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Moving on

Brian Taylor | 13:59 UK time, Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Garden Lobby, Holyrood, Tuesday: warm handshakes, air kissing, chat, gossip. It's as if they've never been away.

Except that rather a lot has changed in the interim - prompting a few puzzled glances from the wicked media, mustered as ever to glean information.

Now, hold on. Is that a new Labour list MSP?

If it is, are congratulations in order for individual success - or commiserations for collective failure? Bit of both?

Three topics under discussion. Firstly, genuine, cross-party sadness at the death of David Cairns MP.

He was a man of wit, dignity, intellect and integrity - as evidenced by his principled resignation from government and so much more.

My sympathies to his family.

As more than one said to me, such an event contextualises all else. Memento mori.

Before that sad news broke, the chat in the lobby was about a couple of other topics: the election (aftermath) and the election (Presiding Officer).

Election mandate

PO first. Would it be seen as too domineering if the post went to an SNP member, given that they have an overall majority?

No, say Nationalists. They recollect that David Steel was the PO in the first Parliament when his Liberal Democrat party were in coalition.

But doesn't the overall majority change things? (An inquiry, I stress, not an argument.)
One or two Nationalists I spoke to said they could see a bit of a point there - but not enough to make them vote for one of the names in the frame from a rival party, such as Hugh Henry.

They noted, with approbation, that Mr Henry had issued a statement indicating that Alex Salmond was entitled, given his mandate, to choose the timing of his proposed referendum on independence.

However, they also recollected instances of hyper-partisan comments from the said Hugh Henry which tended to turn them in a different direction.

To stress, this is not a group decision, not a matter for a whip. As witness, there are two SNP candidates in the picture already, Tricia Marwick and Christine Grahame. I encountered supporters of both.

The vote tomorrow is iterative: that is, it is repeated with the lowest-ranked candidate dropping out at each ballot until a 50% vote is obtained.

Diminished band

Designed to ensure wide-ranging support for the winner. Bit like that, you know, AV thingy which attracted such resounding enthusiasm last week.

The other topic, of course, is the election. Umpteen opinions, of course. I found the views of Labour MSPs, that diminished band, the most intriguing.

They had caught up with my sundry musings on the topic, on aspiration et alia.

Nothing I could say, one assured me, was as blunt as the comments being delivered internally.

A commonly expressed view was that Labour lost the 2011 election in 2007 - by failing to grasp that defeat then was real and meaningful, not a freak to be overturned by one more heave.

Equally, there was disquiet at the negative tone of the campaign.

One noted the argument that devolution came into its own "now that the Tories are back."

'Impending doom'

Wrong, said my interlocutor. Labour was supposed to be pro-devolution in all circumstances, not just political adversity at Westminster.

Plus there was grumbling about the anti-independence turn.

Too negative, too easily deflected by promises of a referendum, too little relevance to immediate concerns.

One told me that last-minute leaflets from HQ, warning of impending doom, had been neatly filed in the nearest bin.

Comments

Page 1 of 2

  • Comment number 1.

    The appearance of Murphy will do nothing to further their cause of the Labour Party. Quite the reverse. Maybe they should have sent the Shadow Foreign Secretary! The sooner he developes an accurate understanding of Scotland, the better it will serve him in Government in England!

  • Comment number 2.

    Sympathies go out to David Cairns family.

  • Comment number 3.

    Brian after all the hype has now passed and we have a large SNP majority are we going to be allowed to quote things from other Newspapers and web sites,can I now mentionNewsnet,com as a good place for information.

  • Comment number 4.

    Annabel Goldie for Presiding Officer.

    She could certainly control the chamber better than any of those currently in the frame, and she seems content with her lot in life - a good thing for a PO.

    Leave Murdo Fraser as Acting Conservative Group Leader and get Bella seated.

  • Comment number 5.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 6.

    #1 bencruachan

    :-)

    Also I for one am in no rush to have the independence referendum. After all if we have to wait 3 years, then that is three years when Cameron has to give us respect. He won't be able to just ignore requests like he has in the past. That would just swell the ranks of the yes voters. We should use that time to get the minimum additional powers into the Scotland bill that are satisfactory (as well as removing the (many) parts that will be detrimental). Then we have the referendum. After all it is no longer the threat of a possible referendum (asit was last time). This time it is the threat of a referendum that has no chance of being blocked.

    John

  • Comment number 7.

    Astonishing low calibre list of contenders for post of PO. After all this is the Parliament with the potential to set us on the road to independence. Surely we deserve the best to ensure not only fair play, but to ensure no major stumbling blocks are thrust in place. Then again, if the quality is all in the SNP ranks, few will wish to exclude themselves from the fun and games over the next five years.

  • Comment number 8.

    I am very disappointed to learn that the Labour review is to completely London-centric. Will these folks never learn?

    We need some Labour 'Bravehearts' to come out of the woodwork and create a radically Scottish Labour Party - that is one that is not controlled by Westminster, as is the current model

    Where is the Jim Sillars of this current generation??

    There is a huge debate to be had and Labour must be ready for that - I watched Newsnight lastnight when Peter Lynch spoke wisely about the Labour Party having no intellectual heart since John MacKintosh passed on. How true and sad!

    The other matter that 'really new Scottish Labour' needs to get to grip with is going to be covered in an upcoming programme by Michael Portillo (as featured today on GMS) about there being a variety of unions that could be considered going forward. A revitalised Scottish-led Labour Party has a vital contribution to make to that debate.

    At the end of the day, come the referendum in September 2014 (after the spectacular success of the Glasgow Commonwealth Games!), I would not be surprised to find that the SNP government (and others) settles on an all-encompassing 'devolution-max'! I think the Eckmeister has subtly laid down some markers on this!

  • Comment number 9.

    I agree to having the referendum late. Gives Salmond the time to set out his stall, and gives Westminster every opportunity to show that the Union is still relevant to Scotland. Westminster can either accept that it is a partnership of countries or continue to play colonial games with Scotland being considered a mere region. If they choose the latter they'll do half of Alex Salmond's work for him though, mind.

    I want enough information to make and informed decision, and as a "don't know" I'm prepared to wait until the end of the current parliament to get my answer.

  • Comment number 10.

    Now that they are all saying "bring it on" can Labour not bring back "Wee Wendy". A straight swap for her brother Dougie would be in the best interests of both UK and Scottish Labour. (remember, Wendy was the Labour MSP with a personaity)

  • Comment number 11.

    The electorate have spoken. The SNP are the ascendant party. I doubt very much that the people of Scotland will put up with a PO that in any way attempts to block the aspirations of the entire country (apart from the small enclaves of die-hard Unionists) by partisan behaviour.

    The prospect of a long lead-in to the Referendum will allow for a detailed debate regarding the pros and cons of constitutional change. It will allow for the truth to finally emerge regarding revenues and costs and enable the mould for a new Scotland to be properly shaped before the country's future is finally poured.

  • Comment number 12.

    The referendum should be held quite quickly. Either way a decision is needed. 4+ years of distraction from Scotland's problems will benefit no one.

  • Comment number 13.

    I agree, no need to be pushed into a referendum quickly. Build the case first and I do hope having extricated ourselves from London we will not then harness ourselves to Europe to the same extent Westminster has.

  • Comment number 14.

    The Westminster unionists still don't get it.

    There's a problem with the Labour Party in Scotland, what shall we do?
    Send up 3 Westminster MPs to tell them how to sort it out! Duh!
    I've tried hard to think of what will get Scots Labour activists backs up more than sending 3 MPs up from Westminster to tell them where they got it wrong. The only thing I could think of was sending up more than 3.

    The leader of Labour MSPs is resigning, what shall we do?
    Get him to check out root and branch everything that went wrong under his watch! Duh!
    Don't saddle the new leader with the old leader's 'solutions'. If he knows how to sort it he should have done so at least a year ago, not in the next six months.

    Then there's the Tories, with no leader of any opposition party in Scotland they want a referendum NOW. Scots being pushed around is one thing that would guarantee a 'Yes' vote in a Scottish referendum, although that may be what they (the Tories) ultimately want because that would virtually guarantee a Tory majority in Westminster for the next century.

    Alex Salmond said during the campaign that the referendum would be held in the second half of the parliament. He's keeping to his word (contrast that with those who 'no noed' a referendum at anytime but now to seem to want one tomorrow). It may be that he felt he had a better chance of winning if he could prove competent Government over the next two-and-a-half to three years. It may be he thought if he gave the unionists enough rope they'd hang themselves.

  • Comment number 15.

    It goes to show just how "Scottish" these political parties actually are when their leaders are being ordered to quit by the bosses in London. To me, Labours problem,decades old,is that they have forgotten that once elected, they are supposed to represent the interests of their electorate. I live in East Ayrshire where Labour has been THE party for a century.Our economy was in decline for a long time,with only deep mining for coal keeping things going and when Thatcher shut down the mines, things got very bad. High unemployment,drug crime(starting with junkies being decanted into this area) and all the stuff that poverty brings.But that was 30 years ago, Labour had 13 years at Westminster plus two administrations at Holyrood and did nothing for this area.Unbelievably Labour gave George Foulkes a seat in the House of Cronies.The chickens finally came home to roost last week.Labour deserved everything they got, though I have no doubt the spindoctors will be out in force in the media to change our minds.

  • Comment number 16.

    How on earth could it possibly be a distraction?

    The SNP managed 4 years of Government with the distraction of a Minority Government but clearly passed with flying colours in the eyes of the electorate.

    I would imagine the distraction of having to convince oppositions leaders to side with their plans on an issue by issue basis would have been a far more taxing Distraction.

    Why have it now? This is the first time the issue can be openly and properly debated, and debated it needs to be so that people can make an informed decision come the time.

  • Comment number 17.

    to all those saying we must decide quickly, are you not aware of the old saying "decide in haste, and repent in leisure"? We can take our time, there is no rush, and it will assuredly not be such and all consuming issue that it will prevent other more mundane, day-to-day, decisions being made.

  • Comment number 18.

    @12. zz123

    Please explain your reasoning.

  • Comment number 19.

    It would be nice to see some of the good old BBC "balance" in this debate. All I'm seeing is BBC jounalists putting the opposition's points to SNP spokesmen (sometimes quite belligerently), and grilling them on these. OK, fair enough. But goose and gander sauce surely. Where's the evidence of these same journos putting the SNP's points to the opposition and grilling them on these? Doesn't happen. Instead we find the journalists actually suggesting, to the opposition spokesmen, the points they might want to attack on. Then the whole thing turns into some sort of combined workshop session on how can "we" get the Labour (+/- the Tory and LibDem) parties back on their feet again.

    This from the corporation that's so committed to "balance" that it allows the purveyors of sugar pills equal time with doctors and pharmacologists, and scrupulously allows for the possibility that sugar pills might actually be medicine.

    Seems as if there's no requirement for "balance" in the consitiutional debate.

  • Comment number 20.

    #12 - "The referendum should be held quite quickly. Either way a decision is needed. 4+ years of distraction from Scotland's problems will benefit no one."

    You are Iain Gray and I claim my £5.00.

    Sorry, but you lost the election. You don't get to decide when the referendum question is held, to the winner the spoils as the saying goes. An early referendum has a good chance of failling even though no one in Scotland actually knows what the status quo they're voting for will actually be.

    No, much better we wait to see the Scotland Bill finalised, much better we wait for the positive arguments to be made (for each side of the question).

    Why do Unionists, who all strived to deny the people of Scotland a say in their own future, continue to attempt to deny them the facts before they make a choice? What are they so terrified of?

  • Comment number 21.

    I thought Wee Wendys "bring it on" was a blunder on her part and the SNP should have jumped at it then when Labour was panicking.Events may have proved me totally wrong,but the Media will throw every lie,smear and dirty trick they can when the referendum is finally called. It will be very interesting to see what(if any)alternative futures the Brit Nats offer.They surely cannot leave things as they are.

  • Comment number 22.

    The only reason I could see for reason that a referendum should come early is if the SNP some how managed to put off the business community to the point of no return.

    However untill then there has been no economic inpact for having the SNP in power. In actual fact it has been quite the opposite. The SNP has been quite success and given enough time I would be confident that the SNP would be able to convince most businesses who are already not pro-independence that independence is indeed an opportunity, not a risk.

  • Comment number 23.

    Condolences to the family of Mr Cairns.

    Its great that labour have got Patriot McMurphy and his cronies back to sort out north British Labour. It's sure to cause even more internal warfare within the Labour group. It may even cause those Labour M.P.'s who actually believe in Scotland to split from LONDON labour.

    This would of course marginalise the party forever..... can't wait :-)

  • Comment number 24.

    #12 "The referendum should be held quite quickly. Either way a decision is needed. 4+ years of distraction from Scotland's problems will benefit no one."

    What a nonsensical opinion this is, talk about pressure selling, is this the unionist strategy too rush the Scottish electorate in to making a decision that will effect generations to come, in the hope the electorate will vote no.

    The Scottish electorate is more sophisticated these days than the unionist parties give them credit for, the electorate need evidence that the SNP and any future Scottish Government can display fiscal competence amongst all the other things goverments must do, and so far in my opinion that has been shown, hopefully it will continue to be shown till the time of the referendum (and beyond), and at that time I hope the Scottish electorate will have the confidence in their government and in themselves to vote yes for independence.

  • Comment number 25.

    has anyone got the time to ask this freedom of information question.

    HOW many of the UK's ambassadors and their immediate understudies were born in Scotland?


  • Comment number 26.

    What is annoying the unionists is that they have GE May 2015 if the coalition lasts that long leaving Alex to keep them guessing when the referendum will happen meanwhile screwing as much out of the Scotland bill that's possible. A lot of knicker twisting in the years ahead.

  • Comment number 27.

    #21 gavin
    "Events may have proved me totally wrong,but the Media will throw every lie,smear and dirty trick they can when the referendum is finally called. It will be very interesting to see what(if any)alternative futures the Brit Nats offer."

    But surely an adverse media is a given, whenever it's held. And the earlier it's held, the less the electorate will know of what the Calman minus Scotland Bill actually contains, let alone the experience of a few years' good governance without needing to construct issue-by-issue Holyrood consensus or what may be on offer in Scotland Bill Mark 2 once the Westminster government "gets it" that the post-Wendy Holyrood will reject a bill it doesn't approve.

  • Comment number 28.

    #24 InMyKip
    I couldn't have answered #12 zz123 better myself.

    I'm not agin Independence, but it is a big step. So I want to make sure I really understand what I'll be saying 'Yes' or 'No' to.
    If anyone tries to railroad me into making a decision now I'll vote against what they propose. Alex Salmond hasn't let last Thursday's success go to his head - he's still saying the referendum take place as planned. If he were to change is mind, I'd vote against the SNP's dream purely because they tried to railroad me.
    As for David Mundell, Iain Gray et al - well what can I say? "Political Opportunists" is the politiest thought that comes to mind. Last week they thought there was no need for a referendum in the foreseeable future. What happened?
    Truely,a 'converstion on the road to Damascus' or not. Did I miss something? Any unionist (and I don't decry their right to hold that opinion) who tries to force the SCOTTISH Government into a 'bring it on' situation will DEFINATELY get me voting FOR Independence. I suspect a lot of Scots feel the same.

  • Comment number 29.

    Alex Salmond must be still be very frustrated. His internal vision for Scotland and his dream of her Scandinavian allies and yet his outward behavior must be hard for Alex to live with too?

    The dream for Salmond's future for separatism of Scotland drives this man to fight for his post, which is understandable? It's time that he now instigates a Referendum which asks the Scots if they want separation? Come on Alex, you can't continue like this, and neither can the Scots - it's deeply unfair for Scotland and deeply troubling for your duty to your country and your principles - which are obviously divided?

  • Comment number 30.

    Sorry about the misspelling in my #28
    I definitely know how to spell definitely and definately is definitely wrong!!!!

  • Comment number 31.

    It was a clever strategy by Alex Salmond to make the referendum 3 years or so away.

    First, he didn't 'frighten the horses' (not my saying) at the election he just won. That obviously worked.

    Second, he'll have 3 years of saying that the Tories & LibDems are wrecking Scotland one way or another - probably mostly through cuts.

    Third, he hopes to have demonstrated SNP competence in majority government.

    It's all good. Well thought out.

    The only snag with it is the political pendulum. In England it would probably work against him. In Scotland he may have calculated that he has more play left yet.

    I hope he's right.

  • Comment number 32.

    AlastairGordon #14

    ‘The leader of Labour MSPs is resigning, what shall we do?
    Get him to check out root and branch everything that went wrong under his watch! Duh!
    Don't saddle the new leader with the old leader's 'solutions'. If he knows how to sort it he should have done so at least a year ago, not in the next six months.’

    You echo my sentiments. If a football manager doesn’t come up with the goods he’s promptly shown the door. He’s not asked to hang around and sort the team out for his successor.

  • Comment number 33.

    Why would anyone who has just fought and won an election stating his/her intent upon supporting certain measures, immediately upon election, say "Stuff that! I want to be on telly every Thursday. Make me Presiding Officer."

    To be made Presiding Officer should be the ultimate indignity, and a member elected should feel embarrassed, but should thereafter discharge that office with due diligence and make the best of a bad job.

    Personally, I think that the Presiding Officer should be elected from among the MSPs in Parliament immediately prior to an election, and should thereby gain the right to sit (but not to vote) in the following Parliament without seeking a popular mandate (and holding no constituency) even if subsequently demitting office mid-term.

  • Comment number 34.

    12. At 16:21pm 10th May 2011, zz123 wrote:

    The referendum should be held quite quickly. Either way a decision is needed. 4+ years of distraction from Scotland's problems will benefit no one.

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

    Thanks for the drive by, but its been covered. The SNP are not going to
    dance to a unionist tune - if they wanted clarity and to put the issue
    to bed they had plenty of opportunity by agreeing to the referendum in the
    first place.

  • Comment number 35.

    It's been said many times already, but bears repeating.

    The posturing of the Unionists wanting a referendum now, when they opposed it root and branch in the last Parliament reeks of rank hypocrisy.

    The SNP went to the country on the basis of a referendum in the last half of the Parliament.

    If Salmond had announced an early referendum, they'd have been greeting into their mince, that the SNP had broken its promise.

  • Comment number 36.

    @29. Read Animal Farm

    Independence is what we are after not whatever you are implying.

  • Comment number 37.

    30. At 19:22pm 10th May 2011, AlastairGordon wrote:

    Sorry about the misspelling in my #28
    I definitely know how to spell definitely and definately is definitely wrong!!!!

    ---

    ... unlike the person responsible for the subtitles on tonight's Reporting Scotland's Thailand school story!

  • Comment number 38.

    My sympathies are with the Cairns family at this time. Even though he was Labour it is always a sad moment when a principled politician goes to that great parliament in the sky.
    I tend to agree with # 35 Reincarnation that it is hypocritical of the Unionists to push for a referendum now when for years they have either opposed it or poured scorn on the idea. Strange how a majority focuses the mind.

  • Comment number 39.

    #33 Life Is A Cabaret

    I like 'alternative' thinking.

    But surely the position of PO is an endorsement of their fellow MSPs that they can be 'fair-minded'. I'm given to understand too that any PO has to give up Party Membership while in office.

    As far as voting is concerned, I'm sure the PO only votes in the event of a tied vote, and - by convention - ALWAYS vote against the governing party (or coalition) since they haven't 'won' their argument

    It has to be said that the three previous POs held their position 'without fear of favour' and that since the Lib/Dems, SNP and Conservatives have already provided people (men admitedly) to fufil that position it is now the turn of Labour to do so. I'm trying to think of a Labour (female) MSP who could do the job, really I am thinking about it. But really the only person from Labour that I think could be PO is Malcolm Chisholm and he's not female. So if it HAS to be Labour then I'd want MC, if it HAS to be female then maybe Margo MacDonald would suit the bill if she's in good enough health to carry out the duties of PO. (There's no cynism there, just a genuine concern for the lassie's health.) I don't think that (considering the SNP majority) any SNP MSP would be acceptable.

  • Comment number 40.

    @39. AlastairGordon
    "I'm sure the PO only votes in the event of a tied vote, and - by convention - ALWAYS vote against the governing party (or coalition) since they haven't 'won' their argument"

    The convention is that the PO casts his/her vote in favour of the status quo (which will be usually, but not always, against the Government).

  • Comment number 41.

    There is no possibilty of an early referundum, clearly stated timescale, which will be required in orderto fully debate/discuss/inform the people of Scotland.
    Sympathies to the Cairns family, sad news.

  • Comment number 42.

    I agree with one of the posters above - its a shame Annabel Goldie will be stepping down as leader too late to be considered for the post as she would be an absolutely perfect fit for the role as Presiding Officer.

    I would completely understand the SNP's concern about any particular partisan Scottish Labour member taking the position - if its not to be an SNP MSP that takes the role then I do think it would be best to have either a Tory or a Lib Dem take it instead possibly rather than somebody from Labour.

  • Comment number 43.

    Hopefully, the SNP will press every button and pull every lever to change the fabric of Scotland's constitutional circumstances. Every opportunity to flush away the remnants of unionism must be taken. We must drive forward all the way. Even a debate on Independence vs the Union is detrimental to Westminster's interest. By ignoring the debate, they have sought to imply Independence is impossible. Now, debate is unavoidable and Independence will follow. The chance we have now is too good to miss.

  • Comment number 44.

    Those who insist that the referendum must be held now are deluded. Alex Salmond stated again and again during the campaign that a referendum will be held in the second half of the parliamentary term. A completely unambiguous presentation. As to the reasons why please look to this link:

    http://tiedupintallinn.blogspot.com/2011/05/we-dont-need-no-education-oh-yes-we-do.html

    Alex Salmond and the SNP are not stupid enough to be suckered by unskilled operators.

  • Comment number 45.

    The big question for Labour is whether they are going to genuinely look at what they offer the people of Scotland, or if they are simply trying to figure out how to get us to buy what we've already refused.

  • Comment number 46.

    #40 reincarnation
    Thanks for that correction. I forgot that Opposition parties, or indeed private members, can introduce bills - and in the event of a tied vote the PO would vote FOR the staus quo. Presumably the same would happen in the event of a tied vote on an amendment to any bill.

  • Comment number 47.

    The SNP will remember that Unionists:

    1) Put a 40% rule in the 1979 referendum
    2) Excluded Independence from the Constitutional Convention
    3) Created Scotland United as a diversion + lightening-conductor
    4) Contrived an electoral system to hinder the SNP
    5) Excluded Independence from Calman

    The unionists have been ruthless at every opportunity. Mr Salmond must now be totally ruthless with them.

    I'd like to see the Scotland bill changed to:
    1) Ensure no powers are returned to London.
    2) Ensure the the Court of Session is established as the final court of appeal in all criminal and civil matters, with no appeals to London. Tell the UK Supreme Court to keep out.
    3) All control over drugs, alcohol and firearms devolved.
    4) Broadcasting devolved.
    5) Oil and Gas, all taxes and Crown Estates devolved.
    6) Holyrood electoral law devolved.

    That's just for starters.

  • Comment number 48.

    #45 mrbfaethedee
    "The big question for Labour is whether they are going to genuinely look at what they offer the people of Scotland, or if they are simply trying to figure out how to get us to buy what we've already refused."

    While I do not disagree with the sentiments of your post I'd probably have phrased it slightly differently:
    The big question for Labour is whether they are going to genuinely look at what the people of Scotland WANT, or if they are simply trying to figure out how to get us to buy what they've already offered and had refused.
    Unfortunately, for what was ONCE a great political movement, I fear they may well offer what has already been refused.
    I look forward to Unionist parties (ANY Unionist party) putting forward a POSITIVE argument for Scotland staying in the Union.
    That hasn't happened yet, we've only heard the positive side of separation, and in a democracy that really is a shame.

  • Comment number 49.

    George Kerevan, in another place, describes how the voters dumped all three of the opposition Finance spokesmen last week! Says a lot.

  • Comment number 50.

    The only positive motive for anyone calling for an early referendum is to ensure the maximum amount of disinformation, scaremongering and downright lies.

    At least 2 years is needed to ensure that robust information and facts are put in front of the Scottish people to make a reasoned and informed choice. Then we will be sure that whatever decision is reached can once again be described as the "settled will" of the Scottish people.

    Stand your ground Alex and SNP - show us again which party is prepared to treat the electorate with the most respect.

  • Comment number 51.

    Shame about David Cairns - seemed a genuine guy and highly competent. Condolences to his partner and family.

    Meanwhile, Scottish Labour's answer to their woes is to draft in 3 Westminster Labour MPs who wouldn't touch the Holyrood election campaign with a bargepole? Do they never learn?

  • Comment number 52.

    @48. AlastairGordon
    "I look forward to Unionist parties (ANY Unionist party) putting forward a POSITIVE argument for Scotland staying in the Union. "

    The occasional Unionist who responded on here to repeated requests for that, would usually reply that it was up to those of us who wanted change to justify it. There was no need for them to justify the status quo.

    All that should have changed last Thursday. Scotland did not vote for independence, but they did vote for the referendum and the debate that has to precede it.

    If the Unionists don't start giving us their vision, then they will have lost.

  • Comment number 53.

    # 51 sacrebleu1
    Exactly. Well put on both points.

  • Comment number 54.

    When is BBC Scotland going to stop advertising and trying to support a failed political party with its incessant media coverage, there are plenty other Scottish news stories which we as taxpayers demand. SNP today was meeting the defence secretary today trying to get answers on the base closures trying to secure Scots jobs not wasting time on a two bit bunch of incompetants who have no relevance in the future of Scotland.

  • Comment number 55.

    Well well. I only joined up the other day, but I'm getting the message. Any post specifically criticising the BBC for lack of impartiality gets permanently spiked "for further consideration". Even if no names are named.

    And what's this I'm hearing about an entire news web-site being automatically blocked by a profanity filter, apparently because it presents a pro-SNP viewpoint?

    Good grief, I've been a BBC fan for donkey's years. I sang in the BBC Symphony Chorus for a decade. Most of my TV watching is of the BBC (though I admit I had to switch to STV during election night). I admire their quality broadcasting, and Radio 3 and Radio 4 are both national treasures.

    But what the hell is going on here?

  • Comment number 56.

    I see Newsnight Scotland is already setting out its agenda to undermine the SNP's legitimacy with the well worn "but they didn't get over 50% of the electorate to vote for them" approach. An argument that holds water only if we have compulsory voting. Now I would certainly support any party that includes making the electoral right, privilege, and duty, non-optional, but to use voter apathy to question any party's mandate when there is no legal requirement to vote is disingenuous in the extreme. All it merely means is that those who didn't vote are content to go along with whatever decision is made by those that did.

  • Comment number 57.

    Moore is clearly a Quisling.

  • Comment number 58.

    #52 reincarnation

    Thanks for that. I realise that you are more decided than me in the question of Independence, that's fine. I realise that if you were faced with a POSITIVE argument FOR the Union you would deal with it in a robust, but non-abusive way. I feel that you, unlike some 'cybernats', have due regard to the opinions of others. As you've probably realised I'm on the 'probably yes side' of Independence, but I do feel that there are clarifications to be sought of exactly what 'Independence' means. This is a decision that will not only affect you and me, but our children and grandchildren too. That means it is NOT a decision that can be taken lightly.
    Right now the argument of people FOR Independence is there is a 'great future for Scotland' but they don't seem to say exactly why. They have to address a lot of 'After Independence' issues (See my previous posts)
    The argument of people AGAINST Independence is basically 'Doom and Gloom' if Scotland goes it alone. That is a totally negative attitude and one that won't get my approval.

    By the way my #53 was posted at 22.32 and your #52 was posted at 22.29, but mine 'cleared' first, maybe someone, anywhere could explain that.

  • Comment number 59.

    55. At 22:51pm 10th May 2011, Soixante-neuf wrote:
    "But what the hell is going on here?"

    Some of us have been asking that for quite some time.

    The usual response is "we're much bigger than you and we don't have to listen. Anyway, you are wrong in your critisism"

  • Comment number 60.

    Did anyone else hear what I thought I just heard from Gordon Brewer? The f-word?

  • Comment number 61.

    @58. AlastairGordon
    "maybe someone, anywhere could explain that."

    Mysterious are the ways of the mods!

    We're probably not as far apart as you might think. I've been involved in trying to increase Scottish autonomy for 50 years, so I've learned a lot during that time.

    I want to see the principle of Independence established. That the sovereignty of the Scottish people is fundamental.

    After that, I've always been happy enough to pool aspects of that sovereignty with other nations if it is to our mutual benefit.

    I have always been a supporter of the EU principle (though not of some of its practices!). To many Nats, I'm probably a heretic in that I have long advocated that Europe should have a common defence policy.

    As neighbouring countries do in Europe, I would like to see the countries of the British Isles co-operating on a number of common interests. The Nordic Union model of citizens being able to move between the different countries while keeping their social security rights etc seems eminently sensible.

    All of the aspects of co-operative working with friends and neighbours would suit me well. The principle, however, is absolute. At the end of the day Scots should decide what is best for Scotland.

    What is needed is not for Unionists to tell me I'm wrong, but to describe their vision of why a continuation of the UK Union (in whatever form they postulate) would be better (or even just as good).

    For the yet undecided, you must ask probing questions of both sides of the debate. On our side, we'll do our best to answer.

  • Comment number 62.

    Re 56. At 23:04pm 10th May 2011, R wrote:
    I see Newsnight Scotland is already setting out its agenda to undermine the SNP's legitimacy with the well worn "but they didn't get over 50% of the electorate to vote for them" approach.

    Noticed that one as well. disapointing but expected.

    Was also interested to hear MM meeting with AS on Thursday. Wondered why he was so dismissive of the Steel report re devolving Corp Tax. At least Gordon did not let him away with deliberate "misundertanding" re possible result of any referendum

  • Comment number 63.

    57-Padruig

    I don't actually remember knowing Moore as a child but his father was a close colleague of my father's, and I must have done. I remember visiting their house. His father was an Ulsterman, and I believe a strongly unionist Ulsterman. I realise now from consulting his wiki page that Moore himself was born in Ulster, although the family moved to Scotland when he was only five.

  • Comment number 64.

    Quite funny to hear Cameron is calling round Scottish MPs to get advice on what to do. They think they know what to do but these people have no clue. They are so out of touch, spending too much time away from Scotland and beholden to Westminster.
    I see Red Ed has tried to grab control of Labour in Scotland before rebellion takes hold in the vacuum, and what does he do ? Sends in his lapdugs, I loved seeing that. They are stuck between a rock and a hard place.

  • Comment number 65.

    #55 Soixante-neuf
    "Any post specifically criticising the BBC for lack of impartiality gets permanently spiked "for further consideration". Even if no names are named."

    "permanently" is a little strong. They have only been "considering" this one for barely 35 months. Clearly they are leaving no stone unturned in their efforts not to remove it.

  • Comment number 66.

    #64 govanite

    you also have noticed as welll as many others that david cameron is indecisive

    and needs help to come to any meaningfull decisions like his cabinet they make up

    policy on the hoof, and lurch from crises to crises, no wonder alex salmond and

    team were returned to hollirood with such a resounding vote of approval.

  • Comment number 67.

    @55. Soixante-neuf
    "But what the hell is going on here?"

    Welcome to Stalag Pacific Quay correction centre.

  • Comment number 68.

    @16 "Why have it now? This is the first time the issue can be openly and properly debated, and debated it needs to be so that people can make an informed decision come the time."


    That is precisely why the unionists want it right now. They don't want to allow time for an open debate. It is nothing but cynical posturing.

    Hell mend them.

  • Comment number 69.

    One noted the argument that devolution came into its own "now that the Tories are back."
    -----------------------------------
    Most of the victory comes from an almost zero talent base in the Labour party.
    The modern Labour party is a trough for those people with a talent for greed, not a launching pad for making society a better place.
    So with a few very basic policy ideas Monsieur Salmond romped home.
    The Tories being in power in London won't help either.
    The Tory boogyman is alive and well, currently dismantling the NHS and putting up barriers to education so only the rich have access.

    Scotland didn't really leave the Union.
    The Union left Scotland.

  • Comment number 70.

    @69. Ady
    "Scotland didn't really leave the Union.
    The Union left Scotland.
    "
    A nice paraphrase of Jimmy Reid's words!

  • Comment number 71.

    At 22:51pm 10th May 2011, Soixante-neuf wrote:

    Well well. I only joined up the other day, but I'm getting the message. Any post specifically criticising the BBC for lack of impartiality gets permanently spiked "for further consideration". Even if no names are named.
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------

    Join the club.

    PO is elected today and many will expect the SLAB party candidate to be voted in as it is 'their turn' I believe the SNP will vote in one of their own just to be sure that there are no hiccups or delays from an opposition PO who has some powers in declaring that certain types of business might not be competent. Referendum perhaps. Its not likely to happen but you never know and the SNP want to move on quickly.

    Anyhoo all will be revealed today.

    Nice to see you posting again Brian no real heat or light from you in the forum at the moment but things will start to bubble away nicely in a few days.




  • Comment number 72.

    57. At 23:08pm 10th May 2011, Padruig wrote:

    Moore is clearly a Quisling.
    -------------------------------------

    And a cheap one, at least Quisling sold his people for a dictatorship and total
    power.


  • Comment number 73.

    #69 Ady
    The Tory boogyman is alive and well, currently dismantling the NHS and putting up barriers to education so only the rich have access.

    I voted Tory (I'm English, of course) and I don't understand that sentence. On the NHS, mostly we have Labour and LibDem posturing. John Healey said of the Coalition proposals they were "comprehensive, consistent and coherent" but he seems to have changed his mind.

    Most of the objections to the NHS reform seem to be coming from hospitals who don't want GPs to have more power. 88% of affected GPs have signed up for the thing. The Royal College of GPs objects to the competition section, which is a bit like a union objecting to competition for jobs. Not a surprise.

    On education, David Willetts wanted companies to be able to sponsor people through college without affecting places for other children. Of course that was changed to rich daddy buying kid a degree but hey, that's politics.

  • Comment number 74.

    Oh and to all those complaining of a BBC Labour bias, it is not only on this blog. It's everywhere. They're also pro-EU.

  • Comment number 75.

    #70 reincarnation
    @69. Ady
    "Scotland didn't really leave the Union.
    The Union left Scotland."
    A nice paraphrase of Jimmy Reid's words!


    I wouldn't get too attached to Jimmy Reid's saying. One of the Gang of Four - William Rodgers, I think - said that about the Labour party when the SDP was formed in 1981.

    Like many pithy sayings, it's been around the block a bit.

  • Comment number 76.

    73. At 07:29am 11th May 2011, OldPerson wrote:

    On education, David Willetts wanted companies to be able to sponsor people through college without affecting places for other children.

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

    And its not like there are limited places on many courses, or that a
    University vice-chancellor would prefer to charge as much as possible
    for each place...

    Sorry that laudable aim is seen for what it is, a way of using money to
    reserve a place on a good course.

    Or perhaps I am too cynical and its just an unexpected opportunity that
    arises from 'helping the poor'.

  • Comment number 77.

    Remarkable responses to my observation upthread that a referendum should held sooner rather than later. If anyone is still wondering why I think a delay would be a distraction, just read the comments - divisive, obsessive and paranoid. The arguments for and against have been played out over decades, not least during the last parliament when the SNP was all for a quick a referendum. There is no reason to delay, then we can either get on as an independent country or swing fully behind the UK. Being in limbo just creates uncertainty and instability.

  • Comment number 78.

    I voted Tory (I'm English, of course) and I don't understand that sentence.
    ----------------------------------

    It's like with the USA and Britain. Same language, different culture.
    Scotland is going in a completely different direction both socially and politically.
    It started off with Maggie Thatcher, increased to a surprising degree with the modern Labour Party which is just a right wing Liberal party nowadays, and will end with Alex Salmond as he applies the coup de grâce to a tired relationship suffering from irreconcilable differences.

    London still aint got a clue what's going on up here, people are looking for a future and a Tory one definitely isn't on the agenda.

    Everything has come together to create a perfect political storm which will end up with a self fulfilling prophecy, Independence.
    Perhaps the Stone of Destiny isn't a myth after all...

  • Comment number 79.

    #77 zz123
    "The arguments for and against have been played out over decades, not least during the last parliament when the SNP was all for a quick a referendum. There is no reason to delay, then we can either get on as an independent country or swing fully behind the UK."

    First, you're entirely wrong re the Scottish Government. From the outset, they wanted the referendum to be on St. Andrew's Day 2010. It was Labour's Wendy who wanted to "bring it on" until she lost the confidence of her boss.

    Second, the less time there is before the referendum campaign starts, the less the people of Scotland would know about the UK government's "bottom line" regarding the powers they insist on re-reserving and/or are prepared to devolve in the current Scotland Bill negotiations, where it will be interesting to see what they do if Holyrood rejects the "final" version of it.

    Finally, the new Scottish Government has had, as yet, no time to show whether it can govern more effectively without the shackles of a unionist majority in Holyrood. The people of Scotland clearly trusted them enough last Thursday to give them that time, and it would be an affront to democracy to bounce them into an early referendum.

  • Comment number 80.

    I heard Michael Moore on the Radio this morning; he kept referring to “this country”, which country?

  • Comment number 81.

    ...then we can either get on as an independent country or swing fully behind the UK. Being in limbo just creates uncertainty and instability.
    -------------------------------

    No-one's in limbo up here.
    A process like this always takes a while and instability comes as standard in Scotland as we get pulled from pillar to post while the administration in London lurches from one extreme to the other.
    The post war socialist system invested hugely in Scottish industry, hundreds of thousands of highly skilled jobs....and when Maggie came along she tore everything to the ground.

    If we take our own road then at least we get to decide the degree of instability our society has to deal with, and the period over which in occurs.
    If instability is the issue then being in the Union is definitely a source of uncertainty and instability for Scots, and something you learn to live with up here as the political base and dogma in London chops and changes from decade to decade.

    We've been living with uncertainty and instability for so long it's part of the scenery.

    You may have accidentally found the real reason why things are moving the way they are up here.
    Until the Scottish Parliament came into being we never had any certainty and stability at all in our lives.
    We were mere vassals of London.

    Not we've tasted some stability and certainty, we want more, a lot more.

  • Comment number 82.

    78. At 09:04am 11th May 2011, Ady wrote:
    "London still aint got a clue what's going on up here, people are looking for a future and a Tory one definitely isn't on the agenda."

    Its these sort of comments that I find infuriating on these boards? The UK is pretty much the same over and people down dorset way or up in the midlands have the same problems, the same complaints as people in scotland. There isn't some sort of giant dividing line where issues and opinions change. Having lived all about the UK its the same everywhere...

  • Comment number 83.


    Would have to respectfully disagree that "the arguments for and against have been played out for decades". We need to have a deep and searching debate on the issues, all we get at the moment is sound bites like "we are stronger together, weaker apart" but what does that mean? Where is the rational argument?
    It is an important issue which we need to take our time with, we need to ponder, there is no rush and with the inherent media bias throughout Scotland it will take even longer to have that debate, but have it we will.

  • Comment number 84.

    They just don’t get it do they.

    I read on another website that Ed Milliband has declared that “never again” will London be cut out of a Scottish campaign.

    He’s appointed Jim Murphy MP, Douglas Alexander MP and Ann McKechin MP to produce an interim report by June. Also helping them will be Sarah Boyack MSP. Is this the same Sarah Boyack who several people thought might be the new PO?

    More Westminster meddling in Holyrood is NOT welcome Mr Moribund!

    Do you get that?

  • Comment number 85.

    #82, "London still aint got a clue what's going on up here, people are looking for a future and a Tory one definitely isn't on the agenda."

    DrK, who said people in all parts of the UK don't have similiar problems of course they do, it's the manner in which these problems are addressed by their governments that differ, England predominately voted Tory, we in Scotland did not, the English electorate look towards the Conservatives to address their problems, we in Scotland do not, therefore the comment above remains true, if that continues to 'infuriate you' then too bad.

  • Comment number 86.

    #77, I refer you back to my answer in previous comment #24

  • Comment number 87.

    @77. zz123
    "The arguments for and against have been played out over decades, not least during the last parliament when the SNP was all for a quick a referendum. There is no reason to delay, then we can either get on as an independent country or swing fully behind the UK. Being in limbo just creates uncertainty and instability."

    When can we see your arguments for or against Independence as a large percentage of the population haven't a clue on any of the issues.

  • Comment number 88.

    #84 ah London Labour's 3 stooges sent north to carry out a post mortem and presumably a burial. Personally speaking it's a job Jim Murphy is well suited for, since he always reminds me of a funeral director.

  • Comment number 89.

    #82 DrK
    "The UK is pretty much the same over and people down dorset way or up in the midlands have the same problems, the same complaints as people in scotland. There isn't some sort of giant dividing line where issues and opinions change. Having lived all about the UK its the same everywhere..."

    But those people in England have the same options, and may begin to exercise them if Scotland shows the way. A confederal UK, with Westminster being reduced to a similar status to, say, Canberra, would certainly show the politicians there who is boss. If the Devo max proposals the unionists eventually come up with, are just enough to "save" the UK for those that want it, it would provide a blueprint for a revived Wessex, with the seat of power in the old capital of Winchester.

  • Comment number 90.

    Re 83) If the debate has not been sufficiently had, why were the SNP and many on here so in favour of a referendum last year?

    Anyway you ask for rational, positive reasons for the UK, here are a few

    1) The breadth and depth of the economy provides stability. When something goes badly wrong, such as a financial crises, there are other things to fall back. We have been badly affected recently but not nearly as badly as other countries such as Ireland that the separatists were pointing to only recently as the sort of country Scotland should aspire to be.
    2) One of the most highly rated (and therefore cheapest to service) sovereign debt ratings in the world. It is doubtful an independent Scotland would have or maintain such a high rating.
    3) Many opportunities for cultural, business, educational, sport etc exchange would all be somehwhat harder with different countries. Compare, for instance, the number of Scots who go to Irish Universities to those who go to English ones.
    4) Having a common currency makes business and travel straightforward. Having to change money when travelling to England (and handing over £5 commission for the privilege) would be frustrating and expensive.
    5) Efficiencies in many functions that are undertaken UK-wide - embassies, met office, BBC, vehicle licensing, university research etc etc
    6) Common defence makes for one (main) island makes much more sense than two separate defence forces.

  • Comment number 91.

    The UK is pretty much the same over...... its the same everywhere...
    ---------------------------------------------

    I'm afraid it isn't, and it never has been.
    Thatcher was the worst. Holy smoke was that a period to live through up here.
    History in the making...not much fun to live through though.
    No Scottish Parliament would have dared to put it's own people through the brutal decade of the Thatcher years.
    To paraphrase Maggies buddy Norman Tebbit: "we're getting on our bike".

    Judging by your own reaction, there's going to be an awful lot of head-scratching south of the border but like I say, same language, different culture.
    The Head offices of the political parties in London are staring blankly too, (as you appear to be) while events unfold up here.

    Independence, a PROPER Scottish Parliament, offers a far greater level of certainty and stability for our society, something which lifes' experience shows the Union cannot give us.
    It's not anger or bitterness, (apart from a few daft laddies), it's an amazing once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to can the moaning and whinging and really do something, at last, to make things better.

  • Comment number 92.

    Morning all.

    Brian says that among Labour Politicians, ‘A commonly expressed view was that Labour lost the 2011 election in 2007 - by failing to grasp that defeat then was real and meaningful, not a freak to be overturned by one more heave.’

    I am trying to be very objective about this, but I am not at all sure that they aren't still kidding themselves about how bad their situation is. The decline started a much longer time ago, but then there was nothing else to vote for. Gavin @ 15 puts his finger on a large part of it. Labour has had their many chances and decades to put things right for their constituents, but failed the people while largely benefiting the Labour Party and its members. Recent criminal proceedings in Westminster have allowed us a peep into a few of the smelly bubbles rising from the murk.

    The Labour party has always had fine men in women in it's ranks but, regrettably, there is a growing opinion, at ground level I am proud to say, that it has had more that its fair share of nest-featherers too. People in Scotland have put up with a lot of jiggery pokery at local and regional levels, some that I have witnessed personally. I trust that now that there is a better alternative, votes should fall like leaves from the Labour Party. That particular tree has been rotten for a long time, now I hope it is dead.

    I look forward to a new Labour Party, or better still, perhaps a Democratic Socialist Party (Well, maybe not. The older constituents voted in the D.S.S. for 30 years).

    The country will need an honourable and tough, mixed opposition for the future. This process thankfully will take time; Labour's pests and parasites will be hard to shake off, the Tories and the Lib Dems will take 5 to 10 years to re-group. You have given us a 'Primary School' Parliament, Mr Salmond, which is a boon. In it we have taken our first steps to learn how to govern the country. Now you have the space and time in the political landscape for the vision and policies of the SNP to grow. There will be difficulties, but don't blow it Alex. I for one would never forgive you or your party. Back to school this morning.

  • Comment number 93.

    Zz123:

    #90.

    "If the debate has not been sufficiently had, why were the SNP and many on here so in favour of a referendum last year?"

    The circumstances change. The referendum never passed because of lack of support and the Calman reccomendations was introduced to bring new powers to Scotland. The SNP promised to bring the referendum forward at the second half of this Parliaments session. We expect them to respect that. Plus, we have to wait and see what the status quo will actually be.

    "1) The breadth and depth of the economy provides stability. When something goes badly wrong, such as a financial crises, there are other things to fall back. We have been badly affected recently but not nearly as badly as other countries such as Ireland that the separatists were pointing to only recently as the sort of country Scotland should aspire to be."

    What about Norway? Sweden? Denmark? Belgium? Luxembourg? Yes, independence brings possible risks or great opportunites. However, let us not fool ourselves into thinking that being in a large country actually helps. It was mainly British regulations that brought the financial crises to Scotland. If we're honest enough we can see not all countries suffered as we have and some of those countries are actually smaller then our own.

    "2) One of the most highly rated (and therefore cheapest to service) sovereign debt ratings in the world. It is doubtful an independent Scotland would have or maintain such a high rating."

    Evidence or least explain your reasoning behind it instead of silly assumptions.

    "3) Many opportunities for cultural, business, educational, sport etc exchange would all be somehwhat harder with different countries. Compare, for instance, the number of Scots who go to Irish Universities to those who go to English ones."

    This is total mince. The chances are that Scotland and England will remain some type of open door policy and trade. The Rep. of Ireland and the United Kingdom is an example of that.

    "4) Having a common currency makes business and travel straightforward. Having to change money when travelling to England (and handing over £5 commission for the privilege) would be frustrating and expensive."

    You might not have to change currency. Most places accept Euro's (assuming that's the road we go down). Heck, some places accept American dollars.

    "5) Efficiencies in many functions that are undertaken UK-wide - embassies, met office, BBC, vehicle licensing, university research etc etc"

    This is quite irrelevent. I don't think you made the case that what you've named above actually is a benefit to Scotland.

    "6) Common defence makes for one (main) island makes much more sense than two separate defence forces."

    When was the last time that mainland UK was successfully invaded? What will we expect in the years to come... Germany to make another go of it or France to suddenly become too annoying? I see you've become desperate for anything to say now.

  • Comment number 94.

    The reasons for staying in the union are good, up to a point.
    Where they fall down flat is at the social level.

    We're completely different, we want a different future.

    The most obvious cases are:
    No water privatisation.
    The Retention, not the destruction, of the NHS (i.e. A non-Tory version).
    No privatisation of Education.

    England is privatising everything it can flog off to the highest bidder,which is fair enough...for you.
    We don't want that kind of thing, and the complete long term annihilation of the Tory party in Scotland reflects this.

    Same language. Different culture.

    And there's no point in asking nicely, pretty please, with sugar on top etc.

  • Comment number 95.

    #90, you have lost the argument :0) and are frankly sounding desparate! Just to pick two:

    Go vist Ireland, you'll find a country with far more advanced infrastructure than Scotland. They are also self reliant, not looking for a hand out like labour that ties Scotland to a union that is not in our best interest.

    Embassies, etc why is it that people refer to uk as England. Without a presence on the UN like Norway, Ireland or Denmark, the rest of the worlkd do not know who we are. We are merely a Catalonia or dare I say it Wales. Scotland needs a voice, the uk does not facilitate this.

    No doubt you think the olympic games in London is good for Scotland?

    Up till now the unionists have called the tune, the boot is on the other foot now, time the likes of you put your own country first and not some mickey mouse union!

    C McK



  • Comment number 96.

    #78 Ady
    I voted Tory (I'm English, of course) and I don't understand that sentence.
    ----------------------------------

    It's like with the USA and Britain. Same language, different culture.


    That's disingenuous in that my post #73 refuted what you had said in your post #69.

    You have not answered that refutation at all.

    Imagine I said 'The SNP are all really Labour', you came up with a list of policies where they differed and I said that didn't matter because I'm English and I think differently.

    Bit of a non sequitur.

  • Comment number 97.

    Labour have only themselves to blame if an SNP PO is elected. Many people would have accepted Henry, but the colossal Labour idiot John McTernan appeared on Newsnight Scotland on Friday night insisting that there would be no independence referendum because the Presiding Officer would block it before it got anywhere near Westminster (much, it should be said, to the amusement of interviewer Gordon Brewer and fellow interviewee Iain Macwhirter), and that any thought to the contrary was, and I quote verbatim, "b*llocks".

    In the light of such statements, it would be extremely rash of the SNP to risk having their overwhelming mandate undermined by a Labour PO.

  • Comment number 98.

    @90. zz123
    "Anyway you ask for rational, positive reasons for the UK, here are a few"

    I can see why you want an early vote if that is what you think. Please write some sense mince is good to eat but I wouldn't even put that in my mouth let alone swallow it.

  • Comment number 99.

    @90. zz123
    "6) Common defence makes for one (main) island makes much more sense than two separate defence forces."

    A common military force predicated on being able to intervene in the world's conflicts (at the behest of the USA) and the maintenance of WMD are wholly unnecessary for Scotland's defence. They are, therefore, monies totally misspent.

    An "advantage" of military spending is to recycle those taxes back into the economy. For Scotland to get that benefit, we need our "fair share" of military spending. (Though the simpler method is not to raise all those taxes for the military in the first place).

  • Comment number 100.

    zz123 #90
    Thanks for your reply.
    Things have gone badly wrong and we are feeling the pain. Our economic stability is not shielding us from the cuts. What is it we are falling back on? What are the "other things"?
    Yes other countries are in a worst state, look at Greece (quite a large country) but many are in a better state, why assume that Scotland would fare worse and not better? Why would we be Ireland and not Norway?
    I don't think we are going to see a huge flood of Scottish students going off to study at English Universities in the coming years. Cultural, business, educational and sporting exchanges happen at the moment with countries throughout the world. Scotland can manage this too, we can overcome the difficulties which will be the same as they are for any other country (indeed we might not see the problems that we have seen in recent times at the Piping Festival.) I don't see any of this as a compelling reason to remain in the Union.
    Currency issues have yet to be decided (hence the debate), we could keep sterling as our currency.
    Efficiencies are good but I would dispute whether they are "UK wide " which is of course part of the problem. We contribute but how much do we gain in terms of head offices, employment etc?
    Defense, I've not made my mind up yet but at the moment I tend to agree with you.

 

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