English Tory Interference

by craig on January 9, 2012 10:29 am in Uncategorized

If it were true that Scottish voters need London’s legal permission to vote on their own future, that would in itself be a strong argument for independence.

As it is, Cameron’s despicable effort to try to use legal pretexts to interfere in the timing and question of Scotland’s independence referendum, is almost certain to backfire. Cameron both with unionist lickspittle Marr yesterday and with Adam Boulton today, kept saying the government will “clarify the legal position” on a referendum.

Cameron’s constitutional knowledge seems worryingly shakey. The government cannot clarify legal positions; that is the role of judges. The government can make legal claims, it can even publish its own legal advice (something it hates doing); but the law is decided by judges. English judges interfering in Scotland’s referendum would of course be no more popular than English Tories.

We will see later today, but I cannot see any possible legal argument that Cameron can use to back his desire to bring the referendum forward to 2012 or 2013 instread of 2014. Why one date can be legally more justified than another is beyond me. Politically, the SNP campaigned very clearly on the basis of a referendum “in the second half” of this Scottish parliament. Salmond is trying to do what he said he would do when he won the election – a rare and praiseworthy thing for a politician.

I also cannot see the legal argument why there should not be a three choice question. Personally I would prefer a two choice question, and my two choices would be more devolution or independence, on the grounds electoral support for “status quo” parties was insignificant. Cameron of course wants two choices, status quo or independence. But plainly Cameron is acting purely politically, to try to boost the chances in both question and timing of status quo winning. Again his claims to be acting on “legal” grounds appear simple tripe.

Has he consulted Scotland’s Lord Advocate? Is this like the infamous decision of Lord Goldsmith to change his mind and argue that the war in Iraq was legal? Goldsmith flew to Washington to consult George Bush’s law officers, but did not ask the view of Scotland’s law officers.

I strongly suspect Cameron’s “legal” pretext is concocted by English lawyers – lineal descendants in office of those who tried Wallace for treason to a man who was never his King.

Most shameful of all is the position of the Scottish Liberal Democrats, and their continued slide into unreconstructed unionism. I have explained before how the Liberal party’s very political identity was forged in opposition to unionism, how Gladstone fought a massive battle for Irish Home Rule, how Rosebery helped invent modern Scottish nationalism and Lloyd George fought huge battles for at least partial Irish freedom. Being the antithesis of the “Conservative and Unionist Party” is a vital part of the raison d’etre of liberalism as an independent political force in this country, and why for years organised liberalism survived largely in the Celtic fringes.

The political institutions descended from the old Liberal Party have now been taken over by political careerists with no ideological connection to, or interest in, the beliefs of their predecessors. Their only interest is personal power and income.

When I announced I was leaving the Lib Dems for the SNP, a very senior Lib Dem and friend of long standing tried to persuade me otherwise. I explained the party’s enthusiastic unionism as something completely antithetical to its traditions, something which this individual did indeed understand. He said the party remained strongly federalist. I asked whether that meant it would campaign stongly for the “Devolution max” option in a referendum. He replied that certainly, it would.

Yet we now see the Lib Dems are party to a coalition attempt to use legal pretexts to keep the devolution max option off the ballot paper, let alone campaign for it. The Lib Dems have become, as a party, lying, deceitful, untrustworthy bastards completely alienated from their ideological heritage. The good people remaining captive within the institution should leave now.

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171 Comments

  1. What are the financial implication of Scotland going it alone?

    Has Scotland the income without the UK help?

    regards

    TFS
    Im all for self determination

  2. “If it were true that Scottish voters need London’s legal permission to vote on their own future, that would in itself be a strong argument for independence”.

    It is immediately obvious that your political ideas differ dramatically from those of Abraham Lincoln on a similar subject. As he said in his first inaugural address,

    “I hold that in contemplation of universal law and of the Constitution the Union of these States is perpetual. Perpetuity is implied, if not expressed, in the fundamental law of all national governments. It is safe to assert that no government proper ever had a provision in its organic law for its own termination. Continue to execute all the express provisions of our National Constitution, and the Union will endure forever, it being impossible to destroy it except by some action not provided for in the instrument itself.

    “Again: If the United States be not a government proper, but an association of States in the nature of contract merely, can it, as a contract, be peaceably unmade by less than all the parties who made it? One party to a contract may violate it—break it, so to speak—but does it not require all to lawfully rescind it?”

    The resulting war caused over 1 million casualties, including at least two-thirds of a million deaths.

    In what pertinent respects is the British constitution different from that of the USA?

  3. On you, Craig. As a boy I was always a romantic Scot Nat and wore my little lapel badge at school. Then, more realistically, I become Liberal and first voted that way. With the coming of Thatcher I emigrated and have never regretted it. Now, as a foreigner I am totally ashamed to be classed as a Brit with their wars of aggression and bootlicking the US/zionist agenda.

    I desperately hope that this political ploy unravels to the glory of Scotland. Independence and freedom !! Then I can once again be proud to say (as I did in France years ago when asked if I was anglais): no, I am Scottish.

  4. Tom.

    The UK constitution is different to the US one in a host of different ways – not least not having a base document. Lincoln’s doctrine that minorities can never seccede is a tyrannical one, and rests on a number of strange assumptions – including that the people – rather than their corrupt rulers – entered freely into a union in the first place.

    TFS Scotland only has less than 6 million people, significant reserves of oil and gas, world class renewables potential and a storming higher education sector. It will be fine.

  5. If the Scots- or, rather, people living in Scotland on the relevant date- have a right to vote on secession, presumably the inhabitants of England should have a right to vote on whether to expel Scotland.

  6. “Has he consulted Scotland’s Lord Advocate? Is this like the infamous decision of Lord Goldsmith to change his mind and argue that the war in Iraq was legal? Goldsmith flew to Washington to consult George Bush’s law officers, but did not ask the view of Scotland’s law officers.”
    .
    It’s not just Lord Peter Goldsmith. Attorney Generals are a law to themselves in this day and age. Baronness Patricia Scotland twice stopped a serious fraud investigation into BA. And Dominic Grieve has refused an inquest into the death of David kelly, overriding due process. Babar Ahmad, a British citizen, has been in Long Larton prison for more than seven years without being brought before the court on any charge. Habeas corpus is a thing of the past since Blair’s War on Terror, and how long will it be now before our slavish government slavishly follows the US in legalising perpetual imprisonment without charge and state murder through the intelligence services? I only hope that if Scotland gets independence the Lord Advocate does not behave like our Attorney Generals by taking the law into his own hands at the instruction of government.

  7. The sad history of betrayal of all things Scottish, is a recurring theme. Liberal Democrats indeed sold their souls the day Charles Peter Kennedy was ganged upon and slain for the sake of the current arrangements.
    ,
    Given that Iceland has done a far better job navigating the events of the recent past, we can safely assume Scottish can do a far better job on their own. I am not Scottish but once knew a fine wee bonnie lass called Alison who was a fiery little Scot, and her zeal for independence and self determination was the basis of my understanding of the Scottish nationalism. How I miss Alison? I would have married her if it was not for her fiery temper.

  8. The people of Scotland overwhelmingly want change. Some want outright Independence, some would prefer FFA while remaining a devolved part of the union. Only a very small percentage are happy with the status quo.

    The SNP made a pledge to the people that they would let them have a referendum that would give them what the majority decided and set a timeline for that referendum. The people give the SNP the mandate to hold this referendum.

    The unionist parties know that they are going to lose whichever way this Scottish referendum goes. Their only hope is to have a Yes/No vote and hope that the FFA supporters don’t have the bottle to go the whole way to Independence. I think they are making a very big misjudgement. Being deprived of their democratic choice, that’s if Cameron’s goons get away with it, will most likely steer them into the Independence camp.

  9. john macadam

    9 Jan, 2012 - 11:35 am

    On the one hand Cameron and the Brits assure us that the Scots don’t want independence. On the other hand they do all they can to prevent a vote to answer that question. the only logical conclusion is that the side trying to avoid the vote already knows they will lose it. So it’s not just the Liberals who are lying, Craig

  10. John,

    Are you my mate from Dundee Uni of old, or another JM?

  11. I agree with your post.

    Willie Rennie is not just Clegg’s man, he is almost physically a part of Clegg. Heaven only knows what they have promised him. A knighthood; a seat in the new upper house?

    He probably won’t get it anyway, given their record on promise keeping.

    Cameron has form on not including the most popular option on a referendum. Can’t be giving the peasantry the opportunity to vote for something Cameron doesn’t want, can we?

    While he’s so fired up about referenda ending uncertainty, will he give the British people, at the same time, perhaps, a say on their future in the EU?

    Thought not.

  12. My link to this site is still displayed in the DT’s comments on Cameron’s comments after about an hour. Seems much better than the Guardian in this respect (or less efficient – or maybe the subject is less tendentious than [gulp] Israel).

  13. Craig, you should be able to upload now.

  14. I genuinely hope Salmond can see through his pledge to hold a referendum – and I hope it turns out to be simple a yes or no vote on independence, because that seems to me to be the best way to generate the deserved level of interest, and get the various parties to show their hands.
    .
    I think the one substantive question that should be resolved is what proportion of Scots need to vote for independence for such a referendum outcome to be binding. I remember several spirited discussions in constitutional law classes, and I still probably lean towards at least 25% in favour… but only the event it is a straight yes or no vote. If it turns out to be multiple choice, then we simply see which alternative comes out on top. And it goes without saying that the Scottish parliament should decide on the text of the referendum.

  15. Richard Gadsden

    9 Jan, 2012 - 12:19 pm

    I wonder if Cameron actually wants Scotland to become independent.

    I’m sure he will have some kind of plan to dump a large chunk of the the UK’s debt onto Scotland, and he probably thinks that if he can get rid of Scotland, then he can secure Conservative election victories in England for a generation without having to move an inch to the left.

    Certainly, he seems to be trying to drive the Scots out of the Union.

  16. Let’s hope he also removes/shuts down the numerous military bases in Scotland. That should save a fair bit.

  17. It doesn`t really matter!, if the scottish people go for independence they will just be swapping one set of very nasty people for an identical set of very nasty people to rule over them. When will people start to realise its the political ideology that needs changing not illusionary gimmicks. The irish got their independence long ago, look at the state their in now!!!.

  18. But Craig – what happens when Skye, or Bute, or the Lesser Cumbrae, decides to secede from Scotland?

  19. Tom,

    if Skye, for example, seriously wished to be independent, I can see no objection. But it doesn’t.

  20. Rob Royston

    9 Jan, 2012 - 1:04 pm

    Skye is now “anchored” to Scotland by a bridge ;0)

  21. “I’m sure he will have some kind of plan to dump a large chunk of the the UK’s debt onto Scotland, and he probably thinks that if he can get rid of Scotland, then he can secure Conservative election victories in England for a generation without having to move an inch to the left.”
    .
    Why would Cameron think such a thing ?. We already have a guaranteed Conservative government in electing any of the three main parties, plus a guaranteed Conservative government in the form of the SNP. You must wake up, the far right make sure that they can`t lose, ever!.

  22. john macadam

    9 Jan, 2012 - 1:13 pm

    Craig, I am indeed the JM from Dundee

  23. “I’m sure he will have some kind of plan to dump a large chunk of the the UK’s debt onto Scotland”
    .
    I would certainly hope so, particularly that part pertaining to the bailout of RBS.

  24. Rob Royston

    9 Jan, 2012 - 1:36 pm

    @ Richard Gadsden, When this imaginary UK debt is dumped on Scotland, I hope we will all get to see where all the money ended up. I can’t see Scotland or anyone else taking on a private bank’s problems. When they’re bankrupt they should go to the wall.
    The Dunfermline Building Society was forced into a takeover, by Gordon Brown, because they had loaned £3m to an English builder just before the crash. Of course, they had no links with the City Banksters, if they had they would have been saved and Gordon would probably be on the board.

  25. “the far right make sure that they can`t lose, ever!.”
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-16467885
    .
    We are all in this together…Where is my Rolls ?.

  26. Mark Renton

    9 Jan, 2012 - 1:40 pm

    Is Charlie Kennedy still in Parliament? I wonder what he thinks of the state of his party these days.

  27. “On the one hand Cameron and the Brits assure us that the Scots don’t want independence. On the other hand they do all they can to prevent a vote to answer that question. the only logical conclusion is that the side trying to avoid the vote already knows they will lose it.”

    Actually, John Macadam, Cameron is insisting on having the vote as soon as possible: http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2012/jan/09/scotland-referendum-david-cameron-salmond
    He says the vote should take place before the end of next year, effectively by the middle of it.
    There are further complexities in negotiating the break-up. An obvious one is that Northern Ireland is geographically, culturally and ethnically closer to Scotland than England and so, logically speaking, ought to go with it.

  28. john macadam

    9 Jan, 2012 - 1:58 pm

    Roger – Cameron knows that support for Independence is gradually increasing. The later the vote is held, the higher the prospects for success. He seeks to hold it early to fix the result. As regards Northern Ireland, perhaps the residents there should decide their future. The debate in Scotland may be cultural but is most assuredly is not ethnic. By the way, England is geographically closer to Scotland than Northern Ireland as whenever I’ve travelled there I have never had to use a ferry.

  29. Roger

    “Northern Ireland is geographically, culturally and ethnically closer to Scotland than England and so, logically speaking, ought to go with it.”

    Even more true if you delete Scotland and insert Ireland.

  30. “Even more true if you delete Scotland and insert Ireland.”
    Not according to many of the inhabitants of Northern Ireland.

  31. “they do all they can to prevent a vote to answer that question.”
    “Cameron … seeks to hold it early to fix the result.”

    Make up your mind JM!

  32. Dale Martin

    9 Jan, 2012 - 2:04 pm

    Salmond and the SNP campaigned with the inclusion of the referendum taking place in the second half of his Scottish parliament, he was not shot down by the people for it, they voted and as far as I am concerned that has now become “The will of the people” accordingly. The arrogance of politicians is absolutely unacceptable, when the public has voted on pre-election promises then in effect that should be a legally binding contract in respect of firstly there was an offer made on the part of the politician campaigning, then that offer was accepted and ratified upon completion of the election vote. In the day to day running of government fluidity and the decision making process of the House of Commons is a necessary function, but with regard what is in theory the contractual process of offer and acceptance in the pre-election promise and subsequent vote based upon it, that should be cast iron and only changeable by having it put back to the whole population to vote on once more and give consent to the change being made. The political world is full of kings and queens who blind our eyes and steal our dreams, they are arrogant in the extreme that they consider it is their place to do it at all.

  33. Roger,

    The Scots and irish are muchintertwined, and many of the people of NI are certainly of Scots descent. But not most.

  34. ““Even more true if you delete Scotland and insert Ireland.”
    Not according to many of the inhabitants of Northern Ireland”.

    Craig, Roger – that all depends whether you focus on the “geographic” or the “cultural” aspect. They point different ways. As for “ethnic”, as I’ve mentioned before, that’s fairly meaningless. A person of pure Chinese descent who was brought up in Glasgow will tend to be far more Scottish than Chinese – which is one reason why we should try not be distracted by his “un-Scottish” appearance.

  35. “If it were true that Scottish voters need London’s legal permission to vote on their own future, that would in itself be a strong argument for independence.”
    Scotland ia part of the UK, so to this non-legal mind, for the result of any referendum to be effective, Westminster would either have to set it up or confirm the result afterwards. Since many Scots would reject the first option, Salmond may have to set up his own referendum, with no guarantee that Parliament will not dismiss it afterwards as being only advisory.

    Which means that, one way or the idea, Scotland will remain part of the United Kingdom FOREVER! NYAH HAH HAH HAH HAH! :)

  36. “Not according to many of the inhabitants of Northern Ireland.”
    .
    Indeed, but they wish to join with England. They also wish to keep the Queen as head of state…Just like the SNP, even after “independence” scots will remain “subjects”.

  37. Craig (a different one)

    9 Jan, 2012 - 2:09 pm

    >>In what pertinent respects is the British constitution different from that of the USA?

    Following the Abraham Lincoln argument would have meant the Soviet Union could never morally have been allowed to break up, that the Czech republic and Slovakia or Norway and Sweden could never decide to peacefully co-exist. It is a strange argument to make. However, for the sake of discussion, the main differences between what Abraham Lincoln was describing and what Alex Salmond seeks are, as I see it:

    *The states of the USA were never (AFAIK only Texas excepted) independent countries previously to being states.

    *The treaty of union was a treaty between the legislatures of two countries and so can (in theory, though much has changed since) be rescinded by either.

    *The claim of right stated in 1689 (and restated in the 1990s) that in Scotland the people, not parliament or the monarch, are sovereign.

    *However unlike the US, there is no written consitituion in Britain and so most of it is made up as we go along.

    *Slavery.

    *The US at the time was an expanding empire: Britain is a contracting one.

    *England will not invade Scotland and cause a massive war to hold on to her.

    Perhaps you can think of other differences?

  38. PS. Please disregard the last sentence and the capitalisation of the last word in the sentence before, as being unduly influenced by Dick Dastardly.

  39. Craig, you replied that “The UK constitution is different to the US one in a host of different ways…” But that is immaterial and not germane. The key sentence of Lincoln’s speech is this:

    “It is safe to assert that no government proper ever had a provision in its organic law for its own termination”.

  40. “Following the Abraham Lincoln argument would have meant the Soviet Union could never morally have been allowed to break up…”

    Not so: I believe all the relevant authorities agreed to the breakup, thus meeting Lincoln’s criterion.

  41. Oh, I see. My last statement applies only to Lincoln’s second (or fall-back) argument, that a contract can only legally be nullified with the consent of all parties.

    Actually, I don’t suppose that is true either – as Lincoln, as a lawyer, should have been aware. I guess you can’t even trust politicians who are called “Honest”. Aw shucks.

  42. Nick Clegg just recently described those who supported Scottish independence as “extremists”.

  43. Dale Martin

    9 Jan, 2012 - 2:33 pm

    It has become an absolute fact that pre-election promises are made by politicians with absolutely no sincerity or intention to keep them once they are elected. Salmond is indeed to be applauded for sticking to his on this. We the population are in the vast majority little more than doormats that these politicians wipe their feet upon whilst crossing the threshold to power and position, they wipe their false promises on us and leave them behind at the door. In many respects because we do not stand up and bring them down when they make these promises and then break them its our own fault they continue to do it, because we have established a situation where it is very much an accepted Custom and practice to do so. Election campaigns and voting is an expensive process which in the absence of any sincerity and integrity we may as well just save money by running a one night election special based upon the Miss World Pageant, they can all line up, parade around in evening wear and swim costume and finally smile sweetly while telling us they want to see world peace and an end to cruelty to little furry animals,,,,,,,,,,, Because in the absence of any integrity, sincerity or obligation to keep pre-election promises made, aren`t we doing little more than voting for who has the best smile, kisses the most babies and cuts a dash in an evening suit anyway?

  44. “A person of pure Chinese descent who was brought up in Glasgow will tend to be far more Scottish than Chinese – which is one reason why we should try not be distracted by his “un-Scottish” appearance.”
    But how will they identify themselves, Tom Welsh? Many Chinese people brought up in London- especially if they are raised speaking Chinese- identify as culturally Chinese. it’s a complicated matter. Ethnicity may be a logically meaningless concept, despite (or because of) that it is often not emotionally meaningless.

  45. The welsh people should also go for independence, start charging the english £10.00 a gallon to supply drinking water, well, its free market economics. The tories would be all for it, wouldn`t they ?. ‎

  46. Dale Martin

    9 Jan, 2012 - 2:45 pm

    @ Roger. With the greatest of respect the environment you are brought up in does have a great deal of influence over you regardless of initial cultural origin. My family down my grandmothers side have the surname Elliot and were from Ireland. She regarded herself and family as being 100% Irish and fiercely proud of that, but, research done by myself has found that the family was actually Scottish in origin and they moved to Ireland at some point. Her Scottish genetics were perfectly comfortable with the notion of being Irish and 100% so. But there are some cultures, especially I would say the Chinese, that tend to very much hold on to their culture wherever they may be, so I end up disappearing up my own ass on the issue and having to accept the notion that both sides of the argument can be equally very true lol

  47. In my heart I believe the ‘tipping point’ towards Scottish independence came after agent Cameron gave double agent Moussa Koussa his ticket to Doha; a simmering situation boiled over in every home of the brave.
    .
    Far off in sunlit places
    Sad are the Scottish faces
    Yearning to feel the kiss
    Of sweet Scottish rain.
    Where tropic skies are beaming,
    Love sets the heart a-dreaming,
    Longing and dreaming
    for the homeland again.

  48. Who’s going to protect Scotland when the Americans decide to liberate it from it’s oil and fuel resources? Does Scotland seriously expect the English government to relinquish these resources? But I thought calls for Scottish independence had become muted of late, following the UK taxpayer bailout of their banks.

  49. “With the greatest of respect the environment you are brought up in does have a great deal of influence over you regardless of initial cultural origin.”
    Certainly, Dale Martin- but identification and self-identification are very different things to environmental influence and just as influential, for all their apparent irrationality.

  50. doug scorgie

    9 Jan, 2012 - 2:57 pm

    PASSERBY – 9th Jan 11.20am

    Your not talking about Alison from Arbroath are you? She was a nutcase!

  51. Craig (a.d.o)

    9 Jan, 2012 - 3:11 pm

    Tom – I’m no expert on Soviet republics, but I suspect a number – especially the Baltics – would have dearly liked to have left the Soviet Union before they did, if only they had a choice.

    It all boils down to the fact that Lincoln and the Kremlin were not averse to using armies to keep their countries together. The Yankees had the considerable cover of the moral high ground over slavery to do so, but it was still northern rule imposed on the south against their will. I do not believe that the relationship within the UK will ever become like that in the future, rather that we will be more like Norway and Sweden or the former Czechoslovakia, and for this we should be profoundly grateful.

  52. Dale Martin

    9 Jan, 2012 - 3:17 pm

    I have to be honest Roger that I find all forms of self identification through nationality absolutely absurd and irrational. A homeless person on the streets of London has far more reason to identify with a homeless person in Bombay than they ever would with a fellow Londoner who works in the stock exchange. We blind ourselves with issues of national identification which in the end is nothing more than pure accident of birth. In the end we totally lose sight of the real issues, good and bad, right and wrong, those are the most fundamental and important issues and there are good and bad in everything. Its where I find myself agreeing with the establishment of a New World Order style single country world, because all that our accident of birth defined nationalistic bias serves no real purpose other than to divide us all on the planet and maintain inequality for some and huge over-indulgence for the few. But I don`t want that one country world to be established on the terms that I know they are wishing it, which is effectively just for the power brokers of the western world to extend the size of the goldfish bowl they presently swim in whilst remaining the sharks they are now and just have more to feed upon. Nationality, religion in the end is all bullshit and we are totally blind not to see that and drop it like a hot potato.

  53. “The Yankees had the considerable cover of the moral high ground over slavery to do so, but it was still northern rule imposed on the south against their will”.

    Very true indeed, contrary to all the propaganda that has been churned out since about “the war to liberate the slaves”. What Lincoln actually had to say about this was (I have chosen one statement out of many he made at various times):

    “My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and is not either to save or to destroy slavery. If I could save the Union without freeing any slave I would do it, and if I could save it by freeing all the slaves I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone I would also do that. What I do about slavery, and the colored race, I do because I believe it helps to save the Union; and what I forbear, I forbear because I do not believe it would help to save the Union. I shall do less whenever I shall believe what I am doing hurts the cause, and I shall do more whenever I shall believe doing more will help the cause”.
    – Abraham Lincoln; The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln edited by Roy P. Basler, Volume V, “Letter to Horace Greeley” (August 22, 1862), p. 388. http://home.att.net/~rjnorton/Lincoln78.html

  54. Have been out all day and have not read all the comments yet. Just saw this on the BBC website.
    .
    9 January 2012 Last updated at 14:00
    .Cameron denies ‘dictating’ terms of Scottish referendumComments
    .
    The future of Scotland should be decided by the Scottish people, says Nicola Sturgeon
    .
    David Cameron has denied trying to “dictate” the terms of a Scottish referendum and has said the country’s future must be decided by its people.
    .
    It is understood Downing Street may set a time limit for any binding vote, and insist it be a straight choice between leaving or remaining part of the UK.
    .
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-16463961
    .
    What a week weed Cameron is.

  55. “Does Scotland seriously expect the English government to relinquish these resources?”
    .
    The illusion that the “English government” will, will take care of that anomaly!. Where there is a will there is a way for the far right, and only for the reserve of the far right!. Things can be made very difficult for the scots if need be, remember how Scotland lost its independence in 1707, history can be made to repeat itself. You never know how these things can work out, Ireland brought back into the UK fold due to its financial mis-management ?, but then, who can foretell how future events will turn out.

  56. “have to be honest Roger that I find all forms of self identification through nationality absolutely absurd and irrational. A homeless person on the streets of London has far more reason to identify with a homeless person in Bombay than they ever would with a fellow Londoner who works in the stock exchange. We blind ourselves with issues of national identification which in the end is nothing more than pure accident of birth. In the end we totally lose sight of the real issues, good and bad, right and wrong, those are the most fundamental and important issues and there are good and bad in everything. Its where I find myself agreeing with the establishment of a New World Order style single country world, because all that our accident of birth defined nationalistic bias serves no real purpose other than to divide us all on the planet and maintain inequality for some and huge over-indulgence for the few. But I don`t want that one country world to be established on the terms that I know they are wishing it, which is effectively just for the power brokers of the western world to extend the size of the goldfish bowl they presently swim in whilst remaining the sharks they are now and just have more to feed upon. Nationality, religion in the end is all bullshit and we are totally blind not to see that and drop it like a hot potato.”

    Try persuading people of its truth, Dale Martin.

  57. Bugger (the Panda)

    9 Jan, 2012 - 3:51 pm

    Dale at 3:17

    Does that include civic nationalism, as the SNP defines their’s.

  58. Bugger (the Panda)

    9 Jan, 2012 - 3:54 pm

    England joining the € when the £ collapses?

  59. Dale Martin

    9 Jan, 2012 - 4:15 pm

    In the end I don`t see Scotland becoming independent or being part of Britain as being a fundamentally relevant issue. If Scotland were independent would it make any change in the fundamental nature of humans in Scotland and every other country in the world for the majority of those that have plenty to not get too concerned for those in poverty and need? Scotland could and would have some basis to argue that it gets a raw deal whilst being part of a Great Britain which is essentially English/London biased in its dealings, but then as a Yorkshireman I am part of England and could offer the same argument based upon the north/south divide bias that is applied also. If Scotland breaks away I will guarantee you now that nothing will change with regard those that have in Scotland and in the main don`t have any inclination to empathise or do anything about the plight of those that have not, if Scotland does break away it likewise wont make any difference at all south of the Scottish border in that respect either. Division, segregation and viewing life in terms of us and them will never be any step forward in the right direction, the whole world is in essence a large table at which we all sit and in the centre of that table is a cake, the money and resources on this planet. We operate under a socially accepted system where it is not only acceptable for greedy fat individuals to collect several slices of cake, it is positively seen as an achievement and admired when someone collects huge quantities of slices and stockpiles and warehouses them for personal ego gratification. But the whole point is that its logical that when someone collects 50 slices of cake, 49 people sat round that table will give up their fair shared slice in the process and be left scrabbling for the crumbs. Ghettos, impoverished council estates, those are the holding areas where the cake-less people are banished and where the crumbs from the table fall. Should the UK stay as it is or be divided into 50 separate single autonomous units it will make little difference at all because they will all still operate on the same fundamental concept of collecting slices of cake until there are no slices left to collect at all.

  60. When do we Highlanders get a chance to split from those Lowland bastards who are after our oil?

  61. It seems to me that the only aspect of Cameron’s intervention that’s informed by “legal” concerns is that constitutional powers are reserved to Westminster. That’s to say, Westminster is sovereign. The timing and structure issues, and even the designation that a referendum be “binding” (in what way, given aforementioned sovereignty?), are policy choices rather than legal requirements. The coalition could choose a policy of respecting the mandate delivered in the last Holyrood election, but it seems they may do otherwise.

    It’s conceivable that Westminster could use its sovereignty to enact a referendum on Scottish independence at a time of its choosing. It would be peculiar but possible to hold such a referendum against the wishes of the Scottish Government (who could perhaps obstruct it operationally). It’s hard to see how Westminster could prevent the Scottish Government administering an “indicative” referendum in accordance with its present mandate. The latter would not bind Westminster to any particular action, but it would create some politics. We may have two referenda.

    An Irishman living in Glasgow, I am undecided about Scottish independence, but I certainly believe in national self-determination and that Scotland is as such a nation. The question the coalition should answer is this: if the Scottish Government holds a referendum in the second half of this parliament, will Westminster choose to respect whatever mandate that referendum delivers?

  62. There are no countries left,just multi-nationals and the military-industrial complex shafting us all royally.
    .
    Is there life on Mars?

  63. Thatcher was to blame. No country would need to devolve if they had listened to Tony Benn.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ETqOvBKnKdk&feature=share

  64. Dale Martin

    9 Jan, 2012 - 4:46 pm

    You are very right there Jives, whilst the majority are busy debating the semantics of politics from within their illusion of nationality, the multi-nationals and the military-industrial complex spreads its web across it all, buys what it needs and takes what it wants. You can debate politics all you want, but in the end within the framework of the system we have now the dollar dictates the tune that the piper plays and debate just isn`t providing the dollars to to call any tunes at all. If the rules of the system are not completely rewritten so that the corporations cannot buy the politicians because the law says that the politicians are not for sale at all, then who on earth are we kidding if we think that politicians who are human and nothing else will turn down the bribes when offered them. Zero political contributions, zero consultancy work and lobbying with cash, zero all expenses paid trips funded by business and zero freebies for all politicians is the only way things will change. They are paid to represent and further the interests of society and it should be made legally binding that that is all they do.

  65. Nicola Sturgeon said this morning on the Today programme that “referenda in the UK are always consultative and advisory”. This view of the role of referenda sits better with a tradition on both sides of the border of representative parliamentary democracy than it does to regard a referendum as binding on the political authority under which it is carried out. In the case of a referendum restricted to voters resident in Scotland that authority would be the Scottish Parliament, not Westminster. However, the political conventions regarding referenda are still evolving: as is highlighted by the controversy about whether there should be two or three options in this case. The trouble with three options is that – unless voting is by single transferable vote – interpreting the result becomes even trickier: no option would command majority support if 20% voted for the status quo, 35% for full independence and 45% for greater devolution.
    .
    A considerable number of voters may be undecided because they do not yet know what independence would mean in respect of such issues as joint nationality, sharing out the UK’s National Debt, the apportionment of offshore oil and fisheries resources etc. What about a two-stage referendum? For the first, the question would be: “I authorise the Scottish Parliament to implement a strategy based on whichever of the following options secures the greatest number of votes:
    A) to maintain the current devolution settlement;
    B) to negotiate maximum devolution;
    C) to negotiate full independence.”
    MY VOTE IS FOR OPTION A/B/C (choose one option only)
    .
    If A won (first past the post), there would be no further referendum, If either B) or C) got the greatest vote the outcome of the subsequent negotiations would then be put to voters in Scotland. Given the extent of the change to full independence, there is a case for requiring either a majority of the electorate to vote for the new arrangements; or for at least 60% of those voting to vote in favour. Full independence opposed by 51% of those voting would be a recipe for instability.

  66. john macadam

    9 Jan, 2012 - 4:51 pm

    Roger
    just a thought, but the [uk] secretary of state for scotland has said that the present Scotland Bill [which is to contain the provision for a referendum a la cameron] can only become an Act with the consent of the Scots Parliament [in which there is an SNP majority]. I can see some ground for difficulty there. The 18 month window for the referendum commennces only on the Royal Assent. So on that basis, perhaps the vote will be held in 2014 after all.
    just a thought, could be wrong, perhaps Cameron is just postering in the hope that he has a brighter idea oin the meantime

  67. Rob Royston

    9 Jan, 2012 - 5:14 pm

    When do we Highlanders get a chance to split from those Lowland bastards who are after our oil? —— Can Speccy,
    I’m afraid to say that 300 years of divide and rule has come to an end. Scots from all the pairts, rich and poor, have woken up to these tricks. The shenanigans of the Tories and Labour governments of the past 30 years have brought the people back together, it’s like a “wartime” spirit.

  68. TFS wrote “What are the financial implication of Scotland going it alone?”

    Overall it would have little effect on Scotland’s finances in terms of tax receipts if you take into account a large part of North Sea oil and gas and all the Shetland and deep sea stuff being in Scottish territorial waters.

    We might lose some British military bases in Scotland, but we wouldn’t have to pay the costs in money or lives of future Iraq or Afghanistan or similar wars, nor of white elephant aircraft carriers the UK government are paying BAE systems to build for £5 billion each and then leave to rust. We could also scrap PFIs and fund infrastructure far more cheaply by bond issues, loans and/or from taxes.

    The biggest risk would be of the UK ending up like the former Yugoslavia due to disputes over who gets oil and gas reserves, but i think that’s pretty unlikely.
    ———————–

    Passerby wrote “Given that Iceland has done a far better job navigating the events of the recent past, we can safely assume Scottish can do a far better job on their own.”

    Iceland is much worse off than the UK as it allowed banking de-regulation and allowed Icelandic banks to take over much larger banks in other countries, leading to massive debts for a very small country.

    Norway or Sweden would be better examples – both are small countries with well regulated financial and industrial sectors, good public services and who have seen their economies continue to grow throughout the current crisis elswhere as a result.

  69. First they loose all their support in Scotland, now they malinger, like a bad smell.

  70. p.s whenever UK governments put out figures seemingly showing Scotland would be worse off if it was independent they are playing a trick with the statistics by assuming that on independence oil revenues would be split on the basis of population between Scotland and the remaining UK.

    In fact under international law Scotland would get by far more of the oil and gas reserves than England, Wales or Northern Ireland, as they would be within it’s territorial waters.

  71. Bugger (the Panda)

    9 Jan, 2012 - 5:26 pm

    Duncan

    At least Iceland have issued arrest warrants for a number of their banksters and (possibly) politicians. They have actually collared a number of them already.

  72. Rob Royston

    9 Jan, 2012 - 5:32 pm

    Questioning Camerons right to interfere in Scotland, there was a comment on the Scotsman that Scotland had more Panda’s than Tory MP’s. Someone else added that there was a much greater hope of the pandas increasing in number than there was for the Tories.

  73. Totally agree Craig. In any case my understanding is that the original Scottish Parliament was disolved by corrupt Scottish nobles in return for English money and land. Acting as traitors that decision has to be regarded as both corrupt and unlawful? The whole concept of the UK is flawed since England massively dominates the UK – London – Parliament. As a result this is not, and never has been, a union of four equal countries.

    If Scotland had the full benefit of Scottish oil it would, like Norway, now be a wealthy country.

    It will be interesting to see how far the Tory Establishment will go to try and scare Scottish voters. There can these days be few other countries in the world who are ruled, in effect by another country, and whose people have never had any say in that situation! Would the Tories makes the SNP an illegal party or send in troops? As they did in times past to Ireland.

    If Scotland had been independent before the Thatcher years it would now have a totally different character to England. Still have a mining industry and have a much larger public sector for example. Plus still have virtually no Tory party!

    Enough is enough – time for England to rule England not Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland as well.

  74. @Ian
    .
    “Then I can once again be proud to say (as I did in France years ago when asked if I was anglais): no, I am Scottish.”
    .
    I love Beckett’s habitual reply when asked if he was English: “Au contraire”.
    .
    @the other Craig
    .
    “England will not invade Scotland and cause a massive war to hold on to her.”
    Don’t take any bets on that.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_George_Square
    .
    But to the point. Cameron has noted that support for independence has been growing steadiliy for some time and that this trend can be expected to continue. Salmond therefore wants to have the referendum as near to the end of the present parliament as possible in order to maximise support for a ‘yes’ vote. Cameron is consequently reasoning that if he can force the vote earlier he has a better chance of keeping Scotland in the Union. However as you say this could be a serious misjudgement. Support for separation is driven by disaffection with a reactionary regime in London – adding to that perception by meddling with well-established Scottish plans might actually precipitate constitutional disaster – well, disaster as Cameron would perceive it. The predicament of the unionists always reminds me of the situation in chess called zugswang, where the worst thing you can do is move – but it’s your move.

  75. “within it’s territorial waters.”
    .
    Didn`t that used to be twelve miles, then changed to two hundred miles ?, could be changed back again, especially if Scotland votes to become independent.

  76. Cameron’s Caledonian Gamble: Unwise and Unnecessary
    Alex Massie
    Monday, 9th January 2012
    .
    So. it looks as though David Cameron is following the Spectator’s advice not mine. What a nincompoop! But if the reports are correct then Cameron is playing us for fools. That is, there’s nothing wrong with suggesting a referendum on Scottish independence be held sooner rather than later; adding conditions to it is a different matter.
    .
    It matters little, really, whether a referendum is binding or advisory; a Yes to Independence vote would be impossible to ignore, politically and practically speaking, even if the referendum were only advisory. So, to this extent, Cameron’s suggestion that a vote can be binding if held within 18 months but only advisory if held after that point is a futile distinction without a meaningful difference. It is barmy too, to suggest a referendum can be an orange if held in 2013 but becomes an apple if organised in 2014.
    .
    Moreover, Cameron’s gambit is plainly a move designed to put Alex Salmond on the back foot. That would be fine too if there were any other advantages or reasons for this ploy. That is, inconveniencing Salmond should be a susidiary benefit, not the point of the exercise itself. Nakedly political moves of this sort are not always that useful.
    .
    /….
    http://www.spectator.co.uk/alexmassie/7560844/camerons-caledonian-gamble-unwise-and-unnecessary.thtml

  77. Dale Martin

    9 Jan, 2012 - 7:23 pm

    @ Bugger (the panda) I would include any form of nationalism. We have played religion and nationalism since we were first able to stand upright and walk, the only place it has and ever will get us is one of division and conflict. Many many wars and billions of deaths later, all of which done in the name of King/Queen, warlord and country and all because the vast majority of people were so easy to manipulate through nationalistic pride and fervour, yet in reality because King/Queen or warlord wanted to extend their own power and wealth, here we are still chanting the mantra of nationalism, still divided and killing, still perpetually debating the intellectual semantics and nuances of the political arena and still too dumb to see that in the end its all ephemeral. Our system is corrupt, despite our illusion of democratic politics which we debate so intellectually wars rage for resources and corporate profit and they rage so that the corporations can sell those resources back to us at a huge fat profit, but meanwhile while this all goes on, we buy into nationalism, cheer on the flag, continue to bury our soldiers and change nothing. The vast majority of (not all) politicians are in it for the money, power, connections and consultancy fees, theirs is not a world of nationalism it is a world of self interest and furtherance, nationalism is just the speech they give us when they want to motivate us in a certain direction, it`s a tool that works every time when they want to promote their selfism. lol @ Roger,,,,,,,,, I have more chance of falling pregnant than convincing anyone of its truth lol But occasionally some do educate themselves while burying those near and dear, it`s just a shame that many have to get there first before sitting back and asking “why”, rather than asking why before they got there.

  78. A redrafting error in my comment at 4.47 pm – the figure in the last sentence should be 49%.
    .
    Scotland provided many of the politicians, civil servants, soldiers, engineers and traders who helped create and support the British Empire. The UK’s Overseas Territories are reminders of the constitutional/ legal anomalies that are left when the balloon of empire deflates. Is there a case for offering Anguilla, Bermuda, Pitcairn, Tristan etc the option of going with an independent Scotland or staying tied to Whitehall, when London becomes the capital of FCUK (Former Country known as the UK)?
    .
    Thanks, Mary, for the link to Alex Massie’s article. Alex Salmond would be my tip win judo gold, using his opponent’s blundering weight to throw him.

  79. @CanSpeccy…you can have the oil pal..I will swop you for the highlands anytime..and if you can throw in a few golf courses, us lowland lowlives will chuck in Glasgow in the deal as well…

  80. Duncan

    Actually its the exclusive economic zone and continental shlef, not the territorial sea.

    I actually, personally, negotiated the relevant international boundaries with the Faeroes and Ireland. I look forward to negotiating the England Scotland boundary too.

  81. Mustbcrackers

    9 Jan, 2012 - 8:52 pm

    Both Salmond and Cameron are playing the same game – wanting to time the vote and the questions to best suit their different agendas. So this is just an artificial argument. I say Scotland should be separated from the union forthwith. But if it comes to a referendum then there must be one in England, Wales and N. Ireland too – to say whether we want to stay in a union with the Scots. My guess is there would be a majority for separation just to get shot of them, regardless of how they vote.

  82. Duncan, you are wrong about Iceland’s banking industry being worse off than the UK.

    We’re all in one big financial Ponzi scheme, and the epi centre is the unregulated city of london. Hypothecation and re-hypothecation are taking us down the sewer with the COL leading the way.

    regards

    TFS

  83. Emir of Qatar Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani pokes his nose once too often into the others affairs
    ,
    Ends up getting told; to feck off mate;
    ,
    “ended with his expulsion from the country.” The Mauritanian Siraj newspaper conveyed the official visit had concluded without a formal farewell by the Mauritanian President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz, who was seen greeting warmly his guest upon his arrival to the country last Thursday.
    ,
    These little emirs remind me of the puny guys in the goon squad of the genial Harry Grout (Porridge), throwing their weight around.

  84. So lets see here. We had a minority SNP administration before the last election who wanted a referendum on Independence. The other 3 parties in the PR elected Parliament conspired to ensure that the minority SNP administration couldnt have their referendum. So we held an election where the same policy of an Independence referendum was put forward by the SNP. Lo. The SNP managed to obtain an outright majority in the PR elected parliament. A majority mind. A majority that the whole wheeze was designed to ensure they would be denied. So now they want to hold their referendum on their terms and their time scale and suddenly the 3 parties who said no two years ago are dead keen to have the referendum now.

    Who is it exactly thats daft here?

    It is for the people of Scotland to decide how they want to be governed. Just as its for the people of the Falklands or the people of Libya or of Syria or of any damned country in the world that want to. We have elected a party – a majority ( in a PR system ) – with their own agenda that everyone knew about before the election. Its nobody elses business but ours what we vote on, how we vote on it and what we want.

    The first comment above should get out more and stop reading the daily mail. Personally I do not expect to be better off in an independent Scotland, but I am donating money to the cause and I am voting yes.

    Better a poor free man than a rich slave.

  85. There is no way Scotland will be allowed to go independent – with the UK to lose, the English will never let them, even if Salmond has to have an ‘accident’. Interesting that Cameron is trying to hijack the referendum, think that things will get dirtier now. BBC news 24 tonight – quite a big report but not a single Scottish voice, no opinion at all to answer the official line.

  86. Craig wrote “Duncan

    Actually its the exclusive economic zone and continental shlef, not the territorial sea.

    I actually, personally, negotiated the relevant international boundaries with the Faeroes and Ireland. I look forward to negotiating the England Scotland boundary too.”

    Right – thanks for the correction Craig. I look forward to it too.

  87. Brus MacGallah

    9 Jan, 2012 - 10:27 pm

    @ Can Speccy, most of the oil seems to be brought in by Aberdonians or Shetlanders, neither areas part of the Highlands last time I looked.
    To all the sassenachs assuring us of the magnitude of Englands’ love for Scotland may I quote Mr. Tolstoy

    I sit on a man’s back, choking him and making him carry me, and yet assure myself and others that I am very sorry for him and wish to ease his lot by all possible means – except by getting off his back.

    Alba gu Brath!

  88. @Tom Welsh

    The simple possibility that Abraham Lincoln was incorrect does not seemed to have occurred to you.

  89. According to the polls it looks like the scottish people want Scotland to remain as the largest county in England. You have to seriously ask yourself if the term nation can be applied in anyway, shape or form to Scotland after over three hundred years of full integration with England. Does anyone know how many scots still speak their own language, the answer says it all.

  90. Poor Dave Cameron. Everywhere he turns he is up to his oxters in New Labours mess. In 2007 when the SNP took over the Scottish Government at Holyrood they only had plans for a Yes/No referendum and declared that it would be held in 2010. The Labour leader, Wendy Alexander called Salmond out and demanded he put on a referendum immediately. Salmond refused to be drawn and insisted he would stick to his roadmap, but Wendy would not be shut up. The rest of the Unionists panicked and Big Gordon give her her jotters. Then they started a new plan to get the people back in the pen. It was called the Calman commission and everyone except the SNP took part. The Devo-Max plan came out of this plotting and news of it got released to the voters who seemed to like it a lot more than either of the two original choices in the referendum or the official Calman proposals. If Cameron wasn’t a Tory, I could maybe just feel a wee bit of sympathy for the guddle he’s been left with.

  91. “English Tory interference.” LOL. Let’s not hesitate to stoke race hatred when it suits us.
    .
    Every Scotchman has a representative at the Parliament in Westminster, which is more than every Englishman has at the Parliament in Edinburgh.
    .
    Obviously, devolution of power from Westminster is a matter for Westminster. If the Scotch Nats want a say in the matter they’d better get more than six representatives elected in Westminster and then persuade their English and Welsh colleagues that devolution is a good idea. The upshot of any such debate would have to involve devolution of powers to England from a frequently Scottish dominated government in London. In any discussion of devolution, the question of whether England, Scotland and Wales are the best units for devolution is bound to arise. That’s when the the Scotch will find the Highlands just as keen on devolution from Edinburgh as the English.

  92. alan campbell

    10 Jan, 2012 - 5:41 am

    Ah, professional Scots. Dontcha just love ’em? What’s your position on joining the Euro, Craig? And plucky little Kosovo’s bid to be recognised as an independent state?

  93. @Guest,
    .
    “Does anyone know how many scots still speak their own language, the answer says it all.”
    .
    This question says nothing.How many Americans,for example,speak their own,ahem,language? Language,culture and politics constantly evolve and reflect the contemporary consciousness,not the perversions or vicissitudes of disenfranchised history.It’s less who you are more where you’re at,so to speak.

  94. “Ah, professional Scots. Dontcha just love ‘em?
    .
    Sure,about as much as professional Englishmen.

  95. Arsene Wenger

    10 Jan, 2012 - 6:01 am

    Obviously, devolution of power from Westminster is a matter for Westminster.
    .
    When were you born, Canspeccy? You sound like a disgruntled slave-owner. Or the chap in ‘Gandhi’ saying India is British, after all.

  96. Antelope Grazer

    10 Jan, 2012 - 6:05 am

    Alan Campbell
    .
    A Campbell. nuff said.
    .
    The difference with Kosovo is that it’s a mafia state whose ‘independence’ is sponsored by (and was obtained using force by) the Yanks. I don’t think the SNP is a plot by Donald Trump to secure his ghastly golf course.

  97. @rayban “There is no way Scotland will be allowed to go independent – with the UK to lose, the English will never let them…”

    Where does this myth (that the English want Scotland to stay in the Union, or the UK would lose if they did) come from?

  98. Scotsman or Scot not Scotchman!

  99. So much for the rules.
    .
    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/cameron-aide-broke-rules-by-joining-lobbying-firm-6287418.html
    .
    Note Portland’s clients –
    ‘James O’Shaughnessy, until recently Downing Street’s director of policy, failed to inform the Whitehall committee which vets jobs for officials leaving Government that he planned to join the lobbying company Portland as its chief policy adviser. Portland’s clients include the governments of Russia and Kazakhstan, Google, McDonald’s, Vodafone and the arms company BAE Systems.’
    .
    ‘Mr O’Shaughnessy, who was Mr Cameron’s director of policy between 2007 and 2011, was a key figure in drafting the last Conservative manifesto. He remains close to Mr Cameron and other senior Downing Street officials.’
    .
    I bet he does!

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