Coffee House

The SNP’s dismal conference

21 October 2012

The Scottish National Party conference in Perth ought to have been a festival of ideas, showcasing solutions that only be applied by independence. Instead it has reminded everyone that the SNP is bereft of ideas*  – and why the union is not in as much danger as Alex Salmond makes out.

Salmond’s speech laid into the “Lord Snooties” down south, and the “London government” which would “put this first class nation in the second class carriages.” His message – and that of his colleagues – seemed to be that an independent Scotland would have so much money that it’d be first class for everyone.

Nicola Sturgeon’s speech suggested that the problem of Scottish poverty is not enough welfare payments. “Independence is about having the powers we need to eradicate, once and for all, the obscenity of child poverty in our rich society,” she said. Quite – but powers to do what? She didn’t say. The irony is that Iain Duncan Smith’s welfare reform agenda, which could yet make British poverty history, was born in Glasgow. He visited in Easterhouse, one of Glasgow’s welfare ghettoes, and realised that Britain was making the most expensive poverty in the world. IDS did so because Scotland is part of his country, and he cares what happens there.

George Osborne’s decision to cut the top rate of tax from 50p to 45p was attacked by Sturgeon: “I do not believe that would ever be Scotland’s choice.” Entrepreneurs, take note. Alex Neil, now health minister, also said an independent Scotland would mean “a fair tax system that places the heaviest burden on the broadest shoulders”. Translated: tax the rich even more!


The SNP conference has heard that the answer to every problem is more money. Here’s Kenny MacAskill, now in charge of policing:-

Swingeing budget cuts imposed by the Coalition Government mean I have to make changes to legal aid. They seem intent on abandoning a legal aid system south of the Border. We seek to preserve the integrity of it here. But, without independence all we can do is mitigate the damage.

Scotland’s state spending/GDP ratio is about 53pc, according to the CEBR, one or the highest in the planet. And still the SNP makes out that Scotland is being kept on starvation rations by the parsimonious English.

The SNP conference was at its weakest when trying to define Britain: not as the nation of Olympic triumph but as an institution whose main purpose is to fight evil wars. Here’s Alex Neil again:-

The ‘No’ campaign claims that the UK has been a raving success: Tell that to every family who have lost a young son or husband or brother because of the illegal war in Iraq. Tell that to the young men who have been serving in Afghanistan without the proper equipment to keep them safe and protected – many being the same young brave men who on their return from Afghanistan are now being rewarded with a P45. The UK hasn’t been a raving success for them.

Set aside what the UK military has given Scotland, the teenagers who left school with no qualifications and were given them an education and a career by the military  (my dad amongst them). Set aside the fact that the UK was pretty successful at winning two world wars. If an independent Scotland would be as pacifist as the SNP claims then it would be military P45s all round.

It’s been a bad summer for the SNP. The Olympics showed how popular Britishness is amongst Scots, as Salmond’s laughable “Scolympians” notion was ignored by a country which has never been as petty and small-minded as the SNP. If Salmond’s lot did have great new ideas for an independent Scotland, the union may be in some danger. But judging by the SNP conference, the union looks pretty safe.

* There was one good idea announced today – speeding up the dualling of the A9, which runs between Perth and Inverness.  Long overdue. Next: the Nairn bypass.

PS This article has been up for five whole minutes, without me being denounced by Cybernats. Where are you all?

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  • Kenny

    I seen the video genesis review later today. It seems to be informative.

  • Kenny

    This was an great conference. I checked out a all belly pregnancy review as well.


    Do the Scots realize that they are fully supported by a large number of English middle classes who would also like to see them leave?

  • Bonnie Prince Charlie

    The Spectator with westminster specs. One good reason for choosing independence is to leave this wobbly journalism behind with the wobbly wombles of tory westminster. Independence os a certainty whether you like it or not. Sit back and spectate while it all overtakes you.

  • Pedro

    Aw this unadulterated unionism is a wee bit too swivel eyed for me.

    Vote Yes. #hopenotfear

  • Fergus Pickering

    Gawd, 125 comments on something nobody in England cares about at all.

    • dougthedug

      If I’d known that nobody in England cared about this topic I’d never have posted a comment. What a faux pas. I feel such a fool.

      • Michele Keighley

        Reality is that we have never really cared. You want independence, then for goodness sake settle up quickly – all this hanging around is bad for business. Truly, we have never been fixated on hanging onto you despite your attempts to believe otherwise. I wouldn’t worry about feeling a fool, I too [having once believed that the Scots were open and welcoming people] have now just read some of the spittle strewn comments here and feel exactly the same.

        • dougthedug

          You shouldn’t take the attitude or the language of the unionist Scots writing here as representative of all Scots. Come and visit us after independence and you’ll find a welcome as good as any.

  • Watcher

    The poor bloody Scots, they are left with a choice between Fascism (Salmond) and Marxism (Brown/Darling/Milliband) Both peddle hatred, the English and the rich respectively. Both are fostering the Scottish disease, entitlement …’someone else will pay’. Personal Responsibility has fled the Scottish Political scene. Myth & legend has become portrayed as reality. All that was best in Scotland sacrificed for cheap votes.

  • Iain Hill

    You must all learn to grow up. Independence will come, if not now, then soon. Read all the history books. These same spurious and vacuous arguments have been trotted out everywhere, but independence came , and the sky did not fall in..

    Any system can be made to work eg what Scotland will save on disproportionate defence costs will solve a lot of financial problems. And do not assume that, unlike the Yookay, we will lack the guts to help people back to work, and to deal with the few recalcitrant “scroungers”. We have the ideas, not just the sound bites.

    Scotland has rumbled the reasons for the UKs hysterical opposition to a mature and natural development. It is fear, that the rump will be exposed as a deluded post imperial remnant, a tribe of Goves and Foxes, and it’s status reduced in the international arena to where it belongs, a clapped out offshore island. How Scotland longs for the opportunity to ‘punch below its weight’!

    • Wessex Man

      oh dear,typical, see my reply to Ross Burton and go and find someone else to hate!

  • Ross Burton

    I honestly don’t understand the Little Englander attitude to an independent Scotland. We are two separate and increasingly distinctive countries who should would both be able to look after their own affairs. Independence for Scotland doesn’t mean all Scots become Johnny Foreigners; people living in Scotland, England and Wales would still be British, with many shared institutions and common strands in our cultural makeup. If you really believe that the UK Government is subsidising Scotland’s services, why not call the SNP’s bluff and join the Yes campaign? And to answer your postscript, I don’t really think many people in Scotland read the Spectator; it doesn’t have much relevance to us. I only heard about it through the excellent ‘Scotlandshire’ in Facebook.

    • Wessex Man

      Theres no “Little Englander” attitude against the Scots or anyone else, we are merely sticking up for our country after years of hate filled bile aimed at us. The vast majority of us wish you well in your adventure and hope to bid you a fond farewell, why do you keep ignoring this comment from so many of us and insisting that we wish to control you? Is it because you want an easy target to vent your spleen at?

      • Ross Burton

        I know not all English people have the attitude that Fraser Nelson displays, and apologise for lumping you in with that; it wasn’t my intention. Unfortunately, the type of comments we tend to hear in Scotland from people in England about the prospect of independence are negative; I wish more people would express the kind of sentiments which you are – don’t suppose you could tell that nice Mr Cameron how you feel?

  • Callum

    Fraser Nelson, “PS This article has been up for five whole minutes, without me being denounced by Cybernats. Where are you all?”

    Perhaps they were all at the SNP conference unlike yourself!

  • Showusyertitz

    Their football league is crap and now they are crying for their own lickle Govt. Very minor league. Let ’em pee on their own feet and be done with it.

  • Cath Ferguson

    As a new SNP member, recruited only this year by their top recruiting sergeant, David Cameron, this was my first ever party .conference. The quality of debate was amazing – way beyond anything that passes for debate in our media these days. And there were ideas aplenty. Just perhaps not ones the Spectator or any of the right wing British parties would like. The media who were theren(I’d guess not including the Spectator) seemed quite impressed with the NATO debate in particular, which was quite something to be a part of. I especially liked the contribution in Doric! Shame the BBC, or at least BBC Scotland barely noticed it, especially as they are our government.


      “The quality of debate was amazing . . . . ” Is that a Leftie code for ‘everyone agreed with everyone else’?

      • dougthedug

        I see you spent as much time watching the conference as Fraser.

  • Brian Taylor, BBC Scotland

    Well Fraser were you an accredited journalist at this year’s SNP conference? You don’t appear on any list. Is there an explanation for your non-attendance?

    • Fraser Nelson

      Yes: life is short.

    • Gremalkin

      i would have thought that the ‘accredited’ panjandrums of the BBC would want to ease off on the pretentious patronising at the moment.

  • Wee Eck

    It is time that Fraser Nelson admitted that he did not attend the SNP conference.

  • Handyman

    Oh dear! Oh dear! It’s articles like this which are aiding the SNP and destroying the Unionist case. Full of errors. Cannot even get the name of the party correct. It is the Scottish National Party not the Scottish Nationalist Party. Please deal in facts not waffle.

  • Mac

    Has Fraser Nelson ever attended a SNP conference?

    No one has ever spotted him so it would appear not!

    Cybernats have a new game, it’s called, “Where’s Fraser?”

    Can you spot him? Some say he works nights with Elvis at the Kinglassie Chip Shop in Lochgelly. Check it out.

    • Fraser Nelson

      I went to one in Inverness once, ended up drunkenly playing the piano for some non-cybernats. They wanted to sing Dougie MacLean’s Caledonia, but in Scots. I’ll never forget the result. “Lit me tell ye that ahh love yi”.

      • dougthedug

        “Lit me tell ye that ahh love yi”.
        You’ve got the phonetics of your indeterminate transatlantic twang down to a tee Fraser, but what did they sound like?

      • IRISHBOY

        Fraser!!! Is it on You Tube?
        An opera singing friend of mine, in the old days at Glyndebourne when the men’s dressing rooms were beside the car park, used disconcert the arriving punters with his rendition of Rossini’s Largo al factotum sung in the style of a Glaswegian club singer! I think you both should be introduced as present success for you both in your respective careers can never be guaranteed!!

  • don logan

    @fnelson123:disqus I wouldn’t get too bothered by any of this, an independence party who hasn’t got the basics sorted out like what currency they’d use if they became independent shouldn’t be taken that seriously.

  • Ian Davidson, Labour MP

    Hey! Jist a f*ckin’ minute. Eh’m being imposturised …. naw umpasterised ….. somewan is takin’s the p*sh.

  • Wee Eck

    A reply from Ian Davidson, Labour MP, on criticism of Fraser Nelson’s wee column.

    “Hey! Jist a f*ckin’ minute. Whit the f*ck am I daein’ stuck in at the end ay another wan ay these wee pretendy satirical articles ay yours? This is a real news story by a good pal ay mine, and he’s makin’ loads ay sense. An’ whit’s mair, ah wisnae in his original article, an youse know that fine!
    “You c*nts need tae stoap taking the piss oot ay decent papers by just copying these genuine bits ay politikul opinion as if they were wan ay your wee joke articles. This is proper jurnalism – no a joke! It’s no meant tae be f*ckin’ funny!
    “Oor nelson’s wee column is serious stuff. He says whit aw ay us in the Labour party ur thinkin’ but cannay express. An no just because sae many ay us is inartic.. inurtac… f*ckin’ eejits.
    “Right youse! Any mair ay this pish an ahl send big Joycey roond tae Atlantic Quay tae sort youse aw oot. He disnae hae much tae occupy his time the noo, since he’s been banned fae every pub in the country, and he’s angry as f*ck aboot it. So youse loat hid better watch yersells.”

  • Mac

    A reply from Ian Davidson, Labour MP, on criticism of Fraser Nelson’s wee column.

    “Hey! Jist a f*ckin’ minute. Whit the f*ck am I daein’ stuck in at the end ay another wan ay these wee pretendy satirical articles ay yours? This is a real news story by a good pal ay mine, and he’s makin’ loads ay sense. An’ whit’s mair, ah wisnae in his original article, an youse know that fine!
    “You c*nts need tae stoap taking the piss oot ay decent papers by just copying these genuine bits ay politikul opinion as if they were wan ay your wee joke articles. This is proper jurnalism – no a joke! It’s no meant tae be f*ckin’ funny!
    “Oor nelson’s wee column is serious stuff. He says whit aw ay us in the Labour party ur thinkin’ but cannay express. An no just because sae many ay us is inartic.. inurtac… f*ckin’ eejits.
    “Right youse! Any mair ay this pish an ahl send big Joycey roond tae Atlantic Quay tae sort youse aw oot. He disnae hae much tae occupy his time the noo, since he’s been banned fae every pub in the country, and he’s angry as f*ck aboot it. So youse loat hid better watch yersells.”

  • Bob Waugh

    Let me start by recognising the Spectator’s charity. Fraser was clearly unhappy in his native land, surrounded by people with uncouth accents who failed to appreciate his unique talent. Once on Salisbury Crags, looking for the worst possible perspective on the Holyrood Parliament building, he slipped and ruined a pair of shoes – for which he had paid, he informed his aghast readers, a sum of money rather in excess of a weeks Jobseekers Allowance. There was hardly a wet eye in the country.

    But thanks to the kindness of the Spectator he is now among nice posh people who treat his quaint little ways with respect and even allow him back to That Awful Place provided he turns in suitably bilious copy – as we see.

    Leave aside the fact he cannot even get the name of the Party correct, or that he equates a non-nuclear defence policy with pacifism. What underlies this whole piece is an issue which is not unique to Scotland. The pseudo-boom of the free-market era, driven on voodoo economics whereby over excited adrenaline junkies bellowed down mobile phones spending money they did not have on things that did not exist, crashed in 2007-08. A whole political class at Westminster who had bought into the vacuous cliche that this was “the only game in town” are now adrift squabbling over who was to blame, who should be in charge and who looks better on telly. In this intellectual desert new ideas are desperately needed.

    At the core of the SNP’s vision is the proposition that a nation should be a community with internal bonds of solidarity. This does involve a more equal distribution of wealth, so yes the tax holiday for the rich – part of the policy consensus of a succession of right-wing British governments at Westminster since the 1970s – has to end. A more equal society will better face the challenges of a changing world – not only creating a more rationally organised society, but also addressing the global divide between rich and poor and the stresses that our current way of life places on the ecological structures of our planet.

    Is the SNP fully equal to this challenge? I have my long-term doubts. It is after all a, party whose core aim in constitutional not social. But the project of independence, leading as it does to the question of what kind of society (that word again) we want, opens up the way to an alternative. And within the party there are decent egalitarian and democratic impulses which suggest that the SNP can start the nation on that journey.

    The contribution of CPS General Secretary Mark Serwotka to the recent BBC Question Time was more worthy of note than Nelson’s verbal posturing. Faced with the BBC’s usual idea of balance – one nationalist faced by a troika from the unionist alliance – he made precisely that point – what matters is the social vision – and openly stated that the Labour Party had sold out on the principles it once had. (It has done so in Scotland, it should be noted, in order to provide the poor bloody infantry for Cameron’s defence of the Union.) As he spoke, the Labour member of the unionist team, Margaret Curran, looked as if she had swallowed her microphone,. He was peaking the truth; she knew it and she did not like it.

    I have lived in England rather longer than Nelson – over three decades. I know from personal experience that there are many decent English people who wish Scotland well on its journey and only hope that so intelligent a debate will one day take place in their own country. It would be a great shame if people in Scotland were to think that the Spectator is typical of English opinion. If the jolly lads and lasses at that august rag wish to regard Nelson as in any way typical of Scotland, they are fully entitled to their delusions.

  • Newmains Jimmy

    How strange that a movement that in my youth was thought of as one for oddballs should now be treated seriously. One could also argue, and it would be difficult to contradict, that a great deal of what was distinctively Scottish in all areas of society earlier in my lifetime has now gone. What this conference seemed to show was a few pricks short of a thistle.

    • JPJ2

      44% of the vote, outpolling the Labour/Tory/LibDem unionist party combined indeed shows how much has changed.
      While there is still overwhelming pro-unionist bias even in the “Scottish” media, the days when the SNP message could be suppressed simply by depriving it of the oxygen of publicity are long gone.
      How I shudder at the mere thought of Lamont or Davidson as First Minister of Scotland-but that will never happen-the so called “pricks” and their Scottish voters will not let it :-)

  • British dog mess everywhere

    Fraser ‘Lord Haw Haw’ Nelson.

  • Logika

    You make a big mistake by thinking Britishness is under threat in an independent Scotland.
    People are perfectly entitled to have both a Scottish and British identity.
    It’s the unequal political union of the UK that is the problem.

  • sunnydayrider

    It seems to me lads and lassie’s that the only people south of the border exercised by this independence malarky are the hacks. Walk into any pub in the rest of the UK and the one thing they ain’t talking about is Scotland. The state of the pitch at Accrington Stanley maybe, the cost of Haemaroid cream posssibly but certainly not the impending departure of Englands largest county, Caledoniashire. By all means saturate the Jock papers and TV with it but for gawd sake give us Anglo’s a break. Just publish the result when they’ve done.

  • Richard Lewis

    Why are you so against self rule for scottish communities? Do you have something personally to lose?

    …. Im not a believer in top-down nationalism, but believe in localised self rule in a connected world, I hope voting Yes will be a stepping stone to more empowerment for the individual…its a risk Im willing to take.

  • Thistleblower

    What an absolute piece of misinformed nonsense writing. You’d think we ought to be grateful to the Tories for giving Scottish teenagers so few choices in life that the army seems their only option…his Dad among them apparently.
    Sadly it was the Conservatives who announced they’d be axing 8000 soldiers jobs before Christmas. SNP would easily secure that same number of soldiers jobs in Scotland from axing Trident, saving £2.3 billion a year. We’d still have RAF fighter bases in Scotland, but the Tories are getting rid of those, and there was no Royal Navy to shadow the Russian fleet and aircraft carrier that sheltered in the Moray Firth last December. The nearest frigate was in Southapmpton. That’s the state of Scotland’s defence under the present UK government.
    You should write for BBC Scotlandshire. You’re pretty good at comedy.

  • Mike Owen

    Did Fraser Nelson actually watch any of the conference? The SNP Nato debate was entralling to watch, both sides aruging with passion for their case, when did we see that at a stage managed Tory/Labour conference?
    We have Labour, a party that brought the country to its financial kness, united with the Tories, the party of the omnishambles, determined to cut every service we hold dear telling the Scotttish government that can’t run their own affairs – ha!
    The only “dismal” thing i can see is this appalingly poor attempt to smear Alex Salmond. Shame on you Fraser Nelson.

  • Jez

    “Scotland’s state spending/GDP ratio is about 53pc, according to the CEBR, one or the highest in the planet. And still the SNP makes out that Scotland is being kept on starvation rations by the parsimonious English.”
    Time to get rid then!!!

    • MichtyMe

      This 53% ratio is misleading. Offshore economic activity is not included in the Scottish figures, it is allocated to a imaginary region in Government statistics called Extra-Regio, so as to avoid “distorting” them. If offshore is included in the Scots numbers the ratio is much lower, less than the UK as a whole and similar to many other European countries. Omitting the oil from the Scottish GDP is a bit like leaving out financial services from the GDP of SE England.

    • MichtyMe

      The 53% ratio is misleading. Offshore economic activity is not included on the Scottish figures. In Government statistics they are attributed to a imaginary region called Extra-Regio, so not to “distort” them. If offshore were to be included, the ratio would the less than the UK as a whole and comparable with many European countries. Not including the oil is a bit like omitting financial services from the GNP of SE England.

  • templum

    Comedy gold! What a gift for the YES vote.

  • david cunningham

    think you got the wrong conference think your article was for the conservative conference. I have just come back from Perth and we had a very upbeat mature conference. Why do you have to mislead your readers, perhaps so they don’t get the message. Which is that Scotland is soon going to be an Independent country

  • Sneekyboy

    “Scotland’s state spending/GDP ratio is about 53pc”
    From GERS we know that in 2010-11 the Scottish
    budget Costs £63.807 Billion
    GDP was £152 Billion for Scotland when geographic oil and gas revenues were added
    (Just like if we were independent)
    Thats 41.9%… Somewhat less than your 53% quoted.
    You have to leave out ALL OIL AND GAS revenues to even get up to 52%
    Interestingly, the UK as a whole is rated as 47.3% on Wikipedia…

    • Fraser Nelson

      GERS TME= £63.8bn. GDP £121.7bn (including a per capita share of your precious Black Gold). Ratio=52.4% for 2010-11. Or 53.6% of domestic GDP. Simples.

      • Daniel Maris

        Why per capita? Scotland will get something like a half of the oil and gas will it not in line with international law? Much higher than its per capita share.

        Also, I think we are underestimating just how much Scotland can earn from future oil and gas development, green energy, farming, whisky, fishing and finance. I think as well with improved agricultural techniques (e.g. polytunnels and hydroponics) it has huge potential for food production which will be increasingly important as the century progresses.

        Scotland will also not have to pay for the costs of mass immigration in England. It won’t have the tremendous costs of providing huge numbers of school places, specialist FGM clinics, teaching English as a second language, etc.

        Scotland will have to address its issues of deprivation, poor health outcomes and so on.

        • Spammo Twatbury

          Far more than half of the oil – 85% to 90% is what current international law dictates. Most of the gas is in English waters.

          • Daniel Maris

            As I recall the SNP want a sea border that follows a line of latitude whereas most international lawyers say it would follow the general trend of the land border which is about 45 degrees to the line of latitude. A lot depends on where you draw the line!

          • Eddie

            Yes EXACTLY and British money (billions) was used to extract it and develop the industry: so some of that would have to be refunded if Scotland left the union with England (for union with Brussels) – we really are not talking true independence here.
            I always say that 70% of the oil is not in Scottish waters, but maybe I’ve underestimated. Most Scots must be thick as a deep fried Mars bar if they think ‘independence’ will bring an oil and gas goodie bag – some sort of bonanza that means everyone in Scotland will be free gold and free ice cream (though maybe some need free vitamins). Yet another SNP lie. If Scotland separated from England and has a similat currency – a Scottish pound for example – then that would immediately devalue by 20% or more, as happend in Slovakia when it separated from its larger richer Czechlands neighbours.
            Scots Nationalists are bigots and just won’t listen to the facts; they are also ignorant: they know nothing of the law or maritime law, and just assume that ‘the big wet’ around Scotland belongs to Scotland for as far as the eye can see and a million more miles too. It don’t!

          • Fraser Nelson

            How much of it is in the waters of Orkney & Shetland? Their secession will be next, yes?

            • dougthedug

              Fraser, Fraser. The voice of the, “splendidly patriotic Scot”. So eager to keep Britain united and so keen to see Scotland dismembered.

              Unlike Wales or Cornwall neither Shetland nor Orkney have an independence movement so I’d say that it’ll be Wales next then Cornwall in order of independence movements.

            • Maidmarrion

              I do hope you are now going to give up Mr Nelson – you should make a fool of yourself in print for only so long and your time was up some time ago.
              Silly wee snipes from a ” journalist” really don’t hack – it if you’ll pardon the pun.

      • Tearlach Macdaid

        There is per capita, at around 8%, or territorial at 90% of the very precious black gold. Hence Seekyboys correct correction of your error. Simples double plus. You do believe in the conventions of International Law?

        • Daniel Maris

          I am not sure it is 90% but it is a whole lot more than the per capita division. I think there are various arguments to be had in international law but the share should be somewhere between 30-50% if I recall previous discussions correctly.

          • Sneekyboy

            Professor Kemp of Aberdeen university did a study based on equidistance delineation (which would be how the border would be set, now a NE/SW line as the unionists want or even a lateral line as you imply nationalists want).
            In this study they confirmed that Scotland is producing 95% Oil and 63% Gas in the UK.
            This is what we would get on independence.

          • Andy

            You do. As I recall the Labour Government redrew the maritime border, contrary to International Law, so that it favoured Scotland. If the border is drawn correctly it would indeed be a lot less than 90%.

            • Sneekyboy

              Andy, they moved the border North to the benefit of England, not Scotland.
              In fact they transferred 6000 sq/m from Scotland to England on the eve of devolution since it was a good day to hide bad news.
              The correct equidistance deliniation is what Professor Kemp used and is what gave the 95% Oil and 63% Gas split.

      • Spammo Twatbury

        A *per capita* share of oil? Wow, embarrassed for you. That is some weak sauce you’re peddling.

    • Jez

      Seemingly Owned Sneekyboy.

      Fraser 1 to nil.

      • Sneekyboy

        @Jez – Keep wishing and hoping mate.
        Fraser has had to admit using a “per capita” share of oil in that calculation.
        Professor Kemp showed that Scotland produces 95% of the Oil and 63% of the Gas in the UK at present.
        That border is based on equidistance delineation, which is the standard applied in international law.
        The Government have know that if Scotland becomes independent then we get the Oil and Gas in our waters. Territorial claims have been what the UK government have been using to keep the oil and now they have set the precident between the UK and other countries, so they cant use that one on Scotland.
        Even the McCrone report noted that:

        “the line that the UK Government has taken with the EEC,
        that the resources of the Continental Shelf are as much a national asset as are
        those on land, like coal mines, and that there is therefore no question of the
        Europeanisation of North Sea oil. Disputes on these matters might well occasion
        much bitterness between the two countries, but it is hard to see any conclusion
        other than to allow Scotland to have that part of the Continental Shelf which
        would have been hers if she had been independent all along.”

        • Wessex Man

          Right noted the last line and?
          Lets not forget it was a Scottish Sovereign on the Throne, Scotland was bankrupt as a redult of the failure of the Dairian project and wanted to be able to trade with the emerging English Empire. The English plebs just like the Scottish plebs were given no choice in the matter. If you had not been rescued by the ever generous English, you would be living in mud huts. We have subsidised you ever since.
          I personally wish you well in your referendum and hope you achieve all you wish for. I am only sad that we English were not allowed to vote as 67% of the English wanted you to achieve your “Independence” as well.

          • Sneekyboy

            I think you need to re-read your history.
            Of course you are referring to Darien, but the Nation of Scotland was not bankrupt, that was the nobles.
            The Darien Scheme was privately funded.
            The Scots Nobles were bribed to get them to sign the treaty of Union.
            It caused rioting in Scotland and rejoicing in England.
            But this is ancient history and we were part of the Union, we shared history, but this has nothing to do with where we want to go in the future, what society we want to live in and what we want to achieve.
            Mud Huts indeed…

            • Andy

              You also forget that King James VI was so short of money that Queen Elizabeth gave him a ‘pension’. Scotland has a long history of lusting after English Gold.

              Now we see you Scots are only too keen to stick your noses into English affairs such as education & health, which are devolved matters. Why haven’t Scottish MPs collectively signed a pledge not to vote on any issue which is devolved ? The reason the West Lothian Question was not addressed is that devolution was all about the Labour Party and never about principle.

            • Wessex Man

              Yes and the Mongols were kind liberating Democrats, the “Nobles” in Scotland were the only people with any money in those days pal get a life!

  • Wilhelm

    The SNP like labour, the liberals and globalist one worlder Nelson they want open borders, they want to swamp Scotland with African and muslim immigrants, displacing the indigenous inhabitants, are we suppose to rejoice at this, ethnic cleansing ?

    The further away white people live from the black ghetto, like Scotland, Sweden, Canada, New Zealand, the more ignorant / naive they are about black / muslim behaviour, gang culture, gang rapes, riots, knife crime, halal , sharia law, honour killings, islamic terrorism, etc etc.

  • HooksLaw

    The pacifists in the SNP upset about the policy of staying in NATO will no doubt take their politicking and votes to the pacifist labour party where they would be happiest anyway. Watch out for labour’s vote in Scotland going up at SNP expense.
    The mystery is why those of the centre right persist in supporting this socialist mob.

    • Maidmarrion

      There’s a pacifist Labour party? Who knew?
      The silence on Trident renewal from these ‘pacifists’ is deafening – not a squeak out of the Holyrood Labour leader.

  • Lob

    Haha, you so Britnat wish!

  • MikeB

    Thanks for another generous contribution to the YES campaign. You Tories are the gift that keeps giving.

  • Elliott Steven

    “””””””””””””””The irony is that Iain Duncan Smith’s welfare reform agenda, which could yet make British poverty history,””””””””””””””” Actually, I originally read this as dry wit but I come to realise you’re actually trying to be serious. Did your mother not love you as a child? Did someone kill your favourite puppy dog? Did you have a bad experience with a party clown? I guess so, because if you’re serious about this then get some therapy to exorcise these demons and find within you that one tiny futile parched grain of humanity, nurture it and rejoin the human race. Failing that, lose your job, end up homeless and hungry on the streets in a cardboard box over winter and then come and tell us about the Tories erradicating poverty. The Jews have this great word — schmuck.

    • David Ossitt

      Steven tells us that the Jews have this great word —

      What he forgot to mention is that it is one of many Yiddish
      words meaning fool, as do Bulvan, Chaim Yankel, Chaleria, Chazzer, Draycup,
      Eingeshparht, Gantesh Makher, Gonif, Grubber yung, Klutz, Kvetch, Luftmensch,
      Meshugener, Moishe Kapoyr, and note I have only listed those that go up tu the

      Apart from that his piece is a load ‘zevel’.

  • Sneekyboy

    “it has reminded everyone that the SNP is bereft of ideas*”
    Oh I dont know…
    The ideas that Healthcare should be free at the point of need, education should be by ability to learn and not ability to pay, the elderly should be looked after and the sick not forced to pay for medicine when they are already suffering, along wit the standing committment to remover Trident and the Nuclear Weapons of Mass Destruction seemed like good ideas to me.

    • HooksLaw

      These are not new ideas. Have you seen the size of UK health and welfare expenditure? Health care is being ring fenced which shows how the govt think. How much of that can an independent Scotland afford?

      Removing Trident is a vote loser for the SNP, whose policy now is to support a nuclear powered defence organisation.

      • Maidmarrion

        Health is already devolved to Scotland and NHS Scotland is not being demolished – unlike south of the border.
        Removing Trident is far from a vote loser – the radio active leaks from the Trident carrying subs are enough to convince those living in the vicinity that it has to go.
        Please Google ‘SEPA and Faslane’ for information which I’m sure you will be delighted NOT to be living beside.Add to that the pollution of Dalgetty Bay and Kinloss ,not to mention the possibility of nuclear waste dumping in the outer isles such as beautiful Barra and I think you may find that Trident leaving is a vote winner.
        I really can’t understand why some journalists feel the need to obfuscate and spin on behalf of the union , I had thought slightly better of Mr Nelson but quite frankly he has misrepresented the SNP conference big time.

    • Fraser Nelson

      Set aside the Trident/CND malarkee, the rest of your ideas have been part of the UK system since 1948.

      • Archimedes

        Cameron’s greatest failure is that he allowed the grounds for Scottish secession to be seeded – technically it was New Labour, of course, but Cameron could have put an end to it, and he failed to: at best, he watered the terrain, providing nourishment.

        It’s a mistake to be wasting time trying to think of arguments that favour maintaining the status quo: these are nothing more than delay tactics. Scotland: An Independent Country is certain to happen unless a new path for the Union is set. On the current course, we will be left with some kind of disjointed union, as the demand for independent power in Scotland grows, and England (not Wales or N.I.) fails to adjust.

        The media have gotten so caught up in an attempt to undermine Cameron’s government with stories of incompetence that they have failed to apply pressure where they are supposed to: in cases of the national interest, and accountability.

        I struggle to find some way that George Osborne’s passage in a First Class carriage, with a Second Class ticket, was somehow of interest to the public. Is there really such a chronic lack of interesting criticisms? Yet, you seem to have allowed the decision, to extend to 16 and 17 year olds the vote, to pass by? Why – because it was realpolitik? No, realpolitik is the source of all future woes: necessary, but also the area upon which the media should focus the majority of it’s criticisms.

        If The Spectator wants to be a critical journal, then it ought to concentrate it’s resources on criticism of the referendum agreement; if it wants to be a semi-think tank, then it ought to attempt to chart a new course for the union; if it wants to be somewhere in-between, then it ought to act accordingly: none of this Trident rubbish, and no more of this fending-off of inconsequential arguments.

      • Maidmarrion

        Malarkee? Really Mr Fraser it’s obvious neither you nor your nearest and dearest live in Helensburgh or its environs.
        Health – devolved ,regardless of when it was introduced Scotland is taking a very different path from that of Westminster.Not to mention care for the elderly and free education .
        Credit where credit is due eh?
        I do get a tad tired of the ferocious attacks in the media on the SNP ,independence ( quite a different beastie ,not that the media have noticed)and Alex Salmond in particular.
        It is far from good journalism and I hope is having a counter productive effect , rather like the ” too poor , too stupid , too fat , too drunk , too anti English , too lazy ,mars bar munching scroungers etc.etc.” with which the Scots have been berated in many and various publications – publications which should know better.

      • Baz78

        Not for much longer if Westminster and its chronies get their way

  • Elliott Steven

    Your take on the conference is weak, shallow and actually quite condescending to the Scottish people — it’s clear you enjoy the neoliberal imitation of government — the right-wing centralisation that serves the very few and disenfranchises the many. You have bought into the privatisation of everything philosophy and thus your opinion is just that, an opinion. You are entitled to it of course but your in-the-box thinking is unimaginitive and hackneyed. It’s tiresome and dull and follows the Tory party line to a tee. You may be Labour but that is the same difference — neoliberalism is essentially organised stupidity and institutionalised heartless cruelty. I pity poor England if she can’t be rid of such a poor ineffectual mentality.

    • Fraser Nelson

      Ah! My favourite: conflating “the SNP” with “the Scottish people”. And good luck finding enough people to vote for your vision of a Brand New East Germany.

      • IRISHBOY

        Quite a crowd you’ve attracted here tonight Fraser!
        No wonder you were attracted by what Dr. Johnson called the “noblest Prospect”!

        • Fraser Nelson

          Haven’t you met the Cybernats before? Lovely bunch…

          • dougthedug

            There now follows a public service broadcast

            For the uninitiated cybernat has many meanings.

            Here it means, “Those who, unlike Fraser, attended or watched the SNP conference in Perth and therefore don’t believe a word he’s written”.

      • Andy

        What I don’t get is if these SNP types are so keen on spending that they don’t raise Scottish Taxes to pay for a bit more. Odd that.

        • Sneekyboy

          And how would you have us raise taxes?
          The only tax we have power over is the Council tax and thats a regressive tax that hits the poor hardest.
          If we kept the scottish variable rate then we could have altered income tax by +/-3p but they tied it so that we would be raising taxes on the poor if we taxed the rich more, and cutting taxes for the rich if we taxed the poor less. So totally useless.
          Now the only way of getting control over our own taxes is to cut free from Westminster.
          P.S Scotland pays more into the UK than it gets back in its fair share.

          • Andy

            Oh so you wont raise income tax by 3p then to pay for your ‘glorious’ plans ?

  • dougthedug

    Hi Fraser, I spotted Iain MacWhirter, Douglas Fraser, David Torrance, Hugo Rifkind, Brian Taylor, Kevin McKenna and various others in Perth but I didn’t spot you at the conference. Were you there because you seem to be reporting on a different conference to the one I attended.

    “PS This article has been up for five whole minutes, without me being denounced by Cybernats. Where are you all?”

    We’re trying to type while laughing Fraser.

    • Maidmarrion

      I have to say he raised not even a snigger from me .I never thought to put him in the same ‘not fit for purpose ‘ as a certain DT churnalist ,but sadly there he is.

      • Aileen McGibbon

        So, wait. Fraser Nelson wasn’t actually there!?! Wow. That’s just awesome journalism.

        • dougthedug

          Of course he wasn’t there. He said so himself.

          Fraser Nelson @frasernelson
          @AngusMacNeilMP like many splendidly patriotic Scots, I was in England this weekend. We’re all renting apartments in May 2014 to vote.
          1:44 PM – 21 Oct 12

          “The SNP’s dismal conference”, is obviously a personal homage to Philip K. Dick who wrote many novels where the boundary between reality and alternate universes blurred and shifted seamlessly during the narrative.

          • Malcolm

            Does Fraser Nelson know where Scotland is these days, and if he did would he pay 2nd class for a 1st class seat on the train north?

  • Spammo Twatbury

    “Iain Duncan Smith’s welfare reform agenda, which could yet make British poverty history”

    Clumsy typo, Fraser: should read “make poor people history”.

    • Elliott Steven

      If the überTories can just simply eliminate all the poor people then there won’t be any poverty — that’s the plan, to drive them all to suicide, or starve them, freeze them or emotionally torture them to all death.

      • HooksLaw

        Go get your spittle transfusion tomorrow and the spleen transplant then carry on with the garbage.

        Socialist glibness will always give us poor people by their very act of defining the condition. What we need is salvation form the poverty of socialist thinking.

        • Bob Duncan

          So by redefining the poor as something else – nutritionally challenged?, dirty scrounger?, pleb? – poverty ceases to be an issue. I am so glad that my country is going to be taking the high road in 2014, we’ll leave the other to you.

      • Andy

        Don’t be so pathetic. I know Iain Duncan Smith and he is a good and decent man. He is actually trying to do something about the disgraceful waste of lives you see on any estate be it in Scotland, England or wherever. It is fascists like you, and the evil Polly Toynbee with her offensive ‘final solution’ crap, who want to keep the poor in their poverty and break their lives while, like Toynbee, you enjoy the delights of Tuscany.

        • Steven

          As one of the many called ‘economically inactive’, I can tell you that Iain Duncan-Smith is a prize pratt even by Tory standards.The man has absolutely no comprehension as to what causes unemployment let alone how to resolve it. He is under the patently false impression that we have millions of ‘workshy’ malingerers when the reality is that we have more unemployed job seekers than actual job vacancies in our pathetically weak economy.

  • David Lindsay

    It has been a long time coming, but at last it has arrived. By endorsing NATO membership, the SNP has finally become Fine Gael. Or the Establishment wing of Fianna Fáil, back when there was any other.

    Although even those have always had the fig leaf that the blatantly obvious treaty was nominally a secret, in the way that MI5 and MI6 officially did not used to exist. Let’s just say “Shannon Airport”, and the point is made. There is no economic case for Shannon Airport. It is purely strategic. And we all know what that means. Like Prestwick Airport, in fact. So, has Alex Salmond, by securing a commitment to NATO membership, prevented the retention of Prestwick as a British sovereign base? Think about it.

    Consider Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil in the early Cold War years: rural, bourgeois, ultra-Catholic, with endless close family ties to the United States, and with no meaningful opposition to their duopoly except (if there was any) from what Attlee’s and Bevin’s Labour Party would have been like if its left wing had been cut off. As in Sweden, there were domestic political difficulties when it came to selling full NATO membership. As in Sweden, those were easily circumvented. Sweden, in fact, even co-operated in an attempt to obtain her own nuclear weapons. Will Scotland? I only ask.

    Look at the number of demonstrations that there have been over the decades by Irish Communists and ultra-Leftists, and by those, sometimes the same people, who have continued to profess allegiance to the 32-County Republic of 1916. They themselves have never tired of pointing out the blatantly obvious true state of affairs that has for so very long given rise to so very, very many specific causes for demonstration, or on occasion for rather more than demonstration.

    The SNP had always supported Scottish membership of Partnership for Peace, the only logical purpose of which is eventual accession to NATO. The monarchy, the pound (or else the euro), and now this: what does have to happen before much of that party secedes from what is as clearly a creature of British intelligence as ever was the 1926 secession from Sinn Féin, which duly went on to hang the IRA.

    As clearly as ever was the 1933 merger of the Blueshirts, Cumann na nGaedheal and the National Centre Party, complete with a commitment to Commonwealth membership (which in those days necessitated retention of the monarchy, and a very high degree of integration in foreign policy and defence), albeit for a United Ireland as the ultimate aim.

    And as clearly as ever was a party which has always been funded very largely, and of
    course entirely openly, by trade unions that exist throughout these Islands and are headquartered in England, usually in London.

    • JPJ2

      Lindsay-Much as my late Irish mother loved Ireland she did not have any trouble spotting differences between Ireland and Scotland-I advise you to do the same as your thought processes seem to be all your own, and not in a good way :-)

      • David Lindsay

        Until recent events, the SNP had great difficulty spotting the differences between Scotland and Ireland. Since those events, however, “Let’s be Ireland” has been replaced with a back of a cigarette packet scheme involving the pound, the monarchy, NATO membership, the lot.

        Unlike Fraser Nelson, I thought that the NATO debate, at least, was an exhilarating throwback to proper politics. Sandra White MSP was right: it is hypocritical to be a member of NATO and yet claim to oppose nuclear weapons. Angus Robertson MP was right: it is hypocritical to oppose membership of NATO while supporting Partnership for Peace. And Alyn Smith MEP was probably hoping for his Nye Bevan moment: “naked into the conference chamber – you call that Nationalism? I call it an emotional spasm.” Instead, he has probably secured himself nothing more than a place so low on the next list that he will stand no realistic chance of re-election.

        In England, Scotland and at least the English-speaking parts of Wales, the way is now clear for a party which rejects the defensively useless financial extravagance and moral outage of nuclear weapons, and which rejects continued membership of a dangerously interventionist and expansionist military alliance which, even if its avowed purpose ever really existed, undeniably served that purpose 20 years ago, when that alliance ought therefore to have been wound up.

        Many things about the 2015 Election make one think of it as a 1974 moment, a time for those who cherish his memory or his legacy to ask themselves, “What would Enoch have done?” Let this be another one.

        Ed Miliband and Jon Cruddas, over to you.

        • HooksLaw

          Hypocrisy and the SNP were never strange bedfellows. Not like you and reality.

  • Anthony Makara

    How much in increased taxation will the New Norway cost? Nobody seems to be pointing out to Salmond that advanced countries with small populations have a higher share of taxation because the cost is shared among fewer people. Salmonds ideal is Norway. So will Scotland be subject to Norwegian levels of taxation? Someone ask him please?

    • JPJ2

      Makara-a typically superficial unionist analysis. Yes, the Norwegians have higher tax rates but these give them better public services, AND they also have a higher level of personal disposable income after tax..
      Which aspect of that do you not understand and I will try to help you?

      • Anthony Makara

        Touched a raw nerve on taxation? Salmond is not being honest with the Scottish people who seem to think all their problems lay at England’s door. Once again I’ll have to raise the analogy of the teenager who believes living independently of the family in a flat of his own will bring him untold joy. However once the bills arrive and the cost of living independently hits home the teenager realises he would be better off moving back in with the family? Why do you Scots want to leave our Family-of-Nations, the United Kingdom that so many brave Scots and Ulstermen fought for over centuries. How much of your cry for freedom an exercize in political vanity from Salmond and his fellow travellers? Do Scots really want to be free of Union, do they really want to be the New Norway with a diminished status, no longer belonging to a major world power. Like it or not the United Kingdom is a big wheel in the world and you Scots are a big part of that, however if you leave the Union you reduce your own standing in the world. Is it worth giving up so much to invest in Salmond’s Pig-in-a-Poke Nationalism?

        • Bob Duncan

          We Scot’s do not lay all our problems at England’s door, but the disinterest of successive Westminster governments and the leaching of our national resources has certainly hindered the resolution of many of them.

          The building of the nation we wish to become will be our project post 2014, not your obsession with past Imperial wonders nor any pretentions of world domination. You can keep your WMDs and your UN veto, we’ll have our natural resources and our wonderful, talented people to keep us content.

          • Anthony Makara

            The United Kingdom is defined by what it has achieved over centuries and what it has the potential to achieve in future years. Don’t allow Scotland to be defined by Salmond’s vanity. You Scots deserve better.

            • Bob Duncan

              From today, Scotland will be defined by the wishes and aspirations of its people. We have no power, nor any desire to reshape our past, but it is time for us to take control of our future. Adhominem snipes and fat jokes are no more than an irrelevant background whine – this is our time now and we will make good use of it.

            • Susan

              Is this you are too wee too stupid from a unionist, this has become really tiresome.

              We are not stupid. We have a referendum in 2014 to vote, it is very
              democratic, Alex is not making us to vote for his ideas, we want to

              Now run along and alow those over 15 year olds to have a debate.

          • Fergus Pickering

            But a large proportion of your wonderful, talented people are in England, including my god self. It’s the dead legs you’ve got back home.

            • grumblertumbler

              Given the evidence, Fergus, that phrase about raising the IQ of both countries springs to mind. The Scots with talent stayed at home or went abroad. Those with no imagination went south.

      • HooksLaw

        The question is not just higher taxation but Scotland’s ability to generate the taxes in the first place to afford the speculative levels of spending.

      • HooksLaw

        And BTW
        In Norway, ‘visits to doctors and specialists as well as prescription medicine
        incur charges. Citizens must also pay for radiology and laboratory tests
        and for non-emergency transportation. There are a number of exemptions
        e.g. for people who suffer from chronic disease, pregnant woman and
        those who have just given birth.
        There are significantly high charges for dental treatment for adults…’

        ‘Norwegians stuck on long waiting lists for operations or
        other necessary medical care at local hospitals will soon be able to
        travel to hospitals elsewhere in Europe for treatment. The state will
        pick up the bill, just as it does at hospitals in Norway.
        Treatment abroad will become an option, reports newspaper Aftenposten,
        when the European Parliament formally approves a new directive on
        patient rights for health care services across borders of all 30
        countries within the EU and European Economic Area’
        ‘He needed a heart operation last year, but it was deemed non-critical
        and he was told he probably needed to wait up to two years to get it
        done in Norway.

        Bjørnstad opted to travel to a clinic in Denmark instead, and paid
        for the procedure himself, rather than feel poorly for two more years.

        “This sort of service will make the situation so much better for so many people,” Bjørnstad told Aftenposten this week. “There are a lot of desperate people out there.” ‘

      • Steerage

        Oh and remind me why the UK, if without Scotland whose currency will still be the pound, needs to take the slightest notice of Scotland’s needs in economic decisions?
        You’re looking for an independence that still means never having to take a hard decision.

        • Daniel Maris

          I think the SNP made a serious error on running with the UK pound. It makes no sense at all and reduces them to a kind of colonial status. At the very least they should have had an “Irish Punt” solution – a “Scottish Testoon” linked to the British Pound “so long as it remains in the interests of the Scottish people”.


          • Daniel Maris

            I just found a reference to another old Scottish coin – the “lion”.

            That’s good – they should call their currency “the Scottish Lion”. That would be a real PR coup. Peg it to the pound. Job done.

        • Spammo Twatbury

          “remind me why the UK, if without Scotland whose currency will still be
          the pound, needs to take the slightest notice of Scotland’s needs in
          economic decisions?”

          Because oil revenues are vital to the Bank of England’s balance of payments, for one thing.

  • PeterABell

    Fraser Nelson asserts that, within the union, countless young Scots are so bereft of opportunity that they are forced to join what remains of the British state’s imperial army. And he imagines that this somehow commends the union to those young Scots and the rest of us. This hints at a somewhat “idiosyncratic” view of reality that is more than confirmed by what we might politely characterise as a “distinctive” assessment of the SNP conference.

    Back in the world of mundane reality, the conference was, as is all but universally agreed, a triumph. The quality of the defence debate alone ensured that it would go down in history as a truly memorable event.

    I’m not sure where Fraser Nelson was this past weekend. It certainly wasn’t Perth. I’m in some doubt that it was Earth.

  • Tearlach Macdaid

    “This article has been up for five whole minutes, without me being denounced by Cybernats. Where are you all?”
    Ignoring you, because you don’t have a vote in Scotland. Following last Mondays total capitulation by David Cameron, where the Scottish Government got all it wanted and needed (indeed without having to trade any of its obvious chips, such as votes for 16-17 year olds) this campaign is about winning hearts and minds of folk in Scotland who have a vote. That’s what the conference is all about, speaking to people in Scotland, not ex pats from Nairn Academy who moved outwith Scotland, but still expect a voice. As an aging IRA rugby player I still have happy memories of hammering you lot on a Saturday Morning (Gordonston were a different matter though).
    To ex pats like yourself Scottish politics have become a Shibboleth, but I’m not quite sure you realise that yet. With a bit of luck you may not realise that ever, but I suspect that today’s Sunday Time poll showing a majority for independence if the Tories look like winning in 2015 is giving the metropolitan press a pause for thought.
    Bit of a conundrum eh?

    • Fraser Nelson

      Here was me thinking you were all watching the X-Factor…

      • David Lindsay

        An absolute travesty. Rylan has got to go.

      • Elliott Steven

        That was funny and damn you for it.

      • Tearlach Macdaid

        No – cybernat central does not allow us to watch the X Factor. We have to be ready at our keyboards waiting for the next order from the great Lord Eck, as he sits in his collarless suit in Bute house, stroking his white cat.
        Or alternatively we occasionally have a look at Google news, and see what keech is highlighted that day under “SNP + Scotland”, and then exercise our democratic free speech right to refute the garbage that passes for news in the MSM these days…..
        You do realise of course that if your lot and Labour – oh and the Lib Dems – had not overruled the SNP Government over the A9 Dualling back in 2007, it would have been completed by now? Instead we got the Edinburgh Trams fiasco.

        • HooksLaw

          instead of one we got the other? Nice try but fools no one.
          So whose fault is the Edinburgh trams? Who has been in charge all these years?

          • Tearlach Macdaid

            Err – from 2007 a Lib Dem led council. From 2012 a Labour led council. Both with strong support from the Tories. Lets not forget that in 2007 the SNP tried to cancel the project but that :-
            “The future of the Edinburgh Trams project came under threat in 2007 when the Scottish National Party (SNP) published in its manifesto for the Scottish Parliamentary election its intention to cancel the scheme, along with the Edinburgh Airport Rail Link, in order to save a total of £1.1bn.
            In the debate on the Government’s Transport program various opposition politicians made statements defending the Edinburgh Trams project. In particular, Labour MSP Wendy Alexander said “The Minister for Transport, Infrastructure and Climate Change claimed that the costs were out of control, but they are not.”[19]
            Following a vote which it lost in the Scottish Parliament, the SNP-led minority Scottish Government agreed to continue with the line from the Airport to Leith on condition that no more public money would be supplied if the project overran.”
            And where are we now?

  • Colin

    Could someone please clarify something for me?

    In the event of a vote to leave the Union, would there be an immediate general election in Scotland to determine the first government of the independent nation? Am I correct in assuming that the referendum would determine whether the Scottish electorate (kids and all) want independence, not who governs?

    In addition I submit my suggestion for the newScottish currency, should sterling not be an option.

    The name of the currency? The BAWBAG. With, one hundred pubes to the BAWBAG. The BAWBAG would be pegged to the DONG. Making each BAWBAG worth approximately £0.

    However, I expect it to rise, with the correct stimulus…

    • Spammo Twatbury

      “Am I correct in assuming that the referendum would determine whether the
      Scottish electorate (kids and all) want independence, not who governs?”

      Yes, that’s correct. The election, however, would take place as scheduled in 2016, not “immediately”.

      • HooksLaw

        The terms of the separation would have to be decided before any election. The vote will be NO, but the Scots are being asked to vote fore a pig in a poke.

    • Elliott Steven

      You are so very funny — a riot at parties. Gosh, take up a professional career in stand up and share that gift with the world.

      • Colin


        What’s not so funny is the extremely confrontational stance taken by the nationalists. If as expected, an alliance of sensible Scots and the substantial Giro vote, combine to deliver the status quo, the fall out, on the back of the nationalistic jingoism, could get ugly.

        • Colonel Mustard

          Yes. Nastiness consumes them when faced with any evidence that not everyone agrees with them. This has become the defining nature of all “agenda” politics, whether it is Scottish “independence”, gay marriage or any of the other fervent causes pursued by so-called progressives. Dare raise a challenge to their zealotry, even a disinterested one, and out come all the usual slurs.

          • Bob Waugh

            Ah yes, and the defenders of the Union, or of a ban on gays marrying, are enlightened open-minded people who try to make their calm voices herd amid all this zealotry? Had a pint with Cardinal O’Brien lately?

            Presumably you have not yet read the piece we are all discussing. If you regard it as balanced and rational comment, that tells us more about you than you intend.

      • Daniel Maris

        I doubt he does stand up. He probably sits down to deliver that stream of ….

    • Bob Duncan

      Colin, perhaps you should spend a little more time reading up on economics (I would start with the GERS figures) and a little less time obsessing about male pudenda. That cannot help but improve your debating prowess, if you decide to jump in again.

      • Colin

        GERS figures?

        What do the ticket receipts of a sh!t third division fitba team have to do with it?

        I knew it wouldn’t be too long before someone brought sport into it.

        • Bob Duncan

          Ah, Colin. You did decide to have another go. And how amusing your repost turned out to be – no mention of genitals either – but sadly no politics or economics either. I think, on balance, I preferred the earlier Scottish cringe.

          Tell me, is it your view that the entire country is too wee, too poor and too stupud, or is that just directed at yourself?

          • Colin

            I don’t think the country is too wee. I do think there are too few tax private sector payers. I do think the status quo works well for Scotland, but I also think the people of Scotland deserve better, when it comes to those who govern there.

  • ciaron

    cheers fraser, that article just secure another few Yes votes. happy days

  • James Kelly

    When you said the union was safe, Fraser, was that before or after you saw today’s Panelbase poll showing that 52% of Scots would vote for independence if they thought the Tories were going to win the general election? This is the flaw in your implicit theory that the union is safe until the SNP dutifully dream up a raft of Spectator-friendly right-wing policies (aka “fresh thinking” and “new ideas”) – the Scots are trying to get away from those policies!

    But I did enjoy the joke about how IDS could “still” make poverty history – nice line in deadpan wit.

    • David Lindsay

      “the Scots are trying to get away from those policies!”

      But the SNP certainly isn’t. The entirely predictable booing of Ed Miliband made better television,
      but the real story yesterday was that the Glasgow and Belfast rallies were held at

      It may or may not still be a matter for Westminster and Whitehall
      whether or not to cut at all in Scotland or in Northern Ireland. But
      what to cut in Scotland is now overwhelmingly a matter for Holyrood,
      which these days means for the SNP. And what to cut in Northern Ireland
      is now overwhelmingly a matter for Stormont, which at least primarily
      means for the DUP and for Sinn Féin. Anyone who doubts this should note
      the absence of any demonstration in Labour-run Wales. “Blame London”
      will not wash anywhere outside England. Least of all in Scotland, with
      the independent fiscal power of the devolved body there.

      What we saw yesterday in Belfast was a mass demonstration by the
      working class against its own two political parties, at least until such
      time as economic circumstances compel it to create another one or more.
      Meanwhile, what we saw yesterday in Glasgow was a mass
      demonstration against the Irish-style bourgeois Nationalism of which,
      that very day by its vote on NATO mmebership, the SNP became the vehicle once and for all.

  • FredDibnahsLoveChild

    Good article Fraser, keep it coming….

  • ToryOAP

    Duelling on the A9 sounds excellent. Who will it be, Salmond versus Lord Snooty? Pistols or sabers? At dawn perhaps? Or perchance you meant dualing, if there is such a word?

    • Elliott Steven

      Ho ho — another funny Brit nat. A career in stand up awaits you too.

      • ToryOAP

        Good grief. The arrival of the Scotch Fascist Trolls sends my Disqus approval negative. Where do you nutters come from? Please vote for independence so we can be rid of you welfare addicted spongers, and all those labour MPs who fucked up England. If I could I would take up temporary residence in your ignorant land in 2014 just to help you on your way with one more vote for divorce. You keep the oil and we’ll take the shale.

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