I just wonder what exactly you expected? If …

Comment posted Launch of ‘Scotland Yes’ campaign contradictory, lacking information and out of touch by morag.

I just wonder what exactly you expected? If the launch had been all-singing all-dancing there would have been an outcry and accusations of extravagance.

There are two years of filling in the blanks of how Independence should look. IMHO it should be a gradual discussion, questions answered in an honest and factual way.

But a great deal of how an Independent Scotland would function, is unknown. In truth, what happens in Scotland with the UK government is also mostly unknown too!

As Anne Baird has pointed out, The SNP are not running this debate now……..it’s the people of Scotland.

morag also commented

  • Sorry, another comment incisive and balanced…NOT.
  • Really enjoyed your incisive, balanced comment.

    Do you have any more?

  • Sometimes the reason is uncomplicated!

    http://wingsland.podgamer.com/how-to-win-independence-with-one-picture/

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137 Responses to I just wonder what exactly you expected? If …

  1. Another excellent, well thought, piece unafraid to speak the truth. Well done but be prepared for the usual attacks from the three remaining cybernats still regularly posting on here.

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  2. An excellent analysis of the event, newroom. Am I correct in thinking that pre the economic crisis Salmond wanted Scotland to join the Euro but now he wants to keep the pound?

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    • Unionist claptrap, it is up to the people of Scotland and only Scotland to decide to become a nation again, then it is up to whoever is then elected to make policy be it SNP, Labour or God forbid the Tottie Tories, by the way in my opinion the Lib-Dems do not deserve to be considered

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  3. What a load of insufferable guff.
    The tactic for the union appears to be to treat all Scots like half wits and this article does exactly that.
    Indpendence is the normal condition of any country. It requires no explanation at all – to any sensible person. Obviously whoever wrote this bilge does not come into this category
    The benefits of the unnatural state of dependency do however require description and explanation. This,of course,never comes.
    There are 196 independent countries in the world. Most of them are smaller than Scotland. The vast majority of them are per capita much poorer than Scotland.
    Not one of them is clambering to become a dependency of some larger country or even join a bigger state.
    Most of them (over 150 since the Second World War) have extricated themselves from such status.
    Fatuous questions abound about what will Scotland’s defence be like, what about our pensions etc etc etc. If the author or anybody else can answer these and similar questions in a British context he has a bigger crystal ball than me.
    The referendum is to make Scotland indpependent ie put it into position to make its own decisions based on its own interests.
    I have no idea what a future Scottish government will decide about anything. It will be elected by the Scottish people and if they don’t like what it does they will elect a different one – just like any other country.
    It is not for the SNP or Alex Salmond to decide what policies a furture Scotland will decide upon. The SNP exists to put the decision making power back in Scottish hands.
    This frightens some Scots -the ones that think we are all as daft as they are.
    It is known as the “Scottish cringe”.
    I have heard these people described as “the thick and the feart”

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  4. I think it is a good article, as the undoubted SNP bandwagon needs to look at itself from time to time and not be frightened to self analyse. They SNP get most things right, but to roll out the above mentioned ex pat celebs doesnt really do the Independence campaign any favours.
    Keep it simple Alex and whatever you do, plz dont go down the ‘spin’ path.

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  5. Ouch! That was almost on a par with the Daily Mail’s headline today. Did you really mistake that for the independence debate?

    It was never going to be that kind of event. It was a launch, and these things are usually attended by celebrities and musicians. There is, for instance, a business community fully in support of independence but it’s hardly entertaining in the same way.

    When the lights go on at the Olympics and all the kids come out in their wee pink dresses and sing, we’ll all know the games haven’t started yet. This was something similar. I don’t think anyone really anticipated folk voting for independence on the back of Liz Lochhead’s corbie speech and I’m amazed that anyone thought that was the aim. It’s just an occasion to mark the kick off and let folk who’ve made their minds up (often after many, many years of consideration) stick their colours to the YES mast.

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    • Our research is obviously more substantial – try reading Business Week, Forbes, El Mundo, New York Times, FT…

      The problem is the apparent inability to think beyond cliche.

      Yes – ‘launches’ are often as you describe. But these are product and event launches. Asking a country to consider independence is rather more substantial than a new coffee or the latest car or mobile phone app.

      And even if the ‘product launch’ approach were an appropriate mode, why go for the standard recipe? We hear so much about Scottish creativity and innovation. Well, where was any of it in evidence yesterday? This tired old predictable froth could not have been more disappointing or more astray of what was needed.

      Scotland, Europe and the world are on the brink of an economic crisis at a level none of us have previously experienced. The New York Times has just said of the eurozone: ‘it’s increasingly evident that we’ve been witnessing an institutional failure of monumental proportions’. (Read the article.It is the best summary analysis we have read of where we all are just now: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/27/business/economy/in-the-euro-zone-a-lethal-vacuum-economic-view.html)

      This is no time to be wearing blinkers or offering the soporific distractions of yesterday’s launch.

      Scotland would have seemed a very different, grown up and believable place had the ‘intelligence’ behind yesterday’s event understood the gravity of the moment and taken an entirely different approach to it. That this was not done can only suggest either that the necessary perspectives, position setting and hypotheses are not in place – or that there is a view that Scots wouldn’t understand them but will buy candy floss at the drop of a Jocky-hat. Either is unacceptable.

      Yesterday’s mismatch of a cliched event to a very specific moment in time and the inability to rise to meet the profound challenges of this time in relation to Scottish independence could not have been a more damaging failure or more clearly illustrative of an ossified mindset. No ‘new’ Scotland can come of this – and there is no value at all in independence if we cannot renew ourselves.

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        • The launch was of no serious account, Jake – which has been our problem with it.
          The papers we reference are those whose facts and analyses we were consulting in coming to a view on the current position of the euro and in the eurozone.
          This is the one big issue today and until this is played out in a managed situation or by freefall – either a decade long – everything else is peripheral.

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          • shouldn’t we do the politics first and let that determine economic policy and how we respond to the crisis? I’m no more convinced that ‘let’s just wait and see’ is any more appropriate in the context of currency collapse than it would be for say climate change.

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          • That seems to be the plan – but what canny Scot would jump blindfold, without a bungee cord, into the drop that is coming?

            Why ask folk to make this jump when it is possible to lay out the major likely scenarios, their consequences and the optimum decisions that would be taken?

            There is no rush other than an artificial one. 29 months may well be enough to get to a reasoned and open-eyed decision or it may not. But we have to take the time we need to get this decision right. There is none bigger.

            While there are other issues, the economy is the crux.

            Scotland has a huge public sector dependency in benefits, in employment and in procurement. We will have to move away from that whether or not we choose independence because we cannot come close to affording it.

            But we cannot change by gear crash. We will need a managed, careful progress of change on this, whose direction of travel, strategy and means are all publicly known. That will mean changing attitudes to work and possibly to pay. It will be about priorities.

            How, as an independent state, would we pay for the levels of responsibility that would be our starting point and which would reduce slowly? How would we do this in circumstances of economic depression, financial collapse and a credit stop?

            How and where would we support and earn growth? How would we do so while retaining what we have left of sovereign ownership of our assets? In the developing Spanish financial crisis, to whom would Iberdrola and Ferrovial, for example, sell their Scottish assets? The same question applies to all other European corporate owners of Scottish assets? Who would have the money to buy what would have to be sold? BRIC. And what would that mean?

            Other major issues are moral and visceral.

            If we voted for it, which in these circumstances is impossible to see, how could we justify – in the midst of economic hardship and the reform of currencies and political affiliations – forcing the chaos and cost of our independence upon the other nations to whom we have been conjoined for so long? We have spilt more blood together in common cause than we have taken from each other in internal conflict.

            Editorially, we do not believe that the end justifies the means but rather, as we keep saying, that the means validate the end. Nothing of enduring and stable good comes from a poor, cheap, rushed or deceptive foundation.

            We have a great deal of thinking and foundation building to do – which will leave us better equipped than we are just now to decide on what we want to do and to make it work in acceptance of the cost.

            Whatever we do will not be free of cost. What are we prepared to pay and what are we not prepared to pay for each of the options which may be open to us?

            We have to ‘do the politics’ last.

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  6. I just wonder what exactly you expected? If the launch had been all-singing all-dancing there would have been an outcry and accusations of extravagance.

    There are two years of filling in the blanks of how Independence should look. IMHO it should be a gradual discussion, questions answered in an honest and factual way.

    But a great deal of how an Independent Scotland would function, is unknown. In truth, what happens in Scotland with the UK government is also mostly unknown too!

    As Anne Baird has pointed out, The SNP are not running this debate now……..it’s the people of Scotland.

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  7. All things being equal, 2014 would of brought independence to Scotland (probably), unfortunately thru’ no fault of our own any referendum in the current climate would be skewed in favour of ‘running home to mummy’. The vote would be ‘No’.

    Adopt a win-win compromise, commit to putting the referendum on hold until Europe stabilise’s itself on the condition we have devo max within the next two years.

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    • Everytime there has been talk of home rule, dominion status, or independence there have been people who have never been short of a crisis in Europe to put it on the back burner.
      WW1, The Great Depression, WW2, European regeneration, the Cold War, the winter of discontent, the war on terror, the banking crisis……enough already.

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      • I get that but what is the priority, have a referendum and to hell with the outcome or have a referendum and fingers crossed it will be ‘yes’?

        Newsroom is bang on, we are coming into unprecedented times. Let’s be honest it’s all going to go tits up, big time.

        Should that stop a referendum, of course not. Will it influence the outcome of a referendum, unquestionably.

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  8. O viously you did not hear Derek Bateman’s programme last Saturday on Radio Scotland in which a recent IMF report showed on purchasing parity power Norway. Iceland and Ireland are wealthier on. a per capital basis than the Uk, yes even with the recent problems the latter two countries have endured.

    And there’s more…. The IMF forecast that these three countries our nearest neighbours to the east north and west will increase the gap with the Uk in 2014

    So instead of wallowing in a swamp
    of negativity and self doubt raise your eyes your hearts and your minds to what we will achieve.
    We owe it to our children

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    • Iceland, that’s the “terrorist” country with the basket case economy, have just paid off their IMF loan.

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    • If you imagine for one moment that Iceland, Norway and Ireland will be safe from what is in the pipeline, you are deluded.

      The gravity of what we all face is such that trying to pretend it isn’t happening could not be more damaging. It requires to be confronted and addressed. Part of that is examining rationally where the notion of Scottish Independence sits in the midst of this – for the time being anyway.

      To make sense of this situation, everyone is going to have to set aside previous views and start from scratch – because we will all be in a political and fiscal environment which will be starting from scratch.

      This will be a very tough time for everyone but the opportunity for renewal and redirection of whatever kind we come up with to fit the circumstances just might be positive.

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  9. A week is a long time in politics and the period running up to the autumn of 2014 will have ample time for a sustained campaign on Independence. You must know that this launch was relatively low key and far from being dominated by the SNP sought to give a broader appeal. How would it be otherwise than measured in the midst of the media onslaught that is presently engulfing us with news of the Olympic torch campaign-closely monitored by the iconic principle sponsors; a fizzy drink manufacturer, a mobile phone company and a bank, the ubiquitous Diamond Jubilee memorabilia to say nothing of the cultural feast that is ongoing in Azerbaijan?
    There were no business endorsements but you know that they exist and will appear in time, there were no sporting celebrities but they will appear as the campaign progresses. This was merely a start but I am concerned at the massive front page banner headline that I saw on the newstands from the Scottish (sic) Daily Mail labelling the First Minister as “The Great Dictator” Where does that come from?

    FA can and doubtless will say as they see on any and every topic but you may care to reflect on the cheerleaders you have attracted in this particular instance. If I was getting the thumbs up on any subject from W.S., Lowry and the deeply unpleasant Islay for Ever- all, as usual in hiding – I would be reading over my copy and reflecting.
    Maybe you need a break or has the AC broken down on Loch Fyneside?

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    • We have no idea what ‘AC’ is.

      It should be obvious to everyone that we are our own masters and we work hard on evidence to come to reasoned views on the situations which we address.

      It is of absolutely no account to us who agrees with us and who does not on any issue. All are free to say what they wish in making comments.

      We are unmoved either by popularity or unpopularity. We care about evidence. We care about probity. We care about justice for all.

      No one should look at anything we say as motivated by anything other than objective analysis and the value set described above.

      We speak as we find. We find on evidence. We work hard to do an honest job. We would be no use to anyone if we did not. We campaign where we see the need but we would not attempt to persuade anyone of anything on an insecure prospectus.

      For the record – again – we are editorially federalist but believe that an independent Scotland could be viable if the necessary conditions obtained. We do not see that those conditions obtain at present or that they can obtain for some time.

      The big issue is, of course, the economic situation in which we exist and which we cannot control or shape.

      But the independence proposition has been on the agenda since 2007. It has not taken anyone by surprise. There are other issues we would expect to have been substantially addressed by this stage and which have not been – and the presumed options – like federalism (which is not the same as devo max) remain undeveloped. This reflects badly on the UK Government which has been almost wholly adrift of the issues. Only the UK Government can open up the range of constitutional options, a matter which whatever the outcome, would be a healthy exercise for a culture that, as an entity, is in need of renewal.

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      • Newsroom.
        Were you actually there? It seems to me that you have read the more negative reports, and come to your own conclusion based on that. The launch was NOT an SNP affair. It was an all party/non party commitment to the concept of independence, something which the vast majority of the countries of the world enjoy without having to justify it.
        You say that Alan Cumming, and Brian Cox live in the US. They both work there presently, but their homes are in Scotland. Sir George Mathewson, may be retired (in Scotland) but is a world renowned expert in business and economics. Blair Jenkins former head of BBC Scotland, Tommy Brennan, famous for fighting for steel workers, plus a host of others you don’t mention, all gave similar endorsements. The launch was NOT meant to spell out (nor could it) what policies an independent Scotland would pursue, since we don’t know which party will win the endorsement of the people of Scotland post independence.
        Why is it that those who want Scotland to be independent have to explain what an independent Scotland will be like, when we don’t know what Westminster has in store for us the day after tomorrow?
        At last night’s Eurovision Song Contest 11 of the top placed countries have gained their independence from larger states, without any problems.
        The UK was second last.

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        • You claim the launch event was ” all party ” . Give us the names of any current members of the Labour Party who were present in support of Salmond .

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          • In the context of Holyrood, Ife, ‘all party’ can mean either all political parties, or the very pleasant (and subsidised) lunch ceremony, or both.

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  10. It has been decided that there is going to be a referendum. That process is in place and suggesting it should now be cancelled on a whim because of a few sensationalist headlines and predictions of Eurodoom is just silly.

    If the time isn’t right for independence then the people will decide in 2014.

    Keep calm and carry on!

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      • Really?

        I interpreted your reply further up the thread Should that stop a referendum, of course not. as broadly echoing what I have just said – that the current economic situation should not stop a referendum.

        No-one can predict what the economic situation will be in two years time. Cancelling the referendum process now because Newsroom thinks they have a working crystal ball is a rather big leap of faith, do you not think?

        In terms of our ability to predict the economic future it has been shown over and over again that we are all pretty clueless, and to pretend otherwise is hubris.

        To cancel a democratic process because we cannot be sure of the outcome or the political/economic situation that might prevail at the time seems a bizarre idea.

        But maybe you are right – I am simply clueless and unable to grasp the big picture in the way Newsroom allegedly does. I do think however that Newsroom may be slightly confused as to the difference between research and a quick Google of a few American newspaper sites

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  11. I never thought I would agree with Simon, ever. Now I am not so sure. Is “newsie” losing it? This is the sort of article I would expect to find in an English edition of the Daily Mail. It was a launch, that’s all.
    When a ship was launched there would be a huge razzamatazz. A famous person nobody had heard of would hit the ship with a bottle, a band would play rousing music, everybody would cheer and wave hats, the ship would slide off into the water with a splash and there would be a big party. All this bore no relation to anything the ship would do after this. Lots of people who knew their job would get down to the nitty gritty the next day. So it is with the Yes campaign.

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  12. AC is air conditioning.It has been warm in Oban.
    I wholly accept your right to say what you think and I said so.In this case I just feel you have wholly misread the runes which is why I mentioned the Daily Mail and, I see, so does Andy!You can do better than that.
    The Independence proposition, I assure you, has been on the agenda for far longer than you seem to realise.And those who advocate federalism have also been around and have even shared power at Westminster and Holyrood in recent years without advancing their argument by a whisker

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    • Ken – this adds up to nothing except decoys. It is unworthy to try to get away with the attempted put down of the ‘Air Conditioning’ jibe. Try matching the argument and if you can’t, then try harder. Cheap jibes in place of argument earn you no respect.

      It does not matter a jot how many people say ‘This is the Daily Mail’ – itself an unworthy autopilot dismissal of one of the few papers to stand against Tony Blair’s disastrous regime while the acceptable face of crawling, The Guardian of that day, irretrievably lost its reputation for principled reporting. (Think Mary Ann Sieghart.)

      Anyone actually reading the position we describe on the accelerating financial crisis in Europe should be able to see at once that we have researched this matter widely.

      And anyone who doubts the validity of the situation we describe – or who prefers to dismiss it as trivial – should read the New York Times article of a few hours ago which we have linked in a response to a comment above from Anne Baird.

      It is also irrational to suggest that just because no one has made much of a fist of a federalist argument to date, that this cannot be done.

      Of course the issue of Scottish independence has been around for a very long time but it has been of a different order since 2007 because of the relative competence of the SNP in government.

      We have recognised and welcomed that competence justly on an issue by issue basis which has, of course, not been universal.

      Where you may have respected our analysis of this competence, you might therefore look more objectively at the substance of our criticisms. They are never unevidenced.

      On the matter of our view of the tired routines of the ‘Scotland Yes’ launch – we have seen no evidence of the general population finding it surprising, refreshing or inspirational.

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    • At the risk of polluting this thread, Ken’s mention of air conditioning – in Oban – opens a whole new can of worms.
      The pros and cons of windfarms have been debated in FA almost to infinity, and the other side of the need to clean up our energy generation is the need to economise on our energy use. This part of the world has a (relatively) very temperate climate, and there’d be little or no need to waste money and energy on air conditioning (even in today’s weather) if more attention was paid to building insulation, and heat recovery, as the cost of energy escalates. The places that I notice have some fairly hefty ac plant are the council offices at Kilmory and the (almost new) Lochgilphead schools campus – both energy profligate by the latest standards?.

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      • Sorry to interrupt but in this morning’s paper:- EU call to end power subsidy ” The EU’s energy commissioner is to call for subsidies to the wind power industry to be phased out as quickly as possible. Gunther Oettinger will publish a paper this week expected to say that consumers and taxpayers already pay too big a burden for renewable energy.” Just thought I’d mention it because it would certainly remove the SNP’s flagship policy for world attention and status. Ooooppps !

        OK back to you – carry on ! !

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  13. Newsroom!
    Who are you and what have you done with the real Lynda Henderson???
    You have produced an article which has been lauded by Lowry, IslayForEver et al. where you have previously found their opinions offensive in the extreme.Doesn’t add up!!

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    • Dot – the situation analysis is the point.

      Some who disagree with us on other issues may agree with us on this – and vice versa. Both changes of position are born of a partisan standpoint we work hard to avoid.

      We genuinely call things as we see them, without fear or favour and we know that most folk find this confusing as they expect and understand the partisan.

      We have to live with losing friends and gaining fleeting acquaintances as the cost of integrity.

      Whether or not we are always ‘right’, we are always working to be honest, objective and evidenced in what we say. Never ignore the evidence. It’s all any of us have to hang on to.

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  14. Lots of people up late last night I notice. Perhaps too excited by the spectacle in Baku to sleep (or maybe it was just the sticky heat?).

    I am a great admirer of Newsroom’s work: the sheer output and breadth she covers is impressive. She isn’t afraid to write what she thinks no matter how variant from orthodoxy it is.

    However, I do find her messianic certitude that she is right and anyone who differs is a blinkered idiot a bit wearisome. Cassandra is perhaps a role she aspires to but Cassandra had been cursed by the gods whereas all of us on here are just frail mortals using rather more modest talents of prophecy: and that includes Newsroom.

    To quickly deal with the Yes campaign launch: I think Newsroom is being a bit elitist and also unfair to Cox and Cumming – both of whom are overseas because that is where they work (as opposed to Sir Sean who is overseas because that is where he has retired to). Both have said they will ensure they are resident in Scotland ahead of the referendum and I have seen both of them enough times in Scotland to know their dedication to our wee country. It is perfectly valid for them to comment and support the campaign.

    Let’s now deal with the more substantive charge. The current article is a very similar piece on FA last week in which Newsroom advanced the argument that the referendum should be abandoned because of the European (and indeed global) financial problems.

    First thing to say is that no-one really knows how things will play out. Newsroom obviously thinks she does in her prophetic belief that not only will the Euro collapse but so will the EU. Her only allowance of a variation to this is that a fiscal union is formed led by Germany. Her rejection of this latter course as being improbable was about the only part of that article that I agreed with. She fails to recognise that there is a very wide gamut of alternative possibilities lying between collapse and fiscal union. What will transpire I don’t know but logic tells me that it will lie somewhere between the extremes.

    What Newsroom fails to appreciate is that things are not as mechanistic as she believes: there is a degree of free will in all of this. Politicians are not automata: compromise and choices are available. Fact is that a lot of people throughout Europe want the EU to succeed. They like the Euro and will work hard to keep it. I suspect that Greece will exit the Euro and some other countries will join them (Greece should never have been in the Euro in the first place). However, as Douglas Fraser noted in a related piece for the BBC, there is no obvious reason why the core northern European countries in the Euro should abandon the currency and the departure of the weaker countries would in fact strengthen the Euro. The EU already has countries that are in the Euro and ones that are not so what we would have is a redistribution of the political framework of the EU but it will almost certainly continue because people want it to continue. never underestimate the power of good will. Yes, there will be hardship and turmoil and yes, this is a situation that is probably unprecedented (the current recession has already lasted longer than the Great Depression). The world is facing the largest crisis since WW2 but this does not mean that doom is inevitable nor that we should allow this to paralyse our thinking and action.

    Back then to Scotland. As Douglas Fraser also notes, it is completely unclear whether the Eurozone crisis will strengthen or weaken the case for independence. For every unionist who argues that the crisis shows that Scotland is better off in the Union, there is a nationalist who will argue that independence will make it easier for Scotland to weather the storm. I personally lean to the latter and I also endorse what the First Minister said – despite Newsroom’s sneer – it is better that we Scots make the decisions on the policies and actions that affect us than have someone else make them for us.

    That is the core of the debate and that is why I think the referendum will be won regardless of the economic conditions in 2014.

    It is not fiddling while the Eurozone burns. Independence will give us more tools to tackle crisis and make us nimble. As the Icelandic Finance Minister said, his economy is just a rowing boat compared to the supertankers of larger states but it is much easier to turn a rowing boat around.

    Calling for the referendum to be cancelled is in any case very naive. I don’t like the constant attempts to label the entire referendum as Mr Salmond’s folly: a product of his over-weaning ambition and personal ego. This is deeply insulting to the hundreds of thousands of Scots who have wanted independence for decades. Mr Salmond has led the SNP to the point where we can at last decide on the issue but he is hardly the architect of independence.

    Imagine that the FM has read Newsroom’s pieces and thinks “How could I have been so stupid – we need to call of this referendum. Now!”. The outcome of this would be ridicule from the opposition parties: “feart” “waste of public money” “incompetent and not fit to govern”. And within the SNP you can be sure of a swift leadership election and a new FM put in place. And rightly so. The referendum does not affect our ability to deal with the financial crisis (to the limited extent that the SG can affect it in any case). But whether or not we are independent does affect our ability to deal with it in the future.

    I am no seer but I’m confident that, short of an alien invasion, there will be a referendum in 2014 and anyone crying for its cancellation is just wasting their breath.

    Lastly, what I do think the Eurozone crisis highlights is the importance of currency in the debate over what course an independent Scotland should take (unionists haven’t woken up to the fact that the currency issue doesn’t influence the argument over whether or not we should be independent: it is merely about the detail of what independence will be like and thus suits the nationalists). Mr Salmond’s position is that an independent Scotland should continue to use Sterling. As a short term position I think this is fine as the RUK and Scottish economies are very convergent. I am, however, becoming more convinced that the longer term goal must be to have our own currency but that we should look to peg it to an appropriate and larger currency. It is too early to say what that is – though a reformed Euro would be an obvious choice.

    Back to Newsroom herself: In post 11, Newsroom used “We” 21 times: is that the royal we? Also, she needs to be careful of appearing hypocritical: she condemns the launch as being emotive but then use language herself such as: “We have spilt more blood together in common cause than we have taken from each other in internal conflict”. A wee bit more humility and self-doubt might not go amiss!

    Time to get out in the sunshine again.

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    • You talk of ‘a very wide gamut of alternative possibilities lying between collapse and fiscal union’.

      This ‘very wide’ gamut amounts to one option – simply paying (even though we do not belong to the eurozone) to keep eurozone countries with heavy debt burdens afloat within a fiscal system that is structurally unable and will fail again. This would be weak and indefensibly costly short termism.

      And the certitude to which you object is not opinion but the result of hard logic.

      It may well be that the more stable economies, including Britain, simply decide to pay – very heavily, to avoid the crisis for the time being. However, predictably heavy internal resistance to such action in several states would probably prevent a fair degree of participation in this move. We would then be left with a situation where the states who did pay might as well have set fire to their contributions for all the impact they will have.

      But let’s say that the more stable economies, including Britain, pay up in full with gritted teeth. That may stave off the collapse of the euro for a while but it will mean widespread recession in universally higher debt burdens to be paid off – and crippled markets to sell into.

      And this leaves the eurozone still an unable fiscal area.

      Do you seriously imagine that, in our lifetime, the member states of Europe will cede national sovereignty to the EU, as they would have to do to form an effective and manageable fiscal union?

      If they stem the current collapse by paying genuinely massive bailouts, it is no more than playing for a time period in which no effective resolution will be reached.

      It has to be better in the long run to accept now that the experiment has failed and deal with / pay for the consequences than to put it off and pay twice.

      But we’re talking about embedded structural disability in the eurozone – and there is nothing of opinion in that.

      Whichever route the economic crisis takes, it is unavoidable. The debt burdens are rising progressively.

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      • You are doing it again!

        You state: “And the certitude to which you object is not opinion but the result of hard logic.”

        I have often made decisions based on hard logic, certain that if I did A then B would result only to have Z as the outcome. Indeed, relying on logical determinism is a pretty sure fire way to make the wrong decision (you should have watched more Star Trek when you were younger!).

        First of all there is the problem that logic is only as good as the evidence available to it. Percival Lowell believed that there was intelligent life on Mars – something we know now to be untrue (at least so far!). However, he reached this conclusion on the back of evidenced-based logic – notably the canal network on Mars and the indications of colour changes. Hard logic but wrong.

        With regard to the fate of the Euro and the EU it is simply impossible to factor in all the possible permutations that might affect the outcome. Your logic is therefore based on wildly incomplete data and is, in fact, nothing more than informed opinion (as indeed would any predictions I make on the future of the Euro). If your logic is so good then why is it not shared by (say) the German political leadership?

        Second problem with logic is that it presumes that events are mechanistic, driven inexorably by internal rules. The history of human affairs shows time and again that this is a fallacy. Economics and politics are much more similar to biology than they are to physics. Outcomes of political processes are often wildly divergent from the logical outcome, largely because humans are not particularly rational so illogical and even irrational outcomes are frequent.

        As an example of this, Hitler believed that the British Empire would sue for peace after France capitulated. He reached this conclusion on the logical grounds that it was not in the interests of the UK to pursue a costly and probably un-winnable war against a Continental power that (and crucially) did not threaten either the economic interests of the British Empire or its physical security. Hitler was entirely correct in his logic and this was the position of much of the UK’s “elite” at the time. In short, the smart money was on the Empire reaching an accommodation with Hitler to end the war, leaving Hitler his European hegemony and the UK its empire.

        That this did not occur was down to the highly improbable elevation of Churchill to the position of Prime Minister rather than Lord Halifax. Had Halifax become Prime Minister then the Empire would have almost certainly sued for peace as he was an entirely rational man who believed in the same logic as Hitler did (though not the same ideology!). Halifax refused the post on the basis that he was a lord and thus did not sit in the Commons. Churchill got the job by sitting and keeping his mouth shut. Churchill was far from a rationalist: indeed you could argue that he was an emotional fantasist. He committed the Empire to the pursuit of an ever-ending war not in the name of economic or even military security but to preserve, as he saw it, democracy. Highly illogical as Spock would put it but thank God for Churchill’s bloody minded sentimentalism. We did not win the war (that was bought by the lives of millions of Russian soldiers) but Churchill’s decision to continue the war meant that Hitler almost certainly could not win it.

        The future is an unwritten book and it is dangerous hubris for any of us to believe we can predict it. There is nothing inevitable about the collapse of the Euro or the EU, By all means let’s have a discussion around the premise that they might collapse (and that is a distinct possibility) but by saying that their collapse is inevitable you just sound pompous.

        Time will tell but you would not catch me laying much money on the demise of the Euro just yet.

        Thanks Dot for your vote of encouragement – your £10 is in the post!

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        • Here Doc, correct me if I am wrong But Hitler wars funded by the Rothschild’s and other Zionist Banking families, he was undertaking eugenic experiments.
          But when he pushed the experiments and ethnic cleansing of the non-Zionist Jews too far to soon the Zionist bankers and British government turned on him
          But perhaps you have not read the grand chess board or viewed the alternative media
          As a Doctor can you tell us who rounded up the German scientists and gave them safe passage and a safe haven to continue their work?
          Also how close is the EU plan to the Plan created for Hitler in 1941/2

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          • Keith: I enjoy fantasy as much as the next man but I can safely assert that Hitler was not funded by Zionists.

            I’m also unaware of Nazi scientists actually doing much in terms of eugenic experiments. Mengele’s experiments on twins comes the closest (unless you consider wiping out vast numbers of the disabled, Jews, homosexuals, communists, slavs and other undesirables as an experiment). The Nazis did conduct some pretty horrific experiments on humans to study the effects of exposure and the like but tales of genetic experimentation seems to be merely the staple of “B” movies (though I did enjoy the “Boys from Brazil”).

            Both the Russians and the Americans were very active in rounding up German scientists involved in the German rocket programme and then shipping them off to their respective countries. Scientists involved in medical experimentation were mostly brought to trial.

            As to the EU resembling Hitler’s plan for Europe: I don’t think there is much correlation given that the EU is inclusive, racially tolerant, democratic and a fundamental upholder of human rights (including the right to life). None of which apply to Nazi Germany.

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  15. I am no economist, but I know that there are many respected economists whose research of the facts has lead them to reach an entirely different conclusion to that of yourself and I therefore find your arrogance somewhat surprising!
    I respect Dr. MacKenzie’s opinion on this.
    As for your Federalism preference!Which Fairy Godmother of a Political Party do you imagine will grant you this wish??
    I therefore conclude that you support the Status Quo which has served Scotland so badly since I joined the Independence debate more than 40 years ago. (Why do you think that it has only been debated since 2007??)
    PS There will ALWAYS be reasons to postpone a decision. Let’s have no more of that!!!

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  16. Just thought I’d mention that like the Olympics, Queen’s Jubilee, and the Eurovision Song contest I am pretty bored with the referendum campaign already.

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  17. Simon
    Not half as bored as I am at your entirely predictable interventions here.
    It is usually the petulant indulgence of the ungracious in debate to feign boredom when they are routed and have nothing significant to contribute

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  18. I’m intrigued that you claim to have a better handle on the economic future than the IMF.

    Today’s Sundays offer a sobering picture for two of our towns, Campbeltown and Dunoon

    If we were in Norway we would not be arguing about sailings to and from Dunoon; a tunnel from Gourock to Dunoon would have been built long since opening up the Cowal Peninsular and then Bute.

    Campbeltown would have a University like Tromso , and repopulation of rural Scotland including Kintyre by using the tax system to create thousands of homesteads plus a legal requirement on government to develop and fund an economic. Renaissance in place of military closure would have transformed Kintyre

    You can’t do this without Independence!

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    • Good points but the ongoing abject failure of government at several levels to rescue the unfortunate inhabitants of the Rosneath peninsula from the SPT ferry scandal suggests to me that – given we’ve got an SNP government already – independence could be very, very disappointng.

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      • OMG, LOL, I don’t believe it, I may actually agree with Mr Wakeham.

        If the present government cannot deliver decent ferry services to Kilcreggan and Dunoon what can you really expect of them?

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    • Graeme: On the larger issue, the IMF has its own strategies which include keeping political power blocks onside. And all the G8 could say was that they all ‘wished’ to see Greece remain in the eurozone.

      On the issue of infrastructural investment, it is naive in the extreme to imagine that independence will bring to Argyll (or to much of the west coast mainland north of Glasgow) the sort of investment you envisage – which would be a great game changer.

      The devolved Scottish Government, which already has the powers to plan its own infrastructural investment and delivery, has virtually nothing for the west coast in its current future planning. There is not even a date for a permanent solution for the A83.

      Independence would not necessarily bring much more money, it would bring the power to allocate our overall earned budget as we chose. But since the west coast is not a priority in the decision taking power already available, why would we suddenly become important in an independent Scotland?

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      • Newsroom
        With Alex Salmond adoption of the treaty of Rio (agenda21) it is highly unlikely any real investment will come to Argyll, but as I have said before if the UK as a whole stopped haemorrhaging money at the rate of £55Million a day to the European Experiment then perhaps we would have the money to improve our position and use the potential of the people

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  19. Dave “Simon
    Not half as bored as I am at your entirely predictable interventions here”

    The solution is simple Dave – don’t read them you muppet. ;

    Having said that I haven’t seen or heard zillions of people getting all excited about ‘the launch’ either. The cyberbravehearts, like yourself, will no doubt continue to work yourself into a foaming-at-the-mooth frenzy – whilst the rest of us just get on with our routine of family and responsibilities…

    Have a nice evening. ;)

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  20. Cheers for that Doc
    Well guess the alternative media has it all wrong then the government documents must be fake!
    Just like
    Bill Gates speech about reducing the population by half just with modern medicine
    Guess those Nazi scientist never went to Plum Island
    Georgia Guide stones must be a myth
    Fema camps in America must also be a myth
    Guess “our common state” is just a fantasy novel along with the Adgenda21, and the biodiversity plan and common purpose
    I see the nice unelected undemocratic people at the EU have given us Human Rights we should be grateful and not class them us dictators/Nazis they’re nice people with our best interests at heart
    I think not friend these people take away your God given rights and hide it behind Human rights
    Rule of Roman law (admiralty= statute law)
    Just an idea watch out for a ship called the US Enterprise and also a chemical disaster in the near future LOL

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    • For those of you who are wondering what Keith’s post is all about . . .

      FEMA concentration camps exist in the minds of conspiracy theorists and ‘survivalists’ who believe that mass internment facilities have been built across the continental United States in preparation for a future declaration of martial law.

      Plum Island is a US research facility dedicated to the study of animal diseases. During the Cold War a secret biological weapons program targeting livestock was conducted at the site. Conspiracy theories abound, including the theory that Lymes Disease originated here.

      Agenda 21 is a UN action plan related to sustainable development. It is a comprehensive blueprint of action to be taken globally, nationally, and locally by organizations of the UN, governments, and major groups in every area in which humans directly affect the environment. In the US it is a favourite target of consipracy theorists and extreme right-wing anti-environmentalists, who see it as a plot to establish an autocratic world government by stealth.

      Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm . . . .

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    • Cheery wee soul aren’t you?

      I think you’ll find when push comes to shove, that people will rise up and be counted. Not all of us, but look at what a response Argyll & Bute Council got when they tried to close 26 primary schools – ahhhh happy days at Kilmory!

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  21. Newsroom

    Why are you so devoid of ambition?

    Don’t assess a devolved SNP government with an independent Scottish government of whatever political hue

    You ignore the simple question: why did Norway manage the type of developments I suggested for Argyll when it’s assets both human and geographical are no different to ours?

    The only reason is Independence.

    Ps I’m too old to be naive

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    • Graeme: The sheer scale of what Norway’s ‘can do’ attitude has achieved in reinforcing their infrastructure is difficult to comprehend unless people go there to see for themselves. That said, there have been some mistakes – collapsing road tunnels are not unknown – but considering the far greater distances, more difficult terrain, and more severe climate, what they’ve achieved is breathtaking.

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      • Robert. Im puzzled. In your earlier post you said”given we’ve got an SNP government already – independence could be very, very disappointng.” Given that a future independent government could be of any political hue, why do you assume that it would be SNP lead (not that I would necessarly object to that!)
        Your observation above suggests that independent Norway has achieved exactly what most Scottish nationalists want.

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          • Islay for no.
            I have no idea of the party political affiliations, of those who attended and support the Yes campaign, both at the launch and on-line, since none were asked for. But I know that Denis Canavan, John McAllion, Tommy Brennan, are not, and never have been members of the SNP. And I do know, that Brian Cox was a very prominent supporter of Labour before he ‘saw the light’.
            And I hear today that Jeane Freeman, who was McConnell’s top political adviser for almost four years, has seen the light and will now act as a recruiting sergeant for the campaign, especially among fellow businesswomen. Im sure more will follow from all walks of life.
            You can check progress on the Yes website at
            http://www.yesscotland.net/

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        • David: I don’t see independence being Labour, LibDem or Conservative led, and would expect our present semi-independent SNP government to be ‘leading from the front’ with the powers that they’ve already got, rather than apparently thinking that the main job on their hands is to convince us that we need all the rest of the powers that remain with Westminster. The Rosneath ferry affair might seem to be small beer to many people, but when you consider the degree of disruption to the folk who depend on this link the silence from Holyrood is surely incomprehensible. Maybe the government is sitting back waiting for SPT to dig its own grave – there already seems to be less than total confidence in them, hence this government’s transfer of supervision of Strathclyde area passenger trains from SPT to Transport Scotland. Maybe party politics is playing its part, with SPT perceived – perhaps correctly – as tainted with corruption from its ‘old Labour’ Glasgow origins, and the government falling into the trap of thinking the population of the Rosneath peninsula is insignificant. The politicians are perfectly capable of taking action to reduce alcohol related problems, so why no action to quite literally rescue the Kilcreggan ferry users from this extremely damaging shambles? They surely don’t expect Westminster, or Brussels/Strasbourg, to come riding over the horizon to resolve a Scottish problem.

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    • I think newsroom plays an important role in stimulating discussion and engaging with visitors, however much like a Judge in a legal case his or her personal opinions carry no weight or relevance and must remain independent at all times, a decision on the results placed only in summary addressing the evidence, facts and allowing the final decision to be made by a jury (the public).

      Can i make a suggestion that the newsroom posts are independent and that of a conduit or stimulating role and that other opinions, personal, political or personal should be placed in a completely separate personal user account.

      I feel that some of the responses are very conclusive and too pro-argyll and pro-politics to be independent, not only does this reflect on For Argyll as a position, which may alienate some users and be less approachable in terms of fairness of discussion but it also might give other national or international readers a wrong impression of For Argyll and its role.

      I can appreciate its not easy to separate hats in a quasi-judicial manner and can commend the work, time and posts that you contribute, it is just how it comes across to me as a reader and contributor, hopefully my criticism is taken in good spirit and positively.

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      • Nick, you are making the mistake of thinking that forArgyll is a news and information service. They very clearly state that the provide opinion. This is a blog. It is an easy mistake to make since they post as “newsroom”, but they absolutely do not claim to give balanced reporting.

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        • Hi Ferryman, thanks for the information. That concerns me considerably. As a viewer the website gives the impression (wrongly) that it is an independent news delivery service. It also gives the opinion that it has some endorsement as the authority in the area, this should be attended to, it is misleading to the consumer.

          Is there a mission statement from the team? For Argyll news should be independently written, with perhaps additional comments such as ‘for argyll thinks..’ which would certainly improve things from the readers perspective.

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  22. What a real right rag-bag of pompous posts from Newsie, as typified here “Whether or not we are always ‘right’, we are always working to be honest, objective and evidenced in what we say”.

    Anyone whose memmory is not diminished or is not deluded will recognise this and similar statements from Newsie as complete utter rubbish and an pathetic attempt to claim some imagined moral high-ground.

    This from a blog that started most articles with their infamous “we hear”, “we understadn from sources” or, they just invented articles, eg, “Dunoon Observer to close by Christmas”. That gave us ‘exclusives’ with no quotes because ‘Connel Community Councillors were being bullied by the Council – and so on and so on.
    Integrity? Honesty? Dilgence? Careful research? Unbiased? Objective?

    Methinks she doth protest too much … ;)

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  23. Oooff, that took a bit of reading through! To some extent I agree that the event was really just a launch party and therefore it was, and was probably intended to be, more style than substance. That said I do think it could have been better stage managed .

    I think the promotion of Alan Cumming and Brian Cox as almost figureheads for the campaign (granted that might have been more by the media than the SNP however we don’t know that for sure) wasn’t the smartest move. I hear the Doc’s argument about why they are different from Sean Connery (it still baffles me why he is so famous – one good film, maybe two?) but the fact that they are based full time in the States does make them slightly less credible as bastions for the cause. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think living abroad means a person should have any less of a voice on the matter, or that their opinion is less ‘worthy’, however it would have been far more savvy of the SNP to have used Scotland based, or certainly more Scotland based, personalities as faces for the campaign. I also don’t think the commitment by Cumming and Cox to be resident of Scotland ahead of the referendum means all that much.

    That all said I wasn’t at the event and am very conscious that most of us are reflecting on the media’s presentation of it which is mainly limited to five minute slots on the news. This is never going to give a full flavour of the event and the media is always going to focus on the more mainstream personalities and camera friendly faces.

    I also think the seeming lack of any Scottish business heads was a bit of a failing (again I mean as figureheads because I repeat I don’t know the full attendee list). We are in very turbulent financial times and the case for independence is hugely affected by it (with arguments on both sides). Given that I would have thought presenting a confident face for the Scottish economy post independence would have been an astute idea and maybe had a but more impact than a few actors.

    So I guess my take on it is that there was no need for an excessive focus on entertainment and there should have been a little more substance and a little less style. That said I think the reaction to it is a little out of proportion as it was never meant to be a showcase of policy or to present a roadmap to an independent Scotland.

    One thing that does worry me is the gradual emergence of an unpleasant ‘You’re either with us or against us’ culture (and I mean from both sides of the independence camp and I certainly don’t mean by all). It reminds me a little of a watered down version of the American ‘You’re either back the war or you’re on the side of the terrorists’ culture which developed rapidly after 9/11. It is an unhealthy way to look at the things and does a disservice to those who are trying to weigh up a lot of arguments, some of which are very complex and also require a leap of faith.

    Dismissing arguments as claptrap or insufferable guff, calling people cybernats or deluded etc etc is far from constructive and is more likely to make people disengage rather than engage in a topic which is of huge significance to the country we live in.

    Scotland will not gain independence, or remain in the Union, through the loyal support of those at either side of the spectrum. The big numbers are still in the middle and both sides need to appeal to them, not throw stones over their heads in an attempt to hit the other side.

    As for cancelling the referendum I agree with Dougie (and others) that it shouldn’t be. The world is in difficult economic times right now and will be again in future. The people need to decide whether or not they feel Scotland, as an independent nation, has the capacity to stand on its own two feet through good times and through bad. As such the referendum should be held regardless of the climate.

    On a lighter note I applaud David McCann’s reference to Eurovision – aargh sweet sweet Italy, you were robbed!

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  24. Scots Renewables “Newsroom is really still rabidly…” you could just’ve stopped there mate.

    Descripto perfecto. ;)

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  25. I am constantly amazed at the way nationalists cling to their spurious comparison of Scotland with Norways’s successes.

    There is very little similarity between our two countries.

    Have the nats forgotten the massive put down of the comparison by Norway’s Foreign Minister ?

    Here’s a wee reminder:

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/economics/3280030/Alex-Salmond-refuses-to-back-down-after-Norway-says-were-not-like-Scotland..html

    BTW…what a trouncing Sturgeon got last night on the Big Debate !

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    • WS: when you remove the predictable spin from Labour on this, what the Norwegians are saying is that it may take Scotland at least 30 years to match what Norway has achieved and that also depends on the SG not having to use too much of the oil and gas revenue to manage the economy.

      On the first point, I would say that most rational supporters of independence recognise that we are not suddenly going to be just like Norway on independence day plus one. But it is something we can aspire to.

      The second point is a more interesting one: Norway achieves much of its position through a high tax regime (the receipts of which are used to bolster its credibly high standard of public services) rather than through its oil revenues. As a nationalist myself, it would be dishonest to for me to suggest that we can emulate Norway without allowing both time and a suitable tax regime.

      What independence will allow us to do is to make the decisions ourselves of whether we want to be like the progressive Scandinavian countries (and that means higher taxes but also higher wages and a better standard of living) or whether we decide to keep bumping along with the “Anglo-Saxon” model (as the French call it) with a generally low wage economy (except for bankers of course), relatively high unemployment and poor public services but with less money taken from us in tax. That is an interesting debate for post independence.

      Without independence we have no real choice in such matters.

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  26. You mean she got shouted down, constantly interrupted and not allowed to answer any of the questions. That is par for the course on BBC. We’re used to it. It’s counter productive. No serious political person takes any notice of anything Ruth Davidson says,especially David Cameron.
    Very noticeable that Johann Lamont is not put on these programmes.
    Sourcing biased and partial reports from the dementedly anti SNP Telegraph carries no weight in Scotland either.
    We’re used to that kind of stuff also. Hasn’t stopped the procession towards independence.

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  27. “doc” re aspiring to be like Norway – if we accept we won’t be like Norway immediately do you accept their Foreign Minister’s estimate of 30 years to attain that standard?

    And, how many years of managed decline and falling standards will we have to put up with from an Independent Government before we get back to where we are now?

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    • Simon: their foreign minister didn’t say it would take Scotland 30 years – he said it had taken Norway thirty years. How long it would take us would depend on a lot of different factors. It might be quicker, it might be the same but it would probably be longer. We also first have to ask ourselves “do we want to be like Norway?” and that is a question we can only answer post a “yes” vote in the referendum.

      Had we seized our chance in the ’70s to become independent then we would probably be like Norway today given the pre-Thatcherite values that dominated Scottish civil society and the fact that we had a national oil company.

      I’m not sure why you think an independent Scotland would have declining standards? (other than because the mantra from the Unionist “No” camp that EVERYTHING will be bad, very bad post independence, so bad you could pin a badge to it and call it Lucifer). I suspect that things will stay pretty much the same in the short term with modest improvements later as the Government’s Alba-centric policies start to bear fruit.

      One last thing about the Norwegian Minister’s comments: the article is written as if the comments were aimed at Mr Salmond (who was in Norway the other week – hence why he was enthusing about Norway) but I wonder if they were in fact aimed at journalists from the Telegraph trying to use Norway to create divisions between Scotland and RUK?

      Back to this business plan.

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  28. Simon.
    Managed decline – you are having a laugh
    Google almost any economic measure – GPD per capita, (Scotlands average GDP per head of population is $41,189, UK is $35,715 *), percentage industrialisation, balance of payments history, balanced budgets, external debt levels – and all the North European countries, outperform the UK. The UK’s long term economic failure versus its Northern European competitors is being achieved despite repeated devaluations (a factor of 5 compared with German currencies of the last 40 years). The UK has had North Sea oil and still achieved a permanent trade deficit: absolute genius.
    For most social indicators – life expectancy, obesity, cocaine usage, teenage pregnancy, % GDP spent on Health, % of the population in prison, etc – the UK is nearly always the worst, and the more you look to Northern Europe the more you sense this.
    It is not just Westminster that is dysfunctional, but so is the underpinning “Great British” culture of its political and chattering classes.
    In Scotland we should be looking to the more successful countries of Northern Europe as our model, because it would be almost impossible to be more dysfunctional than Westminster: in whatever form it comes, Independence or Devomax – the more power that is taken from centre the better.
    According to the IMF, World Bank, CIA all of the Nordic and Celtic countries continue to have higher living standards than the UK, and Scotland is even below the UK average. Each household would be better off by at least one-third, if we had the economic performance of Sweden or Finland, and have far higher incomes if we were in Denmark never mind Norway. And Iceland and Ireland, those two ‘basket cases’ according to the last Labour Government and other unionists, are still well ahead of Scotland.
    In the comprehensive Legatum Prosperity Index, widely promoted by Lord Mandelson, again all the members of the Arc of Prosperity are well ahead of our position, even after the crisis had wrecked its worst on the economies of Iceland and Ireland.
    And yet these happy, prosperous and inclusive nations are small independent states
    Our Nordic neighbours are also the most equal societies on the planet, Scotland within the UK suffering some of the very worst levels of inequity and poverty in the developed world.
    * These estimates have been produced using data available up to 28th March 2012.

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    • For me the facts are I was promised vehicle ferries. It was a lie is I did not get them.

      If there is one thing I detest it is people who go back on promises.

      Why should I trust them?

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  29. To be fair Dave, most of what David Mcann has said there isn’t really facts.

    The GDP per capital figure is based on Scotland getting an illustrative share of North Sea Oil (which it clearly should get) however I am not sure how that share has been calculated.

    All the other factors he mentions (i.e. the social indicators and standard of living) seem to be mentioned with the assumption that Scotland’s position will, by default, improve with independence.

    I am not necessarily arguing that they will, or won’t’ just saying that David has raised valid areas for the debate but not an argument based on facts.

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  30. Integrity.

    The estimates were produced using the following sources:

    Annual International GDP per capita data produced by the Organisation for
    Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). These figures are available from the OECD Statistics web site (the series used is GDP per head, US $, current prices, current PPPs): http://stats.oecd.org/index.aspx.

    Estimates of annual Scottish GDP levels produced as part of the Scottish National Accounts Project (SNAP). The latest figures are available at: http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Topics/Statistics/Browse/Economy/SNAP.
    Note: data on levels of GDP in Scotland produced through SNAP are compiled in accordance with the System of National Accounts used by all the OECD member countries. The SNAP figures are now widely used in the academic community in Scotland and also form a key part of Government Expenditure and Revenue Scotland (GERS). For example, in their November 2010 Quarterly Commentary the Fraser of Allander commented that: “This is a phenomenal dataset, which should provide great opportunities to study, in never-before-available detail, the dynamics of economic change in Scotland over the last twelve years.”

    The other factors I mention- specifically social indicators and standard of living, are actual FACTS, relating to the UKs present condition, as are the conclusions of the IMF, World Bank, CIA and Legatum Prosperity Index. Honestly, I didn’t make them up!
    Should you wish to challenge them, then I suggest you challenge the sources.

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  31. You misunderstood me David. I am not saying you made up the social indicator facts. What I am saying is that the facts do prove where the UK is sitting in comparison with other nations however this doesn’t necessarily mean that an independent Scotland would fair any better (or worse).

    Cheers for the other links – I will have a look at them once these two rascals get to bed!

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  32. So David, do all your calculations and links take account of Scotland’s share of the UK debt? And paying it off?

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  33. As far as I’m concerned:

    - Independence is not a ‘get rich quick’ scheme – even if it was, I’d never believe it would actually end up in my pocket anyway.
    - I feel very Scottish and do not need my country to have the label ‘Independent’ to reassure me of that fact.
    - Decisions will never be made by the people of Scotland. Too many decisions are already made by Holyrood that do not reflect the will of the people they represent. The people wanted GARL, Holyrood told us we couldn’t have it. The people wanted a car ferry to continue in competition with Western – Holyrood told us we couldn’t have it. No-one wanted a Sainsbury in Gourock – Holyrood overturned the refusal.

    If this is how a Scottish Government listens to the people, expect even more of the same post-separation. One thing that most certainly will NOT change in an Independence is politics. And that’s the problem.

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  34. Integrity? Not in the ConDemAll
    No,sorry. All the figures in David McCann’s piece are the current position.
    He made no suggestion about any future position.
    And ,just as a matter of interest is there any reason why Scottish Oil revenues should not be counted as Scottish revenues? I think you’d find that the Americans, or the Norwegians or the Saudi Arabians or the Nigerians would be pretty puzzled if you suggested that their Oil revenues didn’t belong to them

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  35. Simon

    Of course we’ll take our share of the national debt. As the OECD figures point out we are in a far healthier position than the UK as regards paying them.
    We will, of course, by the same token take our same share of the national assets.

    PS It could be argued historically that as Scotland entered Union with England with no national debt and took on a share of England’s national debt (which was crippling England at that point) we should leave with no national debt at all.

    I am continaully surprised by the infantile level of arguments offered by union supporters.
    That is why the SNP has given itself two years to demolish the rubbish
    Any sensible person watching that shambles of a “Great Debate” last night, with hillbilly offerings from the audience actually getting applauded and Anas Sarwar and Ruth Davidson talking nonsense and contradicting themseleves, must wonder where the BBC got the audience.
    We don’t have much to beat.

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  36. @ DM Hill: “PS It could be argued historically that as Scotland entered Union with England with no national debt and took on a share of England’s national debt (which was crippling England at that point) we should leave with no national debt at all.”

    I am continaully surprised by the infantile level of arguments offered by blinkered Nats.

    We entered the Union a totally bankrupt nation with massive debts of £400,000 (£120 billion in today’s terms). As part of the Act of Union the English Parliament paid those debts for us !!

    It could be argued that when we dissolve the Act of Union we would instantly become liable to REPAY that £120 billion to Westminster, the successor to the English Parliament.

    The more the cybernats make things up to paint Independence as the land of milk and honey the more they will become discredited and the less likely people are to vote Yes.

    Unionists are sitting back, doing very little and allowing the indy movement to dig a deeper and deeper hole (latest: twittergate)which is turning off our fellow citizens by the day, witness still only 33% support !

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  37. Tripe Dave McEwan hill – “It could be argued historically that as Scotland entered Union with England with no national debt….”. Utter tripe as WS has so acidly poiinted out.

    Arrogance Dave McEwan Hill. “We don’t have much to beat”. Complete and utter arrogance that is daily causing people to question the snp route.

    Any complaints about WS’s analysis of the snp failure and and broken manifesto promises re the Dunoon ferries? Remember the Dunoon ferries? Surely you must remember saying ‘I joined the snp to make things netter not worse’?

    Have a nice day :)

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  38. WS: You may be appalled by “the infantile level of arguments offered by blinkered nats” but you do your case no good at all through your willingness to bandy about a completely fictitious rendition of the relevant history.

    David is essentially correct. Scotland had no national debt to speak of when it entered the Union. This was not true of for many of the aristocracy who had lost heavily because of the Darien Expedition. There is a neat coincidence in the amount of money that had been lost and the amount that England paid Scotland as a condition of Union but the almost £400K paid to Scotland was in compensation for it having to assume a portion of England’s national debt which was, as David says, cripplingly high because of England’s war with France. Some of the money was diverted into the pockets of the Scottish nobility but the money was compensation to Scotland in assuming a share of England’s debt and not a payment to remove Scotland’s national debt.

    The Act of Union of 1707 still engenders much heat in the current debate over independence but it would help if people were to actually read the history books rather than rely on what they pick up on line from partisan sources.

    Some quick pointers:
    1: The Darien expeditions were not funded by the Scottish State: the £400K (about one quarter of all the money in circulation in Scotland at the time) was raised from private individuals.The money had to be entirely raised from Scots as the English Parliament (and the East India Company) had blocked English and Dutch investors from participating.

    2: This £400K is nothing like £120 billion in today’s money (where on earth does that come from?). It is about £30 million (Devine 1999).

    3: The Act of Union of 1707 was not sought by the Scots because of the penury of Scotland: it was sought by the UK monarchy as an essential political stratagem to ensure that it could continue to wage war against France. Scotland was an essential source of crack troops and the monarchy could not risk political instability in Scotland. It was finding it increasingly difficult to control the Scottish parliament through its appointees and so required a better method of ruling Scotland. Both the Scottish and English parliaments were against union but the monarchy prevailed in the end.

    4: The Scots were heavily against the Union and the Parliament had stationed the entire Scottish Army near Edinburgh in readiness to protect Parliament from violence aimed against it if it passed the Act.

    5: The sweeteners in the Act that persuaded a majority of the Scottish Parliament to support it included free trade with England and with its colonies (something the English Parliament had long legislated against).
    We can argue the toss on whether the Union was subsequently good for Scotland or not, but let’s please try and get the facts correct in the first place.

    For those willing to open a book before pounding the keyboard I recommend the seminal “The Scottish Nation: 1700-2000″ by Prof Devine. The Wikipedia articles on both the Darien expeditions and the Act of Union are mostly accurate for those who prefer the internet to the printed word.

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  39. Sorry W.S.

    Dr McKenzie sinks your nonsense.
    Scotland had no “national debt.”
    The individuals, lords and parliamentarians mostly, who contributed to the Darien scheme had large debts (which is why they were very easily paid off to vote for the Union). That is why Burns decribed them as “A parcel of rogues”
    I think you should perhaps read up on your history.

    It is this sort of misinformation which has been fed to and swallowed by many in Scotland but which will eventually, when exposed as politically inspired untruths, sink the union arguement

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  40. May I commend both Tom Devine’s and Michael Lynch’s various histories of Scotland to several contributors to this site that they may contribute in future from a position of possession of the facts and some understanding of our past.

    There may be a case for the retention of the union.
    Distributing untruths destroys it.

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  41. I will recommend the neutral, scholarly and unbiased “Oxford History of Britain” by Kenneth Morgan for anyone seeking the truth.

    If you prefer biased accounts by authors with political agendas then follow Mr Hill’s advice.

    To suggest that we were not bankrupt in 1707 (25% of Scottish capital had just been wiped out by Darien) is to display a lack of understanding of both history and economics.

    To suggest that we are not liable for a share of UK’s National Debt makes one wonder how you think the Debt was accrued so that it has nothing to do with us.

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    • WS: “Sorry, I got it wrong” is presumably not in your vocabulary?

      Once more with feeling:

      The Scottish State was not bankrupt at the time of Union and had no national debt. Scotland was desperately poor and that wasn’t helped by the English parliament putting innumerable obstacles in its way to allow Scotland to develop a trading empire as England was doing. Far from Scots being driven into the Union by penury, there was rising anti-English feeling in Scotland and political attempts to dissolve the Union of the Crowns.

      The payment from England to Scotland as part of the settlement was to compensate Scotland for having to shoulder the future obligations of the English national debt. (and having that compensation then means that we have no argument now about shouldering the rather larger national debt now).

      No-one has suggested that an independent Scotland would not take on its share of the current national debt but we would also look to have our proportional share of the national assets. Divvying these up will be amusing.

      I am sure that Prof Devine will be hurt by your accusation that he is biased in his account of Scotland’s history. This will come as a surprise to the many academic and civic institutes who have awarded him honours over the years (eg OBE FRSE FRHistS FBA).

      Here is his rather impressive CV (Wikipedia):

      “Tom Devine was educated at the University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, from 1964 to 1968, and graduated with first class honours in Economic and Social History, followed by a PhD and D.Litt. He rose through the academic ranks from assistant lecturer to Reader, Professor, Head of Department, and Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. He was Deputy Principal of the University from 1993 until 1997. In 1998 he accepted the Directorship of the world’s first Centre of advanced research in Irish and Scottish Studies at the University of Aberdeen (the Research Institute of Irish and Scottish Studies), which was formally inaugurated by President Mary McAleese of Ireland on St Andrew’s Day 1999.[citation needed] Over the following five years, over £2.5m were raised for the Centre’s research programmes from AHRC – which led to the establishment of the AHRC Centre for Irish and Scottish Studies, funded competitively over 2 phases, – the Leverhulme Trust and the British Academy, and a further £1.6m endowment gifted from the Glucksman family in the USA for a Research Chair in Irish and Scottish Studies, which Devine held as founding Professor until 2005.
      In April 2005, he was appointed to the Sir William Fraser Chair of Scottish History and Palaeography at the University of Edinburgh, widely acknowledged as the world’s premier Chair of Scottish History, which he took up in January 2006. In 2008 he became Director of the Scottish Centre for Diaspora Studies at Edinburgh, established by an external endownment of £1 million pounds by a leading Scottish fund manager and his family. This is reckoned to be the single largest private donation ever made to a UK university for the development of historical studies.[citation needed]Devine retired from the Fraser Chair in the summer of 2011 but returned to the University of Edinburgh in January 2012 as Personal Senior Research Professor in History.
      He is the author or editor of some thirty books and numerous articles on topics such as emigration, famine, identity, Scottish transatlantic commercial links, urban history, the economic history of Scotland, Empire, the Scottish Highlands, the Irish in Scotland, sectarianism, stability and protest in the 18th century nation,Scottish elites, the Anglo-Scottish Union, rural social history and comparative Irish and Scottish relationships. The Scottish Nation (1999) became an international bestseller, selling nearly 100,000 copies to date in the UK alone. (and for a brief period even outselling the adventures of Harry Potter in Scotland!)[citation needed] Devine has won all three major prizes for Scottish historical research (Hume Brown, Saltire and Henry Duncan Prize and Lectureship of the Royal Society of Edinburgh), is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, an Honorary Member of the Royal Irish Academy and a Fellow of the British Academy: the only historian elected to all three national academies in the British Isles. Professor Devine holds the honorary degrees of D.Litt. from Queen’s University Belfast and the University of Abertay Dundee and the hon. degree of D.Univ from Strathclyde. He was awarded the first John Aikenhead Medal for services to Scottish education by the Institute of Contemporary Scotland in 2006, and in the same year Bell College (now part of the University of the West of Scotland) conferred on him an Honorary Fellowship in recognition of his contributions to Scottish culture. In 2000 he was awarded the Royal Gold Medal, Scotland’s supreme academic accolade, by Queen Elizabeth II, the only historian winner to date, and in 2005 was appointed OBE in the New Years Honours List for ‘services to Scottish history’.In 2012 Devine won the Senior Royal Society of Edinburgh/Beltane Prize for Excellence in Public Engagement. One of his recent books, Scotland’s Empire 1600-1815 (2003) formed the basis of a six-part BBC2 series in 2005.
      Tom Devine was a member of the Research Awards Advisory Committee of the Leverhulme Trust from 2003 to 2009 (adviser on all history fellowship applications) and holds Adjunct Professorships at the East Carolina University and the University of Guelph, Canada.He was Acting Head of the School of History, Classics and Archaeology from 2008 to 2009 in the University of Edinburgh. Devine has also been a Trustee of the National Museums of Scotland and a Member of Council of the British Academy.”

      Perhaps WS you could share with us your own academic distinctions in history and economics so we may judge whose version of the Union is likely to be the more accurate: yours or Prof Devine’s?

      I don’t have a copy of the Oxford History to hand but I will be sure to have a read of it when I lay my hands on a copy. My mind is always open.

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      • You are entitled to query my academic background if you wish, but I am entitled to question yours by the same token.

        As, no doubt, sensible people if our expertise is not that great we take the opinions of those who have greater knowledge. You chose to follow Devine, I choose to follow the Oxford University history.

        Clearly we cannot, therefore, agree about the gross indebtedness and bankruptcy of Scotland in 1707 so its worthless persuing that particular debate.

        So to move on I really must question your sense of humour when you make this statement:

        “we would also look to have our proportional share of the national assets. Divvying these up will be amusing.”

        I have heard hardcore nats giggling over that idea before, totally unaware of the reality of that concept and the disaster it will be for us.

        No-one will dispute that the publically owned arts fall into the category of national assets.

        So we will get 8.5% of the contents of the publically owned art galleries, museums, libraries etc in the rest of the U.K. Fair enough.

        But it means that we will lose 91.5% of the contents of the publically owned galleries, museums, libraries etc in Scotland !

        On your premise on Independence we can forsee the gross vision of a small fleet of white vans heading south to collect our 8.5% and a vast convoy of pantechnicans heading up here to collect the UK’s 91.5% share.

        Amusing ?

        Not to me.

        Armed forces ? So we will get 8.5% (assuming the individuals concerned are happy to join our armed forces) or roughly 20,000……what on earth are we going to do with them ? Invade The Faroes ?

        One reason why Sturgeon got ripped apart the other night was because she was asked for facts and gave none, just unsubstantiated promises of everything will be great.

        You, and other cybernats here, make the same mistake and will learn, if you continue, that we Scots are smarter than you give us credit for.

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  42. For Dr. MacKenzie!
    Pretty earnest response which will convince all but the most blinkered individual!!
    For your sterling efforts, you can forego the £10!!!

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  43. WS: It might help if you would quote what the Oxford History of Britain actually says on the subject of the Act of Union of 1707 otherwise neutral readers might just conclude that you know you are in the wrong and hence your eagerness not to discuss the subject of the 1707 Union any further.

    I don’t claim to have any academic credentials concerning history, Scottish or otherwise. Everything I wrote in the earlier post was quoting Prof Devine who you claim is “biased”. I have checked a number of other histories (including the BBC’s History and the Westminster parliament’s own official on line history (http://www.parliament.uk/about/living-heritage/evolutionofparliament/legislativescrutiny/act-of-union-1707/). They both support the description I gave above. Presumably they are biased as well? Tom Devine keeps his personal politics pretty close to his chest but I would be very surprised if he was a supporter of the SNP. More probably a Labour man. My salient point though was that you just dismiss distinguished academics as “biased” because they don’t agree with you. What I was looking for was some sort of evidence that your opinion might carry more weight than theirs.

    I will spare your blushes on the question of 91.5% of Scotland’s state owned art being carted south of the border come independence but only 8.5% of the rUK state owned art coming north. Have a wee think about the maths.

    On the military, I would hope that we have rather more than just 20,000 in our armed forces and look forward to something more in line with Denmark or Norway both in terms of numbers and capability. As to what we use them for: national security , European security and in pursuit of our obligations to whatever mutual defence organisations we sign up to.

    I don’t doubt for the second how smart we Scots are. That is why I am optimistic that the referendum will be won.

    Cybernat indeed!

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    • “I will spare your blushes on the question of 91.5% of Scotland’s state owned art being carted south of the border come independence but only 8.5% of the rUK state owned art coming north. Have a wee think about the maths.”
      Don’t spare my blushes; please explain.
      Its simple…..in the Nat brave new dreamworld we split UK public assets according to population (actually there is a precedent; the break up of India into rIndia and Pakistan; there is film of library books being counted and shipped in both directions).
      So we get 8.5%
      rUK gets 91.5%
      That is often spoken about by Nats.
      What is wrong with my maths ?
      Are you somewhat ridiculously implying that because a library is in Edinburgh then it is not a UK asset and rUK would not have a claim on it but a library in Cheltenham is a UK asset and we would have a claim on it ?
      IMHO the principle on break up will be the same as on the break up of the USSR. Assets located in Scotland will be ours and assets located in rUK will be theirs.
      We didn’t see white vans from Estonia etc loading up outside the Hermitage in St Petersburg did we ?
      So, back to your little joke.
      “we would also look to have our proportional share of the national assets. Divvying these up will be amusing.”
      Why would it be amusing ?

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      • Oh well, if you insist.

        Let’s just go along with the suggestion that the state owned art assets would actually be physically divided along the lines of population. So you are right in that Scotland would have a 8.5% share of the TOTAL UK assets. ie the total assets of Scotland plus rUK.

        The flaw in your maths is that the division of state owned art assets is not the same in Scotland as in the rUK. I’m not sure what the division actually is (and it is possible that no-one really knows)but let’s assume that the share of state owned art assets mirrors that of population so that 91.5% of the TOTAL assets is in the rUK and 8.5% in Scotland. So… although we (the Scots) only get 8.5% of the rUK AND Scottish art the 8.5% of the rUK, the 8.5% of the rUK is pretty much the same as the 91.5% of the Scottish art.

        So, in your fanciful scenario of white vans trundling both ways over the border the SAME number of vans would be going south as coming north.

        Of course this presumes that the state owned art collections in the rUK and Scotland actually exist in proportions similar to the population divide (and how do we decide on the quanta to use: number of works, size of canvas, monetary value?). I suspect that there is actually more State owned art per head resident in the rUK than in Scotland but in practise I suspect that the opening position should be that all the art actually stays where it is post independence and a sharing arrangement is made as is already common between art galleries. (and you seem to be of the same opinion judging by your latter post).

        The “fun” is to be had in sharing out state owned national facilities and collections. Military hardware is an obvious example. There are 42 MLRS artillery units in the British Army. If we divide them on a population basis then Scotland ends up with about 4 of them. But does that make sense? Would 4 of them be a tactically sound unit? Might it be better that we leave all of them with the rUK and swap our 4 MKRS for, say, an extra 4 Challengers? And what about the Trident nuclear fleet. Scotland doesn’t want any of them and as there are only 4 of them, physically dividing them might be tricky… We could go for the USSR solution and decide that all weapon systems based in either country stay there – though that means that Scotland would end up with all the submarines – even the ones we don’t want. See? Lots of fun.

        What will actually happen is that sensible arrangements will be made over non-fixed assets. Easiest way is to assign a monetary value to all state owned assets (and liabilities), see what the current division of fixed assets is compared to the notional share based on population then make appropriate financial adjustments. As a hypothetical example: the Trident fleet is valued at 50 billion and Scotland’s share of this would be 4.25 billion. As the rUK is holding onto the whole fleet, then £4.25 billion is credited to the asset division on Scotland’s side. The Faslane base on the other hand is valued at £100 M and fairly obviously cannot be divide up so stays entirely in Scotland. rUK is entitled to 91.5% of the vale so 91.5 million is credited to the rUK share of assets. And so on until all the assets have been split on a monetary valuation. Then the National Debt is divided up on a population share basis and the totals adjusted to see what Scotland actually has to shoulder.

        The whole process has been made much simpler by the sell offs of state assets during the Thatcher era as there are now not that many left.

        I very much doubt we will see many white vans criss crossing the border.

        Back to the original Act of Union of 1707: the actual negotiations only took three days to reach agreement. I think a year to sort out its dissolution should be fine given good will on both sides.

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        • LOL

          BTW a quick google and linkedin search of “Dr Douglas McKenzie” (curious to know your academic background given your confident pronouncements on our history and economy……and seeing as you demanded my c.v.) only comes up with a Canadian psychologist !

          ?????

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          • You weren’t trying very hard. Douglas McKenzie is a fairly common name (and always causes much amusement to Canadian colleagues). If you try Dr J. Douglas McKenzie; John Douglas McKenzie and add in words like Integrin and marine biotechnology you should find plenty of references to me.

            If I Google WS it just tells me that this is the domain name for Samoa.

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          • The derivation of a contributors background is inconsequential as the content of their posts should be of far more relevance. To highlight the chance coincidence that Dr Douglas McKenzie shares the name of someone from Canada who is a psychologist shows how petty some can be. If this so happens to be the same person then no wonder he has participated in this debate as there are certainly some contributors in here who would benefit from a few cognitive behavioural therapy sessions with Dr McKenzie given their compulsion to spout falsehoods about Scotland and its residents ability to do what almost every other nation on this planet can do, make use of their spine!

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  44. Exactly
    We get 8.5 % of the debt and 8.5% of the assets because we have 8.5% of the population.
    The maths look pretty simple to me.
    You are exactly right of course. Assets fixed geographically in one area remain there and don’t enter the equation at all. Only a child or a half wit would suggest otherwise. Significantly this infantile line of confusion has been put forward by some unionists.
    Interestingly Scotland has a claim to 8.5% of the bonds and currencies and gold held by the Bank of England which is not in fact an “English” institution but British one and the clearing house of an independent universally traded currency called sterling.
    However as we produce as of now 9.1% of the UK economy and 9.6% of the total taxation as the second most prosperous region of the UK after the South East of England(including the City Of London) we will have much less of a problem servicing our national debt than the rUK. (All countries have a national debt). The UK’s national debt in 2011 as a percentage of GDP was 82.5%. Scotland’s was nearer the European norm of 45 – 50%
    In actual fact the Scottish economy, with huge natural resources producing surplus power, surplus revenues, surplus food, a higher level of export and a higher level of employment is in a much better basic state than rUK’s economy which is being squeezed by an overpopulated, underproductive, drought stricken, under powered and overpaid S East which is dragging all of the UK down. The UK government has just been forced to save the City of London at the expense of the rest of us. If it hadn’t done so the whole UK economy would have collapsed so although the S East ostensibly provides the highest per capita level of tax to the UK coffers it is getting more out – plus over 50% of Government procurement.
    Its position is even more precarious than is obvious. Quite a lot of the revenue credited to the S East is in fact raised elsewhere and only registered in London.
    These simple facts and many more will all come out over the next couple of years as, one by one, the unionist fables are exposed throwing them back in 2014 on the last line of their defence – that Scotland is too wee ,too poor and too stupid to run its own affairs.
    And only the thick and the feart will believe that.

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  45. I note W S wilfully misunderstanding the central aspect of the referendum on an earlier post.
    If anybody can tell me what the UK defence forces will be like in 2015 and threafter, what will be provision for pensions, what will be the state of inflation and the economy and what will be policies on anything from immigration to policy on mutton pies of the UK government in succeeding years they must have a marvelous big crystal ball.
    Why then does he expect Nicola Sturgeon to provide the policies of an independent Scotland several years from now.
    Does he assume the SNP will be permanently in Government in a free Scotland? And that the SNP knows what will be the condition of everything several years from now?
    The referendum is only to give Scotland the choice to become independent. Who knows what party will form the Government after the first Scottish election.
    But what we do know is that the Scottish people after independence will be able to choose a government of their liking and be free to replace it with a different one if it doesn’t match up.
    Just like any other country.

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    • David: precisely.

      I wrote some months back that Unionists would want to turn the referendum into a referendum on everything so as to confuse the issue. So it becomes a referendum on currency. on the EU, on NATO, the Monarchy and on whether we like Alex Salmond (or not). But it is really only about one subject: do we want the power to make up our own minds about the things that affect us or not? If we decide that we do then we can decide what sort of country we want and will vote on slates of policies offered by the parties post independence.

      As popular puppet mongooses on the TV are fond of saying: “Simples”.

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      • The reason the majority of Scots don’t want independence is that they’ve never been convinced of what it is they’re buying into. Why should an explanation confuse? If you want that “power” we’d better earn it. A declaration is less than useful.

        Not to put too fine a point to it, but the price of candles does not figure to any extent in the modern calculation of RPI so Devine’s £30m is as accurate as £120bn. And SNAP may not be accurate at all; your museum argument illustrates how difficult it will be determining who gains the benefit.

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        • Hans Blix: My point about confusion is that the SNP can articulate a vision of what Scotland might be like post independence but they cannot say what it will be (at least not in the medium to long term) as that will depend on the policies pursued by the Scottish Government. Look at the divergence of policy between the different independence parties on, say, the monarchy.

          There are some obvious mechanistic questions that need answering ahead of the referendum such as “I’m a civil servant: what happens to my pension post independence?”, “I’m an academic scientist: what will happen to the UK Research Councils that support my research?”. In other words, people need to know what actually changes automatically post independence but what Unionists tend to focus on are things that do not change automatically but are subject to political decisions by the Scottish parliament(monarchy, currency, membership of NATO, EU membership etc).

          Back to the early 18th century: you are correct with regard to equivalences of amounts of money in that there are lots of different ways of calculating what money from the past would be worth now. Depending which method is used will give you a different answer. Candles are in fact quite a good measure: they may not figure in the RPI but they are still available so we could work out how many candles could be bought for £400,000 in 1707 then work out how much the equivalent number of candles would cost today and that would allow us to calculate how much £400,000 from 1707 is worth today. Of course, this only relates to candles but you could do the same with basic foodstuffs such as oats. I suspect this exercise would give you figures along the lines of the £25M -£50M I have seen quoted. If, however, you calculate it on what percentage of the national capital £400K represented then apply this to the national capital that is available today then you will have a much larger number as we are much wealthier now than we were in the 18th century.

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  46. The actual division of assets between Slovakia and the Czech Republic was done – with good will on both sides – in a few months.

    Another unionist scare story bites the dust

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  47. Mr Harvie of the Scottish Greens recently, and in my opinion correctly highlighted our obsession with economic factors if or when Scotland finally takes umbridge at being babysat. Voting for Scotland to run its own affairs should be more about a sense of respect for ourselves and how other see us, a pride in who we are. I would not care a jot if the erse was hingin oot ma troosers and I hadn’t two bob in my pocket, at least I could hold my head high safe in the knowledge that no pompous, self righteous and ill-informed etonian would accuse me and my fellow compatriots of relying on them and their compatriots for our very existence. Shame on those who have swallowed the poor, scrounging, uneducated and subsidised Scots propaganda. Time to wake up as there are absolutely no excuses given the information technology times we now live in.

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  48. “Independence is not a ‘get rich quick’ scheme – even if it was, I’d never believe it would actually end up in my pocket anyway.
    – I feel very Scottish and do not need my country to have the label ‘Independent’ to reassure me of that fact.
    – Decisions will never be made by the people of Scotland. Too many decisions are already made by Holyrood that do not reflect the will of the people they represent. The people wanted GARL, Holyrood told us we couldn’t have it. The people wanted a car ferry to continue in competition with Western – Holyrood told us we couldn’t have it. No-one wanted a Sainsbury in Gourock – Holyrood overturned the refusal.

    If this is how a Scottish Government listens to the people, expect even more of the same post-separation. One thing that most certainly will NOT change in an Independence is politics. And that’s the problem”

    “Decisions will never be made by the poeple of Scotland”?
    “Too many decisions are already made by Holyrood that do not reflect the will of the people they represent”
    Please allow me to point out that the last party the people of Scotland did not want the at the last general election was the Tories by a long shot yet look what we ended up with. Where is the democracy in that? A nation voting for almost every other party bar Mr Cameron’s lot, yet ending up with them and their subservient sidekicks. I honestly cannot think of another country who would accept this, and no wonder. We hear of people saying what is the use of voting?, how apt that statement is especially here in Scotland during general elections. At least an Independent Scotland would deliver democracy in ensuring the party which it’s residents voted for actually governed it’s country.

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  49. Welcome, Jnr Tic

    Good stuff.
    We are winning because eventually, after all the confusion and scaremongering is put to death, the central argument – ie the best people to govern any nation are those who actually live in it – will prevail.

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    • Thanks Dave, good to have the oportuntity to partake, albeit in the minority, in attempting to redress what to me appeared to be an unbalanced swipe at the just and naturally progressive intentions of this Independence movement. It genuinely saddens me that people like the person who originally posted this article are just missing the point entirely regardless of how eloquently the present their point.

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  50. I shudder to think what will happen if the Scottish electorate votes for independence. At present most of the MSPS at Holyrood are just jumped up councillors.

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  51. Here we are – some of the jumped up councillors.
    Alex Salmond. Economist. Oil Economist for the RBS and Chief Oil Economist for the Scottish Office.
    Nicola Sturgeon – Lawyer (Honours Glasgow University). Worked in a practice in a deprived area of Glasgow.
    Kenny NcAskill – laywer
    Roseanna Cunningham – lawyer and QC (about the youngest ever)
    John Swinney CA
    Alex Neil – graduate economist
    Fergus Ewing – Lawyer
    Keith Brown -ex commando officer

    I could go on and on.
    And, just as a matter of interest, I know a lot of very good, intelligent councillors who work very hard for the people they represent.
    I suppose you thought your comment marked you out as a knowing and sophisticated observer of the political scene.

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  52. “I shudder to think what will happen if the Scottish electorate votes for independence. At present most of the MSPS at Holyrood are just jumped up councillors”

    Hope you are not shuddering too violently at the fact that the rest of the UK’s electorate voted for jumped up crooks with their snouts well and truly in the troughs at the sleazy and backward Westminster Parliament. I think you’ll also find that many of MSP’s either down there or up here have at some point in their careers held positions that you may find beneath you but have aided them in becomming what they are today, it certainly doesn’t make them any less able to carry out their duties as MSP’s. That said, be very wary of research chemists looking for a career in politics, history has now informed us.

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  53. Treble T.
    Better a few ‘jumped up councillors’, than more than a few ‘sent down’ MPs and Lords at Westminster, claiming some £80m in expenses, a large part of which was completely bogus. And that’s over and above a salary of £60k!
    Look at what independence could save us in salaries and expenses alone!
    Elliot Morley
    Labour MP for Scunthorpe. Pleaded guilty to fraudulently claiming £32,000. David Chaytor Labour MP for Bury North. False claim £18,000 of expenses.
    Eric Illsley Labour MP for Barnsley Central fraudulently claiming £14,000.
    Jim Devine Labour MP for Livingston. Dishonestly claiming £8,385.
    Lord Taylor of Warwick Conservative peer. Falsely claiming more than £11,000
    Lord Hanningfield Conservative peer. False claims of £14,000.
    Baroness Warsi is currently under investigation of false claims.
    Lord Archer (Con) – Four years for perjury
    Jonathan Aitken (former Con MP) – 18 months for perjury and perverting course of justice
    Terry Field (Lab) – 60 days for not paying poll tax
    Keith Best (Con) – Four months over BT shares
    John Stonehouse (Lab) – Seven years for fraud, theft, forgery and conspiracy to defraud.

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    • Personally I don’t feel Terry Fields dfeserves to be in that list. His actions were a stance against an indecent tax which should never have been imposed on British people and he did so fully aware that he would be caught and probably punished.

      The others committed their offences for purely personal gain and hoped to do so without ever being caught.

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  54. Morag.
    I can tell you are true story about John Swinney when he was standing for the Perth and Eat Perthshire constituency in the 1992 General Election.
    I was working on the Bank of Scotland Mobile Bank and arrived at Stanley just as he was finishing being interviewed by a reporter from Grampian Television.
    Mr Swinney can on the Mobile Bank, shook my hand and asked if he could count on my vote. I replied “certainly not”. He was shocked by my reply and asked why. I explained that I lived in the Dundee West constituency and that is why he would not get my vote.
    I told him that he would not be elected to Westminster as he had encouraged all his SNP supporters not to register for the Community Charge and as a result they would not get a vote as they were not on the Voters Role. Mr Swinney did not agree with me, but despite him being a red hot favourite to win the seat he was not elected and I was proved correct.
    That is why against all the odds John Major’s government was re-elected.
    Needless to say Mr Swinney did not bother turning up the following Monday in Stanley to congratulate me on my forecast.
    Instead Mr Swinney was eventually elected as an MSP at Holyrood.

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  55. Yes, but if the Darien Expedition had been given decent ships by the then Scottish Government how different things might have been. Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.

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  56. They were given perfectly adequate ships. The ships had nothing to do with the failure of the Darien Scheme.
    This was mainly down to malaria and a Spanish/ English blockade.
    What has Darien got to do with anything anyway? It has no more relevance to present day issues than the Great Fire of London or the Charge of the Light Brigade

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  57. Must admit I was puzzled by the comment about the Darien ships (not just because of the lack of relevance). The ships were never the issue. Both expeditions arrived at their intended destinations and the reasons for failure were far more to do with the fact they were doomed from the outset.

    William Paterson was totally taken in by Lionel Wafer’s erroneous tales about Darien and persuaded people they were investing in some sort of paradise on earth where there would be trading a plenty.

    Only a small fraction of the people on board died whilst travelling to Darien (in the first expedition). When they arrived they soon found out that Darien was nothing like Wafer had described and the local Indians were not at all interested in all the naff stuff they had brought with them to trade. Then when they did try and trade at sea they were blocked because English ships were under instruction not to trade with the Scots. In addition, as referenced by Dave mcEwan Hill, horrendous weather brought widespread disease.

    The second exhibition (which departed having no knowledge of the first) faired almost identically and had the added problem of having the Spanish hunting them down. Again very few settlers actually died on the trip which strongly suggests the ships were fine.

    So all in all it had nothing to do with the ships and largely to do with a woeful plan!

    It is a fascinating bit of history but, I repeat, entirely irrelevant to the current indepedence issue.

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  58. [Integrity? Not in the ConDemAll]wrote: “Only a small fraction of the people on board died whilst travelling to Darien (in the first expedition).”

    In the first expedition 6% of the people died on the way to Darien and 17% on the way back. Only one of the five ships managed to return to Scotland.

    On the second expedition 12% died on-board on the outward leg.

    Probably a bit of cost cutting on the ship procurement and a poor contract took its toll. I bet that for the purposes of reliability passengers that embarked were counted as having made the journey even if they died enroute. That is similar to counting the Dunoon ferries as having sailed even when they are too small to put to sea.

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  59. Ferryman,

    I will grant you that ‘fraction’ was not the best choice of words. The first expedition saw 70 die out of 1,200 in the outward journey and the second saw 160 die out of 1,300. Of the total of 2,500 only about 500-600 survived overall with the vast majority dying for reasons unconnected to the actual voyage.

    I don’t know the exact cause of death for the 230 that died on the outward journeys but I would hazard a guess that the numbers are not all that unusual for a fleet of ships making a hell of a journey in the 17th century were large numbers of those on board were very far from cut out for a long sea journey.

    If anyone has any information on this and a link between the cause of death and skimping on the ships I would be interesting in reading it.

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  60. You also have to put the Darien deaths in context. You might just as easily lose 20% of the dry land population at a time when there was poor nutrition, no immunisation and no antibiotics. The graveyards and parish writings from the time often record the loss of entire families. The conditions at sea and in Darien shifted the odds considerably.

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