Scottish Independence 59

Alex Salmond has endeavoured to launch a “National conversation” on Independence, with a White Paper leading to a referendum if he can get the Scottish parliament to legislate for one. New Labour has predictably responded that all this democracy is “A waste of money”, while presumably the ’50 billion they have squandered in Iraq and Afghanistan is money well spent.

I hope to contribute to the conversation myself by the publication of my next book. It is called Influence Not Power – Foreign Policy For An Independent Scotland, and will be published by Birlinn/Polygon in late Autumn. I will be finishing it over the next fortnight.

I strongly favour Independence for two basic reasons.

Firstly, Thatcherite economic and social policies were anathema to the Scottish people and convinced them they needed more control of domestic legislation, leading to the devolution settlement. Blairite foreign and defence policy – Iraq and Afghanistan, Zionism, Bush poodle, the hideous waste of Trident – is also anathema to the Scottish people and should lead to the realisation that we need our own foreign and defence policy as well.

Secondly, as a diplomat I worked beside excellent and effective Irish, Portuguese, Swedish, Slovenian, Slovakian, Danish, Norwegian and other diplomats. They were protecting their countries’ interests and playing a full and constructive role – often much more so than the UK – in mutually beneficial international cooperation. What is wrong with us Scots that we think we can’t handle the responsibilities and opportunities of Independence, if they can?

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59 thoughts on “Scottish Independence

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  • kazbel

    While this important constitutional question is being debated, it's worth remembering the difficulty of debating it. Scottish MPs at Westminster are required to swear an oath of allegiance (or affirm allegiance) to the queen and her heirs before they are allowed to take their seats. This means that pro-independence Scots MPs, like other republicans – however moderate – are required to begin their careers with a public lie. The exclusion of honest republicans from parliament and other offices is not only shaming to a democracy. It stunts debate of independence and constitutional matters. My conclusion, reached over numbers of years of reflection, that, on balance, I would prefer to live in a republic, means that, in the unlikely event of persuading voters to elect me, I couldn't represent them. Nor could I be a magistrate, for instance. I believe pro-independence Scots can be MSPs without committing perjury but I imagine it's a difficulty for SNP MPs, unless they really want the queen to continue as their head of state.

    I hope you don't mind my mentioning a petition on the Downing Street website on this subject:

    There is also a post on the subject at Areopagitica:

  • NoJags Neil

    As an Englishman I favour Scottish independence too, but also object to having one of you as Prime Minister. Is it independence the Scots want or a takeover?

  • Illustratedman

    It's worth pointing out that Scots now make up a quarter of the British ground troops in Iraq and Afghanistan (

    Hopefully this will mean that if Scotland were to gain its independence, then 'Britain' would be physically incapable of continuing to support America in it's imperial quest to control all the world's oil and opium.

    Let's hope that Bush doesn't find out about the 60 billion barrels sitting under the Falklands – he still thinks Thatcher went to war so that 2,000 Bennies, who loved Britain so much they decided to live 8,000 miles away, could call themselves British.

  • greengorilla

    NoJaqs Neil, that's really nonsense. Anyone within the present Union is free to obtain political office.

    The problem, if you see it as that, is caused by the Union. Give us our independence and and you'll go some way in finding the answer you seek.

    All this whingeing from the English is just pees me off. As does all the threats we hear from London of Scotland's inability to manage her affairs without interference from the south.

    I look forward to Craig's book as it's clearly a serious attempt to look at a question which, so far, has been shoved under the carpet, ie the effects of Britain's vassal status to Washington.

    Britain, as a whole, is a nation which is in deep denial. By refusing to be honest about its having become little more than a US satellite it is unable to deal with the collective responsibility that it with the US has on causing over a million deaths in Iraq and god knows how many more in Afghanistan.

    The BBC's approach to anything the SNP does is an ill-disguised resentfulness. If the English had the kind of treatment meted out to us Scots I wonder how they would feel?

    It's bad enough having to deal with the 'Scottish Cringe', to then have to deal with the arrogance of southern attitudes as well as the BBC adds insult to injury.

  • greengorilla

    "What is wrong with us Scots that we think we can't handle the responsibilities and opportunities of Independence, if they can?"

    Craig, as a naturalised Scot resident here for 21 years, I ask the same question. Why can't we have a little bit more fire like the Irish? Is it because we've had the shit kicked out of us by the English for so long?

  • NoJags Neil

    It's not nonsense at all. The Scots have their own parliament now but still want a say in the running of England. That situation makes me uncomfortable. If Scotland gains full independence then having Scots making decisions about England is plainly ludicrous. You really do want it all, don't you?

  • Ed

    Kabel, why would working for Scottish independence be contrary to allegiance to the Queen? I don't know but I imagine that Canadian MPs could swear/affirm the same oath, for example. Republicanism is a separate matter from independence.

    (Personally, I'm not bothered about the royal family one way or the other but would like to see a separation of church and state; if getting rid of royalty was necessary for that then it would be OK by me.)

  • kazbel

    Ed, that's a fair point. The oath doesn't actually state allegiance to the queen as Head of the United Kingdom. I took it as implicit, since the queen's title in the U.K. is "Elizabeth the Second, by the Grace of God, of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and of Her other Realms and Territories Queen, Head of the Commonwealth, Defender of the Faith." But I suppose a monarchist supporter of Scottish independence could take the oath as written (though anyone who wants a Scottish republic could not).

    For anyone who doesn't know, the text of the oath is: ""I?..swear by Almighty God that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, her heirs and successors, according to law. So help me God." and there's an alternative form which affirms allegiance. But I still think that excluding honest Republicans from constitutional debates in parliament is dangerous and hope people will sing the petition and raise this question.

  • Chuck Unsworth

    I welcome the move. The sooner the better. Just as long as there can be an English Parliament with full independence. I would also favour border controls and patrols. If we're going down this road let's not settle for half-measures. Let us break up the United Kingdom into its component parts and grant them sovereignty.

    Then the Scots, the Welsh and the Northern Irish may regard the English as visitors to their countries, much the same as visitors from any other part of the world, rather than continuing with their constant bellyaching about how hard done by they are.

    Under no circumstances should any of these nations be allowed to have any say whatsoever in English matters. And, for clarity, I regard London as being solely part of England. Equally, there should be an immediate moratorium on all government spending which is geographically placed, such as Defence spending, the Olympics, etc.

  • amidabu

    "What is wrong with us Scots that we think we can't handle the responsibilities and opportunities of Independence, if they can?"

    I think it was Karl Marx who said that the mass of the population takes its cue from the views of the political/cultural elite. Though a lot of people would scoff at this, Gordon Brown probably would not, as he is reputed to have been influenced by the writings of Antonio Gramsci. Gramsci developed Marx's basic idea into a theory that radical change can only be achieved through first winning over important sections of civil society to the cause. In the light of this, I feel that the most important change that has taken place in Scotland is not the arrival of a nationalist government so much as the change in perceptions that this has brought about. This includes the readiness of people in influential positions to openly support Scottish independence. The foundations for this have probably been developing slowly over a long period, but the SNP's victory seems to have dealt a major blow to the Scottish cringe, which prevented many from openly acknowledging the kind of conclusions about Scottish independence from life experience that Craig draws above.

    The strength of Tony Blair's condemnation of Sir George Mathewson as "self-indulgent and absurd" because of his open support for the Scottish National Party, suggests that the British government is well aware of the impact of the loss of taboo status that such open support for independence signifies. It's not so much that George Mathewson is a household name, it's more that his views cannot be easily dismissed and that these things tend to have a snowball effect. I was not surprised, for instance, to learn that Crawford Beveridge the former head of Scottish Enterprise was arguing the economic case for independence on Newsnight recently, something that would have been previously unthinkable.

    The persistence of the Scottish cringe in the press and the BBC is increasingly looking anachronistic, and I notice that journalists like Ian Macwhirter are beginning to show increasing freedom from the fear of ridicule that used to blunt the edge of much of their reporting on Scottish issues. The ground is clearly moving and I believe that if a momentum builds up public opinion in Scotland could change quite rapidly. The government's National Conversation could hasten this, especially if people are prepared to stick their necks out. I believe Craig's book could make a major contribution towards this if it gives rise to a widespread discussion of Scotland's place in the world.

  • Strategist

    Scottish independence would drive the last, crucial stake through the heart of British imperialism – and cure many ills including as one single example the mindset that says we will occupy Afghanistan for the next 30 years, and expects the British public to have no problem with that.

    That's why I, an Englishman, think it would do England a lot of good too.

    Just to stick up for England for a minute, the British Empire was a joint English and Scottish project with both countries' elites benefitting hugely from it and both countries' oppressed poor providing the footsoldiers for it.

    And the West Lothian question crystallises a genuine democratic injustice, and it is not good enough simply not to ask it, as Labour would have us do. Everybody talks as if complete separation is the only means of resolving the West Lothian question, but of course it isn't – a proper federal constitution could also resolve it.

    But a key objective of any major constitutional reform must be to sweep away this imperialist mindset which has led to a million dead in Iraq and so on. Maybe the shock of divorce between England and Scotland is the only thing strong enough to do that?

  • amidabu

    Strategist I share your desire to see the end of British imperialism and I also think independence would transform England for the better. Many Scots are well aware of their shared responsibility for the British Empire and that some Scots did very well out of it.

    The West Lothian question needs to be resolved, whether or not Scotland becomes independent and opinion polls show that a majority in Scotland view it as an injustice to the English. Federalism would resolve the WLQ, but involvement in European Union and the example of other small nations have shown Scots that the achievement of statehood is the only means to liberate Scots talents fully and to unleash the potential that being solely responsible for ones own affairs represents.

  • greengorilla

    "The Scots have their own parliament now but still want a say in the running of England."

    No we don't. Those of us who want our independence back would be quite happy for England to go its own way. In fact, we fervently wish it would!

    But it won't because it's ruling classes are terrified of the loss of pride and status this would cause, hence the continued colonialism we in Scotland are subject to.

    The anomaly you speak of, sometimes referred to as the Lothian Question, was created by the Union. Dissolve the Union and you solve the problem.

    The present Scottish Parliament, by the way, is little more than a joke with most of the major decisions still being made in Westminster

  • writeon

    If there's going to be a referendum about Scottish independence, who will be entitled to vote exactly? Given Scotland and England's history and the level of integretion that's occured over the centuries, and the fact that the United Kingdom still exists as a political unit; then isn't it only right and fair that the decision about the future of the UK is taken by all UK citizens, and not just the Scots?

    Now the probable result of letting the UK as whole vote about Scottish independence would lead to a "if they don't want to be part of the UK then let them bugger off!" result, so that's fine and everyone is "happy". But in principle I'm not sure why "ethnic" groups should have the right to break away from states when they feel like it. Where does it all end?

    Given the history of Europe I'm not all that keen on "ethnic" or "nationalist" stance and all that it can and has led to down the years. Personally, I think we've had way too much nationalism in Europe and way too many countries. I mean, who needs them?

    Where my family came from there was a huge ethnic mix, and in the good times the Jews, Gypsies, Poles, Ukrainians, Russians, Germans, Austrians… all sort of got along pretty well, all things considered. Then this vile, emotional and dangerous, mental disorder called "nationalism" reared its ugly head. Soon all hell was breaking loose! And, unfortunately one can see the scourge of nationalism and ethnicity pushing its way forward once more in Europe. This is not a good idea!

    Personally, I to see fewer countries in Europe, not more.

  • greengorilla

    "Given Scotland and England's history and the level of integretion that's occured over the centuries, and the fact that the United Kingdom still exists as a political unit; then isn't it only right and fair that the decision about the future of the UK is taken by all UK citizens, and not just the Scots?"

    It was the Scottish Parliament that gave in to English pressures and signed away its own independence. This was a controversial move among the people and there were riots in protest.

    So, historically, it is up to the Scottish Parliament to decide whether or not it wishes to continue with the Union.

    All these matters can and should be aired in any future national dialogue on the question of independence in Scotland. Similarly, it would be a healthy move for the English and the Welsh to look at matters anew.

    At present, there are so many negative pressures determined to prevent both dialogue and its outcome. We saw what happened in Ireland and how the interests of British imperialism were served to divide-up that country and to keep it divided, through devices like Operation Banner, until the present day.

    The more Scottish independence becomes a reality we can expect similar provocations in Scotland intended to intimidate, this time, the Scots.

    British imperialism at government levels will not give up its power easily and will use every trick in the book to hang onto it.

    The only way to circumvent these negative forces is to begin a national debate aimed at finding a solution from which the English, Scots and Welsh communities can benefit.

    Again, the idea of some kind of Truth and Reconciliation process comes to mind. For the important thing is that any future governance of the British Isles is something that should benefit its peoples rather than the interests of an imperialism that has no place in the Twenty First Century.

    And all this would take place within the European Union anyway. So there would be no borders, customs controls and the like.

    My personal hope is for something like a new British Commonwealth of equal and independent nations working in mutual cooperation with each other. I would hope that the growing call for Scottish independence might provide the catalyst for such an idea.

    One thing is certain: the old, imperialist idea is dead and staggers on only with constant blood transfusions from the imperialists in Westminster and in Holyrood. It is only when that beast is finally put down that the peoples of our islands can move on.

    So, in that sense at least, let's invoke the spirit of St George to come to our aid! A dragon needs to be put down.

  • Daniel

    Regarding Thatcherism and Blairism, many English people were opposed to these. The whole of Britain was united against the poll tax, not just the Scottish. But Blairism (and its successor "ideology" Brownism) is a largely Scottish imposition. The Scottish are also not passive in imperialism. I have lived in a couple of post-colonial countries, and I've seen how the Scottish and, to a lesser extent, Irish were as complicit in imperialism as the English – the Welsh were bystanders. So, please don't give us this Scottish moralism – the Scots are not naturally virtuous.

    That aside, I think New Labour's messing with the constitution has created Scottish aspiration for independence and English resentment of Scottish empowerment. For the English, the SNP are the only party prepared to address the West Loathing (sic) question in any meaningful way, while New Labour fudges the issue. Moreover, Alex Salmond is a decent guy: intelligent, rational and charismatic – oddly enough, the kind of Scot that the English wouldn't mind being their Prime Minister! If New Labour seriously wants the maintain the Union, they need to do more to address English concerns about the constitution as well as satisfying Scottish aspirations – the Welsh appear to be happy with the status quo. But they are not serious, they are power hungry and they know that English votes for English laws would kill much of their legislative programme and lead to Scandinavian-style consensus-driven politics – at the very least, the unions would hate it.

  • greengorilla

    Both Blairism and Brownism have their roots in Thatcherism and Monetarist policies. None of these have anything to do with Scotland. They are Atlanticist and New World Order capitalism.

    Clearly, Scotland played a junior role in Britannia's imperialist venture but only after being subjugated by English imperialism.

    Nobody's moralising. Capitalism, Imperialism and Racism are all intertwined and the time is well overdue that British imperialism was dumped and the country as a whole came out denial.

    As other writers as well as myself are suggesting is that the drive for Scottish independence can act as a catalyst to induce the whole of Britain to look at itself anew.

    It needs to or else it will continue to decay as all ex-Empire's do and the pus and poison begin to seep out. If that were to happen everyone will suffer.

    Britain is a very sick if not psychotic country at the moment. Both Blair and Thatcher were responsible for promoting a lot of that. Brown is just a careerist. Campbell's hopeless and Cameron is a joke.

    Are you surprised, then that more and more Scots are turning to Salmond who is not only a decent guy but a very wise one at that?

    Those of us who see independence as the remedy see it as a decoupling process which will certainly allow Scotland its own freedom of self-government but also lead to the dice being thrown anew.

    The SNP, I understand, is all for the English to look to its own independence and hopes we can do this in a friendly way.

    And why not? Imperialism has been a curse on the whole Union. You can't separate one from the other. The only ones who benefited from it were the ruling classes who are the very ones who continue to promote the Union.

    The Union and British Imperialism live and die together. Haste the day!

  • Craig

    We won't need barbed wire and border controls any more than France and Belgium do. And we have no desire to have any presence at Westminster – we'll just rule England from Brussels!

    As you might have gathered, in Africa again at the minute. Now I have access hope to post something today.

  • chrisentia

    Craig, can you please clarify a few points.

    1. Do the Nationalists want to remain in the European Union?

    2. If so, would they join the Euro, or keep the pound, or have their own currency?

    3. Do they want to be a republic or a monarchy?

    4. If the latter, do they want the Queen, or revive the old scottish royal line or start with someone else (Prince Andrew has a good name for the job).

    OR do they disagree about all this and will break up into warring factions as soon as the idea of Independence gains acceptance?

  • Esquilinian

    Breaking up the UK to stop us having wars abroad seems to me rather akin to chopping off my arms to stop me drinking too much. Neutering to enforce morality rarely works in practice and realistically is going to make no huge difference to the United States, but may make an enormous difference to us in the future.

    I'll open myself here: I think nationalism, the division between people because of their presumed cultural allegiances, is revolting. Nothing more than apartheid with a choice of loyalties.


    Greengorilla wrote:

    "It was the Scottish Parliament that gave in to English pressures and signed away its own independence. This was a controversial move among the people and there were riots in protest.

    So, historically, it is up to the Scottish Parliament to decide whether or not it wishes to continue with the Union."

    This is quite simply untrue. For one, the parliament of England was – if anything – more hostile to the idea of any union than the Parliament of Scotland: it wasn't the Scottish Commissioners that were sacked by Queen Anne for being too anti-union after all.

    Moreover, the Scottish Parliament of today is nothing more than a statutory body exercising powers devolved from the UK Parliament. It is not the pre-union parliament of Scotland and has no power over constitutional matters. It can no more regulate its relationship with the UK than tell our military what to do.

    "Clearly, Scotland played a junior role in Britannia's imperialist venture but only after being subjugated by English imperialism."

    Again, very wrong – Scotsmen were individuals and played their own individual parts in the empire, it was not a matter of junior partners or anything of the sort. And Scotland was never subjegated as you put it.

  • Chuck Unsworth

    ""The Scots have their own parliament now but still want a say in the running of England."

    No we don't. Those of us who want our independence back would be quite happy for England to go its own way. In fact, we fervently wish it would!"

    Splendid. Perhaps you can persuade all Members of Parliament who represent Scottish constituencies to abstain from each and every motion which does not directly concern the Scots. That would be a good start. Perhaps the Welsh might be likewise persuaded.

    Do those with Scottish constituencies currently vote on Welsh matters, or Northern Irish matters – and vice versa? How does this work, then?

  • writeon

    I've also got a blind spot when it comes to "nationalism" – I really hate and despise it. Who the hell cares what country one lives in, it's how you live that's important!

    Historically I think nationalism was a propaganda device invented and nutured by the "ruling class" to support the contruction of national armies bent on foreign conquest.

    Later nationalism was used to veil and bdivert the "masses" from recognising their true "class interests" – the real enemy wasn't the poor sods on the other side of the border – it was the "ruling class". The "ruling class" has used the nationalist myth as method to consolidate their rule and lead the poor old working-class up the garden path towards the slaugtherhouse like lambs meekly bleating Rule Britania on their merry way to the butcher's knife!

  • andy cyan

    That idea that our illegal military attacks could be thought of as a 'drinking problem' -was real stinker.

    If you want to be fair while hating the idea of Nationalism, you have to hate the idea of Unionism as well. Or choose your side and start hurling insults -thats what the propagandising is about.

  • amidabu

    "I've also got a blind spot when it comes to "nationalism" – I really hate and despise it."

    Esquilinian and Writeon, I have a feeling that you both assume that your declared visceral hatred of nationalism will strike a chord with many others visiting this thread. I would therefore like to remind you of how culturally specific this viewpoint is. Try arguing your case, for instance, in Lithuania or Estonia or the Ukraine or in Slovenia or Hungary or in Delhi, or Dublin, or Oslo. Nationalism is a noble cause that has made the world a better place in these locations and many others.

    While the contrasting merit of socialism or capitalism is still open to debate, no one would even try to argue for fear of ridicule that the Habsburg Empire, or the USSR, or Greater Sweden, or Yugoslavia, or the pre 1921 United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland should be reconstituted. The emergence of states like Norway, Ireland, Lithuania, Slovenia and many others has been a positive development. If it were not, why has there never been a genuinely popular movement in any of these new states for a return to former unions?

    The argument really rests on whether the present United Kingdom represent an example of a multi-national state that is stifling the developments of one of its constituent national communities as was the case in all these others. Seen from the viewpoint of England it is only since devolution that anyone really started to believe that they lived in a multi-national state. And that's the problem. In unions of this kind the dominant nations are inevitable oblivious to the position of the other nationalities. Seen from the viewpoint of Scotland it's very different. Even the latest poll in the Sunday times, though it showed that the majority want a gradual increase in home rule, rather than independence now, showed that Scots overwhelming feel that Scotland is not appreciated inside the union i.e. that it is largely ignored. It also stated that 61% could see themselves backing independence at a later stage. People in England have no idea. And that's the problem.

  • writeon

    Dear Amidabu,

    I don't assume anything about striking a chord with many of the visitors coming to this site. On this issue, Scottish independence, I felt like I was in a minority of one! But, in the spirit of democracy I felt abliged to point out that "nationalism" is a bit like fire; one can warm oneself in its comforting glow – but it can also, when the wind's in the right direction, literally burn the house down.

    Now, this isn't to say Scottish independence will lead to violence or disaster. I was thinking more about the history of nationalism and what happens when it gets out of control.

    On balance I'm sceptical about the true benefits of nationalism and the undue emphasis we give "ethnicity" and "national identity." Why do give such importance to language and culture and the area where we live? Is it a tribal thing? Does it rest on a shared cultural identity? Are these things really significant, or they merely usful and potentially dangerous constructs? Ripe for exploitation and manipulation?

    Strangely, I am quite opon to the idea of being ridiculed. I don't agree that nationalism is noble. I think it's a dangerous delusion. Modern nationalism has led to massive death and destruction and personally I just don't think "the price" has been worth it. It has to be remembered that Europe more or less destroyed itself because of rampant nationalism.

    Many of the countries you mention are examples of the perils of nationalism, not beacons. India was born in blood. The country was split in two due to nationalism. Pakistan and India have been on the brink of nuclear war several times. The current situation in the Ukraine is complicated and unstable. What about the substantial Russian minority in the Ukraine? I don't think any of the countries you mention show the benefits of nationalism. Though this is debatable and very complicated.

    I think you are also wrong that the dominant nation or culture is inevitably oblivious to the position of other nationalities. Historically there is nothing inevitable about it. The central power has rarely been oblivious in relation to the position of other nationalities. This is nationalist mythology. And what makes a nation anyway? Why has this construct become so popular and powerful over the last couple of centuries and at what cost?

  • greengorilla

    "Splendid. Perhaps you can persuade all Members of Parliament who represent Scottish constituencies to abstain from each and every motion which does not directly concern the Scots. That would be a good start. Perhaps the Welsh might be likewise persuaded."

    Chuck Unsworth, you seem to miss the point. It is the Union that enables Scots MPs to vote at Westminster. Dissolve the Union and you solve the problem. Agreed? Until that time the Scots and the Welsh have every right to vote in Westminster on any issue they wish.

    After all, the English control our Foreign Policy and use our youth as cannon fodder in their war crimes against the rest of the world.

  • greengorilla


    1. Do the Nationalists want to remain in the European Union?

    Answer: Yes.

    2. If so, would they join the Euro, or keep the pound, or have their own currency?

    Very likely the Euro.

    3. Do they want to be a republic or a monarchy?

    They endorse the idea of the Queen retaining her position in an independent Scotland.

    4. If the latter, do they want the Queen, or revive the old scottish royal line or start with someone else (Prince Andrew has a good name for the job).

    This idea isn't even in the running as far as I'm aware.


    I say, how posh! Public school or what? Drink howevermuch you like. I don't mind as log as you don't hurt others like Imperialism does. Bad analogy, try again.

    If the English Parliament opposed Union why did they allow it? Come, come, are you telling me they suddenly eschewed imperialism?

    If the terrorism that followed Culloden was not subjugation then words fail … of course the Scots were subjugated so the attitude often became 'if you can't beat them join them'.

    BTW, I too have no time for nationalism of any kind. But that doesn't stop me supporting the idea of Scottish independence which is basically about allowing this country its right to decide for itself instead of being forever bulldozed over by Westminster imperialism.

  • Chuck Unsworth


    Actually no, I don't miss the point at all. If the Scots, Welsh etc are halfway serious or if they have an ounce of real integrity they should withdraw from debate on any matter which concerns England rather than their own countries. Sadly they do not.

    As to your further point about the outcome of Dissolution, yes indeed, that is statement of the bleeding obvious is it not?

    As to 'using' Scots soldiers, let's not be too silly, eh? This is a volunteer army. There is no conscription. Scottish soldiers may thus be regarded more as mercenaries than press-ganged troops. Troops from other (Commonwealth) countries are common enough within the ranks. There's no reason why young Scotsmen who wish to fight wars (a traditional Celt pastime) could not sign up on the same basis. If they prefer not to fight these wars they can walk. I'm told there are plenty of call-centre vacancies north of the border. Apparently market research seems to show that Scottish accents seem 'trustworthy' to callers…

    Don't get me wrong, I'm very much in favour of the permanent Dissolution of Parliament. Frankly the current membership of Parliament is too appalling for words. Let all Scottish MPs immediately withdraw from Westminster, set up border controls and declare your independence just as soon as you like.

    "Westminster Imperialism"? Oh really? What about those Scots, Welsh, etc MPs who actively vote for matters which affect their constituents? Are they guilty of colluding in this 'Bulldozing' or are they in the business of securing maximum benefit for their constituencies – perhaps at the expense of others? Defence contract anyone?

    'War crimes'? Yes, Tony Blair and Gordon Brown being the main proponents and architects of these wars. Their nationalities – remind us? Why is it that these two Scotsmen decided to launch into illegal wars and send English regiments – such as the Royal Anglians, the PWRR (based in Kent) etc into harms way? Why also have neither of these two Scots ever bothered to turn up to any military funeral for those that they have sent to their deaths? Why has neither of them bothered to visit the (far too many) wounded who have been repatriated with severe and permanent injuries? What a model of integrity.

  • greengorilla

    As long as the Union exists all MPs in Westminster have equal rights, period.

    A lot of young Scots go into the Army to get out of living in misery on the dole. They do so in poor areas like the North East of England and in Wales.

    The Blairs and the Browns are typical cases of Scots who have sold out their national pride in order to further their own careers. I consider them traitors, a very low form of life indeed.

    Again, you only have the Union to blame for the fact that there are so many Scots living down south! You can't see it can you? Instead, your replies are those of an Englishman being given such a hard time by those dastardly Scots!

    And the other guy was just being arrogant in a way that Scots know only too well. I am not a Scot by birth, btw, but by assimilation so I believe I speak objectively about the way I hear people talk about the Scots.

    The English Army is an Imperialist outfit as is the system that recruits for it. It's no accident that most officers, even in the Scots regiments, are public school types with plummy Etonian accents.

    The only thing that will finish off Imperialism (who wants it? do you?) is the dissolution of the Union which lies at its heart. The two go together. To support the Union is to perpetuate British imperialism and vice versa.

    It was no accident that the (Scots) socialist predicted that the British Empire would finally disappear when Scotland regains its independence.

    People can rail all they like; they can abuse us with their arrogance; they can commit atrocities and blame them on Scots nationalists; they can try to discredit our leaders or worse. I wouldn't put any of that past Westminster and its secret services. But they should get it into their heads now: Scotland's independence is assured. Nothing will stop it now.

    So get used to it and let's start talking constructively about what we can replace this accursed Union with.

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