Sunday 15 January 2012


In an article today in the paper edition of the Herald (apparently unavailable on-line), Michael Forsyth, one of Scotland's least liked Tories (in fact the man who led the Tories in Scotland to utter oblivion in 1997), writes that he thinks that the coalition parties should take a back seat in the referendum debate.

He seems to appreciate that the London government's involvement in the lead up to 2014's poll is bound to have a negative effect for their cause. He is probably aware that since Mr Cameron upped the stakes on the independence question last week, the SNP membership has soared. At one point 9 people per minute were joining, according to the Courier and Advertiser, Dundee's Tory-leaning morning paper.

He says that he knows that Scotland is a left of centre country with a tendency to vote Labour. He proposes therefore, that Alistair Darling, Labour's ex chancellor, should be involved in leading London's campaign for Scotland's dependence.

It is a shrewd choice. Particularly since Darling launched his attack on Brown in his memoires, he has become a relatively respected figure in Scottish politics in the elder statesman category. If I had to chose someone to present the status quo argument, he would certainly be on my short list.

But wait a minute. Forsyth, an arch Thatcherite Tory, thinks that the UK government (Tory and Liberal alike), which the status quo vote that he craves would force upon Scotland, possibly for the next 10 years or more, is so unpopular that it should keep away from the debate about that future?

Does Mr Forsyth really not see any irony in his argument?



    Willie Rennie has just said that the Union is outdated and over centralised.

    Welll we have been saying that for a decade or so, Willie boy but what are you going to do about, I say?

    Expect a press release from The Dog That Never Barked tomorrow then?

  2. I read what he said Wolfie.

    I asked the same question as you did.

    What will you do? How will you campaign? Will you ask for a third option .

    As Iain McWhirter asked in HIS article in the Herald, why do the Liberals and Labour not want THEIR options represented on the ballot paper? It's weird.

    It's very funny cabaret...

  3. Irony? Lets talk SNP economics a moment:

    They want us to become independent, an expensive and disruptive process. BUT still keep the pound.

    So ... they want us to have our biggest competitor (as England would become) to control our monetary policy ... and erm ... inevitably limit our tax and borrowing freedoms ...

    Independence? I call that mad hatter economics!

    Only cybernats can't see the irony in their so-called 'independence' proposals for Scotland!

  4. Only Dean can't see the irony in supporting the EU which wants to control our budget through tighter fiscal union yet criticises the SNP for using the pound as a stop gap because it would mean London controlling our monetary policy lol.

    Hilarious seeing Forsyth wanting panda lookalike Darling to run the Union show. What is it with Tories and pandas ?

    Michael Moore was funny on BBC today. Asked to explain how he would stop Scots using sterling post independence he mumbled some rubbish. Osborne doesn't own sterling anymore than Obama can stop other countries using the dollar. It's actually a positive situation if other countries use your currency. Look at the panic as Iran and China think of ditching the dollar as their preferred currency for international transactions.

  5. Monty,

    Why seek independence when you would leave us with the same practical economic freedoms than with fiscal autonomy within the Union?

    Answer: separatists only care about destroying the UK, not with economic facts.

  6. what i find ironic is labour in scotland saying they want the best for the people of scotland.however they support a union that gives scotland a tory government in westminster every few years.

  7. We don't want to destroy the UK Dean. England , Wales and Northern Ireland will still have each other.
    It's impractical to dump sterling immediately because of the effects on trade. It would affect English trade as well since you said England was our most important and biggest competitor. Osborne is causing mischief and failing to see that it would have a devastating effect on business in the rest of the UK if he tried to disrupt sterling deposits in Scotland. Blinded by hatred I think.

  8. There's a good quote in the comments section cynical. From Auld Bob...

    " What the slippery George Osborne did not say was that if Scotland leaves the union the situation is actually better for Scotland than it is for England. First of all the Bank of England is not English as it was nationalised by the United Kingdom in 1946 so it actually belongs to the Parliament of the United Kingdom and the United Kingdom is not England. In fact England does not have a parliament, a treasury or a national bank. In fact neither does Scotland. However, as there were only two equal sovereign countries that were joined by the Treaty of Union that formed, "The parliament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain", in 1707. In fact Ireland only joined in its own right in 1800 with an act signed by the existing two Union countries. Thus, if the 1707 Treaty is voided then the treaty with Ireland in 1800 must be voided as the two original countries cannot both be co-joined with Ireland. So the truth is that if Scotland leaves the partnership that is Scotland & England neither country can claim the bank of England, the Treasury, the house of Parliament building or indeed any of the Westminster employees in the ministries. Osborne is bluffing. There can be NO rump UK."

  9. And Dean rather than going around scaremongering with red herrings from Westminster do a bit of research on money supply etc. Remember this by repeating it 100 times.


  10. First Dean, belonging to the sterling zone (also operated by countries like Jersey, Guernsey, Isle of Man, the first two pretty successful economies, which do not follow the UK tax system despite using the pound), would, I imagine, be a fairly short term measure.

    I don't know what would happen after that: I'm not in Mr Swinney's close circle. ;^) My best bet is that we would have our own currency, away from the pound, as Ireland did after sterling failed to make it in the ERM (after being in the sterling zone for over 50 years.

    But it is possible that the Scots would want to join the Euro, if it is still there and if it has settled. It is arguably still the second most important currency in the world (which would explain Standard and Poor's constant onslaught on it).

    Why not settle for devo max, or devo max plus?

    Well lots of people for lots of different reasons want to be as independent as Norway or Holland or Luxembourg or Malta (which was also in the sterling area at one time).

    Some would say it's to rid Scotland of nuclear weaponry, and to stop paying for what is actually NOT an independent weapons system, as France has, but a system totally dependent on US control. (Yep, as usual they were brighter than we were).

    Some might say controlling our own destiny as far a war is concerned is important. You believe we are right to be in Iraq, Libya and Afghanistan, some, dare I say many, Scots don't think so.

    Some believe that the UK government doesn't see welfare in the same light as we do and we should be able to control that ourselves. For example, taking money from sick people isn't some Scots' cup of tea.

    By the same token allowing Vodaphone and banks to get away with not paying tax is also probably not our choice.

    Having the UK control our foreign affairs including our relations in Europe is high on my list of dislikes.

    I'm sure others can give you more reasons.

  11. I was kinda wondering about that Monty. They gonna send in the army to burn all our pound notes, and ban them, just like they did with tartan, or Gaelic?

    No, I don't think the average Englishman wants that kind of thing.

  12. Dea. Nationalists don't want to destroy things. When did you ever heard Alex or Nicola or any of the Cabinet Secretaries talk about destroying anything?

    They just want Scotland to control Scotland's future; what goes on here, as clearly, everyone can tell by looking at the figures, the UK government is not representative of Scottish voting. The policies of the UK government are not in line with what Scots want to see from their country.

    Tory 1 = Liberals 11 = 12 / 59.

    And yes, I know that the SNP is not heavily represented either, but my point is that the UK government does not command support in Scotland, and some would say has no mandate in Scotland.

    In either parliament, the parties that make up the UK government are not well represented in Scotland.

    Go figure.

  13. Hello Hector. Nice to see you.

    You'd think Scottish Labour would jump for joy at the thought of a left of centre country, getting a left of centre government...

    ...They can't have much confidence that it would be them, can they.

    The truth is that Scotland would be a small country without much influence. I suspect that the Prime Minister of Luxembourg is rarely greeted in the White House. People like Jim Murphy aren't content to be in a government of a small country. They want to be at the UK, banging the podium; they want to be at the G8, lecturing the world; they want to be in the White House and the Forbidden City... They want to go down in world history.

    Getting the pot holes mended in Scotland is too small for them.

    In short they don't care about Scotland; they care about themselves.

  14. So the SNP want the pound (so, after independence, they still won't control monetary policy)

    At some point (the SNP refuse to say) they MIGHT either join the euro (the same cons as with remaining in the pound, simply exchanging London for Frankfurt)..

    or even float a new currency. Super, a new currency, whose valuation we wouldn't know till after first days floatation ... it might wipe off every middle class families savings, during a decade long global economic slump ... but who cares, the SNP want to destroy the UK...

    who cares about the economic sense of their wacky agenda?

  15. The Former United Kingdom Rump State



  16. Dean, Hong Kong and Singapore peg their currency to the $US whilst Denmark does the same to the €.

    Israel and Argentine for periods pegged their currency to the $US.

    I remember being in BA and withdrawing sash for the machine either in $US (real folding ones) or whatever the local currency was at that date.

    It is not abnormal to "peg" your currency to another fully convertible one.

    The the second state would be to let it float free a little bit at a time. It is not Rocket Science.

  17. Dean, please read the blog by Stephen Noon regarding the currency question - it will put your mind at ease...

    Bill Pickford

  18. What I find both odd and almost unbelieveable is the lack of a prepared strategy for an independence referendum, even a bare bones strategy, in the Labour, Conservative and Lib-Dem parties.

    Even if you consider that the Scottish Independence referendum only became a real threat in May 2011 with a majority SNP government they've still had seven full months to put together a response.

    The other thing you've got to remember is that nothing has changed in Scotland to trigger this media furore. The SNP has been in majority Government since the 6th of May 2011 and they've always said they would hold an independence referendum in the second half of the Scottish Parliament and that's what they're going to do.

    The only thing that's happened is that Cameron has deliberately brought the Scottish independence referendum centre stage and as a result the English/British media has just realised that the SNP aren't bluffing.

    Cameron has gone for a huge media story and a confrontation with the SNP Government but he hasn't a clue about what he should do now he's started the uproar. Milliband is totally silent apart from mutual backslapping with Cameron and Clegg keeps saying he's not a unionist he's devolutionist but devo-max on the ballot paper is a big no-no.

    The lack of planning, strategy and forethought from the Westmister parties in the whole affair is quite staggering especially when they started it.

  19. 'planning, strategy and forethought'

    Dont come in to it thats slippery snp talk we shall do the right thing by the Scottish peoples and the peoples of the United Kingdom.

  20. Just watched Sunday Politics Scotland worth spending an hour on.

    I am sorry Dean you are getting more and more paranoid over something that as an ex uni student should be able to grasp. We would have control over Fiscal and Monetary policy and if London stupidly tried to stitch us up in anyway they would be the loser by a strong Scottish pound backed by oil! Panama uses the US Dollar and I am sure there are other shared currencies around the World.

    Worry if you dont want Independence how you can get Devo-Max on the ballot as the latest poll in Scotland the split was 45% support/ 45% oppose.

  21. Cynical,

    If we became independent, and kept the Sterling, we would NOT have control over monetary policy. Because that would be set by the then independent rival England.

    Niko is right, no amount of slippery cybernat separatist talk can evade the facts.

  22. cynicalHighlander:

    Did you see the bit on the show where Isabel Fraser said to Michael Moore that Alex Salmond wanted to talk to someone above his pay grade.

    The expression on his face was pure comedy gold.

  23. Yes Doug its about time he was put back in his little box until the next rainy day.

    That's your problem Dean stuck in a rut with no vision for Scotland as a whole just what suits you.

  24. Do you seriously think that people like John Swinney and Alex Salmond haven't thought of this, Dean?

  25. Ha ha Wolfie.

    Yes, Ireland's economy didn't suffer pegging the value of their pound to the Bank of England one.

    It was daft casino banking that did for Ireland, just as it is doing for the UK with it's 1000% debt.

  26. Thanks for that link Bill... and welcome to Munguin's Republic. ;¬)

  27. Doug:

    They are amateurs, and almost everything that they have done shows this. Cameron says it is strength to listen to people's reactions, but why is it that he hasn't learned to listen before he announces things as faits accompis, rather than after.

    So this referendum stuff that he came out with a week ago. Is it more amateurishness, or is he hiding something important in England, and has just used the unimportant Scottish constitutional situation as a cover to distract everyone?

  28. *Tris thanks goodness for the statesman like talk from Niko*

  29. Dean: Jersey is in the sterling zone. It operates an entirely different economic model to England.

    CH is right. Scotland could have the upper hand in this

  30. I think now is the time we shall see Michael Moore for what he is. The guy who didn't even get a junior role, not even a PPS, until Danny Alexander was put into a real job.

  31. PS Cynical. How did that woman manage to sing every single note flat?

  32. The Westminster Government does not have control over monetary policy either does it? I thought that had been handed to the Bank of England (founded by a Scot)??

  33. True... and the Bank of English ironically, is owned by all the countries of the union

  34. George Orwell distinguishes nationalism from patriotism, which he defines as devotion to a particular place. Nationalism, more abstractly, is "power-hunger tempered by self-deception."

    I am a Scottish patriot, and never a separatist ... sorry ... nationalist.

  35. Dean




    I made these words up, at least my spellchecker thinks so.