Saturday, 23 June 2012


I noticed that the First Minister of Wales, Carwyn Jones, has suggested that, as the bulk of the Scots appear in polls to want a third question on the ballot paper in 2014, offering devolution max as an alternative to independence or dependence, the two options currently on offer from the coalition of Labour, Liberal and Conservative Unionists, or Dependentists... according to how you see it, I suppose, it would be a good idea to include this option on the ballot paper.

It's strange that Ms Lamont, his Scottish equivalent in the Labour hierarchy is so vehemently against this and seems to be more of a mind with Mr Forsythe the ex-Tory SoS.

Mr Cameron's solution is a vague promise that if Scots vote against independence, he will offer some extra unspecified powers to him!

I don't want devolution max. Although no one has spelled out exactly what it would mean, the consensus appears to be that although Scotland would run all its own affairs, it would still be dependent upon the UK for Defence and Foreign Affairs

At present two of the most disastrous departments of state, in my opinion (although I admit it's hard to single any out), are Defence and Foreign Affairs.

In Defence the UK still seems determined to renew a weapon system which would be a small contribution in any fight against the Soviet Union, which doesn't exist, at a cost of tens of  billions of pounds, which of course we do not have, while troops fighting endless unwinnable wars in selected Muslim countries, go under equipped and all the time a massive bureaucracy far larger than the fighting force, and including no fewer than 47 admirals who do not have ships, never mind fleets, gobbles up money as if we had some. It sounds like something from "Allo Allo", but without Von Smallhausen.

In Foreign Affairs no one appears to have told them much about the 20th century, never mind the 21st, mush less that we have arrived there. They do seem to realise that America is now in charge, but apart from that they appear to think Britain still has imperial responsibility for a quarter of the Earth. Like an embarrassing Smithers to America's Mr Burns, we trail around agreeing with everything they say, no matter how ridiculous, all the while maintaining a Rolls Royce ambassador in nearly every country on the globe in a standard to which the Queen might like to become accustomed. Notably, however, when people need their help, they are regrettably unable to offer anything but the scantest advice.

So no, if Devolution Max means England (and it would be England) keeping control over these functions, it is, whilst immeasurably preferable to the current arrangements,  not my preferred solution.
British Ambassador's residence in Washington...
But what is it that these people ave against a referendum on people's wishes being just that.  Last year the referendum on voting systems for Westminster offered two options that most of the population didn't want, whilst the third that the polls suggested would have been popular, was omitted, on it seems orders form Downing Street, that font of all wisdom. 

And while opinion polls have shown that the public wants a referendum on continued membership of the EU, it has been denied to them.

Now, with most opinion polls showing that over 40% would vote for Devolution Max, were it included on the ballot paper, is it not time for the coalition of Labour, Tory and Liberals to give some though to allowing a referendum including this as an option? 

Mr Cameron should note that you can only get away with offering people a choice of what they don't want and what they don't want more, for so long. That way you end up with people not ever getting what they want. 

Eventually surely even the long suffering Brits, faced with a series of choices between bad and worse, whilst a better is just out of reach, are going to say, enough is enough.

Incidentally, if the Welsh can have an articulate, intelligent multi lingual Labour leader (who also happens to be First Minister) who wants only the best from Wales, why did Scotland get lumbered with Johann Lamont.


  1. tris

    The extremist (for 70 years+ damn them all to hell) have demanded an in out referendum.
    Now the day of reckoning comes they are in blind panic(stinking cowards) and are begging someone any one to ask them for Devo-max to save Fat boys political life ...........

    Well hardy ha! ha!

    You extremist nats have opened the 'Independence' door and we are all going to have walk through it.
    It seems the snp are going to have to be dragged through.

    Apologies for using the dread word 'Independence' banned by the snp


    a negotiation by the Scottish Parliament for more powers needs no referendum at all...they have just been given increased powers which Salmond refused until the final moment.

  2. Niko, why are the S.n.P. going to be dragged through the Independence door?

    Is not Independence at the core of the S.N.P.?

    Do you really think that the alleged powers in the Scotland Bill are enough to appease what we in Scotland want?

    Are you happy for Holyrood to have control over air guns but WESTMINSTER retain control of the powerful air guns?

    Are you happy that Holyrood can control speed limits for cars but WESTMINSTER retain control over speed limits for buses and trucks?

    Are you happy that N.I. can have control over Air Passenger Duty but Scotland can not?

    Why should Scotland be DENIED control over Business rates, after all Scotland is the BIGGEST growing area of Britain when it comes to Inward investment and small and medium business growth!

    Why was control of the Crown Estates not returned to Scotland, after all the Crown Estates ORIGINATED in Scotland.

    I wouldn't read too much into the Scottish government accepting the "new" powers in the Scotland Bill either. Remember, these powers do NOT come into effect until 2016!

    As far as begging goes I don't think you'll find the S.N.P. doing much of that Bubba.

    When the Scottish government asked the Scottish public for their opinions they were offered a second question option. However any second question WILL have to be drawn up by a party from the Dependence Brigade. No one from the YES camp will be getting involved in that question so over to the Dependenistas for that one!

    Unlike the Dependence Brigade the Scottish Government actually went out and ASKED the Scottish public what they wanted. Westminster only decided to do so AFTER they realised it might be a good trick, unfortunately for Westminster it was hijacked by Labour and they didn't get much of a response either!

    Oh one final thought. Immaterial of what the YES camp want the Dependence Brigade are all shouting from the rooftops that there should only be ONE question! So any accusation of the YES camp failing to give a second question should surely be pointedly put to the D.B.

  3. Tris:

    I could lay out the reasons in this comment why devo-max is a non-starter in Scotland but I already did that in an article I wrote for bellacaledonia in January.

  4. Personally Tris, I think we will end up with just a straight forward single question.

    If the form "Do you agree......." was good enough for the 1997 referendum then it's damned well good enough for the 2014 referendum as well!

  5. why did Scotland get lumbered with Johann Lamont.

    Silly question just read Niko's posts. LoL

  6. Wasn't Johann Lamont Ed Milliband's "best choice" :lol:

    From what I recall he wasn't very good at remembering the other "contenders" anyway.

  7. Niko pet...

    Listen very carefully, I shall say this only once...

    The people of Scotland, in poll after poll, have said that their preference is Devo Max... some 48% if I remember rightly in the last opinion poll, with the rest divided between...don't know/care...YES and the we wish to remain a part of England set.

    I don't want devo max for the reasons I set out above. Half our income would go on ensuring that the British (he would always be English/Welsh/Cornish) prime minister [I say he, because I think it will be a bloody long time before they risk another Thatcher] would be able to sit at the top table with his betters.

    The SNP has made it clear that it wants one question. The first minister has said what what question should be, and its style is based on Labour's model so they should ahve no problem with it, unless it's another one of Ed's U-turns, now that he appears to wish they hadn't allowed immigrants to come in, and they hadn't allowed bankers to do whatever they wanted and....

    Why do you dependence lot [we can't call you the "NO" campaign, because Alistair Darling (a real socialist if ever I saw one) has discovered that the word 'NO' sounds negative!!!!] continue to accuse the independence lot of running away from independence, after it's been explained time after time.

    A bit like your Johann and her Chinese steel story. Despite Alex explaining 3 times to her that we didn't have the capacity to make steel for the bridge... because the unionist parties had closed down our steel works, she continued to blame him for not buying it from non-existent Scottish companies that didn't make it.

    Anyway, Arbroath has explained it to it and learn.

  8. Bravo Arbroath... can't add anything to that!

  9. Doug: Thanks for that pointer to your article which I found well written and thoughtful.

    I must take back what I have been saying. I was of the opinion that the SNP did not want to contemplate Devo Max...[certainly the people I know are] possibly for the reason that they would insist on taking oil money.

    Mind you, I don't agree with Willie Rennie, or, it would seem, you, about the rest of the UK having to vote on it...on the basis that devolution in its original form was voted on by Scots only... and in many ways that was a bigger step than extending that devolution to cover areas that it doesn't cover at present.

    That said, I appreciate your article and its considerable contribution to the debate... Beside's which it is nice to see (read) you again... :)

  10. I'm sure that is what we will get, and reading Doug's article makes me even more certain, Arbroath.

  11. I take that point CH, but wouldn't it be nice if we had someone like Carwyn Jones ...they do exist in Labour... who would act in the best interests of Scotland instead of in the bet interest of putting down eveery thing the SNP says or does.

    So often you hear Alex talking about meetings he's had with the Welsh or Irish first ministers, and how they are at one with him, while Scottish Labour is against... for no other than petty little reasons.

    Why don't they put Scotland first for a change?

  12. So, Arbraoth, David Camerbum got his first choice in Ruth, and Ed got his first choice in Johann.

    Obviously they were the kind that would take orders from London without any argument.

    Labour has form on this, as several autobiographies from the Blair years have shown.

    But Dave, in his usual incompetent way has managed to have Ruth repeat his policies lock, stock and barrel only to find that they have been changed in time honoured CamerUturn fashion, leaving her looking like an idiot.

  13. I hear that Margo has tweeted that the dependence parties campaign will be called 'The Abominable No Men'.

  14. That's what I loved about the whole "Scottish" thingy with all three Dependence parties.

    They believed all the self hype about calling themselves Scottish, "that'll fool these dumb Scots and we can STILL control policy from London." There's one thing for sure the Cameroon Bar was NOT going to let Murdo Fraser spoil his little "London centric control" plan!

    Somehow I don't think they got the message, despite it being shouted from the rooftops in May 2011!

    C.H. Don't you love that Margo. Boy she has a sense of humour and Abominably no mistake! :lol:

  15. tris

    I will stay sucking on the teat of the glorious 'Union' till i am fat and content or dead.

  16. Brilliant Cynical... Very droll, our Margo!!

    They are in a way abominable, because their campaign is based on lies... it has to be, because the truth is that Scotland would be better, happier, more equal, more respected, richer, safer, greener...etc on its own.

    The only time they tell the truth is when they say that Scotland wouldn't have a seat on the Security Council (Boo Hoo) and it wouldn't be able to boast the third largest fighting force in the world (oh dear)...

    All we need to do is point out the lies, on which it seems the whole of British society is based, and then we need to paint a real and honest picture of where Scotland would be better, happier, richer, etc, explaining why... and we will have won the argument.

  17. No, Arbroath, you can tell how joined at the hip they are when they trot out the same old policies over and over.

    What London says will invariably be repeated here.

    They seem to think that we can't see.

    Oh well, underestimation of your opponent is a classic mistake in an argument.

    The difficulty seems to be in persuading people that a change will make them better off.

    There is a huge responsibility on Alex Salmond and his cabinet to govern well for the next 2 years.

    While we can certainly guarantee that Camertwerp will make a mess of it.

  18. Until you are fat and content, Niko...?

    Well I hope you have a tendency to obesity and I hope you are easily pleased, because one of the things that must play in our favour is that, at the moment, there's not a lot of fat around and contentment is thin on the ground... unless, of course you are a multi-millionaire board room type person whose wages have gone up on average 11%, compared to an ordinary Joe, whose wages have gone up be 1.1% (you see a connection there).

    In fact many people's wages have gone down as George Osborne makes a bigger mess of the economy.

    And don't be fooled by his "employment has come down" nonsense. Detailed figures show that people are either not registering because they wouldn't be entitled to any money, and they would be entitled to a load of incompetent and incorrect information and rudeness, or they are accepting part-time jobs to get the Jobcentre off their backs, and so are still claiming some benefits to top up.

    So you suck away, Niko, but when you are malnourished, come back to dear old Scotland and we'll feed you up on fried Mars Bar and chips!


  19. I hope Niko has plenty of udder rub as his cash cow has got mastitus.

  20. Superb article CH. Thanks.

    I doubt there wont be much to suck at, Niko.

  21. Oh dear.

    There used to be a saying "you can't see the woods for the trees."
    I think in Niko's case it is a case of "you can't see the truth for the fat!"

    You would thought Tris, that after the 2007 election the Dependence Brigade would have got the message....They didn't!
    Then you think ach well they'll get the message after May 2011... They didn't!
    I can only draw one conclusion from this.... they don't do "learning from our mistakes" very well!

    The obvious proof of this is in the fact that the D.B. have wee Richie Baker as their campaign director!!!!!!

  22. Ohhhhh yeah, wee Richard. I'd forgotten about that useless plonker.

    I just read his Wikki page... not much to it. He seems to never have had a proper job.

    I used to laugh at him when he was the Justice spokesman. He made such a fool of himself against Kenny.

    I can only imagine how incredibly useless he will be at the Finance brief ...up against the brain of John Swinney... what a laugh that must be.

    If he is campaign director of the dependency brigade, may heaven help them... or not.

  23. I watched him up against Keith Brown the SNP Transport minister on Thursday. Jeez, he (Baker) obviously can't read and he obviously can't listen to what is being said.

    I've just checked and apparently he is Labour spokesperson on Infrastructure & Capital Investment.

    Looks like he hasn't got to grips with how to read. Even with an ADVANCE copy of Keith Brown's Transport investment announcement Baker STILL managed to make himself a laughing stock. Couldn't happen to a better candidate!

  24. One think you haven't mentioned is that MrJones has also made a shameless play to house Trident in Milford Haven once it gets thrown out of Scotland. It appears he has not talked to his cabinet, or his party about this, nor has he talked to the Oil and Gas companies who use the haven to import 20% of the energy into Britain. Bit of a gaffe.

  25. I thought he was finance Arbroath...

    Obviously not if he was up against Keith.

    Yeah, reading isn't a Labour strong point... Johann has problems reading her speeches, sorry, I mean questions, at FMQs,

  26. Sionnyn

    Welcome to the blog :)

    You make a good point there.

    We don't want England's WMDs... I wonder if the people of Wales do.

    Dangerous things to have around.

    He just went down a bit in my estimation....

  27. Was he not finance at some point. I seem to have a vision, bad I know, of him as Labour's Finance spokesperson at some point during the last parliament.

    Any way if you want a laugh the Bitter Together campaign have their website up.

    Try and keep the laughter down to a dull roar! :lol:

    I have been having a lot of fun over on the Scottish Independence site as well.

    I've found it to be a good site to have a laugh at everything the Dependence Brigade get up to. It is amazing how often they try to shoot down the YES campaign and end up shooting themselves in the foot. Come to think about it I didn't know they had any feet left to shoot at!

  28. Aye, far from Devo Max being a "best of both worlds" solution, with assumes defence and foreign affairs to be better dealt with by Westminster (presumably because they're such big, important departments that the Scottish Government aren't ready to deal with, or something), these two are in fact possibly the best arguments for full independence.

    Defence of your people is the first priority of government, yet apparently we'd rather this was done by people who see fit to harbour nuclear weapons 25 miles from Scotland's most populous city, who send our soldiers out to illegal wars, who place the defence of Scottish shores very far down their pecking order, and who see fit to only spend about half of what Scotland contributes to defence back into the Scottish economy.

    Likewise, we'd apparently rather foreign affairs was done by people who chum up to the only nation state on this planet to ever use Weapons of Mass Destruction on another nation; people who think the UK is better than our European neighbours and think standing up for your country means isolating yourself from everyone else; people who can't help interfering in other people's affairs; people whose primary concern when it comes to helping others is "what's in it for us?" or often more precisely "how much oil do they have?"

    No thanks, I'll take full independence, please. Until then, we'll continue to see leaders of other countries shaking the hands of privately-educated nitwits like Cameron rather than our own First Minister. Oh, and anyone who thinks you can get Full Fiscal Autonomy without independence is fooling themselves - VAT can only be transferred to Holyrood under full independence, as EU rules prevent member states from having regional variations to VAT (or so I've read somewhere...), and it's laughable to think we would have any real say over how much we pay for Westminster providing us with their "services" for defence and foreign affairs.

  29. Hello A...

    Thanks for commenting... Totally love "bitter together"... It's really appropriate word play.

    I'll go and have a look!

  30. PS...I remember him having something to do with finance, but I should imagine he's pretty useless at it, so he may have been moved to something less...demanding. Floor cleaning might be just the job for him.

    And as for foot-shooting, they seem to do it every time the open their mouths. The problem for them is what they are offering is what we have got.

    A odious Tory governments with no connection with Scotland except "Fluffy", and a serious agenda of self help for the rich and and titled and to hell with the rest of you. A failed economy slipping into third world status and an ever more repressive state spying on everything we do because the apparently see terrorists around every corner, which is no small wonder when you consider how many places they have poked their unwelcome and incredibly ignorant noses.

    I see, on that theme, that Mr Haig has been giving advice on how to run Egypt, to the new Egyptian president.

    Doubtless the president will be grateful for Mr Haig's intervention, given the enormous experience in running Egypt he brings to the table... bloody idiot.

  31. Bravo Doug. Beautifully put. I agree 100%.

    I love England. I've lived there and I've loads of friends there. I also love France... I've lived there and got loads of friends there.

    I don't want either of them running my finances, my defence and my foreign relations. I think we are clever enough to manage that for ourselves on an equal standing with England and France :)

  32. The great advantage of having a devo-max option would be it would come down to just Trident. Would the unionists win that one?

    Of curse, having the unionists deny a devomax option will be even better.

    SNP playing a blinder.

  33. Thing is Sionnyn, I don't think there will be a second question on Devo whatever. A.S. has put the idea of Devo whatever forward but he has no intention of doing anything about promoting it. Why? Well because the SNP are solely concerned with Independence.

    As A.S. has said on numerous occasions, if the Dependence Brigade want Devo whatever on the ballot paper then it is up to them to make case for it it will not be up to the SNP. Of course having Devo whatever on the ballot might be seen by the D.B. as a fall back for the SNP but that is not what the SNP are all about, Independence is the goal and Independence we will have in 2014 thank you very much!

    As you say he has played a blinder on the Devo whatever score. Everyone knows that the D.B. only want one question. Well that's fine because the question will be put forward by the YES campaign team, and it will be of the sort that asks "Do you want Scotland to be an Independent country?"

    I watched a bit of the D.B. at their launch today. I have never seen a bigger bunch of cardboard cutouts. Darling was absolutely disastrous. The video they have to start the launch is a disaster. I have posted elsewhere that it should be up for the best comedy video award of 2012!

    Hell they were even ripping Saltires off of the lamp posts on the way into the launch today. Ah respect, don't you just love it when the D.B. ignore the respect option! Never mind there was an even bigger Saltire laid out on the ground opposite the launch with a "End London Rule" underneath it. I see they were not so brave to attack that flag!

  34. Yes Sionnyn,

    I think Arbroath is right. The SNP, despite what the press are trying to make out (AS backing down,) are not interested in devo max.

    Yes, they supported devolution as a step along the way, but they are about independence and nothing else. And now is the time for better or worse. We have an uphill climb against the unionist, the BBC and the press, but it is make or break, and we are good at uphill climbs.

    As for the unionist parties, they are all over the place. Labour's last position was that it accepted that Scot's wanted more power for Edinburgh; Ruth drew "a line in the sand" in agreement with Dave, then Dave promised an unspecified extra powers package, the Liberals used to be federalist, but the last I heard of their bloke in Edinburgh, he was against devo max... strange for a federalist party, because if they could have devo max for Wales and NI and England, then that more or less IS federalism.

    So, they are all over the place and they can't answer any questions on it when they share a platform, because there is no little upon which they can agree.

    We are bound to ask...what is the future if we stay in Britain, and of course we will be greeted by three different answers.

    On numbers we can ignore the Lib-Dems, but Labour and Tories will promise different things. So what would it be? It would depend who won the next UK election!

    They are unwinding before they have started.

    BTW everybody I've told loves BITTER Together!!!

  35. I don't think the "memo" got round to everyone in time for today's launching, or was it a sinking? :lol:

    Could we be witnessing the first cracks in the S.S. Titanic BEFORE it hits the Iceberg!

  36. Brilliant piece by Andrew, as usual Arbroath.

    I realise they were hard pressed to find good people to lead this campaign, but they've chosen an uninspiring bunch.

    I suppose that Annabel Goldie is the most popular Tory in the country (although that's not saying much).

    Charles Kennedy used to be well liked, but I think a lot of people are angry with him for not standing down when he was ill, and failing to oppose Blair properly at a time when he might have made a difference. Blair had no opposition as the Tories were in tatters(not that they would have opposed much that Blair did anyway).

    I'm not sure Kennedy has been forgiven. He certainly hasn't by me. Golden opportunity wasted.

    As for Alistair Darling. What can I say?

    Who is going to take his advice on anything. He was a crap minister in a crap government that got us into the worst mess we have been in for 80 years. Well done Alistair.

    He lacks any public charisma, and frankly hating Gordon Brown is not sufficient reason for anyone to follow him.

    That said I can't think of alternatives. If Ming Campbell was too old when he was leader he's even older now. There is no one else in the Tories... I mean Fluffy!!!!???**!

    But surely there must be someone with a bit of something about them in the Labour party...

    OK... OK... OK

  37. Don't forget Tris, Ming is on a mission. Whatshisname has Ming the Merciless carrying out a commission investigation into what further powers might be handed to Scotland on a NO vote being the result in 2014.

    I see Auntie Bella was practicing her "future" employment chances as a T.V. interviewer today. Stick to the day job girl!

    I must admit I am having serious problems thinking of anyone in the Labour party who could do a better job than Darling. I think all of Darling's charisma was on show at the launch today. Just be thankful Darling was doing the launch and it wasn't Lamont! Every cloud DOES have a silver lining after all!

  38. We all know the rug was pulled out from under Darling and co. yesterday by the Cameroon Bar and his Benefits announcements.

    Well folks it just got worse.

    Apparently, the Tory and Labour parties have been lying to the people of the U.K. AND the U.N. for over 42 years about their Aid Budget!

    I find this utterly disgusting!

    I posted on other sites, so I'll post here as well.

    The time has come for our M.P's and M.S.P.'s, in my view, to start firing in as many Freedom of Information requests about this despicable behaviour as possible.

    Lets hit these lying two faced fraudsters where it hurts!

  39. Just two quick points.

    1. Can I strongly suggest everyone visit the wings over Scotland site.

    The Rev. Stu has done an EXCELLENT series of Better Together posters. Unfortunately I don't think the Bitter Together team will be using any of them, more's the pity. They certainly set out the REAL benefit of being in the union!"

    2. Here is a wee video of what the BBC DID NOT show in their report about the Bitter Together launch yesterday.

  40. Imagine me forgetting Ming's mission...well, actually, I knew nothing about it, or if I did I have forgotten. They are forever having commissions about this. What was wrong with Davie Steel's commission. Did it not find what they wanted it to find?

    All of Darling's charisma, you say... is that a measurable quantity?

    And so they have been lying... Better off Together, not meeting your targets...while countries like Luxembourg with the population of Edinburgh and surrounds manages it fine. Lying nobs.

    I've been over at WoS site... excellent stuff... and I'll just watch the video now.


  41. Gotta love this idiot.

    Hoist by his own petard...

  42. BTW Russell, I can see that you'd want to get "Better Together" into your question (which I would have said was every bit as loaded as the government's preferred option) but you might have tried to make your question good English.

    Scotland really can't be "better together as part of" anything.

  43. He may have tried o LOAD the question Tris, but unfortunately for him it didn't work! :lol: