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In the long term

Brian Taylor | 12:51 UK time, Tuesday, 2 December 2008

To be clear, there are - quite deliberately - no conclusions in the interim Calman Report.

However, it is arguably possible to detect tone. That tone is notably Unionist.

Given that the remit was to secure Scotland within the Union, that is no surprise whatsoever.

However, we can, I think, go a little beyond that.

If we consider attitudes towards devolution within the Union, we can perhaps consider a spectrum ranging from maximum Scottish autonomy to cautious entrenchment based broadly upon the current powers.

I believe that, within that spectrum, it is presently possible to place the first Calman report towards the cautious end.

The identified scope for devolution of further powers is notably limited. It is at the margins - by which I do not mean it is sidelined but rather that it straddles the points where devolved and reserved powers interact.

Who is happy?

If you doubt my assessment as to the inherently cautious nature of the report, just ask yourself about the reaction of the various political parties who set up the review.

In particular, ask yourself: who is happiest today, the Conservatives or the Liberal Democrats?

The Tory response notes with approval the willingness of Team Calman to rule out changes which would be incompatible with the Union, while also seeking further measures to stress the value of that Union.

The Lib Dems? A notably terse response from Tavish Scott saying that Calman is "where Scotland is now".

He then goes on to advocate a strengthened Scottish Parliament, what he calls "a real Home Rule settlement".

For myself, I find the report intriguing. Frankly, I had not expected anything different in terms of firm decisions at this stage.

Firstly, because they said they would wait until next year. Secondly, because the Scotland Act 1998 was carefully drawn.

Intellectual definition

Within the ambit of devolution - note that caveat, please - it was always likely, if not guaranteed, that the scope for reform would be limited in a body set up by Labour and featuring the Conservatives.

No, the intriguing bit lies in the effort to generate an intellectual definition of the Union - and to analyse the impact of that upon devolved policy.

Calman starts from the standpoint of backing the economic union, the defence union, the monetary union and the diplomatic union.

Of greater interest are the views upon a socially integrated Union.

The report asks whether social provision - pensions, welfare, health, education - should be broadly identical from Cornwall to Caithness.

If yes, then that would constrain the potential for further devolution. Essentially, Calman is asking: at what point does social policy autonomy start to place strain upon the Union, thus defined? With free prescriptions in Scotland? With health charges in England? With welfare autonomy?

Again, at this point, he does not provide an answer - but invites further evidence.

Economic growth

However, one can see the emergence of an effort to provide a common perspective on social provision which would, arguably, limit further devolution.

And money? Calman endorses the view of the earlier submission by Professor Anton Muscatelli's team that it is critical to decide what form of devolution one wants then to design a funding system to suit.

My guess? They will go for some assignment of revenues in order to incentivise economic growth in Scotland and allow politicians to tell England that the extent of block grant north of the Border has been trimmed.

However, added to that, there will still be substantial grant equalisation - because it is only with such a system that one can maintain social equity.

And that means? A needs assessment and, quite possibly, a reduction in Scottish spending levels in the long, perhaps very long, term.

Comments

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  • 1. At 1:19pm on 02 Dec 2008, greenockboy wrote:

    "The Calman Commmission said devolving full fiscal autonomy would be inconsistent with the United Kingdom."

    What exactly does this mean Brian?

    It appears to suggest that full fiscal autonomy is bad for the UK.

    Any chance a Scottish journalist could ask what full fiscal autonomy would do for Scotland?

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  • 2. At 1:23pm on 02 Dec 2008, frankly_francophone wrote:

    In opting for an improved devolution settlement in the recent constitutional referendum, the people of Greenland have acquired rights to their own resources: oil, gas, diamonds, uranium, zinc and lead. Consequently, the vote of November 25th could transform the economic strength of that country in the short or medium term.

    Although constitutionally dependent upon Denmark, Greenland had already benefited from a substantial degree of devolution of political power since 1979. Its new constitutional status, which does not come into effect until next summer, not only affords its population a right to self-determination as a sovereign nation in conformity with international law but also the not unappealing prospect of reaping the benefits of the natural resources of their country.

    Many specialists consider that there are substantial sub-sea hydro-carbon reserves within Greenland's territorial limits, which global warming has made more accessible to commercial exploitation. That being so, the new devolution settlement stipulates that Greenlanders, while continuing to receive a block grant from Denmark, are wholly entitled to derive from these resources the first 10 million euros of annual revenue. Beyond that amount all revenue derived from oil reserves is to be shared equally with Denmark. Quite a contrast with the arrangements at present in place for Scotland in accordance with the terms of the constitutional settlement currently in force for it, whereby all revenue from sub-sea oil reserves in Scottish territorial waters goes to the English government and the Scottish government gets nothing.

    That the anglo-unionist political parties' Calman Commission perceives there to be no scope for allocation of oil revenue to Scotland tells you all you need to know about that body and its reason for existing, which would appear to be to keep the Scots in their place, which would appear to be considered by the commission to be under the English thumb, the grubby thumb-prints of which are all over the document which has been published today.

    In the BBC report on the Calman Commission's pronouncements today one finds the following statement: "The Calman Commmission said devolving full fiscal autonomy would be inconsistent with the United Kingdom." If that attitude is maintained, it follows that those who are determined that Scotland will have fiscal autonomy and thus an authentic form of self-government will have to settle for seeking that outside the United Kingdom.

    What does this mean for the Liberal Democrats and their support in Scotland? Will that not now inevitably drain away in large measure to the Scottish National Party, which is offering the prospect of delivery of "a real Home Rule settlement"?

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  • 3. At 1:26pm on 02 Dec 2008, minuend wrote:

    Calman Commission - Wee, sleekit, cowrin, tim'rous beastie.

    My apologies to any mouse that may read this blog.

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  • 4. At 1:28pm on 02 Dec 2008, scotgill wrote:

    It is good to see that the entity responsible for ensuring that intellectual rigour was applied to the argument to continue with the maintenance of the union came up with the following sentence according to the BBC: "We haven't been wasting our time, I don't think. This has been a very serious deliberation on Scotland's future."

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  • 5. At 1:29pm on 02 Dec 2008, Wansanshoo wrote:

    What else can we expect from a commission with Labour and Tory peers pulling the strings.

    Colin Boyd, former Lord Advocate, Labour peer.

    Rani Dhir, director of Drumchapel Housing Co-operative.

    James Douglas Hamilton, former Scottish Office Minister, and Conservative peer.

    Professor Sir David Edward, retired Judge of the European Court.

    Lord Elder, Labour peer.

    Audrey Findlay, former Leader of Aberdeenshire Council, now convener of the Scottish Liberal Democrats.

    Jamie Lindsay, former Scottish Office Minister, chairman of Scottish Agricultural College and Conservative peer.

    John Loughton, president of the Scottish Youth Parliament (serving in a personal capacity).

    Murdoch MacLennan, chief executive, Telegraph Media Group.

    Shonaig Macpherson, chairwoman of the National Trust for Scotland and Scottish Council Development and Industry.

    Iain McMillan, director, CBI Scotland.

    Mona Siddiqui, Professor of Islamic Studies, Glasgow University.

    Matt Smith, Scottish Secretary, Unison.

    Jim Wallace, former Deputy First Minister as leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats, now a LibDem peer.


    Wansanshoo

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  • 6. At 1:31pm on 02 Dec 2008, Deasun1967 wrote:

    What an expensive Unionist stitch-up but then again, what else can we expect. Labour and the Tories (especially) are not in the least bit interested in furthering Scotland's position merely entrenching the Union and their own, narrow, political ends. This report - if it has any meaning - is all about saying devolution is working fine, except for the bits where Westminster or the people of England object. Expect to see a 'means based assessment' - or Unionist cuts, as they will become know and the repatriation of any measure which could conflict with the political will of Westminster, such as opposing new nuclear power stations or using environmental and planning laws to oppose Trident.

    Calman is even bold enough to be fairly explicit on this – absolutely nothing which could– potentially – damage the Union will be ruled-out and bluntly that means that anything which is perceived to against England’s interest or to be ‘unfair’ to England will be stamped upon. The Daily Mail’s agenda has won the day and we are paying for it

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  • 7. At 1:51pm on 02 Dec 2008, Chris Morrison wrote:

    If I was a Lib Dem just now I would be pretty pissed. They seem to have really been ignore din the Calman Convention.

    Maybe Tavish should think about jumping ship and joining the National Conversation. i'm sure the SNP would happily put a box on the ballot paper on giving scotland full fiscal autonomy.

    The Lib Dems have once agian been stitched up by Labour and given an equal share in an unpopular comission. If somethign good comes out of it you can bet that the Lib Dems won't even be mentioned.

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  • 8. At 2:03pm on 02 Dec 2008, dubbieside wrote:

    Brian

    I hope all the members had some jolly good lunches at the taxpayers expense, as this whitewash had no other value.

    Are you surprise the conservatives are delighted, support for Calman will cement their position in Scotland, which is no where, and going backwards fast.

    No comment needed from Labour as their poodle (Calman) delivered as ordered.

    Lib Dems are in a strange position, but for all the Tavish bluster never forget that they are part of the whitewash. If you do not like it Tavish withdraw now. But then again Lib Dems all talk and no action.

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  • 9. At 2:04pm on 02 Dec 2008, minuend wrote:

    The most interesting aspect of this timorous report is that Calman declares that the UK parliament is "sovereign".

    That flies in the face of the Scottish Claim of Right, a document that Gordon Brown signed in 1989, that fundamentally acknowledges that the Scottish people have the “sovereign right” to decide the form of government best suited to their needs.

    The Calman Declaration of Sovereignty highlights the deceit practised by unionists. The last thing they want is for Scots to decide their own future.

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  • 10. At 2:14pm on 02 Dec 2008, dubbieside wrote:

    Brian

    You say there are no conclusions in the Calman report.

    How about,

    "The Calman Commmission said devolving full fiscal autonomy would be inconsistent with the United Kingdom."

    There you have it, this farce was only ever about the (Dis) United Kingdom.

    No mention of what full fiscal autonomy would or should do for Scotland. Everything viewed through the prism of the United Kingdom.

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  • 11. At 2:20pm on 02 Dec 2008, cynicalHighlander wrote:

    "Conman Also Mimics" is the real title of this unionist dictatorship we have to endure.

    Reform Scotland

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  • 12. At 2:22pm on 02 Dec 2008, sieteseven wrote:

    The difficulty with the Calman report, as anybody in Scotland can tell you, is that it was set up ONLY by pro-unionist parties. It was set up in direct opposition to the Scottish Governments own 'national conversation', consultative process, which in contrast has a completely unrestricted brief.

    The upshot of this, is that Calmans' remit is restricted, to the extent that even considering full fiscal autonomy, it is held back by equally weighted consideration to retain Scotland within the union.

    I have to say, this is disappointing, as whilst only some in Scotland would want total independence, there are many more (including many in England), who believe the easiest solution for Scotland is indeed full fiscal autonomy, whilst remaining in the union.

    The result would be Scotland spends what it earns, no subsidies, AND no Barnett formula calculations.

    Sadly, Gordon Brown and the pro-union parties in Scotland have prevented this from being properly considered. As a result, any decisions based upon Calman, will simply be as big a fiscal mess as currently exists under Barnett.

    An opportunity wasted.

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  • 13. At 2:26pm on 02 Dec 2008, pattymkirkwood wrote:

    'intellectual definition of the Union' = no change.

    So other than trying to unfairly cut the Scottish Government's budget further, and maybe try and grab control of the final say over new nuclear plants - what does this waste of taxpayer's money offer?

    Why are the Scottish people paying for a Commission seeking to worsen their services and deny them their right to decide the constitutional future of their country?

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  • 14. At 2:40pm on 02 Dec 2008, crazyislander wrote:

    Well slap ma heid and ca' me Sadie! Why all the surprise and ire at the so-called, Calman report? Did anyone ever think that it would even hint at changing the status quo at Holyrood?

    And as to Tavish Scott, hell mend him. He should have known better than to climb into that flea-ridden bed the Tories and Labour like to slumber upon.

    As another poster on here suggests, Scott should enter into the Conversation and see where his views might accord with what is being said.

    A brief perusal of the list of contributors to Calman kindly provided by wansanshoo reveals it to be the usual suspects of Labour/Tory party mules and aspiring, insignificant others. Why did they not ask real people? After all, do we not have a say ( I AM real in case there is any doubt)?

    The best thing is simply to ignore it rather like the Coroner on the Menezes Inquest has ignored the evidence.

    Bottom line, SNP are in government albeit a minority one and Labour and Tories are in bits eating worms. The LibDems should get off the pot and start contributing to government by seeking an accommodation with the SNP. It wouldn't be an overall majority but it would pack a punch!

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  • 15. At 2:49pm on 02 Dec 2008, oldnat wrote:

    More worrying about the Calman Commission is its philosophical position based of the work of James Bryce (amongst other things a strong opponent of votes for women). Their endorsement of his views is worth quoting -

    "4.11 In delving deeper into these issues, the Commission has found the analysis of the Scottish jurist and constitutional expert, James (Viscount) Bryce – writing towards the end of the nineteenth century – a helpful guide. Bryce said that every political constitution has three main objects:
    • to establish and maintain a framework of government under which the work of the
    state can be efficiently carried on, so as to associate the people with the government, preserve public order and maintain a tolerable continuity of policy;
    • to provide security for the rights of the individual citizen and the protection of
    minorities; and
    • to hold the State together, and strengthen the cohesiveness of the country, by
    creating good machinery for connecting the outlying parts with the centre and by
    appealing to the various motives that will encourage all sections of the population to
    wish to remain united.

    4.12 Bryce recognised (as Madison, the father of the US Constitution, had done before him) that a good constitutional arrangement will require checks and balances. Common institutions, common interests (including commercial interests) and a sense of shared identity will draw people together. Divergent interests or priorities, a sense of separate identity or a sense of grievance (real or imagined) will pull people apart. Such tensions and tendencies are unavoidable, but a well-designed constitution will aim to encourage and promote those that draw people together, and counteract the effect of those that tend to drive people apart."
    Their starting position is, therefore, not to strengthen Scotland, but to strengthen the UK Union - regardless of the effect on Scotland.

    It's difficult to see how the Lib-Dems can live with that approach.

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  • 16. At 2:54pm on 02 Dec 2008, rog_rocks wrote:

    Rogues, not content with the demoralising rip off of Scotland, gave us;
    The Calman Commission, who "independently" gave us the answer to all of our problems;

    Rip off Scotland even more in the long, perhaps very long term.

    Good one!

    For more info on what full fiscal autonomy would mean for Scotland with its "embarrassingly" large tax surpluses please read; Gavin McCrones secret document 1974.

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  • 17. At 2:55pm on 02 Dec 2008, Globaltraveller wrote:

    This certainly was a very impressive Unionist stitch-up, but little else was expected, I guess. However, one can still be reasonably impressed at the sheer brass-neckery of the Unionists who set this Scottish taxpayer-funded, talking shop up in the first instance.

    The Calman Commmission said devolving full fiscal autonomy would be inconsistent with the United Kingdom.

    This one sentence says it all, really. And Unionists have the cheek to accuse Scottish independence supporters of allowing their own ideology to blindly influence their opinions and motivations.

    Quite clearly, the maintenance of the Union is much more important than effective governance. Some form of Fiscal Autonomy for Scotland, would certainly lead more effective governance, even if it is as part of the UK.

    It is as if the Union is some kind of biblically sacrosanct quasi-religion that must be upheld come what may.

    It is precisely that ideology that will lead to the undoing of the Union in due course.

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  • 18. At 2:58pm on 02 Dec 2008, Wee-Scamp wrote:

    Why the fuss everyone? Calman has no credibility because he refused to consider independence. So stop talking about it. It has no value.

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  • 19. At 3:03pm on 02 Dec 2008, aye_write wrote:

    My God, when are people going to wake up?

    You are being had Scotland.

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  • 20. At 3:09pm on 02 Dec 2008, sham1313 wrote:

    it seems as if the commission has an obsession with the union, instead of doing what is best for scotland

    the slippery slope has just been gritted

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  • 21. At 3:12pm on 02 Dec 2008, sharpski wrote:

    The calman commission is spin and nothing more. A narrow minded group of unionists who are desperately trying to find new ways of taking money from Scotland and sending it to London and weakening the SNP.

    There was no serious attempt to use this commission to make life better for Scotland, it was just throwing a bone to middle england and propagation of the subsidised scot myth because thats what will win the battleground english constituencies in the General election.

    Bring on a referendum, end the cycle of pillaging and lies.

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  • 22. At 3:12pm on 02 Dec 2008, Dunroamin wrote:

    12. ".....Scottish Governments own 'national conversation', consultative process, which in contrast has a completely unrestricted brief."

    The entire 'Nat Con' is set up as a taxpayer-funded propaganda tool for the SNP's independence campaign. Indeed, the SNP have now extended this independence campaign to the Scottish Government's YouTube channel as well as the website.

    There is not one solitary blog or article on there that promotes anything other than full independence.

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  • 23. At 3:17pm on 02 Dec 2008, BoNG0_1 wrote:

    Quote from Jim Murphy... "It is wholly independent and it is only right it should be left to consider these significant questions in the timescale and manner it sees fit."

    ...WHAT A JOKE!

    So Jim, over a third of Scots having not been represented by the Calman Commission because they voted SNP on May 3rd 2007 makes this an 'wholly independant' undertaking?

    UTTER GARBAGE, this was a waste of my hard earned money and is not worth the partisan parchment it is scribbled on.

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  • 24. At 3:23pm on 02 Dec 2008, parisfrance wrote:

    The BBC reported yesterday on the very reasons why Scotland desperately needs full fiscal economy.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/scotland/7750728.stm

    This is where the union has taken us. Scotland has by far the worst poverty in the whole of Western Europe. As someone who lives on the continent, I can assure you that the situation in Scotland is dire and utterly disproportionate to all the other countries in the EU and beyond.

    We've got to cut out the farce that the union has become and simply get on with governing our own affairs. The union is already quite a ridiculous spectacle.

    And this Calman project has been by far the most useles exercise I think I've ever seen in politics. It's a snake in the snakes and ladders of progress, aiming to take us back to square one.

    Best thing for Scotland to do is what it deserves: ignore it.

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  • 25. At 3:35pm on 02 Dec 2008, cynicalHighlander wrote:

    Fraser Nelson.
    The case for Scottish fiscal autonomy

    "My solution: is to adopt the Basque Country’s setup of “fiscal autonomy” where Scotland’s budget is set at what it can raise in tax. The SNP realises the attractions of a lower-tax model, having seen them work so well in Ireland and the former Soviet Republics. This is the best way of encouraging regeneration that Scotland needs so badly. And yes, you may argue that we’d be just a flag and an army away from independence. But at least Scotland would start to renew itself."

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  • 26. At 3:36pm on 02 Dec 2008, Dunroamin wrote:

    While the SNP are still floundering with their increasingly chaotic SFT, delaying many vital infrastructure projects in the process, Wales shows how it's done with their new Strategic Capital Investment Fund, providing funds for 19 capital projects in the country:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/wales/7759795.stm

    And the nationalists want more responsibilities given to them!

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  • 27. At 3:55pm on 02 Dec 2008, aye_write wrote:

    # 15 oldnat

    What a load of piffle that report snippet was. They're scraping the bottom of the barrel referencing it - like the student who needs to back up an argument and uses the the first handy bit of text that seems remotely sympathetic. (Ex-teacher spots.)

    At least it makes them look bad.

    What a lot of posts so far - should be an interesting one. (Mods had a large cup at coffee break...)

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  • 28. At 3:56pm on 02 Dec 2008, Dunroamin wrote:

    20. sham1313: "it seems as if the commission has an obsession with the union, instead of doing what is best for scotland"

    Clearly the SNP, and especially the Messianic Salmond, has an obsession with independence even though they have yet to provide a coherent, or even consistent, economic, political or social argument to show Scotland would be better off out of the UK.

    SNP and the nationalists = Independence at any cost.

    Thankfully, the vast majority of us don't agree.

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  • 29. At 4:02pm on 02 Dec 2008, sid the sceptic wrote:

    No crazy (14) Mr Scott and his party should grow a spine and stand up for what they and a vast majority of ordinary Scots actually want.
    how many times are the lib Dem's going to be shafted by labour before they learn their lesson?

    as most people who come into contact with the labour party find out eventually it is not what they can do for you it's what you can do for them.
    i can think of a situation right now in the west of Scotland where this is most definitely the case.

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  • 30. At 4:04pm on 02 Dec 2008, TheTartanTinDrum wrote:

    Yesterday the BBC informed us that one in 3 Scots were living on or below the breadline - the BBC's words, not mine.

    Today we are informed that in order to achieve better governance and in turn a fairer and more prosperous society we need to continue on exactly the same path.

    Harold Pinter summed this type of thing up perfectly:

    "It never happened. Nothing ever happened. Even while it was happening, it wasn't happening. It didn't matter. It was of no interest".

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  • 31. At 4:13pm on 02 Dec 2008, aye_write wrote:

    #22 Reluctant-Expat

    So what? So a lot of people thought about it and agree with independence. Terrible. Just because you have a problem with it....

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  • 32. At 4:20pm on 02 Dec 2008, aye_write wrote:

    # 24 GloaminInTheRoman

    "Best thing for Scotland to do is what it deserves: ignore it."

    Or use it to promote independence.

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  • 33. At 4:29pm on 02 Dec 2008, aye_write wrote:

    # 26. Reluctant-Expat

    "While the SNP are still floundering with their increasingly chaotic SFT, delaying many vital infrastructure projects in the process, Wales shows how it's done with their new Strategic Capital Investment Fund, providing funds for 19 capital projects in the country...

    And the nationalists want more responsibilities given to them!"

    Yes, the nats are a being less swift with something. You're right, this is a reason to ditch the entire notion of independence.

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  • 34. At 4:33pm on 02 Dec 2008, aye_write wrote:

    #26 Reluctant-Expat

    "Clearly the SNP, and especially the Messianic Salmond, has an obsession with independence even though they have yet to provide a coherent, or even consistent, economic, political or social argument to show Scotland would be better off out of the UK."

    He's done quite well though, you'd have to admit maintaining such a 'poor' argument for as long as he has (years). Doesn't say much for you and your ilk if you haven't managed to blast it out of the political water yet...

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  • 35. At 4:41pm on 02 Dec 2008, parisfrance wrote:

    #22

    And yet, you are able to participate in the national conversation while the calman commision was a closed shop. Only one of these is part of a democratic process and it was the initiative of the SNP.


    #26
    Silly and inaccurate. The Lib Dems might beg to differ with you when you "accuse" the nationalists of wanting more power. My understanding is that they are in favour more power whilst remaining within the union. And, on top of this, polls repeatedly show that the overhwelming majority of Scots desire more autonomy, regardless of their party allegiances.

    #28

    See my post above refering to this:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/scotland/7750728.stm

    This is where the union has brought us, and don't dare offer me any excuses for this abominable state of affairs. It seems to me that the whole of the union is based on the premise of maintaining the union at any cost. And the cost is very very high: Scotland as the most poverty-stricken country in the whole of western europe.

    That is a disgrace and it is the legacy of the union and it proves that Scotland will not improve unless it radically changes its form of governence, and independence is the obvious answer, given that that is the status of choice for almost all the world's nations.

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  • 36. At 4:42pm on 02 Dec 2008, Fit Like wrote:

    #28 RE

    Clearly the Labour Party, and especially the dour and reprehensibile Brown, has an obsession with the union even though he and his fawning bootlickers have yet to provide a coherent, or even consistent, economic, political or social argument to show Scotland would be better off remaining in the UK.

    Brown and his Unionist sycophants = The Union at any cost

    RE - and no, before you say it, I am not a nationalist, I'm just turning your words on you in the interest of balance and fainess.

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  • 37. At 4:42pm on 02 Dec 2008, Dunroamin wrote:

    30. Does anyone even know what they defined as 'breadline poor'?

    Instead of relying on just this one report, I decided to use my eyes and see for myself.

    Unemployment has been low, economic growth has been strong, public spending has been high and welfare payments have been steadily increasing in value.

    I even spent a good few hours driving around Edinburgh yesterday to find indications of such poverty in my city. In all honesty, I didn't see anything that I haven't also seen on my travels around Europe and N. America (I've actually seen a LOT WORSE in the USA!).

    Yes, there is poverty in East Glasgow but there has been vast sums poured into the city and its once-derelict neighbourhoods in recent years.

    This report makes little sense from my viewpoint so I'd like to know what they defined as 'breadline poor'?

    Anyone?

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  • 38. At 4:42pm on 02 Dec 2008, poorscotland wrote:

    Dear Santa,
    Please send me a nice new bank of Scotland where hard working folk can save money and where the staff know your name and the manager will give you a loan against a good plan to build up a strong business paying good wages to our neighnours... and the business and its good workers could pay reasonable taxes and build up solid pensions to look after us when we're old and weak at the end of our labour, so that we're not a burden and humiliated at the end of our days... and maybe - if it's not too much to ask cos there's only 5 miilion of us - could you tell all the Scottish children that being Scottish is so very special because we had the really kind idea that all children should be able to read and write and count before anyone else did... and, if you're going to America, could you remind Mr Obama that the first black American ever to get a University degree had to come all the way to Glasgow for lessons and a welcome when none of the class-ridden racists Anglo-American would have him. Thanks a lot. Merry Xmas good ol' Bedford Falls! PS No X-boxes please. They're pure poison.

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  • 39. At 4:43pm on 02 Dec 2008, parisfrance wrote:

    #32

    Actually, you make a very salient point. I tyhink that it does expose the weakness of Labour, and the irrelevance in Scotland of the Tories.

    They bascially have nothing new to say.

    The Calman report confirms this and, as you say, can and should be used against them as an argument for progress.

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  • 40. At 4:43pm on 02 Dec 2008, parisfrance wrote:

    #32

    Actually, you make a very salient point. I tyhink that it does expose the weakness of Labour, and the irrelevance in Scotland of the Tories.

    They basically have nothing new to say.

    The Calman report confirms this and, as you say, can and should be used against them as an argument for progress.

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  • 41. At 4:47pm on 02 Dec 2008, Alasdair_McGray wrote:

    What backward thinking people these hand picked unionists are!

    Can a modern Scotland ever flourish with people like this in positions of influence?

    A McG

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  • 42. At 4:47pm on 02 Dec 2008, oldnat wrote:

    #31 aye_write

    Expat also has a problem with understanding.

    The Welsh SCIF that he referred to is nothing to do with replacing PFI, but a replacement for the lack of strategy in Welsh expenditure until Plaid Cymru joined their Government to minimise Welsh Labour incompetence.

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  • 43. At 4:52pm on 02 Dec 2008, poorscotland wrote:

    All posts are pre-moderated. What does this mean?
    Actually it means censored, doesn't it? No getting away from it. Censored. Of course, people can say some pretty awful things. Question is: Should we be allowed to? Answer is: Of course we should, because we pay for this site and your wages. But hey... you'll look after us - right?
    No need to post this... I just like the idea of you being reminded of the big question and the pompous way you deal with it. Have a nice day.

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  • 44. At 4:56pm on 02 Dec 2008, parisfrance wrote:

    #37

    Ah yes.

    You are a true unionist.

    Such reports come out almost constantly showing Scotland to be a country in dire social and economic straits, and all you do is embark on procedures of denial after denial after denial.

    Let me assure you that Scotland has huge sections of its population living in conditions which are nowhere found on such a scale in other Western European countries. Nowhere.

    What else, however, would we expect from an obviously committed unionist such as yourself?

    I'm afraid I have to say that the position of denial that unioinists take on this matter is perfectly horrid. It shows that you truly are committed to the union at any cost. Whatever it is that motivates you is simply beyond me.

    Go ahead and continue your defense of the indefensible. But bear in mind that you position is part of the reason that Scotland finds itself constantly at the bottom of Europe's league tables on any matter relating to standard of living.

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  • 45. At 4:56pm on 02 Dec 2008, Dunroamin wrote:

    34. There is nothing to "blow out of the political water", is there.

    Salmond said we would have an oil fund if independent, but even he had to admit that we need all the oil revenues just to finance current spending.

    He also said we would be prosperous by developing renewable energy ("generating ten times more than we need", he said) but who do we sell it to? The rest of the UK, our largest market by far, could discard any Scotland-sourced electricity by building just one of the three proposed estuary barrages.

    He talks about oil lasting "50 more years" but he won't comment on the fast declining production levels, which is obviously what actually matters.

    He hasn't made a single coherent argument yet so there is nothing to blow out of the political water.

    All this talk about the BBC 'breadline poor' survey.....but with unemployment low and a strong economy making us the 4th richest region in the UK, it's clearly not 'economic policy' that's caused that. We have always kept our oil revenues so it's not that. Welfare payments have been increasingly generous so that's not the failure.

    There's an accompanying article on the BBC about a Glaswegian family with tales of teenage pregnancies, permanent unemployment, refusal by any and all to even look for a job and living entirely off benefits.....I think this gets us closer to the real reason for that statistic, not the knee-jerk accusations of 'failure of and repression by the union'.

    If we took Glasgow out of the equation, where would we stand then?

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  • 46. At 5:00pm on 02 Dec 2008, inmykip wrote:

    Let me see, should I take the word of.....

    a recognised team of researchers from Sheffield University who have issued a report highlighting the changes to the UK regions over the past 4 decades, part of which highlights the poor deal many people in Scotland have been on the end of.

    OR

    the word of an anonymous contributor to a blog who has travelled about a bit.

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  • 47. At 5:02pm on 02 Dec 2008, Tom wrote:

    Reluctant-Expat:

    "And the nationalists want more responsibilities given to them!"

    Do they? I believe that the Nationalists want more responsibilities being given to the Scottish Parliament, whoever may be in Government at the time.

    Do you have a problem with living with the consequences with what the Scots public choose?

    "Clearly the SNP, and especially the Messianic Salmond, has an obsession with independence even though they have yet to provide a coherent, or even consistent, economic, political or social argument to show Scotland would be better off out of the UK."

    Please provide evidence to show that Scotland would be worse off after Independence.

    "SNP and the nationalists = Independence at any cost."

    Ah, misleading, now you have turned to scaremongering. Of course you would not be the type of person to protect the Union at any cost, would you?

    The problem with the status quo is quite clear. I am sure many who reside in England will be willing to argue about the problems the current status quo has brought. However the Union at whatever cost, to blindly follow something that clearly has many problems despite when the majority want to see those problems solved and the positives improved. Nationalists and Unionist alike.

    You, Expat are one Unionist who does not have the majority behind them. The real majority of Unionists want the UK system to work to benefit Scotland and England and are not afraid to solve the problems head on. But please carry on and support the status quo, at the end of the day the resentment that Scotland receives from those who reside in England must strengthen the SNP and Pro-Independence groups further.

    "Thankfully, the vast majority of us don't agree."

    Another misleading statement. Please show what brought you this idea. Even the polls continue to show that the real majority are the people who have not yet decided whether or not to vote for Independence.

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  • 48. At 5:02pm on 02 Dec 2008, TheTartanTinDrum wrote:

    #30. Does anyone even know what they defined as 'breadline poor'?

    According to the BBC report yesterday, "the category is defined as a poverty line so low that people are excluded from participating in "the norms of society".

    For the benefit of those who have had a successful irony bypass, I shall repeat the Pinter quote. It seems aposite it should be juxtaposed with your comment...

    "It never happened. Nothing ever happened. Even while it was happening, it wasn't happening. It didn't matter. It was of no interest".

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  • 49. At 5:09pm on 02 Dec 2008, Silas wrote:

    #28

    Is it a surprise to you that the Scottish Nationalist Party are obsessed with independance, it being advertised as their key policy, not to mention of their being nationalists? You talk like it's a crime, following the central policy of their manifesto.

    As for the arguments for it, the most obvious political reason would be that independance for scotland is quite simply more democratic: having our own politicians representing us more directly, on every issue. This branches into your other areas of concern: If we were independant, it would automatically follow that we were more closely represented on social and economic issues too.

    Finally, you claim that the vast majority do not support independance. Your evidence comes from where exactly? You may not have noticed, but the nationalists are in power, and any opposition to the idea of independance in polls has been notably not vast!

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  • 50. At 5:11pm on 02 Dec 2008, Tom wrote:

    It's ashame that the Calman Report has proven to be nothing but another report which purpose is ensuring Scotland's place in the United Kingdom, rather then what is best for Scotland.

    Scotland will continue to suffer problems once the Calman report passes (and operating). If the Unionists support the United Kingdom then why are none eager to fix the problems that exist? Scotland could enjoy the main advantages to independence while being apart of the United Kingdom.

    If the majority support the Union between Scotland and England then what's the problem? If Scotland acheives greater powers then the Unionists will ensure Scotland remains in the United Kingdom.

    The real fear here is that of the unionist parties. If Scotland manages to re-invent herself into something as 'perfect' as Norway or another successful country then the less of a need the Union becomes for Scotland.

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  • 51. At 5:12pm on 02 Dec 2008, Dunroamin wrote:

    Right, done a little digging for myself as the nationalists have taken the 'breadline poverty' report as gospel (no surprise there).

    http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Topics/Statistics/Browse/Social-Welfare/IncomePoverty/CoreAnalysis

    In 2006/07, 17% of people in urban areas were in relative poverty* (before housing costs). In rural areas this figure was 15%.

    *Relative low income poverty is defined as individuals who are living in households whose equivalised income is below 60% of the UK median income in the same year."


    This uses an international standard to define 'poverty' and paints a slightly different picture!

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  • 52. At 5:18pm on 02 Dec 2008, Barbazenzero wrote:

    I'm just back from meetings and have to do some "homework" before I can join the "debate" but from a quick skim of the comments above, I fully agree that the LibDems seem to have been conned and that Scott and the LibDems should consider jumping ship ASAP.

    However, I did download the report and have read it during the day. Has anyone else noticed that the actual text of the IEG message has been beefed up as the buck passes? Viz:

    Calman interim - Annex B p111 [copy of IEG 1st Evidence to Calman - p55]:
    "We have concerns that full fiscal autonomy may not be readily compatible with the maintenance of the United Kingdom"

    Calman interim - p64:
    "The Independent Expert Group concluded that to the extent that a region with full fiscal autonomy is to all intents and purposes independent, full fiscal autonomy is not consistent with the maintenance of the Union; the Commission agrees"

    BBC - Brian's link:
    "The Calman Commmission said devolving full fiscal autonomy would be inconsistent with the United Kingdom."

    Of course, anyone but an idiot would realise that full fiscal autonomy would be inconsistent within the existing United Kingdom.

    That's surely the "elephant in the room" - unless the UK itself evolves and at least completes the symmetry of the original asymmetric devolution the system could not work, particularly now that Greengate reminds us of how parsimonious and selective the current UK government is in doling out important, relevant information that the public probably and the national governments certainly need to know.

    TTFN - back in a couple of hours.

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  • 53. At 5:22pm on 02 Dec 2008, crazyislander wrote:

    Ah, reluctant_expat thinks there is worse poverty in the USA but he accepts that the East end of Glasgow has poverty.

    So from his lofty expatriate reluctance we are told that he feels that Scotland's poverty is exagerated. Well then, why does he not pop down to Inverclyde and wander about the streets of Larkfield and Branchton or have a nice stroll through Robert Street in Port Glasgow. He might also pop into the wilds of Paisley on his way. There IS REAL grinding poverty in our towns and cities. Children actually do become malnourished
    due to the lack of food. Our pensioners are given less than a living wage with which to heat and feed themselves. Proud and hardworking OAPs are forced to beg for Income Support in order to have the bare necessities of life.

    Poverty in Scotland is real and it is highly visible if you open your eyes. But of course, expat would rather deafen us with the clatter of his spite driven typing of anti-nationalist bile.

    Statistically we ARE the poorest country/region of Western Europe and the signs are there for anyone who wish to see it. But then, there is none so blind as he who WILL NOT see!

    The East End of Glasgow is poor
    Easterhouse is poor
    Castlemilk is poor
    in fact, more or less every town and city in Scotland is POOR and those who aren't or wouldn't identify themselves as poor are either wealthy or up to their eyes in debt and waiting for the hammer to fall with next banking collapse.

    I have seen the poverty in the US. Yes it is bad and shame on such a rich country for allowing it but comparing like for like is odious. We HAVE a Welfare State and a National Health Service but we still have grinding poverty. Why not aim some of your inflammatory invective at the government that has sought to keep things this way.

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  • 54. At 5:23pm on 02 Dec 2008, Silas wrote:

    #45

    Given that the SNP are currently governing Scotland, I'd say that there's plenty to blow out the political water. 47 MSPs is quite a bit to blow out the political water, actually...

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  • 55. At 5:24pm on 02 Dec 2008, aye_write wrote:

    "34. RE

    "Salmond said we would have an oil fund if independent, but even he had to admit that we need all the oil revenues just to finance current spending."

    We should still have them.
    Not a reason to ditch independence.

    "He also said we would be prosperous by developing renewable energy ("generating ten times more than we need", he said) but who do we sell it to? The rest of the UK, our largest market by far, could discard any Scotland-sourced electricity by building just one of the three proposed estuary barrages."

    Unless you have picked up a spade as we speak, is that well-informed?
    Not a reason to ditch independence.

    "He talks about oil lasting "50 more years" but he won't comment on the fast declining production levels, which is obviously what actually matters."

    Get yourself up to Aberdeen - the engineers there will explain it to all you. (They aren't in any way ready to wind down their businesses.)
    Not a reason to ditch independence.

    Don't think Alex will be taking notes from your immense point making of prowess just yet.

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  • 56. At 5:27pm on 02 Dec 2008, sham1313 wrote:

    #28 reluctant expat

    your reply to my post has some truths in it i just dont see what its got to do with my post?????



    20. sham1313: "it seems as if the
    commission has an obsession with the union, instead of doing what is best for scotland"

    Clearly the SNP, and especially the Messianic Salmond, has an obsession with independence even though they have yet to provide a coherent, or even consistent, economic, political or social argument to show Scotland would be better off out of the UK.

    SNP and the nationalists = Independence at any cost.

    Thankfully, the vast majority of us don't agree.

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  • 57. At 5:28pm on 02 Dec 2008, parisfrance wrote:

    #45

    More ludicrous denial.

    It is the unionist ploy to sweep this issue under the carpet, to plead economic prosperity in spite of the substandard living conditions that exists in our country on such a huge scale.

    And, as usual, we get the claim that it's only in Glasgow blah blah blah.

    No it's not only Glasgow. It may be the worst, but there are gross problems in every single Scottish city.

    Oil rich (sic) Aberdeen has an incredible 18% of households living below the poverty line as it is set by your (the British) Government.

    http://www.aberdeencity.gov.uk/acci/web/files/Stats_Facts/LowIncome_aberdeen.pdf

    That is very nearly one fifth of the city's households, and Aberdeen is supposedly our iconic oil capital of europe???!!! Unbelievable.

    There is clearly something wrong with Scotland that it lags so badly behind other western european countries. It does not take the greatest amount of effort in the world to realise that this is in a large part due to the fact that we do not have enough control over our own affairs.

    It is a country that has suffered decades, even centuries of neglect within the union, and it can't go on.

    Independence or full fiscal autonomy might not end up making a difference, but at least it would give us the chance to try. And that's much more than we have now.

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  • 58. At 5:28pm on 02 Dec 2008, Dunroamin wrote:

    44. You go ahead and stick to the same old unsubstantiated rhetoric for your 'argument' and I'll stick to substantiated facts!

    Here's some more for you:

    http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Publications/2008/11/20103815/3

    Quote: "In 2006-07, relative poverty affected:

    Around 840,000 individuals - 17% of Scotland's population"


    ...which is bang on the UK average shredding claims that Scotland is left to suffer by the UK:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/shared/spl/hi/pop_ups/05/business_uk_poverty/html/1.stm

    You say: "....Scotland finds itself constantly at the bottom of Europe's league tables on any matter relating to standard of living."

    In response, I say:

    http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Publications/2008/08/12162152/5

    Quote: "3.5 Second, it appears that Scotland has one of the highest levels of 'life satisfaction' in Europe, a mean score of 8.06 placing it at the top end of the scale alongside Switzerland and Denmark."

    Quote: "Scotland has slightly higher average scores on 'life satisfaction' than the rest of the UK (excluding Scotland). Again it is important to note that the difference between the two amounted to less than a point (8.06 and 7.2 respectively). So whilst it would be unwise to conclude that subjective well-being is higher in Scotland than in the rest of the UK, there is little evidence to suggest that it is any worse."

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  • 59. At 5:28pm on 02 Dec 2008, TheTartanTinDrum wrote:

    # 45.If we took Glasgow out of the equation, where would we stand then?

    Indeed. If there is an inconvenience in the stats, simply contort yourself in as twisted a manner as possible in order to make them appear better. If that means excluding by far the largest conurbation in the country then so be it.

    This is at its very core, the essence of what it is to be a NuLabour adherent.

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  • 60. At 5:34pm on 02 Dec 2008, aye_write wrote:

    #51 Reluctant-Expat

    (Jeez, you must be bored?)

    Eh?

    It doesn't really matter how you colour the picture in, Scots aren't as poverty free as they ought to be. I'm bothered about that even if you aren't.

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  • 61. At 5:40pm on 02 Dec 2008, parisfrance wrote:

    #51

    What?

    I say again, what?

    You think that another survey, revealing 17% of the nation in poverty favours YOUR argument?

    Oh yes. It paints a slightly different picture, so it does. A VERY slightly different picture.

    Only a unionist could point to such stats and claim they somehow justify the union. Quite incredible.

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  • 62. At 5:42pm on 02 Dec 2008, greenockboy wrote:

    Seven comments from the Unionist calling himself Reluctant - Expat, not one yet addresses this pathetic report.

    This 'flooding' technique, as someone seeks to sideline the discussion and overwhelm the thread with comments, was carried out before by the self same individual.

    The person carrying out this practice is very similar to a well known obsessive poster who used to frequent The Scotsman, they may (or may not) be one and the same.

    The poster will continue to flood this thread with comments, he cannot help it. The moderators however would do well to be carefull lest the thread descend into flaming and utter chaos.

    Here is the comment that this individual might like to address:

    "The Calman Commmission said devolving full fiscal autonomy would be inconsistent with the United Kingdom."

    Does Reluctant - Expat believe that Scotland's well being should be a secondary consideration?

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  • 63. At 5:45pm on 02 Dec 2008, aye_write wrote:

    #57 GloaminInTheRoman

    "Oil rich (sic) Aberdeen has an incredible 18% of households living below the poverty line as it is set by your (the British) Government."

    Correct. On radio the other day an organisation set up to provide volunteers to befriend younsters in the Aberdeen area suffering from hardship (usually stemming from poverty) was seeking additional funds, as their spokesperson said if they had the resources to act on every referral they received, they would need either (I can't quite remember) approximately 200 or 2000 volunteers a month.

    Either way, there is no denying there is plenty poverty in our Oil Capital.

    Hello?!

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  • 64. At 5:45pm on 02 Dec 2008, Fredcringe wrote:

    Those with power can have as many Reports as they like; but surely, the solution is simple. What do the Scottish people want?. The only way to find out is to have a Referendum. This is what the Government want to happen. Quite right too. Why is this so difficult?.

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  • 65. At 5:50pm on 02 Dec 2008, parisfrance wrote:

    #58

    And I'll just refer you to this

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/scotland/6739007.stm

    and to this

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/scotland/4257966.stm


    and to this

    http://www.shortnews.com/start.cfm?id=62980

    and so on and so forth.

    And you seem to think that just because the poverty is as bad in other parts of the uK then this somehow makes it all all right.

    No it doesn't. This just proves that the union is bad for the whole of the UK.

    I prefer to compare us to countries who offer us an idea of what it would be like for a country of our dimensions to be independent - Switerland, Norway, Ireland, Belgium, Austria - none of whom have anything like the problems we do.

    Your denial of the povery in Scotland is the very worst of the unionist obfuscations aimed at keeping the truth from the people of Scotland.

    It is, believe me, to your shame.

    And, by the way, I don't much trust the Government stats and prefer to believe the independent stats like those given in the BBC story of yesterday. That is far more reliable without a doubt. And what it reveals is exactly what you know but don't dare to admit because of your need to protect your fragile little union.

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  • 66. At 5:54pm on 02 Dec 2008, parisfrance wrote:

    #58

    Eh, I just looked at this link you gave me:

    http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Publications/2008/11/20103815/3

    It says that 20% of pensioners - of pensioners - in Scotland are living in relative poverty.

    And you are trying to tell us this is evidence of the success of the union? 20% of pensioners living in poverty? You think that's OK?

    I can't believe you're trying to spin this in a positive light. It is absolutely disgraceful and for you to ignore the disgrace is also disgraceful.

    No more union. Enough. If this is the way that unionists think, then we need out of it.

    No more to be said.

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  • 67. At 5:59pm on 02 Dec 2008, poorscotland wrote:

    Dear Jesus,
    I'm writing to you because it'll soon be your birthday and I always thought you were a good sort of bloke with some good ideas. But you wouldn't recognise this place now. The Romans have transformed your birthday celebrations into a merchants' orgy and they've squeezed every drop out the people and made everyone miserable. Even the children are unhappy.
    Now the Romans have installed a barbarian/Scottish Emperor to reward the greedy and lay waste the most beautiful part of the land because he fears the people because he was once one of them. This war-mongering barbarian has given up completely on the local pharisees here, and is directly plundering the land, removing everything of value and turning the people slowly into slaves.
    If you've got any clout left it would be really good if you visited Lord Calman (or Shonaig McPherson if he's out) in a sort of Marley's ghost sort of way and scare the b'jesus out of him/her before the land is broken and its people humilated and degraded further. Please intervene before the new year... for the stupidity and vanity of this barbarian emperor and his picked and prosperous cronies, will destroy everything clever and kind that we have built over 300 years. Happy birthday.

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  • 68. At 6:00pm on 02 Dec 2008, brigadierjohn wrote:

    Steady folks, it's only the interim report! But it seems to have taken us right back to square one, only the blinkers on both sides have grown larger.
    A quick skim suggests to my non-legal and constitutionally inexpert mind that the governance of Scotland is a hugely complicated thing, inextricably linked to the governance of the UK.
    One simple example: Should someone in Cornwall get similar benefits to someone in Caithness in similar circumstances. If the answer is "yes," why do we need separate admin machines to provide them?
    If separation means significantly better benefits in Caithness, how can we prevent an invasion by the poor and jobless from England?
    Simplistic? Yes. But no more simplistic than claiming "oil will provide." (Or has that one been quietly dropped?).
    Frankly, I don't think Calman makes a damn of difference to anyone's thinking. We have been engulfed by world events, and these will colour our thinking for years to come.
    At present the tide is running heavily against those who wish to rearrange the deck chairs. But time will tell.

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  • 69. At 6:02pm on 02 Dec 2008, Dunroamin wrote:

    Jeez, who's talking Scotland down now?!

    Nationalists: "We're really poor", "We're the poorest in Western Europe", "There is clearly something wrong with Scotland that it lags so badly behind other western european countries", "Proud and hardworking OAPs are forced to beg for Income Support in order to have the bare necessities of life"....they seriously make you beg down the DSS nowadays?!

    Suck it up, people! We're now the 4th richest part of the UK. Our growth outstripped much of the rest of the UK. We're part of the second largest economy in the EU. One forecast says it might be the EU's biggest economy within 15-20 years. We're very close to being the richest per capita in the G8, already better than Japan, France, Germany and Italy. The UK economy performed better in the past 30 years than much of the rest of Europe. Unemployment has been way below EU average for a long time....

    I hate to be the bearer of bad news but there it is.

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  • 70. At 6:02pm on 02 Dec 2008, Wansanshoo wrote:

    info@commissiononscottishdevolution.org.uk




    Please fell free to mail Mr Calman and his cronies at the adddress above, it was published on the bbc website so hopefully the censor will be kind.


    Wansanshoo

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  • 71. At 6:09pm on 02 Dec 2008, aye_write wrote:

    #42 olnat

    Expat also has a problem with understanding.

    Well, it's an often demonstrated trait of the Unionist.

    :-|



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  • 72. At 6:20pm on 02 Dec 2008, Dunroamin wrote:

    61. Your point?

    I say again, your point?

    The average poverty level across Western Europe is 17%, continuing to undermine your claim that "Scotland has huge sections of its population living in conditions which are nowhere found on such a scale in other Western European countries. Nowhere."

    Even one case of poverty is one case too high but all these nationalist claims that Scotland is somehow far, far worse off than everyone, everywhere is just plain wrong.

    Ireland's poverty rate is 21%, by the way.

    Oh wait, Salmond has dropped them from his 'Arc of Prosperity', hasn't he.

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  • 73. At 6:27pm on 02 Dec 2008, Dunroamin wrote:

    66. Will you ever research before you post?

    Just 60 seconds of research uncovers this comparison of pensioner poverty between the UK and the rest of Europe:

    "When we take into account the basic state pension, pension credit, free TV licences, winter fuel payments and private pensions, our pensioners are better off than those in, say, France, Sweden, Denmark and similar countries. Our pensioners are much better off than those in most other European countries. Indeed, we are about fifth in the EU league."


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  • 74. At 6:29pm on 02 Dec 2008, sanatogen wrote:

    With SNP in power, for the first time ever we have a political party with serve their own interests and the people they serve.

    At least that's the theory.

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  • 75. At 6:35pm on 02 Dec 2008, Dunroamin wrote:

    65. "Your denial of the povery in Scotland is the very worst of the unionist obfuscations aimed at keeping the truth from the people of Scotland.".

    Er, who's denying it? I'm the one providing the stats.

    I have even provided comparisons to show that Scotland, and the UK in general, are not the abject failures you and others need to portray us as.

    Exaggeration and fabrication. The two lynch-pins of the nationalist argument.

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  • 76. At 6:38pm on 02 Dec 2008, poorscotland wrote:

    Falkirk is now a state town with the majority dependent on government jobs. Glasgow is dependent on the state and retail. (The state = everything funded by taxation.) These economic models suit the Union and deeply damage a once-enterprising Scotland. The model involves people spending state wages in retail outlets employing locals at low wages. The profits then leave Scotland along with high quality jobs. When spending falls, the outlets close down. This is the "poverty-line." Meanwhile everything of real value is taken out of Scotland, except nuclear weapons and Tornados and Eurofighters to guard the oil. Scotland's tax base narrows and the people become even more weakened and dependent. The Unionist model is therefore; reduce enterprise (personal freedom) increase dependency (state control). It's perfectly clear that Scotland's economy is being systematically and cynically dismembered. It seems to me that the Unionist AND Nationalist points of view are now equally romantic and subjective. All that's left is to pick a side.

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  • 77. At 6:39pm on 02 Dec 2008, Anaxim wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 78. At 6:44pm on 02 Dec 2008, DavieBob_efc_ wrote:

    Poverty is a problem over a lot of the UK. And for me it hard for one place to put its No1 'we're poorer than you' Mug on the table, with the exception of Glasgow East.

    It is a complex matter and well in a lot of cases you have to give value to different factors which can confuse the issue further.

    Here is an interesting site you may like to look through seen as this has become a topic here:

    http://www.poverty.org.uk/index.htm

    And the geographical summary:

    http://www.poverty.org.uk/summary/regional.shtml


    The question is surely what is best for the poverty issues in Scotland, which if Independant could be forced to cut its own public spending by quite sum margin (I deliberately said could as that for better men than me to be able to work out though I think it a fair outcome possibility and more likely than levels staying the same or going up). If public spending goes down or increased investment from outside doesn't come in it could lead to worse issues in the future.

    Thus the Union arguement is an interesting one in that, there is no way Scotland should accept a cut in its current funding and surely should have more control over that funding and ways to raise its own funds. But is it fair that by head of population Scotland receives more than England? Well if that is the price of Union than my answer would be yes.

    A lot of people who post here are pro-independance and I doubt anything will change a lot of the minds here, infact it seems overall very partisan and well, think people correctly who have seen me post have me down as a Unionist and rightly so.

    Is Independance the fix for poverty? I don't think so, I think there is a huge risk it could get worse with it in the short/medium term, is that a price worth paying?

    On the other hand, are us Unionist peeps just basically saying 'better the devil you know' than risking Independance?

    There maybe a bit in truth in both, sure someone will tell me either way.

    Anyway, hope the links prove interesting reading to some of you, interesting debate to read through as always keep it up.

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  • 79. At 6:53pm on 02 Dec 2008, Tom wrote:

    John:

    #68.

    "...how can we prevent an invasion by the poor and jobless from England?"

    I'm not an immigration expert, but as far as I am aware immigrants are unable to claim UK benefits for a certain amount of time but they have to be working in the meantime before they can claim the privilages.

    It would be simple to manage a similar system in Scotland. A person may have to provide evidence such as their date of birth (including where they were born) or prove that they have worked full-time in Scotland for a number of years before claiming benefits.


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  • 80. At 6:59pm on 02 Dec 2008, ForteanJo wrote:

    #18 Wee-Scamp:

    The reason for the fuss is that, reading between the lines, Calman will call for our budget to be "equalised" with the rest of the UK and for Westminster to have the power to overrule the Scottish Parliament where it suits UK interests. Gordie will then make these changes and justify by saying he's only following the recommendations set out by the Calman report.

    Perhaps when there's drastic public spending cuts in Scotland and teh highlands are full of nuclear power plants, you'll see what the fuss was about.

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  • 81. At 7:06pm on 02 Dec 2008, aye_write wrote:

    68. brigadierjohn

    This post brilliantly demonstrates the jist of my first post, showing how clouded our thinking has become.

    It is not for reasons of any personal malice towards The Brig that I remake the point, but rather because of a sense of despair.

    So I say again,

    "My God, when are people going to wake up?

    You are being had Scotland."

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  • 82. At 7:09pm on 02 Dec 2008, kaybraes wrote:

    I don't know what Calman cost or who paid for it but I assume any royalties will be going straight to the Nu Labour election fund. A hell of a lot of money could have been saved if they had just let Brown's office do the report without involving all the " great and good ". Gypsy Rose Lee could have written it six months ago without overstetching her powers, it is so predictable.

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  • 83. At 7:12pm on 02 Dec 2008, ForteanJo wrote:

    #22 - RE:

    "There is not one solitary blog or article on there that promotes anything other than full independence."

    Not one? How about:

    http://www.cbi.org.uk/ndbs/positiondoc.nsf/1f08ec61711f29768025672a0055f7a8/b22f7f3c9622ec04802573dd003aa487?OpenDocument

    http://www.scotland.anglican.org/index.php/news/entry/scotlands_churches_take_part_in_national_conversation/

    http://thescotsman.scotsman.com/sheilamclean/A-national-conversation-is-all.3465578.jp

    http://openscotland.gov.uk/Topics/a-national-conversation/Tell-us/Blog/nat-institutions

    There's 4 articles / blogs that aren't all about independence. Shall I go on or do you want time to do your now habitual moving of goal posts?

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  • 84. At 7:19pm on 02 Dec 2008, poorscotland wrote:

    68
    Forgive me but the arguement doesn't hang on benefits though it's always spun that way. It hangs on ambition and prosperity. The prosperity of Scotland or Cornwall, or Latvia or Switzerland or anywhere else for that matter, depends entirely on indigenous ingenuity and resources. Scotland - like Cornwall - is not the architect of its own prosperity because every ambition is vetted by Westminster. In Westminster every Scottish investment faces the challenge: "Is it good for the Union?" and not; "Is it good for Scotland?"
    Scotland - unlike Cornwall - is a distinct country and must succeed - or fail - according to its own ambitions and not London's. Our priorities are not Westminster's. If Scotland had little value London would have dumped us years ago. Instead London is desperate to keep us in the Union because Scotland has 31% of the land, 90% of the energy, and 100% of the guardpost for the North Atlantic. Go figure.

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  • 85. At 7:20pm on 02 Dec 2008, ForteanJo wrote:

    #46 - InMyKip:

    "OR

    the word of an anonymous contributor to a blog who has travelled about a bit"

    and who thinks that increasing benefit from £59.15 to £60.50 per week is a generous increase in welfare payments. What's the current rate of inflation? And how much have fuel costs increased?

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  • 86. At 7:20pm on 02 Dec 2008, aye_write wrote:

    69. Reluctant-Expat

    Jeez, who's talking Scotland up?!

    You are very good at aiding the independence argument you know...keep it up ;-)

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  • 87. At 7:29pm on 02 Dec 2008, inmykip wrote:

    The Sheffield University report compares over the last 4 decades the changes that have taken place in the different TV regions of the UK with Scotland considered as one region.

    The comparison is between regions in the UK only, it does not make a comparison with other countries in Europe or elsewhere.

    The question is what environment has been allowed to exist within the union that has resulted in Scotland having such poor health and wealth statistics when compared to other regions of the UK.

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  • 88. At 7:47pm on 02 Dec 2008, BoNG0_1 wrote:

    Anyone else noticed that Reluctant-Expat has the stupidest name?

    Q. If you adore your precious union so much why don't you live hear like the rest of us and endure our pain also?

    It is a heck of a rich coming from some flag waving Aussie (or whatever?), about how we should live our lives. As far as I'm concerned your comments are a waste of space on this forum with your relentless key-tapping nonsence.

    Here is a parting shot for you. The Union will end... that is a fact. It may be soon? it may be in some time? ... but the inevitability is that it will happen and Scotland will need to rise to the challenge and get used to running it's own affairs.

    The only part we differ on in the sentiment that you want to delay the inevitable and I want to get on with building a better country 'TO LIVE IN'.

    ...Hmmm, I wonder whether you will be more of a 'Willing-Expat' when Scotland is free?

    ...we can but hope.

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  • 89. At 7:51pm on 02 Dec 2008, Barbazenzero wrote:

    Come on folks, 11 posts by R-E and it's not managed a single word about Calman.

    Don't let the R-Es grind you down.

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  • 90. At 7:58pm on 02 Dec 2008, parisfrance wrote:

    #75

    We're talking about 20% of pensioners in Scotland according to the government stats, which are probably understated.

    You think that's a sign of the success of the union. That says all we need to know about you and your motives and the fact you obviously want the union at all costs, even when it concerns the welfare of our pensioners.

    #73

    And here you're moving the goal posts and have the cheek to accuse me of fabrications.

    I can quite believe that the UK measures fine against Europe, given the wealth in the south of England, where much of the population reside.

    But we are, of course, not talking about the UK, ren't we? We're talking about Scotland. And 20% of pensioners living in relative poverty is not what you find in other western european countries.

    What I find ludicrous about you is that you are prepared to say these things, then accuse others of fabrication, while ignoring the facts given even by our goverment - 20% of our old folk in poverty.

    But if you want to compare the whole of the UK with europe, this should satisfy you. Note how Britain lags behind most of Europe in almost all respects. Where Scotland figures is no doubt even lower.

    http://www.poverty.org.uk/l01a/index.shtml

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  • 91. At 8:05pm on 02 Dec 2008, Tom wrote:

    Reluctant-Expat:

    #69.

    "Unemployment has been way below EU average for a long time...."

    I see you are repeating Labour's stance.

    It would be nice to know why we have low unemployment, it would be nice to know whether or not the public sector is the main reason for the low unemployment percentage.

    Ah the return to Old Labour! The state will provide you with everything that you possibly need!

    Rule Britannia!!!

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  • 92. At 8:24pm on 02 Dec 2008, greenockboy wrote:

    11 comments in total from Reluctant - Expat and he still flatly refuses to post anything relative to this report, we're going to need an ark with this flooding.

    I've come to the conclusion that this poster isn't Scottish, why else show a complete disregard for Scotland's wellbeing?

    If I'm wrong and he is indeed Scottish then the mindset of this individual is bewildering.

    Anyway, the fact that he won't go anywhere near this report merely serves as confirmation that it is basically indefensible and truly worthless.

    From the report:
    "The Calman Commmission said devolving full fiscal autonomy would be inconsistent with the United Kingdom."

    Is there one single Unionist who would care to comment on this statement?

    Come on, there must be one surely?

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  • 93. At 8:42pm on 02 Dec 2008, oldnat wrote:

    #82 kaybraes

    500,000 GBP from Westminster and 50,000 GBP from Holyrood.

    All to tell us that UK Unionists want to keep Scotland in the UK Union.

    However, most of the consultancy fees will only contain a 15% VAT charge.

    Good value, eh?

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  • 94. At 9:15pm on 02 Dec 2008, DavieBob_efc_ wrote:

    #93

    oldnat that wonderous vat cut saved me 12p on my standard lunchbreak food bill today, makes you glad to be alive is probably not the statement that would describe how I felt about that. Wondering what the point was is nearer.

    But did anyone expect this report to do anything other than support the union, it was more a question how it would support the union in the future?

    Anyone who thought there was anychance of it saying 'Independance is a great idea' was seriously kidding themselves to the same extent as the chancellor was when he thought me saving 12p on my lunch would make me go out and buy a plasma screen tele.

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  • 95. At 9:21pm on 02 Dec 2008, Barbazenzero wrote:

    #79 Thomas_Porter
    "I'm not an immigration expert, but as far as I am aware immigrants are unable to claim UK benefits for a certain amount of time but they have to be working in the meantime before they can claim the privilages."

    They may have changed recently, but I seem to reall that the rule is you can claim UK jobseeker's allowance for a short period to seek work elsewhere in the EU, and you're entitled to local healthcare provision there but not their jobseeker's allowance or equivalent.

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  • 96. At 9:25pm on 02 Dec 2008, Dave McEwan Hill wrote:

    34

    RE

    Please provide the exact quote in which Alex Salmond said that we would need all the oil revenues juast to maintain present spending.

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  • 97. At 9:29pm on 02 Dec 2008, DavieBob_efc_ wrote:

    #92

    Sorry greenockboy overscrolled and missed your post so sorry moderators and readers for the double post.

    ""The Calman Commmission said devolving full fiscal autonomy would be inconsistent with the United Kingdom."

    Is there one single Unionist who would care to comment on this statement?"

    I will give it my best shot and it comes down to something like this...

    Giving Scotland full fiscal autonomy would in the eyes of the Unionist writers, lausibly changes the 'fairness' playing field to just about render the Union as pointless.

    There are already 'benefits' to being in Scotland not enjoyed by those say England and Wales. Giving Scotland full autonomy could well see these differences grow to such a degree that the Union tears itself apart from the opposite angle. Instead of Scotland wanting to pull away, it will turn to the rest wanting to push it away.

    As I have mentioned before in other threads, English public opinion in England is pretty much couldn't careless about the Scottish issue, at least it isn't your average topic of coversation over the pint of best. In England Union is still the preferred though it a cultural thing rather than something people in the main really look into. Whether Scotland gets extra money paid by English tax is not an issue to the people, most aren't really aware of the situation and there is no mood to take it on when it was pushed about 12months ago by certain papers. So it seems the status quo is accepted.

    But how far could this paper push without possibly making it a political topic south of the border?

    You asked and that my responce to you. Personally don't have a personal opinion I can give you but that my reading of it.

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  • 98. At 9:30pm on 02 Dec 2008, Barbazenzero wrote:

    Slightly astonished at the twisting of the IEG's words re fiscal autonomy I point out in my #52, I took another look at the Calman Commission website, to find that the remit is: "To review the provisions of the Scotland Act 1998 in the light of experience and to recommend any changes to the present constitutional arrangements that would enable the Scottish Parliament to serve the people of Scotland better, improve the financial accountability of the Scottish Parliament, and continue to secure the position of Scotland within the United Kingdom."

    The IEG pointed out that fiscal autonomy works well in Canada, but would require different constitutional arrangements, yet Calman doesn't feel it worth considering because it wouldn't work within the existing constitutional arrangements of the UK!

    I think I'm beginning to understand how the LibDems got sucked into this con, why Scott seems unhappy and that they should find a lifeboat PDQ.

    As Scott said in November on this website's Devolution 'threatens' UK policy, "The two extreme parties on this issue need to accept that strengthening Scotland's Parliament within the UK - a real home rule settlement - is the preferred choice of the majority of Scots". Certainly that seems to be what the polls indicate, and wouldn't rule out future independence if that ends in tears.

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  • 99. At 9:31pm on 02 Dec 2008, cynicalHighlander wrote:

    Remit

    The remit of the Commission on Scottish Devolution is:

    "To review the provisions of the Scotland Act 1998 in the light of experience and to recommend any changes to the present constitutional arrangements that would enable the Scottish Parliament to serve the people of Scotland better, improve the financial accountability of the Scottish Parliament, and continue to secure the position of Scotland within the United Kingdom."

    The report will end up as meaningless as this one Olympics good for having a party but not much else, secret report warned ministers Westminster will do what it wants.

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  • 100. At 9:33pm on 02 Dec 2008, Dave McEwan Hill wrote:

    If a tinpot dictator of a banana republic put together a commission that isolated the party actually in government in his tinpot state in order to make sure he got the report he wanted we'd all be guffawing. That was exactly the Calman Con Mission.

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  • 101. At 9:38pm on 02 Dec 2008, quietscotsmac wrote:

    'Secondly, because the Scotland Act 1998 was carefully drawn.'

    Indeed Brian. Very carefully drawn so as the labour party always had a chance of being in charge of Westminster.

    I've plodded through a bit of the pre-report and I found the cultural paragraph nonsense.

    True I speak English (with a Scottish dialect) like an Englander but character-wise I have little in more in common with an English person than I have with a Spaniard, Italian or German. (I could mention many other nationalities).

    If culture is based upon language then I'm surprised Calman didn't say we have a similar culture to the US etc.

    Having lived within English communities, European communities and Scottish communities, we all have VERY DISTINCT cultural differences.

    I find Calman's comments offensive.

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  • 102. At 9:42pm on 02 Dec 2008, oldnat wrote:

    #94 DavieBob_efc_

    Is that Everton FC in your user name btw?

    I think the question that wasn't answered till today, was Calman going to lean more towards the Lib-Dem position or that of the 2 Tory parties?

    We now know which Unionist direction it chose.

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  • 103. At 9:47pm on 02 Dec 2008, quietscotsmac wrote:

    # 37

    I'll tell you about 'breadline poor'. I'm a pensioner who has worked for 40+ years and get a state pension plus a small work pension.

    I'm £8 short of getting pension credit.

    I live in my own home and have to pay utility and food bills from which I pay from my very modest savings.

    In another 6 months I will have no savings and shall have to sell my home which I have loved and worked for over many years.

    I neither smoke nor drink but have a small car which is necessary for me to access the local town 2 miles away.

    Now you tell me, would you be proud that your mother lived in that situation where she couldn't afford to pay a plumber if she had a burst pipe? Where she couldn't afford to put the heating on and instead sits in the local library each day until she's embarrassed?

    You'll say I'm one of a few, I can tell you I'm one of thousands.

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  • 104. At 9:51pm on 02 Dec 2008, bluelaw wrote:

    I just hope and pray my fellow Scots have the good sense to put an end to this nonsense once and for all and withdraw Scotland from this absurd yet hugely damaging union. Calman will come to be seen as just another pointless money-wasting diversion by people who are nothing less than traitors to Scotland and her people.

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  • 105. At 9:55pm on 02 Dec 2008, Barbazenzero wrote:

    #99 cynicalHighlander

    Snap!

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  • 106. At 9:59pm on 02 Dec 2008, DavieBob_efc_ wrote:

    #94 oldnat

    It would be my beloved Everton, a bit weird maybe for a Yorkshire lad but I feel into well obsession I think is probably the term for football, or love, at a very young age, little knowing that when I became old enough to appreciate the finer points of the game they would go through one of the toughest times of their history. I seen some bad matches at Goodison, but still go, can't hold a season ticket these days but still get back when I can. This was originally a 606 account hence the addition.

    Anyway back to topic after that little aside. I think this report is very much trying to keep the issue out of English politics. Whether they have judged that right I cannot say, I think the English population would pay quite a price for keeping the Union, but what level that is if the papers down there really start making a meal out of it I don't know. Opinion can be a fickle thing sometimes.

    Again that my best shot at summarising the situation, if anyone wants to look at what I said further that would always be interesting.

    I will say though, it not an issue of satisfying an already formed public opinion down south, but it about keeping the issue 'contained'. They don't know how far they can 'push' it and thus are siding with caution. I would say they have quite a bit of further room to add more, so possibly they leaving themselves room for further negociation, after all, this is more the first move in quite a complex game that is to play out.

    But just before I go, there is one Scottish peep you can keep ya mits off, from an Everton point of view, can we keep hold of David Moyes for a good few more years please, surely Celtic can find someone else when Strachan moves on.

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  • 107. At 10:04pm on 02 Dec 2008, Barbazenzero wrote:

    #102 oldnat
    "We now know which Unionist direction it chose."

    You may have a point there.

    The LibDems are clearly over the moon. 9 press releases today on their website and nary a mention of Calman in any of them.

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  • 108. At 10:04pm on 02 Dec 2008, oldnat wrote:

    #98 Brownedov

    The IEG report was published with no note of dissent (though we know that at least one member felt the group had been "nobbled").

    The Interim Report has been published with no note of dissent. However, I can't believe that Wallace, for example, is signed up to it.

    Scott's response quoted in this website

    "Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Tavish Scott urged the commission to produce a final report which would provide a "blueprint" for Scotland's future."
    seems very weak.

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  • 109. At 10:49pm on 02 Dec 2008, Barbazenzero wrote:

    #108 oldnat
    "The Interim Report has been published with no note of dissent. However, I can't believe that Wallace, for example, is signed up to it."

    Right - you'd have thought it would take physical violence to stop him from saying something.

    It's hard to imagine Scott in a state of fury, but possibly he has been rendered speechless with rage.

    Mods a bit slow and I have an early start again, so goodnight.

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  • 110. At 11:03pm on 02 Dec 2008, Barbazenzero wrote:

    #108 oldnat (part 2)

    Just looked at the Herald before I switch off and they have a new: Calman rules out fiscal autonomy for Scotland with just three words

    Re the Lib Dems, they say: "The Liberal Democrats meantime, as federalists, said the report was about the present and not the future and what was needed was a 'real home rule settlement'."

    Goodnight.

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  • 111. At 11:32pm on 02 Dec 2008, ___TP___ wrote:

    Reluctant cow pat will you ever give up? Reading your posts I can't believe that you are for real? You are just kidding yourself. I actually think that in your heart you know that independence is in Scotland's best interest but
    you are in total denial, why else would you rant on so much about it! and all your constant attacks on Salmond are you actually in love with him we think so!

    Also every second post seems to be from you try taking some immodium.

    Peace Out

    #59 well said

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  • 112. At 11:53pm on 02 Dec 2008, oldnat wrote:

    Interesting "powerful" questions that Tony Benn comes up with for any political discussion.

    I think they are relevant here.

    1. What power Have You Got?
    2. Where Did You Get It From?
    3. In Whose Interest Do You Exercise It?
    4. To Whom Are You Accountable?
    5. How Do We Get Rid Of You?

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  • 113. At 00:09am on 03 Dec 2008, LYDIA-REID wrote:

    Why are we giving this biased commission room to breath.

    The most ridiculous comments from people who have absolutely no interest in Scotland or its future.

    Ignore them just as the SNP have and should.

    Why would they want to give away Scotland's contribution to the party who will try to bully MPs into not making public the information that should be in the public domain.

    Another excuse to eat hearty lunches at the public expense. They are being paid huge ammounts for the pleasure of insulting Scotland.

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  • 114. At 00:50am on 03 Dec 2008, BrechinBhoys wrote:

    Calman Commission
    (The Unspoken version)

    Remit & Concerns :

    1) UK Treasury deficit relies on continuous funding from North Sea Oil taxes.
    2) UK Government requires land to build new Nuclear Power Plants.
    3) UK Defence Department requires distant site for Nuclear Weapons accumulation.
    4) UK Government must retain centralisation of all principal decision making.

    Recommendations:
    1) Sustain the delusion that Scotland is a fiscally non-viable region of the UK.
    2) Tell them the lights will go out. Repeatedly, and enough times until assumed as correct.
    3) Tell them Iran has weapons of mass destruction ready for firing within 45 minutes.
    4) Keep mentioning Iceland in every second sentence. Fear is the proven tactic in reducing ambitions of self-determination.


    Future Considerations for Review:

    Grant Scotland Full Independence when the following ‘conditions’ are met:
    - Oil Revenues drop below minimum trigger points. (circa year 2040)
    - All major financial institutions’ headquarters have transferred to London.
    - Nuclear Waste products have contaminated the land sufficiently.
    - It has been bled dry and becomes a burden.

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  • 115. At 01:37am on 03 Dec 2008, oldnat wrote:

    From Hugh Muir in the Grauniad

    "For those who complain that Labour has moved too far away from its roots, we bring you news from Scotland, where the party has selected David Shaw as its candidate for an East Ayrshire council byelection. His route to the people's party can be described as unorthodox. A Ferrari-driving multi-millionaire with a fortune from the milk trade, he is a former chair of South Ayrshire Conservative party. During the miners' strike, many recall, he enjoyed toasting Margaret Thatcher in the area's pubs, the better to annoy the locals. It "didn't make me popular in some quarters", he told the Sunday Mail, but of course things are different now. Labour is a broader church. Better for it."
    He can make pals with Little Miss Moffat.

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  • 116. At 06:42am on 03 Dec 2008, Wansanshoo wrote:

    I travel on a regular basis between London and Rural Perthshire. I have found that the English public loathe being dictated to by Brussels as much as the Scottish public dislike Westminsters rule.

    The people of England will not forgive the Labour party for the referendum fiasco, implemented by the only Prime Minister to be interviewed under caution by the police.

    Th Scottish public will not forget the sham Calman Commission driven by an unelected Prime Minister.

    Wansanshoo

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  • 117. At 08:27am on 03 Dec 2008, patbyrne wrote:

    The time has come for the LibDems to make up their minds. If they are too scared to rock the boat, then they will leave the whole Home Rule campaign to the SNP. But this is a huge opportunity for them to show how sincere they are about their Home Rule credentials. I would advise them to abandon the Calman non-review and to form a new Home Rule alliance with the SNP. A chance even to form an SNP-LibDem coalition government? Go for it! Dinna be feart.

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  • 118. At 08:45am on 03 Dec 2008, Wansanshoo wrote:

    National Conversation offers:

    Scrambled, fried, poached or omlette.

    Calman Commission offers:

    Boiled.

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  • 119. At 09:03am on 03 Dec 2008, sid the sceptic wrote:

    the lib Dem's MUST finally stand up and be counted. they are the only party likely to fight for devolution max , FFA or anything else you wish to call it. at one end of the spectrum we have labour /tory telling us we are all donkeys and at the other end we have the nationalists telling us everything in the garden is rosy . as usual they are both wrong.

    Scotland cannot improve it's position in anything if it has to rely on pocket money from it's mammy.
    granting Scotland the responsibility of FFA would focus the minds of our politicians to produce a better Scotland as they could not do as they are doing now and blame everyone bar themselves

    if Tavish Scott doesn't get his finger out he won't be Scottish lib Dem leader for long.

    stop brown nosing labour and grow a spine man !!

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  • 120. At 09:20am on 03 Dec 2008, Alasdair_McGray wrote:

    The Union has delivered appaling health for Scots, the worst in Western Europe.

    Again we are naval gazing discussing the merits of a stitched up report by a bunch of has been toadies.

    Our eyes are continually being diverted and misfocused on trivial issues modern countries wouldn't give the time of day to.

    Bungler & co in Scottish regional labour party do not care about how or why Scotland's health is so appalling. Hence every so often they will throw a Calman in here, a taking stock exercise over there or an electoral report for next April.

    Scottish media know this is a game for governing parties in UK to manipulate and mislead Scottish opinion.

    What other country in the world would give up its taxes, natural resources and talent for another to squander?

    Crazy!

    A McG

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  • 121. At 10:02am on 03 Dec 2008, tuneupMacBeat wrote:

    Don't be fooled folks - the real point of Calman is to create a smoke-screen whereby the process of reverse devolution which has been under way since the in-famous 'Sewell' motion was invented should intensify and that the counter to National Independence should be achieved by increasing entrenchment of Unionist institutions thereby rendering it more possible for the Unionist parties to present a timorous public with a picture of the drastic consequences should they have the temerity to choose to reverse the Act of Union.
    The 1998 AC represented a 'Flodden' settlement in any event - cap in hand the UK departments were approached for wee bitties and piecies of responsibility in the crucial areas of financial and commercial policy - in fact social policy is really the only area of real responsibility and it costs a lot of money, the creation of which is outwith the responsibility of the Scottish institutions. That should be the real debate but it's not going to happen and what will is continuing slow death of the ability of Scottish institutions public and commercial to think and act in the Scottish interest. Watch this space!

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  • 122. At 10:24am on 03 Dec 2008, Anaxim wrote:

    "The Union has delivered appaling health for Scots, the worst in Western Europe."

    What about poor diet, drink, cigarettes and lack of exercise? Health spending in Scotland is already quite high, how much would you raise it by and who would you tax to pay for it?

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  • 123. At 10:25am on 03 Dec 2008, Sheneval wrote:

    Wat were the terms of the remit for Calman?

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  • 124. At 10:27am on 03 Dec 2008, BoNG0_1 wrote:

    Absolutely TuneUpMacBeat, The Unionists will stop at nothing to get rid of The Bank Of Scotland and Soyal Bank, Scottish Bank Notes. They are even considering the Euro now as a way to achieve this end... Although it must be said that the Euro would probably help the Independence cause, so I don't expect them to pursue this much further.

    Saor Alba!!!

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  • 125. At 10:30am on 03 Dec 2008, Barbazenzero wrote:

    #117 patbyrne
    Spot on. Could Wallace and Scott have gone quiet while discussing just that. A home rule coalition vs a united unionist opposition would certainly make Holyrood more adversarial and fun to watch, but I'm less sure that would be good for the public.

    #119 sidthesceptic
    I agree with most of what you say, but perhaps you're going a little OTT. I'm sure oldnat's #108 is spot on re Wallace and Scott. Perhaps they've gone quiet while discussing what action to take now. With the LibDems having apparently slipped in the polls, they do need to make their minds up PDQ.

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  • 126. At 10:51am on 03 Dec 2008, northhighlander wrote:

    Re 55

    I agree that none of the list in your post is a reason for not having independance equally noe are a reason for having independance.

    Which is really the nub of the matter. Most of the posts here are good at making comment on the problems with the union. Fair point there area lot of issues in Scotland that need sorted.

    However Calman does start one process, defining the parts of the union that seem to have some worth. Like defence, monetry union, economic union and the diplomatic union.

    I have yet to se any document that details the benefits to Scotland of not having these unions. Scotland in Europe used to be the phrase, but there are issues with these items in Europe that means they may not best represent Scotlands interests.

    I am open to persuasion, but the nationalists don't seem to be in the business of discussing serious detail. Given that by all tests it appears that the will of the majority of scottish people is not in favour of independance, surely it is time someone started the process of detailing the benefits?

    The national conversation is a disaster by any assesment, granted a cheaper form of saying nothing much than Calman, but a non-event all the same.

    So basically ok rubbish Calman but where is the serious alternative?

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  • 127. At 10:58am on 03 Dec 2008, enneffess wrote:

    #120 Alasdair

    You are saying that the Union has made Scotland unhealthy?

    I'm sorry, but I can accept arguments on economics etc, but to say that somehow Westminister is reponsible for the poor health of Scotland is nonsense.

    Perhaps if we didn't smoke or have the drinking culture things might be better. (I'm an ex-smoker but teetotal).

    The blame game is a popular tactic for the more extremist independence supporters, but full independence is not going to change the habits of many.

    Look at the current news item about the Glasgow woman who has never worked. Do you honestly believe that should Scotland become independent she will suddenly be motivated to find a job?

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  • 128. At 11:06am on 03 Dec 2008, sid the sceptic wrote:

    thanks brownedov you sometimes need to go ott to get people's attention.
    we get fed labour /Tory & to a lesser degree snp story's every day on the assumption that the more we are told something the bigger the chance we might start believing it all .
    a lot of us are aware that there is another option but we need a strong figurehead or a political party who are prepared to stand firm and shout their policy from the roof tops, and not just disappear when the going gets tough.
    sid

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  • 129. At 11:08am on 03 Dec 2008, Barbazenzero wrote:

    #123 Sheneval

    It's quoted in cynicalHighlander's #99 and my #98 posted simultaneously, with a link to the source.

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  • 130. At 11:35am on 03 Dec 2008, Wansanshoo wrote:

    An American had this to say:

    Calman Commission = Rubbish Repository

    I have said it before and I say it again. Please read some English North American Colonial History. These are the same shenanigans they pulled over here.

    As I have stated in the past, the 50 States in the U.S. have taxation laws that differ from those of the Federal Government and each other. The 50 States raise and spend their own revenues and sell bonds that fund the individual State.

    Municipalities within an individual State are permitted to sell bonds as well.

    Each State sets its own corporation tax.

    Each State sets its own income taxes.

    Each State sets its own sales tax (akin to VAT but not nationally based).

    Local municipalities are also allowed to set local taxes to pay for things like police and fire protection.

    Individual school districts are allowed to set taxation to provide for free publicly funded education.

    Each State is allowed to fund public universities.

    Calman doesn't know taxation and governance from a hole in the ground.

    It's so sad to see things are only 232 years distant since we told the English to get stuffed, and nothing has changed in English Colonial attitudes.

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  • 131. At 11:35am on 03 Dec 2008, Alasdair_McGray wrote:

    "The Union has delivered appalling health for Scots, the worst in Western Europe."

    "What about poor diet, drink, cigarettes and lack of exercise? Health spending in Scotland is already quite high, how much would you raise it by and who would you tax to pay for it?"

    Simplistic answer, prevention rather than cure, spend money wisely, i.e. fix the roof before it leaks. Education and support to people living on the breadline in Scotland. Finns have turned round a chronic heart disease record equal to Scotland in 15 - 20 years, why not Scots?

    People living in the schemes engineered by Scottish regional labour (sadly everyone else stood by), need more hope and stake in society than the John Reid solution, i.e. access to 20 fags a day and die a premature, yet lingering death.

    No point throwing money at this issue. Solution is education of not only children, but their mums. It's not necessarily what the school can do for a child, but what does the child bring to school? Life chances! Forcing single mums to work, labour’s new solution will not work without support and education being in place for a significant period of time.

    It is not in the Union, nor Scottish regional labour's interest to get rid of poverty, they are a barrier to progress as demonstrated by Mr Calman.

    Whilst people believe they are subsidised, they will act accordingly, sadly Scotland’s story.

    A McG

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  • 132. At 11:57am on 03 Dec 2008, Barbazenzero wrote:

    #126 northhighlander
    "However Calman does start one process, defining the parts of the union that seem to have some worth. Like defence, monetry union, economic union and the diplomatic union."

    Your point would largely be fair comment had Calman showed he was operating under his remit as stated in #98 and #99 above, both pasted directly from the Calman website.

    As I point out in my #52, he's already starting to twist words from the IEG report and as I point out in my #98, he's already showing a curious reluctance to consider the "constitutional arrangements" part of it, let alone the "to serve the people of Scotland better" bit by giving instead a report which seems to accept the Westminster "constitutional arrangements" as set in tablets of stone except for a little re-rendering he may need to do because Holyrood were given too much power - over planning / nuclear, for example.

    This is not what was promised and makes it no wonder that Scott's press release this morning says so little. He really does need to speak out or get out pretty soon.

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  • 133. At 11:57am on 03 Dec 2008, oldnat wrote:

    #126 northhighlander

    "However Calman does start one process, defining the parts of the union that seem to have some worth. Like defence, monetry union, economic union and the diplomatic union.

    I have yet to se any document that details the benefits to Scotland of not having these unions. Scotland in Europe used to be the phrase, but there are issues with these items in Europe that means they may not best represent Scotlands interests."


    Reasonable questions.

    As for monetary and economic union, I have argued (as has the SNP, on and off) since Maastricht, that, as a small country Scotland should be in the eurozone. In other words, part of a larger union.

    For Scots, there should be no emotional problem with ditching one union currency for another one. Some of those who are emotionally British, will have problems in abandoning a symbol of UK seperatism.

    In practical terms, being part of a wider currency has advantages and disadvantages - (see this for more detail)

    Advantages - the economic stability of having a currency based on a wide range of economic sectors (Iceland and the UK have suffered from having a currency based on an inflated financial sector) plus Elimination of exchange-rate fluctuations , Price transparency, Transaction costs, Increased trade across borders , Increased cross-border employment, Simplified billing, Expanding markets for business, Macroeconomic stability, Lower interest rate, Structural reform for European economies.

    Disadvantages - Countries lose their individual right to control adjust interest rates, adjust their exchange rate. Governments are also restricted to keeping their budget deficits within the euro rules.

    Since UK decisions on sterling have largely been taken on the basis of the performance of the English economy (not unreasonably, given the relative sizes of the two economies), we have will be no more disadvantaged under the euro (and in fact would have some influence) than under sterling.

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  • 134. At 12:03pm on 03 Dec 2008, Barbazenzero wrote:

    #128 sidthesceptic

    Point taken. I do agree that focus is lacking but needed. Both the BBC and the print media seem to be taking Calman part 1 as the perceived wisdom of all but the "Nationalists" which most certainly needs countering.

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  • 135. At 12:05pm on 03 Dec 2008, minceandmealie wrote:

    #126 Northhiglander

    Interested in your list of advantages arising from the Union:

    Defence - build replacement Trident submarines, send Scottish troops to Iraq. Spot on. Haven't noticed Ireland or Denmark being attacked lately.

    Monetary union - I do agree that small countries are better off in a currency union. Isn't that why the Euro was invented? Ireland seems to have done rather well with it.

    Economic union - er, that's called the EU now....

    Diplomatic union - of course, we can be sure that representation through London will ensure Scottish interests are best represented. Ask the fishing industry. But still, it might save a few quid on embassies; a terrific reason for not running your own country.

    Considering all these advantages, it's surprising that Ireland doesn't want to rejoin the Union, or Norway rejoin Sweden, or Austria rejoin Germany, or Estonia rejoin the Soviet Union. What is the matter with them?

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  • 136. At 12:19pm on 03 Dec 2008, cynicalHighlander wrote:

    Flashpoint as Calman tests SNP nuclear veto

    "Energy policy is reserved to Westminster and, as the UK government has a pro-nuclear policy, it should be able to press ahead with new nuclear stations in Scotland.

    However, the Scottish Government has the final say over any major electricity generating stations through planning legislation which gives it an effective veto over any new nuclear stations.

    This ability to block any new stations has angered UK ministers, who believe they should be able to site new nuclear stations in Scotland.

    Yesterday's report by the commission warned of problems that would only get worse unless the issue was resolved.

    It said it wanted further evidence on how this "friction" could be sorted out."


    Shutdowns and plunging profits cast doubt on nuclear future"

    "An unexpected shutdown at Hunterston on Scotland's west coast yesterday followed the closure of its Sizewell B station on Tuesday which left thousands of homes without power. The shutdown at the Ayrshire plant meant 10 of the company's 16 units were out of action."

    The only people who are blinded on this issue are the nuclear industry and Westminster gov as it provides jobs for generations for a few with no benefit to sustainable electricity production.

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  • 137. At 12:28pm on 03 Dec 2008, oldnat wrote:

    #126 northhighlander (part 2)

    As to the other Calman "lines in the sand" -

    Monarchy (not really concerned) There's no reason why all the units of the UK (including the Crown Dependencies of the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man) can't have some joint arrangement.

    Many people are still happy to have loyalty to the Crown, and I see no reason to try to stop that.

    Defence and Foreign Affairs.

    Were our geographical situation different, I might opt for an Irish model. However, along with Iceland (which is why the UK invaded it in 1940), we control the vital Faroes Gap, and with the Arctic being a likely flashpoint in the future, I'd like to avoid being invaded by the USA or Russia! Consequently, my preference is for Europe to handle defence issues (and foreign affairs tend to goes with that). Since Europe is not at that stage yet, I would keep a UK Union to handle these issues.

    No one can get exactly what they want from any constitutional settlement. Compromises have to made.

    Calman has made the case for the Union (with some tinkering at the edges), but has moved very little to the Home Rule position which would probably have the support of most Scots as the most achievable (if not their first priority) solution.

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  • 138. At 12:28pm on 03 Dec 2008, Dave McEwan Hill wrote:

    RE

    AGAIN

    Please provide the exact quote in which Alex Salmond said that we would need all the oil revenues just to maintain present spending

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  • 139. At 12:37pm on 03 Dec 2008, oldnat wrote:

    Those who like a tipple may enjoy Holla, ye pampered jades from the Spectator's Coffee House.

    Do we recognise ourselves in this?

    "If drinking is to be stigmatized in the same manner as smoking, how long before we come to resemble the characters in Forster's dystopian The Machine Stops - alone in our cells, passively clicking and consuming, believing that our interactions are meaningful but unaware that power has been devolved elsewhere?"

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  • 140. At 12:47pm on 03 Dec 2008, northhighlander wrote:

    Re 135

    Again you repeat the nationalist mantra, you rubbish the status quo without making a positive argument for change.

    Defence, I agree that debate around the Trident issue is perfectly reasonable. However that is one small part of the defence debate. Are we to have independant armed forces in an independant Scotland? Just what would that achieve? What would it cost? I assume that you would not approve of the Afghan operation at all? How would we take part in the war against extremists? Or just leave that to everyone else and hope we don't have another Glasgow Airport? Or have no armed forces at all? another option, possibly the best one actually. Or do you think we should have an EU armed forces? Controlled by ......

    Economic Union, I suppose you think that our trade with England will go on unaffected by Independance. Well maybe it won't, if we were in the Euro Zone and England not that would create problems for the many businesses that operate across the border. Not to mention increased costs. How much would that affect the Scottish economy? What would our policy on H&S matters for example be? Are we having our own legislation? If so how much will this cost?

    I could do the same for any of the issues mentioned, but my main point is stop rubbishing the status quo in favour of a undefined, unexplained vision of some kind of Brigadoon. anybody can pick fault, it takes some intelligence to offer an alternative that is thought out and realistic.

    Independance does merit consideration but it needs defined and debated on real terms not the shortbread tin mentality that seems prevalent on these pages.

    Change will only happen if the majority believe it will benefit. That will not happen without constructive input.

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  • 141. At 12:53pm on 03 Dec 2008, Barbazenzero wrote:

    #136 cynicalHighlander

    I read the 1st article this morning but had planned to wait until R-E tells us again about how England doesn't need Scottish electricity before asking him to square that particular circle.

    I didn't spot about the 2nd one, which only strengthens the case.

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  • 142. At 12:55pm on 03 Dec 2008, oldnat wrote:

    #136 cynicalHighlander

    When asked about nuclear planning, Calman was asked why he was raising this, since it wasn't part of the evidence that had been collected by the Commission.

    He looked surprised, and said "But it's been raised with us".

    As far as I can see it could only have been raised by the UK Government for political reasons.

    It would make no sense to build the new generation of nuclear reactors in Scotland, when the power is required in the Midlands and South-East of England. What would be the point of incurring the additional transmission and power loss costs of long distance transmission.

    Transmitting electricity over long distances only makes economic sense for renewables, which are more easily created in remoter areas, for use elsewhere.

    The most likely reason, imho, is that they anticipate resistance to building nuclear stations near London, and having Scotland as a no-go area for nuclear might build antagonism to the UK Union in England.

    That would fit with Calman's obsession at protecting the UK Union more than fulfilling the other parts of his remit.

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  • 143. At 12:55pm on 03 Dec 2008, HughEdinburgh wrote:

    This report is of no importance to Scotland, as it means nothing and has achieved nothing.

    It is a Westminster English report on Scotland, not A Scottish report on Scotland.

    As long as Westminster are paying for it, they can report what they like.

    They are paying for it, aren't they?

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  • 144. At 12:56pm on 03 Dec 2008, northhighlander wrote:

    Re 137

    oldnat: as usual a constructive reply which is what i have come to expect.

    Re the monetry union, I agree that there are benefits to Scotland from the Eurozone, although I think we might suffer in some ways from Interest rates being set for the larger players in the zone if our economy were out of sync with the main players. It is an argument that we would have more influence as part of the UK, in our out of the Eurozone.

    An EU foreign or Defence policy does not appeal to me at all. I don't really want the French and Germans dictating what angle we take on international affairs. I suppose you could argue that this would be preferable to Washington dictating, but I would not want to gain independance to concede such powers to the EU.

    In short I see this as a main issue in which we need a good constructive relationship with the rest of the UK. Now I agree that could be done in an independant Scotland but that needs a lot of thought and agreement from our neighbours.



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  • 145. At 1:39pm on 03 Dec 2008, Barbazenzero wrote:

    #142 oldnat

    Sound reasoning

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  • 146. At 1:40pm on 03 Dec 2008, sid the sceptic wrote:

    i would like to thank north highlander & old Nat who have, just over the last 1/2 hour, shown quite clearly the problem we actually have.
    they both have their own standpoints which of course they are entitled to have. they don't stop for a minute to actually look in to any other idea's that there may or may not be available. they are too busy rubbishing each others point of view.
    does anyone know someone who wants the status quo?
    how many of your friends want Independence ?
    how many know that there is an alternative ?
    federalism works well all over the world
    I know it's just not British but look where "being British"has got us .

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  • 147. At 1:45pm on 03 Dec 2008, oldnat wrote:

    #144 northhighlander

    "I think we might suffer in some ways from Interest rates being set for the larger players in the zone if our economy were out of sync with the main players."

    Yes, there is no perfect answer to anything, though "we" as Scots, will suffer from that in any system - unless we return to an independent groat!

    During my lifetime, the Scottish economy has frequently been out of sync with England's, and we have had to deal with inappropriate interest rates. The Euro is no different from Sterling in that regard - except that the Euro perforce has to balance a range of economies, the UK deals only with only UK data when it makes decisions, it doesn't even collect accurate statistics on the national/regional economies within the UK.

    Will you be convinced of the euro's benefits if a number of other country's apply for membership of the eurozone?

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  • 148. At 1:58pm on 03 Dec 2008, oldnat wrote:

    #146 sidthesceptic

    Unfair to both of us I think. Neither of us have been "rubbishing" the other's ideas, but have been involved in a legitimate debate.

    To answer your questions -

    I don't know anyone who wants to return to the pre-devolutionary settlement (a question you should have asked, but didn't).

    I know some who are content with the status quo (but none who object to the Scottish Parliament having some additional powers).

    I know some who want significant extra powers for the Scottish Parliament within a Federal (or my own preference - Confederal) UK.

    I know some who want Scotland to be Independent in Europe (but some of them would settle for something less than that at the moment).

    I even know one who thinks Scotland should leave the UK and Europe.

    However, the people I know are unlikely to be representative.

    What we lack is clear evidence of what position the majority of Scots would coalesce around.

    I suspect, that would be somewhere on the Federal/Confederal spectrum.

    Unfortunately, the one party that should be leading that discussion is still associating itself with the Calman position.

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  • 149. At 2:20pm on 03 Dec 2008, minceandmealie wrote:

    #140 northhighlander

    Actually you asserted (along with Calman) that "parts of the union that have some worth. Like defence, monetary union, economic union and the diplomatic union."
    If I was going to be pedantic, I could descibe that, using your terms, as a 'mantra' showing a 'lack of a positive argument'. Such assertions, free of evidence, deserve to be rubbished.

    Noting that invading Iraq was wrong, that replacing Trident is a hugely expensive nonsense, and that distinctive Scottish economic interests are generally not at the top of the UK diplomatic agenda are three pretty plain indicators of the gains Scotland could make in looking after its own affairs in these policy areas. Where exactly do your threadbare and apparently reflexive references to 'Brigadoon' and 'shortbread' apply in this context?

    But this debating society stuff is neither here nor there compared with gettting our country better run, which ultimately has to be measured in the largest part by social outcomes. (See recent BBC/University of Sheffield survey for some of those outcomes.)

    The Calman commission plainly declared that anything incompatible with Unionism was not to be considered, thereby in effect declaring that Scottish social outcomes are of secondary concern, compared with the primacy of the Union. This perhaps ought be known as the Declaration of Irrelevance.

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  • 150. At 2:21pm on 03 Dec 2008, hadrianswall wrote:

    Murphy says

    "As Scots, the UK helps us to be more prosperous in good times and stronger in the more difficult times we are now facing - and that has rarely been clearer than in this Queen's Speech."

    What is he on? Has he spoken to any of those people on the breadline?

    Is he living on another planet?

    Freedom

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  • 151. At 4:07pm on 03 Dec 2008, northhighlander wrote:

    Re mince and Mealie, sidthesceptic and old nat;

    149 You make no substantive points, just choose to ignore the dificult questions. I am not opposed to independance in principle I just haven't seen a good argument for it. The nationalist cause needs tobe framed as a positive change for Scotland based on what we can achieve, not what is wrong with the current settlement.

    I feel the current situation is hopeless, no-one has bothered to make sensible arguments that will sway the majority. You can rubbish me all day long, it still won't change the fact that the argument has to be made and won.

    Sid, I agree with a lot of old nats posts, and share his view of the ultimate prize. We differ on how to get there and quite a lot in between but I do see his point on many occasions.

    From debating things over the last few months on this forum, I have changed my opinion on a lot of issues, as I have done throughout my life.

    But the key to change is debate on real issues not useless rhetoric. If we vote for independance I want to do so with my eyes wide open with as much known before hand as possible. So that is why we need to debate this type of issue. It is how we will agree change in the end in any democracy.

    So the "debating society stuff" mince and mealie doesn't want to discuss is what eventually will enable change. I also agree with oldnat, what happens in the end will be a compromise, another feature of any democracy.

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  • 152. At 4:19pm on 03 Dec 2008, Anaxim wrote:

    #131 Alasdair McGray

    Pretty vague stuff. I'm pretty sure that prevention has been tried repeatedly, how would your plan be different?

    What I would do is refuse public funds to any cultural project which portrays Scotland as a drink-sodden, sectarian, victimised dump. If people complain that 'authentic working class lives' are being neglected, tough.

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  • 153. At 9:43pm on 03 Dec 2008, Dave McEwan Hill wrote:

    146

    Federalism is the new buzz word. It is of course the latest attempt to put a hurdle in front of normal independence and we could argue about the different degrees of responsibility in a federal union for the next twenty years - which of course is the object.
    Federalism can't possibly work when one part is 10 times the size of all the other parts put together, so unless you think we should accept Scotland with the same status as Dorset or Wiltshire forget it.

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  • 154. At 12:59pm on 04 Dec 2008, aye_write wrote:

    #126.

    northhighlander wrote:

    "Re 55

    I agree that none of the list in your post is a reason for not having independance equally noe are a reason for having independance."

    Your post deserves a response as it is quite typical of, as I've said before, how clouded a lot of the thinking over the whole independence argument has become, sadly.

    Seeking independence is a moral and social question as much, I'd say more so, than a merely practical one.

    Unfortunately the more (typically) pragmatic we Scots are about the arguments, the better the Westmisnter government likes it, as there is usually always an answer to every practical example of pro or anti independence argumemts - just take a look at this blog's posts for an example.

    I don't say ignore ignore these points (the practicalities) , most of them (!) ought to be examined. BUT, I say keep it in context of the wider moral argument.

    My (and your) children don't care how much money they or I have have (as long as they have some toys!), but they do notice, and will care, if they do not seem to be as important in the wider world, as Scotland isn't.

    Once they are old enough to first discover how much importance each nation in this Union has (they will notice this about the Union first - children look at groups), they will wonder why.

    If they feel their group (and they will always notice being Scottish first - unless we are soley Britain, that cannot be avoided) is treated like a child still living with it's parents in Britain, they will wonder why.

    Economic reasons don't and won't alleviate any sense of being seen as worth less.

    It's not good for them. I don't want such a psychological handicap for my children. I would never accept that it was worth it, for all the extra wealth you like (unlike Unionists?).

    So I'm not trying to have a go at your looking at each point of the dynamics of Scotland becoming independent, but I hope you don't just see it in terms of will we be better off economically.

    On that one, I'd urge people to bear in mind the long game. It is conveivable, maybe even likely, that an independent economy could have some initial short term difficulties, but the question is would we be competent enough to sort that out and go on to do very well.

    If we think not, is it possible that the effects of my earlier argument have already taken root?

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