2014 – the year the debate will end

2014 is a date with a destiny still to be decided for Scotland and for the UK. Actually, it will be good to get it over and done with – whichever way it goes.

It is already tedious and we have over eight months to run. It has not been an enabling or enlightening debate as much as a mix of whingefest, fearfest and bullyfest. While some whinges are always justified and some fears are always well found, bullying is always to be abhorred, whatever its source.

One thing is certain. After 18th September this year, nothing can remain as it is.

Scotland may vote to become independent and the costs of that will be borne by Scotland herself and, differently, by the continuing United Kingdom. Both sides will separately have to redefine, reidentify, refocus and reorganise themselves.

Scotland may vote to stay in the union – but the pressure of discontent manifest in Scotland and in Wales, from the recent address to the Welsh Assembly of its First Minister, Carwyn Jones – will force overdue change in how the union manages itself.

That change will have to find its shape quickly and it will have to be a shape fit for purpose for a long haul, if the UK is to become a newly galvanised force in the world.

For 2014, our wish is first that all those eligible to vote on 18th September do so. Voting under universal suffrage  is a precious right, bought in blood. Whatever way anyone chooses to vote, there should be no choice to be made in whether or not to cast that vote.

Everyone, whatever way they choose to vote, should see themselves as the ‘+1′ in the ’50% + 1′ that is all it will take to confirm a result. Every vote absolutely matters.

Second, we wish for wisdom in all those who vote. That wisdom may not be a shared wisdom for, as Jim Mather,  the respected former MSP for Argyll and Bute, used to impress upon For Argyll, there are multiple realities. So each vote should be cast in what its owner sees as a wise and considered position.

This is the most serious decision ever to confront Scotland. All we wish is that it is not frivolously or automatically made but results from open-minded, private, personal consideration, ranging across the issues concerned.

Last, we wish for the wisdom of all concerned in any way with this coming vote and with its outcomes, to accept the result and not to work to undermine it, whatever it is.

When people are asked to decide and vote on an issue with as grave an impact for the future as this decision will have upon those directly concerned and, equally, upon those who will have no vote on it, unequivocal respect must be paid to the seriousness lying behind whatever the collective will turns out to be.

There is and there can be no opportunity to reverse whatever decision is the majority will of the electorate in this matter – whether any of us like it or not. That’s democracy.

When we each cast our votes, we must do so knowing that there is no way back from the final decision of the majority, whatever it is.

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182 Responses to 2014 – the year the debate will end

  1. “There is and there can be no opportunity to reverse whatever decision is the majority will of the electorate in this matter – whether any of us like it or not. That’s democracy.”
    What about the tribe who do not vote Yes or No, its going to be a minority who get their own way, yet again, thats democracy?

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

    • Aye John, think general elections, think Tory governments, think representation, think democracy in Scotland and the lack of it.

      Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 14 Thumb down 8

    • Yes, it is democracy – and a very weak feature of it.
      Australia has compulsory voting- although you can spoil your vote once you get there – which is a reasonable compromise.
      Most people, if they had to vote,would make it a sensible one – but making room for protest in spoiled votes is an important facility.

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

      • Regarding weak features of the electoral system, is encouraging those to vote in elections and referendums by making them compulsory necessarily a measure that would benefit democracy and society in general? Maybe the reasons they choose not to vote are worth investigating.

        To me a bigger concern is the continuation of a system that allows those who have an absence of knowledge of the policies proposed by the party they are choosing to govern to vote. So many rely on headlines, soundbites, personality and veneer over substance.

        This situation only helps further empower an already overly influential media and in a way they end up deciding the outcome depending on how well or not they portray particular parties and their policies.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 3

  2. @john ~ are you referring to the “tribe” who have the right to vote, but don’t bother to do so? If that’s what you mean, then yes, that’s democracy! If they don’t make the effort to vote in such an important decision, then, yes, the minority will get their own way as you put it, and rightly so.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 4

  3. “When people are asked to decide and vote on an issue with as grave an impact for the future as this decision”

    Grave? Uch come on, Argyll’s own prophet of doom

    Do you know something the whole of Scotland doesn’t Newsie.

    Surely the crystal ball the very day before such a joyous celebratory event Hogmanay isn’t showing a silhouette of the grim reaper standing next to a neon 18.9.2014, huge colonies of bubonic plague ridden rats, an apocalyptic nightmareish Thatcheresque 80′s barren desolate Scottish wasteland, tumbleweed aplenty, maybe food banks to help put some crumbs into weans bellies even?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 6

    • ‘Grave’ simply means profoundly serious and not frivolous.
      It is has no intrinsic gloom.
      We’re sure that. like ourselves, you would not wish to represent the Independence Referendum vote as anything other than personally and collectively a serious matter and not a casual or frivolous exercise.

      Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 13 Thumb down 6

      • That how I read it Malcolm.
        Newsie’s position has been extremely clear for some time now so the use of the word grave, although a smidgen alarmist, is not unsurprising.
        Definition of ‘grave consequences’ from Free dictionary -
        noun a bleak outcome, a deleterious outcome, a deleterious outgrowth, a malignant scenario, an extremely unfortunate sequence of events, deleterious aftermath, deleterious developments, deleteeious effects, deleterious results, important and significant effects, severe fallout.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 5

  4. 18-9-2014 will see the start of the PROPER debate, it will be like us all moving into a new hoos. And imagine being the +1 person of the 50% who voted YES, he will be empowered.
    Be positive and look forwards.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 7

    • Only 24% of the Scottish population voted for the SNP at the last election – nothing has changed. It just needs the other 76% to turn out in force and the SNP will be buried. No doubt it will not stop Forums like this being filled with their bile.

      Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 13 Thumb down 14

      • Malcolm, that is surely utter nonsense. Is the ‘YES’ vote of followers of the Green party not to be added to the count? Increasing numbers of Labour supporters shifting to a ‘YES’, their votes too to be dismissed and not added to the 24%. Those who did not vote at the last Scottish elections as a result of apathy and political disillusionment who now feel empowered or that the importance of this referendum is worth getting off their backsides who plan to vote ‘YES’, just leave them out the count?
        I could go on but you can see the point I make.
        Time for some steak pie, that should soak it up and straighten you out a bit.

        Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 9 Thumb down 9

        • And not just Labour and The Green voters JnrTick. Everyone who voted for the numerous different parties round the nation, all their votes count as well, so There are many out there, who are hearing the desperate rantings of Tories, Lib-Dems, Labour etc, politicians who never cared about Scotland until very recently, and are now for some reason very worried that they might lose Scotland for ever.

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 7

  5. “there is no way back from the final decision of the majority, whatever it is.”
    No, but for many of the disappointed losers there may be no obvious way forward for them and their families.
    People who feel that the majority are blocking their futures in Scotland may do as they have always done, vote with their feet. The emigrant ships of the previous centuries were packed with the willing, the adventurous and our ablest sons and daughters. Will history keep repeating itself?
    The debate needs to concentrate on the future that a Yes or a No will leave us in. The voters need to be strong and demand clear answers.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 7

    • Murdoch, many of the clear answers you say voters should demand are impossible to provide as only post negotiations on matters such as EU, currency, share of national debt etc will enable.
      This situation although avoidable and unnecessary is precisely what the ‘NO’ campaign feed off. They can assist in aiding our Scottish government to enlighten our electorate should they wish to comply but is certainly not in their interests to provide definitive answers, uncertainty is fertiliser for Better Together’s cause in turn leaving Scottish referendum voters deliberately in the dark.
      One must genuinely ask, who’s interests are they really serving?

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 7

      • That’s fair enough, JnrTick, had not Alex Salmond been giving what appear to have been “clear answers” ever since the campaign started: e.g. Scotland *will* use sterling, e.g. Scotland *will* become a member of the EU and NATO, and a number of other very definite claims which, as you now correctly state, will actually have to wait until post-independence negotiations. I think Salmond has not helped the electorate make up their minds by being so definite, and has, as you also say, let in the NO campaign to point out that none of these claims are as definite as Salmond has been claiming.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 6

        • Hello Alex

          I would not expect the First Minister to be anything other than definite concerning his claims, he does explain why they are made justifying them logically. I’m not sure why he should be anything other than definite, the negotiations post ‘YES’ will in many cases be confirmations with only terms and conditions to iron out that best suit both parties.

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 3

      • I didn’t live in Scotland at the last election but I’m strongly considering voting yes. And, frankly, everytime the “no” campaign says something I feel more inclined to do so.

        Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 24 Thumb down 15

          • I would challenge you to provide any evidence for this. If there is evidence it is the other way – the ‘Don’t Know’s almost always convert to YES rather than NO.

            You only have to look at debates where a poll of the audience has been taken before and after the debate with the result being a huge shift to YES.

            Royal Society of Edinburgh

            A debate with a business audience at the chaired by Paul Fletcher of the University of Edinburgh Business School on the 10th October resulted in a vote at the end of the night that was 75% Yes to 25% No.

            Abertay University Debate

            A convincing conversion where from a starting point of 59% to 21% against independence, the audience finished 51%-38% in favour. It was a battle of political heavyweights with Stewart Hosie for the SNP weighed in against Labour’s Lord Robertson, former Secretary-General of NATO.

            BBC Newsnight Debate

            The BBC, not known for doing favours for the Yes Campaign, hosted a major debate on Newsnight where the audience of undecided voters clearly surprised presenter Kirsty Wark by returning a 62% Yes to 38% No Vote.

            ‘NO’ is the natural default position for anyone whose only access to information is via the mainstream media, where they are bombarded with a daily diet of negativity and scare stories. However, when people are exposed to reasoned, intelligent debate and balanced argument it would seem they convert to ‘Yes’ in their droves.

            It is the relentless negativity of the NO campaign, the frankly daft and endlessly recycled scare stories, the lack of a positive case for the Union and a general unease at the way UK politics is trending that seem to be leading me inexorably to the conclusion that we would in fact be better standing on our own two feet like a real country.

            I will be very surprised if the NO campaign is able to undo the damage it did to itself last year.

            Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 12 Thumb down 11

    • Welcome aboard Simon.
      Your last post on the referendum looked like a proposed ‘Yes’ wasn’t far away.
      Lots of people I speak to would not and have not voted SNP yet share many of the same values and aspirations as new and old members of this party.
      The ‘YES’ campaign is strengthened with the inclusion of folks who have the addressing of matters such as poverty, inequality etc as their main concerns as opposed to those who ask ‘What’s in it for me?’
      Your opinions, certainly on here appear to be valued by many so looking forward to your influence
      Hope this is yet another nail in the coffin for those who claim a vote for an independent Scotland is most certainly not a vote for the SNP but a vote for a beginning of a move away from an increasingly unfair ill-serving UK.
      I am very fond of Scotland and those I encounter here regardless of differences, I’m no ‘Braveheart’, never seen the film, however I value the pursuit of equality, fairness, a level playing field for all, the prioritising of the needs of the most vulnerable and disadvantaged above all. Voting ‘NO’ is a vote to continue to fuel these ails.
      A genuine opportunity to show what CAN be achieved through getting our priorities in order awaits Scotland.

      Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 12 Thumb down 11

      • Prove it – just prove it ! Go back 100 /200 /300 years and find the Government system who ever created the idilic world you dream of. You don’t understand people at all. “I am very fond of Scotland and those I encounter here” – how very condescending.

        Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 9 Thumb down 14

          • Nasty and personal as always – sorry to disappoint but I was probably the one of the most sober persons in Argyll over the last 24hours. You are going to lose the vote in September – accept it. Have a read of Orwell’s ‘Animal Farm’ and try and learn why your utopian dream will never work.

            Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 8 Thumb down 15

        • “The idyllic world you dream of”?
          Not I Malcolm, I don’t yearn for some socialist utopia, not at all. All I hope for is a fairer society one where the gap between what society here in the UK now refers to sadly as an underclass and the obscenely super rich begins to at least head in an opposite direct to what we have been witnessing since the 80′s
          The benefits to each and every one of us would be incalculable as a direct correlation between health, crime and poverty. We only have to look at crime figures for instance in countries where inequality shames us here in the UK, the fourth most unequal ‘country’ on the planet if statistics are to be believed.
          You say condescendingly from within your glass house “You don’t understand people at all”.
          Maybe so Malcolm, your opinion and very welcome to it, but it disappoints me that you claim this yet do not explain why you have come to your conclusion.
          If you understood the folks you share this country with you might then realise few here in Scotland wish to tolerate a political system that encourages and rewards greed, one that propagates privilege.

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 5

      • “prioritising the needs of the most vulnerable and disadvantaged above all ”
        Are you having a laugh ?
        How does cutting the bed numbers at Campbeltown Hospital 40% to only 21 beds (done by the SNP with not a cheep from the constituency SNP MSP) fit with that statement ?

        Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 8 Thumb down 16

        • Because more patients are being treated at home where it is better to be seen particularly if you are elderly or infirm. Look at the figures re treatment at home which have increased.

          Are you one of thes folks that as long as the hospital beds are full that’s best for the patient? Well it ain’t being treated at home is best for all.

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

    • @Simon ~ and you are obviously not mixing up voting for your country to look after itself! and has nothing at all to do with a vote for the SNP. There are real concerns that a lot of the voters can’t understand this.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 6

      • It’s a simplistic misconception that the NO campaign are more than happy to encourage. After all, it fits hand in glove with their equally daft fondness for demonising Alex Salmond.

        Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 9 Thumb down 6

  6. When the Referendum was announced I was firmly in the ‘No’ camp. Since then I’ve moved from ‘Yes’ to ‘Don’t Know’ and from ‘Don’t Know’ to ‘Yes’. I’m not anti-English, no braveheart either and honestly I’m much more a patriot of the Jim Sillars ‘90 minute variety’.
    I am however, interested me my children and grand-children living in a society and a country that promotes social justice and social equality and quite frankly I no longer care if Scotland has all the answers to the problems it faces on day one as long as the general direction of travel is away from the greed-induced mantra of ‘me’, ‘me’, ‘me’.
    I despair of living in the UK where social inequality is on the increase, workers’ rights are eroded, where real poverty and food banks exists alongside the millions of pounds in bonuses paid to bankers, where it’s seen as ‘clever’ from firms like Starbucks, Vodafone, Google and Amazon to use loopholes to avoid paying their taxes, where the usury of Wonga is considered acceptable and where at the same time people on benefit are punished for having a ‘spare’ bedroom even though no reasonable alternative exists.
    A real tipping point for me was when Boris Johnson (obviously and probably correctly feeling that the swing to the Right was still being maintained) invoked the spirit of the ‘greed is good’ words of the fictional Gordon Gekko when he intoned that greed was ‘a valuable spur to economic activity’. That’s not a vision nor a sentiment that I share and is, I suggest, a terrible foundation on which to build any society.
    I don’t see things changing much in the UK as it has moved too far since Thatcher towards individualism, selfishness and greed.
    Of course there is no guarantee that an independent Scotland will get it all correct. But the promise of at least a vision of a more socially equitable Scotland is to me far preferable than continuing to live under the greed-induced obscenity that is fast becoming Wongaland.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 17 Thumb down 8

    • The reasons given above by Simon sum up many of the consequences of being part of the South-east dominated UK. Once we get independence, everything will be up for discussion. The SNP will have lost it’s reason for being, and a shake-down of parties should allow a political scene which is more representative of the various opinions of the Scottish public.

      As Derek Bateman says

      “…what does that union mean in practice? That Britain not Scotland runs our affairs from deciding our budget through the votes of an overwhelming majority of English MPs, telling us when we can go to war, representing us on the world stage and taking command of our natural resources. They can still remove our parliament whenever they choose and they’re now dictating to us which currency we can/can’t use. They’re threatening to take away our defence contracts if we don’t do as they say and make (more) shipworkers unemployed. We now have 4 per cent representation in the Palace of Westminster. We’ve even had to fight for control over airguns.
      Britain retains all the power over us and is the nation state while Scotland is an administrative region within that state. If you vote for that continuing then, whether you care to spell it out or not, Britain is your country, Scotland your second choice.”

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

    • Well written Simon – a load of codswallop – but well written. I suggest you get a copy of animal farm as well and digest the content. Natural Social Justice and Social Equality do not exist in human beings or animals for that matter – as soon as you give one being power he will leave his born surroundings for further personal gain. That does not mean aggression or violence in any way to others but refers to what goes on in the head – the drive for more. Some people have it – some people don’t. The don’ts ( the majority ) are not inferior in any way and are free to enjoy life with their children and grandchildren as they chose. If you don’t have any personal satisfaction with what you’ve got – tough.

      Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 7 Thumb down 16

      • Presumably you are speaking from personal experience Malcolm – but don’t judge every one from your own little right wing viewpoint. If your philosophy works, how come you don’t control the world by now?

        Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 10 Thumb down 8

  7. Accordng to the Guardian the Centre for Economic and Business Research predicts the UK economy will exceed the German economy in size, due to several factors, including immigration levels and low taxation.


    The Guardian (diplomatically) doesn’t comment on an obvious German disadvantage, namely, the excessively high cost of their energy due to their failing ‘green energy’ drive. German industry is currently sheltered from this by heavy discounting for big users however this practice is being investigated by the EU and may well have to cease, at which point, major users will ‘up sticks’ and move elsewhere e.g. the USA.

    The ‘social justice’ YES enthusiasts wish for will bring higher, not lower taxation which will be a drag on prosperity and employment, the latter being necessary to attract immigrants, high levels of whom will protect the UK from ageing population concerns which we are told will by especially pressing in Scotland which may well also suffer from the cost of paying for our ‘green energy’ fantasies.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 6 Thumb down 9

    • Messrs Argyle and Kirk seem to be hankering after a glorious status quo that is gone for ever.
      Ah, those heady days of unlimited cheap fossil fuel, when the environment was an endless free dustbin and the poor were grateful for a few scraps.

      Wake up and smell the coffee, gents. Old Longshanks’ Almanac predicts that both Scotland and the environment will be making their voices heard in 2014.

      Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 14 Thumb down 11

      • It’s not the cheap fossil fuel they miss – it’s the empire, deference to the privileged, and everyone knowing their place – i.e. beneath them.

        Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 12 Thumb down 10

          • Andrew, It is Alex Salmond and the SNP who do, the First Minister we are informed, has a very good relationship with her.
            I’m not so sure Blair Jenkins is pushing this too much. The Yes campaign and the SNP contrary to many folk’s assumptions although with an obvious common interest and goal are not the same thing. One, the SNP a political party offering this independence option to the Scottish electorate whilst supporting the campaign as are other parties, groups, individuals and organisations from other political persuasions.
            I, when Alex Salmond confirmed this, suspected his proposal, as leader of the SNP and Scottish government, to retain the monarchy was to appease those in our society who hold her up as a symbolic representative of what they believe in who attend football matches and bigoted organisations, not to mention the more monarchy leaning elderly rather than risk alienating these sections of our electorate from what he and the ‘YES’ campaign propose.
            I repeatedly bemoan Scotland’s lack of democracy on this site, stating why and disagree with retaining the monarchy for similar reasons. Let us put this and other propositions ie EU membership to the vote post ‘YES’ I say.

            Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 4

          • I think the Royals are very good at their job and, broadly, with the occasional glitch, conduct themeselves with dignity, however, the question is, should their job exist at all?

            In terms of democracy and an egalitarian society, monarchy fails to cut the mustard, the problem I have with dispensing with them is I shudder to think what would replace them.

            Blair, Salmond, Boris?

            Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 3

  8. Malcolm, “I suggest you get a copy of animal farm as well and digest the content”.

    Thanks for the advice but actually I prefer to try to think my way through life’s problems rather than relying on a work of fiction written in 1948.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 10 Thumb down 7

  9. If you want social justice, an end to food-banks, bedroom tax, greater equality, and other policies of that ilk, then the answer is to campaign for these policies. Not change the constitution. That’s a guarantee of precisely nothing except a new constitution.

    I do wonder how many people like Simon who purport to endorse such policies actually join a party committed to such ideals, so that they can campaign for them. Especially since they assert their belief in them so strongly. They could consider joining a party that has delivered on them too, one with a record of success. Bringing greater equality and introducing socially progressive reforms like opening up access to higher education, legislating against sex discrimination, establishing the minimum wage. That’s how you make progress, and create a more equal society. Good policy, well implemented.

    Socially progressive polices are patently not achieved by changing the constitution. That might be something worth doing, or it might not be. But to paint it as the route to social progress is lazy and dangerous. Just what have the nationalists have done to redistribute income, wealth or power? I’m waiting… because there’s not a single progressively redistributive policy they’ve introduced since they came into power in 2007. The council tax freeze is particularly regressive.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 9 Thumb down 9

    • Hi Mairi, I am not unsympathetic to what you say. However, in the last UK election despite the Labour Party returning 41 Scottish MPS Scotland it is saddled with a Tory Govt supported by the Lib Dems who returned 1MP and 11 MPs respectively in Scotland.

      So whilst there is no guarantee about anything in this life I simply cannot agree with your statement that “Socially progressive polices are patently not achieved by changing the constitution”. It seems to me that the pursuit of socially progressive policies will at least be enhanced by a change in the constitution when compared to the dead hand of regressive Tory/Lib Dem policies and laws.

      Personally I think the swing to the Right in England (and the SE of England in particular) is such that it will take years to undo – if in fact that ever happens. In Scotland we suffered years of Maggie thatcher and her policies even although her party was never in the4 majority up here.

      I’m not prepared to go through that again if there is an alternative – and contrary to what TINA would say – this time there is an alternative, it’s a reasonable alternative and one that has a good chance of success.

      So and albeit with some regret, I’ll be voting ‘Yes’ in referendum.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 3

  10. Mairi “They could consider joining a party that has delivered on them too, one with a record of success”

    And what Party would that be??

    And for Malcolm, have you considered taking your political views from, ‘Noddy Goes To Town’, ‘The Hardy Boys’ Mysteries’, or ‘Five Go on a Hike’?

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 10 Thumb down 7

    • It’s for each of us to work out what party best promotes the policies we care about, Simon. You’re more than able to work out which one is best-placed to promote the policies you care about so much. What party have you joined, Simon?

      The key mistake is believing that ‘independence will deliver all you desire’. The is the lie being peddled by the YeSNP crew. Whether independent or not, we face choices and competing priorities.

      I’ve not seen evidence that Scots vote for progressive redistribution any more or less than other parts of the UK; witness the impact of the council tax freeze on the last election.

      Proving this point, a group of right-wingers has now hitched itself to the independence band-wagon. http://www.wealthynation.org/welcome-to-wealthy-nation/

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 8

      • Proving what point?

        Are you saying the presence of Tories in the YES camp in some way devalues the pro- independence campaign?

        That would be a curious position considering Labour’s willingness to jump into bed with the Tories to attack the SNP

        And surely you see the contradiction between your identification of the YES campaign as an SNP only endeavour (‘YeSNP’) and your apparent disapproval of ‘right wingers’ signing up.

        You may wish to continue to promote the fiction that the YES campaign is all about the SNP, but the Greens, Labour for Independence and now Wealthy Nation all give the lie to that.

        This campaign is about the future, which is why you and your fellow Scottish Labour NO supporters are finding it hard to get a handle on it. Personally, I look forward to the day when there is a real Scottish Labour Party with real Labour values. Sadly there is no sign of that appearing any time soon.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 6

        • It proves that the campaign is solely about independence Nothing more, nothing less. That means it is not a vehicle for delivering social justice, and redistribution of income. Otherwise, why would Michael Fry and his cohorts join?

          Constitutional change is not the same as social and political change. Independence is only about the constitution. Imagining it to be more is flawed.

          It’s a pretty gullible stance to take, to believe that green policies like, carbon reduction, can be achieved through constitutional change. Especially when that’s being driven by a grouping dominated by the SNP which wants to fuel the economy through oil and gas.

          Without siding with either side – carbon reduction or oil sector reliance – it’s clearly unsustainable to expect political separation to reconcile these ambitions.

          Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 6 Thumb down 9

          • ‘Political separation’

            What is wrong with the word ‘independence’?

            No-one is saying constitutional change guarantees social justice. It can however create a space where that justice is more likely to happen.

            The failure of the UK Labour Party, which has allowed itself to be forced so far to the right that it is no more than a pale image of the Tory party, is a tragedy for those who see Labour as their political home. Labour values are far more likely to flourish in an independent Scotland; it is only Labour’s blind hatred of the SNP that is holding them back.

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          • It has negative connotations, which is why the NO campaign are so keen to use it.

            Countries gain their independence, they do not ‘separate’.

            Independence is the normal state for a country.

            Perhaps the referendum question should be reworded to say:

            ‘Do you believe Scotland is a country’

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          • I don’t think of it as pejorative at all; and as you can see from my comments above, I use both terms, discriminatingly.

            You could argue that separation is the more appropriate term, embracing as it does various forms of breaking away from a larger union. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Separatism

            It’s also impossible to argue that keeping the monarchy, having your central bank in a foreign country, and retaining the BBC amounts to independence. As many in the SNP are saying.

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          • What do you propose we do to put right to reverse what continued Labour, Tory, Labour, Tory, Labour, Tory … Westminster governments have engineered,created, overseen in our society Mairi?
            Let the larger populated England vote Labour, vote Tory, vote Labour, vote Tory…., is this your solution?

            Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 8 Thumb down 7

          • It’s also impossible to argue that keeping the monarchy, having your central bank in a foreign country, and retaining the BBC amounts to independence..

            In the spirit of the pantomime season -

            Oh no it isn’t!

            Mairi, I imagine you are a committed socialist with great ideals, and I admire you for that.

            Sadly though you seem to have become swept up in the insane Labour hatred of the SNP and are consequently happy to spout tabloid NO-isms whenever the opportunity arises.

            Is it so impossible for you to conceive of an independent Scotland where a real Scottish Labour party can propose and be elected on real Labour policies?

            Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 3

          • LS,

            Face the facts, Scottish Labour have had several goes already and if they hadn’t made such a dog’s dinner of it, they’d still be in power and there wouldn’t be a referendum.

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      • Mairi

        What choices and competing priorities would they be then?

        Would one of them be for Scotland to continue to contribute 4 billion pounds a year coming from our taxation right here in Scotland toward a nuclear deterrent?

        If so and as you say instead of constitutional change campaign for and vote for the party that is best equipped to fight for that cause then what of the decades of campaigning the CND have done? Have they managed to rid Scotland of A. The weapons B. The cost?

        Answer NO

        Know of any way this money could be better and more morally directed and how it may come to fruition Mairi?

        I know exactly how it can be done with two short strokes of a pencil, nuclear weapons banished from our soil and increased revenues to re-direct with one simple but highly effective act.

        Come on Scotland, the case of remaining in the UK is like a game of Jenga in action, only a matter of time before it collapses like a stack of flimsy cards

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      • Mairi, it is only the media and people such as yourself who peddle the deliberate inaccuracy that is ‘independence will deliver all you desire’ you say the SNP claim.
        The SNP quite rightly put forward their propositions, answers to concerns, of course they know that an independent Scotland will face huge challenges attempting to reverse the decline and transform this land into one of fairness, greater equality yet prosperous.
        Nobody but yourself, the media and the ‘No’ supporters are saying what you claim is being said. The reality of what is claimed by unionists shows it up as nothing more than convenient lies and poor propoganda.

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  11. OK you would be separatists – two major headlines this morning – Vaz personally welcomes the first Romanians into the UK – the other – up to three quarters of a million under 25s can’t find work making some consider suicide. From an independent Scottish perspective what would be your considered opinion on this ridiculous situation ? And don’t go on and on off topic – the question is perfectly clear.

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    • Vote YES then campaign for exiting the EU.

      Scotland requires to remedy much much more than any problems EU membership and the consequences of Schengens we may inherit, not that Schengens is an automatic for an independent Scotland, depends on EU negotiations and whether the Scottish government thinks it is in our (Scotland’s) best interests.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 3

      • JnrTick wrote:
        “Vote YES then campaign for exiting the EU.”

        Really? Some would say that a No vote in the Scottish referendum is a better bet if exiting the EU is your aim ;)

        Seriously though, qualified majority voting is the main modus operandi for the EU. Scotland has a population of less than 1% of the EU as a whole, so we’d have next to no impact if Scotland was independent, and if it was in the EU. We’d stand a good chance of being ignored on most topics, most of the time.

        But as part of the UK, the third most populous EU state, our voice is heard.

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    • What situation? That a tiny handful of Romanians may want to seek work here? How is that relevant to the unemployment problem, unless you’re going to trot out the unsubstantiated “taking our jobs” meme.
      The solution is creating better, higher paying jobs and training Scots to fill them. The only reason to choose immigrant labour is if the pay and conditions you are offering are so bad that even the job centre wouldn’t force someone to take them, or require highly specialised skills that you’re not prepared to fork out to train someone in.

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      • OK – so why is your ‘solution’ just another bit of theoretical hot air for some theoretical future Scotland – why have the MSPs at Holyrood – who have had plenty chance – not already got your ‘solution’ as a major policy and are putting it into action with enthusiasm ?

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        • Unemployment in Scotland fell by 7,000 to 196,000 between August and October 2013.

          The Scottish unemployment rate is 7.1 per cent, which is below the average figure of 7.4 per cent for the whole of the UK.

          Employment in Scotland also increased by 11,000 during the three month period between August and October 2013.

          All under your much-derided SNP government at Holyrood. They must be doing something right.

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          • Great.

            Four ‘thumbs down’ because I had the temerity to point out that the employment situation in Scotland is improving and is better than over the UK as a whole.

            Some people on here need to get a life.

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    • Your assumption is that somehow Romanians are getting jobs British people could and should be doing.

      That would, as you say, be a ludicrous situation. The implication is that these suicidal unemployed Brits are either unwilling or unable to do the jobs that immigrants are taking.

      I don’t believe that this naïve/tabloid interpretation of the situation is at all helpful. But – if this was a realistic interpretation of the situation then we would have to ask why it is happening.

      Are you going to somehow force said unemployed suicidal Brits into these jobs? Institute savage benefit cuts so they have to travel away from their families and work for minimum wage or less? (Which is what many migrant workers are doing).

      The bottom line is, we are in the EU. The right to travel freely within the EU area is one of the rules. If you don’t like the rules you know where the door is. If it is not prepared to abide by the rules then perhaps the UK should leave and join EFTA.

      The YES campaign’s perspective on this seems to be that Scotland is (relatively) happy in the EU and will play by the rules. They also say we need immigrants to boost the workforce and compensate for an aging population. Personally this seems eminently sensible – for Scotland, if not for the UK as a whole.

      Post independence then if it is felt that there is an appetite for change I am sure the Scottish people will be offered the opportunity to vote for a Eurosceptic party prepared to offer a referendum on EU membership as one of their policies.

      Without independence the Scots will get little say in the matter and may be dragged out of the EU against their collective will.

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  12. I notice Mairi, that you don’t have any reply to Longshanks’s comments on the failure of the (so-called) “Labour” Party to avoid being re-cast as just another right-wing neo-liberal party. Nothing to say?

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  13. Longshanks – more airy fairy ifs , buts and maybes’. Sums up the policy of the “yes ‘ campaign.
    Incidentally just watched the BBC’ Scotland’s coverage of the unemployment problem for young people. They went immediately – as did the national BBC news – to the Prince’s Trust. No sign of an SNP MSP anywhere. Very rewarding listening to sincere dedicated people who actually get on and do something to help others rather that spout hot air. On your continual denigration of those who have worked hard and have earned the big bucks just have a look at the list of Patrons of the Princes’ Trust and tell me there is something wrong with these people having the money to give for the benefit of others.

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    • . . . the policy of the “yes ‘ campaign.

      Mr. Kirk,

      The YES campaign only has one policy. That is to gain independence for Scotland on September 18th this year.

      Over and over again people have told you that the YES campaign and the SNP are not the same thing. It is a simple enough concept, yet you seem to be unable to grasp it no matter how many times it is explained to you.

      Perhaps you could also point out where I have indulged in denigration of those who have worked hard and have earned the big bucks ? I have no recollection of having done that, but would be happy to see this lapse in my memory pointed out.

      In fact I was happy to see the right-wing ‘Wealthy Nation’ group join the rainbow YES alliance. There will be a place for all political views in the new Scotland, even yours :-)

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    • Tax exemptions are available.

      Are you proud of the food banks in the 21st century

      The rich stay rich. Enjoy your OBN

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    • 1 – “those who have worked hard and have earned the big bucks”
      there is very often no correlation between “working hard” and “earning big bucks”. Ask a nurse or a dustman if you don’t believe me.
      2 – “these people having the money to give for the benefit of others”
      The UK has the poorest record among developed states for charity from the indigenous rich. Additionally – who wants to depend on the whim of some rich person for their welfare? Welfare to those who need it (NOT “deserve” it) should be provided from all taxpayers, as a right. You might be one of those in need yourself some day, MK.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 2

  14. Well! Well! Well! Shout it out from the highest rooftops – let the words ring out :
    At last some honesty and truthfulness from a Yes campaigner – you heard it here first folks ! !

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    • Political parties have policies. The YES campaign is not a political party, nor does it represent any one political party.

      I am really struggling to see how, with so many people here being so patient with you, you are still unable to tell the difference between the YES campaign and the SNP.

      Even Messrs Argyle and Black can distinguish between the two :-)

      I can only assume you are doing it deliberately simply to provoke a response.

      Don’t you think that is a tad childish?

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      • Well according to you and all yours above – the Labour,Tory and Liberal parties are even worse than the SNP – and you are honestly expecting decent Scottish people to fall into that abyss of nothingness by voting for ‘ Independence’.
        Get real laddie !

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        • What patronising twaddle.

          Yet again you are putting words into my mouth.

          And who are ‘you and all yours’?

          Oh yes, it’s the ‘anyone who disagrees with Malcolm Kirk’ party. Seems to be an ever-increasing group among the posters on ForArgyll.

          On a more serious note, only the SNP and the Greens are Scottish political parties. At the moment Con, Lab and Lib are merely the North British branches of the Westminster parties – and are therefore less accountable to the Scottish people.

          Independence would provide an opportunity to scrap the destructive neo-liberal consensus that has stultified UK politics and give the electorate some real choices.

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          • Oh ! Give us a break from all this twaddle. Somewhere above one of you boasted about the increase in employment of late and seemed to think that had something to do with Holyrood. How often to I have to say ‘ get real ‘

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          • Let me see if I have this right:

            If anything goes wrong in the public policy arena, it’s the SNP’s fault.

            If anything goes right, it is nothing to do with the SNP.

            And none of the other Scottish political parties are worth a light.

            Have I got the hang of it now?

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        • Malcolm – with all your “Get real, laddie” and “twaddle” comments you are doing yourself no good – if you want to make an impression, trot out some concrete arguments. (I notice no-one, yet, has argued with Longshanks’s (and my) description of the labour party as fellow-travellers with the Tory party). As for the YES vote (and see above Longshanks again, above) I hope we can stop equating this with being an SNP supporter – no more please, unless you are incorrigibly stupid.

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        • “Labour,Tory and Liberal parties are even worse than the SNP” They are, they are, they very definitely are. But we can have our own home-grown versions which will be more in tune with Scottish proclivities (even yours !!!) if we get independence and then work at it. Parts of Scottish Labour are now supporting a Yes vote. The SSP support a yes vote. The Greens support a Yes vote. Get behind a “Tories for YES” yourself and you might be King of Scotland yet! – but given their degree of support up here, don’t hold your breath.

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      • Has Jamie Black finally succumbed to reason and accepted reality? When?
        Last time he disagreed with my point that the two are not the same thing.

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        • Thank you JnrTick, Longshanks should only speak for himself. Need I repeat my reasoning for ensuring that people are aware that vote Yes is a vote for the SNP policy? That before they can be voted out, they will have ensured that enough of their policy plans are ready for ‘Independence (from Westminster) Day’?

          They will be attempting to stay in the EU on the same terms as we are today (fat chance), they will be endeavouring to ‘remove’ Trident the Clyde despite no mandate to do so other than SNP party policy, that they will be attempting to stay as part of Sterling, and relinquish controls that they should otherwise be seeking, that they will be wishing to draft a constitution that if their recent form on consultations is anything to go by, will be the SNP party manifesto, virtually none of which will be put to the electorate to decide in any credible form.

          For anyone who is ‘Undecided’, I would ask them this – after the SNP have asked whether you wish Scotland to be an independent country, what else are they planning asking you once you have voted Yes? They are not planning on asking about anything above bar possibly some ‘consultation’ on a constitution. You vote Yes, and you vote for the SNP, it’s fairly clear. If it were otherwise, then the SNP would have proposed elections immediately following a Yes vote to ensure a proper, democratic mandate, or at least a serious of referendums (?) to ask the Scottish people about key decisions. Unless someone can point me to this in the White Paper as i may have missed this commitment to democracy?

          The SNP and the Yes campaign can protest as loudly as they like – notionally they are different, I agree – practically however, they are the same.

          People should not be fooled into thinking that voting Yes will result in any decisions being taken that are not the desire of the SNP (at least, until after the key decisions have been taken, by which time it’s too late).

          People have their own reasons for voting Yes, and that I respect. But they must know that a vote Yes is to all intents and purposes, a vote for the SNP. If they know that the practical outcome is a whole raft of SNP policies implemented before they can voted out, so be it. Simon…. :p

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          • That is equivalent to saying that a vote “no” is a vote for continued neo-liberal policies from Tory/Labour?Liberal governments in Westminster, who (as I’ve said again and again), dance to the tune of voters in SE England. Very probably also a referenda to leave the EU. Voting “Yes” will allow us, after independence, to choose between parties who will be only Scottish based (if they want to have any credibility), and will put Scottish priorities first. Who knows if the SNP will win the first independent Scottish elections

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          • Here is an example of how Scotland was treated by the Thatcher government:


            According to the papers, Mr Redwood suggested that the block grant for Scotland should be slashed by £500m, but fears over the political consequences of cuts led Mrs Thatcher to overrule them and instead favour a strategy of “chipping away” at the grant eventually proposed by the then Scottish secretary George Younger.

            (The Scottish Government claims that there are plans to slash Scotland’s budget by £4bn in the event of a No vote).

            Yes, if there is a “no” vote we can expect more of this sort of thing. And as Cameron has gone further than Thatcher ever dared to (Royal Mail, NHS etc.) we can in fact expect worse.

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          • And here is some more interesting information, which I wasn’t aware of:


            Post by Christian Wright
            Last year the Westminster Government published the legal advice it received on the issue of independence. It is a stunning document that every Scot should read.

            Therein is the startling assertion that Scotland is not a country, that it was incorporated into England in 1707, and that upon that date it was in the Opinion’s words “extinguished”. It ceased to be.
            So that there be no doubt, the London-paid lawyers asserted that the titles “UK” and “England” are synonymous.

            To vote NO is to abandon the God-given right of self-determination, and risks an inevitable and inexorable descent of our culture into obscurity and obsolescence.

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          • Are you debating with yourself Kassandra, or just trying to regurgitate as much old news as you can?

            It’s going to be a dull 9 months.

            I would strongly recommend any ‘Don’t knows’ to visit NewsnetScotland frequently and see how many anti-Tory, anti-Westminster, anti-BBC, anti-Scottish Labour, anti-anyone who is pro-Union articles you can find. The sheer volume is quite amazing (okay, it’s a pro-Indy blog, but even then, the churn it out like there’s no tomorrow – anyone who does not support the Yes vision is fair game for a slagging), and you eventually realise that there seem to be a lot of rather paranoid Nationalists out there. All the scare stories, conspiracy theories, anger, outrage that you could shake a stick at!

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          • Independence day will be 24th March 2016.

            Holyrood elections will be 15th May 2016.

            According to you, in that six week period the current SNP government are going to force through a whole raft of legislation that the next government will be incapable of undoing
            Do you realise just how ridiculous that sounds?

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          • “anti Scottish Labour”
            Just to be completely and utterly clear here, they do not exist, they are a smoke screen.
            They are only ‘Scottish’ Labour in name Jamie, their command centre is in Brewers Green at the very epicentre of civilisation.
            Mrs Lamont takes her orders from Milliband, she’ll run everything by him.
            So I say this, they, Scottish Labour, are solely representatives of a London centric Labour party, one geared up to serve an electorate, an electorate that in numbers can elect then re-elect them. Labour votes from Scotland have only swung victory their way a few times since the 1950′s so pretty irrelevant.
            Where do the vast majority of the very voters that do matter reside? You guessed it.

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          • Longshanks, the ridiculous part is that you are implying deliberatly or otherwise that from 18th Septemer 2014 until Independence Day, the Scottish Government will do nothing. As per my previous post, the SNP will be doing their damnest to have negotiations wrapped up before they can be voted out.

            As for Kassandra, i’m surprised that someone so seemingly interested in the debate is so far behind it….what did I say about Nats rehashing old news? :-)

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          • LS,

            As with your views on global warming, evidence would be of interest, do you have any or are you just ‘huffing and puffing’ in an attempt to ‘blow my house down’?

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          • Norwegian legal (‘de jure’) sovereignty over Orkney and Shetland was agreed to by the then legal Scottish ruling authority, ‘on the day of Venus, next after the Feast of the Apostles Peter and Paul, 1266′ (July 2, 1266), when the Treaty of Perth between King Magnus IV of Norway and King Alexander III of Scotland was signed granting Scotland undisputed sovereignty over all sources of territorial conflict except, specifically, Orkney and Shetland, sovereignty over which was “reserved” by Norway.

            By signing the treaty Scotland relinquished any claim to sovereignty de jure over Orkney and Shetland in exchange for Norway reliquishing her claim to the rest of the disputed territories.

            So, from July 2, 1266, Scotland signed away legal sovereignty over the Northern Isles so, unless either of you pair – or anyone else, for that matter – can point out some evidence of it having come back to Scottish/UK sovereignty again, then I don’t see how it’s changed.

            Certainly, Scotland/UK has enjoyed ‘de facto’ sovereignty by physical power and oppression of the inhabitants for many, many years while they pillaged the surrounding seas for the unimaginable wealth of natural resources they contained however I’m unaware of any treaty which returned legal sovereignty of the Northern Isles to Scotland/UK.

            Perhaps, you can put me right on that?

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    • JS: The video is a sales pitch designed to sell Moneyweek subscriptions using an alarmist tone, however if it’s true that the UK’s ‘total’ debt is 900 percent of GDP, then I assume Scotland’s share of it will be in proportion, with the caveat that with a greater problem of ageing population, our future pension provision costs would be even greater than those of rUK?

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 5

  15. @Jamie Black says:
    January 3, 2014 at 7:17 pm

    Jamie – it might be old news to you but it was new to me – and so it might be new to a few other people too, so worth posting. If you don’t think that piece of “legal” advice is disgusting I don’t really see what interest you would have in posting anything about Scottish affairs – they obviously have no existence for you.

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  16. @Andrew Argyle says:
    January 3, 2014 at 9:23 pm

    Well, according to Wikipedia, if you’ll accept that as a source (and to be truthful I’m not going to start buying specialised history books just to argue a trivial point with you), the following occurred:

    King Christian I of Denmark … entered into a commercial contract on 8 September 1468 with the King of Scots in which he pawned his personal interests in Orkney.

    1669 Charles II passed his 1669 Act for annexation of Orkney and Shetland to the Crown.

    In February 1707, as part of the preparations for union with England, Queen Anne made a final transfer of Shetland to the Earl of Morton in the form of a feudal charter.

    Charles II ratified the pawning document by a Scottish Act of Parliament on 27 December 1669 which officially made the islands a Crown dependency.

    If you want to start tearing up all these treaties I suggest you get in touch with the UK and Norwegian governments.

    Additionally, if you don’t think they are valid (and on reading the article, I can see why), will you also be supporting the handing back of Gibralter and the Malvinas?

    Lastly, if your case is so good, why is Norway not currently demanding them back, and why have the Islanders been persuaded to lay down their lives in the armed services of Britain for the past few hundred years?

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    • I expect you’d get short shrift with Wikipedia at an international tribunal to resolve a sovereignty dispute however, I’m happy to run with it for the purposes of exploring the issues, if that’s the best you can put up.

      1. The Treaty of Perth was a treaty. None of the ‘documents you refer to is a treaty.

      2. You quote “King Christian I of Denmark … entered into a commercial contract on 8 September 1468 with the King of Scots in which he pawned his personal interests in Orkney.”

      And for your information, he did the same with the Shetland Islands about 9 months later.

      This is correct, he pawned his ‘personal interests’, not sovereignty, for the simple reason he had no right to do that. It would have broken Norse law.

      And his ‘personal interests’ were a very small proportion of the whole.

      This being the case, all subsequent annexations to the various Crowns had no legal basis.

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      • From ‘A Brief History of Orkney’:

        Following the Battle of Largs, in 1263, and the loss of the Western Isles as a result of the Treaty of Perth, in 1266, Orkney and Shetland were the only part of what is now Scotland to remain in Norwegian hands.

        But although the islands were still officially under Norse rule, the control Scottish Earls had over Orkney was on the increase.

        This culminated in the appointment of Henry Sinclair, Earl of Roslin to the Earldom in 1379, and heralded changes in the ownership of land and the gradual break-up of the Norse systems of tenure.

        The Earldom of Orkney was held for the Norwegian (and later Danish) Crown until 1468, at which time the impoverished Christian I, King of Denmark, Norway and Sweden, gave Orkney to the Scottish Crown as part of a marriage agreement with King James III.

        The Scottish king was to marry Christian’s daughter, Margaret, and by this agreement Orkney was held as a pledge, redeemable by the payment of 50,000 Rhenish Florins.

        At the end of the first year the payment had not been forthcoming so Shetland was pledged for a further 8,000 Florins.

        Two years later, Christian had still not made the payment so the Earldom of Orkney and Lordship of Shetland were annexed to the Scottish Crown.

        So . . . unless you are suggesting that Norway can buy the islands back for the modern day equivalent of 58,000 Flemish sovereigns (plus interest) it seems to me that sovereignty rests fairly and squarely with Scotland.

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        • LS,

          This is not an accurate historical account, take the following parts, for example:

          “The Earldom of Orkney was held for the Norwegian (and later Danish) Crown until 1468, at which time the impoverished Christian I, King of Denmark, Norway and Sweden, gave Orkney to the Scottish Crown as part of a marriage agreement with King James III.

          Inaccurate: Christian I did not ‘give’ Orkney to Scotland, Kass’s version is correct, he pawned his own ‘personal interests’ – which were a small part of the whole – to James III in a commercial contract. Had he signed over sovereignty it would have been illegal as he wasn’t entitled to do that.

          “The Scottish king was to marry Christian’s daughter, Margaret, and by this agreement Orkney was held as a pledge, redeemable by the payment of 50,000 Rhenish Florins.”

          Not the whole truth: The pledge was, in any case, redeemable in perpetuity.

          “At the end of the first year the payment had not been forthcoming so Shetland was pledged for a further 8,000 Florins.”

          Inaccurate: Christian’s personal interests in Shetland were pledged because there was still an outstanding sum of 8000 guilders.

          “Two years later, Christian had still not made the payment so the Earldom of Orkney and Lordship of Shetland were annexed to the Scottish Crown.”

          False: James III annexed the islands illegally to strengthen his hold on them, he was determined never to give them back, as were his successors, even when the Danes tried to put up the money to redeem the pledge.

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          • Well then, off you go to the European Court and become the highly acclaimed “Saviour of Orkney and Shetland” Look forward to seeing the headlines!

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          • Good luck with that. I am afraid that history has repeatedly demonstrated the old adage that possession is nine tenths of the law.

            And of course Norway has never expressed any desire or willingness to reclaim the Northern Isles, just as very few in Orkney or Shetland wish to become Norwegian subjects.

            This herring is of an almost crimson hue.

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          • Simply appraising you of the facts, Kass, it’s always better to know them sooner rather than later. It saves a lot of anguish if you’re aware in advance.

            Ultimately, it’s up to the people who live there to decide democratically -under their ‘right to self-determination of peoples’ – whether and what to campaign for, however I expect Alistair Carmichael will do what’s needed to keep the matter out of the courts and cement the isles to the rUK, legally, for ‘all tyme coming’, as Charles II attempted to do.

            Democracy is the only watertight way out of such a constitutional conundrum.

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          • LS,

            I’m disappointed you have such low regard for the rule of law if that’s the kind of Scotland you’re proposing, I wouldn’t be able to support it.

            I’m content to wait and see what, if anything, Carmichael does between now and September.

            Fact, nonetheless, are ‘chiels that winna ding’.

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          • Andrew, you appear to have taken over Newsroom’s mantle on here as head of the anti-independence fantasist movement.

            I attended a ‘Shetland Independence Movement’ rally in Lerwick in 2010 on my way to Norway. There were about 30 people there, most of them tourists, listening to a shouty Englishman. (‘Captain Calamity’)

            If, however, it is as you say and Norway has sovereignty over Orkney and Shetland then it is difficult to see how the Secretary of State for Portsmouth is going to cement the isles to the rUK

            In fact, I rather imagine it is a can of worms he will steer well clear of.

            If Shetland wishes to leave Scotland that will be a democratic decision for the Shetlanders alone via referendum after independence; they would then be free to re-join rUK if they wish. I am sure Scottish voters would support them in such a ‘claim of right’.

            However it should be noted that if they chose to rejoin rUK they would only have island enclave status under International Maritime law, ie a 12 mile limit to their territorial waters – which does not include any of the oil fields.

            They would also stand to lose the ability to add to the existing oil revenue fund they have built up, as the oil revenues from Scottish waters will accrue to the Scottish exchequer.

            Then there’s access to Scotland’s free health and welfare benefits which Westminster or Norway would have to provide, not to mention the ferry and air services . . . rUK would have difficulty in servicing the needs of the islanders without encroaching on Scottish International waters or air space.

            The only sensible option if Shetland and Orkney cannot bear to be part of an independent Scotland would be full independence. I can’t see that happening, but good luck to them if it does. However, I imagine they will see their better option as seeking greater autonomy from the Scottish government – a process in which talks have already begun.

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          • @Longshanks,

            I thought this was a forum for reasoned debate, not ‘balderdash by blunderbuss’?

            I dislike your use of the term ‘shouty Englishman’, it’s typical ‘YES’ campaign anti-English rhetoric. What did he say, I don’t suppose you even listened or you’d have told us what he said?

            Personally, I’d be more concerned about what the ‘Our Islands, Our Future’ lot are getting up to, they’ve got some clout – and a democratic mandate.

            The ‘Secretary of State for Portsmouth’? I wasn’t aware there was such a position. Please advise?

            Orkney and Shetland MP Alistair Carmichael is currently Secretary of State for Scotland and he has set up a dedicated unit to deal with the ‘Our Islands, Our Future’ campaign. I suspect Alex Salmond will have to improve on his ‘Lerwick Declaration’ hot air by producing something tangible for the island councils or he may well be beaten to the punch by Carmichael.

            Why do you think Carmichael was appointed in place of Michael Moore, the folk in London aren’t naive about territory and resources, you know?

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          • Oh come on Andrew, thought you were better than that, playing the racist card.
            It’s clear which camp you are in but there is absolutely nothing “typical anti-English” about the YES campaign. Your comment was uncharacteristically ill-thought out.
            Where else have you encountered this in the debate to date?
            It’s clear this site is full of individuals who promote a YES vote in our referendum and I have yet to see any debate descend into anything remotely anti-English.
            As a last throw of the dice I genuinely expect Better Together and our main stream media to lob this garbage into the mix, whether there is any justification or not near the death, only a matter of time, just wait.

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          • I take your point on ‘typical’, Jnr, I just felt LS’s use of the words “shouty Englishman” were intended to create the impression that being English somehow devalued what the gentleman was trying to say?

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          • My point is that he was an incomer, and a wildly eccentric one at that.

            There is, for practical purposes, zero support for independence for Shetland. Greater autonomy, yes, but not independence.

            There were over 60 people at the inaugural ‘Shetland for Yes’ meeting, btw.

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          • On your other point, Jnr., I had a genuinely open mind at the outset however I’ll grant you I’ve swung well towards ‘No’.

            I think it was an outrage that there wasn’t a third option as Alex Salmond wanted and it almost persuaded me to swing to ‘Yes’ but voting from bloody-mindeness would be wrong.

            Scots should have as much control over their own affairs as they democratically wish to have, including a republic, I wouldn’t for it but I’m only one.

            Devolution shouldn’t stop at Edinburgh, there are major opportunities for advancement via the ‘principle of subsidiarity’ of the much-maligned (incuding by me) EU in many places and, in particular, right here in Argyll.

            I’m not suggesting (nor ruling out) ‘partition’ of Argyll, just more control for local people in the distinct, disparate corners of the territory.

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          • @LS, 10:46 am,

            How long does an ‘incomer’ have to live in a place before he/she is permitted to participate in our democracy?

            And from your own account this ‘wildly eccentric incomer’ managed to attract no fewer than half as big an audience as the best professional efforts of the “Yes’ Campaign. That speaks volumes.

            I don’t believe I used the word ‘independence’ in connection with Shetland, Orkney or the Western Isles. Given that I’m not convinced it would be beneficial for Scotland, it’s unlikely i would support it for any of the isles or other subdivisions of Scotland..

            If the present Scottish government recognised, not only, the importance of more effective democracy, but also, the value of it to Scotland and acted accordingly, I very much doubt we would be having this exchange.

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          • Andrew
            You say you have swung to a definite ‘NO’ that’s fine but I’m interested in your justification for doing so. If I have interpreted your reply to me correctly you say you were hovering over a ‘YES’ until the inclusive democratic third option was removed by the man the Scottish electorate did not elect, the man who did not want to debate with the First minister because he hypocritically suggests independence is a matter for Scotland!
            Why would you take the decision not taken by Alex Salmond to remove the third option out on the ‘YES’ vote?
            I’m not getting your thinking.

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          • I think you’re not far away however, for absence of doubt, I don’t commend the blocking of the third option, I deplore it because, throughout, I have been and am, in favour of more local control for Scots.

            Early on, I had an open mind on outright independence and wanted to hear the arguments and I still want to hear them however, I have swumg towards ‘No’, partly, because I believe the genii is out of the bottle and further devolution will, inevitably, be the result of all this in due course.

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  17. When my yes vote falls hundreds of thousands of votes short of providing the deciding +1 suggested in the article (even for the most pro-independence minded scot the probability of the referendum being decided by one vote multiplied by his perceived personal gain has to be negligible and not worth walking to the polling station for) can I hope for an answer to the West Lothian Question or will we maintain unsatisfactory undemocratic asymmetric devolution?

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  18. “the folk in London aren’t naive about territory and resources, you know?”

    Yes, we know that Andrew, they’ve been regarding Scotland as English territory, and taking our resources too, for the past two or three hundred years at least.

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    • Just as Scotland and the UK have done in the Northern Isles for 545 years!

      That being the case, do you think London will blithely hand over all those maritime and natural resouces and strategic seas to Edinburgh without trying to ‘pull a stroke or two’ first?

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      • I think oil is the main reason the Union is putting up a fight.

        However, I think the suggestion that they will use the fact that, according to a thirteenth century treaty, the Northern isles are still Norwegian as an excuse to annexe them on the grounds that they are not Scottish is no more than the wildest fantasy on your part.

        I am sure the NO campaign have a rabbit or two up their sleeves, but I am equally sure that annexing Shetland without the full consent of the Shetlanders isn’t one of them.

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        • LS: Once again, you denigrate the rule of law. Magna Carta pre-dated the Treaty of Perth by 51 years and parts of it are not only still in force, today, they will continue to be so for a very long time, indeed.

          I ask again, “is this the kind of ‘free’ Scotland you envisage?

          The UK government won’t do anything without the assent of the inhabitants however a straight offer of Crown Dependency or British Overseas Territory status would be attractive.

          The Falkland Islands, for example, have control of their own Exclusive Economic Zone:

          “Dec 18 (Reuters) – Rockhopper Exploration PLC : * Resolution of capital gains tax liability * Reached an agreement in principle with the Falkland Islands Government regarding timing and quantum of CGT liability relating to farm out to Premier Oil of 60 pct interest in Sea Lion discovery * Total CGT payable is $146m with payment split into two tranches”

          I expect the island councils would recommend acceptance of such an offer to their constituents who, I imagine, are sufficiently shrewd to see it as a ‘no-brainer’?

          And it would ‘cement the isles’ to the UK/rUK for ‘all tyme coming’.

          All pure speculation on my part, however, Westminster are probably far too busy deciding who will alight from the gravy train next time it stops outside the House of Lords?

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          • The legality of the UK’ s claim to the Falklands and of the so-called ‘economic zone’ is highly suspect. I am surprised that you would seek to use them as an example.

            Should it come to a bidding war for the favours of the Shetlanders – an extremely fanciful scenario IMO – then the Scottish government wiould be in a position to match the rUK offer . . . And in spite of protests to the contrary most Shetlanders definitely feel more affinity with Scotland than with the City if London. ( I speak as one who has spent time in Shetland and met more than a few of them over the years).

            The idea that Shetland will somehow save the union or choose a course of action against their own interests just to make an independent Scotland slightly less viable is wildest fantasy. The NO side must be getting desperate if they think this incoherent, outdated divide and rule tactic will help the cause.

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        • @LS,

          The UK’s claim to the Northern Isles, as we have discussed, is weak.

          The UK, quite properly, in line with the ‘right to self-determination of peoples’, held a referendum in the Falkland islands to determine the inhabitants’ wishes which, predictably, were resoundingly in favour of staying with the UK.

          Until that changes, Argentina’s claim to the Falklands is dead in the water. Democracy also holds the key to the Northern Isles constitutional conundrum.

          The view that the inhabitants of the Northern Isles have had a raw deal at the hands of Scots and English since 1468 (and the Western Isles since 1266) is a difficult one to refute. The autonomy they enjoyed under Norwegian rule, is unequalled to this day.

          As, indeed, Argyll itself was, for a long time, an autonomous, self-governing province of Norway.

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      • Oil? I doubt that very much. According to the Yes campaign and many here, there are barrel loads of oil in the Firth of Clyde, waiting to provide the west of Scotland with an oil boom except that the UK Government is preventing it. .

        So on one hand people like you like to tell us that Westminster are desperate for ‘Scotlands’oil, and apparently the very same people are stopping the next oil boom …

        Doubtless you have a conspiracy theory to explain it tho….

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        • Oil exploration in the Clyde was blocked at the MOD’s request because of the nuclear subs.

          You can call that a conspiracy if you like, but removing Trident would allow exploration in these waters to be resumed.

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          • The presence of oil rigs and their associated activity was specifically seen as a problem for the Polaris/Trident programme because :

            a) the subs carry nuclear weapons
            b) their whereabouts must remain secret at all times

            There is no reason why conventional subs should not co-exist with oil exploration. In truth, there is probably no reason why oil exploration and nuclear subs could not co-exist, but the MOD said NO so NO it was.

            With Trident gone Scotland would be free to explore and exploit its coastal waters as it saw fit.

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          • Andrew, were it anyone else, maybe you would take their word for it, but let’s look at Longshanks statements in only a tiny bit more detail and expose that he doesn’t appear to have a clue what he’s talking about.

            1) Oil rigs were a problem because the subs carry nuclear weapons at all times.

            Not really correct. What is more correct is that placing rigs in the firth creates a navigational hazard for ALL shipping, and ALL submarines, the subs maybe more so. A permanent placement can be charted and avoided – a moveable feast of rigs and exploratory equipment is a hazard to all submarines, regardless of whether they carry nuclear weapons, are nuclear powered or conventionally powered. You can take Trident out of the debate, it’s nothing special in this context.

            2) Their whereabouts must remain secret at all times – The only word for that is ‘bollocks’. Presumably Longshanks thinks that the subs arrive and depart submerged without anyone knowing. The truth is that they come up the firth on the surface and usually with a highly visible escort of fast boats, police and some Serco boats. Anyone can watch them head up Loch Long to Coulport to load/unload there weapons, and then head round very publicly to Gareloch and Faslane. So to blame secrecy for Trident as a reason to stop oil exploration is again, completely off the mark and smacks of lack of knowledge.

            So let’s not take Longshanks word for granted here, he’s been reading too much of newsnetscotland and really buying into the conspiracy without a moments thought.

            The MOD and other organisations would have very good reasons if they did object to oil exploration in the Firth of Clyde, rather than some strange conspiracy as the Nats would have us believe.

            For all those wishing to drill for black gold in the Clyde, have you seen Local Hero recently? It was very subtle about it, but the point was well made. And let’s not mention Deep Horizon…the Nats love to scare us with thoughts of having nuclear weapons near Glasgow, but have not a care in the world drilling for oil less than 5 miles from densly populated areas. Talk about hypocritical!

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          • Once again Jamie you show a complete disregard for the facts, preferring to make things up on the hoof.

            The area BP sought a license to drill in was South of Arran. The nuclear subs certainly do not parade about on the surface that far from their base.

            The area between the Ayrshire coast and Arran is plenty deep and wide enough for both submarines and surface traffic to co-exist with drilling rigs – which do not wander randomly about as you seem to be suggesting, but remain in the same position for months at a time.

            The government papers recently released under the 30 year rule state categorically that the MOD demanded a total ban on all exploration in the Clyde estuary.

            Fergus Ewing has confirmed that after an independence vote the Scottish Government would consider applications for exploratory oil and gas drilling rights off the south-west coast of Scotland.

            Now, please be a good fellow and stop making things up. Perhaps before you spout any more nonsense on this subject you should have a look at these articles in two notoriously pro-Union newspapers:

            Scotsman – Trident removal may allow oil and gas exploration

            Sunday Post – West coast oil boom was blocked by MoD

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          • As I said, unless you are so paranoid as to believe that the MOD would wish to prevent drilling for the benefit of Westminster, then I think it fair to say that the MOD would have good reason. Of course, you would not really be interested in that, preferring to focus only on the one single aspect that suits your cause. no change there.

            Next you’ll be telling us that the MOD object to a fair few wind farms, not because of the impact on their operations, radar etc, but for the benefit of Westminster….

            So what’s it to be Longshanks. Is it one single site south of Arran, or was it all over the firth to spark a new oil boom as suggested by people on here? One site off Arran will hardly provide that….

            Which brings me back to my original point, which has not been answered really – if Westminster have all along wanted the oil revenue, why on earth would they block drilling in the Firth?

            If the MOD are simply an extension of Westminster, then it makes no sense. If the MOD are indeed fully autonomous, then how do you know that McDads Army would not come to the same conclusion – that drilling for oil in the Firth of Clyde would conflict with military and other shipping movements?

            On a side note – why do you and your yes buddies villify the likes of the Scotmans about 95% of the time, but as soon as they print a story that might benefit your cause, suddenly their words are taken as gospel? It’s rather amusing!

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          • Yet again, this is an old story, and a non-story.

            OIL and gas exploration could begin off the west coast of Scotland after independence when the Trident nuclear submarines are removed the Clyde, the Scottish Government has indicated.

            Energy minister Fergus Ewing yesterday insisted Scotland would not have any “no-go areas” for drilling, after it emerged the Ministry of Defence had blocked the prospect of a second oil boom in the Firth of Clyde post-independence”

            It literally is nothing but dreaming by the SNP, hoping the Scottish public will be taken in by it.

            But here’s the most worrying part – there will be no ‘no go areas’. Can the SNP get any more reckless? Probably.

            Keep peddling this story Longshanks, the more people who do actually bother to click the links and read it, the more people who realise that this is a long shot and should be taken with a big pinch of salt.

            Next on Channel SNP… Renationalising the Royal Mail? Check. Rejoining the EU on Scotland’s own terms? Check. Ditch the UK and immediately join forces to procure Frigates (that Scotland would not need) – check. Leave the UK and immediately enter a currency Union with the rUK? Check. Restart large scale shipbuilding despite it not being viable here any longer? Check. Start exploring for oil where there is little evidence there is any? Check. Ban nuclear weapons and immediately adopt a ‘ don’t ask/don’t tell’ policy for visiting warships? Check. Commit to £700m per year for childcare bribes without knowing where the money will come from? Check. Ban nuclear weapons and immediately attempt to join a nuclear organisation? Check.

            I would say you couldn’t make it up, but the SNP do, and are becoming the laughing stock.

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        • Yes but our UK government at the time had priorities Jamie.
          Westminster as many now retired politicians have said relied hugely on the revenues from North sea oil, think Thatcher, unemployment, oil came at just the right time to fund her agenda.
          It appears having read a few accounts now that oil was prevented from being extracted from West coast waters simply because the UK government chose to knock it on the head preferring to prioritise the nuclear deterrent we have on our doorstep, whilst at the very same time thousands catapulted onto the dole and as many will recall extremely hard and turbulent times to exist for many north of Watford.
          There are accounts of those who helped carry out the exploration for oil in our waters although those who commissioned the findings appear to have rather conveniently misplaced.
          The removal of Trident and all that comes with doing so is one of the main reasons although the will never emphasise it that the UK government are so desperate to see Scotland remain within Westminster control.
          A major headache awaits should they fail.

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          • A major headache for the SNP. In some ways, I would like to see a Yes vote, only to watch the abolute mess that would occur, with Scotland being the loser. then then again, I live here and care too much about my country to allow the amateurish SNP to play games to satisfy their childhood dreams!
            In 20years time, when devolution has progressed and more Scottish political parties wish to see Scotland independent, and there is actually a case for it, then I think we wouldbe wise to go for it.
            But right now, the SNP strategy is to attack everyone and anyone who opposes any aspect of their vision for independence. How to win friends and influence people….maybe not. It’ll all come back and haunt them.

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  19. Why vote for a system which does not work. At the last council election there appeared to be a wish for a different group to lead the council, what happened to that. Senior council officials appear to tell the elected officials what to do and do they appoint their friends into senior positions. There appears to be no accountability to the people and if the council was fully audited by a body not made up of government appointed officials would there be criminal proceedings against any senior officials.
    Is boycotting a corrupt system the most powerful peaceful way forward.

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  20. John Sinclair, “there appeared to be a wish for a different group to lead the council what happened to that”

    1. You seem to be confusing the vociferous few on here as somehow reflecting wider public opinion. They don’t.
    2. You will remember there actually was a change in the Council leadership – three or four times (I forget how many…) before the incompetent SNP imploded and a more stable administration elected.
    3. Your allegations, without one shred of evidence, that council officials are guilty some unnamed criminal activities and protected somehow by a corrupt external audit body is wild conspiracy theory gone mad. It is either preposterous, childish and/or deliberately mischievous.

    Here’s a thought – If you ANY evidence of corruption then please bring it forward. If you don’t have any evidence (and I’m confident you don’t) then perhaps you should reflect on how immature and stupid these wild allegations look.

    That said no doubt there will some on here eager to ‘believe’ without the need for facts or evidence.

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  21. “3. Your allegations, without one shred of evidence, that council officials are guilty some unnamed criminal activities and protected somehow by a corrupt external audit body is wild conspiracy theory gone mad. It is either preposterous, childish and/or deliberately mischievous.”
    There is corruption through out the political system in the UK, but according to you there is no corruption within Argyll and Bute council.

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  22. John ‘There is corruption through out the political system in the UK”.


    Is there?

    Now I hate to be picky but – evidence? Or do we just take your word for it? Mmm?

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    • Corruption in politics?
      I’m thinking immediately of the infamous Westminster politician’s expenses scandal.
      We have corruption within our Police forces (Andrew Mitchell, Jimmy Saville, Hillsborough etc etc etc.) albeit not, I hope, institutionalised. Yes, the very organisations existing to help prevent and weed out corruption throughout so why not corruption within politics? Don’t however think a few bad apples spoil the barrel though and in general, especially given the scrutiny they are under these days, they are in the minority.

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    • John Sinclair, “do you think theres no corruption in the UK political system” now that’s a way different question and my honest answer would be ‘I don’t know but is some men/women in power succumbed to temptation I wouldn’t be that surprised’.

      But, and that’s a BIG but, that is a million miles away from your sleazy slur claiming that it’s only because of corrupt auditor that senior officers in our council are not being charged with criminal activities.

      Such unsubstantiated guff serves only to undermine democracy and the democratic process.

      You simply will not be taken seriously going around claiming that senior officers are guilty of criminal activities and expect others to believe you unless you prepared to produce some evidence. If you keep this nonsense up ranting, raving and making baseless accusations you’ll either step too far one day and name someone who will then sue you – or – Newsie will offer you a job because that sort of unfounded nonsense is what passes for news/journalism on here.

      But on a more serious note John Sinclair here’s a thought – why not put up or shut up.

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      • “But on a more serious note John Sinclair here’s a thought “why not put up or shut up.” no.
        “Newsie will offer you a job because that sort of unfounded nonsense is what passes for news/journalism on here.”, when I posted “There appears to be no accountability to the people and if the council was fully audited by a body not made up of government appointed officials would there be criminal proceedings against any senior officials.” it then becomes “But, and that’s a BIG but, that is a million miles away from your sleazy slur claiming that it’s only because of corrupt auditor that senior officers in our council are not being charged with criminal activities.”

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  23. Thanks everyone for all the information you are posting on here. The problem I have now is trying to fathom out what is “fact” or might be. Either way, I do know that a yes vote, will certainly let Scotland decide it’s priorities, rather than a Government in London that we haven’t voted for in decades. Still deciding yes or no.

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  24. Continuing my speculation above that Westminster may see fit to offer the ‘Our Islands, Our Future’ campaign some form of autonomy which would bind them irrevocably to the UK/rUK for the foreseeable future, why would rUK not consider moving her Faslane facility to Scapa Flow in Orkney or, even, to Sullom Voe in Shetland? There’s no shortage of engineering capacity and deep water harbours in these places. Being a ‘landlubber’ I can’t think of an obvious location for it in the Western Isles however there are, doubtless, some good possibilities there, too.

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    • I can’t see how the Islands would better themselves by remaining with England. From what I can gather they are worried about being administered from a remote centre – you can hardly get more remote (from their point of view) than London.

      If the Independence vote carries, whichever party or coalition eventually gains power must ensure that the Islands get as much devolved power as possible. If it’s good enough for all of us it must be good enough to include them.

      Of course if it doesn’t carry, then the Islands will be on the same predicament as exists currently, or perhaps worse, as Westminster will do it’s best to gather power back to itself.

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      • I think you’re missing the point, Kass, as autonomous entities analogous to the Isle of Man or the Faroe Islands, they would be self-governing but under the protection of the larger power with whom they were linked – which could be either England or Scotland.

        In the case of the Faroe Islands, the protecting power is Denmark.

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        • It would seem however that even the Faroe Islands want independence, so if it’s good enough for them, why not Scotland, pray tell (and the islands if they want/can)?

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          • Iceland is an independent country, as far as I know the Faroese are content with what they have, a situation analogous to that of the Isle of Man?

            Why not an independent Scotland, indeed?

            As we are proposing to keep the Queen and the Bank of England, the rUK..er .England (h/t. pm) will have a vested interest in being Scotland’s ‘protecting power’ :-)

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  25. Re the various opinions relating to the options open to Orkney and Shetland, I’d welcome being corrected (links to authoritative rebuttals would help) if my take on this is wrong.

    Orkney and Shetland, should they choose to throw their lot in with England (not rUK – there would be no UK, ‘r’ or otherwise), would have the status of an English island enclave (more properly, an ‘exclave’) in international law. Any notion that they would gain ownership of territory out to the 200 mile limit is therefore well off the mark.

    Furthermore, not being classed formally as nations nor as colonies of Scotland, England or the UK, their right to self-determination – leading to independence, as some would moot – is, in international law, the same as that of every other county in Britain: non existent.

    Regarding island enclave/exclave rights, the legal precedence established by what France has finally been awarded by having possession of St Pierre et Miquelon, vis-a-vis its dispute with Canada, is significant:

    A detailed legal academic assessment of Orkney-Shetland-Scotland-England claims to offshore territory is presented in a paper in the European Journal of International Law. Of course, only a formal legal judgement would be definitive but this is certainly food for thought (especially Map 2 which summarises the author’s conclusion):

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    • Interesting contribution pm.

      It’s a wee while since I looked at this in detail so, like you, I’m happy to be corrected.

      You say autonomous islands (c.f. Isle of Man at present) would become ‘English enclaves’ because neither a UK nor rUK would exist. I assume you mean Wales and Northern Ireland would be considered ‘part of England’?

      You say “Any notion that they (Western/Northern Isles) would gain ownership of territory out to the 200 mile limit is therefore well off the mark.”

      First, we need to distinguish between ‘territorial seas’ and ‘Exclusive Economic Zone’ (EEZ). Briefly, the former is restricted to 12 miles or half the distance to the nearest foreign state. The EEZ refers to continental shelf and can be up to 200 miles or (often) half the distance to the nearest foreign state. This conveys rights over natural resources, etc.

      So an autonomous island would, like an independent Scotland, have territorial jurisdiction over the surrounding seas out to the 12-mile limit, subject to the above constraints.

      In the case of establishing an EEZ, competing claims can be settled by negotiation between the parties or by an international tribunal. International law requires that the settlement should be ‘equitable’, bearing in mind the geography, history and culture of the parties involved.

      Given the geography, history and culture of the Western and Northern Isles, they would appear to be in a strong position to gain large swathes of the North Atlantic and North Sea into their EEZs. The St Pierre and Miquelon case actually serves well to illustrate these points as it is considered in detail in the EJIT link you posted, the reason for the narrow corridor of EEZ stretching out 200 miles is due to the nearby (virtual) omnipresence of Canada.

      I have studied this report in detail in the past and strongly recommend it to anyone interested in the subject.

      In general, the seas/sea floors pertaining to the ‘Our Islands, Our Future’ campaign are much less restricted than is the case at St. Pierre and Miquelon.

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      • I’m impressed by pm’s notion that there’ll be neither a UK nor rUK, what have you done with Wales & Ulster – sunk them? – and assessing the status of Orkney & Shetland surely needs a close look at that of the Aland islands, as well as the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man.

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        • Spot on with the islands’ status, Robert. At the recent ‘Our Islands, Our Future’ Conference in Orkney, an EU speaker pointed out that Scottish islands are virtually unique in the EU for their lack of self-governance versus those of other EU countries.

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        • The United Kingdom is Great Britain, that being the state formed by union of the kingdoms of Scotland and England. I can’t see how there can be a UK if the two kingdoms disunite. The rUK thing makes as much sense as calling Russia the rUSSR.

          Wales was formally subsumed into the kingdom of England centuries before there was any United Kingdom (for the first few hundred years as a personal fiefdom of the English sovereign at that). The Welsh might resent it, and I’d be with them on that, but that’s the historical fact.

          As for the relationship of Northern Ireland with Ireland/Henry VIII’s “Kingdom” of Ireland/the UK of Great Britain/the UK of Great Britain & Ireland/the UK of Great Britain & Northern Ireland (and, in the event of Scotland leaving, the Kingdom of England and its appended province of Northern Ireland), I hesitate to go there at all. But if that’s what it takes for the “rUKers” to hang on to the UK moniker, I suppose they’re free to do so.

          However, the fly in that particular jar of ointment is that the “of Great Britain & Northern Ireland” would be false, given that GB is categorically the union of Scotland and England.

          I suppose they could have a UK of E & NI but I’d bet my bottom dollar the majority would opt for having the Kingdom of England on their passport.

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          • Great Britain is the island of Scotland, England and Wales, reading from the north down.
            The United Kingdom is the political union of the island of Great Britain and the state of Northern Ireland.
            If Scotland leaves, it is none of our business what our former partners do or how their status is perceived. We will have chosen to go our own way.
            There is something distasteful, not to say vindictive, about an apparent wish not only to separate from the union – which we have the right to do; but to see our current partners consequently brought low.

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          • I think PM has it right here.

            There was a Kingdom called Scotland that united with a Kingdom called England. Where do we get the Kingdom of Northern Ireland from as, like Wales, it did not exist as such at that time in history?

            Therefore, it must be “The United Kingdom of Great Britain” and “Northern Ireland”.

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          • The way I sort of work it out is that ‘officially’ Great Britain would cease to exist but the United Kingdom would continue. I say ‘officially’ because whether that would actually happen I don’t know and is really a fairly immaterial issue in the grand scheme of things.

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          • There’s form here: until about the time of Victoria, English, and later British, sovereigns were styling themselves quite ludicrously King/Queen of England/Great Britain, FRANCE & Ireland! Before they picked up the supplementary Emperor of India tag as compensation, that is.

            But you’re right, newsroom, they’re entitled to call themselves whatever they like, logic-defying or not, ludicrous or not, and, as history shows, most likely with little regard for the sensibilities of their neighbours.

            How about the United Kingdom of rGB (being that part of the island of Great Britain less the third which is Scotland) & NI (or should that be rIreland – touchy one, that)?

            Vindictive you think? I’m mocking crass post-imperial stupidity.

            Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

          • “There is something distasteful, not to say vindictive, about an apparent wish not only to separate from the union”.

            Here Newsie, you did hand that SNP membership card back and cancel the Direct Debit didn’t you?

            Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  26. @Andrew Argyle says:
    January 5, 2014 at 7:05 pm

    I think you will find on investigation the the Faroese are not content with their present situation. As for the queen and the pound, I’m not proposing that we keep them – that’ll be the SNP.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

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