Scotland’s Future: from the Referendum to Independence and a Written Constitution

This is the title of what is effectively a 12 page document presenting material on that subject - disappointingly little to match the weight of the reality of its subject.

It is less even than that, spending a significant proportion of its space on rhetoric attempting to elevate what is, in truth, pretty pedestrian stuff, all declarations of intent with no engagement with the ‘hows’.

Anyone can say easily what they will do. The real test lies in showing credibly just how they will do it. This document does not even attempt the ‘hows’. It is no coincidence that the leader of the ‘Yes’ campaign, Blair Jenkins, recently made a failed attempt to force a focus on the ‘whys’ and get away from the widespread concerns with the ‘hows’.

Some jarring notes set the document in the sort of schoolyard points-scoring only the immature cannot rise above.

The description of the constitution-that-might-be as ‘written’ is unnecessary in the 21st century – but reminds as of who happens not to have such a constititution.

The mention of the need for such a constitution to establish the framework for controls by parliament over government to prevent such things as ‘entry into illegal wars’ is another triumphalist poke in the ribs of the auld enemy.

In the midst of repeated assertions of the need for freedom from Westminster for Scotland to realise itself, it has to be said that the inclusion of the need for a constitutional platform to ‘provide for the continuity of the monarchy in Scotland’ sits very uncomfortably indeed.

There are other tedious little notes that speak of intellectual and imaginative poverty in a document that has a stuttering aspiration to rise to the spiritual. Repetitions of the leaden political mantras beloved of advertising agencies, like ‘made in Scotland’ and the appearance of a new creation to be known as ‘Revenue Scotland’, are just banal.

One had hoped for better.

Some moments in the document, however, cause eyebrows to fly sky high – like: ‘…the people, rather than politicians or state institutions, are the sovereign authority in Scotland’.

Those working to assert the operational and financial irresponsibility of the blinkered for wind at all costs and those attempting to underline the necessity for the salmon farming industry to clean up its act – both concerns supported by hard evidence – do not see Scotland as run on this particular ‘sovereign authority’ of the people.

A passage, perhaps not unrelated to this, argues that: ‘the sustainable use of Scotland’s natural resources should be constitutionally protected [Ed: our emphasis]to embed Scotland’s commitment to sustainable development and responsible and sustained economic growth’. This is the authentic SNP we have come to know. The reality here is what we would call a ‘binding and gagging clause’.

Some of the big ignored ‘hows’

In the middle of what is little more than a document of ruminations, there is a single compressed passage outlining matters to be resolved between a hypothetical ‘Yes’ vote and the day of formal independence – to be around 18 months later in March 2016.

This passage is on a list of  arrangements to be concluded between the UK government and the Scottish government, which would include:

‘the process and timetable for the negotiation and conclusion of the agreements which will form the final independence settlement. Issues to be resolved would include the division of financial and other assets and liabilities (including oil revenues and assignation of other tax revenues, military bases and overseas assets), the transfer to the Scottish Parliament and Government of political authority over institutions previously controlled at Westminster, the ongoing co-operative arrangements that the peoples of Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland would share, and the timetable for the speediest safe removal of weapons of mass destruction from Scotland. Of course, some matters may continue to be discussed after independence (as was the case, for example, with the Czech Republic and Slovakia).’

Any one of these issues would take 18 months to conclude. They could of course theoretically be conducted simultaneously by different negotiating teams. However, with a government ruled by one man for lack of sufficiently competent alternatives and a civil service more noted for its failures than its successes, where would the sheer volume of  talent and capability come from to manage such major and detailed parallel negotiations on which an independent Scotland would be founded?

And this list does not even mention the 14,000 international treaties with the UK that would have to be renegotiated for a Scotland alone.

’18 months’ is a visit to cloud cuckoo land.

The last sentence in this passage above carries the escape clause of ‘Of course, some matters may continue to be discussed after independence (as was the case, for example, with the Czech Republic and Slovakia)’.

In the position under discussion, Scotland would have a very great deal to ‘discuss after independence’  – and if much was left to that stage of scrabbling about after the event, the country and its government would be dealing with serial operational, legal and regulatory failures to the extent that the immediate work to be done in establishing a strong economic foundation for a new country would have to come well below the firefighting.

The examples of other countries’ progress to independence

The document makes general reference to 30 ‘new UN members since 1945′, which ‘became independent following a referendum on independent statehood with the average length of time between the referendum and independence day being approximately 15 months. ‘

The 30 countries are not identified, yet this is a key matter. There are many countries whose separation from an umbrella identity were located in parts of the world in the post=colonial foothills of modern statehood, where the work of separation will not have had any great degree of complexity.

The document here references specifically the Czech Republic and Slovakia, which effected their separation in just under six months – with the caveat that they discussed unresolved matters after independence.

It is a country desperate to an extent more than there is any evidence of in Scotland, that will go blindly for independence without knowing what the outcome of negotiations will actually be.

It is also germane that the former Czechoslovakia only came together as a single country in October 2018, so, by 1993 when it split up, it was just 75 years old.

The Acts of Union in Scotland and England and the Treaty of Union that made them, together, Great Britain, is a union now 307 years old.

In 307 years of acting as one, the number,scale and complexity of what has to be unpicked and duplicated in severance is immense. The 75 year existence of Czechoslovakia cannot credibly compare.

The legal provisions alone, in unravelling what Scotland would need to keep from the UK statute book and from sub-statute legislation, if not carefully and thoroughly effected before any independence, could see unintended but inevitable injustices perpetrated.

Worse, what guarantees would a prematurely separated state have that its former and senior partner would participate in impartial fairness in post-independence negotiations? Why would it need to? What would compel it?

Scottish EU membership

Since this is matter so mishandled to date that it has blown much of the SNP’s credibility, it is scar tissue the party cannot resist trying to render invisible, so the document goes into rather more detail on this than on other matters.

The argument here has returned to the familiar one that Scottish membership would be negotiated while the negotiations with the UK were also ongoing, and while Scotland remained a part of the UK and was included within its membership.

This notion makes the available capability pool for this overall spectrum of negotiations even more improbable in the timescale the First Minister continues glibly to insist is achievable.

The document commits further to simultaneous negotiating with all of the other international organisations – like Nato et al -  of which the UK is a member and of which Scotland would also wish to be.

The sheer man power required for all of these simultaneous negotiations is, even in number, never mind calibre, simply beyond feasible achievement.

The confidence of the document in insisting on the viability of pre-negotiated and virtually automatic Scottish membership of the EU ignores altogether the judgment of the President of the European Commission, Juan Manuel Barroso and of some member states that have made their views on the matter known. They have concurred that Scotland would have to negotiate for membership as an already independent country and would probably have to take its place in line.

As we have held from the outset, there is no question that a Scotland prepared to pay the price of EU membership in ceding fiscal sovereignty to the eurozone and in moving to political union, would not be a welcome new member – in due time.

In this renewed assertion of continuous membership [and it commits to that phrase in para 2.3 on page 12], the document also ignores the political reality of the sensitivities of EU member states, like Spain and Belgium, who, in the light of their own internal separatist movements, simply could not afford to vote to give Scotland an easy passage to independent or continuous membership.

The document cites the reunification of Germany as supporting evidence for the ease with which Scotland would achieve membership and would also complete the scale of negotiations that will be imperative in the eighteen months allowed.

Germany reunified in just under two years. The Berlin Wall fell on 9th November 1989, on 3rd October 1990 the country was formally reunified and, as this document says, ‘the former East Germany becomes part of EEC’.

There are two problems with this argument.

Scotland is not Germany – in fact no other country is like Germany, with its focused and determined capacity to work as hard as it takes to achieve a desired end in a short time. Transport Scotland has shown that it cannot even let a contract for the Clyde and Hebridean ferry services in under seven years.

The use of a reunified Germany and the consequent inclusion of the former east Germany within the EU membership of west Germany, is a double edged sword.

This process simply underlines the primacy of the holder of the EU membership. The key factor here was the membership of west Germany. Its expansion to include the former DDR was an internal matter; and Germany, in its new form, remained an unchallenged member. Mind you, who was ever going to threaten the membership of the economic engine of the entire EU?

But it is logical that, had west Germany shed a state into independence, the EU membership would have remained with west Germany; and the separated state would have begun negotiations as the new state it had chosen to become. Membership is not attached to individuals or to individual components of a member state. It is attached to the named member state.

The document’s remark that: ‘The economic, social and political interests of the EU will be best served by Scotland remaining in continuous membership.’ appears to be unaware of the fact that this is exactly what a substantial proportion of voters will be concerned about. What about Scotland’s interests?

The citizenship issue

In describing the content of the ‘constitutional platform’, an opaquely grandiloquent term, the document says that the content of this ‘platform’ will: ‘define entitlement to Scottish citizenship on independence day and subsequently’.

In reality, were Scotland to become as peripherally independent as membership of the EU would require, ‘Scottish citizenship’ would begin as a virtual irrelevance.

Central to the matter of EU membership is the issue of wider citizenship. At the moment, EU citizens [apart from the rest of the UK] are entitled to, for example, the right to free third level education enjoyed by Scots within Scotland.

So much of this document is no more than unthought musings with no physical musculature. It could not be more disappointing or more unable.

And so…

Scottish Secretary, Michael Moore, has made the remark of the day in saying that the SNP are concentrating on the picture frame because they have no painting to put in it.

This essay is a signal failure, blowing hot air when what the independence proposition badly needed was the fruits of hard work in hard facts. It is an obituary.

Scotland’s Future- from the Referendum to Independence and a Written Constitution

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134 Responses to Scotland’s Future: from the Referendum to Independence and a Written Constitution

  1. One had hoped for better

    No you didn’t.

    And whatever the document had said your response would have been a similar, wholly predicatable vitriolic diatribe.

    Will you stay if there is a YES vote next year?

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    • >>>> “Will you stay if there is a YES vote next year?” <<<<

      A truly shameful sentiment on your part is implied in that question. Utterly shameful.

      How long is the moderator of this news site going to tolerate the bile posted by whoever lies behind the multiple usernames of Webcraft, Scots Renewables, Fletcher of Saltoun et al. ?

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      • Newsroom seems so horrified by the prospect of an independent Scotland that one could be forgiven for thinking she may well be contemplating upping sticks if it comes to pass.

        It’s a perfectly reasonable question, so please spare us the histrionics.

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        • No, not histrionics. Disgust more like.

          The clear implication of your post is that someone who strongly believes that Scotland should remain part of the United Kingdom should leave Scotland in the event of a Yes vote.

          It is clear to most regular people here that you are one of those cybertrolls. You use at least three different usernames and nearly all of your posts are attacks on either Newsroom, or those who are against the proliferation of windfarms, or those who have different views to you on Scotlan’s future. Invariably your posts are laced with insulting language.

          I ask again. How long are the moderatos going to tolerate the Troll who goes by the names of Webcraft, Scots Renewables, Fletcher of Saltoun and yet more ?

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          • Total and utter tosh. There are no such ‘implications’ to my post other than in your own fevered imagination.

            In the event of a ‘yes’ vote lots of people who were vehemently against the whole idea will have to get used to it. A bit of creative ‘what-if’ thinking ahead might avoid too deep a trauma if that happens.

            For those of us who voted yes in the gerrymandered 1979 referendum a third of a century ago and had to wait 18 years for the next one a NO vote would be something we could and would accept with equanimity, because the YES campaign trusts the Scottish people and will abide by their decision. Devolution is a process.

            Will you and Newsroom be able to accept a YES vote with equal equanimity? The vitriol and scaremongering pouring out of the NO campaign and its acolytes on a daily basis suggests not. From the tone of Newsroom’s posts one would imagine she could hardly bear to live in a Scotland run by such a bunch of incompetents.

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    • So the SNP Government have outlined their processes in the event of a Yes OR a No. Can we expect the Bitter Together parties to do the same soon? Of course not, but I would love to be proved wrong.

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  2. “18 months’ is a visit to cloud cuckoo land.”

    No it isn’t. It’s three months longer than the average taken by newly independent countries, so is really a rather prudent and conservative estimate.

    Oh, you might find this useful:
    1960 Central African Republic
    1960 Chad
    1960 Gabon
    1960 Dahomey (Republic of Benin)
    1960 Upper Volta (Burkino Faso)
    1960 Togo
    1960 Senegal
    1960 Niger
    1960 Mali
    1960 Malagasy Republic (Madagascar)
    1960 Ivory Coast
    1962 Algeria
    1962 Jamaica
    1975 Comoros
    1976 Samoa
    1977 Djibouti
    1980 Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
    1981 Vanuatu
    1990 Namibia
    1991 Estonia
    1992 Croatia
    1992 Slovenia
    1993 Eritrea
    1993 The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia
    1994 Palau
    1999 Kiribati
    2000 Tuvalu
    2002 Timor-Leste
    2006 Montenegro
    2011 South Sudan

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    • Yes a long list.

      But its a list of overwhelmingly 3rd World countries who only had to disentangle a matter of decades of previous polity.

      We face the immense task of trying to disentangle over 300 years of joint polity and institutions and treaties and relationships.

      There are hundreds of issues where joint agreement will be near impossible (oil, Faslane, Embassies, Fiscal control etc) and will no doubt have to be resolved independently (assuming international courts are willing). It will drag on for years and years.

      March 2016 ?……total cloud cuckoo land and the death knell for Salmond/Sturgeon,s remaining speck of plausibility in the eyes of Scots.

      What a bloody farce !

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      • I also think it’s reasonable to suggest that the expectations of the population of the great majority of the citizens of the listed countriers was rather less than the average Scot’s.

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        • Not entirely sure I agree, Keith. Drive around the “post industrial” (as they say) towns and cities of the central belt and see what the average Scot there has to settle for. (England is similarly affected in large parts.) I see a frightening convergence with third world conditions of squalor and hopelessness. And this afflicts a very substantial proportion of this country’s population, well into the millions. The great economist, JK Galbraith predicted this for societies like ours fifty years ago. What are their expectations? I really don’t know, but it behoves both sides of this debate to tell us what vision they have in this regard. And a simplistic “more money” argument won’t do.

          Elephant in the room, I think.

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    • Just to be clear, is this a list taken from something like Wikipedia or is it a list taken from the ‘Scotland’s Future’ document? I only ask because I am hoping (and presuming) it isn’t from the document as reference to a number of those countries would be farcical as there is no way a number of them can be compared.

      I can speak personally of one example as I lived in Tuvalu for five years and the idea that it (or other countries like it – I see Kiribati is also on there which used to be joined with Tuvalu as the Gilbert Islands) can be used as evidence of potential timescales is preposterous.

      Also worth pointing out that Tuvalu joined the UN in 2000, it became independent way earlier than that (late 70s which is when I first moved there).

      If this list is in the document (which I very much doubt) then it is plain daft, if it isn’t (as I suspect) then the use of it by anyone to justify the 18 month claim just emphasises quite how badly both the ‘YES’ and ‘NO’ campaigns (either accidentally, or deliberately) are getting out the message out to the public about what independence entails.

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      • We have since seen this list published by the BBC as a list given it by the Scottish Government to account for the 30 countries it cited in the document.
        You may therefore treat this list as an authoritative appendix to the document.

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  3. “Any one of these issues would take 18 months to conclude. They could of course theoretically be conducted simultaneously by different negotiating teams. However, with a government ruled by one man for lack of sufficiently competent alternatives and a civil service more noted for its failures than its successes, where would the sheer volume of talent and capability come from to manage such major and detailed parallel negotiations on which an independent Scotland would be founded?”
    I presume you rate the pool of talent in Westminster Newsroom? If so, what do the Scottish contingent working there propose to do if Scotland gains independence?
    Would this comparitively large pool of “talent” be willing so serve the people of the country they were presumeably born or brought up in up here in Holyrood and in doing so strengthening and/or enlightening our politics?
    They could maybe return here with their tails firmly between their legs, heads bowed and give lessons in proper politics to our second rate MSPs here in Scotland.
    Your consistently sweeping and very subjective opinions of those who part-govern us in Scotland are rarely justified, appearing vague and lacking anything to support your low opinions of our MSPs.
    Of course it is impossible to list individually their deficiencies, however, comparisons with the performances and abilities of those in Westminster may give us an idea as to why you rate our politicians in Scotland so poorly as by the sound of things those south of the border are the benchmark?
    I hope they’re not.
    A quick recollection and snapshot of our superior Westminster MP’s -
    The recently exposed weasel like wholly dishonest behaviour of Chris Huhne’s (a very high profile MP) law breaking conniving act, Michael Gove’s (another very high profile MP) lack of respect towards our British police force (a fine example to our young), Johnathan Aitken’s (yet another one) criminal act of prejury. I Can’t leave out a predominantly Westminster infected widespread again wholly criminal and utterly shameful expenses scandal.
    These examples being just a few of the more recent ones but all the same, hardly inspiring not to mention reassuring or anything near responsible from our elite.
    Give me our lot of MSPs every single time, Westminster can have their huge choice of “sufficiently competent” politicians.
    Your opinions r.e independence and the SNP’s visions/plans for an independent Scotland are usually very descriptive in their condemnation with your particular reasons for doing so, are always exhaustative but sad to see no counterbalance leaving this for pro-indy supporters on here.
    I’d be interested in reading anything you have to say which supports your disdain for and supposed lack of talented Salmond type politicians working from Holyrood.

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    • Messrs Huhne & Gove surely can’t be lumped in with Aitken – who, in the immortal words of the Independent’s post-trial report, is a total shit. And (worryingly) tried to worm his way back into politics before he was stamped on; his sanctimonious opinions can still occasionally be heard on R4 Today – quite puts me off my porridge.

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      • Oh yes they can

        You only have to look at the HoL to see a bigger band on criminals
        For example
        Lord Archer
        Lard Fooks -convicted of assaulting a policeman and an elderly lady – elevated to the Lards after this conviction too
        Lord Arsonist – convicted of fire raising whilst pished and done time in the pokey

        Hmmm

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  4. A piece of shoddy journalism one example of which is to take what the Bitter Together say.

    Before spouting forth on the 14000 treaties have a look at them.

    Such as Telegraphic Convention between the Cape of Good Hope, Natal and the Orange Free State 25/10/1883

    As they’ve all got mobiles now I don’t think that one will need to be renegotiated.

    Also to suggest that Scotland does not have talented people to negotiate on our behalf is frankly racist

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    • Another belter from Mr McCormick! I love the extremist card being pulled out so soon in the debate. Maybe if you look at the people who run the government, you might understand why so many people have little faith in this government. JnrTick – take note.

      Let’s take Nicola Sturgeon – she lives in dream land and is not really connected to the reality of the world and politics. She actually make a direct attack on the President of the EU COmmission saying he was wrong! The only solution she can see is the one she wants. That’s dangerous, and she’s not fit to negotiate, never mind make decisions .

      We’ll not bother with Mr Salmond – he doesn’t even seek legal advice before making statements like they are fact.

      Mr Russell? Well, this is the man who laughs at his own incompetence for the cameras! That was a boob I’ll not forget in a hurry!

      Transport Secretary? That would be the very same one who won’t even get invovled in a trifling matter holding SPT to account. Gawd help us trying to get a good deal for Scotland.

      Do I have faith that anyone in the Scottish Government would be fit to negotiate on my behalf? Absolutely not.

      The best thing for the SNP would be to rid themselves of Mr Salmond and Ms Sturgeon, but I’m sure I’ve given you that tip before. :)

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    • Heh . . . eight ‘thumbs down’ for pointing people to a brief, imminent and relevant discussion of the subject in the mainstream media.

      Says a lot about the mentality of some of those who post on here.

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      • You’ll find that its the poster not the post getting the thumbs down.

        Check everything that you and your aliases post; immediate multiple thumbs downs. People here are fed up with trolls like you.

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  5. “There are hundreds of issues where joint agreement will be near impossible”

    I remember reading the great Muhammad Ali quote the following – “Impossible is just a big word thrown around by small men who find it easier to live in the world they’ve been given than to explore the power they have to change it. Impossible is not a fact. It’s an opinion. Impossible is not a declaration. It’s a dare. Impossible is potential. Impossible is temporary. Impossible is nothing”

    The “farce” you claim is that those who are not only unwilling to accept the possibility an independent Scotland but are also unwilling to envisage rolling their sleeves up and working through what hard but satisfying work lies ahead come a successful ‘Yes’ vote in 2014.

    There is another way W.S. Embrace it.

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  6. ‘Webcraft’ responds >>> “Total and utter tosh.” <<<

    What is tosh about the statement that you post on here using at least three different usernames (Webcraft, Scots Renewables, Fletcher of Saltoun) ?

    What is tosh about the statement that you troll rather unpleasantly (under these various usernames) against anyone on here who opposes leaving the UK, opposes windfarms, criticises the SNP ?

    You remind me very much of the troll who caused so many problems for the old Oban Times forum. He/she too used multiple usernames (NickB, BicKnee, Crimson Vicar to name but three).

    What is tosh about my being angry that you should imply that someone who is clearly strongly opposed to our leaving the UK should, in the event of a Yes vote, leave Scotland ?

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    • What is tosh about my being angry that you should imply that someone who is clearly strongly opposed to our leaving the UK should, in the event of a Yes vote, leave Scotland ?

      I did not imply that Newsie should leave Scotland – that is a very bizarre interpretation of what was a plain and simple question – I asked her if she would stay in the event of a YES vote or if she would be joining people like Michelle Mone who have said they will leave.

      It was a pretty straightforward question to everyone but you apparently.

      Don’t be a drama queen.

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      • As I say repeatedly. I see very few comments as I am not generally involved in moderation. I have just happened to see a comment from Frank which led me to this one of yours – so I can see that you have earlier put a question to me.
        Since the question is personal, I will answer it personally.
        It is my personal position – that whatever the majority of Scots decide in the independence referendum, it is up to all of us to make it work. Anything else would be self-mutilating. So, unequivocally, I am, of course, staying in Scotland regardless. There is nowhere else I’d rather be.
        For the record – again – I was personally strongly pro-independence in and after 2007 but with the collapse of the financial institutions and the plunge into what was going to be a long recession in the Autumn of 2008, it seemed increasingly like a bad time for a new country to start making its way.
        That was a concern, not an obstacle – but it should have produced a reaction from the Scottish government and it did not. That was a worry – as an indicator of an ostrich tendency.
        What has increasingly become an obstacle is that the labour of exploring the actual work and processes required by separation has not been done – yet there has been plenty of time to do it since 2007.
        In place of the hard yards has been fanciful and increasingly unrealistic propositions.
        This is not the way to take a country into virgin territory and in bad times. It has not earned support and it is an affront to intelligence.
        So first my confidence and trust was undermined by this less than adequate responsibility and competence; and then, with the serial exposure of deceptions on facts and on the legal advice that had not even been requested over Scotland’s position with the EU – the independence prospectus simply had nothing left to run with.
        And that is anger-making because we have all wasted hope, time and energy in investing what is best in ourselves in a project that did not work to be worthy of such investments.
        The document released yesterday is no better than an average undergraduate essay produced in a hurry to meet a deadline. Family and friends would think the chick had done well but the examiners’ perspectives would be more demanding and the result disappointing. As a business case it wouldn’t clear the first hurdle. No one would offer funding or investment on a prospectus like this.
        Leaving a 307 year habit and practice of union is an immense challenge akin to separating mature siamese twins. Reconnecting the complex neural and arterial pathways and muscle tissue to make Scotland viable as an independent country could, of course, be done – but not in the timescale proposed and not with the manpower and capability available. Yesterday’s document is a nonsense.
        In the end, reason is our personal lender of last resort.
        Reason has moved me strongly against separation.
        Part of that reason is the acknowledgement of unreadiness, inadequate ability and unfortunate times.
        Part of it is an increasing awareness of the strengths and pleasures of union – and a greater interest in how that union can be reshaped and reinvigorated, as it needs to be. My own preference is for a federal relationship.
        On the evidence, I do not think Scotland should vote for separation and I do not see there is any likelihood that it will – but whatever the outcome, everything I can possibly contribute to responding positively to the emerging situation will be willingly given.
        Lynda

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        • whatever the outcome, everything I can possibly contribute to responding positively to the emerging situation will be willingly given

          Thanks for the reply. Let’s hope that whatever the referendum result the horrors of all the negative campaigning and name calling that we are seeing here and all over the public sphere in Scotland can be put behind us.

          It would be more constructive though IMO if you did not approach every Scottish government prounouncement, paper, paragraph and point with such a single-minded determination to see the worst in it and tear it savagely to shreds. I guess it is the zeal of the new convert, but I don’t believe it is doing the NO campaign – or the discussion – any favours.

          I refer you to Kevin Mackenna’s article in the Scotsman as supporting evidence for my point.

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        • Lynda, the pleasures of the union??? Could you please explain. I teach in a deprived area of Glasgow and you should see the hardship that people have to endure there. Yes, it also happens in Manchester, In Plaistow, in Hull and in West Bromwich, but I didn’t see the same hardship when I worked in Stockholm a few years ago.
          The problem with this site is that most of the contributors are speaking from a reasonably well-off, middle class perspective and don’t really know how the other half live.

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          • Do you not believe there are people enduring hardship here in Argyll and Bute?
            You really must open your eyes, your flippant comment “most of the contributors are speaking from a reasonably well-off, middle class perspective and don’t really know how the other half live” , an unbelievable statement. You say you are a teacher, thank god you are not teaching my children if this is an example of a sweeping generalisation you are capable of.

            What we can be sure of is none of us is better off under the SNP Government and the performance of the SNP-led council has done nothing to improve the lives of the people in Argyll and Bute.

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      • meeshell MOAN said she would leave if the SNP won in 2007 – guess what she lied!

        Despite her “talent” for getting her coupon in the papers and sookin lemons, she never even left after the May 2011 elections either

        Typical onionist – all talk and nae troosers

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  7. W.S. – You have pointed out many examples of how the single issue separatists act in the event of anyone daring to criticise the snp.You seem to have agitated a few of them!
    The list posted by Tolmie, are we supposed be believe he is comparing like for like? This is the sort of thing we have become used to from Mike Russell.
    JnrTick- There is another way W.S.Embrace it. Will he embrace the result if a NO vote is returned?
    The snp constantly moan that the Better Together campaign is negative! On this post we have snp supporters calling it “Bitter Together”
    Expressions such as “Total and utter tosh”, but as they say all’s fair in love and …

    Now this is from supporters of a party who gave us such memorable slogans as “a penny for Scotland” and the even more historic “Free by 93″

    Did they mean 2093?

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    • There is no such thing as a separatist. That is a term of abuse which has no factual base whatsoever, The Yes pro-independence campaign want Scotland to join the world as a sovereign state in the UN with its people getting the benefits of the fruits from the ample resources that exist here. What’s separate about that? We shall still have our commercial relationships with the rest of the UK. And no, we won’t need a passport to visit Carlisle. Our problem is with the thieving, mediocre bandits of the Westminster (of both parties) who only a few years ago were guilty (about 40% of them at least) of fiddling their expenses. Dishonesty, fraud and corruption are built into the Westminster government, ask Chris Huhne and Dennis McShane (the latest ones). Ah, but it’s all the benefit of being part of the UK.

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      • Sorry to burst your mediocre bubble but there most certainly is such a thing as a separatist(in fact probably too many).
        I don’t use terms of abuse, so for your information a separatist is a person who advocates secession from an organization, union, etc. In this case the union of Scotland, England, Ireland and Wales.
        In the unlikely event of a Yes vote there would have to be negotiations with the rest of the UK, not as you claim “still have our commercial relationships”
        Your other assertions, I would doubt are accurate!

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      • Ho Ho, someone touched a raw nerve by mentioning separatists. They do not like that word. Alex Salmond has banned it from the SNP vocabulary.

        Of course the Nats are separatists. The are desperate to separate from the rest of the UK. About time we all started calling a spade a spade.

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  8. Webcraft states: “I asked her if she would stay in the event of a YES vote or if she would be joining people like Michelle Mone who have said they will leave”. In the disastrous and unlikely event that there was a YES vote, she could decide to be like Sean Connery and many other separatists and SNP supporters who have already left and who think that Scotland is so marvellous that they prefer not to live in Scotland.

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    • Lynda has indicated that she will stay and help to build a better nation whatever the result – see above. Nice to see something positive in a sea of negativity.

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      • And maybe the SNP and Yes folks will stop the negativity of ‘Bitter Together’? That would be great progress and allow us to progress from behaving like children!

        Interestingly webcraft, you must have missed the Better Together facebook page. For weeks now we they have been publishing facts about information about why it’s great to be in the UK.

        Take the blinkers off and you might see!

        ‘I’m a Scot and a Brit and I’m happy with it’ :)

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        • Why it’s great to be in the uK?

          Hmmmmmmmmmm, Hmmmmmmmmm, Hmmmmmm

          Nope can’t think of anything whatsoever

          Is it some kind of trick question?

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          • You’d never get it sam. Last time I tried, I got shot down.
            How about the National Lottery. The amount of charities and groups that have benefited from this lottery, the scale of which can only be sustained by having a population of 70m+.

            A lottery with only 5m people is not going to raise as much money – that’s not negative, it’s fact.

            Do you think we’ll be better off without the lottery?

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          • jamie, you mean like spending @£240 million of lottery money raised in Scotland on teh London Olympics – that is money well spent – what?
            Despite Scotland not even being allowed to benefit from the legacy projects too

            yess indeedy that is an enormous benefit

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          • Well, yes, I do think it was well spent actually. Not only did we come together as a nation, but with all our strengths combined, we showed how the UK can punch above its weight on the world stage. Will we see the same ever again?

            Well, yes, we will, because the Commonwealth Games are coming to Glasgow next year!

            Yet ANOTHER benefit of the Union! What an amazing thing to be part of.

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    • Michelle Moan can leave, as far as I’m concerned. She will be no great loss. The shame of her own country running its own affairs, just think of the shame!!
      I’d rather listen to Jim McColl and Tom Hunter, two of our country’s most successful entrepreneurs who are now winning over to the pro-independence camp. Sensible individuals indeed.

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      • Can we assume that Sean Connery, Jim McColl and all the other SNP supporters who have decided long ago that Scotland is not the place for them to live, will be arranging for Pickfords van to move them back if the impossible happened and a yes vote was achieved in 2014? NAE CHANCE

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  9. I starting reading through this article but I’m afraid any credibility I was giving it (which wasn’t much) was swiftly evaporated on reading:
    “It is also germane that the former Czechoslovakia only came together as a single country in October 2018, so, by 1993 when it split up, it was just 75 years old.”

    OK – so it’s just a funny typo but it sort of sums up the lack of diligence that is put into these articles. It is all the more funny as it comes in an article berating the Scottish Government for not producing the detail.

    It is also just regurgitating the latest inane comments from the Unionist camp: 14,000 treaties indeed! The vast majority of these are defunct and all Scotland needs to do is say that they will respect the previous treaty obligations of the former UK as did the Czechs and Slovaks. We will need to renegotiate our EU membership, readjust our NATO membership and will need to apply for UN membership but this is hardly onerous. Germany unified in less than 12 months – a task considerably harder than Scottish independence.

    WS: Get a life. I don’t think I have never even met Webcraft – though from his previous posts I know who he is.

    Might be back in a week or two to see if standards have improved but I’m not holding out much hope.

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      • Yes Jamie it is just that simple. The idea that the world is just too complex for us poor wee thick Scots is entirely a Unionist myth. Germany managed to negotiate with the UN, the EU and the occupying powers to reconstitute Germany within 12 months. This involved a new constitution, agreement between the East and West German governments; a complete overhaul of NATO and was carried out in the face of an intransigent Mrs Thatcher and a deeply sceptical France. Is negotiating the independence of what is already a pretty autonomous state really so difficult?

        Have a look at the list of countries that have become independent since the war and you will find some really tiny nations who now have a seat at the UN. Are we really the only nation so bereft of talent that we cannot organise the piss up in the brewery that is independence?

        I thought the Scottish cringe was dead but no, it is gloriously alive on this blog site. What a lack of ambition. What a lack of vision. What a failure of imagination.

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          • Sam – that’s political. Let’s get out the political areana and into the real world of most people. See my latest post at the bottom. I’m really keen to get to the bottom of this.

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        • Okay, let’s take the debate beyond politics.

          Tell me how my life would improve under Indy. In an many or few words aqs you like and only ONE stipulation. Do not make any reference to politics. Pretend I don’t engage in politics beyond voting once every 5 years (liek the majority of people I know).

          I genuinely look forward to hearing your vision and ambition.

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          • a written constitution – oulining your rights and responsibilities plus what a government can do or can’t do without a vote of the citizens

            UK doesn’t have a written one and UK governments have no interest in having one in case they get found out

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          • Here’s three things about an independent Scotland that we can say for certain Jamie, just to kick start this:

            You would be living in a country that has few enemies, that does not have nuclear weapons sited a few miles from its biggest city that and will not permit weapons of mass destruction to be stationed on its territory;

            You would be living in an oil-rich country that is 100% self-sufficient in energy now and for the forseeable future;

            And you would know for sure that your country is and intends to remain a committed member of the European Union.

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        • Unionists lack vision and cling to the past and imagine Britannia still has an empire to rule. They have the Falklands and Gibraltar left yet they still cling to a fantasy world where they think they are still important.

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    • Troll says >>>”WS: Get a life. I don’t think I have never even met Webcraft – though from his previous posts I know who he is.” <<<

      You've never met yourself !!!

      You've been outed by others, not just me, as posting on here using multiple user names just as you used to on the Oban Times forum.

      What do we have? a right trollicking collection:
      Feltcher of Soltoun
      Webcraft
      Scots Renewables
      NickB
      Crimson Vicar
      BicNee
      …..and others.

      The giveaway is the shared obsessions and shared insulting posting style of all above. Shared; I mean exactly the same.

      Many of us have sussed you. Newsroom probably tolerates you for the amusement factor, but not for much longer I reckon if you keep insulting her under whatever username you happen to be trolling with..

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      • Sigh. I suppose I have to bow to your logic that, as I have not met myself I must be Webcraft.
        Why amm I not Sam as well as Webcraft et al? Why not include Jnr Tick? – he has always seemed like a rabid separatist to me.
        This is all a bit too silly for me so I think I’ll stick to the grown ups web sites where serious debate on serious issues is conducted.

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        • >>> “so I think I’ll stick to the grown ups web sites where serious debate on serious issues in conducted.” <<<

          Almost exactly the words ScotsRenewables used when he pretended to flounce off after a couple of long rants about perceived anti-Independence/SNP bias on here.

          FofS then (re)appeared on here a week or so later and carried on in exactly the same way as SR.

          ….and of course its easy to prove the connection further between SR, Webcraft, NickB, BicNee, and Crimson Vicar by just doing a google search for one of the first two.

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          • Fevered speculation continues about Web-cams ‘Multiple Personalities’- as previously flushed-out by WS! Apparently his ‘Alters’ include:Fletcher, SR’s, Crimson Vicar,Purple hedgehog, and Pink dandelion. Webs informative comments surely demonstrate several significant things about his/her identity – he’s highly versatile; fiendishly intelligence and has a keen eye for colour! Ironically the former slightly subverts the prevailing Unionist view that the Scots (generic) are too ‘thick’ to govern themselves!!

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      • Newsroom knows who I am.

        We have frequently exchanged correspondence outwith this forum.

        Anyone on here who doesn’t know who I am and wants to, just google Webcraft and click the first link that comes up.

        Hey, maybe I am WS as well?

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        • Okay, I followed your suggestion and very quickly spotted that Webcraft goes by the name of NickB***** and operates ScotsRenewables.

          Your BicNee username then connects logically.

          Since you suggested it a further google search brings up all your other usernames clearly connected to you eg Crimson Vicar comes up as the moderator of a small community website run by Webcraft.

          Sure Newsroom knows who you are. I guess everyone does now thanks to your suggestion to google Webcraft.

          However the point is that you have clearly breached Terms and Conditions by posting here using multiple different usernames.

          Why do you do this?

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  10. I have just read the document and I could not agree with you more Newsroom. It is banal in the extreme. I lost count of the number of references made to the “constitutional platform” but had no real idea by the end of the document what was meant by it.I found the unrealistic timescale really quite scary and the potential costs involved eg in setting up a Supreme Court completely unconsidered.

    The intellectual abilities of the Civil Service in Scotland must also be in doubt if this document is anything to go by which is also quite frightening.

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  11. sam – You have five posts on here and not one of them makes a valid point.
    Typically you have attempted to insult people and refer to some as “son”, if you have nothing to contribute, why bother!

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  12. If the UK had a constitution it would have taken far longer for Holyrood to be granted powers to hold a referendum. In my opinion, a constitution full of SNP policies would be an absolute disaster for Scotland and once that is realised it would take years to unravel it.
    Salmond insists that a constitution will be based on the wishes of the Scottish People. Since when has the SNP listened to anyone? Consultations? – forget it. The SNP only listen to those who agree with them – usually a monority. I believe any constitution would be imposed by an SNP dictatorship resulting in the ruin our most beautiful country. We only need to look at what they have already destroyed because of Salmond’s relationship with Trump rather than listening to the local people.
    However, from the ties that the SNP has declared they wish to maintain with Westminster, it is clear they are struggling to understand the concept of ‘independence’. Not understanding the ‘whys’ is the reason they can’t work out the ‘hows’.
    And, unlike Lynda, I have decided that due to the above, should the referendum result in a Yes, I will be moving to England. Sadly I know of many others who feel the same and what has surprised me is that quite a few are Scots.

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    • A new constitution would not be written by the SNP, but by a constitutional convention appointed by parliament – and not even by the current parliament but by the first independent parliament to be elected after, and only if, there is a ‘yes’ vote.

      There is a long-established constitutional tradition in Scotland that sovereignty rests with the people, and not with the parliament (Newsroom’s comment that this is an ‘eyebrow-raising’ claim is a little odd – it’s just the way things are). This has been only notional for as long as we have submitted to the will of Westminster (where parliament is sovereign), but it seems sensible, in view of this distinctively Scottish tradition, that we should adopt a written constitution. Its purpose is to constrain parliament by way of a fundamental declaration of rights, and exists therefore precisely to avoid the kind of ‘elective tyranny’ which you seem to fear.

      As for moving to England – would you not at least give an independent Scotland a chance? After all, your worst fears might not be realised…

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      • Tim, you say that there is a “tradition in Scotland that sovereignty rests with the people and not with the parliament”. What tosh. The average person in the street has no say over what our Parliament does. Even this SNP government consulted the public on independence then totally ignored what the people had said, so don’t give us any of that rubbish that sovereignty rests with the people.

        You also refer to “this distinctively Scottish tradition”. The distinctively Scottish traditions that most people are aware of are being drunkards, being bigots, being violent, being wife beaters. The list goes on and on. Not much to be proud of there. Even Rabbie Burns was a booser and womaniser yet we prefer to ignore that and hold him up as some sort of Saint.

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    • Well, Lowry, the door is always open. If Scotland gets independence you will leave. Why? Is it because you are a bitter and twisted right-winger who couldn’t stand living in a social democratic country with progressive policies on health, education, renewable energy, booming tourism and whisky sectors not to mention a successful north east benefiting from massive new oil and gas reserves.
      Would you really rather live in a backward Tory England where they cut the living expenses of the disabled and pursue policies that result in more homeless (the dreaded bedroom tax).
      I think your statement that ‘you know many who would do the same thing (leave)’ is utter garbage. I was talking to a couple from Walsall tonight in a hostelry in Dumbarton who like Scotland, love the scenery, who like the benefits they get from living in an SNP – run devolved Scotland and will be voting YES to independence.

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  13. I wish I could believe you, Tim, but the SNP’s approach to the whole independence fiasco is both alarming and distressing. I believe that, based on the problems of the economy, the timing of the event is wholly wrong and if a Yes vote is the outcome, the People of Scotland will suffer greatly.

    In an email, Mike Russel has indicated that I will need to apply for Scottish citizenship or be treated as any other EU national. Without any indication to the contrary, I assume that if I wish to remain English I may lose the status that I have enjoyed throughout my life so far and could even lose some rights.

    I am convinced that life in Scotland would become unbearable and that many people will move South once the consequences are realised, although this may not be for several years due to a ‘honeymoon’ effect.

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    • I don’t understand why you are so convinced that life in an independent Scotland would become ‘unbearable’.

      Various studies have shown that small Northern European countries, including Denmark, Finland, Norway and Iceland, consistently rank among the happiest and most satisfied nations.I don’t see any compelling reason why Scotland could not be the same. Are you sure your fear is entirely rational and is not just fear of the unknown ?

      Regarding citizenship, the SNP have repeatedly stated that dual citizenship of rUK / Scotland would not be a problem, so your fears there are groundless.

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        • The official SNP position is that automatic rights of citizenship would be open to all those living in Scotland.

          Those who choose not to take up Scottish citizenship, or who opt for dual citizenship, would continue to enjoy an unaffected right to residency in the country.

          I find it hard to believe that Mike Russell told you anything different. Perhaps he expressed it poorly or you misunderstod him?

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    • Unbearable is a word like chaos and crisis. I’ll tell you something Lowry, go and walk the streets of Aleppo or Homs tonight and you’ll see what a place that is ‘unbearable’ is really like.
      To compare that to walking along the prom in Oban a couple of years after independence is ludicrous and laughable. You should choose your language more carefully.

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  14. Sorry to hear that some folk will leave Scotland when we are independent.

    I have seen a marked increase in the number of English folk moving north by buying homes in Scotland.

    When I asked them why they says they feel there is and will be a better quality IOC life in
    Scotland

    Most of the folk cone from northern England.

    Perhaps I should set up a cross border House Exchange company.

    Another enterprising opportunity which Independence affords

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    • In Scotland under the SNP crime has been falling steadily for a number of years. Could we say that about many parts of England? More progressive English folk will be more than welcome here under an independent Scotia, and those sad little twisted and bitter unionists who still revere the Empire and the military and all that nonsense can go back down south to their gated communities for all I care.

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    • You say “when we are independent”, you are obviously very confident this will be the result of the referendum.

      I would like to know where you get this confidence when all indications at this stage suggest victory for Better Together?

      You also must be talking to a different group of English people than I am, not to forget the Welsh and Irish, because the ones I am speaking to will be voting No to the proposed question.

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    • Sorry Graeme, if you check the official stats, the number of people moving north from England over the past five years has dropped markedly.

      Of all those that I have asked why they moved north, not one responded that “they feel that there is a better quality IOC life in Scotland”. They have all said that it is because of their job or because they have family here.

      Thank goodness that the “enterprising opportunity which idependence affords” that you refer to will not arise.

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  15. I think that for YES campaigners the big issue we have to deal with is fear. Fear is the whole basis of the NO campaign’s strategy, and to an extent it is working.

    In a virtual space like this most of us are strangers, made bold by anonymity. I can tell Lowry, for example, that I think his fears are irrational and produce evidence to show that they are groundless, but he doesn’t know me from Adam and has nothing to gauge the worth of my opinion against.

    Yes, we need to keep refuting the petty arguments of the No campaign as they tell us over and over again that we are too wee, too stupid, too insignificant to be an independent country managing our own affairs. But what we can do in cyberspace is limited compared to what we have the potential to achieve in real life.

    If the current polls are to be believed then all we need is for everyone who already knows they will be voting YES to persuade one other person over the next 18 months and there will be a massive majority for independence. And remember, these are not dyed-in-the-wool unionists we need to persuade – these are the third of the Scottish population who would have voted for some form of devo-max but who are not being given the option.

    I’m not advocating abandoning the argument in cyberspace by any means, but there is limited value in constantly and repetitively going over the same old ground with those whose minds are made up and who will never shake off the fear.

    We need to go and talk to those who know and respect us in real life and convince them that their fears are groundless – or at least manageable.

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    • I always post using my own name, and I live in Dumbarton East and I drink Caledonian Best every second Friday in the Stags Head, and real ale in the Coach House in Cardross every other Friday.
      Why do people fear using their own name? Are they scared Special Branch come and visit them? The only special i would like to see comes in cans and bottles.

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    • Webcraft, it is even easier for the anti independence / anti separatist supporters as each of them only has to persuade 0.5 of a separatist to vote no and then the YES vote would disappear.

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  16. If the current polls are to be believed then all we need is for everyone who already knows they will be voting NO to persuade one other person over the next 18 months and there will be a totally overwhelmimg majority for remaining British.

    I wonder when the NO vote comes if the cybernats will move to Iceland or Norway ?

    Or another North European country all of which are so different from us culturally, historically, financialy and with totally different mindsets to us Scots ?

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    • No, we would try again in another ten years or less. I have more in common with a social democrat in Stockholm or bergen than I have with a Tory landowner from Wiltshire who think Britannia still rules the waves and hates Johnny Foreigner.

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    • W.S, The Scots minset is what?
      What about workshy? world owes us a living? apathetic? subservient? If so, as some would lead us to believe, then how have we got to this minset and how do we change it?
      We can stay as we are crossing our fingers the status quo (Westminster Tory, Labour, Tory, Labour ….) will eventually after decades of decline, lead us to the standard of living other countries with similarities enjoy.
      Alternatively, we all have the opportunity to make a bold choice to fully empower Scotland in 2014. I see this choice as the only way to deliver what will then undoubtably be a truely democatic Scotland, one which can truely represent the poeple who live here rather than rely on a government the larger country decides it wants Scotland to put up and shut up with.

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  17. For Webcraft: Well perhaps you will offer them some respect and give them the information that they require to make a informed decision. Expecting people to vote for independence without telling them what the consequences would be for pensions, currency, EU membership, welfare, tax, national security etc. etc. suggests, yet again, that the SNP would rather dictate that they are right rather than recognise that the People of Scotland deserve to make a choice based on facts.

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  18. I think most of these questions will be answered long before the vote.

    EU membership will of necessity remain somewhat opaque for a while, because the EU will not negotiate with a part of a member state, and Westminster has refused to speak on Scotland’s behalf. However, it seems highly unlikely that we would be unable to negotiate a deal in the 18 months between a YES vote and independence – and my feeling is that there will be some fairly clear signs from the EU before the vote if the polls show that there is any chance of a YES.

    As to welfare, tax and pensions – well, I have no doubt that the SNP government will set these out in great detail before the referendum. Of course, there is no guarantee that the SNP would be elected in 2015 in an independent Scotland, so you will need to ask the other parties as well.

    Re. currency – the logical choice given the current situation is for Scotland to remain in a Sterling zone with the UK. Even Alastair Darling, Chairman of the NO campaign, has agreed that is the case. (Interview with Gordon Brewer, Newsnight Scotland, 10th Jan). As with all currency options this has upsides and downsides, but both parties are agreed it would be the best option in the current situation for both sides. (I know it is fashionable to assume that the rUK would be as difficult as possible in any negotiations after a YES vote, but the chances of them refusing a currency union which would benefit both sides are vanishingly small IMO).

    (And let’s not forget that there was a sterling monetary union between Ireland, and the United Kingdom for 52 years, only dissolved in 1979 when Ireland joined the ERM and the UK didn’t).

    As for national security . . . again the SNP’s position is pretty clear, I thought. A national defence force on the same sort of scale as Norway’s, with consequent budget savings, and no nuclear weapons based in the Clyde. Again there are scare stories about NATO not wanting us without nukes, but 24 out of the current 27 NATO members don’t have nukes, so it is hard to imagine that this is not an issue with an adult solution waiting to be found.

    The Unionist press and blogosphere will tell you that all these issues pose insurmountable problems, but politics is the art of the possible and rationally none of the perceived ‘problems’ are insurmountable. Indeed, many can be seen as opportunities rather than problems.

    I can’t give you cast iron guarantees on anything, and neither can the SNP. However, neither can the Westminster government. They can’t guarantee that the UK (or the rUK) will remain in the EU after 2017. They can’t guarantee the oil price, they can’t tell you when the current financial crisis will end – or if it will, they can’t predict the course of the ‘war on terror’ worldwide over the next ten years.

    We live in an uncertain world. Staying in a 300 year old political union guarantees little – there is no crystal ball at Westminster. Independence however guarantees we will be responsible for our own internal affairs and our relations with the rest of the world. No more saying a big boy did it and ran away, no more feeling helpless as governments Scotland didn’t vote for take their seats in London.

    Oh, and . . . England is NOT suddenly going to become a foreign country.

    I can’t put it much more clearly than that. For the rest of the detail you are likely to have to wait for the White paper in the Autumn – whcih will still leave you with a year to make up your mind.

    I’m not expecting to change your mind, you seem pretty decided. I’m just saying ignore the fear, DON’T PANIC – just be glad that you will have a say in deciding Scotland’s constitutional future in 2014, that the referendum will be fair and legally binding and that both sides have agreed to accept the result and work together for a better Scotland.

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  19. I have lived in Scotland for over 40 years and have been very happy here. But I am so sad to see Scotland turn in on itself that I will also consider moving back to England if the Yes Vote wins. I want to be part of a wider world and this is best served by remaining within the wider culture of the UK.

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    • Anne. you have clearly been influenced by the alarmist, negative lies of the NO campaign. I am an internationalist, i speak five languages and have travelled widely. I would love to be pat of the wider world, which include England, Wales, Ireland, Bhutan, Peru, Solomon Islands and Burkina Faso. I simply don’t see your point at all. Scotland, rather than turn on itself will do the exact opposite under independence – it will embrace the rest of the world.

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    • Is being “part of a wider world” a gradual move towards exiting the European union Anne? The rUK look to be heading in this direction.
      The inward looking Scotland you think we will become should ‘Yes’ be successful in 2014 stands a far better chance of remaining within the “wider world”, well wider Europe at least.

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  20. Anne,
    What do you think is going to change so dramatically for you in an independent Scotland? The pro-independence people I know have every intention of remaining part of the ‘wider world’. Certainly the current Scottish government do.

    I think if there is a YES vote you will find very little will change dramatically or for the worse. Again, your fears seem vague and groundless to me – but perhaps you can explain?

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  21. If “very little will change” as you say what is the point of the whole exercise. The argument seems to be lets spend an awful lot of money and effort in order that we don’t see any difference. Why bother?

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    • Quite! – especially at a time when we can least afford it. The money spent on this exercise should be put into front line services instead.

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      • By holding the referendum the SNP are keeping one of their election promises.

        The bulk of the money for the referendum campaign will be coming from donations.

        Can you show where any substantial monies have been diverted from front line services to pay for the referendum? I would be interested to see the evidence.

        Presumably you found the 1987 devolution referendum an equal waste of money?

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    • Anne,

      I asked you:

      “What do you think is going to change so dramatically for you in an independent Scotland?”

      You immediately dodged the question by asking me a different question.

      Are you a politician by any chance?

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  22. “Maybe if you look at the people who run the government, you might understand why so many people have little faith in this government. JnrTick – take note”

    That’s fine Jamie, I am perfectly content in the knowledge that a minority of the Scottish electorate are discontented with the individuals who are currently in government, a minority discontented enough to not vote for them at the last Scottish elections.

    Before this post of yours I was attempting to highlight Newsroom’s relatively frequent, short and generally unsubstantiated or unjustified remarks regarding the inabilities of Scotland’s politicians (in general) who work from Holyrood.

    What about the politicians from the party you vote Jamie, are they up to it, capable of governing Scotland, do they have the intellect, debating abilities, vision, communication skills, thought processes their counterparts working in Westminster supposedly have and utilise?

    I have not the slightest doubt all our politicians in Holyrood do and would serve this country, Scotland, well if given the tools and without the influence of those affiliated to the politics and influence of Westminster.

    I believe all mainstream political parties at Holyrood are capable of governing or contributing towards governing a very successful independent Scotland.

    I am keen to read explanations and reasons why some believe almost all our politicians are deficient, so much so that they cannot do what every other politician in every other independent country on the planet manages, to govern.

    What this deppressingly sad and negative mindset amounts to suggests that some of us in Scotland, do not want a Scottish parliament as they see few fit to deal with the responsibilities working there demands.

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    • It was Westminster politicians who got caught with their fingers in the till, not Holyrood’s.
      That great institution is a cesspit of corruption and sleaze, and the examples are all there to see.

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  23. Unraveling the union when we can have a great degree of autonomy within it and benefit from it’s strengths seems an unnecessary job creation scheme for bureaucrats and politicians

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  24. I posted an invitation earlier on, but fear it’s been lost given the length of the thread, so I’ll repeat the invitation.

    There is a lot of talk about how the people who support the Union are negative and how wonderful life will be under Indy (although I notive someone told Anne life would not be any different…eh, I’ll ignore that for now.

    So, to the Yes and Nationalist folks – How would my life improve if Scotland was Independent? The condition is that you do not give me any political reasons. I want to know what tangible changes will occur that would make it worth me voting Yes.

    I’ll not add any criteria about my circumstances yet, better leave it open rather than try narrow it down.

    Let’s hear the case for Independence in a way that most folks will connect.

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  25. Jamie,

    I already replied, but you must have missed it thanks to the horrors of threaded replies . . . here’s what I said:

    Here’s three things about an independent Scotland that we can say for certain, just to kick start this:

    You would be living in a country that has few enemies, that does not have nuclear weapons sited a few miles from its biggest city that and will not permit weapons of mass destruction to be stationed on its territory;

    You would be living in an oil-rich country that is 100% self-sufficient in energy now and for the forseeable future;

    And you would know for sure that your country is and intends to remain a committed member of the European Union.

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  26. Are you 100% certain that you can say: “..and will not permit weapons of mass destruction to be stationed on its territory”? Won’t that depend on who is running the country or are you still under the belief that SNP policies will be included in a Constitution?

    “Oil rich” – for how long?

    Committed member of the EU – says who?

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  27. So webcraft – no tangible benefits yet, only idealistic ones.
    I’m still listening.
    (on a personal level, I’ve lived within 15miles of Faslane, Coulport and Holyloch all my life without worrying. The EU issue – in the exact same way you wish us to have a choice on Indy – why not a choice on the EU? regarding being oil rich – effectively the status quo, we just share it with more people. Energy sufficient? Well had the SNP allowed new nuclear power stations with the jobs they would have brought, we still would have been. As it stands, we’ll have NO power when the wind does not blow, or when it’s too strong. This is a fact – we will NOT be 100% sufficient, absoutely to the contrary, we’ll have to import it!)
    But please continue, let’s make it real debate.

    PS sorry I missed your post.

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    • on a personal level, I’ve lived within 15 miles of Faslane, Coulport and Holyloch all my life without worrying.

      Of course you have. You’d have moved or gone mad if you had been worried. Natural adaptation. That does not make Trident a ‘good thing’. Or do you believe it is?

      As for energy – there is more than enough oil in the North Sea to keep Scotland going for the next 40 years, and leaving wind aside we are leading the world in the development of tidal and wave technologies.

      Torness employs 450 people. 11,000 are directly employed in the renewables industy across Scotland.

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  28. Okay, not progressing as much as I hoped.

    So, 11,000 employed? I don’t doubt it, but once they are built, how many? I highly doubt it’ll be anything like that

    Do I think Trident is bad? Genuinely it has never bothered me. How many people has it killed in my lifetime? Interestingly tho, and of course similar people usually attract, but none of my friends bother about it at all.

    Now webcraft – I like your point that oil will keep us going. I am not against fossil fuel per se, but prefer nuclear. But one of the key things the Scottish Government tell us about Indy is a Greener Scotland backed up by all this renewable energy. That is impossible if we are funding ourselves by selling this filthy dirty oil. None of the Nationalists have been able to give a credible response to this paradox.

    But we stray.

    Fletcher, Willie, JnrTick, any Yes Man\woman – please make the positive case for Independence without talking politics.

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    • I am not against fossil fuel per se, but prefer nuclear.

      Well, I am afraid we are a long way from an all-electric transport network at the moment, so oil will be necessary for quite a while. Scotland is fortunate to have plenty of oil to act as a buffer and to fund the development of new renewable technologies.

      The Scottish government has already said that Scotland’s two nuclear power stations will be given extensions to allow them to remain open beyond their original projected lifespan. By the time they go offline Scotland will be producing far more than their output in wave, tidal and offshore wind.

      The decentralised nature of renewable technologies means that they will inevitably produce more employment that massively centralised nuclear power stations – where in any event the bulk of jobs are high-tech highly qualified positions that are not going to make much of an impact on the figures in your local job centre.

      More significantly though, no company in the world is currently very interested in building new nuclear power stations in the UK. None could possibly be onstream before 2020 at the very earliest even if the UK government agreed a (eye-wateringly high) strike price with EDF (a company owned by the French government) tomorrow.

      Calling people who are trying to bring about practical change in a realistic, real world way hypocrites is rather a weak argument I’m afraid. The current Scottish government are the only government on these islands with a credible energy policy at the moment.

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  29. Jamie – I’m not personally certain yet whether I will vote for independence, and I won’t likely make up my mind for a while yet – not before the white paper comes out at any rate. However, I’m instinctively in favour of it, so for me the argument is one which Better Together have to win – and on their present showing I’m not overawed. The first and most noticeable button on their website is ‘Tell us why you think we’re Better Together’ which makes me wonder if they’re short on ideas of their own…

    However, I’m not sure what you are hoping to hear by way of an answer to your question. Politics ultimately affects every aspect of our lives; it is the process by which the priorities of a nation’s people are translated into laws, public investment and services to name a few. I would argue that it is not possible to describe the benefits of independent statehood without ‘talking politics’.

    It seems clear from the voting record of the Scottish people at Westminster elections for as long as I can remember that we have different priorities from those of the UK as a whole, and the desire for independence, as I see it, springs largely from that fact. Our voting record at Holyrood, meanwhile, has steadily hardened over the past 14 years towards parties advocating greater self-determination. You may think that “We have the best of all worlds right now” but it seems most Scots don’t agree.

    Asking for a list of ‘tangible’ benefits – by which you presumably mean things like improvements in public services, or energy policy, or land reform or whatever, is missing the point – which is that we will get to decide these things for ourselves in the future, set our own priorities, make our own mistakes and have no-one else to blame for them. It does sound like a powerful argument, and yes – unavoidably a political one.

    Now – can you do better than BT and convince me that the status quo is the best option for Scotland going forward? My rule is subtly different – you are allowed to make political arguments as well as ‘tangible’ ones, but not any based on ‘fear of the unknown’ :-)

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  30. Can I add some reasons why we should stay as part of the UK. The referendum is going to be the biggest choice we in Scotland will ever have to make.If we make the wrong choice and a few years down the line suddenly come to the conclusion “oh dear this is not working”, it’s too late – we can’t just go back and ask “sorry can we come back in”.
    We have to get this right, Scotland can and should choose the best of both worlds. Without losing the strength and security of the UK and keeping our Scottish Parliament. As has been said before we are stronger together and weaker apart.
    The SNP have not explained what would happen to the thousands employed at Faslane if they get rid of the base. Shipyard workers jobs depend on being part of the UK, these would be lost.
    This evening I have just heard on TV the latest opinion poll has put the Yes campaign at 23%, now I know they will say opinion polls go up and down depending on how the particular question is asked.

    Is it not more likely people are starting to take notice of next years referendum and decided……yes…we are Better Together!!

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    • Gus, in what way “Better together”? The union’s benefits opposed to what ‘Yes’ voters claim?
      “If we make the wrong choice and a few years down the line suddenly come to the conclusion “oh dear this is not working”
      Is the union really working? Are you genuinely excited, even content living with Scotland’s levels of crime, drugs/alcohol abuse, our many sub-standard public services, ever widening gap between super rich, rich & poor & the shame of an under-class?
      Who has been making the telling decisions, those able to reverse just a handful of the shameful problems this so called wealthy UK owns? Who has been prioritising the mammoth sums spent, distributed, wasted, and mismanaged? Scotland and the people residing here, yet again shoulders the burden of the inevitable austerity we expect from boom and bust casino economics the UK indulges in, this time for an expected 8 consecutive years countering what looks to be an impending triple dip recession, disgusting!
      What do we do to prevent this returning if indeed we escape this mire? Vote Labour maybe? What about Tory? It doesn’t matter does it Gus?
      Why?
      The rest of the UK will decide your, my and everyone elses fate in Scotland at every single general election like it or lump it.
      “Better together”?

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  31. Gus,

    The 23% opinion poll was based on a survey betewen June and November last year and is hopelessly out of date.

    The most recent polls have shown support for independence at 34% with the NOs at 48%, so not a huge mountain to climb really.

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    • Have just looked at some polls and don’t see the one you refer to.
      As I said, I only heard this on TV tonight, there was no mention of when it was done, but I doubt very much if they would quote a survey as you say “is hopelessly out of date”.

      Even the figures you cite, “not a huge mountain to climb”, in the words of John McInroe, “you cannot be serious”.

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      • Gus, I also heard it – on Question Time presumably. Humza Yousef missed a trick by not picking the questioner up on it.

        The poll in question was the Scottish Social Attitudes Survey

        It says on the first page The 2012 Scottish Social Attitudes Survey interviewed a probability sample of 1,229 adults face to face between July and November 2012.

        The latest Angus Reid Public Opinion poll of 1,003 people was published four days ago and shows YES 32% and NO 47% (sorry for saying 34%, faulty memory, but only 2% out). LINK HERE. Interestingly, this poll was the first to use the actual question.

        Regarding mountains and their scaleability – In March 2011, two months before the Holyrood election that returned an SNP majority, Labour held a 15% lead over the SNP in the opinion polls 44% to 29%. I make the difference between 32% and 47% in the latest poll to be 15%, so not so impossible eh?

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  32. Hello Jamie
    “So, to the Yes and Nationalist folks – How would my life improve if Scotland was Independent? The condition is that you do not give me any political reasons. I want to know what tangible changes will occur that would make it worth me voting Yes”
    There in lies part of the problem, not the best way to look at this whole anti/pro independence debate.
    You talk of how independence will affect “me” and “my life”. The decision taken in 2014, whichever way, is for the greater good my friend.
    It genuinely saddens me to hear and read the self-centered concerns prioritised by so many of us.
    I am by no means well off, have a purposeful community based occupation but see at first hand the sick in what we have now come to know as the ‘sick society’ we have tolerated for so long. Where and when does this change Jamie? Why should we co-exist with growing numbers of drug dealers and users, violent crime, a lack of aspiration or self worth in abundance. These ails have not happened overnight and will not be remedied overnight. One thing is for sure, real change for a fairer society, benefiting each and every one of us, regardless of out lot, will take brave decisions, seldom considered new directions and most of all, forward thinking politics with the stomach direct Scotland away from mediocrity and inequality.
    We and us should be the starting point when considering which way to vote. The “I’m all right Jack” mindset has contributed hugely to the demise of communities we share and society in general.
    I eagerly await an oportunity to contribute towards shaping a new Scotland, one free to utilise all powers capable of fascilitating the changes required to make Scotland a fairer and more equal country.

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      • Please instead of obsessing over peoples right to anonymity on this site, highlight which comments in particular you do not concur with Gus. I in turn will be glad to elaborate or clarify.
        I too look forward at some point to encountering something from yourself worthy of doing more than simply sighing in despair at.

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        • I can assure you I am most certainly not obsessed with peoples right to anonymity, but I do strongly believe people should have the courage of their own conviction and therefore have the guts to put their names to comments. For example why should you have the right to answer to me using my name “Gus”, but I am expected to reply to someone who goes by the name of “JnrTick”. So in future if you answer me would you mind calling me “SnrTick”.

          You asked which comments I do not concur with, where do I start, “you are by no means well off , but have purposeful community based occupation but see at first hand the sick in what we have now come to know as the sick society we have tolerated for so long”. How lucky you are.
          Society problems are worldwide and no separatist move by Scotland will change it.
          You also state”why should we co-exist with growing numbers of drug dealers and users,violent crime,a lack of inspiration or self worth in abundance”.
          What are you proposing to do with those who do not fit in with your separatist Utopia? Perhaps some form of ethnic cleansing to rid Scotland of those who do not fit in with your views! Again the problems you refer to are society problems and would not be solved by separation.

          You personally seem to have a I’m all right Jack attitude, you appear not to care about others as long as you and your kind are okay.
          Your statement regarding shaping a new Scotland sounds great but you are only interested in those who agree with you.

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          • It beats me why anyone chooses to skulk behind the name of a nasty, annoying and potentially lethal parasite – or is that a fair description of their character?

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    • “I eagerly await an oportunity to contribute towards shaping a new Scotland”

      Okay, let’s try another bit of detail. How exactly will you contribute? What will you as a Scot be given that will allow you to contribute more than you can today?

      This is something I’ve mentioned before. Webcraft has picked up on it with the ‘no left or right’.

      Si I’m interested – how will politics of an Independent Scotland will change to allow you and I greater contribution to the running of our country?

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      • I’m interested – how will politics of an Independent Scotland will change to allow you and I greater contribution to the running of our country?

        Essentially we wil have a fairer system of government.

        The obvious points to me are:

        ~ All decisions affecting Scotland will be made in Scotland.

        ~ Scotland will get the government it votes for – so often not the case in the last 60 years when a predominately Labour Scotland has been ruled by a Tory government at Westminster

        ~ Your vote carries more weight because we have a proportional representation system. Better representation for minority views.

        (e.g. – if we had a Westminster ‘first past the post’ system here the Tories would have just 3 MSPs instead of their current 15 – PR gives them an influence proportional to their actual share of the vote)

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        • Okay, fair enough, I almost even agree with you :)

          But it is still not a big enough change to make me want it. I want to know that if a government acts against the wishes of the population, they can be removed.

          The constitution is not quite doing that, it’s being used for another purpose, which is to try force SNP policy on us for generations (because it would be done before a post-Indy election).

          PS – Did not UK voters reject AV at a referendum? What was the Scottish result on that?

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          • The Scottish electoral system makes a majority government unlikely . . . the current SNP majority was unforseen and is unprecedented. After independence and following the 2014 election it is likely that there will be a return to coalition or minority governments.

            Surely this makes it more difficult for an autocratic or unpopular government to cling to power, not less difficult? I am not sure what your point about being able to ‘remove’ a government is.

            The SNP are not intending to write the constitution before independence in an attempt to enshrine SNP policy in law for all time . . . that is a travesty of what the First Minister actually said:
            “We will make it one of the first duties of the parliament of an independent Scotland to establish a convention to draw up that written constitution. And we will return to our older constitutional tradition of the people’s sovereignty, by making sure the people are directly involved in that process.

            Scotland’s constitutional convention will provide an opportunity for everyone to express their views. All political parties will be involved, together with the wider public and civic Scotland.

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  33. Scottish politics . . .

    Time to stop thinking in terms of right and left.

    Think instead in terms of right and wrong.

    That’s where we want to get.

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  34. Supporting my statement that the ‘constitution’ will become cementing of SNP policy. This is frankly appalling. There has never ever been a vote on nuclear weapons, and never will be. The SNP are abusing their power to make their will that of the people.

    “We believe that nuclear weapons have no place in Scotland. We will therefore advocate that a written constitution should include a constitutional ban on nuclear weapons being based in Scotland.”

    Why don’t they just write the whole thing then get their MSPs to approve it before they are booted out in 2016?

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    • Jamie,

      Please see my post above. The SNP have no intention of ‘enshrining SNP policy in the constitution prior to independence’

      They have said they will ‘advocate’ that a ban on WMD is part of the constitution. If the other bodies on theConstitutional Convention disagree then it won’t make it in there. However, grassrooots Labour has always supported that position, as has the church, humanists and many other groups, so I would not be surprised to see this one getting the thumbs up. Not every citizen wil agree with everything in their county’s constitution (think US and 2nd amendment) – but that does not mean having one is a bad thing.

      The constitution would only be enshrined in law AFTER independence, when the new Scottish parliament – be it Labour, SNP or a rainbow coalition – will see it through due process.

      Iceland recently rewrote its constitution with widespread public involvement, to international acclaim. Why should Scotland be incapable of doing the same?

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      • THe bottom line is this – decisions such as Nuclear weapons/power, the decision to be in or out of the EU should be taken by public vote, not just because the SNP want it – yes they had a majority, but that’s my whole point – 5 years without any further say.

        How long into power was it before the AV referendum? I’ve not heard a single peep from the SNP about referendums being held – they put it all to consultation, from which nothing is binding.

        Promise to hold referendums on EU and Referendum on Nuclear power/weapons and I might buy it (even if I don’t buy Indy).

        Until then, the constitution will be seen as an SNP driven wish list, bolstered by whicever organisation happens to favour each particular section.

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        • We elect governments to take decisions for us. We can’t decide everything by referendum.

          I’ve already explained that the SNP are not going to write up party policy in a ‘signed sealed and delivered’ constitution implemented on independence day, and that in fact it will probably not be an SNP government that delivers the constitution in the end.

          Demonising Alex Salmond is a trick that seems to be working to an extent for the NO campaign, but might I suggest a little closer examination? The unauthorised biography ‘Against The Odds’ by David Torrance will give you a lot more insight into the man if you are genuinely open to debate.

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          • Not everything, but big things like these. Fairly fundamental.

            Will try get a read when I can. I don`t doubt his ability or motivation, but I find him rath er extreme at times.

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  35. Some years ago I happened to be on a flight to London with Salmond. All I can say is that the behaviour I witnessed from him was one of a bully with a very large ego.

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