Liveblogging the Great Debate

by craig on August 5, 2014 9:52 am in Uncategorized

I am much looking forward to the Salmond/Darling debate this evening. The media have already been playing the expectations game for all they are worth, so that if Darling does not actually wet himself during the debate and then fall flat on his face and break his spectacles while attempting to remove his soiled trousers, they will all be able to claim that he performed better than expected.

Attempts to skew the agenda by Better Together are frenetic this morning. We have Cameron, Clegg and Miliband all signing a pledge to give Scotland (unspecified) new tax and legal powers after a No vote.

lyingtorybastard

Oh look, here’s Nick Clegg signing another pledge about what happens after a vote.

Nick Clegg is always signing pledges. He must be a really honest man.

We also have a new think tank called Fiscal Affairs Scotland, pontificating on the state of Scotland’s public finances this year. Personally I am deeply suspicious of all these new think tanks and lobby groups which keep springing up. Fiscal Affairs Scotland appears on a google search not to exist at all, beyond the report released today. Nor can I find this report online. But there is a remarkably fair summation of it in the Scotsman, under the heading “Independence: Economists Criticise Both Sides”. This states that “Scotland’s finances could be facing anything from a deficit of £10.8bn up to being £1.9bn in credit – meaning Scots would be £1,033 better off or £1,324 poorer.”

It should be noted that this relates to 2016 only, and includes a substantial estimate for the one-off costs of setting up a new state. There are numerous reasons to believe Fiscal Affairs Scotland’s estimate deliberately pessimistic, but for the moment it is the media treatment of the report which interests me.

Better Together immediately rushed out a press release stating that the report said that Scots would be much worse off after independence, and lazy and complicit “journalists” simply copied and pasted the Better Together press release without bothering to look at the report. This from the Guardian’s unionist hack Severin Carrell:

Better Together seized on a new analysis of Scotland’s likely finances in its first year of independence, mooted as 2016 by Salmond, from a recently launched thinktank Fiscal Affairs Scotland. The paper found that Scotland’s deficit would be worse than the UK’s by up to £900 per head unless oil revenues doubled over current forecasts or Scotland took only half its expected share of UK debts.

Jackie Baillie, Scottish Labour’s shadow health secretary, said these findings added to the pressure on Salmond to defend his economic predictions for independence in tonight’s debate. “Expert after expert lines up to explain the threat of separation to our public finances, Alex Salmond will have to explain why he is right, and they are all wrong,” she said.

Carrell was too lazy, stupid and downright unethical to even bother to ask anyone from the Yes campaign for a comment.

There will be an even more intrusive media attempt to frame tonight’s debate in Salmond’s favour. An opinion poll by IPSOS/Mori will be released by STV at the start of the debate.

IPSOS/Mori has been consistently unionist friendly in its poll results. These differences between pollsters are not coincidental. They do not take random samples of the population and then tell us how that random 10,000 people break down. They radically adjust their sample by “weighting” to reflect the age, social groups and geographical distribution of the population. So, if you ought to have 20 retired people living south of Edinburgh in your sample but you only have 4, then you multiply the results of those 4 by 5 to weight your sample.

This is where it gets particularly murky. One of the key factors they weight for is political allegiance. So they weight your answers according to their own prior view of what they think the actual distribution of political views ought to be. I am not making this up.

They do this by prior vote weighting. So if 28% voted Labour at the last Holyrood election, their panel has to include 28% who voted Labour at the last Holyrood election or votes be weighted accordingly. But get this – they do not just take your word for how you voted at the last election, they then adjust this to account for “false memory” and “shy votes” – wanting to remember you sided with the winner, or being ashamed to say who you voted for.

The net effect is that the samples have deliberately boosted numbers of Labour voters in them. Pollsters generally adopt a “panel” approach. Having identified their voters and applied their weightings, they just keep asking the same voters again so they don’t have to recalculate the weightings. So they create a Labour-biased panel, and then stick with it.

In Scotland they have a history of being spectacularly wrong. At the 2011 Holyrood elections the pollsters on average overestimated the Labour vote by 6% in their final polls.

The excellent “Scot Goes Pop” website dissects the shenanigans of the opinion poll weightings in great detail, poll by poll.

Anyway, ALex Salmond will have to face “IPSOS/MORI says you are twelve points behind” and be on the back foot right at the start of the debate. There is worse. Commenters on Wings Over Scotland and Scot Goes Pop who are part of the IPSOS/MORI panel have reported that for this survey they were asked twenty questions on subjects like oil revenues and the NHS, which were heavily biased towards the No camp. “On a scale of 1 to 10, How worried are you that an independent Scotland would not be able to afford basic pension provision.”

On top of which, at STV’s invitation IPSOS/MORI has selected the audience for the TV debate to reflect IPSOS/MORI’s view of the composition of the Scottish public – ie heavily Labour and unionist. ITV have done everything conceivable to load the deck in Darling’s favour. Let’s see how the game unfolds.

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88 Comments

  1. doug scorgie

    5 Aug, 2014 - 10:26 am

    From the previous thread:

    By the way; after all the ballyhoo about how important the Scottish referendum is to the rest of the UK:

    “You Can’t Watch The Scottish Independence Debate On TV If You Live Outside Scotland.”

    http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2014/08/04/scottish-independence-alex-salmond-alistair-darling-tv-debate_n_5646746.html

  2. Anyone who thought this referendum would be conducted in a fair and democratic manner by the No side have been proved wrong again & again. The preservation of the British State is paramount and they will do anything, absolutely anything to scare Scots out of their own nation’s future.

  3. “The preservation of the British State is paramount and they will do anything, absolutely anything to scare Scots out of their own nation’s future”

    In what way have they scared the Scots?

    If I were a Scot in favour of independence I’d be scared of SNP policies. Keeping the pound, the monarchy and membership of NATO and the EU is not independence, it’s rubbish.

  4. MJ

    None of those things are on the ballot paper. Personally I don’t want to keep the pound, the monarchy or NATO membership, and once Scotland is independent we will have the opportunity to make those decisions.

    There is zero chance without an independent Scotland to change those things. That is why your position is incomprehensibly stupid.

    A vote for independence is not a vote for the SNP. About a third of those voting Yes do not vote SNP. Just as some people voting SNP are not voting Yes (strange but true).

  5. Habbabkuk (La vita è bella) !

    5 Aug, 2014 - 11:07 am

    Anne Meikle

    What exactly would you expect the No side to do?

    Why should the two sides on this debate behave any differently from opposing political parties in an election anywhere?

    This is just fairly mindless whining which makes me suspect that the Yes people are making pyscological preparation for a No result.

  6. Habbabkuk (La vita è bella) !

    5 Aug, 2014 - 11:09 am

    Craig

    “About a third of those voting Yes do not vote SNP.”
    ___________________

    Should we infer from this that two-thirds of the Yes voters do vote SNP?

  7. Keith Crosby

    5 Aug, 2014 - 11:13 am

    If the North Britons vote aye, will Clegg burn their greenhouses down?

  8. There is approximately £6 billion in cash swilling around in Scotland. There are cash reserves at the Bank of England too.

    So I’m looking forward to hearing from “Flipper”, what the mechanism will be for collecting all that money & confiscating it.

    And of course, what financial impact that will have, not just on Scotland but the rest of the UK to whom we export the significant proportion of £100 billion worth of goods & services.

    Or perhaps, he’ll adjust his eyebrows & come out with a sensible statement that declares that Edinburgh & London will do whatever is in the best interests of everyone.

    You know, like other normal neighbouring countries do.

  9. The TV debate can also be found on Astra satellite and Freesat platforms via STV. If retuning is required; 2E 10906 V 22000 5/6 are the details you will need.

  10. “Personally I don’t want to keep the pound”

    It’s not a matter of personal preference. Extricating yourself from dependency on the BoE is a prerequisite to independence.

    “There is zero chance without an independent Scotland to change those things. That is why your position is incomprehensibly stupid”

    There is zero chance of Scotland becoming independent before it changes those things. That is why your position is incomprehensibly naive.

  11. Thanks for informing us about potentially misleading polling methods. It’s up to the people living North of the border to decide what they want.

  12. This is a REFERENDUM Anne, not an election, they are two different things, do not confuse the two.
    And this article is telling it how it is, it is like it or not, a fact that the London elite and their pals have acted so undemocratically that it is extremely concerning for the people of Scotland, and indeed for all people in the uk, that a government could act so underhandedly. They have called themselves Project fear for gods sake! The YES campaign have led a very positive and intelligent campaign against the odds, with the media following orders in lying and smearing the Scottish government and by attempting to scare the people into voting to stay in this rotten to the core, so called union. The no campaign are nothing short of immoral and unethical in their tactics, even lying openly, and hoping then that the people of Scotland would think that pro YES are also lying. The facts are there, the future is ours if we bother to take it. Scotland will be ruined if we reject Independence. And pyscological, has an H in it.

  13. I actually concur with MJ. I’d prefer a unique Scottish currency. But as anyone who has ever been involved in large & complex negotiations, it can take time to reach your ultimate goal.

    The first objective is to win the referendum. This enables the Scottish gov to begin a negotiation process.

    As some point in the foreseeable future, my hope is that Scots will be invited to discuss & negotiate a new currency, the abolishment of the pointless monarchy & a constitutions. There are many other instruments we need but they cannot all be negotiated simultaneously.

    Thus, we need to remain firm, resolute & patient while we work through all of these issues and more so that by say, 2020 Scotland is a fully sovereign independent republic, free of nuclear weapons, governed by a body politic that we, the people helped construct.

    The alternative of course is to keep the nuclear arsenal in Scotland, keep funding the monarchy & permit the corrupt bicameral system at Westminster to protect their vested interests at the economic, social & legal expense of everyone else.

  14. MJ

    You are saying that political independence is meaningless without financial and strategic/military independence. In other words, it is a necessary but not sufficient condition of true national independence. I do not disagree with you. But to achieve the first necessary condition of political independence is obviously an essential step. Nobody claims it is the entire journey.

    Your proposal – stay in the UK and do fuck all – does absolutely nothing to advance the positions which you pretend to advocate.

  15. Warsi resigned due to UK government policy in Gaza

  16. “attempting to scare the people into voting to stay in this rotten to the core, so called union”

    What has been said or done that you find so scary? This blog is filling up with scared Scots who won’t explain what the matter is.

  17. The unionist media have already written their conclusion on tonight’s debate: another stunning win for the charismatic and ever-so-honest Darling.

  18. The worst possible scenario for the rest of the UK is that the No camp win but with a small majority.
    The rest of the UK will then have to annually bail out an overspending Scotland every year.
    Maybe after a few years of bail outs,the rest of the UK would have a referendum on whether it wanted Scotland in or out.
    Much better for the rest of the UK if they leave.Maybe they would recognise Palestine which would be good,but it’s far more likely they’d be doing what the money men tell them and like the other small Eastern European states they be at the beck and call of the Neo-Cons before long.
    The EU would almost certainly let them stay in,for the reasons Craig has given,but they would not be able to issue £’s for the very good reasons given in research by Hardman and co.(sorry dunno how you link to it).

  19. “You are saying that political independence is meaningless without financial and strategic/military independence”

    Not quite. I’m saying impossible, not meaningless.

    “Your proposal – stay in the UK and do fuck all”

    Where have I proposed that? My proposal is that you have your own currency from day one. Then you should cosy up to the BRICS nations and try to join their proposed new global financial system. That’s my proposal.

  20. The Commonwealth Games showed how an array of countries can survive, and in many cases thrive, on their own. Scotland can do it without doubt.

    Yesterday both Clegg and Miliband were upstaged by Cameron, who did find time to write a message on a wreath he placed. It read: “Your most enduring legacy is our liberty. We must never forget.”

    What he meant by this was “You cannon-fodder made it possible for a few rich twats like me to live in freedom and luxury. We must do this again soon!”

  21. Its a golden opportunity for Salmond to speak to a mass audience of Scots and BREAK the “glass ceiling” of the gilded cage in which they find themselves after 300 years of colonisation – to set the Scottish psyche free from the invisible yet very real atmosphere that induces mass deference to a colonising entity. A rousing call from Salmond, enough to make every voter don a kilt and run barefooted to the nearest polling station first thing on the morning of the 18th September, firmly mark the YES box with an unequivocal “X” and be done with the mass hypnosis from 300 years of subservience. Free at last, free at last !

    Darling and the “Parcel of Rogues” can go to hell with their inevitable scaremongering and expected spin, Alex Salmond must not be drawn into crass minutiae this is all about reaching up to the sky.

  22. Well if the want/expect a draw, it will be saved just, if Darling is wearing pampers!

  23. Always prepare your excuses in advance.

    ” They do not take random samples of the population and then tell us how that random 10,000 people break down. They radically adjust their sample by “weighting” to reflect the age, social groups and geographical distribution of the population. So, if you ought to have 20 retired people living south of Edinburgh in your sample but you only have 4, then you multiply the results of those 4 by 5 to weight your sample. ”

    Well that’s how proper polls are done and it produces more accurate results than just taking a random sample which might under or over represent a significant section of society. Worse still are the self-selecting online polls.

    As we’ve seen from the Clegg/Farage fiasco these TV debates are more about personalities than policies and create more heat than light. I’m not expecting much more from tonight’s encounter whoever comes out on top.

  24. nevermind, it will happen anyway

    5 Aug, 2014 - 12:09 pm

    Thanks for the great news about Ms. Warsi, Sabba, its all over the news, a woman with some principles telling nus that this cabinet is not going to act or propose sanctions on Israel.

    They should loose all their preferential trading rights with the EU, one measure that could be inacted within 48hrs., but in the absence of bought politicians arguing for it, such sole actions will be denigrated by political parties.

  25. Geoffrey
    I am a new commenter on this site, but I cannot let you away with this:

    “The rest of the UK will then have to annually bail out an overspending Scotland every year.”

    The fact is that Scotland sends £800 net every year to the UK for every man, woman and child. That’s after the Barnet formula adjustments and all other flows of money out of and into Scotland are added up. These are UK treasury figures – it’s a matter of public record. Even the Today programme on Radio 4 admitted yesterday that Scotland was a net contributor to the UK (someone’s head will no doubt roll for that, but the deed was done.)

    So please, whatever else you might think about Scotland being independent or continuing in the UK, stop perpetuating the lie that we are subsidised. We are not – we pay a high price to be in the UK.

  26. nevermind, it will happen anyway

    5 Aug, 2014 - 12:14 pm

    O/T sorry, Bernie has managed to buy justice in Germany. He’s so innocent that he can carry on playing with fast cars.
    http://www.spiegel.de/wirtschaft/ecclestone-gericht-stellt-verfahren-gegen-100-millionen-dollar-ein-a-984510.html

  27. Have to say I, and I suspect plenty others have been waiting just to see how they would put a bias spin on Salmond. You have just pointed out how it is being done, so an excellent post.

    Nevertheless Salmond is no fool and he will be aware he is entering the wolf’s den.
    He will adjust as required, as he is a formidable politician. No matter how Darling tries Alex will have his answers, he knows how much this means to the public.

    Also on early BBC Scotland we had Taylor pointing out what Salmond should do to win, aye that will be right. We will opt for the opposite position.

  28. MJ – Hardly ‘scared’ Scots purleeez – I am nonetheless alarmed at the contrived terror planned before the vote. The Scottish Orange Order is planning a 25,000-strong march in Edinburgh in the days leading up to the Scottish referendum on September 18.

    My gaze has turned to the grand master of the Orange Lodge of Scotland, Henry Dunbar, who insisted the march would have a “carnival atmosphere” despite the guaranteed presence of militant loyalists who support terrorist groups and street disorder.

    The economic hit-men are also active here:

    http://www.hardmanandco.com/team/blog/2014/june/10062014-currency-options-independent-scotland

    With the slime exposed, Scotland’s backbone and fortitude must triumph over a venal ‘No’ campaign even if the vote is against.

  29. Argyll,that may be the case now,but a Scotland with greater ability to spend with the the tab left elsewhere is unlikely to be able to resist.
    And,anyway two Sots banks have just bankrupted the whole of the Uk!

  30. Cannot let the irony of Geoffrey’s comment at 12.29 go with out highlighting the sheer silliness of it.

    Saying on the one hand Scotland’s ‘greater ability spend on someone else’s tab’ then going on to say two banks from which the UK exchequer received VAST amounts of cash in tax receipts were Scottish – but only when they went bust?

    Mmm, righto.

  31. smiling vulture

    5 Aug, 2014 - 1:00 pm

    AS calls heads,tails ,opens an closes debate

    that’s a bonus

  32. Geoffrey
    The first part of your response is incomprehensible. How would being independent give Scotland “greater ability to spend with the tab left elsewhere..”?

    As for your comment about the two Scottish banks, this is an old chestnut that has been much debated. Let me summarise the main points for you.

    RBS was regulated in London and conducted most of its business outside of Scotland. It was a global bank that happened to have its registered office in Scotland.

    HBOS consisted of a conservative, old-fashioned Scottish Bank that was taken over by an English Building Society whose management did not really understand banking and risk and found themselves with a real bank to play with. They could not resist the temptation to dabble in things they did not understand and they ruined BOS.

    There seems to be a hint of anti-Scottish xenophobia in your comments. Would I be right?

  33. Peacewisher

    5 Aug, 2014 - 1:04 pm

    Fantastic news regarding Baroness Warsi, and unbelievable reaction from George Osbourne, saying that her resignation is “unhelpful”. Yes, I suppose it is unhelpful to Tory party funders!

    The picture of Nick Clegg in “man of the people” mode reminded me that he, and his Libdem MPs, have the power to bring down this government before they destroy the one good thing that Brown did for this country… putting the London-Edinburgh main line into public ownership.

    For those who may not know, they’ve recently established a reprivatisation programme that starts in November, and is completed shortly before the 5 years when an election must be called. C’mon, Nick… you can do it!!! The corporate world will never forgive you, but you are there to represent the people. You’ll get lots of votes back… including mine.

  34. Geoffrey, at the time of the banking crash I remember reading something from an American commentator who questioned the need for US tax dollars being put to support RBS banking operations in the US. Their confusion arose because RBS had the word Royal in it and they concluded that the bank was owned personally by the Queen. I think you’re making a similar error with regard to banks with the word Scottish in their name.

  35. Peacewisher

    5 Aug, 2014 - 1:16 pm

    Poll indicates that Scotland 60-64% in favour of keeping the East Coast Main Line in Public Ownership.

    North-East England, including Nick Clegg’s constituency in Sheffield shows figures of 65-69% on the same poll:

    http://survation.com/east-coast-rail-re-privatisation-universally-unpopular/

  36. Robert Peffers

    5 Aug, 2014 - 1:27 pm

    Why are so many numpties so stupid about the legal status of the pound sterling?
    1 – Scotland has her own currency it is the same currency used by her ONLY partner in the bipartite Treaty of Union 1706/7.
    2 – Sterling is an international trading currency and anyone can use it.
    3 – The UK government does NOT set interest rates the BofE does.
    4 – The BofE was nationalised by the bipartite UK in 1946 and thus is partly Scottish.
    5 – There is no legal basis for any form of UK to remain after the bipartite UK disunites.
    6 – There is no legal basis that the bipartite UK, a treaty between two equally sovereign partners, should be divided up on the basis of the current population ratio.
    7 A currency union would be of greater value to the, (three country), Kingdom of England, than to the Kingdom of Scotland.
    8 – The title United Kingdom legally describes a Kingdom, not either a country or a state.

    Plans a to z for the currency are to use the pound sterling – prefferably with a currency union.

    Unless, of course, YOU know better.

  37. Using the URL I posted this article to one of our FB pages but got a warning saying a link in my post might be unsafe. First time that’s happened.

    As I can’t attach a screenshot here, if you email me I’ll send you it.

  38. Robert Peffers: I think you’re going to be in for a nasty shock.

    I’ll make just one observation. This not like a divorce, where matrimonial property and assets are shared out fairly under the jurisdiction of a qualified third party, ie a court. You can’t just unilaterally declare a divorce.

    This is like ceasing to be a member of a club. It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been a member, you don’t have the right to cart off half the club’s property and claim it as your own.

  39. ” It was a global bank that happened to have its registered office in Scotland. ”

    Which makes it a Scotish bank; which incidentally was run by a Scot whilst another Scot cheered on from the sidelines and promised to slacken “gold plated” Westminster regulation even further so that the first Scot could dig a even bigger hole for it.

  40. ” 6 – There is no legal basis that the bipartite UK, a treaty between two equally sovereign partners, should be divided up on the basis of the current population ratio. ”

    Yes there is. It’s called the International Laws of Succession. There is also a precident in that it’s how the assests and liabilities of Czechoslovakia were divided up when that country split.

  41. Peacewisher

    5 Aug, 2014 - 2:08 pm

    You have to laugh at BBC priorities. The top story on their website is…

    Bernie Ecclestone

  42. Wonder if Cameron will declare himself ‘shocked’, and denounce Baroness Warsi for ‘playing politics on such a serious issue’ .

  43. Kempe

    So what exactly is your point? Are you suggesting that being Scottish in some way makes a person inferior or unable to run a business? Or a country?

    If so, could that be a xenophobic (or in modern parlance racist) comment?

  44. There are a number of ways to judge polls.

    Firstly there is track record – although with a referendum, that really isn’t as helpful as in a regular election. The last Holyrood election they did how?

    Secondly how much weighting do they do and does it change often? In this case the answer is lots and YES. Those answers degrade their reliability in a major way.

    Thirdly will the pollsters business suffer if they get it wrong? Well what percentage of their regular business are Scottish elections/referendums and who are their biggest political customers? Answer to the first, a minor part and the answer to the second is the three main political parties and the media. Guess who they need to please and oh as you know the Scots are weird.

  45. Argyll, I was talking about the unfortunate position the rest of the UK would be in if Scotland remains in the UK,with greater powers to tax(a little) and spend(a lot).
    The two Scots banks are legally Scottish,and head quartered there.Incidentally I don’t think either bank is owned by the Queen.
    The amount of tax the two banks have paid in their entire history in any shape or form is tiny in comparison to the cost of their bailout.
    Concerning the £,it is very unlikely that Scotland would want to use a currency like sterling over which it had no control,though as you say it could if it wanted to,but the Bank of England would not be a lender of last resort.The Bank of England would not allow a currency union because that would require it to be a lender of last resort.
    I suggest you read the very good and clear report by Hardman and co.
    And,Argyll my comments are not xenophobic,I’m on your side–good luck to you!

  46. Is this an irony free zone?

    You spend the first paragraph bleating that the media has it in for your favourites and the remainder of the article preparing your excuses for failure.

    A pointless exercise. You have your scapegoats lined up. It’s aw thae English Bassas in the media wot dun it.

  47. Ben-American Fascist Flechette

    5 Aug, 2014 - 3:03 pm

    The debt threat might just be another warning about IMF austerity. You’ll have that forgiven with a No vote.

  48. Republicofscotland

    5 Aug, 2014 - 3:05 pm

    Forget the “Dead Sea Scrolls” this is the “Dead UK Scroll”, vote no and we’ll give you shiny new powers, honestly, would we lie.

    Meanwhile a wee birdy told me that, next week, Better Together are going to roll out the Ark of Covenant, and inside the Ten Commandments, will begin with Thou Shalt have more…………………at Holyrood.

  49. Habbabkuk (La vita è bella) !

    5 Aug, 2014 - 3:07 pm

    SFTB

    “You have your scapegoats lined up. It’s aw thae English Bassas in the media wot dun it.”
    ___________________

    I have no dog in this fight, as California Ben would say, but the above comment is spot on. All the previous posts on Scottish independence have been, at bottom, excuses in anticipation of a No vote, and various attacks on the BBC’s reporting on other subjects have also had this as their unspoken sub-theme.

  50. gerry parker

    5 Aug, 2014 - 3:13 pm

    kempe.
    Some further reading for you re banks.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/gordon-macintyrekemp/scottish-independence-bank-bailout_b_4895234.html

    MJ. We’re not carting off half the clubs property and claiming it as our own, just 9% of it.

  51. It will be interesting to see what, if anything, Darling can make of the debate. The case for independence is unanswerable, Salmond’s only problem being the notorious difficulty of arguing for the obvious. To add to the asymmetry, Darling is short-tempered, slow-witted and inarticulate, developing a stammer under the mildest of questioning. If I were one of his handlers I’d pop him a couple of veterinary tranquillisers in the hope of minimising the damage he might do. The Unionists will rue their decision to use him instead of Cameron.

  52. “We’re not carting off half the clubs property and claiming it as our own, just 9% of it”

    Well please return it to the club-house immediately.

  53. The make up is listed as STV confirming audience selected to be 40% Yes, 40% No and 20% undecided.

    I hope this helps.

  54. George

    It might do. Where did you see that? The STV website had IPSOS/Mori providing a “representative of Scottish opinion” audience.

  55. Ben-American Fascist Flechette

    5 Aug, 2014 - 4:05 pm

    ‘Undecided’ or ‘don’t know’ in polling results usually could be interpreted as ‘I don’t care’.

  56. Justin Ross

    5 Aug, 2014 - 4:11 pm

    Is this whole Fiscal Affairs Scotland think tank just a BBC invention to produce negative stories on the day of the debate. Like Craig Murray I can only finally any mention of it relating to today’s story and only dating back as far as Monday.

    The only other mention online is from a BBC website which says it’s director is Jo Armstrong. Is this the same Labour Party Jo Armstrong from CPPR? This smells like a BT/BBC lie.

  57. “The case for independence is unanswerable”

    A little strong perhaps. Judging by the polls over half of Scots appear to have found an answer.

    “Salmond’s only problem being the notorious difficulty of arguing for the obvious”

    Would suggest Salmond has more than one problem. Darling will score when the debate gets on to currency and fiscal matters. Salmond is weak here because Plan A has been whipped away from under him and he has no Plan B. He just keeps burbling on about Plan A, even though it’s not on the table.

  58. O/T

    The tally of dead Palestinians in Gaza has reached around 1900, and the tally of injured Palestinians is hovering around 10,000 or more, the tally of homeless and refugees twice over is reaching 25 percent of the total population, that is four hundreds and fifty thousands that is 450,000, inadequate medical facilities, and supplies of potable of water, that is compounded by the sewerage system getting blown up by the zionist mercenaries too.

    All the while the leaders of the free world are busy genuflecting and reiterating the; “right to defend of Isreal” as the same leaders reiterate right of Palestinians; the right to get maimed, killed, dispossessed, made into refugees umpteen times over, get incarcerated in concentration camps, and then to get set upon by the zionist thugs, in uniform and the rabid settlers out of uniform.

    Baroness Warsi resigns in protest, but Cameron is out of country busy enjoying his holidays and Clegg the supine is busy dodging the issue and doing what he does best; disappear.

  59. “No plan B” is such an absurd argument. Plan B is to keep using sterling informally (backed, as ever, by our share of the nationalised BoE and its gold and currency reserves, not to mention the assets held at the BoE by the Scottish issuing banks) but to take none of the UK’s debt. In actual fact, there is no legal obligation to take any debt at all and I hope our negotiating team keeps that in mind. Any debt taken should be in exchange for any favours rUK chooses to do for us, not a starting point for discussion. We’ve overpaid for debt we didn’t tun up for years already. Why should we volunteer to pay anything now that rUK is threatening such vindictive behaviour after a Yes vote?

  60. Kenny

    I absolutely agree. You cannot argue both that the rUK will be the sole successor state, and that Scotland must take its share of the debt. But that is what the UK govt does try to argue.

  61. “Plan B is to keep using sterling informally (backed, as ever, by our share of the nationalised BoE and its gold and currency reserves, not to mention the assets held at the BoE by the Scottish issuing banks)”

    That’s what I mean. Plan B is in fact Plan A. I give in.

  62. Republicofscotland

    5 Aug, 2014 - 5:16 pm

    I know this is “Off Topic”, but I found it so disturbing I had to post it, Google have uploaded a game that allows you to “Bomb Gaza” you play the game as a Israeli fighter pilot, your goal is to kill.

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/bomb-gaza-users-call-on-google-play-to-remove-game-that-lets-users-carry-out-israeli-air-strikes-on-palestinians-9647579.html

  63. “Google have uploaded a game that allows you to “Bomb Gaza”

    According to what I read yesterday, it has already been removed, after complaints.

  64. “Bomb Gaza game pulled from Google Play store after backlash”

    http://www.cbc.ca/news/technology/bomb-gaza-game-pulled-from-google-play-store-after-backlash-1.2727677?cmp=rss

    (Apparently it’s still on Facebook)

    Sorry, back to Scotland …

  65. ” So what exactly is your point? Are you suggesting that being Scottish in some way makes a person inferior or unable to run a business? ”

    No, my point was that RBS, like HBOS, is a Scottish bank run by Scots and you can’t shirk the fallout of its collapse as some here would like to.

  66. Hi Craig. With regards to Severin – he often does not report the opposite side because no-one will talk to the big lummox anymore; he has burned quite a few bridges at the parly. The SNP have banned their lot from talking to him at all due to his habit of twisting all manner of tame statements into far more sinister sounding articles. The Graun are well aware of this but persist in keeping him hanging around, possibly because they don’t actually care to get to know anyone else in Scotland, possibly because they are only interested in hiring journos on zero hours contracts these days so that they have more to squirrel away into their thooper theekrit Cayman Islands accounts.

    Perhaps Scottish journalists would not want to work for them anyway seeing as their articles quite often describe Glasgow as the capital or seem to have been posted just to whip up the Guardianistas into a “ha ha look at the East End” poverty porn frenzy. Bit of a shame as there used to be some good reporting about Scotland not so long ago. The only decent look at Scottish issues recently has been from Chris Huhne and I suspect that is only because he no longer is at the mercy of his political masters and has nothing to lose.

    Keep up the good work.

  67. The ‘no sharing of UK debt’ point is obviously fundamental and yet some people seem to think it take it for granted that it is not negotiable. Obviously its got to be negotiable but is not the fact that there is a need to negotiate something so fundamental something of a concern for voters i.e. what are they voting for.

    Presumably the only way to vote yes is with a head which says it is all ripped up and then we will talk to see what can be agreed i.e. 1) everything is off the table, 2) independence, and 3) discuss what is back on the table from the position of independence (albeit with the possibility of some dirty tricks).

    What happens if there is a yes vote and negotiations fail? Surely Scotland is simply independent under some sort of basic law of natural justice?

  68. “What happens if there is a yes vote and negotiations fail? Surely Scotland is simply independent under some sort of basic law of natural justice?”

    What has natural law got to do with it? The UK has the permanent seat at the UNSC and the UK has the power of veto.

    Salmond had just better make sure the negotiations don’t fail.

  69. Callmeacynic

    5 Aug, 2014 - 6:30 pm

    Interesting comments from all but I am reminded of the following famous quote:

    “All men dream: but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dream with open eyes, to make it possible”

    To me this implies that all politicians are dangerous because they are dreamers of the day and history has shown their enduring capacity for getting so many things wrong.

    This whole independence thing is a game being played for power, unfortunately this country is not ruled by politicians but by the power of the so called civil servants (they gave up being servants years ago) This is the real power where policies are drafted by faceless and unaccountable people, then dispensed as a bowl of wisdom by the puppets who we vote in.

    My mind was open to independence until the vote by the majority of the Scottish Parliament to vote through gay marriage, against the majority opinion of the Scottish people.

    Give the SNP more power or independence and count the cost in years to come as “policies” are forced through against the will of the people.

  70. No one really knows, do they? I don’t think Scotland can be anything other than worse off in the short term as UK businesses and public sector employees head South.
    But what neither side is saying is that without a viable currency and and banks backed by a Scottish central bank, the Scottish economy could quite conceivably go into meltdown.
    Arguing over a few hundred pounds one way or the other is dishonest from both sides.

  71. “My mind was open to independence until the vote by the majority of the Scottish Parliament to vote through gay marriage, against the majority opinion of the Scottish people”

    This happened in the union, you plonker.

  72. “This whole independence thing is a game being played for power, unfortunately this country is not ruled by politicians but by the power of the so called civil servants (they gave up being servants years ago) This is the real power where policies are drafted by faceless and unaccountable people, then dispensed as a bowl of wisdom by the puppets who we vote in.”

    That’s very true, I’m reminded of the writings of George Orwell:

    Nationalism is not to be confused with patriotism. Both words are normally used in so vague a way that any definition is liable to be challenged, but one must draw a distinction between them, since two different and even opposing ideas are involved. By “patriotism” I mean devotion to a particular place and a particular way of life, which one believes to be the best in the world but has no wish to force on other people. Patriotism is of its nature defensive, both militarily and culturally. Nationalism, on the other hand, is inseperable from the desire for power. The abiding purpose of every nationalist is to secure more power and more prestige, not for himself but for the nation or other unit in which he has chosen to sink his own individuality.

  73. “The UK has the permanent seat at the UNSC and the UK has the power of veto.”

    As usual, Fred the British Nationalist is talking utter bollocks.
    If the vote on the 18th of September is Yes, then Scotland will be de facto independent. If there is no negotiation, then both sides will simply walk away. My preferred option.

  74. Freds British Nationalism is the scary kind. We see it manifested in the jingoism and flag waving of the WW1 celebrations. Britain First.

  75. Callmeacynic @6:30pm

    You don’t agree with the principle of equality? It is taken as a given, we do not need to consult the Scottish people on whether equality is the right and I would say number one priority, an imperative of all government. I can say with reasonable certainty that equality over all things is the majority opinion of Scotland’s people and the only permissible guiding priciple of its present and future governments. Unless you’re some sort of religious/racist/skin-hue supremacist far right nutjob or similar, are you? We really are having these sorts creeping out of the woodwork now. Stinks of desperation.

  76. MJ dear – most of us have done some homework aka research, I suggest you do the same – does help if we have a discussion based on recognised facts, otherwise one can appear a bit silly.

  77. Fred What are you talking about ? You are reminded ?DuH !
    Salmond,SNP have said that the first thing they do will be to hold elections. Their goal is far more important than personal power.
    Orwellian was the Union Jacked country that Cameron and co gave Britain during the olympics.
    Sick !! And very Nationalistic.
    It’s about devolving power from a very dark place,and in their desperation they promise anything ,including 3 different tax possibilities. Promises to be broken by the experts.

  78. “Fred What are you talking about ? You are reminded ?DuH !
    Salmond,SNP have said that the first thing they do will be to hold elections. Their goal is far more important than personal power.”

    So bearing that in mind why don’t you read the Orwell quote again paying particular attention to the last two lines?

  79. Paula Rose: thank you for your kindly words. What are you talking about?

  80. Callmeacynic

    5 Aug, 2014 - 8:49 pm

    Tony M please grow up :-)read and understand or you will be swallowed up into eternal slavery. Reality

  81. Callmeacynic

    5 Aug, 2014 - 8:51 pm

    Tony M just read your comments again. Reminds me of similar rantings which I think rank with someone who wrote Mein Kampf: Remenber him?

  82. ” The ‘no sharing of UK debt’ point is obviously fundamental ”

    Well the nationalists seem to think that they’re going to get it all their own way, that their going to get away without shouldering their share of the debt and yet still have their share of the moveable assets There are international conventions to be followed but the answer seems quite clear; no debt-no assets.

  83. I am unable to watch the debate live on the stv web site. Anyone else having problems?

  84. Fred, natural law in the above context meant law that is law or whatever counts as law in circumstances where there is not always a real authority to determine an issue. Perhaps that was not the best expression. International issues sometimes find themselves in tidy legal boxes and other times outside; wars, war crimes, declaration of independence are the sort of issues which do not fit neatly into legal boxes. It is not possible to really have a universal legal formula for when does a country come into being or cease to be. There are many variations and at the end of the day it may depend upon how it benefits others outside of the country. Of course a vote a negotiation and a deal may count for a lot, but not to everyone. If the balance of powers is ok with the event its legal, if some like & some don’t it may be legal and illegal.

    What is law but a mechanism for regularising the fluidity of life.

    What is a country?

    Kempe: which assets are we talking about? What are the main issues for negotiation in order of priority?

  85. @Fred & Kurtan: Like Terrorism, both Patriotism and Nationalism are words that can be redefined by clever politicians, and their cleverer scriptwriters, to harness the thinking of the unthinking masses in a particular direction. I’m sure Orwell would have known that…

  86. O/T Protestors on roof of UAV Engines in Shenstone, chained themselves to roof in protest against Israel and for Palestine. They’re from London. It is a pity we in the Midlands did not take this initiative but when we learnt of it a few of us congregated in support.

    http://www.itv.com/news/central/story/2014-08-05/protesters-climb-arms-factory-roof-they-say-is-owned-by-israeli-military-company/

  87. Now the destruction of Gaza is dying down, it seems that something similar might be about to happen in Eastern Ukraine:

    http://rt.com/news/178068-ukraine-lugansk-humanitarian-crisis/

    (sorry it has to be RT again, but Western media don’t seem very interested).

    Also, ISIS seem to have gone through Syria like tissue paper and now going for Lebanon. They must have some pretty impressive firepower, and I can’t help thinking that they are working strategically with Israel. However, if they are to awaken Hizbullah that would really set the Middle East alight.

    As a peacewisher the thought of any of this horrifies me. Now the UN have managed to find some sort of voice, they need to act – urgently!

  88. ” which assets are we talking about? ”

    Essentially anything owned by central government which isn’t fixed in place. Gold and currency reserves, military equipment, that sort of thing. I recall reading somewhere that it might include art and antiques and patents (the MoD held the patent for LCD’s as they were invented by an MoD scientist) public service pension funds etc.

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