Friday 25 January 2013


Dear Tris

Earlier this month, I started an on-line blog of my observations on the referendum campaign, our preparations for Scotland to become independent, and the reasons why we believe that bringing powers home will better equip us to build the kind of country we want Scotland to be.

I now plan on summarising the best bits and sending them to you directly.

Today we welcomed the findings in the Scottish Social Attitudes Survey. Reading the papers you’d think it was bad news. However, the figures tell a different story. The fact is that when people are presented with a range of constitutional choices open to Scotland, independence emerges as the most popular.

Independence is supported by 35%, Devo max 32%, status quo 24% and no devolution 6% - you won't read that in many papers, but it is what the survey says.


Here’s some other highlights from the survey, ideal for your conversations with the [as yet] undecided:

•   63% believe that the Scottish Government should have most influence over how Scotland is run
•   64% believe that Holyrood should make decisions about welfare benefits
•   56% believe that Holyrood should make decisions about the level of taxes.

Yesterday, of course, months after criticising the Scottish Government over the timing of the independence referendum, David Cameron tells us he wants his own referendum – on Europe – but not for another 4 years or so!

Alex Salmond summed this up nicely. The fact is that being independent within the EU will allow us to assert and protect our national interests much more effectively than we can as part of the UK.

Following a Yes vote in 2014, and in parallel to negotiations with the UK, there will be a negotiation with the EU on the terms of our continuing membership.  Just like Sweden, we would not join the Euro.  And just like Ireland, we would not enter Schengen but would instead co-operate with Ireland and the rest of the UK in the Common Travel Area.

Tomorrow I'm off to Dublin to give a speech to the British Irish Chamber of Commerce Annual Conference. One of the bonds we share with Ireland is our commitment to Europe and our appreciation of the benefits that the EU brings to our citizens.

The EU is easily our biggest international trading partner accounting for nearly half of Scotland's exports. And membership of the EU is one of the major factors that make us attractive for inward investment.

Watch Reporting Scotland tomorrow night to see how I get on. But there is one thing I am fairly sure of, even before I go - there are not many people in Ireland who would agree with the view that being independent is the wrong choice in terms of European and international engagement. Not many at all.

Tomorrow also sees Yes Scotland launch the first in a series of major campaigns with a rallying call for Scots to put their hands up for a better Scotland. 2013 will see us move the debate from the how to the why of independence.

We want people to start thinking about what kind of country they want; what kind of country Scotland could be and to think about why being independent could be the best way to achieve our aspirations and goals.

'So the "Hands Up for a Better Scotland" initiative is asking: "Are you happy with the way things are? Or do you think they could be better? We're asking people to really think about it...

Before I sign off, why not check out some useful talking points that you can send on to friends and workmates.

My latest blog reveals that, contrary to press reports before Christmas, President José Manuel Barroso wasn't talking about Scotland. Kevin McKenna and Joyce McMillan reveal why independence is fast becoming the only option.

There was also a cracking speech this week by former US Ambassador Prof. David Scheffer on how Scotland will be an equal member of the EU.

And finally, Alex Salmond has recorded a short video explaining why people should have a constitutional right to a home and a free education.

If you’ve found this email helpful, interesting and informative, why not forward it on?



  1. If you’ve found this email helpful,

    Yeah sure Nicola just shows what a load of tosh you really speak
    so 35% (I will check that up) for Independence

    and 62% (using snp data) take an opposing view

    everything else she quotes is support for a devolved
    and not an Independent Scottish Government

    she talks about 'negotiations' and then in typical snp speak
    gives a pretendy outcome in favour of the snp before a word has
    been spoken or a referendum won.

    And then she drags Ireland into the picture and as we all know
    their path to partial Independence was dripping with blood
    and to this day remains unresolved.

    and as for Kevin McKenna and Joyce McMillan we will see them and raise you a Blair McDougall

    Scottish nationalists don't have a monopoly on Scottishness

    The SNP's deeply negative independence campaign is at odds with the positive, outward-looking outlook of most Scots

    Nicola calls that a victory????go figure

  2. Och Niko, lighten up, and show some respect for the Deputy First Minister of Her Majesty, or I'll get Taz to bite you.

  3. "Scottish nationalists don't have a monopoly on Scottishness"
    True but Unionists have a monopoly on self loathing about Scotland ie Davidson, McMahon, Sarwar in the section 30 debate!

  4. mmm. She's not interested in asking the people if they want to be in the EU though. How can you be 'independent in the EU' ?

    Plus she was saying in today's Scotsman that we rely on the EU for 60,000 jobs or something. Like the EU will stop buying whisky or oil etc if we're independent outside of the EU.
    What about the 100,000 fishing jobs in Scotland that have been lost since we joined the EU ? Plus £1.8Bn in revenue from our fish every year and our fishing fleet decimated to less than a 3rd of it's pre EU level ? Our fishing ports now empty harbours full of a few yachts and some junkies.

    O/T you couldn't ask caron to stop the star trek thing could you ? Enough already ;)

  5. O/T you couldn't ask caron to stop the star trek thing could you ? Enough already ;)

    Oh come on Monty it is they only thing she has any knowledge as all the rest is fiction.

    As to the EU we will have a chance in 2016 election in an independent Scotland to vote on that by who one votes for.

  6. Hello FFS... Long time no see...

    Yes Davidson and Sarwar and all these slobs really hate Scots don't they. But for them it is very personal. They have brilliant jobs at 3 times the average rate, plus the most fantastic expenses that they wouldn't get anywhere else, and all of that despite being pretty much thick as planks. And then most of them expect to be elevated to the aristocracy (remember when Labour used to dislike aristos?) at £300 + a day, plus all the subsidised booze they can get down their miserable necks... and the independents are trying to take that away from them.

    Maybe if we promised that they could wear red gowns with ermine and everyone would curtsey and call them m'lord, and we gave them pots of money, they would stop hating us so much?

  7. This is the best line....."One of the bonds we share with Ireland is our commitment to Europe "

    Err, Ireland is committed to Europe alright. Committed to being run by the troika ( EU/IMF/Goldman Sachs) for generations until they've repaid the debts that their former leaders run up before getting out of Dodge and escaping abroad.

    I suspect she will stay in 'the EU bubble' over in Ireland.

  8. Ah well, Monty, for that you have to go to England, where Mr Cameron will take you out of the EU, and promptly get rid of employment rights, welfare rights etc etc... at least that's what he says is wrong with the EU.

    Never mind Frau Merkel, another right winger says she will listen to him. He might have a bit more of a problem trying to get François Holland on side though. He really shouldn't have made that silly statement about welcoming tax dodgers from France... particularly as he then went to Davos and told everyone that we should work to catch tax dodgers... LOL! Easy, ils parlent francais et vivent a Londres at the invitation of Eton Dave.

    But then, according to Max over at your place (advise everyone to go see Max on the Andrew Neil show over at Monty's place), there's a good chance England is about to blow up...

    Hard choice. :)

  9. Oh...erm...I don't think Caron takes much notice of anything I say. She's a feminist and I'm a man. She's a UK nationalist and I'm a Scottish nationalist.

    It means we don't speak the same language!!

  10. "Exterminate, exterminate, exterminate" will be in the new LibDem manifesto, ironic really.

  11. LOL @ CH.... Ironic indeed... self extermination at the hands of Cleggy...and what's his name again?

  12. cynical..I quite liked star trek when I was about 13 but it's a bit scary seeing grown ups being so obsessed ;)

    The EU thing will be all done and dusted by 2016 and we aint invited to the discussion.... From tris's personal message...

    "Following a Yes vote in 2014, and in parallel to negotiations with the UK, there will be a negotiation with the EU on the terms of our continuing membership"

    tris..Dave is just echoing the latest EU January plans re global tax avoidance.
    We're quite capable of writing our own employment rights etc. Are you saying we're dafties ?

  13. No, but I'm saying if Cameron writes employment rights I imagine that we will probably be allowed air, but not too much of it.

    He get that sleekit auld bastard (who owns Wonga dot com and loans money to gullible people who don't have bank accounts at 3 billion % interest) to write them.

  14. Monty I cannot see how we will be independent until 2016 election has taken place as the referendum is only advisory but the outcome will be respected by both parties and negotiate the terms thereafter between the rUK and Holyrood not over the EU. The EU has to vote to accept us as an independent state which they can't do until we are. That is how I see it.

  15.'s either wonga or the loan shark with a baseball bat.

    cynical..the groundwork is being done now ( see tris's personal letter ) to have our EU membership all done and dusted by the 2016 elections. And the general public aren't invited to contribute. The EU are being non committal at the moment in order to stay out of the debate but they will grab us happily if the vote goes in favour of independence next year.

  16. It is possible that we will have a referendum too. We don't know what we will vote for after independence. Ed Miliband said that he did not want an in-out referendum, and a few moments after his spin doctors were trying to say that when he said "no" he didn't mean "no" in the sense of "no" but more in the sense of erm... "yes", or "maybe" or something.. I blame his spin doctors though. They should have seen that question coming.

    Who knows what Labour, which might form the first independent government in Scotland, might want to do if their English ex-bosses agree to a referendum in England.

    If we have that referendum, then good and well. At least then WE will be voting for us, as opposed to having people with different interests voting on our behalf.

    The general sense is that Scotland is less Euro-sceptic than England and that more of our exports go to Europe.

    Of course I realise that we can still sell to Europe without being inside it, but our goods would become a lot more expensive.

    When the United States put taxes on our woollen goods, our Borders knitted goods factories went out of business because cashmere became too expensive for ordinary Americans to buy.

    But I don't want to get into a protracted argument about the EU here. We disagree on it, and I'll never convince you, or you me. ... :)

    Like a lot of other things...the monarchy, for example, let's worry about that after we are independent. As an independent country we can make up our minds.

  17. There's a couple of things in Monty's comments that I wish to address but I'll do so tomorrow when I've sobered up. Earlier I had a ten minute fight with the fecking plastic wrapping on razor blades and the same thing this morning over vacuum packed bacon. These inventors should be shot at dawn with no blind-fords - God knows how little old women like Niko manage to access their shaving gear!

  18. I'm sure Wonga have their own baseball bats.

    Mr Wonga didn't get to be obscenely rich by letting people off lightly.

    But my main point is that he is, of course a friend of, and adviser to, the Eton boy. He has already written a paper on employment practices and rights. Basically he doesn't want people to have any. Instant dismissal for no reason was amongst his suggestions.

    "Ew, your hair looks disgusting. You're fired"

  19. blind-fords is a new word I've invented - hope you like it!!

  20. Monty


    Greenland originally joined the then-European Communities with Denmark in 1973. However, it left following a referendum in 1985, with 53% voting for withdrawal.[8] The referendum followed a dispute over fishing rights.

    I couldn't careless what alleged groundwork is being done the fact is we have to vote an independent Scotland in/out of the EU when the FIRST elections to Holyrood in 2016 as an independent Nation no matter what ones opinion is. This is reading more like an.... no I won't go down that road.

  21. That's terrible, John. Imagine not being able to get into your bacon to shave that little old lady.

    I doubt we could afford blind fords, or indeed blind folds at the moment, the state that that idiot Osborne has got us into.

    I wonder what it is he knows about Camergoon. It must be reallllllly good, or, from the Eton boy point of view, reallllly bad.

    Anyway, if Cilla Black can invent words and get them accepted into the language, so can you...

    We will look forward to your sober comments in the morning.

    Hope the weather's not been bad...

  22. Greenland is a really interesting country, CH. It had nothing much to gain form the EU. It was well out of it. It has vast fishing grounds which it had to share, and a tiny farming industry which meant that it benefited very little from the CAP.

    It couldn't access the rest of the continent easy for freedom of movement, labour, goods. It's much more a North American country than a European one. It's relationship with Denmark was the only reason it joined.

    It was much more sensible for it to leave the union. it actually does get some advantage from it's mother country being in the union, as its goods (I think mainly fish products shrimps, prawn etc, but some aluminium too), are products of a part of the kingdom of Denmark, and as such I presume not charged import duty.

  23. We don't benefit from the CAP either tris as it is controlled from Westminster to subsidise the beet farmers and others to the the detriment of LFAs. I am against the EU in principal but since we have never had a proper and honest debate over it then one is inclined to jump to conclusions usually over a single issue rather than the overall package because our voice has never been heard whilst London calls the tune. Everything in the UK is based on soundbites and newspaper headlines which are basically garbage.

  24. That attitudes survey was full of nonsense. As a student of economic masters academics, I refuse to deem it relevant. And this isn't about union or independence, its about the robustness of that nonsense survey!

    Its question wordings were shocking, indeed they seemed to ask the same thing at times in a different way (yet deem it a fresh indicator)... often times leading to a totally wildly different % support for the EXACT SAME THING!

    Let me give you an example:

    The recent Scottish attitudes survey, showing 23% of Scots support an independence (question wording saying 'independence' in the question ...


    It states later that "35% said the Scottish Parliament should make all decisions for Scotland" ...

    My point: isn't this the exact same thing as Independence? Thus the figure may actually not be 23% but 35%, and the gap is a 'shy nationalist' factor? Isn't this totally undermining the credibility of this survey? (Not to mention the unbelievable press coverage proclaiming 23% .. and ignoring 35%)

    Furthermore, has anyone even heard of this outfit? I certainly haven't (though, this may just be me to be honest)
    his survey was conducted by ESDS Government. Never heard of them. Led by the Cathie Marsh Centre for Census and Survey Research. Never heard of them. CCSR is an interdisciplinary research centre in the School of Social Sciences at the University of Manchester. I've heard of the University of Manchester.

    How many of you took part in this survey? Says it all really.

    So to hell with that survey, it has no credibility. At all.

  25. I’d just like to know what “economic masters academics” is? Perhaps Dean would have more success in convincing people of his cause (what is it these days?) if he did not employ gibberish to accuse others of employing gibberish!

  26. mungu

    Deano is mastering in 'Moronics' both ancient and modern Gibberish is an integral subject Alex Salmond himself achieved a '1'st with honours

  27. Right enough Niko as I understand it Alex cam well behind Johann Lamont, Anas Sarwar and Ed Miliband who all got distinctions. Anas I believe was Magnum cum Laude and got a double first in gibberishn and lying!

  28. cynical..I'm not sure what else to say about the EU referendum post the 2014 vote on independence.

    The SNP have said there won't be one ....

    Tris's letter from Nicola said there won't be one..

    "Following a Yes vote in 2014, and in parallel to negotiations with the UK, there will be a negotiation with the EU on the terms of our continuing membership. Just like Sweden, we would not join the Euro. And just like Ireland, we would not enter Schengen but would instead co-operate with Ireland and the rest of the UK in the Common Travel Area."

    The Labour Party said there would be no referendum. Even for the UK if they got in power.

    So none of the main parties that would be in power from 2014 onwards will give us a referendum. The people won't be part of any discussion on negotiations with the EU from 2014 so where is your referendum coming from ?

    Can you tell me any law or legislation in Scotland / UK that isn't subservient to the EU/ECHR Law or legislation ?
    Like I've said before 'independence in Europe ' is an oxymoron.

  29. It's an academic specialisation in economics of developing countries on my case. And no, it's only plagiarism if u copy another's work

  30. But don't worry, I don't expect a cyber may to care much about facts Munguin

  31. A note from Andy ( down under)January 26, 2013 12:08 pm

    I'm heading up the 'Yes Scotland' campaign folks !

  32. Moving to Engerland in 201 then Dean? Missionary work?

  33. snotty

    Nah its the snp who have launched the new missionarys

    up till the 2014 snp Armageddon here will one on every door knocker

  34. I'm seriously disappointed with Nicola now, I seriously thought that that letter was personal to me!!

  35. CH: I daresay that we don't benefit as much as some from the CAP, but I used to work with the wife of a farmer (she was French and taught 6 hours a week). He had a largely sheep farm in the Glens of Angus. One day she turned up in a "mauvaise humeur" and explained that her husband, who hated paperwork, had neglected to fill in one of the EU forms and had in consequence done them out of £10,000. So there must have been some benefit to Scottish farmers from it. But of course, as you say, it is all controlled from London.

  36. @ IBSU

    Didn't you know that Dean is for anywhere outside Scotland when he (I hesitate to say his as I don't/can't believe it could happen) graduates. Doesn't matter where just so long as he doesn't have to contribute to the society which has supported him all his selfish life.

  37. No, Dean. As you said. That survey had no credibility. If I'm not mistaken, despite the newspapers' headings indicating a fall in independence support, the already dodgy survey was around 7 months out of date when it was published.

  38. But should note that the figures you are quoting do not come from the same survey as Nicola's figures which show independence at 35%

  39. Ahhhh Andy. I see you wrote your own piece while you were playing the game. You must have thought things were heading in the direction of Switzerland (another very successful SMALL independent country) when you volunteered your services.

    But I expect you will be resigning now, as you have a final to get on with tomorrow, .....with which, good luck! :)

  40. IBSU... I think Dean is swapping places with Andy Murray.

  41. Och Niko, at least it will be a visitor for you.

  42. Actually, Niko. I'm hoping that someone from the No campaign comes to see me... I think it would be really fascinating to sit face to face with a unionist and get them to explain how much better we are together, heading for the triple dip of the recession, and then towards complete financial oblivion, as bonds crash, the pound crashes, the interest rates rise, the housing market falls through the floor as home owning people are thrown out of their homes, and the unemployed in the renting sector are thrown out of theirs (in England).

    I'd say we should probably get ready for a summer of discontent, while Alistair Darling tries to convince us that this is Better!

  43. Boorach... you mean YOU got a letter from Nicola too?

    Did yours have kisses on the bottom?

    I mean on the bottom of the letter, of course (Tris blushes)!

  44. After thought...

    John promised us his thoughts this morning...

    ...once he had sobered up.

    I'm a bit concerned that it's 1 pm and there's no sign of him.

    If anyone is passing by his wee hoose, could you give him a knock and see what's happened. If he's not there he might be down the pub!

  45. Really Dean! I am amazed that you could make “economic masters academics” into the “economics of developing countries” in English, which is the language we use here, the two bear no relation one to the other. While the economics of developing countries bears no relation either to Scotland (which I think is a developed country) or the subject of psephology and polling. Really Dean because you have a degree does not make you an expert on everything.

    Now I want to know what a “cyber may” is?

  46. "economic masters academic" that posh for wanker ?

  47. Me i had a letter and a naked pic from Nicola
    mind one was restraining order the other was
    brownlie in the nudey...yuk


    yer right there feller me i gotta a psychology degree
    so at least i know im mad down side is its incurable


    we dont talk like that here in the republic
    we is gentle fellows


  48. there will a snp missionaryon every doorstep fecks sake wid there little snp bible
    clutched under there arm.

    wide eyed smiling faces staring at ya week after week after week

  49. Looks like BBC Scotland are deliberately manipulating the news for political purposes who would of thunk it.

    Ireland’s Minister for European Affairs

  50. Hello prole. I hope it's not seeing as kids read the blog. We don't want an x-certificate! :)

  51. Ah Niko. How you must have enjoyed that... the restraining letter obviously. Makes you feel important when pretty ladies write you letters, even if she is a lawyer and it was a "Dear Sir, Unless" type of letter.

    Maybe one day I'll come and knock on your door and and between me and Taz we will convert you and Mrs Niko to the true way.

    I'll pop in and get our Spookie. He'll soon talk you into a YES.

    Mind you, I bet Nicola could talk you into it much quicker (as long as Mrs Niko was at the bingo).

  52. Thank you very much for bringing that to our attnetion CH.

    It's a hugely important document.

    The BBC have twisted the words of a Foreign Minister of another EU state. Bravo.

    At the risk of becoming boring on the subject of Nicola Sturgeon, I think I's worth putting that letter up on the blog. I'm sure Nicola wouldn't object.

    It really gets my goat that I have to pay a licence fee to that den of lying amateur journos so that they can skew the news to suit their own purpose. After all, Scotland makes money for them; they take a lot more from us than they ever spend here.

    Clearly they don't want our money to go.

    Thanks again for letting me know.

  53. It was Peter A Bell that alerted me tris as the management 'scum' (Niko's word) at Pacific Quay need to be brought to account for subverting democracy for personal/political gain.

  54. Once more we see abuse, aggression and hate dripping from every pore of some of these cybers (as in cybernat) ... keep it up you intolerant chaps. Only putting yourself to shame with comments like "wanker"

  55. Fortunately Dean, you have never been intemperate in any of your comments, and nor have any of your fellow unionists...?

    I didn't notice the particular example you mentioned.

    While I prefer the discussions to be carried out without resort to gratuitous swearing and cursing, I know that sometimes it helps an argument, and I can't complain if I so from time to time use the odd curse myself.

    If anything ever gets silly, or abusive I remove it, or ask the person who wrote it to remove it.

    If you're offended by anything please feel free to bring it to my attention, or that of Munguin.