Tuesday, 23 April 2013


I'd wish someone in the unionist camp would give us some good reasons to stay in the UK.

I've listened over the years to Labour and Tories telling us that we are Better Together, before they even came up with the substitute name for the  "No" campaign. But I've yet to hear a convincing argument that doesn't involve being up there at the top of the tree, running the world, which, when you think about it, does the likes of you and me absolutely no good at all, but gives Cameron and Hague and their ilk their place in world history, or some silly argument involving heather curtains and passports or visas to visit your granny for the afternoon in Carlisle, which are plain stupid.

So what is the real argument for Scotland, a potentially rich and dynamic northern European nation, to stay entangled with England? (And I say England, because I see no good reason for Wales or Northern Ireland to want to stay either.)

Last week I listened to Johann Lamont tell us that she wanted the Labour campaign to be positive, to set out the reasons why they think we are Better Together ...and then spend the rest of her speech being negative about Alex Salmond and the SNP.

She gave us a list of aspirations for a Scotland run by Labour, and still a part of the UK (so, in fact, a Scotland run by Ed Miliband and Harriet Harman) but the only policy she actually had was one of devolving income tax to Edinburgh, a silly idea if ever here was one, and already knocked on the head by London, and in any case, a situation which we have had in part since 1999, and never used, because it is such a silly idea.

Nowhere that I could discern in Labour's conference, which seemed to be dedicated to the independence question, were there positives about being a part of the UK.

I can understand that for people who still think we have an empire, like the top Tory voters, who live in a world of starched collars, butlers, and fags and beating younger boys, Rolls Royces, county cricket, tennis parties and the social season, having the 4th largest spend on military in the world is some sort of a status symbol; being on the permanent membership of the Security Council, being important in the world, like Churchill, Palmerston or Disraeli, means more than anything to them, even if today it is all a sham and tittered about elsewhere.

But for real Labour supporters, what's not to like about an independent Scotland?

An independent Scotland would have, and could spend, large amounts of money to make life better for ordinary people. 

With no ambitions to sit on high at America's right hand; no desire to have the power to flatten a couple of suburbs of Moscow if Washington gave us permission, we wouldn't be obliged to spend vast amounts of our money on weapons to kill foreigners. Not bothered about our reputation as the 2nd most important country in the world ever, we would happily share embassy premises and consular services with friends and allies, freeing up even more money for some of our downtrodden and neglected towns and keeping Scots alive, in what is, after all, an oil rich country.

Surely the kind of state that Norway has created for its people; prosperous and generous (with massive banked capital of more than $600 billion), and most of all, happy, is far nearer Labour ideology than the right wing, war mongering, greedy, grasping, unfair, unpleasant, corrupt country that we have come to live in, where profit is the only motivator, and the devil take the hindmost (usually the old and the sick)...and that regardless of which party is in power in Westminster.

What could Labour possibly dislike about us taking control of our social security and paying money to people who need it without subjecting them to humiliating interviews designed to  deprive them of their life's blood? Why would they object to Scotland having power over ALL its taxation enabling it to tax fairly, decently... perhaps reconsidering the policy of giving tax rebates on earnings over £150,000, and concentrating efforts on keeping people on low wages away from the loan sharks, just to feed their kids, boosting business, encouraging trade.

Instead of policy being dictated by largely affluent people in the South East of England, we could have policy set by Scots for a Scottish economy and a Scottish ideology, with a parliament closer to us, and much less costly, or corrupt.

What could anyone object to in that?

So, if there is someone out there who reads this who genuinely believes that Scotland is better in the UK (and I know there are such readers), and who can make a real and plausible argument for voting no, I promise that we will read their comments with respect and engage in constructive argument. Maybe a reasoned debate would even change some yes voters' opinions.

It's up to you...  I will gladly accept a genuine guest post... My email is on my profile.


  1. Great post.
    I know you wanted No voters to post, but i can only see three reasons for voting NO.

    Self interest.
    This covers politicians and media workers who make a good living out of the Westminster system. British security service workers that hold places in the media are included.

    Folk who don't know the economic facts.

    Folk who think of themselves as British, rather than Scottish.

    Some folk are in more than one group.

  2. Thanks Juteman...

    Good reasons and I agree. I'm guessing a No supporter won't want to admit them though....


  3. Instead of policy being dictated by largely affluent people in the South East of England, we could have policy set by Scots for a Scottish economy and a Scottish ideology, with a parliament closer to us, and much less costly, or corrupt.

    Instead of policy being dictated by largely affluent people the South East of England, we could have policy dictated by largely affluent Scots for a Scottish economy and a Scottish ideology,(whatever that is) with a parliament closer to us, and much less costly, or corrupt.(you can prove this assertion)

    Personally i no longer give a toss and have joined the 'none of the above'

    not so much as a No ,
    more like a 'who cares'

  4. You are falling into the Westminter trap, Niko.
    They want you to stop being interested in politics.

  5. Well, Niko, policy made by government ministers and members of whatever parliament, will, for as long as governments pay themselves wages far higher than the average person, will always be made by the relatively affluent. And yes, we swap English cabinet members for Scottish ones

    But whether Jim Murphy, or Alex Salmond, Anas Sarwar or Nicola Sturgeon in Bute House, they aren't likely top be the landed gentry. It's maybe a long time since Jim Murphy knew what it was like to count pennies, but he once did, and that goes for most of our Scottish politicians.

    It doesn't for most of the London ones. So at least we might have someone who understands ordinary people.

    Are they less corrupt? Well the Telegraph had a great scoop looking into MPs and the Times looking into the Lords.

    Over half MPOs were on the fiddle; no one knows how many lords because the authorities in the ROyal Palace of Westminster blocked the police form investigating. Some of their number say around 80% were at it.

    Just imagine the joy with which they would have proclaimed that SNP ministers were on the fiddle... So although I can't prove that they are less corrupt, I also suspect that if they were as corrupt then they would have been outed by now.

    As for expensive... The Houses of Parliament in London cost a fortune to run, and apparently billions of pounds has to be spent on the billion to stop it from falling down.

    I'm thinking that maintaining our 129 people is a good deal cheaper. They get paid less; they have much less generous expenses.

    I feel closer to Edinburgh's parliament and I did when Labour was in power too. I met Henry McLeish and Jock McConnell when they were First Ministers along with several ministers. I never met an English prime minister.

    Wanna tell us why you no longer care...?

  6. Replies
    1. Lol. Yes, we really are in trouble aren't we? If what Danny Alexander, Michael Moore, George Osborne and Alistair Darling are saying about volatility is true then you're right, we're certainly doomed.

      Perhaps we should just forget this silly idea of independence, accept our pocket money gratefully and leave Westminster to deal with all these enormous problems that are just too big for us. Surely that's the only answer, isn't it? I mean it's just too big.

      Yesterday, another find of 30 million barrels was announced. You probably missed it because someone kept talking about English pound notes or something. They keep finding the bally stuff and it just creates more problems. The oil and gas industry are even predicting an oil boom that'll kick in just as we would be announcing our independence, I mean, what a disaster! There's just too much oil. What are we to do?

      Kindest regards,

      David Milligan (concerned) ^_^

    2. LOL David. Welcome to Munguin's Republic.

      It's a puzzler, huh? What to do with it.

      Well, we've been giving it away up till now. Maybe we could do night classes is Oslo and find a way of getting rid of it that would be to OUR benefit.

      30 million barrels. Yes, that was glossed over like it would be nowhere else in the world.

      Have you got room for it under your bed?

  7. True. It's just a terrible worry for us wee poor stupid people. Better to let the sophisticated clever proper speaking people who went to St pauls and Eton sort it all out of us and we can get on with claiming the dole and goes to the bookies and the pub.

    Ye gads...

  8. "I'd wish someone in the unionist camp would give us some good reasons to stay in the UK."

    I'd suggest keeping the Pound Sterling is quite a good reason. Apparently John Swinney wants to keep it too, so no dispute there.

    Avoiding inheroting UK debt too...


  9. @Braveheart
    No one can stop us using Sterling as a currency because it is an internationally traded currency. It would be preferable if we could come to an amicable agreement ( and beneficial to both parties) but it is not necessary. We do not necessarily have to inherit the UK debts if they do not want to share the assets (such as our share of the Bank of England)

  10. I kinda had you in mind Braveheart, when I made this challenge.

    I can appreciate that top politicians, for example, have their own vested interest in the UK so I understand why people like Darling want it. I'd rather eat my own foot than have a lordhood, but I can certainly appreciate that if you have spent 30 or 40 years working at a political career with the idea that at the end you will become a titled aristocrat (or if your wife wants to be Lady Whatsit), not to mention the vast sums (by ordinary people's standards) that people can make for themselves, it must be a huge personal blow to you, just as you reach that stage, to have it snatched from you by a fat bloke with an idea for independence. Likewise younger politicians with a career still to build may not want to do it in some backwater third level nation worrying about drains and roads, when they can see their star shining standing next to Mr Obama or Mr Xi, worry about nuclear war, or winning the war against terrorism.

    But I'm assuming that that is not you, and I was hoping you or one of your fellow unionists who does live in the same world as us might lay out the reasons for your support for what I reckon is a state pretty much in freefall.

    I'm guessing that the pound is not the only reason that you support unionism. After all, the pound is a currency, not a very successful one, which is so badly managed at the moment that it is losing value against the €. The bloody €!

    Personally I'm not particularly in favour of keeping the pound, but I can understand that at a time of upheaval for both Scotland and the rUK, it would offer some notion of stability. And that stability, as has been pointed out, might benefit both sides. Without the massive input to the UK economy that Scotland makes, the pound would fall through the floor and the rUK currency would resemble the Zimbabwean dollar!.

    It seems to be forgotten that the Bank of England, despite its name, is actually the bank of UK. The money in there belongs to Scots too.... as indeed does the massive unpayable, ever growing debt.

    (Aside: Have you ever wondered as you wander around your part of Scotland, what they did with all the money that this debt represents? People living in third world poverty, hand to mouth, in rags, and yet the state seems to have squandered their money on something or other. What the hell is it?)

    As I say, the assets are partly ours. It's not the English Navy or the English royal family. As government after government has pointed out, much of the money that is spent on London is spent on behalf of Scots, Welsh and Irish (so there is no consequential), because facilities in London are for us too. It is our capital as well and we must pay for it.


  11. .....By the same token, I don't think that anyone here has said ever that they expect to escape the debt that London governments have built up. It is a millstone round our necks. It is presumably the reason that sick people are being forced off their benefits and put to work in Tesco or Poundland, and it would be wonderful to walk away from it and start over again...like failed business owners appear to be able to do. But I've never heard Salmond or Harvie or anyone from the Yes campaign suggest that that is in their game plan.

    Obviously, the debt would have to be offset against the assets that Scots have paid for, but which remain in London or with England, because they are fixed. But debt there will be.

    Neither can we avoid our share by staying with the UK. Unless the UK intends to do as Argentina did a few years ago and simply default.

    So we are lumbered with this debt in or out of the union. At least, as an independent nation we would have a chance to do, as Norway has done (with the same sort of assets), and take from our massive income, a certain amount for saving against a rainy day (Norway's standing a $600 billion... UK's standing at minus $2043.5 or thereby). Part we could save, part we could pay back.

    But I urge you to give us more reasons to stay in the UK Braveheart.

    At the moment I cannot see one single good thing about being a UK subject (as opposed to a Scottish one). But I'm willing to concede that I may have missed something.

    1. Tris, I noted in your reply to "Braveheart" there that you weren't in favour of keeping the pound which means that you're not bothered about a currency union with the rUK when we regain our independence.

      I listened intently to what was being said yesterday and even prior to that, reading what Alistair Darling had written about the subject. They say that they might refuse to form a currency union or Sterling zone with Scotland...........

      This is something that I as a pro-independence supporter and promoter am completely at ease with. Please let me explain.

      Scotland is an exporting nation and England is an importing nation. The two balance out so that the balance of payments are kept relatively stable.

      Sterling benefits from that, as a balance of payments that is negative would cause inflation and a subsequent necessary devaluation of the pound to boost exports.

      Now lets look at both scenarios that are possible;-

      Scenario A: (Scotland sets up it's own currency) - The rUK would have to manage a devaluation in stages to boost exports but that would feed inflation as goods bought from abroad would cost more. Scotland would also have a currency that would predictably become very hard and it's value would rise and cause problems with exports due to a high price for the currency. Imports to Scotland would be cheaper of course but it's not an ideal situation. Scotland would have to consider giving trading loans to countries that we wished to sell to. Other countries do it but sometimes the loans go bad.

      Scenario B: (Scotland uses Sterling in a currency union with the rUK) - This deals with problems on both sides quite nicely as the rUK would benefit (the same as before independence) from Scottish export sales to keep Sterling stable. Having a stable currency would benefit Scotland as it could get on without having to worry about a currency becoming too hard. This would keep the cost of imports and exports for both the rUK and Scotland on a stable footing so both benefit.

      I'm a pragmatist, and look at the bluster that's being produced right now as temporary until the people of Scotland vote to regain their independence. Once that happens, common sense will kick in and both sides will come to the negotiating table because they'll want to.

      Because both sides will benefit from a currency union, I'm sure that the negotiations will be sensible and provide Scotland with terms that are favourable and takes away the temptation to form our own currency which of course would be our choice if the terms became unworkable in the future. The obvious fact that budgets would have to be agreed on both sides - by both sides is largely a given and we would agree the rUK's and they would agree ours. This would give Scotland the setup needed to progress as a nation.

      I hope this helps everyone here including yourself Tris to understand why a Sterling zone is the logical choice for an independent Scotland and the ONLY choice for the rUK. Just think it through yourselves and you'll come to the same conclusion as me. It's not rocket science you know, it's just people like George Osborne, Danny Alexander and Alistair Darling trying to make it seem that way. They're just not telling us the whole story, that's the problem.

      Have a nice day folks (and you Tris.

      Kindest regards,

      David Milligan - a very Sovereign Scot.

    2. Hey David,

      Thanks for that well presented argument in favour of currency union.

      I had some notion of what it was about (as I think I mentioned somewhere in one of my responses), but you've nailed it for me there.

      I agree that all the rubbish from Darling and Osborne is a pile of bluster. They hope to sew the seeds of doubt or feed the already firmly held beliefs that we are too wee, too poor and too stupid, etc.

      I think by now most people are ready to disbelieve most of what Better Together says. They've lied so often... and stupid lies... eg: Why would we have passport controls between Scotland and England, when throughout all the troubles we didn't have them between Ulster and Eire?

      As you say, the two sides will soon come to accommodations about matters once the deed is done. This is scare story time designed to evoke "Oh, how would we manage" responses.

      No wonder no one really wants a public debate with Mr Salmond (except, for some bizarre reason, Johann Lamont!). Their arguments would be blown away.

      You have a nice day too, David, and thanks again for your explanation.

  12. Hi Bill. Welcome to Munguin's Republic.

    No no-one can stop us and this is just scare tactics. If you have a tradable currency, anyone can use it. The dollar is widely used in countries where the real currency is worth nothing. There is nothing that America can do about it. It can however, set the interest rates, and affect the value of its ow currency, and the other users just have to put up with that...rightly.

    The difference here is that Scotland is a part of the pound. Although it is called the English Pound for the bank of England, it is actually the currency of all the nations on these islands except the Republic of Ireland. it is used in Jersey, man, Guernsey. I don't see their economies being hindered by England.

    The thing is, as you say, that we need to come to an agreement. if that is what Scots vote for. The alternative would be dictatorial... not to mention childish.

    It's our pound; you're not having it. Well put up the interest rates and hurt you if you try...

    The BBC actually said this morning that Scotland should not expect a velvet divorce. So that was nice of them.

    As I say, it is assumed England and Wales will keep the Embassies, the buildings and other assets of the UK state. Part of the Scottish share of the debt would have to be traded for them.

    People like Osborne can scare all they want to about this. When it happens international law, and custom, will have to prevail, otherwise rUK will look pretty bad... and it lectures the world on democracy!

  13. Sorry for my relapse absence but I've been laptopless till today... damn technology is so expensive and I wanted to wait till buying a new one till I could afford one with decent processor speed etc (I know, #firstworldproblems)

    Anyway, happy to take up Munguin and Tris challenge. A positive case for Scotland remaining inside the United Kingdom.

    1. Defence infrastructure

    This is a big one in terms of Scottish jobs, and the future of our ship building industry. BAE on the clyde really does depend on major MOD contracts to stay commercially sustainable on the clyde.
    A key benefit of the UK is Scotland benefits from higher UK defence spending than an independent Scotland would need or be willing to spend.

    2. EU influence

    One of the advantages of being inside the UK, is that it gives us a bigger voice inside the EU. The EU operates on the basis that the larger countries can command more influence, and occasionally even set the agenda. An independent Scotland would command about as much influence as estonia, or denmark. The UK sits alongside Germany, and France.

    More influence inside the EU has to be to the advantage of Scots and our country.

    3. Social Union

    By enjoying a political union with England, it guarantees Scots, English, Welsh and Northern Irish folk a greater level of cultural and social unity and integration. I understand why some claim that we'd still have a kind of 'British' geographical identity even post-indie. However, it just wouldn't be the same as the normative benefits of being part of a greater union of diverse nations.

    I like diversity, and the more diversity the better in my book. This to me seems positive.

    4. Economic security

    Scottish financial institutions for example enjoy more security than an independent Scotland could be able to offer them. The 2007 crisis with RBS and HBOS demonstrates that by working together across the whole of these isles it is possible to do more to intervene in the economy at times of crisis.

    I for one believe that the UK govt by bailing out HBOS etc saved my savings, my family savings and the savings of thousands of Scots. There is a legitimate question to be had whether or not an independent Scotland could match this capacity to intervene like that.

    Borrowing is another aspect. The UK has a stronger global 'credit credibility' than an untested new country of Scotland might enjoy. And the ability to borrow is an important tool in the arsenal of governments around the world.
    Of course Scotland could and would be able to borrow, but together as the UK we can benefit from better credit ratings and 'reputation traction'.

    5. Global power status

    You asked me not to go on about this, and fair enough I won't labour this point any further - everyone knows what I mean when I put this in. If it is a 'positive' reason or not is up to individuals themselves frankly.

    1. 4. Economic security GARBAGE!

      Have You Heard About The 16 Trillion Dollar Bailout The Federal Reserve Handed To The Too Big To Fail Banks?

      Royal Bank of Scotland – $541 billion

      Bank of Scotland – $181 billion

      Citigroup – $2.513 trillion

      Barclays PLC – $868 billion

      When are you voting to join America? Silly boy.

    2. Dean

      None of your reasons would convince many to vote no, all if them remain in the past. Even unionists understand the argument has shifted, this debate for many is about democracy or lack of it under the current system.


    3. Bruce: I think the most recent examples of this are the kind of reforms that are being wished upon the Scottish people despite Scottish MPs conclusively voting against them...

  14. Tris,

    You should welcome David Milligan to your blog. His, all too occasional, visits to the Hootsmon site to which I'm still addicted, are always well-thought out and informative, a bit like an adult and more temperate Spook! Now that he's found you I hope he'll come back.

    I'd love to stay and answer Dean's points but I have a commission to finish by Friday.

  15. I've heard, from a usually reliable source, that some high-profile Labour politicians are contemplating joining the Labour for independence movement. Personal feelings or political opportunism, take your pick? I hope they do not mean Niko and Grahamski!!

  16. Actually Dean, first world though it may be, we are all completely at sea without our computers. The building society's computer went down yesterday and they were totally lost... no one could even get their pass books made up, the lady told me today when I was smart enough...well ok, lucky enough, to go in.

    And the pharmacy was in the same situation when I went to get a prescription filled. They were lost!

    It's a hugely dangerous position to put ourselves in.

    Thanks for rising to the challenge. I will answer you later... I'm between stuff at the moment and just taking the opportunity to write a few brief words.

    Presumably you got yourself a good laptop?

    1. Samsung, windows 8, with a back-up 1tb portable storage device (never again shall I lose my files damn it!)

    2. Ewww rich boy, says Tris jealously...

    3. Dean

      Windows 8 is keich.

      I, after being with the Windows family since the very beginning (remember the fact that Windows graphic interface was lifted from Rank Xerox?) have now bought a MacBook Pro.

      I regret the polarisation of the computer OS market and Mac OS tries equally to be monopoly supplier, but at least the Mac remains intuitive, evolutive, simple and it works straight out of the box. It is overpriced though but in retrospect, had I shifted some time ago I think I would have been still using the same desktop I would have bought about 6 or so years ago. Meanwhile I bought and chucked out three Windows computers.

      Just sayin like.

  17. Hey John. I do welcome David's contribution to the blog, as I do with everyone. He certainly does talk a load of sense written in an interesting and readable way. I very much hope he comes back...

    ...Ah Spooky, the footballing accountant. I miss him... after all this time.

    I suppose it was only a matter of time before some people in the Labour hierarchy decided that they would like to be in a Labour party instead of a right of centre slightly left of the Tory party.

    Scotland seems to stand for the things that Labour used to be about... nuclear disarmament, help for the poor, decent living standards for all, state control of those essentials that should never be for profit concerns, but for people concerns.

    There are obviously people...many people...in Labour, who care more about their principles than their position.

    I saw a Jimi Hendrix quote the other day, which I think rings true here: "When the power of love surpasses the love of power then the world will know peace". (Words to that effect, it was in French and I translated)

    Maybe, of course, they see the writing on the wall...

  18. OK Dean… as I said before. Thanks for taking up the challenge. I appreciate it. My object in this was to see what made “ordinary” (and I only mean, not career politicians with axes to grind) want to remain in the union.

    Still… it will have given your new lappy a bit of exercise!

    This is how I would respond to your points:

    1. As I understand it Scotland spends more on defence than is currently spent in Scotland.
    The UK Ministry of Defence has confirmed in a series of Parliamentary Answers that there is a significant and widening structural defence under spend in Scotland. This is the gap between Scotland’s population share of spending and the amount actually spent in Scotland:

    • The under spend in Scotland increased from £749m in 2002-03 to £1.259bn in 2007-2008, which represents a 68% increase in 6 years.

    • Between 2002-2008 the under spend in Scotland has totalled a mammoth £5.622bn

    • During 2005-2008 there was a drastic real terms year on year decline in defence spending in Scotland – in total the last UK Government slashed defence spending by £150m in these years.

    • There was actually 3% cut in defence spending between 2006-7 and 2007-08

    In the near to medium term it is unlikely that the Uk will be buying much in the way of ships. We are broke. The government is finishing the Clyde build at present, and then mothballing the ship. It may be that in future there will be some small support vessels needed, but as they are not top secret they are likely to be built in the Far East, because the costs are much smaller.

    I seriously don’t think that in or out of the union we are going to proft very much from ship building that the UK navy will put our way.

    The vast under spend in Scotland at present, is money we could use to provide other jobs. And there is nothing to say that we might not get some work form other European allies, ferries, hovercraft…. Who knows.


  19. 2: I think it is unlikely that the UK really has a lot of influence in the EU.

    Yes, it’s a big country, but it has constantly, since Mrs Thatcher’s day put obstacle after obstacle in the way of EU legislation. Revently, with Cameron demanding changes to the treaty so that the UK can cherry pick, and rid itself of irksome stuff like human rights, I remember reading that Italy has indicated that if the UK couldn't stop whining it should just leave.

    Both the French president (left wing) and the German chancellor (right wing)…the two countries that REALLY matter in the EU, have said no to Cameron’s demands.

    With Nigel and Ukip snapping at the right of the Tory party, it seems to me that Cameron will have to offer a referendum. Cameron may not be in a position to do that, but Labour’s position is not clear. The day Cameron offered an in-out referendum on Europe, Miliband said he didn’t want one, but his people almost immediately drew back from that position, it being electoral suicide in England.

    It’s quite likely that the Uk will not be in the EU in 5 years’ time. It is unlikely that Scotland will not.

  20. 3: On the subject of the social union, to be honest I can't see that scotland pursuing its own policies really need change that.

    Most of us speak the same language, although it sometimes doesn't sound like it; that won't change (although I did read someone warning that the SNP would force everyone to speak Gaelic after the referendum...which is highly unlikely because I don't think the First Minister can manage more than a few words!)

    It won't change that we share a lot of culture, no more than North and South Ireland do, and still manage to do so without being the same country.

    Benelux countries have been pretty close (long before the Euro and Schengen there were very close ties ... and the Belgian and Luxembourg francs were interchangeable, despite their very different economies)

    Scandinavian countries enjoy a brotherhood despite speaking different languages, having different monarchs and presidents.

    I think that the fact that Edinburgh looked after taxation and welfare, defence and foreign affairs wouldn't actually change that much.

    And there really wouldn't be a border, and no one would need a visa to visit their granny.

    So I have to say I disagree with that argument.

  21. Finance is another point where I disagree Dean.

    4: In 2008 Scotland would have been responsible only for the losses caused within the Scottish jurisdiction. None of us will ever know if a Scottish FSA would have been any less supine than teh UK one, so I won't go there. But the losses in England of the far larger Nat West, and the far larger Halifax would have been the responsibility of the regulator in England. We cannot regulate for another country.

    Scotland would of course start off from zero, but with, as David points out above, a potentially very hard currency. We have vast resources. Not just of oil.

    I'm no economist but if someone asked me now which currency, whose bonds or whose future I would back between Norway and the UK, I'd have to say Norway.

    The UK has already been downgraded, by two of the credit rating agencies. I'm willing to bet that with $600 billion in the bank that Norway has not.

    It would take Scotland a long time to reach Norway's position, but it would be on its way from day 1.

    I noticed this morning that the Co-op has withdrawn from the buyout of parts of the Lloyds banking Group. It was suggested that this was because it doesn't want to get any more involved in the future of British banking. The economics correspondent on the Today programme suggested that the Co-op would probably withdraw altogether from the business.

    I don't think that the Uk has a great financial future....although I admit to being no economist.

  22. Of course I understand that you would want to mention the global power issue Dean.

    But you already know my feelings about it. Being the second policeman of the world doesn't put food on the table of the working man.

    So thanks for rising to that challenge. I truly appreciate the work you put into it.

    That I disagree with you doesn't mean that I am right and you are wrong. But I'm afraid you haven't convinced me!! :)

  23. No problems, I wanted to give it a shot.

  24. ...and you did.

    I'm wondering that not one other unionist reader has the courage to give it a bash....

  25. This should also be a challenge to Yes voting readers. This blog ends up just being self congratulation. Wha's like us indeed!

    So far amongst the tiny minority (2) of friends of mine who plan to vote Yes, I have not been given any good reason for leaving the UK. No long term plans exist for an independent Scotland. (But please tell me if I've missed something here.) Metaphorically we're being asked to dive headfirst into an empty pool.

    Indepence ( sic - as appeared on a Newtonmore bridge for many years) is being dictated by two things. 1) Wishful thinking for something called 'freedom' 2)political opportunism by evasive leaders - nothing new here of course, same old stuff under a new name.

    Yes voters so vociferously decrying the negative aspects of the UK bring no balance into their arguments and lose thereby all credibility.

  26. Thought my name would appear instead of that link. Sorry.

  27. @Barney.
    The main reason for voting YES for myself is democracy.

  28. Let me give you just a few reasons to Vote YES.
    If you want rid of WMD
    If you want to rid yourself of almost 1,000 unelected Lords.
    If you want to see the back of a corrupt and politicised honours system.
    If you want to get rid of the City of London Spivs gambling with your taxes.
    If you want to get rid of the Tories forever .
    If you want a Written Constitution.
    If you want a fairer Voting system.
    If you do not want to see our sons and daughters fighting in global Oil wars and illegal wars.
    If you want to see an end to vile legislation like Bedroom Tax and Workfare.
    You will note ,not one of these involves whether or not you will have extra ,or less money in your pocket

  29. Further reasons ,should you need more.
    Vote Yes and ensure our NHS stays out of the hands of the privateers.
    Let education stay a right not a priveledge for those with money .
    Vote YES to ensure no reintroduction of Prescription charges.
    Vote YES for a more socially just society that ensures our Water stays in the public domain not hived off to a German or Spanish multi national.
    Most importantly have all decisions on Scotland made in Scotland by those that have most to gain or lose , that is those living in Scotland.

    1. I'd agree with all these.

      I'd add that the British economy is absolutely shot through. I don't see it ever recovering. The only way that Osborne sees to do it is to starve the poor to death and start another housing boom (regardless of the fact that putting the two together won;t work even more than having them separately).

      I don't think people will continue to take this from a government of English toffs who consider poverty as not getting vintage champagne chilled to exactly the right temperature brought to them by the under butler.

      I foresee a terrible summer of riots against the way that anyone except the super rich are being treated.

  30. Well Barney, I have spent the last four years giving reasons for independence on the blog. In the meantime, I've heard people like Mr Cameron telling us that, of course we are not too poor, or wee or stupid, but we would be better to stay with the UK because:

    Inside the Uk we are part of an important country with real clout in the EU, in the UN, in Nato; that together we have the 4th largest military spend in the world; that we punch above our weight in in the world; that we have nuclear weapons which makes us safer...and we had the Olympics together (but Scotland must have the Commonwealth Games on its own).

    And I thought... what a load of bollocks. In some cases these are downright lies, and in others...well who cares.

    So, if you want to know why I think we should be independent you only have to read back across the blog. Britain is a horrible country for anyone except the rich to live. Scotland could be a nice one for everyone, as long as they weren't too greedy.

    If you would like to tell us what is great about the UK instead of running down my blog, or indeed the Yes campaign... or Scotland as an independent country (spelled however one spells it), what makes you want to be british, I'm happy to listen.

    The floor is yours....

  31. LOL... I thought it was a funny name... I don't know how that could have happened.

  32. "Britain is a horrible country for anyone except the rich to live [in]. Scotland could be a nice one for everyone, as long as they weren't too greedy."
    With respect, utter nonsense to the first sentence. You are seeing what you want to see and basing your ideology on that imbalance. And just how do you plan on stopping people being greedy? Woolly-minded thinking again - but I repeat myself. Since you are making yourself public, why shouldn't I "run down" your blog and the Yes campaign? Are you so sensitive?Are you open to debate or not? From what you're saying there seem to be strong hints of extremism here which is exactly why I'll be voting NO. Scotland beware! Barney.

  33. Barney: I imagine that you can see from my answers to Dean, who, the gentleman that he is, took my arguments in the way that they were intended, that I am perfectly capable of reasonably intelligent and polite debate.

    Of course you are entitled to run down my blog to your heart's content, but in doing so you simply reinforce the idea that that is the MO of the No campaign and its supporters. They, or you, present no positive reasons for us to stay in the UK, except more of the grim same.

    I was asking to hear some positive arguments for us remaining "dependent" on the English.

    You have provided none.

    You remain at liberty to write a guest blog.

    No. I'm not in the least sensitive. You're entitled to your opinion. You may call me woolly minded or indeed anything else that you have a mind to if you will. It's just that once again it reinforces the stereotypical no voter. Have a go at me and avoid making a positive argument for our country being in the UK.

    I think that I'm open to debate. Ask anyone on this blog... It's just that I'm getting none...

    So...would you like to tell us what is so good about being Scotland as a part of another country?

    Thank you for correcting my typo. I don't do too much typing as a rule and I tend to type badly when I'm busy. My mind works more quickly than my fingers.

    It is always good to have a proofreader.

  34. Barney,

    In your attempt to answer the question asked you have certainly failed to give positive reasons for remaining in the Uk and I did not see anyone commenting that you are not entitled to run down this blog. It appears, then, that this is a figment of an over-heated imagination.

    Perhaps you can explain what has been achieved by the UK in "sitting at the top table" in the EU, NATO or the UN and what benefits this has brought to Britain apart from self-delusion about being important in the world.

    In my humble opinion, independence would ensure that decisions regarding Scotland were made for the benefit of Scotland and not made for vested interests elsewhere. At present, even if the entire population of Scotland and every single Scottish MP wanted to reverse a decision made at Westminster which would be contrary to Scotland's interests they can be over-ruled. Retention of WMDs is a case in point. Thus, we would have to rely on the altruism and benevolence of our English neighbours to achieve anything.

    Furthermore, in an independent Scotland our representatives would be more accountable to their voters because at present their representatives, even with the best will in the world, are toothless and impotent as far as Scotland's interests are concerned.

  35. More clearly expressed than I would have managed, John.

    I wouldn't so much mind our being at the top table in all these organisations if (a) it were true, (b) we could afford it, and (c) we brought anything to it. But we can't and we don't.

    And as far as the EU is concerned Britain is maybe a net contributor, but acting as the organisation's own awkward squad since the days of Mrs Thatcher, it is more likely that other countries join together to act against British interests. Additionally, although Scotland is deemed to have different ministries in many of the areas where the EU acts, our Cabinet Secretaries and departments are not represented in discussions. Our "interests" are overseen by people from the equivalent ministry in England, who will not have our facts and figures to hand, and know nothing of our issues, and ministers who represent the Uk government, not ours. No wonder Scotland gets a second rate deal.

    As for the toothlessness of our MPs... I'm reminded of the 'feeble 50'. I'm not saying they didn't try, but they didn't get anything done as the English prime minister rode roughshod over our country with her ideologically driven agenda, regardless of what effects it had had on our people. Why? Because even if they were super heroes, 50 versus 600 doesn't amount to much.

  36. "Britain is a horrible country for anyone except the rich"
    Tris, you preclude yourself from a balanced discussion with such a view. There are many reasons for voting No - you won't listen, even though you say you will.

    Believe it or not I am open to persuasion when it comes to the vote but all you are doing is showing me that staying in the union is better. Thanks, Barney

  37. backofanenvelopeApril 26, 2013 5:16 pm

    If you Scots want to be independent, it is easy. Persuade the UK government to hold a UK-wide referendum. It can be final gift from the English to the Scots - goodbye!

  38. Barney we have made it a horrible country for the poor.

    Even people in the middle now are finding life hard or impossible.

    If you are rich however, you can fiddle your tax, pay almost nothing (indeed nothing at all).

    OK... let's look at that in more detail, and of course I will miss bits out and I will have typos.

    If you are old and have nothing but your state pension, it is the lowest in Europe in ratio to wages. The pension was cut by Mrs Thatcher. It might have been around £50 a week more by now had Mrs Thatcher (who said she was supportive of these poor people who had lived through two wars) not cut the way that it was calculated. People on sickness benefit and job seekers are have been given rises in line with the figures of inflation, which are false anyway, but are undoubtedly false when referring to people at the bottom of the pil. If you have very little to live on your main expenditure is on food, heat, housing. Good inflation is around 10%; Electricity and Gas average around 15% and housing is horrifically expensive and in England they have just reduced the amount of help that the poor can get with it.

    Jobs are few; wages are unlivable. hours are often small, and can be cut at a whim. many people are living on zero hour contracts. Sp some weeks they will get no work at all. The government insists that it will press ahead with dismantling the rights of workers. Oh, it will be voluntary, they say. but it won't.

    Rents are sky high; there are few social houses, and buying is out of the question if you are on a small salary and a 20% deposit on a £100,000 house is beyond what most can afford. Jobs are fragile in any case. I know very few people who don't worry about whether or not they will have a job this time next year.


  39. So Barney, omeone expressing the opinion that 'Britain is a horible country for anyone except the rich' is enough to make you vote against Scotlands independence?

    One blogger opinion overides what is in your Nations best interest?

    If you decide to vote No, then go ahead, but for goodness sake at least have the decency to look into the various issues, before comming to a decision.

    It's not about Tris's opinion!

  40. continued... Barny:

    For people in the middle things may be a little better, but we still have job security problems. Who knows what is going to be cut next. Many people have not had pay rises for 4 or 5 years. Most people have someone in their family who has been paid off and can't get another job. Many middle class people are living with negative equity. So they can't sell up; they can't move.

    They are paying their mortgages, but only just, and on mortgage rates which are artificially low. With an inflation time bomb on the way to pay for the quantitative easing (£75 billion worth so far and possibly more to come), interest rates are set to soar.

    What then? People worry about this.

    Older people who have paid off their mortgages and were thinking of a sunny retirement spending much of the winter in warm places can forget it.

    Quantitative easing has devastated pension funds; they can barely afford to retire. But some are forced to retire.

    They can't sell their bigger house and downsize and the pension of £20,000 that they thought they would get only 20 years ago, is now worth about £6,000. Enough for a pauper's life, because with the £5,000 that they get from the government, they are living at 2/3 of the poverty level. No trips to Juan les Pins ou Antibes on that.


  41. Barney: For the rich, hwoever, life is very different.

    While Mrs McTavish spends her last days in a run down nursing home where they have few staff; where they had to be bailed out by the government; where they are fed as little as possible and given drugs to make them sleep during the day so that they need little or no divertissements, mrs thatcher died in the Ritz at around £50,000 a month.

    The treasury, I see, has people from the big accountancy firms in, so that they can design tax avoidance legislation (and so that they can build in loopholes, which they can then advise their clients about).

    Whilst desperately against immigration of ordinary people the government invites anyone who wishes to tax dodge in their own country (most recently France) to come and live in Londres...the tax dodge capital of the world.

    £25 billion worth of tax avoidance say some.. and that's a conservative estimate.

    So life is good at the top; and if you commit a crime, you are in and out of a nice little white collar jail in the flash of an eye. And back to get your boots filled again sooner than you can say 'thieving bastard'.

    So that's the way I see britain Barney. Thats the country that I'm ashamed to have anything to do with. That's the country that goes to war and kills tens of thousands of people for NO REASON AT ALL, and then gets wound up when someone retaliates by knocking off someone in England.

    No wonder they think they need nuclear weapons.

    I sat in a bar in France one day listening to conversations of people round the table (not realising that I was Scottish) and I heard what they thought of "les anglais".

    I'll not go into detail but the words "cul", "Georges Bush", "lecher", "trou" "langue" and "Tony Blair" were among the most commonly used.

    In the end I joined in, because I agreed with every word.

    I'm not sure how anything that someone like me would say could be talking you into saying in the union.

    If you don't think that britain is a horrible little country, maybe you are in the rich band; maybe you are just lucky to have escaped the worst of the problems.

    How you vote is obviously your business, but letting ME change your mind is, if you'll pardon my saying so, rather foolish. make up your mind based on what sort of future you want for yourself and your kids...

  42. back of an envelope: Thanks you for contributing to the blog and the offer of a "gift" of our own country from the English.

    indeed ...goodbye.

  43. Hello Patrick...

    It most certainly isn't anything to do with me, my opinion or my prejudices. And it seems weird that anyone would take something I wrote (which I have since expanded) and make their decision based on it.

    I remember that someone said that all of us Yes voters only have to persuade one other person to vote for independence and we are made.

    I've managed in discussions to convince at least 3 people so far, but if I've convinced Barney the other way... well, I'd better look back at my script!

    There's a lot more at stake than my opinion though (hard though it may be for me to accept that!)


  44. Hi Tris,

    Your doing a great job with thi blogg, so dont worry about looking 'back at your script'.
    just keep on doing what your doing.
    People like Barney will iether see the truth, or will remain blind because they never wanted to see in the first place.
    without trying to go too deep, but I can't help thinking that 'NO' people get angry at our arguments because they have held on to long held beliefs that they know we are destroying.
    They may lash out a bit accusing us of being rude etc, but inide they are haunted by what they know is the truth of our point.
    Eventualy their anger will turn away from us and on to the real culprits and that is the MSM and Unionist Politicians, especialy Labour.

    Keep up the good work.

  45. Patrick:

    Thanks. What a nice compliment.

    Yes. What I've been trying to say is that I can only ever see good things coming of independence.

    Already we have a better life than our English cousins, or grannies or whatever they are...

    We have free education; we have a proper health service; we have better looked after poor...

    Imagine what we could do with all the power levers in our hands.

    It's easy for the no voters to decry the idea of independence but difficult for them to justify it intellectually.

    Bit by bit they see that the so called advantages are actually all advantages for the super rich or politicians.

    And the Tories, who might want to let us go so that can imagine themselves the government of default in England, can't afford to let us go because of the billions we bring in to the system.

    I think if we vote yes, and say, fine, we'll go with the grOat instead of the pound, they will be on their knees begging us to reconsider.

    The people have been lied to by the BBC (self interest, they don't want to lose a big income stream with very little expense), politicians (old Scottish ones who don't want to lose their seat in the Lords and the money and status that attends it and young ones who don't want to lose the gravy train job in London ...same salary as real MPs and 25% of the work!), the Press...all owned by London based companies.

    Thanks again for your kind words.

  46. Juteman in the first post on this thread has mentioned pretty much the only reasons for No that I can think of (though Dean has come up with more, good effort Dean). Some people are British, they feel that they live in the same country as someone in Surrey, and they don't want that to change. Hard to argue with that, as it is a deep-seated issue of identity.

    There is another pro-no issue I can think of, but it is extremely unlikely - that the UK is invaded, and we all have to band together for mutual defence.

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  48. Well reading this like I have done on NO and YES camps websites and being an undecided, I have to say the NO camp have given me zero to work from. I am now 100% YES from this day forward :-)

  49. Hi Craig.

    Sorry I didn't see your post till now.

    Yes, identity is a valid point. And I can certainly appreciate it. If you feel British and that British is a nationality, then that is what you feel...nothing much can change it.

    If there was a war with we would probably band together... but then we would band together with France, or The Netherlands, or Iceland or ireland, because they are our allies.

    So I don't really think that we need to share the same parliament to do that.

    Thanks for posting.

  50. Rselbo... Welcome to you too... and I'm delighted to hear that you are with the Yes camp from here on in. Big smiles all round.

    Hope you, and Craig P above, will comment again on the blog.