Saturday, 18 February 2012



A few weeks ago the UK government warned that if Scotland were to break away from the UK, Spain would veto its membership of the European Union.  It provoked a furious rebuttal from the Spanish foreign ministry. (The argument about whether Scotland would want to join the EU, or indeed would NEED to join the EU aside.)

And now the UK government has managed to leave Cardinal Keith O'Brien, head of the Roman Catholic Church in Scotland, off the list of invitees to be part of a delegation to the Vatican, whilst inviting the senior Cardinal in England, Vincent Nichols. 

When asked about what was a slight, both to Cardinal O'Brien and Scotland, the response of the UK government was to blame the Vatican, which was, they said, responsible for the invitations. 

The response from the Vatican was that this was untrue; it was the UK responsibility to decide upon the members of their delegation. Sayeeda Warsi who led the British, English group clearly forgot to tell Michael Moore, our man in England, that it was a British delegation. 

Warsi might not have known that there was a separate management structure for the Church  in Scotland, but the FCO, under whose auspices the trip to a foreign state comes, should have known.

Why do they lie about these things?

So much for all that sob story sentimental twaddle from the prime minister about Scotland being sooooo important to the UK.

Talking of which, Cameron came up to Edinburgh, and after his visit to a porridge factory... (I mean, talk about patronising. You can just see his English audience in the Home Counties laughing at that one; "It's all they make, darling, that and whisky. It's their staple diet, don't you know"...) he went to  a room with a view of the Castle... which was also a bit twee, and made a speech, during which he stood behind a lectern (presumably his), which sported the coat of arms of the Queen: The Queen of England that is. The Queen of Scots maybe the same person, but the coat of arms is different, as it would have to be, and as a PM or as an ex-PR, he should have known.

Sloppy, innit?

There are some great articles analysing the visit of his prime ministerness to our shores. If you want a cleverer analysis that you can hope to get from me, can I suggest James's article at Scot Goes Pop, Stephens's at SNmr, and for a good laugh and some serious stuff, Auldaquaintance.


  1. tris

    Yeah Cameron Went home to no 10
    and said

    'I've been to Scotchland and had some porridge it was Shi@e and I had to sit next to a mad staring loony bit like PMQs'

    'Even had a meeting with Alex Salmond it was a disaster they should of never put me next to Him
    he was just the sort of Bigoted person he appears to be Ugh'

    and has to how i know this
    Cameron was off camera, and not realising he still had a News microphone pinned to his shirt.

  2. Ahhhhh... So it's not only Gordo that's daft enough to do that, huh?

    I bet he liked porridge. It will have reminded him of Eton. I bet he dreamt of rolly polly pudding and Matron that night...

    Alex who?

  3. Tris, the bit I found interesting was that Cameron, despite previously demanding a simple yes/no question on the independence referendum ballot paper, dangled the prospect of further devolution for Scotland in front of the Scots electorate as long as they vote no.

    And let me say something else about devolution. That (Calman) doesn't have to be the end of the road. When the referendum on independence is over, I am open to looking at how the devolved settlement can be improved further. And yes, that means considering what further powers could be devolved.

    It's obvious that the unionist strategy is going to be, "vote no for more devolution", but never to actually define what the additional powers are going to be. Scots will be asked to hand over votes for a closed black plastic bag allegedly full of devolved powers sight unseen from the street-traders and con-men in the unionist parties.

    In a sense devo-max is now on the ballot paper because they are trying to turn the, "No to independence", choice into a choice for further devolved powers.

  4. Yes, but seriously, Doug, who will trust him to deliver. Clearly not the nationalists. Will Labour supports of unionism trust the Tory prime minister who won't say what is in the bag till after we've voted for it?

    Maybe even the Tories won't trust him by then. He's such a duplicitous man. Who could?

    And the Liberals? They want more, or maybe they don't.

    If we want what we've got, or we want independence we are extremists, said Nick.

    No, there will not be a third question; only the two extremes, says Michael Moore...

    Who in heaven's name knows what they think.

    No, in the end Cameron will be forced to say what he means by "more", and he'll be forced to put it on the ballot paper.

    I think that the first minister's press release after the meeting with the prime minister indicated that autumn 2014 was when the referendum would take place, despite what had come from the Scotland Office,only the day before.

    Frankly neither of them is even a vague match for Salmond.

  5. Buyer Beware: David "snake oil" Cameron does not know his product

    We need to know exactly what manner of Union Cameron is asking the Scots to vote for? In refusing to countenance Devo-Max, and by ignoring the English, Cameron belies his claim that "The Union has never been about shackling different nations: it is a free partnership".

    In what way is it a free partnership if the Scottish are not permitted a vote on Devo-Max and the English are never even consulted?

    His speech has woken up yet more south of the border in how unfair Westminster is.

  6. Yes CH.

    It wasn't thought through, any more than Labour's original devolution was thought through.

    There is a point made though that, whilst independence is a Scotland only decision, once you start going down the devo-max route, England, and the rest of the UK has some input.

    Does devo max mean that there could still be a UK prime minister from Scotland?

    Or other ministers, sitting in cabinet discussing English only matters, when all that Scotland shares is defence and foreign affairs?

    And if not, would OUR defence and foreign affairs always be overseen by Englishmen?

    I hate to admit it, but it could be that old Forsyth is right. It means federalism... and that means a change for England too, upon which they would be entitled to vote.

  7. Sloppy seconds after Cameron; no thanks.

  8. Tris,

    Will Labour supports of unionism trust the Tory prime minister who won't say what is in the bag till after we've voted for it?...And the Liberals? They want more, or maybe they don't.

    The problem is that Labour and the Lib-Dems will also be dangling their black plastic bags of devolved powers in front of the Scottish Electorate.

    Nick Clegg has already said that a no vote will not stop devolution.

    "I think there should be further steps towards greater autonomy, fiscal and otherwise, for Scotland and that is terrifically important, and that is what most Scottish people believe as well,...They don't want these great separation – they do want greater expression of Scottish nationhood and feel they can take on more powers and autonomy within the United Kingdom."

    Labour have said very little over the past two months mainly because the party leadership in London has not addressed the problem of the independence campaign yet and because the Scottish leadership, such as it is, is waiting to be told what to say however the Labour party's campaign will have to include some promise of more devolved powers but again since they don't know what these powers will be they will also be offered in a black plastic bag sight unseen.

    Labour's not going to say the Tory promises are worthless or that the Lib-Dem promises are worthless and the same will apply to the Tories and the Lib-Dems. When rival street traders are offering goods in black plastic bags sight unseen on the same pitch then they don't want to bring any doubt to the deal.

    In actual fact if they can convince everyone that all three unionist traders have goodies in the black plastic bags then all three will win by building mutual confidence about the whole scam and fleece the voters together.

  9. An independent Scotland would inherit membership of the EU, and even if we didn't, I rather think with 90% of UK geographical oil - they'd be desperate to have us.

    So it really is a complete red herring. Can we please discuss real issues such as currency issues, or future monetary Scotland-England relations? That is where the real debate concerning separatism versus unionism is to be had.

  10. Yes. I have no doubt about any of that, Dean, I was just amused really that for the second time in as many weeks the UK government has lied about things pertaining to Scotland and their relationships with other countries, in this case Spain and The Vatican. And these countries have pulled them up on it. Once is a bad mistake, twice, is a Lady Bracknell moment.

    The currency seems for the moment to be that we would have a Scottish Pound, as the Irish had an Irish pound until they joined the Euro; as Jersey, Guernsey, Man and Gibraltar all have their own currency, all called pounds, all in the sterling area.

    It has worked other places. There are large parts of Africa which are in the Franc zone... and use the CFA.

    Although Central African CFA francs and West African CFA francs have always been at parity and have therefore always had the same monetary value against other currencies, they are in principle separate currencies. They could theoretically have different values from any moment if one of the two CFA monetary authorities, or France, decided it. Therefore West African CFA coins and banknotes are theoretically not accepted in countries using Central African CFA francs, and vice versa. However in practice the permanent parity of the two CFA franc currencies is widely assumed.

    I have to say though that (although not at every level of this conversation between unionists and nationalists) at the top, the nationalists have always suggested that it would be a friendly slit. It's the likes of Cameron who have talked about your granny being a foreigner and border posts with guard dogs.

    There are many other issues to sort out, but all are doable.

    The Czeck Republic and Slovakia managed it. We should be able to.