Friday, 22 March 2013


Scots have nothing to lose going the ‘indy’ route

Yes. The country is financially stronger than the United Kingdom as a whole and its people desire a government very different from the one sitting at the Westminster Parliament, London.
Under the current devolved settlement, Scotland has a parliament sitting in Holyrood, Edinburgh, which controls a paltry 16% of the country’s tax base. The game-changing economic and social policy levers remain in the hands of the U.K. government, leaving Scotland unable to properly tackle some of its social ills or take full advantage of its many natural resources.
Scotland’s union with England and the other parts of the U.K. is not offering Scots the best option. The current political landscape across the nations of the U.K. is one where Westminster is controlled by a Conservative-Liberal coalition government that was roundly rejected by Scottish voters at the last election; just one Conservative member of Parliament hails from a seat north of the border.
London makes the crucial decisions and, unsurprisingly, makes them in the interests of the city and its surrounding area. It places little importance on improving the social and economic well-being of Scotland. Those who say no to independence will be guaranteeing a continuation of this sorry state of affairs.
Scotland should no longer allow a distant parliament governed by political parties it didn’t vote for to dictate the country’s future path. And the idea, promoted by many newspapers and British state television, that Scotland survives on handouts from London and gets far too many “freebies” is not just incorrect, it is divisive.
Recent figures revealed in “The Government Expenditure and Revenue Scotland 2011-12 Report” show that, rather than enjoying handouts, Scotland is paying more money in tax than it receives in U.K. public spending, to the tune of around £863 per head of its population.
Newspapers the length and breadth of the U.K. continue to run baseless front-page scare stories about independence. What many of these failing newspapers make clear is that the so-called “union” of countries is viewed by London as being one they control.
As for the wording of the referendum question “Should Scotland be an independent country?,” one Daily Telegraph newspaper columnist wrote: “If the British government ‘allows’ this question to go forward, it deserves to lose.”
Scots are very much the second-class citizens of the union, only independence can change this. Most newspapers in the U.K. are losing their influence though, as readers increasingly turn away from a printed press clearly biased on this subject, and look online for their news.
This is especially true of the younger generation, who are using the Internet to access more balanced articles on Scottish independence. And the possible effects of this were highlighted in a recent opinion poll, where a majority of 18-24 year olds supported independence.
The democratic, economic and social inequalities being experienced in a Scotland tethered to a union designed to work for the benefit of one constituent — England — can end next year if Scots back themselves and say yes to independence. Because energy-rich Scotland has the people, economy and social solidarity to chart its own course, for the benefits of all that choose to call the country home.
There is even more to Scotland’s economic potential as an independent country than its booming oil and renewable energy industries. It has a number of world- class business sectors; including food and drink, life sciences and a first-class education system. Scotland has much to offer — both to itself and the world.
For 40 years, Scotland’s oil and gas wealth has been used to prop up the U.K. economy and bankroll expensive infrastructure projects in London and the south of England.
In return, Scots have witnessed the country’s manufacturing base destroyed and its social ills escalate.
Glasgow, Scotland’s largest city, governed at a local level by the same political party — the increasingly right wing and unionist Labour Party — for much of the last half century, has some of the worst mortality and child poverty rates in the developed world. The notion that the country will face some sort of biblical apocalypse if it becomes independent; as most Scottish and U.K. newspapers seem to imply is unfounded and insulting.
The business and economic case for Scotland being independent is strong. Of course there will be challenges but when things do go wrong, as they have been going for some time now, Edinburgh will have a sovereign parliament that can make decisions in the interests of the people who voted them into power: the Scottish electorate.
As Scots singer Eddie Reader retweeted: “indy (independence) gives us uncertainty with power, U.K. gives uncertainty without power.”
According to most opinion polls, Scots trust Edinburgh’s Parliament a lot more than Westminster when it comes to acting in their best interests.
So Scots should say yes next year to giving their Edinburgh Parliament the natural powers of independence needed to reroute the country on to a positive path and, crucially, bring democracy closer to the people.
* Emphases and illustrations are mine. Click on pictures to enlarge (but I take no responsibility for anyone clicking on Cameron).


  1. I love Japan, the land of manga, anime and kabuki ... le sigh ... what a lovely land. #Love#

    ... # cough #

    That all said, to the point!

    "The business and economic case for Scotland being independent is strong"

    I actually would be a liar if I didn't agree with this. My response would be in the form of a question: 'couldn't the same case be made for full fiscal autonomy inside the UK?'

    I've yet to hear a compelling answer to this from any senior SNP figure, though a Green or two has issued a tempting attempt

  2. Dean, you really are a cludgie. I sincerely hope you, if you are a student(?), are more able to absorb the knowledge being passed on by your tutors than you seem incapable of absorbing the content of a post on this site.

    I suggest, just as one example, you look at the graphic referring to TRIDENT about halfway down the page towards the right side.

    I'd say that gives some 163,000,000 reasons for full independence without including the replacement costs. Unless, of course, you fancy trading mutually assured destruction rather than whiskey, oil etc.

    1. Triden cancellation funds don't necessarily become available for automatic re-designation. Maybe you should absorb more facts yourself? But then again, cybernats are all ideology and no pragmatism...

      Besides, unilateralism is useless, we need multilateralism if we really wish a safer world. But again, nationalist separatists wouldn't understand multi-anything, all they wish for is withdrawal from this, withdrawal from that ... separation and unilateral action apparently gives us promises of cake tomorrow.

      All the while Scotland under President Salmond embarks on an extremist free market deregulation post-Union.

      No thanks.

    2. Trident cancellation funds don't necessarily become available for automatic re-designation.

      Why not?

      If we didn't have trident, we could spend the money on something else if we wanted to. Doubtless the Tories would want to spend it on tax cuts for millionaires, but in our own country WE could do what WE want with the money WE wouldn't spend on killing.

      There are so many convincing arguments.

      Not having Willie Hague as Foreign Secretary is one. We've no need to embassies all over the world. It's a waste of money for a broke country. We could share in some places with other EU countries or with other allies; give ambassadors a wider geographical area (2 or 3 countries in the cases of smaller ones). We could have reciprocal agreements with the likes of Norway, Iceland, Ireland, Denmark...

      Not having the UK deal with our EU arrangements is another. Regardless of us being responsible for our own affairs, whatever involves the EU is dealt with by an English minister, not the Scottish one. All this while some of our towns are so run down, and conditions so bad that the average male life expectancy is 56. Lower than Haiti (at 60)

      Full fiscal autonomy is a great deal better than what we have at the moment, where we are subsidising the UK to the tune of over £800 per person, but it still involves us in playing our part and PAYING our part in being the 4th biggest military in the world, and America's number one go getter. We can't afford to play world policeman any more. These days are over.

    3. Boorach: I don't think Dean has been reading any of the positive reasons we've been outlining for 4 years on this blog!

  3. Marvelous article, I'll be linking to it on other sites.

    1. Thanks PP. A good way to get it more read is to recommend on Google!

  4. If the Scots are second class citizens, what are the English, at least you have your own Parliament and an increased level of spending per capita than the English.
    You're also not being over run by mass uncontrolled immigration either.
    I hope you do get independence, I really would get out while you can, just not for the reasons you state.

    1. at least you have your own Parliament and an increased level of spending per capita than the English.

      As Scotland is classed as one of 12 regions NI and London swap places to get the most funding per capita.

    2. I know how it seems to the English QM. But think about it from our point of view for just a moment.

      We've always been a tiny partner. As have the other small countries/provinces.

      As you know we have retained from the 18th century, our own legal system, but our laws were simply your laws with (Scotland) tacked on to them. Frequently the prime ministers of the UK have had no idea that we did things differently and have referred to English institutions when talking about Scottish affairs. Thatcher in particular.

      We are used to and don't really care about people referring to the UK as England: The Queen of England, etc. The BBC on its news programmes almost invariably talk about what is happening in England as if it affects all of us. Recently for example with the scandals you have had in your health service, I have listened to programmes broadcast here, talking about THE health service, as if we were having these problems (our service is far far from perfect but we are not systematically ignoring people lying in their own muck, nor are we starving them to death when they can't feed themselves or drink). Gove's education plans are nothing to do with us, but if we watch the BBC, for which we pay WELL above any benefit we get back, we would never know about our own education service, which is totally different.

      You say we get more money per head, but we also pay much more money per head in taxes.

      You say we have our own government, but we can only do with it what the UK government gives us money to do. We have no powers to rearrange the taxation so that it helps the poor, or industry. We get a lump sum and then we have to deal with it. So if a Tory chancellor (for whom we most assuredly did not vote) cuts spending, we get less money to spend, even though we are still paying more per head than the English are.

      As I said above, even in areas where we have control, if these matters are in some way affected by the EU, or any other foreign country, it is the English equivalent minister who deals with the matter. We have no say.

      We help to pay for stuff that doesn't affect us or improve our lives one little bit...Olympic games for example, which has had no repercussions here, but cost us a fortune, and when we have the Commonwealth Games, we will have to pay for the lot ourselves. No help from the English. Unfair, seeing we helped them.

      In Westminster we have 59 MPs. What Scots in general think doesn't account for anything. If all of them voted together, London MPs (11% of UK total) could defeat us.

      I'm not saying any of this is wrong. You are a large country; we are a tiny one.

      Of course you should hold sway.

      Some of us think that we are very badly served in the equation.

  5. Great article and now the dawn is breaking this side of the border.

    A vote for independence is not a vote for Salmond

    Ultimately, the choice offered will be personal, not party political. Many, the slow learners, will still take their guidance from the parties and follow their loyalties. It seems to be the only way they can understand the casting of a vote. A referendum is different. This referendum, above all, is different. It is not, thank God, just another election campaign.

    No-one, thus far, wants to hear that. In journalism, we are as guilty as any. "Poll blow/boost to Salmond", the story or the headline will say. In terms of strict accuracy, it should read "Poll blow/boost to Bell" (and a few million others). Mr Salmond's victory was in securing the referendum. The rest, in a strange but important way, is none of his business.

    This ought to be elementary, but none of those in the trenches of the opposing campaigns wants to hear it. In effect, they are distorting the essential argument. The rest of us should be wondering about that kind of behaviour. After all the fraudulent fuss over the wording of the question, the disreputable game is to twist its meaning.

    1. Yes brilliant CH...

      It will change; journalists wills see the way the wind is blowing and move slowly.

      It's only the moribund BBC which seems to be owned by the Labour Party in Glasgow, that in the end will continue to lie and cheat its way through to the referendum.

      I dunno how much anyone watched the BBC anymore. There's a hundred or so other channels to watch.

    2. CH

      Read this article this morning, and thought Ian Bell is head and shoulders above the rest of the MSM mob.


      I think Ian Bell has seen the way the wind is blowing for a long time and his articles just get better.

      I used to watch BBC news every night but stopped after Glen Campbell ripping up the SNP manifesto. Still gets a laugh at branch meetings when I say Glen Campbell sent me.

    3. I think that Iain McWhirter has defiantly moved his stance too Dubs, but I agree about Ian Bell. He's very clever too.

      I see that a majority of Scots survey (by the Sun, I think) want Cameron to debate with Salmond.

      Oh wouldn't that be great. I'll find the article and put it up as a post.

  6. quiet man

    Best define English because it dont encompass anyone outside the
    south east of England and given you got a Tory Westminster Parliament
    (no matter who is nominally in power) what the hell have you gone without.

    To the Torys anyone outside the south east without a "la-di-da accent"
    is an unwanted Immigrant just fit for being a servant or for fighting wars
    for England.

    1. True Niko. Even people like Mr Heseltine are saying that the UK is too London-centric...

      And there is another example. When he was talking about this on radio and he said ....great cities that made Britain.... Bristol, Manchester, Birmingham, Liverpool, Leeds, Newcastle...

      Nuff said.

  7. Westminster taxes the high earners 45% on part of their income - yet the poor who earn the least and as a result depend partially on welfare have their earnings 'taxed' at 85% on all of their earnings over £3,784.per annum.

    Reason enough!

    1. How does that work Crinkly?

      I thought there was no tax until £9,000...

  8. @ CH

    Excellent stuff! surprising how some of the most well balanced can't see past the referendum being a vote pro/anti Alex.

    @ Niko

    Glad you're still around and for once I am in full agreement with you. Remember you don't have to be 'labour' to be socially left of centre.

  9. We must try Boorcvah, to get through to people that it isn't about Alex.

    One of my neighbours actually said that his reason for voting NO was Alex Salmond. Can't stand him

    OK, so my neighbour is as thick as a thick thing, but a no vote is a no vote.

    The fact that an independent Scotland will be here long long after old Eck has bitten the dust, didn't seem to occur to him. The fact that after the referendum there is a period of negotiations with England/Wales and then there is a general election which could see Jim Murphy or Douglas Alexander or whoever, as the First Minister, doesn't seem to occur to them.

  10. Tris

    We are organising a party the unionists are trying to organise a wake.

    The party will be remembered long after Alex is gone.

  11. Well put Dubs. Scots sure know how to do parties!!!

  12. Replies
    1. Is that what you got CH?

      This morning on the 6 am new, and 7 too I think, they were talking about Farage having his conference all buoyed up by the fact that they came second in a by-election and beat the Blue Tories; then they mentioned that the Tories were having their conference in London and that the posh boy was giving a speech, and then... they went on about the bad weather in the north of England, which they called "the north".

    2. Don't watch propaganda or any other TV tris but I did watch the supposed live stream from John Smith headquarters but it was more like a Prof Curtice talk show, mince made up by ass holes. I am still waiting for a written response from the beeb for over 2 months as to pathetic keys Labour controlled broadcasts shows that no one will perjure themselves by adding a signature. At least North Korea executes its dissidents here we we have to pay money via a tv tax.

      ps. Where was Dean educated in learning as thinking seems to of been taboo?

  13. Interesting balanced article, if we could just get that in the papers here that would be a great step forward.


    1. I think it's starting to change. I think that regardless of what their owners think, journalists with any kind of decency or intelligence, are seeing that there is another side to the story.

      It must be difficult to write up more debt, more misery, more austerity, more self important strutting at the top, and put down being the 8th, 9th,or 10th richest country in the world, just because your boss says so.

  14. I do not agree with the comments regarding Alex Salmond. I would go as far as to say that without him we have no chance of getting a Yes vote. He may be arrogant and self-centered but he is by far the most effective and persuasive politicians in these islands. The unionist parties know this and hence the constant attacks. I agree we should hear more from other parties but it is up to them to make their voices heard.

  15. I don't know about Alex, John. I like him, but a lot of people don't, and as I said earlier, at least one person I know says that Salmond is the reason that he won't vote for independence. That's stupid, but then so is my neighbour... and he doesn't even see that by voting NO he will be pleasing Cameron, whom he seems to hate even more.

    Alex is a brilliant politician, as my next piece, up in a few minutes says... Even Murdoch said he was the best that the UK has. There are other very clever people at the top of the SNP, Nicola and John come immediately to mind, but I don't think that either of them is the communicator that Alex is. John most certainly is not.

    So he puts some people off, but I suspect he persuades more people than he dissuades.

    Patrick has a pretty small base, and I don't rate him much as a communicator, and the SSP is not represented at all in parliament despite having a measurable vote. Sheridan might have been good for the Yes campaign if people weren't doubtful about him, given all that has gone on with him and the papers.