Uncontrolled mob rally: BBC ‘Scotland Decides’ debate

Watching tonight’s BBC 1 ‘debate’, Scotland Decides, in the hope of an interesting and informed debate, turned out to be an unpleasant – and disturbing – experience.

There is usually a degree of  managed ‘balance’ in the make up of studio audiences and this will  have been the case tonight.

However, the pro-independence members of the audience appeared to be operating on a common ‘drown them out’ strategy, with determinedly heavy clapping  – and whooping – at any pro-independence statement; and manifest hostility to questions focused on the very many genuinely difficult issues that do exist and that any responsible voter should understand and consider.

There was no considering here. You often could not hear what either the presenter or the panel members were saying.

This was as close to mob rule as it gets. It was an overt promise of an utterly partisan direction of travel, intolerant of the contrary view, which simply shouts it down.

We should all be concerned about this. We face much more of it between now and September 2013.

Trying to intimidate and overwhelm the expression of reasonable questions is bullying which the BBC made no attempt whatsoever to avoid.

This was not a debate.

It was a gladiatorial event. It was a triumphalist political rally. And we’re not ‘Aw’right’.

This was not helped by Glenn Campbell, whose own stance was by no means impartial.

Campbell challenged Annabel Goldie early on, with bullish muscularity and over very little. At the same time he let John Swinney away with utterly unevidenced assertions of  Scotland’s wealth and its ability to afford independence. Swinney gave not one single figure to support his claims, nor, astonishingly, was he asked for any.

Campbell also let Swinney away with serial evasion of a straight question: ‘If the privatisation of the Royal Mail goes ahead and Scotland were independent, would you renationalise the Post Office.’

Worse, at one point, when Goldie – by far the most effective advocate for the Union – was pressing the point about the leaked paper John Swinney had presented to the Scottish cabinet, expressing serious concerns about an independent Scotland’s ability to afford pension commitments, Campbell actually interrupted Goldie in defence of Swinney – who was there to defend himself.

This event showed all of the evidence of an organised claque in the audience whose  – successfully delivered – purpose was to disrupt serious investigation and to behave like the most partisan of fans at a local derby football final.

No one with any measured awareness, would vote to live in a place governed by such unreason.

On the pensions issue

If John Swinney believed what he said tonight, then he is far less competent than we have consistently thought him to be – in the context of a Scottish parliament with a very shallow talent pool.

If he did not believe what he said, then he is more deceiving that we had hoped he might have to become.

He gave an unequivocal assurance that both public sector and private sector pensions would be ‘absolutely guaranteed under independence’ in the terms in which they were entered into.

He rested this assurance on the fact that currently, under devolution, ‘Scotland allocates 38% of its social protection budget to pensions where the UK allocates 42%, saying that therefore Scotland had more latitude to afford these costs than did the UK.

He neglected to contextualise this position in the very different financial circumstances of independence from devolution.

An independent Scotland would have very substantial new costs to meet which the current devolved Scotland does not have to cover.

One of these costs is the servicing – from day one – of Scotland’s share of the national debt. This will see the budget available for pensions – and for much else – reduced from present levels.

38% of a lower budget – if 38% were even a sustainable allocation – is hardly convincing of affordability.

On the affordability of independence

A few months ago we showed that an independent Scotland – under the most helpful of positive assumptions, would struggle financially.

We had chosen to assume:

  • a £140BN share of the national debt in May 2016;
  • interest rates paid today by the UK on the national debt;
  • the geographical share out of North Sea oil and gas assets that is the most favourable to Scotland;
  • a positive average of UK tax revenues from oil and gas assets;
  • current levels of spending on welfare.

When we did the sums under these assumptions, they showed that interest on that £140 BN debt alone would almost wipe out a fairly generous assumption of annual income from oil revenues, leaving Scotland’s high welfare costs to be met from other resources.

A report today from the independent National Institute of Economic and Social Research noted that an independent Scotland would start not with £140 BN but with £150 BN of inherited national debt.

It calculated that the inclusion of future liabilities – as with pensions – would take that debt to £183 BN. This is 123% of Scotland’s GDP, where the EU guidance on the maxiumum percentage of debt to GDP is around 60%.

This debt figure did not include any estimate of the set-up costs of an independent Scotland which would be substantial and which we assume would have to be met by borrowing.

Tonight’s ‘debate’ went nowhere near a fact-based picture of both sides of the balance sheet for an independent Scotland.

It made no reference at all to the essential fragility of earnings from the oil and gas assets an independent Scotland would inherit.

Neither the UK now nor an independent Scotland ‘own’ these assets. They are leased under contract to the oil and gas companies.

Scotland therefore would  ‘own’, not the oil but only the right to levy tax on the profits from oil and gas production.

First Minister Alex Salmond has committed to lowering corporation tax to encourage business development in an independent Scotland. But it is corporation tax that brings in the revenues from the oil and gas sector – when they are producing, which is profit driven and erratic. So an independent Scotland would already be looking at earning less from this industry than does the UK at present.

Then, a few weeks ago, Mr Salmond was forced to assure the oil and gas sector players, in a visit to Aberdeen, that an independent Scotland  would ‘help’ them with decommissioning costs for the over-aged North Sea infrastructure.

The First Minister had no alternative but to make this commitment to reassure the industry. He had to match an unannounced agreement just made with the industry by the UK government – to give it relief on corporation tax as a contribution towards the costs of North Sea decommissioning.

The agreement the First Minister made means that an independent Scotland would see very little revenue from oil and gas for a considerable time; where, as a devolved member of the Union, it will continue regardless to receive its traditional funding allocations.

Set this serious reduction of potential earnings from oil against a debt burden much higher than we had assumed, against a much more reduced ability to pay than we had assumed – and against the promises being regularly made by the SNP to spend even more on welfare and social protection -  and the sums obviously do not add up.

Yet tonight no one even asked Mr Swinney for the figures to justify his sweeping assurance that of course Scotland – ‘the ’8th wealthiest country in the world’ – could afford independence.


The lack of awareness of the financial realities amongst almost all members of the audience is of real concern; and the lack of any real interest in having such information is numbing.

We seem to have ‘educated’ a nation, living in the greatest ever plankton of information yet largely incapable of dealing with information.

The fact that the younger members of the audience were much more vigorously pro independence than the more mature – and explicit in saying that they didn’t care about the costs or the challenges, is of real concern.

A Progressive Scottish Opinion poll quoted in this morning’s press, showing 27% supporting independence and 59% supporting the Union, also showed that two thirds of the 18-24 age bracket intended to vote ‘No’.

None of this necessarily offers comfort to those wishing to see Scotland continue as a member of the United Kingdom.

This poll made no mention of the crucial 16-18 band, on whose intentions there has been no substantive recent polling.

When the TV cameras go chasing opinions from this sector, they invariably go to the middle class articulates, where many are at least informed and proud of it – whichever way they intend to vote. The cameras never go into the hard edge sink schools or near those more likely to be uninterested in information and more prone to vote on a battlefield myth.

It is not unlikely that this single sector of brand new voters will take Scotland into an independence whose gravity they have not lived long enough to understand but who, being young and uncommitted, will have the latitude to ship out when it involves tough times.

Tonight was all about the battlefield mentality.

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118 Responses to Uncontrolled mob rally: BBC ‘Scotland Decides’ debate

  1. What the heck? You think Scotland doesn’t have to cover her share of the national debt at present?

    Editor, you truly appear to be living on another planet. Next you’ll be telling us that ‘the oil’s about to run out’. That prophecy the pro-union brigade has been using for the past three decades.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 40 Thumb down 32

    • When the Scottish Government starts issuing bonds then you can say that Scotland is covering her share of the National Debt. Until then, I see no way that you can justify your statement.

      Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 13 Thumb down 12

      • Russell is quite right. the GERS numbers (google it) include our share of servicing the Public debt, and They still show Scotland far better off than the UK as a whole.

        Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 18 Thumb down 5

  2. A disgusting display by those in support of separation . Opponents shouted down and derided to the delight of John Swinney and Glenn Campbell.
    Following on from the disgusting treatment of Nigel Farage in Edinburgh , many will be wondering, what next , boots and fists ?

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 45 Thumb down 39

      • IFE

        Is it not the truth that the YES Speakers were better than the lindem chappy and the Dame to be and you don’t like it.

        As for Farage he has enough problems with his own party members views on women. Do you agree with Farage’s view of the world?

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 1

        • Rennie – absolutely. Although to be honest being ‘better’ than Rennie in a public debate is a little like being better than Homer Simpson in a healthy diet contest.

          However I don’t think the two ‘Yes’ speakers were any better than Goldie (as much as I am far from keen on her political leanings). I thought the other three were pretty much on a par.

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 6

          • Willie Rennie is in an awful position. He became leader by default, with a total of 3 MSPs, 2 constituency and 3 List.
            None of the areas these MSPs represent are seriously contiguous, which makes it impossible to build any critical mass.
            The 3 list MSPs are about as stretched apart as it possible to be – in NE Scotland; Mid Scotland and Fife; and South Scotland.
            The 2 constituency MSPs are respectively in Orkney and Shetland.
            Because there are so few of them, Willie Rennie has to act as spokesperson for just about everything, including treasury matters, of which is he is less than in command.
            He is quite engaging, in a schoolboyish way but, like pretty well all of the MSPs at Holyrood – and we’d include Alex Salmond as he is today – he is not above the level of the averagely capable local councillor.

            Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 11

    • I’m afraid that this is typical of the behaviour of Yes campaign supporters in all the media – particularly on web blogs (so called CyberNats). Somehow they lose track of the issue under debate and resort to loud rants and personal attacks on any individual who happens to disagree with them. The few that stick to the subject usually resort to plucking obviously implausible numbers and statistics out of the air.
      These “debates” (the 2 I’ve seen have been more like rammies than debates) add nothing nor shed any meaningful light of the independence issue. I can only surmise that this is a sign of the yes supporters seeing themselves on the losing side of the argument!

      Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 27 Thumb down 27

      • I’ve just been lambasted on newsnetscotland for asking the question ‘What’s in it for me?’

        I’m the ‘worst regions of human nature’, ‘self interested’, belong in London, by implication want to be a tax dodger, i’m a minority, selfish and short sighted.

        See it for yourself… http://newsnetscotland.com/index.php/referendum/8046-decisions-made-in-scotland-will-unlock-gains-of-independence

        Read the title – ‘unlock gains’. Just not for hard workers.

        (hope you don’t mind newsroom)

        Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 19 Thumb down 25

        • Point well made, Jamie. Must admit that it gave me a bit of a chortle.

          At least they are now allowing you to comment – that’s progress!

          Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 14 Thumb down 21

        • Sorry, Jamie, but I read the offending article and I think you got what you deserved, although the replies were a bit more polite than I would have put it. I am not voting yes for my own benefit, I won’t be around that long after Independence. You might, and your selfish Tory “I’m all right Jack and I want to stay that way and b****r the rest of you” attitude is EXACTLY why I am voting YES. The sooner we can have a more considerate and sharing Scotland, the better. Expect no sympathy from me, I’ll save it for those who really need it.

          Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 26 Thumb down 10

          • No sympathy needed or required. An ability to understand the other side of the debate is, but heyho, not happening from the likes of you.

            It says everything about your mentality – to you those who support the state, take least from it and pay their taxes to support those who do not or cannot are the selfish ones. An exceptionally warped logic.

            Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 3 Thumb down 17

          • So far, apart from some fuzzy warm feeling i’m supposed to get, not one Nationalist has come up with anything that might benefit me or my family.

            It’s not as selfish as people make out. I’ll word it slightly different for JnrTic, Barmore and Andy.

            Will Indy bring any tangible benefit for me and my family? Will it provide a better jobs market? More jobsecurity? Lower taxation? Lower fuel bills? Better roads infrastructure? Better local services? Cheaper and more affordable housing? Better healthcare than the Scottish run NHs provides? Better ferry services to visit friends and family?

            It’s endless. I do not see any of the above as selfish, and perfectly reasonable to want to know if the things that matter to me will be better?

            But the Yes camp have failed categorically to respond constructively. In facts, they have completely alienated me from the Yes side of the debate – clearly they are not interested in everyone in Scotland, only a specific subset of people and their needs. As Andy might say – ‘b****r anyone who is not less well off, we don’t care about them in this debate’.

            Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 4 Thumb down 18

          • Will Indy bring any tangible benefit for me and my family? Will it provide a better jobs market? More jobsecurity? Lower taxation? Lower fuel bills? Better roads infrastructure? Better local services? Cheaper and more affordable housing? Better healthcare than the Scottish run NHs provides? Better ferry services to visit friends and family?

            No-one can tell you this for sure. There ARE no guarantees in life, and if you ask the same questions of the Union you will get the same uncertainty.

            The answers to these questions depend on many things – including the people we elect and the way they govern. I think the theory is that with independence we would have greater influence over our government.
            While not being a fervent nationalist myself I find it hard to fault that simple logic and equally hard to understand the constant impossible requests from the status quo side for guarantees as to the shape of a future independent Scotland ten years hence.

            A NO vote doesn’t guarantee anything either.

            Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 14 Thumb down 3

          • For Jamie Black:

            1 A better jobs market -I believe so.

            2 Job security – Depends on who you work for, how good you are at your job etc.

            3 Lower taxation – I’m not an economist, but why should it? The cost of everything is going up under the present UK Govt. & with their selling off of the Royal Mail for example you can be sure that your mail costs will go up even if the 6 day a week delivery is maintained. I know, I know, this is going to be “enshrined in legislation” but how long will that last?

            4 Lower fuel bills – unlikely under any Govt. Whatever their colour… Sorry about that – I’m afraid that’s a fact of life no matter what anyone says!

            5 Better roads infrastructure. I’m not a fan of the A9 but surely you have to admit that the Scottish Govt. Is at least putting it’s money where it’s mouth is. Neither am I a particular fan of the solution for the A83 at the Rest & Be Thankful but at least something is finally happening.

            6 Better local services. If by that you mean “Will local Govt. be better financed?” Then yes, I believe it will be in time. What the local authority then decides to do with the money is up to them, their councillors and, ultimately, you as a voter.

            7 Cheaper & more affordable housing. Once we, as a nation, have control of all our revenues one of the things that can be done is to start building more homes – this will provide more jobs, more people in work, more money in the worker’s pockets and, as the supply of houses increases there will be, hopefully a decrease in prices. Nothing in this world is certain, however, and the greed of bankers does not give me much hope that they will be controlled & ‘reined-in’ in their desire for profit!

            8 Better healthcare than the “Scottish run NHS provides” in my opinion, having recently had a kidney removed, you can’t get much better than the Scottish run NHS. If we vote ‘NO’ I firmly believe that one of the first consequences will be an attempt to cut the ‘block grant’ to Holyrood resulting in less money for Scotland and our NHS. The ongoing current privatisation of the NHS in England currently means that their is already a decrease in the Barnett ‘consequentials’ to Scotland and our current Govt., in Holyrood, STILL MANAGES TO FULLY FUND THE NHS IN SCOTLAND,! As an aside, you do realise that, by law, the Scottish Govt. Is not allowed to overspend their budget and that, since the SNP came into power the budget has been balanced every year?

            9 Better ferry services. I infer from this that either you live, or have family living, on one of Islands. Is it a more frequent service you want? Perhaps you want a bridge joining the island to the mainland? The first is under the control of Cal-Mac, currently owned & subsidised by the Scottish Govt. for many years now. Would you like it privatised with the (probable) consequent increase in costs and fares?

            I totally disagree with your last paragraph “Yes…..not interested in everyone in Scotland” This is absolute rubbish – no personal offence meant, but it is. The YES campaign is about EVERYONE in Scotland and I am voting with them for the future of my young relations so that decisions about Scotland can be made in Scotland by, and only by, the people of Scotland with no external, unelected by us, Govt. Department!

            I trust that you will, as I have your comments, give some serious thought to my response.

            Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 11 Thumb down 6

          • In reply to JB.
            Do I really have to take you through what the future holds for the UK after I gave my Swiss exchange rate example below?
            It is a complex issue but if we (the UK) rebalanced our exports and imports so that imports are predominantly primary and our exports are predominantly secondary the UK stands some chance of reversing the long term downward trend of impoverishment. Unfortunately, the reverse is happening, in the last few years our export balance has moved towards more primary and less secondary product. Nothing any of the UK parties are proposing will correct this as too much of the UK’s creative resource is consumed by London.
            Scotland, despite one size fits all UK economic policy is in the fortunate position of exporting more manufactured goods than we import, the same is true of Food and Drink, and Energy in spades. Scotland is a world leader in Life, Nano and IT sciences. Our tertiary exports include World class Funds management and creative IT skills, Grand Theft Auto V being the latest example.
            So Scotland’s path and its population, and your family, can step off the downward UK spiral by voting “Yes” and have a good chance of developing an even more robust, well balanced and beneficial economy. Nothing warm and fuzzy about that, just good sense.

            Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 1

  3. Did not see the program but if Glen Campbell is supporting the Independence cause he must have been the victim of a lightening strike. I did see the show the night before with Kirsty[Labour Party Member] Wark showing she was as biased as ever in the borders but still the audience would not be drawn in the direction she was trying so hard to push.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 30 Thumb down 12

    • How dare they
      “determinedly heavy clapping”. Bring back Hughie Greens clapometer so each side gets a mention.
      I have to say to wheel out the new Dame Goldie was a bad mistake for the noeee’s.
      In the past she has shown some wit etc even although I do not agree with her views but she was terrible. John Sweeney and Patrick Harvie were just sharper than their opponents.

      Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 34 Thumb down 33

    • Apparently a number of independence supporters applied to be members of the Newsnight audience and claimed to be “undecided”. Much gloating on their part afterwards online.

      Now why would they want to give the impression that support for independence is growing? Why do they want to trick us into voting Yes?

      Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 13 Thumb down 21

      • It happens regularly on Question Time and Any Questions, the Left are particularly guilty both of talking over other panellists and, in the audience, shouting down anyone they don’t like.

        Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 20 Thumb down 19

      • Oh jockstap derogotary term if ever I heard

        I am sure when you fill in your ballet paper you could be tricked between a yes and a vote? What cobblers

        How sad that you cannot debate but follow the noeeees negative attitude

        Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 17 Thumb down 4

      • Mob rule

        I checked the news cannot find one count of fire raising, rioting, bottles thrown, cars being overturned —– but I did note that the Noeeee representatives were pretty dire. Mind you couldn’t help but chuckle seeing the nooeeee group at the front sitting very glum faced as others clapped —— extremely loudly.

        How dare the natives be so restless !

        I bet you noeee’s are furiously giving the thumbs down to make you feel better lol

        Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 19 Thumb down 8

    • Yes JJ, just a trivial matter too, well, to some like yourself that is. Such contempt.
      I recall David Cameron, the UK’s prime minister advising us that we will have an in/out EU referendum in 2017. Why so long he was asked? It is an important decision and one we will need to take our time to consider, he advises.
      The unadulterated bloody duplicity given all we’ve heard from the Better Together ‘No’ campaign trivialising our referendum by asking why wait until 2014.
      Shame on them and you for that matter.

      Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 25 Thumb down 10

      • JnrTick – 12 months of bickering, insults, fur flying, snarling, name calling etc etc deserves contempt. Give me a grown up debate about the issue then I might sit up and take notice. But at the moment I’ve yet to hear one good reason why
        I should vote for independence. And as Scotland has never had it so good, why try and fix something that isn’t broken. Now excuse me while I go and lie down for another a wee snooze.

        Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 13 Thumb down 21

        • When someone says “it isn’t broken” I generally tell them a wee personal story.
          As a young scout with Aberlour Scouts 41 years ago this summer I went to the International Scout Camp at Kandersteg in Switzerland. The exchange rate then was SFR10=£1. Now the exchange rate is around SFR1.45=£1. Shocking isn’t it (google it if you disbelieve)? And this is despite over the same period the UK getting the bonus of (in todays money) around £1000Billion pumped into the Exchequer from offshore Oil and Gas.
          This problem is related to our continually importing more than we export, and unfortunately all the recent data suggests this is only getting worse (Guardian report a couple of months ago).

          Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 21 Thumb down 5

          • Clearly I need to explain. The collapse of the value in the £ (which can also be seen against other european currencies) equates to a record of impoverishment. Is that clear enough? Hence “despite”.

            Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 19 Thumb down 2

          • Yup. Couldn’t remember off the top of my head, but readers might want to google ‘Paradox of plenty’ or the ‘resource curse’, ‘Dutch Disease’, and, for the exception to the rule, ‘Norwegian Paradox’.

            Suddenly problems that are apparently unique to the UK, and oft blamed on Westminster, are actually far more common in other countries.
            Very interesting reading.

            Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 3 Thumb down 24

          • So let me get this right, JB …

            Massive devaluation of sterling which, as I understand it, means we in the UK all work for less in global terms, our imports are more expensive, our savings are slashed in value, and our assets can be picked up cheaply by foreigners, is a Good Thing?

            And a £1,000,000,000,000 windfall for the government is a Bad Thing? (Except, of course, when it goes to those nice men you like at the UK Treasury.)

            You’re winding us up ….. No?

            Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 20 Thumb down 2

          • Ah! Sorry, I’m actually having a chuckle at my own expense. Your point reminded me of something, hence the links.

            After your post, I did some figs but I’d taken the figs you provided and got them the wrong way round. When you posted about depreciation, I wrote them down on paper and still worked out appreciation. However, after rereading your Kandersteg example again, and looking at my piece of paper, i’ve written them in the wrong order and i was completely puzzled why I kept getting appreciation each time. Calc was right, figs were in wrong order! :-) Yes, it must be Friday.

            Nonetheless, the articles are still completely relevant, if not directly to your point.

            Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 1 Thumb down 22

          • pm – hands up on my mistake.

            However, as I say, and this was my point – the articles are interesting. Do you think they are irrelevant? You think that oil and gas did no harm to the UK economy? Sorry, but i would disagree with that. I suggest you read through the articles and identify similarities with the UK. You’ll find plenty, and my point was was whereas so many problems are blamed solely on Westminster, it’s pretty evident that natural resources can cause havoc.

            it’s ironic that so many Yes campaigners make comments like ‘oh, we’ll have so much money’ and yet ironically, this very valuable resource genuinely does have downsides.

            Please read the articles, and let me know your thoughts.

            Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 0 Thumb down 20

          • The Paradox is only marginally relevant to the UK. Oil and Gas’s % share of the whole UK economy was always relatively small. The currency had been depreciating for decades before the oil was discovered. So the depreciation I referenced above was sadly the continuation of a long run trend. The significance of the Exchequer boost was the UK could have used it much more constructively (as Norway has done).

            Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 16 Thumb down 2

          • I haven’t read anything recently about the ‘paradox of plenty’ but I know the arguments well enough.

            The problem is not about having plenty, it’s about how you manage it if you’re lucky enough to have it land on you. Anything I’ve read about the so-called paradox seems to agree with that.

            I mean, a century ago, Britain was the world’s second biggest producer of coal at 240 million out of 860 million tons; the UK and the US between them produced 70% of global output. Are we to say that both countries would have been economically better off without coal?

            The Norwegian Paradox, so-called by economists because it negates their paradox of plenty, is, I’m sure, no paradox to the Norwegians themselves. The fact that it is a puzzle to certain schools of economic thinking just goes to show how dumb economists can be. The Norwegian model for dealing with a resource-based windfall appears to be planned, disciplined, intelligent and evidently works.

            The Dutch, on the other hand, could perhaps have managed things better and I dare say the Norwegians learned from that, but it is by no means clear that there was, in fact, a significant negative impact to the Dutch economy caused directly by the discovery of natural gas. This was conceded later by one of the economists who had originally coined the notion.

            Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 15 Thumb down 1

        • JJ, are you seriously telling us not to fix something that isn’t broken?
          Oh come on, maybe not in Argyll & Bute (yet) but did you know here in the UK today as we speak we have food banks? People queuing because they cannot afford to sustain themselves, think that’s not broken?
          I could very easily go on but if you think the UK and living standards within are acceptable just because one might compare to those in the third world then fine.
          You may wish to ask yourself have successive Westminster governments got where funds are allocated properly prioritised?
          Might they be serving our interests better? When judging how well we are off we should be comparing the UK to the countries performing best where living standards and public services in countries such as Luxembourg, Germany, France, Norway are the benchmark.

          Recently I got talking to a client aged around late 70′s who advised that his hip which was obviously incapacitating him, restricting mobility and causing chronic pain required operating on. He says this is to happen in 8 months time.
          Not good enough and just one example of why this “Great” Britain is most definitely nowhere near it.

          Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 13 Thumb down 3

          • The countries you mention all have extraordinarily high income tax rates to fund their public services and Norway isn’t even in the EU. Somehow I don’t think the public in the UK would stomach having to pay more tax at the moment. All of these countries have their own problems to deal with and looking over the fence and thinking the grass is greener is a common mistake many idealists make. I wonder how many people visiting the ‘food banks’ you mention smoke, drink, have mobile phones and Sky TV?? We seem to live in a society today where everyone thinks the world owe them living! As for your 70 year old – I’m sorry to hear there is an 8 month wait for his/her hip replacement operation. Thank goodness they live in a country where a) hip replacement operations are available and b) it’s free!

            Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 5 Thumb down 13

          • JJ that is an appalling remark. I suggest you do some research and open your eyes. You won’t have to look far before your prejudice is shown for what it is.

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          • JJ it is your implication that people have to use food banks because they spend their money on things you deem to be wasteful.
            I see horrors every day – people who through no fault of their own are in dire straits. I will quote Warren Buffett who has become one of the richest men in the world. He lives frugally and intends given all his wealth to charity because “there are so many people out there who have not had the luck I have had”.

            Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 2

          • Ian Anderson – I am still waiting to hear (from anyone) one good reason why I should vote for independence next year. I’m not interested in rhetoric, hearsay, or anecdotes – I want the truth and I want facts and sadly neither side are offering either – just more scaremongering and vote buying incentives!
            I want to know if independence will:
            1) Improve our economy and if so how;
            2) Increase unemployment, and if so how;
            3) Improve our roads, communications and infrastructure, and if so how:
            4) Provide better education for everyone, and if so how;
            5) Provide a better health service especially in the Highlands and Islands and if so how;
            6) Maintain the security of our borders, and if so how;
            7) Reduce our crime rates, particularly those involving alcohol and drugs and if so how;
            8)Care for our aging population and if so how;
            9) Protect and invest in our existing industries, and identify new sustainable ones and if so how;
            And these are just the basics; what about currency, the monarchy, the banking system, border controls, the NHS, immigration, the commonwealth, the welfare system, the tax system etc etc etc. And when these questions have been answered I then want to know just exactly how it is all going to be paid for and by whom?
            Do you really think an independent Scotland with their own s**te politicians will make better decisions on how to spend our money than those made by successive UK governments??
            Vote for independence and cut the apron strings from Ma in Westminster, but then pitch your lot in with the largest, most corrupt and expensive political family aka as the EU? Call that Independence? Where’s the sense in that?? Out of the frying pan and into the fire I would say – Scotland would become slaves and the whipping boy to her new European masters.
            Anyone with an ounce of sense will vote NO come the big day; vote for independence and you will be voting for a socialist country forever more!

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          • JJ, I’m in a quandary too.

            I’d repeat almost all you’ve written above but I would rephrase your demand to, “I want to know if continued Westminster rule will:”.

            As for your comment on the essential qualities of politicians, you plainly defer to the perceived superiority inherent in those of the Eton College/Oxbridge class.

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          • Hello PM – yes I would like to know what will happen after a post NO vote but remember this wasn’t an issue or a question that Westminster brought to the table, Alex Salmond and the SNP did. The voters in England and Wales may want to be involved in any further or future discussion on the status of the UK – after all any changes made will/may affect them too.

            With regard to the essential qualities of a politician – I don’t think the Eton College/Oxbridge class have a monopoly on being complete plonkers or are the only ones who suffer delusional superiority complexes. A certain MSP by the name of ‘Do you know who I am? Mike Russell’ comes to mind with regard to that one! All politicians get into office on the back of promises they can’t keep and once in office they are subject to a hefty reality check and find out that it’s the civil servants that run the country and not them after all!

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          • You ignore a crucial piece of the equation: the people of Scotland voted democratically for a party which had an independence referendum as a key element of its manifesto, that party won the election and this is where we are, like it or not.

            “We”, collectively, brought it to the table, unless you don’t agree with democracy that is.

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          • Hello Ian Anderson – which part of my response do you regard as appalling? I have done my research and my eyes are wide open. My comments and views are based on what I see and experience everyday – they are based on facts and reasons, so I’m not sure what it is that you regard as being prejudice.

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  4. This would appear to be Newsroom accusing the BBC of biase towards the Yes campaign…surely not (sic)

    I watched this program and thought the audience opened the No campaign arguments up to the sort of analysis and demolition that the media has singularly failed to do.

    I suspect the Newsroom is desperately trying to counter the obvious fact that Yes won the debate hands down.
    I suggest anyone who didn’t see it should watch it on the BBC iPlayer and draw their own conclusions rather than relying on this nonsense.

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    • ‘This would appear to be Newsroom accusing the BBC of biase towards the Yes campaign’

      Perhaps more accurate to say bias at BBC Scotland. Perhaps they are thinking of all the promotions they will get with an independent broadcasting operation in Scotland though I suspect that it would have to run on much tighter budgets with a reduced income so might not be the gravy train they dream of.

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      • I don’t really want to get involved in this thread, not having seen the programme but, point of information, the BBC spends a very great deal less in Scotland than it collects in TV licences. £320 million taken out but only £170 million returned, in fact.

        So why should there be a reduced income for a Scottish public service broadcaster?

        Come to think of it, why, independence or no, do we put up with it?

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        • That fact is totally wrong pm.

          Virtually all of the output is available in Scotland, as it is to any other area of the UK. It is totally wrong to have expectations that every penny coming from Scotland will be spent in Scotland.

          This is the spin put on by the Yes campaign, and whilst it sounds logical, it’s a rather warped way of looking at things. The same goes for defence – we ALL benefit from the security gained by the UK spending on defence, regardless on whether that money is spent in Scotand or not.

          It’s a slippy slope….you do know that spending per head is higher in Scotland that any other part of the UK??? That’s not very fair, it it?

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          • “Totally wrong”? Prove that one if you can.

            The claim I was responding to is that somehow an independent Scotland’s equivalent of the BBC would “have to run on much tighter budgets with a reduced income”. The BBC’s published figures prove that that statement is patently false.

            But if you’re content to see licence money extracted from all the corners of Britain and fed into highly paid jobs in the overheated economy of London, you’re entitled to have that opinion.

            Seems like a fool’s bargain to me. In the most recent breakdown I can find of the BBC’s costs, one hour of BBC1 broadcast time produced in London cost £160,000 on average. Produced anywhere else in Britain, the average cost of an hour for BBC1 was £31,000.

            Still happy with how your money gets spent?

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          • “It’s a slippy slope….you do know that spending per head is higher in Scotland that any other part of the UK??? That’s not very fair, it it?”

            Let’s just say for saying sake that what you say is correct Jamie. So you are happy to be ‘kept’? Do you sit on the dole and let others keep you, fund your existence. You don’t mind that you are being babysat, that another three countries subsidises you and your fellow citizens.

            Me, well, if what you say has a shred of substance which I think was blown out of the water even by those politicians such as Cameron, Darling and so on who have said on TV Scotland more than pays its way and can be a successful country, lets say they too are wrong, I being a responsible adult, one who wishes to contribute to the society I share for the common good would not be willing to allow the situation where my existence was at others expense.

            Still, maybe that situation sits well with you?

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          • JnrTick. My source of the information I’m happy to share. he is very well respected and in fact, only a few months ago the Nationalists were bandying about his report from the 70′s like he was the oracle and thus – it must be a good source.

            Yes, I’m talking about Prof. Gavin McCrone. I’ve read his ‘Weighing up the Economics’ as the first in a series of books I’m planning reading on the subject.

            There are a few things that stand out. One is, as mentioned, spending per head is much higher in Scotland, nearly £1200 per head. So whilst Scotland contributes ‘more’ in tax, that is more than balanced out with little net gain.

            The other ‘fact’ that is bandied about is regarding Scotland being such a wealthy nation. True – based on GDP. However this fact on it’s own means little. Remember the profits from all the oil and gas companies goes flying offshore in the main. We cannot measure GNP, which would be far more interesting.

            The feeling I got overall was ‘Why go to all this hassle for very few benefits?’. Sure, you can talk about bedroom tax and so on, but let’s be honest – the SNP answer to that is fling money at the problem rather than get to the route cause. These are policies that will come and go with Labour and Tory and not, in my opinion, enough reason for Indy. I could go on all night, but will spare you :)

            Anyways – if you want my copy, let me know. What do you suggest I read next? :)

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          • PM – I’ll be completely honest. I don’t have a TV and therefore don’t pay a license fee. I couldn’t give a monkey’s!

            But in all seriousness – when I do watch TV, the BBC content is the best. You only need to browse iplayer to see this. I can access all the content regardless of where it was produced. That is my point.

            Put it another way – how would you feel if rUK BBC content was not available in Scotland post-Indy? I doubt many people would be happy, and no wonder. The reduction in choice would be massive. The is no way a Scottish BBC could produce the same volume with only 5m possible fee payers.

            They’d want the content, and could probably get it by…paying a subscription!

            Those who moan about the BBC – be careful what you wish for!

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          • So Jamie, your factual information ‘proves’ Scotland and it’s citizens are subsidised by the UK.

            Now, as you made no attempt to answer my question I’ll ask again.
            You as a Scot are happy with this situation, the one you and Mr McCrone say we are in? You don’t want to take a grown up choice to along with the rest of the people in Scotland change this embarrassing situation we find ourselves in and fend for ourselves? You just content to keep on leeching of the English, Welsh and N.Irish taxpayer?

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          • JnrTick, Either Scotland more than pays her way in the UK (to quote Nicola Sturgeon) which means it’s a great reason for Indy or it ‘leeches’ off the UK and the shame makes a great reason for Indy.

            Which is it? You seem to choose whichever ones suits you at a given time.

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          • Jamie

            One thing I can never accuse this country of is leeching from the UK.

            You infer that we get more than we send to Westminster, most certainly not I!

            Hypothetically, if indeed as you believe Scotland is subsidised by the rUK this is just as if not more a valid reason to put this right by addressing it rather than continue.

            Time to get a backbone

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          • JB You asked JnrTick what you should read next… Can I suggest you start with my response to all your ‘wants’ which I posted last night about 6pm. That would be a good start!

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          • Check some of the programs are actually made under the BBC Scotland label for the whole country as are programs from Bristol predominately nature programs. The BBC Scotland programs are not all made in Scotland nor do they have scottish themes

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          • @sas
            The figures I quoted at the top of this section take that fact – that non Scottish BBC network programmes are produced in Scotland – into account and that is precisely my point. The net loss to Scotland on that basis is, as I said earlier, £150 million per year.

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  5. I set the Sky to record this as I was out last night and will watch it over the weekend.

    Having not seen it it is interesting to see the reaction on here, and on other sites, as it is almost identical to the reaction we got during the last televised independence debate on the BBC. It is also a little predictable.

    Everyone pro indepedence says they won the debate by a country mile and rubbished the No representatives and everyone pro union says the Yes campaigners behaved appallingly and should have been controlled better.

    All this does is confirm for me even more that televised debates offer very little to the democratic process and to the ‘floating voter’ – they simply feed the frenzy for those people in both camps whose minds were made up from day one.

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    • We share your doubts on the televised debates contributing anything other than bread and circuses.
      And yesterday the debate in the Scottish Parliament foreshadowed the modus operandi of the pro-independence faction in the audience for the Scotland Decides debate – SNP MSPs simply kept shouting down those speaking on the other side of the issue.
      This is Scotland’s parliament, not the SNP’s parliament and the brutishness of this sort of conduct – in what ought to be the fount of reasoned democracy, is a real worry about things to come.
      It is worse than Westminster, not better.

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      • Since when have any of the SNP wanted to listen to any other arguments other than their own? And if they don’t listen, they can’t hear so that can’t evaluate if they are right or wrong. They don’t want to. To have power and control is their only aim and they will not allow anything else. You only have to look at their leader and question why he’s still there to understand the problem.

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  6. Newsie / Lynda / this site is totally obsessed and cannot see the wood for the trees….or does not want to more like. By the way I saw the programe and in my oppinion, the “Yes” side won hands down.

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    • Indeed. The YES ‘mob’ (or audience members if you prefer) put the Better Together team on the spot with some difficult questions and got very few convincing answers.

      Very dangerous. I suggest that the BBC refrain from screening any more of these debates in case they encourage people to think too deeply about the issues. If in the interests of supposed balance and public interest Auntie feels obliged to venture into such dangerous territory she should make sure she only employs Wark, Brewer and perhaps Paxman. Presenters like these have the maturity to expose the apparent YES support for the mob hysteria and bullying it really is and will make sure the Unionist point of view comes through loud and clear.

      After all, we don’t want the sky falling in next year, do we?

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  7. I watched part of the BBC programme before I had to switch it off because of, in my view the unpleasant behaviour, as accurately described by FA, of the pro-independence camp. Another recent programme on the TV explained the rise of the nationalist movement in pre-war Germany. Whilst the extreme Scottish nationalists may be some way off the brutish tactics employed then, there were similarities in attitudes particularly when it came to suppressing opposition through undemocratic means.
    Perhaps the imminent pro-independence paper will address the issues in a more objective fashion so that we can have a proper and civilised debate on the independence question.

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    • You have obviously not heard Anas Sarwar in a televised debate or Kirsty [I will not let you answer the question] Wark grow up it is not only one side that boos and jeers The labour Benches today in the Scottish parliament are as guilty of not listening as your unionist supporting bias people on here.

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    • Spock you are linking the YES campaigners with the Facists of the 1930′s Germany?! are you suggesting pro independence supporters are Neo Nazi’s
      Get a grip of yourself and if you want to try and convince yes campaigners to vote no you have to stop the base smear’s that is all to evident by the Bitter together.
      I have 2 uncles lying in cemetery’s in France another who was wounded just after the D Day landings. My father was in the Pacific.
      Shame on you.

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      • Your question is for Spock to answer. But surely what s/he is saying is that comparing the two TV programmes raised some pertinent issues.

        Surely we should learn from history, if it’s relevant, and ensure that democracy is encouraged. Preventing people from having a voice, in most contexts, is not democracy.

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  8. Well done to the YES representatives.

    It is clear the noeee’s have had a wee accident in their pants and are desperately looking around trying to blame the audience for clapping to loud for the YES campaign.

    I take it the noeee’s were prevented from clapping anything Dame Edna had to say. Will she be allowed into the Lords once Scotland is independent? I certainly hope so because I would hate to see the likes of Rifkind, Forsyth, Foulkes, Watson et al coming back to Scotland looking for a wee consultancy job.

    The fact the Jamie Black, Islay for Ever (r u a man?),Lowry and the usual culprits have been so active does make me smile or even clap.


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    • You see – that is exactly the sort of inane uneducated lashing out type of comment that totally falls into line with everything everybody says above about SNP supporters.

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  9. Hey Hughie,

    Sounds like balance restoration, no? Oh! and newsroom “… between now and September 2013″? What aboot EFTER — more to the point?

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    • Absolutely to the point.
      Our ‘Nationhood: The For Argyll Referendum project’ – all looking at Scotland as it might be in 2050, is aimed at exactly that.

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  10. Instead of tv debates I suggest house parties.

    I’ll even bring my own booze to relax everybody.

    Anyone happy to host one and I’ll come along and give your friends and neighbours my take on a wonderful gift we have been given – the right to shape our country for the next 100 years or more.

    Let’s lift the debate above the puerile ping pong- more pong than ping unfortunately

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    • Possibly the finest suggestion I’ve read on here as I suspect most of us would actually get on pretty well despite differences in opinion! Just the fact we engage in the debate rather than ignore it gives us a degree of common ground.

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  11. In response to post 4 (Andy’s reply to Jamie)
    Hello Andy
    I remember on one bizarre occasion on here (It will most definitely live with me for a long long time)
    Our Jamie on here in a discussion about Scottish oil and Scotland wanting control of the revenue it creates for the benefit of it’s citizens astonishingly came away with one of the weakest not to mention purile arguments I think I will ever encounter to shore up his pro-unionist stance. (Please don’t deny it and make me go and find it)
    It went something like this in just one post, one statement
    “That’s not very Christian is it”
    Like Norway would invite all to help themselves to their black stuff. I can just see it all huddled aroon the big cauldron of liquid gold, Sweden with their big ladle, Germany stein in hand dipping in, Norway with their antler horn cups suppin away, come on everyone dive in, our population won’t mind you lot making a pig of yursels, dive in! It’s the fair and decent Christian thing to do after all :)
    Sorry Jamie, you may have had a few too many sherbets that night or just had a moment of complete and utter irrationality come over you but I have quoted this farcical comment to so many people now since then, you’ve no idea. In doing so I just wanted to show the level those on ‘The other side’ will stoop and quality of their arguement.
    I’ve nowt against religion, each to their own I say but deary deary me!
    Now, this brings me to Andy’s point about Jamie’s me-itis Tory I’m all right Jack outlook, “what’s in it for me?” quote in newsnetscotland.
    That wasn’t a very Christian question Jamie?

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    • JnrTick – see my earlier post. Maybe you could make up your mind which stance you are taking, rather than decide which one suits you at a given moment.

      But I have to laugh that you take everything so seriously and you’ve actually been quoting me in earnest! That’s tremendous!
      Your arguements are flawed. On one hand, Indy is based on the SG getting it’s mitts on the oil (we’ll forget Alex Salmonds ridiculous ‘marvellous bonus’ statement!) and yes, as my comment light heartedly(sorry you missed that JnrTick, if you thought it was a serious defense then….well, good for you!) suggested, it’s hardly very ‘Christian’ leaving no-one else to benefit.

      But the minute someone asks ‘what’s in it for me?’, you turn all holier than thou.

      So as I say – make up your mind! If you want to criticise someone for being apparantly selfish, then you would do the same of the SNP who care not about the impacts on other areas of the UK e.g North of England, Wales etc when you grab ‘all’ the oil!

      Maybe you could find the post however, would be interesting you revisit it in the proper context!

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      • “So as I say – make up your mind! If you want to criticise someone for being apparantly selfish, then you would do the same of the SNP who care not about the impacts on other areas of the UK e.g North of England, Wales etc when you grab ‘all’ the oil!”
        As much as they will no doubt sympathise with their situation Jamie, since when was it the SNP’s responsibility to shape policy for the benefit of another country they were not elected by?
        Couldn’t make this up!

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  12. I got round to watching the debate tonight and have to say I don’t recognise the program described in this post and the comments made. To maybe set a little context I am one might be called a ‘floating voter’ on independence as my mind isn’t made up. I also have no political affiliation with any particular party, or generally support any party. Given this I can watch shows like the debate without any preconceived idea/opinion.

    So I watched it with the only ‘prior’ influence being what I have read on here, with the two key themes being that the Yes voters in the audience behaved inappropriately and that the Yes representatives (Swinney and Harvie) wiped the floor with Goldie and Rennie.

    I have to say I saw neither of that in the show. I would say the crowd were probably more of a ‘Yes’ crowd than a ‘No’ crowd and yes there was a degree of enthusiastic clapping for some of the ‘Yes’ points nut the ‘No’ points were also well received by a number of people in the audience. I didn’t consider the behaviour of the audience to be any better or worse than you see on Question Time every week. I didn’t get the feeling that the ‘No’ campaigners were being drowned out.

    Equally I didn’t see Goldie and Rennie getting taking to the cleaners at all. Goldie comfortably held her own. Rennie was a weak link but that isn’t unusual, he normally is. The other three did just fine, which you would expect because the questions weren’t exactly challenging ones and were all ones that any competent politician coming on to the show would be well prepared for.

    I think the reaction on here (and other sites) just goes to illustrate how people turn on this type of show and see what they want to see based on their opinion, rather than seeing what is actually happening. I am not saying that Newsroom, in her article, is lying about what happened, and equally I am not saying that the ‘Yes’ campaigners in their responses are lying about how they perceived the debate to go. I think both are simply saying what they believe they saw and is a good example of how the human brain evaluates evidence and interprets it in ways that are consistent with their own desire/opinion/belief (call it what you like)

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    • This show was handled by all concerned as a hustings, not a debate – and I had switched on, looking forwards to a reasoned debate and to learning.
      I am not coming from a position of ‘wanting’ to hear and see anything except such a debate, conducted on secure evidence.
      I cannot see any other responsible position than insisting on reason and evidence as the leading guides in this most serious of all current political issues – and that is my own only pre-position.
      I openly began as a supporter of independence and have openly moved away from the independence prospectus on offer because, on the evidence we find and share, it is not economically feasible, it has no strategic development plan, it is dishonest and it is incoherent in the degree to which what it proposes would not deliver independence.
      I am on the record as saying that if I had been told the truth – that independence will mean a lower standard of living and harder work for a substantial period of time [IF its purpose is to refocus and build a nation that is socially responsible and economically sustainable]; and if I had been given the picture of strategic targets to be attained in the building of that nation, I would have bought into that.
      I am not afraid of hard times en route to a better society and better government; but I am not about to gift that personal sacrifice to a false prospectus.
      I am contemptuous of the conscious absence of integrity in the Yes campaign, of the lack of ANY forward-looking strategic intelligence and of the mindset that thinks it’s all a matter of telling lies and dispensing the goody bags.
      I am frankly terrified that this mindset may well be right and that Scots may become today’s ‘parcel of rogues in a nation’, bought and sold for false gold promised by themselves to themselves.
      And I am terrified of this less for its social and political consequences that for what that would tell me about the values of too many of my fellow citizens.

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  13. Thanks newsroom a fine piece of impartial reporting.
    You are terrified ! Be afraid be really afraid ! Grow up
    Should Scots govern themselves YES! Why? Because only the Scots will put this country first.
    I am concerned for my families future ? yes, Take your view and Westminsters mismanagement of this country ie Scotland will continue unabated and at the same time taking the resources of this country including its people in order to feed the beast that is the subsidy junkies of the City of Westminster and the South East England.
    Please tell me why as a YES supporter I should change my view that we should not govern ourself and allow Westminster and its corrupt system to rule this land and its people’s.
    What will the UK look like in the next 10 , 15, 20 -50 years that I would wish to give up our self determination of independence?
    I am listening.

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  14. @H2O,
    If you need to change your mind a year before then you must have already decided before all the arguments have been presented. That is a recipe for “confirmation bias” – selective perception of the arguments you wish to hear to support your position.
    The weakness in what you are putting forward is that while we don’t need full independence in order to govern ourselves, thanks to Alex Salmond accepting Cameron’s stipulation that the ballot question should refer to full independence only, full independence only is the only option on offer.
    Yet the SNP seem to be planning to keep the Queen, the Bank of England and the EU?
    Do they not want full independence?

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    • Thanks I am well briefed on all the options
      Scots governing Scotland is the most basic one.
      Re EU etc that is up for debate and cooperation with other nations is something that can change over time. Whether folk want to be a republic or not is for another day. At this time yes vote for a republic is not on the cards anymore than it is for a No to the monarchy under the current regime.
      The Bank of England is already part owned by The Scots, Welsh, Northern Irish and the English. Not sure about the territories. It is not just owned by London.

      As Argyll and the islands seek additional powers from the centre and this is supported by the Scots Government why do some posters here not want powers from Westminster? Particularly crown estates resources being ploughed back into local communities.
      London so far has said a resounding NO. I wonder why?

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      • I understand where you are coming from and it isn’t without attraction however you have made your mind up (I haven’t yet) so given that many angles on independence are nebulous, in dispute, or based on emotion and a kind of “It’ll be alright on the night” hope, I would suggest that you cannot be as well briefed on all the options as you believe and are, therefore, vulnerable to “confirmation bias” in your perception.

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        • The question ‘Should Scotland be an independent country?’ is the wrong question to ask and debate. The question ‘Could Scotland afford to be an independent country?; is also the wrong one – we could, absolutely, but would face many hard decisions are there would need to be many cuts or tax rises to support it – source – G McCrone. If you disagree, read the book and let me know what’s wrong with his calculations.

          The question that needs to be debated is – ‘What are the consequences of Scotland suddenly becoming indpendent from the rest of the UK?’.

          And this is where never the two camps shall see eye to eye. On one hand the YesNP can peddle anything they wish as the dream of Indy. They will never ever be held to account. It all sounds good, but backed up by nothing

          Better Together have the tough job of campaigning for the status quo – a much harder task. Not because the UK is a bad proposition, but how do you campaign for something that we all take for granted and never think much about? The SNP ironically support the Union in so many ways, e.g currency, head of state, EU, RM, DVLA, open borders etc…

          There are so many risks and downsides to breaking up the UK that when compared to wanting Scottish politicians making all the decisions rather than a mix of Scottish and UK politicians, the status quo is an infinitely more attractive proposition.

          And so it comes back to my position – I’ve said it before – I like the idea of Indy for Scotland, but against the backdrop of the United Kingdom of which we are a huge part and completely integrated, Indy will not really make much difference. Passing powers to another set of incompetent politicians that you can only elected once every 5 years is not a reason for vote for Indy.

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          • Amen to that.

            And let’s not forget the Scottish MP’s who vote in Westminster on issues that affect only England and Wales. I don’t think there are any English MP’s who vote in Westminster or Holyrood on issues that only affect Scotland.

            Maybe all four home nations should have devolved parliaments for their own countries (jncluding England) with joint funding for defence and security under the umbrella of a newly constituted UK. Just a thought……

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  15. It is said that what the majority want is more devolution.

    Nobody seems to have noticed that AS has manoeuvred the UK cabinet into getting the blame for excluding increased devolution from the ballot. The whole truth doesn’t fit with either side’s narrative.

    I’m not sure that that devo-max is what people want, for that would leave not much more than defence and foreign affairs with the UK. Trident and illegal wars that is, and these are thought to be drivers for independence.

    What people may want is salami-sliced independence, so gradual and incremental that it might be a matter for future historians to debate at what precise point Scotland became independent while at the time nobody actually noticed.

    If that’s what people want, they can’t have it anyway.

    Only independence gives us a chance – and it is only a chance, not a guarantee – of protecting our distinctive traditions in Health and Education from the free market fundamentalists, privatisers and international capitalists who tell us that such so called “benefits” are unaffordable.

    The NHS in Scotland is endangered by the privatisation in England and by the TTIP treaty. I am prepared to believe that the present Health Secretary (and three previous ones)are as committed as I am to defending the NHS and Scottish values. The question is not their competence or commitment but whether the forces against them can be defeated.

    Independence may be the last best chance.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 20 Thumb down 7

  16. For Jamie:-
    “Will Indy bring any tangible benefit for me and my family? Will it provide a better jobs market? More job security? Lower taxation? Lower fuel bills? Better roads infrastructure? Better local services? Cheaper and more affordable housing? Better healthcare than the Scottish run NHS provides? Better ferry services to visit friends and family?”
    My answer to this one is “I don’t know.” But will the Union bring these things? Again, we don’t know. But who would be in a better position to bring these things to Scotland? A government in Edinburgh or a government in London? The London Government has many priorities and Scotland is not very high up on this list except, for the moment, keeping Scotland in the Union, for the benefit of the Treasury.


    A few events recently have convinced me, more than ever, that we would be better off independent. The first was the recent vote in the Commons against invading Syria. The main concern of the Government(and the BBC!)was the supposed loss of influence in world affairs, and the fact that France and not Britain was now the USA’s bestest pal. Their main concern should have been for the people of Syria.
    The other event was on a BBC News programme where viewers are invited to comment on, or criticise, news coverage on the BBC. In the trailer for this programme they posed a question about coverage of the Referendum. I thought that they were perhaps about to be critcised for bias. I was amazed when I watched it to see that the criticism was from English viewers who said there was too much coverage of something which had nothing to do with them. For once I was speechless and did not even shout at the TV. To show such complete ignorance of the implications of next years vote was one thing, but to ignore the fact that every news broadcast contains items about education in England, the NHS in England, London Transport, HS2 in England, and many more items which affect only England was an insult to the TV licence payers of Wales, N. Ireland as well as Scotland. How often do we hear of news items from the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man? We can only assume that nothing happens there.
    I will vote Yes and take my chances with a Scottish Government which, at least, has Scotland as its priority.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 12 Thumb down 6

  17. “This was not helped by Glenn Campbell, whose own stance was by no means impartial”

    Glen Campbell is notoriously pro-union-the fact that newsie doesn’t know that just shows her political limitations.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1

    • Not at all.
      It means we describe what we see, not what we might expect to see.
      It may be that Mr Campbell leaned too far the other way in honourably working not to favour what you say is his personal predilection – but that is not the point.
      Is is what people actually DO – for whatever reason, that matters.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 5

  18. If this is truly about nationhood ought not the whole current British nation, of which Scotland is currently ‘only’ a part, have a stake in the decision.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 3

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