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Brownspeak made simple

Nick Robinson | 17:03 UK time, Wednesday, 7 May 2008

Translation: "Bring it on" eg as used by Wendy Alexander with regard to a Scottish referendum on independence).

Early translation (circa last weekend): "Let's get on with it as soon as possible."

Later translation (circa today, source - G Brown): "Let's not pre-judge the conclusions of the review into devolution due to produce an interim report in a few months' time at which time it might - or might not - be appropriate to reach a judgement about whether to come to a decision on whether or not to consult the people on independence. Or not."

Of course, Gordon Brown was damned today whatever he said after his Scottish leader dropped him in it.

If he'd said yes he did agree with Wendy Alexander's call for a referendum, the question would then follow - when? And why don't you call one yourself?

If he's said no, he would have been in direct disagreement with her and so she would have had to resign.

So, he said neither yes nor no but, in effect, let's wait a few months before deciding. He cannot put off a decision for ever on one of the most important decisions he'll take as prime minister - does he risk the unity of the United Kingdom on the grounds that he is convinced the best chance of winning a referendum would be sooner rather than later?

PS: Apologies for earlier suggesting that "the only person who can actually call a referendum is Gordon Brown or, to be more precise, the Westminster parliament". I meant to say that Holyrood can stage a referendum but it would have no legal status since the constitution is legally a Westminster issue. Politically, of course, a Holyrood sponsored referendum could not be ignored.


  • Comment number 1.

    Wow, that is pure Sir Humphrey speak of the highest order from Gordon.

    I wonder if he has been watching re-runs of Yes, Prime Minister to get a few clues to what he should be doing.

  • Comment number 2.

    Well, as a "foreigner" living in England I still hold the view that the quicker we get the Scots out of English (not British) politics and decision making, the better. To eat you cake and still have more afterwards is a little too taxing. Literally.

  • Comment number 3.

    This guy (Gordon, that is) is turning into a walking disaster zone. I really don't recall things being quite as bad as this when John Major was making a hash of the top job. I suspect Mr Brown's problem can be traced back to his crushing inability to form good, strong allegiances and relationships with those around him. My guess is that most, if not all of Brown's political friends are of the fair-weather variety - and sharpening their knives as we blog. Brown's aloof, arrogant and conceited personal style is now zeroing in on him like a rapier. For those of us who suspected all along that he would be a disastrous Prime Minister (he was nothing more than a deceitful Chancellor), this is paydirt.

  • Comment number 4.

    For goodness sake get the referendum out of the way

    I have no idea of the likely outcome but...

    A yes vote frees we English and Welsh from Gordon (how could he be Prime Minister of a country he is not a citizen of), frees us from a Labour majority at Westminster, frees us from having to subsidise the Scots.

    A no vote puts the issue to rest for another 50 years.

    The outcome is therefore a win-win for non-Scots.

    Be careful what you wish for Scotland!

  • Comment number 5.

    Gordon Brown's sincerity and desire to include everyone has minded his words up a bit and, I think, he could do with relaxing his grip on that. He tends to over-explain and adds caveats to everything. This can look pushy and twitchy so attracts trouble. If he an ditch the over-worthy Ken Loach kitchen sink drama style and tilt more towards action movie he’ll probably have it licked.

    A referendum is a great risk. Scottish lack of confidence and the Barnett formula haven’t helped but teasing out the idea of a more sound and fair approach could help marginalise the shrill and divisive elements on both sides of the border. I'm hoping this latter path emerges. It would be good for Scotland and England and, quite likely, the Welsh as well.

    Holyrood, Hollywood? What’s the difference? Well, there is a difference. The American's have confidence and can communicate. The British are a cluttered wreck who wouldn’t see eye to eye if you put their eyeballs in a mincer. This echoes the underlying structural issues with Britain, but by polishing leadership and communities some star quality may emerge.

    All hail Blessed Leader!

  • Comment number 6.

    Gordon Browns leadership of his own party members is non-existent. He must make his position over Scotland clear. If he supports Wendy Alexander then he must say so.
    It is my firm belief that Scotlands independence is an oil fueled debate. I wonder how many Scots would want independence if the oil was in the channel not the north sea. The political climate is perfect for the nationalists. It wouldn't surprise me if Gordon Brown goes home after losing the next election to a heroes welcome in a new rich independent Scotland.

  • Comment number 7.

    I don't understand. If Brown and Wee Wendy disagreed on something, why would that automatically mean she would have to resign?

    Do we or do we not live in a devolved country?

  • Comment number 8.

    Gordon used to be indecisive, but he's not so sure now.

  • Comment number 9.

    You're obviously enjoying dumping on Gordon, Nick, but it seems to me you're being a bit unfair and jumping on the "Gordon is crap" bandwagon.

    That "Quote" wasn't what he actually said now was it? At PM Q's GB did go on to say what Wendy Alexander had done, which was to point out the prevarication of the SNP over the whole issue.

    GB deserves plenty of stick, but perhaps you could try being more even-handed.

  • Comment number 10.

    Nick, I have always held the view, not yet picked up by the media, that Labour's defeat at the next election will be abetted by the loss of many Labour seats to the SNP. This is why Bendy Wendy has woken up to the prospect by attempting to neutralise the referendum debate. It won't work because all pronouncements from Labour are completely discredited.

  • Comment number 11.

    The date mooted for a referendum in the SNP's manifesto was 2010.

    They still plan to have the referendum in 2010.

    Doesn't sound like prevarication to me!


    Like maggiemaggiemaggie #4

    I have no idea of the likely outcome but...

    A yes vote frees we Scottish from Gordon (how could he be First Minister of a country where he is thought of as a joke), frees us from the trough guzzlers at Westminster, frees us from having to subsidise the English, when we close off the oil pipelines at the border, unless of course they agree to buy it from us.

  • Comment number 12.

    I think it's a great idea to push for a referendum and campaign for a no vote. Scotland will surely vote no and then what is the point of the SNP?

    Gordon is on his way out in a couple of years so Wendy should take care of herself.

    Clever girl.

  • Comment number 13.

    As an exiled Scot, I have no wish to see Scotland leave the Union. However, I am sick to death of ill-informed comments such as those from maggiemaggiemaggie.

    She obviously believes all the distortions provided by the media - doesn't she realise the UK has survived on the revenue from oil for the last 35 years? If Scotland had gone independent in 1974, then England would now be a 3rd world country having had none of the benefits from North Sea Oil. Giving Scotland a "rebate" is the same principle as Gordon's "tax low earners and then ask them to request a refund through complex tax credits"

  • Comment number 14.

    "I think it's a great idea to push for a referendum and campaign for a no vote. Scotland will surely vote no and then what is the point of the SNP?"

    See it's this kind of arrogance / ignorance that keeps Scottish politics out of Nick's blog until it intrudes upon PMQs. If you seriously think there's no point in having a party which sticks up for Scotland's interests against unionist parties who almost always have to defer to their London leadership then you've clearly never had to live in the minority of a anachronistic union of non-equals.

    But let me guess you're English and actually have a big enough population which allows you to vote in a government which influences your constitutional, foreign and defence policies, so you don't care. Maybe the Scots will actually have some relevance to you when you have to buy your North Sea oil, renewably generated energy and water from us over the next few decades.

    To the Empire!

  • Comment number 15.

    In the words of Wendy Alexander,"Bring it on!"

    I hope such a referendum is successful. If it is, it might just be the first step to getting rid of the whinging Scots, who despite the highest per capita govt spend in the UK have spread the myth that Westminster stole their oil revenues etc etc.

    Such a move might also get rid of the PM and his mostly Scottish cabinet as well once and for all!

    If that happened, England might just get its own parliament after years of being dienfranchised while the rest of the UK have had their parliaments and assemblies.

    Please note I am not a member of the NF nor the BNP, just a fed up lifeliong Labour voter who is exasperated at being ripped off and having decisions taken by a phoney Labour govt and ministers and others who are not affected by the decisions that they make for us.

    As someone said to me recently, when Gordon Brown is at home, he is governed by his local council which is Lib Dem, by the SNP nationally and when in London is governed now by a Tory Mayor. How does he like it?

  • Comment number 16.

    scotland subsidising England! Get your facts right mate...

    The Government spent £6,361 a head in England, compared with £8,216 in Northern Ireland, £7,597 in Scotland and £7,248 in Wales. Identifiable expenditure for England as a whole amounted to £318.6 billion, or 81 per cent of the British total, compared with £38.5 billion in Scotland (9.8 per cent), £21.4 billion in Wales (5.4 per cent) and £14 billion in Northern Ireland (3.6 per cent).

    The figures, published yesterday in Government Expenditure and Revenue in Scotland 2004-05, provoked anger from English MPs and fuelled an anti-Scottish backlash.

    David Maclean, the Conservatives’ former Chief Whip and MP for Penrith and the Border, said: “The Government has got to address this because it is feeding the destruction of the United Kingdom.

    “Not only have we got an unbalanced Parliament in Westminster, with Scottish MPs having more rights than English MPs, we are having legislation foisted on England with the votes of Scottish MPs. We are getting fundamentally greater expenditure on people in Scotland, which is aggravating rural poverty in England.

    ...without the English taxpayers to support scotland you can say bye bye to free education and prescriptions.

  • Comment number 17.

    "getting rid of the whinging Scots, who despite the highest per capita govt spend in the UK"

    Except that spending is higher per capita in Northern Ireland and London who do not provide additional income from oil revenues.

    "Please note I am not a member of the NF nor the BNP"

    It would probably be better for England if you were because having such ignorance and unfounded English nationalistic superiority in the mainstream really doesn't bode well for an independent England.

  • Comment number 18.

    Does anyone else think the whole issue of independence is a smoke screen?

    The life expectancy of a man living in the middle of Glasgow is 67 years. The average UK life expectancy is 76 years. That could be your friend or relative who dies 9 years before the average British adult. Why don't we focus on righting wrongs like this instead? Issues which affect the daily lives of us all.

    Independence is a pipe dream, and an unnecessary one that politicians keep wasting time talking about when there are real problems that need to be solved.

    Get a grip, guys. Let's discuss things of real importance to the people of Scotland and the UK as a whole.

  • Comment number 19.

    Scottish politics is mostly a local affair because that’s how the current arrangement orders things, and Scottish leaders have played significant leadership roles from an English base. Arguing and hostility is mostly a delusion. More Scottish self-confidence and a more balanced view of investment would help even things out. This would be to everyone’s benefit rather than a few uptight reactionaries who’d knock us all back to the stone age.

    A similar picture is true with the BNP and immigrant crowd. Narrow and insular minds create narrow and insular policies. In turn this creates poor communities. The more this is fed the more the cycle of misery grows until nations explode in war and banditry. Historical precedents abound from failed companies at home to failed states aboard. Instead of worrying this to death, letting go and developing a more reasonable position will lead to a more reasonable outcome.

    The current fashion for tearing Gordon Brown down in the media and voting booth, or cries for independence is no different to the mere trolling and flamebaiting in newsgroups and forums. People are built the same, only the medium of expression is different. Dale Carnegie comments that genuinely looking for something interesting and being sociable is a sure fire path to success but it must be genuine. This is old but very sage advice.

  • Comment number 20.

    "Brownspeak" is becoming more like the conversation at the Mad Hatters Tea party. Has the Labour party changed its name again?

    To quote:

    "Have you guessed the riddle yet?' the Hatter said, turning to Alice again.

    `No, I give it up,' Alice replied: `what's the answer?'

    `I haven't the slightest idea,' said the Hatter.

    `Nor I,' said the March Hare.

    Alice sighed wearily. `I think you might do something better with the time,' she said, `than waste it in asking riddles that have no answers.' "

    Sums it up it is so similar, we truly have a surreal government.

  • Comment number 21.

    Gordon Brown must be absolutely terrified of referenda, he won't countenance one on the European constitution, and now he's scared of a Scottish one. The great advantage for the rest of the UK if Scotland became independent would be the fact that without our nodding dog Labour MPs Labour would be highly unlikely to ever have a working majority in England again.Thus Gordon Brown may yet go down in history as the man who singlehandedly destroyed the Labour party. Personally I am, and a lot of my countrymen are, impressed by the way Alec Salmond and his party put the needs of the people of Scotland before every other consideration. If they continue to operate as they are doing then a vote for independence is certainly on the cards.

  • Comment number 22.

    Can the English have a referendum on whether we want Scotland to stay in the Union?

  • Comment number 23.

    Either Brown is an idiot or he is deliberately lying. There is no doubt that Wendy Alexander called for an immediate referendum.

    Also Brown says the SNP are going back on a manifesto pledge on a referendum by trying to postpone it to 2010/11.

    Quote from the SNP manifesto. 'offering Scots the opportunity to decide on independence in a referendum, with a likely date of 2010.'

    So is the Prime Minister ignorant of that manifesto pledge or is he deliberately misleading parliament with his remarks today?

  • Comment number 24.

    #22. No you can't. But you can have a referedndum on whether England stays in the Union or not.

  • Comment number 25.

  • Comment number 26.

    #16 elvisbishop

    Subsidising and equal spend-per-head are two different things so if you wish to form an argument then do so on the correct subject. Areas in England (outside of London) and Wales do suffer under the current system. However it should still be kept in mind that "identifiable spending" differs in Scotland and the rest of the UK (i.e. Scotland "identifies" more spending than would be identified elsewhere). It also ignores the amount of cash that has has been sent back to the treasury (or not received when it should have been) over the years and has only been coming to light over the past year. Then there are issues such as Son of Trident (unanimously rejected in Scotland but we'll still share the cost), the previously promised high-speed rail track from “the North” to Europe (now rejected by Westminster), energy issues (distance penalties etc.) and so on. It's clearly not possible to jot down a couple of figures and come to a concrete conclusion, though many seem to try.

    GERS is a joke for a number of reasons, anyone who relies on the figures held within it probably hasn't read it. Two of the main reasons being that oil (that old chestnut) is not attributed to Scotland and commercial spending (e.g. super market, high-street chains) is attributed to where the business is registered (usually London or England). Government figures and politicians (and the media) are misleading.

    Scottish MP's should not be voting on English matters and there is wide support in Scotland for an English parliament (if, and it appears to be, it's what the English want). The SNP have a policy of not voting on matters that do not affect Scotland - if only all parties had such democratic ethics.

    The union has been unfair to people across all the nations. Scotland's economy has suffered under a brain-drain to London and economic policies designed for the south-east. England has to suffer Scottish MP's voting on English matters and the confusion over whether the royal family are Scottish by descent or their prime minister by birth (!). But do not be misled by the English media claiming we Scots would lose our free education and prescriptions, most economists accept Scotland will get on just fine.

  • Comment number 27.

    "Can the English have a referendum on whether we want Scotland to stay in the Union?"

    First step I would suggest: drag your ass into the political arena and demand one!

  • Comment number 28.

    Can the English have a referendum on whether we want Scotland to stay in the Union?

    That's an interesting question especially as a nation isn't allowed to join or leave the European Union without a unanimous vote. wich is something the seperatists conventiently forget. Requiring an English vote would help counter that small minded and selfish attitude and, well, Scotland is part of our United Kingdom as well.
  • Comment number 29.

    Wait a moment. So the government are suddenly keen on referenda again. Why can't they make up their minds?

    A public vote on Scottish independence is, according to some ministers, a good idea.

    But no vote is permissible on the EU Constitution / Lisbon Treaty (despite already having been promised) which defines in many ways how the entire UK is governed?

    Could it *possibly* be that the government is only interested in listening to people if we're likely to say what they want us to say?

    And there I was thinking there's a "moral compass" directing this government ...

  • Comment number 30.

    For the benefit of Chuck Hogwash who seems detached from the planet we live in, let me tell you something about Gordon Brown's political career:

    This PM is no more! He has ceased to be! 'E's expired and gone to meet 'is maker! 'E's a stiff! Bereft of life, 'e rests in peace! If you hadn't nailed 'im to the perch 'e'd be pushing up the daisies! 'Is metabolic processes are now 'istory! 'E's off the twig! 'E's kicked the bucket, 'e's shuffled off 'is mortal coil, run down the curtain and joined the bleedin' choir invisibile!! THIS IS AN EX-PM!!

    (With due credits to MPFC).

  • Comment number 31.

    #26 celtic_lion

    figures show that since 1980 identifiable spending on Scotland has been 10.2 per cent of expenditure in Britain, but that revenues raised in Scotland have averaged 9.1 per cent of the British total. In recent years Scotland’s advantage has narrowed, with spending on the rest of Britain, particularly in England, growing at a faster rate.

    Scots received more than £3,000 a head on welfare and benefits in 2004-05, 45 per cent more than the British average of £2,072.

    Identifiable spending on health was £1,513 a head in Scotland, 10.5 per cent more than the British average of £1,369.

    Spending on education and training was £1,160 a head in Scotland, 6 per cent more than the British average of £1,093.

    In enterprise and economic development spending per head was £123, 12 per cent above the British average of £109 a head.

    £11.3bn: The extra amount that the Government spent in Scotland in addition to the money it raised there

    Source: Government Expenditure and Revenue in Scotland 2004-05

    still think you'll be ok?

    btw, there's no confusion over the nationality of the royal family... they're germans!

  • Comment number 32.

    I like the Mad Hatter quote (post # 20).

    The Cheshire Cat also has pertinent advice:

    Alice: "Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to walk from here?"

    "That depends a good deal on where you want to get to," said the Cat

    "I don't much care where ----" said Alice

    "Then it doesn't matter which way you walk", said the Cat.

    "So long as I get somewhere" Alice added, as an explanation.

    "Oh, you're sure to do that," said the Cat, "if you only walk long enough."

  • Comment number 33.

    The divide and rule strategy that the labour party put in place under the guise of devolution is beginning to unravel. It is time for the PM to put aside party politics, and do the right thing for the country before the country does the same. Otherwise we are going to end up with a Balkan Britain!

  • Comment number 34.

    #31 elvisbishop

    I wasn't trying to start a competition or we'd be here all night, I was trying to make clear that figures on their own do not make an argument. I could argue that benefits and health will always be increased in a country which has shown poor growth (which Scotland has done because of successive Westminster governments), but where would be the point? I could look at various tables indicating where Scotland has been let down but why? There isn't something in the Scottish genes which prevents us from having a successful country, it's a lack of leadership and poor custonianship over the years. I don't have the figures in front of me because you're again using GERS which, as I said, is seriously flawed (if you're interested - you might be! - then a Google should find you plenty of articles ripping it apart year after year).

    Yes we will survive, outside of the torygraph and the times it's fairly well accepted Scotland will survive. The remaining 20-30yrs of oil can help build a future fund and finance renewable investments, we have our whisky industry, we have good engineers, Edinburgh may not be a financial centre the size of London but it makes a tidy profit for Scotland. Most importantly though we can start to build an economy based on Scottish needs. With some luck we might even rid ourselves of the traditional and tactical votes which have done Scotland no favours over the past generations, and the media which is always telling us that we as a country cannot succeed. We will be fine. No, we'll be better than fine.

    The union does not work for anyone, and as countries we are too far apart for any quick fixes. My father and three of my siblings are English so I suffered Scottish bigotry during the 70s and 80s. It's sad that I and my Scottish brother are now suffering bigotry again but this time in England, caused by a truly awful party led by a terrible Scottish prime minister and reported by a shocking English media. Most people who support independence for Scotland do want (as Salmond often puts it) to be good neighbours instead of surly lodgers. It's a shame others seek only spite and malice, but the more sensible among us should not allow ourselves to be distracted.

    Ah, see, it's been a long time since I've heard them called German! ;)

  • Comment number 35.

    Nick writes "... does he {Brown} risk the unity of the United Kingdom ..."

    You cannot be serious, Nick.

    What unity?

    Only in the 'Westminster village' i.e. totally detached from the rest of the country, can anybody say something like that.

    There is no risk because in reality there is no unity, no belief in this zombie political entity Britain.

  • Comment number 36.

    "Balkan Britain!"

    Please make your way back to the Daily Mail forums in an orderly manner!

    There are inevitably going to be statistics thrown about by all sides to back up their arguments. The only things that these "prove" is what has happened in the recent past. Past performance not a true indicator of future results and all that. They never take into account the vastly expanded tools that an independent Scotland would have to expand its economy to suit its own needs. At present, the vast majority of our economic policy is dictated to us based around a London-centric economy. Scotland, Wales, NI and the north all suffer equally under this centralisation.

    With the full ability to alter business, income and local tax rates, the Scottish economy can be tweaked more responsively to react to domestic and global needs. It's entirely possible to maintain levels of public expenditure whilst lowering this a percentage of GDP by expanding the economy by attracting investment with competitive business rates etc.

    Please stop getting hung up on "your" union. It's only a union for as long as the members of the union agree upon its continued existence! I'm sure there are still some who regret the passing of the British Empire ("India is rightfully ours! etc.") but you unionists will get over it in due course I assure you. Adapt or die.

  • Comment number 37.

    PS. A number of people think that it is somehow 'small-minded and/or narrow' to want to define yourself within the bounds of your own country.

    In one sense that may be the case, as POTUS candidate Senator Barack Obama got into some trouble for pointing out recently, in the context of some areas of the USA.

    However, in the case of England, Scotland and Wales I think that this is a case of having to take one step backwards in order to be able to take two steps forward.

    We, as English, Scottish and Welsh people need to redefine/rediscover ourselves within the context of our respective countries as the step back.

    Then we can start out on the road which 'imagines there's no country ...'.

  • Comment number 38.

    Well, it's pretty well clear by now: the collapse of discipline within the Labour Party has allowed Wendy A. to demonstrate that, in practice, Scotland IS ALREADY independent.

    Otherwise she's have consulted Godfather Brown first, wouldn't she? And she clearly didn't ...

    And what can he do about it, eh?

  • Comment number 39.

    Steve2652 # 18 - the life expectancy of a man in Glasgow has been lower than the the rest of the UK for several generations now. The Union has done nothing to address this. Perhaps that's because the Union is actually the problem. Perhaps the best way to right the wrongs that affect the daily lives of all of us is to end an obviously failing Union.

    After all, if you look at the appalling stats for Scotland, from life expectency, obesity rates, teenage pregnancy, drug usage, economic growth / performance, it's only been in the last year that some of these figures have started to improve, a year that, coincedentally, we've had a non-unionist party at Holyrood.

    Far from being a pipe dream, independence might just be the cure that Scotland needs for many of its ills.

  • Comment number 40.

    If the SNP and supporters of independance talk about Scotland surviving economically, then explain the recent 2,000 odd job losses.

    OK, so people don't buy JVC anymore, and credit cards are not as popular, but that is 2,000 more people who will require benefits.

    How is the SNP going to move from current benefits to affordable ones?

    Oil revenue is NOT guaranteed, since you can bet your life that if Scotland went independant, the new English Parliament would raise legal challenges based on the taxpayer funding the exploration etc.

    The media more than anyone is fuelling the xenophobia, and to what I would consider reckless levels.

    No one is looking at the real difficulties: England wants to be GMT+2 hours, the Armed Forces, NHS funding, Education.

    Scotland is top heavy in public sector employees. Will the SNP simply make thousands redundant?

    Start asking some real questions. Wendy Alexander is a non-entity who will soon be replaced.

  • Comment number 41.

    #19 Charles_E_Hardwidge, I can only assume you're English. To liken cries for Scottish independence to mere trolling or flaming reeks of the kind of arrogant, myopic and insular thinking of middle-england .

    Far from being the currently fashionable in-thing, as you claim, Scottish independence had been on the political radar for many, many decades. The fact you've never noticed it before now only illustrates exactly how insular your own understanding is.

    The British government have been putting down the independence movement for centuries, resorting to the military when they had to. Even in the 20th century, the British government put tanks on the streets of Glasgow to ensure the independence movement didn't turn into a full-blown rebellion.

  • Comment number 42.

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

  • Comment number 43.

    In areas such as Health , Education and dealings with those despicable PFI's the English have watched the Scots and Welsh regain control of their own destinies - and the English want some of that ! . The desire by the English for self-governance is growing . Westminster could just exist as a rump dealing with Defence and Foreign Policy - with suitable clauses to prevent them from taking military action without a majority of elected representatives. what would be interesting - if e.g. the Scots took back into public ownership the utilities and transport how would privatised England deal with that?.

  • Comment number 44.

    Nick...great blog can you do a piece on the debt story that Labour has ??
    (Labour seeks £10m loans delay
    By Jim Pickard and Alex Barker

    Published: May 7 2008 23:37 | Last updated: May 7 2008 23:37

    Labour is in emergency talks to renegotiate more than £10m of loans from wealthy businessmen to prevent itself running out of money.

    Most of the millionaires who secretly lent money to Labour in the run-up to the 2005 election ought to be repaid in the coming months but the party – which is £20m in the red – is in no position to do this.)



    back to lurking!!!

  • Comment number 45.

    #19 Charles_E_Hardwidge, I can only assume you're English. To liken cries for Scottish independence to mere trolling or flaming reeks of the kind of arrogant, myopic and insular thinking of middle-england .

    Far from being the currently fashionable in-thing, as you claim, Scottish independence had been on the political radar for many, many decades. The fact you've never noticed it before now only illustrates exactly how insular your own understanding is.

    When people start arguing or name calling you can pretty much assume that any insight or consensus has just shot out the window. Thugs love situations like this which is one reason why ghettos and failed states look remarkably similar. Indeed, the Tao comments that unlawful and turbulent times give rise to feudal lords. Not bad for a 6000 year old document.

    Alex Salmond has been threatening a fight for years. He’s a one trick pony that got his ass kicked in business, and the recent resurgence of Scottish nationalism is mostly, and pathetically, down to a badly researched schlock movie by Mel Gibson. Alex Salmond isn’t anyone special and memories fade and, as Steve Richards suggests, it might never happen.

    The strategic situation in the UK is almost identical to Iraq, with feudal corporate warlords, fire breathing political zealots, and damaged people. As one of the chief architects of the surge, Prime Minister Gordon Brown is ideally placed to take the counter-insurgency war to peoples doorsteps. The Home Secretary giving the police a free hand to hassle louts is part of that.

    Personally, I’d rather everyone calmed down and got along.
  • Comment number 46.

    Re 44,

    Just read the article ( and can the people sorting out the NuImproved Labour debt problem take a look at our eccomnomy?

    No wonder he quit!

  • Comment number 47.

    It's common sense that is so sadly lacking from Gordon Brown's failed administration.

    Common sense would have admitted the mistake over 10p, laughed it off and found the money.

    Common sense would have called Wendy, asked what she was playing at and agreed a compromise.

    Common sense is anathaema to the NuLibor sefl righteous intellectual snobs so they simply can't admit that a country could be run on common sense. What would be he point of all their clever policies if all we needed was common sense?

    Common sense has made Boris suggest that booze is banned from the tube and 24hrs later the aparatchiks are shouting 'unworkable'..'time for one of our clever policies'. Just ban it. It's common sense.

    You'd think the self styled moral compass would have a bit of common sense but he can't stop himself from being flattered by the attentions of spin doctors and make over artists it seems. he clearly has an inferiorty complex and is unfit to rule.

    Common sense would allow the Labour party to get rid of Gordon pronto, but like Godon himself the Labour party don't do common sense.

    Unfortunately the tide has turned and the people want their country back where economic essays do not solve peoples' problems; common sense does.

    Neither Gordon Brown nor the Labour party can offer this and they should read the writing on the wall; it says - 'GO!'

  • Comment number 48.

    Common sense is ... not very common.

  • Comment number 49.

    The independence bludgeon is a most effective weapon in Scotland (so long as it is threatened and not actually used at least), probably the most effective political weapon we've seen in the UK in recent history (it has been used for all manner of things from retaining the Barnet Formula, to the West Lothian Question, to allowing Alex Salmond to become first minister).

    It truly is a fascinating situation.

    I suppose the absolute horror story for the UK Labour party as a whole is that given a referendum on the break up of the UK (not just whether a part wants to leave), is that the English could possibly vote to do so (not that they'd be given such an option, of course).

    We'll have to see what happens, but it will be ironic in the extreme if the Labour party becomes pretty much solely responsible (via Blair's ill-thought out policies and then Brown's political panic) for the destruction of the United Kingdom.

  • Comment number 50.


    Gordon Brown is becoming increasingly detached from reality - either that or more blatant in his willingness to ignore it and distort it.

    Ok - maybe the question was a tricky one for him. However, to contend that Wendy Alexander did not say what did, then to brush aside the independence issue by complaining that the three main parties have agreed to wait the outcome of a commission whose terms of reference do not include the independence issue is verging on the bizarre.

    Does he not realise that his relentless failure to answer questions at PMQ makes him look rudderless and shifty? He drones on about real issues and matters of substance - pausing only to dodge questions and delay decisions on them, Can't he see that his behaviour is now an issue in itself ?-

  • Comment number 51.

    He duckspeak goodthink doubleplus blackwhite.

  • Comment number 52.

    Professional politicians spend their the whole of their lives ensuring that they have as large a number of people to 'serve' (sorry I mean laud-it-over).

    They seek power at all costs and to remain in power at all costs. Democracy stops the people having to change rulers by force of arms. The people in general want as little interference in the way they run their lives consistent with the reasonably well organised running of shared services.

    The one lovely word and concept that the EU has provided us is 'subsidiarity'. No one (or very few) would argue that running a local service from hundreds or thousands of miles away is likely to provide an efficient and effective service. Nor that tackling global issues can be done locally.

    Scottish things should be run locally where appropriate, as so should things in the North and west of england and wales.

    Our political process, good as its is(?) does not always provide good answers to questions of efficiency. Bickering about these things of dependence, interdependence or independence is why we have politicians - they put on a floor show and so long as they do little damage to our society we enjoy the show.

    This Wendy Alexander / Gordon Brown show is amusing but should we not enquire of all of our politicians about how they see their 'service' of the country, nations and regions and of our position in Europe and the World and judge them on their responses?

  • Comment number 53.

    At some point we stop enjoying the show because we realise that politicians have gone too far.

    For example, you work for employer A, then leave and work for employer B, then leave and work for employer C.

    Who have you worked for?

    Simplistically, you might say that you worked for employers A, B and C.

    Too simple by far.

    In reality, you spent nearly 50% of your time at A, B and C working for the Government.

    This creates all sorts of conflicts of interests and is a direct result of politicians going too far in 'controlling' our lives.

  • Comment number 54.

    Ask yourselves the Question ,
    If the Scots are such a drain on the English , why does Westminster wish to hang on to them?

    I will look forward to the answer !

  • Comment number 55.

    Personally, I'd rather everyone calmed down and got along.

    The theory is that we're more likely to get along once the UK is broken up and there isn't the underlying resentment, founded or not, over the other side taking votes/taxes/oil wealth disproportionally (delete as appropriate).

    As it stands we're likely to have a Tory government in Westminster in 2010. This means that Scotland will be almost completely unrepresented in government and outvoted on issues such as defence, energy, foreign policy, economic policy, data protection... and when Scots and English are at odds about what policy is right for them in these areas, then the English win. Every time.

    I see independence working much like minority government is working in the Scottish Parliament at the moment - Scotland can cooperate with the UK and Ireland on matters where there is mutual advantage, and agree to disagree where necessary.
  • Comment number 56.

    "At 12:00 pm on 08 May 2008, DisgustedDorothy wrote:

    Ask yourselves the Question ,
    If the Scots are such a drain on the English , why does Westminster wish to hang on to them?

    I will look forward to the answer !"

    Well clearly, at the moment, because the entire UK Government would be out of a job (either directly as how could non-citizens still rule, or indirectly as their majority would be gone).

    Although in fairness no political party would want to be the one to preside over the destruction of the UK (including I suspect even the SNP - although they'd never admit it).

  • Comment number 57.

    "And perhaps the Scots might get a real shock to find out that the rest of us would actually rather prefer it if they left us anyway."

    You just don't get it do you? You quite obviously think that Scottish nationalists are just out to get as much out the union as they can (at the expense of the English) whilst secretly wanting to remain cosily within.

    Whilst we're IN the union this is a perfectly legitimate tactic to get a better deal which is arguably due to us bearing in mind our natural resources, though I'm sure others may disagree. As the SNP have shown, it's also an excellent political tool which can be used to show exactly how unfair the union is for all concerned.

    But this is a means to an end, Scottish nationalists are not in the business of improving Scottish lives at the expense of the English. We genuinely want independence to control our own fate and work together with other British Isles countries (where we agree) as good neighbours and AS EQUALS.

  • Comment number 58.

    The Tories must be careful of pushing GB too far, he is obviously an electoral liability, but it is in their interests surely to keep him on as a lame duck PM and not allow some Cameron type new kid i.e. Milliband to be selected who might actually be able to do the job !.
    The more I hear him (GB) either in the Commons or elsewhere, the more you realise that he is a huge embarresment both to Labour and to the office of PM.

  • Comment number 59.

    In Post #19. At 8:22 pm on 07 May 2008, Charles_E_Hardwidge wrote...

    Some common sense!
    Good Grief whatever next? Brown making a decision? Mandleson admitting that EU fraud exists? Bendy Wendy telling the truth?

    I'm going out now with an anti aircraft gun to bag me some pigs!

  • Comment number 60.


    It seems to me that Ms Alexander has fallen into a very large trap, and one that GB is not inclined to help her out of. However, my main concern is with regard to the tone of the debate so far.

    The problem with figures and statistics in relation to this topic, is the fact that you can isolate the numbers that appear to back your own position, and then ignore the rest.

    In essence, the English feel aggrieved that the outlying parts receive more in identifiable expenditure per head of population. On the other hand, the Scots, etc. are tired of being portrayed as looking for hand outs. In the midst of this debate, so many fair minded people are adopting what seem to me to be quite narrow and intransigent views. There is surely so much more to the union than transient movements in revenues and expenditures.

    How for instance do we evaluate the role that the Celts bring to national institutions, or the English who move to the regions to run an organisation or to set up a new business? What are we to do with our own families that have dispersed among each of the four nations? Are they to return to their country of birth, and leave the rest of their family behind? What happens to a national business operating shops, banks or offices across the UK? Are new companies to be created and then the profits then allocated to that separate country? Where then would the balance of revenues and expenditures lie? What would happen to Trident or the armed forces? Indeed, what would happen to the TV licence fee - imagine if the BBC had to spend as much producing programmes in Scotland as they do in the rest of England?

    I would also like to point out that, amongst the English who accuse the Scots of whining, in the absence of the Scots, or Welsh or Northern Irish there are those who would be quick to turn their ire on northern parts of England, after all, why would someone in the South be happy to pay extra taxes just to accomodate the undeserving in the North?

    All the best.

  • Comment number 61.

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

  • Comment number 62.



    The vitriol expressed in this blog from those either side of the border demonstrates the potential of a Balkanised British Island to me.

  • Comment number 63.

    I'll address some of your posers (they remind me a little of the 'difficult' questions asked by creationists).

    "How for instance do we evaluate the role that the Celts bring to national institutions, or the English who move to the regions to run an organisation or to set up a new business?"

    Actually I have no idea what you're on about here. Sorry.

    "What are we to do with our own families that have dispersed among each of the four nations? Are they to return to their country of birth, and leave the rest of their family behind?"

    You are aware that the EU has freedom of movement and settlement for all citizens?
    Ever seen all those programs where folk emigrate to France and don't need to apply for citizenship? Amazingly, you can even move to Ireland! Were you expecting some sort of Celtic version of North Korea to be established? This question is the kind of old chestnut that Scottish Labour still occasionally spring on people. Smacks of complete contempt for the intelligence of their voters.

    "What happens to a national business operating shops, banks or offices across the UK?"

    Like all the companies that operate in both the UK and in the Republic of Ireland? It's an amazing world, the 21st century. You can order things online from anywhere in the EU without problems... Even from the US. Goodness, how do we manage it??

    "What would happen to Trident or the armed forces?"

    As a shared resource, armed forces would need to be apportioned according to negotiations. It may be that we wouldn't want to keep Trident, so we could sell our share of it. Fantastical, really. Negotiations!

    "Indeed, what would happen to the TV licence fee - imagine if the BBC had to spend as much producing programmes in Scotland as they do in the rest of England?"

    Hint: in the UK we somehow get to watch programs made in America. How's that work? America is 300 million people! How can we afford to see these programs? This is definitely the least laughable of your questions, though. I expect Scots would be like the Irish and would end up watching a lot of English programs.

  • Comment number 64.

    Brown will procrastinate as he did with the 10% tax band until he has no more choice. Then the NuLabour will fall at the next elections !!

    More Brownspeak -

    I'm listening - meaning: Just ignore the earplugs !!

    We will work harder - meaning: I'll flog the spin doctors to produce more meaningless soundbytes

    We must make hard decisions - meaning: I refuse to admit I made a mess of things and will shove the blame on something else, *IF* I can find that something else !!

    We have made progress - meaning: please ignore the mess I made with the economy when I was a Chancellor and blame it all on Mr. Darling !!

  • Comment number 65.

    #57 - As good neighbours, please take Gordon Brown home, thank you !!

  • Comment number 66.

    #10 - I could not agree with you more. But would like to add:

    Whilst Thatcher was in power the Tories completely decimated Scotland. I feel sure that many in Scotland will be eying the strong possibility of yet another Tory government. They, I am sure, will realise that devolution under the Tories could at best be diluted at worst scrapped.

    Another key to Scotland’s future, also in the hands of Westminster, is the Barnett formula. In the wrong hands it could easily, once again, become the Barnett squeeze.

    Those events, as they unfold, could easily mobilise and unite Scotland at the next election.

    Unfortunately Bendy Wendy, putting party before people, has increased the likelihood of that outcome.

    I have read a list of alternatives that Mr Bean could take, and none will stop this event reaching the demise of the UK.

    The only solution that could possibly divert the picture illustrated above is that Mr Bean to do what he should be doing is represent the people of the UK an stop imposing his own silly views and convictions. The UK has had enough of this with Thatcher and Teflon Tony.

    Unfortunately – There is nobody at home.

  • Comment number 67.

    Voters are confused about what Labour stands for, says minister John Denham as a poll puts the party on 23%.

    Mr Denham also made a plea for Labour to put the south of England at the heart of its next election campaign

    I think the following says it all:

    Labour's gains in the South of England were a key factor in its three successive general election victories. But there were signs at last week's local elections that its support had collapsed, as it lost control of key councils such as Reading and saw the Tories seize power in Southampton, in Mr Denham's own back yard.

    Sorry John, I do believe it’s you and the Labour Party who are confused.

    If that’s not putting party before people I don’t know what is! No surprise really they have done the same north of the border.

    Shame really, this is not one of your guiding values that you espouse on your web site.

  • Comment number 68.

    Re 54 Distgusted Dorothy the vast majority of people in the country dont wish Scotland to seperate from the rest of us, many of the rather foolish remarks made about the Scots being a drain on the rest of us are the same type of people as Dave Flashman Camaron ready to jump on any passing bandwagon in the folorn hope that they can gain votes, they dont care if the UK does break up as long as they can gain some votes they know quite well that if Scotland were to leave the UK that would lose the Labour party many votes, and if they can upset as many of you Scots as possible they think you will vote to leave, please dont let this self seeking minority sway your judgement, I am Welsh and I have a high regard for the Scots but I also have a high regard for the English and the Northern Irish lets not let these shallow people who are a small minority ruin the future of this great nation.

  • Comment number 69.

    #25 – Having just read how the Scottish people were brayed. I am really at a loss for words.

    The only thing I can think of is – Politicians - Aren’t they just lovely human beings! I would position them one step below the amoeba and that’s being over kind!

  • Comment number 70.


    Confuzatron has posted a reply to #60 which fails lamentably to consider the purpose of my post. My comments addressed some of the earlier posts. It was meant to be read as part of the dialogue that had already taken place on the blog. Hence if he needs clarification as to the intent of each point, all he has to do is look at the rubbish that appeared before my comments. I know that this will involve reading bile and spite from some contributors, but hey, he might actually learn something along the way.

    It is also somewhat unreasonable to take one sentence from the post without realising that it is linked to the next. National businesses are indeed based across the UK. However, it is the treatment of their profits that may cause concern if there is a break up of the UK. Currently, a national company will write a single cheque to the UK Exchequer if they make profits. As it stands, there is only one taxman. If we move to having separate nations, we will have separate taxmen. How these businesses operate up under the new boundaries will affect which taxman gets what. Does Confuzatron have a view on how well the English Revenue will perform under this new regime?

    As for Trident, it is a UK defence capability. The last time I looked, the UK parliament voted in favour of the new Trident. This would have taken a majority of English votes in order to be passed, so let us assume that the English want to retain Trident. Do you know where you are going to put it, or do you want to leave your defence to a foreign nation? Come to think of it you do already!!!

    The EBC, sorry I mean BBC, takes from the 4 nations but does not spend in these nations in proportion to their contribution. In other words, the EBC would not have as much to waste, I mean spend, on the output based in England if there is a break up. The outcome would be fewer jobs in London or poorer programmes or both. Expenditure would however rise in Scotland leading to more production, higher paid jobs and more jobs. So no reason for the Scots to vote in favour of independence there then.

    The Scots could also set interest rates that reflect inflation and demand in their own economy rather than having high interest rates to dampen down the housing boom in the South East. Who knows, the Scottish economy might even grow at the same rate as the English economy has done over the last 70 years or more.

    To sum up, there are winners and losers under the existing regime, and all that would happen under a break up is that the winners and losers might change, but on balance, we might all be a bit worse off from that experience.

  • Comment number 71.

    Where Des Browne stands on this... after all he is the Scottish secretary and he is a Scot?

    Does he side with GB or WA, come on Des speak up.

  • Comment number 72.

    The crux of the "did she or didn't she say it?" aspect seems to be (in real speak), "did she *mean* it, or was she just goading the SNP for political points without really meaning it?"

    I think Gordon Brown believed that she was just goading them but that she didn't really want a referendum, in which case technically his answer at the time might have been correct.

    However, goading someone into doing something that you don't want, just to get political points, is not a good idea.

    It's obvious to everyone that she's trying to get the SNP to break their manifesto promise by bringing it forward; she knows they won't bring it forward because, unlike labour, the SNP don't like to deliberately break their manifesto promises just for political point scoring.

    She knows the SNP will stand firm and just laugh at her for it, hence it's not a "real" wish that she has, it's just a goading that she's done to try and score points.

    It's backfired massively though, because people see it for what it is and it's made her look like someone who's prepared to break manifesto promises just to try and score underhand political points.

    I hope the SNP continue to stand up for what they believe in, and that they do just continue to point and laugh at her for such a shameful display of opportunism.

  • Comment number 73.

    smfcbuddie, there are a couple of issues I would like to raise regarding your post #70.

    You state regarding Trident that "This would have taken a majority of English votes in order to be passed". I don't know whether or not there was a majority of English Mps voting for Trident and from the phrasing of your comment, neither do you. But what I do know is that just because it passed it doesn't automatically mean there was. It is quite easy for legislation to be passed with a minority of English MPs voting for it. A classic example of this was the imposition of tuition fees in England, which was only passed because of the votes of Scottish MPs.

    You also state that "The Scots could also set interest rates that reflect inflation and demand in their own economy". I wasn't aware that the SNP proposed leaving the EU if Scotland gained independence? I thought the plan was to adopt the Euro and so have the interest rate set to be suitable for France and Germany. I don't believe that it will be possible for any new nation to enter the EU and not adopt the euro so you will probably find the setting of your interest rate becoming even more remote than it is now.

  • Comment number 74.

    After voting for labour for most of my life, I switched to the Lib Dems. in disgust at the way Labour has turned out. Some of the things that Blair should have done on election was to remove the hatedPoll/now Council tax and the extra VAT imposed by Thatcher and then Major. We have a Tory Lib Dem alliance in this city now and our rents are going up 5% and the Council tax the same. I wont vote for any party in future.

    T L Leeds

  • Comment number 75.

    # 74 try to look around you and see the good things that labour has done OK they have not always done the right thing but do you really think that you would like to have the tories back, it may not be good enough for you now lad but if your old enough think back to the eighties and nineties, go back to your roots or you may live to regret it.

  • Comment number 76.


    I'm old enough to remember the 70s - rubbish not collected, frequent power cuts, strikes, going cap-in-hand to the IMF.

    I'm sure there are other people old enough to remember times earlier than that when either Labour or Tory governments were in charge when things were bad.

    Surely the point is not what a different set of politicians did 15, 25, 50 or whatever years ago (although Gordon wishes it was), but which of the current politicians you believe will handle the current / future problems best.

    The problem for Labour is that people don't like them banging on about the Tory years because they've had more than 10 years to sort it out, so they are now being judged on their record in office, which at the moment doesn't look too good (I know you'll disagree on this but we are all allowed our own opinions).

  • Comment number 77.


    Notanotherform accuses me of making assumptions and then does likewise. I am not at all clear that an independent Scotland will be governed by the SNP. Therefore the adoption of the Euro is a matter that may never arise.

    Trident already exists, and it is to be found in Scottish waters. It gives protection to the UK as a whole. In the event of independence, do the English want to retain it or not? Do not assume that it will be there either way?

    What I am sure about is that the Scottish MPs should not be voting on England only matters. However, this does not give an excuse for independence.

    However, having said all of this, my main point is not whether it is possible to break up the UK, but whether the effects of doing so are deisrable. Does anyone care to address this point.

  • Comment number 78.

    #76 I'm also old enough to remember those times and quite a bit before then.
    the problem the tories have is that other than with two or three exceptions they consist of excactly the same MPs that got us into the mess of the eighties and nineties, do you honestly think that these same people will do any better than they did before.
    When you refer to labours record in office do you mean the three thousand more people in work or do you mean the thousands of extra nurses policemen, maybe its the minimum wage or extra maternity leave for both men and women or is it the thousands of children now out of poverty,interest rates and inflation I could go on telling you about these terrible things that labour have done to the british people
    and the tories opposed all of them. no my friend its not the people that as you say dont like them banging on about them its people like you who have the misguided idea that the same old tories with a new mouthpiece could do any better. I am pleased that in this blog at least you realise that people are allowed to have a different opinion to you.

  • Comment number 79.

    #78 For Labour's record I'm talking about more children in absolute poverty, substantially more tax, more money chucked at public services with very little to show for it, more reliance on the state, doctors having to work abroad because the promised places here aren't available, dirty hospitals, record prison populations that don't seem to reduce crime, Iraq . . .

    Interest rates? Well, that's the bank of England not the government.

    Inflation? Don't make me laugh.

    As to the Tories being the same people - well, I can name probably William Hague and David Davies as people who are on the front bench now, and were MPs before 97. I'm not aware of any others but I'm sure you'll point them out to me.

    Of course, it's unheard of for any politician to change their views on anything isn't it? I mean, Tony Blair never changed his mind on the nuclear issue, Gordon never changed his mind about the 10p rate, and neither Gordon nor Tony ever opposed anything done by the Tories pre '97 did they? I'm being sarcastic of course, but you'll no doubt be able to tell me about all the disastrous policies introduced by the Tories that TB and GB reversed when they came to power won't you?

    As for opinions, yes I accept people have different opinions - you apparently don't. According to you, I am a misguided person leading a sad and disappointing life, but hey, that's your opinion!

  • Comment number 80.

    #79 as you say in another blog its a waste of time you have your opiniom and I have mine but with all due respect you must not take things so personally, if Gordon took personally the immature name calling he gets across the housefrom Cameron in the same way as you, there would be blood on the carpet. Dont take things to heart your probably a decent bloke, but we all like to have a little rant dont we.

  • Comment number 81.

    12:08 pm on 11 May 2008, grandantidote wrote:# 74
    "do you really think that you would like to have the tories back, it may not be good enough for you now lad but if your old enough think back to the eighties and nineties, go back to your roots or you may live to regret it"

    Grandantidote this is a very blinkered view of the actual situation as I am sure you are aware. Well I am old enough to remember as are no doubt many other posters. I note you also only go back to the eighties and nineties and conveniently forget the last labour government in the late 70's. Winter of discontent, bodies not buried, strikes, garbadge everwhere not collected, petty rules, taxed to the "pips squeaked", brain drain, rampant inflation, Labour isnt't working, with mass unemployment, UK bust and chancellor cap in hand to the IMF. So with the exception of the IMF (give it time) the exact same situation we are in yet again today.
    The late 70's labour mal-adminsitration had a huge knock on effect for years and well into the Tory term of office and very conveniently Nu labour blame the tories for creating the problems.
    The Tories eventually turned this around after some very difficult decisions and yes hard times for many including me but they again made the UK profitable and proud once more (by fighting a legal war not an illegal war). Thatcher was respected around the world and I know I was travelling all over the world and still do weekly.
    Now we have the same situation with another bankrupt labour government causing a bankrupt country. Before the Black Wednesday debacle and 17.5% interest rates is raised(caused by labour and came to fruition a few years later in 1982 but not the worse as yet again a previous labour government got to 25%) and the 10 zillion unemployed (I was made redundant 3 times) is mentioned which is the first retreat of most government apologists. (EG: Brown in commons yesterday) this was as a result of labour policies left as an unavoidable timebomb for the next administration throughthe 80's. Now we have sleaze coming out of our ears (whiter than white???)and Black Wednesday is absolute peanuts compared to Northern Rock and the present huge hole in Government finanaces. Now the latest tax on the poor and tax on family cars, CCTV, Crime ridden streets , Bin tax and micro chips, uncontrolled immigration (Controlled immigration is a gret thing and needed)? Think back lad, think back and you will see we always never seem to learn about labour terms of office and their cons and deceits to the voters including the poor they supposedly say they support. After living though two apalling labour terms of office I truly do hope that we have now finally this time learnt once and for all to avoid labour and do not live to regret it.
    Kind regards.


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