Friday, 10 October 2014

SNP LETTER TO THE SMITH COMMISSION

Lord Smith of Kelvin
The Smith Commission
7th Floor One Atria
144 Morrison Street
EDINBURGH
EH3 8EX


Dear Lord Smith

I am writing on behalf of the Scottish National Party to communicate our views about the additional responsibilities the Scottish Parliament needs in order to fulfil the Vow of the Westminster party leaders to deliver "extensive new powers" for Scotland.

The SNP continue to advocate Scottish independence, and believe that Scotland will one day become an independent country. But of course we accept the referendum result, which means that independence is not part of the Commission's considerations.

We wish formally to associate ourselves with the 34-page set of proposals sent today by the Scottish Government, and which I enclose herewith.
Speaking on behalf of the cross-party No campaign, Gordon Brown said in the days leading up to the referendum that within two years there would be "as close to a federal state" as is possible in the UK, and that we would have "a modern form of Scottish Home Rule".

If the Vow is to be honoured, we believe that this 'maximalist' language requires the maximum self-government for Scotland within the Union to be delivered, on the basis of the detailed proposals sent by the Scottish Government. This involves a limited number of core areas reserved to Westminster, with all other powers decided in Scotland (which
also reflects the formula of the original 1998 Scotland Act, which listed reserved rather than devolved responsibilities).

Furthermore, this approach is one that commands widespread public support - across supporters of all political parties - as demonstrated in an opinion poll commissioned by the SNP and conducted by Panelbase after the referendum.

The poll - which is also enclosed with this submission - asked if people believe that the new powers coming to the Scottish Parliament should include the following: -

Control of all taxation raised in Scotland?
Yes: 71%
No: 19%
Don't know: 10%

Control of all areas of government policy except for defence and foreign affairs, which is sometimes referred to as 'Devo Max'?
Yes: 66%
No: 19%
Don't know: 15%

Control of the welfare and benefits system?
Yes: 75%
No: 17%
Don't know: 8%

Control of policy regarding the state pension?
Yes: 65%
No: 25%
Don't know: 10%

Control of oil and gas tax revenues generated in Scottish waters?
Yes: 68%
No: 21%
Don't know: 11%

Control of broadcasting policy?
Yes: 54%
No: 30%
Don't know: 16%

Guaranteed consultation by the UK Government with the Scottish Government when deciding the UK's stance in European Union negotiations?
Yes: 72%
No: 16%
Don't know: 12%

The proposals set out by the Scottish Government are powers for a purpose - giving Scotland control of the policy areas necessary to build a more prosperous economy and fairer society. And they also reflect a widespread public demand for maximum powers -which was instigated by the No campaign during the referendum, and which have been well documented in the period since.The SNP believe that these are the proposals Scotland needs at this stage in our nation's constitutional journey.

With my best wishes and kind regards.


Yours sincerely

Peter Murrell

Scottish Government page here

42 comments:

  1. Umm so from the snp to the Scottish Government the problem with that is the snp are a one issue party dedicated to the destruction of the United Kingdom as a unitary state.
    Whereas the Scottish Government is supposed to represent the Settled will of the Scottish peoples which has determined through a referendum called by the snp to
    remain within the glorious Union.

    How can we trust a party with the aim to undermine and thwart the express will of
    the Scottish people to reject Independence.. the answer is we cant the snp can only be considered as just another participant within the commissions remit.
    the Scottish people were asked and gave there resounding reply

    NO To the snp proposition of choosing Independence but they have given the tin ear
    to the Scottish people by demanding to be declared as Independent in all but name.This result was freely given in a snp organised referendum poll and overrides
    any and all paltry opinion poll

    More fairer reasonable powers yes the use of the commission as a battering ram for snp Independence agenda against the settled will of the Scottish people a definite no.

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    1. Bearing in mind that the results of the opinion poll quoted have been mirrored in numerous other polls, do you really think that NO could have won 55% of the votes cast if Brown/Camero/Miliband/Clegg had not made their Vow/promise of "Devo-max/near-federalism/Home Rule"?

      If they fail to deliver what was promised, the Labour and the other unionist parties will face a majority of very angry Scots voters who cannot be cowed by "Project Fear" anymore at the UK General Election in May 2015.

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    2. Niko,

      Do you support the pathetic submission, and submission it certainly demonstrates, by La Lamont on behalf of "Scottish" Labour? Ask yourself why those who refused to have Devo-max option on the referendum were promising the same Devo-max after a No vote and are now frantically back-tracking? Sadly, they will still be backed by the gullible such as your good self. Beware Nigel and Boris!!,

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    3. Labour used to be a party of the left but indications are that they will soon be a party of the left behind.

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    4. "But of course we accept the referendum result, which means that independence is not part of the Commission's considerations."

      What part of that were you having problems with Niko?

      Here's a quick rundown for you:

      The electoral system set up by Labour brought about an SNP majority government;

      That government had as part of its manifesto, the calling of a referendum on independence;

      All polling initially showed that, by a massive majority, the Scottish people wanted change, more power, but not independence... ie devo max;

      The Scottish government accepted these polls and was prepared to have a third option on their referendum;

      Any referendum organised by the Scottish government had to have the permission of the Eton cabinet, before it could be considered legally binding;

      As is his habit, the Eton head boy withheld permission for the most popular option on the ballot paper;

      He did this safe in the knowledge that independence had the support of around 25% of the people. It was, he thought, out of the question;

      The campaign began;

      The independence vote rose and fell and rose again but never really got much past 40%;

      Project fear kept it thus by telling pensioners that they wouldn't get their pensions and people in Scotland wouldn't get health care, that there would be terror attacks, that the border would be closed, everything would cost more; Scotland would have no money, the oil was running out and any other silly stories they could find, indeed one Labour aristocrat said that it would mean the end of the western world as we knew it (some mad old man from an island that speaks Gaelic and who said that Scotland didn’t have a language or culture… too much free vintage port in the HoL methinks);

      Just before the end of the campaign the YES side started to pull numbers as people, other than political anoraks, engaged;

      With a couple of weeks to go it looked like the unthinkable (for the Eton cabinet) was going to happen;

      The Eton government and opposition went into panic mode;

      They made a vow and got Gordon to give it credence (as no one in Scotland believes the Eton Boy or Weird Ed);

      They converted back enough people on the basis of these promises to ensure that they kept their greedy banking hands on Scotland’s recourses; retained their passport to the high table in Scotland’s waters, well away from important people elsewhere, and didn’t lose face in the international community by being shown up for another country that people wanted to escape from;

      That done, the devo max… federalism (to use Dr Brown’s words) disappeared, the two parties started to fall out about what devolution of any kind meant, English votes for English people, the West Lothian question… and devo max starts to drift away. Even Gordon Brown, an ex prime minister who said he would personally guarantee Federalism, disappeared out of the country on his money making trips and suggested that we should all sign a petition demanding that the Eton Boy keep his promise.

      Hope that makes it easier.

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    5. I think John, what you always have to remember, is that Niko is at heart a "Little Englander" (and that term is used for all Brits who still believe in Britain as a great power and the only country on earth where there is real democracy and fair play, whether they are from Croydon, Carlisle, Cowdenbeath, Cardiff or Carrickfergus).

      He also won't be suffering any of the Eton Boy's hardships, as he's off to sunnier climes.

      It's us who will watch as 20 year olds beg for food having been cut off social security; pensioners lose their winter fuel payments, families lose their child benefits, and hospitals only accept you if you can prove, while you are having your heart attack, that you have the appropriate paperwork, universities start charge £15,000 and old people lose their bus passes, all to pay for the 4th, 5th and 6th Middle East war.

      Hello Conan... Labour behinds.... huh? Arses if you ask me!

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    6. Tris If Niko doesn't get to his sunnier climes soon he will be on his way home courtesy of Ukip. I do hope he likes them as it looks like the beloved BBC do.

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    7. Niko try bending over and look upwards to see your cheeks moving as you talk.

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  2. Labour and their bested mates the Tories have until April 2015 to show any real desire to stick with their *ahem* vows as promised on 17th September. Failure of these two love birds to come up with anything other than what the people expect from them by April next year is going to result in one hell of an all mighty blood-bath!

    We all know and understand that it will take longer than 7 months to get to the position where our Scottish government has FULL control over everything except Defence and Foreign Affairs. However, it is NOT unrealistic for Westminster to get off their collective earse and take their collective thumb out of their collective butt and show good willing towards Holyrood by at the very least initiating the various processes that will ultimately lead to FULL powers being held by SG on all matters except those previously mentioned.

    Tied into this is the the question of how our *ahem* beloved BBC, SKY, MSM etc will *cough* investigate the passage of such powers and pressure WM to make the necessary deliveries. I think we all know that there will be no pressure from the quisling media but we can live in expectation that some realistic investigation work might be carried out by one or two of the more moralistic journalists.

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    1. They set themselves a totally unreasonable timeline, Arbroath, because they knew form day 1 that there was no way they were going to do anything.

      Smith is the scapegoat. He's in conveniently a crossbench peer which means that it looks like he's impartial, and at the same time when it all comes to nothing blame cannot fall on either party.

      The Eton tribe may not be very clever, but they sore as hell are cunning.

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  3. I see Niko has returned here in all his stridency. But I'm not sure of his point. Is he opposed to the idea that what the slimy members of his party promised in order to buy NO votes for the referendum should actually be delivered by Westminster as promised? Or is he just annoyed that the matter is being pursued by the SNP? And why does he have such a monumental reverence for the will of the people in rejecting the referendum question, but implicitly rejects so totally the SNP as being qualified to speak for the people of Scotland in the matter? As I recall, the people of Scotland voted quite decisively for the SNP in the last election, and that they now have a clear majority in the Edinburgh Parliament. Seems like Niko has great reverence for the outcome of some elections, but not others. Too bad that he and others could never separate their petty party politics from issues involving the sovereignty of nations. With some pride, I must point out that this was the sort of thing which Americans never had any problem figuring out when we decided to give the English the boot in 1776. Could it be that the English respect guns and bullets a lot more than the promises they make when they're whoring for referendum votes?

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    1. Danny, like all unionists democracy is a word they choose to use but a concept they hate. Look at Scottish Labour, using Stalin for Alex Salmond while using Stalinist methods to control qhat they saw as their people.
      Even the Tories are more democratic than Labour and that is saying something. Well at least what you see with them is what you get. You can then make up your mind if you do or do not. With Labour they say one thing and do the opposite. Welfare Bill anyone. Liars the lot of them. They need to be destroyed here, trouble is I do not see the SNP doing so. It will take a concentrated assault on them by the YES campaign, all parties. Even if it means voting SNP for Westminster and a loose coalition of YES parties in the Scottish Parliament.

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    2. Further to your point about you in the US. This is the thing the only thing the ahem "British Establishment" understand is bullets, but I for one would hate to resort to it. The point though is that in the American War of Independence it was another one third for, one third against, and one third which sat and waited to see which way to jump. You could say that the " Vow" made our third jump into the NO camp.

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    3. It's always difficult to know what point Niko is trying to make, Danny.

      The thing is that he is so full of hate for the SNP that the meanings of his ramblings become obscured.

      It amused me during the campaign that Cameron managed to persuade the American president, the Canadian prime minister and his Australian counterpart to say that a country was far better off as part of Greater England than being independent.

      I don't notice a rush for any of them to come home to the nice cosy comfortable rule by expensively educated, but thick as pank aristocrats that we have here.

      Indeed the states concerned are independent of the Uk and operate some kind of federalism themselves. Why on earth would they think that the UK as a unitary state was a good idea?

      I suspect that there will be payback.

      There is no doubt that Brits seem to recognise a good old war as the way to settle things. The advantage, doubtless, is that there is a massive amount of money to be made in armaments, and nothing get's the Brits more excited than making money, regardless of the cost in human misery.

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    4. @ Tris: Excellent point about the heads of state of independent federal countries who spouted support for Cameron but didn't apply for readmission to Her Majesty's UK themselves.

      @ Helena Brown: Of course my reference to the American revolution was only an historical allusion. Your comment about the 1/3-1/3-1/3 minority support for the revolution in 1776 was an estimate from none other than John Adams, the Boston lawyer who, with Tom Jefferson, the Virginia planter, pretty much created the 1/3 independence faction themselves.

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    5. Danny: I imagine the payback to Obama was the war in Iraq which happened within days of the vote being over.

      The Australian prime minister probably just wanted to have a reason to talk about something that wasn't the mess he was making of the Australian economy. He is attached to Cameron by more that his right wing ideology. They both appear to have Lynton Crosby attached to them like some sort of leach.

      I wonder what they promised Canada. I really know nothing about the Canadian bloke or his policies.

      However, I'm sure that all three leaders are experts in the British constitution and Scotland's place in it, and gave the matter very considerable thought before they made their utterances.

      I have no doubt that their applications to become sovereign to Mr Cameron will be in the post (but since they privatised the mail in the Uk a few months ago, a great deal of it seems to get lost en route.)

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  4. Nothing in that letter I argue against. I understand that the weakest proposals come not from the Tory Party but the one who has most to lose, Labour in Scotland. I am with Conan, behinds the lot of them who will now have their eye off this particular ball as they fight Ukip for their own seats. The trouble with making immigration a main tenet of policy and they all have in England is it will become difficult to control. Many among the poor see immigrants as taking their jobs, even though they will not do them.
    I am sure that there are many in the winning group of 55% who wish they had not listened to the likes of G. Brown, failed politician. That they had voted yes. I always said it would be harder for them to take than those who voted YES.

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    1. On the subject of immigration, Helena, we have very different needs.

      I'd not care to comment on what the situation is like in English towns where 50% of the population is immigrant. Diversity is not something that would bother me. I lived for a while in England in an area that was hugely immigrant and it didn't bother me a bit, but then I was an immigrant myself.

      However, we need some immigration here if we hope to keep our old and sick in a reasonable way. We don't have enough educated young people.

      As a part of the UK it doesn't much matter as our taxes are all taken by London and given back in pocket money, but as an independent country we couldnt; afford to have the kind of immigration policy that the Tories, Labour and UKIP are proposing.

      I'm just surprised that Brown was stupid enough to be suckered into guaranteeing something that David Cameron said... It was madness on his part.

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    2. Well I for one commend the SNP and say well done AYE
      Mary

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    3. Tris, my Great Granddad made an error, in the 1880's he turned the wrong way, ended up in Armadale West Lothian instead of America, so as one of his descendants. He came for Donegal, I am could also be considered to be an immigrant. I will say what happens in England is their business but when it impinges on ours, well Ukip have history on wishing to dissolve the Scottish Parliament and return it all back to the way it was.
      Still commend the SNP for their policy on this, nobody can fail them for trying, it will not happen, that I am sure of. The British think they like Niko does, that they have won, not likely. Survation Poll for the Mail on Sunday this morning proves that.

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    4. I'll check out that poll Helena. Thanks!

      BTW, the Irish are FAR more polite than we are. Even in the capital city I was stunned by the politeness of the population. It must be a joy to live in the small town or in the countryside.

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  5. Danny

    Well listen to the guy who comes from a nation who go out and shoot children in school
    and all or most Americans cheer WTF saying the answer to kids being attacked schoo
    is to arm the kids....

    Democracy talk from a guy whose nation is killing innocent men women and children all over world...yeah the Americans will give everyone democracy even if they kill everybody doing it.

    Danny dont get the point nah well if . you stop working out what nation to invade
    and whose people you can slaughter. you could take note
    the snp were elected under the present powers and any additional powers proposed during the referendum campaign were expressly to include all the political parties and those of no political affiliations.
    The snp proposed Independence they lost...........they do not get a second bite of the cherry there influence is no more nor less than the ordinary Scot in the street.
    the devolution of more powers is outwith the remit of holyrood and as such must include a variety of opinion from Scottish society. And not just from a narrow close minded nationalist party.

    now if you can drag yourself away from your firing range and the mock up targets
    of muslim familys you make like to read....
    and try to engage your brain..............




    “Following the referendum we have a willingness, shared by all five of Scotland’s main political parties, to strengthen the powers of the Scottish Parliament, within the UK.

    “My job is to create a process through which politicians, civic institutions and the Scottish public can come together, work together and agree the detail of what those powers should be.

    “To that end, I am working to one aim: to produce a unifying set of proposals by the 30 November 2014.”


    For general enquiries and to input ideas, analysis and comments, please email to haveyoursay@smith-commission.scot. For all media enquiries, please email press@smith-commission.scotland
    Lord Smith of Kelvin

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    1. Niko. There's no need to be downright rude.

      The truth is that David Cameron through Gordon Brown, promised Federal government.

      Whether it was because Gordon Brown said it, or for any other reason, people seemed to believe him.

      I didn't.

      It wouldn't have made any difference if I had believed him because I don't want the Conservatives of any colour to control defence and foreign affairs. They waste far too much money pretending to be what they are not.

      I don't want nuclear weapons and I don't approve of going to war at the drop of a hat to make money for the arms industry.

      I don't approve of kids starving while we have the 4th largest military spend in the world and embassies and consulates in every country whether we need them or not.

      How some people thought that federalism would be a good idea.

      So they voted from what Gordon Brown promised on behalf of the Eton boy.

      What more is there to argue about?

      Bring it on.

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    2. Nats

      Niko. There's no need to be downright rude.


      pot kettle black

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    3. Niko, you cannot help yourself you are extremely rude and bring out the worst in all or us.

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    4. It was me that said that Niko. Not Nats.

      You can't go around blaming Danny for school shootings any more than you can blame me for Dunblane.Though I'm sure you'd like to blame that on Alex Salmond.

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  6. Danny


    Have your say – Submitting ideas, views and proposals to the Commission – 03 October 2014

    Lord Smith has been tasked with convening cross-party talks to produce, by 30 November 2014, Heads of Agreement with recommendations for further devolution of powers to strengthen the Scottish Parliament within the UK. As part of that, Lord Smith wants to hear from you about your views on what could be devolved.

    The voice, opinions and ideas of the people of Scotland on what powers should be devolved to strengthen the Scottish Parliament within the UK matter deeply.Lord Smith has asked intermediaries – the campaign and community groups, civic society organisations and institutions that already speak to and for people across Scotland – to bring together proposals and views of their members and feed them into the process.

    Members of the public are now welcome to submit their views to help guide the Commission’s consideration of what further powers should be devolved to strengthen the Scottish Parliament within the UK. The deadline for responding is 5pm on 31 October. There are three ways you can make sure your views are heard.

    Email: Please email your responses to haveyoursay@smith-commission.scot

    Mail: Please write to The Smith Commission, 7th Floor, 144 Morrison Street, EH3 8EX

    Website: There will also be a dedicated ‘haveyoursay’ page on the website from Monday 13 October where you can put your ideas in directly.

    It is Lord Smith’s intention to conduct the Commission’s work transparently and submissions will be published on the Commission’s website shortly after the deadline (in line with the policy on handling written submissions).

    This may be something that you already have very clear views about and any work or thinking you may already have done on the powers that could be devolved will come in helpful. But it doesn’t matter if this is something you are thinking about for the first time – we want to hear your views. The website will soon also include an overview of the powers that are already devolved in case this is a a helpful starting point for you as you pull your views together. In the meantime please find below a simple list summary of this.

    https://www.smith-commission.scot/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/smith-infographic1.pdf


    https://www.smith-commission.scot/contact/


    Scotland's deputy first minister, Nicola Sturgeon, said she still believed in independence, but added:

    "I accept the result of the referendum and acknowledge that independence will not be the result of the Smith Commission process


    Danny what happened ???

    http://www.let.rug.nl/usa/presidents/abraham-lincoln/the-emancipation-proclamation-1863.php
    "That on the 1st day of January, A.D. 1863, all persons held as slaves within any State or designated part of a State the people whereof shall then be in rebellion against the United States shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free; and the executive government of the United States, including the military and naval authority thereof, will recognize and maintain the freedom of such persons and will do no act or acts to repress such persons, or any of them, in any efforts they may make for their actual freedom.

    Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States


    http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/oct/10/michael-brown-jury-black-life-united-states

    Michael Brown jury: putting a value on a black life in the United States
    Is there a price to pay for summarily killing a man, or is it just what happens in Ferguson when one man has a badge and the other too much melanin?

    Gary Younge

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  7. Danny

    http://www.let.rug.nl/usa/presidents/abraham-lincoln/the-emancipation-proclamation-1863.php

    "That on the 1st day of January, A.D. 1863, all persons held as slaves within any State or designated part of a State the people whereof shall then be in rebellion against the United States shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free; and the executive government of the United States, including the military and naval authority thereof, will recognize and maintain the freedom of such persons and will do no act or acts to repress such persons, or any of them, in any efforts they may make for their actual freedom.

    Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States,


    http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/oct/10/michael-brown-jury-black-life-united-states

    Michael Brown jury: putting a value on a black life in the United States
    Is there a price to pay for summarily killing a man, or is it just what happens in Ferguson when one man has a badge and the other too much melanin?

    Gary Younge


    Danny what happened ???? Democracy and freedom American style



    http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-QGoFI4mTu3w/Th4KGt1l8BI/AAAAAAAAB78/inTiZGYRn-E/s1600/77704488-drones-killed.jpg

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    1. On American issues, Mr. Munguin would properly feel that this is not a proper venue for such discussions. However since self-righteous moralizing directed toward Americans is one of the things that the British do best, a brief response seems to be in order.

      Let me point out that it was the guns in individual American colonial households that drove the hated British from our shores, and it’s American guns that provide the bedrock assurance that they will never come back.
      As for making war on the world, that’s a practice we learned very well from the British. I’m pretty sure that the body count from the British Empire’s centuries of wars on the people of the entire world, for the sake of pillaging their wealth and resources for England, is greater than anything the Americans were ever responsible for. Not to mention the blood drenched centuries of warfare in Europe, and the subjugation of Wales, Scotland, and Ireland by the English.

      The Emancipation Proclamation of course reminds us of the brutality of slavery, which in its British form was at least as brutal as that of the cotton plantation slavery of the American South. The Proclamation didn’t actually free many slaves, but it had an important political effect in discouraging Her Majesty’s government from recognizing the Southern Confederacy, the better to serve the cotton interests of the British textile industry. At least the British finally got around to abolishing slavery just 32 years before the Americans, but with a ten year exception for the economic interests of the East India Company.

      So looking at the total span of history, we must conclude that the history of Britain is the shame of the world. (Not to put too fine a point on it.)

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    2. Well, Niko. You asked for that!

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    3. Danny I applaud you. I spent two wonderful weeks with many of your nationality and as I said to Jim the former RSM, you are a much more polite society than the one with which I have the unfortunate circumstance to have to live with. Many of my Family have settled there and believe me I would have gone too if I had been able to.

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    4. @Helena Brown: Thanks very much for the comment. The more polite Americans are perhaps less well known than the stereotype. Another thing perhaps not fully appreciated in Britain and Europe is the diversity of culture and history among the far flung states, and even to some extent the diversity of governance within the federal system.

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    5. Niko, I sometimes wonder, now how can I put this kindly, if you are really the full shilling? Hope for your sake that a Labour UK government do not find that there is oil in Cyprus.

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    6. If there were oil on Cyprus you can bet the Brits would have invaded it by now, ,to encourage democracy, you know... Maybe they could install a monarchy and a house of clerics, aristos and big contributors... then introduce first past the post

      That would show Johnny Cypriot Foreigner a thing or two about democracy.... wouldn't it?

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  8. Well said, Danny. Unfortunately I don't think we in Scotland are ever likely to see an Emancipation Proclamation, and 55% of us will continue to accept our enslavement to Westminster as the default position for anybody too feart to throw off the shackles.
    Some days I wake up in total despair of the people of Scotland, and this is one of them.

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    1. Thanks HV. I appreciate the comment.

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    2. Nil desperandum ...

      We are on our way HV.

      It may take longer this way, but it will be more unanimous.

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    3. HV,
      I felt like that the morning after but have been encouraged by the reactions ever since. At the time I was as despondent as the guy in Whisky Galore who delivered the saddest line in move history - "There is no whisky" but then I remembered the ending.......

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    4. LOL

      Islanders... what can you say?

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