Pro-union campaign takes the celebrity route

The pro-independence campaign has majored on celebrity endorsements from the start of their campaign. Canny Scots just raised the odd eyebrow, as some of the celebrities weren’t even eligible to vote – and carried on making up their own minds about the matter.

Now the pro-union campaign is to hit the glitterball trail as well, with celebrities from our UK partner states to start telling us how much they love us and how badly they want us to stay.

This is, partly, a more bombproof tactic since these celebs will not have a vote anyway – but each will almost certainly be found to have some little hostage to fortune buried in their past which will be an embarrassment in the same blink of an eye in which the occasional soft-head will go all stargazy.

Who, in their right mind, would cast a vote one way or the other because a celeb from somewhere or other, from Los Angeles to London, Lesmahagow, Lampeter, Lurgan or Lymington Spa said so?

Will they be here with us if we go indy? Will they personally miss us? They’ll still be doing gigs and photoshoots in Scotland, indy or not. And they’ll still be sheltering their tax liabilities.

If Nelson Mandela had advised us to do what he did and work for change from within a form of union in South Africa, there would have been reason to listen to him.

But why on earth should anyone listen to a comedian, a footballer, a musician, a writer, a DJ, a film or TV ‘star’ or a model  – whose experience and expertise is irrelevant – on whether to choose indy or the union?

This is all about us, about how we see our future and our responsibilities – however each of us would describe those responsibilities.

The current nonsense of pushing for a cage-fight between Alex Salmond and David Cameron and calling for the pro-union campaign to present a paper on what things will be like if Scotland stays in the union are empty publicity stunts trying to distract from the failure of the pro-independence Scottish Government to opt for an honest prospectus and put a defensible economic case for independence.

The Independence Referendum is a Scottish referendum, not a UK referendum. No one has a say in it except those resident in Scotland and registered to vote.

There is no place in this debate for the Prime Minister of the UK – nor should any Westminster politicians other than Scottish politicians of any party, who will have the right to vote, come here to try to persuade us to whatever is their individual or party view.

For the SNP – whose raison d’etre is independence and whose continuing wail is the abuse of external intervention – to shout ‘snub’ because the UK Prime Minister – rightly – will not debate on the issue, is a political contortion of some athleticism.

Let’s get the politics straight on the other cry of the moment – the demand for the pro-union campaign to say how the UK will be if Scotland chooses to stay in it.

Who has the authority to put this case – even if it were acceptable for the United Kingdom to enter a shoddy bidding round for hands supposedly grabbing in all directions from the borders northwards?

The White Paper on Scotland’s Future – rightly – came from the Scottish Government, not from the Yes campaign – because a campaign is in no position to make, or later to keep, promises.

Any counter paper on how the United Kingdom would be if Scotland chose to stay a member of it could equally come only from the UK Government, not from the pro-union campaign.

Scotland remains a member of that UK Government.

Since Scotland is debating within itself as to whether or not to go indy, with the majority Scottish Government backing  indy – no proposition of this kind from the UK government could be properly put.

Any attempt to present what would be a partial case for the union masquerading as a UK position would – rightly – be met with screeches from the SNP [who had nevertheless demanded it] about perfidious Westminster disregarding Scotland again.

This is a nonsense notion and a potential ambush from which the pro-union campaign is wise to stay immovably away.

What the UK Government can do – and no current member nation could do other than welcome this – is, as we have already suggested, to announce that in the interests of the development of the union and regardless of the outcome of the Scottish Independence referendum, a standing UK constitutional conference would be established to sit for the first time in the summer of 2015.

Whether Scotland leaves or Scotland stays, in the aftermath of this turbulent time the United Kingdom will need to revise and redirect itself.

If Scotland were to choose to stay in the UK, it would expect – rightly – to be part of a collective decision as to how the union might be reshaped to fit a 21st century partnership; and would be an active and imaginative partner in such a standing conference.

There is no logic whatsoever in those campaigning for Scottish independence to insist on the rest of the UK just telling us now what the union will  be like if Scotland stays in it – effectively demanding that Scotland should NOT be a party to reshaping the union.

The hard fact is that we have to vote on a known against an unknown – for the union as we currently know it or for a Scotland we cannot yet know.

To make the choice a fair one, we should choose between the economically unsupportable set of promises we have on a Scotland that might or might not be – against the union we know, with all its current faults and offences of which we are already well aware.

That offers us two varieties of risk – and that IS the reality of the decision we have to make.

We ought  not to put ourselves in the position afterwards – whatever afterwards turns out to be – of blaming anyone for ‘persuading’ us.

This is OUR responsibility  – and it is the most serious responsibility any of us will ever have.

Anyone may try to inform or mislead us as they will. This does not make them responsible for the outcome, only for the honesty or dishonesty of their means of persuasion.

The buck stops only with every one of us, with every vote and with every person who casts it.

Whatever any of us may emotionally respond to, indy or the union, this is the time to pause, take a deep breath and consider the reality of the options.

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115 Responses to Pro-union campaign takes the celebrity route

  1. Have you listened to Osborne today? £12 billion cuts to welfare in order to support tax cuts to the wealthy over the next 6 years.
    I thought the Uk was about everyone being in it together? What has Osborne Clegg Cameron and for that matter Milliband sacrificed for me, my family and peers. Answer zilch
    Many “don’t knows” will be thinking there is another way come Autumn.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 17 Thumb down 21

  2. I despise celebrity endorsement of political parties or ideologies to try and influence voters. It is insulting to suggest to people that they should vote one way or another just because, for example, Sean Connery or Gordon Ramsay (or whoever else does). As if they have some sort of intellectual superiority due to being famous. However as much I despise it I despair more because you have to imagine it works! Just as people seem to buy average products because some celebrity advertises it on the television it would appear too many people are influenced by the opinion of someone who has absolutely no grounds to be more or less informed than any of the rest of us.
    Sean Connery bigging up independence is laughable. Partially because he has as much interest in living and contributing to Scotland as Boris Johnson does and partially because he is, at best, morally questionable. I have no idea who the pro-union are going to roll out but whoever it is we should give their opinion as much weight as we should give Connery’s or anyone else’s.

    As for the TV debate issue – I have made my point on that before. Total waste of time and nothing more than pantomime. Our politicians should be making more productive use of their time.

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  3. TV is part of the news media.

    Cameron was on yesterday with a very compliant interviewers talking over Immigration etc. so he is not averse in using this medium. As a prospective PM he was happy to participate with Brown and Clegg in a tv debate.
    Cameron has sent his various ministers of defence, Deputy PM Clegg etc on away day returns to here, telling us why we should vote No. He is involved , he signed the joint agreement.

    Is he not Pime Minister of the UK of GB and NI? Discussing and debating the future of this country is a productive use of his time. It is called democracy.

    At the moment he looks like a big Fearty. As he often says in the disreputable House of Commons “put up or shut up.”

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 14 Thumb down 18

    • I will just repeat what I posted in another post about the TV debate

      For me the whole debate thing is nothing to do with being ‘feart’ as Salmond, in a slightly school playground taunt’ has claimed. It is simply about tactics in the battle between the ‘yes’ and ‘no’ campaign.

      As things stand the ‘No’ campaign is ahead – how much by is hard to say as polls are not all that reliable however with the odd blip they consistently have ‘No’ as being ahead. Salmond knows it, as does the rest of the ‘No’ campaign. However there is some indication that they might be making ground and understandably the ‘No’ campaign is encouraged by this and are looking for ways to maintain and build upon any momentum. A TV debate between Salmond and Cameron will help fuel that. Cameron is unpopular in Scotland with both the ‘yes’ and ‘No’ campaigns (with a minority exception) and so it makes sense for the ‘Yes’ campaign to try and pin the ‘No’ campaign to Cameron rather than Alistair Darling.

      Meanwhile the ‘No’ campaign know this perfectly well so would be daft to front the campaign with someone so unpopular in the country whose voters they want to persuade to support them. They know they are currently ahead so why make a decision which is detrimental to that position?

      If this was a debate that Salmond wanted to be about the issues of independence with a focus on an informed debate to help the people of Scotland to make their own minds up then Darling is the obvious person. He is the one most informed on the finer detail of the ‘No’ campaign. The fact that Salmond doesn’t want that isn’t because he is ‘feart’ of Darling (as some counter claims have said), it is because the ‘Yes’ campaign has potentially less to gain from a debate with Darling.

      Neither of them are ‘feart’ – they are just both taking the decision in the best interests of what they believe is right. So arguably they are both as ‘good’ or ‘bad’ as the other in the way they are conducting themselves. That said Salmond has no right to demand who he should get to debate with and it is getting a little tiring hearing him repeat the request with the ‘you’re scared of me’ undertone (which he knows is twaddle). However also, that said, Cameron is a man with odious political beliefs so I find it hard to defend him!

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      • Who should not take part in this debate Clegg, Milliband, Osborne, Cabinet members from Westminster.

        Integrity you know full well that all of the above will be involved in some shape or form such as press briefings, day return visits from London, planted questions during Scottish question time etc etc.

        Using your analogy there should be NO debate by anyone on Television.

        From a No campaign perspective I can understand why.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 2

        • Having no staged television debates wouldn’t bother me in the slightest.

          Of course all these people will be involved in some way or another, just as every other politician in the country can, should they want to, get involved in some way or another.

          I am not denying any politician’s involvement. It is up to individual politician’s to determine what their involvement should be and for the parties to determine responsibility. The No campaign have decided Darling is their front man for the campaign and nominate him to be the person who takes part in a debate. it is not up to Salmond to tell the No campaign how to conduct themselves and who should perform which role no more than it would be appropiate for Darling or Cameron to demand anything from the Yes campaign.

          I am still to hear a proper argument to explain why Salmond has to debate with Cameron and Cameron only. I dislike Cameron immensely and have little doubt Salmond would ‘win’ the debate (in the TV debate definition of winning at least) however I have little interest in something as important as the independence debate boiling down to petty discussions in the paper about which politican came up with the best retort.
          Darling has been charged by the No campaign to head their campaign and therefore he, more than anyone else should know the devil in the No campaign detail. If Salmond genuinely wants to show that devil to the nation then surely a debate with Darling is the way to expose it.

          Insisting it be Cameron is purely about Salmond wanting a stage to show off that he is better informed on the issue than Cameron is (which he will be – independence, after all, is understandably dominating the thoughts of the SNP and SNP leader – Cameron doesn’t have that ‘luxury’)

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 5

    • Cameron’s definitely a fearty … we know of course he’d be left looking as daft (or dafter) than Alistair Carmichael did on Scotland Tonight debate BUT by not debating he just looks like a weak leader unwilling to deal face to face with someone of much higher political ability as he wouldn’t be able to cope — I would of course still like to see such a debate as Cameron couldn’t dictate what was being discussed as it would be great for yes campaign

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      • Perhaps David Cameron simply doesn’t wish to cause yet more embarrassment to the SNP by exposing Alex Salmond for what he and his independence policies are – daft.

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        • As Iain and H2o have said above, the main reason Cameron does not want to get involved in a debate with Salmond is that he knows full well that he would get his 2rse kicked all round the studio. He hasn’t the guts of a herring.

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

  4. I am no fan of David Cameron, but neither he nor the Conservative Party will remain in power in perpetuity and I prefer the security of remaining in the UK. I’m content to wait for the referendum and cast my vote but weary of the belligerent attitude of the SNP. They picked the fight and the date, but keep insisting that those who disagree with them should defend themselves. It’s a bit like standing in a pub and stranger walks up to you telling you he’s going to punch you in the face and, when he does, it will be your fault because you didn’t defend yourself ! It would be nice to think that if, as has appeared likely all along, the majority elect to remain in the UK the SNP will accept the settled will of the people instead of continually telling us that they know what’s best for us.

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    • Here we go again – poor wee Digger. Digger, this is a forum for debate – if you don’t want to engage in such, don’t post here – and if you do post, please engage.

      And if the majority vote out of the UK, I hope you’ll accept the settled will of the people too, and get behind independence instead of carping on the sidelines.

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      • I’ll choose what I want to say and where I want to say it. The site allows for responses and comments, although you trying to appropriate it for your own ends and dictate the terms of use doesn’t surprise me.

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  5. Iain you just proved my point that it is nothing more than pantomime. For you it boils down to Salmond vs Cameron yet we are constantly told a vote for independence is not a vote for the SNP. If independence debate is the real motive then Salmond should be prepared to debate with whoever the YES campaign puts forward. Demanding it is Cameron or nobody demonstrates his real motivation.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 18 Thumb down 8

    • Neither Salmond or Cameron is figurehead of either campaign – it’s just Cameron keeps commenting on referendum in media & I’d like to see his views questioned & examined in a theatre where Cameron can’t just back off when he finds it difficult … Cameron just happens to be a man who could be able to answer questions that backbench Labour MPs like Darling couldn’t … and of course if yes vote wins Cameron could have a Scottish passport couldn’t he ………..

      Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 7 Thumb down 11

      • So why does Salmond actually want to debate the person who isn’t the figurehead of the NO campaign?

        Why not have the debate with the person charged by the NO campaign with responsibility for leading the fight against the YES campaign? Alastair Darling is more than happy to have the debate but Salmond is refusing to.

        Does that make Salmond ‘feart’ or is it more because Salmond is only interested in the debate if he can get the Prime Minister involved so as to raise the profile of the debate and possibly his own profile.

        I repeat what I have said before in a different thread (and touched on here) – I find these TV debates pointless. This particular one is no different and Salmond is not pushing for it because he is interested in debate, he is pushing for it for publicity and so he can generate a few cheap headlines. He used to be a better politician than that.

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          • Alex Salmond doesn’t exactly have a clean record on honesty either.

            There is barely a politician in the world regardless of what colour their rosette is who doesn’t ‘bend the truth’ when it comes to political debate/claims/policy/stats etc etc

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    • Did anyone watch the ‘Money Week’ magazine video link posted recently by John Sinclair on another thread?

      It’s ultimately a sales pitch but is very detailed and puts the UK’s total debt at 900 percent of GDP – similar to that of the post WW1 Weimar Republic!

      Even if we divide that debt total by two or, even, three, to allow for sales pitch alarmism, if true, it is still alarming with potentially devastating consequences when interest rates begin to rise.

      And some of the measures available to politicians to take our money, including personal and occupational pensions, are quite chilling.

      John’s link is: http://subscribe.moneyweek.com/pro/mwk-site.php?code=PMYKPB05&n=myk-eob-tpr-cut&utm_source=taboola&utm_medium=referral

      I confess I haven’t followed this up with any research of my own, are there any economics folk on here who can advise if this report is credible or not?

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 9

    • Simon
      I was referring to welfare. Only £12 billion!!
      I know it is more — based on previous experience it will be worse!
      Crazy to continue with this failed Westminster system.

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      • H2O, just to confirm, what was your plan to reduce the deficit and start reducing the debt? Borrow more?

        We’re in a pickle, you can blame whoever you want for it, but it needs to be gotten out of. it’s so easy for the SNP to criticise when they do not have to take the tough decisions.

        It matters not whether it is the Tories, Labour or whoever, the problem needs dealt with and the decisions are NEVER going to be popular.

        Time the SNP woke up to reality and worked constructively with Westminster, but then again, that’s not their strong suit.

        Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 17 Thumb down 16

        • Don’t think you are quite right there Jamie – only the Tories have the guts and experience and indeed backbone to run the country at the moment and get us back into a healthy position – despite the Liberals. No doubt there will be a cry of disagreement by H20 and Kassandra and the rest but who cares – they don’t matter thankfully.

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          • We don’t matter?!
            Oh are we serfs, slaves?
            Who are you 2 chancers to say who is worth something or not. In your Tory time warp minds of imperialist past who would sell their granny and this country to the the bankers of London and Osborne types.
            Lord Haw Haws of the worst type.
            Thankfully we have the right to vote and to speak out against injustice that you think is the cross to bear for the poor.
            As for the Tories over the years it is known that the brave souls are happy to spill other peoples guts in the quest for capitalism. That is why they have only 1 MP left.
            Reduce deficit ? No more nuclear weapons is a start– the Tories – punish the poor.

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          • In that case, by the same token, Malcolm, you and Jamie don’t matter either. And as you both (certainly you anyway, from your post above) seem to have tory leanings, you matter even less, as the tory party is in steep decline (as are most other parties in britain, apart from UKIP (England only) and the SNP. So better either get your emigration cards ready now or get your Saltire’s out

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          • H20 and Kassandra and the rest but who cares – they don’t matter thankfully

            Your rantings become more unpleasant by the day Mr. Kirk.

            I wonder how many converts to the YES side you have made on here so far. Keep up the good work.

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          • The three musketeers all ready to strike at the merest hint of support of the Tories…using the term ‘Tory leanings’ as an insult. When I agreed with the support offered to the Philippines, did that also mean I was ‘Tory leaning’?

            What a mature outlook you chaps and chappesses have. The SNP will fail in their goal because of this very type of bitterness. Blind hatred some might say, indeed these very pages were testimony to that when Thatcher died.

            I think as time goes on, it becomes more and more obvious that the dream of independence is not borne out of rational thinking, but of bitterness and a serious superiority complex. I see it everyday on newsnetscotland – a hardcore band of followers who are all singing to same tune without stopping for a moment to think for themselves, egged on by the variety of anti-Westminster writers.

            The SNP claim ‘positive campaigning’, but I see little of it, not on here, not on NNS, and not on a
            any televised debate i’ve seen.

            The more output like the above from H20, Longshanks and Kassandra that gets into the public domain, the better as far as I’m concerned. The campaign for all it’s pretence of being all smiles and laughter has a rather sinister undertone. Which is a shame for the genuine people who simply think indy will fulfil their dreams.

            I am rather amused however at being told of my ‘tory time warp mind’,, having ‘tory leanings’, and being a ‘lord Haw Haw of the worst kind’. Keep up the ‘insults’, we ll need some light relief!

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        • No, their strong suite seems to be being popular in Scotland. Strange, that! Obviously you and Malcolm will have to arrange for a new population to be voted in.

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          • The SNP popular in Scotland…that old chestnut! I’m sure you said somewhere that you were no SNP supporter, but maybe I got it wrong….are you an SNP supporter Kassandra?

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  6. Were Scotland to opt for separation in September , what is there to stop the First Minister declaring a state of emergency and getting his spineless MSPs to pass an enabling act giving him full powers to run Scotland as a dictator ? We already have a Scottish Police force .
    Other nationalist parties elsewhere have shown how it could be done .

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    • Or alternatively answer the question. What was to stop countless Westminster governments in the past passing an enabling act giving them full powers to run the UK as a dictator?

      Thatcher would have bloody loved to do it and if she didn’t I am willing to bet we are fairly safe from anyone else doing it!

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      • You joke – however imperious her manner, democracy was surely a core value, and the same applies to all but a few current and recent politicians in this country; if I was to point to anyone who worried me on that score it was dear old Tony Benn, who seemed to have a unique revolutionary fervour when he was a power in the land.

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        • The ultimate champagne socialist was Mr Ben – even gave up a title for the sake of image, but still held on to the money as did all the Labour MPs and especially the Cabinet Ministers ! Mrs Thatcher came from a generation which in hindsight seems slightly dictatorial but that was the way politics were conducted at that time. Sadly missed but I think she would approve of what the present Chancellor is trying to do to get out of the mess caused by a World Recession which was so badly handled for so long by a Labour Government.

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        • “democracy was surely a core value” – unless you were a miner, or any of the other “enemies within” – which included anyone else to the left of General Galtieri, or a poor person, or an African Nationalist, etc. etc.

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      • Integrity
        At a UK level there are checks and balances to assist democracy , from the Monarch , the Speaker , Parliamentary Committees , second chamber , a free press and so on .
        At Holyrood , there is the ridiculous list system of electing MSPs , who owe their allegiance to their Party , not the electorate , the committees are a partisan joke , the speaker is the poodle of the First Minister . This is a gathering which thinks it is OK to introduce a voting system where those who secure the most votes in local elections can be denied a win . We now have a national police force , very weak press scrutiny and a nationalist party and a First Minister who have come out in support of anti democrats who roughed up and silenced an opponent on the streets of Edinburgh (Nigel Farage) .

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    • what is there to stop the First Minister declaring a state of emergency

      Well, for one thing I don’t think he would actually have the power to do that before we became independent. The power to declare a State of Emergency comes under the Civil Contingencies Bill and is a reserved matter.

      (You do understand that we won’t become independent the day after a YES vote, don’t you?)

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  7. Indeed, it is very strange why the SNP haven’t told us how they propose to deal with the national debt. They surely don’t believe that post independence they will have a clean slate – do they?

    Neither have they told us how much increase in taxes we will need to endure in order to receive the wonderful Scandinavian style health and social services that they promise.

    All complete fantasy.

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    • how they propose to deal with the national debt

      At least as well as Cameron and Osbourne are dealing with it, surely?

      The national debt was £1.2 trillion and rising in November. If you don’t adjust for inflation, Osborne has borrowed more in under four years than the Labour Party borrowed over 13 years.

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  8. CMD claims he will not debate Salmond because it is a matter for the people of Scotland, then makes a plea for the Union the main thrust of his New Year message.

    Am I the only one that finds this a tad hypocritical?

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  9. Newsie and integrity are both of the opinion that TV debates are futile, of no value, maybe just excuses to posture.
    Integrity says, “Total waste of time and nothing more than pantomime. Our politicians should be making more productive use of their time.”
    Newsie says, “empty publicity stunts trying to distract from the failure of the pro-independence Scottish Government “.
    So there are at least two who obviously think live one to one TV debate solves nothing. I beg to differ.
    Do their claims bear even the slightest scrutiny?
    Cast your minds back, remember Kirsty Wark’s debate? Prominent politicians debating to an audience in the Borders (hardly a pro-independence heartland) The NO camp’s argument failed to inspire with 62% voting YES, 38% NO after all was said and done.
    Anyone remember another debate at Abertay uni, Lord Labour George Robertson the man who claimed ‘Devolution would kill independence stone dead’. v Stewart Hosie as part of Dr Wallace McNeish’s Thinking Lecture series?
    Prior to the debate the audience vote was:
    •Yes: 21%
    •No: 59%
    •Don’t Know: 20%
    The outcome after a mature, level headed, rational even tempered one to one live debate was:
    •Yes: 51%
    •No: 38%
    •Don’t Know: 11%
    Stewart Hosie calmly dismantled Robertson’s claims knocking them over like skittles.
    ‘Business For Scotland’ at The Royal Society of Edinburgh back in October last year held another live debate.
    In the No corner was Iain McGill, former Conservative candidate, businessman, charity campaigner and prominent TV and radio spokesperson for the No Campaign. For the Yes camp, Michelle R Thomson, Director of Business for Scotland, Entrepreneur and Change Management expert.
    And the result post debate was: 75% Yes to 25% No.
    The average of the three live debates worked with YES winning 63% to 33%
    Btw Anyone unable to recall any on the three, don’t feel that dementia is setting in, there is a much more simple reason they may be a bit hazy recollecting, they were not very well publicised. Why’s that? We” leave the results as a clue for the readers to make up their own mind why that might be.
    Now, to claim televised debates, in fact live debates whether televised or not with high profile politicians, business representatives etc representing either side is pointless and can’t influence opinion appears quite clearly either inaccurate or mistaken whether you are in favour of them or not. The audiences in the instances I have cited are not politically or constitutionally disinterested individuals dragged in off the street but people open to being confronted with both sides stall straight from the horses mouth as opposed to our main stream media’s skewed opinions.
    The more people become engaged with the debate and the positive message of independence, the more likely they are to vote Yes in September 2014.
    I’m more than happy to view any live debates where the opposite has occurred but good luck trying to find any.
    p.s @ Integrity. Good to see you have at last come off the fence, if indeed you were really on one, much more liberating.

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    • Och come on JnrTick, just as accepting that there are tough times ahead in dealing with the deficit does not mean that I support the Tories, I’m sure one thread where Integrity? is fairly critical of the SNP obsession with debates does not suddenly turn him/her into a raging Unionist!

      I’ve talked before about polarisation of debate and the YesNP are the very worst for it.

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    • You seem a little sensitive today Jnr Tick. So if I am critical of any single aspect of the yes campaign, or Salmond or the SNP I am instantly a unionist.

      How do you then reconcile that with my posts where I am critical of Cameron or the No campaign or Labour or the Tories.

      There is a slightly George Bush ‘Either you are with us or you are with the terrorists’ sound to the end of your last post.

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      • Sensitive, no no, not at all Integrity.
        It’s just, as a recent 63 per cent poll carried out here in Scotland (55 per cent in England) in favour of this debate tends to indicate, (depending on how accurately representative the polls were of course) the argument to spare Cameron the humiliation, his party and government the showing up by a little Scottish upstart and the NO campaign the collateral damage simply because Cameron is from England and none of his business as some would have us believe, to me is like trying to defend the indefensible.
        You, rather uncharacteristically I might add, appear to have backed the wrong horse in this instance prompting me to catch a glimpse as the mask slipped, that’s all.
        You see, oor Newsie poo poos the very thought of these two leaders locking horns, outrageous as it would be, decries televised debates featuring our politicians yet by the very fact that she has a view on them, Sturgeon/Sanwar being the latest, tells me she watches them!
        Hmmmmmmm, somethings just not adding up here Integrity. Just as a matter of interest, do you watch/condone the debates you think are worthless?

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 8

        • It is not unusual for over 50% of the nation (well a poll population at least) backs the return or capital punishment but I don’t think I have backed the wrong horse when I oppose its return.

          Have you then backed the wrong horse with independence because I don’t see too many polls showing the majority of the nation in favour of it.

          I have watched some (and commented on them on here – if you really want I will dig out links to those comments. If I didn’t watch them I wouldn’t have a view on them – it would be a bit daft to have a view on something you hadn’t seen!

          They are not anything to condone or reject as concepts. I am just of the opinion that they are worthless as they do little more then feed a frenzy with politicians trotting out answers to questions that they can answer in their sleep and both sides of the arguments claiming victories afterwards. I dare say some people have had their minds changed by them before (and will do so again) but are they having their minds changed by truth and hard facts? The vast majority of time they are not – they are hearing nothing more than spin.

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          • Sorry meant to add

            As for the ‘slipping of the mask’ I note you have never claimed a slipping of the mask when I have criticised some of the tactics of the No campaign.

            I have always been very clear that I am undecided on independence and I still am. If, by the time of the referendum I feel I have decided I will vote that way. If I am still undecided I will abstain from voting thus giving my support to neither camp because I won’t vote on something as important as this if I am not convinced one way or the other.

            If the Yes campaign wins then I will fully support an independent Scotland. If the No campaign win then I will have no problem with that either.

            Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 7

          • Yes, my point exactly. I will not continue to watch something on the box after forming an opinion that it is rubbish, of no entertainment or educational value say, because to do so is to condone it, that would be daft.
            Live debates most certainly do have the potential to influence votes, to reverse opinion and why not, the rags do daily on a massive scale with hacks opinions. I’d rather see well chaired respectful live cross questioning any day over agenda driven opinion but each to their own.

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          • Ignore my post below (number 15 I think) – just realised I missed your point.

            My point was that you say I have backed the wrong horse because about 2/3 of the Scottish polled want to see the debate happen.

            My counter point is therefore that if you extend that logic you have backed the wrong horse with independence because there polls don’t show a majority in favour of it.

            I don’t necessarily think that, just illustrating that it is a flawed argument.

            Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 7

  10. Jeez, Newsie, how can you say that there is no place for the prime minister in the indepence debate.

    Is this a recognition that in truth the Prime Minister has no locus, no place in Scotland.

    Although you may not have intended it I think that you are recognising that Cameron has no place,in Scotland and that he and his Government should stand aside.

    Indeed, his government in Westminster is about as democratically welcome in Scotland as certain European leaders were in the 1930s when they took interests in adjacent countries.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 8 Thumb down 9

    • The fact is that formally this is an issue for Scotland alone.
      It is a referendum only for those resident in Scotland and eligible to vote.
      It is not a matter on which even Scots resident outside the UK can vote.
      It is not a UK referendum and UK residents have no formal voice in it.
      Of course Mr Cameron is as entitled as anyone to express a personal opinion – but he has nothing formally to say to Scotland on it since it is matter only for Scotland; and Scotland itself is a member of the UK.
      As UK Prime Minister, Mr Cameron currently represents one Scot as much as any other Scot; and all Scots as much as any other people in the UK.
      He cannot formally intervene in this matter between Scot and Scot.
      Were he to be so ill advised as to debate with Mr Salmond, he would be overtly partisan and would breach the finessed nature of his responsibilities as Prime Minister of the UK.
      This is all very hard for those UK citizens outside Scotland.
      Whether they want rid of us or whether they welcome the contribution we make to the texture of the UK, they have no role in deciding the matter.
      They are condemned essentially to be passive observers – yet what we are doing is levying costs upon them whatever we decide.
      if we choose independence, it will change their political as well as their social and economic circumstances in ways they may not have chosen. And they are prey to our decision.
      We may squabble and whinge but we are in the driving seat.
      What must it be like to be a blindfolded back seat passenger on a trip like this? Or gagged and bound in the boot?

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

      • So when he (David Cameron) addressed the nation during his New Year’s speech urging Scottish voters to reject independence, this is an informal contribution to the debate?
        “Of course Mr Cameron is as entitled as anyone to express a personal opinion – but he has nothing formally to say to Scotland on it since it is matter only for Scotland”
        You seem very concerned about the future of what might remain of the UK should Scotland succeed Newsie. This is where many now differ in at last finally putting the interests of the country they reside to the fore, nothing unusual about that surely or is this abnormal?

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

      • Mr Cameron is as entitled as anyone to express a personal opinion – but he has nothing formally to say to Scotland on it

        Perhaps he should have kept quiet about the issue in his official New Year speech then.

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        • That statement was to the entire UK of which Scotland currently remains a member.
          It was not a case designed to influence the way Scots vote.
          It was a statement of commitment to the value of the United Kingdom, to the United Kingdom by the Prime Minster of the United Kingdom.
          As such it was entirely proper.
          It has nothing to do with the UK Prime Minister correctly staying clear of dodgy invitations to engage in bare knuckle cage fighting on the side, on a matter which, to the disadvantage of the UK, is effectively reserved to Scotland.
          As a peripheral conundrum, it is irrational but hilarious for nationalists to be crying out for an English Prime Minister to make his influence felt in Scotland on a profoundly Scottish matter on which only those resident here can vote.

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          • Cameron’s PM of whole UK – there hasn’t been an English PM for centuries – England doesn’t even have a parliament!

            Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1

          • Yet more tosh from newsie. “Were he to be so ill advised as to debate with Mr Salmond, he would be overtly partisan”.

            The only reason he doesn’t is because he knows he would have his face wiped – the idea of “being partisan” wouldn’t stop him if he thought the odds were in his favour.

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          • English Prime MinisterM

            Based on this comment. Since you are Irish your partner English can we be assured you will stop interfering in a Scottish issue ? Lowry etc stop blogging!

            Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 2

          • This sounds like bitter alone – and awfully like racism.
            How will you get on with the even more varied multitude of immigrants than my family’s meagre contribution that Mr Salmond intends to invite to come and help crank up the Scottish economy?
            As someone who lives here in full responsibiity, Scotland has given me a vote, which I will certainly use – as everyone must do, however they choose to direct it.
            Lynda Henderson

            Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 3

  11. And why exactly would Salmond wish to debate anything with Alasdair Darling.

    Darling has nothing to offer. He is a busted flush of a failed ex chancellor being played as a lackey, a body shield for the PM.

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

  12. How mad, how utterly bonkers for anyone to call for the political leader of a devolved Scottish parliament, one who wishes an independent Scotland, to stand and defend his reasons for wanting so with the political leader of the UK, one who has been elected to represent the interests of the this union and defend “with every sinew” it’s best interests, how bizarre, what are people thinking of.
    Oh no, instead, the First Minister of Scotland should, rather than debate with his counterpart the Prime Minister of the UK and incidentally neither being leaders of the NO nor Yes campaigns, should in fact debate with the leader of the NO campaign, a Westminster opposition politician. Alasdair Darling should NOT in fact debate with his counterpart Blair Jenkins, the leader of the YES campaign, that would be illogical wouldn’t it?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 7

    • Perhaps that’s the problem. Salmond doesn’t have a counterpart apart from those ‘first ministers’ in Wales and N. Ireland. It certainly isn’t Cameron.
      To my mind Salmond is like a small person having a paddy trying to goad someone into a fight. Cameron is simply patting him on the head, telling him “never mind, you’ll get over it.”
      The SNP are getting more desperate by the hour. Sturgeon exhibited similar frustrations during her latest tirade. Perhaps she should have got the message when the lights went out – a sign of things to come for the SNP?

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

      • Ah Lowry from engerland.

        How you must look up to you betters or is it bitters like Cameron . Is it the school system that makes you like that?

        Thankfully most Scots folk can spot a Fearty a mile off

        In fairness even Cameron recognises that the First Minister knows more about Scotland than both him and his cabinet together. What is also a certain Alex Salmond will put Scotland first.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 5

        • You seem to think there may be a problem with me being English – perhaps it just makes me more able to see things more broadly from both sides of the argument.
          Can I ask for your evidence that Cameron recognises “..the First Minister knows more about Scotland than both him and his cabinet together” and “What is also a certain Alex Salmond will put Scotland first.”
          I believe that the recent matter of childcare clearly demonstrates that the latter couldn’t be further from the truth.

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 6

          • Hi Lowry

            Don’t forget milke Russell was born in England.

            I cannot understand why you would think Cameron would know more about Scotland than Alex Salmond.
            Free prescriptions , tuition fees and childcare support, no to nuclear weapons as opposed to bedroom tax, means testing and billions off welfare according to the Chancellor yesterday makes me more inclined to vote YES than be a No whatever my nationality.

            Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 3

    • We need some clear analysis here.
      Blair Jenkins is not the counterpart of Alastair Darling. Blair Jenkins, head of the pro-independence campaign, Yes Scotland, is the counterpart of Blair MacDougall, head of the pro-union campaign.
      Alastair Darling, political front man of the pro-union campaign is the precise counterpart of Alex Salmond, political front man for the pro-independence campaign.
      David Cameron is not Alex Salmond’ counterpart.
      Mr Cameron is Prime Minister of the United Kingdom of which Scotland is a part, with its First Minister being Mr Salmond.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 4

      • I think you will find that Nicola Sturgeon is the best equivalent to Mr Darling in the respective campaigns rather than Alex Salmond though the structure of both organisations is different.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 4

        • Alistair Darling leads the pro-union campaign.
          Alex Salmond leads the pro-independence campaign.
          Mr Salmond happens to have a deputy.
          We cannot come up with a logic that promotes that deputy to be the equal of the principal’s opposite number.
          And as to where Nicola Sturgeon fits in – probably kung-fu fighting in a cage full of all of the equals amongst whom Mr Darling is first.

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 3

          • Darling in his new capacity is a non-elected waste product of the Labour party. Salmond is the highly popular elected leader of the SNP and first minister of Scotland. There is no equality of status there, newsie. It is like comparing you with Emma Goldman. (i.e. one is a little known, unscrupulous and widely disrespected propagandist, and the other is a famous, moralistic and widely respected (in left wing circles anyway) social activist.

            Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 4

        • I fail completely to see why the Nationalists are dragging this on, and on, and on with sometimes ridiculous, and most petty arguements.

          It must suit them to have a debate about having a debate, rather than having a debate.

          if Salmond carries on with his caper, it’ll be the plain to see that really, he’s the one avoiding Alistair Darling, who would be more than a match in a debate.

          Alex Salmond is making the already poor reputation of politics even worse by turning it into a playground fight.

          At least David Cameron is being mature and statesman like about it, rather than like a spoilt brat trying to get his own way.

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 4

    • Jamie Black

      Why should Salmond speak to a hasbeen only a MP and author of the financial collapse with Brown.

      If Darling wishes to debate then maybe that should be with Blair Jenkins but Darling would be swept aside. I think that’s the problem with the bitter brigade they have no one of stature.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 7

      • The way Darling tells it, he was our national salvation from the ‘financial collapse with Brown’. This did rather surprise me, as I well remember the man in a previous job as Transport Minister when he developed the habit of sitting on his hands, except when cancelling projects or forced into ‘taking the initiative’ by circumstance. On reflection, I suppose that’s exactly what happened when – as Chancellor – he got caught holding the baby in 2008.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 4

  13. cant wait got a big family voting yes yes yes yes yehaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 5

  14. @Robert Wakeham says:
    January 7, 2014 at 8:39 pm
    It’s just a personal proclivity Robert, but I am cheered to recognise that you are equally charming yourself, along with your friend Malcolm.
    You should try to develop a sense of humour – at least Andrew Argyle has managed that.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 4

    • Kassandra, There are few that can match you in the charm stakes, but you shouldn’t confuse gratuitous obnoxiousness with humour. I must admit that I wasn’t aware that I was friends with Malcolm – or are you being humorous?

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 5

      • Robert, your modesty does you credit, but I do have to admit your charm is streets ahead of mine, as is your gratuitous obnoxiousness – I concede on all fronts.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 4

  15. As an exiled Scot who doesn’t get a vote on the future of my country, I would like to ask what happens if the vote is “No”? Does it go like Wales, when the Welsh had a vote for devolution and voted no, but then they kept having a vote every 10 years or so until the Nationalists got the “right result”. Just wondering out loud

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 5

    • If the vote is “no” the Westminster government will immediately take all possible steps to ensure that no such vote can ever happen again.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 7

      • What steps to prevent another vote, a permanent state of emergency? Send in the secret service, the army and SAS to take out the malcontents?

        Utter tosh!

        Or do you mean they’d simply take steps to change the UK that would make the SNP surplus to requirement?

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 5

        • Remember that this referendum is only legal by the grace of Westminster and a Section 30 order.

          All that would be required would be to remove Section 30(2) from the Scotland Act.

          There are other possibilities, up to and including abolishing Holyrood altogether, an act which is within the existing powers of Westminster.

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 6

          • THE UNITED NATIONS CHARTER
            “CHAPTER I: PURPOSES AND PRINCIPLES
            Article 1
            The Purposes of the United Nations are:
            To maintain international peace and security, and to that end: to take effective collective measures for the prevention and removal of threats to the peace, and for the suppression of acts of aggression or other breaches of the peace, and to bring about by peaceful means, and in conformity with the principles of justice and international law, adjustment or settlement of international disputes or situations which might lead to a breach of the peace;

            To develop friendly relations among nations based on respect for the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples, and to take other appropriate measures to strengthen universal peace;
            To achieve international co-operation in solving international problems of an economic, social, cultural, or humanitarian character, and in promoting and encouraging respect for human rights and for fundamental freedoms for all without distinction as to race, sex, language, or religion; and
            To be a centre for harmonizing the actions of nations in the attainment of these common ends.”
            The Mother of Parliaments, acting the way you suggest?
            I wonder what the EU court of Human Rights would have to say?

            Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 5

          • The Mother of Parliaments, acting the way you suggest?

            I can only assume you are being sarcastic.

            As I pointed out above, the unelected House of Lords has already unilaterally removed the Scottish Government’s control over ROCs.

            Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 5

          • While I deplore the existence of the House of (Unelected) Lords, as a Scottish electricity bill payer, I’m not convinced it’s a bad thing that they’ve added a speed governor to Scotland’s runaway renewable energy express because the lunatic on the throttle has it jammed full open.

            Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 5

    • That was not just the case in Wales.

      Have you forgotten that Scotland had a devolution referendum in 1979? Remember, that referendum where a majority of Scots voted in favour but Westminster brought in a rule (never used before or since) saying that 40% of the total electorate had to vote YES for it to happen.

      If it is a close NO vote then I am sure people will try to bring it to the fore again at some point in the future – and why shouldn’t they? Governments aren’t forever, why should referendum decisions be forever?

      However, I fear Kass is right and Westminster will take steps to make sure this cannot happen again – probably by removing powers from the Scottish parliament.

      As for being ‘an exiled Scot who doesn’t get a vote’ – that’s your choice. I am sure you could organise an address in Scotland and get yourself on the electoral roll before September if you were bothered enough.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 7

      • Absolute paranoia. Independence will happen in my lifetime and when the country and it’s politics are ready, which right now, they are not, by a long way. We are far too integrated to the UK to suddenly be independent.

        The saddest bit of all is that people like Longshanks are terrified of that prospect and will say anything to try remove that as a prospect for our country. I

        For them, the ONLY road is Independence. When this country votes No, I expect a vote of no confidence to held and the SNP booted out of power, which fresh elections immediately.

        Far fetched? Maybe, but the SNP are day by day, bit by bit removing any mandate to govern this country post-No. They must realise that, hence the level of paranoia and scaremongering about what happens post No.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 7

        • Jamie Black says:
          January 7, 2014 at 10:56 pm

          Glad to see you have a sense of humour too Jamie.

          But re your post above, after a “Yes” vote, who cares what happens to the SNP. I for one will try to vote them out.

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 5

          • If YES is successful, I will forever be indebted to the SNP for all those who have campaigned over the decades to then take us to finally being a member of the worldwide family of independent nations.
            To try and vote them out without giving them the opportunity to govern an independent Scotland with a new manifesto tailored for a future Scotland would imo be way too dismissive at this stage.
            I have said before on here that my default position at elections would normally be as a floating voter, my options open and this will probably end up being the case post YES however, unless the other new genuinely Scottish focused parties have a better vision and more attractive policies the SNP will stand as good a chance of my vote as any.

            Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 2

      • Jamie,

        Your childlike naivete is touching.

        We are far too integrated to the UK to suddenly be independent.

        How exactly do you see Scotland becoming ‘less integrated’ after a NO vote?

        It was Westminster that forced the choice of independence or (if we are lucky) the status quo on us.

        It was Cameron’s government that blocked any possibility of a ‘devo-max’ option, even though that was the most popular option according to all the polls.

        On the other hand, it is you and your ilk who cry “Currency union ? keep the Queen? Stay in the EU ? That’s not proper independence !”

        The independence prospectus currently on offer is not so far from devo-max and offers a platform to build a future on.

        A NO vote pretty much guarantees no more powers for Scotland. In fact, we will be lucky to hang on to those we have already.

        A NO vote will see more austerity in the form of a reduction in the block grant, with the likely dismantling of Barnett.

        A NO vote will also, I believe, see an SNP government in Holyrood in perpetuity, as Scots see them as the only party prepared to fight Scotland’s corner.

        So, get real Jamie. Vote YES for ‘independence lite’, watch the mainstream parties disintegrate and reform as new, vibrant, Scottish parties and vote for a party that really represents your views in 2016.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 3

  16. Don’t understand the logic that says Scotland is far to integrated to be ready for independence.

    Being politically independent Scotland will be able to better make its p own political choices whilst integrating, trading, Co operating with all of its neighbours.

    That is the natural state of a nation. So what’s stopping us?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 5

    • “That is the natural state of a nation. So what’s stopping us?”
      Years of conditioning Willie, a contentment with mediocrity, lack of ambition and vision, the Scottish cringe, a MSM shamelessly determined to promote their own interests and agendas at the expense of this nation and those who stay here, years of a deliberate diluting of a sense of Scottish identity, making a mockery of being described as vertebrates, and an embarrassing belief that despite our Westminster based opposition claiming Scotland can most definitely be independent and are not uniquely in this world incapable, we just can’t manage it.
      Just a few reasons Scotland may not see “the natural state of a nation”.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 2

  17. Since it is not only Scots who will be affected by possible independence I would expect David Cameron, as Prime Minister of the UK, to have a view on it, and I would be interested in hearing such. I don’t suggest that he should have a vote, unless he moves here.

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        • Yes, Cameron means “crooked nose” in Gaelic – he really should have been a Campbell (“crooked mouth”). Kassandra is a real name too – more than I can be assured of about yours – I suspect you are an imaginary creature – something from Mordor perhaps :-).

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 2

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