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Anger management

Brian Taylor | 14:32 UK time, Thursday, 26 February 2009

Sir Fred Goodwin has been requested to give up at least part of his £650,000 annual pension entitlement.

The former boss of RBS is, we are told, "thinking about it".

At Holyrood, politicians suggested he might accelerate his thought process somewhat.

The party leaders were united in condemning the deal. (Annabel Goldie pursued a tack of her own with regard to VAT which need not detain us here.)

Tavish Scott of the LibDems was splendidly vituperative. He said that Sir Fred's package was 140 times the size of the state pension.

Iain Gray was agin it, as was the first minister.

However, at that point, unity evaporated. For Labour, Mr Gray attempted to pin the blame for the deal on Sir George Mathewson, formerly of RBS, now chairing the FM's team of economic advisers.

'Misfired attack'

Actually, he said that he was not out to undermine Sir George's reputation - then proceeded to attempt just that.

For this observer, the attack rather misfired. Not least because Mr Salmond ably deflected it by highlighting the role played by the UK (Labour) Government in respect of RBS, including the departure of Sir Fred.

Mr Salmond relied upon a comment from the present RBS boss Stephen Hester to the effect that the UK Government played a role in the arrangements covering Sir Fred's exit.

Chancellor Alistair Darling offers a different view. He says ministers had thought, in October when they intervened in the bank, that the deal for Sir Fred was legally binding.

They learned last week that elements of it might have been discretionary upon the bank.

Should they not, sceptical MPs are now asking, have inquired a little more closely at the time?

Notable exasperation

We are told that both RBS and UK Financial Investments, which manages the UK Government's shareholding, are trying to claw back some of the cash from the departed chief executive.

At RBS, meanwhile, one detects a notable exasperation with the media focus upon Sir Fred. Mr Hester, understandably, wants to focus on the bank's future.

We in Scotland - and taxpayers throughout the UK - must hope that he is successful in his efforts to revive RBS.

However, sometimes the ventilation of public anger is entirely justified. This is one such case.

Comments

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  • 1. At 3:10pm on 26 Feb 2009, Barbazenzero wrote:

    Brian,

    Having just watched a recording of the live show, the above is fair comment.

    More interesting would be insider news on NuLab's "cuts" plans following Duff Gordon's meeting with the 3 FMs. No juicy tidbits to throw us?

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  • 2. At 3:16pm on 26 Feb 2009, BoNG0_1 wrote:

    He should give up the lot.... He did NOT earn it. Full stop!

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  • 3. At 3:28pm on 26 Feb 2009, Older than the Pyramids wrote:

    If Sir Fred Goodwin is legally entitled to such a large pension, then he SHOULD take it - in full.

    It will then be a matter for him [and not politicians or even his former employers] to determine whether it is appropriate to retain the full amount for the benefit of himself (and his family) or to give some part thereof to charity, or to use it to fund other good works.

    The matter of the pension cannot be taken in isolation; it is part of the total remuneration package agreed when Sir Fred took on the demanding role of Group Chief Executive of RBS.

    I have no doubt that the RBS board - like everyone else in the world pre-credit crunch - expected bank revenues and profits to continue to rise and so saw this as a means of proffering a lower salary [although all such terms are relative] today with a pension entitlement in the future (the latter to be funded by the increased revenue stream at that later date).

    To hear politicians - especially MPs - bleating about this matter, when their own pension arrangements are grotesque to the average taxpayer, is laughable hypocrisy.

    After all, whilst on the individual level, Sir Fred's pension seems a tad excessive, if he was to forego part (or even all) of it, it would be a drop in the ocean incapable of causing even the faintest ripple...

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  • 4. At 3:45pm on 26 Feb 2009, GrassyKnollington wrote:

    I'm not out to undermine Iain Gray's reputation but I think he's ( the following was deleted for reasons of taste).

    Why all the Labour huffing and puffing about Fred the Shred. I understood Labour were "intensely relaxed " about people getting filthy rich.

    Don't tell me they're socialists now?

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  • 5. At 3:47pm on 26 Feb 2009, forfar-loon wrote:

    Poor Iain Gray - sad to see an unarmed man engaged in a battle of wits.

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  • 6. At 3:51pm on 26 Feb 2009, themightyshed wrote:

    I'm getting a bit exasperated by the way in which politicians (though it has to be said, Labour politicians in particular) are making EVERYTHING into party political issues.

    This is a good example - who, how, why did some Labour strategist think it was a good idea to try to make Fred Goodwin's pension a stick with which to beat the SNP Scottish Government, via George Matthewson? Do they think the electorate is completely stupid?

    Worst of all in this is Jim Murphy, who takes every opportunity to say what a believer he is in collaborative politics, before launching into his latest Nat-bashing rant. He spent 10 mins on BBC Radio yesterday talking about the benefits of consensus politics, but still managed to ensure he got in all his favourite phrases of the moment: 'parochial'; 'iceland'; 'arc of prosperity';... you get the picture.

    Anyone who is enough of an anorak to watch Scottish Questions at Westminster will know just how hollow Mr Murphy's claims to be a man of consensus are - I have rarely seen a more embarrassing showcase of everything that's wrong with Scottish politics than the behaviour of Labour MPs in that particular forum.

    Is it any wonder why people remain cynical about politicians?

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  • 7. At 3:57pm on 26 Feb 2009, Barbazenzero wrote:

    Not often that I agree with George Osborne, but his comment in the latest [15:36] version of this website's Darling faces RBS pension anger, that Darling's "excuse" that he did not know what was happening "pathetic" is hard to improve on without resort to expletives: "Darling 'thought' [oxymoron?] 50-year-old Sir Fred's early retirement deal was 'an unavoidable legal commitment'!!!!

    Is there no stone NuLab will leave unturned?

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  • 8. At 4:03pm on 26 Feb 2009, enneffess wrote:

    #157 previous post greenockboy


    I like the post! It shows that at least you read other posts before commenting.


    On this topic - we need a major clearout of senior execs who were involved in the decision making at RBS.

    I thought they had risk managers!

    Please clarify my simple economic knowledge - if all the creditors called in these "toxic" loans backed by the taxpayer, what would happen?

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  • 9. At 4:05pm on 26 Feb 2009, Wee-Scamp wrote:

    The anger just shouldn't just be about Goodwin's pension. We should also be asking what real benefit this alledgedly Scottish bank was to Scotland.

    It has always struck me as entirely bizarre that we had an immensely profitable bank in RBS and another in the BoS yet our industry was in constant decline with immense difficulties in raising startup and growth funding.

    The fact is that the priorities of RBS and BoS were wrong. They should have been working to benefit their country not their own pockets.

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  • 10. At 4:20pm on 26 Feb 2009, pattymkirkwood wrote:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/politics/7912656.stm

    Was this Prestwick?

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  • 11. At 4:23pm on 26 Feb 2009, freedjmac wrote:

    Brian,

    Think you need to do a piece on the approach of the 'greyteacherman' at FMQ's today. Just what was he trying to achieve inviting the FM to attack SGM??!! The 'greyteacherman' has already demonstrated considerable incompetence in his new role but this was a 'do-lally'. He played straight into the hands of the FM who took full advantage.

    The pension issue with 'FredtheShred' may well provoke righteous anger from every outsider but this was private reward with a private company when it was making huge profits. That does not justify the seize of the pension pot, of course, but no taxpayers funds went towards that.

    You really need to be even handed about all the criticism of bank execs getting whopping rewards when there are so many stories of our elected reps at Westminster not just having their snouts in the trough, but having 'larger troughs built to accommodate the size of their snouts'.

    How about a wee story on a Lanarksire MP being able to afford £800k on a London hoose?? How about a story about a former Scottish Tory MP now a Lord, being able to claim for a third hoose when he's reckoned to be worth £27 million (both recent press stories). Pots and kettles come to mind here!!

    It seems that, be it private or public practice, the rule is get your nose in the trough for as much as you can for as long as you can!!

    But a wee bit of balance would still be welcome, Brian!.

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  • 12. At 4:25pm on 26 Feb 2009, frankly_francophone wrote:

    So we have yet another Gray "own goal", as the Daily Torygraph's principal nat basher described the Labour group leader's wholly unconvincing attempt at today's FMQs to link the SNP to the RBS pension scandal by way of its association with Sir George Mathewson, who, in fact, has nothing to do with the Goodwin pension deal.

    It is worth putting the whole banking farrago into some kind of context, remembering not least that the Scottish Government, by virtue of the limited nature of its current powers, has, of course, no responsibility whatsoever for it, responsibility for regulation of the financial-services sector lying, as we are well aware, entirely with the UK government, which Mr Gray's party has been in charge of since 1997, as the First Minister did not neglect to mention today, as was to be expected . . . by everyone except Mr Gray, apparently.

    Sometimes putting things into context can involve pertinent comparisons that are hardly ever resorted to in the anglophone world, as I may previously have had occasion to mention or at least imply. Now, where is there another territory which has an independentist political party operating within a constitutional framework which affords a degree of self-government to that territory, in which the main political story of this very day involves a banking scandal of gigantic proportions, which both sheds light on the extent to which that territory currently enjoys more self-government than does Scotland and on the likely electoral prospects for its independentist party, with conceivable implications in due course for autonomist movements elsewhere, although I perceive that BT makes no mention of it? Here is a small clue: "Vive le Quebec! Vive le Quebec libre!"

    I am referring to the story concerning the CDPQ (the Caisse de depot et placement du Quebec), the most important savings bank in the province, to which the provincial government actually appoints directors and to which, controversially even at the time, the current provincial government appointed a director who is allegedly deeply implicated in the bank's current problems, which, as a result of its over-exposure to risk, are threatening to affect savers and pensioners, all of whose interests the governing Liberal Party declared to be quite safe during the most recent provincial election campaign, which converted its minority government into a majority one. The first paragraph of a Cyberpresse.ca report sums up succinctly what is involved here:

    "Billions of dollars in losses [39.8 billion], but no one is taking responsibility for them. The Caisse de depot et placement du Quebec revealed catastrophic results on Wednesday. The [Liberal] prime minister [of Quebec], Jean Charest, and the finance minister [of Quebec], Monique Jerome-Forget, have refused to take any blame. They have also rejected the idea of testifying before a special parliamentary commission, a move which has attracted the condemnation of the opposition parties."

    Contrast this with the Scottish First Minister's unfailing readiness and indeed eagerness to testify before any Scottish parliamentary committee that should happen to express an interest in hearing from him. But maybe that is only because Mr Salmond has nothing to hide.

    As for Prime Minister Charest, despite his protests and that of his now distinctly depressed-looking finance minister, the people of Quebec are taking a very dim view of his refusal to accept any form of criticism or blame. An opinion poll conducted yesterday evening shows that they hold him directly responsible for the immense hole in the finances of the CDPQ, which they apparently regard proprietorially as a sort of communal nest egg. In fact, the provincial government's insistence that it has nothing to do with the alleged maladministration of the bank is failing to convince the public to such an extent that nearly 90 per cent of Quebeckers declare that that government should assume some responsibility for "this fiasco". More than half of those consulted in the poll judge that the Charest government has a substantial degree of responsibility for what has happened.

    What may we deduce from all of the foregoing that could possibly have a bearing on today's events at FMQs in the Scottish Parliament? We may safely conclude that the Parti Quebecois, which advocates independence for Quebec, is having considerably more success in associating the Liberal provincial government with banking fiascos, farragos and fandangos than the laboriously plodding Mr Gray is having in landing a similar punch on Mr Salmond, whose capacity to run rings around Scottish Labour appears to be undiminished with the passage of time. Meanwhile, the Labour Party's poll ratings continue to plummet as if to indicate that the electorate is taking the view that the political party that can justly be held responsible to some extent, at least, for the banking crisis in the UK is the Labour Party, whose attitude towards "light touch" Financial Services Authority regulation during the crucial period is becoming increasingly widely understood.

    What may we deduce from the story about the CDPQ so far as the electoral prospects of the PQ and so far as the prospects for Quebec independence are concerned? The least that one can say is that the PQ has reason to be optimistic about its prospects in the present economic climate. If the Scottish National Party is paying attention to these developments, it should be encouraged, I venture to suggest, by what it may discover in so doing.

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  • 13. At 4:42pm on 26 Feb 2009, wilddog wrote:

    It seems they are all at it bankers with pensions MPs with expensives Darling renting houses Brown although nothing about money breaking code,when is it all going to stop.

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  • 14. At 4:50pm on 26 Feb 2009, bighullabaloo wrote:

    "The former boss of RBS is, we are told, "thinking about it".

    That Goodwin even has a choice to "think about it" is the nub of the whole stinking, rotten, corrupt problem.

    For certain people in this country it seems breathtaking failure on a scale never before seen is rewarded with breathtaking rewards on an unimaginable level.

    Time for the revolution.

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  • 15. At 4:51pm on 26 Feb 2009, freedjmac wrote:

    Brian,

    Have you not got a wee bit ahead of yourself here??

    Where is your comment on yesterday's famous meeting between Pa Broon and, as it happened, not just with the Eckmeister, but with the 'FM's' of Wales and NI as well.

    Just for the record, Pa Broon's wee elves had got their story on the web pages of the Torygraph by 8 p.m.last night but, so far, there's been nary a report on the Beebsite offering such elucidation as the moles from the Torygraph obtained. Surely, within those wonderful braces you so elegantly employ there's room for a concealed receiver (or three or four!), so where's the Beeb Scotland slant on all of this??

    What was most intriguing about the Torygraph report was that it said absolutely nothing of note about the planned Westminster-imposed budget cuts,but claimed instead, that the Eckmeister had refused, ON FOUR OCCASIONS, to reveal how he would repay any Scottish Govt borrowings!!

    So that's the principle conceded then, Gordon, just need to tinker with minor details??

    Meanwhile the 'weetimrousmurphybeastie' was being grossly over-exposed on the media and proving himself wholly irrelevant to the main game!!

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  • 16. At 4:53pm on 26 Feb 2009, raisethegame wrote:

    "Mr Hester, understandably, wants to focus on the bank's future."

    I'm sure he does, but this mess is not going to go away until we have all the answers and to that end, I'd like to see much more attention paid to the FSA interrogations which have been going on at Westminster this week. We should all be up in arms at some of the revelations.

    Robert Peston appears to have been shocked by what Lord Turner said to the committee re the culpability of the politicians ie Gordon Brown and Tony Blair. There was so little interest in any sort of regulation tin fact Blair was positively anti-regulation, that it surely amounted to dereliction of duty. Are they really going to be allowed to get away with that and not be publicly held to account? And what was John McFall's (or whoever was in charge in the past few years) Treasury Select Committee doing during this time other than enjoying the largesse of the bankers and city fat cats while letting them get away with murder?

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  • 17. At 4:56pm on 26 Feb 2009, homeofgolf wrote:

    I HAD TO CHUCKLE AT THE "TOON COONCILLORS" - SORRY, HIGHLY QUALIFIED, PROFFESSIONAL AND EXPERT MSP'S AT HOLYROOD... SHOWING OUTRAGE AT GOODWINS PREMIER LEAGUE PENSION.
    HOW DARE AN ORGANISATION THAT ONCE MADE MILLIONS OF PROFIT YEAR ON YEAR DECIDE AMONGST THEMSELVES TO AWARD AN ASTROPHYSICAL ANUAL PAY-OFF TO THE MAN SOME THINK RESPONSIBLE FOR "SHREDDING" OUR ECONOMY I HEAR THEM SHOUTING.

    GOOD POINT - AFTER ALL, IT'S NORMALLY THE SCOTTISH PARLIAMENT'S PEROGATIVE TO SET THEIR OWN ATTRACTIVE PENSION AND SALARY TERMS, EXTENSIVE HOLIDAY PERIODS (INCLUDING ONE FOR ST.ANDREWS DAY!) ARRANGE A LUCRATIVE PROFIT KEEP FROM SECOND HOME SALES NOT TO MENTION SOME OF THE MOST GENEROUS EXPENSES PAY OUTS GOING.

    NO WONDER A FORMER HEAD OF RBS WAS APPOINTED TO A FINANCIAL ADVISORY BOARD BY HOLYROOD - I,M SURE SURE HE KNOWS ALL THE TRICKS....

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  • 18. At 5:02pm on 26 Feb 2009, Barbazenzero wrote:

    Anyone wanting a little light relief on a bleak day should watch Vince Cable laying into Capn. Darling on this website's Zombie banks and Zombie government.

    The LibDems may be (and are) in a mess over their home rule policies, but one has to admire Cable on the economy.

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  • 19. At 5:06pm on 26 Feb 2009, Barbazenzero wrote:

    #5 forfar-loon
    "sad to see an unarmed man engaged in a battle of wits"

    ROFL - Thank you for that.

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  • 20. At 5:09pm on 26 Feb 2009, Older than the Pyramids wrote:

    I had thought that we had moved beyond the old socialist maxim that the only way to make everyone equal is to take away from the well-off - rather than improving the lost of all, but particularly the 'dregs of humanity' - but Iain Gray has proved me wrong.

    And if ever there was an example of opposition for sake of opposition - with no regard to the merits (or even political ideology) - it has to be the ridiculous image of George Osborne denouncing Sir Fred Goodwin as a capitalist 'monster'.

    Pot, kettle, black...

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  • 21. At 5:10pm on 26 Feb 2009, Older than the Pyramids wrote:

    I had thought that we had moved beyond the old socialist maxim that the only way to make everyone equal is to take away from the well-off - rather than improving the lot of all, but particularly the 'dregs of humanity' - but Iain Gray has proved me wrong.

    And if ever there was an example of opposition for sake of opposition - with no regard to the merits (or even political ideology) - it has to be the ridiculous image of George Osborne denouncing Sir Fred Goodwin as a capitalist 'monster'.

    Pot, kettle, black...

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  • 22. At 5:15pm on 26 Feb 2009, Anglophone wrote:

    Wasn't Sir Fred Mathewson one of the noble banking gentlemen who stood up a few months back to state that Scottish banks were in good shape and mergers with TSB and other rescue vehicles were an attempt to remove an independent banking sector from Scotland a.k.a. evil Unionist plot.

    Now that RBS alone have racked the biggest loss in UK corporate history and taxpayers are being asked to stump up approaching a trillion pounds in guarantees I would humbly suggest that Sir Fred Mathewson would be better employed operating the barrier on the Holyrood carpark rather than advising the First Minister on economic matters. It might however explain some of the SNP's more exotic financial plans.

    We have only just started to see the true depth of the hole that these worthy banking knights have led us into (all too willingly it must be said for the sake of balance). The fact that firstly some of these individuals still insist on receiving bonuses and secondly take pensions beyond the dreams of avarice just leaves me choking! My 8 year old son will be paying for this hubris into middle-age.

    It will be interesting if Fred the Shreds lack of self awareness will lead him to take the money. If he does, as he is legally entitled to do so I can only hope that he is abused in the street every time he shows his face for the rest of his life. Sadly, I suspect that he and others like him will retire to secure places in the sun where they will not be recognised outside their own charmed circles.

    Surely by now Alastair Darling has demonstrated that he not fit to run a whelk stall.

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  • 23. At 5:21pm on 26 Feb 2009, Older than the Pyramids wrote:

    #9 Wee-Scamp

    Trouble is that, although RBS and BoS were - and are still, at least notionally, Scottish companies, the ownership (formerly pension funds, etc., latterly HMG) is London-centric.

    The extent to which the respective managements saw/see their SOLE responsibility as being to shareholder interests should not be surprising - company law essentially requires this outlook, over and above which a CEO who put something other than shareholder return as top of his priorities would not long remain in post!

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  • 24. At 5:24pm on 26 Feb 2009, bighullabaloo wrote:

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

  • 25. At 5:38pm on 26 Feb 2009, Barbazenzero wrote:

    #10 pattymkirkwood
    "Was this Prestwick?"

    One would think so. Good to apologise on a "bad news day".

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  • 26. At 6:06pm on 26 Feb 2009, Barbazenzero wrote:

    Anyone who missed today's study in grey or wants a 2nd dose can now see today's FMQ on this website's FMQs at the Scottish Parliament. Historians who wish to archive it can also now download it from holyrood.tv, who seem to have the link right first time this week.

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  • 27. At 6:24pm on 26 Feb 2009, brigadierjohn wrote:

    STV, 6pm news, quoted unconfirmed sources saying Goodwin would not give up his pension voluntarily. I fear legal action would be expensive with the odds against success. We don't want several more millions down the drain.
    I would rather investigate the possibility of direct court action, with The Three Amigos in the High Court dock. Suggested charges: Obtaining money under false pretences, dereliction of public duty, failure to exercise the Duty of Care for customers, and conduct likely to occasion a breach of the peace.
    RBS is not my bank. I want Hornby in the dock. Failing that, just give me two minutes...
    However, I agree with the poster commenting on the hypocrisy of MPs, with their own huge pensions - for nothing!

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  • 28. At 6:31pm on 26 Feb 2009, Richard_the_Rogue wrote:

    Well, it would seem that Fred the Shred is utterly unrepentant and will not be handing back any of his pension entitlement. In fact, he is reported to be rather angry.

    To those trying to defend him in some way, I'd point out that his pension deal was not the standard one, it appears he was allowed to claim his full pension at age 50 on early retirement. Normally this pension would only be available to him at age 65. Furthermore, I don't believe for one minute that this deal was made in the 'good times', it seems it was made shortly before the bank's demise and presumably all those involved were in full possession of the facts at the time.

    I can't tell you what I'd like to do to him or to RBS, but I will tell you what little I can do. I can withdraw a sum of money from the above mentioned bank, something over the annual salary of the average Scottish worker, but still something less than a few weeks worth of his pension.

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  • 29. At 6:36pm on 26 Feb 2009, U11769947 wrote:

    For god sake, is the labour party trying to tell us it didn't know what Sir Fred's pension was. ?????????????????????????????????

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  • 30. At 6:44pm on 26 Feb 2009, dalizi wrote:

    Fred Goodwin should do the right thing and fall on his sword.
    I am an RBS pensioner on a pension of £1800 per annum I worked for this formerly great institution fulltime and partime for 40 years.There are thousands of us pensioners who served Rbs loyally and trustworthy all our working lives and are ashamed to be classed in the same way as FRED.
    I personally have lost £25000 through the collaspse of RBS shares.We were HOODWINKED into participating in the recent rights issue which so many people consider to have been fraudulent.
    It is totally unacceptable and obscene that this man should receive a pension of£650000 per annum when he has caused so much misery to Staff pensioners ans shareholders.
    I would urge Gordon Brown and his government to do all they can to review the terms of Goodwin's pension for decency's sake and to ensure that this intolerable situation should never again occur.

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  • 31. At 6:49pm on 26 Feb 2009, frankly_francophone wrote:

    Further to my #12 and for the sake of accuracy, a more detailed description of the Caisse de depot et placement du Quebec, with which I was not terribly familiar before this week, follows for those who may be interested.

    The Caisse describes itself as one of the largest institutional fund managers in Canada and in North America, with net assets under management totalling 120.1 billion dollars as at December 31, 2008, total transactions carried out daily exceeding 8 billion dollars. It is a shareholder in over 3,000 businesses internationally and is one of the world’s 10 largest real-estate asset managers.

    Its depositors, mostly Quebec public and private pension funds and insurance plans, are its clients at the Caisse. They entrust their funds to the Caisse to make profitable investments.

    The depositors' objective is to maintain their capacity to pay out pension and insurance benefits to their contributors and beneficiaries.

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  • 32. At 6:56pm on 26 Feb 2009, kaybraes wrote:

    Obscene though the sums of money involved may be, if the man financed the pension from salary, then it's his just as our more modest efforts are ours. Whether he deserves it is another matter, but to hear our politicians pontificating about it makes one wonder which of them is not milking the system and quietly building a pension pot, that few of the taxpaying public can aspire to. This is hipocracy of the highest order, overpaid, fiddling expences, and getting a whopping pension for a short spell in parliament, not to mention the various directorships and other sidelines our public servants keep to themselves.

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  • 33. At 7:28pm on 26 Feb 2009, Barbazenzero wrote:

    #15 freedjmac
    "Pa Broon's wee elves had got their story on the web pages of the Torygraph by 8 p.m.last night"

    Thanks for the info, but the Torygraph's Gordon Brown challenges Alex Salmond to explain how he would pay back borrowing wasn't easy to find and there's still nothing visible on this website. There's a shock!

    Post or reactive moderation for all except CBeebies, please!

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  • 34. At 7:38pm on 26 Feb 2009, cynicalHighlander wrote:

    #17. homeofgolf

    Might be worth reading only shouting with caps on reminds me of "Empty vessels make the most sound" next post when the mods stop counting their pay packets.

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  • 35. At 7:41pm on 26 Feb 2009, greenockboy wrote:

    Looks like Labour's attempt at making Fred Goodwin the scapegoat for their own shortcomings might come back and bite them. Seems that Labour minister Lord Myers had agreed that if Goodwin left and waived his legal right to a years salary then that would be considered an appropriate penalty.
    Minister agreed to severance deal

    This comes on the heals of revelations that the FSA had been warned off of taking those banks, employing high risk strategies, to task by none other than Gordon Brown.

    Tomorrow is certainly to be a day of dilemmas for the editors of Scottish papers, do they put Brown's breaking of the rules on the front page, his insistance that the FSA turn a blind eye to high risk banking or the Goodwin revelation that Brown's government asceded to Goodwins 'severance package'.

    I wonder how many Labour MSP's will demand Brown stand down? Didn’t they call for Salmond to reconsider his position after he broke NO rules over Trump?

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  • 36. At 7:54pm on 26 Feb 2009, oldnat wrote:

    #22 Anglophone

    "Surely by now Alastair Darling has demonstrated that he not fit to run a whelk stall."

    Are you not rather overestimating his abilities?

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  • 37. At 8:10pm on 26 Feb 2009, Barbazenzero wrote:

    #22 Anglophone
    "Surely by now Alastair Darling has demonstrated that he not fit to run a whelk stall."

    Glad we agree on something, Anglophone. I doubt there'll be many here disputing that part of your post.

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  • 38. At 8:23pm on 26 Feb 2009, aye_write wrote:

    #22 Anglophone

    Apologies, but I find your point of view rather contrasts with mine.

    To me, it doesn't matter. I don't particularly care whether these "bankers" get their money or not.

    By their nature, they will (no doubt) be unscrupulous "so and so"s (choose your description of someone with a dubious personality).

    - If they do get it they will be richer "so and so"s.

    - If they don't, they will be poorer "so and so"s.

    - Therefore regardless, they will still be "so and so"s, people of dubious personality.

    You probably know the type. Workplaces are always to some degree infested with them.

    My point is then that they already have their comeuppance.

    Such undesirable personality types always make a mess of it in the end, and if they yet haven't, then their interim behaviour won't be making them happy. They may pretend well otherwise, but inside makes a mockery.

    That is my opinion - let them get on with it. They do not need bad wishes from us to bring upon them what they already can't escape (holiday villa in the sun or no villa).

    It is better to watch them roll or zoom by, happy in that knowledge (job's already done), and concentrate on ourselves.
    We deserve 100% of our attention and these others aren't rightly deserving of it.

    As for the financial aspect, it's done now. Vengeful bitterness in taking back as much as we can from those culpable will not achieve any difference to that, rather it would let them know we bother with them - we shouldn't.

    The amounts specified aren't in any way going to make repaying our debts any.....well anything. I'm all for financial sensibility but in this case it's better to cut these losses financially and emotionally and inspect the future, as they are now part of the past.

    But, perhaps I am wrong :-)

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  • 39. At 8:29pm on 26 Feb 2009, aye_write wrote:

    #22 Anglophone

    Oh, and...

    Anglophone, I didn't mention "you know what" or go off topic!

    Do I have to hand back my nat badge? ;-)

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  • 40. At 8:35pm on 26 Feb 2009, bighullabaloo wrote:

    Re: my moderated #24:

    According to the BBC: "the ventilation of public anger is entirely justified" but God forbid if you actually try to express it as the BBC will decide that even though it's entirely justified it's not going to see the light of day!

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  • 41. At 8:36pm on 26 Feb 2009, Barbazenzero wrote:

    This website's Goodwin's letter [on Peston's blog since 17:30] make's clear that NuLab's Lord Myners [Cap. Darling's lackey] knew all about it from the outset, but I wonder if we'll see Darling apologising. Odd that there's been no riposte from the NuLab spin machine in more than two hours.

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  • 42. At 8:38pm on 26 Feb 2009, frankly_francophone wrote:

    #22 Anglophone

    With reference to "an attempt to remove an independent banking sector from Scotland a.k.a. evil Unionist plot", it should be noted that the large Quebec-based bank whose current newsworthiness in respect of recession-related difficulties was referred to in my #12 and my #31, cannot be "removed from" Quebec because of Quebec statutory provisions and Quebec government oversight which are designed to protect the essential interests of Quebec, its economy and its people by means of powers exercisable by its government within the framework of the existing federal constitution.

    Although Scots may be said to have regarded the Scottish-based banks in an equally proprietorial way, there was, of course, no constitutional basis for this and no possibility of Scottish Government statutory protection or oversight to protect the essential interests of Scotland so far as this matter was concerned. The dichotomy between a widely shared conception of what would have been both desirable and arguably appropriate and the grim reality of what was actually possible within existing constitutional arrangements so far as what were widely perceived to be vital Scottish interests were concerned was what caused a degree of alienation and dismay, I dare say: people saw the importance of the institutions to the Scottish economy and polity but were acutely aware that no institutional protection existed to prevent them from being lost to them.

    The fact that such protection did and does not exist cannot but be the responsibility of the UK government. Only the UK government could have provided the Scottish Government with powers to protect Scotland's financial and economic interests over the years in a way comparable to what is institutionally possible in Quebec, where the issue of the Quebec government's manner of discharging its responsibility for looking after such an important Quebec-based institution as the Caisse de depot et placement du Quebec is very much a major political issue, which is liable to have implications for the future constitutional development of the province, just as the inadequacy of Scottish Government powers to protect essential Scottish institutions and financial and economic interests in the face of the serious challenges posed by the recession may be expected to have implications for the constitutional development of Scotland.

    In Quebec, as in France, it is assumed that essential economic interests will be protected on behalf of the people who reside within their territorial limits. Within the UK essential Scottish economic interests and cherished national insitutions do not seem to count for very much in the grand England-dominated scheme of things, in which it is, as you have demonstrated yet again, not unusual for understandable Scottish concern for Scotland's vital national interests to be disdained and misrepresented.

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  • 43. At 8:41pm on 26 Feb 2009, enneffess wrote:

    I see the moderation queue is back to its usual 3 hour wait.


    Re the pension, I don't think anyone can legally do a thing about it. While I don't agree with it, if he is legally entitled to it then politicians should shut up. Any, a bit rich when you consider the expenses of our Home Secretary, PM forgetfulness, certain Tory MSP taxi bills and even old Alex's salaries as FM, MSP and MP!

    But the pension has absolutely nothing, nothing to do with the SNP! They didn't set it. And to be honest, it is nothing to do with any political party considering the deal was struck when RBS operated as a private company. Any attempt to force him legally to ditch his pension will only result in a lengthy and expensive court case, which will obviously be good news to lawyers.


    22. At 5:15pm on 26 Feb 2009, Anglophone wrote:
    Re Sir Fred Mathewson.


    I think you are correct here. Alex Salmond should ditch Mathewson. He is potentially politically lethal now for the SNP. Why? Because it gives Labour (Westminster spin machine, not the Holyrood tumble drier) some ammunition to use come a general election. He has involvement with the banks that now require support, regardless of his actual responsiblity or not in the mess that has resulted. But its the old headline - "SNP employs banker as economic adviser" etc etc.

    Surely, surely there must be a good practical economist or banker who has the business experience but none of the risk taking out there.

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  • 44. At 8:58pm on 26 Feb 2009, Barbazenzero wrote:

    Anyone in need of an emetic may care to watch Duff Gordon in full McAvity mode on Sky's Gordon Brown On Fred The Shred And Banks.

    Just over 2 minutes into the clip you can hear McAvity saying quite clearly: "I became aware of this, er, deal, er, only a few days ago"

    Unlikely, I know, but I wonder if anyone in the government will pay for it with his or her job.

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  • 45. At 9:10pm on 26 Feb 2009, DougtheDug wrote:

    In the Times they say that the only way that the Government can get the pension back is either for RBS to sue Fred Goodwin for negligence or for the shareholders to do it. Both actions are fraught with difficulty as such an action requires a high standard of proof to succeed.

    It seems a little odd that when the Government pumped so much money into the RBS that they didn't then demand, as majority shareholders, a root and branch review of the assets and liabilities of the bank. This would have of course included the bank's pension liabilities.

    Neither Brown nor Darling have any economic or accountancy qualifications and if they best they can do now is claim they knew nothing about the RBS's company pension scheme arrangements then it is probably symptomatic of their inability to control the entire UK financial debacle which is unfolding before our eyes.

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  • 46. At 9:16pm on 26 Feb 2009, Barbazenzero wrote:

    More details from Sky on Duff Gordon's "apology" to the HoC Standards and Privileges Committee. In an interview with Sky News, the great "wisnae me" exponent is quoted as saying: "It's been made absolutely clear that I was not properly informed. Where there is an inadvertent breach, you'll apologise for it and that is what I've done."

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  • 47. At 9:23pm on 26 Feb 2009, mindthecuriousorange wrote:

    Quite frankly Fred Goodwin does not deserve this pension in any manner, shape or form!

    He has ruined the good name of the RBS and created misery for it's thousands of employees.

    Remove the pension and remove his knighthood. He got it for "services to the banking industry". As he's done the banking industry the biggest disservice in history, the title needs to go.

    What kind of message do we send out if we allow this to happen?

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  • 48. At 9:34pm on 26 Feb 2009, ForteanJo wrote:

    #28 - "To those trying to defend him in some way, I'd point out that his pension deal was not the standard one, it appears he was allowed to claim his full pension at age 50 on early retirement. Normally this pension would only be available to him at age 65. Furthermore, I don't believe for one minute that this deal was made in the 'good times', it seems it was made shortly before the bank's demise and presumably all those involved were in full possession of the facts at the time."

    Richard, it's very probable that this pension is the price of getting Fred to go away. It would explain why the government originally agreed to it, why it seems to be a compromise and why Freddie is getting quite hissy about it now. After all, if there wasn't such an outcry about it, I doubt Gordie and Darling would be in such an uproar. Threatening legal action is nonsensical - on what basis could such action be raised?

    I fully suspect that after Gray's pathetic attempt to divert blame onto the SNP spectacularly backfired, with even Tavish Scott pointing the figure at Labour, Gordie and Darling will simply try to ride this out. There's just nothing they can do about the pension agreement so they'll try to claim some sort of (im)plausible deniablility.

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  • 49. At 9:46pm on 26 Feb 2009, DougtheDug wrote:

    It's interesting that Darling is not complaining that Fred Goodwin got a big pension, just that he got a very big one.

    As the majority shareholder in RBS the Government should have asked the directors to fire Chief Executive Fred Goodwin for gross incompetence under threat of all the directors being replaced, which the Government can do as the majority shareholder with a resolution at an EGM.

    But the Labour Government didn't do this as the Government and the big financial institutions are as close as hamsters in a sack.

    If he had been fired his pension wouldn't have started till he was 60 and the pension pot required to pay it would be around £10 Million not £25 Million. But he wasn't fired, he was asked to resign, and that's when all the goodies kicked in for early retirement.

    The fact that Fred Goodwin got such a huge pension is because Brown and Darling didn't have the courage or the guts to fire him.

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  • 50. At 9:51pm on 26 Feb 2009, oldnat wrote:

    #29 derekbarker

    "For god sake, is the labour party trying to tell us it didn't know what Sir Fred's pension was. ?????????????????????????????????"

    Oh, it's worse than that. Lord Paul Myners was told, but seems to have made assumptions that it was a legally binding contract, and no one checked.

    Whatever your party has done over the last few years (and there were good things as well as the errors we pick on), I'm afraid that it is enfeebled and without principle or the ability to cope with events.

    You should have listened to fourstrikes about what happens to Socialists who become part of the ruling elite.

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  • 51. At 9:54pm on 26 Feb 2009, bighullabaloo wrote:

    #29 derekbarker
    "For god sake, is the labour party trying to tell us it didn't know what Sir Fred's pension was?"

    Yes, derek, that's exactly what they're trying to tell us! And, like the good little mugs they take us for, we are all expected to swallow it without fuss as usual.

    As Brownedov says in his #7: "Is there no stone NuLab left unturned?"

    Clearly this bunch of Labour clowns have been telling giant porkies about how "tough" they were being on the banks in return for our billions to bale the other bunch of clowns (silly bankers) whose unashamed greed is running us into the ground.

    I wonder if the Labour clowns know how stupid and impotent they look now that Goodwin has thumbed his nose at their polite "request" for him to give up the £16 million? "Er, no I think I'll just keep it thanks. You never know when the economy might turn ugly!" Er, Fred, it already has for the rest of us!

    As for the Scots, the best thing we can do is go it alone, start from scratch, try and build a society with some trace of responsibililty and honour instead of the cesspit of corruption, greed and utter arrogance that we now have.

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  • 52. At 10:37pm on 26 Feb 2009, greenockboy wrote:

    Interesting stories breaking right now, some good links on the blog - however the blog has slowed to a crawl again !!

    Are they by chance related?

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  • 53. At 10:53pm on 26 Feb 2009, Barbazenzero wrote:

    A new YouGov poll in the Torygraph's Immigration is top issue for both Labour and Tory voters, YouGov poll shows has no big surprises re overall party support, and no detail yet, but the really interesting bit is: "There is more bad news for the Prime Minister with the finding that only 14 per cent believe the Government's measures to tackle the recession are working".

    Remembering that this poll was taken at least a day or two ago, one can but wonder what the "bottom" level of support for Duff Gordon and Capn. Darling will be. It's certainly hard to imagine that they can recover their own fortunes, but what have they done to the rest of us in the process?

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  • 54. At 11:03pm on 26 Feb 2009, uk_abz_scot wrote:

    The Labour government looks in office but not in power. It is re-acting rather than leading.

    It should have nationalised RBS months ago.


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  • 55. At 11:05pm on 26 Feb 2009, frankly_francophone wrote:

    Further to my #42, the UK banking farrago should arguably lead Scottish political parties to advocate that the Scottish Government should have vested in it the power to found a bank such as the CDPQ, which was set up under a statute of the Quebec National Assembly with the initial purpose of administering all public pension funds within the province but which has subsequently been mandated to broaden its range of activities for the benefit of Quebec.

    If a Bank of Scotland is ever founded upon such lines and also incorporates retail functions of the original one, with directors appointed by the Scottish Government along the lines of CDPQ director appointment and subject to Scottish statutory control and Scottish Government regulatory and investment-policy oversight, we shall know that Scottish independence has been achieved, albeit at the expense of the independence of commercial banks, which is largely lost to the UK government now in any case. Of course, nothing of the sort will ever be allowed by the UK, within which "the Scottish national interest" would appear to be little more than a joke.

    To be taken seriously and to have banks that serve the Scottish national interest as opposed to mainly English interests and cowboy capitalists, Scotland will need to vote for further constitutional change, just as Quebec will need to put the Parti Quebecois back in power and have another referendum on independence. Thanks to the recession and to lessons which are being learned from it, the result may be different next time.

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  • 56. At 11:12pm on 26 Feb 2009, U11769947 wrote:

    The time has come for labour MP's to demand that Mandelson goes, no more protectionism for labour unless they return
    the party to it's core believers.

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  • 57. At 11:32pm on 26 Feb 2009, bighullabaloo wrote:

    #35 greenockboy
    "Tomorrow is certainly to be a day of dilemmas for the editors of Scottish papers"

    Scottish editors will solve their "dilemma" by having a big picture of a smiling Sir Fred and a two-word headline that would be a fitting accompaniment to a photograph of any person giving a two-fingered salute.

    Let's just see if I'm wrong.

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  • 58. At 11:37pm on 26 Feb 2009, cynicalHighlander wrote:

    Anger Management!!!!!! correct title Royal Mail 2nd class is quicker or will the trams be running sooner than these post appear.

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  • 59. At 11:53pm on 26 Feb 2009, ScotInNotts wrote:

    Seems the Welsh are out for some constitutional change of their own.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/wales/wales_politics/7912263.stm

    End of the UK on two fronts?

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  • 60. At 11:53pm on 26 Feb 2009, aye_write wrote:

    #22 Anglophone

    I'm very uncomfortable with British nationalism. It's a panacea for frustrated egos and a vehicle by which aspirant politicians can galvanise support to meet selfish ends. Nothing works better than noisily pointing out the enemy.

    One of the worse elements of the Union in my view is that, from the jingoism that emerged in the two decades before the First World War, it has managed by and large incubate excess British nationalism.

    British nationalism relies on intolerance, a sense of shared superiority and sometimes a sense of shared victimisation (the EU). All of these are chimera when placed in the context of people who, culturally, are very distinguishable.

    In this respect I'm more comfortable with Scottish Nationalism and equally comfortable with the emerging English nationalism which, believe me will do them some good if it ever takes root.

    My favouring the discontinuance of the UK as a country is firstly my understanding that there is no real "Balkanisation threat", only the fear of it. Secondly, in a rough world, a course of action that relies on Britain being ever strong (it's not now) and Scotland just plain weak is simply playing into the hands of those, at home and abroad, who are...shall we say "indifferent to the health, wealth or happiness of the people of these islands".

    Can you recognise what I'm saying :-)

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  • 61. At 00:26am on 27 Feb 2009, cruiskeen wrote:

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

  • 62. At 01:03am on 27 Feb 2009, aye_write wrote:

    #43 Neil_Small147

    "Alex Salmond should ditch Mathewson. He is potentially politically lethal now for the SNP. Why? Because it gives Labour (Westminster spin machine, not the Holyrood tumble drier) some ammunition to use come a general election."

    But, Neil, IF they ditch him (maybe they will, it won't be because of spin) they are as open to allegations of being guilty by association, as ditching is laying guilt. They make it known they knew he was guilty, they are guilty.

    So they are no better off, rather slightly worse off, because it looks as though they've tried to dance to the tune of spin themselves.

    Better not to....as you usually advise actually!....and instead act with the best of intentions. If you're going to be damned, better that way than not.

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  • 63. At 01:23am on 27 Feb 2009, ForteanJo wrote:

    #45 - "Neither Brown nor Darling have any economic or accountancy qualifications and if they best they can do now is claim they knew nothing about the RBS's company pension scheme arrangements then it is probably symptomatic of their inability to control the entire UK financial debacle which is unfolding before our eyes."

    I think it's fair to say that Brown knows nothing about company pension scheme arrangements full stop. Just one reason why so many schemes collapsed or were devalued since he became chancellor.

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  • 64. At 01:34am on 27 Feb 2009, oldnat wrote:

    Interesting suggestion in the Herald editorial -

    "If the government cannot at the very least claw back the discretionary element, it should refuse to pay it and dare Sir Fred to take it to court. "

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  • 65. At 08:03am on 27 Feb 2009, bluelaw wrote:

    I actually like the fact that, as objectionable Goodwin and his pension are, he is actually taking a stand against Brown and Darling on this. In principle he is right and if that was what was agreed at the time then why should he return a penny and therefore agree to become their scapegoat. He's probably been advised to ride it out just as Brown and Darling are.

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  • 66. At 08:17am on 27 Feb 2009, Chiefy1724 wrote:

    This Friday's exam question is "Compare and Contrast the following news items"

    "Ministers Sacked in SNP Reshuffle"

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/scotland/7880931.stm

    with

    "Shock Changes in Tory Reshuffle"

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/wales/7913572.stm

    'Nuff said

    Chiefy

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  • 67. At 08:36am on 27 Feb 2009, Chiefy1724 wrote:

    Interesting to note this morning that JFM (One of my "ones to watch" for shuffling around the hemicycle) has now broken ranks and is calling for a simple Yes/No referendum

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/scotland/highlands_and_islands/7914197.stm

    Now, cynically (not that we are ever cynical here on BwB), you could view it that there is a section of the Liberals who fear their complete disappearance as a party at the next election and who want their places enshrined in history as Defenders of The Union.

    Or you could argue that there is an outbreak of Realism in the Liberals and they they now realise that their only hope for survival is to return to their historic roots and actually ask the people what they want.

    (As opposed to The Mars Misson/Loch Ness Monster policies of late)

    Although odds on JFM doing the shuffle have just dropped slightly, lets see if any of the other hiders poke their heads up above the parapet.

    (Sorry, keep forgetting)

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  • 68. At 08:55am on 27 Feb 2009, Barbazenzero wrote:

    #56 derekbarker
    "The time has come for labour MP's to demand that Mandelson goes, no more protectionism for labour unless they return
    the party to it's core believers.
    "

    I'm glad that you're beginning to see the light, Derek, but getting rid of Lord Mandy would be too little, too late. If a leadership election could be forced and Duff Gordon replaced with someone like Field or Cruddas there would be just a chance of returning to the core beliefs of the old Labour Party, but I'm afraid that all the other probable contenders have no core beliefs left after more than a decade of "New" Labour, and they seem to have nobody left at Holyrood fit to clean Dewar's shoes.

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  • 69. At 09:12am on 27 Feb 2009, fourstrikes wrote:

    Brownedov! You forgot John McDonnell!

    He's a man who has a socialist heart, (recently declaring himself a Marxist) God alone knows what he's still doing in Labour.

    Derek! Thoughts on the relative merits of Cruddas and McDonnell? (Also, are you a Labour Party member? I won't bite you, some of my nearest and dearest are...)

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  • 70. At 09:24am on 27 Feb 2009, Barbazenzero wrote:

    #59 ScotInNotts
    "End of the UK on two fronts?"

    Thanks for the heads up on this website's Majority back law-making assembly. The full details aren't on ICM's website yet, but apart from the 52% yes vote, the most interesting thing is that polling was done between 20-24th February 2009 - two days before the latest revelation of NuLab's competence.

    If the competence to manage the economy issue [see my #53] is enough to tip the balance for their core support in Scotland [see derekbarker's #56], then how much of their core support in Wales - strong enough to keep Labour in coalition in 2007 - will feel the same now?

    Independence is further away, but with their FM, Morgan, taking much the same view as Salmond over the meeting with Duff Gordon [see my #145 on the last thread], they're definitely en route to demanding fiscal autonomy PDQ.

    Some real headaches ahead for both the NuLab and Tory wings of the unionist party, methinks.

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  • 71. At 09:27am on 27 Feb 2009, northhighlander wrote:

    Re Brians post

    Ian Gray may have indavertently hit on what is a real problem. Fred the flop is a wee bit unlucky, he was the one holding the bomb when it went off.

    There are a great many others who should be taking a bit of the blame. HBOS and RBS didn't get into the mess they are in a 2 or 3 years. The roots of a move to reckless practice go back further. So probably Sir George is not squealy clean. But the real issue is we need a proper investigation to fully understand who was involved and how this all went so badly wrong.

    However Sir George now has a role in government! Surely irrespective of party allegiances we should be chasing bankers from every corner of government. They got things so badly wrong and now they are being asked to advise on how to put it right at god knows what cost to us.

    Only politicians could think that was fine. But then Politicians are displaying the most appalling double standards. They too have played a big part in the mess and absolutely none saw it coming, none even saint vince.

    What the crisis shows is that we have a deep seated culture in the UK, (definately including Scotland) of not taking responsibility when things go wrong but taking full credit for anything that can be spun as a sucess. Never take responsibility, no matter how bad blame someone else.

    So Fred should keep his pension, if he has to give up any of it then so should all our politicians, of every party.
    That will never happen because none of then ever take blame, they just play petty politics.

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  • 72. At 09:40am on 27 Feb 2009, Barbazenzero wrote:

    #67 Chiefy1724

    Thanks for the link to this website's Lib Dem MSP calls for referendum. While agreeing with Munro that asking the people is no bad thing, if the LibDems still support STV then I fail to understand any objection to a multi-choice question. If Scott is a NuLab mole, he couldn't be doing a better job as leader of the Scottish LibDems.

    I also fail to understand why nobody at Holyrood is pushing for a first question asking for democratic reaffirmation of the sovereignty of the Scottish people in a renewal of Arbroath. All the parties there claim to be democratic, so who could object if the question was put fairly, and how much leverage would it give Holyrood in future negotiations with the Westmidden "sovereignty of parliament" crowd?

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  • 73. At 09:46am on 27 Feb 2009, ForteanJo wrote:

    #64 - "If the government cannot at the very least claw back the discretionary element, it should refuse to pay it and dare Sir Fred to take it to court. "

    The only problem with taking that stance, oldnat, is that the government would surely lose any legal action and probably wouldn't want the open the can of worms that was Freddie's compromise agreement to get him to leave.

    According to commentary yesterday, Sir Fred and Lord Myers worked together (at RBS?) some years ago. If that is indeed the case, it may turn out that the old friends / colleagues factor played some part in this. Freddie has already fingered Myers and Myers' excuse about (lack of) knowledge on the legality of the agreement (since he was part of the agreement process, surely it was his job to check how legal the terms he was agreeing to actually were) doesn't hold much water. While Labour might be jumping up and down about Mathewson in a blatant smoke and mirrors attempt to divert attention away from the source of the true blame for this fiasco, at the end of the day most people know exactly who should carry the can, and since the government / Labour can't sack Lord Myers, Gordie and Darling are where the buck ultimately stops. Cue lots of government noise about its outrage and how unacceptable this deal is. Don't, however, expect any constructive action.

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  • 74. At 09:46am on 27 Feb 2009, Barbazenzero wrote:

    #69 fourstrikes
    "Brownedov! You forgot John McDonnell!"

    It's a fair cop, guv, and I couldn't agree more with your: "God alone knows what he's still doing in Labour"

    Off out now, but back tonight, I hope.

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  • 75. At 10:05am on 27 Feb 2009, sctnewspal wrote:

    Brian,
    There is a logical way of handling Sir Fred's pension pot. RBS should back-track all payments into the pot and calculate the payments as RBS shares at their then value.

    To recognise the successful elents of Sir Fred's tenure, notional value of dividends should be added.

    The pension pot should now be revalued at the current price of RBS shares.

    That way contractual obligations of payments to Sir Fred's pension pot are seen to be made. He then takes the same % hit as all those who suffered from his management decisions.

    Can anyone say that this isn't fair?

    If he doesn't like it - suggest he sues. That would make for an interesting court hearing!

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  • 76. At 10:12am on 27 Feb 2009, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    Interesting to hear John Prescott (who could've used some anger management at times) proclaiming about all those years of "sustainable growth" while standing in the wreckage of said growth......morons and oxymorons..., but, as an American I'm of course immune to irony...

    Slainte
    ed

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  • 77. At 10:12am on 27 Feb 2009, Miss Terri Poster (NOT) wrote:

    Pity help the politicians if the right to pensions becomes performance-related!!!

    Can anyone remind me - how much will Tony Blair get from the taxpayer???

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  • 78. At 10:21am on 27 Feb 2009, oldnat wrote:

    #72 Brownedov

    Totally agree with you on the need for a referendum question that asks for agreement/disagreement on sovereignty.

    Article 1 of the Irish Constitution might be a good place to start when defining the wording -

    "The Irish nation hereby affirms its inalienable, indefeasible, and sovereign right to choose its own form of Government, to determine its relations with other nations, and to develop its life, political, economic and cultural, in accordance with its own genius and traditions."

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  • 79. At 10:31am on 27 Feb 2009, Gaelstorm wrote:

    No 57

    Only partly right, you'd forgotten Wendy Richards!

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  • 80. At 10:58am on 27 Feb 2009, Anglophone wrote:

    42 FranklyFrancophone plus all your other monikers

    Have you ever seen a famous behavioural experiment known as "Dr Fox". In it a basic scientific experiment was written up in three different manners, ranging from a short paper stating the observations in plain English, up to a 20 pager of florid, nested prose, acronyms and obscure descriptors. A panel of scientists were asked to rate the quality of the science in each each experiment (not the writing!). The panel rated the florid piece as by far the best piece of scientific work despite the fact that it reported the identical experiment to the simple one-pager. The moral...you can get away with a lot when you rely upon endless convolution of straightforward facts.

    I don't think that I could have cut-it on that panel as I remain puzzled by your essays. In the first, you mention that a naughty Quebec bank, despite your love and admiration of the francophone business model had mysteriously fallen amidst chaos and fraud. The government refuse to take responsibility which by some oblique sleight of hand makes Alex Salmond a pillar of probity???

    The various Scottish Banks are then described as not being intended to be the vehicle around which an independent economy would be formed. This contradicts just about everything you and every other nationalist have ever said in the past. The Edinburgh financial sector is/was the ace up the nationalist sleeve for as long as I have bothered to read this stuff. Now suddenly they are institutions peverted by the English and their uniquely evil way of doing business. You should check your old posts before taking so much time to write your essays.

    It's all rather reminiscent of the days when Gerry Adams, dubbed by an actor would appear on the news standing next to the latest pile of smoking rubble saying that "a Republican analysis of the sichaayshun would be that while this outrage may be the work of republicans, it is firmly the responsibility of the British Government!"

    It's good to see that events can still be viewed through the same type of convoluted prism in which day is night and black is white. Keep it up but keep it short;-)

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  • 81. At 11:04am on 27 Feb 2009, enneffess wrote:

    Re the Welsh. What would their independent economy be based on? They don't have oil, so I would suggest a lot of borrowing would be required. (I might be wrong of course).


    #62 aye_right

    Re Mathewson. The long the current affair with Pension Pol Pot goes on, the greater the chance of potential damage.

    Bankers are now everyone's pet hate (must be a few traffic wardens and estate agents relieved), so the Scottish Government tied in with a banker is not a good idea.

    I take your point it would be damaging to ditch him now, but the flak would be short lived. If he remains, then any finance-type scheme proposed which is unsuitable could be blamed on the "advice".

    Remember, Labour have now turned on Sir Fred, so I am now wondering if part of that is damage limitation and ammunition to be used against political opponents who are either bankers (Tories anyone?) or use them as advisors.

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  • 82. At 11:16am on 27 Feb 2009, tinylespaul wrote:

    Much ado about nothing!

    So what if a banking Fat-cat 'retires' on a £squillion package? It's our fault, we're all the culprits as it was 'us' who were happy to accept 125% mortgages, extended cheap credit to buy our 'luxury' goods, 0% interest credit cards, credit card surfing etc etc.

    The obscene amount being paid to Sir Fred is simply the manifestation and consequence of a situation perpetuated and fueled by and of our own self-greed. We've known for years what people like Sir Fred have been raking in in salaries, bonuses and share options, what did we do? .... Diddly squat, because they made sure the little-man was thrown enough scraps to keep him (or her) at bay.

    I bet of all the commentators on this subject, there's not one of us who would welcome a similar package for similar failings!

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  • 83. At 11:20am on 27 Feb 2009, ForteanJo wrote:

    #76 - "Interesting to hear John Prescott "

    Ed, I think we've just seen the government's next "strategy" for deflecting blame on this. As two jags says, it doesn't matter who knew what, it's still no right.

    We'll see how well that one flies.

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  • 84. At 11:21am on 27 Feb 2009, bighullabaloo wrote:

    #66 Chiefy1724

    The best example of BBC Scotland's anti-SNP bias I have ever seen and irrefutable proof that they slant stories using subtle word selections and/or omission of facts in order to put the SNP in as bad a light as possible.

    I wonder if any of them have the guts to come onto their blogs (as BBC writers do on other blogs) and explain the reason for the example you've given. If they dont it just further exposes their passive aggressive anti-SNP agenda.

    They smugly think, because of their sneaky, Machiavellian, cloak-and-dagger tehniques, that they cannot be exposed, but you have done just that. Well done.

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  • 85. At 11:26am on 27 Feb 2009, bighullabaloo wrote:

    #35 greenockboy

    The "fat cat that got the cream" photos of Sir Fred are all over the Scottish papers (take your pick) just as I predicted. The only difference is that their headlines aren't as succinct (or apt) as the one I suggested. They aren't as good at it as they were in my day I suppose.

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  • 86. At 11:32am on 27 Feb 2009, Anglophone wrote:

    60 Aye-Write

    You seem to be having a go at something that I didn't even write in the first place. That's an old debating trick;-)

    "I'm very uncomfortable with British nationalism. It's a panacea for frustrated egos and a vehicle by which aspirant politicians can galvanise support to meet selfish ends. Nothing works better than noisily pointing out the enemy."

    Just read your first paragraph above substituting the word Scottish for British. It sounds like the other side of the same coin.

    By contrast to your comments, I would have said that British Nationalism was at a comparatively low ebb compared to the first half of the 20th Century. I'm not talking about right wing nutters, rather the general population. The sense of "natural superiority" that supposedly infests us has been in steady decline since the 1950s with any residual "well at least we won the war" dying out in the 70s in the face of marked economic underperformance. There have been a few little jingioistic blips such as the "Falklands Bounce" but in my own experience, people do not express any noisy nationalism...in fact patriotic displays are often viewed with mild embarrassment.

    This probably has a lot to do with the growth of the middle-class, gentrification, the spread of education, the increased level of personal travel etc. Add into this the influence of the "liberal elite" and the conspicuous downplaying of British History and achievement in education and you have a population whose sense of national identity is at such a low ebb that the government has belatedly tried to reverse the decline.

    The occasional political sniping at the EU simply raises individual poiltical profiles and sells newspapers. I can see absolutely no difference between moaning about Brussels and moaning about Westminster. All nationalism is created by stoking grievances, promoting a sense of victimisation and, as you so rightly say "pointing out the enemy". Can you really look me in the eye...alright monitor...and tell me that Scottish Nationalism doesn't rely on this toxic triumvirate to garner support from people who would otherwise be politically disinterested?

    The sad conclusion of this line of thought is that the SNP is basically a sort of McUKIP. Now that is embarrassing!

    I'm no fan of nationalism in any guise and I worry about the emergence of English nationalism. If I were a Scot I would also worry about English nationalism as on balance, Scots have more to lose from such schism.

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  • 87. At 11:32am on 27 Feb 2009, bighullabaloo wrote:

    #79 Gaelstorm

    You're forgotting that we were discussing the SCOTTISH newspapers - not ENGLISH ones or Scottish Editions of English ones.

    Look at the Scotsman website or the Herald website and you will see the exact smug grin I predicted.

    And if the BBC is thinking of censoring me for using the words "fat cat" in my previous posts they should remember where I got it - the Daily Record!

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  • 88. At 11:38am on 27 Feb 2009, bighullabaloo wrote:

    What we are seeing with Sir Fred is the exact "couldn't care less" attitude that created the near-collapse of RBS, the "couldn't care less" attitude about the loss of perhaps 20,000 banking jobs, and the blase "couldn't care less" attitude about unprecedented public funding being needed to rescue it. So an end to all the hypocritical prattle. This is the true face of banking in all it's glory and, frankly, in all its grotesque ugliness.

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  • 89. At 11:50am on 27 Feb 2009, ForteanJo wrote:

    #43 - "Alex Salmond should ditch Mathewson. He is potentially politically lethal now for the SNP. Why? Because it gives Labour (Westminster spin machine, not the Holyrood tumble drier) some ammunition to use come a general election."

    It's interesting contrasting the Labour party's attitude to Mathewson in comparison to Lord Myners. They reckon Mathewson should go because of his connections to RBS (and, by association, Freddie's pension pot). On the other hand, Lord Myners has already stated he will not resign and the government appear to support him in that stance, even though he is far more culpable in this whole fiasco than Mathewson.

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  • 90. At 11:55am on 27 Feb 2009, aye_write wrote:

    #81 Neil_Small147

    I take your point - it's how to ditch him then! ;-)

    "Re the Welsh. What would their independent economy be based on? They don't have oil, so I would suggest a lot of borrowing would be required. (I might be wrong of course)."

    Neil, I'm not saying you yourself are saying this, but others might take it that way, you do not need oil to be independent!

    What of the Welsh economy. I also admit ignorance, so that's quite a good question!

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  • 91. At 12:00pm on 27 Feb 2009, Barbazenzero wrote:

    #78 oldnat
    "Totally agree with you on the need for a referendum question that asks for agreement/disagreement on sovereignty."
    Thanks. Whether independent or no, that's the issue Scotland needs to confirm before meaningful negotiation with the UK government can begin.

    "Article 1 of the Irish Constitution might be a good place to start when defining the wording"
    Absolutely, but it would be a pity not to get a reference to Abroath somewhere in the "final" question, if only to make absolutely certain that the English, Welsh and Northern Irish peoples understand their very different and inferior status in relation to the monarchy. A few more revolting [in a non-violent sense] serfs outwith Scotland could do no harm at all to democracy within the UK.

    If the LibDems won't come onside, perhaps the agreed version should be the only question proposed in the Referendum bill. Even Aunty A would have few arrows in her quiver against it, yet it would give Holyrood all the ammunition it needs to negotiate fiscal autonomy, while leaving the full independence for a future SP to debate.

    Post or reactive moderation for all except CBeebies, please!

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  • 92. At 12:08pm on 27 Feb 2009, Barbazenzero wrote:

    #81 Neil_Small147
    "They don't have oil, so I would suggest a lot of borrowing would be required."
    Initially certainly so, but they have a large coastline quite suitable for renewables [presumably they'd get 50% of RE's Severn Barrage scheme] and a mountainous landmass suitable for traditional wind and hydro renewables. For the future, like Scotland, they also have coal reserves unexploited along with slate and metallic mineral reserves. All of those should be "nice little earners" for the long-term.

    Post or reactive moderation for all except CBeebies, please!

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  • 93. At 12:16pm on 27 Feb 2009, Barbazenzero wrote:

    Re liberty, sovereighnty, et al, there's an interesting article in the Thunderer's Malevolent voices that despise our freedoms by Philip Pullman. To say the least, he's somewhat confused about who had what freedoms when, but he's on the money with:
    "The nation [I think he means the UK but he admits his own confusion] dreams it is a democratic state where the laws were made by freely elected representatives who were answerable to the people. It used to be such a nation once, it dreams, so it must be that nation still. It is a sweet dream."

    Just passing by between meetings, but back tonight, en'shallah.

    Post or reactive moderation for all except CBeebies, please!

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  • 94. At 12:26pm on 27 Feb 2009, fourstrikes wrote:

    #74 Brownedov

    Indeed. There are still socialists in the Labour Party, amazingly. I want to rescue these comrades from the choppy seas of newLab and bring them back to the safe harbour of socialism (perhaps a new workers' party is waiting there to be formed and we will need their talent and devotion).

    I read an article a while back by a newLabourite who was shocked - shocked! by the fact that a handful of people in Labour still use the term "comrade". (Imagine addressing Mandy that way if you want a laugh. I reckon he'd look as if you just spat in his soup.)

    Yes, heaven forbid that anyone use a word like that, showing a close bond between people in a common struggle, when they could use businesslike words like "colleague" or "acquaintance" perhaps.

    Though I found it rather touching that Johann Lamont referred to Jackie Baillie as "our sister" in the debate on the disabled parking spaces. I'm assuming that Labour MSPs aren't actually all related to each other, so I was pleased.

    Could it be? Does someone remember "brothers and sisters" and "fraternally yours"? Is a small red flag flying in the midst of NewLab (they better hope none of the loyalists spot it) and are memories of a better time springing now and again to the surface?

    (I rather like both Ms Lamont and Ms Baillie, not necessarily politically, but this is neither here nor there.)

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  • 95. At 12:31pm on 27 Feb 2009, cynicalHighlander wrote:

    Riddoch Questions, 27th February - BBC Radio Scotland 1.15-2pm

    "Lesley’s guests on Riddoch Questions this week include the editor of the Herald, Donald Martin and the leader of Glasgow Council , Steven Purcell."

    Any questions anyone?

    Capitalism in order of control:
    Bankers - non elected
    Government - elected
    The chaff - Us

    The government can do nothing about this pension without bringing the economy to its knees and subsequently the government culminating in anarchy.

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  • 96. At 12:42pm on 27 Feb 2009, handclapping wrote:

    Brian

    Part of the problem with pensions is that they are governed by "English" trusts. Their trust law came about so the gentry could take the latest thing in packaged holidays - a few years out on a Crusade. It has been mangled ever since to cover the sick, the ignorant, tax dodgers and pensions with dire results not only on the "law" but also on the beneficiaries. It is now almost impenetrable and anyone with the slightest knowledge of pensions would know to reach for a lawyer. Global Brown evidently has not been told of the results of his first stealth tax wheeze on the poor people who expected pensions from their firms but why would he worry, we are here to serve him.

    Standing back from this government fiasco, what I see are
    1) government not accounting for public pensions is so, so dangerous in as much as they have no idea how pensions "work" or how much they "cost" and
    2) directors may earn big bucks but that should be it. No "company" planes, expenses, pensions, private offices, hair-dos, etc., if they want them they should pay. If they need more salary they should ask so what you see is what you get. No more give up a year's salary and get ten times as much through the pension back door.

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  • 97. At 12:43pm on 27 Feb 2009, fourstrikes wrote:

    #86 Anglophone, you said

    "I'm no fan of nationalism in any guise and I worry about the emergence of English nationalism"

    Absolutely agree with both of these. This is a position again which confuses people but what can one do.

    If anyone here has ever read a magazine called This England, there's yer English nationalism for you. It is not very pretty. (Pay close attention to the letters pages, the op ed and the ads at the back). Being of relatively recent coinage it's not even had a chance to go through the "mellowing stage" Scottish nationalism has had which allows for more diversity of views (and, dare I say it, backgrounds.)

    Having said that there are still very unhealthy views about "purity" and "true Scots" and dodgy people with opinions about "white settlers" and immigrants of non Celtic hue lurking about on the fringes of Scottish nationalism. I don't at all believe that represents the mainstream of the party - quite the reverse from my experiences with "mainstream thinking" Nats like the folk on this board and especially the SNP in government who have worked to be open and inclusive. But it's there and unfortunately nationalism as a political ideology rather lends itself to this.

    It's a spectrum of opinion from the Nat mainstream where we see people who are just convinced independence would be better and disagree politically with Westminster, to the nutters on the far right who basically hate everyone who doesn't conform to their idea of "a true Scot". I had the "pleasure" of talking to a drunken Nat in a pub the other week who opined that "the English would be happier in their own country and not living in Scotland". I pointed out I have one English parent who lives in Scotland and has become very fond of it and is becoming gradually converted to the SNP cause. His response "Well it's nobody's fault but culturally they're just incapable of fitting in and I don't mean this personally but that means you're only a half Scot...."

    Hmmm.

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  • 98. At 12:47pm on 27 Feb 2009, fourstrikes wrote:

    #88 bighullabaloo

    I don't have anything to add except to say you are entirely correct.

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  • 99. At 12:49pm on 27 Feb 2009, aye_write wrote:

    #86 Anglophone

    "You seem to be having a go at something that I didn't even write in the first place. That's an old debating trick;-)"

    Anglophone!

    At long last I can prove you wrong ;-)
    An odd debating trick? I needed one, needed some brilliant amunition, which I don't have do I, to tackle you, so I stole....yours.

    Why do you think my post was so beautifully well written, using words I don't even know?

    It was YOUR POST from last November, I just swapped Scottish for British.

    Fascinatingly, you have argued against your own post, albeit from the other angle(ophone ;-)

    I remember it took me a long time to get you to admit your pro-Union reasoning. But (thank you) you were honest when you did. For motives of greater self-protection in a hostile world, it is selfishly better. I can actually respect that.
    Whether or not it is the case...

    My point is therefore that your effective British nationalism (I hate the word too) and my Scottish nationalism are the same and equally valid choices, a preference.
    As you say,

    "Just read your first paragraph above substituting the word Scottish for British. It sounds like the other side of the same coin."

    Exactly :-)

    "Can you really look me in the eye...alright monitor...and tell me that Scottish Nationalism doesn't rely on this toxic triumvirate to garner support from people who would otherwise be politically disinterested?"

    Yes, I can. I would convince you aswell. Their disinterest does not eliminate the sublime effects of not being in the normal state of national self governance. (Forgive my wordy clap-trap style.) Because they don't mind doesn't make it right, doesn't excuse actively seeking to compound their position.

    Would you not feel something if your British (if you prefer) voting influence, by way of elected representatives, was so in the minority that it was really no influence at all?

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  • 100. At 1:02pm on 27 Feb 2009, frankly_francophone wrote:

    #80 Anglophone

    It is gratifying to find that someone has been intrigued by the financial crisis in Quebec, which, like such crises elsewhere in the world, results largely from exposure to the collapse of anglo-American cowboy capitalism.

    I thought you would rise to the bait in my #42, as you have previously objected to my particular form of non-anglocentric perspective in this forum, as you have done again in the first line of your post. I cannot tell you how pleased I am that you object to my occasional posts here, even though you appear to be somewhat confused. England is not the centre of the universe, dear boy, as any francophone will tell you. To present another perspective is a reasonable proceeding despite your huffing and puffing. A non-English perspective may seem to you to be a "convoluted prism", but I do not see why we need concern ourselves with that.

    As for your traducing of my posts in this thread, I cannot seriously be expected to be either surprised by that or to take it seriously. The points that I have raised can be responded to reasonably or they can be truduced. Your previously displayed attitude makes it unsurprising that you have chosen to respond in this way. What else would one expect? Certainly not courtesy.

    As for the continuing CDPQ controversy, which you have been so kind as to refer to, although in a somewhat unenlightening manner, the leader of the Parti Quebecois, Pauline Marois, to which the Caisse issue is a gift, has been saying that, if the Liberal PM of Quebec, Jean Charest, is trying to dissociate himself from the affair, it is because he has "something to hide". Referring to the opinion poll that I mentioned in an earlier post, she has observed that the people of Quebec are anxious and incensed:

    "People are incensed at the bank's losses, incensed that their government [the government of Quebec] was not informed, as it claims, and incensed that their government took no action to intervene."

    According to the Leger Marketing poll, 77 per cent of Quebeckers want an inquiry to shed light on the "financial disaster" of the Caisse, while the Liberals are cutting no ice with them by desperately repeating that the Parti Quebecois is seeking to "politicize the debate" by demanding explanations from the embattled and distraught provincial finance minister, Monique Jerome-Forget and Mr Charest, who are accused of both negligence and misleading the electorate in the recent Quebec National Assembly elections, as Mrs Jerome-Forget has let it slip in a television interview that she had been informed prior to those elections that the CDPQ had already suffered losses of 18 per cent, which mounted to 25 per cent the following month. At that time there was an election campaign in progress, in the course of which Mr Charest assured the electorate that he knew nothing of any losses at the Caisse. All of this makes for a huge political as well as financial scandal with a constitutional dimension, which the PQ will exploit fully, of course.

    What people in Scotland may care to consider noting in all of this is that here is a bank which was founded by the provincial legislature to perform a particular function for the people of Quebec, something which cannot happen in Scotland under existing constitutional arrangements, although it would arguably be desirable. This is not, of course, to say that there should necessarily be no important role for existing banks in a more self-governing or even independent Scotland.

    The CDPQ's operations are supposed to be subject to constraints imposed upon it by the provincial government through established procedures. The current administration, however, is formed by a branch of the mainly anglophone federalist Liberal Party, whose political approach to these matters it will have to account for to the electorate, who appear, according to the latest opinion-poll findings, to favour the francophone independentist Parti Quebecois' more interventionist approach. Increased support for the PQ may lead to a further Quebec referendum on independence, which will raise issues of a type known to be of interest in Scotland, which, as we are acutely aware, may be going to have such a referendum itself.

    The point is worth making, it seems to me, that the recession has impacted upon politics and constitutional debate and has altered perceptions of the role of government and of the powers that have been devolved in both Quebec and Scotland. The recession is a traumatic event of historic proportions, as events in both territories reveal, but not, apparently, to you.

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  • 101. At 1:04pm on 27 Feb 2009, Chiefy1724 wrote:

    #86, Anglophone

    Nice soundbyte ! "McUKIP".

    Whilst initially tempted to ask you to sally forth and place your cerebral extremities in a container for cooking food filled with dihydrogen oxide (natural isotope) at a temperature of 373.15K, I feel that I must take a contrary viewpoint.

    Scottish Nationalism, at least that part of which I am a member, is not based on " stoking grievances, promoting a sense of victimisation and pointing out the enemy"

    The English are not our enemies. They are literally our Grannies or Grandads, Mothers or Fathers, Aunts or Uncles, Nieces and Nephews. You don't war on your own.

    You can argue with them. You can have different ways of doing things. You can appreciate their thoughts and wants and needs and tell them that they are radically different from yours.

    UKIP IS a grievance party. A hang-over from that part of right-wing toryism that was never happy with Heath taking the UK into Europe. They rely on small concentrated areas of support in the South-West of England where the universally acknowledged perfidies of the CAP have devastated the farming and fishing industries.

    The SNP is a broad church. We have commented many times on this blog about the inevitable breakup of the SNP following a few terms of Independence. There are right and left, pro-and anti-Europe factions to name but a few.

    If we are a grievance party, our grievance is that we are denied the opportunity as a nation to forge our own path. Our greivance is that without Independence, the Scottish people are not served.

    If we "are victimised", what else do you call a large section of the population that do not and have never agreed with the policies of a succession of Westminister Governments ? Malcontents to be surpressed ?

    And anyway, remember that Robert Kilroy-Silk was elected as a UKIP MEP. I don't think that we have anyone that Orange in the SNP :}

    Your big words were nice.

    Your wee soundbyte was awfy good.

    Given your divorcement from reality, Are You Tavish Scott in Disguise ?

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  • 102. At 1:04pm on 27 Feb 2009, bluelaw wrote:

    Neil Small

    Re. Welsh independence. You're parroting the same drivel ScotsNats have had to put up with for years. It's as if no-one in Wales or Scotland pays tax in EngNat eyes. When are people going to ask what England survives on?

    Anglophone

    Why would Scots lose out in the "schism" of a resurgent English nationalism? You say you disdain nationalism and then clearly make an Imperialistic EngNat threat. Tell me, what exactly does Scotland have to fear?

    Good work chiefly and Greenockboy. Keep on them. You treatment of the media is illuminating.

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  • 103. At 1:30pm on 27 Feb 2009, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    Meanwhile.... there seems to be a certain deficit of confidence. In classical Economics 101 this shortage of supply should lead to an increase in price, but how does that jibe with zero interest rates?

    Isn't credit a synonym for belief? If it's in short supply, shouldn't it be expensive?

    Puzzled ed

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  • 104. At 1:45pm on 27 Feb 2009, aye_write wrote:

    #86 Anglophone

    "You seem to be having a go at something that I didn't even write in the first place. That's an old debating trick;-)"

    Anglophone! :-)

    At long last I can prove you wrong ;-)
    An odd debating trick? I needed one, needed some brilliant ammunition, which I don't naturally have do I, to tackle you, so I stole....yours.

    Why do you think my post was so beautifully well written, using words I don't even know?

    It was YOUR POST from last November, I just swapped Scottish for British.

    Fascinatingly, you have argued against your own post, albeit from the other angle(ophone ;-)

    I remember it took me a long time to get you to part with your pro-Union reasoning. But (thank you) you were honest when you did. For motives of greater self-protection in a hostile world, it is for you (selfishly) better. (Backed up by a contradicting distaste for nationalism!) I can actually respect that.
    Whether or not it is the case...

    My point is therefore that your effective British nationalism (I hate the word too) and my effective Scottish nationalism are the same and equally valid choices, a preference.
    As you say:

    "Just read your first paragraph above substituting the word Scottish for British. It sounds like the other side of the same coin."

    Exactly :-)

    "Can you really look me in the eye...alright monitor...and tell me that Scottish Nationalism doesn't rely on this toxic triumvirate to garner support from people who would otherwise be politically disinterested?"

    Yes, I honestly can. I would convince you aswell. It's not nationalism as you perceive it, it's mere identity.

    Their disinterest does not eliminate the subtle effects of not being in the normal state of national self governance. (Forgive my wordy, crappy style.) Because they don't mind doesn't make it OK, doesn't excuse actively seeking to compound their position.

    Would you not feel something if your British (if you prefer, pick any identity...) voting influence, by way of elected representatives, was so in the minority that it was really no influence at all?

    Westminster governs us. Given my identity, I of course look at the Scottish voice. It counts for nothing. What if that were the British voice in for example Holyrood, which counted for nothing. It doesn't matter about the correctness of the analogy, only that there are two identities, one of which has no say when compared to the other.

    How would that make me feel? Would you bother voting? When you did, what would it feel like if your national representatives overwhelmingly voted one way and yet because they were outnumbered, the outcome was the opposite of what they wanted?
    Would you (as interested in I assume news and politics) think that was OK?

    Maybe your not concerned with your own self importance (neither me). Say someone you think a lot of was in that circumstance. Would you think it unfair or OK for them. (e.g. only women can vote, so your mother/sister/wife's vote means nothing.) Can you look me in the monitor now and say you couldn't care?

    You may perhaps tell me you are wholly unconcerned with identity and that I seem obsessed. How can I deny having one? (If I ignore Scotland and look to Britain, am I not to feel, even a bit, British?)

    It's just liking things about yourself. There's nothing scary in it. Like anyone, a significant part of me has ended up the way I am because of where I come from. It's pure luck, but can we not celebrate it. We celebrate the same things in others whom we like highly as it is a part of them. In denial are we not missing out on all that. Life is less?

    You might rightly say people (apart from me - I really do) don't care. And no doubt you're right. I think it's probably a shame.

    But that is not the end of the story.

    The message here is that we are shown to be less important, to have been afforded less status, don't matter, at home and internationally. If we accept our Scottish identity, as 80% of Scots said they do, we must accept this.

    Nationalism, for it is only wanting independence, is just seeking what others have already got and take for granted. It's not the zealous desire for extra power seducing, but only the wish for the same power status as others.

    I don't care about power, power, power. I am only concerned with my (unusual) lack of any. It is not from the reference point that we have equal power and hubristically (your favouraite word? ;-) desire more. It is from the reference point that we have no power and only want the corrective balance of having some like others.

    Otherwise I would not bother to engage in independence arguments. Where is the joy in being informed I am wrong all day. Now, I'm sure you are going to rip me to shreds.

    PS ignore my previous post as I think it's maybe a worse version of this.

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  • 105. At 1:53pm on 27 Feb 2009, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    Pullman via Brownedov

    ""The nation [I think he means the UK but he admits his own confusion] dreams it is a democratic state where the laws were made by freely elected representatives who were answerable to the people. It used to be such a nation once, it dreams, so it must be that nation still. It is a sweet dream.""
    I feel compelled to remind readers that, until quite recently, voting (and thus those "freely elected representatives who were answerable to the people") was restricted to landowning males In Burns' time, there were around 2500 folk eligible to vote in the whole of Scotland...

    Just for perspective.
    Slainte
    ed

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  • 106. At 2:01pm on 27 Feb 2009, SchoolTieColours wrote:

    Anglophone
    I sometimes think you are talking to yourself. What do you stand for?

    Neil Small
    Same for you.

    Cheers
    Have a nice day!

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  • 107. At 2:02pm on 27 Feb 2009, bighullabaloo wrote:

    #99 aye_write

    "It was YOUR POST from last November, I just swapped Scottish for British. Fascinatingly, you have argued against your own post, albeit from the other angle(ophone ;-)

    Ha ha! Good one.

    Really exposes the typical twisting of facts we get from pro-Unionists on here.
    You can even use their own words, switch "Scottish" for "British", and they will rush to argue against themselves.

    Brilliant!

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  • 108. At 2:05pm on 27 Feb 2009, derekthegrumpycleric wrote:

    All I can say is that I wish that RBS would "think" about treating their clients better and make a more focussed effort to pay back the immense loan from tax payers that enables their shambolic company to stumble on.

    Unfortunately, past attempts to regulate the pay, perks and pensions of fat cats have lead nowhere and it has taken the current financial crisis to make more people wake up to obscene "rewards" of senior financial executives. Unfortunately, again, few people frankly gave damn about these pay outs when economy appeared to be trundling along happily.

    We have been told, largely by the Tories, that if the Nabobs' pay was controlled there would be an irreplacable "brain drain" of talent overseas.....

    I think there wouldn't exactly be a huge demand for their "talents"!

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  • 109. At 2:13pm on 27 Feb 2009, newsjock wrote:

    Why was Sir Fred not sacked last year, instead of being allowed to "step down"?

    If you're sacked you've probably been grossly negligent or undertaken unsuitable activity.

    A sacked employee would hardly receive a multi-million golden goodbye.

    However Sir Fred was not sacked, and accepted a very generous package to go. To this he is now legally and fully entitled.

    As usual the politicians are squawking in hindsight, because they did not have the grumption to include the sacking of Sir Fred in their bailout conditions for RBS.

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  • 110. At 2:21pm on 27 Feb 2009, SchoolTieColours wrote:

    I get a wee bit fed up with some people on here that think if some of us support independence we are slightly anti English or bigotted(which i'm not). I dislike some of my fellow countrymen(Scots) as I feel they're the enemy of what I believe in. They use democracy(lack of it) as a tool against their own country. Brown,Murphy,Gray,Scott etc. I cannot believe I was born in the same country as them. We have different ideals but not at the expense of your own country. Why can't we work together to create what's best for all Scots. I also think the English people should have their independence as this would stop all the issues regarding blame, subsidy etc.

    Anglophone and Neil Small
    Can I have your opinions on Kelvin Mackenzie or even Ken Livingstone?

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  • 111. At 2:34pm on 27 Feb 2009, Miss Terri Poster (NOT) wrote:

    Brian's spleen-venting episode ends with:

    "However, sometimes the ventilation of public anger is entirely justified. This is one such case."

    As is the question of how much of a pension - and indeed salary - is currently being squandered (and will in the future be squandered) upon a certain Glenn Campbell.

    Let the public - who are paying for him - see his tax return!!!

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  • 112. At 2:38pm on 27 Feb 2009, sniffthehedgehog wrote:

    Since this saga is becoming ever more surreal - and I am not refering to the lone French-Canadain (frankly_francophone) 'voice of reason' here ... pity we don't pay more attention to the activities of Mr. Harper CanPM, who could teach Flasher Gordon a thing or three.

    My fathers family ran a successful engineering business for over 100 years, and paid HUGE 'super-tax' on 'unearned income' - even after my father retired to Jersey (where he was born). We nolonger have super-tax, which I blame on globalisation (sic) .

    Hence my assertion that Sir Fred Goodwin should be allowed to KEEP his pension, in fact I insist on it; however it should be taxed at a 'super-tax' rate - for 'unearned income' with a small HMRC compliance team assigned to monitor his financial affairs.

    Sir Fred is simply playing an excellent Kim's Game, Gordon Brown PM is plate-spinning like fury, Alastair Darling is taking 'the shell game' to new levels, the banks have all been buying and selling the financial version of 'pigs in a poke', while the public are stuck with 'Groundhog Day' ...

    Paraphrasing Leo Tolstoy I offer a clear vision of our situation ...
    The banks sit upon Britannias back, choking her, and making her carry them everywhere, and yet assure themselves and others that they are SORRY for her and wish to ease her lot by any means possible, except getting off her back.

    Many commentators both here, on Mr. Pestons' column/blogg and many others have expressed a desire to prevent this ever happening again - usually by some fundamental reformation of the banking system (welcomed and yet opposed by the banks), increasing regulation (a variety of mechanisms have FAILED as spectacularly as the banks), others want trials and punishment (horribly expensive, frustratingly time consumming and usually futile unless your a solicitor/Queens Council) ...

    Every new revelation simply demonstrates that, in reality, the whole banking system is too big, too badly damaged and way 'too complex' to 'fix' ... we have a small window of opportunity to dismantle this banking Chernobyl before it reaches 'critical mass' and 'implodes' due our talk-about-everything while 'doing nothing' stratgey.

    Wee Eck doesn't need to wreck the Union, it is easily finishing as it started, a load of bad money, an old war chest full of badly written promises and an assurance of 'Jam tomorrow' (tomorrow being 2010) ... and a raft load of lairds and absentee land owners esconsed in London. While the SLP is rudderless Mr Salmond can afford to continue with his present policies, without even uttering 'ah telt you so'.

    Just like one of those email 'phishing' scams we all scoff at, the govt. has sent off all the our money, our kids money, our grandparents pensions, ... and they are back hammering on the door demanding the house ... declaring we've 'won the international banking lottery'.

    It's a pity we learned nothing from Canadian history, and their citizens experience of the Social-Credit movement, otherwise we'd know what was ahead of us ...

    Those who forget the lessons of the past ... and all that.


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  • 113. At 2:47pm on 27 Feb 2009, Anglophone wrote:

    100 Frankly Incomprehensible

    You really have got me now. I just don't understand your post...must be something about my "cowboy" anglocentric mind. You seem to be trying to make about three points at the same time.

    What I do know is that having actually lived in Canada for a while, around the time of the most recent big constitutional referendum, I don't have boundless respect for Quebec. Canada has tied itself into cultural and legal knots trying to accommodate a vociferous minority who cannot be satisfied by any concession yet don't have the courage of their convictions to actually vote for secession. It has got the nation precisely nowhere. Your comparison with Scotland may be more accurate than you intended.

    So the CDPQ was set up to serve the "provincial" (your words not mine;_)) interests of Quebec? So what? I thought that Scotland was originally well served by banks, many created before the union that, you would think had made the financing of Scottish business and people their priority. Sadly, they were not content with that modest ambition and undertook ever greater expansion into global markets. Many traditional, if dull English banks have been hoovered up by these expansionist monsters who have eventually sucked us down into the deep, deep hole of their own hubris. Something for which English taxpayers will be funding for a generation.

    The kicking and screaming on this page that accompanied the shotgun wedding of HBOS and Lloyds was farcical...as I mentioned earlier in this thread, senior bankers were wheeled out to take a nationalistic line incompatible with their careers as leaders of major British banks to denounce the merger and what...HBOS was a total stinker and could very easily drag Lloyds down with it. Thanks Gordon and Alastair but what about the people who said that the merger was unnecessary or even that HBOS was saving Lloyds (you know who you are!!). Have they no shame at all?

    I'm still looking around for examples of how French business and banking is riding serenely above all this self-inflicted Anglo-Saxon brouhaha. I'm sure you can put me straight at very great length.

    You seem to be putting over the now partially redundant nationalist argument that none of this could of happened in an independent Scotland because....well we're better than that. Lucky for you that only the English can be arrogant;_). Your moniker seems to suggest an affection for the Auld Alliance...perhaps you should have a hard think about this arrangement. I don't think that the French have cozied up to Scots historically out of admiration for your food or culture.

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  • 114. At 2:55pm on 27 Feb 2009, scottishrepublic wrote:

    When o when are the Government going to realise that we all know that Sir Fred was just as greedy as a Westmidden New Labour MP at the trough.......I think its hilarious that a proven thief like Darling is accusing a banker of being greedy...Isnt he the one who is renting his home and claiming expenses....

    Gordon Brown and Tony Blair are the only culpable characters in this mess......As much as they try they wont create another Kelly driven to suicide by these two murderers.....

    When Brown is forced from Government, both he,Tony Blair and every member of the Westmidden Cabinet should be tried for crimes against humanity here under Scottish Law......Why are there nobody demanding he gives up his multi million gifts from rich American Businessmen who made their fortune ripping off the American People, and using the war as a moneymaker......

    After Independence the Scottish BBC should be investigated for proof that they were openly biased against the SNP Political Party, and sought to undermine the Scottish Nation by being no more than a mouthpiece for Westmidden and the Union....

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  • 115. At 3:18pm on 27 Feb 2009, Anglophone wrote:

    102 Bluelaw

    Actually found myself agreeing with on of your earlier posts...I must be getting old.

    I made the point about schism in good faith as, I hope, a non-nationalist (off the rugby field). The truth is that English people by and large don't think about Scotland much. That's not meant to be an insult...it's just not on the radar. The majority of English people will live their lives without ever visiting once. I'm a bit different in that I used to live there, visit often (I'l be at the Edinburgh Festival if anyone wants to have a beer) etc etc, so I take an interest.

    My concern is that if the nationalist bandwagon really gets going next year, Alec's more prozaic supporters start giving vent to their errr...natural prejudices and this starts to make the news in large quantities then you run the risk of wakening mass English public opinion. This would of course have no bearing on the independence vote as the English will have no say. The risk is that politicians will inevitably sense the mood and play to the gallery. Whip up anti-Scottish sentiment, even if its mildly expressed and you have a real problem, both in negotiating an independence settlement (shall just forget the trillion pound bank guarantees?), and in the behaviour of English consumers and businesses.

    I used to work for a large UK software company. It was a standing joke that it was not worth trying to sell products or services North of the Border because the chances of being selected, as an English rep of an English based company, were remote. I argued that this was wrong and prejudicial and spent many agonizing mornings on the red-eye visiting potential customers in Glasgow and Edinburgh. Guess how much I sold....precisely nothing. This wasn't really a problem as we were already serving a much bigger market elsewhere, it just made me look foolish.

    The point that I'm getting to is...what happens if this start process starts to be reciprocated? That's what I mean by "schism hurting the Scots more than the English". It's a pure numbers game...I'm sorry but there are more of us than you. That's not meant to be a threat, I would hate it to happen but I think that it could.

    As my francophone friend would doubtless recognise, I am simply being pragmatique! Though in the English sense of the word this means just being frank rather than the original meaning of surrendering, changing sides, shafting former allies etc etc ;_)

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  • 116. At 3:23pm on 27 Feb 2009, scottishrepublic wrote:

    John Munro MSP has today called for a referendum on Scotlands Independence. He has broken ranks with Tavish Scott and the rest of the Scottish Lib/Dem MSP's......It was always on the cards if one considers the LibDem Constitution.......Check it out on Wikpedia and then ask why they ever felt their core principles do not suit the current crop of wannabees.........A Sample of their documentation retrieved from the information available makes them to be seen as no more than hypocrits......................."The phrase tyranny of the majority, used in discussing systems of democracy and majority rule, is a criticism of the scenario in which decisions made by a majority under that system would place that majority's interests so far above a minority's interest as to be comparable to "tyrannical" despots"

    The Tyranical Desots would be the Three London Controlled Political Parties. We can never beat the population of England and the subsequent amount of Non Scottish MP's........Make no mistake though, Westmidden will never have a single bit of involvement in Scotlands Referendum........Scotland joined the Union, and can leave that disgusting out of date institution called Westmidden anytime it cares to after the Scottish Nation get the chance to voice their opinion. .......Have the Vote and call in the UN to provide observors for all negotiations with the occupying force.....

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  • 117. At 3:44pm on 27 Feb 2009, handclapping wrote:

    Brian

    And of course just to add insult to injury this is the same Myners who reported for the Government in 2001 that pension trustees should know more about what they are doing! Now should he have known to reach for a lawyer or not?

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  • 118. At 3:45pm on 27 Feb 2009, fourstrikes wrote:

    #110 SchoolTieColours

    (liked your explanation of your nick from the other thread!)

    In favour of independence meself so I understand how you feel to an extent. I'd certainly never think that a preference for independence meant automatic antiEnglish feeling though I'm less connected to the ideal of "country" than most of you so our inclination to independence comes from different roots.

    However when it comes to Brown, Grey and their likes the thing which irks me about them is not that they're Scots betraying the nation (nebulous concepts) but that they're politicos who slavishly defend the status quo even when it's all going horribly wrong (ie now). That's what's causing the fault.

    Like Alistair Darling trying to harpoon the FM over our cutbacks not being the same as their cutbacks. Basically what he was saying wasn't "reduce expense accounts, save money" or he'd start with himself. It was "you aren't getting rid of your public sector at the same rate we're sacking ours." Yes, the public sector, that root of all evil. Much better to leave the fate of the nation to bankers instead. They've done such a good job...

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  • 119. At 3:46pm on 27 Feb 2009, Anglophone wrote:

    104 Aye-Write

    You naughty...person...you. You've caught me out by using my own stuff :-)

    Game to you...but I don't see how it changes my views on Nationalism as expressed in November. I still think it's the preserve of the malcontent, the scoundrel and the rabble rouser. It doesn't matter if you use the word Scottish, British or anything else it tends to end up ugly.

    I think that you're mixing up identity and nationalism. So most Scots are proud of their identity. Good, that's great. I have no problems with honestly expressed positive patriotism. I'm proud to be English...and British. I have no problem with this. It's about basic pride in identity and culture. What is unpleasant and insidious are claims to superiority. That's where nationalism (small "n") creeps in...the feeling that what you represent is in all ways better than something else. Mix in a few grievances, real or imagined and the mood changes. There has been quite a lot of this on these threads...usually based around the idea that Scots are in some vague way nicer, more communitarian, less aggressive, more humorous, more generous and...well just about everything, than their thuggish neighbours. These contributors should really have a long hard look at themselves in the mirror.

    I would have more sympathy with the view that Scottish votes don't count or that Scotland has no voice if there weren't quite so many of you at every turn in political, business and media circles. What, besides independence, is it that you want that is not already enshrined in one of the national parties. How is this desire not being heard. Would it be heard any better or differently in Holyrood after independence?

    Perhaps you are articulating the common complaint that none of the main parties represent what you want, therefore there is no point in voting. This is leading to a decline in electoral turnout in many Western democracies. This is a very dangerous path. You either plump for your least worse choice and try to have a say, or you recreate the type of chaotic situation seen in fledgling democracies where there might be upwards of fifty different political parties representing some particular group or viewpoint or other. I don't think this would help anyone.

    Have a nice weekend ;-)

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  • 120. At 3:50pm on 27 Feb 2009, SchoolTieColours wrote:

    Neil Small
    Does the Rep of Ireland have oil? Do you think their citizens would like to become part of the UK again?

    Wakey, wakey!

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  • 121. At 3:55pm on 27 Feb 2009, Anglophone wrote:

    101 Chiefy1724

    Thanks for the kind words. I do think sometimes that well turned sound bite can crystalize the argument.

    Loved the head boiling quip. In the spirit of this new thread and to paraphrase an old Scottish saying.."I must request that retain the main portion of your exhalations as a means of heat exchange to cool your liquid broth meal to a palatable temperature" ;-)

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  • 122. At 3:59pm on 27 Feb 2009, Anglophone wrote:

    107 Bighullaballoo

    Now take a deep breath and read it again.

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  • 123. At 4:01pm on 27 Feb 2009, Anglophone wrote:

    106 Schooltiecolours

    This is a political blog! Why should I suddenly have to start standing for something? Most of our politicians base entire careers on standing for nothing;-)

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  • 124. At 4:06pm on 27 Feb 2009, Anglophone wrote:

    110 Schooltiecolours

    Ahhh, I get it. You want me to compose some upper middle class diatribe about Kelvin Mackenzie and Ken Livingstone so that you can expose me as a crashing snob who has no feelings for the suffering of the common people.

    Are you a new class warrior or a retread from the 70s?

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  • 125. At 4:23pm on 27 Feb 2009, oldnat wrote:

    #113 Anglophone

    A little below your usual high standard I think (I normally like your posts).

    "I don't think that the French have cozied up to Scots historically out of admiration for your food or culture."

    I've posted similarily before on occasions. Regretted it after I pressed the Post button. Regretted it even more when others chastised it for a "cheap shot" - especially when they were right!.

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  • 126. At 4:27pm on 27 Feb 2009, ForteanJo wrote:

    #113 - "The kicking and screaming on this page that accompanied the shotgun wedding of HBOS and Lloyds was farcical...as I mentioned earlier in this thread, senior bankers were wheeled out to take a nationalistic line incompatible with their careers as leaders of major British banks to denounce the merger and what...HBOS was a total stinker and could very easily drag Lloyds down with it. "

    Anglopheobe, hindsight's a great thing, always gives 20/20 vision and can make visionaries out of people. Except, nobody, not Gordie, not Darling, not Lloyds, not HBOS and not even you knew how bad a state HBOS was in. Everybody was operating with the best information available to them. If the true extent of HBOS's problems were known, the merger with Lloyds would probably not have happened but, at the time, it looked like they were getting a great deal so you can hardly blame people for saying so at that time.

    Although, if the true extent of HBOS's problems was (publicly) known, it would have been interesting to see if Gordie & Darling would have pushed ahead with the merger, or attempted some sort of rescue package for HBOS as a stand alone entity.

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  • 127. At 4:38pm on 27 Feb 2009, freedjmac wrote:

    Brian,

    Some rejoinders as this thread progresses.

    I listened, as I always do, to the lovely La Riddoch at lunchtime and one of her guests, a freelance journalist, offered the opinion that behind all this current FredtheShred malarky lay the not so subtle hand of Lord Mandy.

    The penny dropped!!

    For example, just why would the 'weegreyteachermannie' waste his slot at FMQ's yesterday trying to corner the Eckmeister on Sir George Matthewson?? Well, now we know - he was telt!!

    And again, just why is there so much fulmination in the media about FredtheShred's obscene pension?? Pa Broon and his wee Darling passed the buck to the wrong guy who got his due diligence WRONG!!

    Have these media hacks got no understanding of contract law or pension law?? If everyone had listened to this morning's GMS they would have got a bit of elucidation from the redoutable Bill Jamieson of The Scotsman. He so rightly pointed that all Fred's pension details were correctly published in the RBS's Annual Report for 2007 (around maybe April 2008?) where the exact numbers quited today are defined.

    These were contractual numbers agreed before the downfall and, because they are pension entitlements, would be vested in a pension company rather than RBS itself.

    Forget the numbers for a minute, and let every pension member ask themselves the question would they be willing to have their agreed pension arrangements torn up after they left their employment?? I think not!!

    Then, on top of that, why would anyone, especially institutional investors, ever want to invest in Treasury Bills again, if the Government came along and said, 'sorry we were misled along the way and will now only pay you 1% interest instead of 5% and redeem only 50% of the principal value??

    Some people need to get a grip on reality! including Fred, who is 100% right to give the v-sign to the Government, BUT, and he'd be a hero if he did this, should now set up the FredtheShred Charitable Trust and donate at least 50% of his pension to that cause!!

    Then all the fleecing politicians of our time might think twice about their 'housing benefit' deals and all the incredible gains they have made from 'working' the expenses systems!!

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  • 128. At 4:48pm on 27 Feb 2009, Anglophone wrote:

    116 Scottishrepublic

    Thanks for so eloquently proving my point about Alec's "more prozaic supporters" in 115.

    You weren't hoping for a tip though were you?

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  • 129. At 4:50pm on 27 Feb 2009, U13791988 wrote:

    Has Fred ever donated to the labour party?

    TDBs

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  • 130. At 4:57pm on 27 Feb 2009, aye_write wrote:

    Anglophone,

    You are supposed to answer ME first! (tatrums ;-)

    My, you are popular :-)

    I am pleased my post has brought you back ;-)

    That of course was it's alterior motive (hmm, now you'll go?).
    And as others have suggested, wrongly, but it's up to them so not a problem, it was in no way meant to ridicule. (If it did I hadn't thought of that!)
    I just purely wanted your reaction. Thank you, and others, you have obliged. For now I am overdosing on your posts....

    Oh, and as for a beer, what a good idea. My sisters are in Edinburgh and always swanning off to the festival, so it must be my turn.
    Which act are you in.....? ;-)

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  • 131. At 4:57pm on 27 Feb 2009, oldnat wrote:

    #115 Anglophone

    Might take you up on that offer of having a beer!

    It'll be difficult for you to get a sense of it, at the Festival with so many visitors, but I think devolution has brought about a change in attitude in Scotland. I do detect an alteration in mood with much less of the "grievance" that used to dominate Scottish thinking - across the political spectrum.

    A lot of the nasty anti-English stuff that was often heard in the 70s has gone, and a lot of what you do hear now tends to be loose terminology by people who say "England" when they actually mean the power elite in the South East. And yes, we still have our bigots and idiots!

    England appears to be going through a similar phase to what we went through. Much of the anti-Scots stuff is the bad side of grievance politics. Remove the "stranger" (whom it is always easy to blame) from the equation, and peoples are forced to come to terms with their own failings.

    So yes, in the short term (while we are in the UK Union), we are likely to see Tory politicians taking stances to placate English grievance. The obvious one, which can be implemented immediately after the next GE, is to remove the West Lothian Question.

    But you yourself fall into the grievance policy trap - "shall just forget the trillion pound bank guarantees?".

    The reality, as you well know, is that these were multi-national banks headquartered in Scotland, and the public debt and assets should be appropriately divided at independence. The "English taxpayer paying for Scotland" argument is hardly an accurate picture - but it plays well at a time when one of the most disliked Governments in UK history is run by Brown and Darling.

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  • 132. At 4:58pm on 27 Feb 2009, Anglophone wrote:

    116 Scottishrepublic

    Bring it on...so you get an aye vote by whatever is the necessary majority. You then demand that the UN intervene to negotiate with who exactly? Would that be the UK? The security council member with veto rights. Plain dumb!

    As far as negotiations are concerned you would probably be playing into the hands of English nationalists who would be able to hard ball with NU negotiators rather than wasting money on goodwill gestures in face to face negotiations where sentiment might play a part.

    Let's try to be sensible now.

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  • 133. At 5:30pm on 27 Feb 2009, oldnat wrote:

    #119 Anglophone

    "What is unpleasant and insidious are claims to superiority. That's where nationalism (small "n") creeps in...the feeling that what you represent is in all ways better than something else"

    I think few here would disagree with that.

    In different countries, different types of nationalism develop (as they do with any other kind of "ism" relating to politics), but if you take away the other dimensions (anarchy v totalitarianism) then it comes to those forms which want to exert their superiority over others, and those who want to be treated as equals.

    Fortunately, small countries tend not to have dreams of world domination (excluding the embarassment of Ally's Army that is!), because it would just be silly.

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  • 134. At 5:31pm on 27 Feb 2009, ForteanJo wrote:

    119 - "I would have more sympathy with the view that Scottish votes don't count or that Scotland has no voice if there weren't quite so many of you at every turn in political, business and media circles. "

    Except, it's it arguable that you are simply noticing someone's nationality when they are Scots simply because there is still something 'novel' about a high-profile Scot. After all, an English person in a similar role is simply par for the course, nothing of note.

    At the end of the day, when you break your assertion down, it doesn't hold much water and is more to do with latent phobias against the non-English than with any reflection of reality.

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  • 135. At 6:00pm on 27 Feb 2009, SchoolTieColours wrote:

    4strikes
    What gets me is Broon/Darling bailing out private banks with borrowed money. Scotland is a country for goodness sake and should at least have borrowing powers until things change. It's ok to use money for private companies but not for our country and moreso it's people.

    Did you guess the colours and if so please give an eloquent description?

    Anglophone
    What do you stand for? Is it the staus quo, indy England or whatever. What do you think I meant? Your entitled to vote/support whoever you want and I would respect that but you've not really clarified your intentions. I would like to respond to certain areas of your threads but they're a trifle long and not particularly informative, sorry.

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  • 136. At 6:01pm on 27 Feb 2009, Barbazenzero wrote:

    #94 fourstrikes
    "Imagine addressing Mandy that way if you want a laugh. I reckon he'd look as if you just spat in his soup."

    Or poured soup on his spats, perhaps?

    I'm a lefty Liberal - not a socialist and I found the old Labour party, and their righties who formed the SDP and now control the LimDems, much too centralising for my tastes. OTOH, the lack of a mainstream party in their place and right-wing, authoritarian NuLab pretending to, is clearly a situation which must be replaced, sooner or later.

    Post or reactive moderation for all except CBeebies, please!

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  • 137. At 6:08pm on 27 Feb 2009, Tom wrote:

    Anglophone:

    "I don't think that the French have cozied up to Scots historically out of admiration for your food or culture."

    Scotland and France had special trading relations.

    Scotland's elite were given the opportunity to buy the best wine of France before England and other neighbours were allowed too.

    I am sure whisky was then offered to France in return but I could be wrong.

    It's only from an English point of view that France cozied up to Scotland because they were the lesser of two evils.

    But then again, England was never always Scotland's cup of tea, can you blame us?

    At least I have shared with you some knowledge. Trades were done between Scotland and France. Special deals so each country could get the best of both worlds.

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  • 138. At 6:19pm on 27 Feb 2009, SchoolTieColours wrote:

    Anglophone dear fellow
    I wish you well you are decent fellow. Class is irrelevent to me. Humanity,humility is best just ask your new pal aye_write who's also a decent dear mummy. I'm afraid Kelvin is as bad as some rabid Maggie loony rightwinger which are hidden in the depths of the Tory party. I dislike more fellow Scots but not for their views but for what they are doing to my country. Regardless of which political hue we should be working for what's best for us all. Fed up with Gray/Scott. They are a couple of first class fools and as for the media we have Glen Campbell and Bernie Ponsonby et al plus our informative press!

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  • 139. At 6:23pm on 27 Feb 2009, Barbazenzero wrote:

    #105 Ed Iglehart

    Too true, which is precisely why I think a C21 version of Arbroath is appropriate. My reference to Pullman's article was not meant to signify my agreement with every word he wrote, though many of them were quite true, especially about the encroachment of the NuLab government on what many thought were their fundamental freedoms.

    It seems that even the Thunderer has now taken "frit" and pulled the article. It still pops up as only hit if you paste "Malevolent voices that despise our freedoms" into the search field at http://www.timesonline.co.uk/ but clicking on it now gives an Error 404. Google also gives a number of hits on the same search string, but the Times one is the 404 one, and unfortunately the article wasn't available for long enough to get cached.

    So much for our freedoms, I suppose.

    Post or reactive moderation for all except CBeebies, please!

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  • 140. At 6:32pm on 27 Feb 2009, Barbazenzero wrote:

    Mod que already 90 mins again and apparently rising so no point waiting.

    Will pop back later. TTFN

    Post or reactive moderation for all except CBeebies, please!

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  • 141. At 6:53pm on 27 Feb 2009, Tom wrote:

    Anglophone:

    "You then demand that the UN intervene to negotiate with who exactly? Would that be the UK? The security council member with veto rights. Plain dumb!

    As far as negotiations are concerned you would probably be playing into the hands of English nationalists who would be able to hard ball with NU negotiators rather than wasting money on goodwill gestures in face to face negotiations where sentiment might play a part.

    Let's try to be sensible now."

    A sensible person would look at the wider picture. Scotland leaving England would be international news, and Britain was never popular, were we?

    England would have to be quick on her feet, you'll have to protect that security council position, possibly your amount of representatives at the EU Parliament and quickly fill in the gaps that Scotland has taken, including military-wise.

    Politically England would be damaged by following your steps.

    You should be looking to minimise the fuss and bother and lie low personally.

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  • 142. At 7:01pm on 27 Feb 2009, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    "119 - "I would have more sympathy with the view that Scottish votes don't count or that Scotland has no voice if there weren't quite so many of you at every turn in political, business and media circles. ""
    Now I don't think it has much to do with votes, but that reminds me of similar observations regarding another "ethnic group", or rather several of them. Perhaps it's due to sharing similar (old-fashioned?)"family values", like valuing education, thrift, hard work, and with possibly even a wee bit of judicious nepotism thrown in...?

    Salaam/Shalom/Shanthi/Peace
    ed

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  • 143. At 7:17pm on 27 Feb 2009, ScotInNotts wrote:

    Anglophone

    "You then demand that the UN intervene to negotiate with who exactly? Would that be the UK? The security council member with veto rights. Plain dumb!"

    Whilst I too disagree with the most of the language used by #116 scottishrepublic, in particular the phrase "occupying force" (?!?!), some form of mediation would be required, either by the EU (probably not a good move regarding that institutions current perception within England) or the UN.

    Just a small point and hypothetical in the extreme, but the UN would be negotiating with England, Wales and Northern Ireland. The UK as an international body would cease to exist and therefore couldn't be negotiated with, nor perhaps would you still have a permanent security council seat or even a veto.

    You may possibly have to reapply to join, as would Scotland, the UN, NATO and the EU if membership of these institutions was indeed desired?

    Something to think about though..................

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  • 144. At 7:47pm on 27 Feb 2009, fourstrikes wrote:

    #136 Brownedov

    Soup on his spats would be more to my taste. My original post was more graphic than that but I wasn't sure if Mods wd approve ;)

    I know you don't share my political persuasion but I took the opportunity of replying to your post to go on a wee rant - sorry! I think even people who don't share my views would agree with you that a multiplicity of views is better. You can't slide a cigarette paper between Tory and Labour on a UK wide scale sometimes and when you can the Tories appear to their left. Scary business.

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  • 145. At 7:52pm on 27 Feb 2009, fourstrikes wrote:

    #135 STC,

    I gave long thought to your colours and brooded on school ties of my acquaintance. Black and red was out as I suspect you are no anarchosyndicalist. Green, possibly or possibly not (colours was plural though.) Discounted all ties with white in them.

    I came to the conclusion it may have been yellow and black. Was I right? ;)

    As for using money to bail banks out, I agree 100 percent Scotland should have borrowing powers and don't quite see why we don't already. However the simplest solution of all is to go for the Big One (independence) and work from there.

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  • 146. At 7:52pm on 27 Feb 2009, ScotInNotts wrote:

    #70 Brownedov

    Re Welsh parliament and Labour supporters, you should take a look at grandantidote's post #1490 at the end of NR's 'Language of the Downturn' thread, I can only believe in response to my posting of the same link regarding the opinion poll.

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  • 147. At 8:05pm on 27 Feb 2009, inmykip wrote:

    Please can we have your pension back.....Aye Right Said Fred

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  • 148. At 8:11pm on 27 Feb 2009, Dave McEwan Hill wrote:

    #133

    A common trick of the anti-nationalist brigade is to deliberately confuse innocent nationalism with aggressive imperialism. I had this converasation with an ex soldier last night who insisted he could not vote SNP "because nationalism started wars". He was Labour, of course, and evidently with an irony by-pass.
    I told him that his argument was similar to suggesting that having household possessions caused burglary but that flew over his head.

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  • 149. At 8:35pm on 27 Feb 2009, Barbazenzero wrote:

    #144 fourstrikes

    "I think even people who don't share my views would agree with you that a multiplicity of views is better."
    I certainly hope you're right - I do think that the significantly more democratic system in Scotland allows that to flourish in a way impossible in England.

    "You can't slide a cigarette paper between Tory and Labour on a UK wide scale sometimes and when you can the Tories appear to their left."
    Agreed, and the really worrying result of that is the apparent rise in England of the BNP. The really sad result of the Westmidden plurality system is that although it sets high hurdles to prevent new parties emerging, when they do the effect is like a dam bursting. In the first half of C20 it allowed the Labour party to replace the Liberal party. In C21 it could be that NuLab is replaced by the BNP. Only if/when that happens will it be self-evident that giving them fair representation and a platform for their odious views would have been a very small price for society to have paid.

    A "Scary business" indeed.

    Post or reactive moderation for all except CBeebies, please!

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  • 150. At 9:01pm on 27 Feb 2009, aye_write wrote:

    #119. Anglophone

    "104 Aye-Write
    You naughty...person...you. You've caught me out by using my own stuff :-)"

    Yes! It was good "stuff" (I'm jealous ;-)
    How many people have you accepted have outwitted you on this blog? I am awarding myself a medal.

    And now for my next trick. I am going to convince you on independence :-)

    If I do, you buy me a beer. If I don't, I buy you one.....What's that? You have a life? Like me, you have at least one young son so by definition you don't have a life! This all OK with you so far :-)

    Make yourself some kind of snack and light refreshment....

    The trouble with your argument against independence unfortunately is that you are nice, but worse, you are reasonable. This can be terribly unusual with "anti-independence-ers". ("Unionists" offends Anaxim).

    But you are nearly there!

    "I don't see how it changes my views on Nationalism as expressed in November. I still think it's the preserve of the malcontent, the scoundrel and the rabble rouser. It doesn't matter if you use the word Scottish, British or anything else it tends to end up ugly."

    As oldnat says these views of nationalism are very corny now and out of date. As you say you have been out of Scotland for a while, so you are of course forgiven!

    You will see from my correct (2nd) post, that you, not me, are confusing nationalism with national identity, in my...

    "It's not nationalism as you perceive it, it's mere identity."

    You:
    "So most Scots are proud of their identity. Good, that's great. I have no problems with honestly expressed positive patriotism. I'm proud to be English...and British. I have no problem with this. It's about basic pride in identity and culture."

    Good, keep wearing those Union Flag boxers, Anglophone ;-)

    "What is unpleasant and insidious are claims to superiority"

    Perhaps I wasn't clear when I said, "It's not the zealous desire for extra power". I ought to also have pointed out neither is it the belief in some sort of superiority.

    It's not to assume we are of normal status and the seeking of superior status. It is the recognition that we have a lesser status and the wish for ordinary status, as taken for granted by other independent states.

    I have no delusions of superiority - I realise my comparative uselessness to you in the ability to debate for example. I wish I was as good but I am realistic and accept that I'm not and never likely will be, whereas you have that talent.

    And so it is not about superiority.

    I repeat:
    It is not to assume that we have equal power and we conceitedly desire more. It is to realise that we have little power and only want the corrective balance of having some, as like others.

    And so it is not about power.

    "That's where nationalism (small "n") creeps in...the feeling that what you represent is in all ways better than something else."

    Well, I'M certainly not that stupid, and I think it stupid to assume advocates of Scottish independence inherently suffer from the great levels of delusion that to do so would command.
    We Scots would have told them to wise up way before you English would get the chance.

    But there are always some numpties.

    "Mix in a few grievances, real or imagined and the mood changes. There has been quite a lot of this on these threads...usually based around the idea that Scots are in some vague way nicer, more communitarian, less aggressive, more humorous, more generous and...well just about everything, than their thuggish neighbours. These contributors should really have a long hard look at themselves in the mirror."

    If those things were said, and they weren't said in jest, then perhaps were they said in the context of not "better" but "different"? And pointed out as merely opinion? If not, then you have my wholehearted agreement.
    Independence supporters don't want sweeping statement spinners to ruin their, and so all Scots, credibility!
    So, I apologise.

    "I would have more sympathy with the view that Scottish votes don't count or that Scotland has no voice if there weren't quite so many of you at every turn in political, business and media circles."

    Anglophone, I see where you are coming from, but you mistake the influence these people and the reality of self governance. The two are very much not the same.

    You don't want to echo, if you don't mind my saying so, the Imperial English view (xenophobic as was, but I won't tar you with that brush) that a "Flight of Scotchmen" have descended upon the Empire/England and, in it for themselves, have with bare-faced greed, sought to better themselves and climb the greasy pole in England for the acquisition of power and influence. (I incorporated the last bit!).

    Scots in these positions don't represent the political will as representative of Scots as a nation do they, as elected representatives in the parliaments of other independent nations. I'm repetitive, but please don't let that sour my point. In that sense they are not a substitute for that system. They are not in government, don't bring forward bills for legislation etc. etc.

    Neither did they arrive where they are through the parliamentary election process, which is at least a fairly more open scrutinous process.

    Except for Westminster MPs. Although elected in Scottish seats, they work for the Union as a whole, not Scotland, so therefore where there is a conflict of interests between those two, Scotland is not, cannot be represented.

    You understand my point that
    where 87% of MPs are not from Scottish seats, the balance of power overwhelmingly does not lie with Scotland. Rather it's quite the opposite.

    It's not to do with a fair proportion of MPs coming from Scotland, but that they are so easily outnumbered, as representatives of a nation, as to make their voice meaningless.

    It is that simple flaw, and really nothing else, that is the reason why I, from age 5 (in 1979), have understood that this situation leaves Scotland with a major representational deficit, and that the Union is therefore biased heavily in against the wishes of the Scottish nation i.e. me (no grudge borne).

    For it not to be you have to ignore Scotland as a nation. And you have already said you support that feeling of national identity and welcome it.
    So, you see my problem.

    "What, besides independence, is it that you want that is not already enshrined in one of the national parties."

    That is an odd question but I really appreciate your honest curiosity in bothering to ask. It is not about any ideals enshrined in any of the political parties. It is about, were these to be enacted, the system in which that would occur, as described above, and its unsuitability in Scotland, as I explained.

    It is with independence that Scots can debate then enact issues, in a way that represents and caters for Scotland. (I don't see Utopia, just improvement.)

    "How is this desire not being heard."

    What Scotland wants cannot be heard in the Westminster system.
    (Holyrood is better, but has too many embarrassing limitations.)

    "Would it be heard any better or differently in Holyrood after independence?"

    Yes. As in Holyrood now, it would be representative of the consensus of opinion of Scots. But Scotland would have something other European countries take for granted - sovereign status, their own international voice. Imagine if your country were denied that.

    So you see it is not the merits of power in the EU, or the projected strength of the economy, the size of the influence of the international voice, or any other issue that independent nations deal with all the time. It is the restoration of our nation to sovereign, to the normalcy of self governance.

    Anything else is a botched job, for Scotland. The Union in 1707, as I'm sure you know, was cobbled together to stave off a threat to England from a Scottish alliance with France, and Scots agreed to it because of pressing financial difficulty through long term border warfare, famine in the 1690s and the (yes, I'm going to mention it, just for you!) failed/sabotaged Darien Scheme (stop laughing).

    That they negotiated the retention of our legal, educational and most important for national identity arguably, until more recently (owing to its looming influence on administering law and other day to day areas of life), religious systems, indicates that the Union was not meant to signify the end of sovereign Scotland, but on the contrary, was meant to be only temporary.

    You may disagree with my last point. You may not have the will left after reading this "ramble on" to care.
    It's a mere aside, so it doesn't matter.

    I am sure you will focus on the practical administration and its benefits or otherwise for independence versus the status quo.
    I'd say that's a red herring as it ignores the basis of the anomaly. And it cannot but help but argue that self governance can be traded away for some conceivable tangible benefits. It's not just ours to trade Anglophone. It would feel like selling our rights and freedoms as set out in the Declaration of Arbroath.

    You may find me sentimental, but most things precious and dear to us are treated in exactly this way, are they not?

    Thank you.

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  • 151. At 9:02pm on 27 Feb 2009, frankly_francophone wrote:

    #113 Anglophone

    Good evening. The "voice of reason" here (#112, sniffthehedgehog). Frankly Incomprehensible I may be to you, but my dog likes me. So there.

    My dear anglo-chap, forgive me for not replying to your post in full. I am afraid that it simply contains too many wild misrepresentations, unsupported sweeping statements and irrationally jumped-to conclusions for me to be able to face on a Friday evening. In any case, oldnat says it is below your usual standard, and that is good enough for me. No offence intended and none taken, I am sure.

    One point, though. What is comprehensible about "could of happened" in your last paragraph? On reflection, do not answer that, as I am accustomed to making allowances for that kind of thing, which is all too common in England nowadays. As a matter of passing interest, I may say that, in all honesty, without seeking to mock the afflicted, how that sort of mistake can be made will for ever remain a mystery to me, I fear. Frankly incomprehensible.

    Yours floridly but truly,

    your francophone friend.


    #125 oldnat

    As far as I am aware, the French "cozied up" to the Scots - in the 16th century, at least - because, among other reasons, not including the cuisine, admittedly, they noticed that it would be strategically in their interests to do so. By this I mean, principally, I think, that it was calculated that a force of 30,000 armed men introduced into Scotland, on the basis of an alliance, would have no difficulty in crossing the border and "pulverizing" England. I derive this intelligence from Etienne Perlin's Description of the Kingdoms of England and Scotland (1558), with which, as an historian, you are probably familiar.

    Why anyone would want to pulverize England is beyond me, however. Any ideas? Can the English really be that annoying? Surely not!

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  • 152. At 9:05pm on 27 Feb 2009, Tom wrote:

    Brownedov:

    Have you been a member of the BNP?

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  • 153. At 9:14pm on 27 Feb 2009, SchoolTieColours wrote:

    4strikes
    ;)
    I couldn't be green as it is polar opposite of my teams colours and I don't mean the Glesga mob!

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  • 154. At 9:19pm on 27 Feb 2009, fourstrikes wrote:

    #149 Brownedov

    A very pertinent post. This is a major problem.

    The BNP activities are very worrying right now. They're spreading their activities into Scotland and that should be a concern for every decent person here who wants a multicultural inclusive Scotland and not a 19th Century fantasy.

    I will fight the fash to my last breath and it horrifies me that some English workers are being taken in by their lies. But Labour acknowledges their "power" and that's grist to their mill. They need to be vigorously opposed where ever they show their faces and Labour are doing nothing to stand in their way except the odd press release.




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  • 155. At 9:43pm on 27 Feb 2009, oldnat wrote:

    152 Thomas_Porter

    Why on earth would Brownedov need an account with BNP Paribas, with all those excellent Swiss banks around?

    And what business is it of yours who he has banked with?

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  • 156. At 9:55pm on 27 Feb 2009, oldnat wrote:

    #154 fourstrikes

    While we will disagree on many aspects of politics - I'm on the line with you on this one brother! (and that's not said ironically)

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  • 157. At 9:56pm on 27 Feb 2009, fourstrikes wrote:

    #152 STC

    I get where you're coming from now ;)

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  • 158. At 9:57pm on 27 Feb 2009, aye_write wrote:

    #107 bighullabaloo

    "Ha ha! Good one.
    Brilliant!"

    Re Anglophone

    Thank you.
    I really admire Anglophone. But I want him to see through his argument. He's entitled to his views of course. He feels the Union serves him better. It probably does! But at the expense of my equally legitimate wants. There's the problem.

    But he should also be able to accept my opinion without the associated doom and gloom scenario - it's only backing up a "worse case than the present" scenario to legitimise his view that the present as better, I think :-)

    Arguing his brain with mine is a rare opportunity though. I hope he doesn't get too bored.

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  • 159. At 10:06pm on 27 Feb 2009, SchoolTieColours wrote:

    4stirkes
    I hope so or i'll have to explain. I'm like you I want an inclusive Scotland with varied colours.

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  • 160. At 10:10pm on 27 Feb 2009, fourstrikes wrote:

    #156 oldnat

    You're right, we will disagree on many things but I knew from your posts here you would never favour fash! No Scot who believes we're a' Jock Tamson's bairns would ever fall for the lies of the BNP, and you're far too smart to do so anyway.

    What worries me is that I know they're trying to expand into Scotland, which has historically been resistant...

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  • 161. At 10:14pm on 27 Feb 2009, SchoolTieColours wrote:

    159
    I mean 'strikes' lol. I've had a wee wine and a wee cider.

    Is there anybody alive out there?

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  • 162. At 10:20pm on 27 Feb 2009, Tom wrote:

    OldNat:

    #155.

    I meant political party-wise, and you know I meant that too ;-)

    The problem with democracy is that the party that you do not like may eventually become Government.

    Brownedov highlighted the worrying BNP situation, considering the BNP are a legal organisation then what is wrong with the political advancements?

    I understand that the BNP are not everyones favourite, I am not defending them either, but I accept that people have the right to vote and support the party of their choice.

    People will vote BNP, and the BNP may win elections, but we canvnot turn our back on the BNP and cast them aside as some sort of outsiders.

    I've always seen the BNP scraping along the racism mark, and recently they have begun to tone down and many more average members of society have became members.

    We'll all agree that these members are not going to be "skin heads". But if we all continue to see the BNP as some type of threat, a disgusting organisation that encourages racism, then will we not risk hardening the views of the non-racists and potentially encourage many more under the BNP because it'll end up being a situation where members see it as, BNP and me against the world.

    I am young, but I still see the stigma from being a member of the SNP creates. Being a member and I am suddenly anti-English or even anti-British.

    I don't want to allow the BNP members to have that type of stigma, and I do believe over time if we allow party politics to continue then eventually the BNP will be a new party, supported by many of the newer members who have the power to change BNP policy.

    But create some type of stigma, then these oridinary folks may never wish to change BNP policy in face of a hostile world of politics.


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  • 163. At 10:23pm on 27 Feb 2009, SchoolTieColours wrote:

    Oldnat and 4s
    BNP have no chance of survival in Scotland. Their only breeding ground would be a certain football team and neds or am I wrong?

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  • 164. At 10:26pm on 27 Feb 2009, oldnat wrote:

    #161 SchoolTieColours

    Thanks for the clarification. I couldn't really see our Socialist friend as an Ayrshire farmer taking 4 stirks to the mart!

    (but on this blog, you never know!)

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  • 165. At 10:27pm on 27 Feb 2009, greenockboy wrote:

    The Scotsman are at the moment printing a few insipid anti SNP articles. So bad that they aren't really worth bothering about.

    However, there is an interesting little piece about Lloyd's banning them from their financial results announcement.

    I read the piece with a bit of a smirk until I read the following from Dan Macdonald, chief executive of Scots property company Macdonald Estates.

    Desperate Dan reportedly said:
    "We're not talking about some left wing, lunatic newspaper. We're talking about The Scotsman, the main newspaper in Scotland."

    It's hilarious, truly hilarious.

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  • 166. At 10:32pm on 27 Feb 2009, Barbazenzero wrote:

    #146 ScotInNotts
    "Re Welsh parliament and Labour supporters"

    Having sparred with grandantidote before, and read his #1490 on NR's "Language of the downturn" thread, I fully accept that he's one of the 39% who would vote against. But I believe he's increasingly less representative of Wales as a whole. The fact that he has admitted [and also regretted] voting for Thatcher's Tories as well as NuLab is at least different. I have two families of cousins in Wales. One, in mid-Wales farming country are entirely anglophone and "apolitical" Liberals who nowadays vote LibDem as a matter of course. The other, in the South near Bridgend were traditional Labour until the closures at the end of the '70s, when they switched To Plaid Cymru and have sent their children to Welsh-speaking schools in a previously anglophone area.

    I'm doubtless too close to my Welsh relations to have a genuinely independent opinion, but from visits I believe they're closer to the current norm than grandantidote, who seems only to post on the NR threads and not on the Betsan Powys ones.

    But there I go, displaying my soggy Liberal roots again - I'd be much happier if the Welsh had a vote on it and decided for themselves, even if they vote for the status quo or, worse, for a return to direct rule. To me, a democratic outcome is the right one, even if it's one I disagree with. That is a concept grandantidote was unable to understand when I debated with him the ratting of NuLab and the LibDems over their referendum promises. He seemed to think I should be happy that the outcome was the one I would have voted for, given the chance - an especially NuLab view, I felt.

    Post or reactive moderation for all except CBeebies, please!

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  • 167. At 10:38pm on 27 Feb 2009, oldnat wrote:

    #162 Thomas_Porter

    Sorry. I'm in a wicked mood tonight!

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  • 168. At 10:40pm on 27 Feb 2009, SchoolTieColours wrote:

    Oldnat
    Our 4s chap is a good fellow and very reasonable. He's the intellectual side of socialism, maybe!


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  • 169. At 10:44pm on 27 Feb 2009, greenockboy wrote:

    The net closes in on Global Gordon
    Blame shifts to Brown's City minister in RBS uproar

    Yet more bad news for Global
    Speaker Michael Martin took wife on taxpayer-funded trips to Hawaii and Bahamas

    Meanwhile Brian Wilson continues with Iain Gray’s utterly shameless attempt at trying to use the Fred Goodwin debacle to attack the SNP. The contortions he pulls are indicative of the hollowness of his words, Labour are indeed in big trouble.
    Click here

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  • 170. At 10:45pm on 27 Feb 2009, GrassyKnollington wrote:

    150 Aye Write , I thought that was a very well written and thoughtful post but I fear you're wasting your time with your Anglophone friend.

    When he wrote this,
    "You then demand that the UN intervene to negotiate with who exactly? Would that be the UK? The security council member with veto rights. Plain dumb!"

    I realised that he viewed Scotland becoming independent, not as a partner in the union choosing to leave but took the view shared by many in England that a province was breaking away leaving the UK intact.

    It's not an uncommon view in England and more intriguingly he stated further up the thread "The truth is that English people by and large don't think about Scotland much. That's not meant to be an insult...it's just not on the radar. "

    I think this is indeed the truth although a lot of them despite how disinterested they are in Scotland and Scots seem to be very hostile to the idea of Scottish independence.

    Again ,I think it's because for many, Scotland is viewed as a province of a Greater England.

    I make an exception of course for English Nationalists who actually want independence from Scotland.

    They are a very small number though and many more people in England want Federalism or an English Parliament but are very firm unionists.

    The only possible reason to be hostile to Scottish independence whilst professing to being totally indifferent to Scots and Scotland is the fear of a loss of what such people regard as essentially their landmass and resources.

    For a great many people in England Scotland won't become "real" until the independence referundum.



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  • 171. At 10:45pm on 27 Feb 2009, SchoolTieColours wrote:

    Brownedov
    Sometimes your old Lib thoughts need to be purged. We need you on the other side of your split personality. Oldnat would agree. ;)

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  • 172. At 10:48pm on 27 Feb 2009, Barbazenzero wrote:

    #152 Thomas_Porter

    In the immortal words of the great American mathematician, Tom Lehrer: I am not now and have never been... a member of the Boy Scouts of America, er, sorry, the BNP.

    However, much as I despise their policies, so long as they remain with the law I will defend their right to espouse them to the best of my ability.

    Post or reactive moderation for all except CBeebies, please!

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  • 173. At 11:08pm on 27 Feb 2009, oldnat wrote:

    #172 Brownedov

    I'd just like the law to be a little more thoroughly prosecuted in their case.

    I hope that the security services are giving as close attention to them, as the SNP got in the 1970s.

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  • 174. At 11:09pm on 27 Feb 2009, Barbazenzero wrote:

    #154 fourstrikes

    Fair point, but the danger is less in Scotland than in England, I believe. Obviously it's a concern for all so long as the UK polity festers in its smug complacency, but even an independent Scotland would have to be concerned if an England unprepared for its own independence resulted in the far right gaining power there.

    Before NuLab, I would have thought it impossible. Now I still think it improbable but the possibility should not be ignored.

    Post or reactive moderation for all except CBeebies, please!

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  • 175. At 11:11pm on 27 Feb 2009, Anglophone wrote:

    158 Aye-Write

    Once again I appreciate your comments but I recall when I was young(er) admiring the sagacity of a (much) older associate. He laughed and simply said that exposure to Oxford in 60s had taught him that he was a "third-rate intellect". He completely destroyed me so I must rank among the 4th or 5th raters.

    I don't suppose that we will ever convince one another on the independence issue and I hate repeating myself. I would have replied earlier but I ended up dancing with my children to James Brown and eating birthday cake by candlelight. It tends to put all this sound and fury into perspective.

    PS: Thomas Porter...you're very young so I'll let you off, but a surprising fact that I have learned following 20 years on the road is that Britain is quite well-liked about the world. There are always issues...Iraq being a rather unfortunate one at the moment, but I have always been treated with friendliness and respect wherever I have gone...even by tribal gunmen in Pakistan. It's paradoxical that the most anti-British people that I have ever met have been its own citizens but as I've mentioned before...the juiciest apple is always the one that contains a few maggots!

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  • 176. At 11:16pm on 27 Feb 2009, Anglophone wrote:

    170 GrassyKnollington

    You're putting words into my mouth again. I try to gently state some facts and you're twisting away...no doubt like you did last summer and the one before.

    I responded to the words of ScottishRepublic in the way that I did because they were worse than crass and if you can't see that well.....

    Yours truly

    BookDepositoryMan

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  • 177. At 11:18pm on 27 Feb 2009, Barbazenzero wrote:

    #155 oldnat
    "Why on earth would Brownedov need an account with BNP Paribas, with all those excellent Swiss banks around?"

    Thanks for injecting some levity in a sub-plot that seems to being heading way off-topic. FWIW, my local earnings go into UBS - also bailed out by the government [the Swiss one in this case] - with any savings finding their way into the UK's largest remaining mutual - which has [touch wood] to date needed no bail out.

    Post or reactive moderation for all except CBeebies, please!

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  • 178. At 11:39pm on 27 Feb 2009, enneffess wrote:

    116. At 3:23pm on 27 Feb 2009, scottishrepublic:


    You are one of the very people who are giving the SNP problems.

    Occupying force?

    Get real.

    Your argument is that Scotland should just go go independent like that. There is no problem, everything will be fine. The UN will protect our interests.

    That is the sort of argument that makes a lot of voters ignore the SNP.

    The UN? The UN has difficulty managing its own affairs. Whatever gives you the impression that the UN will need to send in troops? Is England going to invade?

    If you want to drum up support, then use solid arguments and above all be realistic.

    While support for the SNP and independence is growing, it is partly due to the unpopularity of Labour. We do not have hordes of demonstrators on the streets demanding independence. (well, not yet anyway).

    ---------------

    On the subject of the BNP, they are gaining a lot of support in certain areas in England. People who would not normally give them the time of day are seriously considering voting for them. I suppose a fair comparison could be the Scottish Socialists first election into the Scottish Parliament. I think there is a fair chance of a BNP MP being elected.


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  • 179. At 11:42pm on 27 Feb 2009, Barbazenzero wrote:

    #162 Thomas_Porter
    "People will vote BNP, and the BNP may win elections, but we cannot turn our back on the BNP and cast them aside as some sort of outsiders."

    Exactly so, but it's precisely the Westmidden plurality system beloved of Tories and [after '97] NuLab which makes them so dangerous.

    If a party can be represented and given a platform with a reasonable share of the vote, it will be listened to by the electorate but, crucially, any extremist views it holds will be in the public domain and subject to counter-argument by responsible opponents.

    In the Westmidden system, their views are effectively ignored until they make a "breakthrough", when they are invited into the club and the system moves almost imperceptibly in their favour.

    Elect one or two BNP list members to Holyrood and even Gray and Scott would manage to ridicule their positions, let alone Salmond and Goldie.

    At Westmidden it's much more all or nothing: A share of the vote that would get two list members at Holyrood could mean zero MPs [and growing resentment] or a bloc of 20 [and membership of the "club"]. That might be enough to put them into power - after all in 2005 NuLab got the votes of less than a quarter of the electorate.

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  • 180. At 11:43pm on 27 Feb 2009, oldnat wrote:

    #175 Anglophone

    "It's paradoxical that the most anti-British people that I have ever met have been its own citizens"

    I don't see that as a paradox. A large proportion of the world are ex-British citizens (cancel that last word). Why would they see "you" as a problem, when "you" no longer control their affairs, and they are independent nations? (except for the large parts of the world like Africa, Kashmir, the Middle East, Afghanistan/Pakistan etc) where the states are artificial constructs of the British and other Empires done in their own interests, and not of their peoples, and we'll have to deal with the mess of that for a very long time.)

    (Wasn't that a long parenthesis)

    Meantime, it's only the earliest acquisitions for the Empire left.

    What on earth did you expect?

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  • 181. At 11:47pm on 27 Feb 2009, aye_write wrote:

    #175 Anglophone

    Anglophone,

    - I decided you are good.
    Shut up and take the compliment :-)

    - Wimp :-(






    You'll talk to everyone else....






    I knew you would decline.

    (What IS your reason?)






    I only had maybe 2 posts!






    I don't get it, your argument was not absolutely definitive. Yet I cannot come back a little bit more, yet you can come back as many times as you like to all your other posters.

    PS Imagine receiving your own post.....








    Oh, well.
    Fair enough!
    Hassled too much.






    Stupid me!





    If it was your birthday, happy birthday.





    Seeing as I won't get the chance:


    Angletangle

    Dingdongdangle

    Megafanspangle







    (aye_write, you don't care....... ;-)

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  • 182. At 00:05am on 28 Feb 2009, Barbazenzero wrote:

    #169 greenockboy

    Thanks - some interesting in those links. Not sure cui bono from the Brian Wilson story in the Torygraph, though. Good breakfast reading for a Tory squire in Barsetshire, I suppose, but I doubt the invective will reach any in Scotland with minds capable of change.


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  • 183. At 00:19am on 28 Feb 2009, aye_write wrote:

    #175 Anglophone

    Anglophone, you're right. All this is daft really.

    Well, whenever, if, you want some "sound" to your "fury", I'll probably oblige!

    Maybe, if we want to agree, we should do Labour List ;-)

    Enjoy your wild party.

    :-)

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  • 184. At 00:35am on 28 Feb 2009, Maxanim wrote:

    #181 aye_write

    Anglophone's response to you on the subject of your estimation of his intellect are worth taking seriously. You are embarrassing the fellow.

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  • 185. At 00:38am on 28 Feb 2009, Barbazenzero wrote:

    #173 oldnat
    "I'd just like the law to be a little more thoroughly prosecuted in their case."

    Absolutely, but we're straying on to dangerous ground here, oldnat. Unlike the BNP, the SNP represents a genuine threat to the UK state.

    If the BNP come to power, NR might have to post criticism even more obliquely than currently, but the civil service and the Westminster village would have to make virtually no changes to accommodate them and the police and security services none at all apart from a recruitment drive. The people would suffer, of course, but as in 1930's Germany the changes would largely be too subtle to notice until too late.

    OTOH, If the SNP come to majority power with a mandate for independence, the "home" civil service would [heaven forfend!] have to contract [or think up many new arguments why it should not], the Navy could potentially lose its nuclear toys and the security services would be under pressure to contract. Add to that the loss of oil revenues to the city and oil taxes to the exchequer.

    Which would Whitehall prefer?

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  • 186. At 00:53am on 28 Feb 2009, aye_write wrote:

    #184 Maxanim

    Alright. Sorry.

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  • 187. At 01:29am on 28 Feb 2009, pattymkirkwood wrote:

    Tories and Fiberals fail to submit to Calman,

    http://www.theherald.co.uk/politics/news/display.var.2492380.0.LibDems_miss_deadline_for_Calman_review_submissions.php

    I suppose they were just too "intensely relaxed" about it?!

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  • 188. At 01:46am on 28 Feb 2009, oldnat wrote:

    #185 Brownedov

    I don't imagine you'll disagree with the following.

    Virtually everyone here was in the Libertarian Left quadrant (and yes I know it's an American survey etc). Frankly, I'm not concerned where people lie on the left/right spectrum. The threat to democracy comes from the authoritarian tendency (Left, Right or Centre - Cromwell is a classic example of a central authoritarian).

    It's why I'm so virulently opposed to authoritarian NuLab as well as the BNP (with additional reasons in their case).

    English Constitutional Law makes it so easy for authoritarians to capture the whole system - get a bare majority in the Commons with a tiny percentage of the vote, and total power is available to the new Government - and most of us would be in jail (maybe better being in Switzerland. I'd head to family in the USA if it seemed likely).

    Yes you are right the apparatus of state would have to make minimal adjustments to accommodate forced repatriation ........



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  • 189. At 01:53am on 28 Feb 2009, oldnat wrote:

    #187 pattymkirkwood

    I bet Brownedov is even more glad that he decided not to join that bunch of incompetents!

    Never mind. Anaxim will be along to tell us that the Lib-Dems don't believe in "identity politics", so they don't care about submitting to Calman anyway.

    Can't say I'm surprised about the non-appearance of a Tory submission. I think Auntie Annabel will continue to steer a course which avoids any rocks of principle, and will allow the Scottish tories to survive whatever happens (they've been burnt once by opposing power to Scotland. I don't think they want to be doing it twice.)

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  • 190. At 02:05am on 28 Feb 2009, Barbazenzero wrote:

    #187 pattymkirkwood

    Thanks for raising a smile before bedtime. I've castigated Duff Gordon before now for being the Yasser Arafat of UK politics in never missing an opportunity to miss an opportunity, but the Herald link you provide indicates that Scott covets the Scottish version of that role for himself.

    For once, Dinwoodie indulges in masterly understatement with his: "It may also be very bad politics. Party leader Tavish Scott this week restated his view that it would be wrong to have a referendum on independence, a view not universally shared within his party."

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  • 191. At 02:25am on 28 Feb 2009, Barbazenzero wrote:

    #188 oldnat

    "Frankly, I'm not concerned where people lie on the left/right spectrum. The threat to democracy comes from the authoritarian tendency"
    I agree with you 100% that the Y [libertarian/authoritarian] axis is an order of magnitude more important than the X [communal/individual] axis. At least if we reach a point of consensus somewhere below 0 on the Y axis, we'll be able to enter meaningful discussions over what point on the X axis optimises the common weal.

    "English Constitutional Law makes it so easy for authoritarians to capture the whole system"
    We share that concern, and I do not see how it can change before a major jolt to the system. A Scottish declaration of sovereignty might just act as a defibrillator in providing that jolt, but if it fails then at least Scotland need not be dragged down with the corpse.

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  • 192. At 02:39am on 28 Feb 2009, Barbazenzero wrote:

    Miaow! But you're not wrong. I suppose you have it right re the Tories also, but you'd think they could say something if only to justify their "investment" in Calman, but I suppose their existing position in Holyrood is as good as they can realistically hope for, with more effective influence than NuLab and LibDems combined on a fraction of the vote.

    Too late for constructive thought - blanket bay beckons - Goodnight all.

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  • 193. At 02:54am on 28 Feb 2009, oldnat wrote:

    #191 Brownedov

    Before I head off to bed - a thought. Even if the opposition parties vote down a referendum, would it not be within the executive powers of the Scottish Government to require a massive increase in the statistical sample of the Scottish Social Attitudes Survey (to as near 100% of the electorate as possible) on the referendum question and the one you have proposed on Scottish sovereignty?

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  • 194. At 03:12am on 28 Feb 2009, oldnat wrote:

    fourstrikes

    As someone well to the left on the X axis, I'd really appreciate your comments on the late night discussion Brownedov and I (both towards the left-centre on that axis) have had on the dangers of authoritarianism.

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  • 195. At 05:04am on 28 Feb 2009, fourstrikes wrote:

    Since I find myself awake at an unusual time...

    #164 oldnat and STC, I laughed at the stirks ;) I have country relatives but I'm a city kid. Also STC thanks for the compliment, I have a long way to go before I'm the intellectual side of anything but maybe I'll get there some day and match the standards of this blog!

    oldnat, I would like to address the BNP separately as I found some of Thomas's comments a bit worrying. So setting them aside, I agree 100 percent with your point. The most disturbing thing is a central gov't which holds ultimate power.

    You might think this sounds strange coming from an admitted Trot ;) but the original system wasn't set up that way and the circs were very different. In an independent Scotland the conditions would hardly be the same as they were in Russia in 1917. There isn't a one size fits all solution to this.

    I've seen what newLabour has been up to when in power and it's been scary to say the least. A tabloid driven agenda with a hollow core where principle should be has led to the creation of a state where we're "managed" wisely by our overlords and new laws appear on a constant basis. Some newLabour and other apparatchiks have praised the "managerial" approach as contrasted with the old "ideology based" model. I find it creepy.








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  • 196. At 05:16am on 28 Feb 2009, fourstrikes wrote:

    #162 Thomas

    I disagree with you strongly on how BNP members should be handled. They're nothing like you in the SNP. If one joins the BNP it means signing up to a radically racist agenda. Playing nice with these guys means you'll get kicked around.

    I've dealt with that lot IRL. They are hardened racists. Look into the background of the BNP and see if it can ever become a "non racist organisation". Not happening.

    It's the core belief of their party! It would be like expecting to convince a Green that concerns about the environment are a load of nonsense and that they should convert their party to believe that.

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  • 197. At 08:18am on 28 Feb 2009, stulaing wrote:

    Few points on this:
    If it was you, joe public, would you hand it back?
    Will the Treasury get 40% of this back in tax?
    Did you hear any politician/shareholder/commentator complain when the profits were billions pa?
    As somepne commented yesterday, is this s diversion from the real mess of the econony and the Brown/Darling part in it?
    Is anyone else really and truly sick of the sight of Brown every day blaming everyone else?
    Roll on next year, we can then consign this rubbish to the bin, and hopefully it wont be recycled.....

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  • 198. At 09:05am on 28 Feb 2009, enneffess wrote:

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

  • 199. At 09:38am on 28 Feb 2009, bluelaw wrote:

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

  • 200. At 09:52am on 28 Feb 2009, bluelaw wrote:

    If the English are so uninterested in Scotland why would they react to her more "prosaic" advocates and seek to punish her financially. I think Scotland is punished enough staying in this union so we'll take our chances even though I actually believe the vast majority of English people will respect our decison and will very quickly return to obsessing over thir own affairs once we're independent.

    I am not surprised by the rise of the far-right in England. I think the English masses have a point when they say that mass immigration has done nothing for them. They have had to compete with huge numbers of non-Britons for ever-worsening wages and conditions in an already insecure job market with the consequent strain on the NHS, housing, schools etc. All so employers get cheap labour and a section of the middle class assuage their guilt over being English or British. And not only this whenever they complain they are labelled as racists who are too 'lazy' to do these jobs in the first place. I think the BNP are repulsive but because they have confronted this issue and the main parties haven't explains much about their increasing popularity.

    Scotland simply hasn't been economically attractive enough for the same scenario to play out though no doubt this is changing and will change. I'll be honest with you. I love diversity but I wouldn't want Scotland to become as densely populated as the South East and London. I am not opposed to multi-culturalism either but I would prefer that we followed the French path of insisting upon loyalty to the host country, its language and as importantly its secularist and liberal traditions before anything else.

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  • 201. At 10:17am on 28 Feb 2009, bluelaw wrote:

    So, FTR we aren't allowed to discuss accusations made in national newspapers about the conduct of BBC journalists. ok then.

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  • 202. At 11:04am on 28 Feb 2009, frankly_francophone wrote:

    #200 bluelaw

    Felicitations upon defying the anglo-chap by referring to "the French path".

    The approach to the matters to which you refer, while not absolutely beyond criticism in every detail, as nothing is in France, is historically and currently intended, of course, to provide a level playing field for all citizens of the republic regardless of ethnic or religious background, as one would expect from a state which is founded upon the principles of liberty, equality and fraternity.

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  • 203. At 11:22am on 28 Feb 2009, bluelaw wrote:

    Merci mon ami.

    I am a great admirer of many things French - even those things that infuriate me about them ;-)

    I would never idealise French race relations. I know there are huge problems there but I think the principle of laicite should hold for Scotland too. And if that means amongst other things we seek an end to religious based schooling then I am all for it. But if, unlike in France, we allow for discreet expressions of religious affinity in public settings then as inconsistent as that is I am not against that it if indeed it means we have a good inter-relations with religious minorities.

    What I am against is the passive-aggressive approach to multi-culturalism where one half of a country is embarrassed at their nationality and therefore deifies (sorry ;-) every other culture to the point where the other half, who are proud, feel very alienated in what is their own country. And of course this doesn't take into account the nefarious elements within immigrant or ethnic communities who wish to exploit every liberal tendency we have in order to maintain control over their own community whether they like it or not and who conspire to promulgate the 'otherness' in extremis of a community whose majority wishes to integrate and assimilate.

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  • 204. At 11:32am on 28 Feb 2009, bluelaw wrote:

    ...I forgot to add. My view is that loyalty to country and its liberal traditions is paramount and then diffuse from that we can genuinely enjoy the contributions of all our cultures and languages. I also believe in controlled immigration and not a free-for-all which leads to endless recriminations and resentments right across the spectrum as can be seen IMO throughout England. But the country and its ideals must be defended vigorously and by all IMO.

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  • 205. At 12:07pm on 28 Feb 2009, fourstrikes wrote:

    Lots of interesting posts here :)

    #185 Brownedov

    There is one way where the UK and especially the Scottish civil service would take a major hit should the BNP come to power - diversity.

    Presently the service is set up with diversity as a main aim. Staff are required to set diversity objectives and many talented staff are from ethnic minority backgrounds. I imagine their experience in post would be a bit similar to that of the Jews in Nazi Germany. (I don't mean being carted off to concentration camps but something more like Arthur Miller's "Focus")

    Public sector TUs are unanimously opposed to fascism and fascists have no place in the union. What about working for fascists? There would be an upheaval.

    I imagine the NHS would take a *massive* hit from a party which still believes in repatriation. Gone, all our GPs, surgeons, consultants, nurses and cleaners who don't have white skin....tell me there wouldn't be a huge impact there!

    Having said this I do basically agree with your argument that the SNP would always be perceived as the more direct threat. It's just some ways where the civil service would struggle to adjust.

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  • 206. At 12:12pm on 28 Feb 2009, DisgustedDorothy wrote:

    I found an interesting blog, Longrider Just Google and you will find him, he has an interesting take on the topic.

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  • 207. At 12:19pm on 28 Feb 2009, DisgustedDorothy wrote:

    Should have added the pullman to that!

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  • 208. At 12:21pm on 28 Feb 2009, fourstrikes wrote:

    #200 bluelaw

    I don't think Scotland would become that populated. By my own flawed maths I reckon that would mean tripling the population!

    However the immigration thing is something of a red herring. Check out the Registrar General's figures for Scotland and you'll see that births and deaths are roughly equal. We need fresh talent and we need immigration.

    There's also the question of an independent Scotland in the EU. If we remained in there we would naturally give EU citizens the right of moving freely between countries. (Personally I think they add a lot to our culture as people originally from other countries did before them.)

    In England, people are being encouraged to blame "immigrants" for a lot of things which have nothing to do with them, to listen to stories about people getting council houses before them because they have a Polish accent or a brown skin and to believe that the reason they can't get a job is because the "immigrants" have taken them all. We should do everything we can in Scotland to combat these myths.



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  • 209. At 12:34pm on 28 Feb 2009, mindthecuriousorange wrote:

    I assume Sir Fred still has a bank account with the RBS, as all RBS employees are required to have an RBS account.

    Why can the bank not just close his accounts? The bank would have the right to terminate their relationship with any other customer provided 1 months notice is given.

    He has broken a major clause of holding an account with the RBS, he has damaged the good name of the bank, so has breached his terms and conditions with the bank.

    I am sure the government can ensure no other bank give him an account elsewhere.

    Surely someone can make this happen?

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  • 210. At 12:46pm on 28 Feb 2009, cynicalHighlander wrote:

    #206.DisgustedDorothy

    Longrider

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  • 211. At 12:57pm on 28 Feb 2009, bluelaw wrote:

    4strikes

    For a start government stats are notoriously inaccurate on immigration and are massaged for political purposes. I don't trust the UK figure on this or anything else; GERS, WMDs, you name it.

    The reason Scotland needs immigration is because we are unable to retain home-grown Scottish talent. Lets confront the reasons why we have a brain-drain before using other countries for cheap skilled labour which is morally dubious in itself. And where we do need skilled immigration lets set about formulating policy sensibly and transparently and without recourse to cheap sloganeering and falsely self-righteous moral sentiment which sadly IMO colours the debate in England on these issues.

    It's an issue an independent Scotland must confront openly and honestly. We must not be harangued into believing we have no control over who resides in our country.

    As for Scotland and the EU. Mass immigration is not necessarily a policy of the EU. In the UK's case most recently it was Blair acting as America's trojan horse in wanting to dilute EU power in general and Franco-German power in particular who insisted on eastwards EU expansion. This is why the French and the Germans, beset by high unemployment, refused to allow the Polish et al access to their labour makets for 7 years from their joining in 2004. It's also why Blair begged them to rethink this policy in 2006 at Nice I believe because the pressure on UK labour markets was so huge. They understandably refused to accomodate Blair even though others such as Spain and Finland did and others promised in the short term to review their policy. Just because the UK is a member of the EU doesn't necessarily mean that the EU imposes mass immigration. To say otherwise is simply not in accordance with the facts.

    Immigration is not a red-herring issue as such. Immigration has been used in the post-war era to undermine the demands of the British working class. Successive UK governments have deliberately done this in league with employers and the collusion of a media keen to portray the Working class as feckless and lazy etc so as to ensure a ready supply of cheap labour so that pay and conditions can be kept to a minimum. The reality of this is all to see with the Scottish and English working classes enduring the worst avg incomes, conditions, job security and living standards of any comparable country in the EU.

    Now, I am not against immigration per se as I stated above. I have nothing against immigrants of whatever culture or colour or religion. But the reality is is that they are here not out of some profound humanity on our part. They are here to keep inflation in the labour market down and to maintain an illusion for the left that we are attoning for Empire or IMO their nonsensical belief that we have achieved some post-national state.

    And yes most definitely FTR immigrants are very welcome in Scotland and every group from the Poles to Pakistanis must be praised for for their hard working decency and contribution to Scotland.

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  • 212. At 1:01pm on 28 Feb 2009, freedjmac wrote:

    '209. At 12:34pm on 28 Feb 2009, mindthecuriousorange wrote:

    I assume Sir Fred still has a bank account with the RBS, as all RBS employees are required to have an RBS account.

    Why can the bank not just close his accounts? The bank would have the right to terminate their relationship with any other customer provided 1 months notice is given.

    He has broken a major clause of holding an account with the RBS, he has damaged the good name of the bank, so has breached his terms and conditions with the bank.'

    And your evidence for this assertion is precisely what??...

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  • 213. At 1:24pm on 28 Feb 2009, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    On the matter of self-identity, I commend this blog, and the author's book, which I have just finished reading. Simply brilliant!

    "Robin Yassin-Kassab was born in Britain to a Syrian father and English mother (and grew up partly in Scotland). He graduated from Oxford University and travelled extensively, working as a journalist in Pakistan before moving to Oman where he now teaches English."
    He now lives in Scotland. Check out the blog.

    Slainte!
    ed

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  • 214. At 1:45pm on 28 Feb 2009, aye_write wrote:

    #210 cynicalHighlander

    Now, I like that.

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  • 215. At 1:55pm on 28 Feb 2009, aye_write wrote:

    #208 fourstrikes

    It's a momentous occasion....(fanfare)....

    ** I agree with you on something! **

    We have a different set of needs re immigration than does England.

    :-)

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  • 216. At 2:08pm on 28 Feb 2009, Barbazenzero wrote:

    #193 oldnat

    It might just work, but I wouldn't quite rule out the LibDems just yet - after all they may have tried another two or three "leaders" by then! Today's Rebel MSP told to toe party line on referendum in the Press & Journal makes quite an interesting read, and especially Rumbles': "I am the chief whip and will expect that when it comes to a vote every one of the 16 of us will respect that we do things the correct and democratic way. We have a party position and it is agreed by everyone in the parliamentary party. John gave his word and we expect him to stand by it."

    About the only thing they've inherited from the old Liberal Party is the old adage about organising them being rather like herding cats. I bet their conference will be fun for outsiders if not the participants.

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  • 217. At 2:17pm on 28 Feb 2009, Barbazenzero wrote:

    #205 fourstrikes

    You make some very good points that I should have considered about the BNP's potential impact on the public sector as a whole, but I stand by my view that the Westminster village itself would have little to fear, or at any event would have much less at stake personally than a further rise of the SNP. We're certainly not poles apart over this.

    I hadn't seen it when discussing the issue with oldnat last night, but there's a good read in the Indy's new take on the BNP: Is the BNP becoming Cumbria's cup of tea?.

    Not very much new, but a chilling warning in the first comment: "I believe you actually may have the honour of writing the first unbiased piece about the BNP in any mainstream media."

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  • 218. At 2:43pm on 28 Feb 2009, cynicalHighlander wrote:

    government stooge?

    If we're clawing back pensions, let's start with Gordon's
    "Quantitative easing

    A former World War II prison camp inmate forced by the Nazis to forge £3billion in a plot to bring down the British economy arrived in London this week to inspect one of his counterfeit notes at the Bank of England.

    Are we absolutely sure he wasn't invited to London to advise Gordon Brown on printing money - sorry 'quantitative easing'?."

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  • 219. At 2:51pm on 28 Feb 2009, Barbazenzero wrote:

    An exceedingly interesting article by Michael White in the Grauniad yesterday mid-morning doesn't seem to have received the attention it deserves. Astonishing stuff from someone who until very recently was second only to St. Polly Toynbee in the ranks of NuLab sycophancy.

    As a taster: "The government, chiefly in the shape of the then chancellor Gordon Brown and Tony Blair, who wouldn't stand up to him sufficiently, made a number of serious macro-errors, knowing that tax revenues would fund its expensive social programmes."

    Rats leaving the sinking ship springs strangely to mind.

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  • 220. At 4:17pm on 28 Feb 2009, DisgustedDorothy wrote:

    I think I should take lessons in how to do that cynicalhighlander.
    Hopefully , now that you've made it easy ,other folk will enjoy the article.

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  • 221. At 4:39pm on 28 Feb 2009, cynicalHighlander wrote:

    [Unsuitable/Broken URL removed by Moderator]

    #220. DisgustedDorothy
    Highlight above, right click, click view selection source, result in highlights. Bob's your uncle.

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  • 222. At 5:08pm on 28 Feb 2009, cynicalHighlander wrote:

    I think GB is moderating this blog now as they are becoming very petty. I only linked "The Shred's" payslip signed by the dictator himself at no 10.

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  • 223. At 5:57pm on 28 Feb 2009, enneffess wrote:

    I see my comment 198 was referred to the moderators.

    Why?

    Does someone here think I am a closet facist?

    All I said was that a certain political party has a well written website, and that in itself should be a warning sign.

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  • 224. At 7:44pm on 28 Feb 2009, 2-D-Bate wrote:

    #86 Anglophone

    Noticing your posts in particular.

    "All nationalism is created by stoking grievances, promoting a sense of victimisation and, as you so rightly say "pointing out the enemy".

    So if to have a grievance with the constitutional set up and to say it, is akin to being a nationalist, with all the victim-obsessed euphoria that goes with it? Come on Anglophone, that's a pretty big political gag is it not!

    "Scots have more to lose from such schism."

    What exactly, Anglophone?
    How do other independent countries manage to survive (without orders from English companies - imagine!)

    Do you mean Britain has much to loose and so through that, the Scots have? It's a bit like taking off your pants before your trousers.

    "Canada has tied itself into cultural and legal knots trying to accommodate a vociferous minority who cannot be satisfied by any concession yet don't have the courage of their convictions to actually vote for secession."

    So, not to have the courage to vote for "secession" here is failure, but Scots having that same courage....would be a failure!
    You can't have it both ways Anglophoney.
    What's the difference? Ah, that the Scots going it alone would affect you! Tut, tut, you do want to keep all your toys.

    "I thought that Scotland was originally well served by banks, many created before the union that, you would think had made the financing of Scottish business and people their priority. Sadly, they were not content with that modest ambition and undertook ever greater expansion into global markets. Many traditional, if dull English banks have been hoovered up by these expansionist monsters who have eventually sucked us down into the deep, deep hole of their own hubris. Something for which English taxpayers will be funding for a generation."

    You're right, Scottish banks weren't working for their own country. What a lot of benefits the Union has! British tax payers are only cleaning up a British mess. Moan to Gordon. (He's British, not Scottish, he says it himself...)
    If Scotland were already independent we wouldn't be using "cloth GB" (not a reference to Gordon, it could be) up here, but ours. Did other independent countries have to be bailed out by you? You've got delusions about the size of your cloth old boy.

    "I used to work for a large UK software company. It was a standing joke that it was not worth trying to sell products or services North of the Border because the chances of being selected, as an English rep of an English based company, were remote. I argued that this was wrong and prejudicial and spent many agonizing mornings on the red-eye visiting potential customers in Glasgow and Edinburgh. Guess how much I sold....precisely nothing. This wasn't really a problem as we were already serving a much bigger market elsewhere, it just made me look foolish."

    Is this the root of it? Scots didn't buy your software? I'm glad you didn't go as far as the death of a salesman, but wanting to saddle Scotland to the Union, I assume until they buy some is taking it a bit far!

    "I still think it's the preserve of the malcontent, the scoundrel and the rabble rouser"

    But you don't get, "I'm happy with the way things are, so I'll seek nationalism." I hope you don't only eat when you are full up!

    "Let's try to be sensible now."

    Back at you, Mr A.

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  • 225. At 8:06pm on 28 Feb 2009, Dave McEwan Hill wrote:

    #81

    What are you on about? Does Denmark have oil? Does Finland? Does Ireland? Does Latvia? Does New Zealand? Does Slovakia?
    Does Austria? Does Estonia? Does Portugal? Does Cyprus?
    Perhaps they are all more able than the Welsh - but don't try that line with a large Welshman
    You are falling into the trap set by unionists for the unwary that don't think things through.
    For the last forty years the unionists have been trying to tell Scotland that its economy is reliant on oil while at the same time telling the Scots that the oil isn't actually worth a lot and is running out anyway. Surprisingly some Scots swallow this guff.
    George Bush might have been pretty daft but he was not completely so. He said
    " You can fool some of the people all of the time. Those are the ones we must concentrate on"

    #86

    "The sad conclusion of this line of thought is that the SNP is basically a sort of McUKIP"
    What rubbish!
    The SNP is fundamentally in favour of the EU

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  • 226. At 8:15pm on 28 Feb 2009, cynicalHighlander wrote:

    #220.DisgustedDorothy
    Try highlighting link below, right click, click view page source this will show how its done.
    Realm of Scotland

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  • 227. At 9:02pm on 28 Feb 2009, oldnat wrote:

    #220 DisgustedDorothy

    Our friend ed also has a page showing how to do these clever things (That's where I learned).

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  • 228. At 9:42pm on 28 Feb 2009, oldnat wrote:

    #224 2-D-Bate

    Welcome. Nice to have your contribution.

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  • 229. At 9:45pm on 28 Feb 2009, enneffess wrote:

    225. At 8:06pm on 28 Feb 2009, sneckedagain:

    What I was trying to point out is that Wales is tied into the Union as well, more so since they do not have oil to help fund their escape.

    All the other countries mentioned are different cases, since the majority of them went independent before oil drove the global economies. Slovakia is different, but do they (and I honestly dont know) have a free health service and benefits setup like the UK has?

    Northern Ireland is an even worse case economically, and to be honest the political history makes independence for them a nightmare.

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  • 230. At 10:03pm on 28 Feb 2009, 2-D-Bate wrote:

    #228 oldnat

    Thank you. I'm quite shy!

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  • 231. At 10:10pm on 28 Feb 2009, 2-D-Bate wrote:

    #229 Neil_Small147

    "What I was trying to point out is that Wales is tied into the Union as well, more so since they do not have oil to help fund their escape."

    Neil, what are you talking about??

    Wales does not have to physically pour petrol into an engine and chug off out into the sea!

    Scaremongerer!

    PS - The only economy that has been "funded" by oil is the UK's!

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  • 232. At 10:15pm on 28 Feb 2009, Lily_Hammer wrote:

    #224 2-D-Bate

    Nice of you to take the trouble to respond to the author of #86, whose posts collectively seem to confirm that (i) he has a bee in his bonnet about the Scots for various reasons too tedious to be gone into and (ii) he doesn't care much what he says here so long as it seems to stand some chance of offending the 'chippy jocks'.

    Worth bantering with, perhaps, nevertheless, so long as you don't expect him to take you seriously.

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  • 233. At 10:25pm on 28 Feb 2009, oldnat wrote:

    #231 2-D-Bate

    Of course Wales will escape - they've been digging the tunnels long enough!

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  • 234. At 11:01pm on 28 Feb 2009, enneffess wrote:

    231. At 10:10pm on 28 Feb 2009, 2-D-Bate wrote:
    #229 Neil_Small147

    "What I was trying to point out is that Wales is tied into the Union as well, more so since they do not have oil to help fund their escape."

    Neil, what are you talking about??

    Wales does not have to physically pour petrol into an engine and chug off out into the sea!

    Scaremongerer!

    PS - The only economy that has been "funded" by oil is the UK's!

    -------------------

    I'm not scaremongering, but trying to ask legitimate questions.

    I support the SNP, but not full independence just yet, since no-one has been able to give sound answers - either for or against - independence.

    What people will want to know is this: What will change for me and my family if my country goes fully independent.

    So, what happens for Wales for these things:

    Student Finance, including Assembly Grants specific to Wales, EMA payments, NHS, council tax, income tax, VAT, defence, fire, police, coastguard, business taxes, NI payments, currency, child tax credits, child benefit, unemployment benefit...........

    It's no use talking about the utopia of independence if you cannot give a certain level of confidence that your life will not be overly affected by the change.

    This is not scaremongering, but questions that WILL be asked by the voters. And those in opposition to independence WILL play on these fears. You cannot shoot down anyone who questions if independence or staying in the union will work. That is either ignorance or arrogance.

    Devolution gives the opportunity for those in favour of independence to prove themselves. The issue is of course gaining more responsibility from Westminster.

    I'll be honest and admit I do not know much about the Welsh economy. Not wanting to sound saracastic, but someone please indicate the state of the Welsh economy and whether they are capable of surviving in their present form without any subsidy from England.

    But remember, any Government borrowing must be repaid at some point in the future, and that is through tax. Something the current Westminster government is getting twitchy about.


    On immigration, someone said we need immigrants for the skills that are missing. I agree to a point, but why are people not asking WHY we are lacking these skills?

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  • 235. At 11:03pm on 28 Feb 2009, Barbazenzero wrote:

    Some delightfully expressive comment on "Fred the Shredded" by Ian Bell in the Sunday Herald's Sir Fred feels like a scapegoat. He is.

    Well-aimed criticism of Duff Gordon, too, with gems like: "Yet still Brown talks of 'models' going wrong, as though finance is a giant Airfix kit that has merely come unglued."

    Post or reactive moderation for all except CBeebies, please!

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  • 236. At 11:05pm on 28 Feb 2009, IM_Wright wrote:

    #224 2-D-Bate

    Well said.

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  • 237. At 11:11pm on 28 Feb 2009, Barbazenzero wrote:

    No news section yet, but does anyone know what's happened to the Herald opinion team tonight? No manning of the barricades for the old order in Muriel Gray's It’s amazing that we’re still amazed when our politicians betray us. Could they have been taken over by aliens? Snippets like: "Straw has banged the last nail into the coffin of moribund, corrupt and morally bankrupt New Labour" tend to suggest so.

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  • 238. At 11:21pm on 28 Feb 2009, oldnat wrote:

    Anglophone

    Never mind, you can always claim that your defeat was caused by your opponents drawing players from two different countries.

    So you must have been at a disadvantage.

    (When we get beaten, on the other hand, it's usually because we were rubbish - today was quite unusual!)

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  • 239. At 11:22pm on 28 Feb 2009, Barbazenzero wrote:

    Not quite a Damascene conversion - there are still the expected digs at the SNP, Tories and LibDems - but the Herald's news articles now coming on stream continue the trend I've just reported.

    For good, old fashioned reporting, see their: Senior Scottish MP in forged letters mystery about faked letters praising Adam Ingram, MP for East Kilbride, Strathaven & Lesmahagow.

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  • 240. At 11:44pm on 28 Feb 2009, greenockboy wrote:

    Neil Small writes:

    "I support the SNP, but not full independence just yet, since no-one has been able to give sound answers - either for or against - independence."

    Neil, please do not insult our intelligence with this nonsense.


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  • 241. At 11:50pm on 28 Feb 2009, oldnat wrote:

    #234 Neil_Small147

    I've tried to follow some of the Welsh debate about their future - but it seldom gets off the language issue! They seem to be a much more riven society than ours.

    I don't disagree with your main thesis that nations need to make choices, and that these issues need to be informed.

    Wales has even worse economic indicators than the North of England - doesn't matter whose "fault" it is. They need to deal with the reality that they have.

    They only just voted for an Assembly. That's allowed them to move on to the position where a small majority are in favour of moving further.

    However, the Welsh experience is so different from ours that their decisions are not really relevant to ours.

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  • 242. At 00:20am on 01 Mar 2009, greenockboy wrote:

    Many who read these blogs will by now appreciate that I, and others, hold the so called Scottish media in utter contempt.

    Yesterday I provided a link from The Telegraph of an article written by ex Labour minister Brian Wilson. The article had twisted and contorted the Fred Goodwin saga in a laughable attempt at attacking Alex Salmond.

    Now, unsurprisingly, we see this Labour tactic being embraced North of the border with not one, but two articles in The Sunday Herald attacking Salmond through one of the economic advisors Sir George Mathewson.

    This from The Sunday Herald:
    ALEX SALMOND'S CHIEF ECONOMIC adviser is at the centre of a tax avoidance row after it emerged that his investment group's hedge fund is running businesses from a tax haven.

    Now, aside from the fact that there is no row, we have the ridiculous attempt at attacking Salmond, not second hand through Mathewson at all, nor indeed third hand through Mathewson's investment group - but FOURTH HAND through businesses associated with Methewson's hedge fund.

    So, Alex Salmond is associated with a man who has a business that is associated with businesses that are run from a tax haven.

    This is not journalism, this is blatant smearing.

    For goodness sake, one only need utter the words Gordon Brown for there to be a plethora of names, businesses, short selling, tax avoidance etc, etc to write a novel.

    I have said before that we do not have a balanced press or media in Scotland. We have a system akin to the old Eastern Bloc where news was manipulated and shaped in accordance with state requirements.

    Sadly, Iain Macwhirter's article is based on the same Labour 'Scottish Output'.

    Sad, but utterly, utterly predictable.

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  • 243. At 00:21am on 01 Mar 2009, oldnat wrote:

    #234 Neil_Small147

    "no-one has been able to give sound answers - either for or against - independence."

    I think you are wrong there. There are "sound answers" on both sides of the debate.

    What neither side can ever give you are certainties.

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  • 244. At 00:32am on 01 Mar 2009, oldnat wrote:

    Held my nose and looked at the Mail on Sunday for this article -

    "REVEALED: 'There was no Cabinet debate in run-up to war,' says Short as Government refuses to release minutes"

    "At the last Cabinet meeting, no debate on the legality of the war was allowed and Tony Blair, then Prime Minister, said brusquely: 'That's it.'"

    Even those who might prefer to stick with the UK Union, must see that there is a desperate need to get out from under a system which allows one person to have such power - with no checks and balances.

    Now imagine a BNP Prime Minister ........

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  • 245. At 00:45am on 01 Mar 2009, greenockboy wrote:

    The comment of mine, number 242, has been referred to the moderators.

    It containes no abusive language, no attacks on any other posters - but does include references to two articles in todays Sunday Herald.

    Both articles use Sir George Mathewson in order to attack Alex Salmond (fact)

    One of the articles uses a fourth party association in order to attack Salmond. (fact)

    Salmond is attacked because he is associated with Sir George Mathewson who is associated with a hedge fund that is associated with businesses that use the Cayman Islands for tax purposes.

    Ridiculous.

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  • 246. At 00:48am on 01 Mar 2009, oldnat wrote:

    "Brown counts on Obama to lift his fortunes"

    GORDON Brown will fly to America this week to escape from his domestic travails in the hope that some of Barack Obama's magic rubs off on him.

    Are we going to see a Michael Jackson in reverse (or in negative)?

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  • 247. At 01:28am on 01 Mar 2009, aye_write wrote:

    #234 Neil_Small147

    Neil, if I may but in.

    All that you talk about has nothing to do with independence!
    It's a red herring (and often used as a ploy to talk down independence).

    I have to say I am slightly dissappointed that when pushed, you so readily fall back to the "we don't know anything/can't see the future!" furrow.

    You mention nothing that isn't dealt with on an ordinary basis by independent countries a plenty.

    "What people will want to know is this: What will change for me and my family if my country goes fully independent."

    Virtually nothing! The change will actually be that we will get to decide parts of our future ourselves. Those decisions when implimented will affect us progressively on a change by change basis, and we will get a debate beforehand and a referendum on big issues like retaining the monarchy, when decisions are made. Just like any other normal government actually!

    As I say the main difference to notice will be that it is our government, elected by us, for us the Scottish people.

    That is the only certainty from independence.

    And it hinges around whether you want to put your future in the hands of another country or your own.

    "It's no use talking about the utopia of independence"

    Don't be daft, no one says independence is supposed to be utopia. (If I did, I'd be promising free chocolate and a self-cleaning house.)

    "You cannot shoot down anyone who questions if independence or staying in the union will work."

    How could it not work?

    "Devolution gives the opportunity for those in favour of independence to prove themselves."

    No, it's nothing to with whether we are impressesd by the few politicians around today or not. Are you suggesting it's like they're in a job interview for being able to take control of our affairs?

    If some poor politicians are a good enough reason to deny us self governance, then it must then translate that we are inferior - because we cannot produce any decent ones. What a way to decide (deny) my children's future. I'm sorry, pathetic.

    This assumption that we (they) are not good enough and must prove otherwise is embarrassing. Do you think that every country that has a not so good bunch of politicians at any point should hand control over to Britain. Have you seen theirs by the way!

    I've noticed you, in all good faith, project the all considered approach. But, some advice. If all you are doing is standing right up close to the telly to get a good view of every bit enlarged, then you are not seeing the big picture.

    :-)

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  • 248. At 02:57am on 01 Mar 2009, pattymkirkwood wrote:

    #245, wasn't it Brown that insisted on having old Fred the Shred knighted? Don't expect to hear that anywhere soon in the Scottish press!

    Also, expect the full onslaught of the red-tops when Mr Macavity goes to Washington.

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  • 249. At 03:14am on 01 Mar 2009, pattymkirkwood wrote:

    #190, Brownedov

    There is just something about Tavish Scott, on paper he looked like a good leader (mainly because he was already doing the job for Nicol), but what happened?!

    Who would have thought that the Liberal's future could look so bleak in Scotland just 3 or so years ago?

    I see the Fib Dems are still stuck on this idea that asking the people of Scotland (who are sovereign, remember) if they want Scotland to be independent is: "independence by the back door"!

    I couldn't believe it when Nicol Stephen embarrassed himself on Question Time by saying such a thing prior to the May 2007 election, and I can't believe they are still happily repeating this piece of nonsense today.

    The Lib Dems do indeed look like the Lemming-tendency has taken hold of the leadership; north and south of the border.

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  • 250. At 03:24am on 01 Mar 2009, LondonSteve wrote:

    i don't know where else to post this but here goes, you are guaranteed an audience here and with that in mind lets rip! i'm sensing a change in the tide, it's starting, people are begining to accept that for a whole host of reasons whether you believe them or not that it is our right to be governed by scots, either born here or from further climes but scottish none the less, with the interest of the people who live in scotland as their core reason to govern. This has to be a good thing. anyway:

    You think the past has been good to us
    we're in for better days
    when the time comes two thousand ten
    Lets go our seperate ways

    You think the pasts been good to us
    we now start to realise
    for 50 years our votes gone missing
    their rule we now despise

    You think the pasts been good to us
    lets not keep the status quo
    being free and being true
    isn't just for show

    You think the pasts been good to us
    we're in for better days
    when the time comes two thousand ten
    lets go our seperate ways.

    2009 steven stewart.

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  • 251. At 03:39am on 01 Mar 2009, LondonSteve wrote:

    work in progress, i've worded a new version that flows better haha

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  • 252. At 08:06am on 01 Mar 2009, gedguy2 wrote:

    This story about Fred Goodwin's pension is just a smokescreen to deflect people away from the real atrocity; that this government presided over the total collapse of this country's banking system. As usual, if things get bad in government, find a scapegoat. The media have been encouraged to see Fred as the scapegoat. Don't be fooled by these stories about this amount of pension money; it's a smokescreen. I'm confident that even Brian is aware of this.

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  • 253. At 08:08am on 01 Mar 2009, cynicalHighlander wrote:

    Size matters - smaller is better
    "Grandiose ideas, big projects. Thinking big always seems so attractive, but it can be a crucial mistake. The vast projects built after the war to relieve the dismal slums of the past are the lawless sink estates of today; in many ways they don't work as well as the old insanitary huddled cottages."

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  • 254. At 08:32am on 01 Mar 2009, Barbazenzero wrote:

    #245 greenockboy

    Could the problem be the House Rule on quoting extracts?

    That says: "Short extracts of copyright works can be used without consent as long as they are 'insubstantial' - There is no hard and fast definition of what is or isn't substantial as it depends on the work and the importance of the extract you want to use."

    Different mods do treat it in different ways, but - at the risk of having my #235, #237 and #239 share the same fate -
    usually they see a link and a snippet as reasonable.

    Post or reactive moderation for all except CBeebies, please!

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  • 255. At 08:36am on 01 Mar 2009, Barbazenzero wrote:

    #246 oldnat

    You're bad, man, and on dangerous ground. It's not all black and white.

    Post or reactive moderation for all except CBeebies, please!

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  • 256. At 08:42am on 01 Mar 2009, A_Scottish_Voice wrote:

    Gordon Brown made this mess. He is fooling no-one with his hypocritical rhetoric.

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  • 257. At 08:57am on 01 Mar 2009, Barbazenzero wrote:

    #249 pattymkirkwood
    "I see the Fib Dems are still stuck on this idea that asking the people of Scotland (who are sovereign, remember) if they want Scotland to be independent is: "independence by the back door"!"

    I do remember - See my #91 above - but it seems the LibDems don't. At the time of their leadership contest I felt that Rumbles had the best chance of getting them out of their rut. He now seems ultra-loyalist to Scott, but I don't believe he would have done a worse job than the victor.

    I don't think it's serious yet, but the beginnings of a rift between the democratic instincts of the [democratic] liberals and the [centralising] social democrats could be forming. We saw it at Westmidden over the Lisbon referendum and are seeing it again here over the independence one. The very point of being a Liberal is to give the people a democratic choice on an issue where your own mind is made up - admittedly a rare occurrence.

    Maybe the social democrats feel that they'll scoop the pool when NuLab implodes, but they're certainly playing a dangerous game and the polls are not proving them right.

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  • 258. At 09:08am on 01 Mar 2009, Barbazenzero wrote:

    #252 gedguy2
    "This story about Fred Goodwin's pension is just a smokescreen to deflect people away from the real atrocity; that this government presided over the total collapse of this country's banking system."

    True, and I think the print media is starting to report just that - even the Herald [see my #235] - but there's precious little evidence of that on the BBC website.

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  • 259. At 10:34am on 01 Mar 2009, greenockboy wrote:

    A look at the English qualities today shows that the Fred Goodwin smokescreen has cleared up, there is nary a mention of it anywhere.

    The English qualities ran just as prominently with the revelations that Labour ministers agreed to the severance package as they did with the Labour 'anger' at the pension.

    They have moved on now and the main topic seems to be Brown's meeting with President Obama. This isn't surprising as the media of any nation will go overboard with any meeting with the new president.

    Although it is telling that the Scottish media seemed reluctant to crow when Scotland's First Minister had his meeting with the new Secretary of State, Hilary Clinton last week.

    Anyway, Scottish Labour clearly tried on Thursday to use their new bogeymen 'The Bankers' as a means of attacking Alex Salmond.

    The approach adopted by Iain Gray was widely derided as Salmond pointed out to him that all the levers of power and the authority to control these bankers lay with Labour at Westminster.

    Indeed, the very pension that Labour were complaining bitterly about had been agreed to - BY LABOUR MINISTERS.

    So, it is sad to see today's Sunday Herald, not one but two of Scotland's leading journalists attempting to use the self same discredited line of attack used by Iain Gray.

    This is not the first time that we have seen the Scottish press try to attack Salmond through Sir George Mathewson, but it is probably the most contrived.

    Iain Macwhirter describes Salmond as having 'sold his soul' to the bankers. Iain however refuses to explain what he means by this emotive phrase. Unlike Gordon Brown, Salmond has nothing to offer any of his advisors, furthermore they can offer nothing but advice.

    This looks like an attempt at balancing bad news for Labour by trying to convince the Scottish electorate that whilst Labour may have 'unhealthy relationships' with these now tainted bankers - 'Look !! the SNP are just as bad'.

    Take a read through Macwhirters article, it is badly drafted and lacks conviction. Like a 'sexed up dossier' fixed around the policy, it resembles an article fixed around an agenda.

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  • 260. At 10:51am on 01 Mar 2009, Barbazenzero wrote:

    #245 greenockboy
    PS to my #258

    On looking again at the Sunday Herald, I do agree that they're going OTT on the Mathewson story, with three articles apparently determined to undo the good work I praise them for in my #235, #237 and #239.

    I presume you were mainly referring to Iain Macwhirter's Just one of a generation of politicians in bed with bankers. That one strikes me as particularly scurrilous, given that it's Duff Gordon and Capn. Darling who have supposedly been "in charge" for the last decade. But it does at least chip in with "The trouble is that the charge rebounds on Labour. It was Gordon Brown, after all, who gave the vilified Fred 'the Shred' Goodwin his knighthood."

    On a lighter note with reference to the article's tired "Athens of the north", those who haven't visited Athens in winter should note that it can be pretty cold and wet. I've had that "pleasure" on a few occasions and usually refer to that place as "the Edinburgh of the South".

    The two INVESTIGATION pieces by Paul Hutcheon:
    Salmond adviser's links to Cayman Islands tax haven and Salmond's top economic adviser uses Cayman Islands tax haven are entirely without redeeming features and read like NuLab press releases. Presumably for legal reasons, both contain a caveat - the first buried in the middle and the second ending with "There is no suggestion that Mathewson is involved in any wrongdoing." Aye, right!

    Old habits die hard, I suppose.

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  • 261. At 11:27am on 01 Mar 2009, Barbazenzero wrote:

    #259 greenockboy

    Your post hadn't cleared when I submitted my #260 and I agree with you 100%. There's still the odd attempt in the Grauniad to link bankers in the public mind with the "official" Tories, but nothing on the scale of the rearguard action of Gray's admirers in the Scottish media. It will end in tears, I'm sure, but for NuLab and their acolytes.

    On a cheerier note, the Sunday Thunderer gets in a welcome bit of Murphy bashing with their Murphy's Pope invitation 'just political stunt'. Worth reading, but the first sentence says it all, really: "Scottish secretary accused of electioneering after inviting Pope Benedict XVI and President Barack Obama to Scotland". I have to agree with SNP MSP Gibson's quoted: "This is a childish attempt at one-upmanship".

    The feebleness of Gray [trying to build the political equivalent of brand-new Morris Marinas], Murphy [his foreman], Capn. Darling [the wages clerk] and prop. Duff Gordon is demonstrated by the guff they come up with in a hopeless attempt to make us forget who was the orchestrator of the bankers' version of a demolition derby.

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  • 262. At 11:41am on 01 Mar 2009, Barbazenzero wrote:

    More fiddling the figures by NuLab, it seems, according to the Thunderer's Ministers 'ignored' Heathrow dissent:
    "The [Tory] analysis suggests up to 86% of the people who responded to the government's call for comments were strongly opposed to the runway. The government, however, said only 37% of those who contributed were clearly opposed."

    There's a shock.

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  • 263. At 11:50am on 01 Mar 2009, greenockboy wrote:

    Brownedov:

    Yes, that was indeed the article(s) I was referring to, and yes again they are blatant extensions og Gray's discredited line of attack on Thursday.

    The BBC are continuing to run with the Goodwin pension story, demonstrating their complete inability to think for themselves, the story is yesterday's (non) news.

    Interesting remark right at the end of Muriel Gray's piece in The Sunday Herald.

    This little paragraph:
    "And promising as some of the SNP's governance might have been so far, Salmond's readiness to be bought by dubious opportunists and the increasing activity of nationalist online cyber-thugs make this newly floating voter far too nervous to commit."

    The two parts in bold are quite revealing. Gray doesn't eleborate on these 'dubious opportunists' nor in what way Salmond has been bought.

    However, it is the second 'bold' part that makes me uneasy. Gray appears to be trying to conflate the benign word used in Scotland to describe SNP or independence supporters (nationalist) with the other more extreme version of the word (Nationalist).

    Much like 'gay' (happy) and 'Gay' (homosexual) the two words are miles apart in their meaning.

    The conflation of 'nationalist' with 'thugs' is deliberate and, shall we say, mischevious.

    Gray suggests that there is no alternative to the floating voter, how she can say that in todays Scotland simply beggars belief.

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  • 264. At 11:50am on 01 Mar 2009, ubinworryinmasheep wrote:

    From the BBC's own front page
    "Harriet Harman has said former Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) chief Sir Fred Goodwin should not "count on" keeping his full £650,000 a year pension.

    The deputy Labour leader described the pension settlement - agreed by the RBS board - as "money for nothing".

    The sum was unacceptable in "the court of public opinion," she told the BBC, and the government "would step in". "

    I think its a bit rich of Mrs Harman telling us this after her own financial situation was brought to light. In the court of public opinion i would say claiming expenses for 2 houses is not any worse than the financial settlement the Fred Goodwin haggled. Both parties are playing withing the rules even tho the rules are flawed and obscene to most hard working folks. She should have kept her gob shut !!!

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  • 265. At 11:54am on 01 Mar 2009, boogieeck wrote:

    If every employee who turned out to be rubbish at his job had to forego their pension, their would a lot of poverty stricken retired council plumbers, teachers, and come to that Labour cabinet minsiters.

    But hey, lets not let a mans legal contractual rights get in the way of a spiteful attack. Until of course its your own legal contractual rights.

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  • 266. At 12:05pm on 01 Mar 2009, handclapping wrote:

    #259 greenockboy

    "Well thank goodness Fred the Shred has blown over. It was a bit nasty at times, got too close to home."
    "Nice bit in the Times though, new deal with Obama. Yes we can stuff. I'd better get the Beeb onto it."
    Can you think of any other reason for the BBC to be reporting Global Brown's article in the Sunday Times as one of their main "news" items up to midday? His meeting with other EU heads in Brussels today gets a throwaway line in the middle. and yet the headline is "Brown seeks 'new deal' with Obama" which is not news, it's propaganda but we are the impartial BBC and cannot show a charity appeal for Gaza.

    Is there something rotten in the State?

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  • 267. At 12:08pm on 01 Mar 2009, Barbazenzero wrote:

    Could Elaine C. Smith's brief Scotland is not a paradise in the Sunday Mail be construed as an apology? Without mentioning which learned journal stirred up the "stooshie" over Mike Russell's 1998 book, she reminds us that Jack McConnell commented on "bits of Motherwell being a bit of a pigsty".

    Would it be too much to hope that her advice to "grow up" will be taken on board by the Sunday Mail's management?

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  • 268. At 12:08pm on 01 Mar 2009, handclapping wrote:

    #266

    It is no longer "News"; it's now in "UK Politics".

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  • 269. At 12:11pm on 01 Mar 2009, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    Cleaning up the act? Perhaps we can expect "clean NuLab" to commission some similar ads? I sometimes think the major task of a large part of Govmint is support for the advertising "industry", which thought prompts a wry observation on the number of things now called industry...

    ;-)
    ed

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  • 270. At 12:16pm on 01 Mar 2009, ubinworryinmasheep wrote:

    Further to my #264

    "She said the payout was a reward for failure. "I can't see how it is a pension because he is not retired. It is money for nothing, it is a severance payment, and to get a severance payment when you have led a bank to the brink of collapse with record losses and thousands of people fearing for their jobs and requiring the public to step in with loans to back up the bank, that is a matter of public interest"

    Tell me whats the difference between somebody doing his job badly and being payed off and PPP/PFI companies screwing up and being payed millions to bu##er off. It seems the goverment are happy for the PFI stuff to be buried. This is all a witch hunt to try and make Labour look like the are doing something. It will all end in tears .. the only winners will be the lawyers. Labour will have egg on their faces .

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  • 271. At 12:29pm on 01 Mar 2009, ubinworryinmasheep wrote:

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

  • 272. At 12:31pm on 01 Mar 2009, Barbazenzero wrote:

    #259 greenockboy

    Scotland on Sunday was giving ASP errors earlier today, but they have a rather better article than Macwhirter's diatribe with Gerald Warner's: Our cult of the amateur has let Brown destroy Britain.

    No diatribes at Salmond or Goodwin, just a withering attack on Duff Gordon. Beginning with "Gordon has turned feral and it is not a pretty sight. As with all control freaks heading for downfall, he has adopted a scorched-earth policy. Britain has proved itself unworthy of its great Leader, so must take the consequences" it goes on to catalogue and explain his failures before closing with "'No return to boom and bust'. Your great-grandchildren may enjoy the humour of that – the intervening generations will be preoccupied with paying for it."

    Definitely a good read.

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  • 273. At 12:41pm on 01 Mar 2009, Barbazenzero wrote:

    #263 greenockboy

    Good post, and I agree that Ms Gray's "nationalist online cyber-thugs" was unwarranted and, to say the least, mischevious.

    All in all, though, it's a reasonably balanced "plague on all your houses" article which is certainly a step forward from printing NuLab press releases vertbatim. If that's the worst she can come up with, I doubt Salmond will be losing much sleep over it.

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  • 274. At 12:58pm on 01 Mar 2009, DougtheDug wrote:

    #259, #263 greenockboy

    I've never trusted MacWhirter or his judgement and I can remember enthusiastic pieces in the Sunday Herald from him about Brown when Brown became PM. I'm neither a journalist nor a political wonk but even I heard the alarm bells ringing, joyously in my case, when Brown disappeared for a week down a rabbit hole and left Blair to face the cameras after the SNP took over as the largest party in Holyrood in 2007.

    As far as Muriel Gray goes I have no time for her. If you go back to a Sunday Herald article from the first of May 2007 just before the Scottish Parliamentary elections you'll find that she said,
    "All these dark secret forces hope for independence so that they can have unelected, undemocratic power. What a future Scotland that's going to be. Hello, banana republic!",
    combining paranoia, pessimism and cringe in one go.

    Now that even the Labour Luvvies like Gray and MacWhirter have realised that Brown has feet of clay it is apparent that they are lost in a political wilderness.

    They have lost faith in Labour but they can't face supporting the Conservatives and the Lib-Dems are an irrelevance.

    They could choose the SNP but they are to hardline unionist ever to face life without mummy Westminster.

    Anyway her comments about, "increasing activity of nationalist online cyber-thugs", doesn't apply to me. I don't post as much as I used to and if you check the comments in the referenced Sunday Herald article you'll find that I was much more thuggish to her then than I am here.

    I'll reproduce it here for the lazy.

    Muriel Gray:
    "All these dark secret forces hope for independence so that they can have unelected, undemocratic power..."

    Ha Ha Ha Ha! For the SNP not vote, dark side they are. She even looks a bit like Yoda. Or maybe it's the Illuminati or David Icke's lizards she's worried about.

    My favourite little gallus numpty. If the electorate vote for the SNP then how's that undemocratic?

    "What a future Scotland that's going to be. Hello, banana republic!"

    The old song. We're too stupid to run ourselves without turning into some kailyard facist state. What a cringy wee turnip.

    I take it she's encouraging us to vote for the party which willingly took part in the war which has killed over 650,000 civilians in Iraq and wants to base new WMD on the Clyde.

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  • 275. At 1:00pm on 01 Mar 2009, Barbazenzero wrote:

    Excellent analysis of the timeline of NuLab's sorry timeline over coming clean over torture in the Indy's: Guilty: Britain admits collusion, new torture claims emerge.

    Starting with the Department of Transport's "No one told us (20 November, 2005)" and going point by point through to Hutton's "Yes, we were involved. And we shouldn't have been (27 February, 2009)", it amply explains Staw's FOI veto and Duff Gordon's refusal to hold a proper enquiry while he's still in office.

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  • 276. At 1:01pm on 01 Mar 2009, Barbazenzero wrote:

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

  • 277. At 1:07pm on 01 Mar 2009, greenockboy wrote:

    The politics show (Scotland) are STILL running with the Labour spin re: Goodwin's 'good win', this isn't surprising given Scottish media's compliance when it comes to Labour.

    Douglas Fraser and Campbell was reduced to highlighting the fact that Goodwin's security is payed for by RBS. The fact that Goodwins pension was agreed by Labour ministers was made by shadow chancellor George Osbourne and was completely ignored by our Glen.

    Wee Glen's interview with Osbourne also highlighted his (subconcious) Labour leanings by his use of the phrase 'efficiency savings' when using them in a Labour context yet reverting to 'cuts' when asking Osbourne if the Tories would carry the same policy through.

    Osbourne then touched on how a future Tory government would work with any Scottish government, even the SNP. This brought quite a bitter wee aside from Glen "some people would call it an unholy alliance", Glen again demonstrating his complete lack of professionalism.

    The pension, as has been explained, is yesterday's news. Calling it news is being generous to what is clearly a Labour attempt at creating a diversion from Brown's economic woes.

    They (Scottish BBC) are also at it again with regards to any utterances from Jim Murphy. Murphy contributes vitually nothing to the good governance of Scotland, he openly abuses the position of Secretary of State for Scotland using it not as was intended, arguing Scotland's case in cabinet but uses it as a blatant party political propaganda forum for the Labour party against the democratically elected Scottish government.

    It is not in Murphy's remit to call for visits to Scotland of any world leader, no matter how worthy. As I have stated, his role is to argue Scotland's interests at cabinet, 'fighting for Scotland' if you like. Although, something tells me that he won't be accused of 'picking a fight', that - whilst not a reserved matter is certainly a reserved headline.

    Murphy, as usual, is given an uncontested platform by the media here for his every utterence.

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  • 278. At 1:10pm on 01 Mar 2009, googlehoo wrote:

    Nice to see Glenn Campbell showing his political bias on the Politics Show.

    When George Osborne suggested that a Westminster Tory government would be keen to work with an SNP government in Scotland, he commented that 'some people would call that an unholy alliance'

    Oh dear Glenn, nice to see quality broadcasting, or at least it would be......

    Given the nature of this type show, do others think it would be appropriate for BBC political talk show hosts, commentators etc. to declare their political allegiances at the start of each show to allow people to expect / understand the slant they would give to the interviews and comments

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  • 279. At 1:18pm on 01 Mar 2009, greenockboy wrote:

    Just watched Mike Russell 'kebab' wee Glen. Glen reduced to misquoting from Russell's book from 1998.

    Breathtaking from Russell, simply breathtaking.

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  • 280. At 1:30pm on 01 Mar 2009, ForteanJo wrote:

    #264 - "The sum was unacceptable in "the court of public opinion," she told the BBC, and the government "would step in". "

    Harriet isn't the first Labour bigwig to use the term "the court of public opinion" and I doubt she'll be the last.

    It sounds tough talking but, at the end of the day, everybody knows the court of public opinion is powerless (if weren't how many times would Phony B.Liar and crash gordie have been hung?) and the only court that counts is a court of law. And there it the problem for Labour. Any court of law is going to chuck this out before it even starts.

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  • 281. At 1:40pm on 01 Mar 2009, Barbazenzero wrote:

    #274 DougtheDug

    Excellent post, and thanks for the link to the Herald of times past. It must have been your "cringy wee turnip" that stung the fragrant lady, you naughty nationalist online cyber-thug you.

    Your more modern "Now that even the Labour Luvvies like Gray and MacWhirter have realised that Brown has feet of clay it is apparent that they are lost in a political wilderness." is bang on the money and it forebodes "interesting times" as we watch them squirm in their forlorn hope of discovering a unionist life-boat.

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  • 282. At 1:44pm on 01 Mar 2009, GrassyKnollington wrote:

    "nationalist online cyber - thugs", hey thanks Muriel, another one for the unionist lexicon.

    If Muriel in common with certain posters on here, no names no pack drill (... OK Neil Small)
    is threatening to withhold her vote for the SNP as there are things she doesn't like about them we may just have to live with it.

    I feel they'd both be much happier with a unionist party in any case.

    MacWhirter, Hutcheon, Dinwoodie and Bell were feted as the great new hopes for Scottish journalism simply for not being Labour lackeys. When no-one was holding Labour to account they bucked the trend.

    I don't know if that much needed balance necessarily made them friends or even fans of the SNP.

    I mean Brian goes out of his way to try and be fair and reasonable and yet as regards being part of what might be termed the "Scottish media establishment" he's close to royalty.

    At least with the ranters like Jenny Hjul, Alan Cochrane, Brain Wilson, Muriel Gray and Angus MacLeod, you know where you are.

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  • 283. At 2:13pm on 01 Mar 2009, ubinworryinmasheep wrote:

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

  • 284. At 2:18pm on 01 Mar 2009, brigadierjohn wrote:

    #243 oldnat: I haven't noticed any "sound answers" on either side. I agree there are no certainties. Maybe somebody could suggest a "strong possibility?" (No funnies, please!)

    #247 ayewrite: You said it! A paid-up Nat actually said it! What will change..... Virtually nothing.
    What's it all about then? So that after enormous cost, upheaval, internecine strife, a new King-Emperor enthroned for life... we do the things that are already done in much the same way?
    ps: I sulk only for comic effect. What's to sulk about here?

    #274: DougtheDug: If you're going to deny an epithet, (cyber thugs), it's probably wise not to confirm it in the next few paragraphs. :-)

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  • 285. At 2:34pm on 01 Mar 2009, Barbazenzero wrote:

    I seldom agree with the Torygraph, but Jeff Randall's Sir Fred Goodwin is stealing the show from the real culprits represents the mood of what's being said here, but not on auntie's news pages.

    Worth a read, but one sentence says it all, really: "By casting Sir Fred as the pantomime villain - the credit crunch's Dick Dastardly - the unholy trinity of Gordon Brown, Alistair Darling and Lord Mandelson has been able to deflect attention from Labour's calamitous stewardship."

    Off out now but back tonight, I hope.

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  • 286. At 2:34pm on 01 Mar 2009, handclapping wrote:

    #262 browndov

    You may have missed Sir (Are we still allowed to use that three letter word or is it now a term of abuse?) Christopher Mayer's interesting historical piece in the Thunderer's guest pages on "A return to 1815 is the way forward for Europe."

    It is worthwhile to substitute England and Scotland for Britain and Russia. I particularly liked the following quote "It is useless to say that nationalism and ethnic tribalism have no place in the international relations of the 21st century. If anything the spread of Western-style democracy has amplified their appeal and resonance. The supreme fallacy in foreign policy is to take the world as we would wish it to be and not as it actually is." I am sure aye_write could use it in her love ins on NR blog.

    But yes it is interesting how when the response to Fred got too close to home, Global was off to the USA and the Harperson got lumbered with the "prosecution". "Court of public opinion", what a laugh; would Labour like to stand in their "Court" now? Would they accept the result as fair?

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  • 287. At 2:40pm on 01 Mar 2009, handclapping wrote:

    #284 brigadier

    Hopefully your Post Comment is now fully functional and you can join the rest of us "online cyber-thugs" in trying to persuade each other that all is for the best in this best of all possible worlds, which it must be as it has come about through the applicaton of free, or "lightly regulated", markets.

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  • 288. At 2:53pm on 01 Mar 2009, handclapping wrote:

    #284 brigadierjohn

    Virtually nothing might include a smaller trough for greedy snouts and it might be worth it for that alone. There is / was a rather informative blog for Tory wannabes where they reached the conclusion it would cost 48000GBP to get to stand in a reasonably winnable Westminster seat. Now how do we expect them to recoup that expenditure and the interest foregone and the cost of their time in doing all the things they have had to do to become a MP?

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  • 289. At 3:25pm on 01 Mar 2009, brigadierjohn wrote:

    #288 handclapping: And a smaller everything else? I don't know. Once I really understand the "why" of it, I'll think about the "how." So far, all the answers to "why" have been "them and us" arguments, which I find disturbing.

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  • 290. At 3:56pm on 01 Mar 2009, greenockboy wrote:

    Scottish Secretary Jim Murphy suggested Mr Russell's job title should be "minister for breaking up Britain".

    Well, nice to see our Secretary of State is prepared to engage in the constitutional debate in adult fashion.

    Murphy's dry, monotonous delivery coupled with his clear charisma bypass could prove to be an asset to the independence cause in the long run.

    Let's get him into a debate live on TV with Russell, I have yet to see Murphy scrutinised by anyone over anything.

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  • 291. At 4:18pm on 01 Mar 2009, brigadierjohn wrote:

    #272 Brownedov: Just noticed your reference to Gerald Warner. He's a competent polemicist, but not, surely, a man to hold up as an example, far less quote to support a view. He believes in nothing.
    Sometimes he'll have you nodding furiously, at other times you'll want to rip the paper. That's his job - to wind you up. He can argue the opposite next week without a twinge of conscience. Journalists do that. Sometimes. Any reaction is better than none. It's a wee game. Tomorrow you'll be outraged by someone else. He/she will be just as happy as Warner.

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  • 292. At 4:57pm on 01 Mar 2009, enneffess wrote:

    282. At 1:44pm on 01 Mar 2009, GrassyKnollington wrote:
    "nationalist online cyber - thugs", hey thanks Muriel, another one for the unionist lexicon.

    If Muriel in common with certain posters on here, no names no pack drill (... OK Neil Small)
    is threatening to withhold her vote for the SNP as there are things she doesn't like about them we may just have to live with it.

    ----------------------

    Who said I was going to withold my vote? Please show me where I said that.

    Just because I'm not convinced on independence doesn't mean I won't vote for the SNP. There is a subtle difference.



    243. At 00:21am on 01 Mar 2009, oldnat:

    I think that is a better way of what I was trying to say. The arguments are in place, but there are no certainties.

    ------------

    245. At 00:45am on 01 Mar 2009, greenockboy wrote:
    The comment of mine, number 242, has been referred to the moderators.

    It containes no abusive language, no attacks on any other posters - but does include references to two articles in todays Sunday Herald.

    Both articles use Sir George Mathewson in order to attack Alex Salmond (fact)

    One of the articles uses a fourth party association in order to attack Salmond. (fact)

    Salmond is attacked because he is associated with Sir George Mathewson who is associated with a hedge fund that is associated with businesses that use the Cayman Islands for tax purposes.

    Ridiculous.

    ------------------------------

    And that is why I have said Alex Salmond needs to (quietly) remove Sir George. It gives plenty of ammunition for Labour, although I didn't expect an attack this early.

    It may be coming from a friend-of-a-friend -of-someone-down-the-pub's-third-wife's- second-cousin sources, but it is still potentially damaging.

    Safest bet is to get someone else in.

    Good intentions by Alex in hiring him, but perhaps a little bit naive in retrospect considering the ongoing issues with banks and fund managers.

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  • 293. At 4:58pm on 01 Mar 2009, handclapping wrote:

    #289 brigadier

    How about an us and us.

    We have built from this Union a Titanic. We have hit an iceberg and the boilers have been extinguished. The Captain, who is all powerful aboard, is throwing pound notes at the "engine room" and crying "Full steam ahead!".
    Would you
    a) rearrange the deck chairs and listen to the band or
    b) look at using the, rather smaller, lifeboats?

    Is b) in any way unsporting?
    Is the whole analogy so preposterous you couldn't recognise any correspondence with our present situation?

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  • 294. At 5:42pm on 01 Mar 2009, aye_write wrote:

    #284 brigadierjohn

    Brig-a-dear (ee-me),

    Thank you for waving in my face - I shall turn my attention to you!

    "You said it! A paid-up Nat actually said it! What will change..... Virtually nothing."

    I'm very glad I said it then if it prompted you from your comic (it was!) sulk. If I took sulks seriously in my house (four small boys, and one big one!), well, life would grind to a steady halt!

    Now, what were you expecting to happen?
    Lets see, "enormous cost, upheaval, internecine strife, a new King-Emperor enthroned for life".

    Enormous cost.
    An overreaction (whole post!). Which particular costs were you scared of? You mean normal costs that other independent countries deal with?

    Some would say we already pay enormous costs to the UK treasury (whisky, tourism, oil), and we don't get to decide how to spend it! If there are costs to be met, I'd rather my government was deciding in what way to meet them rather than another's. Why is that strange to you. (Maybe your wife sorts out all the important stuff?? ;-)

    Upheaval.
    Hardly. Perhaps some errant behaviour on account of being intoxicated at a big celebration party (probably in my case) and the necessary tidying up!

    Do you mean upheaval in some votes in parliament, and debates, and some resulting changing administration? Gasp! It goes on all the time!

    Step by step we'll reorganise matters as necessary, in the due democratic (unlike Westminster) process. Is it that you are scared of that?

    Internecine strife.
    We don't have to be hot iron branded as Scots! Learn the bagpipes or recite Scotland the What to become indoctrinated in "the club".

    Do you think on independence we will all take to our claymores? The "fight" will be won.

    Won't it just be cooperation and debate (as demonstrated already by Holyrood)? Having already a minority administration we are used to differences of opinion and can, in an adult way, deal with it. It's not winner says all (and the rest can huff) like at Westminster.

    Life won't go crazy. You sound like someone who was really worried about the Y2K problem.

    (You'd better point out your fears then so I can calm you....)

    "What's it all about then? So that after ... we do the things that are already done in much the same way?"

    At last! You said it! A paid-up sceptic actually said it! You actually don't know what independence is about and yet you are so sure it won't work!!

    As I said, in my post #247:

    "the main difference to notice will be that it is our government, elected by us, for us the Scottish people."

    Did you deliberately ignore that then?

    All the normal things will still stay normal. Except WE will get to decide on them, not another parliament in Westminster. We won't be mute any more. (No cheek!)

    The difference will be that this governance will be carried out for the Scottish people. We will be an ordinary nation (again).

    Is that meaningless?

    Yes, only if the following means nothing.
    You are a grown man (retired now?). You cannot take decisions for yourself. You cannot sort out your own incomings and outgoings, you cannot decide who to form relationships with, cannot talk to anyone else, cannot show your face in public. You can just stand there and have all of this done for you.

    Would other people look at you and think, "That's a bit pathetic, what's wrong with him! He mustn't be able to look after himself."

    "Or he's plain lazy!" says another.

    Either way, what is this doing to your reputation in the perception of others, your self perception and your self respect.

    If you accept the "help" you are getting, you are trading self respect for it.

    That you may feel comfortable to do. But it is beyond the pale to trade our next generation's - before they have even had a chance to warrant it.

    It's a presumption. And I do not accept that you make it for mine.

    For that is what staying with Union is. Denying our lot to decide for ourselves.

    Noting the Declaration of Arbroath:

    "It is in truth not for glory, nor riches, nor honours that we are fighting, but for freedom — for that alone, which no honest man gives up but with life itself."

    It's in the UN Charter:

    "to reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person, in the equal rights of men and women and of nations large and small

    To develop friendly relations among nations based on respect for the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples, and to take other appropriate measures to strengthen universal peace

    Members of the United Nations which have or assume responsibilities for the administration of territories whose peoples have not yet attained a full measure of self-government recognize the principle that the interests of the inhabitants of these territories are paramount [not their own], and accept as a sacred trust the obligation to promote to the utmost, within the system of international peace and security established by the present Charter, the well-being of the inhabitants of these territories, and, to this end:

    to ensure, with due respect for the culture of the peoples concerned, their political, economic, social, and educational advancement, their just treatment, and their protection against abuses;

    to develop self-government, to take due account of the political aspirations of the peoples, and to assist them in the progressive development of their free political institutions, according to the particular circumstances of each territory and its peoples and their varying stages of advancement


    Independence is fundamentally concerned with what will happen if we don't move on from the Union.

    It's a dying, undemocratic, immoral, elite-driven, broke sinking ship.

    There's another one sailing by. It's smaller but run by the crew as well as the fat captain. I am Scottish so I get to decide whether to go aboard. I think I'll head off to the lifeboats and paddle over in that direction - and take my family.

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  • 295. At 5:45pm on 01 Mar 2009, ubinworryinmasheep wrote:

    #290 Why not throw Alex Salmond and Andy Gray into that TV debate. Would be good to see how Mr Grey behaves in front of Jim Murphy. Also would be good to see them gettin mashed by AS.

    Also good to see Aunti Annabell putting the boot in. 'Scottish Conservative leader Annabel Goldie added: "The SNP needs to stop chuntering on about its obsession with independence and concentrate on dealing with Labour's recession' ... note Labour's recession lol

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  • 296. At 5:49pm on 01 Mar 2009, pattymkirkwood wrote:

    Sir Fred Goodwin IS being used as a scapegoat (which is not the same thing as saying he is innocent). Meanwhile "quantitative easing" is taking place in the background ... that is: Britain is just printing money ... like Zimbabwe!

    Notice Macavity is nowhere to be found again.

    Britain didn't have to take such desperate measures in the 1930s.

    Thank you Gordon Brown. Thank you Union Dividend.


    Meanwhile: "Peace Envoy" Tony Blair is "appalled" by the destruction in Gaza. Hilarious. Presumably he has decided (all of a sudden) that the lives of Gazans are worth more than those of Iraqis or Lebanese.

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  • 297. At 5:49pm on 01 Mar 2009, pattymkirkwood wrote:

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

  • 298. At 5:51pm on 01 Mar 2009, greenockboy wrote:

    Neil_Small writes:
    "And that is why I have said Alex Salmond needs to (quietly) remove Sir George. It gives plenty of ammunition for Labour, although I didn't expect an attack this early."

    I know you've said this (remove Mathewson), however it would be a bad move. The press would have a field day headlining another SNP 'U Turn'.

    Mathewson provides no particular ammunition, the Scottish press will print or contrive stories of this nature regardless of who advises the SNP. Will you also advise the SNP to rid themselves of Mike Russell as he has also been subject to the propaganda attacks from our media (Wee Glen at it today).

    Anyone associated with the SNP has/will be used by our media. Think of any high profile SNP supporter and you will find articles attacking them.

    The press actually attacked Salmond months ago using Mathewson, so your prediction of an imminent/future attack was far from impressive.

    Your suggestions that the SNP work or react to an agenda set by the compliant Scottish media with their penchant for propaganda is one I find unconvincing.

    Incidently:
    The Sunday Herald have censored both my comments on todays articles on Mathewson and the Cayman islands.

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  • 299. At 5:55pm on 01 Mar 2009, brigadierjohn wrote:

    #293 handclapping: To extend your analogy, we are all aboard this Union vessel but I'm not sure it's the Titanic. Check your ticket. The captain's no weel, the engine may be faltering, but there's still hope we'll get past the iceberg and limp into port. It's not a perfect ship, but the lifeboats might be dodgy too!

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  • 300. At 5:56pm on 01 Mar 2009, aye_write wrote:

    #289 brigadierjohn

    "Once I really understand the "why" of it, I'll think about the "how.""

    re my #294
    Hope you understand the why a bit more now brig.

    If you don't, ask me more. I'll try my best to at least get you to see my perspective. You don't have to agree, like Anglophone with me (though admittedly he's not interested), but it's fascinating, I think, how we can have such widely opposing views.

    :-)

    "So far, all the answers to "why" have been "them and us" arguments, which I find disturbing."

    It's not them at all, JUST us. To have our national identity represented. It's pretty much as simple as that.

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  • 301. At 5:59pm on 01 Mar 2009, aye_write wrote:

    292 Neil_Small147

    "I think that is a better way of what I was trying to say. The arguments are in place, but there are no certainties."

    That's true Neil, but will you accept you can never get any?

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  • 302. At 5:59pm on 01 Mar 2009, greenockboy wrote:

    Has anyone noticed that The Herald comment section has suddenly started allowing troll like comments?

    As I stated earlier, I posted a comment to each of it's Mathewson stories yet not one appeared.

    I have had a look at some of the comments that have and have come to the conclusion that it is not pre-moderation that they are employing, it is pre-censorship.

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  • 303. At 6:10pm on 01 Mar 2009, ForteanJo wrote:

    #293 -


    We have built from this Union a Titanic. We have hit an iceberg and the boilers have been extinguished. The Captain, who is all powerful aboard, is throwing pound notes at the "engine room" and crying "Full steam ahead!".
    Would you
    a) rearrange the deck chairs and listen to the band or
    b) look at using the, rather smaller, lifeboats?

    Is b) in any way unsporting?


    I think (b) is quickly becoming the elephant in the room, handclapping. Everybody knows it's there but no one want to talk about it. As a way of avoiding the worst of the deepening economic disaster hitting the UK, there is this feeling that although it's viable, it does seem like running away from our responsibilities - we got in this mess together, we should see it out together.

    You can argue that it's not our mess, Crash made every effort to rescind his Scottishness in a, untimately, futile attempt to appeal to Middle England. But then, it's difficult to argue we didn't, at least notionally, benefit from the good times along with the rest of the UK.

    This recession will be a double-edged sword for the SNP. On the one hand, some potential supporters will be put off independence due to the fear factor, others because they feel the timing is wrong. On the other hand, handled correctly it could be the magic ticket that many grasp as a quick and easy(ier) solution to end the pain of the economic depression we're suffering from.

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  • 304. At 6:32pm on 01 Mar 2009, Dave McEwan Hill wrote:

    Is Jim Murphy aware that the Vatican describes Scotland as a "special sister in Christ" and affords it independent nation status?
    Strictly speaking any visit of the Pope to Scotland should not involve Westminster but Holyrood.

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  • 305. At 6:44pm on 01 Mar 2009, Dave McEwan Hill wrote:

    Real anger management......

    watching that preposterous charlatan Blair on television this evening pontificating on Gaza.

    The truth about the sequence of events in which this jackanapes took us to war in Iraq are gradually surfacing.
    Claire Short in the Mail on Sunday

    "At the last Cabinet meeting, no debate on the legality of the war was allowed and Tony Blair, then Prime Minister, said brusquely: ‘That’s it.’
    The official records would also put an end to claims by Gordon Brown’s supporters that, in private, he had grave doubts about the war, said Ms Short. In fact, he led the Cabinet campaign to accuse France of sabotaging British and American attempts to win United Nations support for the attack on Saddam Hussein.
    ‘It is extraordinary when you hear people like Jack Straw say that the Cabinet minutes cannot be published because you have to preserve Cabinet confidentiality and robust decision-making,’ said Ms Short, who resigned as International Development Secretary after the war.
    ‘The bitter irony is that what they are doing is concealing the fact there was no robust decision-making. The minutes will reveal there was no real Cabinet discussion about the Iraq War. That is the real scandal.’

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  • 306. At 6:44pm on 01 Mar 2009, brigadierjohn wrote:

    It's 6.40pm. I'm stuck in a queue of 12. Looking at the names, I'm not holding my breath for congratulations.

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  • 307. At 7:03pm on 01 Mar 2009, aye_write wrote:

    Re Muriel Gray

    Before I go on to pass comment on Muriels's latest effort in the Sunday Herald, let me just cast some light on her dilemma. A confident sage she hasn't been.

    This from her piece in the Sunday Herald on November 18th 2006:

    "However, it’s odds on that nothing too earth-shattering will happen in the May elections. The grave concerns currently uniting us with our fellow Brits are considerably greater than those dividing us."

    No, Muriel, were you right........

    Apart from general belittling of her country, compatriots and reserving particular zeal for nationalists, her main argument then consisted of...

    "Religious leaders of all kinds are almost always in favour of independence, for the simple reason that they imagine they will have more power and authority. Yikes! If nothing else there’s a darn good reason to stay in the United Kingdom."

    Eh? Westminster has a whole bunch of unelected bishops of one English church in the house of Lords!

    OK, perhaps all her articles include such gems. But I do not seek to ridicule, so I'll plough on.


    More crucially, she says this:

    "I used to want independence. Desperately and passionately in fact. It was during Thatcher’s reign, when many of us saw a grim future where the left leaning government that the majority of Scottish voters demonstrated they desired, by voting for such at every election, would never be a reality unless we separated. I supported, though never joined the SNP, because I believed it was the only tactical way to work towards winning the representation and power denied us during those dark political days. But thankfully we were wrong. The English eventually came to their senses, Labour got in, and devolution delivered a level of representation we only ever dreamt of, with an executive now currently creating and passing bills that would previously have gone straight into the Westminster pedal bin.

    Having been granted what I desired, nothing currently convinces me that independence would be a useful or positive thing.
    "

    Now from her latest article:

    "Straw has banged the last nail into the coffin of moribund, corrupt and morally bankrupt New Labour"

    Yes, what a waste of a vote they've been. I don't get why people voted for them (I didn't) only that plenty did and I believe did with good heart.

    So, of Muriel, I would not want her to feel let down, as it is not a nice feeling. But then she goes on to feel prematurely let down by the SNP as well.

    ("Salmond's readiness to be bought by dubious opportunists and the increasing activity of nationalist online cyber-thugs make this newly floating voter far too nervous to commit.")

    That though, Muriel (for I can offer you some hope), is like comparing pears with apples - they aren't the same. Let me show you.

    Your Labour party got in with 35.3% of the vote. However, with First Past the Post, on gaining a clear majority. The UK constitution sets out that sovereignty lies with the parliament, not with the people, and so there are no checks and balances for the politicians once in power.

    Therefore they can do, and have done, what they like. And Muriel doesn't like, and in that by far she is not alone.

    Next time will be the same however, because with the same FPTP system the Tories will get in, but probably with a bigger share of the vote, and therefore a bigger majority and an even greater provision for unchecked power. Do you seriously think anyone won't be as pi$$ed off with them, as we are just now with Labour, in four or five years time? You will be.

    The fact of the matter is your vote does not count for change unless you are floating voter in a marginal constituency. Even then it's just the next lot's turn and no democracy in action.

    Muriel is understandably disillusioned. But what to do?

    The SNP, although they are the party in government, are not like any mainstream party as you or I know it. They are a concoction of all representation in the political spectrum, who have one thing in common. They don't like the current UK set up. They want it changed.

    They seek to correct the democratic deficit, as described.

    Their way is to have a Scottish parliament, in line with their draft constitution, which points out, like as now,that the people of Scotland are sovereign - the difference would be a necessity to call referenda on such important matters affecting the population.

    Government would be further representative because of the Proportional Representation system at Holyrood. Parties get the number of seats more in line with the votes cast, and if they just win, can govern in the minority, making for a consensus led, fairer government.
    Not like at Westminster.

    In so doing, setting up this more iniquitous system of government, they don't want to keep excess baggage from Westminster.

    They want this government to be normal in that it doesn't have to answer to another one, like those of other European nations don't have to.

    But the SNP is just the vehicle to take us to that point.

    After independence it is possible it will splinter, or at least some of its body will farm out to join or form other parties of varying political persuasions, thus creating the normal range political spectrum present in any country, from which we will then get to choose.

    That is the great difference with the SNP. Far from being a restrictive "main" party, they are the doorway to greater political choice, through us first becoming like any normal independent country.

    Far away from the UK constitutional set up that is, as there will finally be democracy.

    From one of Muriel's famed "nationalist online cyber-thugs" - for did that include me?

    (To Muriel, remembering how you tore strips off mouthy Ben Elton, and others on telly, I liked that people would think you represented us Scots. How cool. I thought you were.

    I used to think you were funny........
    ...........................now I think you're funny :-)

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  • 308. At 7:18pm on 01 Mar 2009, handclapping wrote:

    #299 brigadier

    I'll agree the captain's under the weather but when I checked my ticket it read *xx** Valdez. That cost the shareholders dear for many years too.
    So nice to dandle the grandchildren on your knee and tell them you've left them a "remembrance" for after you're gone. Must stop now or you'll think I'm another of aye_write's avatars

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  • 309. At 7:20pm on 01 Mar 2009, Barbazenzero wrote:

    #286 handclapping

    As a republican, I'll not enter the debate on the three-letter word you use, but thanks for the pointer to Mayer's "A return to 1815 is the way forward for Europe." An interesting read, and your quote is particularly apposite.

    I agree with you entirely re the "Court of public opinion". What fascinates me today is that both the print media and our auntie Beeb are pushing the Supreme Leader's US "jolly" much more than his attendance at today's EU summit. Neither this website's EU 'consensus' to tackle crisis or Brown: EU is united over economy actually tell us anything meaningful. More interesting is the Czech presidency's Family photo, which tells us that Duff Gordon couldn't be bothered to turn up on time - perhaps fearing being seen a la Lisbon. The cynically or technically minded can click on the picture for a larger version and then download the actual picture from the site to confirm for themselves that it was taken at 13:20 [CET=GMT+1] today on a Nikon D3.

    Whatever actually happened behind closed doors, the NuLab spinning machine will doubtless echo, as usual, the advertising campaign of Homer Simpson's favourite beverage: "The world can't get enough of that wonderful Duff".

    Post or reactive moderation for all except CBeebies, please!

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  • 310. At 7:20pm on 01 Mar 2009, Barbazenzero wrote:

    #291 brigadierjohn

    Point taken - maybe next week it'll be a diatribe against Salmond, but I did only claim it to be a good read and I'll stand by that. A hack's a hack, and I've worked with a fair few in my time, but some are more readable than others.

    Post or reactive moderation for all except CBeebies, please!

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  • 311. At 7:22pm on 01 Mar 2009, brigadierjohn wrote:

    #294 aye_write: So that's what held up moderation for an hour? It's a masterclass in misrepresentation, an exemplar of character assassination, and you even managed to drag in 1320 and the UN! A classic nationalist post. With bells on.
    Just a few points. Cost: the actual cost of, eg., transferring UK-centric public records, removing bases, etc., etc.
    Upheaval: Cross-border movement of people and businesses seeking tax benefits either way. The SAS soldier from Glasgow who doesn't fancy ceremonial posing. Which Army for him?
    Internecine strife: There will be refusniks. Demos, arrests, court cases, all spreading poison in Scotland.
    YK2? My ony worry was that I'd have to do the preparation every Millennium!
    So, in short, anything goes as long as there's a wee Jock in charge. But I suppose it's okay to be an emotional Nationalist and let the practicalities await King Alex's pleasure.
    Another incoherent rant, aye_write. Tip: drop the parentheses, real and virtual. You may have something to say in that jumble. I just haven't found it.

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  • 312. At 7:36pm on 01 Mar 2009, brigadierjohn wrote:

    #300 aye_write: Just call me a sucker for punishment. Regarding the "why" question, when I read your stuff it becomes "why, oh why?" I understand even less now, and if I seek answers it won't be from you. No offence meant.
    "Just us... our national identity." Sorry, you can't have that without a "them." Hardly a nationalist poster would have a word to say if it wasn't to vilify "them." You know, Brown, Darling, Gray, BBC, Scotsman, Muriel Gray (for god's sake), Unionists, zzzzzzzzzzzz................

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  • 313. At 7:37pm on 01 Mar 2009, enneffess wrote:

    301. At 5:59pm on 01 Mar 2009, aye_write wrote:
    292 Neil_Small147

    "I think that is a better way of what I was trying to say. The arguments are in place, but there are no certainties."

    That's true Neil, but will you accept you can never get any?

    -------------------------

    I can accept that we should get SOME certainties, even if only the basic ones.

    To me the critical one is oil. If Scotland does get 95% or whatever the figure is, then yes we are off to a good start.

    The other critical ones (to me) are, and in no particular order:

    EU
    Currency
    Energy
    Defence

    These MUST be given an absolute proposal prior to an independence referendum. OK, EU and currency might require a further vote.

    As for everything else, yes I accept there cannot be any guarantees. But people will be interested in health and benefits in particular. Also of interest will be the public sector.


    As for the Titantic analogy. The iceberg has got to be PFI.


    298. At 5:51pm on 01 Mar 2009, greenockboy wrote:

    Your suggestions that the SNP work or react to an agenda set by the compliant Scottish media with their penchant for propaganda is one I find unconvincing.


    I'm not suggesting they react (apart from this case). They should be pro-active. That means prior to announcing a policy or bringing someone new on board, sitting dow and considering any potential fallout and what course of action is best. In the case of Mathewson, while he ramped up RBS some will argue that he was partly to blame for what happened. He only left 3 or 4 years ago.

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  • 314. At 7:56pm on 01 Mar 2009, GrassyKnollington wrote:

    Brian , do you think the splendidly vituperative Tavish Scott became so obsessed by the size of Sir Fred's package that he forgot his submission to the Calman commisssion?

    Liking all The Titanic analogies by everyone else by the way.

    I can see Broon The Great Helmsman (for it is he) steaming full speed ahead towards the iceberg with a helmeted Tavish and crew in a longboat being towed along in their wake Wet, doomed but insanely happy.

    To the union and beyond!

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  • 315. At 8:12pm on 01 Mar 2009, ScotInNotts wrote:

    #303 ForteanJo

    "others because they feel the timing is wrong."

    I understand the point you're making. What I'd ask these people is when is the right time?

    I'd venture to say it's like deciding when to have kids.

    You can worry about the financial implications and whether it's the right time careers wise, do you have enough space where you live, schools etc.

    Then you realise, there is no right time, you can plan as best as you can, in the end if you want children you're just going to go ahead and have them.

    Likewise if you want independence, you'll never really know when is the 'right' time, you have to go ahead and do it.

    For some there will always be something in them that says it's not the right time. Does that mean we put off independence indefinitely because circumstances aren't as 'favourable' as they could be?

    The economic crisis can be used twofold by unionists.

    1. Now, you're too much in debt, can't afford it and we also have your point of helping out because we caused the mess too.
    2. Once the recovery is in full swing, well there's no need to have independence because everything is great financially and you wouldn't want to leae when the goings good would you?

    No, if independence is to become a reality then this type of arguement should not deter that goal. We can and should contribute to cleaning up the mess as part of the independence settlement, this should not determine whether independence is achieved or not.

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  • 316. At 8:19pm on 01 Mar 2009, aye_write wrote:

    #306 brigadierjohn

    "It's 6.40pm. I'm stuck in a queue of 12. Looking at the names, I'm not holding my breath for congratulations."

    Slap!

    ;->

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  • 317. At 8:22pm on 01 Mar 2009, aye_write wrote:

    #303 ForteanJo

    "I think (b) is quickly becoming the elephant in the room, handclapping. Everybody knows it's there but no one want to talk about it. As a way of avoiding the worst of the deepening economic disaster hitting the UK, there is this feeling that although it's viable, it does seem like running away from our responsibilities - we got in this mess together, we should see it out together"

    Fortean, there is a way of looking at this that sheds all of the strain of the version you recounted.

    In gaining independence we do England a favour.

    They (go on NR's) are fed up with the non-democracy of Westminster, but know for their MPs to vote for a change to the system that gives parliament (them) sovereignty is like waiting for Turkeys to vote for Christmas.
    Plus they hate that we have devolution but they are stuck with Westminster.

    Our independence forces them to deal with the democratic deficit therein, as they hopefully seize the chance and revise it. Many on NR's seek to restore democracy to the system but don't know how that could be achieved, and some already advocate straight English independence.

    There is a massive debt to dealt with here. But as two separate nations we'd be stronger to deal with it. Our parliaments would represent us, unlike in the self-serving pseudo-autocratic runaway train UK example we have now.

    Arguably if that had been the case in the first place, such outlandish decisions such as we've seen (Lloyds takes HBOS) might never have been enabled, and we might not be in such a mess as we are sure in now.

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  • 318. At 8:23pm on 01 Mar 2009, ForteanJo wrote:

    #304 -

    Is Jim Murphy aware that the Vatican describes Scotland as a "special sister in Christ" and affords it independent nation status?
    Strictly speaking any visit of the Pope to Scotland should not involve Westminster but Holyrood.


    I hope I'm wrong here, sneckedagain, but during the Politics Show snippet, I really got the impression that Murphy is trying to provoke some sort of negative reaction from the SNP. As if the one-upmanship of inviting the Pope to Scotland (esp. after Crash's invitation was 'rubbished' by the Vatican) isn't quite enough for Murphy. As if he just wants to use it as a club to slap Salmond around with.

    Perhaps it's the fact that it appears his whole reason d'etre these days is to do down the SNP. After all, if his role is to stand up for Scotland (as claimed), how many times has he stood up to Crash and the rest of the Cabinet? If the answer is zero (and it appears to be), there's 2 possibilities:

    1 - He is in dereliction of his duties, and therefore should stand down
    2 - Crash and the Cabinet are completely in tune to Scotland's needs. As such, the SoS role is superflous and, as such, Murphy should stand down

    Of course, somebody may think of a third possibility.

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  • 319. At 8:26pm on 01 Mar 2009, handclapping wrote:

    Brian

    Can you imagine the feelings of the Harry Potter author, whose name escapes me at present? One measily million to the Labour Party for all they were to have done for child poverty and here they are blowing 16000000GBP on redundant bankers. I mean you could get 5 extra MPs for that money or 140 OAPs so what could you have done for child poverty?

    But not to worry, child poverty is going to get a whole lot better, poverty being a relative concept. When all of us are on the dole then the level at which poverty starts is going to be so low that child allowances are going to put parents among the above average rich. Just wait for Global Brown to claim he "solved" child poverty!

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  • 320. At 8:34pm on 01 Mar 2009, bighullabaloo wrote:

    Just read the Sunday Herald's INVESTIGATION by Paul Hutcheon: "Salmond’s top economic adviser uses Cayman Islands tax haven".

    The article ends with the somewhat pathetic whimper: "There is no suggestion that Mathewson is involved in any wrongdoing."

    I thought the point of investigative journalism was to investigate wrongdoing, uncover corruption, expose the perpetrators of hidden evil in our society.

    Maybe one of the big Unionist brains on here can explain why the Scottish media are now wasting valuable time and effort "investigating" people where there is no suggestion they are "involved in any wrongdoing"?

    I'm not holding my breath.

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  • 321. At 8:36pm on 01 Mar 2009, oldnat wrote:

    #284 brigadierjohn

    "sound answers" was Neil's phrase of course, and appropriate in its context. I would have said "sound arguments" on both sides.

    Many of the arguments are, in fact, the same - when they relate to primary political identity. British? Scottish?

    For some, such as Anaxim, the question has no meaning. For others such as fourstrikes (and I imagine such as Mathewson at the other end of the "class" scale), the question is
    important but class would end up as the dominant factor, were the two forms of identity to be in conflict.

    For many of us, at both ends of the British/Scottish spectrum, it is the dominant question. My father used to describe how in the 1930s politics became polarised on the dominant Left/Right issue - the "excluded middle". The same process occurs regularly in human affairs. When a major decision need to be taken, those who believe passionately in a "middle way" (in this case Federalism etc) need to be as passionate in their beliefs, and as clear in their policy as the main opposing factions.

    In this political conflict, the policy of the middle ground appears to have been abandoned except for

    1. the self-interested bodge that Labour made of devolution - thus stoking the fires of resentment in England

    2. the flaccidity of the Lib-Dems (not even able to get their own submission to Calman in on time)

    3. the "wait and see" policy of the Tories (no submission to Calman)

    4. A few "status quo"ists sitting sniping on the sidelines, but making no positive contribution.

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  • 322. At 8:37pm on 01 Mar 2009, Barbazenzero wrote:

    #306 brigadierjohn

    It's now 20:37 GMT, so the queue is approaching 2 hours again. With all 3 "featured" HYS forums having 100+ posts awaiting moderation, it looks like it will be a very sloooooooow evening. Anger management definitely required.

    TTFN - will look back much later.

    Post or reactive moderation for all except CBeebies, please!

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  • 323. At 8:37pm on 01 Mar 2009, cynicalHighlander wrote:

    #306. brigadierjohn wrote:

    "It's 6.40pm. I'm stuck in a queue of 12. Looking at the names, I'm not holding my breath for congratulations."

    I thought that was standard "britishness" full of small shopkeepers and formal queues.

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  • 324. At 8:39pm on 01 Mar 2009, oldnat wrote:

    #306 brigadierjohn

    Congratulations brig! Always nice to read the clear, concise wording in your posts (regardless of the content).

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  • 325. At 8:45pm on 01 Mar 2009, cynicalHighlander wrote:

    Call for free independence vote

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  • 326. At 9:00pm on 01 Mar 2009, aye_write wrote:

    #308 handclapping

    "Must stop now or you'll think I'm another of aye_write's avatars"

    I prefer "groupie"!

    ;-)


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  • 327. At 9:10pm on 01 Mar 2009, brigadierjohn wrote:

    #307 aye_waffling: What's the point of another zillion words, this time directed at a wee lassie who doesn't give a monkey's what you think about anything and will never see them? Moderation is slow enough at times.
    Now, I wouldn't wish to censor a single word in your wee heid, but don't you think this self-indulgent ranting is a bit overdone?
    Another tip: bold typefaces, as you employ them, and the blog equivalent of green ink, so beloved of residents in locked wards. I think you can do better.

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  • 328. At 9:20pm on 01 Mar 2009, handclapping wrote:

    #306 Brownedov

    No surprise; GB wasn't going to come back from Brussels with all the leaders proclaiming how he had single-handedly saved the world. He's hoping Obama hasn't the nous not to say something that can be spun to his advantage. His going first is only a sign that Obama is dealing with his biggest problems first. Good thinking when you are up the creek with no propulsion, but wasted on Global Brown, I fear.

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  • 329. At 9:27pm on 01 Mar 2009, A_View_From_France wrote:

    If this government cannot get the details right on something as minor as a pension, how on earth can we trust them with something as large as the UK economy?.

    The government has used this non story about Goodwin's pension as a decoy from the massive loss that RBS has just experienced, the governments handling in this whole sorry saga has been appalling, I can only hope that this dysfunctional group of amateurs get voted out at the next election.

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  • 330. At 9:28pm on 01 Mar 2009, handclapping wrote:

    #311 brigadier

    That's interesting; why should Scotland want the UK records of your telephone calls, emails and the CCTV of you wiping your nose in Whitehall? Are you doing something subversive about which we should know? It's only if you've got something to hide that you need to be afraid, as we are continually told.

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  • 331. At 9:34pm on 01 Mar 2009, handclapping wrote:

    #311 brigadierjohn

    And refusniks; I though you were going to Cyprus. Don't tell me that the pound's reaction to Global Brown's "management" of the economy has made it impossible for you. And they make such good "sherry" too.

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  • 332. At 9:39pm on 01 Mar 2009, oldnat wrote:

    #311 brigadierjohn

    I think the congratulations have to be withdrawn.

    Poorly structured post this time. (That's an example of a number of verbless sentences you used : useful as an occasional device, but inappropriate when you use them repeatedly.)

    Additionally, I'd advise you to improve your spacing. Badly laid out text such as yours is much more difficult for the reader to comprehend.

    You may have had something worthwhile to say in that post, but I found myself concentrating on the poverty of the layout, rather than the poverty of the argument.

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  • 333. At 9:57pm on 01 Mar 2009, cynicalHighlander wrote:

    Allies might come in different shades of green

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  • 334. At 10:17pm on 01 Mar 2009, oldnat wrote:

    #314 GrassyKnollington

    If you don't know the story (and why brownedov frequently refers to "Duff" Gordon), here's the text of a post I sent him in July -

    "No analogy with the Titanic would be complete, without including the fact that many men from 1st Class got into the lifeboats, leaving women and children in steerage to drown.

    One of these was Sir Cosmo Duff Gordon (!) of Maryculter (played by Martin Jarvis in the film)."

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  • 335. At 10:21pm on 01 Mar 2009, pattymkirkwood wrote:

    These queues are getting ridiculous again.

    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/cartoon/

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  • 336. At 10:50pm on 01 Mar 2009, brigadierjohn wrote:

    #321 oldnat: Thanks for such a considered and weighty response to what wasn't much more than a throwaway line. I caught the sting in the tail!
    But consider: we "status quo-ists" although neither defending nor advocating a position, are making a positive contribution. If people stop and think about their own position, in terms of logic rather than dogma, than seek to defend it in other than abusive terms, surely that is positive? That is all I am seeking to do here.
    Was your #324 an ironic respnse to my comments to aye_write? I'm always wary of "praise" from you. :-)

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  • 337. At 10:52pm on 01 Mar 2009, ForteanJo wrote:

    #315 -

    I'd venture to say it's like deciding when to have kids.

    You can worry about the financial implications and whether it's the right time careers wise, do you have enough space where you live, schools etc.


    For some reason, ScotInNotts, I was reminded of the film Idiocracy. The basic premise of the film is that the people who took time to weigh up the decision to have children eventually ran out of time and died out, whilst those who just went ahead went on to dominate the planet (we'll pass no comment on the fact that those people were, shall we say, possessed of a shorter attention span).

    Likewise if you want independence, you'll never really know when is the 'right' time, you have to go ahead and do it.

    For some there will always be something in them that says it's not the right time. Does that mean we put off independence indefinitely because circumstances aren't as 'favourable' as they could be?


    Yep, you're right. We can bounce figures about, play hypothetical against hypothetical and generally argue until the cows come home. There are too many unknowns, too many variables to come up with the concrete answers that some demand (honest, Neil, I'm not looking at you).

    That's not to say we should run away from it. At the end of the day, self determination is the natural state of any country, any person. It's a freedom that countless people have died for throughout the ages.
    Now, I'm not claiming that we Scots are oppressed, that we live in a dictatorship (although Crash is doing his best) that we are a colony of England, the last remnant of the Empire. However, Scotland is a seperate country from England and although you can rarely slide a credit card between our differences (in comparison to, say, France or Germany), it still would benefit Scotland to make its own decisions in areas where those differences manifest, e.g. fishing, farming, energy policy, etc.

    Can this be achieved without full independence. Certainly not with the current Westminster setup and definately not with the current occupant of No 10. Once Crash goes and takes Minister for Propaganda Murphy with him, the devolution settlement can be revisited and Scotland's powers beefed up. Unfortunately, setting up a commission to look at this will not be an option, as the farcical Calman has totally soured the idea of this being resolved via that route. That leaves hard negotation between Westminter and Holyrood. As I've said, this won't happen whilst Crash is at the helm. Perhaps if Glen Campbell's unholy alliance comes to fruition, it would be a possibility.

    But this brings us back to timescales. More and more people want change NOW. Crash, Darling & Murphy's delaying tactics are becoming less and less effective (who still gives serious consideration to anything Murphy regurgates these days?). We may end up with independence simply because the Unionists have made a complete hash of moving towards any other option.

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  • 338. At 11:02pm on 01 Mar 2009, ForteanJo wrote:

    #317 - "In gaining independence we do England a favour."

    Aye, the only problem with that is that less and less Scots buy into the subsidy myths (we can actually thank MacKenzie's OTT £30 billion claims for that).


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  • 339. At 11:03pm on 01 Mar 2009, aye_write wrote:

    brigadier,

    You're a meanie.

    (Just in case you slope off before my actual response is shown.)

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  • 340. At 11:12pm on 01 Mar 2009, brigadierjohn wrote:

    #332 old nat: Aw (pause while I cut my wrists) gee! I always claim common usage is acceptable in journalese, my profession's device when impact takes precedence over rectitude. Actually I think you're sweet on aye_write, and having a go at me on her behalf. She does okay herself! :-) Anyway, I think she secretly prefers me. :-) :-)
    If Scott and Dickens could manage without double spacing, who am I....... But they didn't criticise aye_write's style!
    Give me credit for resisting a reflexive verb! :-)

    #331 handclapping: I can still go to Cyprus, despite the rate. Don't know about sherry, but the wine, my tipple, is terrible. Your #330 is very contrived and oblique.

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  • 341. At 11:16pm on 01 Mar 2009, handclapping wrote:

    oldnat

    #321 4. Nice one! Ooops, the cap fits too!

    #332 Poor one; no bite

    aye_write #326

    If you're thinking of a spot of Waco, count me out. 8-)

    Sorry I can't stay and snipe; bin day tomorrow 0700 so it's early up the wooden steps to Bedfordshire.

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  • 342. At 11:18pm on 01 Mar 2009, Barbazenzero wrote:

    #328 handclapping
    "GB wasn't going to come back from Brussels with all the leaders proclaiming how he had single-handedly saved the world."

    True, but the EU unity patter might have a veneer of plausibility had Duff Gordon been prepared to be seen publicly in the presence of his "chums" or, heaven forfend, shaking hands with Sarko. Perhaps he doesn't think it will go down well in the US to have been seen socialising with surrender monkeys.

    Post or reactive moderation for all except CBeebies, please!

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  • 343. At 11:24pm on 01 Mar 2009, oldnat wrote:

    #333 cynicalHighlander

    The trouble with a lot of these proto-ENP groups, is that they are reminiscent of the Scottish Party and the National Party in their early days.

    They still haven't developed an inclusive contemporary view of what it means to be "English", and consequently much of their thinking borders on racism - if not stepping into that mire.

    Rigidity on race, combined with flaccid principles can be a dangerous combination.

    However, at least they are less dangerous than the British version.

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  • 344. At 11:42pm on 01 Mar 2009, ___TP___ wrote:

    Has anyone submitted any questions to the great Labour leader Grey yet?

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/scotland/7906174.stm

    If so care to share them on here as I'm sure due to the BBC bias it is the only way many of them will ever see the light of day.

    Here is one I sent.

    Do you still live with your mum? how much pocket money does she give you? Is the thought of leaving home and having to fend for yourself too scary for you?



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  • 345. At 11:58pm on 01 Mar 2009, oldnat wrote:

    #338 ForteanJo

    Maybe I misunderstood her, but I took aye-write's comment to mean that our departure gives the English the opportunity to rethink their appalling constitution, and recover from the elective dictatorship that the lack of a codified constitution creates for them (and currently us).

    There's no reliable data to suggest who (if anyone) subsidises who. If she meant economic subsidy, then I largely agree with you.

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  • 346. At 00:01am on 02 Mar 2009, Barbazenzero wrote:

    #334 oldnat

    A trip down memory lane indeed, to NR's What's said and what's not thread. That does seem to be the main originator of the Titanic analogies on the BBC political blogs. Apart from your Duff Gordon reference, Carrots' #385 has proved particularly prescient:
    "Staying with the Titanic for a little while longer

    The ship received information earlier regarding the presence of ice floes in the vicinity, yet continued at full speed towards tragedy

    Never mind cos Captain Browns goin down.
    "

    Post or reactive moderation for all except CBeebies, please!

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  • 347. At 00:07am on 02 Mar 2009, oldnat wrote:

    #340 brigadierjohn

    If you think a young woman in her 30s would want to be involved with either of us, then I suggest your wife has a quiet word with your doctor!

    However, you are clearly one of these people who likes to snipe at other styles, but dislikes being criticised for their own.

    I've done the same "cheap shot" thing as you in the past - if I remember I had the grace to apologise.

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  • 348. At 00:11am on 02 Mar 2009, pattymkirkwood wrote:

    #312,

    the brigadier as a "good unionist" poster, has nothing but sweetness and light about Salmond, the SNP and "nationalists" in general.

    To his credit, he hasn't started attacking George Mathewson as yet, as some others have begun to.

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  • 349. At 00:11am on 02 Mar 2009, oldnat wrote:

    #341 handclapping

    It's difficult always to live up to my own high standards! :-)

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  • 350. At 00:13am on 02 Mar 2009, aye_write wrote:

    #312 brigadierjohn

    So this (#312) is what's been holding the modding queue up for an hour!

    You are a meanie.

    I assume by "virtual parentheses", you meant the use of parenthetical clauses? Well, I didn't get that kind of grammar at school. No excuse. But I try my best. Don't be judging me as if I'm also an ex journo like you. Hilarious.

    Is this the best you can do?

    "Cost: the actual cost of, eg., transferring UK-centric public records, removing bases, etc., etc.

    Vague, very vague.
    Removing public records? You get your software company in. Aren't they electronic? Or get you brother in law in, and put them in a van.
    Removing bases? What bases? (Pizza bases?) Might they not merely be transferred?
    Or are you talking about setting up bases in the borders to fight that immanent war you were on about!

    "Cross-border movement of people and businesses seeking tax benefits either way. The SAS soldier from Glasgow who doesn't fancy ceremonial posing. Which Army for him?"

    Alarmist, alarmist...
    What cross border movement of people - refugees? Won't they use the existing roads and their cars? People are crossing the border today aren't they? Is it a mass exodus you are expecting?
    Why would SAS soldiers from Glasgow be ceremonial posers? What vision of independence have you got?

    "There will be refusniks. Demos, arrests, court cases, all spreading poison in Scotland."

    There will be fire brimstone and a plague of locusts!

    Refusniks as in protesters? - is that you and Mrs Dear up in arms chaining yourself to the gates at Bute House? (Or probably just you! She told you to get your tea from the oven when you get in.)
    We have arrests and courts cases "spreading poison across Scotland" already, every old firm game!??

    "So, in short, anything goes as long as there's a wee Jock in charge."

    You just want me to rise to the bait!

    "But I suppose it's okay to be an emotional Nationalist

    It is, brig!
    No emotions, no love, no friends, no happiness. You're saying we should diss these things? (You keep up with the evolving language now.)
    There's no point in having a nice rational national set up, if it makes us feel sh!t. We must incorporate how we feel into our plans. I don't feel like being ruled by another nation.

    "and let the practicalities await King Alex's pleasure.

    The practicalities have ALL been done before, are being done now. If we Scots can't do that, then we must be useless - mind you, your examples were a bit lame. Don't run for parliament!

    I am taking your splurted back, rushed, spitting comment as a compliment - must be doing something right if I am annoying you so. (You enjoy it.)

    Tip: Don't patronise, it's unbecoming!


    #312 brigadierjohn

    "Just call me a sucker for punishment."

    You like abuse. I've sussed you.

    "I understand even less now"

    "At's cos yer de-in it deliberately!"
    (Read like Scotland the What or Rikki Fulton)

    ""Just us... our national identity." Sorry, you can't have that without a "them.""

    You don't say. But you can focus solely on the US and not on the them - the English manage it, according to Angledefangle.

    "Hardly a nationalist poster would have a word to say if it wasn't to vilify "them." You know, Brown, Darling, Gray, BBC, Scotsman, Muriel Gray (for god's sake), Unionists, zzzzzzzzzzzz................ "

    Yeah, yeah, yeah!


    #327 brigadierjohn

    "aye_waffling"

    brigadope,

    "What's the point of another zillion words, this time directed at a wee lassie who doesn't give a monkey's what you think about anything and will never see them?"

    She's old enough to be my mother!

    "Moderation is slow enough at times."

    And you are very impatient at times!

    "Now, I wouldn't wish to censor a single word in your wee heid, but don't you think this self-indulgent ranting is a bit overdone?"

    How many posts have you made tonight - I see jealous!!

    "Another tip:"

    Y__'re bl**dy hilarious!

    "bold typefaces, as you employ them, and the blog equivalent of green ink, so beloved of residents in locked wards. I think you can do better."

    Thank you. I'd only just learned how to use them so I hadn't had the benefit of seeing many of my posts with them. I see now italics is better. But I'll know to go "oh so boldly" whenever I am replying to you!

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  • 351. At 00:22am on 02 Mar 2009, aye_write wrote:

    #340 brigadierjohn

    Briggie-diggie-doo,

    "Actually I think you're sweet on aye_write, and having a go at me on her behalf. She does okay herself! :-) Anyway, I think she secretly prefers me. :-) :-)"

    Well, I couldn't possibly choose without setting you both a test!
    (Ah, like Blind Date...)

    Contestant no. 1 (that's you brig!):

    If I you needed my parliamentary backing, as a very influential MSP, to become FM of Scotland (your longstanding political ambition), how would you set about getting it?

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  • 352. At 00:24am on 02 Mar 2009, brigadierjohn wrote:

    And so to bed, distraught that I didn't wait up for aye_write's latest billet doux, she's probably on the 89th paragraph by now. Hope she's looking after the kids at this time in the morning. Amazing these young wives. My wife and I stayed home for 20 years because we didn't trust babysitters.
    oldnat: sorry about the missing verb. Don't keep her up all night! :-)

    #339: She doesn't mean it folks. She's anticipating my response before she's even finished the post! :-)

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  • 353. At 00:26am on 02 Mar 2009, ScotInNotts wrote:

    #333 cynicalHighlander and #343 oldnat

    Cheers for the cynical, interesting reading,particulary the independence section on the website, remeniscent in part to some of the arguements put forward regarding Scottish independence on these threads (and in trying to explain it to Munich oldnat).

    I agree oldnat that some of the statements, in particular those regarding the EU and immigration/asylum are verging on their 'British' counterparts tone. Do you think this is the party JohnConstable has been searching for, probably not.

    Anyway, for better or worse, and hopefully without shopping myself, have a look at NR's later. Purely for entertainment value but I was interested if any of the usual suspects bite. If they do I'm sure there will be some 'interestng' responses.

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  • 354. At 01:13am on 02 Mar 2009, aye_write wrote:

    #338 ForteanJo
    #345 oldnat

    "Maybe I misunderstood her, but I took aye-write's comment to mean that our departure gives the English the opportunity to rethink their appalling constitution, and recover from the elective dictatorship that the lack of a codified constitution creates for them (and currently us).

    There's no reliable data to suggest who (if anyone) subsidises who. If she meant economic subsidy, then I largely agree with you.
    "

    Ah, thank you oldnat, I wondered what Fortean meant!

    I was not at all thinking of subsidy.

    I was thinking of a way of allowing the English to sort out their pants non-codified constitution.

    :-)

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  • 355. At 03:05am on 02 Mar 2009, aye_write wrote:

    #347 oldnat

    "#340 brigadierjohn
    If you think a young woman in her 30s would want to be involved with either of us, then I suggest your wife has a quiet word with your doctor!
    "

    Well, I laughed at that! Especially if I were actually a 73 year old trannie living out fantasies of what could have been!

    Sweet dreams ;-)

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  • 356. At 03:35am on 02 Mar 2009, aye_write wrote:

    #341 handclapping

    Re Waco - lets not!

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  • 357. At 08:13am on 02 Mar 2009, DisgustedDorothy wrote:

    Handclapping ,cynical and oldnat , thank you one and all for the links.

    My question for Mr Gray was something along the lines of ,
    " Do you intend ,at some point in the future to vote for an SNP proposal or are you intent on voting against any and every SNP proposal?"

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  • 358. At 09:07am on 02 Mar 2009, Chiefy1724 wrote:

    Morning All,

    My question for the Grey Man was " As leader of the Labour Group of MSPs at Holyrood, do you feel that the BBC, in persisting in calling you the Scottish Labour Leader, are actually detracting from the fact that you have limited "devolved" powers and are obliged to follow policy set by "National" Labour in defiance of the expressed wishes of the Scottish People ? "

    Monday Morning. I reckon that it'll be about 10-30am before we get this week's "Murphy Muttering" Headlined on the website.

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  • 359. At 09:41am on 02 Mar 2009, bluelaw wrote:

    Glen Campbell's attempts to ambush Mike Russell were embarrassing. When will the BBC rein this guy in.

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  • 360. At 10:57am on 02 Mar 2009, dubbieside wrote:

    Brian

    I would like to get back to the point of this post about Fred Goodwin.

    What I do not understand is what is the difference between what RBS and Lloyds did that hurt the banks.

    As far as I can see RBS bought a bank that at the time they bought it had a AAA rating from both rating agencies. Other banks were also trying to buy this bank at the time.

    Lloyds bought a bank that was a basket case. Everyone knew it was a basket case, Brown said this bank will collapse if it is not taken over.

    Which was the worst buy? With hindsight (lovely thing hindsight politicians have it in spades) they were both bad, but on the information available at the time of each purchase, Lloyds was a criminal buy.

    The big question therefore is, why was Fred Goodwin made Labours big boy who did it and ran away, and the people who made the far worse buy on the information known, Lloyds, are still in jobs drawing their huge salaries?

    Someone far more cynical than me might thing that there is more to hide in the Lloyds takeover than we first though.

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  • 361. At 12:27pm on 02 Mar 2009, aye_write wrote:

    #352 brigadierjohn

    "#339: She doesn't mean it folks. She's anticipating my response before she's even finished the post!"

    I did "mean" it. You'd have laughed had you seen my face when I read your response (don't worry, I can) as I was slightly saddened. Yes, hilarious. But I post on here so fair game.

    I think you are seeing wanting independence as a joke. I don't think I've come across that argument against before.

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  • 362. At 12:36pm on 02 Mar 2009, brigadierjohn wrote:

    Aye_write: Well, at least you "came out." Not the simpering young housewife with heart on sleeve, rending our emotions with pleas for the future of her kids, and scolding the wicked Unionists (not me, dear) who would deny them everything.
    Move over bluelaw! A brutal new force is born in the SNP. By the way, did nobody pick up on bluelaw's display of his true colours on the previous thread? He rather sheepishly withdrew them on the next post.

    #351 Aye_write: If I required your backing, I would attempt to impress you with my honesty, decency, hard work and sound policies.
    Unlike your hero, Alex the Smirk, who would give you a minor post and tell you to toe the line or you'll be finished in the party.
    But thanks for making me contestant No.1 anyway.
    #355: That's no way to talk about oldnat!

    #347 oldnat: Unusually, your post is pointedly po-faced. Perhaps mine was a wind-up too far? Are you trying to impress....
    Be careful. One thing I've learned on this blog is this: if you want to catch a fanatic, bait your trap with humour. A torn-faced response is a dead giveaway.

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  • 363. At 12:37pm on 02 Mar 2009, MalcolmW2 wrote:

    I note Oldnat's contribution suggesting that the English haven't decided just what it means to be English, and really can't let that pass without comment.

    A visitor from Mars reading through these blogs would quickly arrive at the conclusion that all Scots are one happy, smiling family - a sort of Tartan Teletubbies - sharing the same cultural identity and viewpoint in perfect harmony. It isn't, and never was, like that.

    Oldnat often talks up the English "north / south" divide as if such differences didn't exist within Scotland too. I have close family, both Scottish and English, living at various places throughout these islands, and from my personal experience I would say that in many ways Scotland has greater divisions under the surface than England. It is, to my mind, a delicious irony that the union so depised by many on here is the only thing that "unites" many Scots. It is a sad fact that part of the Scottish character is the need to blame anything bad that happens to her or her citizens on someone else; currently Westminster fills that need perfectly. Should Scotland ever become independent just watch the old rivalries quickly resurface as the blame game starts.

    Very few in the central belt have knowledge of, or sympathy for, the needs of remote highland communities. Most of those on the mainland spare little thought for those on the outer islands. There is a huge gulf between the folk on the east coast and those on the west. There is even a close friend of my family who often says, "Never trust a Campbell," - and he means it! The idea that Scotland is, much less ever was, one happily united people sharing common ideals and goals is fanciful, and that the idea that it was has gained such currency is a sad indictment on the teaching of history today. Just as many (most) Americans, fed on a diet of re-written history by Hollywood, know little of the reality of their early years, seeing the revolutionary period as a popular uprising against a tyrannical oppressor, rather than the civil war that it actually was, with a large body of "Americans" (who didn't define themselves as any such thing at the time) fighting for the Crown against their fellow colonists, so too many Scots view their nation's past through rose-tinted spectacles which distort the truth. It is a triumph of emotion over fact.

    Non of that is an argument against Scotland seeking independence should that be the demonstrated wish of the majority of her people, but if that is ever achieved, I predict that there will be a good many seriously disappointed nationalists once they have measured the level of "unity" that it engenders amongst the Scottish people. I suspect that it will reopen old wounds and rivalries, once settled at the point of a sword, but in today's world in a storm of bickering and recrimination. Just my opinion, of course, to which I hope even the most ardent nationalist will conceed I am entitled to hold and express.

    As for the question of "Englishness" raised by Oldnat: it is my view having long pondered it, and living as I do in England with an English family, that it is difficult to define because, generally speaking, they are simply happy in their skin, and feel no real need to express patriotism (nationalism) in the way that many other nations do. I don't detect arrogance in that, simply a contentment which is hard to identify. Perhaps there is a lesson in that for all mankind.

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  • 364. At 12:44pm on 02 Mar 2009, Chiefy1724 wrote:

    Indeed, back on topic.

    No Murphy Muttering as yet, he should be thanking Cde Ms Harriet Harman (NuLab, Peckham, I think she's a cabinet minister of some description ?) for distracting everyone this morning with her pronouncements on Hanging Fred Goodman, I mean, "reclaiming" his pension.

    Even Vince Cable, the sole remaining Sane Liberal, described Ms Harman's comments as "potty".

    [At the risk of sounding like I'm banging on on this one, which is more acceptable, GBP17m to Fred Goodman or GBP17m to The Duke of Sutherland for a part-share in a picture ? Neither benefit the people of Scotland ! Both could be seen as rewards for failure to keep their businesses in a healthy state ?]

    NuLab have been caught with their trousers down. It is clear that the unelected Treasury Minister Lord Myners signed this off in the unseemly haste to get The Lloyds takeover signed off before anyone could mount a challenge

    I will also lay the usual raffle ticket for the car at the next conference that Fred's Payoff contains a gagging clause.

    Her parting shot was ..."And it might be enforceable in a court of law, this contract, but it is not enforceable in the court of public opinion and that is where the government steps in."

    Yup, we know all about where the government steps in over the law.

    The government steps in over the law to ensure that the HBOS/Llods merger went ahead despite the fact that it was clearly contrary to competition law.

    The government also steps in over the law to stop publishing the minutes of the Iraq War cabinet meeting.

    Question for our NuLab Clones and Trolls

    Are THOSE acceptable in the court of public opinion ? Or is the whole "Hang Fred" cacophony just another example of NuLab Spin, Hype and hypocrisy ?

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  • 365. At 12:50pm on 02 Mar 2009, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    Meanwhile.....no matter how much money we throw at the problem, the slide continues....It seems like trying to put a fire out with petrol.

    Slainte!
    ed

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  • 366. At 1:02pm on 02 Mar 2009, 2-D-Bate wrote:

    232 Lily_Hammer

    Thank you for the warning. Then I'll just finish with this:


    86 Anglophone

    nationalism (not Nationalism) is the means to an end. You don't notice the populations of other independent countries like Denmark going around calling themselves nationalists.

    That you don't happen to agree with the "end" does not cancel its validity.

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  • 367. At 1:05pm on 02 Mar 2009, handclapping wrote:

    #340 brigadierjohn

    re #330 Nonsense, both our brains needed a workout as derek isn't posting his cryptic clues now. Seriously what had you in mind, archive copies of the Scotsman from Colindale, except it's not Colindale any more, which is good as they didn't have the facilities to preserve them there, but Boston Spa?
    What British records would Scotland want? The musings of our present Scottish Secretary? I must say I thought Aunty Annabel awfully rude in highlighting his deficiencies, when asking when Wee Eck last met Global Brown. It's his job to see that they don't need to.

    I'm struggling, as you can see; over to you.

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  • 368. At 1:16pm on 02 Mar 2009, pattymkirkwood wrote:

    Why do the BBC insist on continuing to pay Glenn Campbell for his partisan assaults on all Labour's enemies?!

    One can only assume that the beeb agrees with his antics!

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  • 369. At 1:19pm on 02 Mar 2009, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    Capitalism judged bad business model

    ;-)
    ed

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  • 370. At 1:19pm on 02 Mar 2009, U13791988 wrote:

    "At RBS, one detects a notable exasperation with the media focus upon Sir Fred".

    Aye:

    "At London based labour party, one detects a notable relief with the media focus upon Sir Fred".

    Poor old Fred is being lined up as the fall guy for the RBS and credit crunch debacle.

    Would it be too much to suggest that labour knew there were hard times ahead and set him up?

    TDBs

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  • 371. At 1:20pm on 02 Mar 2009, Anglophone wrote:

    360 Dubbieside

    You're half right. It was a Barclays led consortium that first chased ABN and the deal seemed as good as done. It was late in the day that RBS led a counter-bid, upping the ante for ABN quite considerably. Barclays thought better of it and dropped out.

    RBS's behaviour reeks of "mine's bigger than yours...slap it on the boardroom table" corporate hubris. They were probably more influenced by the brain-dead strategy of being biggest at all costs. The result was that they overbid when times were relatively good and had to write down a kings ransom when the economy went bad. If Fred Goodwin committed it a crime it was of losing sight of the main objective...a sort of Hitler at Stalingrad moment.

    By contrast, Lloyds TSB, having been castigated for their cautious approach during the wild years were one of the few banks that were in sufficient health to merge with HBOS. HBOS was in dire straits, the government had already nationalised Northern Rock and Gordon Brown was desperate...and I mean really desperate to prop up HBOS in advance of key Scottish bye-elections. The collapse of HBOS, the financial disruption and the loss of jobs would probably have bought down the Brown government. So he strong-armed a merger with Lloyds management...even waiving competition rules to smooth the path.

    Lloyds can now repent at their leisure as they absorb the jaw-dropping losses of their "acquisition". As for the management...never mind the sack, I suspect that there will be peerages all round for saving GB's political life.

    Your comments really puzzle me. Why is it that nationalists have a keen memory for things that happened two or three hundred years ago, yet serenely forget events of the past few months? ;-)

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  • 372. At 1:31pm on 02 Mar 2009, aye_write wrote:

    #363. MalcolmW2

    Malcolm,

    Your assumption that all nats have a utopian vision of life post independence is simply your delusion that we are delusional - says a lot about your singleminded view of us rather.

    Normality is not perfect harmony.
    t is normality.

    No wondrous vision of amazing perfection is expected or sought.

    (Did I not say to Neil, if that were the point I'd be promising free chocolate.)

    We seek to be normal independent country

    We would not need nationalism or to feel nationalistic if we already had that.

    "It is a sad fact that part of the Scottish character is the need to blame anything bad that happens to her or her citizens on someone else"

    That's a mere insult.
    (Again says much about you.)

    Wanting independence isn't blame led.

    "they are simply happy in their skin, and feel no real need to express patriotism (nationalism) in the way that many other nations do. I don't detect arrogance in that, simply a contentment which is hard to identify."

    Of course they would seem contented. They, through the UK parliament, already have self -governance.

    Like peoples of self-governing nations everywhere, they have no need for nationalism, it isn't an issue for them.

    They already take what we want for granted.

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  • 373. At 1:46pm on 02 Mar 2009, handclapping wrote:

    #371 Anglophone

    As you will have noted from our present glorious leader Global Brown, all Scots are historians and a couple of months is not enough to make (him) history.

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  • 374. At 1:48pm on 02 Mar 2009, Anglophone wrote:

    366 2 D Bate

    errr....it's unlikely that you would encounter many arch Danish nationalists. They are, like someone else said, just happy in their own skins. To my knowledge, Denmark was until comparatively recently one of Europe's lesser-known imperial powers, controlling much of Scandinavia, Iceland and Greenland. Norway for instance is a comparatively young country having seceded from Denmark in the 19th Century.

    Denmark finally got on the end of real-politik in facing up to Bismark over the Schleswig-Holstein Question...which is why a large chunk of Denmark is now in Germany. If Danes were to have a Scottish type sense of national grievance it would probably be over these lost provinces...but they seem to have got over it.

    By contrast they do have quite a feisty independent view when it comes to the European Union and Euro membership. In rejecting the Euro they were quite nationalistic. Whether the Krone survives the credit crunch is another matter.

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  • 375. At 1:51pm on 02 Mar 2009, aye_write wrote:

    #362 brigadierjohn

    "Not the simpering young housewife with heart on sleeve, rending our emotions with pleas for the future of her kids, and scolding the wicked Unionists"

    ....as that would be what, evil, dastardly, wicked?
    Or good. You must think that putting your children as a priority such a basic mistake - how come all those housewives (parents) keep doing it!

    It was a joke question, but a fair, sensible, answer. I don't think Alex would treat me like that. I think in politics you have to be one, or better several, steps ahead. So it would be me wanting to be in a minor post.

    "But thanks for making me contestant No.1 anyway."

    Well, I'd less of a desire to take the pi$$ out of oldnat, surprisingly....

    However you win - I am more bothered with this thread than you so I'll finish it there.

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  • 376. At 2:00pm on 02 Mar 2009, dubbieside wrote:

    Anglophone

    Just what is it you think I have forgot?

    Maybe you are like the Labour Party in trying to re write history.

    Can you please explain just what has been achieved by merging/takeover of HBOS by Lloyds, that could not have been achieved by saving HBOS as a stand alone entity?

    As the UK goverment would have had to pump billions into HBOS, they are now pumping the same billions into Lloyds, to what end, apart from Lloyds shareholders loosing about three quarters of the value of their holdings.

    This was nothing to do with saving HBOS per say, it was a political decision, and as with all Browns decisions it was not thought through and now it is coming back to bite him he is rushing around looking for a scapegoat.

    Do you support Cables call for all the documents about the rational behind this takeover being released into the public domain?

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  • 377. At 2:07pm on 02 Mar 2009, brigadierjohn wrote:

    #367 handclapping: Clearly my brain needs a workout. I don't understand a single word of your first paragraph. Scotsman archives?
    As for Scotland requiring UK records, any Scottish government will require a Secret Service, and will be interested in phone records, and much more, of suspect people. That is an uncomfortable fact of life, one of many that - apparently, according to my SNP informants here - will be unchanging with independence. So, if you're on the radar of the polis, it won't be wiped clean on I-Day. Unless the wicked English won't give/sell them to us. No car tax, sir? Oh, officer, I'm waiting until they build a new Scottish DVLA.

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  • 378. At 2:13pm on 02 Mar 2009, brigadierjohn wrote:

    #375 aye_write: I take no pleasure. I think it was Wellington who said at Waterloo (I paraphrase) "The only thing more sad and depressing than a battle lost, is a battle won.

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  • 379. At 2:17pm on 02 Mar 2009, 2-D-Bate wrote:

    #374 Anglophone

    (ahh :-)

    You salesman, you!!

    Picking and choosing bits of the argument to suit your case!
    In that story the Danes did not loose their sovereign status, right?

    So, in effect they have no "Scottish" axe to grind. You've completely misunderstood a "Scottish type sense of national grievance", Mr A.

    I suspect their "feisty independent view when it comes to the European Union and Euro membership" is because of the perception that there's a loss of sovereignty at stake?

    And will the pound survive the credit crunch!

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  • 380. At 2:40pm on 02 Mar 2009, Anglophone wrote:

    372 Aye-Write

    I have to say that I agree with MalcomW2's views in that there is a grave risk in secession being seen as the universal panacea for everything that is judged to afflict Scotland and its people.

    Like him I fear that too many people have been reading their own publicity material for too long and simply don't see the natural divisions in society that would doubtless re-emerge once the Westminster obsession had been removed. He points out the regional differences that exist and alludes to the West Coast sectarianism that could probably have triggered civil war outside the Union during the 18th Century.

    So what of the post-independence political scene? Fraternal brotherhood...the recreation of feudal agrarian idyll? After all the necessity of shadowing the structure of the main Westminster goes away..what happens? Would things change radically and new parties could emerge such as

    The McTories - a right of centre party supported by people who have worked hard and would like to keep a livable portion of their cash (like you and Mr Aye_Write I suspect;-)), plus the more sinister rump of freemasons and landed interests.

    The McCentrists - a centre party based around the rump of the old "New Labour" and Liberal Party. This would bizarrely probably end up being a kind of permanent party of government which would make all the people currently saying that their voice in Westminster isn't heard in Westminster feeling newly disenfranchised. If this cabal was to be broken it would probably take Scottish politics well to the left as "Old New Labour" morphed with the Scottish Socialists (get ready to pay a lot of tax!)

    The SNP - as a grievance party this would decline as it primary raison d'etre had been achieved. This would probably mutate into a type of tartan Sinn Fein based on instinctive isolationists and those keen to rake over ancient battles. Could be a significant power broker between the larger parties provided that a really scary De Valera type figure does not emerge.

    Scottish Socialist Party - this would probably expand considerably at the SNPs and Labour's expense. This party would act as a magnet to a wide variety of grievances, particularly across the post-industrial Central Region. If the independent era economy does not turn out to be the supposed bed of oil-funded roses, then the SSP is likely to do very well.

    Regional parties - it is possible to envisage regional interest groups forming in the Islands, East Coast and the NW Highlands, even an Islamic Party in Glasgow. The present system of party structures is mature and therefore a fairly broad church of interests. Take away the existing structure, the need for local interest groups in remote areas will become paramount if their voice is not be swamped by Central Belt Self Interest

    Assuming that a PR based voting system is maintained it can be assumed that this will be a coalition based government structure which can be good (constructive politics) and bad (complacent self-perpetuating political elite). Does normal politics hold sway or do you get a situation such as in Israel where groupings of single issue and/or extremist parties hold the balance of power?

    The current argument is that all ills are cured by the revolution. People need to have a long hard think about where historical divisions, economics, human nature and events (dear boy...events!) are likely to take them.

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  • 381. At 2:47pm on 02 Mar 2009, aye_write wrote:

    #378 brigadierjohn

    You didn't win the battle, banana ;-)You won at getting me more fed up than I got you....

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  • 382. At 2:47pm on 02 Mar 2009, Anglophone wrote:

    376 Dubbieside

    I certainly support the placing of documents surrounding all these events into the public domain.

    Think back...The point that I was making was that Gordon Brown had already nationalised Northern Rock, for petty cash as it subsequently turns out, but he was desperate not be seen nationalising a major British Bank, hence the shotgun wedding. Remember at this time the government were still pushing a "boom and bust has been abolished...crisis, what crisis" approach

    I agree that the end result is probably no different from HBOS being directly propped up but that's not how it seemed at the time.

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  • 383. At 3:05pm on 02 Mar 2009, Anglophone wrote:

    379 2 D Bate

    To throw the cat amongst the pigeons, I think that the Euro is less likely to survive the credit crunch than the pound. By which I mean that it is very conceivable that several countries could find themselves forced out of the mechanism (Italy, Portugal and Greece being the bookies favourites). This is down to the systemic weakness behind the Euro model. If it survives intact then I would even consider voting to join as it would, in my view have answered the "big question".

    Sorry to disappoint any nationalist fantasies of the collapse of the hated UK but I think that a Zimbabwe style collapse of sterling is vanishingly unlikely. I suspect that, just like in 1990s it will remain depressed against other currencies leading eventually to a period of comparative advantage which will benefit the UK economy and cause the pound to appreciate. The downside risk at present is the very large inflationary risk posed by importing so much from China and Germany, based on either dollar or euro transactions. This forex cost must eventually feed through to the High Street unless other factors compensate and, as yet, I can't see what they might be.

    Sorry to argue but I think that I've got the Scottish Sense of National Grievance spot on! It's no different from the archetypal Daily Mail reader fulminating about the EU...it's the big neighbour about whom you feel emasculated and impotent. It's no different from the British attitude towards to US...a kind of sulky resentment of comparative success which is constantly consoled by myths of national superiority e.g. intellectual, sense of humour, levels of Type 2 diabetes etc etc. Get used to it, it won't go away!


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  • 384. At 3:12pm on 02 Mar 2009, dubbieside wrote:

    Anglophone

    Thank you for your response to my post. I am glad that we agree about placing the documents into the public domain, and presumably the need for transparency in government.

    I am however unable to agree with you about that is how it was seen at the time. In Scotland it was seen at the time, rightly as it has turned out, as yet another chapter in the "I will do anything to save the union" mantra.

    I would also disagree with your comments about independence. Most people I have spoken too (not a scientific study I admit) see independence as a chance to start behaving like a normal country. The big difference in Scotland, unlike other countries that gained independence, not all parties will come together to work for the good of the Scottish people, in the short term. This coming together would be the norm in most countries, but the remnants of Nu Labour will still be as sour and malicious in an independent Scotland as they are today, in a Scotland under the government freely elected controlled by the SNP.

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  • 385. At 3:19pm on 02 Mar 2009, brigadierjohn wrote:

    #380 Anglophone: That's a pretty fair impression of how it could be. Like Israel, where the Government changes every time a minority participant takes the huff. You did miss out the God-Let's-Go-Back-To-The-UK Party! :-)

    #381: aye_write: Sheriffmuir, eh? As Churchill used to smirk: "History will say.... (looking round the Commons) because I shall write it...."

    I'm off for the day, to spend some time in the real world.

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  • 386. At 3:23pm on 02 Mar 2009, aye_write wrote:

    #380 Anglophone

    But Anglophone, I said,

    "Normality is not perfect harmony."

    We see the same picture.

    Again, it's all a matter of perception.

    Your version of this mix of tensions post independence that it will somehow tear the country apart, or at least make us all miseable (maybe you though more to the point ;-).

    .....To be honest, I of course don't rubbish your concerns. Rather I appreciate them, they are valid. I'd advocate gathering around people like you to point them out! It would be very worthwhile and an asset to government.......

    My take is that it would echo the wide political spectrum that you get in any ordinary independent nation (not Britian with its desparate two (dead) horse race FPTP).

    PR in Scotland is a good thing and would go someways towards fairer representation.

    And many small European countries have a history of consensus government through this, and regular minority govt. I agree, without this, things could be much bleaker.

    I can only imagine you are a wee bit biased and slightly scaremongering for your own ends, as you no doubt imagine I am way waxing lyrical for mine. Lets admit it.

    The true picture of post independence Scotland is of course somewhere in between, but as you said I think, I am slightly more of an optimist than a pessimist (unlike Mr W!) and will work for something even if it may end up needing a lot more work, especially if it is worth it - with expecting no improvement being a safe place to start ;-)

    btw I feel doomed as a rubbish salesman (woman) trying to sell another salesman something he doesn't want! Like your Scottish clients?

    But it's probably better than we are quite allowed to differ.
    ("You don't like that one....OK...well, I have it in a slightly different style...this one is English nationalism..." Only kidding! :-)

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  • 387. At 3:29pm on 02 Mar 2009, aye_write wrote:

    #385 brigadierjohn

    "#380 Anglophone: That's a pretty fair impression of how it could be. Like Israel, where the Government changes every time a minority participant takes the huff. You did miss out the God-Let's-Go-Back-To-The-UK Party! :-)"

    Get a room....

    "I'm off for the day, to spend some time in the real world."

    That'll be a long journey for you.

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  • 388. At 3:30pm on 02 Mar 2009, greenockboy wrote:

    Here we go again:

    One unionist lies, and another posts a comment based on the lie.

    Anglophone at 380 writes:
    "I have to say that I agree with MalcomW2's views in that there is a grave risk in secession being seen as the universal panacea for everything that is judged to afflict Scotland and its people."

    Nobody maks this assertion, it is a Unionist fabrication that is then addressed by Unionists themselves.

    Let's try it out:

    Person A:
    It saddens me that Unionists maintain that by remaining in the Union we will eradicate poverty and be living in a utopia where we all enjoy perfect health

    Person B:
    I have to agree with the comments of person A regarding this Unionist utopia and the very real danger ..... rhubarb, rhubarb, rhubarb.

    You get the picture.


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  • 389. At 3:40pm on 02 Mar 2009, Anglophone wrote:

    384 Dubbieside

    That sounds like another "republican analysis of the sichaayshun"

    GB was trying to avoid losing a bye-election. Was that that trying to save the union at all costs.

    Alternatively he could have let HBOS collapse which would have caused financial chaos and masive job losses on both sides of the border (but pro-rata on a much larger scale in Scotland) and the ignominious failure of one of Scotland's blue-chip companies.

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  • 390. At 3:44pm on 02 Mar 2009, GrassyKnollington wrote:

    380. Anglophone come off it, you're getting desperate now. You're advising against independence because we'll all apparently end up fighting amongst ourselves!

    What's it to you if we do?

    Now admit it, you don't want independence for Scotland as the "island that is England" will get it's top chopped off and you will feel diminished, smaller and deprived of your rightful province.

    Now do us a favour and sling yer British Nationalist hook.

    If we decide to leave , Scots will make that decision for ourselves.

    Your self -serving scaremongering though understandable will be filed with the mountainous pile we have amassed over the decades from our own pessimistic unionists under "more of the same".

    They're the only ones nodding sagely over your posts.

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  • 391. At 4:00pm on 02 Mar 2009, Anglophone wrote:

    388 Greenock Boy

    Hey...I'm part of a conspiracy...it must be a really good one because I never even knew!

    Come on, Nats on these threads spend their day in self-reinforcing agreement. People who can see a wee flaw or two in their plans are not allowed to agree with one another?

    So the argument is that , rather than a universal panacea for Scotland's ills, independence will change nothing but that nothing will be, by definition a good thing. You're going to have a much harder time on the hustings that even I thought.

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  • 392. At 4:16pm on 02 Mar 2009, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    Meanwhile..... and a pretty picture

    Shall we throw some more money at the bankers?
    Slainte! (quick, before the price goes up!)
    ed

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  • 393. At 4:20pm on 02 Mar 2009, Anglophone wrote:

    386 Aye-Write

    I have mixed experiences of PR systems. My Dutch experience suggests that it is broadly positive. Majority government doesn't really exist...the Queen (who actually wields more constitutional power than our own despite all the "down with the people" bicycling and shopping stunts) instructs the largest party after any election to lead negotiations to form the biggest workable coalition that it can manage. The Dutch system works reasonably well but does throw up some surprising fringe MPs. The Dutch view the British system as being a tyranny of the minority as the government, in the strict sense is, by definition representing a numerical minority of voters.

    The Italian system was, by contrast, a revolving door of the same old figures dissolving and reforming governments on an annual basis whilst extracting a semi-compulsory "tithe" from people and businesses. It was an entirely self-interested system and the people got on with their lives largely despite the government.

    The first past the post system arguably disenfranchises a portion of the population but has the advantage of a political party being able to campaign on a clear platform and be held to account later. The alternative always involves horse-trading and queasy compromises. It also has the advantage of the voter being actually able to see who he/she is voting for unlike the growing and negative trend towards "closed lists".

    There are advantages and disadvantages to both approaches.

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  • 394. At 4:22pm on 02 Mar 2009, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    Anglophone,

    "Alternatively he could have let HBOS collapse which would have caused financial chaos and massive job losses on both sides of the border (but pro-rata on a much larger scale in Scotland) and the ignominious failure of one of Scotland's blue-chip companies."
    Now why does that remind me of the rationalisation of 1707?

    ;-0
    ed

    Not to mention that the blue chip Scottish company had already been ruinously boarded by Southern pirates....legitimised by the charge of the lite brigade...


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  • 395. At 4:23pm on 02 Mar 2009, dubbieside wrote:

    Anglophone

    republican analysis of the "sichaayshun" Help me, I do not have a clue what you are talking about.

    GB was trying to avoid losing a bye-election. Was that that trying to save the union at all costs. Yes, if Brown lost that by election he was history, cue "I will do anything to save the union.

    The point about this exercise was he could not let HBOS collapse, remember Northern Rock and B&B. The rescue would have been exactly the same cost either way. But the Lloyds takeover suited his political agenda, and he will not care about Lloyds shareholders, hard working families or not, losing the majority of the value of their shares.

    P.S. Any idea why the details of full rescue package were not released on Friday? Maybe the day he meets Obama will be a good day to bury bad news.

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  • 396. At 4:42pm on 02 Mar 2009, pattymkirkwood wrote:

    Anglophone has really gone off on one today. The only grievance I see on the boards is his against "nats".

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  • 397. At 4:43pm on 02 Mar 2009, MalcolmW2 wrote:

    #372 Aye_Write,

    I didn't intend my comment about the Scottish character to be insulting, nor do I accept that it was. Having lived outwith Scotland now for many a year maybe I see sides to our selves from a different perspective.

    My comments about the false recall of Scottish history, and the idea that a utopian nirvana awaits Scotland post-independence, was not aimed at all nats, simply those who regularly post on this blog expressing such views; there are plenty of them. I happily accept that it is not a view held by all. Your desire for a fully independent Scotland is an honourable position to hold, but so is mine in opposing it. I see no advantage in it but a real danger of a fragmented nation. Each to their own. Devolution needs some further work though.

    I thought, however, that this quote from you:

    "Of course they would seem contented. They, through the UK parliament, already have self -governance."

    says much about your misunderstanding of the English constitutional position. They, alone among the home nations, do not have, indeed have never been offered, any form of national self-governance under the devolution arrangements created by New Labour. The best they were offered was meaningless, expensive, impotent regional assemblies, which could never have addressed issues on a national basis. (It is an increasingly heard complaint south of the border that the government unfairly resists recognition of England as a nation in its own right like Wales and Scotland.) No wonder they said "NO". Your MP, elected by you, has a full say in policing, education, transport, health etc. in England. My MP, elected by me and my English wife and neighbours has no reciprocal say on such matters in Scotland. (Absurdly, neither does your MP). It says much about the English character that this situation has been tolerated by them for so long. Or maybe it says something about their apathy on matters political. Either way, you have their position wrong. England has been the only real loser under devolution, Scotland the biggest winner.


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  • 398. At 4:49pm on 02 Mar 2009, handclapping wrote:

    #377 brigadierjohn

    Exclusive; poster "outed" as phoney !!!!!!!!

    I'm sorry, I never imagined there would be a journalist let alone a senior journalist that did not know of the British Library's UK newspaper archive at Colindale, N. London. That you did not know of the move to the BL storage centre and reading room at Boston Spa, near Wetherby, Yorks is permitted; there is a lot that I miss as I only get the FT once a week, but I do not miss missing footballers, footballers wives, footballers wives girlfriends, footballers wives girlfriends hairdressers and young ladies with more chest than sense.

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  • 399. At 4:53pm on 02 Mar 2009, GrassyKnollington wrote:

    334. oldnat, thanks for the heads up re "Duff Gordon" and the Titanic.

    He certainly enjoys some unfortunate maritime nicknames. The right wing bloggers in England have taken to calling him Jonah as everything he touches seems to end up jinxed.

    "Jonah seeks to flee from "the presence of the Lord" by going to Jaffa and sailing to Tarshish. A huge storm arises and the sailors, realizing this is no ordinary storm, cast lots and learn that Jonah is to blame. Jonah admits this and states that if he is thrown overboard the storm will cease."

    hmmm, that made sense re-Gordon up to the "Jonah admits this" part.

    I say we chuck him overboard anyway.



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  • 400. At 4:55pm on 02 Mar 2009, post_meridiem wrote:

    #374 Anglophone

    "Norway for instance is a comparatively young country having seceded from Denmark in the 19th century."

    Norwegian independence is indeed of comparatively recent date, having been won from Sweden in 1905, prior to which Norway had enjoyed a very considerable degree of self-government for quite some time.

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  • 401. At 5:18pm on 02 Mar 2009, Barbazenzero wrote:

    #393 Anglophone
    "The first past the post system arguably disenfranchises a portion of the population but has the advantage of a political party being able to campaign on a clear platform and be held to account later. The alternative always involves horse-trading and queasy compromises. It also has the advantage of the voter being actually able to see who he/she is voting for unlike the growing and negative trend towards 'closed lists'."

    Are you unaware that Scottish council are now elected by STV and thus have no "closed lists"?

    More importantly, perhaps you'd give us your expert analysis of why exactly none of the other 26 EU member states (not even the French!) have deigned to copy "the mother of parliaments", its "elective dictatorship" of the PM or its quasi-democratic plurality voting system?

    Off out now for the evening but will look back late.

    Post or reactive moderation for all except CBeebies, please!

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  • 402. At 5:21pm on 02 Mar 2009, Anglophone wrote:

    390 KnollyGrassington

    You're putting words into my mouth again...sounds a bit like what the shrinks call projection.

    I apparantly cling to some post -imperial dream that following the loss of the Turks & Caicos I must at all costs cling on to my drizzly colonial possession. I just don't see how Scotland can oscillate between being a nation, a possession, a colony or whatever. Scots sing loudly about never being conquered, but it's also a colony??? (Patient intake of breath) Scotland asked to join the Union because it was broke but please let's not go over that again.

    Should Scottish people desire independence by a compelling majority, that is their decision alone. But you will have to negotiate a settlement with the rest of the UK whatever happens. I remain an adherent of the Union because I believe on balance that it is a good thing but if people wish to leave so be it.

    Central to the nationalist lexicon is the belief that the English crave domineering power and that they have always desired beautiful Scotland. Historically English designs on Scotland were basically based around stopping you being such a god-awful nuisance, plus your persistent habit of aligning yourself with our mortal enemies or trying to depose the government. But surely we're past that now, or does Chairman Salmond have furtive desires to annexe Northumberland ...you guys after all have "previous" in this area.

    Try to understand...English people would dislike breaking the Union because it would weaken the nation, not because they fancy owning heather clad hills.

    All I have done in these posts, bar a little intentional winding up is to try to point out both sides of the argument and, in these threads, try to look beyond the immediate independence vote to see what an independent Scotland might look like.

    Telling me to sling my hook suggests that you are unable or, more likely, unwilling to grapple with these difficult concepts. Let's keep the ideal alive, untarnished by inconvenient facts shall we?

    Freeduurm

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  • 403. At 5:43pm on 02 Mar 2009, aye_write wrote:

    Malcolm, you have misunderstood me on the UK constitution etc.!

    Busy for a bit. Back after 8 (although, sadly, not wafer thin).

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  • 404. At 5:51pm on 02 Mar 2009, Anglophone wrote:

    395 Dubbieside

    Sorry, it's my Gerry Adams impersonation. It doesn't work so well on paper

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  • 405. At 5:53pm on 02 Mar 2009, dubbieside wrote:

    MalcolmW2

    The main reason that England never had its own parliament, was that it always though that it did have one.

    Westminster for most people is Englands parliament, and with English MPs outnumbering the other nations MP by app eight to one it always will be Englands parliament.

    All the guff about Westminster being run by Scots, ie Daily Mail, Torygraph etc is to ignore logic and mathematics.

    Having lived through the worst excesses of Thatcher and them Major, who struggled to fill a mini bus with Scottish MPs, but still rode roughshod over us, I do not remember any outcry from down south about one country being run by another country that had no mandate.

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  • 406. At 5:55pm on 02 Mar 2009, Anglophone wrote:

    394 Ed Iglehart

    Sounds like your adavancing the "maid's ruin" defence again. HBOS ruined by Southern pirates indeed? :-o

    Time for a good look in the shaving mirror again;-)

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  • 407. At 5:58pm on 02 Mar 2009, Anglophone wrote:

    400 Post Meridiem

    Sorry...my mistake, I was in haste.

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  • 408. At 6:01pm on 02 Mar 2009, fourstrikes wrote:

    I get lost on this blog when the threads start getting really big and there are things I want to reply to. Here's a start (and apologies to anyone I miss if you wrote me a post, it's just confusion on my part). I'm an example of what Mr Taylor is talking about as I spent the weekend in the pub, which is one of the side effects of socialism.

    #384 dubbieside

    I don't agree that NewLab in an independent Scotland would necessarily be "sour and malicious". In fact I think they would be like dogs let off the leash, doing lots of bounding about and shaking their heads. Those who prefer the leash would inch back to Westminster (if they could make the grade) to get it put back on. They might even prefer being a county councillor in England to staying in an independent Scotland, and that's their choice. Fair play!

    Others would drop out of politics and like Ms Alexander head into the groves of academe and the like. But I don't think many of them would make the grade. (She's really better off out of politics - an intelligent woman but not a natural politico and doesn't play nicely with others.)

    In my vision of a Scottish Soviet I'd like to see *characters*. And I have a strange fondness for both Cathy Jamieson and Jackie Baillie. Long story. ;)

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  • 409. At 6:04pm on 02 Mar 2009, greenockboy wrote:

    Anglophone at 391 writes:

    "Hey...I'm part of a conspiracy...it must be a really good one because I never even knew!"

    Your doing it again, your addressing things that haven't been said.

    Anglophone goes on:
    "So the argument is that , rather than a universal panacea for Scotland's ills, independence will change nothing but that nothing will be, by definition a good thing. You're going to have a much harder time on the hustings that even I thought."

    So you now reverse the orginal lie and suggest another.

    Let's get one thing straight, independence supporters neither suggest that Scotland will be a utopia come independence and that every problem will disappear nor do they suggest that independence will change nothing.

    Please stop fabricating things that haven't been said and then using the fabrication in order to justify your opinion.

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  • 410. At 6:06pm on 02 Mar 2009, fourstrikes wrote:

    #380 (possibly) Anglophone

    You missed out Solidarity. The split is so strong on both sides there I do not expect a rejoining of the SSP, but suggest instead a new party of the left may emerge postindependence with a "don't mention the war" approach and various elements....missing.

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  • 411. At 6:09pm on 02 Mar 2009, Anglophone wrote:

    401 Brownedov

    That's probably because we have an adversarial system, that has its pluses and minuses. It probably reflects the happy chance of not being invaded by France over the years and/or having progressed from feudalism and absolute monarchy comparatively earlier than most, if not all European countries (Wikipedia fans put me straight here!).

    Like I said, it has its drawbacks but it does have the benefit of longevity. We Brits have a had a distaste towards chopping and changing over the years...you know, flirtations with absolute monarchy, facism etc. requiring a new constitution after each upheaval. The French are onto...what is it now...the 7th Republic but I haven't checked recently.

    I've always thought that this goes a long way to explain the British hesitancy about the EU. We fear change because of the implied permanence. Others are happy to go along with whatever's the latest fad...until something new turns up. Like I said...pluses and minuses

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  • 412. At 6:24pm on 02 Mar 2009, fourstrikes wrote:

    #217 Brownedov

    I think we mostly agree. I definitely do believe the SNP and an independent Scotland pose the greater threat to the Sir Humphrey types than the BNP. Indeed they could probably adjust quite smoothly there (as per, it would be the workers getting hammered.) Some may even be relieved that they don't have to kid on about this....diversity thingy any more....

    (In the civil service are very many hard working low paid types and very few Sir Humphreys. But you know where the power lies.)

    The BNP in Cumbria are a problem, indeed. They thrive on situations like this and I am worried that they try to get a foothold in Scotland (and am doing my little bit to combat this.) I urge anyone who reads this to keep an eye out for their activities in your area, by the time they are established, like weeds it takes a LOT more effort to dislodge. I never want to see these characters in an independent Scotland.

    #??? AW

    Can't find your post but your agreement made me very happy. I remembered it during a whole weekend in the pub, and I can't remember much else ;)

    We probably would never agree on most things but anyone who recognises that Scotland has a completely different outlook on these matters has a place in my heart ;)

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  • 413. At 6:34pm on 02 Mar 2009, GrassyKnollington wrote:

    402 Anglomoan

    "English people would dislike breaking the Union because it would weaken the nation"

    no it wouldn't, the nation of Scotland would be stronger.


    Engerrllunnnd

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  • 414. At 6:38pm on 02 Mar 2009, Anglophone wrote:

    396 Patty M Kirkwood

    Yeah right ;-o

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  • 415. At 6:45pm on 02 Mar 2009, Dave McEwan Hill wrote:

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

  • 416. At 6:49pm on 02 Mar 2009, fourstrikes wrote:

    #211 bluelaw

    A post with many interesting points. I'm not trying to make you out fash or anything else (heaven forbid!)

    The figures for births and deaths I took from the Scottish Registrar General, not from a UK source as such, and they show a rough equivalence, with births outstripping deaths by a couple of thou. The figure for Scottish population is relatively static. Dips some years, comes up again. Like most of Western Europe, we're not in danger of a population explosion any time soon.

    Cheap skilled labour is generally not the issue wrt immigrants being treated poorly - it's unskilled labour which may be being performed by people who were regarded as very skilled in their own country. One hundred percent agree that nobody should be exploited in Scotland and that there is a brain drain to south of the border. I probably would have had better luck and better chances there too, but I was happier staying in Scotland.

    However an independent Scotland has a huge opportunity to attract immigrants who will contribute immeasurably to the success of our country. We can shake ourselves free from the shackles of UK policy, proclaim no more Dungavels, and make sure every Scot, no matter where they're from before they came here, can develop to their full potential.

    There's a misconception that we "carry" immigrants who are just here for the bennies. Human nature being what it is, there's always some folk who will try it on. But the vast majority of people do want to work and will work.

    With regards to what you say about immigration used to drive prices down and stigmatise the working class as "lazy" and "won't work" yeah. This is true. But it's not an immigration problem, it's a ruling class *invented* problem. What does it serve? A dual purpose, set worker against worker and still get cheap stuff so their profit margins are greater.

    This is another tactic straight out their handbook, and before "immigrants" it was women. When poor women had to take jobs to feed their families there was much hand wringing about the miserable condition of the class and men were encouraged to oppose any woman holding a job ever as she was taking a job from a man (selfish jade!) That's a great distraction tactic so one doesn't look at who created the conditions in the first place.

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  • 417. At 7:04pm on 02 Mar 2009, handclapping wrote:

    #402 Anglophone

    - Scotland asked to join the Union because it was broke -
    Opinion not fact

    - But you will have to negotiate a settlement with the rest of the UK whatever happens. -
    Implied threat?

    - English people would dislike breaking the Union because it would weaken the nation -
    "Interesting" argument that the English nation would be weakened.

    Lies, threats and bluster; perhaps there is reason to be told to "sling your hook".


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  • 418. At 7:14pm on 02 Mar 2009, dubbieside wrote:

    fourstrikes

    You may be right but I have my doubts. I do not think they can be sour and malicious one day then after independence day become all sweetness and light.

    I also do not think that there will be any place for any of the current crop of nu Labour MPs or MSPs, as elected members, in an independent Scotland. They for me and I suspect many more, will forever be associated with the petty politics they are employing at present.

    Their dancing to Westminsters tune, and opposing anything that the SNP proposes, no matter if it is good or bad for Scotland, will come back to haunt them.

    The SNP could do worse than make TV adverts of Westminsters Scottish Questions, let people see how hard their Labour MPs are working for Scotland.

    As an example, how many Scottish Labour MPs voted against post office closures? Why did they all agree that it did not matter how far their pensioner constituents had to walk to the nearest one left open? Do their constituents only matter when it was time to vote.

    As for your strange fondness, you have my utmost sympathy. Im sure it can be cured on the NHS.

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  • 419. At 7:17pm on 02 Mar 2009, aye_write wrote:

    #385 brigadierjohn

    "#380 Anglophone: That's a pretty fair impression of how it could be. Like Israel, where the Government changes every time a minority participant takes the huff. You did miss out the God-Let's-Go-Back-To-The-UK Party! :-)"

    Scotland is SO like Israel. How did I miss that!

    I'm sure Anglophone is rubbing his hands (or his head) at your contribution aiming to add more credence to his argument.

    You DO need to go back to reality.

    Brigadoom.

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  • 420. At 7:40pm on 02 Mar 2009, MalcolmW2 wrote:

    #405 dubbieside:

    "The main reason that England never had its own parliament, was that it always though that it did have one.

    Westminster for most people is Englands parliament,"

    That is a Scottish view, not an English one. It is this difficulty that many Scots have in trying to understand the other side's point of view which makes debating the whole constitutional issue so difficult. Living in England and talking over these issues with sensible English folk in my local pub has given me a much better understanding of their views, which frankly are too often parodied within these blogs. Most English folk are happy for Scotland to have its own parliament, they simply want to have equal treatment, something that they patently don't get at the moment. The forcing through of unpopular (in general) measures like foundation hospitals and university fees by using the votes of Scottish MP's at Westminster whose own constituents would be unaffected has caused greater resentment than is generally understood in Scotland. Consider how the Scots would react (it is nothing like the poll tax which was always coming to England too) were the position reversed.

    Anglophone articulates the English position much better than I could ever do, but I am convinced that the English do not seek, and never have, to dominate Scotland. That so many Scottish nationalists continue to alledge that they do, and in practice always have, only reinforces my point about the unfortunate trait of Scots to persistently paint themselves as victims of exterior forces. That was unfairly deemed as an insult, which was not intended, but the fact that it was, is another indicator of the reluctance of many Scots to accept any objective criticism, however kindly meant, of Scotland or her people; it is a kind of national tunnel vision, which has no place in a modern, self-confident nation. Every nation and culture has its faults; sometimes it is necesary to look back from outside to recognise them.

    The numerical establishment of the Westminster parliament, in respect of each home nation's representation, is a reflection of each nation's size, and was accepted at the time of the union. How else could it be arranged without weighting each Scotsman's vote more heavily than an Englishman's to give equal numbers of MP's? England could never have accepted that, understandably so. They may have wanted a secure northern border, but not at any price, and Scotland needed the union at that time more. (In fact Scotland was always, and still is even after recent reductions, over-represented on a per capita basis). If you get on a see-saw with a heavier partner, you can only expect to be left in the air; it is not your partner's fault.

    If there is to be devolution, it should apply equally to each home nation, England included. There has never been a time since the union when the present situation was reversed, ie the English had "home rule", free from Scottish influence, but they also had the right to influence Scottish-only legislation. Scots MPs always had the right to influence English legislation, albeit from a minority position. To deliberately confuse that with an English-dominated UK parliament which passed measures unpopular in Scotland is comparing apples with pears, and a cynical red-herring. The current situation is clearly unfair, it will lead eventually to serious protests in England, and it needs to be addressed. I am in favour of sensible devolution, but what was presented, purely for party political reasons favourable to New Labour (or so it thought), is a mess. Sadly for them, when it is rectified along properly democratic lines by a non-Labour government, it will probably see them out of office for ever in the parliament of all home nations. Some would say it will serve them right.

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  • 421. At 7:45pm on 02 Mar 2009, cynicalHighlander wrote:

    #411. Anglophone
    [Unsuitable/Broken URL removed by Moderator]
    Some of us wish to live in a Democracy not one hiding as a dictatorship.

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  • 422. At 8:21pm on 02 Mar 2009, aye_write wrote:

    #383 Anglophone

    "Sorry to argue but I think that I've got the Scottish Sense of National Grievance spot on! It's no different from the archetypal Daily Mail reader fulminating about the EU...it's the big neighbour about whom you feel emasculated and impotent. It's no different from the British attitude towards to US...a kind of sulky resentment of comparative success which is constantly consoled by myths of national superiority e.g. intellectual, sense of humour, levels of Type 2 diabetes etc etc. Get used to it, it won't go away!"

    Anglophone, if I may but in here between you two comedians!

    (I see you have been having fun!)

    I have never felt "emasculated and impotent" just so you know!

    You are being very bad.
    Although there are such things as "Scottish intellectuals, sense of humour etc.", I do not imagine that they are assumed to be superior. If I did I must think all the scientists, artists and inventors in the world to be Scottish. (Plus you've said you're English.)

    We don't say they are superior. We say they are there and they are worth something, the same as everybody else's are.

    In the UK however, they are to be seen as worth less. That is not a arbitrary decision, it results from the current set of circumstances.
    Is that supposed to be OK with Scots?

    You are implying that not to accept it is irrational or even insane "nationalism"?

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  • 423. At 8:44pm on 02 Mar 2009, pattymkirkwood wrote:

    #414, a thoroughly considered response. Clearly you put as much planning into that as you do your "defence" of the utterly discredited Union.

    Could do with that "Union Dividend" right about now. Seems the bankers have it.

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  • 424. At 9:59pm on 02 Mar 2009, cynicalHighlander wrote:

    I see Big Brother working again tonight when a link to the daily mail showing Harman's recent comment and how it is just the same way that Mugabe rules.

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  • 425. At 10:00pm on 02 Mar 2009, aye_write wrote:

    #286 handclapping

    "I am sure aye_write could use it in her love ins on NR blog."

    Thank you handy, I just did! ;-)

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  • 426. At 10:12pm on 02 Mar 2009, aye_write wrote:

    #385 brigadierjohn

    "aye_write: Sheriffmuir, eh?"

    No, I have not done a Mar. (ticks off)

    "As Churchill used to smirk: "History will say.... (looking round the Commons) because I shall write it...."

    Well, better yersel than someb'dy else..
    (I think all politicians think that.)

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  • 427. At 10:19pm on 02 Mar 2009, fourstrikes wrote:

    #418 dubbiesides,

    LOL, but you presume I *want* a cure? ;)

    That aside, I think that we could free up some talented people if the Westminster machine wasn't present. I'm not a Nat party loyalist so I don't particularly dislike any Labourites for just being where they are politically. They're an obstacle, but on a rather impersonal level, and should be dealt with on that basis.

    I wonder how some of them would have developed outside the bounds of our present system.

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  • 428. At 10:45pm on 02 Mar 2009, aye_write wrote:

    #391 Anglophone

    "So the argument is that , rather than a universal panacea for Scotland's ills, independence will change nothing but that nothing will be, by definition a good thing. You're going to have a much harder time on the hustings that even I thought."

    You've nicked and morphed my stuff! ;-)

    It's not the things that will be changed, rather the mechanism by which we change them i.e. not Westminster, where we had no say, but Holyrood where we do have some say.

    That is not to allude to some gratifying calm utopia.
    It will just be less sh!t than it is now - do you see?

    (I'm sure your version should be a banner on some official high office wall somewhere ;-)

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  • 429. At 10:55pm on 02 Mar 2009, dubbieside wrote:

    fourstrikes

    I wonder how some of them would have developed outside the bounds of our present system.

    Maybe you have just hit on the root of their problem. Are they so afraid to leave the comfort blanket of the Labour party that they no longer have an opinion of their own, and are happy to parrot the party line.

    Maybe they think we are as afraid as them, and that is why they do not want us to leave the comfort blanket of the UK.

    I wonder how many Scottish Labour MPs who voted to retain Trident were members of CND at one time?

    Im sure penicillin would do the trick.

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  • 430. At 11:18pm on 02 Mar 2009, fourstrikes wrote:

    #429 dubbiestrikes

    It is very puzzling.

    I understand the concept of party discipline. I'm a Leninist ;) What I don't get is why one would join a party in the first place which goes against one's core beliefs....or if the party morphs into the opposite of what one joined it for, why stay.

    I don't understand why a left wing person who joined Labour would hang around for the neutering of Clause Four, never mind the horrors which happened afterwards. I'm not sure what the heck some Labourites are doing in the party now. But I'd like to find out what motivates them and why.

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  • 431. At 11:21pm on 02 Mar 2009, Barbazenzero wrote:

    #411 Anglophone

    Thanks for responding to my #401, but I am afraid your post does little to convince me. You seem to be happy with the system that allowed Tony Bliar and now Duff Gordon to ride roughshod over us all on the votes of rather less than a quarter of the electorate, presumably on the basis that nice Dave C is a bit less right wing and authoritarian than either and might get in next time - possibly even winning the votes of more than a quarter of the electorate. I'm sorry, but few who have seen a democratic parliament working will agree to you - to the point that even Aunty Annabel's Scottish Tories don't want a return to direct rule. UKIP's policy is to disband Holyrood, I believe, and let to MPs for Scottish seats meet there instead - perhaps you'd go along with that.

    In England, we seem to be see the decline and fall of one right-wing authoritarian party, NuLab, and the rise of another - the BNP - who seem to have very similar policies except for the multi-culturalism. Would you really be happy at the idea of the BNP taking power on the the same basis that NuLab did?

    "having progressed from feudalism and absolute monarchy comparatively earlier than most, if not all European countries"
    To what, exactly? Outsiders would call Westmidden a quasi-democratic oligarchical system where the people are given an occasional opportunity to choose between tweedledum and tweedledee. An early tentative step toward democracy may have been taken there nearly two centuries ago, but everywhere else in the EU is now more democratic, including countries who were inside the Soviet empire less than two decades ago.

    "We Brits have a had a distaste towards chopping and changing over the years"
    How do you know? To the best of my recollection, England has participated in exactly one referendum concerning membership of the EEC, and the other home nations at most two more on the removal of powers from Westmidden, to which the answer was "Yes, please". It would be fairer to say that the changes in 1832 were just enough to keep the middle classes onside and defeat Chartism, and that subsequent extension of the franchise within the old, rotten, system has been just enough to prevent civil disobience to date.

    "Like I said, it has its drawbacks but it does have the benefit of longevity."
    In what way is longevity a "benefit"? Stinking fish usually smells more the longer it is left to rot.

    "I've always thought that this goes a long way to explain the British hesitancy about the EU."
    Our masters are indeed hestiant at signing up to things that would benefit us serfs like Schengen or the Social Chapter, but the people have never been asked and what you call "British" is in fact English - Scots are much more in favour of joining the EU properly, if their party allegiances are any indicator.

    But you fail to answer the key question - Why should Scots shackle themselves in perpetuity to the will of about a third of the English electorate?

    The population of England outnumbers that of the rest of the British Isles combined by a large number, meaning that as others on these threads often point out, England would always get its way, even in a democratic federal system. If you are truly serious in wanting to retain a UK for the future, the only hope would appear to be to adopt a Swiss style of confederation whereby the sovereign home nations delegate a few of their powers to a small federal government, providing such things as defence and overseas representation.

    Post or reactive moderation for all except CBeebies, please!

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  • 432. At 11:29pm on 02 Mar 2009, fourstrikes wrote:

    Dubbie....and think I've misspelt your name? I am in fact drawing you into my sinister cult ;)

    Should I admit that out loud? ;)

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  • 433. At 11:34pm on 02 Mar 2009, Barbazenzero wrote:

    #412 fourstrikes

    Fair enough, we're certainly on the same wavelength. I wouldn't like to see the likes of the BNP coming to power anywhere, but so long as they operate within the law I would be perfectly relaxed about them standing in democratic elections so that their claptrap can better be countered.

    What worries me is that under Westmidden's plurality system, the hurdle for entry is so high that when they are finally represente dthere it may be like a dam bursting. One or two list members in Holyrood would condemn themselves every time they opened their mouths, perhaps to the extent that they only serve one term.

    Post or reactive moderation for all except CBeebies, please!

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  • 434. At 11:42pm on 02 Mar 2009, aye_write wrote:

    #393 Anglophone

    "Gadaboot" ;-)

    Your tales confirm the assertion that there are as many systems of PR as there are countries, almost.

    Could it not be possible for Scotland to tweak and refine/manipulate a/our system so that it works well enough?

    "The Dutch view the British system as being a tyranny of the minority as the government, in the strict sense is, by definition representing a numerical minority of voters."

    I view it as that!

    My father was recently working in Milan. He reported Italy was corrupt ;-)

    "The first past the post system arguably disenfranchises a portion of the population"

    Now forgive me, but from here on is where I think you are getting a bit dewy-eyed. Maybe you are older and used to what you know?

    Agreed on disenfranchisement. The last govt. got in with under 36% of the vote. With FPTP your vote only matters if you are a floating voter in a marginal constituency. Even then you have but only two real choices - dead horse one or dead horse two.

    "The alternative always involves horse-trading and queasy compromises."

    That's a very subjective view isn't it, backed by your later #411:

    "[It's better because of] having progressed from feudalism and absolute monarchy comparatively earlier than most, if not all European countries.

    Like I said, it has its drawbacks but it does have the benefit of longevity.
    "

    It certainly does!

    "We Brits have a had a distaste towards chopping and changing over the years...you know, flirtations with absolute monarchy, facism etc. requiring a new constitution after each upheaval. The French are onto...what is it now...the 7th Republic"

    It's a side to you I hadn't quite looked at. You do seem to say, "[those] other systems are a bit inferior, they've kept getting it wrong, not like us British, our system is superior." A bit snobby I thought - was it? Based on your national identity.

    That's what you accuse nationalists of succumbing to, the delusions of superiority.
    Even if you deny it rationally, that is what you accuse nationalists of, also being in denial.

    Please take my points as they were intended - I know it will be all too easy for you to mimic and make fun of them/me, but I am sure you are easily able to get my point. (You can wind me up later. Use your powers for good first ;-)

    But your sentimentality aside (I'm sure it's partly at the root of your suppressed Brit-natism Anglophone ;-), lets look further at the system.

    "...but has the advantage of a political party being able to campaign on a clear platform and be held to account later."

    Are you serious? All parties regardless always purposefully campaign on a clear platform - they expect to win! But that aside, being held to account? The opposition doesn't hold them to account - they can just huff and make noises. Sovereignty lies with parliament not the people. It (they) can do what they like. You can watch for five years!

    You wouldn't have said that if you didn't have some other version of events, so I'm ready to listen.

    "There are advantages and disadvantages to both approaches."

    Apart from the nostalgia factor, I can't see any advantages to FPTP Westminster style.

    How would you like to improve it?

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  • 435. At 11:47pm on 02 Mar 2009, aye_write wrote:

    #431 Brownedov

    That's rather a good post Brownedov :-)

    I've just been bleaterin' about the same...

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  • 436. At 11:52pm on 02 Mar 2009, aye_write wrote:

    #395 dubbieside/Anglophone

    "sichaayshun"

    Hilarious!
    :oD

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  • 437. At 00:03am on 03 Mar 2009, Barbazenzero wrote:

    #435 aye_write

    Thank you ma'am. Your #434 also had much to commend it.

    I particularly liked your: "Even then you have but only two real choices - dead horse one or dead horse two"

    Spot on!

    But it's been a busy day and blanket bay beckons, so goodnight all.

    Post or reactive moderation for all except CBeebies, please!

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  • 438. At 00:27am on 03 Mar 2009, frankly_francophone wrote:

    #411 Anglophone

    "The French are onto...what is it now...the 7th Republic (...)"

    What are you trying to do, persuade us that the English are as vague as they are generally considered to be?

    The present form of republican constitution in France is known as the Fifth Republic. The present form of monarchical constitution in the UK is known as a shambles.

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  • 439. At 00:37am on 03 Mar 2009, Anglophone wrote:

    Brownedov

    Why do you keep going on about the BNP. Are you trying to spread the idea that without the calming influence of Scotland that England will fall prey to hordes of fascist thugs. I've even heard someone on these blogs loudly attest to the BNP stronghold in the South West...durrr it's Lib Dem country down here.

    I never dared to comment on the relative merits of European electoral systems, just on the possible reasons behind their provenance. You really do like putting words in other peoples mouths.

    The negatives surrounding the present British set-up lie in the archaic nature of some aspects of the system, although I'm not sure that the democratic deficit is quite so wide as you insist. A major plus in my view is the level of precedent in the system that tends to bear down on extreme politics...the numerous recent revolts on government security policy being a case in point. Contrast that with say Vladimir Putin making himself president for life...ditto Hugo Chavez. Perhaps President Salmond will adjust the new constitution similarly...all for the greater good of course!

    Other European systems have tended to come and go...usually punctuated by bloodshed or periods of vicious authoritariansim. I have stated before that a principle benefit of the Union has been political stability and I stick to that view. Stability is a dull thing but you really miss it when its gone. I don't like political systems built out of political turmoil...people get killed; but then you're living Switzerland where the system is practically propped up by the dead and disadvantaged (I've done that one before).

    Personally, I like adversarial politics. The alternative always looks a bit too much like a committee of my betters quietly deciding what's good for me. So bring on the PMQs, the yah-booing and good hand-to-hand debating.

    As a funny postscript...if you are so concerned about democratic deficit, why is the SNP so set on wedding Scotland to the EU (other than the hope of a handout). That institution has probably the greatest democratic deficit in the Western World.

    By the way...I'm still puzzled how the Great Reform Act of 1832 was passed to placate the Chartists when that movement did not even originate before 1838. Nice try. Then consider how many European countries had any sort of democratic system at that time before you start your bashing!

    Reactionary moderation and syllabaries please.

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  • 440. At 00:43am on 03 Mar 2009, aye_write wrote:

    #412 fourstrikes

    "#??? AW

    Can't find your post but your agreement made me very happy. I remembered it during a whole weekend in the pub, and I can't remember much else ;)
    "

    Good! :-)

    "We probably would never agree on most things but anyone who recognises that Scotland has a completely different outlook on these matters has a place in my heart ;)"

    Thank you.
    I think I would like a place there :-)

    (Now, we must tell Brig-a-dig,-dig that is how you do it! ;-)

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  • 441. At 00:45am on 03 Mar 2009, Anglophone wrote:

    438 FranklyFrancophone

    Gosh, it's really hard to keep count of these republics. You must excuse me adding on a couple for dramatic effect.

    I suspect that you must still be smarting about your original failure to export your exemplary political system, despite extensive bloodshed and its descent into authoritarianism.

    We may have a quirky constitutional set-up that offends the sensibilities of instinctively centralising technocrats...but that's part of the fun. I'd rather have a few ambiguities here and there than have a foreign policy based on two hundred years of sulking;-)

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  • 442. At 00:52am on 03 Mar 2009, aye_write wrote:

    #397 MalcolmW2

    ""It is a sad fact that part of the Scottish character is the need to blame anything bad that happens to her or her citizens on someone else"

    "That's a mere insult"

    "I didn't intend my comment about the Scottish character to be insulting, nor do I accept that it was. Having lived outwith Scotland now for many a year maybe I see sides to our selves from a different perspective.
    "

    Malcolm, you cannot be so sweeping as to say your observation applies to the whole of the Scots as part of their character. For some, as with some anywhere, it will, for some it won't.

    It doesn't to me. What a waste of angst and energy it would be. Better to do things for yourself to sort it i.e. campaign for independence, in my opinion, and in many others' too.

    I just don't accept that it is a fair representation or gereralisation of Scottish folk at all. I though it did your argument no good, in marginalising you as narrow minded.

    However, I don't seek to pick a fight!

    Malcolm, referring to my #317, #434 and several (a lot!) of posts on NR's, can I make it absolutely clear I am under no illusions that England has anything in the way resembling democracy!

    With their parliamentary sovereignty, FPTP strangle hold, no English say over matters the devolved parliaments have. I'd be peeved aswell!

    I keep telling them to campaign for an English parliament!

    "England has been the only real loser under devolution"

    I entirely agree!
    I think it's time their system was more democratic. Even FPTP for England would be a step forward (might keep the Westminster style traditionalists happy? ;-)

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  • 443. At 00:56am on 03 Mar 2009, aye_write wrote:

    Anglophone #439, #441

    I don't agree, but really, really funny!

    Who have you got in line next - eek

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  • 444. At 01:14am on 03 Mar 2009, frankly_francophone wrote:

    #402 Anglophone

    "Central to the nationalist lexicon is the belief that the English crave domineering power and that they have always desired beautiful Scotland."

    In response to the above statement the following passage is extracted from the Description of the Kingdoms of England and Scotland by Etienne Perlin, published in Paris in 1558, and from which I have had occasion to quote before:

    "(...) the Kings of England and Scotland are descended from a common dynasty. But (as is customary) the big fish desires to swallow up the little fish: thus the predatory Kings of England, not content with their territorial limits, have sought to invade and conquer the country of their kin and allies to such an extent that they have attempted on many occasions to plunder, burn and ruin the Kings of Scotland and their kingdom."

    To the best of my knowledge and belief, Etienne Perlin, whose text is in very readable French of the period, was not a Scottish nationalist or a Scottish anything. You, on the other hand, are very definitely an English something, and that something, as you demonstrate consistently, is most certainly not a respecter of facts, whether historical or otherwise.

    As for your #441, "a few ambiguities"? You must be joking.

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  • 445. At 01:33am on 03 Mar 2009, aye_write wrote:

    #439 Anglophone

    Wow, Anglophone!
    Where do I start!

    You don't like change and are happy to consider all sorts of, em, cool views to stave it off!

    Re yours and Francophone's (AngloFrancophone? - ooh :-$) ambiguities.

    You minimise, by being not sure about, the "democratic deficit" fallout of FPTP, so as you can trade it off against another uncertainty, the "level of precedent in the system that tends to bear down on extreme politics".

    But with an elected majority on only 36% of the vote, and no effective opposition and therefore a free reign, don't you think your Westminster winners aren't going to become more and more extreme the longer they are in power. Look at them - obvious example Gordon Brown. He's way nuts now!

    But all we can say is that's your choice - your preference.

    "Stability is a dull thing but you really miss it when its gone."

    You like what you know. (Don't decorate with telling you?)

    "Personally, I like adversarial politics."

    But it's all decided before the adversarial show goes on. If they disagree, yaaing and booing, it's still decided! Is it you don't care about democracy as long as you're not bored?? You are a true English eccentric ;-)

    I think that's a national identity, ego, thing. To have this unique, long standing, well known historic parliament associated with Brits (you), some of that perceived status is yours? That's cute actually. (You English are really sweet.)

    "The alternative always looks a bit too much like a committee of my betters quietly deciding what's good for me."

    Quietly! Have you seen FMQs? Plus ALL government work is decided by committee is it not, generally? Just, you'd rather not have that out in the open? Not cool (different) enough?

    You're right, Holyrood is more like a committee, but having been on a few(as a mother doing her bit in the community), they are hilarious! Nothing changes with the increase in scale. Same nonsense and personalities - dopes being manipulated by the ones that see through them etc. etc.
    Plus worked properly, it's a safer, fairer way to make decisions.

    "So bring on the PMQs, the yah-booing and good hand-to-hand debating."

    You still get that Anglophone.

    On the EU, yes it is pants for that, needs a good clean out, like kitchen cupboards!
    But, in summary (there are many posts on this on NRs, so forgive me if I can't be annoyed tonight), we have NO say as part of the UK, internally or internationally and in the EU our say would resemble Denmark's. You don't see them trying to get more say by suggesting being re-wedded in an iniquitous Union to a neighbour, do you.

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  • 446. At 02:16am on 03 Mar 2009, aye_write wrote:

    Anglophone,

    I ought to say I feel a bit bad like trying to break your favourite heirloom vase with my stance on independence.
    Know that I, anyway, would not do it if I didn't feel it was the only option.

    Perhaps it would have been better at the Act of Union if England and Scotland had just no longer been. The national identity issues might have blown away? Maybe not.
    But if they had and we had all united in brotherly love (there's your utopia reference!) into Britons, your beloved (too strong) parliament wouldn't be so threatened now.

    It was a b*ll* up, the Union. Half baked and doomed to fail.

    But why? I say because the English and Scottish national identities of the day, steeped in recent rivalry as they were, couldn't allow themselves to be traded in for British. They were opposed to concede.

    And the Union was borne out of necessity, for both sides, not from a dream of a wonderful, wondrous better way.

    Our negotiators, Anglophone, deliberately kept our legal, educational and religious systems. These being the things that so most influenced daily life (religious body administered the law to the common person and set up schools etc.) - we kept living as Scots always had.

    To me that that was done is an indication that the Union was only meant to be temporary.

    Up until the second half of last century, it still had an effect. Not much influence was felt in Scotland from England. But our, em, ancestors couldn't have foreseen television and the mass media. It's only since they've come in that this overt portrayal of ourselves as British has, perversely, made us think that we are Scottish, as we see the differences, whatever you may think of them.

    Plus, it was only during that time that UK govt. law making started to encroach into Scottish affairs, so of course politicians would notice this.

    That coupled with once having been sovereign, and now only being a nation in name, does inevitably rekindle desire for self-governance, especially when we see other European nations having it.

    It's more complicated than that of course, but that's roughly what affects people subliminally, people who don't really think about politics, in their normal (Scottish) lives.

    Maybe you were already aware.

    It's not a story to fit the cause. It's merely the way things have been. I tried to look for common sense.

    If I read this I would think it oversimplified at first, but that's the fault of the way I've typed it, not the fault of the points I make.
    Maybe they're not as stupid as they sound ;-)

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  • 447. At 02:31am on 03 Mar 2009, aye_write wrote:

    #439 Anglophone

    What are "syllabaries"?

    I've looked it up and am none the wiser.

    "list of characters representing symbolls -
    a list or set of written characters in which each character represents a single syllable e.g. the Japanese kana"

    I haven't noticed any Japanese stuff on here, so could you enlighten me...

    PS I've stopped boring you with notions to do with independence now.

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  • 448. At 02:42am on 03 Mar 2009, bluelaw wrote:

    MalcolmW2

    I grew up in England. The English don't care about Scotland at all but become annoyed by expressions of Scottish confidence because this subconsciously emasculates their vision of England and its sense of having control over these islands. I know that's a load of cod psychology but I've experienced it enough firsthand to trust my diagnosis.

    For every English gripe you list there are as many Scottish ones. But speaking as a Scot I think English annoyance is generally misplaced and attempts at victimhood objectionable. I agree that Nulab should not parachute in their Scots MPs on issues like foundation hospitals but that really is between them and Nulab not the SNP who you should be reminded don't vote on English affairs as a matter of principle. And I make no apology for saying that an imposition such as this pales in comparison to what Thatcher, Major and the rest did to Scotland. And few in England and I speak again from personal experience could have cared less what happened to Scotland at that time. Not through malice I hasten to add although a few revelled in it no doubt but mostly through profound indifference. So with respect I hope you'll understand that I need no lecture on these things.

    Aside from this I don't blame English people for what has befallen Scotland. I generally avoid any sort of blame at all but if I were to apportion it then I would hold to account a British ruling class mainly though not exclusively English who have bled Scotland dry so as to suit their narrowly defined Anglo-centric interests at every opportunity. Now they've also done like-wise with large swathes of English people too but that is for the English to account for. And English people could account for this a lot more effectively IMO by familiarising themselves with the reality of British governance and to stop blaming us or so-called representatives of us Scots at every opportunity.

    Other than that I really don't care to engage with your stereotyping of the Scots and IMO your sadly quite ill thought-out so-called 'empathy' with the English.

    fourstrikes

    thx. Your post was in return very interesting. I will renegage with it later.

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  • 449. At 10:17am on 03 Mar 2009, frankly_francophone wrote:

    #447 aye_write

    I see you pursued the anglo-sophist through the shadows of the night. You seem to be determined to save that chap's soul. Are you absolutely certain that he has one?


    #446

    "To me that that was done is an indication that the Union was only meant to be temporary."

    The anglo-union was by all accounts certainly meant to be temporary by those who sought to have it rescinded only six years after it came into effect, when barely a Scot, peer or commoner, had a single friendly word to offer on behalf of the Treaty.

    It was resolved to begin with the Lords, and Seafield ("there's ane end o' ane auld sang"), who had become Earl Findlater, was chosen to move for leave to bring in a bill with that object. The Earl of Mar seconded, and Argyle warmly supported. The vote was found equal: 54 for dissolution of the Union and 54 against. It was, therefore, decided to perpetuate the Union on the fateful "proxies", which were as 17 to 13, a majority against of 4!

    So you were born into the UK instead of an independent Scotland on the basis of a majority of no more than 4 proxy votes in the English parliament. The wonders of the UK constitution do indeed need to be seen to be believed. There being no enthusiasm for the Union in 1713 even among those who had supported it, one can see that the process of disenchantment with it has an exceedingly long and distinguished history, of which no one should submit to being browbeaten into feeling ashamed of.

    There is something rotten in the state, and it needs to be fixed. That is the approach adopted in France, of course: change that which should be changed. Hence the orderly transition between constitutional arrangements as in the case of the replacement of the post-war stop-gap constitution which had hastily been put in place to dispose of the Petainist collaborationist one, which had resulted from the Fall of France. It would hardly have been reasonable to keep a constitution in place which was the result of imposition by another country. I leave you with that thought, although I am aware that you are already well and truly persuaded.

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  • 450. At 10:20am on 03 Mar 2009, 2-D-Bate wrote:

    #383 Anglophone

    I have to say I found your response unusually interesting!

    I take your point about the period of lull for the pound and the latent eventual upturn for it, but am wondering what do you mean about the potential demise of the euro?

    There are differences of course, what with the pound being a marginal and isolated currency. OK, I'm poking - I am assuming some emotional attachment to it for you? As in economics, talking up your economy and talking it down are actually contributing factors and cannot be ignored, so is this in fact what you are doing?

    Or, how do you see our/your interests best being served currency wise?

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  • 451. At 11:03am on 03 Mar 2009, handclapping wrote:

    #447 aye_write

    A) he thinks he demeans you by forcing you to look it up

    B) he is a lets reform the english language nutter like GBS

    C) he didn't know what it meant but he'd heard it once and it sounded nice

    D) he's a poseur

    I'd go for D

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  • 452. At 11:50am on 03 Mar 2009, MalcolmW2 wrote:

    #448 Bluelaw:

    "I grew up in England. The English don't care about Scotland at all but become annoyed by expressions of Scottish confidence because this subconsciously emasculates their vision of England and its sense of having control over these islands. "

    And so you have neatly pigeonholed the views of 55 million people, and yet you do not like my stereotyping of the Scots!

    My "empathy" with the English, distasteful to you or not, is no less than my "empathy" with the Scots. I have found good and bad in both. I suspect from this and previous posts that you have made that your political views are driven more by a dislike of the English, always carefully denied or camouflaged, then a well-reasoned logic. I am comforted by the belief that many of the other pro-indepndence posters have a firmer (and fairer) basis for their views.

    Independence (indeed any political change) should only be driven by positives and never negatives. Dislike, resentment and envy are all negatives.

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  • 453. At 12:08pm on 03 Mar 2009, aye_write wrote:

    #439 Anglophone

    "As a funny postscript...if you are so concerned about democratic deficit, why is the SNP so set on wedding Scotland to the EU (other than the hope of a handout). That institution has probably the greatest democratic deficit in the Western World."

    Further to my basic (!) summary earlier, there are various points to do with the sticking point you'd though you'd found (you're not the first!), so here's another...

    (I pinch from oldnat.)

    Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania
    Czech Republic and Slovakia
    Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia-Herzogovina, Montegro, Macedonia, Kosovo and Serbia
    Iceland and Denmark
    Ireland and UK
    Norway and Sweden

    (the ones in bold were the ones with violence due to the dominant power refusing to rescind control)

    Which of these countries who went their "separate ways", do you think should have stayed in their former federal or incorporating union?

    Do you think you could persuade any of them (with the exception of Serbia) that their previous constitutional status is preferable to their current one (most of them also in the EU)?

    (Back to me.)

    And all of them can of course negotiate withdrawal from the EU - none have.

    Currently Scotland has NO representation - no votes, no Commissioner, no seat at any table let alone a top one.

    It occupies a strategic geographic position and is an oil producer. The EU probably isn't going to say get lost.

    Besides on independence we negotiate. I realise, as you do with the current imperfect Westminster set up, that the current EU set up is, well, a mess, flawed and like Westminster lacking in proper democracy.

    However I maintain that it is sovereign states that are, and always have been the players in international relations, and so states have the influence, only they can work things out for the better or not. They just have to weild their power. We need to be one.

    While I am under no illusion as to the power Scotland will have, I am sure that that power is a damn sight better than no power. Why have an intermediary Union to remove our voice before being part of a the wider EU? Apart from silencing us, it's seems like one of those unnecessary extra layers of government everyone is so adamantly against.

    You might say, the UK is the bigger and safer bus to be driving, but Anglophone, it isn't, and hasn't been, driving for its constituents has it? Only for those holding the power of the day, their expenses, their power, their game. As you watch.

    I expect you will speak of protection. From what? Economic downturn? We cannot set rates or control our economy at the moment. Being outvoted? We commonly have different requirements to England, so the UK 27 votes is meaningless if it's not what we want to vote for.

    Plus, post independence, there will be a reinvigoraion I think of the Council of the Isles (is it), and together our collective votes would be greater than the UK's at the moment.

    I think you are seeing a lot of what I am writing as golden propoganda. I am naive and duped? It's not so black and white though. You are lucky, you can see right through to the obvious way things will work. Perhaps I don't (can't) have the full picture, but are my views so totally unrealistic? My ways of looking at it maybe can't help but be stupid, but the arguments aren't automatically so, are they?

    And, my English friend, if you were I, would you not rather be in the driving seat (as with England and its 87% representation in Westminster) or the baby seat (as with Scotland)?

    You seem pragmatic. What would you choose?

    If you say baby seat, gosh, what a climbdown from the status you earlier inferred there was with being associated with world-renound Westminster. You can't have glory in super system of "democracy" and be happily self-muting at the same time, can you?

    It's the mute bit (no quips) that is what reallybothers me.

    What additional powers would the Scottish Parliament have with independence?

    * constitutional matters
    * foreign policy
    * defence and national security
    * fiscal and economic policy
    * immigration and nationality
    * energy: electricity, coal, oil, gas and nuclear energy
    * common markets
    * trade and industry, including competition and customer protection
    * drugs law
    * broadcasting
    * elections and the registration and funding of political parties
    * remaining aspects of transport, including aviation, railways, transport safety and regulation
    * employment legislation and health and safety
    * social security
    * gambling and the National Lottery
    * data protection
    * firearms, extradition and emergency powers
    * medicines, abortion, human fertilisation and embryology, genetics, xenotransplantation and vivisection
    * equal opportunities
    * treason, treason felony and misprision of treason
    * regulation of time zones and Summer Time
    * weights and measures: Units and standards of weight and measurement. Regulation of trade so far as involving weighing, measuring and quantities
    * Control of all the seashore resources administered by the Crown Estates and all royal prerogatives relating to Scotland, currently exercised by the UK PM
    * Control of all resources within the Scottish Continental Shelf - as delineated by the UN Convention on the Continental Shelf done at Geneva on April 29, 1958

    And so I have to trust you with my affairs? I probably would actually, but it's not you singularly I meant.

    Why should I be happy with that? Happy to not do? To not be is to be an insane zealot, fall in to the trap of nationalism? So you can't have any grievances if they are based on the narrow minded, up yourself take of national identity? What a trick Anglophone :-)
    (What a trap.)

    What grievances would ever be allowed? Would it be OK for the English to have some? Is being proud bad for them too. I can see the English saying exactly as the Scots are if they were in the same position. What should they then do?

    It seems to me you can dismiss any position of nationalism because if it would be silly for it to be an issue for you, it must be silly for it to be an issue for any country at all, lest we stop being mature and grown up. That's a rather impossible situation don't you think? You have self-governance through your majority at Westmintser.

    It's like somebody having sweets and enjoying them, but ridiculing someone else for saying they want them, because "they are bad for you". I don't see England opting for a role reversal, or accepting such, so it is hyprocrytical nonsense from many English Union supporters. We have to shut up and get on with it like the pooches we are (no offence intended!).

    What, given all the above, would you advise the Scots do then? Imagine, as a friend, I have come to you to ask.
    Seriously, I am interested.

    Right, enough for now :-)

    (I might have some cyber doggie biscuits somewhere.....make up for picking on you ;-)

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  • 454. At 12:15pm on 03 Mar 2009, aye_write wrote:

    #449 frankly_francophone

    "I see you pursued the anglo-sophist through the shadows of the night. You seem to be determined to save that chap's soul. Are you absolutely certain that he has one?"

    I'm sorry, frankly. What can I say. I seem to like him, unfortunately (more so for him!) ;-)

    He's not an evil g!t. Just likes to wind us up - like my uncle that will say anything, as his neice I just laugh, and we get on. I'm not doing it deliberately.

    I liked your post.

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  • 455. At 12:19pm on 03 Mar 2009, Anglophone wrote:

    449 2 D Bate

    How can I be "emotionally attached" to the pound when I clearly state my belief that Britain should join, should the Euro get through this recession unscathed.

    By unscathed I mean... 1) none of the original members are forced to leave due to economic instability (this is not me, it has been widely discussed by economists). 2) that Eurozone countries do not linger in recession or low growth longer than the UK. 3) That currency differentials do not drive unemployment above 10% in the key Eurozone economies for any protracted period.

    These issues therefore include the age-old "convergence question", unemployment and, critically the currently unanswered question on the Euro's stability under pressure. If it passes the test then there is a strong case for joining.

    There you are...Anglophone's three key questions. Two less than Ed Balls managed but that's because I'm not obsessed by the City of London.

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  • 456. At 12:33pm on 03 Mar 2009, Anglophone wrote:

    446 & 447

    Sorry about the syllabaries. It was late and I was trying to think of words that had some sort of assonance with BrownDov's peculiar footnote. You're right, it makes no sense and it wasn't meant to.

    300 hundred years a "temporary solution". That's longer than most countries have been in existence. The French would have been through four or five models of government in that time. Will the EU last 300 years? I doubt it.

    Anyway, if the whole Union thing can be seen as a marriage of convenience and a ghastly interlude while you get back on your feet then referendum away. Despite Franklyfrancophone's "proof" that England desires above all else to dominate Scotland, based on an obscure 16th Century French text, nobody will stand in your way.

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  • 457. At 12:35pm on 03 Mar 2009, Anglophone wrote:

    452 Malcolm

    Don't fret, Bluelaw is a Surrey Celt desperate to identify with something. I suspect that you and I have spent more time North of the Border than he has;-)

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  • 458. At 12:48pm on 03 Mar 2009, Anglophone wrote:

    449 Franklyfrancophone

    Something rotten in the state? I do like your idea of orderly constitutional transition...the essentially bloodless second world war, the polite discourse of the Algerian War and subsequent OSS terrorism. I just wish that we could work out our constitutional transitions in the same calm and unhurried way. Give me ambiguity over orderly transition any day!

    I could make a joke about the Fall of France but it's like shooting fish in a barrel!

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  • 459. At 12:54pm on 03 Mar 2009, aye_write wrote:

    #456 Anglophone

    I liked syllabaries. It sounds like something not quite as nasty as piles (maybe that British gentlemen get? ;-)

    I don't think any English people are out to dominate us, maybe some politicians and Scots ones too, but..

    "if the whole Union thing can be seen as a marriage of convenience and a ghastly interlude while you get back on your feet then referendum away"

    ...sounds like I am attacking your manhood?

    What on earth does it (the Union) stand for then? :-)

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  • 460. At 12:58pm on 03 Mar 2009, Anglophone wrote:

    451 Handclapping

    In your case you've missed one out

    E) I'm cleverer than you;-)

    I admit it...I just enjoy playing with words which is, ultimately, a lot more productive than playing with yourself.

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  • 461. At 1:21pm on 03 Mar 2009, Anglophone wrote:

    453 Aye-Write

    Good post and hard to answer. I think that the borrowed oldnat stuff is revealing in the sense that it tries to suggest that the UK is boiling pot of ethnic rivalries akin to the Former Yugoslavia...which it clearly isn't.

    On your point about the areas not devolved to the Scottish Government. Firstly a fair few are governed by EU law or international treaty so that's not going to make much difference anyway. On the others you have a valid point provided that you don't think that UK government is performing this role adequately or it is performing this role materially at odds with the expressed wishes of the Scottish People.

    But as mentioned before...what happens when different entities within Scotland demand devolution of control because they don't hold a permanent majority at Holyrood?

    At some point in the democratic governmental process there has to be a surrender to the will of the majority be that in Brussels or at the local council. You will never solve this problem!

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  • 462. At 1:23pm on 03 Mar 2009, aye_write wrote:

    Handclapping

    re #460 Anglophone

    Don't tell him he's clever, he'll never speak to you again :-(


    Anglophone,
    And some posters on here probably do both.

    Off out.
    Back at night...

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  • 463. At 1:35pm on 03 Mar 2009, Anglophone wrote:

    459 Aye-Write

    You suggested that the negotiated retention of law and education within the Act of Union suggests that it was seen as a temporary arrangement. I was simply saying that 300 years sounds as close to permanent as you get in the history of modern nation states.

    As I've mentioned before. In my view the Union stands primarily for peace...to put a stop to feuding between rivals because there could have been a number of issues in the 18th and 19th Centuries over which England and Scotland could have fought. Is this an issue now? Well no! Could it be an issue in 150 - 300 years time? Who would want to predict it.

    As Machiavelli said "hold your friends close and your enemies closer still!" Both sides have so much to lose!

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  • 464. At 1:50pm on 03 Mar 2009, handclapping wrote:

    460 Anglophone

    I'm sure in your case the joy of the first is the joy of the second but with an audience and results in the same outcome. Have you any audience surveys rating your performance?

    E) is part of A); try group theory instead of getting us involved in your group therapy.

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  • 465. At 1:59pm on 03 Mar 2009, Barbazenzero wrote:

    #439 Anglophone

    As NuLab are rapidly discovering, bluster and spin will only get you so far, and your post - like many of your others - is worthy of Draper and his trolls. You're not one of them by any chance, are you?

    You answer facts with inaccurate innuendo and avoid answering questions with twisted logic. You don't seem to be winning many friends here, and I for one will not respond to you again until you provide some evidence to support your outrageous assertions.

    Re the BNP, I suggest you read Mark Seddon's The BNP is mining a rich seam in our former coalfields in today's Indy, and Paul Vallely's Is the BNP becoming Cumbria's cup of tea? from last Saturday. If you think we're wrong to be concerned, try presenting some evidence. You could start by giving us your take on why they now have a member on the London Assembly and 9 councillors on Stoke City Council.

    Last time I heard, neither Vladimir Putin nor Hugo Chavez were in control of EU countries, and your risible comparison of them with the FM is totally ludicrous. If you believe Salmond is anti-democratic in any way, some evidence might convince us but not muck-raking unworthy of rags like the Sun.

    "I have stated before that a principle benefit of the Union has been political stability and I stick to that view. Stability is a dull thing but you really miss it when its gone."
    Yes, I've heard it said anecdotally that some newly released prisoners "miss" the stability of "stir", but what was your point, exactly and where's your evidence? Have you had any success in explaining the error of their ways to the Irish, Norwegians, Poles, Slovenes or Swiss?

    If you believe all is rosy in the British constitutional garden, have a read of Philip Pullman's Malevolent voices that despise our freedoms in the Thunderer. He's wrong, of course, but mainly about what freedoms us serfs ever actually had,

    You then might want to compare and contrast that view with Muriel Gray's It's amazing that we're still amazed when our politicians betray us in the Sunday Herald. She's a previously fanatical NuLab hackette and you won't be surprised that I don't share her conclusions, but she expresses the concerns of many in Scotland pretty well.

    "if you are so concerned about democratic deficit, why is the SNP so set on wedding Scotland to the EU"
    Not being a member, I can't speak for the SNP, but my own view is that, for all its flaws, the EU is an organisation capable of change from within. This contrasts with Westmidden, where NuLab's 1997 promises of electoral and constitutional reform were ditched almost immediately in favour of the minimum change necessary to consolidate their "elective dictatorship" for the next decade.

    Re the 1832 Reform Act, you made a nice try at obfuscation but I stand by my #431's "the changes in 1832 were just enough to keep the middle classes onside and defeat Chartism". You'll be relieved to know that I don't propose to write a history of the UK here, but had the 1832 measures not been enacted, there would have been a severe danger of the middle classes taking the side of the people in the anger that was already evident [Peterloo, etc] and was just enough to ensure the victory of the establishment over the subsequent actions of the Chartists, who I concur only adopted their name from the People's Charter of 1838. But have you never wondered what Huskisson was so anxious to chat to the Iron Duke about that he forgot where he was standing and became the first recorded "civilian" railway fatality?

    I'm off out now, and your #463 has not yet cleared the mods. Should it, by any chance, contain any actual evidence I'll respond this evening. TTFN.

    Post or reactive moderation for all except CBeebies, please!

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  • 466. At 2:13pm on 03 Mar 2009, handclapping wrote:

    #461 Anglophone

    You forget that democracy was invented for far fewer voters than are are presently "represented" by our Westminster parliament. What was appropriate for 600 with 6000 slaves may not be so for 55,000,000 with only 5,000,000.
    Also if you didn't like the democratic outcome in Athens you could toddle off to Corinth. Many Scots used to vote with their feet in this way but now it is less easy so to do and you end up with a population that feel trapped. Lion taming is easy if the lions feel happy?

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  • 467. At 3:51pm on 03 Mar 2009, frankly_francophone wrote:

    #458 Anglophone


    France had, of course, the misfortune to suffer the consequences of being occupied by a particularly ruthless foreign power in World War II, which brought the Third Republic to an end in accordance with an armistice which was entered into in an orderly manner so as to bring about a cessation of hostilities on French territory and end the bloodshed there in so far as possible in the circumstances which prevailed at the time. The collaborationist Etat Francais, which was inevitably wound up, in an orderly manner, after the Liberation, was replaced necessarily during the years of recovery of the late 1940s and 1950s by the constitution of the provisional government of the Fourth Republic, which gave way in due course, in an orderly manner, to the constitution of the Fifth Republic in 1958.

    It was, as I recall, His Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom that wanted bloodshed to continue in France in 1940 rather than the signing of an armistice. The French authorities, as the allied forces disappeared over the horizon and made their way back to Blighty, saw to it, rightly or wrongly, that order would prevail even in the difficult circumstances which had been forced upon the French people through no fault of the republican constitution.

    As I say, the Occupation was responded to, although not uncontroversially, with orderly constitutional adaptation. The machinery of the Occupation constitution was dismantled, in an orderly manner, when circumstances made that possible. Constitutional adaptation proceeded in an orderly manner from that point in the light of subsequent events and will no doubt continue to do so. The fact that orderly transition is possible in a non-monarchical system may be unpalatable to some, but it is a fact nonetheless and a wholly unsurprising one.

    Had the UK been occupied during World War II, its constitution would have been replaced by the occupying power too and, after liberation, if liberation had taken place, the occupying power's constitutional arrangements would have been dismantled, as they were in France, and replaced, presumably, with whatever the population would have been minded to approve of in those circumstances, as happened in France. A return to monarchy in the UK would not necessarily have occurred in such circumstances, incidentally.

    As for late-empire conflicts, the British Empire was not without those, of course: for instance, sanguinary conflict in Aden and other far-flung outposts and the terrorism in and from Ireland before and since the creation of the Irish Free State. A monarchical constitution has not spared you that. Far from it.

    I see that I am not alone in finding your fatuous schoolboy sophistry to be a poor substitute for rational argument. Your so-called reasoning reminds me of the UK constitution in its present form: a shambles. Not to my taste.

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  • 468. At 5:05pm on 03 Mar 2009, brigadierjohn wrote:

    #398 handclapping: Probably too late now, but I wish I could share your little triumph about "outing" me as a phoney. I confess, I didn't know the name Colindale. In my day records and copies of publications were, I think, sent to the National Library. It was never my responsibility to send stuff there and I never had recourse to the facility. These things are the legal responsibility of publishers, not journalists. I suspect the resource is used by "outsiders" such as yourself for research. Almost all newspapers have their own files and libraries.
    But if you want to dance in the streets, just tell me where the party is. :-)

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  • 469. At 5:13pm on 03 Mar 2009, Barbazenzero wrote:

    #461 Anglophone

    For once, a post not filled with nostalgia and vitriol, and you make some interesting points. But perhaps your dislike of the Swiss has caused you to forget them in your closing:
    "At some point in the democratic governmental process there has to be a surrender to the will of the majority be that in Brussels or at the local council. You will never solve this problem!"

    The Swiss model does solve this problem not by investing sovereignty in an institution or a single individual put in place by accident of birth and quirks in the laws of inheritance but in the Swiss people.

    Thus nobody devolves power to them. It is they who delegate limited and temporary power to others for the common weal. The fact that they have voted recently for UN membership, Schengen and free movement of labour from the new EU nations of Bulgaria and Romania amply demonstrate that if you treat the electorate as adults, they'll behave like adults.

    But it's back to unsupported bluster, with your #463, I see. It's not even clear Who see as friends or as enemies. Care to be more specific?

    Post or reactive moderation for all except CBeebies, please!

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  • 470. At 5:16pm on 03 Mar 2009, aye_write wrote:

    #464 handclapping

    So you wouldn't watch?
    (ponders)

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  • 471. At 5:31pm on 03 Mar 2009, handclapping wrote:

    #468 brigadierjohn

    Kinghorn's kinky tunnel but, with a view to getting a Scottish passport, soft drinks only.

    #470 aye_write

    You want that I should invite Anglophone?

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  • 472. At 5:41pm on 03 Mar 2009, Barbazenzero wrote:

    #468 brigadierjohn

    I'll give you the benefit of the doubt, brig, if you'll assure us you've not worked for a London rag.

    In the days when I did - before Noah began his boat-building experiment and even before Murdoch's Festung Wapping - it was certainly a standard chore for a junior member of staff to be sent to Colindale to get copy from past issues of rivals, and allowed to claim tube fare, too. Perhaps this was less common for the "provincial" press, for whom it would have been a much more expensive jaunt. And I do remember, too, that by the '70s microfilm back history was beginning to become available and may have reduced the number of visits even before this newfangled interwebby thing was born in the '80s.

    Post or reactive moderation for all except CBeebies, please!

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  • 473. At 5:56pm on 03 Mar 2009, aye_write wrote:

    #471 handclapping

    That would be a must.
    All shall be revealed later tonight, in my reply to his post. He has an important role to play, regarding our movement.

    ;-)

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  • 474. At 5:58pm on 03 Mar 2009, aye_write wrote:

    re my #473

    "important" should have been "pivotal"

    ;-)

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  • 475. At 6:01pm on 03 Mar 2009, brigadierjohn wrote:

    #472 Brownedov: Fascinating! I only worked in London as holiday relief (or so the bigwigs could get a look at bright Glasgow boys!). But I resisted their overtures re employment, not least because the nearest affordable house to Fleet Street was a two-hour train journey away. This was the mid-60s. Let me tell you, the London reporters were hopeless. Out of the ever-present Press-pack, where everything was shared, they didn't have a clue. A few exceptions of course.

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  • 476. At 6:15pm on 03 Mar 2009, bluelaw wrote:

    MW2

    I don't dislike, resent or envy England or the English. JFTR.

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  • 477. At 6:28pm on 03 Mar 2009, fourstrikes wrote:

    AW, I admire the outreach you have going on. And Anglophone's outreach to you. On this blog the nat, the non nat and the sorta nat gambol together like the lion and the lamb. It's why I like it better than other blogs, even aside from Mr T's high quality writing.

    Randomly, for some reason I always imagine Anglophone to look like Jim Murphy. It is, no doubt, a misfiring neuron. However a pub meet up of BTers would certainly reveal some surprises, I bet.




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  • 478. At 7:09pm on 03 Mar 2009, handclapping wrote:

    #475 brig

    SCOOP! poster NOT phoney !!!!!!!!

    (There on the front page too.)

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  • 479. At 7:24pm on 03 Mar 2009, Barbazenzero wrote:

    #475 brigadierjohn

    Fair enough, and I should add that I was never a hack myself, but a "techie" employed to help drag some of the technology used out of the 19th century, particularly in the distribution process.

    Memory lane truce over - let battle recommence...

    Post or reactive moderation for all except CBeebies, please!

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  • 480. At 8:16pm on 03 Mar 2009, Dave McEwan Hill wrote:

    Interesting editorial in one of today's newspapers on the alcohol thing...

    "Scotland's ban on irresponsible shop promotions offers a potential way forward for the rest of the UK.
    Scotland piloted the ban on smoking in public places, now adopted elsewhere. England and Wales could do worse than follow Scotland and impose a minimum price per unit of alcohol. "

    You may be surprised if you missed the eminently sensible editorial above in your newspaper this morning. Don't worry. It wasn't in a Scottish newspaper. It was in the Daily Mirror. The "Scottish" newspapers almost unanimously invented infantile reasons to attack the SNP on these proposals. They are attacking everything the SNP does every day and BBC Scotland is doing the same.

    The law of diminishing returns on this rubbish is clicking in however but our press and media is a national disgrace nonetheless.

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  • 481. At 8:25pm on 03 Mar 2009, handclapping wrote:

    #477 fourstrikes

    I'd need to know where, when and the decor in case I turned up in my pink frilly with the red handbag and it was all goth.
    Also you've got to get new unowhats against meeting some nice new to you man; I've got my eye on some leopard under the bumps from AP but it's a lot of expense just to meet people who may well be more fun in print than in person!

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  • 482. At 10:01pm on 03 Mar 2009, aye_write wrote:

    #461 Anglophone

    Apologies for #462.

    Thank you for your reply - I rather liked it.
    (I made you think.) :->

    Can I just offer a few thoughts on those thoughts?

    You are significant to the independence issue. Let me explain later.

    Yes, I knew some of my list of awaiting powers was covered by the EU, but I fell into a male trap - thinking bigger was better ;-)

    I hadn't re-read oldnat's list in context, so I can't say in what way he meant it, but I do not think Britain is a hot bed of simmering groups with grievances, poised on the brink of slaughter, like some other places.
    So, in the same way, I don't think it's very likely to erupt into violence should independence occur. I could still ring you up without being shot, for example.

    "On the others you have a valid point provided that you don't think that UK government is performing this role adequately or it is performing this role materially at odds with the expressed wishes of the Scottish People."

    Anglophone, I acknowledge your posting that.

    I would release it more though: It is that they are performing this role at all, that prior to its performance, Scots have merely to hope it will be done adequately, in accordance with their wishes. In that, the situation is inconsistent prior to commencement, and causes resentment. (Just call me Dylan?!)

    Anglophone, I am aware of the problems you mention in your last two paragraphs :-)
    It is nice of you to say so.
    But it is rather like a father giving advice to his daughter to watch out for those nasty boys, when she's already having sex with her boyfriend.
    OK, you're a father - bad analogy!

    You are right we should be aware (forewarned ;-), but sovereign nations deal with this stuff. Having just gained independence, we won't want to give it up. There's an added incentive to make these problems work. It is assumed and expected that there will be change to some systems in a new Scotland, so could that not take these problems into account? It might be rocky, I don't know, but I can't expect perfection.

    It's all how you deal with it. It will all be down to the calibre of the people elected I suppose and the systems they install. Some more, new talent you'd expect will be attracted (inspired) by independence? Supposedly our best politicians are swallowed up by Westminster's orbit?

    But whatever, it's lunacy to suggest that Scots by definition cannot govern. I'm not saying you are, but if you're not, then it is must be accepted that they should deal with things and anticipate things, the same as other governments will do, have done and are doing. Hopefully better, but it's the usualness of it I'm getting at.

    In that way, although important and I'm not saying don't look, the details of everything don't matter as much as how they are decided.

    I can't see into the future, so don't anguish over not having done so, rather like in everything, it is my best judgement on which I must rely.

    If I have to feel let down by parliament, I'd rather feel like my vote counts for something, to change it, than know it doesn't have any effect. as in the UK system, at all.

    I think the last problem you speak of could be at least better dealt with as a sovereign nation. It's endearing you say it cannot be solved. I know that and didn't think we could Anglophone :-)

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  • 483. At 11:08pm on 03 Mar 2009, aye_write wrote:

    #463 Anglophone

    Anglophone :-)

    I appreciate what you're saying, 300 years seems a long time and all, but we must see it in the context of Scottish history:

    Scotland existed from about 844, so has been independent for 863 years, that's 74% of the length of its existence. Compared to 26% of its time being in the Union. Even allowing for a century here and there (for dramatic effect ;-), it's still not even 50%.

    "As I've mentioned before. In my view the Union stands primarily for peace..."

    Anglophone....you are a romantic :-)

    I hate to sh!t on the vision, but isn't that another way of saying the Union is your comfy chair that we Scots are trying to take to the dump?
    "It's time for a new chair, Anglophone... ;-)"
    Once your bum gets used to it, it will be better, comfier and you won't know why you wanted that ---- old one anyway. It's like comfy slippers!

    I'm not taking the piss. I don't want to wrench your chair out form under you. I have no mean feelings towards you. But as that chair is benefitting you, it is adversely affecting your neighbour (....smells!).

    But besides all that, what you are in effect asking Scots to do is to trade.

    You are offering...peace. (Like it.)

    But peace can be achieved fine today without the UK. Where are all the recent international conflicts between other western European nations? There is the EU and the UN, but more than that, unlike the UK (and the USA), these states do not tend to want to go to war with one another, that I've noticed.

    But normalcy is key.

    We are forfeiting....all say in internal politics, an erosion of culture, all say in international relations, all influence over our economy, a national media, borrowing powers, decision making over defence, energy etc. etc.
    In other words we must accept a totally benign existence.

    To me, and I suspect to a lot of English if put in that position, you might as well be asking us to surrender our self respect.
    I am not a dog, to be kept, however much you may "love" me.

    I can deal with that, I am grown up. But I can't protect my children from finding out the information for the first time. They are going to wonder. There is no way it cannot intimate to them that Scots cannot be in charge of their own affairs.
    What does that say?

    Would you want your offspring to even have to figure it out? There is enough learning and growing up to be done without that additional spanner in the works. I am not saying it will have any sort of automatic effect at all - depends entirely on the person, on other things too.

    But you never know.
    Therefore, what I am against is that is to be faced at all. Don't think it's a good idea. Other nationalities don't have to deal with it as part of their national identity.

    Now I may well have lost your sympathy here? Well, you'll just have to blame my hormones or something! ;-)

    "Both sides have so much to lose!"

    Some would say that's scaremongering, but I'm not going to be so nasty, because I don't think you are.
    Genuinely I think you believe that. You'd have me close so that I could benefit (enemy or no ;-).

    But Anglophone, when we look at what's to loose, we see that we have already lost a great deal, to do with running our country (surely, apart from bloodshed, the crux of any threat) and we see that others, and you, take it for granted.

    You on the other hand have it all your way (generally speaking) and don't want to loose or give any of that up.

    It just seems a bit rich. Kind and all, as I think if we were friends you'd meant it to be, but it's OK if I am some lame neighbour that needs protection. You are wearing your imperial cardigan? Patronising (frustrating) otherwise?

    Now, it may not be fashionable to stand out against what's unfair, but that's my nature. If I wasn't so, I would be unlikely to bother speak ing to you, but I of course do... :-)

    (continued)

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  • 484. At 00:29am on 04 Mar 2009, fourstrikes wrote:

    #481 handclapping

    Hey, you might provide a pleasing contrast ;) Last time I was in a goth club it was in jeans and tshirt. The goths are an accepting crew. And AW may want to hear where the handbag came from.

    The thought of the Brig and oldnat in goth attire, though, boggles the mind.

    As for the leopard unowhats, commando is cheaper in all senses of the word ;) But yeah, talk is much more fun online where we're all anonymous.

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  • 485. At 00:36am on 04 Mar 2009, aye_write wrote:

    Anglophone, my main point!

    Here's how you are important to the independence argument.

    Many nice people on here treat you with quite some abuse! No doubt some will see it as the horrible Englander out, as is his habit, to cause trouble any trouble for Scots. I know they have got it all back to front :-)

    The reason you jibe is because you see us Scots as callously and misguidedly seeking to break up your Union. You are very fond of the Union, not I'd suggest because of any soppy ideas about its nature, but because you and many English are terrified of what there will exist for you post Union. You don't even know what will be coming next that represents you. No such Scottish plans have you.

    A paltry independent England doesn't sound half as good and it's too "same as the rest". Why would you aspire to mediocre when you've got unique? It's actually a shame for you. (I'm not simpering.)

    All the things you associate with Britishness......I don't know, Churchill, the brolly brigade, Empire, stiff upper lip (no sex please!), anyway.......it all seems to be under threat.

    If there had only been an independent England (no Britain) all those things would likely just be English traits. In a way Britain b*$+*rd!sed that national identity for you. Now, as it's been unreliable (if the 300 years are coming to an end), you're left having to feel like you are giving some of it back.

    Especially as it's English national identity that's had to, as you rightly intimated, play second fiddle to British over the long term. That's left the English national identity, through complacency of contentment I also concede, to the mercy of the hard right. The BNP flag wave the St. George's cross don't they? Even the Union Flag is being high jacked by UKIP. Your national identity, compared to Scots', is at a low ebb.

    Even I noticed, the English tourism board (you name it!) website suffers from a serious lack of branding. There's a few, well, very few images representing typical England. No coherent presentation, rather a cobble of separate information about different places etc.

    Contrast that to the Scottish equivalent, with mountains, tartan, whiskey, castles, kilts, shortbread, islands etc. etc. And everybody knows them.

    You could do the same with the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben, Tower Bridge, the broads, the lakes, Hadrian's Wall and Vindolanda, the canals etc. etc. At the moment, it's not cohesive.

    I think you can rescue your national identity, and I see becoming an independent England as one, fairly successful (as non confused) method.

    But let that alone for a minute. It's too far away for you to reconcile a new international order for say the remaining UK post Scottish independence, without adding an independent England into it. You will be sad to see 300 years (OK, what 40? 50? for you?!) of the existence of Britain go. It's a bit like leaving home or moving house.

    But there will be a "new" house.

    I think it could be the England that would have been, leaving Britain aside, identity wise. It's heresy that you would have to loose your British identity. I think you would find it again, as it's already there in the English national identity. Can you think of any differences between the two? And if you can, could you not simply adopt that?

    I don't think you like listening to me saying this. There's a fair chance it a load of -------- ! I'm only guessing from what you've written in your posts, so what do I know!

    Anyway, getting back, it is not that you are the all powerful smug Englishman pushing Scots around, it is that the Scots, through supporting and holding a referendum are pushing you around.

    I think too many Scots are easily too used to assuming the posture of "We're no longer willing to be told what to do" or whatever, and consequently act as though they're been pushed around and got to stick up for themselves. In fact it is you who needs to stick up for yourself - your Union is at stake.

    So, my lesson is Scots should be careful to differentiate between attacking the arguments and the person. They would do well to reassess how they treat you, as it will be I think counter-beneficial to achieving the independence they seek if they don't, as it makes them look bad. If they look bad, they look unreasonable, and it won't matter what they say.

    They could learn lessons from talking, and more, listening to you. That isn't why I talk to you incidentally.

    It is not your error that you look at the Union the way you do. If they were you, chances are they'd feel the same. It's perfectly valid, reasonable and understandable to hold your view. It isn't wrong per se. It serves you well.

    It just means that it cancels out mine. But we are both going to have to confront change, I think.

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  • 486. At 00:52am on 04 Mar 2009, aye_write wrote:

    #477 fourstrikes

    fourstrikes, thank you, but I am taking a risk. Anglophone can smell BS a mile away! I'm not his match. I could just have easily pi$$ed him off for months as well as got any kind of relationship going here. He'll soon tell me.

    On appearance, I had strangely though not too away from you! Not as unattractive as Murphy though, surely ;-)
    (fine features, blondish/lighter hair, blue eyes)
    But I tend not to imagine the person, as like you, I know w'ed all be in for a shock!

    Re party. If handclapping organises it, then I'm in! ;-)

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  • 487. At 00:53am on 04 Mar 2009, aye_write wrote:

    PS I'm not trying to BS.

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  • 488. At 01:29am on 04 Mar 2009, 2-D-Bate wrote:

    #455 Anglophone

    Thank you Anglophone. I can see you on an economy show sitting stating those, with your jazzy graphics behind you.

    I accept your questions. I have just one: And once these tests are passed, will the UK economy pass the EU's and be allowed to join?

    See you on the next thread.

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  • 489. At 08:28am on 04 Mar 2009, fourstrikes wrote:

    #486 AW

    I am enjoying your exchanges. It's not possible for me to comment as it gets into the philosophical side of things but it is very interesting to see the different perspectives you two put forward. Feel like it's giving me a bit of an insight into the views behind nationalism I didn't have before.

    That's strange that we had similar views on Anglophone. Being that I'm a bit of a visual person I tend to imagine what the people I'm talking to "look" like. For example I've become increasingly convinced you have red hair, and for some bizarre reason Thomas here reminds me of an ESL student I knew once called Abdul. Not in his use of language but his attitude. So I tend to picture Abdul in my head when replying, which is funny when talking about the BNP.

    Murphy needs a few more pies down him but politicos lead an active life. And sadly for myself, looking in the mirror I have to admit I'm the stereotypical scruffy badge covered lefty. So maybe no room to comment ;)





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  • 490. At 08:44am on 04 Mar 2009, aye_write wrote:

    #489 fourstrikes

    fourstrikes, you're funny :-)

    Agreed on Murphy and the pies! Not a rugby player's physique maybe? (preferred!)

    I have dark brown hair, but you're almost right because there are red ones all through that you can't see(=pretending to be respectable but truthfully a firey ne'r do well?!).

    We'll have to see if this "insightful" conversation continues for you, but it could easily have stopped dead I'm afraid.

    Catch you on another thread I'm sure.

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  • 491. At 10:28am on 04 Mar 2009, Richard_the_Rogue wrote:

    #489 fourstrikes,

    Lol, visions of 'Wolfie' on his Lambretta.

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  • 492. At 6:18pm on 04 Mar 2009, Anglophone wrote:

    Aye Write & Fourstrikes

    Hey...surely Jim Murphy is a pretty cool dude???

    FourStrikes...I don't have a clear image of you but I'm banking on you wearing a (mildly untidy) beard. Do have either of the following...a dark jacket covered in lapel badges or a tweed jacket with leather patches.

    Aye-Write - For some reason I saw you as an intellectual version of Stella from Local Hero. That could probably get me referred...sorry.

    Me...brown eyes (sorry), athletic build, own teeth and hair, GSOH and NS

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  • 493. At 9:46pm on 04 Mar 2009, aye_write wrote:

    #492 Anglophone

    Em....I didn't say I liked blue eyes and blonde hair......soo......

    I am struggling to compose an answer! Give me a moment.

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  • 494. At 10:26pm on 04 Mar 2009, aye_write wrote:

    #492 Anglophone

    I take it you got my #473/4 then?
    ("reply" should also have been "response".)

    You are very scarily on the right track....don't seem to care about independence....you have to imagine she's had 4 children, a lot older... ;-).
    So, you like Jennifer Black? I'd probably prefer her to Jim Murphy!

    Intellectual. Very kind (laugh). As I say, struggling to write this! I'm as intellectual as Green Day Anglophone :-)

    I am going to take refuge in describing the place where I grew up:

    I lived (bored!) a few miles in, bemused by the photograph takers (at the ordinary phone box!) and have spent many a happy BBQ and party at the hall in Pennan.
    The place is gorgeous. Had my first (official - thanks Mum and Dad!) drink in the pub...it's been done up now - not so good.
    It's really romantic. Head round to Cully Khan ("killy can") Bay, if you can go in summer, go on a moonlit night, hear the waves from the cliffs...
    There's a beach 4 beaches on (keep going) from New Aberdour (go at low tide) which is hidden away...
    Do Crovie...buy a knottie (ki-nott-ay) at Gamrie! (a funny, extremely hard cake ;-)
    Maybe you can understand why I have such an attachment to Scotland now.

    Grey/blue eyes, looks - like some old family portrait, taller, own world, NS, obsession with independence

    Did you see the political compass Anglophone?

    http://www.politicalcompass.org/test

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  • 495. At 00:34am on 05 Mar 2009, oldnat wrote:

    While we are on physical descriptions, my nickname was "Santa" - inevitably my wife, who worked at the same school, was "Mrs Claus".

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  • 496. At 11:43am on 05 Mar 2009, aye_write wrote:

    #495 oldnat

    Welll, oldnat, Santa keeps going all night 'til he finishes the job ;-)

    (goes up and down the chimney...stuffs a stocking...leaves a present...and all without waking the children!)

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  • 497. At 1:33pm on 05 Mar 2009, fourstrikes wrote:

    #490 AW, I knew it! A secret Internet redhead! Their firey side always comes out. I note your distraction technique by talking of "funny cakes" but the truth is now known. ;)

    PS: When I think of a funny cake I think of something I probably shouldn't mention here. We'll call it "an illegal pastry" for the sake of any kiddies reading. ;)

    #492 Anglophone

    I plead guilty to the badge covered jacket (the badges are pretty much the only thing holding the lapels together, I think) and ask for possession of a beret (Christmas present) and a keffiyeh to be taken into consideration. No beard, though!

    As for Mr Murphy, you're a heck of a lot better with apostrophe's ;) than he is.

    #495 oldnat, this is very exciting as my mental picture comes true! I reckoned you to have wild white hair and a beard, and to like nothing better than wandering about in the heather taking photos of things and poking other things with a walking stick (carried for style not by necessity).






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  • 498. At 1:52pm on 05 Mar 2009, Anglophone wrote:

    494 Aye-Write

    I used to go to Pennan quite a lot. We used to go diving out of the harbours along the coast there and Pennan was probably the prettiest. Portsoy also sticks in my mind as the Marine Hotel there initiated me in my first truly striking tartan carpet (Clan McPharter on speed;-)), plus a barman who, to this day holds a record for the worst wig I have ever seen. I mean, this thing virtually had a chin strap. A really beautiful part of the world and you are lucky to live there.

    Have you been to the other Local Hero location at Morar? That is also a genuinely stunning location. The only place that I have ever been to where the sea was so still you could actually see the tide rising on the sand...spooky! As ever, the last week in May is best when it's tolerably warm and the midgies haven't emerged in numbers yet. This is far nicer than arguing about the Darien Scheme:-)

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  • 499. At 3:16pm on 05 Mar 2009, aye_write wrote:

    #498 Anglophone

    You and your Darien Scheme ;-)

    Morar? To be honest, I'm not sure! We, years ago, did a tour of Scotland holiday, the dearest we've ever spent! We could have safely gone on a cruise... Anyway I, by virtue of reckless and kamikaze map reading, took us up and down, down, down! to a lot of places on the West coast, all of them as you say, beautiful.

    Got married at Dunvegan Castle though. And have cycled round Millport! (Little Cumbrae).

    Your right, we have never had a 5th May (anniversary) with bad weather that I've seen. May is the best month up there - you are a right Scotophile! ;-)

    Diving, how James Bond ;-)

    There's lots of wee places round my way (live within a short drive now). I was very lucky to grow up there in many ways. Loads of stories about our antics. Though when you're a miserable teen, it was sometimes like stunning solitary confinement! You're right though there are certainly some characters! (Many of them in my family...)

    Did you ever go into Netherbrae Shop? (4 miles in from Gardenstown) Troup Head? Crudie? Garmond? Byth? (OK, I'm being facetious now.) Portsoy has its boat festival, where you can spend money to go in and spend money :-)

    You lived in Aberdeen. I once stayed in the city centre... Do you ever get back much? (Quick, before the border guards get in place ;-)

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  • 500. At 3:44pm on 05 Mar 2009, oldnat wrote:

    #497 fourstrikes

    Heather? - nasty scratchy stuff - not for me (though I once knew a lassie of that name ......)

    To enhance your picture, I occasionally wore the kilt to work (St Andrew's Day, if it wasn't windy!, Prizegiving etc).

    One of the cheekier 5th year girls was huddled with her friends on one such day and came up to me -
    Her - "Sir, can I ask you a question?"
    Me - "Of course, but before you do, ask yourself how you would feel, if I asked you the same question."
    Her - (after a few minutes thought) "Good point." and went away with the question unasked.

    I probably did more educating in that short exchange, than in the whole of the rest of that week.

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