Insights from Andrew Neil’s look at the impact of independence on the rest of the United Kingdom

Last night’s BBC 2 programme [12th August] presented by Andrew Neil – Scotland Votes: What’s at stake for the UK?, looked at the impact of Scottish independence on the nature, standing and sustainability of the continuing United Kingdom.

This is territory For Argyll has been concerned with for some time. It was fascinating – and instructive – to see the issues explored by others and available to a national audience.

The key clarifications are that:

  • the impact on our partners remaining in the union is incalculable but will be profound;
  • those partner regions have not yet really engaged with the potential consequences for themselves if Scotland votes to depart from the Union – because they are frightened of what they would find if they looked at the situation.

So while we, north of the border, find it hard to think about anything else because we have been living in an increasingly divisive limbo for two years, our 300 year partners may look as if life is ‘business as usual’ for them, but are consciously ‘doing the ostrich’ – a very British response.

But what can happen may well happen and last night’s programme lifted the stone on a nest of high level issues and paid most of them forensic attention.

They include:

  • the sustainability of the union of the remaining partners;
  • the certain rise of English nationalism;
  • a political scenario that will take a decade at least to rebalance;
  • a less certain defence;
  • a virtually certain imperative, on financial and physical grounds, to accept enforced unilateral nuclear disarmament;
  • a certain reduction in international status and influence;
  • a necessary commitment to membership of the EU;
  • a potential lame duck government elected in 2015 with a short life span;
  • the loss of key symbols of identity – like the Union Jack; and a possible change of name.

Issues that will impact directly on Scotland, in the event of a decision for independence include:

  • deep resentment in the continuing United Kingdom regions at the damage  unilaterally forced upon them by the departing Scotland;
  • a 2015 General Election campaign therefore marked by a bidding war between the parties contesting seats in the continuing United Kingdom – on how to deny the departing Scotland as much as possible;
  • massively complex issues around the disposition of currently common assets – with cultural heritage assets on both sides of the border a previously undiscussed matter.

We don’t propose to go into the detail of every one of the issues above, but to focus on some of the most concerning. We recommend anyone who did not see the programme to do so through the BBC iplayer. [It went out at 09.30pm on 12th August on BBC 2 and the title is above.]

A matter of scale

The departure of Scotland from the Union and the consequent division of assets would together see the United Kingdom lose 8.3% of its current population, one third of its land mass and, almost certainly, become a reduced military power.

The result of this would be emerging nation states with burgeoning economies – like Brazil, with 198.4 million people, questioning the continuing United Kingdom’s right to seats at the top tables of the international geopolitical, defence, economic and environmental organisations.

The continuing United Kingdom’s position, once questioned in this way – triggered by its change in membership, would not be justifiable.

It would be forced, with its 58.3 million people, to accept a diminished worldwide status and authority, with a knock-on impact on its economic development strategy. [And realistically, where would Scotland be, with 5.3 million people? This would be a self inflicted double whammy for this country.]

The suggestion in last night’s programme was that the obvious solution for the continuing United Kingdom would be to practice the art of the possible in tucking itself securely under the wing of the European Union; and pragmatically retaining some sort of voice by being part of that larger choir.

The basic premise here is that, in worldwide status, size does matter; that the United Kingdom has been getting by for a considerable time on the reverberations of its past geopolitical weight; but that the loss of Scotland – which has energetically sought to draw worldwide attention to its independence campaign, would undermine any continuance of that sleight-of-hand position.

Defence and social welfare

SNP MP Angus Robertson claimed to camera last night that this island as a whole would end up better defended than it is just now – because the continuing United Kingdom would have to spend more to replace the military resources that would have been handed over as Scotland’s share; or do without them, as a larger and ore populous country?

So waste through unnecessary duplication would be a positive outcome?

And the island would be better defended without the central command and control for the entire territory it has today? Robertson didn’t mention that one.

The MP for Moray represents a party currently majoring on virtually daily new promises that independence would bring more and better free social welfare services.

Yet in the monovision of the pro-independence faction, it is clearly of no account that those other 58.3 millions resident in the continuing United Kingdom  would – as a direct result of a unilateral vote for Scottish independence – have less financial resources to spend on their own welfare, for having to cover replacement military materiel.

Another matter emerging on defence was that the United Kingdom government had issued an edict to the Ministry of Defence that no work was to be done on contingency planning for having to move Trident out of Scotland in the event of a ‘Yes’ vote.

They had done this for fear that leaks might be seized upon by the Scottish Nationalists as evidence that the MoD was preparing to move Trident – and therefore preparing to lose.

While this is proof that the United Kingdom has no ‘Plan B’ on Trident, the situation is not comparable with the Scottish Government’s lack of an alternative option should a sterling currency union prove impossible.

In this latter case, The Scottish Government is inviting Scotland’s voters to choose independence – with no indication other than the First Minister’s unilateral assurances, of what the currency of the new country will be. This leaves businesses, savers, investors, mortage holders and pensioners with no idea how these investments will be managed and will perform.

The United Kingdom may have no fall back position on Trident but will know well  – as was aired last night – that, in any case, it might have to accept an enforced unilateral nuclear disarmament, to which relatively few citizens would actively object.

The rise of the Brit Nat

It is certain that the loss of Scotland from the Union would result in an accelerated rise of English nationalism – and  sub-nationalist regionalism, which could prompt later fractures. This rise of English nationalism is already in progress – and Nigel Farage spoke complacently of the number of English flags, the Cross of St George, now manifestly being flown in England.

Simon Jenkins was a passionate defender of this development, talking interestingly of how England has been muted by feeling itself squeezed between London and Scotland; and that the removal of Scotland would give England the freedom to explore, express and assert itself as it has not done.

The problem with this proposition is that Jenkins clearly sees the England that would emerge as positioned on an axis between Agatha Christie’s picture of St Mary Mead, the village home of her heroine sleuth, Miss Marple and the equally anachronistic rural idylls of Cumbria and Yorkshire.

He showed no evidence of seeing  – and certainly took no overt account of – the ethnic spectrum of the citizens of England today who, whatever abrasions cultural differences bring, have contributed hugely to the economic performance of the country and to a culture of relative tolerance.

Scottish nationalism has yet to confront the reality of the tensions and compromises that substantial immigration brings; but any nationalism – as opposed to patriotism – is, by definition, at least subliminally racist. It would be naive not to expect this to be a bumpy ride.

The issue for the continuing United Kingdom here is the internal skewing of an accelerated rise in English nationalism, which will bring political as well as social consequences.

England will no longer tolerate – and we cannot understand why it has done so up to now – the disparity it suffers in the lack of direct democratic control of its own affairs.

It will no longer be passively accepting of what is a gaping democratic deficit resulting from Tony Blair’s crudely fast-tracked broad-brush reform of the United Kingdom. That saw varying forms of devolution for Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland , virtually on demand. England didn’t ask, never mind demand, so England didn’t get.

A more nationalist England will be insistent and self-seeking, with all of the attendant internal tensions and readjustments that will follow. England will rightly demand parity with Wales and Northern Ireland and it has the power of numbers to get what it demands.

The political composition of the House of Commons

Currently, there are 650 seats in the United Kingdom’s House of Commons, with 59 of these from Scottish constituencies.

Of the 650 seats, currently:

  • Conservatives hold 305, with 1 a Scottish seat;
  • Labour hold 257, with 42 of these Scottish seats.
  • Liberal Democrats hold 56, with 11 of them Scottish seats.

Scottish independence would see the abolition of Scottish seats at Westminster, with Labour the major loser – of 42 seats.

The Conservatives would be virtually untouched losing 1 seat.

The Liberal Democrats, dropping 11 with the loss of Scotland, would have far greater problems south of the border in holding on to their seats, with the rise of UKIP, which will see many of their seats as easy pickings.

As things currently stand and which will apply at the General Election in May 2015, it needs a minimum of 326 seats to govern as a majority administration. In 2010, a majority government had to be formed by the largest single party, the Conservatives, agreeing a coalition with the Liberal Democrats, which gave them 361, an overall majority  of 35.

If Scotland chose independence this September and if Independence Day was, as Alex Salmond intends, 24th March 2016, the removal from Westminster of the 59 Scottish seats would see the majority administration  threshold fall to 296 – but Labour would have lost 42 – just over 70% – of those Scottish seats.

Were this situation the case on today’s political composition of the House of Commons, the position would be:

  • Labour: 215
  • Conservative 304
  • Liberal Democrat: 45.

On these figures the Conservatives would alone have a majority of 8.

The impact of an independence vote on the 2015 United Kingdom General Election

The programme last night looked at the impact on the 2015 General Election campaign of a pro-independence vote in September.

Looking at the figures above for what the House of Commons would look like if today’s composition, without the Scottish seats, were replicated next year, Labour would not be in government, not even in coalition with the Liberal Democrats.

Would Labour’s electoral chances therefore be damaged by voter awareness that if they were to be voted into power from the the existing United Kingdom constituencies, including Scotland’s, they would be a known short term ‘lame duck’ government because they would not have an achievable majority even in coalition, after 24th March 2016.

Such circumstances would have to impact on their vote in the continuing United Kingdom.

If they needed a coalition, what could they offer to any prospective partner but a name in the history books for one year, before another election would have to be held, which they could not win.

As we have shown in a previous analysis, it is in Labour’s interests, more than any other, that the campaign for Scottish Independence is defeated. If it is not they are finished as a party of government in the continuing United Kingdom for a considerable time.

The pundits in last night programme insisted that this need not be the case – pointing to the fact that Tony Blair could have won two of his three General election victories without the Scottish Labour seats.

We beg to differ from that view. Those were the days when three factors applied that do not apply today.

  • The Conservatives were directionless, unconfident and in disarray following the diffident  Major years in the aftermath of Thatcher certitude. Today the government they lead is insubstantial but Geoerge Osborne’s managing of the economy out of crisis cannot be overset.
  • The country had not woken up – as indeed it never did when it mattered – to the facsimile of leadership that was Tony Blair. In his first two General Election wins, he was still the great unmatchable. Ed Milliband is a much more honest man than Blair but is eminently matchable and almost certainly beatable.
  • Labour, in 1997, had not been in power for 18 years – since 1979. It had no remembered negative legacy holding it back. By May 2015,  Labour will have been last in power only 5 years previously – and the country is still living with the legacy of the fiscal mismanagement that created the collapse of the financial institutions in 2008.

So, in our differing view, it is inconceivable that Labour could win a General Election for at least a decade following a vote for Scottish independence – and we mean just that. We do not believe that Labour could win the 2015 General Election if Scotland had voted ‘Yes’ next month.

In that decade [and it could take longer],  the programme last night suggested that there would be a political rebalancing taking place – redefining ‘the centre’, the ‘left of centre’ and the ‘right of centre’ and seeing how that process left the relative positions of the major parties. How would that pan out? In truth who cares? We need something completely different, much more capable and much less wasteful.

The impact on identity of the loss of the symbols that represent it

The continuing United Kingdom, it was widely agreed by contributors to Andrew Neil’s programme, would face questions over its name; and the redesign of its flag.

Even raising these issues triggers the undermining of the sort of confident assumption of identity that, ironically, pays no normal attention to such symbols.

And if it is ‘No Thanks’?

This too will force reform of the United Kingdom as it is – a process which in our view is long overdue.

A Welsh contributor last night made it clear that if concessions in additional powers were made to a Scotland that had voted to stay with the Union, Wales would be likely to start looking at the lowly constitutional status of its own Assembly. He noted that the First Minister in the Welsh Assembly, Carwyn Jones, has been particularly bullish in his responses to Scotland’s demands, making it clear that, for one thing, Wales would actively object to a currency union with the departing Scotland.

If Scotland votes to stay in the Union, whichever United Kingdom government is elected in May 2015 would be advised immediately to initiate constitutional reform and establish a standing Constitutional Convention. We cannot revisit the expensive and corrosive territory we have been pitchforked into today; and without radical change to the union, we will be back in it.

Last night’s programme ignored almost completely the major issues around constitutional change, even in the event of a vote for independence.

Talking about a House of Commons that divided its working week into two days spent on United Kingdom issues and three days on England issues – as they did – was wildly astray of the complexity of the issue; and forgot that the House of Commons does not work a five day week.

We do not blame the programme for this gap in the issues it confronted. An hour is only an hour and this huge subject was too much to open up in this programme.

But whether the Union remains as it is or whether its membership changes, it would be dangerously short sighted in the extreme not to address this matter fully, responsibly and without delay.

The Neil programme showed its audience that Scotland will not take its decision next month in isolation; that there will be consequences for others; and that those consequences cannot now be said to have been unintended. We know today what those consequences would be.

Those supporting the notion of independence must, before  they vote, weigh against the advantages as they see them the consequences for those who can only spectate as we decide, who have been the larger part of a mutually supportive union for three centuries.

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Related Articles & Comments

  • What I don`t see covered in this very narrow debate is that Westminster is BANKRUPT!

    Nothing has been done to fix anything. Things are far worse than in 2008. The data that claims a recovery of sorts is fixed data. Westminster`s reputation in Europe has been destroyed and the only options offered by the totally corrupt British establishment is either renegotiate EU terms or leave the EU. The first will never be granted.

    The Scottish people must ask themselves if they want to stay wed to and be liable for the actions of a BANKRUPT?

    Remember, Westminster has to cope with over 1000% debt to GDP and this is rising with every over priced mortgage, with every new building that goes up in London…and believe me, there is a building boom in London like no other that I have seen, it`s as if we are in Spain!!

    The Scots should not be basing their vote on the current sugar coated QE illusion. They should be looking at the hard reality that the next financial collapse is going to be way more damaging than 2008.

    Bear in mind that the US is bankrupt, Japan is going Weimar, China massages its economic data, India has introduced price controls on food. Things look terrible. Food sales are falling in the UK, wages are falling, we know the unemployment numbers are being rigged and even Labour are in on the lies.

    You see, things are sooo bad, that it`s as if we are at war and everyone, including the MSM and Labour are all involved in this grand lie that things are getting better, when nothing could be further from the truth.

    I don`t say this so Scotland will escape the collapse…you won`t. But you will have better options and a better outcome. Unfortunately, this massive propaganda war targeting the minds of Scots is working…IF we believe the polls. I just hope you all come to your senses and vote YES!

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 31 Thumb down 50

    Carl Jones August 13, 2014 9:35 pm Reply
    • Are you sure there’s not ‘a red under your bed’?
      If ever there was a reason to vote No it’s the garbage you’ve posted.

      Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 43 Thumb down 20

      richard August 13, 2014 9:52 pm Reply
      • I am A political, I don`t vote for political parties when they are all owned by the same corrupt elite. I sleep on a king sized divan, so I doubt that anyone could sleep under

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        Carl Jones August 13, 2014 9:57 pm Reply
        • That’s it – you’re so alienated you’re presumably a candidate for the first moon colony.

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          Robert Wakeham August 14, 2014 12:19 am Reply
          • “Alienated”…Moon colony…pun.

            You are a troll, the question is, are you human, or are a code bot troll operating out of GCHQ?

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            Carl Jones August 14, 2014 5:05 am
    • Had Scotland been independent in 2008 when the whole financial world went kaput how do you think it would have fared? Better? I don’t think so.

      Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 39 Thumb down 18

      keith stanger August 13, 2014 9:56 pm Reply
      • Good point…ICELAND told the British, Dutch and the banks to go and take a running jump. Iceland is FREEEEEE. I reckon the Scots would have done the same thing.

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        Carl Jones August 13, 2014 9:59 pm Reply
        • And you’re presumably unaware of what their banks’ collapse did to the lives of countless Icelanders – you didn’t really wish that on people in Scotland, did you?

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          Robert Wakeham August 14, 2014 12:22 am Reply
          • Robert, that is a daft comment. The British are serf sheeple. They are owned by the banks. What happen in Iceland is that a bunch of banks went bust, so what. They tried to make Icelanders liable, but it failed. The people are not responsible for bank/corporate debts.

            If the British plonkers are willing to get sucked in and have the banking debt dumped on them, that that is their stupid fault.

            There is no way of getting around it, Britain is bankrupt. The Scots must decided it they want to be roped into this debt slave contract.

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            Carl Jones August 14, 2014 5:11 am
        • And Iceland was classed as terrorist state for a time.

          The Icelandic banks had been building up quite a lot of foreign business before then, does anyone outside Iceland still use them?

          The party faithful will lap up calls to default on debts but it is a very dangerous thing to actually do or even talk of seriously

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          Lundavra August 14, 2014 12:30 am Reply
          • Iceland a terrorists state…my, my, you have been well and truly brainwashed, or is that just the code you are running on?

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            Carl Jones August 14, 2014 5:13 am
          • ‘Iceland a terrorists state…my, my, you have been well and truly brainwashed, or is that just the code you are running on?’

            Don’t you remember the news headlines in 2008?

            ‘U.K. Used Anti-Terrorism Law to Seize Icelandic Bank Assets ‘

            ‘Iceland a state of Terror, according to Prime minister Brown’

            Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 12 Thumb down 4

            Lundavra August 14, 2014 8:43 am
          • As the PM of Iceland said ” we jailed our bankers”

            Wastemonster gave them tax breaks and offshore hideaways

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            No Cheese Here August 15, 2014 11:35 am
        • Carl it is obvious you do not understand what happened in Iceland. The problems up there started many years a go. The kroner was a very strong currency approx 113 to the £ consequently many people took out foreign currency loans on house purchase holidays and so on. Then the banks played silly buggers and the kroner crashed falling to approx 215 to the £ overnight peoples debt doubled and a number of Icelandic people committed suicide including my cousins near neighbour . All of this means that the currency problem is very important here in Scotland and if we do not get the £ as seems very likely a huge number of folk here could be in the same boat. So it is about time that Mr Salmond starts to address the problem instead of saying it will be alright on the night

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          Plugit August 14, 2014 7:58 am Reply
          • Investments can go up and down and is especially bonkers to do this with other people money, money that should not be put at risk.

            The simple solution is for people to put their money into the Euro. In fact, the entire Scottish economy could use Euros…nothing that the EU can do about it. I knew loads of people in London who change all their pounds into US Dollars. I don`t think the Dollar is wise, but the Euro is good. And there is nothing to stop the Scots from opening European bank accounts?

            Believe me, the last thing the EU wants is for Scotland to be out of the EU. They may bluster, but believe me, they want Scotland in the EU.

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

            Carl Jones August 14, 2014 8:56 am
          • However tragic People commit suicide for differing reasons as can be seen by Robin Williams. Tragic for all.

            However, If you quote your friend friend can we assume Thatcher had blood on her hands as the suicide rate increased?

            Can we say what the consequences on human terms what folk in Port Glasgow are facing with Fergusons?

            You miss a major point the banks collapse happened on the UNIONIST’s watch with some guy called Darling and Brown ( the end of boom and bust)

            However maybe the unionists will fight for Port Glasgow as there appears to be some monies going spare. Who says crime doesn’t pay.


            Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 3

            No Cheese Here August 15, 2014 11:51 am
    • This is yet another silly YES rant which only hi-lights the intellectual bankruptcy of the YES campaign.

      Please address the issues addressed in this post and not bore us with your hysteria.

      Neil and many others have begun to address post 18th Sept issues,in the event of a NO vote. In many ways they are as significant for Scotland as a YES vote.

      A Federal UK could be the most likely long term o/come

      So please address the issues addressed in this post.

      Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 20 Thumb down 17

      rob trythall August 13, 2014 10:55 pm Reply
      • Rob, as I pointed out in my opening comment, the stakes are way, way higher than the points raised in the program. All of the above stated points pale into insignificance when this is a simple choice of “do I want to stay with a bankrupt dysfunctional failed state”? Or do I want some control so I am not bailing out City banks for the next couple of hundred years?
        You can liken the UK is a boat that has been hit by a great storm and is still just afloat. The case for the NO vote is a bit like standing on the deck of the Titanic as the band played on and they said “stay and have a drink” while the ship sank. Britain cannot survive another storm. The Scots are better off jumping into a lifeboat.
        I`d say the same thing to any young person in the UK…LEAVE THIS COUNTRY, BECAUSE IT HAS ZERO FUTURE!

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        Carl Jones August 14, 2014 5:29 am Reply
        • Is that the positive case for independence? Like the Yes campaigner heard desperately trying to convince someone to join the sinking ship Yes and ended with the line ‘what’a the other option? Misery and worry?’

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          Jamie Black August 14, 2014 7:17 am Reply
          • Your conclusions are baseless. There are other North European country that are far wealthier and better run than bankrupt Britain.

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            Carl Jones August 14, 2014 9:00 am
          • Obviously you don’t stay in Port Glasgow. Jobs lost as a result of Bitter Wastemonsterpolicies

            Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 3

            No Cheese Here August 15, 2014 11:32 am
        • Two of the very biggest of those ‘city banks’ were in fact Scottish banks, but why let the facts get in the way of your rant, Carl Jones?

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          Robert Wakeham August 14, 2014 8:18 am Reply
          • As pointed out in other comments on here, those banks being Scottish by history and name are irrelevant in the context of global finance. None of these banks were run for the benefit of Scotland…no one ever sat down in a board meeting and said “okay, how does this benefit Scotland”…no one has said this since the 80`s! So let`s just get real for once.

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            Carl Jones August 14, 2014 9:03 am
          • They were as Scottish as SSE is.

            Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 2

            No Cheese Here August 15, 2014 11:31 am
          • So, according to Carl Jones and No Cheese Here, any corporate Scottish entity that outgrows its home country is no longer Scottish; a nice notion if you can get away with it, but it just suggests to me that the two of you have about as much integrity as Fred the Shred.

            Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 3

            Robert Wakeham August 15, 2014 11:44 am
          • RBS with 80% of peak losses in London bailed out by the US federal reserve

            Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

            Hunchy August 15, 2014 1:34 pm
        • Carl, I have to say what a load of C__P, if you want to get on and be successful there’s nothing holding you back!
          Take a good look at Europe, ‘standing still ‘ what are the major areas of employment in Scotland?
          1. Public Employment,2.Financial Services.
          Forget the Banks you keep on about, London is one of the Fincham centres in the World, Edinburgh is number 2 in the UK, it won’t be after a yes vote.

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 2

          richard August 15, 2014 2:07 pm Reply
          • “Get on and be successful”…define? Do that mean acquiring lots of debt?

            Here is an assessment.

            UK wages falling.

            Food sales falling.

            UK exports to the EU are flat.

            UK exports to the ROTWorld are falling.

            UK GDP 3% (lol)

            How can the UK economy be growing at 3% when wages are falling and exports are declining? Clearly, the data is being rigged.

            As for Europe, their economies are not ponzi rackets, it is that simple.

            Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 2

            Carl Jones August 16, 2014 6:48 am
          • Carl, I may not be an economic export but you do give me a laugh with some of your statements and conspiracy theories! european economies are not ponzi rackets…

            Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

            Jamie Black August 16, 2014 6:58 am
    • Reminds of the name that Vince Cable was given at the last election – ‘The Man Who Forecast Fourteen of the Last Three Recessions’.

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      Lundavra August 14, 2014 12:24 am Reply
      • 🙂

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        Andrew Argyle August 14, 2014 12:34 am Reply
      • I was posting about the COMING DESIGNED FINANCIAL COLLAPSE on the BBC Today forums in 2001/2/3. Of course, I was not the only one predicting a massive financial collapse, some others were as well. I also have living witnesses to this effect.

        Vince Cable sold his soul when he joined the illegal coalition. But he was nearly right when he said we should break up the big banks. However, you need to go further, you need to ban corporations from trading in the UK. By doing this, you will create a “capital vacuum”. Capital from the corporations will then divest into new and existing UK businesses. We will see a return of production, less imports, less unemployment, lower benefits bills. Of course, this will never happen, because the banker owned puppets in Westminster will never cut off the hand that feeds them.

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        Carl Jones August 14, 2014 5:38 am Reply
        • ‘you need to ban corporations from trading in the UK’

          That’s a very sweeping statement, is that the SNP admitting that they would like to take all business under state control? We have already been told they want to appropriate all land ownership, gets more like North Korea every day!

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          Lundavra August 14, 2014 8:48 am Reply
          • lol…you are bonkers! I am a JONES, I was born in Wales!

            I never said anything about state control.

            If you ban the big banks and corporations over a 5 year period of notice, then capital from those banks and corporation will divest into current and new UK businesses.

            The only way for the UK to recover is free capital. Corporations are just a legal construct. They don`t service the countries they inhabit, they employ relatively few people by capitalisation and they pay next to nothing in tax.

            The public have accrued huge sums of debt so the banks and corporations can keep lining their pockets.

            There is a reason why they never show old British films…the reason for this is that they were teaming with businesses, businesses everywhere and everyone who could work, was working.

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            Carl Jones August 14, 2014 9:12 am
    • Carl,

      You say: “What I don`t see covered in this very narrow debate is that Westminster is BANKRUPT!

      Alex Salmond said in the big debate with Alasdair Darling that John Swinney has “balanced the books for the last seven years.”

      Is he able to say that because:

      1. Swinney isn’t allowed to borrow?

      2. UK chancellors have been running a debt to minimise poverty and boost the economy?

      Given that the two “Big Four” UK banks which collapsed in the banking crisis of 2008/9 were Scottish, don’t you think we’re doing rather well from the much-maligned UK?

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      Andrew Argyle August 14, 2014 12:48 am Reply
      • This is a matrix type question. France and other EU states are struggling, not because they are in a worse situation to the UK. They have financial discipline placed on them, they cannot just print Monopoly Money like the Bank of England. Take Help to Buy, this is just another form of QE.

        The UK runs a debt so they can feed the bankers INTEREST. Of course, the interest debate is a whole new topic. Scotland is bound to be a better run country on its own. They are not going to fight stupid banker wars, they would never waste £10 billion on an NHS computer system and if they did, people would get locked up!!

        Yes, I realise they trot out this Scottish bank thing. But the fact is, these big banks only have a history and a name based on that history. People seem to have a big problem understanding the banking system. There are no borders, no one controls the flow of money, bankers really don`t care what politicians do or what happens in the real economy. To say “yes, but they are SCOTTISH BANKS is just daft. Its like saying Samsung is Korean..okay, it is, but the people running Samsung devote 95% of there effort at business outside of Korea. Only a tiny fraction of RBS`s business was in Scotland.

        If you think Britain`s 1000% debt to GDP is scary, then think about US debt which is way higher than the claimed $15 trillion. Some US professors say its over $100 trillion and just think, bankrupt Britain is joined at the hip with Amerika through the City-Wall Street axis.

        You should be very worried when Britain`s entire political establishment bases all policy on what the City wants/requires. Every single political action since 2008 (and before) has been centered on the City of London…which is a ponzi racket. US banks love the City, because they can do things in the City that are not allowed anywhere else on Earth.

        This is why Cameron refuses to clean it up in the face of EU pressure. Even US regulators are very unhappy about the City of London`s business practices.

        And let me just say, the banks are just as bust as they were in 2008. Of course, the banks in financial centers are just one side of the coin (pun intended), we must not forget the shadow banking system which has no official value, because no one knows for sure, but many suggest it is worth well over $100 trillion. So it is a bit like the front of house operation (City banks) is run at a lose and just sucks up public money so they can role out austerity, which is social engineering.

        The sheeple must never be allowed to benefit from their own labour. This is why British MP`s spend so much time trying to waste public money.

        Scotland is socially and financially a much flatter country, so the public won`t stand for any waste. In this sense, Scots are more like other very well run North European countries.

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

        Carl Jones August 14, 2014 6:11 am Reply
        • Carl, of all the points I could pick you up on, i’lltake this one , they would never waste £10 billion on an NHS computer system and if they did, people would get locked up!!

          Tell me sir, how did you come to that conclusion? I wouldn’t say thre is a chance this type of thing would happen, I can tell you it is a certainty. The biggest cost of independence will be the cost of change. Alex Salmonds ‘£200m sounds about right’ made him the laughing stock in many circles. £200m might change the stationary. The burden of the cost of change will sit across the private and public sector and bleed Scotland dry. See how much is cost to divest TSB for an idea of the scale of the cost. You might want to sit down first.

          Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 16 Thumb down 11

          Jamie Black August 14, 2014 7:16 am Reply
          • Rubbish, it costs nothing to change headings on the next order of stationary. It is going to cost the Scots billions if they stay with bankrupt Westminster. Why do you think they are soooo desperate to hang onto Scotland? They will have lose 5.3 million serf sheeple to bailout their bust bankers.
            This is the problem with people like you Jamie, you just look at the surface and then your argument ends up in quicksand!

            Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 11 Thumb down 10

            Carl Jones August 14, 2014 8:46 am
          • Before I disappear in the quicksand Carl, can you let me know how much it cost to separate TSB? It’ll be hard to get an exact figure, so go with order of magnitude, that’ll give you leeway. Or you could give me the higest and lowest estimate.

            Can’t wait to hear.

            The reason I use this example is that it’s the closest example of what will happen to banks, pension companies, insurance etc… If Scotland votes Yes. They will be obliged to split their portfolio. And to let people know how much that is likely to cost, we can safely use TSB as an example…

            Now Carl, what’s your figure sir?

            i get a feeling that quicksand was really concrete….you are not going to win – the cost to Scotland (or maybe I should say, Scottish business) of independence will be astronomical. Fact.

            Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 10 Thumb down 11

            Jamie Black August 14, 2014 8:56 am
  • Vote NO on September 18th to save our country from disaster

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 44 Thumb down 29

    Islay for ever August 13, 2014 9:44 pm Reply
  • ‘BRIT’ Mat? ‘Anglo’ Nat would be a better term – the English will no longer British and no longer want to be.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 7

    Sasanach August 13, 2014 11:20 pm Reply
  • Pleeeeeaaase Scotland, vote yes. Do all us English a favour.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 10 Thumb down 19

    Adam August 13, 2014 11:46 pm Reply
    • Are you sure you could cope with the sudden influx of immigrants from Scotland?

      We’ll all be entitled, you know – who’s going to pass up their British citizenship?

      Be careful what you wish for!

      Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 12 Thumb down 9

      Andrew Argyle August 14, 2014 12:53 am Reply
      • And you can be sure the prominent ex-pat SNP supporters will not be flooding back to Scotland from their tax havens in the sun.

        Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 12 Thumb down 9

        Lundavra August 14, 2014 8:53 am Reply
  • a no vote is a tory vote, a yes vote means I will never ever be ruled/controlled/dictated to by a tory government again that is enough reason to vote YES YES YES

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 12 Thumb down 17

    pat mackin August 14, 2014 12:27 am Reply
    • Pat, if not having a Tory government is your reasons for voting Yes, I suggest you rethink.

      We have a democracy in Scotland, and, provided the SNP dont gerry mander things post Yes, that will continue. That means that the Tories may indeed one day ‘rule/control/dictate’ Scotland (just like the SNP do today abusing their majority!).

      As long as you know that and don’t one day wonder how the Tories are in power in Scotland/in coalition!

      Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 13 Thumb down 11

      Jamie Black August 14, 2014 7:12 am Reply
      • Further to your question earlier that I can`t answer on that thread. They can`t split these banks. You see, since the designed financial collapse, not one bank has been forced to reveal their hidden off balance sheet accounts. The reason for this is that these debts are like a black hole. The value of these banks are never tested in the market. If their hidden debts were revealed, they would probably be worth a few pennies on the pound.

        No matter which party, they are all infected with MI6/MI5 agents and Freemasons, so it matters not who you vote for.

        Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 10 Thumb down 9

        Carl Jones August 14, 2014 9:21 am Reply
        • okay, your last comment higlights the value of your input! scotland would have a different regulatory regime, therefore the banks customers must be divested in one way or another. They cannot carry on ‘as is’.

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 6

          Jamie Black August 14, 2014 11:16 am Reply
          • No, I never said that. Voting yes is a no brainer. Dealing with the structural issues is another problem. The Scots are bound to have better regulation than London…everywhere is better regulated than London!

            The point is that if Scotland was independent, they would be free from Westminster`s bankruptcy. Of course Scotland will be hit, but it won`t be a direct hit.

            In fact, assets could pour into Scotland when Westminster goes bust.

            Britain`s trade with the world is collapsing, further proof that the economy is tanking. The fact that the No campaign is desperate to keep Scotland is an illustration of their dire predicament.

            Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 8

            Carl Jones August 14, 2014 5:23 pm
      • Jamie Black

        At last this is a democracy that is why the SNP are in power and will be reelected. But the bonus ball for YES voters is the likelihood of a Tory government in power is less than 5%. For Westminster it is 60%.

        That is why labour pals are going to VOTE YES.

        Ps the news of Port Glasgow and Fergusons is terrible. Once again the economic necessity of Westminster and London take priority over Scotland

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 4

        No Cheese Here August 15, 2014 11:25 am Reply
  • And meanwhile Mark Carney of the Back of England makes contingency plans, which plans include a currency union in the event of a Yes vote.

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

    willie August 14, 2014 4:33 am Reply
    • Organisations like the Bank of England have contingency plans for everything, they probably have one for a meteor hitting Edinburgh.

      Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 10 Thumb down 13

      Lundavra August 14, 2014 8:56 am Reply
      • Oh, Dear Me!

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 5

        Murdoch MacKenzie August 14, 2014 9:58 am Reply
      • Lundavra, we can only pray that if a meteor was to hit Edinburgh, it was a direct hit on the Scottish Parliament. Can anyone argue that the quality of most of the MSP’s in the Parliament is worth preserving? I doubt it.

        Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 10 Thumb down 6

        Sceptic1 August 14, 2014 11:20 am Reply
  • How can there be a continuing United Kingdom after a Yes vote? Great Britain will no longer exist as a Union, so there cannot be a continuing UK.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 14 Thumb down 6

    Murdoch MacKenzie August 14, 2014 6:58 am Reply
    • That’s not for Scotland to worry about, the remainder of the UK can call itself whatever it pleases,

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

      Jamie Black August 14, 2014 7:06 am Reply
    • It would be a ‘kingdom’ – in the sense that an independent Scotland too would have chosen to retain the monarchy and would be the ‘Kingdom of Scotland’.
      And it would be a ‘united kingdom’ in the sense that it would be – as it is now – a union of states [three of them] in that ‘kingdom’.
      There is no reason why it should not continue to be known by its current name as the description fits. It would simply be a matter of redefining it as the ‘United Kingdom of England, Wales and Northern Ireland’.
      A union is still a union provided it contains more than one state.
      And what would it matter to an independent Scotland what it was called? Surely we would not actively wish to deprive our neighbours of their legitimate name, as well as leaving them to cope with what would be a profound and complex upheaval following a decision we had made to depart?

      Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 14 Thumb down 5

      newsroom August 14, 2014 7:17 am Reply
      • But with people like Sturgeon ready to take over from Salmond, how long would it be a Kingdom? They only pay lip service to the monarchy.

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

        Lundavra August 14, 2014 8:58 am Reply
      • it could be called the Former United Kingdom. FUK!!

        The new no campaign should be saying “Vote NO, for FUK’s sake”

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 3

        jim August 14, 2014 9:59 pm Reply
  • Newsie,, have you had some brandy in the coffee this morning my dear.

    I really don’t think we in Scotland would want to deprive the rUK if their name. England can surely call itself what it wants, but the adherence to the name UK does very much suggest that Great British pride is very much, at stake.

    In fact it is this busted flush attitude that is causing the Westminster bozos to spook the markets by saying they will cut their economic nose off to spite thekr face by not sharing the pound.

    What total and utter incompetence from the Westminster clowns, but at least Mark Carney, a Canadian from a country that avoided the bankruptcy that the UK sustained, knows better.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 14 Thumb down 7

    willie August 14, 2014 9:35 am Reply
    • Not only will they have to call themselves something different, they will need to re-name their currency, or do the sensible thing and share it. The ISO name is Great British Pound, GBP. Seems to me that this applies to Scotland as much as England.

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

      Murdoch MacKenzie August 14, 2014 9:54 am Reply
      • No they won’t. The currency is called the pound sterling. The fact that the ISO code is GBP is different from the currency name.

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

        Integrity? August 14, 2014 10:13 am Reply
  • Yes Murdoch, the international title is the Grrat British Pound (GBP).

    So of they aren’t going to share it, it won’t be the GBP.

    Oh dear, right enough. Do these bozos always act like Honer Simpson…..duh!

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

    willie August 14, 2014 10:12 am Reply
  • Integrity. Are you saying that the GBP will be renamed tbe Pound Stirling?

    Or what about Petro Pounds Stirling from the oil reserves they’ve lost.

    Dearie, dearie me. And no British Army either.

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

    willie August 14, 2014 10:22 am Reply
    • No the pound sterling is its name. It doesn’t need to be renamed.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 6

      Integrity? August 14, 2014 10:27 am Reply
  • Ach, the truth is the rUK need to share the pound and the thought of Pound Stirling and a Pound Sterling with all the debt must fill them with fear.

    But Mark Carney, with all of Canada’s banking success will stop the Westminster Turkeys voting for an early Christmas

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 10 Thumb down 6

    willie August 14, 2014 10:30 am Reply
  • Integrity, you missed the irony of a Pound Stirking for Scotland and the misnomer of the rUK’s Great British Pound.

    Smile, because you really have to when you consider the guff that the three main Westminster parties are coming out with on currency sharing.

    Triplev G rating for a Three Stooges performance methinks.

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

    willie August 14, 2014 10:39 am Reply
  • Pound Stirling good. Pound Sterling bad.

    Do you get it now Integrity.

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

    willie August 14, 2014 10:43 am Reply
  • As usual the comments to this post have strayed from the post’s original topic, so let me indulge in some straying.

    A few days ago a commentator suggested that as rUk had no plan B for Trident then it was a nonsense for the rUk, and the No campaign, to insist on Alex S ,and the Yes campaign, to come up with a Plan B for currency.

    From the following it can be established that Plan B for Trident is being considered

    As I stated in my original comment re the removal of Trident, in the event of a YES vote, Alex S, in any subsequent transition negotiations will adopt “ how long is a piece of string“ tactics in addressing this, and the many other issues. This may give him a window, or a life–raft,to resolve his mega currency problem. Alex S has ignored informing the Scottish electorate that an independent Scotland will require to have a credible, sustainable, stable currency before it can even sign an application to join the EU. If not, the euro is the only alternative.

    In the event of a YES, there is enough slippage in the trajectory to independence to suggest that independence will NOT be achieved by 2016. The more practical timeline is 2018/ 2019.

    With Alex S pledged to be rid of Trident within 4 yrs of Independence, this would give rUk till 2022 /2023 it make other arrangements. This study suggests this timeline is feasible and mutual.

    Meanwhile Alex S would benefit from the “ how long is a piece of string “ approach as he struggles to prevent Faslane/Coulport from becoming an unemployment black –spot

    Oh, and whilst I am at it, one commentator made a cynical, but correct point re belief in election manifestos. This was regard to UK parties pledging NO to a sterling currency union. I assume the commentator applies the same cyncism to the SNP? So Trident is re-negotiable, and Scotland’s sovereign debt will, irrespective of other considerations, be honoured by an Independent Scotland?

    Last but not least, I have become aware of a somewhat bizarre and intriguing phenomenon. The Welsh in Scotland, who can vote on the 18th Sept,are more likely to vote YES because they somehow see a YES outcome as begetting Independence to Wales.

    Which takes me back to addressing the original subject matter of this post.

    Assuming a NO, then after the 18th Sept ,UK govt , with the additional pledged devolved powers, will have to consider, among other options, the Federal option for the UK. In the event of a YES, Alex S in attempting to resolve his currency problem, may have a Damascene conversion, and apply for Scotland to join a Federal UK.

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

    rob trythall August 14, 2014 10:53 am Reply
    • I think you are making a mountains out of mole hills. Scotland should dump the pound, or show intent to do so and use the Euro. I am not sure that the EU can delay Scotland entry. The Scots have been paying into the EU…will the EU refund all of Scotland`s contributions? Of course not.

      The EU`s position is not clear. There are loads of EU areas that seek local independence. So their main concern is stopping a tsunami of independence claims.

      If the EU plays hardball, it is highly likely that Scotland will boom outside the EU. They can literally design their own economy. They can offer massive tax breaks and the real earner would be to offer the Russians a deep sea naval facility!!!lol This would be a fantastic departing present to bankrupt Britain and their shabby treatment of Scotland during this difficult process.

      Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 6 Thumb down 10

      Carl Jones August 14, 2014 5:36 pm Reply
  • I will stray a little as well Robert. Say this was the day after Scotland had voted for Independence and todays Scotsman’s headline appeared ” The Scottish Government told us quite clearly it expected between £7.1 billion and £8.3 Billion for 2013/14 – now it has been revealed that figure was only £4 billion” OOoopps – sorry folks- all out promises will have to halved. How can anyone in their right mind believe in Salmond & Co.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 13 Thumb down 7

    Malcolm Kirk August 14, 2014 11:44 am Reply
    • Malcolm, anyone with any sense is well aware that you cannot believe anything that comes out of the mouths of Salmond, Sturgeon or anyone else associated with the Yes campaign.

      We know that the SNP’S life long aim is independence and they see this as the only opportunity they have of getting anywhere near to achieving that. It is for that reason that they will say anything, promise anything and do anything that may get them an extra couple of votes. They certainly could not care a toss as to what the implications would be if they were successful as long as they achieve that aim. Nothing else matters to them.

      Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 15 Thumb down 6

      Sceptic1 August 14, 2014 11:57 am Reply
  • Editor: This comment has been removed for racist language.
    It also contained material copied from elsewhere but, with no inverted commas to signal the boundaries between quotation and commentary, we were unable to judge if we had the option of selective editing, so we removed it in its entirety.

    These are very difficult and destructive times for everyone. It could not be more important to keep reason in the driving seat.
    We would ask readers to exercise self-restraint.
    Although it does not appear to have been the case in this instance, it is also important to remember that repeating inflammatory material from elsewhere does not absolve the middle man from the wrong of abuse.

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

    No Cheese Here August 14, 2014 12:25 pm Reply
    • Seems reasonable to me – good article – thanks for copying it out for us Cheesy.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 3

      Malcolm Kirk August 14, 2014 4:53 pm Reply
    • Well, I gave up when you mentioned Braveheart. Your problem is that you believe official history word for word, when we know for a fact that a lot history is not true. Do you really believe the official 9/11 account? Do you really believe the official account of 7/7? It appears you feel nice and safe in the NWO matrix…you wouldn`t know what reality was if you fell over it.

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

      Carl Jones August 14, 2014 5:42 pm Reply
      • You’re the one with the problem, Carl Jones.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 7

        Robert Wakeham August 14, 2014 5:56 pm Reply
      • Carl Jones, this September will be the 41st anniversary of 9/11, what do you think happened then?

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 5

        John Sinclair August 14, 2014 6:14 pm Reply
        • “41st”? Are you referring to another 9/11 or was that a typo?

          I think that 9/11 was an inside job, a false flag, a spectacular which was designed to allow Washington and the MSM to colour public opinion.

          If you like, 9/11 was the starting gun for Britain and Amerikas sham War on Terror.

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 2

          Carl Jones August 16, 2014 7:14 am Reply
    • It seems the above cheese is an imposter. Can For Argyll rectify


      Found this piece of journalism

      Ms Henderson should note the difference

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 2

      No Cheese Here August 15, 2014 11:19 am Reply
      • Really an imposter – or is this an attempt by an unelected MSP, having overstepped the mark, to try and worm their way out of their own anonymous mess?

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 3

        Robert Wakeham August 15, 2014 11:33 am Reply
        • Robert, business must be slow in Holyrood hence the posts, probably been told to stay at home, Eck won’t want people to hear Swinney’s screams as they chop his B___s off.

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 3

          richard August 15, 2014 11:45 am Reply
  • Yeah Guys, just like the wee labour Leader said, youse are not genetically programed for this self government lark.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 4

    Murdoch MacKenzie August 14, 2014 1:04 pm Reply
  • Just the usual sh!te on here still. What a sorry apology for a website.

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

    Kassandra August 14, 2014 7:35 pm Reply
    • Welcome back – you haven’t changed.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 4

      Robert Wakeham August 14, 2014 8:01 pm Reply
      • Kassandra, obviously your sabbatical has done nothing to improve your mood, was the cave damp?

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 7

        richard August 14, 2014 8:12 pm Reply
  • I thoroughly enjoyed your précis of the programme but found the conclusion wanting. I felt like writing: and?

    I recall telling the CML conference three years ago about preparing for a YES vote in the Referendum. It wasn’t on their wavelength.

    There are countless examples of our southern cousins not thinking this through. They can’t say they haven’t had plenty of notice. Maybe they are just arrogant.

    Slightly off topic: over the last three months my own business has seen a significant rise in English folk buying houses in Scotland.

    I think it’s called inward investment!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 4

    Graeme McCormick August 14, 2014 11:45 pm Reply
    • Significant rise in English people buying in Scotland is a sign of a strong and fluid market.
      In an independent Scotland, if it all looks like its goes sour, there’ll be a flight of the English back south and no doubt a very large number of the more switched on Scots following them. What goes up can go down and all that.
      Remember Northern Rock and and the queues of people desperate to get out and protect their own interests? It’s no different.
      Patriotism is all very well but it’ll very quickly evaporate if people get a whiff that their personal interests are at financial risk. Those that won’t or don’t act aren’t likely to be those who aren’t best placed to rebuild the economy on.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 3

      Jerry McIver August 15, 2014 8:27 am Reply
  • Clearly if Mr McCormick is seeing an increase in English clients buying houses in Scotland, then it is equally clear that they like what they see.

    So let us welcome them aboard as new Scottish citizems to scountry poised to vote for independence.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 7

    willie August 15, 2014 12:12 am Reply
    • Property ownership doesn’t necessarily denote citizenship, does it?

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 3

      Robert Wakeham August 15, 2014 8:24 am Reply
  • The highlight of the program was 30 minutes in (give or take) where an English guy confirmed the British Empire was in-fact the English Empire and the rest of Britain was in-fact English colonies.

    1 Conservative Scottish MP v 305 English – just proves how we are being run by an English dictatorship… 18th YES…

    For those who will be voting ‘NO THANKS’ who have jumped ship into Scotland from the rest of Britain clearly you didn’t think you were better together with your own community – irony.

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

    Kev August 15, 2014 12:17 am Reply

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