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Piffle and tosh

Brian Taylor | 11:16 UK time, Tuesday, 7 October 2008

It's troublesome, in truth, to focus entirely upon the Glenrothes by-election even although the contest is now formally under way and sundry politicians have hit the ground running, to borrow the phrase customarily deployed by parties seeking to demonstrate their sense of avid determination.

For why? My eye keeps wandering towards the screens showing continuing financial crisis: in particular the share price afflicting the Royal Bank of Scotland as I write.

I know the answer, of course: that a period of instability is the very moment when the democratic process must be sustained.

Surely, the financial climate will add further gravity to what was already a serious contest. One hopes for an absence of piffle and tosh.

As Gordon Brown's new cabinet met in London, Labour could do little other than acknowledge that it faces a huge fight in Glenrothes.

It is defending a majority of more than 10,000 - but that mattered little in Glasgow East.

Political triggers

Plus, of course, the SNP holds the Holyrood version of the Glenrothes seat.

The prospect that defeat in Glenrothes might finish off the PM seems to have receded. Not because anything has changed in Glenrothes but because things have changed inside Labour.

Few expect a challenge to Mr Brown, given the economic climate, whatever political triggers are made available by the electorate.

Still, defeat in Glenrothes would scarcely shore up Gordon Brown's position. Victory, on the other hand . . . hence the expectation in some quarters that Mr Brown might just find time in his schedule to pop over the constituency border from his own Kirkcaldy seat to campaign, albeit briefly, in Glenrothes.


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  • 1. At 12:21pm on 07 Oct 2008, Jake-the-S wrote:


    I'm not so sure about GB's future should Labour be defeated in Glenrothes.
    There are plenty of dissenters just waiting for the next disaster to hit Labour. With Mandy back in the fray the Lefties will be even more keen to have an excuse for a go at GB should Glenrothes fall.

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  • 2. At 12:31pm on 07 Oct 2008, albertobalsam wrote:

    It is during times of global economic upheaval that the benefits of Scotland belonging to a United Kingdom should be evident.

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  • 3. At 12:40pm on 07 Oct 2008, DrLecter wrote:

    Piffle and Tosh are surely to be expected Brian! These are after all, our elected representatives.. Normal conversational ability seems to have eluded them, along with truth, forthrightness, fortitude and wisdom.

    A lucky few appear yet capable of honourable discourse, but alas for the most part, we'll continue to be subjected to the usual drivel and spin from all corners.

    Note to Iain Gray!!! Not all "cyber-bloggers" whom he mentioned in his particularly boring monologue during last week's FMQs are arrant Nats! How dare he presume to prescribe political conviction based upon the limited deductional abilities of his party researchers. Imbecile! Since he's now proven himself both completely dull and witless in a very short space of time, he can however rest assured that he has as much chance of securing my support as a mouldy bowl of porridge has of reaching my gut lining. Long may cyber blogging continue!

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  • 4. At 12:47pm on 07 Oct 2008, U11655018 wrote:

    The piffle and tosh started with the delay in naming the byelection date.

    Brown won't show up in Glenrothes, he's already got his excuses in place, he'll be nestled up in Downing street pretending to deal with the self created recession and DEBT crunch.

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  • 5. At 12:57pm on 07 Oct 2008, NConway wrote:

    In these times of economical upheaval its good that Scotland is a member of the Uk .I dont think so ! if fear is all your argument is based on wouldnt the UK be better of being part of the Euro (which is on the cards) or even the US ,Australian or Canadian dollar and for that matter why not do away with national currencys and have a world currency . The union with England has served its purpose it has had its day ,its now time to move on and become full members of the European union.

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  • 6. At 12:58pm on 07 Oct 2008, darwinsmonkey wrote:

    "One hopes for an absence of piffle and tosh"

    Let's hope so, Brian. This is no time for petty point-scoring.

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  • 7. At 1:26pm on 07 Oct 2008, Older than the Pyramids wrote:

    One of Labour's biggest problems in Glenrothes will be in trying to persuade the electorate that a much-lauded headteacher should be removed from post to become lobby-fodder at Westminster.

    A party which heralded its priorities as "Education, education, education," has apparently had a rethink.

    Not that anyone should be readying their application for any upcoming vacancy for the post of rector of Kirkcaldy High School. Lindsay Roy won't be going anywhere, politically at least.

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  • 8. At 1:33pm on 07 Oct 2008, Older than the Pyramids wrote:

    Re the RBS share price fall.

    It is folly to believe that a company's share price (and hence its market capitalisation) is in any meaningful way indicative of the worth of the business. Rather, it is a measure of how profitable it is expected it will be in coming years to hold shares in the company.

    Even in the case of those who survive current difficulties (and most of those difficulties are driven purely by fear), most banks are now expected to take a decade or more to recover to their [commercial] position of 12 months ago, so those who invest in companies' shares for a living are looking elsewhere for more probably returns in the short- to medium-term.

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  • 9. At 1:39pm on 07 Oct 2008, Barbazenzero wrote:

    #2. At 12:31pm on 07 Oct 2008,
    "It is during times of global economic upheaval that the benefits of Scotland belonging to a United Kingdom should be evident."

    Welcome, newbie. An unusually percipient first post. I agree 100% that they should be evident, which makes it all the sadder that they're not.

    Just look at what Ireland were able to do at the week-end through being independent within the EU and the Euro. How different to the ability of Scotland to protect itself.

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  • 10. At 1:45pm on 07 Oct 2008, kaybraes wrote:

    The Glenrothes result will have no effect on Brown , even if the SNP win in a landslide. The unprincipled ranks of Labour will cling on to the Westminster gravy train to the bitter end. No way will they risk an election which would be unavoidable if they get rid of Brown. They all know where their bread is buttered and they are not going to put that at risk.

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  • 11. At 1:54pm on 07 Oct 2008, Barbazenzero wrote:

    10 kaybraes
    Agreed, except I think that you meant their officer corps in cosy billets rather than the "poor bloody infantry" in the ranks who actually vote for them.

    I have no sympathy whatsoever for the former but a great deal for the latter, without much understanding of why they still do.

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  • 12. At 2:05pm on 07 Oct 2008, Eoin_og wrote:

    I think hoping either for an avoidance of piffle and tosh, or that further gravity will be added to the contest leaves a serious political commentator open to the charge of wishful thinking! Bear in mind that recently Mr Prescott swore at SNP supporters, who were in turn jeering at him as he walked past. Such is the political level that can be expected.

    Re Brown's cause, surely now the rebels have realised (i) that no-one heavyweight enough to topple Brown would consider taking over before the coming election as they would open their leadership with a slaughtering, and (ii) internal coups would not produce the normal bounce in the polls that follows the bloodletting of the man in charge and the coronation of the new leader.

    As for the election itself, while I am no Labour supporter, is there not a very real danger that the SNP will go into this election feeling they cannot lose? As evidenced by an experienced political commentator stating "As Gordon Brown's new cabinet met in London, Labour could do little other than acknowledge that it faces a huge fight in Glenrothes. It is defending a majority of 10'000 - but that mattered little in Glasgow East". Reference this page chaps.

    Labour are still the favourites in Glenrothes, surely?

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  • 13. At 2:46pm on 07 Oct 2008, lionalibaba wrote:

    I only hope we get unbiased reporting from TV and papers, we had a lot of anti SNP reporting in the last election and untruths told so here is hoping we don't have the same old reporters brought on screen by the BBC.

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  • 14. At 2:52pm on 07 Oct 2008, Barbazenzero wrote:

    #12 Eoin_og
    "Labour are still the favourites in Glenrothes, surely?"

    Not to the bookies. See But we certainly need some new poll data fairly soon to make any predictions worthwhile.

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  • 15. At 3:07pm on 07 Oct 2008, Eoin_og wrote:

    Brownedov - thanks for that. I just don't think that a majority that large can be written off with a simple shrug of the shoulders by anyone (although I am fully aware that bookies are not in business long unless they get the odds right!)

    To re-phrase, I wonder if political commentators and bookies aren't counting their chickens? Remember how hard the SNP worked for Glasgow East? And how badly Labour stuffed up (particularly at the start when their preferred candidate resigned and they missed the start of campaigning trying to convince another one to stand in)? Believe me, I will be supporting the SNP on this occasion - perhaps that is why I want some solid evidence that a 10'000 majority can simply be written off.

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  • 16. At 3:10pm on 07 Oct 2008, oldnat wrote:

    IMHO (OK, the H is irony) Brown has played a clever short-term game in crushing the internal Parliamentary Labour rebellion before calling the Glenrothes by-election. The timing is now wrong to topple him this year, even if he loses Glenrothes.

    Ironically, Labour's best chance in Glenrothes was to persuade the voters that Brown wouldfall if Glenrothes voted SNP. If voters understand that Brown is safe (for the moment) then they can feel free to vote in a by-election as normal.

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  • 17. At 3:28pm on 07 Oct 2008, oldnat wrote:

    #15 Eoin_og

    As Brownedov says, we need more polling evidence for Glenrothes. At the moment we only have the ICM Glenrothes poll from 17 September (when all the hype was in the Press about Brown going if the SNP won in Glenrothes) giving SNP and Labour 43% each, LD 8% and Con 5%.

    The 10,000 majority is a bit misleading, as it refers to the 2005 UK election, when the SNP was squeezed by the Lab/Con duality at Westminster. In 2007, at the Scottish elections, the SNP won virtually the same seat at the Scottish Parliament elections, by a very narrow majority.

    I think those SNP activists who assume it's going to be easy are wrong. Every vote is going to matter.

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  • 18. At 3:28pm on 07 Oct 2008, BoNG0_1 wrote:

    Who cares if Brown is safe or not?

    All that is important is that the SNP voters in Glenrothes make sure they do not get apathetic, get out to vote and win the seat for the benefit of Scotland.

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  • 19. At 3:29pm on 07 Oct 2008, Chiefy1724 wrote:

    Anyone laying any odds on the Great Leader appearing on the streets of Glenrothes ?

    I know that I keep going on about him, but I'd say that they're about as good as His Lordship George Foulkes also appearing. A ticket in the SNP Conference Draw for the Car at my expense for the first sighting of either in the Town !

    (A quick googling reveals that the Town Motto is "Ex Terra Vis" - From the earth, strength ,apparently reflecting the links with coal and that the Glenrothes Arabs have their own Web-page, Brian, so presumably you'll always be able to catch the game in friendly company whilst covering the campaign!)

    I wouldn't be so sure that this isn't a lot tighter than everyone is making out, however.

    It clearly is the SNP's to lose and I guess what it boils down to is to how much NuLab want to keep the seat. They still have a very satisfactory majority in the Parliament and so is it worth their cash and their dedication of resources to what many people would already say was a forgone conclusion ?

    Compare and Contrast with McCain’s decision to pull out of Michigan, where he “should” have been in with a shout ?

    Another SNP MP or even Liberal MP – Yesterday’s Chip Paper in reality. Had it not been for Two Jags, John Mason’s departure from the Dear Green Place and arrival at Westmunster would have occupied about 15 seconds on Reporting Scotland. A Labour MP in Glenrothes, so what, they were voting in the memory of a good Socialist now gone.

    So, IMHO, NuLab have nothing to win and everything to lose. Do the bulk of the People of the Union care as to whether an ex-mining seat in Fife where they used to weigh the majority, not count it, is retained by NuLab or victim to a “predictable mid-term slump compounded by the current economic crisis” ? No.

    (Scotland is…) “A small country far away about which (they) know little and care less” ?

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  • 20. At 3:41pm on 07 Oct 2008, oldnat wrote:

    #18. BoNG0_1

    Strange as it may seem to those committed to a particular party, the polling evidence suggests that there are a significant number of SNP/Labour floating voters who are influenced by such issues at UK level.

    Fortunately, I'm sure the SNP strategists are well aware of this!

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  • 21. At 3:49pm on 07 Oct 2008, Barbazenzero wrote:

    #15 Eoin_og

    You're welcome, and I agree there's still a mountain to climb, but unless complacency sets in the runes certainly look pretty good for Grant. All the polls to date (latest mid-Sep) show him ahead, and Marwick won Fife Central in 2007. Analysis of the wards in and out compared to Glenrothes show the SNP would also have won Glenrothes in 2007.

    About the only two things I can see playing in NuLab's favour so far is the aircraft carrier contract (which may play as more local jobs) and any vestige of local sympathy Brown may have left with Fifers. Both probably need to be handled carefully, but just about everything else that's happened since Glasgow East should play in the SNP's favour.

    I'd still like some local poll results and especially turnout predictions before nailing my own trousers to the mast, though.

    As in Glasgow East, turnout will be extremely important if the polls are reasonably close because of every 10 voters who stay home about 6 will have voted Labour last time. Glasow East turnout was just over the top end of my "narrow SNP win" range making the 365 plurality closer than I expected.

    This time, with an even older electoral roll and short winter days, turnout would normally tend to be lower, but OTOH it is not a holiday period as Glasgow East was.
    It could fall much more in Glenrothes which had a respectable 56.1% in 2005 compared to Glasgow East's very low 48.2%.

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  • 22. At 4:01pm on 07 Oct 2008, irnbru_addict wrote:

    2. albertobalsam wrote:
    "It is during times of global economic upheaval that the benefits of Scotland belonging to a United Kingdom should be evident."

    This is a really interesting point which can, and is, argued regularly. There is an opposite side to it though...

    Taking the arguement of strength in numbers one stage further would give a number of choices:

    1) The establishment of a European state with full fiscal and military powers. It would be the new superpower easily able to compete with the US, China et al and protect us in times of global upheaval.

    2) The UK becoming a state of the USA. The US is 6 times bigger tan the UK with undoubted (perhaps diminishing) economic and military power. The UK would have all the protection of a constituent state of the US that existing states would have. Hey, and we could vote for a VPILF!

    So, why do unionists not advocate either of these two options? If you believe that in size lies strength, why not dissolve the UK into the EU or US?

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  • 23. At 4:15pm on 07 Oct 2008, Dave McEwan Hill wrote:

    There is no SNP activist that thinks Glenrothes is going to be easy. That's paper talk designed to make Labour worthy underdogs in a seat in which they have a 10,000 plus majority.
    Anybody that puts a bet on SNP at current odds would be bonkers.

    In my book Labour is still the strong favourite at Glenrothes and I'm sorely tempted to put a big bet on them at the present ridiculous odds with the intention of putting the profit into my local SNP branch. That way I can't lose as I wont mind losing the money if the SNP win.

    Remember, the plot is to keep Brown leading the Labour Party so the Tories can waltz in at the next election. So he's going to get quite a good press till after Gelenrothes and then the knives will be out again, but not enough to provoke an actual leadership challenge that might succeed.
    The decent and daft Labour loyalists don't know they are having their collective plonkers pulled.

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  • 24. At 4:22pm on 07 Oct 2008, Dave McEwan Hill wrote:

    2 albertobalsam

    And the benefits of being Norway or Finland, for instance are equally evident.
    The whole banking system is multi national but it was the (independent, wee) Irish that were first off the mark protecting their people.
    The economies of Germany, UK and Russia are in serious trouble. So what's your point?
    The UK economy is perhaps the most overexposed in Europe and this is down to incompetence and fiscal profligacy by Gordon Brown. The penny will eventually drop on this.

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  • 25. At 4:23pm on 07 Oct 2008, oldnat wrote:

    As to Brian's other theme -

    "share price afflicting the Royal Bank of Scotland"
    and other aspects of the financial crisis, I'm much influenced by Robert Reich's book "Supercapitalism" which suggests that the trite arguments about this fail to understand that we are all to blame!

    As consumers we want the lowest possible prices. The big retailers do this for us by forcing down supplier costs.

    As investors (including anyone with a pension plan etc) we want the best return on our money. The fund managers do this by moving cash to the firms with the lowest costs and best profits, thus pressuring CEOs to do anything to increase profits.

    As citizens we may care about the effects of this (funds moving cash from firm to firm instantly as share price moves; or the low wages at Asda) but we can't affect this ourselves. It needs regulation, and that's something only Government can do.

    Since the 1970's Governments throughout the world have pandered to our demands as consumers and investors, and deregulated to the disadvantage of us as citizens. They did what we wanted. We need to blame ourselves as much as them.

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  • 26. At 4:28pm on 07 Oct 2008, excellentcatblogger wrote:

    It now appears very likely that the confidential meeting yesterday at Downing Street between the Chief Execs of Barclays, Lloyds TSB, RBS, the Chancellor and the Treasury was deliberately leaked to the BBc's Robert Preston. The rumour mill has then concluded that this was seen as a plea for extra funding.

    In the space of weeks, the Bank of Scotland is swallowed up by Lloyds TSB and the future of RBS now remains in the balance. Scotland has had a long and prestigious heritage in the banking sector and is renowned around the world.

    Personally leaking such information ought to be considered as criminally irresponsible. The other day the Tories harped on about a "scorched earth policy" being conducted by labour. At the time I found this difficult to accept. Not any more. The inactivity of the Government and regulators during the trading day has been lamentable.

    In the past two weeks the Russian authorities have suspended trading on their stock exchange when the markets threatened to go into free fall. NuLab has tended to rely on spin in the past. But when confronted by crisis decisive action is required. AD is to speak at 5pm BST after the markets have closed - too little too late perhaps?

    HBOS down 36% on the day, RBS down 30% on the day, just before market close.

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  • 27. At 4:35pm on 07 Oct 2008, scottishrepublic wrote:

    I am sure that the only Scottish Party will have their forces out in numbers. I know that the spirit shown by SNP supporters will continue until Independence. We will put in whatever effort is required, to ensure the People of Glenrothes understand the issues and are aware of the depths of skullduggery shown at the Glasgow East election by the London Controlled New Labour Pary.

    It is a real pity that the Scottish Journalists who know New Labour so well, wouldnt grow a spine and at the minimum show some honesty in their reporting of the election.

    Our mission is a noble one. We simply want Scotland run by Scots who dont answer to Westmonster and dont betray the Scottish People for the sake of their career, or party.

    The New Labour Party have abused and betrayed the Scottish Nation for fifty years, hence our severe social problems. One only has to look around the World to see people who have been downtrodden by a foreign power, and the low self esteem that it creates in the Individual.

    So come on Brian, do your best young man. As one of the most responsible journos in Scotland, show the many others what fair balanced Journalism is like.

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  • 28. At 4:39pm on 07 Oct 2008, oldnat wrote:

    #24 sneckedagain

    Good article in the Irish Times which I think supports your argument.

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  • 29. At 4:49pm on 07 Oct 2008, scottishrepublic wrote:

    Post Script:

    I do not know if any patrons of this page have read the Anglo Papers today. Both the Times and the Telegraph are reporting a survey which states that 24% of the English intend to depart these shores for a better life abroad in one of the Indepenent former colonies of the UK. These countries now offer a better life for the people of the UK than their own homeland. I take no pleasure writing this, because whilst I am a SNP supporter, I empathise with the unfortunate English and Welsh People who are treated as an afterthought by the monstrous political classes in this midden of a combined nation.

    The other interesting news in the same papers was that quite a few major London Based Financial Companies have announced that they are to relocate to Ireland. Seemingley Darling and Brown were really shocked to hear the news because two of these large companies were important contributors to the Anglo New Labour Party.

    Doesnt that tell yu something about Browns attitude towards big business, he care about donations more than he loss of investment and loss of jobs in London.

    He Has To Go.

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  • 30. At 4:54pm on 07 Oct 2008, raisethegame wrote:

    I think the leaks to the BBC (Brown's Broadcasting Corp) via Peston are a dangerous game. I believe Gordon Brown has lost his grip. His scheming, together with his inability to take decisive action could be the ruination of this country. His so-called amazing financial acumen, his leadership qualities, forensic understanding of the world money markets and canny hand on the tiller are being trumpeted by a succession of of his supporters on the BBC news channels, but if he gets out of this mess (which he got us into in the first place) it will be by good luck not good judgement.
    btw Brown will make an appearance at Glenrothes - his new mouthpiece Jim Murphy was talking up the idea on Radio Scotland this morning. The unctious Mr Murphy is so puffed up with his own importance and breathless with the excitement of his new 'job'at the top table that he would not have said it had Brown not told him it was so.

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  • 31. At 5:18pm on 07 Oct 2008, Greetings_Earthlings wrote:

    Pursuing my familiarization with the area covered by the Fife administrative unit, confusingly referred to at times as a kingdom, although, when I called at Falkland Palace, there was no king in, I decided to cast my eye, as you Earthlings say, over the east end of the peninsula before focusing upon the west end, where the UK legislature's constituency of Glenrothes is located.

    East is east and west is west, and never the twain shall meet, as you Earthlings are always saying. Is that so, though? Painstaking research - I pressed a button - reveals that the county was to have been carved up between the new region of Tayside to the north and the new region of Lothian to the south in local-government re-organization as initially conceived by the Kilbrandon Commission under the Scottish Office branch of UK overlordship in the 1970s before the population of the whole of Fife rose up in united revolt and battered the overlords into submission with their 'lang spunes'. Never underestimate a Fifer. It is a mistake. If Fifers can beat up the duly appointed representatives of the UK overlords in defence of the territorial integrity of a fancifully imaginary kingdom, what may they not be capable of in the circumstances of the present by-election?

    As for east Fife, let us look at what differentiates it from west Fife, in order to put the latter in its overall Fife context before situating the Glenrothes constituency within the context of west Fife. To that end accompany me to the decade before local-government re-organization. As temporal displacement is not for the faint-hearted, brace yourselves. Those of a nervous disposition are warned that they may require counselling afterwards. It is late September in 1964, in the last days of the election campaign in the general election called by the outgoing UK Tory administration headed by the Scottish aristocrat known as Lord Home, aka Sir Alec Douglas-Home and then safely back to Lord Home again after his political career goes pear-shaped at the beginning of next month, when the Labour Party takes over the government and a portly little pipe-smoking not terribly comradely fellow in a rather distinctive macintosh moves into Number 10, which will be a hive of productive and creative activity in the coming years, as his wife writes poetry.

    Like the outgoing PM, the sitting MP for the constituency of East Fife is a Tory laird, the local Sir John or knight of the shire, for an insight into the character of which species you might do worse than dip into a little of the writings of Joseph Addison and Richard Steele on the subject of an English squire by the name of Sir Roger from an earlier century:

    "I am the more at ease in Sir Roger's family, because it consists of sober and staid persons; for as the Knight is the best master in the world, he seldom changes his servants; and as he is beloved by all about him, his servants never care for leaving him; by this means his domesticks are all in years, and grown old with their master. You would take his valet de chambre for his brother, his butler is gray-headed, his groom is one of the gravest men that I have ever seen, and his coachman has the looks of a privy-counsellor. You see the goodness of the master even in the old house-dog, and in a gray pad that is kept in the stable with great care and tenderness out of regard to his past services, tho' he has been useless for several years." (Days with Sir Roger de Coverley, Joseph Addison and Richard Steele, originally published in The Spectator, 1711)

    Although the comparison is not quite on all fours, I cannot reflect upon the real-life 20th-century east Fife Sir John without being put in mind of the 18th-century fictional English Sir Roger, mainly because seeing the laird striding into a local village hall to address from the comfort of his well-filled expensively tailored suit a smattering of respectful but not entirely deferential electors in kindly and well-meaning but patrician tones cannot but make me think that even in 1964 he belongs in an earlier era, as does Sir Alec.

    For all its gentle and genteel associations, in 1964 East Fife, which for the previous 33 years has been held by the National Liberals, then the Liberal-Unionists and then the Unionists, is still a long way from coming under the sway of the emperor Ming. Although it can boast of distinctive liberal tinges, it appears to be an old-fashioned rock-solid Tory fiefdom, just as Glasgow East and Glenrothes will be thought of as rock-solid Labour fiefdoms until suddenly it is no longer so.

    The Old Etonian third baronet of Lundin and Montrave (like the Sir John who was his government-minister father and like the Sir John in 2008 who is his son) has a piece of the sort of agricultural wealth which, together with the remains of the fishing industry and the thriving tourist trade of the East Neuk, distinguishes east Fife from the more industrial and council-estate west Fife. In the 1964 UK general election he is returned as the MP with a vote of 21,001, giving him a majority over the Labour candidate of 11,236. Although the successor constituency of North-East Fife is in 2008 a Liberal Democrat domain, the Liberals come no better than third in 1964 with 5,075 votes and the SNP fourth with 2,635 votes, beating a Miss Greene of the Empire Loyalists into fifth place with 257 votes. Yes, in 1964, 257 people in East Fife cast their votes in favour of the British Empire. How times change.

    A different world, almost a different planet, is the world of 2008 compared to what was to be glimpsed in that Fife election of 44 years ago. Old certainties wither and die as those whose certainties they are wither and die, and it does not take very long, in historical terms. That which is perceived to be rock-solid is revealed to have a foundation which is different in character from what one took it to be, and so time and tide wear away at the surface to reveal at length what lies beneath. North-East Fife is in 2008 a Lib-Dem seat essentially, one may argue, because East Fife was at heart Liberal all along. The 20th-century decline of the Liberal Party in the UK let the Tories in. Then Tory decline in Scotland enabled a strong candidate to kick them out of North-East Fife. What of the Scottish National Party in all of this? In the by-going they almost won East Fife at one point in the course of their previous memorable ascent. Why is this? Can it be that underneath the Tory foundation, and underneath the Liberal foundation that was under that, another foundation lies waiting to be revealed? Nothing less frightful for the UK overlords than the ancient national identity of the unfanciful and non-imaginary Kingdom of Scotland that transcends traditional party politics, just as the knight of the shire traditionally did. A Scottish identity which, in propitious circumstances, may assert itself and hand the constituency to the SNP? If so, then the same can happen in west Fife, presumably, and in the rock-solid Labour constituency of Glenrothes, which, from what I hear, is not looking rock-solid any more.

    Time to look next at west Fife more closely and peer at the foundations in Glenrothes.

    In the meantime, on the subject of the current stock-market palpitations, dinna worry. Buy a certain banking stock now, and you'll be fine. No more than you can afford, mind. Toodloothenoo.

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  • 32. At 5:20pm on 07 Oct 2008, Anglophone wrote:

    #25 Oldnat

    I'm in rare agreement. Real wages haven't increased much for 30 years and if one was truly sceptical one could suggest that the credit boom and asset bubble that has developed in the past 15 years has been manufactured to hide the ever increasing difficulty in generating real economic growth.

    What could have been done differently is a moot point and, on balance I'm glad not be wearing flared jeans or drinking from Party 7's (assuming someone had remembered the opener).

    I put this in as a test, as my previous entry simply refuses to appear despite containing nothing but sober comment on economics. Perhaps I should do what everyone else does and get a few aliases.

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  • 33. At 5:23pm on 07 Oct 2008, Anglophone wrote:

    #9 Brownedov

    "Just look at what Ireland were able to do at the week-end through being independent within the EU and the Euro. How different to the ability of Scotland to protect itself".

    If you believe that an independent Scotland could weather the storm any better I would be interested to hear your reasoning. At present it would be faced with issuing government bonds to cover retail depositors (any thought given to the rating of Scottish sovereign debt by the way..oil prices tumbling and all that?) and would be trading with a currency that is over-valued versus Sterling...the currency of your biggest trading partner as nats so often smoothly point out. Safe savings, collapsed businesses...a neat combination.

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  • 34. At 5:26pm on 07 Oct 2008, Anglophone wrote:


    There...for some reason a removed a mildly humourous piece about RBS insisting on issuing its own design for Euro-notes and it was blocked.

    Oh...that and the bit about Ireland technically acting illegally under EU law...if that's what you're advocating as part of your new relationship with the EU;-)

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  • 35. At 5:36pm on 07 Oct 2008, Peter_Fife wrote:


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  • 36. At 5:41pm on 07 Oct 2008, northhighlander wrote:


    The abscence of serious debate has started here already. No extra gravity or acceptance of the seriousness of the situations form our Nationalist colleagues.

    Everything will be fine if we can get rid of England! Re 1,5,8,9,10 ,11 etc.

    Germany appears to be wobbling over exactly what it is protecting, experienced commentators question how much Ireland's garuntee is really worth, the situation appears to be changing by the hour.

    Lets be honest Alex has had a pretty impressive showing so far on the global economic crisis. He would have spent £100bn on tryiong to prop up HBOS, that being his only real contribution on the issue.

    The SNP appeared to have already won Glenrothes, over the last few weeks on these blogs. Do I detect some wriggle room being applied for? The beginnings of excuses maybe? Surely Not

    The circumstances across the world are unprecedented, our politicans should be concentrating 100% on sorting out the mess, lets face it we all have played a part in this. Old nat is correct we want our cake and eat it as well.

    We should be having debate on what is the correct way forward, what regulation needs to change to prevent a recurrance. we also need to recognise this requires a global commitment to change and Scotland independant or not would is a very small influencer.

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  • 37. At 5:43pm on 07 Oct 2008, oldnat wrote:

    #32 Anglophone

    Chances are you're either using an incorrect HTML code for bold or similar, though the usual problem is using an ampersand (&) somewhere in the text or a link you are posting.

    #33 Anglophone

    Have a look at the Irish Times that I linked to in my #28. That's why I'm a European Unionist, as well as a Scottish Nationalist.

    The UK has had its day - it's too wee for the big things, like the banking crisis or invading other countries(!), but it's too big for the everyday things like health and education.

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  • 38. At 5:48pm on 07 Oct 2008, angus scot wrote:

    The SNP expect to win despite the fact that their educational policies in Scotland are in disarray. However, what a shock they will get if they lose.

    Salmond has been first class at not answering questions and at soundbites. However, the spivs he is blaming for the demise of HBOS ( short selling) are now apparently his economic advisors. He is remarkably silent about that, and the cuts councils will have to make, to implement free school meals for primary 1s to 3s

    As a now retired educationalist I am aware that Lindsay Roy , the Labour candidate, is very highly regarded at the very highest level in education and the way he has run his schools has and is very impressive.

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  • 39. At 6:00pm on 07 Oct 2008, Barbazenzero wrote:

    #32. At 5:20pm on 07 Oct 2008, Anglophone wrote:
    "I put this in as a test, as my previous entry simply refuses to appear despite containing nothing but sober comment on economics."

    Nothing so dastardly. Your previous entry doesn't appear above as "awaiting moderation" or "referred to the moderators" or "removed for breaking House Rules". Therefore it never reached the moderators but was rejected mechanistically by the parser, which turns the text you enter into HTML displayed by the browser. Most likely, you put an inadvertent &, < or > into your text as these have to be coded specially, but for a more detailed explanation of what happens see Errors near the end of my #75 on the New ways into blogs thread.

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  • 40. At 6:03pm on 07 Oct 2008, Barbazenzero wrote:

    #33 Anglophone

    My remark was simply intended to draw attention to the fact that the Irish Republic was able to act in what it believed was its own best interest. Scotland currently cannot, but must depend on the UK government "doing the right thing" - something it doesn't seem too good at of late.

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  • 41. At 6:04pm on 07 Oct 2008, oldnat wrote:

    #36 northhighlander

    "our politicans should be concentrating 100% on sorting out the mess"

    That would be unproductive. Life goes on, and politicians have decisions to take on other aspects of life in the meantime.

    In wider terms, the only politicians who can take action are the ones who get elected. These are the ones who can gain funding from business (promoting their own interests) and promise a system that maximises increasing wealth for the people in the short term, which is exactly what has happened, throughout the westernised world.

    Finance is global and needs to be regulated globally. The days when counties like the UK were powerful enough to do this on their own are long gone.

    I actually agree with you that "Scotland independant (sic) or not would is a very small influencer(sic)", (though I wish posters would spell independent properly!), but that's not an argument against dissolving the Act of Union with England. It is, however, a strong argument for improving the European Union.

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  • 42. At 6:08pm on 07 Oct 2008, Barbazenzero wrote:

    #34 Anglophone

    Re your technical woes, see my #39.

    "the bit about Ireland technically acting illegally under EU law"
    They haven't been taken to court yet, and I believe they never will be. As I said recently on these threads, the EU treaties are not intended to be suicide pacts.

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  • 43. At 6:18pm on 07 Oct 2008, oldnat wrote:

    #38 angusscot

    Not sure what an "educationalist" does. I'm a retired Depute Head, and remember well when schools were allowed to handle their own budgets for the first time (now an overwhelming success). Some schools planned their budgets well, and maximised the spend on pupils. Others planned them badly and kept too much money back (and lost it) or spent unwisely (and had to cut back savagely at the end of the financial year.

    It's the same with councils who (for the first time in the working lives of their elected members and officials) have to plan their budgets properly instead of being told by Edinburgh how much has to be spent on this or that. Regardless of party control, some councils will have wisely planned their budgets to have included the spend on free school meals agreed in the Concordat for the last year of the agreement 2010-11. Others will have planned badly, and be screaming for a hand-out.

    I agree with you about Lindsay Roy - an excellent school manager. Why would Labour want to remove him from his rescue job in Kirkcaldy High after only a few months in post, to send him to Westminster which has no influence over Scottish Education, and where he would have no management role in which to exercise his skills?

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  • 44. At 6:22pm on 07 Oct 2008, Barbazenzero wrote:

    #36 northhighlander
    "We should be having debate on what is the correct way forward, what regulation needs to change to prevent a recurrance. we also need to recognise this requires a global commitment to change and Scotland independant or not would is a very small influencer."

    You're certainly creating some wriggle room for yourself with the rest of your post, but the quoted bit above is fair comment. I do think Ireland have done better for themselves so far than NuLab have done for the UK, but it is equally possible to imagine a UK government that could have done better. In that sense, maybe it should be less of an issue rather than more.

    However, to take NuLab party line (very similar comments appear from the NuLab apologists on the NR threads) is to go too far. Somebody may have the perfect plan for the future, but if they have shown incompetence and arrogance in their work so far how can you possibly trust them? All governments are judged to a large extent of their record and always will be, whatever constitutional change lies in the future.

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  • 45. At 6:32pm on 07 Oct 2008, Barbazenzero wrote:

    #38 angusscot

    Interesting that your previous posting seemed fairly pro-LibDem, but now you're pushing NuLab.

    It's fair enough that you may regard the individual as a good teacher, but if you have any sympathy with the LibDems do you really believe a hardline unionist will help the cause of federalism more than electing a nationalist?

    As a Liberal, I'm very much on the side of a confederal UK but that's never going to happen under either of the two "big" unionist parties while there's at least the chance under the nats that it would be a necessary half-way house towards their goals which actually grew on people once it happened.

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  • 46. At 6:38pm on 07 Oct 2008, northhighlander wrote:

    Re 28 old nat

    I am in agreement with the article, the european Union appears to be of no real advantage in dealing with this crisis, indeed it may be seen as more of a hindrence so far.

    As we hopefully move towards the end of the crisis inevitably we need to consider reform. With the benefit of hindsight warnings were there but not picked up on correctly by those in power.

    The seeds of this crisis appear to have been sown long ago and challenge the way we live.

    The response to this needs to consider this carefully, I feel a stronger EU needs to come out of this with tighter regulation of the financial markets, but I wonder if even the EU is big enough to make rules that will stop a repaeat of this.

    Those in cahrge of implementing regulation need to be clear about their responsibilities but also need to be clear of interference from politicians in exercising these powers.

    Although the issues appear complicated the article in the Sunday herald summarised the situation around reckless banking very clearly. The practices employed would be obviously flawed to most primary school children.

    Good debate is required to ensure the correct balance is achieved and we move forward.

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  • 47. At 6:49pm on 07 Oct 2008, uk_abz_scot wrote:

    As usual the SNP types are going on about where Mr Brown should or should not go.

    Mr Salmond's regime has responsibility for railways in Scotland. Mr Crow of the RMT appears from Reporting Scotland tonight to be in Scotland. Did Mr Salmond try and meet him ?

    Mr Salmond was of course talking about interest rates (not a devolved item). Of course a small country off the coast of NW Europe with a large banking sector is rumored to be borrowing money from Russia!

    Mr Salmond should get the trains running and stop playing at being finance minister of the UK or Iceland or where ever.

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  • 48. At 6:53pm on 07 Oct 2008, cynicalHighlander wrote:

    "Manic Monday" and "Torrid Tuesday" have passed with "Wild Wednesday" and "Tornado Thursday" to come. Its called global capitalism "Selling unachievable dreams to innocent clients to improve a countries GDP for political prowess".

    The analogy can be drawn if one runs up a hill and slips the the only way is down until a suitable brake can be applied, and that isn't in sight yet.

    Where the the UK was headed was reported a decade ago (can't find article) with the relaxation of banking deregulation. The world has to wise up that a countries wealth comprises of its natural resources and its citizens happily working to produce tangible products or ideas which can be traded.

    Smaller independent nations are the ones who will come out of the impending recession far better because they will not be relying on having to import life supporting goods.

    Hope the voters in Glenrothes realise that they can let go of Westminster's apron strings.

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  • 49. At 7:04pm on 07 Oct 2008, rabbiehippo wrote:

    #47 at this moment i cannot read your post as its awaiting moderation .... but ill wager you have the following 'snp types' or 'tory types' or maybe even
    'Hail Gordon for he is our saviour !!'

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  • 50. At 7:05pm on 07 Oct 2008, Chiefy1724 wrote:

    angusscot, #38 and nothhighlander,#36

    The SNP do not expect to win in Glenrothes

    We aren't so arrogant as to take the votes of the electorate as granted.

    If we win, as in Glasgow East, it will be down to the activists on the ground putting the argument across against a government of the unfair and the unjust and the incompetent.

    And yes, hands up, a fair cop, a protest vote.

    Do you not think that there's enough to protest about tonight as RBS goes down the pan ?

    John MacDougall didn't set the world on fire. He was a Blair and Brown Loyalist, never rebelled, voted for a lot of things that I can't agree with.

    But a by-election caused by an untimely death is always one that you never wish to have.

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  • 51. At 7:05pm on 07 Oct 2008, enneffess wrote:

    5. At 12:57pm on 07 Oct 2008, NConway wrote:
    In these times of economical upheaval its good that Scotland is a member of the Uk .I dont think so ! if fear is all your argument is based on wouldnt the UK be better of being part of the Euro (which is on the cards) or even the US ,Australian or Canadian dollar and for that matter why not do away with national currencys and have a world currency . The union with England has served its purpose it has had its day ,its now time to move on and become full members of the European union.


    Explain Iceland then. Scotland would possibly be in a similar situation.

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  • 52. At 7:47pm on 07 Oct 2008, rabbiehippo wrote:

    47 'Alex Salmond should get the trains running' hes the First Minister nae the Fat Controller !!! I believe trains are a devolved matter and not much that Alex could do really since the unions are mostly Labour controlled. Also since he has a degree in economics thats the kind of thing i think he should be talking about........ now why should we be getting involved with Africa .... since Africa obviously has no interest in what non Africans want ie Robert Mugabbe ....

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  • 53. At 7:55pm on 07 Oct 2008, oldnat wrote:

    #46 northhighlander

    While the outcomes from the current crisis may be horrendous, a silver lining may exist if we can all move away from the narrow stereotyping of political parties as they were last century and move on to some rational debate as to how, internationally, we deal with globalisation, global warming etc.

    In a rational world, next year's European elections would be about which strategies for dealing with these issues we, as Europeans, cumulatively select (do we prioritise our citizen identity over our consumer/investor identity - probably not, but one can hope!). Instead, they will be national referenda on current Governments.

    Whether Scotland is best governed directly by Westminster, by the present or enhanced devolution, within a Confederal or Federal UK, or independent is a separate argument. I do wish that the constitutional and other political debates were not constantly concatenated.

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  • 54. At 8:00pm on 07 Oct 2008, embraman2 wrote:

    It's going to be interesting to see how the current crisis plays in Glenrothes.

    At the risk of incurring the wrath of the massed SNP spinbots, I have to say that Iceland would appear to hold some lessons for small countries with over-large banks. How would a separate Scottish state find the resources to prop up the likes of RBS?

    And can I just note in passing the boak-inducing spectacle of George Mathewson, SNP cheerleader and former head of RBS, touring TV studios to try and blame everyone else for the collapse in the RBS share price. Not even a token "Maybe I didn't get things 100% right"...

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  • 55. At 8:03pm on 07 Oct 2008, northhighlander wrote:

    Re 44 brownedov

    I am no labour apologist, i am one of the undecided for votes past and future. I have always voted for my consience and beliefs and what ever party represents them best. I have voted for most of the parties in the past at different times.

    I don't think you can draw conclusions how well any country has done in handling this crisis until it is long over. Everything is changing quickly, prompting changes in response.

    You make accuasations of arrogance and incompetence, some of which is undoubedtly true. However GB has also done some good work in the present crisis and should get some recognition for it. Northern Rock looks like a pretty good decision now altough universally decried at the time.

    Is it enough? not for me, but Salmond is someone i utterly detest as he takes arrogance to new levels.

    Left with Tavish or David Cameron. Hobsons choice just now i am afraid

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  • 56. At 8:05pm on 07 Oct 2008, impeachblair wrote:

    What is happening is, pure and simple, a failure of regulation.

    The risk that institutions could become so large that they could damage the UK through their decision-making should have been factored into the Government control regime. The fact that the Government has now to step in is inescapable evidence of this.

    It also points squarely at the huge mistake of deregulation that started under the Tories and continued under Labour. Sceptics will argue that the banks would have left if the regulator was too heavy handed but there are other ways to keep companies domiciled domestically other than giving them carte blanche.

    Those that claim that Scotland would have been to small to deal with the situation make the classic, oft repeated mistake, of taking a UK situation and sub-planting the UK Government with a Scottish one.

    The true situation would be that a Scottish Government would/should never let such a situation occur. There have been numerous posters who have highlighted how for example the Norwegians dealt with their banking crisis in the past. It appears to me an effective model for Scotland going forward.

    It is equally true that at several points in the past few weeks there were points when the UK Government could have intervened at a significant level, as the Irish did, which would have stabilised the market and prevented the much more drastic action required now. For example if the UK had bought 10 Billion of new shares in HBOS prior to the takeover would the collapse and takeover have been necessary?

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  • 57. At 8:12pm on 07 Oct 2008, northhighlander wrote:

    Re 48

    "Smaller independant nations will come out of the impending recession far better because they will not be relying on having to import life supporting goods"

    I may be the only person who doesn't understand this rather sweeping statement.

    Quite how you work this out and what you mean would be quite interesting?

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  • 58. At 8:41pm on 07 Oct 2008, oldnat wrote:

    #49 rabbie

    You won your bet!

    #51 Neil

    The Icelandic banks are in trouble for the same reasons as everywhere else.

    Would they have been any better if they had been united with Denmark or Norway? Probably not.

    Would they have been better if they had operated within a less neo-liberal financial environment? Probably yes.

    Would they have been better off within Europe? Probably yes, but their nation would have suffered more significantly from loss of control over fishing.

    NConway's point was about Scotland within the UK as opposed to being independent within Europe.

    Your suggestion that the Icelandic situation is relevant doesn't hold up.

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  • 59. At 9:15pm on 07 Oct 2008, NConway wrote:

    Iceland isnt a member of the EU ,if you read my post you would have seen that i said the Union with England had served its purpose and it was time to move on ,and for Scotland to become a full member of the EU.

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  • 60. At 9:42pm on 07 Oct 2008, Sheneval wrote:


    And here's me thinking Network Rail is a Nationalised company responsible and accountable to the British Government for its actions, paid for by the British pUblic for its operations.

    Funny how wrong we can be!

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  • 61. At 9:58pm on 07 Oct 2008, impeachblair wrote:

    Incredible - almost 2.5hrs without moderation.

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  • 62. At 10:07pm on 07 Oct 2008, harry wrote:

    What has "BRITISH" airways relocating it`s glasgow base to london got to do with alex salmond,he wants no part of britain as with steve turner of unite saying HOW CAN A FIRM CALL ITSELF BRITISH AIRWAYS when all its bases are in gordon browns BRITAIN (england to us english) seems they want the best of both worlds.

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  • 63. At 10:19pm on 07 Oct 2008, harry wrote:

    A few comments on here and on other blogs seem to be congratulating the irish for "looking after their own" which is understandable but the irish model is also used in the independance debate,the irish have already upset brussels with the referendum and now gone their own way with banking,they must have forgotten they are in europes pocket and could face consequenses when all settles down again.

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  • 64. At 10:21pm on 07 Oct 2008, oldnat wrote:


    Ironic that the BBC is promoting its blog on the News, when the delay is 2.5 hours!

    Clear options for the Beeb would be -

    switching to post-moderation when the posting rate is high

    creating/increasing the number of moderators in the moderator pool when the posting rate is high

    reducing the number of their blogs

    abandoning any pretence of being a forum for debate.

    This post is pointless, if no Beeb decision maker reads it, so can a moderator pass it up the hierarchy?

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  • 65. At 10:23pm on 07 Oct 2008, Dave McEwan Hill wrote:

    Iceland, of course, will be still there tomorrow as a small, industrious, efficient and independent nation.

    No SNP activist thinks Glenrothes will be easy. In my book the SNP is not favourite to win the seat and what we are seeing is a terrific spin exercise to paint Labour as the doughty outsider in a seat in which they have a 10,000 plus majority. Then if they hold on it will be trumpeted as a great triumph against the odds and if they lose the damage will be limited by a acceptance that that was what was expected.

    Any person who bets the SNP for Glenrothes at the odds on offer would be bonkers. I'm thinking of putting a substantial bet on Labour at the really generous odds on offer with the intention of giving the profit to the local branch of the SNP. If the SNP win I won't mind losing the bet.

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  • 66. At 10:54pm on 07 Oct 2008, embraman2 wrote:

    #56 "The true situation would be that a Scottish Government would/should never let such a situation occur. "

    I think the following quote from Alex Salmond may provide a clue to how likely that would be:"Sir George personifies the success in business and public service that we want to see for the whole of Scotland."

    That would be RBS then.

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  • 67. At 11:03pm on 07 Oct 2008, EastFifefan wrote:

    Long time lurker and first post, hope it's not too painful.

    Labour has not done a single thing for Levenmouth and Glenrothes in the 34 years I lived there (I moved away 2 years ago). Economically run down, high drug and unemployment rates, the place is a complete shambles, why anybody would want to vote for them is a complete mystery to me. They have had their chance, why should they get another? They certainly did not represent me when I lived there, just turned up every few years to remind me of my 'mining heritage' and to put a cross next to whatever muppet happned to be standing at that time.

    I seriously hope that the SNP win this one, but I would be happy if the Libs, Tories or monster raving loony won it as well, anybody apart from the next monkey in a red suit, who will just follow party lines and do hee haw for the place.

    And I thought PM's, especially Raith Rovers one's do not campaign in East Fife's domain...

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  • 68. At 11:06pm on 07 Oct 2008, enneffess wrote:


    Maybe that particular argument doesn't hold up, but what I am trying to put forward is that no one knows if Scotland would have been better off independent or not.

    There is a lot of talk about how Scotland would have regulation to prevent this etc etc. But there arguments only came out after the crisis started. I do not recall Alex Salmond once before stating that this law and that law would come in etc.

    I'm not defending Labour or the Tories, they helped screw the whole situation up.

    I'm no economist, but prior to the crisis was the success of Scotland's finance sector not partly due to the way the market operated?

    If Scotland decides to go fully independent, I would imagine that there will have to be a substantial level of public borrowing to make the transition. Will the "credit crunch" be over by then?

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  • 69. At 11:10pm on 07 Oct 2008, Poor_Richard wrote:

    "When the Well's dry, we know the Worth of Water." (Benjamin Franklin, Poor Richard's Almanack, 1746)

    Without liquidity a bank is as useful as a well run dry. What folly, then, to let the well run dry and bring the banking system to a standstill with all that that is already doing to the wider economy.

    The UK government will be announcing action to restore liquidity tomorrow morning, but incalculable damage has been caused, and the economy is already blighted. As the former chairman of the Royal Bank of Scotland, Sir George Matthewson, said today, the stock market has given its verdict on the UK government's response to the crisis, and it is not 9 out of 10. Let us hope that the damage caused to our economy by that Labour administration's consistent and persistent failure to respond promptly and appropriately to grave and exceptional events is not past mending.

    The market having passed judgment on the London Labour government, the electors of Glenrothes will soon do so on behalf of us all.

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  • 70. At 11:27pm on 07 Oct 2008, cynicalHighlander wrote:


    I take Food and Energy as being the bare basics.

    The UK imports more than 60% of its food requirements for pop c60million - Scotland is a net exporter. We still have clean water to drink not like others who are recycling it up to and beyond 10x

    Oil and Gas are now back on the import list. No need to comment further!

    Coal (poor quality) is mainly imported from Eastern Europe in large quantities thanks to you know who.

    Looks like Broon and cronies are going add another few thousand pounds to our household debt tomorrow!

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  • 71. At 00:35am on 08 Oct 2008, oldnat wrote:

    #62 adger42

    I'm always happy to see English people posting here, but I've been in the USA for the last 3 weeks, and I can't see this story in the current press. No one here has referred to this previously that I know of.

    Can you give some reference to the story?

    #63 adger42

    The last I heard Europe was investigating the Irish deal (as they are bound to do) but have never heard that the EU is "upset".

    I'm surprised to hear you say that Ireland is "in europes pocket", since the Irish brought down the Lisbon Treaty.

    I suspect that you are a Little Englander who is anti-Europe, and wants to keep control of the rest of the UK to maintain your pretensions of Imperial grandeur. However, given the incoherent nature of your posts it's difficult to tell.

    Do enlighten us.

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  • 72. At 01:26am on 08 Oct 2008, oldnat wrote:

    #68 Neil

    In religion I'm agnostic. I don't really understand those who have a "faith" that there is or isn't a deity. That's unknowable.

    In politics, I'm not much different. I don't really understand those who have a "faith" that an Independent Scotland would have fared better or worse under the current circumstances. That is also unknowable.

    But politics is about probabilities. I think it likely that an Independent Scotland within an improved EU would be a better bet for the future. I don't see that continuation of the current UK is a good bet in the 21st century.

    Some argue that change is a risk. While I understand that, it is also true that the status quo is also a risk.

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  • 73. At 08:43am on 08 Oct 2008, regmitchell wrote:

    #71 oldnat

    Just a point of order.

    Knowing just a little of the very blinkered USA media coverage, and bearing in mind you've been there for three weeks it's hardly surprising you've been unable to follow some of the pan-European nunances as this epic unfolds. Most of us here have the same problem, the news changes by the hour!

    Without a doubt, the media here did give the firm impression that the EU was upset with Eire for "going it alone" and without prior consultation with the ECB. I think the ECB was hoping to plan orchestrated "counter credit-crunch" measures, without Eire sneakily gaining a head-start!

    Take a look at:

    You're astute enough to read between the lines of that web page; you might agree the fact the words, "in close contact with the Irish Government" and "unfair competition", appear in the same sentence means that some poor Eurocrat was tearing his/her hair out!

    In short, the EU was upset..........

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  • 74. At 08:53am on 08 Oct 2008, Jake-the-S wrote:

    I have one very simple question which I hope can be answered by the blogging experts on here.

    What is the point of economic growth?

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  • 75. At 09:33am on 08 Oct 2008, northhighlander wrote:

    Re 70

    A very basic analysis, but I doubt if Scotland across all of our needs is really self sufficient.

    Our manufacturing industry is dead, no-one seems interested in reviving it or protecting what little is left.

    I think the countries that will fair best are thos with a broad base of activity across different sectors.

    I don't think the UK or most of mainland Europe are in this position, but i fear the UK is worse than most.

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  • 76. At 09:34am on 08 Oct 2008, Peter_Fife wrote:

    Testing username.

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  • 77. At 09:38am on 08 Oct 2008, northhighlander wrote:

    Re 71

    I have to disagree with some of your content, there appears to be doubt as to the legality of the Irish move, but more seriously there is real doubt as to how much they really could garuntee.

    Could be like a double glazing garuntee methinks!

    I know nationalists point to Irelands bombing of the Lisbon treaty as a indicator of Irelands influence in the procedings but in reality Ireland is not a shaker and mover in the EU and never will be.

    In european Politics size counts and undoubetly the main players are France and Germany, Italy and the UK. No UK would mean a loss of influence for Scotlands interest at that table without any doubt.

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  • 78. At 09:47am on 08 Oct 2008, Barbazenzero wrote:

    #17 oldnat

    "At the moment we only have the ICM Glenrothes poll from 17 September ... giving SNP and Labour 43% each, LD 8% and Con 5%."

    Actually, the 43/43 figures in that poll only come (p4 of the ICM PDF) after unexplained adjustments to take account of Don't Knows and Refusers. Without an explanation of them it's impossible to know the reasoning, but as the customer was the Mail on Sunday, I'm not surprised that the figures with the best unionist spin were published.

    The real figures after weighting the sample are SNP 45% and NuLab 42% before adjusting for Don't Knows and Refusers (p3 of the PDF).

    I think it's fair to say that before the conference season started, the SNP probably had a narrow lead, but there's certainly all to play for and until we get new polls we cannot really say more.

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  • 79. At 10:12am on 08 Oct 2008, Barbazenzero wrote:

    #55 northhighlander

    Sorry not to get back to you last night, but there seemed to be a go-slow by the mods and some technical issues which eventually made my ISP block the BBC site - possibly just excess traffic between Switzerland and the UK.

    Also sorry if I wrongly categorised you. As a Liberal, I find the choice pretty unappealing, but with the plurality system for Westmidden one should always try to plump for the leastworst candidate who has a reasonable chance of winning, which really does seem to boil down to plumping for NuLab or SNP.

    You're entitled to your opinion that: "GB has also done some good work in the present crisis and should get some recognition for it." I'm afraid I can't agree because I think that, as usual with the man, it is always too little too late.

    On the same grounds, I must also demur from your: "Northern Rock looks like a pretty good decision now altough universally decried at the time." After months of dithering which made matters worse, he eventually implemented a watered-down version of the solution suggested at the outset by the LibDem's Cable.

    "Salmond is someone i utterly detest as he takes arrogance to new levels."
    There's certainly an element of arrogance there, but at least he does have some achievements to crow about.

    OTOH, NuLab's assymetric devolution will not long be acceptable to English voters and they are now even more archly unionist that the Tories. IMO, unless a sensible federal solution can be agreed then it may make more sense for Scotland to repeal the union.

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  • 80. At 10:15am on 08 Oct 2008, DisgustedDorothy wrote:

    Anyone out there think that RBS will sue the pants off the BBC and Robert Peston ?
    Quick look at Guido to see his take on that
    ' Expert'!
    And if you are not too sensitive the Guido bloggers thoughts!

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  • 81. At 10:30am on 08 Oct 2008, Barbazenzero wrote:

    #56 impeachblair

    Absolutely spot on. Too little too late, as always, from "Duff" Gordon and whatever they may say now, the Tory regulation regime started the whole bubble off and might have been allowed to get even worse before they stepped in.

    That situation is currently made even worse by the fact that neither of the "big" unionist parties is committed to the Euro, which could at least have provided a little shelter from the storm.

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  • 82. At 10:42am on 08 Oct 2008, Barbazenzero wrote:

    #58 oldnat

    You saved me a post again with that.

    Ireland would be a much more relevant model than Iceland, although fishing would undoubtedly be a point of dispute within the EU. OTOH, the last two UK governments should have long been making a much better fist over that issue within the EC/EU.

    A federal UK could probably do even better in that respect than independent Scotland, but unionist governments seem to have difficulty in realising that economic activity is relevant outwith the City of London.

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  • 83. At 10:52am on 08 Oct 2008, Anglophone wrote:

    #44 Brownedov

    Thanks for the technical advice...I had started to develop delusions that the BBC had sophisticated software that could detect just the tone of the post rather than people trying to sneak in profanities.

    I agree with all your views on the nature of EU suicide pacts and, having worked abroad for a number of years, I notice most other EU countries have a far more sensible approach to supra-national regulation than the UK (we seem infested with gauleiter class of self-aggrandising public servants who zealously interpret EU legislation to their own political ends).

    The point that I was trying to make regarding the Irish bank guarantees is that it has sparked an escalation in nationalistic approaches to the banking crisis that I fear will hurt everyone in the end. At a purely academic level, despite its low public debt, the Irish government is probably gambling with commitments in excess of its GDP...basically the same as what everyone is excoriating the banks over.

    The other point is that it is difficult to see what an independent Scottish government would do that is so radically different from what the UK government is doing. If RBS and HBOS were to guarantee all depositors accounts with the backing of the Scottish Government it would exceed the GDP of Scotland, given that the bulk of their customers are English or Welsh etc. What then is the alternative?

    You either theoretically shrink the size of RBS and HBOS to purely local banks in Scotland or institute some sort of apartheid in which only depositors with Scottish addresses are guaranteed.

    It is worth reflecting also that with the announcement last night, the guarantees to what Alec Salmond fondly regards as Scottish financial insitutions will be underwritten predominantly by English taxpayers. Let's see how he spins that into a tale of oppression and double standards?

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  • 84. At 11:01am on 08 Oct 2008, Anagol wrote:

    #79 Browndov

    "(...) unless a sensible federal solution can be agreed then it may make more sense for Scotland to repeal the union."

    Seconded. As there would appear to be no grounds for supposing that a sensible federal solution can be agreed, those who are in favour of one will understandably veer towards repeal of the union.

    UK federalism is a noble and fine idea. Admirable but useless, as it takes two to tango.

    As for the UK government's response to the banking crisis, I defer to Sir George Mathewson's assessment.

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  • 85. At 11:04am on 08 Oct 2008, Barbazenzero wrote:

    #71 oldnat

    Saved me a post again, and put it MUCH more politely than I could have managed.

    The BA story wasn't a very big one, but I think some of the unionist redtops had headlines along the the lines of: British Airways to withdraw from Scotland.

    See the BBC's more measured: BA assurances follow job cut plan.

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  • 86. At 11:13am on 08 Oct 2008, Anglophone wrote:

    #82 Brownedov

    I am in rare agreement with you about the influence of the City of London on UK policy. It is trumpeted as c.20% of the UK economy..and yet manufacturing (i.e. tangible goods that can be sold and employ people) at 23% of the economy is derided as a dead end along with pretty much anything else. The proximity of the financiers to the corridors of power may have something to do with this.

    None of this is new. The City predates the industrial revolution and was all about financing overseas trade. The 18th and 19th century engineers and entrepreneurs who built the country's wealth were derided as social upstarts and the City had very little to do with that growth.

    Nowadays, the wider UK economy (and the small investor) are still held in barely concealed contempt in the City. Add to this the fact that most of the financial institutions are now owned and run by people who have absolutely no stake in the welfare of the economy or the people of the UK and you see the predicament.

    There is an old saying that "if you lie down with dogs, you eventually get fleas".

    I hope that if there is any long term change stemming from this crisis it will be in the form of the government re-engaging with the real economy, rather than cosying up to the disgraced Masters of the Universe.

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  • 87. At 11:14am on 08 Oct 2008, Anglophone wrote:

    #82 Brownedov

    I am in rare agreement with you about the influence of the City of London on UK policy. It is trumpeted as c.20 percent of the UK economy..and yet manufacturing (i.e. tangible goods that can be sold and employ people) at 23percent of the economy is derided as a dead end along with pretty much anything else. The proximity of the financiers to the corridors of power may have something to do with this.

    None of this is new. The City predates the industrial revolution and was all about financing overseas trade. The 18th and 19th century engineers and entrepreneurs who built the country's wealth were derided as social upstarts and the City had very little to do with that growth.

    Nowadays, the wider UK economy (and the small investor) are still held in barely concealed contempt in the City. Add to this the fact that most of the financial institutions are now owned and run by people who have absolutely no stake in the welfare of the economy or the people of the UK and you see the predicament.

    There is an old saying that "if you lie down with dogs, you eventually get fleas".

    I hope that if there is any long term change stemming from this crisis it will be in the form of the government re-engaging with the real economy, rather than cosying up to the disgraced Masters of the Universe.

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  • 88. At 11:29am on 08 Oct 2008, BrianSH wrote:

    #86 Anglophone

    I agree with you there, since 1986 the government has been in cohoots with the city in a intricate dance. Remember the prawn cocktail offensive of Labour pre-1997?

    Hopefully there will be a renewed understanding world-wide that only by relying upon the sensible production of raw materials and manufactured goods can we guarentee world-wide economic stability and the creation of better and healthier societies.

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  • 89. At 11:46am on 08 Oct 2008, Barbazenzero wrote:

    #83. At 10:52am on 08 Oct 2008, Anglophone

    "Thanks for the technical advice...I had started to develop delusions that the BBC had sophisticated software that could detect just the tone of the post rather than people trying to sneak in profanities."
    You're welcome, although last night's go-slow and other technical problems With the BBC site (NR's blog is still behavingly oddly) made me wonder whether an electronic attack was in progress and opt for an early night. I think there is a limited, "automatic" referral process, but that should still show new postings as "referred to the mods".

    You make perfectly fair points re the banking system, but I would argue that Ireland delayed as long as they dared in the hope that an EU solution would be sought. They had little choice but to do what they did or risk what seems to have happened in Iceland, thus pre-empting the EU action it started to take at the week-end. With the EU actually wanting to bring Ireland into the big, Lisbon tent, I suspect the worse that will happen to them is a mild ticking off.

    I certainly do not think the EU is a perfect solution and believe it should be much more democratic, but it provides a better umbrella than the UK can do alone and is probably worth persevering with.

    Post a pro-independence referendum, there would have to be a long process of negotiation and planning for issues such as you raise re the the UK banks. In effect, there would likely be a de facto federal UK for some time before a de jure independent Scotland would exist. That process could easily last a couple of Holyrood and UK parliaments. During that process, my own hope would be that cooler heads prevailed on both sides of the wall and a loose, confederal UK emerged with democracy and fiscal autonomy extended to England as well as the other three nations.

    Given the propensity of the English electorate studiously to ignore the "peculiar institution" of the British Constitution in favour of flip-flopping between which of two unionist lunatics should run the Westmidden asylum, it may be the only possible way of achieving constitutional reform. Should it fail, at least Scotland (and probably Wales soon after) would have a polity better suited to the 21st century than the 17th.

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  • 90. At 11:48am on 08 Oct 2008, Dunroamin wrote:

    Steady, children.

    Quite a few are again getting too excited and again making rash claims and statements that bear little resemblance to reality.

    You know who you are.

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  • 91. At 12:03pm on 08 Oct 2008, Barbazenzero wrote:

    #84 Anagol

    Thanks for the qualified support.

    "As there would appear to be no grounds for supposing that a sensible federal solution can be agreed, those who are in favour of one will understandably veer towards repeal of the union."

    I may be an incurable optimist, but I really do suspect that the English electorate will eventually prove themselves to be less daft than they look in continually falling for unionist spin rather than cleaning the Westmidden stables. The fact that Scotland seems to be waking up from NuLab, while still remembering Thatcher's legacy, is perhaps a credit to the Scottish education system, which neither unionists have ravaged quite so much as they did the English one.

    Trouble is, from my point of view, the awakening may be too late for a federal solution, but we'll have to wait and see.

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  • 92. At 12:06pm on 08 Oct 2008, Barbazenzero wrote:

    #86 Anglophone

    Good post. Glad we're in agreement about something.

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  • 93. At 12:10pm on 08 Oct 2008, Dunroamin wrote:

    86. The UK financial industry is actually about 8-9% of the overall UK economy, roughly #100bn-worth.

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  • 94. At 12:17pm on 08 Oct 2008, Dave McEwan Hill wrote:

    74 Jake the Saltire

    Good question

    The whole collapsing Western economy is built on the fallacious notion that there is infinite capacity for continuous economic growth .
    There isn't
    Inventing money isn't real growth.

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  • 95. At 12:19pm on 08 Oct 2008, Dave McEwan Hill wrote:

    86 Anglophone
    Great to see a constructive and sensible post from you, Sir (or madam).

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  • 96. At 12:24pm on 08 Oct 2008, Anglophone wrote:

    #89 Brownedov

    This is where I'm afraid we part company. How do you imagine the EU as a body would react if the UKIP nincompoops got their way (God forbid) and unilaterally withdrew the UK from the EU? I think that we would be on the receiving end of many spiteful acts that would harm our economy as the remaining power brokers jockeyed for advantage. The gloves would be off and there would be little pretence at fraternity.

    I'm a unionist (small "U" rather than the orange sash) because I believe that we do collectively gain as a unified country and that examples of "Balkanisation" around the world have rarely been happy. Hypothetically, if Scots were to democratically reject the Union, despite being a reasonable person it would be inescapable that I would feel a degree of affront and rejection. I would not try to oppose a democratic decision but I, just like those EU countries and institutions would not bend over backwards to make life comfortable for people who have just "given me the finger". This would doubtless be exacerbated by loads of tipsy, saltire waving freeeduurm stuff that would doubtless go on.

    So what would happen next? Well, I would probably be tempted to vote for a political party that placed extracting the maximum value for the residual UK from any severance negotiations. I would be strongly opposed to a federal's a bit like providing alimoney and half of your pension to a wife who has left you for another man!

    Just as a divorcing couple reach for their lawyers to carve up the spoils of marriage, I would be pushing for the house, the car and the children...there is no longer any point in being reasonable or communally minded. A divorce of two people is a 50/50 would it be with two countries when one is ten times the size of the other? This is when the ugly word "realpolitik" comes into play...why should I be reasonable and not think exclusively of my own interest? This is of course exactly the line the SNP peddles now and it would be interesting to see their reaction if someone else got heavily into self-interest (I mean REAL self-interest).

    I think that this would be a hideous situation but it is plausible when you consider some of the hotheads who will become involved. The losers will be ordinary people caught up in the middle.

    Divorced but still best friends? Just how often does that happen in real life?

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  • 97. At 12:33pm on 08 Oct 2008, Anglophone wrote:

    93 Reluctant Expat

    I was just going off what they said on the news last services 20% of the economy. Mind you, I've just seen another site saying 14% so who knows? I'm sure it's a matter od definition.

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  • 98. At 12:56pm on 08 Oct 2008, Barbazenzero wrote:

    #96 Anglophone

    "How do you imagine the EU as a body would react if the UKIP nincompoops got their way (God forbid) and unilaterally withdrew the UK from the EU?"
    We'll have to cross that bridge if we come to it, but I suspect it won't be anytime soon. UKIP are putting up a candidate in Glenrothes, and there I'm fairly comfortable in predicting a lost deposit.

    That said, it's a pity that the quasi-democracy of Westmidden doesn't adequately represent their support, and it's also a pity that if they reached 20% support in the UK they would have a fair chance under that same quasi-democracy of forming the UK government. NuLab did last time with 24%!

    I don't accept the divorce parallels you make, since the decision to wed was taken by our Lords & Masters of the time with no reference to the English or Scottish peoples of the time, let alone the Welsh. In essence, if it was a marriage, then it was more like the forced marriages we now almost universally condemn.

    If you really think remaining in that forced marriage has benefits to both sides, you'd be better trying to "sell" the benefits rather than suggesting that Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland behave as meekly towards their English husband as the Saudi brides are supposed to.

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  • 99. At 1:16pm on 08 Oct 2008, Dunroamin wrote:

    Clearly the arch-nats are having another of their frenzied agreement sessions on this board today.

    All exhibiting their usual 20-20 hindsight, declaring that incontrovertible evidence of both their 'genius' and their case for independence.

    91. "....but I really do suspect that the English electorate will eventually prove themselves to be less daft than they look in continually falling for unionist spin....."

    Brownedov, I remember seeing very similar comments by another Swiss-based nationalist on the infant-school playgrounds that are the Scotsman/Herald political pages, who was obsessed with events of centuries ago and later went off on a bizarre tangent involving 'Celtic purity'. You would be best advised not to follow in his footsteps as even among such a....shall we say, 'challenged' crowd, he still became a bit of a joke.

    One shining example (it later became an email favourite) was a lengthy, and quite rabid, rant listing his perceived differences between Scotland and England along the lines of, "We have mountains, they only have low hills; our water is pure and clear, their's is heavily polluted by urban sewerage and fertilisers; we fish for salmon in rivers, they only fish for perch in canals" etc.

    And having just read #98, I suddenly find myself strongly suspecting that it might have been you.

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  • 100. At 1:17pm on 08 Oct 2008, Peter_of_Fife wrote:


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  • 101. At 1:24pm on 08 Oct 2008, Anglophone wrote:

    98 Brownedov

    Good heavens...I was trying to make an allusion and you have me down as a supporter of forced marriages.

    The benefits of the Union have been explained ad infinitum to those who are actually willing to listen. Rather than tediously list them out all over again I'll return to the most recent and one on which the nats have been strangely silent.

    The UK government is bailing out the main retail banks to the tune of £50bn. Two of those institutions are claimed as "Scottish" by Alec Salmond and his selectively amnesiac followers. Regardless of any arguments about the relative size of tax contributions it is inescapable that these institutions are being funded very extensively by the English taxpayer. To argue otherwise is economic and demographic illiteracy.

    I don't expect meekness from my bride...I would settle for a rational chat of an evening.

    PS: I believe that forced marriage is quite rare. The Saudis, as with other Islamic countries practice arranged marriage. Wouldn't want you upsetting another whole constituency;-)

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  • 102. At 1:31pm on 08 Oct 2008, Anglophone wrote:


    Just an aside. You persist in making unpleasant allusions to Westminster, presumably in the belief that if you say it enough it will become funny.

    Westmidden??? I suspect that not many contributors know what a midden is, but I do and I don't think that it is a pleasant way to debate.

    How would you prefer

    Handout Central
    The Student Union etc etc etc.

    Let's try to keep a measure of respect.

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  • 103. At 1:36pm on 08 Oct 2008, inmykip wrote:

    #90 which reality would that be dude yours or theirs, I doubt if either make much sense.

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  • 104. At 1:44pm on 08 Oct 2008, Dunroamin wrote:

    It is interesting how the nationalists regularly claim that Scots have superior social attitudes to the English (despite, once again, a total lack of evidence in their favour - many polls show very similar social beliefs across the entire UK) but then regularly condemn a system of government that treats all as equals (none are denied the vote, all have equal rights to public services etc.) and still provides a funding system where the entire country benefits from all wealth generated, ie. a true commonwealth, with each individual benefiting from almost identical (+/-10%) public spending and investment regardless of their address, income and class.

    The nationalists may like to claim that "Scotland subsidises England!" (again, despite any supporting evidence and which even Salmond no longer claims) but the fact still stands that we all benefit from the wealth generated to the south.

    The nationalists like to complain about "London stealing our lottery money!" yet will always ignore London's 10-12bn annual tax surplus that is shared among us all (along with similar amounts from two other UK regions).

    A sum that if kept by London in precisely the same way Salmond huffed that Scotland should (until it was confirmed in the last accounts that Scotland does already!), would comfortably have allowed for the entire 2012 Olympiad to be covered by London alone.

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  • 105. At 1:46pm on 08 Oct 2008, Jake-the-S wrote:

    #94 sneckedagain.

    Just as I thought a load of piffle and tosh.

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  • 106. At 2:02pm on 08 Oct 2008, inmykip wrote:

    #96 think of the positives AngloPony, no more split personality you would be English and not British, you could wave the flag of St George with pride rather than the Union Jack, there would be no confusion whether to support Scotland (assuming we ever qualify for one) against Germany in a World Cup match, you could support Germany without the guilt factor. See always a silver lining.

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  • 107. At 2:07pm on 08 Oct 2008, oldnat wrote:

    #101 Anglophone

    Actually the taxpayers in the UK and the US are not bailing out their respective banks.

    The Governments in each country are borrowing money from Asia to keep the markets going, just as Iceland is borrowing money from Russia for the same reason.

    I'm afraid your argument is not one which refutes (or supports) the case for ending the Treaty of Union. Like many arguments for or against the Union it is simply irrelevant to the constitutional debate.

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  • 108. At 2:15pm on 08 Oct 2008, inmykip wrote:

    #101 awh c'mon Anglo tell the truth you enjoy being the 'dominant one' in this marriage ;-) it gives you a chance to be masterful.

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  • 109. At 2:33pm on 08 Oct 2008, Barbazenzero wrote:

    #99 Reluctant-Expat

    It wasn't me, but if you have a pseudonym, a reference or even a date, I'd be interested in Googling some of that material to read it for myself. To date, I have posted only on one thread of the Herald under this pseudonym, and that was purely to correct a reference to a post of mine on these threads.

    If you do your own research, you can find that I introduced myself to these threads as a "physical" Brit in the sense that I have mixed English, Scottish & Welsh ancestry, with a good dose of european mongrel thrown in. I have no interest whatsoever in denigrating any of the nations of the British Isles (I have quite a few Irish friends from both sides of the border).

    You'll also see that I am consistent in advocating a democratic, confederal solution rather than full independence, although the unionist rants on here do push me towards suspecting that to be a less likely outcome than I would wish.

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  • 110. At 2:46pm on 08 Oct 2008, inmykip wrote:

    #74 the point of economic growth as it has been applied over the last few years is a few people get very very very very rich and a lot of people don't.

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  • 111. At 2:49pm on 08 Oct 2008, Planejock wrote:

    Further to Anglophone's 102 -

    Although just a sometime viewer of these pages, I have to agree with Anglophone's 102.

    I find all these cliqued references by so many contributors - not just you - are childishly tiresome, often detracting from a perhaps otherwise sensible exchange.

    Such name-calling is not even a step above primary school, thinking up silly and rude names to rhyme with classmates' surnames. Personally, I left that style of humour behind when I graduated to "big school"!

    It's funny and it's not clever! But it certainly DOES project an image regarding the maturity of the respective contributors!

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  • 112. At 2:54pm on 08 Oct 2008, Dunroamin wrote:

    107. And how much is going into those great 'Scottish' institutions of ours, RBS and HBOS?

    What % of Scotland's GDP would that be?

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  • 113. At 2:54pm on 08 Oct 2008, Tom wrote:

    I see you are continuing your ugly anti-Nationalist rants Reluctant-Expat. I appreciate the support you lend to the Nationalists, especailly when the Glenothes by-election looms so close. You proudly share the dark side to the Union. Pure hatred towards all who oppose your view, group the Nationalists together as if we were all mindless zombies following one person.

    It would be interesting how you came to the conclusion that London generates a surplus. After all London is heavily involved in banking, finances etc are they really 'sound' enough to declare that they are delivering a surplus?

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  • 114. At 3:03pm on 08 Oct 2008, Dunroamin wrote:

    108. I think they are more interested in being the dominant force in all of Europe.

    There is a whole world out there, y'know.

    (cue inevitable screams of "Yeah, England doesn't care about Scotland at all!")

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  • 115. At 3:06pm on 08 Oct 2008, Barbazenzero wrote:

    #101 & #102 Anglophone

    "I was trying to make an allusion and you have me down as a supporter of forced marriages."
    How better would you describe a union in which the peoples of neither nation were consulted?

    My #89 covers exactly the issues you query re banking, to the extent that we have enough detail to discover them from a secretive HM Treasury.

    As you seem to believe that the unwritten constitutional arrangements put in place in the Palace of Westminster at the time of the "Glorious Revolution" and which have continued through the acts of union to this day require no change or democratic confirmation, I would have thought that the robust language of the early 18th century would have appealed to you.

    In any event, the system in that place is by a long way the least democratic in the EU, whose recent entrants would not have been accepted had they still clung to it. Even unitary France, which is next-worst with its single-member majority voting, votes directly and fairly democratically for its President and its parliamentary representatives. In that context, to allude to that place as a dung-heap does not strike me as unreasonable.

    Holyrood may well produce a great deal of hot air and the occasional unpleasant whiff, but it is democratically elected by the Scottish people in a reasonably fair way. On reflection, perhaps I should give NuLab just a little credit for that, although they would never have been allowed to impose the quasi-democratic 1872 plurality voting system used in England for all but european and London mayoral elections.

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  • 116. At 3:14pm on 08 Oct 2008, Dunroamin wrote:

    113. For crying out loud, Porter. Are you still on 'sick leave' from Her Britannic Majesty's Armed Forces?

    It must be months now.

    Are you sure you haven't really been binned?

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  • 117. At 3:33pm on 08 Oct 2008, inmykip wrote:

    #111, #102 get a grip AngeloPhone, Westmidden/Westminster it's a joke (literally if not acutally), lighten up man, cool your jets, take a chill pill, relax............. ;-)

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  • 118. At 3:42pm on 08 Oct 2008, inmykip wrote:

    #114 Good luck to them I say but could you tell me, will that be when they finally decide whether they want to be in Europe or out of Europe?

    queue.....something you stand in line and wait.

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  • 119. At 3:49pm on 08 Oct 2008, Barbazenzero wrote:

    #111 Planejock

    I'd have more sympathy with your view if it didn't mainly come from unionist posters who support "the peculiar institution" to retain their power over the rest of us in all four nations of the UK.

    Yes, of course it's a jibe but it's also quite true that neither adoption nor retention of the union so beloved of both Tories & Labour (ancient and modern) has been put to the peoples of these islands. It's also true that the retention of the 18th century plurality voting system (last meddled with in 1872) prevents the true will of the electorate being fairly represented at Westminster as was recognised by the old Labour Party until they joined the Tory establishment. Westmidden is not so much intended to describe the place but the system and the parties determined to keep their unsavoury snouts in that particular trough.

    It's for those reasons that it's very descriptive and useful shorthand.

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  • 120. At 4:00pm on 08 Oct 2008, Barbazenzero wrote:

    #114 Reluctant-Expat

    "I think they are more interested in being the dominant force in all of Europe."

    That was a really cryptic post even by your standards, R-E. Are you suggesting that making the UK government "the dominant force in all of Europe" is something that the Glenrothes electorate should aspire to?

    If so, what course should they follow to achieve it? If not, please explain.

    In any event, it seems to have no relevance to InMyKip's #108.

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  • 121. At 4:40pm on 08 Oct 2008, Dunroamin wrote:

    120. Spot on, yet again.

    Being the loudest, strongest voice in the European Union, thereby being the primary force behind any and all legislation, as well as the overall direction of the European Union project, is absolutely not a desirable position to aim for or be in.

    In fact, being a small and quiet voice in the shadows, watching impotently while the major powers make all the decisions that affect much of our future and way of life is not just the nationalist way but also the right way.

    Well pointed out and many thanks.

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  • 122. At 5:01pm on 08 Oct 2008, Planejock wrote:

    #119 browndov

    Mine was an entirely apolitical and off-subject viewpoint; I'd hoped that might spare me the rant. W R O N G . . . !

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  • 123. At 5:14pm on 08 Oct 2008, Anglophone wrote:

    #106 In my Cups

    You might be able to sell that to Joe Bloggs down at the Dog and Duck but that's about the limit.

    You sound like one of those enthusiasts for joining the Euro trying to persuade me that the upheaval is worth it "because it wil be so convenient when I go on holiday"

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  • 124. At 5:26pm on 08 Oct 2008, Anglophone wrote:

    #107 Oldnat

    I suspect that Asian investors will among those taking UK government gilts but to assume that this means that China is buying the government is a little excessive.

    Gilts will be purchased by institutions and large investors fleeing stock market turbulence (sorry...Tornado!). I suspect that peversely, cash rich banks will be at the head of the queue trying to find a safe home for all that money that they're too scared to actually lend to someone else.

    These are uncharted waters now and predictions are for the very brave. The fact however that UK public debt will rise does not mean that someone else is pulling the strings. Poorly informed left-wing commentators are always going on about China, with it trillion dollars of Treasury Bonds suddenly "bankrupting the USA" (pause for fraternal hear-hears) and I assume that in a small way you are suggesting that this is now happening to the UK. I can't imagine anything less likely. It would be incredibly dumb. The ultimate phyrric victory in which you damage a supposed rival by destroying yourself...wiping out your currency reserves.

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  • 125. At 5:27pm on 08 Oct 2008, Barbazenzero wrote:

    #121 Reluctant-Expat

    OK. I can't agree that being the EU bully sounds the optimal plan when HMG want to opt out of so much of it but it would certainly be in character.

    Will that be the Glenrothes sales pitch, then?

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  • 126. At 5:28pm on 08 Oct 2008, inmykip wrote:

    #121.....I repeat my posting of #118

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  • 127. At 5:46pm on 08 Oct 2008, Barbazenzero wrote:

    #122 Planejock

    You'd be more believable if your User Profile showed anything but unionist rants against home rulers apart from one pat on the back for Reluctant-Expat.

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  • 128. At 6:00pm on 08 Oct 2008, Dunroamin wrote:

    125. The logic that we wouldn't need to opt out of polices we actually instigated has missed you out, hasn't it.

    And that you relate 'being the leader and the primary force' as 'being a bully' says a considerable amount about how you see your own individual place in society.

    Do you work in a post room?


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  • 129. At 6:10pm on 08 Oct 2008, cynicalHighlander wrote:

    75. At 09:33am on 08 Oct 2008, northhighlander wrote:

    "I think the countries that will fair best are thos with a broad base of activity across different sectors."

    Try closing respective borders and then work out which ones are able to provide the basics for their respective populations. I am staying in Scotland.

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  • 130. At 6:13pm on 08 Oct 2008, inmykip wrote:

    #123 psssst ......AngloTony, I bet I could sell it to the The Sun. Not only should we join the Euro, we should drive on the right!

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  • 131. At 6:54pm on 08 Oct 2008, Planejock wrote:

    #127 browndov

    ...and if anyone else cares to check my user profile, they'll observe that you, all too easily, confuse facts with rants.

    Then, ill-content with that, you now seem to have that decided I'm an "onionist"(sic).


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  • 132. At 7:12pm on 08 Oct 2008, Barbazenzero wrote:

    #128 Reluctant-Expat

    "The logic that we wouldn't need to opt out of polices we actually instigated has missed you out, hasn't it."
    Not at all - it's the ones out of which the UK has already opted that concerned me, and especially the effect of those existing opt-outs on the other large EU nations you seem to expect will stand aside to place a staunchly unionist UK at their head.

    If "[b]eing the loudest, strongest voice in the European Union, thereby being the primary force behind any and all legislation" doesn't make a country the EU bully, your elegant muse is clearly lost on us mere mortals. "Loudest and strongest voice" could simply mean being the EU loudmouth but it's the "primary force" and the "any and all" which imply the bullying.

    If you actually cared what I do to earn a crust you'd find quite a bit of bio detail in my user profile, but funnily enough I did spend part of a summer vacation 40+ years ago assisting in a mailroom before I was switched to operating the telex for the rest of it.

    When we were discussing home rule I began to think you may not have been a troll because you then put forward some positive points, but I was clearly over-optimistic. I'll leave you the last word unless it impugns my honour, but otherwise I'll try not to rise to your bait.

    BTW, it's hardly "British" to alter your own text when quoting it. Not cricket, old chap.

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  • 133. At 09:43am on 12 Oct 2008, DisgustedDorothy wrote:

    I do hope you will all familiarise yourselves with this little delight !
    Suggest you start at the bottom and work up!

    I cannot claim credit for finding it that goes to another blogger.

    Given the dreadful information contained therein, I hardly think that Gordon or his cronies can claim " saviour of the financial world" status.
    I might add that journalists , worth their salt, should have been shouting this from the rooftops over the last few years.
    Instead of feeding the population sycophantic and spurious rubbish about how well the Chancellor was doing with the economy.

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