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Salmond's day

Brian Taylor | 13:13 UK time, Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Excellent speeches in Holyrood today - and not just from the newly installed first minister.

Worthy contributions from each of the leading opposition figures: those who are departing from office (like Annabel Goldie); those who are staying (like Patrick Harvie); those who have just arrived (Willie Rennie); and those who are welcome, permanent figures (Margo MacDonald.)

In particular, I might commend Iain Gray's contribution: a dignified concession of victory allied to a pledge of constructive opposition.

Patrick Harvie, too, essayed an analysis of the nature of opposition politics in a majority parliament.

But the day definitely and rightly belonged to Alex Salmond.

No rival nominee, no doubt about the outcome - but matched with a thoughtful, polished contribution, free from bombast and hubris.

He opened by offering words of praise to his defeated rivals.

Nations 'inter-dependent'

Mr Gray struggled somewhat to maintain an even demeanour as Mr Salmond reflected that leaders frequently had to learn to cope with disaster before triumph beckoned.

He closed by quoting Fletcher of Saltoun, the Patriot, who had opposed the Union in 1707.

All nations, he argued, were inter-dependent - but that should not mean subjugation.

It was an evident attempt to address the controversy over the scope of independence by returning to first - one might even say "fundamental" - principles on the issue of independence.

But that, as Mr Salmond has decreed, is primarily for a subsequent referendum although it is, of course, entirely legitimate to discuss it now, in detail.

Between those two sections of his speech, Mr Salmond added to his list of demands for enhancing the Scotland Bill, presently before Westminster.

The strategy would appear to be to turn up the heat - slowly, steadily - upon the UK Government in the expectation that any wide-ranging refusal from UK Ministers might appear unreasonable in public eyes.

To amplify that prospect, Mr Salmond is quite deliberately choosing issues for devolution which have been contemplated in the past by parties other than his own or addressed in some form by those parties.

Financial devolution

For example, Labour complained that efforts to tackle drinking problems in Scotland would be better pursued via amending alcohol duty - which is reserved to Westminster.

Simple, says the re-elected FM: devolve duty.

More broadly, he cites Liberal Democrat support for enhanced fiscal powers, beyond Calman, as evidence of a broad push for financial devolution.

On broadcasting, he says that devolving control would allow the Scottish government to pursue the issue of a distinct digital channel in Scotland, backed across the chamber in the previous parliament.

The instant response from the UK government is notably cool.

These matters will be considered - but would require to be backed up by "solid evidence and detailed assessment".

I believe Mr Salmond and his colleagues are calculating that demanding wholesale transfer of powers now would backfire - while seemingly modest requests place the onus upon the UK government.

Seeking balance

Refusal might seem unreasonable in the public eye: the calculation being that obdurate opposition might stir support for eventual independence.

This leaves Scottish Secretary Michael Moore and his UK colleagues seeking a balance.

What can they concede without disturbing the balance of powers in the Union?

What can they withhold without seeming unnecessarily stubborn - and thus jeopardising that Union still further?

The newly reinstalled FM is content, for now, to leave them with that dilemma.


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  • Comment number 1.

    Yes Brian, very good speeches from all.
    And it is fairly obvious that Alex Salmond will take a tack of 'softly, softly - catchee monkey'
    Difficult indeed for anything he mentioned today to get a vote of only 68 - 60. Something there for everyone to agree with, although none will agree with all he said.

  • Comment number 2.

    How unfortunate that I.Gray surrounded himself with a thuggish element who no doubt railroaded him to act in a totally alien way His speech today was gracious and gave us a view of the man which has been lacking throughout his tenure as leader

  • Comment number 3.

    From your link; "not just from the newly installed first minister."

    "Labour's Iain Gray congratulated Iain Gray, along with other opposition leaders"

    Possibly a typo but it wouldn't surprise me!

    Well done Alex :)

  • Comment number 4.

    I thought Iain Gray's speech was excellent. Struck just the right tone. He looked like a man from whom a huge weight had been lifted from his shoulders, in no longer having to be the front man for a moribund organisation.

    In contrast to him, the SLAB MSPs couldn't bring themselves to applaud even things they agree with.

  • Comment number 5.

    Or to precis MacMillan from half a century ago-
    "There is a wind of change blowing through Scotland. Whether Unionists like it or not, this growth of national consciousness is a political fact."
    Self-determination - not a lot to ask - not a lot to grant in good grace.
    Slainte Mhor

  • Comment number 6.

    Let us wish all those serving in this Parliament "God Speed".It could be an historic time for our small country.I cannot see why disturbing the balance of powers in the union should be a problem. These powers should be exorcised equally by the Nations making up the union,in their respective Parliaments to enhance democratic control.
    On another matter,it is very interesting to juxtapose English media opinion toward Ireland and Scotland at the time of Ireland moving toward independence and now. Then Ireland was grossly libelled as to its national characteristics and Scotland was a great place, now its the exact opposite, with Ireland as Englands wonderful best pal and Scotland as an ungrateful subsidised,hatefilled drag on its big neighbour.

  • Comment number 7.

    @ 6. At 14:47pm 18th May 2011, gavin wrote:

    Ah but what the Unionist parties are most worried about is that the English electorate will find out exactly who's been subsidising who all these years thus revealing that they have all consistently lied to those that gave them their votes ;)

  • Comment number 8.

    Positivity, that's what it was all about. Even Gray [I'll refrain from using the Elmer term] managed not to be negative. If only he'd learned that lesson earlier.

    But I fear that the Labour benches remain stuck in the same rut. They could not positively nominate any from their tribe as FM, but did they have to negatively abstain from voting? And did you see wee Masterbaker lounging in the dark recesses? Was there any positive vibe emanating from him? Is he planning any positve contribution at all in the next five years?

    But it was a fine and inspirational speech from the FM, for the next stage in Scotland's rich history. Looking forward to the debate on broadcasting, amongst others. Got your cv ready Brian?

  • Comment number 9.

    @7. Caledonia67
    I could not agree more,but this will make even the prospect of Fiscal Autonomy a difficult ask for the Brit Nats as it will show up decades of lies and obfuscation to try and keep us in the dark.

  • Comment number 10.

    Our Parliament was well served today, the speeches were both considered and statesmanlike. I agree with 'reincarnation' and 'fairforfechan' on the comments about Ian Gray's speech and demeanour today and the difference it demonstrated from his performance in the election. It speaks volumes about the steel-toed, tackety, boots his colleagues wear on their feet of clay, and his own weakness in leadership. But make the most of it, as this Parliament goes on I suspect the discussions with Westminster will become bloody manky. Innuendo, dirt and fear is the Westminster and UK media way and it will be a sair fecht for those that weaken.

  • Comment number 11.

    Wonder if Ian Gray will do a Wendy and apologise to the Labour Party conference for losing the Scottish Election.

    I can't help but feel that the path that led to May 5th began with that amazing display of fitting both feet in her mouth at the same time.

  • Comment number 12.

    I was very suprised that none of the Unionists voted for the First Minister... If they can't even vote the right way for something which is completely obvious and never in doubt, how can we expect them to get it right when there are complex decisions to be made?

    I would particularly have thought it was an opportunity for Labour to show that they have learned lessons from the election and that they are not going to simply vote the opposite of how the SNP are voting?

    Looking at the Glum Labour faces in the chamber, I sense a strop coming on... one that will last about five year's I would think!

  • Comment number 13.

    I have realised that some that some people may regard the use,by me, of the term "Brit Nat" as being gratuitously offensive.However,I feel that as we are all involved in two Unions, one in Europe and one in the British Isles then the title of UNIONISTS is one that cannot be justified when the political philosophy toward the two unions is so directly different,one to the other, of the people who wish to be called UNIONIST.

  • Comment number 14.

    Maybe i was watching different speeches but i thought Annabel Goldies speech was shocking. She might have a bit of humour now and then but still strikes me as a smiling assassin. Her speech was totaly wrong for the occasion and it showed. All the rest pretty good. I still watched labour MSPs struggle to applaud even in decency, nothing learned or changed there. Funny to listen to the main three Unionist parties talk of jobs, health and what is best for Scotland and how they will all strive to come together in the chamber ( but only after phoning London to check ) Dont worry Knighthoods are on there way in time for the Christmas honours.
    I have predicted before that we shall see defections galore to the SNP from six months in and when these opposition MSPs have to start to argue on TV and vote against legislation just to thwart the SNP and preserve the Union to the detrement of Scotland this is exactly what will happen.
    Scotland is moving on and so called "scottish" political parties will have to become exactly that to survive.
    Solutions, not problems.

  • Comment number 15.

    Commonwealth Games, 700th anniversary of Bannockburn and a vote for Freedom.

    What a year 2014 is going to be.......

  • Comment number 16.

    #4 reincarnation.

    Indeed Iain Gray has had a great weight lifted from his shoulders.
    If he is going to be positive in opposition, but will his successor continue that policy?
    Have then not learned yet that the electorate rejected the 'doom and gloom' approach practised by Labour in the last Parliament.

    I thought I saw Hugh Henry applauding albeit briefly as AS finished his valedictory address. Mind you a certain Mr. Baker was sitting next to him and seemed totally unimpressed. I was unimpressed too: with Mr. Baker's negativity

  • Comment number 17.

    @16. AlastairGordon
    "I thought I saw Hugh Henry applauding albeit briefly as AS finished his valedictory address."

    Your thought thought correctly.

  • Comment number 18.

    Well done Alex Salmond and fair play Scotland! I am south.........very south........of
    the border but the question of independance for Scotland must interest me and not
    just for the worried looks on the faces of English politicians!

    I forsee that Salmond will cause anxiety for Westminster and complete honesty is
    needed for the electorate both north and south of the border.A forlorn hope? Maybe.Probably.

    For all those that value the blogs,then hope and pray that Hadrians Wall exists between BBC England and BBC Scotland.The blogs in England have been reduced to
    a complete dogs dinner,no longer user friendly and twitteresque.Pop into one and see how awful they now are and make very sure that yours dont suffer the same fate of being dumbed down.Kind regards.

  • Comment number 19.

    Alastair Gordon - whatever Salmond's address was, "valedictory" it most certainly was not!

  • Comment number 20.

    I think Scotland will be a lot better off being bailed out following periodic financial disasters by the EU. It spreads the load & will cause minimum resentment in England. I think Scotland should get independence now; the problem is that the Scottish people are not going to vote for it. Now if there were to be a UK wide referendum on the issue it could happen tomorrow. Most English people would vote 'yes' to Scottish independence.

  • Comment number 21.

    Salmond, the Scottish 'chattering classes' have spoken on these Messageboard so listen.

    While you're at it the Shetland and Orkneys want their independance from Scotland. We want our FREEDOM as well!

  • Comment number 22.

    Pledges of co-operation and constructive opposition pronounced with heartfelt sincerity are customary on such occasions.
    The worse the defeat the greater the effort required.

  • Comment number 23.

    #14 - Interesting to hear your predictions of defections to the SNP.

    Feeling exactly the same way. How many opposition MSP's can genuinely sit in that parliament and not support powers being devolved to them ?

    How many must know, deep down, that control of areas like corporation tax and the crown estate would improve Scotlands economy ?

    Yet they are forced to toe the line out of obedience to their London masters..
    I don't know how long that can last.

  • Comment number 24.

    Surely it is not for the BBC political editor to congratulate the speakers!

  • Comment number 25.

    As a Scot living in England I think Scotland should be allowed to go its own way, but don’t ask me for my taxes to help it over the first ten years, sink or swim we don’t need more Greece and Portugal type hand outs

  • Comment number 26.

    The Liberal Undemocrats do seem rather a confused lot. Rennie states he wants to know exactly what "an SNP majority is a mandate for". Well according to Tavish Scott it's a mandate for independence. He stated there was no need for an independence referendum anyone who wants independence he said just needs to vote for the SNP.

    Also after their drubbing at the election where the became utterly insignificant. Rather than learn from their errors they appear to be adopting an ultra new anti Scotland stance. I look forward to seeing the Fib Dems utterly extinct in the near future.

  • Comment number 27.

    @20. Severn07

    The trouble about coming on here, and trying to be patronising, is that it exposes your total ignorance of the issues involved or even of any facts.

    Don't let stop you, however. Comments like yours are always welcomed in Scotland.

  • Comment number 28.

    @25. bixboy
    "don’t ask me for my taxes"

    You clearly don't understand fiscal autonomy, much less independence.

    However, fear not, your taxes will be fully deployed closing rUK's much greater fiscal deficit.

  • Comment number 29.

    Dear Brian,
    (From a fellow Arab, shame on you!)
    I was driving when I heard your comments at the beginning of Richard Bacon's show when you quoted Burns' "Parcel Of Rogues In A Nation". You said something about not daring to call the English "rogues".
    I recovered my composure and managed to just keep the car off the verge.
    Do you realise that Rabbie was referring to our fellow countyrymen with that phrase and not the English?
    We were sold by our own privileged people and not the English for English gold.
    The "parcel of rogues" remain here in Scotland and will do us down whenever they can.

  • Comment number 30.

  • Comment number 31.

    @In Moderation. Of course of the peoples of Orkney and Shetland want independence then they can have it. Presumably their elected MSPs for the Orkney and Shetland National Party in Holyrood will press the issue. Oh wait, was it a Strawman Argument you were using there?

    As for Gray. Constructive opposition, like was promised last time, and delivered in a four year long sulk, like Labour promised after the UK general election, and then pressed the Scottish part of their party to oppose anything put forward by the SNP such as the minimum pricing, like their constructive comments on the independence referendum starting the very night of 5th of May when the results started coming in, like their constructive comments on the position of speaker, like their constructive opposition on voting for first minister. Actions speak louder than words as Labour should be well aware by now.

  • Comment number 32.

    @ 21. At 17:26pm 18th May 2011, In moderation wrote:
    Salmond, the Scottish 'chattering classes' have spoken on these Messageboard so listen.

    While you're at it the Shetland and Orkneys want their independance from Scotland. We want our FREEDOM as well!


    What absolute tripe, you're no more Orkadian or Shetlander than David Cameron. You've obviously never even set foot on the islands! LOL

  • Comment number 33.

    Hello, (whoever you are),
    My "comments are awaiting moderation".
    Does this mean "Independence Lite" rather than my seperatist wish?

  • Comment number 34.

    I see the Olympic Flame is to be carried through Shetland, Orkney and Western Isles among other places.

    I suspect that such a sight will be small compensation for their taxes going south to subsidise London yet further.

    However, I'm sure bixboy will be pleased to refund their cash.

  • Comment number 35.

    #20 Severn07

    From 2008 the land area of Scotland is 78,772 km2 and it's population is approx 5,168,500, whereas the land area of England is 130,395Km2 and it's population is approx 51,446,000, this gives Scotland 0.0152Km2 per person and England 0.0025Km2 per person.

    This is why following Scottish Independence, even without the Oil, relatively, Scotland is the richer country and never minding England's current national dept is also why England is more at risk of requiring EU handouts than Scotland.

    You are paying too much attention to the British Nationalist press.

    When this is fixed and we all know the truth; Scotland will be voting 'Yes'...

  • Comment number 36.

    @ In moderation

    LOL Thanks for the giggle!

    113. At 10:52am 4th May 2011, In moderation wrote:
    As an Englishman, watching the rise of the SNP in this election can only be a good thing. Independance is looming- brilliant!!

  • Comment number 37.

    Now, no more fighting amongst yourselves.
    Orkney and Shetland have never seen themselves as Scottish. British appears to be their choice. Perhaps an independentt Scotland could offer a referendum to the Northern Isles: Scandanavian or English.
    I'm sure this would be seriously considered.
    Yours (very sincerely

  • Comment number 38.

    Nobody wants to be in a relationship where one party is always whinging. I would love to see Scotland independent. Good luck to that beautiful country as it explores new horizons & flexes its global muscles. Show me the evidence that the Scotttish people will actually vote that way. As for the English, please direct me to relevant opinion polls because I am clearly ignorant: however, I have met no English people who would want Scotland to remain in the Union - because nobody likes a whinger.

  • Comment number 39.

    @38. Severn07
    "please direct me to relevant opinion polls"

    The Economist Asks

  • Comment number 40.

    And another thing. As an Englishman, I think Alex Salmond is the outstanding politician of his generation in the UK. Time & time again I watch him tearing journalists & political opponents apart with a combination of intellect, charm & icy realpolitik. I think he will lead Scotland to independence & it will be a good thing for England & Scotland. His problem will be doing this without a majority in a referendum (he will find another way). In due course the people of Scotland will turn on him & the career of another outstanding politican will end in failure. This is the nature of things

  • Comment number 41.

    @38 I have met no English people who would want Scotland to remain in the Union - because nobody likes a whinger.

    That is exactly why we Scottish want out of it. We're sick of listening to the English whinge everytime they are reminded it is supposed to be an equal partnership and that Scotland pays its own way. The post-colonial whinging from England has become deafening in the last 30 years as English global influence has shrunk and the english have flailed around to find someone to act superior at.

  • Comment number 42.

    'Cheesed off' directed me to an Opinion Poll being run by the Economist which showed 73% v 27% in favour of Scottish independence now. I assume that Adam Smith carries significant weight north of the border, nonetheless the vast majority of Economist readers will be English (sorry - apart from the Americans). Please send more opinion polls - this is fascinating.

  • Comment number 43.

    'R' refers to post-colonial whinging from England. Not very insightful - everybody knows that the British Empire was built on Scottish endeavour, Irish fighting skills & Jewish money. I always understood that the English simply looked on rather absent mindedly.

  • Comment number 44.

    @ 38. At 18:43pm 18th May 2011, Severn07

    So by taking back our own country we're "whingers"?

    Just wait till you find out how many lies have been told by UK National parties about "Scottish subsidies take English tax payer's money".

    Oh yes and then you'll really miss us (our money at least) when it's England having to ask for EU handouts ;)

  • Comment number 45.

    Ref 19. Soixante-neuf
    Apologies. You are correct, that shows a lack of vocabulary on my part.

    But try this arithmetic -

    The result of the ballot was as follows, Yes 68; No 0; Abstain 57

    That's a total of 125. Taking it that neither the PO or her deputies voted, who else didn't vote? Someone suggested to me that since AS was unopposed he wouldn't vote. If that is true it means someone from a party other than the SNP did vote for him.

  • Comment number 46.

    Agree with post 01 'AlistairGordon'.

    In addition, my own view is, why is First Minister Salmond not organising a referendum right now to be held next year? Why wait President Salmon - why delay the opportunity for Scots to vote for full independence? Or are you fearful of the potential response?

    You, First Minister Salmond, have been voted in for another 5yrs - everything is in place and going for the SNP - Referendum next year for the Scots - or prevarication makes you appear rather ... unsure of your convictions and your promises for the Nation of Scotland?

  • Comment number 47.

    @43. Severn07
    "Scottish endeavour, Irish fighting skills & Jewish money."

    So Jews couldn't be English then?

  • Comment number 48.

    Hello, Severn04,
    Please can you send me your course on "Whinging" because I think I am missing out. Independence for Scotland looms and I find it very hard to find a whinge. Perhaps, you would furnish me with the best English whinges. I have a very rough idea of what they are and would appreciate a native's considered views.
    I know that you have a lot to whinge about and, unlike us, nowhere to go.
    I would like to be able to whinge about my country's future but it seems rosy.
    Please, English whinger, help me out. (I need negatives).

  • Comment number 49.

    Hello, Severn07,
    Got the wrong person, I apologise.
    Yours for Scotland,

  • Comment number 50.

    For "Read Animal Farm" (very good book btw, definitely recommend it) Salmond campaigned in the election on the basis that he was going to hold the referendum in the last half of the Parliament once everyone was given a chance to set out their wares in a free and fair manner. He isn't some Lib-Dem to just jettison campaign promises because he feels like it. He's sticking to his electoral promises and also giving the "no" faction every opportunity to convince people (or make fools of themselves as appears is also possible).

  • Comment number 51.

    @46. Read Animal Farm

    You clearly didn't listen to the policy on the referendum that the voters endorsed on 5 May.

    It's nice to see more Unionists posting here, but the quality of argument from them is truly feeble.

  • Comment number 52.

    Dear Moderator,
    How long does it take you to "moderate"?
    Is your case-load too large?
    Do you need help?
    What exactly do you want to censor?
    Would a Scottish Independent digital channel speed up our online debate?
    Have I enough years left to see this?
    Please, no flowers, just a donation to the SNP.

  • Comment number 53.

    Ref #46, Read Animal Farm:

    1. Through out the election campaign the SNP said that the referendum would be the in the 2nd half of the term of this Parliament. Although it is a novel idea to some political parties, maybe we now have a Government that will do what it says.
    2. When Jon Sopel spoke with Alex Salmond on ‘The Politics Show’ on Sunday it was clearly stated by AS that there will be no President Salmond. It is SNP policy that the Queen will remain Head of State. Perhaps if Unionists (and it is perfectly honourable for people to think Independence is not the right thing for Scotland) stopped trying to spread lies and concentrated their abilities to positive arguments FOR the Union they might actually win the referendum.

  • Comment number 54.

    Again, I am confused.
    Is this "Animal Farm" a reference to the Ibrox terraces.
    Sorry, couldn't resist the topical gags.

  • Comment number 55.

    Peter - I am not whinging (it is not in my nature) - to paraphrase Cromwell (sort of), I simply want you all to go - now.

  • Comment number 56.

    Re-incarnation - who are you referring to as Unionists? Most English posters on this blog (as far as they are identifiable) seem to be desperate for the Union to be dismantled. Or is it simply a generic term of abuse you employ?

  • Comment number 57.

    No revolution, just moving along.
    No blood, no bombing,
    only an evolution.
    Best for all, good for all.
    Together, not bound, but beside.
    Ripping apart or joining anew?
    Together in our countries.

  • Comment number 58.

    The attitude of most of the english nation to the SNP victory reminds me of nothing more than an old boyfriend of mine. We had fun together, but we drifted apart and when it came time to give him "the talk" he flew off the handle, started throwing things around, broke down in tears, then screamed "you can't dump me, I'm dumping you! I'M DUMPING YOU, YOU [expletive]!!" and finally stormed off still sobbing and swearing. It was rather sad, some people (and apparently nations) just can't handle rejection unless they are the ones that get to do the rejecting.

  • Comment number 59.

    Hello, Severin07,
    What am I like!
    I would like to take back the appology.
    It's so embarrassing, I should have read all of your post and not jumped in after a selected narrow view (optical).
    You want Scotland out of the Union. Can we agree?
    Aw the best frae awa up there.

  • Comment number 60.

    25. At 17:36pm 18th May 2011, bixboy wrote:

    As a Scot living in England I think Scotland should be allowed to go its own way, but don’t ask me for my taxes to help it over the first ten years, sink or swim we don’t need more Greece and Portugal type hand outs.


    We promise not to bail out the rump UK for at least 10 years - ok.
    Thanks for the drive by.

  • Comment number 61.

    To my English cousins south of the border who are whinging on about English Independence , I would say go for it . Assuming Cameron does not call a snap election to ditch his Lib Dem partners you have app 4 years to form the English Independence Party to contest the next election . There are thousands of Scots who would gladly donate funds to help you get started . I am sure there are hundreds of Scots now living in England who would join your party just as there are hundreds of English living in Scotland who are members of the S.N.P because they see that Scotland would be better of running her own affairs .

  • Comment number 62.


    if you and so many others want it dismatled so much what are you doing about it??

    Why do you have to wait for the Scots to sort out the mess for you???

  • Comment number 63.

    #20 #25

    I see the penny hasn't dropped with severn07 and bixboy as yet.
    It is Scottish Oil revenues that is keeping the UK economy afloat at the moment
    ( the same as on Black Wednesday) by providing the collateral for the UK's record levels of debt. Perhaps they didn't notice Osborne's grab of another £30billion just a few weeks ago.
    They should check the annual GERS accounts showing Scotland in continual fiscal surplus while the UK as a whole has been in continual fiscal deficit since before 1950.
    The subsidy, as Andrew Hughes Hallett recently pointed out, runs the other way.
    It's not Scotland that will need handouts when it becomes independent.
    It is absurd to imagine that bankrupt Britain is hanging ointo Scotland to give it extra money and the fact that silly people in England still think they subsidise Scotland will put pressure on UK Governments to either (a) bid Scotland farewell or (b)tell the English people the nasty truth.
    If they tell the English people the truth the diminishing number of silly Scots who still swallow the unionist lies about Scotland being too poor will get the message as well and will waken up and join the enlightened Scots who are already preparing for the Independence referendum

  • Comment number 64.

    Really Brian, you must try to do better.Alf Young and Prof Curtice! Two discredited
    After four years of attempting to influence the voting trends of the Scottish listeners you had a spectacular failure. When will you ever learn?

  • Comment number 65.

    @56. Severn07
    "Re-incarnation - who are you referring to as Unionists? Most English posters on this blog (as far as they are identifiable) seem to be desperate for the Union to be dismantled. Or is it simply a generic term of abuse you employ?"

    Must of missed the campaigning in England or is as usual let others do the work for you.

  • Comment number 66.

    Did anyone hear what it was McCletchie mumbled?

  • Comment number 67.

  • Comment number 68.

    Dear R,
    Sorry about the domestic.
    About the Scottish Constitution, well, how far can we get from your story!
    Scotland moves: England moves back.
    Space is unchanged.
    Countries support, home and away, wishing the best for "our own".
    Feelings of joy or feelings of sadness
    Space is unchanged.
    Scotland's got a big, big space!

  • Comment number 69.

    @56. Severn07

    It would make far more sense for those wanting English Independence got off their backsides, and actually did something about it, rather than whinging on here.

    The "estuarine whine" must apply to the Severn as well as the Thames estuary.

  • Comment number 70.

    I've very rarely seen any real Scots (ie: not the English pretending to be Scots and making a right pig's ear of it lol) post any pro-union comments. Surely if there were that many of us who object to the independence referendum there would be plenty of posts. Lets face it, us Scots are not known for our ability to keep our personal opinions quiet ;)

  • Comment number 71.

    Dear Reincarnation,
    Thank you for your phrase "estuarine whine".
    As a Far North Scot I am always keen to recieve phrases from beyond.
    I imagine that in your southern vinyards ebbs and flows are the backdrop as your fruits mature. Wine from England, whines from London.
    Dear, dear, with an Underground as well.

  • Comment number 72.

    #46 read animal farm

    here's farming joke that illustrates your muddled thinking over independence, in such a short time since may 5Th. the old bull and the young bull were led into a field full of cows, the young one said if we rush them we might get one of them?
    no said the old bull if we go steady we,l get them all!

  • Comment number 73.

    Any o' you English just might realise that the idea of Scottish independence
    is not about England but abot Scottish progress. (Good neighbours are invaluable).

  • Comment number 74.

    Dear Rouser,
    I hope that I understand your predeliction for cattle.
    Your quotes are recieved as a bovine appreciation.
    Our history reveals the importance of cattle in our long march to independence.
    Like yourself, I have a fondness for our breeds. That is as far as it goes.

  • Comment number 75.

    @71. Peter
    "your phrase "estuarine whine"."

    It wasn't original. It's a term frequently used in England to describe the accent of SE England. For example

    "Most other British accents, however, are infinitely more edifying than the lazy, ill-defined vowels, strangled dipthongs and glottal stops of the Thames Estuarine whine which has spread throughout Southern England"

  • Comment number 76.

    Good blog post Brian, enjoyed having appropriate links throughout the post too.

    Anyone got any opinion on how long it will be till we find/use a good way to get the financial and economic facts out in the open mainstream media here in Scotland (and perhaps the rest of the UK)?
    I can't imagine that negotiations over Crown Estates etc is going to do anything other than force some public exposure.

    O/T btw - the comment responder script will help you respond to other comments with a link and the ability to quote - if you're using firefox and install the greasemonkey addon.

  • Comment number 77.

    Hello, (from away up there where Radio 5 live does not refer),
    Scotland Digital Broadcasting.
    Why the stushie?
    Is it so ridiculous?
    Scotland is not important enough

  • Comment number 78.


    Just listened to your contribution this afternoon on 5 Live. I admire your ability to cope with the ignorance displayed, and your patient explanations of some aspects of Scotland.

    However, you do need to bone up on your economics in terms of Scotland's income instead of simply explaining the historical reason for higher Scottish spending.

  • Comment number 79.

    Dear incarnation,
    Thank you very much for your guidance on "Estuarine whine"
    I must admit that the phrase did strike a chord but I couldn't quite place it until your advice.
    Is that the one that keeps coming on the telly just before I switch?
    Anyway, here in Scotland, we have many estuaries and little indigenous wine production. However, we try our best in the other alcohol stakes.

  • Comment number 80.

    #74 peter

    i have a prediliction. animal farm is the but of this yoke.

  • Comment number 81.

    As stated previously.

    Scotland doesn't just think the current way Britain is run is bad for Scots, it's bad for the English, Welsh and the Irish as well.

    The difference for us is: We can do something about it.

  • Comment number 82.

    Brian says - "On broadcasting, he (Salmond) says that devolving control would allow the Scottish government to pursue the issue of a distinct digital channel in Scotland, backed across the chamber in the previous parliament."
    Broadcasting is an interesting point and illustrates in a small but culturally very important way how small Scotland with only 5 million actually is.

    The real fact is we would be too small to operate any kind of worthwhile watchable broadcasting network. A bit like our present print media.
    In an independent Scotland we’d have to watch foreign English and American TV daily because there would be no Scottish TV to watch

    We already struggle to fill 15 minutes of Newsnight and we can only produce one kind of comedy programme, as all of them (even the few funny ones) are based solely on Glaswegian working class humour.
    The viewing figures for River City for example must be tiny on the east coast. So why waste money on a digital channel showing endless documentaries about Stag hunting in the Glens or a day in the life of Glasgow Royal.
    It would be better to fix the stuff we already have.
    BBC Wales for example make Dr Who (a British and international hit) what do we do we produce in broadcasting that can be exported?

  • Comment number 83.

    Dear Gentlemen,
    Surely, the time has come to to lay our cards on the table.
    Are we Scottish or are we British?
    Scots first, then other nationals
    Yours for Scotland,

  • Comment number 84.

    So, let's be clear. I can have centuries of total Scottish ancestry - but if you happen to be born in England, or elsewhere in the world - you are no longer Scottish? Plus, if you are born in Scotland, of any ancestry - you are Scottish?

    What do you have to do to be Scottish? Do the Scots know who is acceptable as a Scot? Confused? Yes, I certainly am.

  • Comment number 85.

    John Swinney on Newsnicht tonight at 11.00 discussing policy priorities.

  • Comment number 86.

    What it takes to be Scottish is quite simple. You have to hold the values of Scotland (compassion, equality, generosity, humility, community) and work to make Scotland a better place.

    There are people fresh off the plane from India that are true Scots as they make making their community better, richer, and a more pleasant place to live their goal, and others (I shall name no names like Tony Blair) who may have been born here but have no care for Scotland, Scots, and simply are not Scottish in any way shape or form.

    This is often confusing for people who believe in the outdated concept of Racial identity and racial nationalism, but Scottish is not a racial group. It is a cultural identity, and a cultural nationalism.

  • Comment number 87.

    @82. letzbucher
    "The real fact is we would be too small to operate any kind of worthwhile watchable broadcasting network."
    Perhaps with our own control of our own channel we won't be restricted to 15 minutes of newsnight-us, and as the time slot expands so will the demands of the viewers and the desire of the producers to fill it. Perhaps when we do that we will rediscover the many aspects of our public sphere which are omitted and neglected due to the withering constraints of our allotted time.

    Perhaps when we have the time and resource to try, we won't have to resort to light drama and comedy which ticks the most obvious demographic box because and we'll be able to keep what we have that's good and try new things that reflect the diversity of a nation.

    I have no doubt that when we start to exercise control over our media space, you'll soon see that we will produce things worthy of export, if that's what you're interested in.

    Me, I'll settle for making headway into our media serving our needs for starters.

  • Comment number 88.

    Whit's happened tae Newsnicht?
    Why am I watching Paxman?

  • Comment number 89.

    @82. letzbucher

    A breakdown of BBC expenditure in Scotland versus income from licence fees might be a start. Of you go now.

  • Comment number 90.

    @85. madpiratedad
    "John Swinney on Newsnicht tonight at 11.00 discussing policy priorities."

    Technical difficulties apparently.
    No doubt the beeb will set us right about things, who needs the horse's mouth (apologies t J. Swinney) when the beeb is looking out for us.

  • Comment number 91.

    Sorry madpiratedad but he did not make an appearance. Newsnight claimed "technical difficulties" with connection to Dundee. Just what I like to hear. Oops BBC! :D

  • Comment number 92.


    What rubbish. Every country in this world, large or small, has little difficulty in providing entertaining TV for its people. This is drawn in all these countries from far and wide. I assume you imagine Dallas or Neighbours were fro instance was a BBC programme or Friends. Or perhaps you could check out RTE and the people of Ireland enjoying East Enders and Coronation Street etc etc etc. River City is an excellent product, though soaps are not my cup of tea, and enjoys a cult following across UK. BBC Scotland is now belatedly getting a larger share of the revenue it always should have been getting and is producing a growing number of programmes for the UK network. Properly funded its potential is limitless and clever and progressive people in the creative industries in Scotland would be able to stay here and produce here.
    Away with you and your ignorant cringe.

  • Comment number 93.

    London Newsnight overruns and suddenly Newsnicht has technical troubles and has to cancel an interview with a Scottish Government minister. Sure.

  • Comment number 94.

    @84. Read Animal Farm
    "Confused? Yes, I certainly am."
    Acceptance is the first step to recovery. If you are trying to make some kind of ethnic or "blood" definition of being Scots, then you would be the only one here propounding a racist line.

    If you are suggesting that "Scots" (how many generations would you want to determine?) living outside Scotland get a vote in a Scottish referendum, then that's still a racist argument.

    If you want others in the UK living outwith Scotland should have a vote in the referendum, then our own dear Brian answered that on radio today - "If Britain wanted to leave the EU, should that depend on the votes of the French and the Germans?".

    If you are talking about eventual Scottish citizenship after independence, then the current draft says that citizenship will initially go to those whose principal residence is in Scotland and those who were born (or one of their parents was born) in Scotland.

    If you are talking about a general emotional attachment to Scotland (as some of my American relatives have) then of course they are "Scottish" in that respect, but are and want to be US citizens who vote there.

  • Comment number 95.

    newnight scotland " wait for it " dum de dum! its called satyr,

    this is the week that was. or should have been?

  • Comment number 96.

    @84. Read Animal Farm
    "What do you have to do to be Scottish?"

    Genuine question?
    Without overthinking it - Have or take Scotland as your home, act as though the interests of Scotland and its people are affected by the way you now act as a Scot.

    I don't think there is any need to weigh the 'Scottishness' of your ancestors or your past. Don't worry about what being Scottish is, if you want to be a Scot - be one, how you act as a Scot will contribute to how others define 'Scottishness'.

    Scottishness (IMO) isn't a set of attributes to tick off, it is the totality of emergent qualities of all those who are Scots now, and those who were Scots in the past. It will change or not depending on the nature of Scots now and in the future.

    So if you're going to be Scots, be good :)

  • Comment number 97.

    @92: sneckedagain
    I was with you 100% right up until you called River City a fine product...I've seen panto with better acting (and more believable plots). Apart from that you are quite correct, there are nations bigger than us that have poorer quality television and nations smaller that have better. And all nations draw on global shows and influences these days. The argument that a Scottish TV channel would have nothing to broadcast is one that may have held water up until the 1980s, maybe even the (very) early 1990s, but not any more.

  • Comment number 98.

    Re newsnicht
    Technical difficulties? With all the technnology that we have these days, (mobile connections in the middle of nowhere in some far flung desert spring to mind etc)
    Good to see the bionic hand though, Touch Bionics would be a contender for a Scottish Digital Network programme, sprung up from research at Princess Margaret Rose Hospital in Edinburgh.who says we couldn't find the programmes!

  • Comment number 99.

    its early in the agenda of Whitehall to muster an opposition to Scottish independence yet we can already see a unification of all unionist parties to defend england's interest in the status quo. it will be interesting to see who will come forward to except this poison chalice. as our Alex has seen the three Scottish unionist leaders off without a fight.

  • Comment number 100.

    *30 Cheesed-off
    What a great link for people to read. May or may not be true figures but surely ALL our MPs and MSPs should at least read these papers and arm themselves with the facts. Then in the years ahead they can honestly argue for or against independence.
    As a little aside, it seems a regular poster on here today has gone from slightly coherent to off the planet. Not adding enough water i think!!! Wont name any names as it is obvious what part of these Isles he supposedly comes from.


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