Are the SNP’s plans for a currency union a) Expedient, b) Sensible, c) Dangerous or d) All of the Above

23 April 2013

Even if George Osborne is right about the problems of a currency union between an independent Scotland and the rest of the UK he possesses the uncanny knack of being right in such a disagreeable fashion that one’s loath to give him any credit at all.

Still, as an attack dog he has his uses and he has picked an interesting day – St George’s – to come to Scotland to noise up the Jocks. I don’t know if the SNP will mind this too much. The nationalist view, I think, is that people will concentrate more on Osborne’s manner than on the substance of what he is saying. This may be correct but it is also the case that it does remain possible for something to be said by George Osborne and still have some measure of truth.


Even so, the bank note question is a red herring. The problem for the SNP, I think, is that their currency position is so obviously a triumph of political expediency.

That’s the subject of this week’s Think Scotland column in which I argue:

In truth, there is a good deal of posturing from both sides. It would be in everyone’s interests for the currency arrangements after independence – if that day ever arrives – to be worked out sensibly, quietly and with the minimum of fuss. In other words, there is a difference between campaign rhetoric and what would likely happen in the aftermath of a Yes vote. In that respect, the Yes campaign’s accusation of Unionist “scaremongering” is not wholly at odds with reality.

And yet it is also the case that pointing out some of the difficulties inherent in unravelling a 300 year-old Union cannot always be so simply dismissed as “scaremongering”. These matters are complicated. Resolving them will not always be simple. Sometimes it may even be that some things in an independent Scotland might be less satisfactorily arranged than they are at present. To insist otherwise is, in the end, to retreat to childishness. This may be a comfortable place to live but it’s not good enough for a country that aspires to take its “full” place in the community of nations.

By my count, the SNP’s present desire for a “sterling zone” comprising, well, the rump UK, the Channel Islands, the Isle of Man and Scotland is the third currency position the party has adopted in the past twenty-five years. This is not in itself evidence it’s a foolish preference. It may be that, having exhausted all alternatives, the SNP has inadvertently, or perhaps reluctantly, stumbled upon the least bad option available to an independent Scotland. Nationalists say a currency union is a sensible response to changing economic circumstances and perhaps they are right.

It might, however, be more accurate to say that their support for a sterling zone is a hasty response to changing political circumstances. This is hardly shameful, but nor is it quite the principled stand the party would have us believe. Expediency has its uses but let’s not sing its praises too fondly.

[…] The currency question has long been a problem for the nationalists. At various points in recent political memory, the nationalists have favoured an independent Scottish pound, been enthusiastic cheerleaders for the euro and now, for the time being, have settled on retaining sterling as the answer to Scotland’s currency dilemma. And it is a dilemma. For any number of reasons none of these three options have proven politically and economically plausible. Consequently the party is forced on the defensive and tasked with making the best case for a sub-optimal policy.

[…] Now perhaps currency unions can work even without political union but the eurozone has not yet made that case and, indeed, deeper political integration seems the outcome most likely to emerge from the present crisis. At which point, of course, even a nationalist Napoleon (the pig, not the emperor) might look from the UK to the EU and wonder which was which.

Of course, there would be differences. An independent Scotland would have a “seat at the table” (and a place in the United Nations). Nevertheless its independence would be severely qualified and restricted in ways that, even making allowances for the inter-dependence of the globalised world, would end up compromising the very goal the SNP had fought so long for.

So you can see why, what with the eurozone looking pretty ropey these days, the party needed to reverse ferret pretty quickly.

[…] There are sensible reasons for this reappraisal. A separate Scottish currency bobbing about alone on the international markets might be a vulnerable thing, liable to be buffeted by the economic weather. Meanwhile the euro is, at least for the time being, politically impossible. So a Third Way needed to be found. Hence the suggestion that Scotland will keep the pound even if the Bank of England might prefer us not to.

[…] Of course there would be costs to an independent Scotch pound just as there would be costs to joining the euro. It is silly to deny these even if it is also silly for Unionists to suppose that these costs must necessarily prove prohibitive. But it is also, and more seriously, silly for nationalists to suppose there are no costs to a sterling union either.

At the very least remaining subject to the Bank of England must diminish Scotland’s real independence. This is so even if you accept that Scottish contributions to sterling’s balance of payments might prove useful. Even if the terms and conditions of a currency union are worked out, it remains hard to see how Scotland would have significantly more control over monetary policy than it does now. The Scots voice might, in the best case scenario, be heard but it will rarely if ever prove decisive.

Nationalists may ask – not altogether unreasonably – how this differs from the present arrangements. But it does so in at least one key respect. Scotland is a full part of the United Kingdom. Independence within a sterling zone would in some ways make Scotland a ward of the remaining parts of the United Kingdom. There would be the appearance of independence but in actual fact the purse-strings would be tightly controlled and Scotland’s actual independence would be severely constrained.

You might still think that preferable to the present situation. Be that as it may, it is a queer kind of independence that leaves another country effectively in charge of such a large part of the political and economic machinery.

The problem for the SNP, I think, is not so much that its currency proposals are unworkable (they may not be!) but that they compromise the nationalist’s core message. That is to say that the SNP spends so much time falling back to freshly dug defensive positions that it is in danger of conceding so much ground to Unionists that one begins to wonder just what the nationalists will not sacrifice in their pursuit of a victory – the worth of which must be diluted by the concessions they are making. Independence on these terms may be achievable but is it either necessary or sufficient? This, not the details of economic policy, is the uncertainty that damages the SNP.

Whole thing here. Avoiding exchange controls at Gretna and Coldstream is fine but it does not end the problem, it merely swaps it for another one.


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  • Fergus Pickering

    What plans. They make it up as they go along.

    • Wessex Man

      I think he’s going for his Nobel Prize so can’t give you any detailed plans just yet.

  • allymax bruce

    Alex, ‘expediency'; yes, and why not? It is the mark of a mature political government to understand the political ground of the moment, and move with the times; Europe is one quickly degenerating/destroying forum just now, but it hasn’t always been like that. Before the Lisbon treaty, Europe was a reasonably attractive option for Nation-States to consider. However, it has been shown, (by these EU Marxists themselves), that the EU forum has been hijacked by the Marxists, simply hell-bent on stealing the assets of, and ‘commoditizing’ European Nation-States! And, because of this, the EU is not an attractive option anymore. The EU ‘euro’ was thought to be a leveller for progressive trade across the ‘forum’, however, the ‘euro’ is now considered a trojan horse; a way for the EU Marxists into controlling, and maximising the stealing of European Nation-States assets! Greece is now being told by the EU to sell off 7,000 public owned properties; including Greek islands! The Spanish, Portugese, Irish, and Italians are looking down the barrel of the EU Marxists gun; they fear they will lose their bank deposits/public property like Cyprus & Greece!
    So-what, if Scotland has changed its mind on the EU/euro? It seems to me your article is straddled with a high degree of ‘bitching & sneering'; grow up Alex. The ‘Sterling zone’ Common Currency Agreement that Scotland has initiated is a brilliant idea; that The City are ‘salivating’ at, and the Westmisnter governemnt are, (right this minute), formally putting together a document to begin the ‘Sterling zone’ Agreement with Scotland. I asked last week why ‘yoos English’ are so devoid of critical thinking'; I now ask another question; Why does it have to take us Scots to do all the good work, like thinking up the ‘Sterling zone’, while cretins like Osborne phaff around in complete and utter buffoonery?

  • SC1

    I think most Scots are prepared to sacrifice some independence to keep the convenience of sterling.

    There are still plenty of advantages to the current situation, where we have a neutered devolved parliament that cannot raise money, and with little powers to compete effectively.

    This issue at least shows that accusations of ‘separation’ are nonsense.

    Most nationalists want to have friendly relations with the rest of Britain, and work together on issues we have in common.
    It seems to be unionist politicians that are trying to divide people by issuing all sorts of vindictive threats and bluffs should Scots choose to run their own affairs like a normal country.

    • terregles2

      It has really reached the nonsensical stage now. It seems the unionists would have us believe that every country in the world can govern itself every country can except Scotland. Silly beyond belief.
      Every week they drag out another scare tactic. What is it that they are afraid of?
      The truth is that Scotland after independence will have a friendly relationship with the rest of the UK. We will always be historically and geographically close and all of us will benefit from co-operation.

  • Daniel Maris

    A question – if Scotland votes yes and is going to leave in say 2016 – what happens about the UK Parliament? Do the Scottish Members stop sitting…?

    • Daniel Maris

      …and am just thinking about the v. likely scenario we start with a Labour Government and rapidly move to a Con-Lib Dem coalition again once Labour Scots MPs are out of teh equation.

      • Jambo25

        One last time. Apart for just over a year (post 1964) when a slim Labour majority would have turned into a hung parliament and after the 74 election when a slim Labour majority turned into a hung parliament, Scottish Labour MPs have not seriously effected electoral results in the UK. It is worth remembering that post 74 Scottish MPs had little or no effect as Labour would have been maintained in power by the Lib/Lab pact.

        On the other hand Scotland has been subjected to Tory governments it didn’t vote for for something like 50% of the time since 1945. In fact, only from 1955-1959 did Scots vote for a Tory government. This has been a democratic atrocity far worse than any of the gripes from down south over the ‘West Lothian Question’.

        • mightymark

          It remains the case that a UK minus Scotland will be a more Tory country and as the currency issue shows that is the country that an independent Scotland will most have to deal with as a neighbour with all that that implies for the numerous cross border issues that will arise. SInce, as your post shows, a major part of the independence “pitch” is to detach a less Tory Scotland from a more Tory England the seeds are sown for a less than neighbourly relationship.

          • Wessex Man

            What do you think the two nations would go to war again, do grow up, the Tories are dead duck pie anyhow along with their Lib/Dem jackbooted partners!

            • mightymark

              As anyone with a passing familiarity of international relations knows there are many levels of conflict short of war. Maybe Scottish independence will reveal some new ones! Incidentally, your reference to dead duck pie etc shows the kind of shortsightedness that is so characteristic of the Scots Nats.

              • terregles2

                Many people voting YES are not SNP. That is fact to try and imply that Scots and English governments will not get on after independence is ridiculous indeed.
                Republic of Ireland is not tory but gets on well enough with England. All governements will do what they have always done. They will make decisions based only of their own interests which are mostly financial. We only need to look at the UK’s past friendships to see that. Every country from South Africa to Argentina and beyond.

                • mightymark

                  Well – so now it is official. The SNP (and co) are the Dr Pangloss party. Everything is for the best in the best of all possible worlds and anyone who raises any possible problems is just being “negative”.

                • terregles2

                  Dr Pangloss. What a strange term. I am not nor have I ever been an SNP supporter. I am voting YES in 2014 but will not be voting SNP after that. I don’t think any sensible person is suggesting that independence will turn Scotland into a Utopia with all problems vanishing overnight.
                  After independence there will be lots of problems and challenges. Just as there will be problems and challenges for all other countries in the present economic climate. However the attractive aspect of independence will be that a Scottish government will be tackling them and not the remote Westminster who are not very interested in Scotland’s welfare. Why should they be we are only a small population and Westminster has a duty to put the needs of the majority who live in England. I am not criticising them for doing that.

              • Wessex Man

                Oh dear you really show your ignorance don’t you? most people know after my comments on here that I am in fact English, living in England and would not dream of causing the SNP any problems because I want the total breakup of the discredited UK, with no more interventalist wars or nukes!

                • mightymark

                  OK – I show my ignorance by not knowing your antecedents – and your actual comments show yours. Deal?

                • Wessex Man

                  really um, ah well. i think you are on a loser here, have you tried Tory Home blog?

                • mightymark

                  Oh – how predictable. Any argument is a “scare” and any opponent a “Tory”.

                • Wessex Man

                  No no you are not a Lib/Dimmer are you?

                • mightymark

                  No – by the way, why do you assume Scotland will never be involved in any interventionist wars. Salmond seems pretty keen to join NATO which has been involved in one or two of them!

                • terregles2

                  Why do you assume Salmond will be voted into power after independence?

                • Wessex Man

                  He’s the seventh son of a seventh son, or maybe someone who knows nothing about politics.

                • terregles2

                  Whatever he is I am sure he will keep us all informed on what we should all be thinking.

          • Jambo25

            No. My pitch is to detach Scotland from governance by a London based political class with which we have less and less in common and a city with which we have less and less in common. My pitch is to point to the political and economic mismanagement of the UK, as a whole, which has taken place since the end of WW2. My pitch is to note that small, fairly homogeneous nation states with adequate land and resources to population ratios seem to be rather easier to run than medium-largeish nation states with increasing ethnic and, more importantly cultural diversity which leads to less and less social solidarity and greater social and geographic conflict.

            • mightymark

              Your “pitch can be whatever in your deludedness you want it to be. The effect of Scottish independence will be to detach Scotland from England (the good bits – if you discern any – as well as the bad).

              And you miss my point about “more Tory” etc. It goes beyond just MPs to form a Government and effects the whole body politic. Remove Scotland from the UK equation and the residue becomes more Tory.

              Now I have work to do and you will probably wish to spend some time working out the next expedient in the moveable feast that is SNP currency policy!

              • Jambo25

                The residue only becomes “more Tory” if those who aren’t Tory cannot provide better alternatives. If, however, the English people wish for Tory solutions to their problems well why should the Scots see it as their duty to save the English from themselves?

              • Jambo25

                Purely as a matter of interest, on what points am I delude? Is it delusion to note that the London based political class has less and less in common with the Scottish electorate? Is it delusion to note that mainstream Scottish society has less and less in common with the demographic, ethnic and cultural structure and standards of London and other parts of the South of England? Is it delusion to note that this country has been badly led and mismanaged by that London based political and business class.

                • mightymark

                  Yes – of course! The tendency of modernity in the West has been to homogenise societies. The London based political class is not at all unlike that based in Edinburgh and the English and Scottish electorates aspirationaly are probably not all that unalike either. Sometimes they reach different conclusions but I suspect that essentially policy making is along broadly identical lines. Indeed it is only the current devolved arangements that allow any Scottish exceptionalism. Were a Scottish government to face the future alone I think it would be “bye bye” to the medical freebies etc pretty quickly!

                  As for culture when I was in Edinburgh some time ago I saw an exhibition that went later to England and thence to other parts of the world. Ethnically Scotland has received a share of the migration to the UK just as has occurred in most other parts of the advanced West.

                  The only difference is that Scotland has a bunch of people of whom you are apparently one who want to break up one of the most successful unions and countries in the history of the world. Most of your spurious arguments are based on myths like those in your most recent post – debunked above. Faced with any substantive argument you retreat into the pathetic and increasingly familiar cry of “scaremongering”. Hopefully you won’t get away with this act of political vandalism.

                • terregles2

                  When did Scotland ever get medical freebies? We all pay tax and national insurance for our healthcare..
                  If you are referring to free prescriptions. It makes economic sense not to charge. Many people in England are exempt from charges and making some of the population pay adds to admin costs and therefore saves only a tiny amount of money.
                  In the past some people cheated and chasing them for payment was not cost effective. At the end of the day nobody could force them to pay if they had evaded the charge.
                  Much more sensible and simpler to have no charge prescriptions.

                • mightymark

                  If Scotland wishes to leave the union it has every right to do so and will do so. Scotland is however part of a Union in whose Governance it plays a full part. It is not some kind of colony and your attempts to pretend that it is are futile and self pitying. They are also downright humiliating to the Scots and deeply offensive to your fellow Britons. No – .Scotland doesn’t need another country to govern it and it isn’t governed by another country.

                  As for the rise of the SNP it is merely another example of the dissatisfaction felt across the Western world with exisiting political parties – and to that extent incidentally, yet another way in which Scotland is not unique. It is I think, axiomatic that not all of its supporters actually want independence – hence the busting of guts to get the devo max option on the paper.

                • terregles2

                  Think you are the one insulting people. Don’t talk for everyone in the UK or indeed Scotland. We can all talk up for ourselves without your analysis and intervention.

                • mightymark

                  Temper temper!

                • Jambo25

                  If you think that the London based political class is like that in Edinburgh then you really don’t know Scotland. Firstly, I doubt that there is a ‘political class’ in the full sense of the term in Scotland. Scottish society is just too small scale for that. If there was one it would be in Glasgow as until recently that’s where that class would have been based as that’s where Labour where based. Those people who could be said to belong to a political or media class, in Scotland, would, however, be very different in education, social background and, most importantly, accessability to the general public. No public school, Oxbridge, North and West London nexus. None of the almost corporate nature you get in London. There simply aren’t enough people to make that work.As far as I know there are no privately educated members of the Scottish Government and only a few in the other parties (Alastair Darling springs to mind.) Moreover, there isn’t the money in it to allow the pols and journos to form little, exclusive colonies in Canonbury or Portobello Road as you get in London. The closest we ever came to that was the small coterie of Labourites who gathered round Dowanhill Road in Glasgow.

                  Of course aspirations of electorates in wealthy countries are similar but that would apply to Germany, France, Benelux etc as well as Scotland and England. That is not a reason to have my country run from Berlin, Paris or Brussels. I now feel the same way about London. As for culture. Well, we are members of a joint Atlantic/European culture. I listen to Bach and view paintings by Vermeer but once again that is not a reason to have my country run from Berlin or Amsterdam.

                • mightymark

                  Thank you for telling me that the Scottish politicians and civil servants with whom I dealt a a civil servant in London and who clearly constituted a political class, were not one. And how predictable that – having decided that “political class” is clearly something undesirable (why?) you go on to smear the Scottish Labour Party (alone) as having one. As you probably well know it isn’t a matter of size or of education. Political classes arise wherever there are sufficient people concentrated in a space practising politics. Edinburgh is clearly big enough to accomodate that- and does. Forget Norman Davies and read some Michels or Pareto.

                  Finally Scotland is not “run” from London. It is run partly via devolved government form Edinburgh and takes a full part in the governance of the UK at Westminster where the “political class” includes for instance, Scottish civil servants under a number of whom I served.

                  In conclusion why do you think the union has ended its useful life? I don’t mean the separatists’ increasingly pathetic invention of resentments. I mean in the corporate sense, taking the Union as a whole – why not useful? Or is that another question you are going to duck?

                • Jambo25

                  I know how the Civil Service works having worked for a number of years in the Secretariat of the Board of Trade. If civil servants now constitute a political class then something has gone badly wrong constitutionally. Secondly, if I have decided that a political class is undesirable then you will have no difficulty quoting me where I say so. Thirdly, If I have smeared the Labour Party then, once again, you will have no difficulty in quoting where I do so. I simply noted that a number of prominent Labour pols lived in and around Dowanhill Road in Glasgow. So do or did some of their supporters in the media: Kirsty Wark comes to mind. As for mentioning Darling’s public school background: well I doubt that could be seen as a smear since it’s pretty much the same as my educational background.

                  I’m perfectly aware of the writings of Pareto and Michels as I read them and other elite theorists whilst studying Politics at university. It doesn’t mean to say that I have to agree with them. I didn’t totally doubt the existence of a political class in Scotland. Once again, if I did quote where I do so. I’ll remind you that I wrote “I doubt that there is a ‘political class’ in the full sense of the term in Scotland.”.

                  The Scottish Government does have a great deal of policy making and executive power but most of the crucial decisions are still made in London by a London based political class. War and peace, foreign policy, welfare, fiscal and macro-economic policy are all made at UK level in London and nobody believes that those decisions are made, largely, in the interests of Scotland.

                  As for the utility of the Union. Historically the Union came about at a time when various medium sized European states coalesced and grew in order to compete militarily and economically. Population, resources and a large ‘home’ market were the names of the game. However, the growth of globalisation and giant super states have made these medium sizes states unable to deliver what they were designed to do. Military security, trade and other matters are now, increasingly, handled at supra-national level whether that is by NATO, the EU or other organisations. What then is the use of the UK government?

                • mightymark

                  Civil servants deal in the same “substance” as politicians though not of course from the same stance. They tend to be from similar backgrounds. The idea that they merely advise was ridiculed even before “Yes Minister” reached the BBC Light Entertinment Head’s desk. Of course they are part of the political class whilst your “full sense of the term” thing is just a dodge as the term is fairly nebulous as our disagreement as to the inclusion of civil servants shows.

                  Now this is a bit weasly I think:

                  “I’m perfectly aware of the writings of Pareto and Michels as I read them and other elite theorists whilst studying Politics at university. It doesn’t mean to say that I have to agree with them.” (i.e. they are wrong)

                  Followed by

                  “I didn’t totally doubt the existence of a political class in Scotland.” (for which read well, they might be right)!

                  You are quite right to say that as regards the stated issues:

                  “nobody believes that those decisions are made, largely, in the interests of Scotland.”

                  as they are of course made, with full Scottish participation, entirely in the interests of the UK as a whole – as they should be.

                  In conclusion I really think you must be making the last bit up – that or maybe its part of an SNP crib sheet. There is no sign of Germany or France breaking up and those states that have been balkanised or have balkanised themselves don’t seem to me to compete better or be any happier with themselves.

                • mightymark

                  And I should have added, that the EU is itself under increasing administrative and economic strain – rather more I suspect even than the UK with which even in Scotland I suspect, more people would positively identify than the EU.

                • Jambo25

                  Civil Servants may go beyond the advisory role but not as much as people think. That’s why we have had the rise of the ‘Abominable Spads’ over the last few decades. It is the Spads who are really part of the political class and they who are politicising the civil service.

                  Pareto and Michels are not ‘wrong’ but elite groups will form and dissolve in different ways in societies which have different social and political cultures and are different in scale.

                  The idea that economic and fiscal decisions are made with full Scottish participation is somewhat dented by the fact that one of the parties which makes those decisions about 50% of the time has very little support in Scotland. Similarly the idea that those decisions are made in the interests of the UK as a whole is simply nuts. Fiscal and macro-economic policy is clearly made in the interests of London and the South and has been as long as I can remember. Policy was and is made in the interests of “Mondeo man” and “Worcester woman”. For much of the period from the mid 50s to the 90s we had constant bouts of tight fiscal policy to ‘cool down’ an overheated Southern economy despite the fact that Scotland and the North required an easier fiscal policy to avoid sluggish economic growth and unemployment.

                • mightymark

                  “elite groups will form and dissolve in different ways in societies which have different social and political cultures and are different in scale.”

                  Which was all I was saying – glad you agree or appear to, that Scotland does have an elite – i.e.a political class. As for the SPADs many of those I dealt with were Scottish.

                  The rest of your post is just an advertisement for endless balkanisation. Will the Highlands and Islands want the same policies as the Lowlands? Historically the two have been very different (1715 eh?) and are you quite sure there are no Mondeo men or “Worcester” women in Scotland?

                  What you say about fiscal policy may have been true when Scotland was a (largely heavy) industry centre but now it is mainly a service economy like the rest of the UK.

                  All rather typified by this from today’s BBC website:

                  “French finance technology firm Capgemini has said it will create 500 new jobs in Inverness over the next three years………….
                  The announcement comes days after the collapse of a Highlands-based freezer manufacturer.”

                • Jambo25

                  Ah, the mating call of the Unionist. If you are a supporter of Scottish Independence then you are an agent of ‘Balkanisation’. No, I simply see decreasingly little need for the involvement of London. I also feel less and less in common with London. Many others, up here don’t either. There is simply less of a ‘British’ identity out there.

                  As for attempts to create or ‘imagine’ divisions within Scotland. Sorry, but it doesn’t really work. I split my time half and half between Edinburgh and Dumfries and Galloway. There are few differences in terms of attitudes, institutions and loyalties. Likewise, I’ve never noticed many differences, in these areas, between Edinburgh and the Highlands. We no longer live in 1715.

                  What I wrote about fiscal and economic policy is still as true today as it was in the past. I doubt that any Scottish Finance Minister would be pushing the fiscal and economic policies being pushed by Osborne today.

                • mightymark

                  No mating call needed my friend – the countries are already in a marriage which has lasted 300 or so years to produce one of the best nations on earth – the envy of many across the world. Why do you object to the word “balkanisation – it’s not exactly incompatible with an obsessive hatred of “London”.

                  You say it is impossible that anyone would follow Osborne’s policies – of which by the way, I am no fan myself. Interestingly enough, as I am sure you will be aware the historical basis of those policies lies very much within Scotland. If a revival of separatism from England is, as we agree, clearly envisagable why not a revival of the philiosphy of the Edinburgh Review and Adam Smith?

                • Jambo25

                  I don’t have an “obsessive hatred of London”. I simply feel less and less in common with the city and it’s inhabitants. It’s also fairly clear that many of it’s inhabitants feel less and less in common with people like me who are non-Londoners. London appears to be a city-state with an economic, demographic, ethnic and cultural structure very very different from the rest of the UK and certainly very different from that of Scotland. I simply no longer want my life or the lives of my friends and neighbours run from a city with which and by people with whom I feel little in common.

                  Had there been moves towards real decentralisation of power and decision making in the UK and moves towards real political reform then I would possibly not be in favour of Scottish Independence but there hasn’t been and there won’t be.

                  As far as I know there are no plans, in Scotland, to use ‘Wealth of Nations’ as an economic guide for a future Scotland. There certainly are no plans, as far as I know, to adopt ‘Crowding Out Theory’ as a guide to Scotland’s future.

                • mightymark

                  “I simply feel less and less in common with the city and it’s inhabitants.”

                  What an odd comment. One thing we have pretty much established in the course of this correspondence is that you and I seem to have fairly similar backgrounds. Were we to meet on any other ground than the future of the UK we would probably have much in common. You strike me as someone of broadly social democratic views – like me and many other of my Londoner and other English (and Scottish and Welsh and Irish) friends. I am quite bewildered by the sense in which think you have “less and less in common” with my fellow Londoners.

                  You say

                  “Had there been moves towards real decentralisation of power and decision making in the UK and moves towards real political reform then I would possibly not be in favour of Scottish Independence but there hasn’t been and there won’t be..”

                  Sorry – “there won’ be”? I suppose that’s “there wont be” like the Scotland “won’t be” adopting Smithian economics. Extraordinary prescience! What never? – how do you know?

                  What I do know is that your plans are to bust up a great country – that you will certainly do if you succeed – no need for a crystal ball to see that, and from what I can glean of your posts the rationale for doing so seem to rest on even shakier grounds (“less and less in common with Londoners” indeed) than I thought before I began this correspondence.

                • terregles2

                  SNP plans to break up a great country? There is not a great country to break up.. By making that statement you actually put forward the best case for Scottish independence.

                  People in Scotland look at the dreadful policies that Cameron and his coalition are inflicting on Scotland.

                  We never voted for that Westminster lot and we never would. Looking at vulnerable people in this country being hounded and bullied by the DWP causes many Scottish voters to feel nothing but shame to be associated in any way with Westminster politics and ashamed to be associated with Britain.

                  On our Scottish news this evening we witnessed a report of a 61 year old man suffering with Motor Nuerone Disease. He has only months left to live and yet he is being hounded by the Ian Duncan Smith bullies of the DWP to prove he is unfit to work. The man could hardly speak let alone work.
                  Tory policies may be acceptable to those in England who gave power to these tories but for many people in Scotland it makes us ashamed to be human never mind British.

                • mightymark

                  I don’t think you can have read a word I said, and if you seriously believe that a particular Government should determine the future of a country your politics are more short term than even I thought.

                  I do not support Duncan Smith’s policies and feel as strongly as you do about the bullying of the disabled and others. However I have the breadth of vision that you and your partners lack to know that that does not invalidate the national framework within which policy is made.

                  The Germans went first through years of Nazism then half of them suffered rather more years of communism. That only strengthened their will to unity and national solidarity. What kind of solidarity have you shown here?

                • terregles2

                  Endless years of Tory rule when you live in a country that would never vote for it. In my book that does invalidate the national framework.

                  Many Scots have had enough of seeing their country destroyed by government that another country has voted for. We have to end this mismanagement of our country by the incompetent Westminster parliament. We need to do so for the future of our children.

                  If you are against Scottish independence then you are entitled to your opinion just as I am entitled to vote YES. Nothing much else to say really.,

                • terregles2

                  Look on youtube under the top 10 Unionist myths debunked. the issue of solidarity is covered there.

                • mightymark

                  “Endless years of Tory rule”

                  Rubbish. If you take the period since 1945-2010 there have been 37 years of Tory rule and 30 of Labour. We now have a Lib-Con coalition and while you will of course wish to remind me that the bulk of the Conservatives are from England the crucial factor in putting them into office is the Lib Dems of whose strength almost 20% is from Scotland – a higher proportion than that from England.

                • terregles2

                  Oh no those pesky Scots again. Only 5 million of them and they manage to dictate the course of English political history. It is really dreadful the control they have over the rest of the voters in the UK. You will be hoping that you can get rid of them in 2014. Fingers crossed.

                • mightymark

                  The “have you cake and eat it” school of politics is clearly al
                  alive and kicking here!

                • Jambo25

                  Well, I get the very strong impression, each time I visit London, that many in the city see themselves as having more and more connection with North America and Europe and less and less with the rest of the UK. I haven’t always felt this way and thoroughly enjoyed he years I spent living and working in London.

                  That, however, was nearly 40 years ago and that city I lived in has gone. It was much bigger and rather more cosmopolitan than my home city of Edinburgh but it was still recognisably a UK city. The flats and even the areas I lived in would now be totally unaffordable to a young incomer to the city.

                  Property prices are totally out of line with anywhere else in the UK and the population structure is consequently different. That difference has been intensified by the mass immigration of the past 40-50 years. The ethnic and cultural mix in London is very different from that found in Scotland and, indeed, most parts of England. This has had effects on the attitudes and interests of Londoners. There are other divergences in occupational structures, incomes, living standards etc.

                  Some years ago I read an interesting piece speculating on why large sections of the London based political and media classes seemed to feel no concern for the working classes in the North, Scotland and Wales who were dispossessed during the Thatcher period. The piece imagined a senior civil servant or businessman or journalist’s day from the moment he bought his paper from his Asian newsagent through his interaction with Turkish waiters, Southern Italian car mechanics, Afro-Caribbean tea ladies, East European cleaners and builders etc. The salient fact was that he rarely, if ever, came into contact with the traditional British working class and felt no real solidarity with them or have any real understanding of their concerns.

                  As for postulating little real chance for decentralisation and real political reform. Can you point to where it will come from and when?

                • mightymark

                  Hmmm – nasty whiff if something here – can’t quite put my finger on it.

                • Jambo25

                  Well, out with it. If you are trying to hint that I’m a racist; say so. Unfortunately for you, I come from a large and rather multi-ethnic family. At the last count I had cousins, uncles, aunts and various in-laws from a wide variety of backgrounds ranging from East European through Afrikaner to Indonesian, Japanese and Mic Mac Native Americans. We all get on swimmingly. My lady wife (English and an SNP voter.) and I have East European, Pakistani, Chinese and Arab Christian friends in dear old, grey Edinburgh and the Lothians. Strangely enough, some of them vote SNP as well.

                  However, I don’t live in a city where UK citizens aren’t a comparatively small minority of the purchasers of property in the city centre. I don’t live in a city where 57% of all live births are to non-UK born mothers. I don’t live in a city where areas appear to be given over to imported super-rich
                  and a low wage servant class imported from poor countries to service them. I don’t live in a city where the traditional working class has largely moved out and been replaced by imported migrant groups.

                • mightymark

                  So you don’t identify with diverse multi racial cities but you do identify with diverse multi racial families – who of course increasingly live in those diverse multi racial cities – you know -that you don’t identify with. Put as kindly as I can this looks like willing the ends but not the means. Less kindly but perhaps more truthfully, it means you have simply joined forces with terragles2 in the “have your cake and eat it” squad.

                  This brings us right back to where we started: the delusionary nature of the separatist case, its refusal to face any of the really difficult issues – to which we can now add its utter inability to come to terms with modernity.

                • Jambo25

                  There is no conflict between having a multiculti, multi-ethnic family, most of whom don’t actually live in the UK and thinking that the rate and total level of inward migration, to the UK, has been rather too high. There is very good reason to think that that inward migration has opened up big differences between London and many other parts of the country. There is very good reason to think that the UK is now governed by London based elites which are, increasingly, out of touch with much of the population elsewhere. After yesterday’s electoral results there is very good reason to think that it is not just benighted Jocko nationalists who think this either but large numbers of English people as well.

                  As for the refusal to face difficult issues. I don’t see Scottish Nationalist being any more unwilling to face these than the present UK political class. I can sketch out a possible future for a small, fairly resource and rich state with a pretty homogeneous society that sees stable or rising living standards ans welfare for it’s people. I find t very difficult indeed to see a similar future for a comparatively land and resource poor state with a declining industrial base, a population heading north of 70 million and an apparently declining level of social solidarity amongst an increasingly fractured and fractious population.

                • mightymark

                  Very interesting. You see yesterday on another site (the Guardian) I had an exchange with another blogger that went like this:

                  Me: “Aren’t UKIP the “Little Englander’s answer to the “Little Scotlander” SNP”

                  Reply: “the snp are pro eu and pro immigration”

                  Now, we know the SNP is pro EU (though how pro SNP will be the EU remains to be seen) however you clearly imply the SNP is broadly anti immigration. I do hope you won’t do your usual wriggle on this one. We have no idea what post independence parties will oppose the SNP – one existing one – the Conservatives – will almost certainly not exist at all. So it is reasonable to take the SNP stance as the authentic and probable one to be adopted by a post independence Scotland.

                  On that basis then, who am I to believe – my correspondent elsewhere who thought what they told me was so obvious that s/he added cheekily “wake up at the back there” – or you?

                  Or is this just a(nother) case of a party being all things to all men, making policy on the hoof, or indeed refusing to answer difficult questions (or at least doing so consistently) – or all three?

                • Jambo25

                  No. I imply nothing of the kind. I imply that Scotland has not seen immigration of the level that some parts of England have experienced so we are a bit more relaxed about it and, in proportional terms, we have a bit more leeway. There simply hasn’t been the large-scale reaction against immigration that one has witnessed in parts of England. That may be one of the reasons why UKIP and the smaller far-right groups which have grown in England are a non-event up here. It doesn’t make Scots better or more noble than people down south; just living in different circumstances. Likewise, while Scots aren’t all Euro-enthusiasts as some people naively claim, there simply isn’t the level of Europhobia, up here, which exists down south. Many of us don’t like the EU, that much, but we see it as a necessary evil at present.

                  I think where the SNP and UKIP do have something in common is that they have both benefited from a growing dislike of London centred government and a political class which seems to have few , if any, answers to our present problems but holds much of the electorate in contempt. The same anti-UKIP rhetoric of “clowns, fruitcakes and racists” has also been applied to the SNP and it’s supporters.

                  As for what the political future, in a post independence Scotland, could look like: well I’m not sure. If independence comes the main problems will face the present UK parties. What will they do? There will no longer be UK wide Labour, Lib Dem or Conservative parties but parties responsible to a Scottish only electorate. These existing parties will have to adapt to that reality. For the Tories that probably means going back to being a much more traditional ‘One Nation’ type Tory party, possibly trading on a much more Christian Democrat type platform. The SNP would probably survive and merge with the LibDems who would have no future. Parts of the Labour Party might gravitate to a continuing SNP as well.

                • mightymark

                  You are slowly getting there. Lets see if we can push you a bit further. Yes – UKIP and the SNP express have in common a, largely shammed, hatred of what they like to call “the London elite” Of course this is just the same “haveto have someone to hate” rhetoric that is the stock in trade of every tin pot third party. They actually know very well that in the event that they ever had to actually govern they would face the same issues as that “London elite” with exactly the same constraints.

                  The real similarity is that both believe or purport to believe in an escapist fantasy – all will be well as long as a smaller constituional entitiy (Scotland/the UK) is detached from a a larger entity (the UK/Europe) which they paint in lurid tones.

                • terregles2

                  Think we find Craig Murray the former Ambassador
                  rather more credible than someone who asserts that Scotland is not governed from Westminster.
                  What a silly remark.. Do you think Trident is on the Holy Loch due to a democratic choice by the Scottish people.
                  You call others deluded,unbelievable. Thank goodness all the optimism and enthusiasm that is bubbling around in Scotland at the moment drowns out all the weary willie britnatz bleating and scaremongering.
                  Btirnatzism is just so yesterday.

                • mightymark

                  “Britnatsism is just so yesterday.”

                  Shows how seriously you take the future of your country and mine – you see it in the terms of the fasionistas!

                • terregles2

                  This post shows that you have run out of any rational defence of the Union.

                • mightymark

                  No – it shows that others put up a better, if inevitably inadequate defence of separatism than you do, so I spend more time on them while occasionally humouring you. Best leave it to the grown ups. perhaps?

                • terregles2

                  Best leave it to the grown ups. What a rude person you are.

                • terregles2

                  Apparently you are quite happy to be part of a group who is backed by Ian Taylor. That tells us all we need to know about you.

                • mightymark

                  I’m not part if any group and I don’t have a clue who Ian Taylor is.

                • terregles2

                  I am surprised that you feel qualified to make any comments about Scottish Independence if you do not know who Ian Taylor is. You are obviously hopelessy out of touch with Scotland.

                  That would account though for some of your previous silly statements

    • terregles2

      How can you doubt that the Scottish members would stop sitting? You have Scottish MP’s at Westminster because Westminster governs the UK. Therefore every country in the Uk needs to send representation to westminster.
      If Scotland leaves the UK and governs itself of course no Scottish MP’s would be in Westminster.
      You wouldn’t have French MP’s in Westminster so why would you think there would be Scottish ones after Scottish independence.

    • Jambo25

      At the point where the Union ends; of course.

  • Daniel Maris

    I’d say it was a strategic mistake by the SNP. A campaign for independence that surrenders financial sovereignty to the Auld Enemy? Doesn’t really make sense. The prospect of a new currency with an inspiring name would have been a bonus to the campaign. Suggestions? The Bruce, the Thistle…??

    • Jambo25

      Most of us don’t see the English as enemies.

  • Troika21

    The cynic in me thinks that the SNP just want to be able to blame those dastardly English for all of Scotland’s woes after independence.

    Truth is that the currency issue reveals the worm in the apple for the SNP – Scotland would need to yoke itself to something larger to attract investment.
    That’s the problem they haven’t solved yet.

    • terregles2

      Oh Yes…. I magine anyone wishing to invest in a country like Scotland. A country that has oil, gas, whisky, food exports, textiles, renewables, forestry, fisheries, metals, biotechnology,zinc, tourism, construction, pharmaceuticals, Chemicals, etc.

      Scottish Food exports and whisky exports are booming especially to the new expanding markets of India and China. Whisky alone adds 2 billion to the UK balance of trade making it one of the top five UK export earners.

      Scotland’s chemical industry overseas exports are valued at 3.7 billion per year.

      Nobody in Scotland is blaming the English either now or in the future for anything. Most Scots are just looking forward to managing their own rich resources in the future. A government in Edinburgh is in a much better position to build a good future for Scotland than the discredited Westminster politicians.
      Westminster governement is a dismal failure,

      • Troika21

        oil, gas, whisky, food exports, textiles, renewables, forestry, fisheries, metals, biotechnology,zinc, tourism, construction, pharmaceuticals, Chemicals, etc.

        Yes of course, because England (better connected to international markets) has none of those! (Possibly zinc, though not something Scotland’s known for).

        As for ‘not blaming’ the English, I suggest you read some SNP promotional material. No, they don’t come out and say ‘the English’ are the problem (and no, I don’t think they’re ‘anglophobic’ or whatever), but sly winks abound.

        • Jambo25

          OK, present the evidence of SNP “promotional material” blaming the English. Come on, in your own time. If the English (or rUK) government, post independence, wanted to play hardball then it is worth remembering that the hardball can be flung both ways. If England wished to initiate some kind of formal or informal trade embargo then a future Scottish state or Scottish consumers could well buy products from elsewhere other than England.

          • Troika21

            I don’t say the SNP blames the English. I say that they make sly winks, i.e. we’re not like those other people.

            Nothing to get worked up about.

            Look at what I wrote in the my first comment – a throwaway line about how the SNP wanted an out should Scotland’s economy tank post-independence.

            I accuse the SNP of being conceited nationalists, not xenophobes.

            Anyway, anyone who seriously thinks that a trade embargo for goodness sake is even remotely possible is barking.

            Is that what you think? I’m guessing your a Scot, right? Is that what you want?

            • Jambo25

              OK. Produce evidence of SNP “Sly winks”; whatever they are. I do not want a trade war or economic confrontaion of any sort if or when Scotland goes independent. It isn’t the SNP and other ‘Yes’ campaiogners who are threatening to withdraw co-operation, however. It is Britnats. I am merely pointing out that, according to the old proverb, “Cutting off your nose” can “spite your face”.

              As for ‘conceited nationalism’. I see myself as Scottish. I have no real emotional attachment to a sense of Britishness, as my grandparents and parents did. I assume that you still yopurself as British. What mkes your favoured identity better than mine?

              • Troika21

                I refer you to that LA Time article, here’s Salmond:

                People can be Scottish and English, Scottish and British, Scottish and Irish.

                • Jambo25

                  Then reproduce it.

        • terregles2

          Why are you so obsessed with the SNP and what they think? Many people living in Scotland who will be voting YES are not SNP supporters. Every political party now in Scotland has a section campaigning for YES in 2014 and many English people living here are also voting YES. After Independence the SNP might not even win power in the first general election.

          The reason I listed Scotland’s contribution to the UK balance of payments was because you implied that Scotland would struggle financially after independence. The point is that any country with the resources Scotland has is off to a good start.

          Nobody in implying that England will be struggling either. Of course you have your own resources they are just different from many of ours.

          You seem to be doing what you accuse the SNP of and that is denigrating Scotland.and saying we have fewer connections to international markets. Can’t say we have noticed that when our food and whisky exports are rising weekly throughout the world including China and India.

          There was a tendency in the past for Scots to blame English government for many problems but now instead of complaining it makes sense to go for independence.

          In 1999 Westminster annexed 6000 sq miles of Scottish sea when they moved the maritime boundary from Berwick to Carnoustie. Anyone looking out to sea from Carnoustie now looks over English territory.
          You might not call it larceny but you could hardly call it English fair play either.
          The wish for independence is against English government never against English people.

          • Wessex Man

            Thats not actually right, the Cabinet Meetings of 1997/98 were dominated by Scottish Ministers, the form of the Devolution Act was decided there and as you know the cowardly backbenchers of all Political parties do as their Whips instruct.

            This is why it caused such resentment in England, when we English were told all we would be offered were Regional Assemblies, imagine how you Scots would feel if you were told that you would get a Regional Assembly for Glasgow, Inverness and for Edinburugh. Imagine then how you would feel if an unelected English Peer looked you in the eye and said “watch my mouth-there will never be a Scottish Parliament!” as Lord Falconer, unelected Scottish Peer pal of Tony Blair said to we English.

            We then had the delightful John Prescott thinking he was on to a winner by starting the process of referendums for Regional Assemblies with North East England, which he thought would be the most likely to vote for a Regional Assembly. He was defeated by seven votes to one and dropped the ideal.

            That’s been the case of bringing democracy to England, I like to think that I’m a reasonable nationalist but get rather tired of reading about the English Government at Westminster when it’s no such thing, it’s the United Kingdom Government in Westminster, which including Ministers is vastly over-populated at 650 time servers and needs to be reduced to at most 200!

            • Jambo25

              Imagine how you would feel if you were subjected to a government that only had 12 MPs out of 59. ! out of 59 if we count only the Tory organ grinders and not the Lib Dem monkeys who would probably have never got near to winning if they had been honest enough to say they would enter a coalition with the Tories.

            • terregles2

              You are not comparing like with like. Scotland is not a region it is a country.

              Scotland was given devolution because Westminster was frighened that the independence vote was rising.

              Westminster was frightened of Scottish Independence then, just as it is now. It is determined not to lose power over Scotland and the resources that Scotland contributes to HM Treasury in Westminster.

              You don’t really think they would want to keep us if we did not bring them in money.

              Check out

              • Wessex Man

                I most certainly am not doing so, read my post again, I never ever said that Scotland was a Region of England, I asked youy how you would feel if an Englishman had tried to break Scotland up into Regions and do away with your country as did Lord Falconer and John Prescott, who incidently is a Welshman with England!

                • terregles2

                  Apologies if I have misunderstood what you said. The point I was trying to make was that just for the sake of argument let’s say that Scotland is an independent country.
                  If the independent Scottish government in Edinburgh then says in order to give all the people living in Scotland more of a voice in parliament then they can have regional assemblies.
                  I don’t think I would view that as Scotland being broken up. I would see it as making the country more democratic.
                  Obviously if people in England do not like that and would not want it to happen then I absolutely agree with you it should not be imposed on them. Especially by someone like Prescott.

                • Wessex Man

                  Thanks terregles

          • Troika21

            1) I’m talking about the SNP because the original post was about SNP policy. They are also the main force pushing to leave the Union. Most anti-union statements come from them.

            2) I did not say Scotland would struggle, I said the SNP was looking for an out in the event Scotland’s economy does not live up to their rhetoric.

            3) Scotland could have ended up being in a position similar to Ireland or Iceland should it have had independence before RBS blew-up. The pro-independence group don’t want to shoulder the debt, despite it being a Scottish bank.

            4) When it comes to the oil/gas issue the SNP have wanted to have their cake and eat it. They use definitions that benefit them, and then there is the issue of decommissioning, something else pro-independence groups don’t want to shoulder.

            5) It looks to me that England got the seas as part of granting the Scottish Parliament. I looked that up, didn’t get much of a mention at the time, but recently it’s been doing the rounds as an anti-union cause célèbre .

            This is a bit rushed but from what I can tell, prior to the Scotland Act 1998, there was no need for a distinction of Scotland/England waters. It was not ‘annexing’ anything, it was the creation of the Scottish/English maritime border.

            Also, the border starts at Berwick. And Carnoustie does not ‘look out’ over English water, you have to travel more than 60 miles from Carnoustie before you’re anywhere near the border.

            • Jambo25

              Ireland and Iceland both have higher standards of living than the UK.

            • terregles2

              You are rather out of touch with Scottish politics if you think the SNP are the only party campaigning for independence.
              There is a large section of Labour campaigning for a YES vote along with three other parties and also other non political Scottish groups.
              The SNP certainly are most popular at the moment but nothing is forever in politics and that could change after Independence. Many who have never voted SNP are campaigning hard for YES in 2014.
              You say that SNP are looking for an out if independence does not work out. After being goverened by the incompetent undemocratic shambles that is Westminster Scotland is more than capable of managing their own considerable resources.
              The Republic of Ireland has faced some tough economic times recently. Did you hear any Irish asking to be governed from Westmisnter again, of course not. No country that has ever gone for independence has regretted it or asked to be taken back.
              Westminster lurches from double dip recession to loss of triple A credit rating. Quite simply they are no longer up to the job.
              You say the SNP want to have their cake and eat it. Scotland has never had a share of oil it is the only country in the world to discover oil and become poorer. The oil money all went to Westminster. Do you really think that the tories would be campaigning hard for a NO vote if they were not

    • Jambo25

      No it wouldn’t.

      • Troika21

        Wouldn’t what? Need to join the Euro? Keep the pound and be ruled by Number 11?

  • FF42

    There’s nothing stopping Scotland using the pound. If independence is carried that is what it will do. A currency union depends on the agreement of the rump UK (English) parliament. It’s in England’s interest for Scotland to carry on using the pound rather than its own currency or the Euro but I doubt it would be willing to enter a currency union. It gets extra responsibility with no extra benefit.

    The difference between a sort of union and a sort of independence gets blurred. I suspect people might just say, sod it, stick with what we know.

    • mightymark

      Yes – if they have any sense! And bear in mind that it doesn’t end there. As Alex says the evidence of the Euro currency union is that greater convergence of economies is needed to make it work. What the SNP is proposing is the exact opposite. Its a bonkers policy that will leave Scotland less influential, certainly over monetary policy, than it is now.

      One other point always worth making. The England that the (less Tory) Scots will be living next door to and dealing with will, because the Scots have left, be a more Tory one. There is scope there for all kinds of devilry from which I suspect Scotland as the smaller entity, will again, end up the loser.

      • Wessex Man

        oh dear chip on shoulder time, this time for something in the future!

  • MichtyMe

    Probably expedient and sensible. To get a new currency and independence at the same time is perhaps too big a step. But independence is a process, so it is one step at a time and the big step is having a sovereign government, after that you can then do what you wish whenever you wish, in theory.

  • terregles2

    Poor Britnatz still desperately trying to light the fire of unionism. The wee lambs have not noticed that the wood is too damp to burn even if they do manage to produce the odd spark.

    • Eddie

      Oh go play with yer sporan, wee man. If Scotland gets independence, why should the English and Welsh have their currency damaged and debased by free-spending financially-illterate ScotNats?
      Time to use your own money, son/ Try Haggis balls. Plenty in Salmond’s speeches.

  • terence patrick hewett


    • Jambo25

      Well, I worked in London studied for my undergraduate degree in Manchester and am married to an English woman. I’m an SNP voter and will vote ‘Yes’ next year, as will my wife and a number of friends of English origin who live up here. My individual case id quite normal.

  • Eddie

    Is it d)?

  • leoinlisbon

    The SNP’s view is a reversal of the comment made by the Prince in ‘The Leopard.’
    “Things must remain as they are, if they are to change a little.”

  • William Haworth

    I’m still not convinced that there will be a ‘rump UK’. There is no debate south of Berwick about this yet, but I’m convinced that if the Scots leave the Union, the English will too. There will be no desire to remain in a Union with the Welsh and Northern Irish, after being so insulted by the Scots. ‘A plague on all their houses’ wouldn’t even come close to the way I think the English would react.

    • Wessex Man

      I don’t think we English would say “A plague on all their houses” at all but we are bound to react. I personally hope agaisnt hope that the Scots will be brave enough to vote yes and get independence.

      I would hope that we English would say yes we want the break-up of the United Kingdom and at last get our own Parliament, also ending the Barnett Formula and the West Lothian Question. Welsh Labour have already admitted that they couldn’t maintain current spending levels without it yet manage to find within it the money to buy the near bankrurpt Cardiff Airport, I fully expect to see them now subsidise it against the currently thriving Bristol Airport in unethical competition!

      Happy St George’s Day.

      • terregles2

        Happy St George’s day to everyone in England. You are right I don’t think many of the English would say ” A plague on all their houses”. Obviously some would, but the majority of English and Scottish people get along fine together wherever we live in the UK. Many of us are inter -married and having separate governments would not change that.
        I hope that when Scotland is independent England also forms a better system of government for itself We all deserve so much better than what we have at the moment.
        It will be hard for Scots to vote YES because the propaganda and scare mongering by the British media and press is really constant and unremitting.
        The Scottish Daily Mail is particularly extreme in its’ scare stories although the other papers are not far behind them. Every day a new scare is raised by the Britnatz. Today it is the pound tomorrow they will scrape up something else.
        Hopefully though the truth will triumph and Scottish people will be brave enough to vote for Independence.

    • terregles2

      It is hard to see why England would be insulted. Almost every country in the world governs itself why should Scotland not do the same. I am voting YES in 2014 along with many of my English friends who now live in Scotland. That does not mean we have anything against English people it just means that we would like to be governed from Edinburgh and not Westminster. It is no big deal and is not anti English.

  • Spammo Twatbury

    “Nationalists may ask – not altogether unreasonably – how this differs
    from the present arrangements. But it does so in at least one key
    respect. Scotland is a full part of the United Kingdom. Independence
    within a sterling zone would in some ways make Scotland a ward of the
    remaining parts of the United Kingdom. There would be the appearance of
    independence but in actual fact the purse-strings would be tightly
    controlled and Scotland’s actual independence would be severely

    You might still think that preferable to the present situation. Be
    that as it may, it is a queer kind of independence that leaves another
    country effectively in charge of such a large part of the political and
    economic machinery.”

    The last sentence there is somewhat superfluous. In those terms, there’s no such thing nowadays as a genuinely, truly, 100% “independent” nation on the face of the planet – not even the mighty USA, in hock up to its eyeballs to China.

    An independent Scotland’s economy, no matter how restricted in its actions, would still enjoy the benefit of saving around £3bn per parliament on defence and another £200m on not paying for Westminster, to name just two of the most immediately obvious financial advantages of independence.

    £3.2bn per parliament goes a pretty long way in a wee country of 5m people. It’d pay entirely for the Edinburgh trams AND the new Forth crossing with half a billion left over, or for both the airport rail links AND the total upgrading of the A9 to dual carriageway AND the entire cost of all universal services (bus passes for old folk, free prescriptions and free personal care).

  • Jambo25

    It has recently been stated by a spokesman for ‘Better Together’, in-between dodging inconvenient questions on Mr. Ian Taylor’s 500,000 pound donation to the cause, that, in the case of Scottish independence, gravity would fail over Scotland, the atmosphere would boil off and the entire population of Scotland would float off into space. BBC Scotland immediately followed this sensational claim with a 1 hour television special in which the ‘Yes’ campaign and the SNP were accused of courting disaster.

  • JPJ2

    ” the Yes campaign’s accusation of Unionist “scaremongering” is not wholly at odds with reality.”
    Or Alex, if you weren’t desperately trying to convince yourself that there is a positive case for the Union, you would simply write:
    “the Yes campaign’s accusation of Unionist “scaremongering” is quite simply true”

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