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With malice toward none and with charity towards all, now the real work begins

19 September 2014

12:07 PM

19 September 2014

12:07 PM

Relief, actually. Not joy. A battle won is better than a battle lost but still an exhausting, bloody, business. There is no need to bayonet the wounded. It would, in any case, be grotesque to do so. Scotland voted and made, in my view, the right choice. The prudent choice. The bigger-hearted choice.

But 45 per cent of my countrymen disagree. That’s something to be respected too. Moreover a good number of No voters did so reluctantly and not because they were necessarily persuaded by the case for Union but because they felt the Yes campaign had not proved its own argument beyond a reasonable doubt. That’s an important qualification. A reminder that the Union is a contract and support for it remains provisional.

To put it another way, a 55-45 victory is both a handsome margin – wider than the 53-47 I had guessed – and a remarkable repudiation of the Union. It is clear enough to be decisive; close enough to demand modesty in victory. At 9pm yesterday the air was thick with nationalist expectation and Unionist anxiety. All day we’d heard stories of friends and relatives and friends of friends making last-minute conversions to Yes. Plenty of Unionists, if they are honest with their recollections, will admit to thinking, then, that the cause was lost.

That’s the danger of anecdote, of course. We extrapolate from our own experiences and think what we hear is likely to be more typical than actually proves the case. Even so, there was every reason to be concerned; every reason to wonder if Scots might say to hell with it all and leap into the unknown.

In the end we peered over the edge and thought, jings, that’s a long way down. Clackmannan hammered Yes and Inverclyde killed them. The game was up very early and the rest of the evening had an oddly anti-climactic air. All this sound and fury, all this fervent passion, all this frenetic activity ended with a whimper, not a revolution.

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That passion should be respected, however. It was not a fleeting thing; it will not evaporate. The most heartening thing, for me, in the campaign’s final days was the rediscovery that, actually, Britain was something – a place and an idea too – that was worth fighting for. The country – countries, even – may need to change now but there was, at last and at least, an attempt to make a No vote an expression of something bigger than a question of accountancy. For that alone, I think Dan Snow and Tom Holland deserve our thanks. They helped give No votes something the worth of which could not be ascertained with a calculator.

I don’t claim that made all the difference but it made some difference, not least because it allowed – or reminded – No voters to vote for something, not just against the prospectus offered by the Scottish government and the Yes campaign. Scotland is a country but so is the United Kingdom.

And yet, inescapably, class and generational division is a large part of this story. The Union was saved, in the main, by wealthier and older Scots. The poor chose differently. That’s an uncomfortable fact for Unionists and one that requires attention. Plenty of Yes votes were cast in hope more than expectation; many others were votes predicated on the fear that voting No offered no prospect of personal or community improvement.

One lesson of this campaign is that the poor, so often marginalised, have a voice too and that they should be heard. This too, I think, should temper Unionist joy this morning. A sobering, timely, even necessary, reminder that the status quo does not float all boats. Too many of our people lack the means or opportunity to make the most of their lives; too much human capital and potential is still squandered.

In that respect the state of our Union is not strong today. Indeed, the referendum is a reminder, even a confirmation, of its weakness. There is much work to be done. That task starts now, not just in terms of a new constitutional settlement but in actually making the best use of the powers the Scottish parliament already enjoys.

So, yes, relief not joy. I have too much respect for my friends who voted Yes to revel in their disappointment today. Many of them have worked tirelessly for their vision of a better future; that demands some modesty in victory. How can I be cheered by their misery?

We press on, as Lincoln said, with malice toward none and with some measure of charity, and we might pause to reflect that it could all have been very different. The Yes campaign has done our nation – our countries – some service not least in causing us to consider the first principles of the society we wish to be. That is a kind of triumph, even if not one that’s measured by the final scorecard.

Life goes on. The nationalists, at least the longer-serving ones, have experienced plenty of defeats before. This one stings more than any other; to have come so close yet lost so conclusively will shatter hearts. They were not cheated, however, nor were their fellow-countrymen bribed or bullied to reject independence. If the No campaign made plenty of well-documented errors, so did the Yes campaign. They promised the earth and in doing so lost their native land. The suspicion their vision for Scotland was simply too good to be true was widely-felt and, in the end, persuasive.

Doubtless there will be some recrimination; doubtless there will be some cries of betrayal. How could it be otherwise in the aftermath of a great defeat at the end of a long campaign in which so much hope had been invested? But it is not the end of the song, merely the start of another tune.

Scotland was a good place before the polls opened and remains a fine place now. The task, in which we are all shareholders, is to make it a still better one. That’s a heavy responsibility to be born by the victors and a hefty consolation for the vanquished. We beat on, Scotland, we beat on.

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Show comments
  • http://goodmenproject.com/author/john-k-anderson/ longwalkdownlyndale

    it’s pretty clear from Alex Salmond’s speeches over the last few days that the nationalists aren’t going to give up, they’ll just push for another referendum for Scottish independence down the road. In that sense the indy movement can’t ever lose, because you just ignore the past vote and try again. Which get’s to heart of the political problem with secession: if a minority in a democracy can just walk out if they lose, how can you have a functional democracy at all?

    So for all the self congratulations about how great British democracy is, this whole reality doesn’t strike me as being that “democratic” at all. A minority is going to ignore the clear will of the majority and continue to try and force their view of how to organize Scottish society upon everyone. This is what Lincoln was talking about in his Cooper Union Address: “Your purpose, then, plainly stated, is that you will destroy the Government, unless you be allowed to construe and enforce the Constitution as you please, on all points in dispute between you and us. You will rule or ruin in all events.” http://www.abrahamlincolnonline.org/lincoln/speeches/cooper.htm

    As an American I really don’t care about Scotland becoming an independent country or not, in fact it would probably be an interesting thing to watch happen. But I do think that the political problems we’ve seen are hardly solved just because the Yes side lost.

  • Jambo25

    Was that charity being shown last night when Union Flag bedecked Britnat, Unionist thugs: some shipped up from England apparently, attacked young girls in Glasgow’s George Square? Your fellow Unionists.

    • The_greyhound

      wee nat feigns moral outrage.
      compelling stuff.

  • Kennybhoy

    ….

  • e2toe4

    I was suprised how little real work seemed to have been done by the SNP working out their ‘what ifs’.

    Politics isn’t just painting pretty pictures and hoping it’ll all turn out for the best and people won’t be too angry when the reality doesn’t match the picture.

    Slightly weirdly Alex Salmond’s campaign seemed to resemble Tony Blair’s one to get the country into a war, much rhetoric, bluster and groundless assertion but little real content to either man’s claims.

    The raison d’etre of the party was independence and they needed at least a couple of things where they could point to some stepping stones solidly seated in the river of uncertainty but didn’t have a single one.

    In the end it came down to people who were well off feeling they had more to lose than to gain outnumbering those who felt they had more to gain than to lose.

    In the end that shows the main claim, that the country was ‘failing’ and could be better independent, was rejected because it just isn’t true.

  • paulus

    What an unholy mess, the Union preserved by a thread, federalism conceded at the last minute in an attempt to stave off defeat.Forced to fight on the back foot, what a mess. Statesmanship is about avoiding putting everything on the line, it should be avoided. Cameon and his schoolboy advisors.

  • Freedom

    The Union was saved, in the main, by wealthier and older Scots.
    How about by the more educated ones, too?

    Cultural transmission doesn’t happen by itself: respect for one’s traditions and love of one’s freedom must be taught. Who is teaching young Scots the ways of self-rule, responsibility, and the gumption to fix whatever isn’t fair? Choosing Leftism as a solution is just picking the easy exit that always turns out to be the worst one in the end.

    • Umlud

      Completely off-topic, but were you trying to evoke the image of the Icelandic flag through that particular framing of your tartan pattern? It is – perhaps – a coincidence, but to someone with Scandinavian roots, that was the first thing I thought when I saw your icon.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flag_of_Iceland

      • Freedom

        No, that was entirely coincidental — though my husband has Scandinavian ancestors and I would have liked to include Norway (their main home) in the description. But in the end I decided to limit it to my citizenships, which I thought the Scottish Register would be more willing to accept (proving my entitlement to create the sett, basically).

      • Freedom

        Oh, and that’s a very nice flag : )

  • The Masked Marvel

    One wonders if Massie was watching the BBC’s coverage last night. Excluding the politicians, the vast majority of Yes supporters spoke far more about their desire for a socialist utopia (despite Huw Edwards’ dismissal of that description as a caricature) than about anything else. That desire has been been whipped up by Salmond as much as the desire for independence. This will complicate the future in no small measure. All those disappointed emotional teenagers (the chronological ones, I mean) will be a problem at some point.

    They all seemed to honestly believe that an independent Scotland would end poverty and create a “fairer society”. Utter madness. The No vote was as much about sanity as it was about the Union itself.

  • ohforheavensake

    Thanks, Alex.

  • CharlietheChump

    Now the regional spat is over, onto the meat course, England, serially ignored and abused (Stafford, Rotherham) by the old Westminster elite for a century.

    • ohforheavensake

      A regional spat?

      You haven’t noticed what’s happening, have you?

    • e2toe4

      That icon’s (Scottish) Peter Howson isn’t it..??

  • CraigStrachan

    “the Union was saved by wealthier and older Scots. The poor chose differently”.

    A consequence of the divisive, class-based appeal of the Yes campaign. And not just the Yes campaign. There was a lot of discussion of how to advance the interests of the working class in the various debates. I don’t think the middle class was mentioned once. In places like Aberdeenshire, Angus, the Borders, East Lothian, East Renfrewshire, East Dunbartonshire, Edinburgh, Perth & Kinross and Stirling they seem to have noticed.

    (Can you imagine a campaign in, say, the United States, in which the words “middle class” never escape a politician’s lips?)

    • monty61

      Yes but in America ‘middle class’ means ‘working class’ and every politician claims to be on their side.

      What WE would call the middle classes – a vast swathe of A, B & C1 voters from the aspirational tradesmen right up to affluent professionals (ie the people who pay for government largesse to everyone else from housing benefit to wind farm subsidies for toffs) barely gets a mention their either.

      • CraigStrachan

        No, the “teacher married to a cop” is a staple of US political discourse.

        • Umlud

          Really? I’ve lived in the US for a couple decades, and never remember encountering the “teacher married to a cop” trope. Maybe it was in a different part of the US? (It is – after all – quite a large country, and such generalizations will likely lead large groups of people scratching their heads.)

          Perhaps, though, you were meaning something like, “heartland politics” and the associated symbols and trappings. In that sense, sure, you’re right. But specifically “cop” and “teacher”? Dunno.

          • CraigStrachan

            Well, I currently live in California and have done for 25 years. Maybe it’s a California thing?

            • Umlud

              Probably. I haven’t lived in CA since I was a kid, and I haven’t paid attention to the political tropes used there. In southeastern Michigan, the political tropes are – not too surprisingly – different. In northern Michigan, no doubt the tropes are different again.

              I’d wager that different regions of CA would also show differences in the political tropes used. For example, it’s likely different in San Francisco/Bay Area compared to the more conservative-politics parts of the Central Valley. (It’s a guess, but I’m pretty sure that I’m right, given the massive difference in politics and culture between those two regions.)

              • CraigStrachan

                The cop married to a teacher seems to come up most often in cost-of-living (and housing) discussions here in Southern California.

                • e2toe4

                  I think it was a ‘well off’ older people thing, and as I have said elsewhere on this thread, the key thing wasn’t that they were ‘well off’ or ‘older’…or at least ‘older’ was a key only insomuch as it means this was the demographic LEAST exposed to the social media channels.

                  The velocity of the unravelling of the Union position 10 days out with the single ‘panic poll’ but the overall narrowing trend was also clear anyway, was entirely down to social media effects.

                  THis aspect should be required covering for any party ‘wonk’..Brown’s 210 GE videos are textbook how NOT to do it..the BT campaign’s 2014 ones were also textbook how NOT to do it, which is what makes me think the wonks are still wonky on how to do it.
                  The SNP’s cybernats are the textbook example but we need to realise it

  • Damon

    “Plenty of Unionists, if they are honest with their recollections, will admit to thinking, then, that the cause was lost.” Indeed, I was filled with a sense of foreboding. Immense relief now, and if not joy, then contentment, combined with patriotic pleasure in being British. Heartfelt congratulations to the Unionist people of Scotland, commiserations to the losers.

    • CraigStrachan

      I never doubted it for a minute. In fact, I predicted 61/39 win for NO. And I was right – in East Dunbartonshire!

      • e2toe4

        I always felt 60-40 (hence I am plugging it as 55.3%-44.7%..every little helps!!) but I know a lot of people here in Edinburgh who are Nos and who did a lot of canvassing and who were worried..big style.

        Still..as the greatest politicians of our age, everyone from Sir Alex Ferguson to Jose Mourinho, know…”A win’s a win…”

  • mightymark

    A good article Alex and many thanks for your informative commentary throughout the campaign. It helped this Londoner better understand what was going on somewhere I’ve only visited 4 times in my life.

    Just can’t help but wonder whether you’ve had any of your most praiseworthy magnanimity come back from the other direction?

    • ohforheavensake

      There’s been a lot of that, on both sides, today. A good tempered debate to the end- or to the end of this particular part of it.

  • The_greyhound

    It would have been better if the vile gaggle of jackals that salmond gathered around him – sturgeon, sillars, sheridan and the rest of the apes had never been born. But I do feel deeply sorry for the poor and the uneducated that they so cynically targeted with their lies.

    • Fergus Pickering

      Wilfully ignorant I would call them.

  • kyalami

    “Scotland was a good place before the polls opened and remains a fine place now. The task, in which we are all shareholders, is to make it a still better one. ”

    or

    “The United Kingdom was a good place before the polls opened and remains a fine place now. The task, in which we are all shareholders, is to make it a still better one.”

  • Colonel Mustard

    It was pure delight to see David Aaronovitch on Daily Politics so discomfited by the prospect of an English Parliament and huffing and puffing at the potential end to the socialist hegemony over England that he has done so much to empower.

    Watch Labour squirm over this.

    • Inverted Meniscus

      Yes I am loving watching the bast*rds wriggle about.

  • The_greyhound

    Relief, certainly. I’m physically shattered after the last week’s campaigning. But it’s been worth it.

    The rumours are growing that salmond may be on his way. There’s one unscrupulous lying toad I never want to see again. Will he resign, or will Old Nick just come to collect him in person?

    • eclair

      What about Sillars? Id like to see him well side-lined. A worrying creep if ever there was one who appeared to have his hand up Salmond’s back side with a tight strangle-hold on his mouth/brain connection

      • P_S_W

        I wonder how much effect Sillars had on the vote with his threatened ‘reckoning’ of the oil industry.

    • The_greyhound

      Resign, it appears. Old Nick will have to wait for him for a while longer.

  • manofsuffolk

    To paraphrase Churchill…”the battle of Scotland is over…the battle for England is about to begin”

    If Cameron is unable or unwilling to drive through English votes for English laws in a national body and negate the poisonous influence of the Scottish and Welsh Labour MP’s, then he derserves to go down in history as the worst Tory politician ever!

    It’s an enormous opportunity for the Tories -CARPE DIEM!!!

    • HookesLaw

      He won’t deliver anything if the way the vote goes it lets in Labour. It seems to me he was pretty clear this morning. It seems pretty clear to me that all along Cameron has seem this as an opportunity for the tories, not least in Scotland.

      • P_S_W

        An unintended and welcome consequence.
        The West Lothian question and Barnett Formula have been a drag on UK democracy for decades. I thought it was a huge mistake when he agreed with the Vow last week (was it that long ago?) but he seems on the ball more today.
        Let’s hope he can see it through.

  • Seth_the_pig_farmer

    At least the margin was sufficient to prevent the prospect of the “neverendum”.

    I wonder if the Yes supporters would have have been so gracious and dignified if the vote had been 50%+1 vote in favour of independence?

    Actually I don’t wonder.

    • HookesLaw

      In 20 years the oil will have run out and England – assuming it ignores the numpties and lefties will have fracking gas. There will be no more referendums in Scotland.

      • monty61

        Indeed. This was their one shot. Though Scotland will have fracking too.

  • dmitri the impostor

    ‘How can I be cheered by their misery?’

    Who on earth do you imagine gives a monkeys, you self-regarding oaf? If brains were dynamite you would scarcely have enough to blow off your own tamoshanter.

  • Swiss Bob

    No more Scottish MPs voting on English issues.

    No to regional Govt and Balkanisation.

    • Pootles

      Absolutely! The new Labour idea of ‘city-regions’ in England is absolutely frightening, given that in many of England’s cities the ethnically English are in the minority. I live in an English majority town that, under the Labour idea, would fall under the sway of one of two English minority cities. No thanks!

  • Alexsandr

    Massie fails to mention the rift opened up in scotland. I hope that heals fast
    but he also ignores the rift opened up between Scotland and England. The resentment about the lack of an English say on Scotish independance (it takes 2 to union), and the realisation of the iniquity of the West lothian question and the Barnett formula will take some healing.

    • HookesLaw

      Thats daft . We ARE a union we ‘unioned’ 300 years ago (no referendums for anybody!).
      Its absurd to say that both paries have to agree if one wants to leave. If Scotand wanted to go it had every right to go under our current constitution. What I agee is we cannot have endless repeats of it. And just because one side leaves it does not means they can dictatate the terms. But it is all academic now.

      There is no ‘rift’ anyway. Only a few nutjobs on either side of the border want to generate hate.

      • eclair

        not a few…1.6 million is not a few

        • P_S_W

          There were not 1.6 million nutjobs.

          • eclair

            There were a dam ned sight more than I wish to meet in the course of a lifetime…or have to answer to but its wrong to underestimate the amount of people who voted or not consider their reasons for voting yes. Nut jobs or not, you ignore them at your peril. the people who voted that way seem to be largely from low incomes and benefits. Poverty causes disenfranchisement and social detachment and epics like the run in we’ve just held our breath through are the result. Its a wake up call from the Scots and next from the English. I hope to god that Parliament are listening and dont entangle us in worse with regionalisation.

            • Fergus Pickering

              Poor people are usually stupid and ignorant nowadays. The clever ones are, for the most part, no longer poor. I am not denying we have a duty towards these people, much like our duty towards the physically and mentally disabled.

              • eclair

                I was hoping that was a hamfisted attempt at irony but reading your other posts convinces me its not. Money and education have clearly been wasted on you but strangely I dont feel I have any duty towards pra ts like you

                • Fergus Pickering

                  You have no dut y towards anyone, little man.

  • RadioJockhadistan

    Nigel said it all along. Nothing is over, the negotiations begin now. Will England be expected to pay for last minute concessions promised hastily by various individuals holding neither mandate nor authority to do so?
    The Barnett formula is destined for the scrap heap – let the Scots raise their own funds. Give them what they did not ask for – that’ll teach them.

    • Alexsandr

      Hmm
      The Welsh and NI do well out of the Barnett formula too..

      • RadioJockhadistan

        Nigel was right. You never get what you vote for.
        In difficult times budgets must be clashed, public services reduced and fiscal austerity implemented. The regions will now reap those rewards.

        • HookesLaw

          You are a total idiot. In case you are wondering where it went, reality went thataway. Start running now and you might catch up.

          • RadioJockhadistan

            Big state centralism won last night – you will be one of the few to either ignore or deliberately deny that was the case.

            The fight for more regional autonomy was not won, it was lost. Who will now represent what the English want? The weakest link which is the current PM is clearly the wrong answer, his entire dire campaign is proof of that.

            • HookesLaw

              Oh shut do shut up with your blatherings. Your endless twistings of the truth are becoming boorish.

              Even before the NO vote Scotland was devolved. With almost his first breath after the result Cameron was taling about the English and Welsh and N Irish.

      • Kaine

        We subsidise NI because the alternative is they start setting things on fire and that costs rather more. Unless you want to hand them over to Eire not many other options.

  • telemachus

    It will be a lot of hard work and take sometime to get a fair settlement for the English regions
    Remember Manchester and Liverpool have more in common with Glasgow than they do with London
    Meanwhile the bolstering powers for Scotland must be delivered to the promised timetable

    • Alexsandr

      no, we need a proper English legislature. This regional idea is a socialist EU fop and must be resisted. England is a country, not a set of regions.

      • telemachus

        As I keep saying
        Regions beyond the South East have no affinity with Westminster
        This is not a Labour idea
        It is a fact
        Newcastle, I would warrant would prefer Hollyrood to Westminster
        So why not all affiliate to Brussels

        • Alexsandr

          that will be why the NE rejected a regional assembly in their referendum then?

        • Alexsandr

          well look to your own party. Traditional labour voters will reject labours identekit wonks like Ed millipede. But they will also reject scum like Shaun Wright. Then think why there is a disconnect.

        • Colonel Mustard

          Don’t be silly. This is not a time for Labour party empire building or gerrymandering. It is that trickery which has brought us here.

        • Inverted Meniscus

          Yes it was the North East that voted 87% against the madness you are proposing. Shall we ask them again and again until theyy get it right? That is the Fascist Labour way after all.

          • P_S_W

            You can ask us again, we’ll just vote the same way.

      • Colonel Mustard

        Well said.

    • Pootles

      How about admtting that the real purpose behind this idea for England is to create permament Labour fiefdoms to offset what would otherwise be Westminster difficulties for Labour when some solution to the West Lothian question is found? The idea that Labour ‘city-regions’ in the North and Midlands would control the destinies of so many is frightening – we would get Rotherham-type corruption on a national scale.

    • Colonel Mustard

      You devious, dishonest little twister. This is not about the “English regions” but about England.

      Trying to force your nasty comintern-sponsored Labour script into the debate won’t wash.

      • e2toe4

        Yep he’s weird..but if London and Cons/Labs misread the feelings in Tyneside/Teesside/Wearside..Merseyside/Manchester and Leeds (for all I know it’s same in Wales , South West, Brum and East Midlands–but I DO know the others) it won’t only be the Labour party that breaks..the Tories will as well… indeed we may be watching the realignment we have needed to happen since even before Thatcher..or certainly since her final few years.

        WE just don’t quite realise it yet.

    • $122142906

      “Meanwhile the bolstering powers for Scotland must be delivered to the promised timetable”

      Only if you get sufficient votes to enact it.
      A promise made by one discredited scottish MP ain’t worth the paper it ain’t printed on.

  • monty61

    Thank **** it’s over. Common sense (and common feeling) won over zealotry and false (in the end, rejected) promises. The brown trouser moment of a couple of weeks ago will, rather surprisingly, have positive consequences for democracy across the UK. That’s a good outcome.

    Meanwhile the lunatics have not quite managed to grab the keys of the asylum. For that, a massive sigh of relief.

    • telemachus

      The brown trouser moment of a couple of weeks ago
      *
      Remember who rescued us all after that

      • Swiss Bob

        You mean McMental screwed us (English) again.

        • Pootles

          Indeed, the Scot, Brown, promised more from England, Wales & N.Ireland, without any consultation whatsoever.

          • telemachus

            Funny
            I read the Daily Record which said all our democratically elected leaders agreed on our behalf

            • Pootles

              But without consulting the population of the rest of the UK, making promises that they came up with on the back of an envelope, and led by Gordon Brown, a man who is a signatory to Scotland’s claim of right.

            • Alexsandr

              they panicked with no mandate.
              I fear the commons will not back them without proper regard to the English.
              And any English MP that backs more devolved power to Scotland without sorting the West lothian question and the Barnett formula will have difficulty getting elected next May.

              • telemachus

                You could be correct
                Farage was very cleverly playing to that on Today this morning
                *
                However we must not be bullied into reneging on promises or adding new proposals in haste

                • Colonel Mustard

                  Why not? Your party has made a fifty year career out of bullying, reneging on promises and acting in haste.

                • Fergus Pickering

                  I can’t remember promising anything. Did you promise something Tele?

              • HookesLaw

                Is Scotland raising its own money a problem? The issue will be if it wastes it and comes back to us for more instead of skewering its own electorate. A Grand England Committee is probably the answer to the WLQ – but it should be allowed to evelve not be set in stone.
                The counterbalance needed is that Scottish spending cannot endanger the wider economy. But Scotland is less than 10% of the population isnt it? Try not to get so worked up. Scotland ‘being seperate’ is a historic anomaly. It has been a seperate country in the past there is no point denying it. It is still a ‘nation’.

                England is the main driver of the country and thats why a central govt could not really allow it to be broken up. Do we want 5, 7 or 10 seperate NHS policies? 10 seperate transport policies? The benefit of the NHS is its size. Thats why its best governed from Westminster with devolved policies voted on by English MPs.
                I really hope we do not get drawn into another level of govt. More polititians. Another gross parliament building. More expenses.

                • Alexsandr

                  i agree we should make the English MP’s dual use.
                  I do worry about the lefties in scotland with their self righteous stuff about social justice over borrowing and expecting the UK to bail them out. That means that while they are in the UK their borrowing must be controlled.
                  I assume you are alluding to regionalisation of government with your comments about 5,7 or 10 NHS policies. I reject the argument that regional asemblies are the answer to the west lothian question. We want an english assembly because we are a country, not a set of regions. We tried mega regional government with the metropolitan counties and that didnt work. and what of the rural areas? I live 20 miles from the centre of a large English city, but I would not want to be controlled by it – we have our own local priorities.

                • e2toe4

                  I agree all that but I feel people consistently discount the effects of the internet and it’s tendency to always dis-intermediate in any area where intermediaries exist.

                  I may be over sensitive to this, being in the media and do get accused of being a naive relying on some miracle technology to replace political parties.

                  In the media world the effects of the internet have been enormous and most people outside this world haven’t the slightest clue of the ways it has it has changed and probably won’t before newspapers begin to disappear from the physical world in huge numbers, something that is getting closer and closer every quarter.

                  There are reasons why this all went so gangbusters so quickly..the velocity of developments was driven not by politicians or the old media but the internet.

                  IT still is not well understood by the old parties..the SNP as an insurgent realised it levelled the playing field and so focussed on it with the now notorious ‘cybernats’.

                  The internet is changing everything ,,,but everybody believes we’ll keep on doing politics the old fashioned way… the parties are creaking even now and the development of the net is still in the Stone Age…either they get up to speed or get out of the way.

                • Kaine

                  The Metropolitan Counties did work, they were abolished because the Tories couldn’t win in them and objected to Ken Livingstone being nice to gay people.

                • HJ777

                  The size of the NHS is a drawback, not a benefit.

                  Huge organisations – and especially monopoly tax-funded ones – are more resistant to change.

                • Fergus Pickering

                  The size of the NHS enables it to buy drugs cheap, a thing the USA cannot do. That is why US citizens buy their drugs in Canada.

                • e2toe4

                  I agree that… there are ways that power/responsibility can be devolved without having to set up mini parliaments, aka waffling shops , springing up across the cities and regions like bindweed.

                  The problem with Devo is they have power without responsibility (hence the skewed nature of the claims about ‘saving the NHS in Scotland’.

                  Giving Scotland more tax raising powers is a win-win… either they boom and help to begin to create a proper ‘German style’ decentralised country (ie better and stronger all round) ..or it descends into a kind of state of entitlement and the higher taxes have the predictable effects of driving businesses south into Northern England…and attracting dole wallowers North perhaps.

                  The nastiest of all the claims made by the SNP was (using ‘Westminter’ as a code) that Scots were somehow nicer and more caring than English.

                  This is rubbish but devo-max will provide the demonstration in reality of this.

                • Kaine

                  “The benefit of the NHS is its size.”

                  So why did the Coalition fragment it into scores of CCGs? We already have a divided health service thanks to numerous reforms, not least the H&SC Act.

              • P_S_W

                And this is why Labour’s goose may be well and truly cooked.

            • $122142906

              “I read the Daily Record which said all our democratically elected leaders agreed on our behalf”

              We didn’t give them permission to do that.
              Still once the scottish mps are excluded from english affairs we can fully investigate the labour party’s culpability for the mass rape of children in rotherham and other rotten boroughs can’t we telemachus?
              Fear not telemachus justice will prevail – it just takes time.

      • kyalami

        The MP who has attended fewest days of Parliament since 2010 made a speech for which he had no authority. If anyone believed him, they’re idiots. If the Coalition are foolish enough to follow his misguided advice, they will pay heavily in May (as will Labour).

        Look out for a record number of independent MPs and not a small number of UKIP ones.

        • Alexsandr

          a small number of bloody minded independants would be wonderful. Would break up the liblabcon cartel beautifully.

      • $122142906

        “Remember who rescued us all after that”
        And remember who failed the children of rotherham.
        You have yet to be called to account telemachus

      • Inverted Meniscus

        Ah yes, when somebody made promises he had no authority to delver. A bit like his £168 billion structural deficit.

    • McRobbie

      You have missed the point..it was about change and 45%, nearly 2 million, said we need change. There will be change and more devolved powers unless the politicians find another way to break their promise..at least cameron has said he will stand by his, milie’s a bit more..shall we say hesitant. The no camp was driven by fear of change and the yes camp by an idealism..fear won. Hopefully the message that was given has been received…the status quo of all power to westminister and the expenses grabbing elite there must change.

      • Pootles

        1.6 million isn’t really ‘nearly 2 million’, unless you regard 2 million as nearly 2.4 million. Saying that ‘fear won’ implies that the majority of Scots in Scotland are afraid – I don’t think so.

        • The_greyhound

          wee nats have a fairly precarious grasp on reality. One big number to them is much like another.

          The yes camp wasn’t driven by idealism, but by an air of pollyanna silliness jacked up by the utterly unscrupulous SNP. A sickening, hypocritcal, and often threatening bunch of baboons trying to change the world by merely screeching at it.

          • telemachus

            “A sickening, hypocritcal, and often threatening bunch of baboons trying to change the world by merely screeching at it”
            *
            I know a team in Clacton that fills that bill

            • Swiss Bob

              Not pe edos, pe edo facilitators or pe edo protectors like your party though are they?

              We can all smear you revolting little tu rd but in your case they’re not smears.

              • telemachus
                • Colonel Mustard

                  Diane Abbott’s view not the British public’s view.

                  And she would say that wouldn’t she.

                • telemachus

                  The Rochdale Labour MP, Simon Danczuk, whose constituency borders Heywood and Middleton had it right in comments about your smears.

                  “It’s now clear that Ukip will try and turn grooming and the death of Lee Rigby into a political football. They’re playing politics with horrendous crimes that shocked Heywood and Middleton at a time when the wounds of these events are still healing in our town,” he said.

                  “They have got nothing to offer for the victims of abuse, nothing to say about how we face up to years of failure across the country to properly protect children. It’s just shameful opportunism and pathetic posturing.”

                • Colonel Mustard

                  The evidence speaks for itself. No-one needs to turn it into anything.

                  Your party and its unelected fellow travellers have been exposed, found wanting and condemned. No amount of bluster, manipulation or truth-twisting by you is going to change that.

                • telemachus

                  I will be as happy a man on Friday 7 May as I am today

                • Colonel Mustard

                  We’ll see. A week is a long time in politics. I would neither count my chickens before they hatched nor cross my bridges before I come to them.

                  The premature triumphalism, hubris and boasting of the cybernats should be a lesson to you.

                • Inverted Meniscus

                  And Labour allowed Rotherham and Mid Staffs to happen.

                • P_S_W

                  And oddly enough, Labour have nothing to offer the victims of abuse and furthermore knew about it all along and did nothing.

                • Swiss Bob

                  Take your pathetic excuses and shove them up your collective Labour ar se.

                • telemachus
                • Colonel Mustard

                  What nonsense. You peddled the same outrageous lie over Mid-Staffs.

                  It won’t wash.

                • Inverted Meniscus

                  Parp, Parp.

                • Inverted Meniscus

                  More lies.

            • kyalami

              And they wear red.

              • telemachus

                Purple/yellow, the latter colour fitting

                • Swiss Bob

                  And red is the perfect colour for a party with the blood of so many children on its hands.

                  Not forgetting their endless wars.

            • Inverted Meniscus

              Yes the Fascist Labour Party. Parp, Parp Tele the clown is here.

            • Reconstruct

              Pitiful. Even by your standards.

          • monty61

            Indeed. I would have rather more respect for Salmond if he’d said, ‘I promise you 20 years of blood, sweat and toil, but it will be worth it in the end’.

            He would still have lost (as for most people it would have been a lot of unnecessary pain on behalf of a dumb ideology) but at least he would have been telling the truth.

            But as the porkies piled up he just began to look more and more ridiculous.

            • e2toe4

              I do agree that —-and it shows the problem he , and Yes, were always battling against; the fact that the things they tried present as the effects of oppression just were not there.

              That led to the need to start telling the porkies and as you say they started to pile up too high for ‘Yes’ to be taken seriously..Salmond, as many on ‘Yes’ said was NOT ‘independence’ but this was whistling in the wind, he led the campaign, was it’s ‘establishment-side’ figurehead and leader and was for both their good and their ill the face of it all.

          • Fergus Pickering

            JudgiNg by what I saw the Yessers were all bearded weirdos or about sixteen years old. If Salmond had extended the vote to ten-year–olds he might have squeaked in

      • monty61

        No, it’s you that missed the point – the dreamy-dreamy-happy-happy coalition of muppets led by zealots lost, and common sense prevailed. You lost by hundreds of thousands of votes, were they all feart? No they just weren’t taken in by Salmond’s moonshine.

        There’s no great new revelation that the consensus in Scotland is for change. What I welcome is that it’s coming across the whole of the UK.

        • dalai guevara

          Is now a convenient time to remind you all that it must have been a foreign-born resident electorate which saved your bacon?
          The no camp gained 4% approx. on the 1979 outcome.

          • Colonel Mustard

            Check the individual council results. As in England during General Elections three great conurbations of socialist bolshiness skewed the overall result. Some of the councils were almost at 70% No vs 30% Yes – improbable that it was all down to immigrants.

            • goatmince

              You win Colonel – the Westminster elite remains in power, the Erich Honeckers of Britain continue to rule and will now continue to dictate the agenda. That is what we all wanted.

              • Inverted Meniscus

                Are the Erich Honeckers the same as the Magna Carta elite lad?

            • Inverted Meniscus

              You respond to one of his sockpuppets and another, the goat, is on hand with even more gibberish.

          • Damon

            Is now a convenient time to remind you of the Sturgeon and Salmond boast that thousands of ‘new Scots’ were solidly behind independence?

        • Ally

          And for that you should be grateful!

          • monty61

            In a way I am, and it’s a credit to the process which, let’s not forget, was initiated by Cameron as an attempt to shoot the Nationalist fox. Unintended consequences indeed but I’m pretty happy with the outcome.

      • GUBU

        Your shaky grasp of numbers provides a neat illustration of why many people voted ‘No’ – not the fear of change, but the fear of having very little change left in their pockets once the real cost of your idealism became apparent. In other words, simple common sense.

      • HJ777

        If you had read the white paper you would know that the “Yes” camp was driven by promises of riches without any mention of where the money would come from. It was a transparent attempt to bribe voters.

        Of course, in its later stages, the “Yes” camp was driven by scaremongering on the NHS etc. but that was because they knew bribery was failing.

        • Rik

          And i wonder where the Nats learnt that tactic from, Labour bought office with “bread and circuses” for years and it worked damn well after all you can fool all of the people some of the time!!

      • Damon

        “The no camp was driven by fear of change and the yes camp by an idealism… fear won.”

        Precisely the kind of arrogance that lost you this vote. Your side was all about ideals; our side was all about fear. Who says so? You?

        Maybe our side cared about, and believed in, Britain just as much as you profess to care about Scotland. You may sneer at the thought of British patriotism and deride (as so many of your colleagues have) the very idea of Britain as a nation. More fool you.

        I wish to be magnanimous in victory, but you might also try being a little gracious in defeat.

        • realfish

          Fear of the elite
          Fear of the BBC
          Fear of privatising the NHS
          Fear of another Tory Government
          Fear of being screwed over by London
          The first five fears, created and disseminated by Alex Salmond

          • e2toe4

            Full agreement here (as well) the real Project Fear was created by the SNP & in breathtaking style, they covered the tracks of their assertion-heavy, fact-lite Project Feart by accusing anyone who produced any fact of scaremongering and bullying them.

        • e2toe4

          You’re Right and McRobbie’s wrong..the original message was just the idea it was ‘Our oil’ and dividing the assumed billions by 5 million not 63 million people would mean everyone would get more…the sort of simple and direct message loved by demagogues.

          There was a thread of this argument that morphed into a claim that in effect meant ‘even if No are right’ and our figures are wrong the oil will bail us out every year.

          These crashed and sank partly because of an intervention by Sir Ian Wood who is a) self made b) Has made a pile of money from the oil industry c) is a Scot and d) an acknowledged heavyweight himself quoted by Yes,,,who said their numbers were rubbish..coupled with the recent shortfalls and clear evidence of the oil price falling that everyone could see.

          At this point the entire line was left abandoned to all intents and purposes and the main claim, at a relatively late stage pushed forward more prominently that the NHS could only be saved by the SNP.

      • Inverted Meniscus

        Funny how the narrative changes after you have lost. Yes lost, because your superficial nonsense did not cut through the common sense of enough ordinary people who did not believe the downright lies told by the Yes campaign about currency, health etc. You lost and don’t seem to understand that Scotland is now a sideshow compared with the Westminster politicians fear of English Nationalism and the demands of the English for a fair democratic settlement where no Scot has a say in English only affairs ever again.

      • anncalba

        Having suffered 2 years of the truly appalling “debate” on independence, I can agree that the No camp was influenced by fear – fear of saying how they were going to vote because to do so to a Nat would invariably mean being on the receiving end of a mouthful of abuse. So, it was no surprise (except to the out of touch media) that only 4 areas out of 32 actually voted Yes in the privacy of the polling station,, and that one of them was Glasgow, famed as the benefit capital of the UK and for the charming way some of the locals have of dealing with opinions they disagree with.

        • e2toe4

          Yep… Having voted yesterday and obviously spoken with many people the extent to which this atmosphere was whipped up by the SNP whilst at the same time they tried to deny it’s existence was utterly unarguable in Scotland…completely discounted until very late on by those outside.

          What you say is spot on.

      • Kennybhoy

        ” a remarkable repudiation of the Union. It is clear enough to be decisive; close enough to demand modesty in victory.”

        Nicely turned phrase Maister M but it was only close because of the utterly shameful exclusion of Scots resident in the rest of the UK.

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