We Are On Our Own

It didn’t take Ed Balls long to prove me right. I wrote on Februay 14 that…“by pulling together and stating effectively that retention of the Union supersedes all policy differences is a seminal moment….when they conspire to create individual policy along with the Tories they are getting into bed with the people who are wrecking lives in Britain…why is saving the Union a greater crusade than saving the dignity of the unemployed? Why does the perfectly normal arrangement of a currency deal supersede zero hours contracts and welfare cuts for the disabled? For a socialist what is the motivation to bury all differences with the hard right in order to send a brutal message to the Scots – that we don’t co-operate, we dictate. We don’t negotiate – we assert?”

Today we find Ed claiming that his revulsion at the Liberals’ behaviour in government may preclude joining them in a future Coalition. http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2014/feb/18/labour-lib-dems-ed-balls  He says: “I look at what the Liberal Democrats have done the last two or three years – these guys have not restrained the Tories. They have in many ways amplified and encouraged the Conservatives in thing they’ve done.” He goes on: “It’s one thing to break your promises in a manifesto to get into power, it’s another to do that on the backs of the poor and the most disadvantaged. That’s what they did and I don’t think people are going to forget that.”

So why is he standing shoulder to shoulder with them – and their Tory masters – when it comes to Scotland’s currency? If you loathe them both so much that you’d endanger your chances of running the government by refusing to stand with them in a coalition, what is it about Scotland and the pound that allows you to drop your inhibitions and join them on this single issue?

He says it himself – they’ve let down the poor and the disadvantaged which should be reason enough not to work with them on any domestic policy issue. (I’m excluding international threat where the natural tendency is to pull together in the national interest). Or is that precisely why the currency question transcends all others – because Labour really does regard Scotland as a nascent foreign country rather than an estranged family member? Could it be that when Balls is presented with the proposition that he join his sworn enemies in an alliance against Scotland, it immediately strikes him as appropriate because in the interests of Britain, they must stand together whatever their differences. Scotland is an aggressor, a national threat to be faced down. The poor? To Hell with them. The disabled? We’ll come to that later. Is there some kind of dog whistle at work here so that on this issue, only and alone, all differences between parties, including UKIP by the way, evaporate and Labour rushes, panting to join the British bulldogs? They did it over the second question, just as they did over Calman, and here again on currency. Instead of using their considerable power base in Scotland to strike a different note, a real Scottish Labour alternative, they fall into the arms of the very people they pretend to despise.

Johann Lamont said that sharing the pound would mean England “doing us favours” so she also doesn’t believe Scotland has a stake in the Bank of England and hasn’t helped to build sterling. She said England would be quite right to deny it to Scotland. Now there’s a proud Scottish leader to march behind. “What do we want…to be treated like serfs…Small, skint and stupid…Ed, Ed, Ed…” It seems we really are another country.

Why wouldn’t an enlightened left-leaning democrat wish to engage constructively with a left-of-centre movement of friends over the border that would be mandated by  majority in a legal referendum? And why wouldn’t a Scottish Unionist leader not want to keep the closest relationship they could after a break?

There are many possible answers including undying loyalty to the (London) leadership…an implacable hatred of the SNP…a lack of vision…cynical disregard for the Scots, her own history of opposition to devolution or plain political stupidity. I say this because whatever your role in the political game in Scotland, you are lost if you are seen not to stand up for the Scots. This is a loose phrase which is malleable in the hands of the beholder but everyone of us knows what it means to them. Salmond stands up for Scotland, even when he’s wrong. That is what the public think. So horizontal is Johann’s profile and so timid and ingratiating her contributions that people don’t know what to think of her which may be a good thing for her reputation. But I think she is wrong to meekly troop along behind Balls on this. The Scots are genuinely trying to make up their mind and, whatever their misgivings about the pound, are taken aback by the total resistance Westminster has engineered. To them it sounds unnecessary, premature and hostile and they’re looking for someone to give them perspective….someone to say: “I’m not so sure. We don’t need to be hasty. We’ll decide what’s in the best interests of the Scots if this ever happens.” In the absence of that voice, they turn to Salmond who says it for them.

The idea that Lamont might be irritated with Balls for joining the Tories, for ruling out the currency union, would strengthen her hand in public opinion. Yes, it means she would be asked to explain an internal difference but that’s the whole point – to make sure people know she’s on their side and is prepared to be against her own party to be so. That’s what Scottish leaders have to do. McConnell didn’t and was thrown out. Gray failed the test and was obliterated. Funny how they never learn.

55 thoughts on “We Are On Our Own

  1. Brilliant as always Derek. To me the Referendum can be summed up as follows
    VOTE YES – Get uncertainty, hope and consensus
    VOTE NO – Get certainty,despair and dogma

    Can I also recommend today’s Scottish Review
    to see further brilliant examples of the above

    • The NO Vote =
      scare mongering and spreading fear to make the good people of Scotland think have it doesn’t have the ability to look after its own future, and what is fear?

      F -ALSE

      The YES Vote =
      I ability to look after the country’s future where everyone is has the same chances as everyone else (not like the Tories making the super rich, richer at the expense of democracy).

  2. Another stormer Derek
    “There are many possible answers…….” one of which is we’re wortha damn sight more to Westminster in financial and geopolitical terms than they will ever, ever admit to us.

  3. Lorely Burt, Lib Dem MP, “What we (Lib Dems) need to do is talk to Labour supporters, who have lent us their vote in the past, to keep the Conservatives out. Because the message is stronger now than ever. In places like Solihull, you’ve got a small Labour vote but it will make the difference between winning and losing.”

    “the message is stronger now than ever”. In Scotland we understand that perfectly well when Labour and the Lib Dems are more than prepared to jump in bed with the hated Tories.

  4. If they do not share the £, the rest of the UK will have to find £4.5Billion a year more in interest payments. Scotland could still use the £. Scotland would only have to borrow £65Billion (half the debt), and be away. Yet Danny Alexander claims mortgages would be higher in Scotland. (According to Jeffrey’s Bank??) More like the other way around. Mortgages would be higher in the rest of the UK.

    Alexander increased Oil tax 11% (£2Billion) in the 2010 to 60% to 80%. Costing Scotland £5Billion+, a year in loss revenues. Cut the Block Grant £1.3Billion a year.

  5. It’s a fundamental point you raise here Derek.

    What baffles me is the thought process of Labour voters in Scotland. I sincerely don’t get it.

    Decades of labour power, at times in Westminster, at times in Holyrood and virtually consistently at council level (certainly in West Scotland) has seen absolutely no improvement on social conditions. Yes, a few triumphs here and there in the short term, but the longer term now sees the poor in worse conditions that at any time in the last 70 years.

    The gap between rich and poor increasing dramatically. Mortality rates that are an absolute scandal, the infrastructure of our society sold off to the highest bidder and absolutely every aspect of life comes with a price tag (thank God for the SNP) – because even the free at point of use NHS spends a massive portion of it’s budget paying off dodgy PFI schemes at Wonga style interest rates.

    Chuck in an illegal foreign war and the murder (because thats what it is, pure and simple) of 100’s of thousands of Iraqi civilians and British troops.

    And yet, Scots still vote for them.

    So now labour voters, even if you doubt some of the valid points I’ve made above and argue them away in your own self delusion, you’ve had two members of labour, Jim Hood MP and now Ed Balls telling you in the last week that they don’t care about your social condition or environment or indeed, improving it.

    The thing that will keep you warm in the cold, put food on your plate, give you a job and a little bit of hope and self respect is voting for the continuation of the union. Not that the union will actually implement any policies to do this, it’s just the ‘thought’ of glorious Britannia that will magic away or your woes.

    This is what your MP’s are asking you to buy into.

    For the love of God will you not wake up and do something about this ? September is your one and only chance to do something about this.

    • nice one x

    • Who traditionally votes Labour? The Poor naturally. Therefore is Labour eliminated poverty there’d be a good chance of them ‘eliminating’ most of their electorate, i.e. turning them into middle-class supporters of other parties. Therefore once Labour become entrenched anywhere, then “the poor will always be with us”. Simple cause and effect.

  6. How long can they all keep this up? Does constantly telling us in Scotland, that we aren’t worthy of negotiating with or allowed to share any of those “British” things that we all have helped to build(even some to die for), mean they are in fact trying to destroy the social union too?

    There will come a point when we shut out the anti-this that or the other and say “Well just don’t you(UK) worry, we’ll be fine. I want to be a grown-up”!

  7. Derek, I have followed your blog posts from day one. Superbly written, informative and challenging. I have no political allegiance, probably voted for every mainstream party over the past 45 years and always voted in local, parliamentary and european election – it’s a duty.

    I am tending towards a yes vote. The more I listen to the No Campaign, the BBC and read the papers, then the more I am convinced that the campaign has nothing to do with what is good or bad for the citizens of the UK but is to do with protecting the self interest of Conservative, Labour, Lib Dem and other politicians. I believe that they see and end to the gravy train, that is Westminster, and are fighting not for the electorate but for their own individual wealth and status, firstly as MP’s then as Lords & Ladies.

    My YES vote will be secure once I am certain that the number of MSP’s will not increase following a vote for independence. That any second chamber will be elected for a fixed term, the second chamber will never have more members than the first chamber, and will never contain a previously elected politician or election candidate whether they stood in any local or parliamentary elections.

    Derek, keep up the good work, we are depending on you!

    • Glad to hear you’re leaning in the “Yes” direction.

      I sent a question on the second chamber to the Scottish Government’s constitutional reform team. Here it is, with a reply, a follow-up question and further reply. I think it means you won’t know until after the referendum what the second chamber arrangements (if any) would be.

      Q: The White Paper doesn’t make any reference as far as I can see to the possibility of having a second chamber in the Scottish Parliament. I assume this is because it would be a question for the planned constitutional convention.

      Many people looking at the Westminster arrangements see the House of Lords, for all its defects, as a necessary brake on the ideological enthusiasms of the House of Commons, and will surely see the benefits of a second chamber at Holyrood post-independence.

      Does the Scottish Government have a view on this?

      A: [ … ] On your specific question, one of the arguments for independence is that the Westminster system is not democratic enough. The Westminster system includes the House of Lords, whose members are not elected by, or representative of, the people. Members of the House of Lords hold significant power over the people of Scotland. A single Member of the House of Lords has more say over the welfare system in Scotland, for example, than the whole of the Scottish Parliament.

      The current Scottish Government proposes that, from the date of independence, the Scottish Parliament will keep its current single chamber structure. This is similar to other comparable states which also have single chamber parliaments, such as New Zealand, Denmark, Norway and Sweden. […]

      Q: It could of course be an elected second chamber. But thanks anyway for setting out the current government’s proposal. Does that mean the constitutional convention will not be able to consider this option?

      A: The Scottish Government has no plans to limit the scope of the constitutional convention, it will be for the Scottish Parliament to establish its remit.

  8. Simple answer and actually the truth. Scottish Labour have Stockholm Syndrome. The truth shall set you free.

    • Trouble is it is just another heave and we will be free, is what Labour is about but I agree with the Stockholm Syndrome. I also query if we have been left with the dregs that were the Labour Party though, thank goodness that we have the YES campaign in Labour, lifts my spirits somewhat.

  9. Another telling phrase in what Balls said – “It’s one thing to break your promises in a manifesto to get into power…” Really! It’s fine to knowingly lie to the electorate so that your party can claw back the reins of power. That’s all elections are about obviously. Nothing to do with policies then, or even democracy.

    Regarding Lamont. she would never disagree with Balls or anyone else in Westminster Labour. If she did, she would have to leave the comfort of her bunker and would be subjected to questioning and interviews which she would be unable to cope with.

  10. “Why wouldn’t an enlightened left-leaning democrat wish to engage constructively with a left-of-centre movement of friends over the border that would be mandated by majority in a legal referendum?”

    Not sure about the above. Is the claim that the SNP are a left-of-centre movement? They’re a pretty mixed bag, commitment to lower corporation tax, relaxing and reducing regulation on business, putting “sustainable economic growth” at the centre of government policy, etc. I’d say more centre-right, in a European sense (hence social conservatism on drinking, singing etc, rather than a liberal position). Assuming no realignment of parties post-independence, then I think you could see a genuinely Scottish Labour emerge as the centre-left and the surviving National Party as the centre-right, with resurgent Conservatives further to the right. Socialists and Greens much as before.

    The mandate claim also makes me uncomfortable. I know Alec Salmond has made it, but the White Paper reads like a party political document, not the broad framework for a new nation. For instance, it would give a “mandate” to reduce current corporation tax by three percentage points, a centre-right position.

    • Hi Not the SNP. It says the movement (for yes). The mandate is for independence not specific policies. Thanks for yet another contribution. Appreciated. Have you memorised that email address? Is it a chemical equation. Regards Derek

      Sent from my iPad


      • No, a throwaway I’m afraid. I enjoy this blog, but I’m also somewhat compromised by the work I do – would prefer my anonymity. On some issues, you couldn’t put a cigarette paper between the administrations in Holyrood and Westminster, and on others Westminster could be assessed as more progressive.

        If movement, then yes, I’d accept that. The SNP are the most right-wing part (well, centre-right) part of that coalition. I’ve thought that one way to boost the Yes vote would be to harness the right-wing vote in Scotland. The Conservatives (with English-centric policies) regularly poll in the 20%+ in Scotland. With Scottish-focused policies they could get to a tipping point of winning seats.

        But promoting that as a benefit of independence might lose the left-wing Greens and Socialists without converting N/DK to Yes.

    • majormacbloodnok

      Gordon Brown cut corporation tax considerably and would have cut it more if he had won the General Election. But them, Labour are still to the left, just, of the Tories, which puts them quite far right themselves… further to the right than the SNP, without a doubt.

  11. Another great article.

    The complete contradiction between “mission statement” and actual actions of Labour Politicians in the last 2 decades are examples of the potency of power and advantage.

    It disrupts their ability for cold clear logic versus the other decision making criteria. it is clear that it is certainly not emotion, care, love of their native land, or concern for the disadvantaged, that makes them make these decisions or guide our people to oblivion.

    The criteria they hold closest to their hearts is – the retention of power, personal sway, and their utterly useless and pointless careers!

    With a tidy, easy, almost unaccountable £80K/year + perks + suckling rights for the London sow, and frequent dips in the at the SW1 trough and the final promise of a jolly at the World Bank tackling poverty in far off lands like Kosova why would they break from the party line! It is all a matter of timing for them. Stay in position till your party is in power in SW1, and the riches shall be yours, if you have toed the party line. Echoes of why Wallace was thrown to Longshanks perhaps ?

    But the bigger problem facing those who want to effect change and take this country to its only future is that the masses who will cast their vote and actually affect the outcome, are the masses who do not consume articles of the quality you and other journalists of your calibre write. They do it on the soundbite of the moment. And we are being bombarded with those!

    Ha …nae pound …. the Scottish Groat! snigger… etc etc .etc.

    Its going to get worse.

    God help us…

    Prologue …. I woke up the morning of the last referendum to hear we had our parliament. It was such a feeling of positiveness and I had no care for who was actually in power at that time, but it reminded me of the time I met and travelled with Dewar on a special inward investment project which was a great new hope for Scotland. It was interesting to hear him talk outside of the UK media in California. I still believe that he knew then that devolution was a one way path.

    Of course he wouldn’t be a believer in splitting from the UK, but if the option was to live as now, or how it could be after a NO, under an increasingly powerful South/London troika he would will the people to vote YES.

  12. as usual a good piece it just to bad it wont be seen by a wider audience with all due respect to Mr Bateman’s ability until we find a way round this media embargo we to coin a phrase are farting against the wind it dosnt mean give up but when the slab buys a pie will get auto coverage on all media it maybe needs a rethink of the approach so far every interview i have seen with the exception of John Snows grilling of darling darling the other night and Pat Kane’s comments at the same time all have been proactive we never seem to drop the nicey nicey we will cooperate with everyone stance get the bloody gloves off make the other lot defend their position they are getting away with murder because like her or hate ms Ballie is effective then again no one is going to question what crap she spouts no i am not saying tell downright lies just hit them when they are not looking now Mr Bateman made a good point when he questioned Alex Salmonds approach to the currency question the longer it runs the more legs it will grow ,nail it and nail it now because Mr Barrosos comments however ridiculous all of a sudden are being tacked on to this making his nonsense look credible ! up the revolution ha ha

  13. No prescription charges, personal care for the elderly, Uni support for students, no ‘bedroom tax’ etc. Aye left of centre, with limited powers.

    Illegal wars, £9000 Uni fees, ‘bedroom tax’, cuts in welfare provision, Trident, tax cuts for the richest, Cuts to NHS/education, Thatcher worship etc. Right of centre.

  14. Stagliare

    Would a “genuinely Scottish Labour party” be able to change Ed Balls’s attitude to a currency union? Failing that, if they were a genuinely Scottish Labour party what currency do you suggest they use? I think that the SNP’s policies up to now would negate your description of them as a centre-right party?

    • I’d say a mixed-bag. On some issues like tuition fees for Scots you could say their centre left (though right-wing European parties would support similar policies), on others like business development or agriculture then they’re much closer to the Conservatives than anyone else in England.

      There has been a drive in the Scottish goverment to embed the phrase “sustainable economic growth” in as wide a range of policy areas as possible, which is similar to what the current Westminster administration is doing. Fuelled, I think, by a sense that regulation is bad for business, and what is good for business is ultimately good for society.

  15. The Bank of England was nationalised in 1946. it would seem that “nationalised” industries and institutions do not include Scotland. There must be some kind of geographical and/or genetic exclusion in the small print of the “Bank of England Act 1946”? I have been unable to find it though.

    If people are interested in the traditional left / right classification of political parties they can look here.
    It’s pretty clear where the SNP are to The New OneNation British Labour Party.

    It is very clear that the component parties of the Yes campaign are on the left.

  16. The only explanation for the behaviour of Scottish politicians like Lamont is that they do not agree that Scotland is a country.
    Their country is Britain/UK with it’s capital city and government in London.They are Westminster’s representatives in Scotland and do whatever London tells them to do.
    However,the fact that the Holyrood parliament exists tells us that Westminster is tacitly accepting that Scotland is a country and the signing of the Edinburgh Agreement absolutely confirmed it (would Yorkshire have been allowed to do this?).
    If you accept that we are a country,then it is not credible to take a position which denies the right of Scots to elect their own government.
    The wishy washy arrangement cobbled together by Westminster which “reserved” certain powers (most) to themselves has shown itself time and again to act against the interests of Scots and was done to fool Scots into thinking they had democracy.
    What will be remembered for a very long time is the collusion of the British state representatives in Scotland and the British media in a concerted campaign to deny Scots our democratic rights.
    At the going down of the sun…we will remember.

    • @bringiton

      Yes, the more powers talk is really just a political fudge. The independence referendum is essentially about where sovereignty should reside over Scottish political affairs; at Westminster, or with the people of Scotland, through an elected independent Scottish Parliament and state. It is really a diversion as there is no willingness from Westminster to give any more substantial powers to Holyrood.

  17. @bringiton

    The “Stockholm syndrome” concept manifested itself last night with the confused responses of Jenny Mara. “My country is Scotland” but it seems she likes things the way they are with Westminster in control.

  18. My experience of listening to unionists here over the years is that they will say that Scotland is a nation/country if put on the spot. However, their comments suggest that they do not actually believe this to be the case. It is the same with their more powers talk. I do not think many people in Scotland believe them, or their MSM colleagues, due to their actions since 2011. I think you are right in saying that they do not believe Scotland is a nation or country. You just need to listen to their “there is no border between Scotland and England at the moment” argument. The reality is that there has been a border between the two nations for hundreds and hundreds of years, well before the Act of Union of 1707. What unionists are really saying though is that in their opinion Scotland is a region. Unionists think that their nation/country is Britain, and they owe their loyalty and allegiance to the British state. To them because Britain is larger than Scotland, then it automatically makes them feel more important, and hence more powerful. Their support for the British state means that they are under the obligation to try and undermine the collective confidence of the people of Scotland for the sake of their careers.

    • I would go one further: Listening to them they are quick to trot out the line of “Proud Scot…but” its here that the pride they have seems to be in their dependence on what I call magic cloak of Britishness. Its as if they need something to hide the fact they are Scottish. It doesn’t matter if you point out how absurd that argument is – they will continue to promote it by arguing that it is a truly wretched thing to be a Scot without the union. Even their notion of Britishness is out of sync – its like a separate identity that their Scottish background has contributed nothing to. For an Englishman the term British is completely interchangeable. Their Englishness is what makes them British and vice versa. For a unionist its always portrayed as a separate thing and not the composite identity it was envisaged as being. For the non-unionist, Britishness is used the same way Nordic countries use the term “Scandinavian” Its a catch all term – a geographical label & a collective pro-noun.

      For me its why their arguments descend into farce. Its not something that stands close scrutiny. Its something that has never had to be defended. To defend something so vague and ill-defined, has forced them to attack the very thing that contributes to the UK: being Scottish. And as Derek says, the one constant in Scottish political history is the fate meted out to those who are seen to be hostile to Scotland…regardless of their nationality.

      The really ironic thing is that Scottish labour who have dined so well and so long on this voting tendency, really do believe that there can be no downside to them from this belligerent imbecility. They have a sense of entitlement to Scotland and its vote, that would shame a Tammany hall councillor.

  19. Derek

    I have believed since I first voted for Kinnock in my ignorant youth that the Labour Party are worse than the tories. With the tories you know what you are getting wether you like it or not but with Labour all you get are lies, they all lie I know, but Labour lies are based on keeping people down. The last thing they want is for the poor to be afluent, for the ill to be healthy for the ignorant to get education because they lose their core vote. That sounds harsh but I believe it, Labour are not a political party they are a cult as that is the only thing that can explain their continued vote in Scotland, they have followers rather then members. I would vote Tory before I vote for that disgrace of a party.


    • That Derek says it all for me. I should be a Labour Supporter but I would rather vote Tory than that and as I will never vote Tory, you can follow that I agree with everything you say. I know we are not alone in this. I am also really fed up with these so called internationalist socialists who pop up all the time, They have been the ruin of Scotland.

  20. How does the Unionist Cabal think this is going to play?

    If they persist with their imperialist intransigence and irrational rejection of political pragmatisms, at some point, no doubt timed to political perfection, the Yes campaign will simply put their hands up and say: “Sorry folks, being the trusting people we are, we made proposals based on principles of fairness, democracy and rationality. Since London is refusing to be reasonable about things, regrettably, here are out fall back positions… ”

    I repeat, how do they think that will play?

    • Exactly! Just like the ‘third question’ really. If the SNP refused a CU (or whatever) and in consequence rUK suffered, then Scotland would be to blame. But by demanding it and being stubbonly refused by Westminster, then Westminster carry the can for the consequences, and who knows the fall-back may well have been Salmond’s preferred option all along. Looks to me like he’s dug one almighty hephalump trap for the Westminster Three, and they’ve not just stumbled into it, they’ve walzed in joyfully arm-in-arm and singing. Indeed it’s that image of Labour in de facto coalition with the ConDems which may well finally seal the issue in Scotland.

  21. Excellent post Derek.

    Parliamentary Labour have no moral high ground to berate anyone on breach of trust or promise. The hypocritical stance of Mr Balls vis a vis the Libdems and social issues is beyond sickening. This is the party that have sworn to cut deeper and farther than even the Torys. All this to win a vote in the UKs electoral heartlands.

    If we believe in social justice, the community, that welfare for those who are least fortunate among us is worth defending, then voting YES in September is an imperative. Westminster styled governance WILL NOT deliver and thanks to their fiscal mismanagement cannot deliver this form of politics. Scotland has already proven its politics is a polar opposite from the bulk of the UK. We already know by vast majority that we wish to be responsible for our own governance. For those who still believe however that devolution is the way to deliver those powers and responsibilities the sight of Osborne, Balls and Alexander should serve as a warning.

    FFA or Devo max WILL NOT be coming any time soon or indeed at all. There WILL NOT be a federal solution to the UKs democratic deficit. Under any devolution it must be remembered that power devolved is power retained. It will always be in the gift of Westminster, an institution we already have much cause to mistrust.

  22. Wanderer of the Wastes

    Beyond Britain, there aren’t a lot of big players who’ll be sticking up for a small country they don’t believe will be there anyway against a relatively big one that will. Thereafter things will change.

  23. Apologies Derek,thanks again.

  24. People will always choose hope over despair. The negativity of the NO campaign is a real weakness. What on earth would you vote NO for? The Britain of old that we felt some affection for is long gone.

    It is also increasingly obvious that if you vote NO you are voting for Cameron and Osborne to stuff us after the next election in 2015. Labour has a lack lustre leader, they have no radical plans, the Lib Dems are finished after their Unholy Alliance with the Tories. The only credible threat is UKIP but Cameron is wooing UKIP voters. He’s even wooing Farage. He will have neutralised UKIP by 2015.

    If you vote NO you are voting for Cameron’s Britain, for a continuation of policies like the bedroom tax, reduction in benefit for 16-24 year olds, welfare reduction for the disabled. And of course, a reduction in the Barnett formula.

    Mark my words, they will say: ‘Want to spend more money on welfare? Raise income tax in Scotland if you want to make up for the savage cuts we will impose’.

    Despite the manifest uncertainties and risks of a YES majority, I decided some months ago, after the Grangemouth debacle, that the risks of voting YES were far less than the risks of voting NO. I saw quite plainly the determination of the Scottish Government to save the plant, and the lack lustre indifference of the Westminster government to the loss of one of the few ethylene cracker plants in Northern Europe. I researched it carefully and saw why the complex had indeed a bright future, but I wonder how the heck we had got ourselves into a situation in which one man could call the shots and close down 10% of the economy of Scotland. This situation was brought about by the neo-liberal policies followed since 1979 that ‘lets the market decide’. Decide for one man to be able to take over 10% of the economic fortunes of an entire country.

  25. I think you have got the nail on the head here Derek, a yes vote is against ‘their’ national interest. It is a threat of an existential proportion to the Britsh establishment – the last thing they want to see is a successful social democratic country on their border – showing up their systemic mismanagement and failure.

  26. Bowie, ‘Scotland stay with us’, lives in New York. Free invitatation for holiday digs?

    • Hi And in Switzerland…but Connery is in Marbella or somewhere…so it’s a roundabout it argument. His heart is in the right place and I like to hear artists get into politics. Anyway maybe he means stay with us AFTER independence. Ground control to Major Al…. Regards Derek

      Sent from my iPad


  27. We’re not on our own any more. Ziggy’s invited us to stay.

    No need to worry about the mortgage payments. The £5 Billion Danny costs could pay everyone’s mortgage.

  28. So depressed to read the mainstream media. So sincere thanks for this continuing important voice. I hope, genuinely hope that the voice get through. Guardian again today, some people will still buy and swallow all that. Where are we really now, 50 v 50 or is the no still slightly in the lead? I hope not.

  29. Johann Lamont voted against the Establishment of a Devolved Government in Scotland when the rest, almost, of Labour were for it! What happened to the guts it must have taken to do that? The stupidity of it I understand, but when I see her now standing up every Thursday at FMQ,s and reading from a prepared Script dictated to her by he Bosses in London, all I see is Hypocrisy streaming out of every pore!
    I honestly do not think Labour have any Idea of the damage they are doing to their Party, not just in Scotland, but all over Britain! Socialists are not restricted to Scotland, and it is my belief that those in England will feel their skin crawl at this unwonted alliance with the Traditional enemies of all Socialists!
    I believe they will pay for it at the Polls, no matter the result of the Referendum! Balls could not have taken his position without the agreement of the rest of the Labour Shadow Cabinet, people will not forget this!

  30. Another excellent piece, Derek. Must say I find the Labour leaders’ dishonesty – both parliaments -sickening. But having grown up among many fair and honest Labour members, I’m positive they can see through the false posturing; and even though they can’t bring themselves to publicly denounce their leaders at the moment they will quietly vote for independence since it’s the obvious choice for any one living in Scotland.

  31. Great post Derek
    To me, the Referendum is actually widening out now, not just to who governs us or where we are governed from but what we actually want as part of our governance.
    Although, this referendum is supposed to be for’ the people of Scotland’ two of the most noticeable absent voices (with a vested interest in the outcome), are the unions and the ‘ left in England’.
    Week after week, the media is full of opinion pieces or comments but none from prominent union voices who represent the whole of Britain.None recognising the benefits of free prescriptions or free tuition fees , none acknowledging ( when membership is dropping and more than ever a strong union is needed) the proposals or opportunity to actually re-energise into modern unions.
    At a time when zero contracts appear to actually be accepted as part of this global world, you have to ask , where is the left and due to numbers, the left in England? Owen Jones does not a party make and it is sad the only person I have heard really stand up and decry the ideology being implemented is Ken Loach -a film maker.
    Just as civic Scotland has a view, why have the unions not used their collective voices to add to the debate. Why have the biggest unions in Britain stayed silent while austerity measures hit the poorest and most vulnerable? Why no opinion , when an alternative is being offered?They are political and WM policies are political so where are they?
    I soaked in the Labour Party socialist rhetoric for years, I believed in a strong union for years but now look at the mutual dependency and think, just like the voting system ( 5m Scotland/55-60 million GB) if they won’t stand up and be counted in England where a louder voice would be heard, perhaps it’s not because either Labour or the unions can’t, it’s because they don’t want to and in that sense, we really are on our own.
    Even the Co-ops thinking of moving on-sponsor of Miss Lamont I believe.

  32. The trouble for the Unionist Parties members is, they joined the wrong team. They are going through the motions but in the privacy of the Polling booth, what will it be? The ‘Socialists’ are as misguided as the Right.

    The UK Press are so ill informed and prejudiced, it is unbelievable. The only MSM financial journalist with any credibility is from the FT. Right wing.

    One poster stated, ‘if Westminster didn’t share the £, the £ in the rest of the UK would devalue and it would damage UK business’. OK getting somewhere. The solution. ‘Westminster should grab the Oil sector’. Just unbelievable. On balance a minority of people.

    The Co-op has been bailed out by two US hedge funds.

  33. The Trade Unions helped fund the illegal war. Some Trade Unions fund a right wing party. There are good people in the Trade Union movement, who fight for their members. The EU has good social/employment Laws often, better than Westminster.

    * The Co-op Bank has been bailed out by two US Hedge funds

  34. Sky News. (NI subsidised £10Billion a year) ‘Wales (under funded £1Billion) should fund it’s own flood relief’ It’s own it’s own’. – London Luvies.

  35. Just as well we’ll be on our own after Sept 18th and consequences, if you saw the Chancellor’s comments today on his way to the G20

  36. * ‘Wales is on it’s own’ * I – board text!

  37. Cameron, Miliband and (FWIW) Clegg should all be made to answer the question: “What should Scotland’s currency arrangement be after a Yes vote?”.

  38. I post on here my letter to the Guardian’s Martin Kettle, whose blow-hard anti-Scots diatribe yesterday most will have seen. I think every time the metro Anglo elite sound off like this, they need to be pulled up. Feel free to circulate. Graham Ennis.

    Dear Martin Kettle,
    I read with interest your Guardian article (20/02/14) on Scotland.
    I would describe my reaction as a mixture of laughter, anger, and incredulity that the Grauniad could get it so wrong.
    First of all, You might try to get some basic facts right about events in Scotland. factual inaccuracies often annoy people.
    There are a number of them. Your comments about Osborne, Barroso and Brown are fundamentally inaccurate. Barroso has been refuted by Senior members of his own Commission, and legal experts. This has been extensively covered in the Scottish media, (but then why would you want to bother reading something written by those semi-wild Celtic savages living in a howling sub-Arctic wilderness, so far from the London metro-bubble and Anglo-Saxon civilization?)….Brown is fundamentally discredited in Scotland, and about as popular as Blair is in Anglo-land. Osborne is fundamentally wrong, on legal and financial grounds, in what he says. (Forbes magazine, the financial times, and other supporters of the wild Celtic tribes North of Hadrian’s wall all say this.). I could go on, but why bother. You are secure in your unconscious Anglo-sphere racism against Celts, and it shows. You sound like the usual sour, standard issue Ulster Loyalist media commentator talking about another conflict, in Ireland. Your views are stereotypical of the effete and self-absorbed metropolitan Bubble you exist in. They do not represent in any way, what most Scots think. (What many Scots think of you, is unprintable in a polite middle class paper like the Grauniad). However, your articles do have an effect. They are seamlessly part and parcel of the acidulous commentary from the British Imperial capital now that it’s restive Celtic colony has decided that enough is enough, after three hundred years of Anglo racism and imperialism, and has decided to leave you on your own, without the benefits of the massive oil and gas reserves of Scotland, (Three times those of Kuwait) to make your own way in a cruel and harsh neo-liberal world. But: You, and others like you, are doing something useful. The more you sneer and lecture Us Celts, the more bloody minded we become. Thank you for your useful propaganda, for Independence, which you unwittingly write. It gives me much pleasure to quote the Reuters tape, (See below) for their shrews analysis of the the reaction of the Scottish Tribes to Osborne’s imperial edict to the Natives of the frozen North. Another two or three disasters like that, and a YES vote is assured. Good luck when you lose the Celtic tribal territories, with their oil and other resources. You will need it. Enjoy reading the Reuters article. Keep up the good work and the tradition of the Grauniad’s “Prissy liberalism”.
    Graham Ennis.

    Support for Scottish independence rises after London warns on pound
    Thu, Feb 20 09:23 AM GMT
    LONDON (Reuters) – Support for Scottish independence has risen after Britain’s three main political parties warned the Scots they would not be able to keep the pound if they left the United Kingdom, the first opinion poll following those comments showed.

    The message sparked an angry response from Scottish leader Alex Salmond who said Scotland had every right to continue to use the pound and that “bullying” from London would create a backlash.

    A Survation poll in the Scottish Daily Mail on Thursday seemed to bear that prediction out.

    It showed the gap between those who would vote for or against independence in a referendum scheduled for September 18 had narrowed to 9 percentage points from 20 points.

    The poll of 1,005 people found 38 percent support for Scotland ending its 307-year union with England, up from 32 percent in January, while 47 percent would vote to stay in the UK, down from 52 percent, and 16 percent were undecided.

    “It is clear that there has been a severe backlash to (British Chancellor) George Osborne’s bluster and threats on the pound,” Scottish National Party (SNP) deputy Nicola Sturgeon said in a statement.

    “… Far more people (are) more likely to vote Yes (to independence) on the back of the Westminster establishment’s attempted bullying rather than No.”

  39. You would need to borrow £65Billion to pay the Bills (basic bills are less than £65Billion) The tax revenues for the current year, would go into Edinburgh to pay the next year bills, pay the interest on the loan, and create a reserve deposited in Edinburgh. £5Billion in reserve.

    Scotland is raising £60Billion in tax revenue. Scotland is spending £28Billion Block Grant (basic expenditure) + £17Billion (pensions/benefits) £48Billion. It still leaves £12Billion for Defence/Admin and debt repayment.

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