The Unanswerable Case 396

Simon Jenkins gets it with this simple and unanswerable argument.

Scots are now very significantly poorer than the Irish, the Norwegians, the Swedes, the Danes, the Icelanders or any of their obvious comparators. Every one of those nations is in the top 10 of the UN Human Development Index. The UK is not, and Scotland is below the mean for the UK. It is not because Scots are stupid or feckless, it not because of climate and it is certainly not a lack of natural resources. It is because of the draining away of human and physical resource by London over centuries.

Against that fundamental fact, the cloud of stupid obfuscation around the minutiae of transition is a mere distraction, and a deliberate one at that. Countries which are far poorer than Scotland successfully run on their own currencies – scores of them. Why would people believe Scotland is unique among nations in being incapable of having a currency? Yet such pathetic shibboleths are pounded out by the media, and particularly the BBC, on a daily basis to make a significant number of Scots believe that what is possible for every nation that has tried it, is uniquely impossible to them.

It is particularly galling to see those that have made us poor tell us we cannot be independent because we are poor. Particularly when the entire system of government accounting has been manipulated over decades to ascribe Scotland’s revenue to the wider UK, to ascribe a portion of infrastructure projects in SE England such as Crossrail as Scottish expenditure, and to present an entirely distorted picture of the Scottish fiscal position.

I am entirely at the end of my patience. It really is time that we claimed our Independence and stopped this slavish adherence to the laws of the Imperial state which seeks to continue its leeching out of our resources.

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396 thoughts on “The Unanswerable Case

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  • Thomas Dunlop

    It has been a corner stone of my arguments for independence for a long time. That the union has been detrimental to not only the GDP of the people in Scotland (and the periphery of the UK, in general) but also to their well being as well. It is historical fact that Scots were healthier pre-union than afterwards. The last 300 hundred years of political union has seen a steady erosion of this. It is not malign but a benign fact of being further from the centres of power and government. However, certainly, the age of neoliberalism has accelerated this decline with the giving up on the ideals of social cohesion in a society, leading to widespread relative destitution of more of the population than previously. Self determination and bringing power back to the local centres of population will start to reverse this, providing the promise that Scotland pursues a more Scandinavian polity model.

    One should also remember that the UK union was brought on due to the upper classes dabbling in notions of colonial expansion , its disaster and their financial destitution. The very people that benefited out of GB are the ones who sought to maintain it, and protect their status (separate churces, legal and schooling systems). It is ironic that this maintained a Scottish distinctive identity and has lead to a resurgence of a desire for sel determination .

    • MBC

      The population of Scotland was 20% of the combined total of England and Scotland in 1707 and 30% of the combined land mass (and 80% of the coastline…)

      We’re still 30% of the landmass and 80% of the coastline but only 8% of the UK population.

      That’s what three centuries of not having your own treasury, navy and political power centre do to you in such an unbalanced union.

      • RandomComment

        You’d have thought, given immigration is such a huge issue in England, and so welcomed in Scotland, that this percentage should be higher…

        • Republicofscotland

          The Home office controls who lives in Scotland, it has stopped countless folk from living in Scotland over many decades, and still does so today.

          • RandomComment

            So if the HO were smart, the obvious move would be to let all the immigrants come to Scotland, which welcomes it, and deny their entry to England, which apparently (by the remainers own arguments) hates it

            I suspect the answer lies in the fact that economic migration follows the jobs.

      • N_

        Why has your logic gone out of the window? The clan leaders chucking families off the land so they could farm sheep and make money for marrying their daughters to Edinburgh high society also had something to do with it. England hasn’t had its own treasury, navy, or political power centre since 1707 either, but it’s percentage of the combined population has gone up.

        • MBC

          For goodness sake the English parliament and treasury is the British one. You control them. You got what you wanted. We might as well not be there. Numerically we were outnumbered from the start. 45 MPs to your 500.

        • Terence callachan

          Marxist , you should go away and educate yourself a bit before talking such nonsense.
          Your claim that Scotland evicted its own people and sent them to Australia Canada etc to make way for sheep farming is just so stupid.
          England has controlled Westminster since 1707 and earlier any fool knows that so I can only assume your political bent has led your mind astray, not surprising of someone calling themselves Marxist.
          What’s your actual name ? if you are too sheepish to say go away and hide your comments where you keep your identity.

    • N_

      It is historical fact that Scots were healthier pre-union than afterwards.

      Rubbish. Got a cite? Life expectancy? Muscle strength? What premises is your claim built on?

      • Terry callachan

        Family experience is my evidence.
        Hey Marxist what’s your evidence to the contrary ?

  • N_

    Why would people believe Scotland is unique among nations in being incapable of having a currency?

    There we go again – a rhetorical trick in every sentence. Nobody has said “the people of Scotland” (what a dramatic term) are inferior in their abilities to anybody else. The ratings agencies have said they’d mark an independent Scotland down, though. But what do they know, eh? They’re probably redcoats!

    • Shatnersrug

      Dunno whether they’re red coats but they’re certainly a bunch of crooks. Woolly liberalism tends to think the free market is fine and dandy and that we’re just doing it wrong, but the fact is capitalism will destroy the planet for humans it already is, if Scotland did become an economic force (it already is in many ways) in Europe its because it will adopt financialisation and legalised money laundering just like Iceland or other small counties and in fact the uk come to mention it. The idea that the EU can continue with the rich western states in affect hiding the ill gotten gains from exploiting the resources of the Eastern states indefinitely in fantasy, the EU has an eye on the east for farming and live stock rearing which will eventually plunge the world into ecological collapse. Should Russia fall to the Eu/USA the great firsts will be felled and land and resources exploited

      Financialisation is the engine that drives that destruction I for one do not want to see Scotland responsible for a part in that. We must find another way. Call it want you want, but when you boil down the solutions socialism is the only way to find a chance out of this mess, and not command state economies that is basically state driven capitalism.

      We need to be thinking about solutions and we need to do it now, I cannot see that the Liberalism of the Centrist SNP, the Labour right, liberal conservatism or the EU can produce the answers required married as they are to Libralised markets.

      • Johny Conspiranoid

        “Woolly liberalism tends to think the free market is fine and dandy and that we’re just doing it wrong,”
        When I were a lad “Woolly Liberalism” meant the opposite.

        • Shatnersrug

          In America the word Liberalism is used to describe an amorphous block on the left that’s to be laughed at, the term Socialist and working class are expunged from American politics just in case the great unwashed go getting ideas but actual European liberalism has a much colder darker past

    • Alan Forrest

      Anonymous N. I think you need to brush up your facts and also learn a little about how sovereign credit is assessed.

      Ratings agencies were cautious but positive about an Indy Scotland. Moodys was offering an A rating, which is not the highest for a sovereign, but pretty good investment grade.

      Scotland acquired this rating from fundamental strengths in resources, including oil, water, electricity, and on quality industrial and shipping. A strategic advantage of fishing rights and first sight surveilance of NW atlantic added to the geopolitical score.

      None of that has gone, but the rating for UK is losing its fundamentals every day. Scotland can ill afford to be stuck with such a feckless and careless credit risk as the Union.


      • N_

        Such special pleading. Moodys envisaged giving an independent Scotland a lower rating than rump Britain. It says so in the BBC article you cite. That means international investors would view an independent Scotland as more risky than rump Britain. Don’t blame me. I’m not Moodys or an international investor.

        But if you stand on your head doubtless it all looks the opposite and I got my facts totally wrong.

        • douglas clark


          Yes it does. The article is dated May 2014. Kind of out of date, wouldn’t you say? It clearly can’t take account of no deal Brexit, falling exchange rates or sentiment since then.

      • John2o2o

        Alan, frankly I really couldn’t give a monkeys for the opinion of a credit rating agency with respect to the independence of Scotland.

    • Republicofscotland

      “The ratings agencies have said they’d mark an independent Scotland down, though. But what do they know, eh? They’re probably redcoats!”

      Oh right, we’d better just pack up then and go home, and pull the duvet over our heads and forget all about independence.

      Of course umpteen nations have become independent since WWII, they must’ve had boundless resources and pots of gold eh? Of course Fitch put the UK on a negative watch, the pounds plummeting the national debt would choke a hippo, and access to the single market is about to go up in smoke.

      As for the Redcoats, they haven’t been used in a major conflict since the Crimean war of 1853/56. However Boris Johnson might just reintroduce them, empire mode is in full swing.

      • N_

        Slightly tangential: would you prefer the regime in Scotland to be a non-independent republic (in a British union of republics) or an independent monarchy? I just wondered which is more important to you – independence or a republican form of government. (I asked before but if you posted an answer I didn’t see it.)

        • Republicofscotland

          Apologies N if I missed your question prior to this.

          My preference is a of course a independent Scotland, within the EU (EFTA or full member) as a republic.

          No monarchy period.

        • Terence callachan

          Independence is coming soon , forget republic in UK never going to happen england is tied to its right wing Tory party has been for fifty years.
          England will suffer greatly with brexit and then England’s independence ,Scotland then Northern Ireland then wales will become independent , England will be such a small country as a result.
          We will show benevolence and won’t let you slide too far.

      • N_

        @RoS – Do you see independence as an experiment? Surely there are some premises that if established to be true would make you reconsider, at least for the time being?

        If Scotland becomes independent I will certainly oppose the government allowing the country next door to recruit for its armed forces in Scotland as it currently does in the “independent” republic of Ireland.

        • Republicofscotland

          First chapter, no its normal to be independent.

          Second chapter.

          That is a two way street, the MoD would no longer be able to trawl schools in poor areas of Scotland looking for cannon fodder.

    • Mr Shigemitsu

      As we learned during the GFC, ratings agencies will say whatever you pay them to.

      A nation with its own sovereign fiat non-convertible free-floating currency can *always* defeat the markets, as long as it’s government doesn’t try to play them at their own game.

      As soon as they sniff out a govt trying to defend a currency peg, or a particular exchange rate, they’ll pounce (eg Soros vs. the UK defending its Sterling rate in the ERM prior to Black Weds in ‘92) – but if a government decides to simply let exchange rates do what they will – as is occurring with UK and GBP right now – there’s actually bugger all the markets can do about it.

      A nation whose public “debt” (aka private sector savings) is solely in the currency it alone creates need never default and can never be made bankrupt.

      Ex-EU, it can also run an overdraft at its central bank – eg the now mothballed Ways and Means Account at the BoE – and doesn’t even need to issue govt bonds, so debt ratings, and resultant yields, become irrelevant.

    • Terry callachan

      England said Scotland could not use the pound now england says we have to use the pound quite frankly england has lost its way and so have its people ,at each other’s throats killing each other knives everywhere more and more police issued with takers .
      We in Scotland don’t believe your English rhetoric we will use the currency we choose ourselves.
      Scotland is a higher rating than England , the problem is you and others compare UK with Scotland as if UK is england .
      As I’ve already told you , you have lost sensibility ,England is not UK, England is not Britain ,England is England soon to be little England once you can no longer call yourself UK or Britain.

    • N_

      Doug – can you actually come up with a proper argument please, rather than repeating a four-word slogan. It’s even shorter than the Tesco one. You sound like a Trumpian saying “guns don’t kill people; people do”.

  • Tom

    Unanswerable the case may be. But the question is why is Jenkins making it? He is a right-wing pro-American state to the core.
    Is this actually a backdoor way to stir up more division in the UK or even a means to enlist Scots to the cause of No Deal Brexit? Then if/when Brexit actually happens, the rug is pulled from the pro-independence Scots.

    • Shatnersrug

      Tom has of course seen through it, keep the Scots angry and voting for a centrist SNP that will never commit to a second ref and the tories will continue their reign. McDonnell softening labour’s outlook to a second indie vote has clearly got the establishment rattled. Send out the curmudgeonly Jenkins to shake up a bit a nationalist anger.

      • Ian

        What nonsense. It was a very good summary of the case for independence, and made many points which nationalists have been extremely poor at making, particularly the conspiracy types.

        • Jo1

          It’s not nonsense. Jenkins will have an ulterior motive, nothing surer. One doesn’t have to go the conspiracy route… Jenkins has form.

    • Val

      Aye Tom, I’m suspicious too. He must see an advantage for England in it somewhere. “Whitehall should take the initiative and prepare a fiscal and legislative independence package” suggests he would send Scotland to the dogs after England has asset-stripped it.

  • lysias

    The text of a lot of the depositions in the case between Epstein victim Virginia Roberts Giuffre and Ghislaine Maxwell has just been released. It has previously been reported that Roberts claimed that one of the people she was forced to have sex with was a well known prime minister, but now we have the claim in black and white in a court document.

    This is the corrupt system that Scotland is not being allowed to leave.

    • RandomComment

      From the initial releases of information re Epstein, two things are clear to me:

      1) Trump has no demonstrably dodgy connection to Epstein
      2) Certain high-ranking members of the UK establishment (among many others) do.

      • David

        Certain high-ranking members of the UK establishment (among many others) do [had a ] dodgy connection

        3) Problem solved

        (that “Famous Prime Minister”, teflon….?)

        • RandomComment

          3) Problem solved

          A remarkably prescient comment (albeit in not quite the way you intended), as it turns out it.

      • Terry callachan

        The royal family and England benefit because Andrew will be quietly hidden away in the royal cupboard for a few months so that his infidelities don’t make the courts.
        Trump will aid this of course because he too was a buddy of Epstein.

        • N_

          A living Epstein offering a defence or mitigation, or offering evidence against other parties in return for a shorter sentence or the dropping of charges altogether, must have been a big threat to somebody who packs quite some influence…

  • Michael Droy

    And most Danes continue to work in Denmark.

    You are making the wrong comparison. The brightest Scots come to England – you included once. The brain drain is why remaining Scots earn so little. The right comparison is with Latvia or Lithuania, countries that are losing their best and brightest and where population has fallen dramatically.
    Population 1901 2018
    Denmark 2.4m 5.8m
    Scotland 4.5m 5.4m
    England 30m 56m
    In 35 years GDP doubled, and median earnings have grown by 10% in UK. The Scots who have tripled of quintipuled their earnings in that time have moved to England. (As indeed have a lot of Italians and French). Most Brits have gained nothing in that time, including most English and nearly all Scots. (It is this that creates the anger, Brexit is a poor expression of this but the only one available).

    The smart thing to do is stay in UK, demand proper redistribution for all Brits (us English too) so that the excessively rich guys and girls you send to London pay their taxes to you instead of keeping it all (and buying up 2nd homes in Edinburgh).

    • JOML

      Michael, the “smart” thing to do is look after our own affairs and not complicate matters by outsourcing our decision making to our much larger neighbours.

    • N_

      For several generations there has been a huge brain drain from Britain (and from many other countries) to the US – not just caused by the Fulbright programme, not just from England, and not just from Britain’s top research universities. “Brain drainer” is my usual term for a British academic who ups sticks to the US or whose point of view seems to be from across the Atlantic even if he or she spends most of the year in Britain.

      • N_

        Things like this used to be widely recognised and talked about. Now it’s more often a case of “Er…you what?….well yeah…but shhhhh”

  • Glenn

    Here here! The amount of people that think we won’t survive without England astound me. Especially when the truth stares them in the face in a map of the world.

  • giyane


    Chief pooper scooper Chancellorof the Exchequer was glowing about the economy today. Weird that the person responsible for our economy regards the loss in the value of the pound as a good sign. Has the Exchequer been investing in Euros for the last few years?

    • Hatuey

      It’s easy to have a strategy when you know you will never be in a position to pursue and implement it. Ask any lib-dem.

      I like Sheridan a lot, though, don’t get me wrong. And I don’t think I have ever had a good word for Sturgeon. I always believed that she was too cautious and conservative for the top job and I think the last 3 years have proven that.

      But there’s no alternative. We must sit back, hope we are wrong, and hope that the SNP know what they’re doing.

      It’s grim but the polls seem to suggest it’s possibly working.

      And independence achieved democratically, playing by the rules, however much those rules might stick in our craws today, is a better goal than independence arrived at by means which might be considered illegitimate by some and lead to strife down the line.

  • Hatuey

    This is possibly the best description I have ever read in terms of summing up the predicament Scotland finds itself in, both politically and economically, expressed with a clarity of understanding that approaches the poetic;

    “It is particularly galling to see those that have made us poor tell us we cannot be independent because we are poor. Particularly when the entire system of government accounting has been manipulated over decades to ascribe Scotland’s revenue to the wider UK, to ascribe a portion of infrastructure projects in SE England such as Crossrail as Scottish expenditure, and to present an entirely distorted picture of the Scottish fiscal position.” (Craig Murray, August 2019)

    I too am at the end of my patience. I’m sick of the games — the same old games — and the same old tricks and lies.

    Anyone with even a particle of understanding on the subject of economics knows that there is a great difference between an economy that is set up for plunder and an economy that set up to benefit the population. The former is intended for wealth extraction and is the model imposed on today’s neo-colonies whilst the latter is reserved for what we call “developed countries” (like England) and is geared towards wealth creation.

    Scotland is run along very distinct neo-colonial lines. Neo-colonies are easily identified, you simply look at who owns the primary infrastructure, industry, and resource-base, and ask a simple question: are these owners of wealth residents of the country in question or are they resident elsewhere? If the majority of them are foreign nationals and resident elsewhere, you are almost certainly looking at a neo-colony.

    Look at the dominant role of English-based supermarkets, bookmakers, banks, and the companies that overwhelmingly dominate every other facet of the economy in Scotland, and you will invariably find that most of them are English-based. We are tricked if we believe this is neo-liberalism rather than neo-colonialism.

    • Mary Pau!

      I am wondering where the RBS fitted into this in the run up to 2008?

      Wasn’t that a Scottish bank,?

      • Republicofscotland

        If I recall correctly most of RBS’s dodgy deals (and I’m sure there must’ve been many) occured outside Scotland. Prior to the crash of 2008.

        Of course the Labour party began the bailout and the Tories continued it from 2010 onwards, why would they bailout a failing Scottish bank? If not to aid their corporate buddies and donator.

        On Scottish independence they’ll move the plaque to London, so they can be bailed out again by rUK, to whatever amount is required. But not before the bank buys back the taxpayer held shares at a whopping loss to the paying public.

    • N_

      Nice switch between ownership and “base” there. But what counts most is neither of those, but control.

      Which “English-based” bookmakers?

      Ladbrokes Coral – owned by GVC Holdings, “based” in Isle of Man and chaired by Lee Feldman from US.
      William Hill – partnered with and in large proportion owned by Playtech, also “based” in Isle of Man and founded by Israeli-Cypriot Teddy Sagi.
      PaddyPower – “based” in the Republic of Ireland.
      Scotbet – recently went bust, “based” in Edinburgh, sold by receivers to Scotb123, also “based” in Scotland.

    • PhilW

      “an economy that set up to benefit the population” “reserved for what we call “developed countries” (like England)” ?????

      You are saying that the English economy is set up for the benefit of the population?? Seriously?

      Almost all national economies (including the US) are set up for the benefit of transnational oligarchs. Outliers such as Venezuela and Iran are under such pressure because of this. Russia and China at least try to keep the wealth in their home countries (for their own oligarchs).

      I’m afraid an independent Scotland, or Britain under Corbyn, will have to bend the knee or be treated like Venezuela.

      Colonialism is an outdated analysis – it is no longer a matter of one country asset-stripping another. Capitalism is global now.

      • Hatuey

        You’re confusing neo-liberalism for neo-colonialism.

        The Scottish economy in terms of its fundamentals is oriented towards wealth extraction, much like say Brazil, not wealth creation and certainly not for the benefit of the majority who live there.

        The English economy is different and is treated differently. If England was run along the same lines as Scotland, all it would export is broccoli. It produces virtually nothing else.

        Most of Scotland’s heavy industry was deliberately destroyed — criminal in itself but criminal in the street when you consider its destruction was designed to boost the prospects of industry based in England. No independent country in the world would contemplate such self harm.

        In England everything is geared towards London but that, from a Scottish perspective doesn’t give us a London problem. London is England.

        It would be interesting to compare Scotland’s industrial policy with that of a normal country that invests in its industry — instead of deliberately destroying it — and does its best to make sure that infrastructure is modernised so that it is competitive and productive in key areas. But Scotland has no industrial policy and as long as its purse strings are controlled by its neighbour then that will continue to be the case.

        We could go on for hours in this vein, with example after example. The country has essentially been abducted and chained to a bed; weakened and injured, it lies as you would expect completely dependent on, and at the mercy of, the entity that abducted it.

  • Andrew Ingram

    U.D.I. would be fun.
    Given the usual “going” in Edinburgh in August, an swift “abuse of protocol” – Nicola pointing out that the baw’s burst and Scotland’s aff haem, would give no end of a bonus to the cab drivers of the city. Now’s the time.

    • N_

      What’s the plan for dealing with the Orange Order and “No Surrender” type Rangers fans in the event of a UDI without a referendum? I’m finding it hard to imagine one that would be “fun”.

      • lysias

        Could they be persuaded by the argument that, by joining a federation of Ireland, Northern Ireland, and Scotland, they would be saving their cousins in Ulster?

        • lysias

          My father, who was born in Ireland around 1898, grew up supporting the Irish Parliamentary Party and Home Rule and opposing Sinn Fein and independence. In 1921, he emigrated to the U.S. When we both visited Ireland in 1965, he admitted that he had been wrong, that independence had been good for Ireland.

          • PP

            Depends what you mean by ‘good’ I suppose.

            Independence split the country in two. A split that still reverberating after nearly a 100 years. If Ireland had managed to peaceable follow ‘home rule’ who honestly doubts the country would not be an independent country (EU aside) today?

          • Xavi

            No, it was the British government that split the country in two — in defiance of the democratic wish of the Irish people. The last all-Ireland election in 1918 produced a landslide mandate for all-Ireland independence. It was simply ignored by the British, sparking the war of independence.

          • PP

            Xavi I accept your point regarding the 1918 election return although there is probably a case to make regarding how representative that election was in terms of fear and intimidation for those not wishing to vote Sinn Fein.

            The British reacted to the campaign of assassination by Irishmen of Irishmen that the WOI largely represented. The Home Rule bill had been passed a number of times with the result that Dominion status similar to Canada and Australia was probably going to be the result.

            The murders and increasing violence meant that no responsible government would turn a large portion of their population over to the people responsible.

            It was Collins and his squad along with the Tipperary IRA who began that campaign. Blaming the govt may make you feel better but without that campaign it is highly unlikely that there would have been partition.

          • Hatuey

            PP: “Blaming the govt may make you feel better but without that campaign it is highly unlikely that there would have been partition.”

            Possibly one of the slimiest comments was I’ve ever read on here.

  • David Mac

    In 2016 some Irish economists ran a computer projection of Ireland’s economy if it had remained in the UK, the result would have been poorer than Wales.

    • Yr Hen Gof

      And where did the wealth produced by the extraction of poor Wales’ resources end up?
      The copper, the slate, the coal and yes their water too.
      The trouble with natural resources is that they are by no means infinite.

  • `Carlyle Moulton

    Scotland is in fact a colony of England.

    How do define a colony? Answer by a distortion in the terms of trade between the colony and the imperial power that favours the imperial power and disfavours the colony. The colony has less power over the setting of these terms than does the imperial power because of an imbalance of political power.

    Just as Puerto Rico is a US colony, so is Scotland one of South East England where the political power in the UK resides.

    • N_

      South East England? Ever been to Margate? Or is the relevant entity residing in SE England the City of London? Or perhaps Hampstead?

      Move the British capital to Edinburgh and hey presto, Scotland is not a colony any more?

      People in Puerto Rico, who are mostly US citizens, don’t have a vote in US presidential elections or elect members of the Senate or voting members of the House of Representatives. Which is the same as the position of Gibraltarians when a British general election comes round. It’s not at all the same as in Scotland, where people do have votes in all-British elections and referendums and where in the most recent British general election quite a large percentage of voters, 37%, chose to give their vote to the SNP.

      • N_

        I am all in favour of drawing intelligent comparisons and contrasts. Slovenia is another case. The local authorities managed to set up a military network under their own control and, if I recall correctly, they did it under some kind of civil defence or other fairly harmless seeming guise. They also acquired weapons from Germany and the USSR. They were much better prepared than the Yugoslav forces, some of whose soldiers when sent to fight in the war didn’t even know it was war and thought they were going on an exercise. (What a classic example of disregard for morale.) There were 10 days of war, less than 100 dead, and there has been independence ever since. But support for independence before the war started was running, as measured in a referendum, at 96%. The SNP does not have these kinds of cards to play.

      • John2o2o

        I’m not sure I agree with Carlyle’s logic here N_ or yours for that matter.

        Puerto Rico’s population is over 3.5 million – considerably more than many US states. Gibraltar has a paltry 32k by comparison. What is remarkable, perhaps is that Puerto Ricans tolerate their situation, though as all Puerto Ricans get to be US citizens by birthright. Maybe that helps.

        Scotland is a country with a very proud history. It is not any sort of appendage to England.

        And England is also a country with a proud history. I want to see both countries being run entirely independently of each other.

      • Hatuey

        N, you’re quite happy to deploy crude Marxist generalisations when it suits you. He didn’t, as you know, literally mean every person in the south east was part of some colonial tribe. As a generalisation it’s fine with you to use phrases like that when the victims are ‘the proletariat’.

  • N_

    I am entirely at the end of my patience. It really is time that we claimed our Independence and stopped this slavish adherence to the laws of the Imperial state

    In your post immediately prior to this one it sounded as though you wanted the SNP to try to win the middle ground, meaning support for independence among Labour voters, but that kind of talk – calling their previous state of mind “slavish” to the “imperial” state’s laws – isn’t the way to do it. The chauvinist headbangers who like to watch Braveheart again and again and who idiotically believe Scotland is dominated by England despite Scotland outclassing England in almost every sphere of endeavour are already won over. (Recently someone told me about the rise of AirBnB in Edinburgh and said he reckoned there were more AirBnBs in Edinburgh than in London, which frankly seems highly improbable, and pretty easy for a reasonable person to suppose is improbable, given that London has 17 times Edinburgh’s population. “So what?” a person might sensibly ask. Well yes indeed, who cares anyway? I’ve also heard the view that Callanish is bigger than Stonehenge. And so it goes on. At least Scotland does have a longer coastline than England. Also I am fairly sure that Scotland has provided far more leading British politicians proportional to its population than England has 🙂 .)

    At Culloden it’s my understanding that the Jacobite side was appalling badly commanded, by a royal prince who insisted on fighting a pitched battle that other commanders on his own side knew would result in a massacre. But how does one court-martial a “divine right” prince?

    • glenn_nl

      N_: “…The chauvinist headbangers who like to watch Braveheart again and again and who idiotically believe […]”

      Et cetera….

      You don’t worry about coming across as somewhat condescending now and then? But coming from someone superior in every way, I suppose you find that difficult to avoid. Instead of pointing out how unarguably clever and knowledgeable you clearly are, why don’t you bestow us with a few prescriptions?

      If you can leave your knee-jerk bigotry towards the LGBT community aside while you’re at it, that would be really right-on. You’ve never had the courage to tackle that particular problem of yours head on either, I will remind you. But don’t worry – your comrades are here to help you get over it, whenever you feel capable of reaching out.

    • Kempe

      He might’ve meant that a greater proportion of dwellings are let on Air BnB in Edinburgh which appears to be correct. Twelve thousand out of 233,330 as opposed to “60,000+” out of over 3 million in London. It’s nothing to be proud of as it forces property prices up (Edinburgh’s expensive enough as it is) and forces ordinary families out. Read up on what’s happening in Valencia.

      In Edinburgh 3,000 families are living in temporary accommodation. The situation in London is probably much worse.

  • fwl

    Small countries are a romantic idea. Sometimes small groups can manage things better than large groups in which the elite is distant. However, it is also true that when the elite is more distant it is often easier to become part of it than when it is local. Anyway my questions (probably asked before) are:

    1) would an independent Scotland act to prevent the “draining away of Human Resources to London”?

    2) how could Scotland run its own currency and be in the EU? Would it not be compelled to use the Euro?

    3) aren’t Scotland and the rest of the UK inherently interdependent particularly in terms of the underlying infrastructure?

    4) do you contemplate a hard border?

    5) surely the only likely independence would be by way of UDI in which case (as with a Boris hard Brexit) all the real negotiations would happen after and not before? If so how much uncertainty is there?

    6) the idea that English are inherently wicked and Scots are inherently progressive ad good is childish as is the belief that it would be good to have a federal EU, but not a federal UK. Perhaps part of this childish notion reflects the fact that sometimes when the elite is local (UK as opposed to EU) it can be difficult to achieve a degree of relative parity because of entrenched positions, but is this really true as Scots have for generations not come to London to serve but to rule and indeed were of fundamental importance din the development of the Empire. My point here is why not lobby for a proper Federal United Kingdom perhaps along the lines of the US rather than for an independent Scotland within a non-democratic and unsuccessful EU?

    • zoot

      nobody has lobbied for it because nobody wants it. and this english wicked, scots good idea is a straw man of your own creation.

    • Karl

      OMG, It’s project fear in a nutshell. What currency? You must join the Euro. Really, we are all the same. How can we separate Scotland and England after 300 years? Oh the uncertainty, the uncertainty. Wait, Federalism, of the sort promised again and again, is what you really want. Please fall for that one again, you dumb Jocks. Your Tory Central handbook must be well thumbed by now. Give it a rest.

    • Republicofscotland

      “the idea that English are inherently wicked and Scots are inherently progressive ad”

      Absolute ignorance is all I can about the above sentence. The people of England are not evil, Scottish independence is about removing Westminster from the equation via independence, the people of England are no better or worse than the people of Scotland or Wales etc. Infact there’s a very healthy number of English people for Scottish independence that participate in AUOB marches, waving a number of St George flags too boot.

      • N_

        Why is turnout in Scotland in elections to the British parliament in Westminster always so much higher than turnout in elections to the Scottish parliament at Holyrood?

        “Westminster” doesn’t work well as a label for a “get the hell out of our lives” call. It marshals the troops OK, yes, as a euphemism for “FEB”. Ditto “London” and “South East England”. But in the middle ground it comes across as “don’t put so much about Westminster on the television”, which won;t be great referendum campaigning unless the intelligence of the population falls further.

        Among the English people I know in Scotland, support for Scottish independence is at about the same level as it is among native Scots.

        • Republicofscotland

          It’s around 10% and falling, and as the need for independence grows it may well fall further. Still it doesn’t seem to hinder the SNP getting into power.

          As for your English friends in Scotland, they may not yet have noticed that the tide is turning.

          • N_

            I’m not sure I understand you. Are you envisaging that support for Scottish independence will GROW among native Scots but FALL among English residents (who currently vote for Scottish political parties, whether pro-independence or pro-Union, in exactly the same way that native Scots do?) Why would there be such a move in opposite directions?

            As for the “tide”, the SNP lost its majority at Holyrood in the most recent Scottish general election, during which its Holyrood voteshare fell (using the combined regional plus constituency figures) (between 2011 and 2016) – and its Westminster voteshare also fell in the most recent British general election (between 2015 and 2017).

            Let’s test which way the tide is going by having a Scottish general election as soon as possible.

          • N_

            You do seem to be saying that if the SNP gets closer to its goal of independence, members of the English national minority in Scotland who currently vote FOR independence should wake up, smell the coffee, and start voting AGAINST it, presumably because independence would hit them hard, whether they vote for the SNP, Labour, for some other party or for none. You seem to be saying that a sensible member of said ethnic minority should oppose independence, the same way that for example a sensible black person in London should oppose the rise of the BNP.

      • N_

        Most Scots who support Scottish independence welcome support from English people both inside and outside Scotland – this is a fact, and it’s not surprising. But how do you feel about English people who have settled in Scotland and who oppose independence for the same reasons as the majority of Scots oppose it?

        That is a much better test of xenophobia. Most of the English residents in Scotland who oppose independence are politically integrated insofar as they vote for a Scottish political party. Unlike in some parts of the world, there are no political parties in Scotland that receive most of their support from national minorities. Yet there was still a call in the comments section here to disenfranchise English people living in Scotland in a future rerun of the independence referendum. That is similar to if Brexiters were to get it into their heads that black British and Pakistani British people might swing the result of a third EUref to result in a Remain victory, concluding that they should therefore be disenfranchised. It is utterly despicable.

  • Chris Barclay

    ‘Once it (Scotland) was richer by far’. Wasn’t that when Scotland was part of the Imperial power that ruled the British Empire?

  • Joe Mellon

    Scotland, Catalonia, the north of England and the south of France have much the same problem: the post imperial capital and elite require a lot of people and resources to maintain the style to which they have become accustomed – and they have the power to ensure they get them. Ireland, Norway, Denmark and currently the Baltic countries demonstrate the advantages of being independent.

  • Vassos Kurolessov

    the reason Scotland cannot be independent is that it is attached to England by its northern border and is on the same island.
    None of the small countries Craig gave as an example are.
    End of story.

    • Xavi

      The only read on Scotland isn’t already independent is because a majority of Scots voted against it in a referendum five years ago. But if another referendum were held today Scotland would most likely be independent tomorrow (even – shock, horror! – on the same island as England).

    • George

      If becoming independant meant severing PHYSICAL landmasses then the entire planet would have to become a map of the outer Hebrides. I don’t know who’s going to pay the bill for the various controlled nuclear explosions to bring this about.

    • John2o2o

      Scotland can be independent Vassos. It managed to be independent of England until 1707. It can do so again.

  • Goose

    In psychology it’s called learned helplessness.

    Learned helplessness is a control not a competence problem.

    The unionists are quick to pounce on anyone ‘talking down’ the UK’s prospects over ‘going it alone’ with Brexit, but as far as Scotland is concerned, it’s been their stock-in-trade for years. And because people like Ruth the Mooth get so much disproportionate(given their polling) and uncritical publicity, they’ve had some success in creating a mindset among Scots that Scotland is uniquely incapable of managing her own affairs. Sowing seeds of doubt is their M.O.

  • Colin Dawson

    That so many people still believe that Scotland is too wee, too poor and too stupid to be a successful independent country only goes to show the power of British Nationalist propaganda that has been visited upon us for decades if not centuries. Control the message, control the people…

    • PP

      But Scotland doesn’t want to be an successful independent country.

      It wants to become a region of the EU ruled by Brussels.

      • MJ

        Using the referendum results as a guide it wants to be part of the UK but wants the UK to be a member of the EU. This is a rational position. Scotland has done well out of the EU. Lots of grants and subsidies while the costs of membership have been borne by the UK as a whole.

      • Republicofscotland

        “It wants to become a region of the EU ruled by Brussels.”

        Listening to the language of Westminster, or the media, they sometimes described Scotland as a region. I forget which one said of Scotland in recent months that it was a region, just as Yorkshire is.

        Of course there are no regions in the EU, only members who can leave (As the UK is doing) when they want to.

        However I’m pretty sure you already know this and are intentionally acting obtuse.

  • Vivian O'Blivion

    Will Mr Murray consider putting his name on the regional list for the proposed “Wings” party?
    Regardless of what others think, I am convinced that the D’Hont system can be gamed. I have routinely voted for the Scottish Greens for the regional list on this basis but this becomes problematic due to their hyper-woke agenda.
    Last week their newly elected Co-convenor stated that her priority was to “get more women and non-binary people elected.”

  • John Goss

    @ Lysias & Random Comment

    News has just broken on RT that Jeffrey Epstein has committed suicide.

    There is wide speculation in the comments that he has been suicided.

    • lysias

      After the earlier incident in the jail, Epstein should have been put on a suicide watch. Strangely, it would appear that he was not.

      If they can no longer prosecute Epstein, the obvious person to go after is his chief assistant Ghislaine Maxwell, who seems to have disappeared. I suspect she is hiding out in Israel, which has a history of not extraditing.

  • Sharp Ears

    Jeffrey Epstein has been found dead in his Manhattan cell.

    P Andrew breathes a sigh of relief.

  • nevermind

    O’T convicted and suspected paedophile Jeffrey Epstein is said to have committed suicide in prison.
    Will this erase the case against him? will it stop the publication of a highly accusatory report including previous victims and witness statements accusing high placed persons and celebrities of collusion in his crimes?

    There are people who will sigh with relieve, for my part he can rot in hell, but I would like to know whether he was helped along the way with this final decision.

    • RandomComment

      Good questions which I think we’re all asking. And now I’m seeing breaking news that the CCTV miraculously malfunctioned.

    • Tony_0pmoc


      I reckon its highly likely he is still alive, and on his way to some other island on the other side of the world. He knew far too much, but at the end of the day, for those involved at the highest level, it was much safer not to kill him, but to make him disappear. These exceptionally rich evil people will be looking after their own backs too, and will want to protect their clan. They have the power and manipulation to achieve such things, and have had at least since the death of JFK, which was very real indeed.

      This news will all be buried and forgotten about in a few weeks time.


  • Trowbridge H Ford

    When is the Met going to identify PM Boris Johnson as the leaker of the Darroch memos, and put hum on trial for a serious crime or does the Anglo-American world still abide by the docrine that the King/President can do no wrong while going along with the hoopla that it has responsible democratic government?

    • Deb O'Nair

      The Met is the most corrupt police force in the UK so don’t expect them to uphold or enforce the law when it comes to corrupt Tory politicians, especially when Johnson and Patel are busy arranging a publicly financed bung.

    • RandomComment

      Is there some sauce for that claim? I saw it as much more likely that the leak was an attempt to damage Anglo-US relations prior to Brexit and a likely trade deal between the two countries. Ie from the remain camp

      • Trowbridge H Ford

        Anyone who takes your queries and claims seriously is just wasting their time as the mods delete them!

          • Trowbridge H Ford

            Y,ou sure did when you dismissed my work by claiming that I worked for the CIA when i only ever said I was drafted voluntarily into the US Army’s Counter Intelligence Corps, the CIC, during the Korean Wa, The true details about anything y.ou avoid like the plague.

          • RandomComment

            Trow, genuine apologies. For the record, I’ve always enjoyed your work (and comments), and you’re right – I don’t the half of it. Bit too much “sauce” on my part

          • RandomComment

            To add – there are several points here:

            1) Were the leaks damaging to Anglo-US relations? There may be an argument as to why not, but I’m saying I don’t see it.

            2) Does that damage favour EU or Brexit interests? Given Trump appears to be rather anti-EU and pro-Brexit, it would seem to be the former.

            (But I can envisage ways it could be used for the opposite – reverse optics – hence my asking as simple question of retired-school-teacher THF)

            3) Assuming 2), why would it be pushed by the Brexit camp?

            Like the rest of us, I’m just trying make sense of it.

          • RandomComment

            The added complication being, both Johnson and May must have knowledge of the “Russiagate” hoax (which Craig himself has extensively debunked)

  • Toby

    No surprises there. Look at the German-speaking countries:

    Poorest: Germany.
    Next poorest: Austria
    Next poorest: Switzerland.
    Richest: Liechtenstein – which is the smallest of the lot.

    The bigger the country, the poorer the people.

    Why? Because the bigger a country is, the easier it is to swindle the people. No one even knows it’s happening.

    As you say, the case for Scottish independence is unanswerable.

  • Brianfujisan

    I Wonder, As Tony Op mentioned above.. that Epstein could be disappeared never to be seen again.. at least with the same face.. Off to live happily ever after in some remote corner.

    I wonder too, If he is already buried at sea. like the fake Bin Laden story.

    • Tony_0pmoc

      Brianfujisan, My view, which maybe wrong, was simply a logical deduction of the story, without seeing at the time, any supportive evidence. Although I am not that particularly interested, its very windy here, with not much else to do, I have since found other supporting evidence for my theory, written by people anonymously who claimed to have been there on other obscure websites. I cannot check the veracity of what they wrote, but they seemed to be writing their account in a state of fear. In my view, most people are honest, even if they do work in a prison or a hospital, and they do have the courage to write anonymously, when they see something very wrong.

      I read similar accounts very shortly after the “death” of Seth Rich, by the claimed to be doctor who treated him and stabilised him in emergency. Then a few hours later, the entire place had been taken over by the powers that b, and he no longer had any access to his patient, who he thought he had saved his life. Such comments from such brave people very quickly get deleted from the internet. Yet they are the real witnesses. What reason would they have to lie, when they know, by telling the truth, they themselves are putting their own career and life in danger.

      I have massive respect for such people, which quite obviously includes Craig Murray.


      • Deb O'Nair

        “they do have the courage to write anonymously”

        Don’t we all? I certainly have, loads and loads of it.

      • nevermind

        Thanks for your earlier message, Tony Opmoc, JE’s death is unusual as it is bound to high profile individual who will have to answet to what is on record.
        Killing/disappearing someone does not change the persons past record.
        This case is far more nasty than any wishful Russian collusion alledged by the DNC.
        These records, and past witnesses/ victims are now the only thing that can keep the truth alive.

      • nevermind

        Thanks Tony Op. I agree there are similarities with Seth Rich death. The powers to be, who usually run the asylum, would try everything to divert, and divide to cover their past excesses.

        What to do next? Cause leaders are just not interested in us, they actively trying to manage consent
        At present they are projecting normalcy and business as usual when reality shows them up as opportunists and dis connected from normal life. Take care.

  • M.J.

    Scotland’s decline may be partly due to brain drain to North America in the 19th and 20th centuries. But whatever the reason, the fact remains that in recent history the Scots made their decision – to stay in the UK. And Boris is no more likely to invite them to change their minds than he is to ask the whole of the UK to reconsider Brexit. So tough luck. Scotland will remain British forever, and therefore so will Tunnocks caramel logs, Barrs Irn Bru, and even Oor Wullie. Mwah hah hah hah hah! OK, I’ll make an exception for Oor Wullie.

    • John2o2o

      Oh, you mean like my great aunts who emigrated to New York City in the 1930s to work as domestics for millionaires. That sort of brain drain?

      It has nothing to do with Boris Johnson.

      Certainly Scotland will remain the northern portion of the island of Great Britain, but I see no reason why it cannot be independent of Westminster.

      Should Cardiff be running East Anglia? Should Manchester be making decisions for Cornwall? No, of course not, nor should London be making decisions for Scotland.

    • Laguerre

      “And Boris is no more likely to invite them to change their minds than he is to ask the whole of the UK to reconsider Brexit. So tough luck.”

      As I mentioned earlier, if I understand Craig’s position correctly, Scotland doesn’t have to ask for Westminster’s permission to declare independence. Rather it has to get it recognised internationally. If a No-deal Brexit is pushed through by undemocratic manipulation, as seems likely, and is what Cummings wants, the Westminster position may be weak, and there may be quite a bit of international sympathy for Scotland.

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