Saturday, 25 July 2015

#Brexit kills Scottish nationalism stone dead

Politics can be divided into the transient and the long-term. Most of the issues that politicians squabble about are barely newsworthy. They will be forgotten within a week and certainly within a year. History books are full of forgotten politicians.  Most of what I have read therefore in newspapers over the past six months about politics is therefore of no consequence in the long run. The endless election debates are already nearly forgotten. All the newspaper comment about who would form a coalition with who are now as archaic as the debates about the Corn Laws.  

Labour is squabbling and descending into chaos, but it probably won’t matter. Five years from now Labour will most likely have a better leader than the last one, quite possibly someone who is today more or less unknown. But whoever eventually ends up the Labour leader will face the same long-term strategic issues as any other political leader.  For the next few years there are only two important issues in British politics. How will the UK relate to its EU neighbours and how will it relate to itself?

It’s extraordinary to realise that about a year ago opinion polls were suggesting that Scots would vote overwhelmingly against independence. I remember thinking, sometime in July 2014, that it was hardly worth campaigning anymore and that the referendum would crush Scottish nationalism forever. I’ve learned since that opinion polls are nonsense to be ignored and that my powers of prediction are very limited indeed.

The only issue in Scottish politics that matters to me is keeping the UK intact. Scottish independence would be a life changing event that would be remembered in the history books forever. This ought to matter to every UK citizen more than every other issue combined. We are still faced with the threat that our country will break up. That it will lose a third of its territory. We must all work together to do whatever it takes to make sure that this does not happen. No other country in the world would be as blasé as we are about such an event. The Greeks would consider it a national disaster if they lost one single island in the Aegean, yet the British are either indifferent or at times even in favour of the break-up of our country. It’s all very peculiar. Scottish independence would be a life-changing event for everyone in the UK. If you think our role in the world has been diminished in the last fifty years, can you imagine what it would be like if we became the Disunited Kingdom. We’d be a laughing stock, unworthy of being taken seriously about anything, unable even to keep our own country together. We can prevent this happening. There is a very easy way of doing so. We can vote to leave the European Union.

The EU has a very odd status in Scottish politics. During the referendum both sides were in favour of the EU and the worst calamity that could happen would be that Scotland would be left outside the EU. It would therefore appear paradoxical to suggest that voting to leave the EU would make the status of the UK more secure. After all, the SNP argue that if the UK votes as a whole to leave the EU, but Scotland votes to stay, then this would be grounds for divorce and a second independence referendum. Whether they would be granted such a referendum or try to organise one unilaterally is an issue for another day, but let’s consider how #Brexit might actually influence the debate in Scotland.

The SNP slogan “Independence in Europe” is not really about Europe at all. It would be better to rephrase it as “Independence in the UK”. It is this that the SNP wants. The SNP wants life after independence to appear to be more or less the same as life before independence. The reason for this, is that most Scots like most aspects of life in the UK and want these things to continue. The whole SNP argument is about having your cake and eating it too. Meanwhile, the whole argument against independence is that certain things that we all like and want to continue would cease if independence were to occur. We then get into that sterile debate about scaremongering and what would happen if. In the end, so long as both the UK and the Scotland are in the EU, the SNP reflects that Scots would have the same rights in the UK as the French or the Germans, which means we would have more or less the same rights as we do right now. The EU is the guarantor of everything remaining the same. Without the EU everything becomes different.

Think about what would happen if the UK voted to leave the EU. This would start a process of negotiation. The end point of this negotiation would not necessarily be that the UK would actually leave the EU. Remember Greece voted to leave the EU and the Euro, but their Οχι [No] vote despite all the threats and the scaremongering did not actually lead to them leaving. The end point of the UK’s negotiations with the EU could be complete separation, it could be a relationship similar to Norway’s, or it could be some sort of fudge which amounted to continued EU membership, but on rather different terms. The only way to get these different terms is to vote to leave. Therefore even those who wish to remain in the EU, but who wish a rather different relationship, should consider voting to leave as that is the only way this will occur. Cameron will get nothing but scraps until and unless the UK votes to leave. At that point he might just get something substantial.

It’s 2017 and the UK has just voted to leave. The SNP will be going nuts if Scotland votes to stay. They will be demanding another referendum. But they would obviously have to wait until the UK’s negotiations with the EU have concluded. The reason for this is obvious. How could we possibly judge whether we wanted Scotland to be independent from the UK unless we knew how the UK would relate to the EU? Until the consequences of #Brexit had been sorted out, no-one could sensibly decide on the consequences of #Scexit. This then kicks the issue of Scottish independence into the long grass. By the time the ball is found perhaps the nationalist surge may have declined.

Would #Brexit make a vote for Scottish independence more or less likely? Well given that nearly everyone in the Scotland loves the EU so much it would appear to make a vote for independence inevitable. But appearances can be deceptive. What are the issues that matter most to Scottish voters? We all want to be able to travel freely in the UK without a passport. We all want to continue using the pound. We all want exactly the same rights throughout the UK as we have now. Indeed we all want our pensions and wages and pretty much everything else to be more or less the same as our friends and relations in other parts of the UK. If it can be shown with certainty that any of these things would cease with a vote for Scottish independence, it is much less likely that Scots would vote to go it alone.

But imagine that the UK has left the EU. In order to become independent within the EU Scotland would then have to first leave the UK and then join the EU. This may or may not happen at more or less the same time. It doesn’t matter. Could Scotland retain the pound under these circumstances? Maintaining a currency union when both Scotland and the UK are in the EU would be difficult enough. We’ve just seen the difficulty countries get in when they try to establish monetary union without political union. But it is very hard indeed to believe that the UK having just left the EU would allow a currency union with a Scotland that has chosen to remain in the EU. This is not least because a condition for membership of the EU is the promise to eventually join the Euro. The UK would thus be continually faced with the threat of #Scexit. No one is going to allow this to happen.

If Scotland were in the EU while the UK was not, the border between England and Scotland would be the border of the EU itself. It’s hard to imagine that this border would not require people to show their passports, just as they do when they travel from Belarus to Poland. If this were not the case then EU citizens could freely move from Scotland into England, while UK citizens could freely move from the UK into the EU. Again it’s possible that some sort of deal could be done. But if the UK leaves the EU, it becomes much more likely that a hard border is erected between England and Scotland.

Lastly if the UK leaves the EU then all of the rights that EU citizens have to live and work and receive benefits in the UK would have to be renegotiated. But then so too would the rights of Scots. No doubt most of these rights would continue and anyway most Scots, at least for a time, might have UK passports, but these rights begin to look very contingent and perhaps short term.

If the UK voted to leave the EU and Scotland chose to stay, it would put these places on radically different paths. Scotland would be choosing to join a collection of European states that are on a path to “ever closer union”. The end point of this is hard to predict, but in my view if the Eurozone were going to break up it would have done so by now. In time, the EU is going to become something very similar to a United States of Europe with a single currency called the Euro. Eventually every member of the EU will have that currency and will be more or less ruled from Brussels with such devolved powers as Brussels allows. If Scotland chose to vote for independence after #Brexit, that is the path that we would be choosing.  The UK on the other hand would be on a radically different path. This means that Scotland and the UK would be diverging over time in ways that are impossible to predict. But it is quite certain that in time our relationship would become more and more distant. This would inevitably damage the UK’s single market and have negative consequences for Scotland’s trade with other parts of the UK.

For those Scots voters who want independence and for things to remain more or less stay the same #Brexit massively clarifies the issue. It would be impossible for the SNP to maintain that life would stay the same if we voted for independence. #Brexit plus #Scexit looks like a brave new world and we would have to be very brave indeed to take both these steps. Far from #Brexit making Scottish independence more likely it rather makes it virtually impossible. The condition for the possibility of Scottish independence is that the UK remains in the EU.

The debate about the EU is complex. I’ve always seen it as a pros and cons type argument. There are things I like about the EU and things I like less. But let’s be clear one of the pros of the UK voting to leave is that it guarantees for the foreseeable future that Scotland remains in the UK. #Brexit kills Scottish nationalism stone dead. 

If you like my writing, you can find my books Scarlet on the Horizon, An Indyref Romance and Lily of St Leonards on Amazon. Please follow the links on the side. Thanks. I appreciate your support.


  1. "How could we possibly judge whether we wanted Scotland to be independent from the UK unless we knew how the UK would relate to the EU? "

    I don't think the SNP will wait till the dust settles. They'll strike as soon as the votes show that the English electorate wasn't too leave and the Scottish don't ( if that's how the results go - in not convinced of that, given how much I hear in Glasgow about "those immigrants", normally followed by statements about benefits and taking jobs, without realizing those two statements contradict). To wait longer week be to lose the political capital of yet another difference between Scotland and rUK.

    1. The SNP aren't empowered to hold a further referendum though, the could by all means hold an advisory non binding referendum paid for out of party funds but the Section 20 order they had for a referendum has now expired.

  2. From an economic point of view, if the UK were to leave the EU on Monday, we could remain in the EEA and join EFTA (where we were before 1973). EEA is the Single Market, which also guarantees freedom of movement & "Right of Establishment"- so no ugly repatriations etc. This would still cost us over half of what we pay at the moment- UKIP can be very vague on this sort of thing. This wisdom derives from the Norths, esp Dr Richard North, who has written extensively on Brexit, and terms the above option Flexcit (assuming I rightly represent him). HOWEVER, Europe is in a state of flux, and it seems likely that the next EU Treaty might make that option an impossibility. For me, the real reason to leave the EU is about democracy and having a future for the UK- the problem for this attitude in Scotland is that one is open to (false) imputations of "sounding like a nat": which sadly shows what a shallow place Scotland has become. While the EEC/EU may have been heralded as a millenarian scheme, transcending European history, we actually face many of the old cultural divisions- the Greek situation seems to me to be as much about the reopening of the split between the Greek East(inc Serbia, Ukraine,Russia etc) and the Latin West as anything about socialism v capitalism. British culture is similarly distinct- while more European that the rest of the "Anglosphere", our institutions of Parliamentary democracy, Commom Law aswell as numerous other cultural tendencies are quite distinct from those of our Community Partners. If as Europeans we think this has all been transcended, we delude ourselves: not only are we not that highly evolved; the fact is, a Nietzschean principle of eternal recurrence seems to operate in European affairs as elsewhere, with the same problems and divisions appearing generation after generation. Britain's real vocation is to be a trading nation open to a globalised world; sadly, over the last quarter century, the tightening yoke of the EU has in many ways made us more insular and self absorbed- despite Antipasti restaurants etc we know fewer languages and are less European in the music we listen to, the films we watch etc. Brexit for me!

  3. "After all, the SNP argue that if the UK votes as a whole to leave the EU, but Scotland votes to stay, then this would be grounds for divorce and a second independence referendum. "

    Not just the SNP. I'm not a SNP supporter: I voted No in 2014: but to me it's clear - if Westminster changes rUK's relationship with the EU or the Council of Europe, either by leaving the UK or by repealing the Human Rights Act, then obviously Scotland has a right to decide to stay in the EU and the Council of Europe. I'm not saying that as a nationalist or an SNP supporter: rUK cannot force Scotland to leave the EU or the Council of Europe if Scotland has voted to stay in.

    Nor is there an issue if Scotland would be "permitted" a second independence referendum, no more than there was an issue for Scotland to be "permitted" the first independence referendum. The Scottish government had a clear democratic mandate for the first independence referendum: if there is an equally clear democratic mandate for a second referendum, there will be one.

    If Scotland were in the EU while the UK was not, the border between England and Scotland would be the border of the EU itself. It’s hard to imagine that this border would not require people to show their passports, just as they do when they travel from Belarus to Poland.

    No, not necessarily. UK and Irish citizens can travel within the British Isles without a passport; that was the case before the EU. The UK already requires even EU citizens to show passports on entrance or exit. Scaremongering talk about new passport controls is just scaremongering.

    The issue of the currency is real, and the area where the SNP fell down worst in their indyref campaign. But being removed from the EU by rUK majority vote against the democratic will of the Scottish people, or being removed from the Council of Europe merely on the whim of the Conservative party, would clearly be a worse evil.

    I have strong hopes, of course, that the issue won't arise and that England and Wales and Northern Ireland will all vote to stay in the EU.

  4. On the issue of referendum 2, the British government would need to grant permission for one to be held. We just had one - and the result was clear. The British government will be well within its rights to refuse a rerun.

    If England were out of the EU and indy Scotland were to join the EU, Scotland would be forced to join the Schengen agreement - as all new member states have had to since 1995. This liberalises travel within the Schengen zone but reinforces the borders between Schengen countries and non Schengen countries. In other words, there would be border checkpoints between Scotland and England. We would also be forced to adopt the euro.

    However, everything indicates Britain will vote to stay in. Most polls show Yes in the lead and virtually the entire political class will be invested in securing a yes vote - SNP included.

    It will be nice to see the SNP campaigning alongside tories but I'm sure the irony of it will be lost on their supporters

    1. At the moment things seem to indicate that but things change:

      The sight of some random Eastern European prime Minister or President telling us, via subtitles and voice over, that we cant decide who comes to our own island will change things.

      Cameron is reportedly bringing the referendum forward a year to 2016 so its clear that absolutely no meaningful change will happen by then and all we will get is promises that will be broken later by some foreign countries government.

    2. I have no great affection for the EU as a political entity but the benefits of being able to trade freely with the EU are undeniable. London - biggest stockmarket in the world (because we have free access to the European single market). Corporations locate here from all over the world purely because we are a gateway to Europe. I hate the petty laws and human rights nonsense - but the economic concerns will probably lead to me voting yes to staying in. It will also take the wind out of the nationalists' sails to a great extent.

      The EU does need reform though but perhaps the best way to achieve it is from within. The next few years will bring crisis after crisis in the eurozone. We can basically exploit these to blackmail our way to a better settlement for Britain.

    3. I'm off the view that you do not have to be in the trade block to trade with the trade block so I really can't see the EU seeking to stop us trading with them just because we leave especially given we are the EU's biggest market.

      Turkey has a better deal than us, the USA is getting a better deal than us without the need to give Brussels any money each year or take any EU migrants.

      I do think London will take a small hit though but it can handle it and the freedom we will then have to exploit the Commonwealth and other markets will far outweigh any temporary loss.

      Ultimately the UK is in itself a huge 60 million + person market and countries half our size (Australia/Canada) manage to have the very same industries we do.

    4. I'm concerned about any moves to turn the commonwealth into a sort of "EU 2.0", with Britain playing the role of Germany. There are some extremely poor countries in the commonwealth and could lead to a fresh wave of outsourcing, with companies relocating from our 9 quid minimum wage economy to countries where serfdom is basically still legal.

      I'm officially undecided at the moment. My main political concern is seeing the nationalists in Scotland pushed back. Anything that can achieve that will probably get my backing - even if it creates / prolongs problems in other areas. I think we need to fight our battles one at a time and just now the biggest threat isn't the EU - it's the mentalists north of the border.

    5. I'm not looking for that I'm just saying we already have a forum (The Commonwealth) that cedes no sovereignty where two of the worlds developing economies are (Africa, India) that meets regularly and we are, for the most part, on the same page with and it is ripe for us to sell our stuff to and buy there goods from and with CAP not applicape we will get a good deal and so will they.

    6. An EU exit probably wont solve the problems that annoy people most about Europe. Okay, we wont have to allow in EU migrants but, at the moment, a large proportion of our immigrants come from outside Europe. We have no obligation to take them, but we still do. The problem regarding immigration isn't europe per se - it's weak government. Leaving Europe wont cure us of that. Then there's the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, which really gets peoples' backs up with its morally repugnant directives. But this is separate from the EU and even if we leave the EU we will, in all likelihood, remain signatories to it. Again, the problem is weak government - an irrational kowtowing to a politically correct view of the world and demonising of anyone who dissents from that view. Leaving Europe wont change this.

  5. Btw, why do nats believe that a devolved assembly with limited powers that do not cover constitutional matters can hold legally binding independence referenda as often as it likes regardless of previous referendum results or the opinion of the state government? They will take maybe a 45% vote from a 70% turnout and call that a 'mandate' whereas a 55% majority vote from an 85% turnout is completely dismissed. They will call this democracy - the losing side in a referendum voting again and again for a rerun - and getting it. That isn't democracy. It's a travesty - and the British government (if we're to have a healthy system of checks and balances) has a duty to refuse the SNP on any near future request for a referendum.

    In any functioning democracy there is a hierarchy of power that has to be exercised, observed and respected. Can I make my own laws or grant myself immunity from laws or declare myself independent as an individual? No, I can't. I have to respect authority and accept there are limitations to my rights and power. The same should be true of the Scottish parliament. Its power flows from the British government and until such time as we are independent that will always be the case.

  6. I believe the United Nations and the international community as a whole call it self determination Aldo? the fact the Scottish parliament has limited powers does not mean that the independence of Scotland is in the gift of Westminster, any more than the independence of Estonia was in the gift of Moscow, or Slovakia in the gift of Prague, or Timor L'Este in the gift of Jakarta, or South Sudan of Khartoum, Kosovo of Belgrade etc. Are you seeing a pattern here at all?

    The cases of Scotland, Catalonia and Quebec may be sine qua non, but the same general principles apply. There will be precisely as many referendums, and precisely as often, as the Scottish people mandate.

    The hierarchy of power in the Scottish case is already established, as is the precedent. If a party has a majority in Holyrood, and that party has a manifesto commitment to holding an independence referendum, then it happens. Attempts by Westminster to veto it, whether by not granting a Section 30 order or any other means, would simply lead to a plebiscitary General Election for a majority of pro-independence Scottish MPs who would negotiate for the split.

    Do save us the "Passport to Pimlico" nonsense; it becomes no more convincing for constant repetition by sundry outraged britnats. Power flows from the Scottish people, just as it always has. When the majority of them decide they would prefer to be independent,it will happen. This really isn't rocket science; we live in an advanced (increasingly illiberal) liberal democracy. This isn't Spain. Westminster lacks the cojones to try and veto a clear mandate in Holyrood to hold a future referendum. Nothing could be more certain to promote independence than London trying to use the same tactics as Madrid versus Catalonia.

    1. There is nothing to prevent the parliament at Westminster from taking the Spanish route. I agree, it would have been an outrage if the Westminster government had denied an independence referendum in 2011 and tried to prevent any kind of opportunity for independence outright. But we had our opportunity. We voted no and we can't go through this again every four years because the yes supporters are too butthurt to move on. Continual independence referenda would be damaging economically and socially. No right thinking person wants that.

      The focus is now on the new devolved powers that will allow the Scottish parliament to offset the tory cuts if it so chooses. It's time for the SNP to set out their stall on taxation, borrowing and welfare. Start acting like a government instead of an opposition. If they can't do this, it's safe to say they wouldn't be much cop at running an independent Scotland.

    2. The precedent that is set following the last referendum is that a Section 20 order must be obtained from the sovereign Parliament in order for the devolved Parliament to be able to undertake business that it is not empowered to normally deal with, the act Of Union is such business.

      No referendum will be happening without Westminster's say so and expect them to veto any proposition for one in this generation and really you lot have no leg to stand on as you just bloody had one.

    3. Indeed, Mike. They like to shout about the will of the Scottish people - but the will of the Scottish people as expressed in the recent referendum is to be somehow ignored; "you got it wrong - try again".

    4. Just looked through the list of devolved and reserved matters. The act of union is reserved. Holyrood has no constitutional power. They can hold as many referenda as they like but they would be non binding without the cooperation of the British parliament.

      Suck it up nats. By all means hold a non binding indyref, the unionists can boycott it, and your 99% 'yes' will be the laughing stock of the world.

  7. Btw, the UK government reserves the right to dissolve / suspend / rescind all devolved entities in the United Kingdom, including the Holyrood parliament. Just look at Northern Ireland, where direct rule has been reimposed multiple times (and they had an armed conflict going on!)

    It's clear who the boss is here. And, considering we make up about 8% of the UK, any talk of UDI is absolute bonkers.

    1. They do think that somehow the wicked Tory's who talk Scotland down and constantly hold Scotland back somehow wont continue to do the same, it really does defy logic.

    2. An independent Scotland will share a small island landmass with a continuing UK whose tax regime will be lower than ours thanks to almost perpetual conservative government. England will be a magnet for Scotland's bright and hardworking people and Scotland will be a magnet for England's dross.

      Scotland doesn't need the tories to hold it back - the SNP does that already.

    3. Sadly I think you actually believe that....

    4. Common sense, running man. If Scotland goes down the route of high taxes, high borrowing and welfarism then it makes sense people would head south to avoid the tax hit. It also makes sense that we'd get a visit from Wayne and Waynetta, looking for a free lunch (and breakfast and dinner).

      The problem is, when the tax cow ups and leaves and you have more takers than givers, welfarism is no longer viable. You know what one SNP supporter said to me in response to this? He said, 'no problem, we'll just increase immigration to compensate'.

      And 60% of people plan to vote for them.

  8. Btw, there are huge pro UK majorities in Southern Scotland and the Orkney and Shetland islands. Would the Scottish nationalists accept these areas continuing within the United Kingdom or is 'self determination' only applicable within a predetermined, fixed, imaginary set of borders?

    Kosovo, Taiwan and a few other countries might have something to say about that.

    Of course, if Orkney and Shetland opt to stay or even become fully independent, it's bye bye to a significant chunk of the oil and gas.

    What's the betting the SNP will go all darth vadery on potential breakaway regions if they ever actually get their way?

    Self determination my erse.

    1. Of course, any true democrat would accept the Northern Isles remaining part of the UK if they chose to do so. Sadly for what passes for your argument however Aldo under international law if they did elect to remain part of the UK the islands wouldn't be entitled to any of the oil reserves. There is a clear precedent that they would be regarded as an exclave on the "Scottish" continental shelf, and therefore only entitled to (at best) a 12 mile territorial waters limit; they would have no EEZ of their own.
      The situation would be somewhat better if they DID elect for full independence, but the size of their EEZ would need to be negotiated with Norway, Denmark (for the Faroes) and Scotland. It is likely to be smaller than the current borders of the UK EEZ due to the change in relative size of the Northern Isles vis-a-vis the whole UK, or indeed whole of Scotland if they were part of Scotland.
      Unhappily for the britnats who gleefully predict independence for the Northern Isles however, the only substantive poll of Islanders on the matter (from the Aberdeen Press & Journal in April 2013) showed precisely 8% in favour, and 82% against. Awkward for you, but as someone once said, facts are chiels that winna ding!

    2. Have you looked on a map? Shetland is know ones enclave as its over 150 miles outside the 20 mile sovereign area.

      You really do need to up your game.

    3. Pretty sure the UNCLOS III agreement states that mineral deposits in EEZ zone extends 200 nautical miles from countries main coastline. This is entirely different that the territorial 12 mile limit.

      The 20 miles you quote shuld be 12 and is only valid in relation to the rights of Shetland should they in your fantasy become a UK enclave and not stay part of Scotland as they are now.....

      In any case its moot.... but nice try.

    4. In any case, North Sea oil at $54 a barrel isn't really what you would call an asset. It barely breaks even. No profits to tax = no asset.

      Good job we're in the UK then where oil price reductions have actually stimulated the economy overall.

    5. See also ICJ case between Nicaragua & Colombia:

      And a pretty definitive study on the Scottish-English maritime boundary here:

    6. @Running Man, we, in common with most of the world, claim 20 not 12 miles of seabed as sovereign territory.

      @ndls61, see comment below and learn that Shetland is in fact miles away from the mainland and only appears in a box closer to Britain on maps for convenience sake.

    7. Actually while its just more fog from you that statement does not bear any scrutiny at all.....The UK accepts the 12 Nautical mile limit and in fact extended its limit from 3 to 12 nautical miles in the mid 20th century. I can find no statement to the alternative, except your good self.

      There are countries who say its less but only Togo states more but again its 30 nautical miles not 20..... Are you just making stuff up ?

      I'm inpressed by your ability to be super positive about things that clearly you haven't at least looked up. You do know google is also open to Unionists ?

  9. You clearly know nothing about the issue you are attempting to discuss, nor have you taken the elementary precaution of trying to educate yourself about it. On independence, the UK EEZ in the area becomes the Scottish EEZ. Shetland and Orkney are within that EEZ, and on the continental shelf. As such, if they elect to remain part of the UK, international law regards them as exclaves, not enclaves. They would therefore not be entitled to their own EEZ, only to a 12 mile territorial waters limit. There is no debate to be had about the issue, it's a straightforward matter, backed up by recent ICJ rulings on disputes in the Caribbean on just the same matters.

    Feel free to leave your contact details and I'll send you chapter and verse with links on the relevant documentation; I'm on mobile right now so can't access the information.

    1. You are confused, the EEZ is not sovereign territory and islands within dont belong to automatically belong to anyone.

      One only needs to look at The British Falkland Isles and Argentina on a map of EEZ to see that you understanding is flawed.

      Your position is correct as far as Orkney and the Western Isles is concerned though but not Shetland due to the fact Shetland sits over 150 miles away from mainland Britain.

    2. What if Scotland's 3 Southern counties elected to remain within the UK - what kind of effect would that have on the Scotland/England maritime border?

    3. One of these counties was English before the union so surely the repelling of the act reverts ownership?

    4. Mike,

      I'm not confused. The EEZ is the relevant because the oil fields are within it. As pointed out above, it's governed by UNCLOS. The ownership of the islands isn't the issue, it's how the natural resources located in the area between Shetland and Norway are allocated. You are simply factually incorrect as has been pointed out to you with references.

      You are wrong in relation to the Shetlands too, because it sits within what would be the Scottish EEZ and is not contiguous to the rump of the UK. there are numerous similar cases around the world which blow your case out of the water I'm afraid.


      Hardly any, but it's a vanishingly unlikely occurrence anyway. The vast majority of the oil reserves are much further North. the border counties are about as likely to secede from Scotland as Shetland and Orkney; there is simply no evidence to back up the assertion that voting No in the referendum in 2014 equated to secession in the event of a Yes vote.

      Although by that logic, Glasgow and Dundee should be negotiating their independence about now shouldn't they? All the evidence also shows that Berwick on tweed would probably vote to re-join Scotland given the chance...that would also have an impact (though pretty small) on the drawing of the median line between the future English and Scottish sectors. ;)

    5. It has been a major bone of contention for several years that the Falkland islanders are entitled to a huge slice of what otherwise would have been Argentina's natural resources. Let's be brutally honest - it's the reason we're still there and the reason we fought the war.

      So if that is true of the Falklands then it seems it's also true of the Shetland islands.

      Although quite why you would argue over oil that costs as much to extract as what it can be sold for is a bit of a mystery.

      North Sea oil is dying - another nail in the coffin of nationalism.

    6. I have no problem with Glasgow and Dundee negotiating their independence. It can only result in an uptick in the average Scottish IQ.

      No one is addressing the elephant in the room here - which is that the North Sea oil is fecking useless at $54 a barrel.

      Remember Salmond's 'conservative' estimate of $113 a barrel during the indy campaign?

      What is abundantly clear is that the 55 helped the 45 dodge a bullet. Still waiting on a "thank you" though!

    7. ndls61, I'm not being pedantic here but the North Sea is not governed by UNCLOS as its governed by a gentleman's agreement and bears no resemblance to what UNCLOS would apply. Our share of the North Sea should be significantly greater and the majority of Norways oil fields are in fact on our shelve but its too late to change that now.

      Again our EEZ is dysfunctional so we simply cant apply the normal rules too it as it is not made on the normal rules.

    8. The Falklands comparison is erroneous, since that dispute is a straight argument between Argentina and the UK over sovereignty of the islands and the delimitation of their EEZ. No third party is involved. There is no issue relating to exclaves or other contiguous states or EEZ's. Your post simply obfuscates matters, either wilfully because you're trying to distract from the weakness of your point, or through simple ignorance of the facts. Which is it?

    9. ndls61, who is the third party in your hypothetical independent Scotland -v- UK EEZ dispute?

    10. The other parties whose EEZ's border that of the UK/Scotland, i.e. Norway and Denmark (for the Faroes). the delimitation of the zones, and the potential status of Shetland as an exclave results from its situation on the continental shelf and the fact that it is contiguous to the Norwegian and Danish sectors.

    11. What if Godzilla attacked all the oil rigs what would happen then....Since everyone on unionist side seems to be chucking new barriers out there when the old ones are shown to be made of paper.....

      We get it, Scotland is too wee in your eyes. Its cool but guess what, some folk just fancy it anyway.

    12. OK, so an iScotland would be picking a fight with all of its neighbours and would be asserting control of territory they have, good luck with that with your army of, erm, nothing!

      Seriously an iScotland with a Shetland choosing not to leave the UK would only have a dispute with the UK and it would be up to an iScotland to first of all convince the UK government to enter arbitration, it refuses with every overseas territory dispute though, then show that the UK is not in fact entitled to territory it has enjoyed peacefully and democratically for the longest of times or the only other option would be to try and do what Argentina did and take what you believe is yours but we both know that even as stupid as the SNP are they would not start a war that they would certainly loose.

      The most likely scenario in the case of an iScotland with a Shetland not going that way would be that the EEZ between Britain and the continent remains unchanged with Shetland meeting iScotland half way and that would still mean an iScotland has a massive EEZ but Shetland still would have the bulk of the oil.

    13. No, it really wouldn't. Either you're being wilfully blind, or just trolling for effect. the only way Shetland would get any share of oil resources is by taking full independence, which there is precisely zero evidence its people want. On the contrary, the only evidence we have showed 82% of those in the Northern Isles being against it.

      There would be no fight in the case Shetland &/or Orkney voted to remain part of the UK, since international law dictates they would have no EEZ. This isn't a negotiable item, or something open to interpretation, it's simply a fact. Please feel free to cite your actual evidence to the contrary with references. Otherwise, spare us the slightly hysterical hyperbole about war and conflict where there is no prospect of either. It just makes you look a tad desperate and even more ill-informed than your posts amply demonstrate.

    14. International law does not dictate anything as the current set-up is agreed mutually between Britain and the European countries and an iScotland would be succeeding to that meaning no dispute at all between UK/iScotland and the rest of Europe so all that would be left is an iScotland arguing for control of a sea area that it has never had control over in the first place and is well outside its own territorial waters.

      Shetland already has an EEZ as part of the UK and just because a part of the UK chose to leave does not mean that Shetland loses its standing.

      At the end of the day it is really difficult to see how an iScotland would get a UK government to submit to arbitration in the first place especially given it would be the sovereign parliament that would have legislated for the iScotland and its EEZ in the first place.

      You keep going on about Orkney but Orkney is within territorial waters and within the actual shelve whereas Shetland is not, do look at a map!

    15. There is no argument. Shetland isn't going to vote to stay part of the UK, because it would have zero oil. It is unlikely to vote for independence, because there is precisely zero call for it. iScotland doesn't have to argue for control of any sea area, it would simply take control of what it is rightfully entitled to.

      Shetland as an independent state would have a smaller EEZ because it would have to be re-negotiated on the basis of the relative sizes and positions of Norway, Denmark and Scotland vis-a-vis Shetland.

      No arbitration is required. The rest of your post makes no sense. Step away from the shovel.

    16. And an iScotland would take control of the UK's established and defended interests with what exactly? The hope that a share of UK forces is granted to then fight UK forces? Seriously your argument does not stack up as in these situations two countries with such disputes have three choices:

      1: Fight.
      2: Enter mutual arbitration.
      3: One side simply continues to claim.

      The most common outcome across this world is 3 where an iScotland would continually insist the sea area was theirs while the UK controlled and exploited it.

      Your view that somehow an iScotland could expect all the countries that have already agreed settlement of the seas decades ago would somehow all agree to then start over is stretching the imagination somewhat so is your assertion that Shetland would not want to stay part of the UK given 28 out of 32 council regions, including Shetland, just did!

    17. Honestly, what are you on? In the event of independence, all assets will be split or valued accordingly. Thus Scotland would be entitled to a fair share of the assets of the (bloated) UK defence establishment, or the equivalent value. There isn't going to be any substantial disagreement about Shetland, the EEZ or any other territorial question, except in your head; the international legal position is already clear to everyone apart from you it seems!

      We are discussing what would happen in future where Scotland voted Yes in a referendum. In that situation, if Shetland voted No they can either accept the result and remain part of an indy Scotland (which is much the most likely outcome), or remain part of the UK with no oil reserves as international law dictates, or become independent themselves and negotiate a new EEZ with surrounding states.

      Scotland will be better defended for less money post independence. An opportunity saving of £1.5 to £2 billion per annum is available by reducing the amount we currently contribute to the inflated UK defence budget, quite apart from not being dragged into illegal wars or wasting scarce resources on WMD's.

    18. His dad is bigger than your dad......

  10. I defer to other posters' superior knowledge of international law regarding maritime borders.

    But how about addressing the massive devaluation in the price of oil. Brent crude is currently sitting at $54. It was well over $100 before the independence referendum. Salmond said it was unlikely to fall below $113. Now we have the BP CEO telling us it is likely to remain at or below $60 a barrel for several years.

    Meanwhile, Scotland's oil rigs are being mothballed - and revenue forecasts have been downgraded from about 130 billion over the next twenty years to about 2 billion.

    When will someone - anyone - on the yes side admit that Scottish independence would have completely f*cked this country, caused mass panic and capital flight and reduced us to being the country that Greeks like to read about to make themselves feel better?

    1. I doubt you will get many (any?) takers to your tendentious question Aldo? Since you have retired butt-hurt from the fray after your comprehensive drubbing on international law, you now retreat to a variation of the tired old "too wee, too poor, too stupid" meme. How very depressing, if not altogether unexpected.

      We get it: oil is uniquely a burden for Scotland in comparison with any other nation on earth which has it. We would rapidly sink to the level of Greece (not Zimbabwe anymore...?) without the broad shoulders of the UK, pooling and sharing etc., etc.

      Predicting oil prices is (as anyone with any knowledge of the subject knows) a mugs game. If all the oil evaporated tomorrow, it wouldn't stop people thinking independence was a goal to be striven for.

      To turn your point around, when will some britnat - any britnat - on the No side admit that Scottish independence is perfectly feasible, would potentially be of great benefit to this country, will NOT cause the sky to fall or the four horsemen of the apocalypse to ride into view, and will not reduce us to third world status, but free us from the dystopian Dickensian nightmare of the Tory austerity cult.

      See what I did there? ;)

    2. I dont recall anyone saying Scotland could not be independent but the argument goes things are better now and would be worse if independent due to loss of income so when will you address the oil price crash?

    3. Oil is a bonus, not a precondition for independence. Few other nations in history would have such positive prospects on declaring independence than Scotland. I and most other pro-independence supporters would support it irrespective of the oil price.

      The argument that things are going better now is just that; an argument. Many would disagree with your take on the current situation, and with your view of future prospects. All things considered, I and many others would sooner take my chances on making an independent Scotland a fairer, more equitable society than expect it to happen as part of the UK. there are risks in either path, and in the status quo. the $64,000 question is which of the choices is most attractive to most of the people.

      The answer after another 5 years of Tory government might not be what you expect, whether the oil price is $50, $100 or $150.

    4. 'oil is a bonus' erm not when you are basing your entire independence strategy on it its not.

    5. The bigger question is what happens when it runs out and we are still in the Union.......I doubt the Union will take that blow and survive given the love we see today.

      Like most things in life there is no certainty and only with hindsight can we see what is right or wrong. Certainly there have been better times in the past but there may also be worse times in the future and we may also not be given the choice.

    6. Running Man, it is running out now but the shale gas is yet to be touched and it is going to be the base for offshore wind/tide power along with obviously the fishing industry should we get control of that back from the EU.

    7. Butthurt? As a yesser you would know all about that.

      My point is a perfectly valid one gives the context of the discussion. Why argue over the finer points of how a resource should be divided up when it is A) worthless, B) in decline and, C) going the way of the dodo (as all fossil fuels eventually surely must if we are to get CO2 under control) ?

      I think the cons of an independent Scotland far outweigh the pros when our number 1 natural resource is worthless, our deficit is spiralling and there is not a hope in hell of being able to use the pound. How do you square that scenario with the SNP / Yes campaign's promise of a land flowing with milk and honey?

      The austerity 'cult'? What is cultish about cutting back on spending when you are no longer living within your means? Austerity is necessary - and is having a positive effect on Britain's economy and public finances. Sure, some are suffering. Tough tit. No one ever said life would be easy and no one owes you a living.

      The Yes / SNP / 45 carry on is more like a cult than anything I have ever seen. Faith based, personality based, with the promise of great rewards if only you just believe. Well done, you have established a new religion. Pity it's unadulterated BS just like all the others eh?

    8. Scotland had a 12 billion pound deficit (which is proportionately larger than the UK's) BEFORE the collapse of the oil value. This adds billions onto that deficit. Leave the UK and you lose the pound and the financial sector with it - the deficit grows even further. Get refused EU entry and businesses move out to be in the single market - the deficit increases yet again.

      Tell me, how would we manage this gargantuan deficit? Bearing in mind that borrowing - which would be more expensive outsids of the UK - is not any kind of long term solution, please outline which tax increases and spending cuts you would like to see introduced.

    9. If Scotland 'leaves the pound' then it leaves the UK debt behind as well. So possibly starting as only Western European country with no debt. Scotlands allocation of debt interest is in the area of 4Bn annually.

      Who exactly will refuse Scotland EU entry ?

      Since we're fantisizing, what if UK exits EU and Scotland gains independence from UK stays in EU. Are you then saying that businesses will do the reverse and flock to Scotland ?

      What exactly is UK long term solution to its debt situation now ? Crossing its fingers and hoping to devalue and grow slowly through inflationary pressure....

      Get some new lines please....

    10. Running man, the UK government choosing not to act as a central bank and lender of last resort for a foreign country does not mean that countries debt is forgiven as the two just are not linked.

      I want to do something different with life today Running so you will now be the guarantor to any debts I have for all time and will supply me with currency on demand and you will do that because I owe you a fiver, you know it makes sense!

      I can think of several countries refusing an iScotland application for EU membership as there are no accounts for an iScotland and a Greece situation will not be tolerated again.

      The UK's solution to its debt problems is to not have a deficit as when that's gone no borrowing will need to happen meaning as the years go by the debt will eventually disappear as its paid off, it really is the only workable solution to be debt free.

    11. Scotland has no debt only the UK has debt . Any agreement on debt transfer would need agreement.

      Bonds or Gilts and the debt and liability contained within are non transferable......So technically the transfer of such liabilities would require a seperate agreement...All of which the SG indicated would not be given if there is no agreement on the shared usage of the GBP....

      That is why BOE/Treasury made the statement that it would stand behind all UK debts during the referendum campaign, it was duty bound to say and do so. Not so an Independent Scotland.

      I'm not sure in the end what the outcome of such discussions would be but in this case it actually would be down to negotiation, unlike your assumptions on seabed mineral ownership.

    12. Please, before you trot out the old lines on default and big interest rates blah blah cannot technically or legally default on a debt that is not yours.....

    13. The debt belongs to the people of Scotland, the United Kingdom is Scotland/Wales/England/Northern Ireland. he £ also belongs to all of us so long as we all are one county as future interest rates and central banking decisions would only ever be taken in he best interests of the UK.

      I actually feel sorry for you as you continually sprout Alex Salmond's nonsense and actually believe it as fact when the facts are Salmond failed to convince 28 out of 32 council regions to vote for separation and out the 4 he did convince they are the poorest most gullible areas of Scotland.

      On that note all these arguments have been had already and the overwhelming majority, a 23% majority, never believed you then and will not again so I'm done here and will catch up with you again in Effie's next instalment.

    14. That debt was ran up, in part, by Scotland. Scottish schools, hospitals, police forces etc required that debt to be incurred in order to be properly sustained. We would therefore have a moral duty to help pay it off and the rest of the UK - and rest of the world - would take an extremely dim view of any refusal to do so.

      What a lot of Scot Nats don't realise is that rUK can really hurt us. 59 million vs 5 million? The 5th or 6th largest economy in the world vs about the 50th or 60th? No contest. R-UK will pull a few easy to reach levers and ensure the newly independent Scotland is stillborn. I know I would, if I were British PM. Certainly, the right wing press would demand nothing less.

    15. I'm not denying any of that but in the end its a negotiation on debt an no foregone conclusions. Furthermore that's why PM's tend not to be mad bams off the internet like yourself. Who wants a failed state on their doorstep...Jeez.

      ROW would take an extremely dim view, don't make me laugh. Most EU states would find it hilarious and break down doors to keep Scotland while England shoots itself in the foot to exit the EU.

      The normal foreign bloke on the street hardly aligns himself with the British parliament, what makes anyone even imagine that. Treasury buyers look purely at risk, not at emotives.

    16. Running Man, give 5 EU states that would break down doors for Scotland and list reasons why.

      Ill start by saying Germany would veto the idea until 5 years of independent accounts had been provided to prevent another Greece situation.

    17. Michael,
      Your argument is so pish poor you need to count the dead and the unwilling as your comrades....23% goodness you are the gift that keeps on giving.....It was 55% to 45% and the gap was less than 400K

      23% majority, 20 mile territorial waters blah blah blah....Just cool the jets and stick to real stuff. No need to make nonsense up like some 9 year old impressing his mates. I'd have thought you Naysayers would be more comfortable in their skin given you survived.

      Maybe you are spooked by recent SNP political gains. I wouldn't be , even as an SNP supporter I doubt that Westminster seats gain correlates to a huge increase in YES.

      It did however put to bed the myth that Westminster and Holyrood people always vote differently.....

    18. That would only affect Germany if Scotland looked to immediately to join the Euro, a move that few would support at this time.....including I suspect the Scots.

      Spain of course would block it as they want to shut down their access to Scottish waters......ooohh wait thats not right

    19. To join he EU one mus have a period of accounts that match the joining criteria, rules were ignored for Greece and they wont be bent again.

      Have you actually ever looked to see the requirements of being and EU member and what mus be shown when applying?

    20. You will notice we are already in the EU......which changes the picture. If they won't let the Greeks go what makes you think they won;t want to hold onto Scotland.....Especially to keep a foothold on the UK.....

      Who says they won't be bent again, thats just nonsense. Who is saying these things. The risk only arises if Scotland asked to join the Euro.

      The EU are nothing if not pragmatic when it comes to unity..... Anyway lets discuss it when it becomes a real question rather than hypothetical.

    21. Scotland is no a member of the EU, to join the EU a process must be followed, there is no circumventing it.

    22. Aye OK if you say so......I can see Merkel or Hollande quoting Michael Mckeown at some point.... "Ja we wood love to let you in but but wee really cannae, so geez the passports back" , on a ship just outside the 20 mile limit

    23. The EU does not issue passports to ask for them back, the European Union statement on a passport is for internal EU purposes and simply allows he holder of the passport to get consulate services from other EU embassies, to the outside world the European Union statement is meaningless and infers no rights or obligations.

      Now have you read the, lengthy, application form for joining the EU yet? It has crazy stuff like central banking facilities on it!

    24. Britain will most likely vote to stay in the EU.

      And then the remaining UK, the continuing state with all the powers it has at the moment, would have the ability to veto our entry into the EU (as well as a host of other supranational organisations) if Scotland were ever to become independent.

      And you still insist Scotland can get away with refusing to shoulder its rightful share of the national debt?

      Are you sure I'm the "mad bam" in this conversation?

  11. A 'fairer and more equitable' society?

    Why is Scotland so choc full of these lefty types?

    First off, Britain is probably one of the most welfare orientated societies on earth. Look at the free and free at point of use services we have, including the NHS. Look at the minimum wage (set to increase to the living wage within the term of this government), the plethora of state benefits that are available to people. No matter your situation, chances are you can claim some kind of benefit!

    Housing benefit
    Child tax credit
    Child benefit
    Working tax credit
    Disability benefits (of which there are so many I've lost count)
    Benefits for carers

    If you want to take Scotland to the left of that, then you are a full on Jeremy Corbyn style socialist and no one with even the slightest knowledge of history or economics should want anything to do with you.

    1. Ah, I see you're a libertarian... I should have guessed. Just the polite way of saying you're a sociopath. We're done here - there's little point arguing the toss with someone so extreme they don't know the difference between social democracy and socialism, and appear to have swallowed the Daily Heil agenda whole.

  12. Libertarianism is a belief in the freedom of the individual to make their own choices, take their own risks and reap their own rewards. Essentially, it is freedom. I can see why an SNP supporter would be opposed to it.

    In any case, the debate is moot, for the time being. David Cameron has ruled out a second referendum in this parliament. Suck it up.

  13. Pfft.. Cameron has neither the cojones to try and veto it, nor the wherewithal to stop the Scottish Parliament doing it even if someone lent him a pair. Self determination isn't in the gift of Westminster. The Edinburgh Agreement and the granting of a section 30 order previously have set the precedent already, but in truth were simply an acknowledgement of the inevitable and a sign of britnat weakness; any attempt to try and veto or ban a future referendum which had a mandate via a majority in Holyrood would backfire spectacularly and stoke the fires of independence. That's exactly why they didn't try it in 2012, and why they won't do it in future. If they go down that path, they will make a pro-independence majority inevitable for the SNP at Westminster in 2020 and lead to the same result.

    Bring it on.

    1. He just has vetoed it, now what?

    2. What Cameron says, and what actually happens are two entirely different things. If the SNP go into the Holyrood elections on a platform of holding another indyref, whether generally or in response to changes in circumstances like brexit or failure to deliver on the laughable Vow, and subsequently win a majority, then it doesn't really matter what any britnats huff and puff about, it will happen.

      Any Tory moves to try and prevent it by not granting a Section 30 order as per the Edinburgh Agreement will simply lead to an increase in support for independence and early moves to secure it. Sounds good to me.

    3. What happens is Cameron refuses to sign a Section 20 order thus no legally binding referendum, Section 20's are interesting as we could see a total majority of the house vote for one but it still can't happen without Prime Ministerial approval.

      We all know the SNP and its flock wont ever shut up about referendums so what you need to show now is a significant change that was NOT debated about during the last referendum as the people of Scotland have already rejected the EU/austerity/Tory government arguments.

      You cannot rely on the Edinburgh Agreement here as that was generational and was about respecting the outcome!

    4. It's a Section 30 Order, not Section 20. Given you don't even know the correct designation, I think we can treat the rest of your post with a fair amount of scepticism. The timing and frequency of referendums is a matter for the Scottish people to decide via its elected representatives in Holyrood. If Westminster tried to "do a Madrid", it simply invites pro-independence supporters to elect a majority of MPs at the next WM General election with a mandate to negotiate independence. that won't happen, because the britnats don't have the balls or the support. As we kept hearing during the last indyref campaign, most English people would probably support it.

      The outcome was respected, we just don't regard it as final, anymore than those advocating brexit regard the referendum to join the EEC as final.

    5. I do know but the keyboard I'm currently using is very small and the letter t seems to work intermittently and also this commenting system is the worst in the world and is practically imposable to scroll when on a touch screen but anyway none of that is changing the fact that there is not going to be another referendum for at leas 5 years now.

      For the final time, Holyrood does not hold the power for another referendum so it is for Scottish MP's to decide not Scottish MSP's and these current MP's hold no mandate for a referendum.

    6. Section 20 might be the 20 mile limit everyone is talking about......on Togo

    7. When you are left pointing out typos its clear you have lost the argument.

    8. How can it be for Scottish MSP's one time and MP's the next....Where is the logic in that ?

      Not so many years ago it was common cross party belief that a majority of SNP MP's meant independence.....

    9. MP's are elected to deal with the constitution whereas when you vote for a MSP you are explicitly voting for then not to manage the constitution.

      Cameron granted a Section 30 Order but he did not have to and I would have doubted a Labour PM would have, the fact there was a referendum speaks volumes for Cameron.

    10. Indeed, and Cameron was given due credit for it (especially in Catalonia interestingly) but the fact remains it was done from a position of weakness NOT strength. If the WM government and britnat elites had been that confident in their argument, they would not have come up with the Edinburgh Agreement or granted the Section 30 order.

      You can't have it both ways; if you buy the line that MSP's / Holyrood don't have the ability to call a "legal" referendum, the logical concomitant is that (as Running Man points out elsewhere) a majority of Scottish MP's at Westminster elected on a pro-independence mandate would be enough.

      Sadly for you however pro-independence supporters and the SNP don't accept your interpretation that independence requires "permission" from Westminster, and it isn't by any means accepted by constitutional theorists or international law (such as it is).

      The Canadian Supreme court in its discussion on the Clarity Act post the last Quebec referendum doesn't exactly support the untrammelled rights of the larger entity; worryingly for Spanish, Canadian and British nationalists it posits the obligation on both parties to negotiate in good faith. Refusing to recognise the result of a referendum with a clear question and a clear majority would not demonstrate good faith.

    11. Cameron was not in a weak position he was in a strong one, he offered the referendum as the question had never been asked but now it has been so he can, and has, refused another one so go have an advisory one but you will be paying for it yourselves and it wont be binding.

    12. We're never going to agree; our positions simply can't be reconciled. You're never going to accept that Scotland is entitled to "take" its independence, I'm never going to accept that it is in Westminster's gift. If you think any Westminster government can try and veto Holyrood holding a referendum, or stop independence following either a Yes majority or a majority of Scottish MP's at Westminster elected on a pro-independence ticket, they're delusional.

    13. Yes keep banging he drum, never give up, deny reality! Credit to you butt its boring as we all know that when Cameron does veto any further referendum the worst that will happen is you lot will get your keyboards out and call him names.

      I am with you 100% on he majority of Scottish MP's with a mandate but his time round they have no such mandate even though they are practically all SNP.

      Ultimately this 5 year term covers the next Holyrood term as well so by the time that is done we would be looking nearly a generation sop you would not see many arguments for it being too soon.

    14. Keyboard warriors, marches in London, fire extinguishers getting fired off roofs, cenotaphs getting peed on, Russel Brand flouncing around stroking himself...

      The left in Britain are fcking terrible at 'protest'. All they do is terrify ordinary people into supporting the government.

  14. 1) The power to authorise an independence referendum lies with Westminster.

    2) Your point about a veto enraging the Scottish population might have some validity - if we hadn't already voted "no" in a recent referendum.

    3) He has made his choice and been quite explicit about it. Going back on his decision would enrage his back benchers - Cameron has a far greater need to avoid upsetting them. They are not called "The British Conservative and Unionist Party" for nothing.

    So, where does that leave you? I guess the SNP will need to focus on bread & butter stuff, tax & spend, the new devolved powers. Let's see them govern, instead of whinging. Then, in 10 or 15 years, provided they actually have a plan, they can come back and have another crack at it.

    A referendum isn't just for Christmas....

    1. They managed to backtrack quick enough on the Vow nonsense so as a politician he will go where its prudent for him politically.

      Personally the I think the SNP should keep their powder dry. I doubt there are any firm plans on a new referendum. Since I doubt they would win by enough at this point.

      They'll need more Tory enforced joy on the population during next few years. A major lurch positive or negative in economy could also be a trigger not to mention potential EU exit vote.

      Opportunities to slip one in will come, no need to force it.

    2. The vow appears to be getting implemented in full, we will see what the Lords try to change but it is true to say that what was agreed between everyone has been forwarded to the Lords.

    3. Who believes that ? a Federal one supports that, not even the Lib dems. The vow is a sham, lets at least agree that and talk about real stuff..

      knock yourself out

    4. Everything in the current bill was agreed mutually between everyone (everyone includes the SNP Scottish Government) it is true to say however that amendments made by others after the process was agreed have been ignored but so what as why agree to something you dont agree with?

    5. To quote the Tories, why do Scots get to vote on anything in sole relation to mother England...The same should apply to English MP's on Scots items.

    6. The "vow" is being implemented, in full. Please do not confuse politicians' promises with media hype. We were offered extensive new powers over taxation and welfare, signed up to by the SNP, which are now being delivered. The Smith powers - which include the retention of the Barnett formula - are superior to full fiscal autonomy, which would leave Scotland completely exposed to its deficit and volatile tax base - leaving us approx 7 billion pounds short of what we need, per year. The SNP attempt to replace a no detriment settlement with a detrimental one is pure political stunting aimed at riling up the hard of thinking in its core support and was rightly slapped down in the British parliament.

      As for EVEL, the English are only seeking what Scotland has enjoyed for 15 years -self ddetermination over purely local, English issues.

      The Scotland Bill isn't purely a Scottish issue, despite its name, as it involves rejigging the economy and tax system of the whole UK, which will impact on the whole of the UK - not just Scotland.

    7. If Scotland is such a basket case economically then why is it so important that its held onto......

      Does that deficit not exist in all scenarios....I suspect the real issue is that one that ball is rolling that peope will start to look at teh UK cover charge that Scotland pays under that one big lump......At that point all eyes Scottish and English will be opened to where the money is going.

      I'm not sure how in reality FFA affects England outside of it no longer having to take debt on behalf of Scotland. Don;t forget that Scottish Secretary has veto on all decisions....just in case SG get creative.

      As ever Unionists want to have it all ways, EVEL but do what you are telt Scotland. Utterly bereft of imagination and ambition, happy to sup at the cup and do nothing. They talk about the idle unemployed, its the idle of mind and spirit that is the issue in Scotland. Those who have either swallowed the propaganda about too wee or too stupid or worse still those are loyal to a different master for their own bizarre historical or hysterical reasons.

    8. I have no 'master', Running Man. I'm my own master. Being a UK citizen has made that possible. Therefore, I am loyal to the UK, not Scotland - which I regard as being a historical nation that no longer exists. Oh, I enjoy cheering on the Scotland team and Burns night as much as the next man. But these things do not a country make.

      Nationalists always seem to say "If we're so useless, why do they want to hold onto us?" Loyalty and friendship, perhaps? Preservation of human capital and territorial integrity? Most countries in the world are made up of rich and poor areas and it might appear, superficially, as though breaking away from the poorer, subsidised areas would benefit the wealthy areas. But that isn't really the case - as you'd have a fragmented and dangerous world and increasing poverty that would eventually affect economic activity in the wealthy areas, dragging them down also.

      In other words - a nation is more than the sum of its parts.

      Which brings me to the Scotland Bill. All indications are that we would find ourselves 7 billion pounds short of what we need, each year, to keep our public infrastructure afloat. So the SNP government would need to increase taxes and cut spending in order to balance the books - austerity max. That's going to effect the Scottish economy and, by extension, the economy of rUK as the two economies are actually one, interconnected economy. There are also long term implications to the whole of the UK from the end of the pooling and sharing of resources that FFA would represent. And as for Scottish debt, there would be no such thing. Under FFA we are still the one state so it is all still British debt, that all of Britain has collectively agreed to underwrite.

      So FFA is absolutely a British issue. The SNP put it before parliament, knowing that parliament would vote it down for the good of Scotland and the wider UK, and they could then go to their supporters and say "look - they wont let us run our own affairs!". It's all about keeping this issue at boiling point for as long as possible and making Westminster look bad, even when it does things that are good.

      In the final vote, the SNP were defeated by about 550 votes to about 50. The parties voting against them range from the tories and DUP to the Green Party.

      When you get crushed so badly, you've really got to ask yourself, was there any merit to the proposal at all?

  15. Furthermore, the SNP's strategy of pushing for another referendum after an indecently short time is not due to their concern over the Scots perhaps having undergone a 'change of heart'. Their plan here is simple - hold another independence referendum, and another, and another - until the people are so worn down by it all that they finally say "yes" just to change the record. At this moment, when the Yes campaign defeats the No campaign by about 5000 votes, they will declare that the 'true' democratic will of the people has finally been revealed - and there shall be no more referendums. Ever. Again.

    If that's your take on democracy then fine. To me it's a bit like locking someone in a room and asking them 50,000 times for sex. They may finally comply, just to get away from you.

    But you're still going to jail.

    1. I think you will find in reality its a bored press pack who are making the noises about another referendum.....

    2. A bored press and a mischievous Alex Salmond who thought he would steel a bit of attention when his boss was in China.

    3. That naughty AlicSalmon, answering questions from the press......The real story would have been if he said NO he did not expect another referendum.

    4. Hardly a week goes by without a prominent nationalist popping up somewhere and hinting at another independence referendum. All Cameron has to do is fart and the SNP get all indignant; "this is an outrage - we might have to have another independence referendum".

      To which, all the sane people reply "f*ck that for a caper!"

      Then the SNP say "Referendum? What referendum? You're the one talking about referendums..."

  16. Furthermore once more (I do usually like to get it all in a single post but I'm currently splitting my time between this and "Sharknado" aka SNP disaster management training video).

    What happens, in May 2016, if the SNP voters + Green voters + Socialist Party voters do not exceed the roughly 1.63 million people who voted Yes in the referendum? That's not a mandate for anything - at best it's sore losers voting for a rerun like some drunken boxer demanding a rematch.

    I really think we need to get this 'mandate' thing sorted out. For something minor like tweaking the fox hunting laws, a parliamentary majority is fine. But for big stuff - like calling a referendum on independence twice in as many years - the bar ought to be higher.

    1. To paraphrase, when the people vote for what the London politicians and establishment don't want then we need to tweek the rules a bit....

      BTW I'm no supporter of another referendum in the short term.

    2. Running Man is of course correct. If you want to change the rules when it looks like the other side are making progress, then at least be consistent; let's introduce a rule that no MP or MSP get's elected unless a minimum of 50% of the potential electorate vote, and for WM MP's also that they secure at least 50% of those who vote. Somehow I doubt those advocating hurdles for a future indyref would be quite as keen.

      The power to hold another referendum lies with the Scottish people via its elected representatives, not with Westminster. the sovereignty of the WM parliament is a peculiarly English concept. The "granting" of a Section 30 order avoided the argument/issue in 2012, but there is no consensus amongst constitutional jurists and theorists on the issue, as was shown at the time. The point is in any case moot as the Edinburgh Agreement precedent is set, and any attempt to row back from it will simply increase the appetite for independence.

      It isn't in the interests of either side to go down the Spain/Catalonia route. If Yes win, there's nothing to stop those who oppose independence campaigning to re-join the UK; have at it! that's what democracy is all's just a pity that so many britnats are only democrats when they are winning! ;)

    3. The sovereign of the UK Government is a global concept, ask the Americans or the Canadians or the Australians or the Chinese who all work the same way.

      You can have an advisory referendum any time you like but what the Scottish Government cant do is use public funds for non devolved issues nor use government resources so it would be an atavist led advisory referendum paid for by the SNP/donations that would not be binding on anyone.

    4. I imagine you were standing at attention when you typed that up....

    5. Nations can't be allowed to just fragment because one wee bit has took the hump and unilaterally decided to leave (and make no mistake - we are a 'wee bit' - 8% of the populace). That's not the way the world works. In a democratic, liberal, peaceful nation like the UK, any attempt at breakaway or secession has to go through central government. That's just the way it has to be. Our society is ordered, structured and interconnected. Major decisions, for the sake of the wellbeing of all, have to be taken collectively. That means consulting with the nation's supreme law making / governmental body (in our case Westminster) and taking action only with their blessing. The only exceptions to this are nations that are blighted by war, tyranny or persecution. We don't fit that category.

      And, once again, we already voted in a legitimate referendum. The issue has been put to the people and they want to stay in the UK. This gives the UK government as much legitimacy as it can possibly receive to govern and make decisions on behalf of Scotland.

    6. Btw can anyone cite a single example of a country or region anywhere in the world that has held two independence / secession referenda within 5 years?Quebec is the only one I'm aware of that held two - and they were 15 years apart and both failed.

      Time to face reality folks. The SNP's anti austerity gig is vastly popular - but the case and the numbers just aren't there for independence - much less a second independence referendum when we're still clearing up the flags and bunting from the last one.

      Instead, the SNP should tell us how it proposes to offset the 'evil tory cuts'. Which taxes are going up and by how much? Socialists are generally annoying but the worst type of socialist is one that can spend spend spend without having to tax tax tax. From now on, they will have more accountability and will be seen in their true colours - red.

  17. It's fair to assume that if there is not some kind of game changer between now and next May, then the SNP will see a repeat of their 2015 electoral performance, in which 'pro yes' parties achieved around 52% of the vote, in total. By my reckoning, assuming a similar turn out next year, that's just shy of 1.6 million voters (1.63 million voted yes in the indyref).

    This would give the yes parties a majority in parliament - not a crushing majority as we employ PR but a majority nonetheless, and a 'mandate' to seek indyref #2. But where is the fairness in that? The loser essentially voting again for another turn and getting it? I don't think that's fair at all. No progress has been proven on the 'yes' side in such a situation - it's just that existing yes voters have voted to grant themselves another go.

    This is a fair and clear mandate in a pig's eye!

    And yet another justification for Cameron to say "no".

  18. As for talk of a 'reunification' referendum post independence, lol - are you serious?

    'Tis easier to destroy than to create' - this applies to our union as well, forged over hundreds of years. If you break it, that's it.

  19. It's all gorn quiet on here, lol.

    A lot of issues have been discussed on this thread. But the most pertinent point I think is that nowhere on earth has held two secession referenda within 5 years - as the SNP seems to think is a possibility!

    Do they ACTUALLY think it will happen??

    Answers on a postcard, by the looks of it.


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