anglophobe bile is crowed from the top of a dunghill of moral presumptions that some socialist paradise unique to the Scottish psyche will blossom once they are shot of the English Tories.

          “We’re better than you! We’re nicer than you!”

          And then they profess that they do not have hatred at the heart of them.

          Pure national socialism of the German kind.

          • The_greyhound

            Agree with every word.

            But it’s the endless low level sense of threat that comes off the natscum that’s so unforgivable. Whether it’s character assassination, the bullying, the trolling, the physical threats to Murphy, the offers of vengeance on Unionists, or even the wanton destruction of the huge numbers of NO adverts up everywhere, we can always be sure that the nationalists are scouring the barrel in their desperate attempt to lie and bully their way to hijack a slice of the UK.

      • Fred Smith

        A dubious claim for exceptionalism.

        How is this feeling for democracy to be expressed, and will it be radically different, a Swiss-style direct democracy, for example?

        “Putting people first” is one of those anodyne political statements politicians like to trot out along the lines of “a fairer society” and means zilch without further definition. Everyone thinks they know what it means but all their ideas are different. No politician’s going to say they are for “Putting people last” or “A more unfair society”.

        What are the ideas for “Hardworking families” and World Peace?

        • Noel

          Putting people first is everything. It means an end to food banks. It means a living wage. It means a national health service. It means greater equality and opportunities to succeed. It means an end to elitism and unearned privileges. It means restoring democracy. It means politicians who serve not rule. It means respecting your fellow man.

          And, yes, it’s also merely an empty slogan which jaded, cynical elites deploy in the wider game they play to insulate themselves from their electorate.

          Take your pick. It’s beginning to look like the Scottish people have decided which one they want.

          • Fred Smith

            It means a national health service? What’s that thing we’ve had since just after WWII then?

            The rest of this is just brain dead feelgood political claptrap, as I pointed out.

            • Noel

              The national health service is being dismantled. That’s one of the big issues in the referendum. Even though health is a devolved power, many Scots don’t believe they can rely on a Scottish NHS being properly funded if they stay in the UK.

              Brain dead..?! Au contraire. Scotland is buzzing with talk and ideas and hope for the future. We’re discovering that our greatest resource is simple humanity. You should try it some time.

              • Colonel Mustard

                “The national health service is being dismantled.”

                FFS. How on earth do you people dream this stuff up.

                • Inverted Meniscus

                  Whatever lie fits the narrative the SNP will grab it with alacrity.

                • Simon Denis

                  It should be dismantled. It is a murderous institution. We need a regulated insurance market with independent hospitals actually held to account by the wallet rather than by the waffling pieties of pitiless quangocrats. It is extraordinary to me that anyone can leak socialist cant into the debates of today and not be lynched by the thousands of infected, bereaved and humiliated “patients” of our nationalised health horror story.

              • Chris Morriss

                Yes, Scotland is buzzing with talk, but then it always has been. Perhaps if the country was buzzing with the work ethic instead, you’d all be in a better state to get through the economic rigours you’ll face after a yes vote.

                • GreyNag

                  It is the only part of the UK with a Balance of Payments surplus to add to its oil wealth. So some of us must retain the Scottish work ethic.

              • Michele Keighley

                The National Health Service is being dismantled is it? Then you’d better make sure you don’t vote for the SNP – or are you unaware that Health is a devolved matter?

                And grandiose pomposity does not disguise the paucity of your arguments.

              • Wessex Man

                Yep good luck with that and the merk.

          • Colonel Mustard

            Oh, so it’s just another Labour party promotion exercise. You should have just said “Vote Labour” and saved yourself and us much time.

            Good luck with that politicians serving not ruling thing.

          • Inverted Meniscus

            And all done with two shakes of a magic wand.

          • Wessex Man

            your idea would lead us to the stone ages

          • Erictheowl

            ROTFLMAO

          • magpie5

            ”somewhere over the rainbow , way up high , theres a land that I’ve heard of , once in a lullaby

      • Erictheowl

        No, it’s all cheap emotional manipulation and blackmail – cheap that is, until you come to realise that you are going to have to pay for it yourselves. Do grow up.

    • Colonel Mustard

      Beautifully put.

    • Wessex Man

      That’s just a delibrately not very well disguised racist rant.

      If the Scots wish to become independent from the rest of the UK that’s their democratic right. The democratic right of the rest of the UK is to say that the Scots, now a foreign country will under no cicumstances be allowed to share our currency.

      • Denis_Cooper

        And nor will independence be granted by the UK Parliament on the basis that the Scots could walk away from that part of the UK debt which was incurred to fund additional public spending in Scotland for the benefit of the Scots, with the consent of MPs elected in Scotland some of whom held positions in the UK government at various times.

        It’s simple: no water-tight arrangement for the Scottish government to reimburse the continuing UK Treasury for repayment of Scotland’s fair share of the present UK’s debt, no Act to dissolve the Union.

        • Pacificweather

          You are absolutely correct. The City of London won’t allow the British government to cut its nose off to spite it’s face. It will insist on a currency union and it will get one. However, I doubt there will be a Scottish act to dissolve the union. The negotiations will end in a vote for home rule within the union in 2016. I’m taking bets on it.

    • Jambo25

      And that kind of posting tells you why many people in Scotland want rid of people like you.

      • Colonel Mustard

        Ah, so it’s not really about independence at all but about “getting rid” of certain types of people as categorised by you.

        Hmm. Sounds familiar. What about all the Scots people who vote ‘No’? What will you do to “get rid” of them then?

        • Jambo25

          No, its been the destruction of any feeling of commonality by the kind o posting I was replying to.

          • Colonel Mustard

            I have no feeling of commonality with plenty of people but I do not “want rid” of them.

            You are articulating nasty nationalism but trying to dress it up as the fault of the objects of your hatred.

      • The_greyhound

        You don’t speak for the people of Scotland.

        Mr Denis can say what he pleases. He doesn’t need the permssion of of a dogmatic little authoritarian like you.

        • Jambo25

          And I require no permission to comment from a raving, unpleasant windae licker like you.

          • Wessex Man

            Please comment in the English Language.

    • lakelander

      Bravo!

    • John Harper

      The sad fact is that it will indeed cost the English tax payer whatever the vote.

  • john

    The UK elite’s attitude will go through 4 stages
    1. Mockery
    2. Fear mongering
    3. it’s no big deal
    4. How do we get back in control

    #3 is just beginning.

  • Magnolia

    The break will be terrible if it happens because of the shock and disbelief of the rest of the UK at having a large part of its geographical, cultural and historical being and identity forcibly amputated without any say or democratic means of expression.
    The rest of Britain will wake up feeling cross and violated.
    We are not talking about the removal of a sovereign nation from the beginnings of a federation but of the slicing up of the very sovereign itself.
    Does Scotland want to be a nuclear free zone when it is reported that Russia is voting on conditions for a pre-emptive strike?
    This is a consequence of Scottish Labour policies and the PM’s failed localism agenda.

    • Noel

      It’s got nothing to do with Scottish Labour. It’s the inevitable reaction to deeply embedded elitism and extreme, right-wing governments who unwisely pushed the country too hard in one direction thus creating the pressure for a clean break along the Scottish border. If it wasn’t for Thatcher, Cameron and Osborne we’d probably have stayed but, like many Scots, I won’t live in a country where the poor are deliberately starved by their own government.

      • HookesLaw

        What a load of hysteric cobblers. Preposterous tosh. We’ve just had 13 years of labour for a start. Its decades since Thatcher whose trade union reforms still remain unamended. Starved? What ignorant cr@p. Take a look at the benefits bill, mostly paid by taxes on poor people and they need to because labour left such a massive deficit.

        • Wessex Man

          Well said Hooky babe!

      • Magnolia

        It has everything to do with favouritism from Scottish New Labour politicians who ‘spoilt’ their own and who in the process broke the banks and ran the British economy pretty much in to the ground.
        The idealistic ‘Yes’ Scots just want more of the same daydream.
        They want the left wing fantasy to keep going because reality is unpleasant.
        In clinging to their silly dreams they will literally rip up my birthright as well as theirs.
        After the vote and if it is ‘Yes’ then I will loathe Scotland.
        No more Scottish wool jumpers for me.

      • Colonel Mustard

        Tripe. Extreme right-wing governments, starving the poor, my a**e.

        Get a f***ing grip.

      • Hysteria

        If that is how you see it there is really not much hope of a discussion. “The poor deliberately starved” – really?

        • Noel

          Yes, with a vicious benefits sanctions system where staff are pressured into filling quotas and honest claimants are unfairly punished for spurious reasons.

          • Inverted Meniscus

            A truly imbecilic comment.

      • Inverted Meniscus

        Fatuous. To suggest that “the poor are deliberately starved” is utterly ridiculous as is the suggestion that any British government has been extremely right wing. Just stop being ridiculous.

        • Noel

          You need to get out more. Try volunteering at your local foodbank to see the fallout from a vicious benefits sanctions system which regularly cuts off honest claimant’s only source of income for spurious reasons. Simply sneering at it won’t make it go away.

          • Inverted Meniscus

            You need to stop being a socialist nutter lad you are too fond of spending other people’s money and telling them what to do.

            • Noel

              Like I said, sneering at it won’t make it go away. Go and volunteer at your local foodbank and learn something about the desperate position many people have been forced into through no fault of their own.

              • Inverted Meniscus

                Well thank Fascist Labour for its £168 billion structural deficit lad.

      • you_kid

        Harsh words, perhaps not ‘starved’ but valuable funds diverted over decades if not centuries to suit an outdated centralist agenda.

  • Damon

    Four points.
    (1) Even on the most optimistic Nat scenario, the Yes campaign will only win with a little over 50 per cent of votes cast. So, your new country is going to enter the world with about half of its own citizens not especially believing in it. Good luck with that.
    (2) The Yes campaigners remind me, above all, of British voters in 1997. The coming of Labour and St Tony was going to sweep all injustice away, provide a golden new dawn and solve everybody’s problems at a stroke. How did that one work out for you?
    (3) Many Scots now complain about the oppressive dead hand of Westminster. Give independence about a decade before the Isles, Highlands, Borders, etc, start complaining about the oppressive hand of the Central Belt. (‘Och, us folk in Peebles are sick to death of Holyrood and its smug metropolitan elite.’)
    (4) The Union forever.

    • Colonel Mustard

      (1) √
      (2) √
      (3) √
      (4) √

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

      1 – This is nonsense – over 60% opposed Czech/Slovakia split, but they’ve never looked back.
      3 – if this is true, why isn’t there already a successful independence movement for Yorkshire for example? Scotland is a more cohesive a nation than most, English wishful thinking notwithstanding.

      • Iain Hill

        How many supported aggressive neoliberal Toryism in 2010? 30% if that.

        • Colonel Mustard

          Well, first you would have to define “aggressive neoliberal Toryism” which would be a subjective left-wing definition deploying post-election hindsight anyway.

          Then you would have to evidence beyond a reasonable doubt that “aggressive neoliberal Toryism” defined their manifesto. A cursory glance suggests not.

          And it was 36% not “30% of that” which slyly implied less than 30%. 36% was 7% more than Labour but got far fewer seats than Labour’s 2005 less than 3% lead.

          So your comment is baloney really!

          • Wessex Man

            Stop it! you are going to give him a migraine!

          • Mukkinese

            Hear! Hear! Well reasoned nonsense, that’s what we like to see…

            • Colonel Mustard

              You should not sneer at “well reasoned nonsense” in rebuttal to Hill’s badly reasoned nonsense. Look to him first! The only nonsense in my comment is the term “aggressive neo-liberal Toryism” which I didn’t invent.

              • Pacificweather

                You are right. It was 1951 when Labour got more votes but the Tories won. The joys of a post code democracy!

          • Pacificweather

            You have to admit that in comparison to Mrs Thatcher’s maximum vote of 42% in 1979 (it was all down hill after that) 36% is as inspiring as it was for Tony Blair in 2005. At least Tony Blair started out in 1997 with 42%. Cameron does not have far to fall before he is out of the game. Mrs T’s great coup was to lose 2% of the vote in 1983 but gain 52 seats. Somehow, I can’t see Cameron pulling that rabbit out of the electoral system.

        • telemachus

          Aggressive neoliberal Toryism is morphing into the racialist right represented by UKIP and the EDL and will go further to ape a regressive national socialism of the right wing

          UKIP want te demit but also want integration into the wider world of the neoliberal cabal and like the Tories is led by a leader from the City(remember Osborne drives the Tories)

          None of the right believe in Social Justice

          • Colonel Mustard

            Hard to believe in a chimera cynically invented by Labour to use as a blunt instrument of emotional blackmail to cudgel your way to power.

            If you really believed in “Social Justice” where was it evidenced under your regime in Mid-Staffs, Falkirk and Rotherham – and probably a hundred other places where retro-soviet “progressives” hold sway? Even before we get to the things your party has done to destroy real social mobility in England.

            • telemachus

              The team are tired of saying Rotherham is not PARTY political

              *

              Read the Financial Times “It is hard to miss the class component of this scandal…the blatant disregard shown to working class children and their families.”
              *
              Dreadful child abuse is appallingly common, including grooming and rape and happens in all parts of society and, far from your PC charges, the majority of perpetrators are white.

              The Media/BBC and Whitehall child sexual exploitation scandals show that abuse starts at the top of society and the roots of child sexual exploitation are in a greedy Keith Joseph society that’s based on exploitation and has inbuilt inequality and oppression, a society of rich and poor, those with social power and those with none, some who are listened to and some who are ignored, a society where profit comes first and the police exist to protect the rich rather than ordinary people.

              Child abuse is a consequence of our unequal and still class-driven society. It is another reason to turn to Labour. We need a changed world where people come before profit and are seen as human beings, not competitors or objects.

              • Colonel Mustard

                Depends what you read.

                http://www.independent.co.uk/n

                “The extent to which the former Labour government tried to play down criminality and extremism among British Muslims for fear of undermining community cohesion is revealed today, as the fallout from the Rotherham — abuse scandal continued.”

                “Meanwhile, a former minister claimed he was threatened with the sack by his then boss, the foreign secretary Jack Straw, for calling on Muslims in the UK to choose between the “British way or the way of the terrorists” after a 24-year-old from South Yorkshire tried to bomb Israelis in a bar in Tel Aviv in 2003. Former Foreign Office minister Denis MacShane said he was forced to agree to a “grovelling climb-down” over his remarks because he was warned it risked upsetting community relations.”

                The facts remain that this occurred under a Labour council and a Labour government and that multi-cultural “sensitivities” (a concept imported to Britain and imposed by Labour) motivated the cover-up and silencing of complainants. You must discern between the actual abuse and the reaction of Labour-controlled authorities to it.

                So, yes, it IS party political.

            • Pacificweather

              Rotherham police are retro-soviet “progressives”? Yes, a very apt description for them.

          • ManOfKent

            Nurse!

            Tellytubby needs some more meds. He’s rubbing himself up into a froth again over race! Is there not some other treatment they can give him for his obsession with racism.

            A frontal lobotomy perhaps?

            • TrulyDisqusted

              I’d rather have a bottle in front of me than a frontal lobotomy!

          • chouenlai

            What exactly is “social justice” in your book tele ? Taking lots of money of off those who have made something of their lives and squandering it on wasters. What you are seeing is a reaction to the Labour years which preached kissing Muslim arses every morning before breakfast. Whether it goes way to far, we shall have to see. If it does, I was telling you lot your immigrant love in, was dangerous 15 years ago.

          • Raddiy

            Just like the sun rises every morning, the Coffee House paedo supporter rises to the occasion, metophorically speaking, or perhaps not.!!

            How are Hatty, Jack and Patricia holding up, they must be really annoyed that grassroots Labour paedophiles are muscling in on their Islington stronghold from all over the country.

            You are probably the right person to ask, are there any plans to set up a national leftie paedo conference where Labour politicians will be able to swap ideas on the most effective socialist type of child abuse, what child abuse is inclusive and suitably diverse, you know the sort of thing.

            We in UKIP are thinking of setting up a campaign group, initially we were going to called it the UAFF(Unite Against F**k*** Fiddlers), and campaign outside meetings such as Labour conferences, but it might get confused with that hopeless bunch in the UAF who are apparently united in their stupidity, but the only fascists they can find are themselves.

        • The_greyhound

          How many supported the natscum in the Scottish Parliamentary election in 2011?

          I’ll tell you. 903,000, out of an electorate of 3.9 millions. Less than 23%.

          Did you have a point about democratic legitimacy, and if so, what was it?

          • magpie5

            Maybe so , but if you look at any YES campaign rally they have clearly atracted the usefull idiots by the score (Especially women ) who really should be the most cautious of Salmond’s reckless gamble and bogus promises ; these folks are filled with child-like utopianism and dangerous enthusiasm and determined to build a brave new world
            I have witnessed something eerily similar in Obama’s dopey campaigns of ”hope and change ” that atracted a similar crowd of starry eyed fools dreaming of a land ”somewhere over the rainbow ”
            There is a lose alliance ranged against us of braveheart-like nationalists and clueless fools , proudly ignorant , who are willing to suspend disbelief and to take Salmond’s predictions at face value , almost like a religious revival
            Not to worry , the right thinking , sober minded majority will wake up to this menace and firmly put an end to it on sept 18th , and not a minute too soon

            • Douglas Guy

              No matter how you count it, there is a loose alliance ranged against you of approximately half the Scots population. Insult us all you want, it just adds to our movement.

    • magpie5

      Yes , there deluded supporters are filled with dangerous optimism

    • Alex

      1) This problem will be no different if we vote NO.

      2) You are saying ‘nothing ever changes’ just give up trying. This should be Better Together’s tagline.
      3) Proportional representation will give these regions more voice. People will always blame their government. At least when they do it will be not be misconstrued as blaming the English as it so often is. None more so than on these message boards. A nation taking responsibility for itself – is this not a notion your average Spectator reader can warm to.
      4) You should have left it at this. Union forever. The other 3 points were just as meaningless.

      • Damon

        “You are saying ‘nothing ever changes’ just give up trying.”

        No, I’m saying that belief in a political panacea is naive and dangerous. Big difference. Again and again, Nats claim that everything from social injustice to political disengagement will be solved by independence. This is a utopian view, and as I said, a real echo of ’97.
        There are all kinds of ways of improving Scotland, which, though you may hate to hear it, is actually a rather successful place within the UK. Smashing up the most effective political entity of the last 300 years is not the answer to all your prayers.

        Incidentally, I’m British, but I currently work in Russia. When I discuss this issue with people here, their reaction is *uniformly* one of surprise. Surprise, that is, that Nats wish to leave a country which in their view is one of the world’s most successful nations – a ‘prestige brand’, if you like.

        • Alex

          “belief in a political panacea”
          This is not the view of the YES campaign. Which in my experience is always very careful to describe independence merely as an important first step towards making improvements in Scotland.

          “though you may hate to hear it”
          I simply do not know what you mean by that – stop presuming.

          These statements, along with your description of us as ‘Nats’ betray a complete detachment from the issue you are commenting on.

          Scotland might seem great to you or some folk in Russia but many who live here do not feel they are living in a prestige brand. No cage is worth living in, no matter how gilded. Every nation deserves the chance to pick and choose how it is governed. This is an absolutely normal state of affairs, we want it too.

          • Damon

            “No cage is worth living in, no matter how gilded.”

            You are not living in a cage. You are living in a free, democratic country which gives you the absolute right of self determination, including the right to walk away. This is sort of why we’re having this discussion in the first place. Incidentally, my reference to ‘Nats’ was merely shorthand. I’m happy to write ‘Yes campaigners’, if that sits more comfortably with you.

            • Alex

              It’s not a good shorthand. Lots of us in the YES campaign who do not feel particularly nationalistic.

              Democracy is broken in the UK. Only a few constituencies determine the governments we get FPTP is an antiquated system. The parties in power have become corrupt and complacent. Devolution can only ever be a short term measure. The West Lothian question needs to be resolved for England. Scotland has absolutly no accountability in it’s UK government. Whilst I love everybody in these isles, it is more important to get these problems fixed.

              • Pacificweather

                Very well put. Let us hope the people in Scotland have your wisdom. It may also help the other nations see the light.

            • Pacificweather

              The Scots do indeed live in a free and democratic country. Unfortunately, the English don’t and so their government often opposes the will of the Scottish people. I cannot blame anyone for wanting to live in a democracy rather than be governed by a party (Labour or Tory) that only got 36% of the vote as Labour did in 2005.

    • Livia

      (4) hammers away at any sense of objectivity in the points above it. You might just as well have posted a picture of your face tattooed with Cameron waving a Union Jack.

      • Damon

        “You might just as well have posted a picture of your face tattooed with Cameron waving a Union Jack.”
        I never claimed to be impartial, nor am I. Nats need to understand that they’re not the only ones who feel passionately about this issue. As for the other three points, I stand by them.

        • Pacificweather

          Why are you against local democracy. That used to be the very essence of Conservatism.

          • Damon

            I’m not against local democracy. I’m against the fragmentation and collapse of the British state. The solution? Simple. Greater devolved powers for England, Scotland, Wales and Norther Ireland WITHIN the UK.

            • Pacificweather

              Only a Yes vote will give the Scots the negotiating power to achieve that demonstrated by new offers after many votes have been cast. Had the Westminster government allowed the Scots to vote for DevoMax independence would not be on the agenda. The problem is we know that Westminster does not want to devolve powers. The lack of them in the Localism Act demonstrated that. The Scots will get what they want and stay in the UK. I can’t say the same for the rest of us.

    • Pacificweather

      2) That is probably why 58% of the votes were not for Labour in 1997. Maybe also why 60% of votes were not for the Tories in Mrs T’s ‘landslide’ victory in 1983.

  • Colonel Mustard

    “In contrast, English patriotism is fairly strong, if proletarianised, and motivated partly by a sense of resentment over immigration”

    Really? Sounds like that is just your idea of what English patriotism is.

    • dalai guevara

      Oh come on, we have seen the same thing in Belfast, the flying the flag on council buildings thing – the common sentiment was entirely that this was precisely as described by the author – a quite apt and blunt assessment in fact.

      • Colonel Mustard

        Oh shut up. Neither you nor anyone else can determine the imperative for another person’s patriotism, let alone stereotype it en masse. Don’t confuse sneering at it with understanding its motivation.

        And Belfast is in Northern Ireland not England. Trying to compare the two demonstrates the depth of your ignorance. Stick to commenting on German affairs.

        • Inverted Meniscus

          Well he is a euro socialist nutter. What do you expect from a gibberish spouting idiot?

          • Colonel Mustard

            Ghastly fellow. If ever an ugly backside had three cheeks instead of two there would be Dalai, Dado and You_kid.

            • Inverted Meniscus

              You forgot barking at tree Huggers, shoe on my head and of course, the goat. He has no shortage of gibberish spouting sockpuppets.

        • dalai guevara

          I reject the notion that I was most suited for commenting on German affairs only and I would be curious as to why you would believe that was my personal limit.
          I have pointed out an instance which perfectly refers to both your and the author’s comment and emphasises the point I believe the author is trying to make.

          • Colonel Mustard

            I simply reject you.

    • ArchiePonsonby

      Not a bad thing, I would have thought, Col?

  • rjbh

    yes the world is about to find that Scotland does exist, not just a bit of England as even England supposed.

    • Michele Keighley

      I think some of us in the world already know that Scotland exists, we have been told, and told, … and told and told ……. and told :(

  • goatmince

    As foreign as Bruxelles.

    Scotland is already ‘a foreign country’. But not a foreign nation state.

  • justejudexultionis

    Thanks for doing the Yes campaign’s work for it, Mr. West. It seems that even unionists are coming round to the inevitability of a final separation. Mr. West is also right to point out that the break might not be such a big thing after all. Even ardent unionists will get used to it with time. Also, does anybody seriously think that Irish were wrong to break away in 1922? There are more things in life than money, and even if the first few decades are difficult, it seems clear that Scotland will be an economic success in the long run (even Cameron et al. concede that Scotland is fully capable of handling such autonomy).
    I personally look forward to England and Scotland re-establishing political relations on a more mature and mutually respectful basis.
    SAOR ALBA

    • Barakzai

      Saor Alba . . .

      Ah, the Gaelic, Scotland’s own language that the majority of Scots have never spoken. I can’t remember, is it something the blue-painted Braveheart shrieked as he carved up the celluloid dastardly English?

      • ArchiePonsonby

        You mean that celebrated anti-Semitic Scot, Mel Gibson?

      • vieuxceps2

        I believe it is Irish,same as the Scots were when they arrived in what’s now ingloriously known as the Central Belt.Then came the Saxons and Nordics who drove them northwards where now they are called Highlanders and are greatly emulated by the descendants of the Germanic folk who now inhabit the aforesaid Central Belt.
        It’s similar to white Americans who displaced the Sioux and Cherokee et al and now seek desperately to find some ancestral links with the poor devils they outed and despised.Evidence of a sense of national insecurity and inferiority in both nations,normally hidden by loud boastfulness?

    • Augustus

      “There are more things in life than money”

      Certainly, a much impoverished state because of the certain prospect of capital flight, savers and investors pulling their money out of Scotland en masse, especially if there is even a chance of anything less than a full monetary union, a new and weak Scottish currency instantly falling 15% or more against sterling (and sterling weakening as well.), listed Scottish share pries falling and having an adverse effect on business confidence, and RBS shifting its HQ south, are just some of those wonderful things.

  • Blindsideflanker

    It already is a foreign country..

    But I guess those proposing this novel idea that Scotland having voted for independence isn’t a foreign country, are the British establishment, seeking to give themselves some purpose by creating a little Britain where England is, so they can delude themselves that the Union hasn’t shattered.

    • justejudexultionis

      I think it is fairly clear, even to the most hardened of unionists. that the present constitutional arrangements obtaining in the United Kingdom cannot possibly continue, except with the risk of widespread civil disorder.

      • Blindsideflanker

        You might think that, but they have been happy to tolerate the constitutional dogs breakfast Labour put in place for, very nearly a generation now.

      • The_greyhound

        The usual impotent threat from the cowardly nationalists?

        • justejudexultionis

          Hardly. I am against the use of violence in politics except for self-defence and when fundamental liberties are threatened. I hope that the referendum and its aftermath will pass off peacefully but I am concerned that there will be violence.

          • The_greyhound

            And you will accept that when the majority votes NO, that the matter rests?

            No, I thought not.

      • Inverted Meniscus

        I was wondering when you cybernat nutters would start advocating terrorism if democracy fails to deliver the “correct” answer.

        • justejudexultionis

          Nonsense. It was a statement of concern, not an incitement to violence.

          • Inverted Meniscus

            You cybernats don’t do democracy. You seek to dictate on behalf of 8.3% of the population. The currency union is a good example of something which would be an unqualified disaster for UK tax payers and yet you seek to impose it uponus with threats, typically dishonourable and dishonest, to walk away from a share of the national debt. Incidentally, you all smugly trot out the ‘we will walk away from the debt’ nonsense as if there would be no negative consequences from doing so.

    • Wessex Man

      Only the Westminster Village, you’ll find that if the Scots vote yes it will be greeted with as much enthusiasm in England as in Scotland.

    • Fred Smith

      Actually it seems to be the SNP which have the strange idea that having voted yes and created a brand new state, and legally a foreign country to the UK and for that matter every other existing state (the whole point of voting yes), they can state what they want and it will all fall into place exactly as Salmond says. This despite the interests of those they are demanding it from being different. If it doesn’t all fit neatly into place, it’s “bullying”.

      This certainly applies to the currency, where they suppose a currency union with the UK is theirs as of right, on no more than the mindless basis that “It’s our pound”. If it doesn’t all fit neatly into place, it’s “bullying” and their response is to
      renege on their share of the debt. Reneging on debt is a great start for an independent nation, part of the justification for which has always been how well it could do as a financial centre. I’d have thought a serious independence movement would have the currency question well worked out and credible.

      It also applies to EU membership, where the assumption seems to be that they slip effortlessly into EU membership on the same terms as the UK, pound and all, and anything less is being “kicked out of the EU, for which there’s no scope in the treaties”. Err, an independent Scotland can’t be kicked out of the EU, because it will never have been a member state and isn’t a signatory to any of the treaties. An entrant into the EU would need its own currency and central bank, a currency union wouldn’t do.

      There’s something in all of this that smacks of a peevish teenager crying snot fair whenever they don’t get their way with whatever fantastical demands they make.

      So, if the people of Scotland want to break with the union, that’s fair enough and not a ridiculous position to take in itself. A decision such as this is going to be in some measure down to emotion, rather than an accounting exercise. In this case the emotion seems to be hysterical silliness and all sorts of basic and perfectly reasonable questions are left unanswered.

      I think Salmond’s stock-in-trade was an acceptable alternative to Labour and getting a bigger slice of the cake for Scotland. Independence was the thing which gave him more credibility than someone just using his elbows at the pork barrel. Hence his enthusiasm for Devo Max, which was having the penny and the bun. Actual independence and all that implied was quite beyond him and nothing he prepared for or was prepared for. No one wouldl be more relieved than Salmond at a narrow no vote, which would mean he could continue to ply his trade of crying “It’s all a swizz” and carry on.

      As an Englishman living in England, all I see in Salmond’s scheme is the makings of an almighty mess, launched on the back of a load of self-indulgent nonsense and wishful thinking, and which we’ll end up paying for.

      • GreyNag

        Tane a look at the city’s thoughts on a Currency Union, I think Cameron, Osbourne et al are toast.
        http://www.newsnetscotland.com/index.php/scottish-opinion/9696-citys-verdict-on-westminster-currency-threat-dont-write-cheques-your-arse-cant-cash

        • Fred Smith

          Yeah, yeah, the rest of the UK is under some strange obligation to underwrite Salmond’s fantasies and Cameron, Miliband etc would be toast if they didn’t fall in line with this magical thinking.

          They’d be toast if they did.

          Now why hasn’t an independence movement, which has had years to prepare, sorted out a currency and central bank? Incidentally, these are necessary conditions for joining the Euro and the EU. The need to join the Euro as part of joining the EU has also been glossed over.

          This just isn’t a serious quest for independence. It relies on highly dubious assumptions, wishful thinking, clutching at straws and hasn’t been thought out at all.

          As I say, my fear is that we’ll end up paying for this collective brain holiday.

          As I said, I don’t think the idea of Scottish independence is a nonsense at all, but Salmond’s fantasy version is.

        • The_greyhound

          Why would we want the opinion of a w@nky little SNP stooge website? The City took Osborne’s refusal to countenance a currency union with nary a whisper. A simple fact.

          The only people still talking about this dead issue are the wee nats. So explain to us why exactly are the little nationalists still whining after a currency union with Westminster, the fount of all evil? It couldn’t be that sleazebag salmond still can’t think up a plausible alternative, could it?

          • Wessex Man

            You have a sorry outlook on life.

            • Wessex Man

              I apologise to The_Greyhound that was meant for the GreyNag!

        • Inverted Meniscus

          No you are simply quoting people who support or are paid by the Yes campaign. Why would British taxpayers want to underwrite the newly issued public debt of a foreign country without any powers of limitation?

      • Hysteria

        Yup – good post .

      • Inverted Meniscus

        Sorry, I simply cannot improve upon your excellent post. Well said. I find the currency union element particularly galling. The arrogant, witless assumption that UK taxpayers will fall over themselves to guarantee any newly issued debt by a foreign country without any ability to limit how much that foreign country borrows is beyond parody. I particularly marvel at the threat to walk away from a per capita share of the national debt. Always delivered by cybernats with the assumption that doing so would produce no negative consequences whatsoever and that the UK would just shrug its shoulders and move on.

      • Erictheowl

        Spot on.

      • GreyNag

        Please examine what the City of London are saying. Both Shroders and Goldman Sachs are highly critical of Osbournes stance on CU.

        By the way Salmond has just been voted Politician of the Year by GQ magazine. So there are some in England who admire him.

  • Douglas Gibb

    The thing about Scotland is that a lot of it’s sense of patriotic unity comes from defining itself in opposition to England, currently euphemised as ‘Westminster’. But parts of it are much more ‘anglicised’ than others so this also happens within Scotland itself. There’s a whole ‘who’s properly Scottish and who isn’t’ thing which could actually get more problematic in an iScotland.

    • telemachus

      We should go back to regain our own views of the barbarians north of Carlisle
      *
      “What shall I [St. Jerome] say of other nations – how when I was in Gaul as a youth I saw the Scots, a British race, eating human flesh, and how, when these men came upon the forests upon heards of swine and sheep, and cattle, they would cut off the buttocks of the shepards and paps [breasts] of the woman and hold these for their greatest delicasy.”

      • Douglas Gibb

        You got a problem wi that, pal?

    • dalai guevara

      Tell us then, what are those problems we face upon independence?
      We could no longer travel there, do business there, marry into Scotland, buy land? What is it, what will stop you personally doing anything you can not already do in Scotland now, if Scotland became independent?

      This is a serious and simple question.

      • Douglas Gibb

        Its serious all right but not sure about simple. It depends on who you are. For example I have a nephew who has two young children. Both he and his wife would lose their jobs, and probably have to move to England to continue their careers. Yet his wife’s parents are voting yes. If it happens they will probably never speak to each other again. This is madness, Scotland is in the grip of madness in pursuit of a ridiculous pipe dream because we can’t face the fact that our country (the UK) is actually in deep trouble. We’re trying to run away from our problems rather than face up to them. Etc etc.

        • dalai guevara

          There is no point running, it might delay but not avert the inevitable. I am sorry to hear of families not speaking to one another about this and I have always expresses the line that a multi-cultural/national society will eventually grasp that the issue of ‘nation’ is a minor one in everyone’s everyday lives.

          • Douglas Gibb

            The UK is in a terrible state, it’s debt situation is very serious. This is because of Blairite fantasy politics ie. big state with low taxes. This is what needs to be confronted. Independence is just running away with oil revenues and running away from debt. It is out of the frying pan and into the fire, just further into a political fantasy world. This is only happening because there’s oil there, its just opportunism, nothing to do with social justice. It would put Boris Johnson into power in London which would be a bad thing for the whole world.

        • ArchiePonsonby

          An aspect of the whole sorry mess that I hadn’t considered. Well put!

        • Pacificweather

          The 1901 census showed more Scots living in London than Edinburgh. Scots are currently coming to England for work and English, Germans and Hungarians going to Scotland. Why would anything change. Jobs come and go. That’s the way of the world.

          • Douglas Gibb

            I totally agree. London is the UK hub and no big way of changing that. Same problem all over the world, talent is sucked out of provinces to where the opportunities are. It would be a much bigger problem if Scotland was indie
            though because:

            1.Edinburgh is currently no.2 city in UK after London in GDP per head terms. This is because of the finance industry, and it would be trashed by independence.

            2.Currently Scots going to seek their fortune in London are contributing their energy to the UK economy, and paying
            taxes to the UK govt. So their efforts also benefit fellow Scots. Barnett formula is about recognising these kind of factors. If Scotland independent then these people are
            going to a foreign country, paying taxes there, benefitting only rUK.

            This is
            one of the many reasons independence would be an economic disaster for
            Scotland.

            • Pacificweather

              We can, of course, only speculate. We don’t know what will be negotiated if there is a yes vote. I think the Scottish economy will be revitalised. Some businesses agree and some do not. If I had a vote I would lay fear aside and have faith in my own abilities and those of my countrymen and women. Just look at what they individually achieved over the last two centuries. I would also have faith that, given a change in the power relationship, the English will come to their senses and not try to destroy both economies. In the end it is about having the will to run your own life much closer to home and much more democratically.

              • Douglas Gibb

                Nope, you’ve lost it now. The problem is that Salmond is a demagogue and is leading people into this with their eyes shut. When the promised land doesn’t appear there will be trouble. Nationalism is always a last resort and doesn’t fix anything. It’s starting to appear all over Europe because Europe is on the slide and people don’t like it.

                • Pacificweather

                  I doubt the Irish would agree with your sentiments on nationalism. It could be equally argued that British nationalism is the problem because they would not allow a vote on further devolution. Alex Salmond’s party got a majority of the vote so in the demagogue stakes he comes below Cameron and Blair. Certainly, he is saner than Blair.

                • Douglas Gibb

                  Come on. Ireland was in a full on colonial situation. Totally different. The Scots were the main colonisers for a start, they’re still there in the north (that’s another thing this isn’t going to go down well over there). SNP have majority because they have done a good job fighting Scotland’s corner within UK. Not very communitarian mind – eg. free university tuition paid for by UK but no English thanks. They’re a single issue pressure group not a normal political party. Salmond learned all his tricks from Blair – just promise everyone everything they want wherever possible, don’t worry about how you’re going to pay for it all. Nationalism isn’t real politics, it’s a distraction which dodgy politicians have always used to pursue power for the sake of it. Salmond isn’t even interested in politics. When it looked like independence was dead in the water he pissed off for how ever many years it was and only came back when it looked like he had a chance again. My guess is you’ll see some English nationalism during the negotiations with Scotland. Scotland running off with oil and refusing to pay our debts! Makes me ashamed to be Scottish. Perfect opportunity for some unscrupulous English rabble rouser to step in.

      • Colonel Mustard

        You wouldn’t understand anyway. You’re a German and its got b***er all to do with you.

        • dalai guevara

          I have asserted many times that I have Jason Bourne-style passports – I can produce any passport you wish to see in an instant.
          UlyssesReturns, LadyDingDong, Taki and so on have these passports, so do I. It’s not difficult and ought not divert from the fact that I asked a simple question here.
          What would change for you personally?

          • telemachus

            Nicholas is one of those transparent tortured souls who has a deep inner need to tear down
            He sits in his lair, a bucolic Home Counties idyll like a giant tarantula ready to pounce and use his venom
            He is one of those with an inability to understand the deep desire of humankind to interact to the betterment of his brothers
            He has no creed, no inner core
            He is a shell
            Society can only survive if we corporately act to marginalise the tendency of such to order the reasonable

            • Colonel Mustard

              That would be a good diatribe if any of it related to me. Thankfully I do not live defined by your malevolence or prejudice.

              But most important, thankfully I am not you.

            • Magnolia

              Master telemachus, this comment of yours is just a foul personal attack on another commenter (I know that it is against Colonel Mustard) and it contains no debating point at all.
              It should be withdrawn or erased and it shames this site that stuff like that is allowed to stand.

              • telemachus

                I regret my post now deleted. I made a mistake and I left the impression that the truth does not matter. And I am deeply sorry about that, because that is not what I believe. To everyone who has challenged me on this issue of truth, you are absolutely right

                • Wessex Man

                  You are a little comic, so little is comic though.

          • Colonel Mustard

            “What would change for you personally?”

            Everything. One of the most commonly used assurances of political charlatans like you, whether it is meddling in the UK or trying to make empty points about Habeus Corpus vs Code Napoleon, is that “nothing will change”.

            • dalai guevara

              “PS Passports get you around.”

              Precisely so, the right passport gets you into (and out of) places an American citizen could never go to without a Blackwater-type backup. The right passport with the right religious affiliation can get you past IRA checkpoints straight into their living rooms. The right passport will allow you to travel freely around Europe on weekend jollies whilst those without one in Britain can’t just go to France, Prague or Dubrovnik. The right passport will make you be welcomed with open arms in many parts of Scotland, something someone with an ‘English’ passport only will never experience.

              And isn’t that just a really silly way to live your life?
              No, not at all. The right passport gets you past the deluded nationalists straight where you want to be. It gets you to people who have better and far more important stuff on their minds, people with soul.

              • Colonel Mustard

                Incoherent rubbish trying to defend a silly assertion with far too many words.

                Your German relish for authoritarianism and officialdom betrays you. Nationality, belonging, ethnic soul are not defined by a bureaucrat’s border regulations or passport controls.

                Your experience of where you go and how you are received on the basis of your passport merely underlines the nastier form of nationalism embedded in your comment. If someone is unwelcome in Scotland with an English passport that says more about you (them) and your (their) prejudices than about the benefits of freedom of movement.

                There is a difference in being comfortable with one’s national identity and asserting it over others. Not making an English passport holder welcome is just an inverse expression of that and a rather horrible one. But it fuels you because like others here you really hate the English and resort to pseudo-intellectual gobbledygook to conceal it.

                I repeat, because you just don’t seem to get it, national identity is not defined by a piece of paper stamped by a politicised bureaucrat. My own relationship to passports altered when bureaucrats changed our dark blue hard cover ones to that horrible socialist maroon flimsy.

                • dalai guevara

                  Now either you understand what I outlined in my post (in far too great detail for you perhaps) or you do not. My hunch is you did.

                  I explained what nationalism based on silly passport waving will lead to, what doors it opens, what doors it closes, purely based on fatuous passport waving.

                  It happens all the time, everywhere you go, not just in far away worlds you have perhaps never seen but here, in Great Britain and Northern Ireland. And then you continue to purport your fatuous passport waving lines by referring to me as a foreigner, the only way you could justify your inferior nationalist lines, by excluding me from a discussion I have asserted many times now I have *the right* to partake in.

                  You will not silence me, Colonel, you will not wave your ‘flimsy maroon’ at me and say “look here, you are not worthy, you foreigner.” By doing that you have put yourself in a position exactly where I wanted you, Colonel – and now you have nowhere left to go.

                • Colonel Mustard

                  Don’t be silly. I’m off to the pub.

          • Wessex Man

            is it lonely in your world?

            • telemachus

              Not as lonely as yours when UKIP implode

              • Wessex Man

                Hur hur hur, RThe smile that was never on your face, will never be there whe UKip romp through the Labour heartlands in the North of England at the General Election.

                I will of course take every oppurtunity to remind you there was once a Labour heartland!

                • telemachus

                  My view is that UKIP is a busted flush. The euro-elections will be seen as a high-water mark and it’s downhill from there. It needn’t be this way, and in politics nothing is pre-ordained, but that is the way it looks from here.

                  Possibly, the situation is recoverable, but Farage has neither the skill to diagnose the problem nor the will to do anything about it. The Grand Old Duke of Westerham marched his troops to the top of the hill, and now he’s marching them down again.
                  (with apologies)

                • Wessex Man

                  Where on earth are you looking from you little guttersnipe, still bitter after all these years because you were thrown out UKip, you sad person!

          • Douglas Gibb

            You seem to be suggesting that we can all just be ‘citizens of the world’. In which case we are nothing but powerless consumers. The nation state is the only context in which the weak force of democracy can attempt to stand up to the strong force of global capital. So it matters very much how well or badly states function, especially if you’re poor, which I’m assuming you aren’t with your bloody ‘Jason-Bourne style passport.’ Some people have to live in the real world.

            • dalai guevara

              Multi-national corporations are best controlled by midget independent nation states? Since when? A 28 nation strong multi-national trade conglomerate however … come on, it’s not that hard.

              • Douglas Gibb

                Did someone on here say you’re actually from Germania? Have a
                look at what Chomsky says about the EU for a start.

              • Pacificweather

                Don’t multinationals all reside in midget independent states with low tax rates? Looks like the midgets know what it’s all about.

        • Iain Hill

          You should have got the Great Philanthropist award!

          • Colonel Mustard

            I am no philanthropist, let alone a great one, and I know my faults and failings.

            However, I am not a red propagandist or apologist so I give thanks for that and there’s an end on it.

      • saffrin

        We’d have to visit the buro de change for a start.

    • eclair

      Indeed. Perhaps not because of a vote but because a wish for identity amongst some that only seems to be capable of self belief in aggression. The shame is that this has gained such a strong hold in parts of Scotland and the Labour Party must carry the can for some of this polarisation.

      • eclair

        The Lairds did a pretty good job of polarisation and disenfranchisement too. But I cant see that division now will improve matters.

    • Pacificweather

      One can be in opposition to Westminster, as most voters are these days, and not be anti English. Most of the English think very badly of Westminster which ever party they have supported in the past.

      • Douglas Gibb

        But Westminster, minus a bit of corruption and vested interest, is just a sort of clearing house for the political positions of all the voters. Being ‘in opposition to Westminster’ is a classic case of shooting the messenger. If your position is not represented in Westminster it’s because others have outvoted you. The problem with Scotland is that Westminster gives us a distorted picture of ourselves. We vote Labour and SNP at least partly because it benefits Scotland to do so. Labour look after Scotland in return for their block vote. This leads people in Scotland to think they’re more communitarian than people elsewhere in the UK. They aren’t, they’re just a bit more insecure and self deluded. The political landscape in iScotland would end up being same as elsewhere in UK, only it would be a much poorer country. Etc etc.

        • Pacificweather

          You have hit the nail on the head. The electorate is displeased because they out voted the government and it didn’t go away as it does in Scotland. 58% of the votes were not for Margaret Thatcher in 1979 or for Tony Blair in 1997. The electorate were so disillusion with Mrs T in 1983 that she lost 2% of the vote. Despite that she gained 52 seats. 64% of those who voted did not want Tony Blair as Prime Minister in 2005 but that gave him a 66 seat majority. The last time a party got more than 50% of the votes was in 1931. Why wouldn’t politians despise an electorate that tolerates its majority will being ignored.

          • Douglas Gibb

            If you’re a proponent of PR I’m right with you, I’ve been saying it for years. First past the post is a relic of more tribal days gone by. I think the problem is more that FPTP leads people to despise themselves, ie your individual vote is totally meaningless and you’re often left with the option of voting tactically – you can’t just vote for what you believe. The current madness in Scotland is because people realise they finally have a vote which will actually have an effect on the world and the power is going to their heads. They’re going to use it even if it means destroying their own country.

            • Pacificweather

              It would be crazy to have a vote for a real more local democracy and not to use it. Remember this is only a vote for negotiations to start. In 2016 there will have to be a vote to bring them to a close (or they could go on for years) and that vote (unlike this vote for power) will be a vote to dissolve the act of union or accept home rule within the union as negotiated by both governments. Your fear of the consequences is somewhat premature.

              • Douglas Gibb

                Oh well that’s fine then.

  • Kitty MLB

    Oh yes they will, babycakes.And try telling our little Celtic warriors
    Dreaming of the romanticism of independence..being released from the shackles of England that they are still English..Do slaves
    ask for their shackles to be loosened or removed.
    No they cannot think they’re entitled to special treatment as a
    ‘distant’ relative. We may want to build a new wall., I think.

    • telemachus

      If they vote yes, I agree a wall
      *
      And then punishment
      Punishment in particular for delivering hegemony of England to the hated Conservative Party
      *
      On reflection, ongoing Salmond will be punishment enough

      • Wessex Man

        grow up d******* S****!

      • Colonel Mustard

        “…an inability to understand the deep desire of humankind to interact to the betterment of his brothers”

        In this case the deep desire to punish someone for merely facilitating the imaginary progress of a political party you despise.

        Very caring. Very reasonable.

        You hypocritical uber-buffoon.

      • Erictheowl

        Do you know, Tele, this is a momentous day. I actually agree with you, at least in part. Long before the days of Holyrood, I met the now First Haggis in Abercromby Place in Edinburgh and came away with a profound sense of unease, even then.

        A people who fall for the bluster and transparent mendacity of this dreadful little man and his equally horrible cohorts probably deserve everything they get. The problem will be for the large number who will not vote for this monumental vanity project.

        • Damaris Tighe

          “I actually agree with you”: Eric … how could you!

          • Erictheowl

            Difficult, I admit, but credit where it’s due. Even a stopped clock is (usually) right twice a day!

            • Damaris Tighe

              Nice to meet you. I seem to encounter you a lot on the upvote list!

              • Erictheowl

                And nice to meet you, too. Yes, I always appreciate your posts, and have yet to disagree with one, I think.

    • Wessex Man

      bang on Kitty!

      • Kitty MLB

        Thank you WM. The Scots are living in a fantasy world.

    • John Lea

      Very odd that certain English nationalists seem completely incapable of writing in coherent English, or constructing a grammatical sentence for that matter.

      • Colonel Mustard

        Not as odd as the “cybernat” phenomenon.

  • global city

    I think a looser confederation of the British isles could even give Ireland an exit from their own EU trap.

  • The Masked Marvel

    Hands up all you “Yes” Scots who think more emphasis on being British will change your minds.

    • monty61

      Too late now. Positions are hardening fast though I suspect for all the wrong (stupidly emotional reasons).

      Though I do take issue with the fact that nothing much will change. As a Scot who visits home regularly I am worried about the prospect of the inevitability of a proper border. Resulting either from enforced Schengen membership (an accession requirement now) or, I suspect more likely, an eventual English response to the very lax immigration policies being planned by the SNP.

      What’s to stop those admitted to an ‘open doors’ Scotland getting on the very first train south? And if England builds that Wall of Ice, will Scotland be forced to open it’s very own Sangatte in the badlands around Gretna or Berwick?

      • Tony Wyse

        But the BNP and UKIP are very weak in Scotland.

        • Inverted Meniscus

          That would be the UKIP that got a Euro MP recently.

          • Jambo25

            On 10% of the vote.

            • Wessex Man

              Still got him and the SNP never got the MEP they wanted, The Fat Controller was I hear very very downcast!

            • Inverted Meniscus

              And yet they still won a seat.

              • Jambo25

                f it. Its about as far as they’ll (you) get.

                • Inverted Meniscus

                  And yet they still won a seat. Have you tried comparing euro and Sterling interest rates recently laddie? Better learn how to convert from one currency to another at the appropriate forward forex rate. Alternatively, you could just deduct one from the other and give us all a laugh. That was priceless.

                • Jambo25

                  And yet Irish interest rates are still lower than those ‘enjoyed’ by the UK under those economic geniuses Cameron and Osborne.

                • Inverted Meniscus

                  Priceless ignorance.

      • The Masked Marvel

        Good points. There is also the worry about what all the politicians on both sides might do out of spite.

        • monty61

          We are seeing that already. I’m talking to people back home who think they have been the only ones listening to this ‘debate’. No English politician will get away with a ‘soft on the Scots’ platform post-secession – Salmond will walk away with very little of what he’s been promising, that’s guaranteed.

          • GreyNag

            Such as a Currency Union. I came across this, Andy Brough, the Executive Director at Schroders
            Investment Management Ltd., gives his views on Currency Union.

            http://wingsoverscotland.com/rational-thinking-will-have-to-be-made/#comments

            • Wessex Man

              oh dear, Wing over Scotland again, most ofit’s content made up by an English hating man who actuaaly lives in Bath England with his pet rats, I do love the fact that a bloke from Schroders who will have no input to the debate is so bigged up by thisseeker of truths!

              • GreyNag

                The bloke from Schroders, as you call him, has given his input to the debate. Wouldn’t you think he has a greater knowledge of his subject than Osbourne, who’s only job in the real world was folding towels in Selfridges?

                • Inverted Meniscus

                  And yet he is wise enough to realise that asking UK taxpayers to guarantee any newly issued debt by a foreign country without being able to limit how much that foreign country borrows or for how long is a really bad idea. So no Currency Union for you laddie because we are not going to underwrite your follies.

                • Wessex Man

                  Because it’s not his choice, it will be the choice of the rest of the UK, hopefully if the blowhard Cameron doesn’t cave in, we will get a referendum on currency union.

                  That Nationalists and the SNP believe anything that comes out of Wings over Scotland shows their gullibility!

                • GreyNag

                  This came out of Schroders via Bloomberg not Wings over Scotland. They only repeated the report. Strange that the MSM don’t report such views from London’s Financial community!

              • GreyNag
              • GreyNag
                • Inverted Meniscus

                  So Scotland can borrow and spend as much as it likes safe in the knowledge that a foreign country whose taxpayers had no say in the matter will pick up the tab if it all goes wrong. Well bollux to that. 8.3% of the population is not going to dictate terms to 91.7% of the population you arrogant little man.

                • ArchiePonsonby

                  Hear hear! You want out? You’re out!

                • Wessex Man

                  those who never pay taxes and were proved to be spectacularly wrong about the recession, is that the Goldman Sachs you are on about?

          • Wessex Man

            Oh do stop blaming we English, the politicians in power are just as likely to be Scot, Welsh or Irish as English. My own constituency MP is a Scot.

      • Damaris Tighe

        I’m glad you made the point about the border. It’s a very important one. I posted a similar comment at the Spectator a few weeks ago but was scoffed at – ‘no problems with the Irish border’. The thing is, with the UK we’re surrounded by sea, but if Scotland goes we have a land border on mainland Britain for the first time in several hundred years.

        • The Masked Marvel

          Just don’t tell the Yessers that it might cost a few Scottish quatloos to establish all the new controls and infrastructure.

        • Jabez Foodbotham

          the UK is surrounded by sea

          And a fat lot of good that has been in the past 50 years.

          • Damaris Tighe

            So imagine if/when part of that is converted into a land border. Even worse.

      • MichtyMe

        The UK has a open border with the Republic.

        • monty61

          But movement between both the Republic and NI to the British mainland is pretty well controlled. Nobody here gives a monkeys how many illegals settle in in NI (they are welcome to the place, frankly) but an open land border between England an ‘all comers welcome’ Scotland is a different matter.

          • MichtyMe

            If the UK authorities have difficulty securing access by sea and air now do you think they will cope with a land border.

          • GreyNag

            It is so well controlled that there is no need for a passport for the ferry!

            • Bert3000

              Yes – it was a particularly ridiculous post.

        • Inverted Meniscus

          Yes but they are very nice people.

      • Iain Hill

        Yes but this results from England’s Poujadiste refusal to join Schengen, nothing else.

        • Colonel Mustard

          The main themes of Poujadism were articulated around the defense of the common man against the elites so you might want to re-think that if it was intended as a socialist retort.

          In Britain today the only party I can see that even begins to defend the common man against the elites is UKIP and much maligned for that it is.

          • Damaris Tighe

            The left save their special contempt for Poujadistes because they associate them with the petit-bourgeosie, that most hated of social groups for their attachment to property & self-sufficiency.

            • Colonel Mustard

              Doesn’t stop them using that same self-sufficient petit-bourgeoisie as a cash cow to bribe their “clients”.

              “We hates yer. Give us yer money!”

              I go home with my hard earned crust and a socialist with a cudgel appears and demands half of it for whoever he says deserves it and 25% to pay his salary for robbing me in the first place. Then I’m told I’m a selfish, uncaring Tory b a s t a r d.

              • Damaris Tighe

                Before the introduction of the £10k personal allowance (the one good policy the LibDems ever had) we had the insane & grossly immoral situation in which the unfavoured poor saw a transfer of their hard-earned money, via taxation, to the favoured poor.

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