Saturday, 7 January 2012


I commend to you an interesting and well written article by Liberal blogger Andrew PageI enjoy reading Andrew's stuff. I certainly don't always agree with what he's saying, but he has an easy style of writing and a moderate and thought-out approach to his subject. He is as likely to criticise his own party, as he is another. In short he thinks for himself, makes his arguments accordingly and is nobody's yes man.

This article stems from a speech made by Nick Clegg, or rather a part of that speech where he seems to call nationalists (and those who favour total unionism [presumably Forsyth supporters]), "extremists".

What it appears Clegg actually said, although I have not heard the speech myself, was that both the above categories of Scots are at the extreme ends of opinion. Well, that's a bit obvious, if overstated, isn't it? The middle is the status quo, the other two are at the extremes, or ends...

But it's not a word I would have used, and I don't have years of political training, nor am I the leader of a UK party, much less the Britain's deputy prime minister. So maybe it wasn't the brightest thing for a person who has, and is, all that to have said, but The Scotsman, well known for being a chip wrapper first and journal second, appears to have made of it something which it was not.

So of course nationalists are on one side of the argument but I'm not in the least an extremist. That takes far too much fire and passion. 

I want Scotland to be independent not because I think our mountains are nicer than their hills, our burns nicer than their brooks, our lochs more lovely than their lakes, or indeed our fowk nicer than their people. 

Some people do have that misty eyed, bagpipeish, Brigadoonian vignette notion of what Scotland is. Not me. For scenery, beautiful though Scotland is, there are plenty of other places just as lovely, and for the folk, I've found that they are much the same the world over, good and bad.

I'm a nationalist because I believe we are badly served being ruled from London, and frequently by a political party for which we didn't vote. 

I doubt our people are any nicer than the English, but we do seem to have some sort of "common weel" as Alex Salmond would have it. Maybe the English have that too under another name (Noblesse Oblige??), and maybe it's because we have always been poorer than the English, and have felt the need to band together for protection, that we have preferred a more centre left government. When we say our government is based on 'society', we don't mean Royal Ascot and Wimbledon

And there's financial motivation for me too. I look across the sea to Norway unencumbered by a large "world power" status, with all the spending commitment that that incurs. 

I see what they have done with their share of North Sea Oil, and I despair of poverty of our lives here, and of a British future, while our soldiers put the world to rights, according to the needs of American Presidents to whom all UK prime ministers seem in thrall.

I don't blame the English for our plight. The greatest needs of the UK are where the bulk of the population lives. And that is in the South East of England. I blame the Scots. It is in our hands to do something about our plight.
Even the devolution that was wished upon us by Labour was so very badly done: 'a parish council', said Tony Blair, before it had starter plotting how to control, at least the mainland countries. 'A wee pretendy parliament', said Billy Connelly sneeringly. Leaving the Westminster parliament to serve as English and UK parliament, simply reinforced the fact (previously demonstrated by the Celtic secretaries of state), that England was central and the small nations, mere satellites, or counties.

But for all that I don't want to "rip up" or "tear apart" up anything. And opposition parties' use of emotive language is not helpful to a grown up debate. Separation is inaccurate. Independence instead of dependence is what we seek.

Scotland could easily have good neighbourly relations with the rest of the UK and share many facilities and friendly co-operative relations. and even at the heights of the troubles there were no border guards in Ireland, so why would we want them now? 

That's more or less that. There's nothing in the least extreme about any of it, is there? 


  1. Tris

    Fantastic news, though it is off topic I did not think you would want to miss this one.

    Bring it on as someone once said.

  2. Yes. You're right. It's not really off topic though Dubs.

    What an idiot that man is. There are many people in this country who don't particularly want independence, but they don't want a bossy English toff telling them what they can and can't do.

    And he can quote all the UK constitution (which conveniently doesn't exist) all he likes. If we want a referendum, we can have one. And if he goes against it... hell mend him.

    If ever anyone played into someone's hands... what a fool.

    And then you get this kind of answer from some ill-informed Daily Mail reader, which plays into our hands even more:

    "Let them go, they are funded by English taxes and have around twice as much public funding per person than in England, free universities, free prescriptions, free school meals for primary school children etc. and they still aren't happy. We've had their oil, if they want independence it's certainly no loss to the hard-working private sector in England! Bet they come crawling back utterly bankrupt in less than 5 years though ;-)"
    - Katie, Milton Keynes, 07/1/2012 23:55

    Bet we don't Katie, my love. Bet you any money you like we don't.

  3. Dubbieside,

    I read the article and the comments posted by the rabid anti-Scottish posters. It's sad really. If the Scots had said those things about the English it would be highlighted all over the papers, but, seeing as it is an 'English' paper it's OK for them to say that about us.


    Good article. I agree with you about Andrew Page. I wish there were more people like him.

  4. Tris

    To my mind there are three things that we want from David Cameron.

    The first is for him to insist on fixing the date of the referendum. Just imagine a public schoolboy millionaire tory telling the people in Scotland what they must do.

    Second, for him to front up the dependency campaign. Just imagine a public schoolboy millionaire tory telling the people in Scotland what is good for them.

    Third he must share a platform with Glegg and Milliband. Just imagine three public schoolboy millionaire torys telling the people in Scotland what is good for them.

    Add in the Labour Northern branch manager who manages to make Michael Foot look electable and charismatic and it looks to me like the perfect storm.

  5. Yes Ged: I agree completely. I only glanced at one or two comments, but that first one was probably racist.

    We are all scroungers and the beneficent English allow us to have twice as much funding for ourselves as they get for themselves. Surely if you thought for just a second about that you would see that it was complete rubbish and were it true the balloon would have gone up years ago and there would now be an independent England (and quite rightly too).

    However, we are talking Mail readers here, and people who have bothered to register with them so that they can comment, so much can be explained by that.

    If the racist comments were the other way round there would be much more fuss made. Funnily I not only don't mind, I have a good laugh at it. If anything it does the independence cause no harm.

    Yes, it was you who introduced me to Andrew Page and I'm glad you did. The Scottish Liberals would have done themselves no damage at all if they had chosen him as their leader. He sounds like he would be a guy you could work with.

  6. Yes Dubs:

    You paint the perfect picture there. You could add to your perfect storm the fact that he has no mandate in Scotland. He has 1/59th of the seats. That's minority government for you.

    Talking about saying the wrong thing, and Cameron in the same subject, I see that he's in trouble again.

    Although it's been knocked all out of proportion by the political correctness brigade, it was careless and stupid of him (and rather Flashman) to describe Ed Balls' hectoring of him, like being with someone with Tourettes. Most of us use expressions like that sometimes, but as I said about Clegg in the article, not when you're supposed to be the big cheese.

    It's just so amateur.

    Anyway, as you originally said, or was it Wendy, I forget now: Bring it on!

  7. Quote of the week: (from Dubs' article)

    "According to the Sunday Times Sir George Young, the Leader of the Commons, has told colleagues that there must be fewer and better drafted laws this coming year.
    'There is the danger that the public thinks we don't really know what we are doing,' said one Tory minister."

    Surely not!

  8. Tris

    Maybe the two pandas could stand in for Cameron!

    Well you know the rest of the joke. Its the tory party.

  9. Cameron is going to tell us what to do.

    Just like he told the EU.

    They will soon have no friends.

    Bring it on.

  10. I don't think they'd need both the pandas, Dubs. One would be quite enough.

    I see Tory Hoose has an article saying that " can now reveal that in a recent exclusive poll, 74% of respondents wanted the UK to add in a clause to the Scotland Bill to force the SNP Government to hold the referendum by a certain time and set out the format."

    I think the world "exclusive" may give away something of the nature of the poll. Those and such as those, as one might expect from the Tories, and the later statement that: "Members of the party in Scotland are telling us that it is time for the voice of the Scottish people to be heard", seems to confirm that.

    Anyway, as you say...bring it on...force us to do what England wants, because precious few of us voted Tory or Liberal up here...
    And fewer next time unless I'm well wide of the mark.

    They are so stupid; they seem to be taking their anthem lyrics seriously:

    Lord grant that Camerglegg*
    May by thy mighty aid
    Victory bring
    May he sedition hush
    And like a torrent rush
    Rebellious Scots to crush
    God save the Queen.

    * (Marshal Wade in the original)

  11. Yeah Wolfie. He's not the sort that makes friends easily. I don't think Obama much likes him, which is a disaster from his point of view.

    But even better I heard the other day (on the Today programme) that the new Libyan government is going around Tripoli, and other cities, renaming streets, as people do when they overthrow a dictatorship which relished everything being named after it.

    One of the main thoroughfares in Tripoli is to be Blvd Nicolas Sarkozy.

    There was no reference to even David Cameron Lane, never mind boulevard. :)

    How he must hate Sarko!!

  12. Oh dear the snp extremists fly of to la la land Yeah! If Cameron (the Constitutionally elected Prime minister) uses the primary legal powers at Westminster.
    To arrange a free fair Referendum

    Then all the Scottish people will rush out and surround Holyrood and protect the Scottish Parliament from the English onslaught guaranteeing a massive vote for Independence.

    Uh! The truth most would just go along with it most couldn't care less most believe politicians are a waste of time.

    If you are waiting for the revolutionary spirit in the Scottish people to burst into flame.

    Then i wish you luck most will just turn the TV to another channel.

    If Cameron went for it he would win hands down .

  13. You think so Niko?

    Well I don't. I think the arrogant prat has put himself into a corner.

    Whatever he does now, he ruined the respect agenda for ever, and he can never blame Scotland for picking a fight with the UK again.

    As Wolfie said, he goes around falling out with everyone. Because he's an arrogant rich posh boy who has always had everything his own way. Even his acceptance as a candidate for the Tories was the result of string pulling from someone at the palace.

    I take your point about apathy. It's a British thing. If 'Strictly Come Up the Jungle Get Big Brother Out of Here' is on, or if it rains, it'll be a job to get people motivated. :)

    But his being a Tory will help though, and I think we can do it.

    Remember. Vote to stay in the union; vote Tory (because Milly is going nowhere fast). Another 5 years of this pillock, without the Liberals.

    He'll have to make Michael Forsyth his Scotland Secretary...

  14. A special Cabinet meeting in Downing Street this morning will be presented with legal advice from the Coalition’s most senior law officers — the Attorney General, the Solicitor General and Scotland’s Advocate General. It will declare that Mr Salmond’s plan to hold a referendum under the auspices of the Scottish Parliament would be unlawful.

    OK... so if Cochrane knows what the law officers' advice will be, why are they holding a special Cabinet... at a cost of thousands of pounds, to get something they could get by each buying a copy of the Telegraph?

  15. “I think it’s very unfair on the Scottish people themselves who don’t really know when this question is going to be asked, what the question is going to be, who’s responsible for asking it.
    “I think we owe the Scottish people something that is fair, legal and decisive.”

    So, Mr Cameron: you think that if we do it in Scotland it won't be fair, or legal, or decisive? Do you think that maybe the government has taken legal advice in Scotland over what the law says?

    And why do we need to know the question 3 years in advance. We're not that bloody think that we have to have that much advance warning.
    We don't still paint our faced blue you know.

  16. " I think he knows the Scottish people, at heart, don’t want a full separation from the United Kingdom — and so he’s trying to sort of create a situation where that bubbles up and happens.”

    Where it does what? It's not an espresso coffee you dip stick. it's independence instead of dependence.

  17. I've just noticed this quote elsewhere from Danny Alexander:

    "I think the important thing is ... that we don't repeat the mistakes that were made in the 1980s when Margaret Thatcher was Prime Minister. Many good things were done for this country during this time." Danny Alexander

    Many good things Danny... that's quite a thing for a Liberal Democrat to say. What, for example?

  18. tris,

    "It's not an espresso coffee you dip stick"

    Lol, you do have a way with words.

  19. Tris

    Is it just me or is Alexander trying to out tory the torys? Or is he just a malleable useful idiot for the torys?

    Has he been promised a safe English tory seat for the next general election? he will need one for he has no chance of being re-elected in Scotland.

    My prediction would be both Alexander and Moore will lose their deposits if they stand again in Scotland.

  20. Apropos of nothing else here except the Daily mail comment.

    Some one should direct Tom Harris to that story, it is he who complains of cyber-nats viciously doing down unionists and generally bullying the poor lambs of Britain.

  21. Ultimately it is all just politics.

    Call-me-dave wants it held sooner, so he can try and tap into the Queens jubilee... the Olympics et cetera -- as if that will unleash a tornado of British patriotism across Scotland.

    Alex is just as bad, he plucks for Bannockburn, and the Commonwealth games ... hoping to unleash a Pro-Scotland (and dare I type it, anti-English) sentiment.

    But both men are fooling themselves if they seriously think Scots would ever be so open to manipulation!

    One issue will sway the issue: ECONOMICS.

    If Scots are convinced of the economics FOR independence, they will pluck for it.

    Simple as that frankly. The rest is all just spin and lies by hacks.

  22. Dean, I challenge you to quote me one anti English statement from Alex Salmond and I do not think that Bannockburn will be chosen for the referendum as he would not like to be associated with an anti English sentiment.

    He has often said that he supports England when they are not playing Scotland at football and is very careful to distinguish between England and Westminster.

    Did you know that the date the Labour Party chose for the referendum which set up Holyrood was the 700 anniversary of Wallace's battle of Stirling Bridge.

    Shame on you for not reading the plaques on bridges near your Alma mater.

  23. Lupus,

    I didn't say Alex had said anything anti-English, merely saying he is canny enough of a politician to pass up the chance to tap into it (latent in Scottish society as it is).

    That isn't an unfair accusation.

    Personally I find this curious obsession with battles a joke. A bad joke, and it shows what politicians really think of voters.

    Message: stop the spin, hold the referendum. Voters aren't stupid enough to pluck for separation just 'cos its Bannockburn memorial.

  24. #sorry, that should say, he is canny enough a politician NOT to pass it up!


  25. Dean

    The SNP do try to keep to their election manifesto and public promises.

    I think that is a commendable trait and so, the second half of the Parliamentary session it is.

    It is the unionist side which keeps changing their mind over when and if.

  26. Well, for pity's sake Gedguy...

    "he’s trying to sort of create a situation where that bubbles up and happens"

    Independence doesn't bubble does it?

    He's been abroad in these cafe's too much this last year. How many holidays is it he's had?

  27. Yes Dubs. I reckon both of them are trying to impress Cameron so that they can be Tories at the next election.

  28. Good point Pa Broon. But Admin just reads what he wants to read, and sees what he wants to see. I notice he was the first to back mr Cameron's call.

    Apparently the Queen told Tony Blair he was in the wrong party. If Admin had ever got anywhere near her I dunno where she'd have thought he should be. Somewhere to the right of Attila the Hun, probably.

  29. You may be right Dean. I don't think that any of these things have any lasting impression, and certainly not of huge patriotism.

    Most people in Scotland aren't touched by the Olympics, and most wouldn't know what Bannockburn was if it hit them on the head.

    What both sides need to do is lay out what life would be like under their vision.

  30. I've never, not once, heard Alex say anything anti English. Just pro-Scotland.

  31. It is true Dean. Labour has been ridiclous over the referendum.

    Bring it on (Wendy); don't bring it on (Wendy); bring it on, if Gordon says so(Iain); don't bring it on (Ian); bring it on (Johann).

  32. Cameron will drop his EU veto according to sources in Bruxelles and "Nick Cleggbite"

    For his part, EU Council head Herman Van Rompuy at a separate event in Copenhagen also on Monday joked that Danish leader Helle Thorning-Schmidt, who took over the rotating EU presidency on 1 January, is well equipped to bring Cameron back into the herd.

    "I have no doubts about the charming capacities of the Danish Prime Minister. They are much greater than mine," he said.

    Even Herman the non German is laughing his cock off at Cameron.

    Backpeddling at breaknet speed on two sides,

  33. Yes Wolfie. Having found he had isolated himself even more than the hand bag lady, he seems to be hauling in his horns a bit.

    'U-turn if you want to, the gentleman is spinning like a top.'

  34. Off Topic but dynamite if true

    It looks like, according to one blog, admittedly with a first class track record, that Greece will default later this week causing an implosion in French, German and maybe UK banks.

    The Greeks just can't pay and in fact will not pay. They are not selling off their assets to pay the Merkozy banks off and have buried loads of their Euros outside Greece.

    I posted here some days ago, for Niko's benefit that the Norwegian Embassy had posted on their website contact details of Norwegian Banks if anyone was interested. They did this because their switchboard was overloaded.

    John Ward, see article link, thinks that one French bank will go under (My guess Credit Agricole or Societe Generale or both) and one German bank also (Commerzbank) because of their exposure to Greek debt unless the European Central Bank is allowed to print Euros, €3 trillion?.

    There could be a domino effect on Italy, Spain, Portugal and Ireland.

    Why is this relevant to Cleggie boy, well it seems that the B of E will print £20 billion for the IMF to go the Euro pot despite what Cameron said over and over again. See earlier post re Clegg and veto.

    Secondly there is a possibility that Cameron may HAVE to jump into the Euro or give up on his little Englander posturing.

    What effect could this have on the referendum question I wonder, if it is true?

  35. I can't pretend that I even begin to understand all this debt stuff, and currencies crashing ... it's all too complex for me. It seems to me to be like a big fairy tale spun round the finance industry with every possible outcome meaning that they get richer and richer. (Even if banks go down, it won't be the directors that suffer.)

    As a mate of mine once said back in 1996. There's still the same need in the world; the same market for goods. There's still as much wealth in the world. If we haven' got it then someone has.

    But in any case it is in no one's interest for a major currency to fail, and certainly not the second most important currency in the world. The shock waves would be enormous. Someone from America was on the Today programme this morning saying that it wouldn't affect them much because only 2% of their trade is with the Eurozone.

    40% of the UK's trade is with the EU and I imagine that the bulk of that is with the €zone, as it includes the biggest countries. But I read that Scotland has always done more trade with Europe than the UK does. Maybe 50-60%. It could be as disaster for us.

    I wonder if all this market fuss about the € has any connection to the fact that Saudi Arabia (and OPEC) was threatening to start pricing oil in € only a matter of a month or so before Standard and Poor's started their campaign against it. That would have made oil much more expensive.. and volatile for America.