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‘Stranded Life’ shows Scottish referendum is flawed

Standard Life’s intervention in the Scottish independence debate shows the referendum is flawed and needn’t involve unnecessary angst about currency and regulation.

‘Stranded Life’ shows Scottish referendum is flawed

Standard Life’s warning that it could move parts of its business out of Scotland if Scots vote for independence is widely reported as a blow to the nationalist cause.

The sight of one of Scotland’s biggest businesses planning to decamp south of the border in the event of a ‘Yes’ vote hardly inspires confidence in the prospects for an independent Scotland. Many more businesses could follow this symbolic move.

Of course Standard Life insists it is being ‘strictly apolitical’ and has no wish to influence the vote in September. Its decision to register new companies outside Scotland into which it could transfer its operations is, it says, simply a response to the political uncertainties thrown up by the referendum.

Risks of separation

Notwithstanding its 189-year history in Scotland, the company does not want to be stranded in Edinburgh when it’s unclear what currency the independent nation would use, what its monetary and tax policies would be and question marks hang over the strength and effectiveness of its financial regulation.

These are huge uncertainties and millions of Standard Life’s customers will be relieved to see it has contingency plans in place. There’s no need to sell your Standard Life Sipp just yet.

David Nish, chief executive (pictured), says it is a ‘precautionary measure’ to ensure Standard Life can continue to look after the interests of its customers, staff and shareholders.

Nevertheless, this is a risky move for Standard Life, which employs 5,000 people in Scotland, some of whose jobs may now be at risk.

There’s also the danger of a backlash if the company is seen as lining behind a pro-union, English establishment. The Conservatives, Liberal Democrats and Labour have ganged up to refuse Scottish National Party leader Alex Salmond’s proposal for an independent Scotland to share the pound in a currency union.

Salmond, Scotland’s first minister, insists the Whitehall parties will change their mind and open negotiations if the Scots vote for independence.

Last month Bank of England governor Mark Carney stressed the difficulty of a currency union and pointed out Scotland would have to surrender some sovereignty in return for using the pound.

It’s not clear what effect this war of words will have. The financial uncertainty that perturbs Standard Life could scare voters away from independence. Equally, it could rouse a rebellious streak and encourage more Scots to take the plunge.

Polls have shown the ‘yes’ vote gaining ground on the ‘no’ camp with 37% to 47% in a recent count. It could be the intransigence of the Westminster parties is backfiring.

What about 'devo max'?

Significantly, however, another survey showed two thirds of Scots would vote for another option, if they could.

This is the so-called ‘devo max’ idea mooted a few years but rejected by David Cameron when negotiating the terms of the vote with Salmond. In this the Edinburgh parliament would increase its tax and spending powers under devolution but Scotland would remain within the United Kingdom, sharing defence and foreign policy.

Given the difficulty for voters to weigh the financial risks of Scottish independence it’s a shame the referendum is framed the way it is, with a simple yes/no vote on complete separation.

Much better, surely, would have been some sort of ‘devo max’ proposal. This would have given Scotland the chance to take more power without having to break the union and unleash, not only the currency and regulatory demons that Standard Life has highlighted, but also the nationalist passions which make many Britons nervous.

173 comments so far. Why not have your say?

Andrew Diggens

Feb 27, 2014 at 16:08

If Scotland rejects independence then 'devo-max' may well be an option but only as part of a complete review of the UK constitution which is now an utter shambles with the different parts of the UK all being treated differently and the English simply ignored. Lets have 'devo-max' for everyone and move to a true federal model.

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Hamish Milne

Feb 27, 2014 at 16:13

Standard Life over 20 years ago showed the same caution towards constitutional chance in Scotland. Did they leave NO. Yet another scaremongered story.

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Feb 27, 2014 at 16:17

Andrew - that is a very sensible comment.

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Michael McNish

Feb 27, 2014 at 16:20

Andrew's comment is as good as any that can be found on this subject. And time for Irish Republic to rejoin too...

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Feb 27, 2014 at 16:21

I think people are missing the point here.

A separate Scotland will be a foreign country; as foreign as France or Spain. No financial adviser worth their salt would recommend their clients invest overseas where the British government has no dominion and where exchange rates, different interest rates and an altogether different tax code could all conspire to make predicting future returns impossible.

The second point that advisers would have to stress would be that a company with nearly £300Bn of investments was being guaranteed by an economy whose annual GDP was approximately half that.

Again a prudent adviser would have to advise against investing there.

Standard Life aren't playing politics, they are simply recognising reality.

The same applies to RBS; saying they can make it work etc is absolute tosh. A separate Scotland could not afford to guarantee the bank to its depositors and account holders not could it afford the £80Bn necessary to buy out the UK's stake. RBS are simply being disingenuous; they cannot remain in a separate Scotland.

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Hamish Milne

Feb 27, 2014 at 16:25

Standard Life already operate across 14 different countries!

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Ian Burgess

Feb 27, 2014 at 16:32

I've been suggesting a federal solution at the local political party meetings I go to as well as adding it to comments sections in The Times and the Telegraph. So I agree with Andrew above. The truth is this should have been sorted before the referendum so the voters in Scotland would know what they were voting for. I cannot understand why Salmond didn't insist on clarity on this issue. It's given the No team a very strong advantage.

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Feb 27, 2014 at 16:35

@ Hamish

But which of those offer a national, government backed guarantee to investors and which of them regulates its activities?

The reason they can operate in 14 countries is because investors are attracted by the UK government guarantee and the regulatory regime. Enough said. Every argument I read that's for Scottish separatism ends up being strikingly against it on any level of analysis.

Hamish thought he was making a point in favour but, as ever, he's simply stated another massive reason why moving south in the event of separation makes sense.

They won't just lose English/Welsh/N Irish business they'll lose business from a dozen other countries as well.

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Ian Phillips

Feb 27, 2014 at 16:37

One thing seems to be missing from the independence much of the UK's debts will be allocated to Scotland?

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tony m

Feb 27, 2014 at 16:41

Briesmith entirely agree.

Hamish the point that they operate across 14 different countries underpins the reason they would have to move their base froma small independant country will no defined currency policy

This is not politics, which is all Salmond does, it is reality as is the UK ststing that it would not be in our interest to join a cuurency union & effectively continue to rpovide the support we gave when the 2 scottish banks impoded

Far better for scotland to follow salmonds advice and form an arc of prosperity with iceland and ireland

Interestingly the more english people I speak to the more support down here for scottish independance is growing, maybe we should be given a vote


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Hamish Milne

Feb 27, 2014 at 16:43

Ian, the same proportion of debt as of the assets, per international convention when two countries go their own ways.

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Clive B

Feb 27, 2014 at 16:52


I doubt there is any "convention" on this. Probably be split with regard to relative GDP or population.

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Charles Passmore

Feb 27, 2014 at 16:53

Curious Stranded Death makes this announcement on the day

"of its annual results, reporting operating profits of £751m - a fall of 13% on a year earlier."

No doubt a coincidence.

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Hamish Milne

Feb 27, 2014 at 16:57

The support the UK and US governments gave the two Scottish banks and Barclays (bailed out more than either of the Scottish banks incidentally) was resulting from the areas where the banking practice took place, less than 10% of the default activity was from this neck of the woods. Under an Independent Scotland, if the City continues they way it was, the rUK would need to do the same again if the defaults occurred there.

The truth is getting out....Scotland's economy is stonger than the rUK, taking it share of assets and liabilities it will be proportionally far less indebted than the rUK, it currently runs a proportionally lower fiscal deficit than the rUK and this includes the overspends currently totted up by Westminster, while the Scottish Government continue to run a balanced budget!

The sooner people stop believing the UKgov / mass media propaganda that Scotland is subsidised by the rUK the better. The figures speak for themselves! As does the logic of why it is a benifit to the rUK to share a currency union!

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tony m

Feb 27, 2014 at 17:04

If an independant scotland did manage to join the eu, which seems far from certain, it would either have to break salmon's commitment to continue free university places or admit english students for free !

The UK business community has stated unequivocably that a currency union is not in our interests, as have all the 3 main parties, and to anyone here with a financial background this is patently in th UK's best interest

The sooner salmond stops winging & blaming everything on us, & accepts it is up to us whether we give him what he needs, the sooner he can use his rbs economics background to come up with a plan b for no curency union & no immediate euro

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Hamish Milne

Feb 27, 2014 at 17:09

Clive, The measure would need to be agreed between the two parties. There is a convention, it says something along the lines....that if two countries are successor states, the share of the assets taken are calculated on the same calculation basis as the share of the liabilities....therefore if you take 8.4% (population share) of the liabilities you take 8.4% of the assets.

If a currency union won't be agreed on, then Scotland's exports will be wiped of the rUKs balance of payments leaving an additional £40/50billion on top of the current £30billion trade deficit, this obviously makes the GBP weaker.

Independence will happen!

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Clive B

Feb 27, 2014 at 17:10

If I accepted Hamish's comments as being true, that the Scottish economy will do better than rUK, I can't see how it's in their interest to have a currency union - and joint responsibility for bank debts etc - with a country many times their size.

On the other hand, I can see why it makes no sense for rUK. We see it as a one-way bet, we (rUK) could bail out Scotland if necessary, but the Scots could never bail out rUK (more likely to be needed if Hamish is right).

Seems like a marriage where the wife says: I'm leaving you, as I'll be better off on my own (better job etc), but would you mind if we keep the joint bank account.

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Feb 27, 2014 at 17:15

@ Hamish

Simply not true in any respect. You're just making stuff up.

Barclays wasn't bailed out at all; it arranged re-financing on commercial terms with middle eastern investors. No governments - other than those controlling the sovereign funds providing the cash - were involved.

No US government funds were involved in bailing out the Scottish banks; the UK government took shareholdings in both, a majority in the case of RBS, in exchange for recapitalising them.

If any UK bank or other institution were to fail, the UK government would stand behind its various guarantees and indemnities but would not do this for a foreign bank. That it did so for the Icelandic banks was due to the risk of contagion and the fact that the sums involved were relatively small. The same applies to the assistance given to the Irish banks most of which was given as part of EU and IMF aid.

RBS and Lloyds and the various insurance companies based in Scotland are huge: "too big too fail", "too big to save" as one commentator put it.

No way would any UK government go on the hook for foreign banks and certainly not during the froideur that will follow Scottish separation.

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Brendan Stewart

Feb 27, 2014 at 17:15

1) I cannot afford a Yes vote

2) I'm too old to emigrate

3) I can spell benefit

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Feb 27, 2014 at 17:19

@ Hamish

Please give an example of the international convention you refer to as it has applied to two countries ending a union that's de jure 300 years old and de facto 400.

A union where there has been total monetary union with one, single currency and transfer payments from one part of the union to another to address regional imbalances, where all parts of the union spoke the same languages and where there was a single plebiscite but only residents (note, not nationals, residents) of the would-be breakaway part got a say in the referendum.

I will make a £50 donation to charity if you can find one even remotely similar to what a break-up of the UK would be like.

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Anonymous 1 needed this 'off the record'

Feb 27, 2014 at 17:19

I think that we should have a vote on whether we want Scotland in the UK at all. At the moment England is having to support Scotland, Wales and NI so why don't we (England) leave the UK to the rest of them?

Actually why not cut a few northern cities adrift at the same time? If northerners are so brilliant let's see how they get on without state aid.

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Hamish Milne

Feb 27, 2014 at 17:27

Briesmith, nothing I have said is made really need to do some reading on who bailed out the banks. Not sure the Vienna Convention on Succession of States in respect of Treaties will have any exact comparisons because most situation will be unique...but it is there about the assets and liabilities share, if only one country becomes the successor state they take all the liabilities.

Tony, Financial services have become too important for the UK economy which is why the country is in the state it is in.

We need manufacturing not more serviced based industries, we don't need more businesses investing in the UK that are going to hive off taxes to some other country, we don't need the Chinese to build Nuclear for the offer of creaming the UK population for energy charges for decades. We shouldn't have a government privatising public services and if it is deemed privatising them is cost effective for the tax payer and not just a means to prevent the true national debt figure being exposed, them we should be awarding these services to foreign companies who don't pay tax on profits in the UK.

CliveB, Scotland would never be responsible for bailing out the rUKs defaulted banking activities, just like the rUK would never be responsible for bailing out any defaulted banking activities!

To answer the comment earlier from whoever it was....Scotland and the rUK would possibly do a proportional split of the RBS HBOS shares owned by the tax payers! Seems logical to me anyway!

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pgtips via mobile

Feb 27, 2014 at 17:30

Hamish the UK government spends about £1800 per year on every man woman and child in Scotland than they do in England. In the trade that is known as being subsidised!

Second what about the National Savings Bank in Glasgow, the East Kilbride tax office etc etc none of these could continue to handle accounts of people from the rest of the UK. The number of jobs to migrate out of Scotland would dwarf those Standard Life would migrate.

Finally if Scotland votes yes the remaining UK should insist that we pay no cost whatsoever for any action regarding devolution. We are not allowed a vote and if you vote yes. Scotland cannot go independent without long drawn out expensive negotiations. We should insist that as we had no say in this Scottish decision that Scotland must cover all our costs.

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Clive B

Feb 27, 2014 at 17:31


What do you mean by the term "currency union" if it doesn't involve the BoE being lender of last resort (and hence possibly having to arrange a bail out) to both countries banks ?

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Hamish Milne

Feb 27, 2014 at 17:34

Anonymous 1,

You need to stop believing the crap that Scotland is subsidised as it is 100% false.

Scotland's GDP without the oil is 99% of rUK, with the UK it is 118%, this is the reality now and oil production is at a record low resulting from a shocking tax raid, however on a brighter note with the current record levels of investment the industry (not the UK gov or book fiddlers) expect the production to rise from 1.3million barrels per day (current production) to 2million barrels per day by 2020.

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Hamish Milne

Feb 27, 2014 at 17:41

The currency union proposal was put together not by the Scottish Government or Alex Salmond (as your press would have you believe) but by an independent fiscal commission. In their report the logical proposal they put forward was almost exactly what Mark Carney said would be workable for the Bank of England (you should read what he actually said it is on the BoE website)

....the funniest bit of Mark Carney's visit to Scotland, was when a BBC (unionist) reporter tried to grab a headline and said "you said a currency union would be difficult can you expand on that" Mark Caney reply was "no I did not"

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Feb 27, 2014 at 18:01

Hamish, as an Englishman, but with some Scottish family, I just dont get why you cant see that the UK is just brilliant, and why you risk that for what may be a successful independent state, but then again, might not be.

The Olympics was a superb British event. The British armed forces are the finest in the world. I love the fact that 4 nations can come together, and I love it that we can still have, and celebrate, our differences.

Scotland has its own parliament, its own identity and history, and is seen from abroad AS a separate nation, but part of the most successful political union the world has ever seen. Scotland has also played a disproportionate role in that success. Engineers, scientists, economists, the arts, sport.

Be a massive shame if that was all tossed aside on the promises of a character like Salmond.

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Feb 27, 2014 at 18:04

A deeply socialist Scotland with no checks would rapidly run into the same problems that all such economies suffer. You can point to the Scandinavian economies as examples of successful socialist models but the facts don't bear that out. Sweden, Norway and Finland are rapidly undoing their high tax regime, only Denmark is hanging onto it.

And Scandinavians have nowhere else to go; there isn't another Sweden for the Swedes to emigrate to, no alternative Norway. But go ahead Scots would simply move to England as the Irish do.

So Scotland would blame England for its woes, we would be their whipping boy; everything that was wrong would be because England set the wrong interest rates, the wrong monetary policy, the wrong tax regime, and so on.

And at the end of the day, if anything went seriously wrong we would have to step up to the plate and bail them out.

This latest attempt to do something sensible about the clocks is a very good example of how Scotland can bully the rest of us over something relatively trivial but which should have been "fixed" years ago. Can you imagine how many similar things Scotland would demand its own way on were we to be in a currency union with them?

It would be madness. If they want to be separate then separate it is.

And to be honest I don't care if they do renege on their share of the national debt.

The unabiding hatred that would engender between the two countries would last forever and condemn Scotland to unrelenting, grinding, antipathy and resentment and "give them nothing" competition from the English.

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Clive B

Feb 27, 2014 at 18:14

@ Briesmith

Likewise, I think the Salmond threat to walk away from Scotland's share of the national debt is laughable. Debt is £1.3tn. Scottish population is (max) 10% of the UK, so their share - if done by population - would be £130bn. Barely more than one years UK borrowing. Easy enough for rUK to cope with.

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Feb 27, 2014 at 18:25

It will cost them £80Bn to buy out RBS and £42Bn to settle with the UK for Lloyds which is why not only will these companies want to move south, a separate Scotland will want them to as well, along with all the other massive financial institutions an economy of £140Bn cannot sustain.

I envisage a Scotland where an autocratic socialist government like in Cuba organises all its people into one huge long line where the first person fills an oil can before handing it to the next person in line who empties it and passes it to the next who fills it, and so on.

The only relief will be on Sundays when the Wee Frees will make everybody knit Fairisle sweaters, in silence. But at least they will all have a job.

A joyous country indeed.

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Hamish Milne

Feb 27, 2014 at 18:44

Roydo, we have our own government who have free reign of 7% of the tax raised. We are effectively run by governments the vast majority of Scotland don't want/don't trust. We don't want our taxes being diverted to London while we have 1 in 4 kids born into poverty. We don't want to pretend we are a world super power and don't feel the need to get involved in wars, sending innocent citizens to their death.

Briesmith, I didn't realise changing the clocks was such a contentious issue down there, reading your papers I thought it was benefit cheats and Bulgarians....or is that just a cover for the real issues

I don't think there needs to be any falling out, we both rely on each other for billions worth of trade, as part of a currency zone and the EU single market this will continue. You will probably have less economic migrants from Scotland as we will be able to grow our economy and have a chance of moving away from the current low pay/ serviced based economy the UK has opted for. You'll all be more than welcome to contribute to our more equal society!

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Hamish Milne

Feb 27, 2014 at 18:55

Clearly not much research gone into Scotland's fiscal strength or the UKs fiscal weakness! Your favoured chancellor has predicted he'll grow the UK debt to £1.8 trillion by 2018, having added £1.1trillion to the debt he inherited....personally without a huge change to the UK economy I think they will struggle to reverse this....fracking might save the day but could bring its own problems!

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Feb 27, 2014 at 18:56

Hamish, you could say that about Liverpool, the Northeast, Cornwall, NI, and Wales. Well, not quite, but you get the point.

It is not perfect, thats for sure, the West Lothian question being a case in point down here. But all what you say can be negotiated, without the need to lose a superb part of the UK. IMO.

We will never agree, as you seem pretty fixed in your views. And that is fine with me. If we had been together for 50 years, then yes, I could understand your willingness to throw away what we have . But 400 years?

Still, we will find out in a few months time. Hope you stay, thats all, because you are boss. (Probably shows my own roots that phrase!)

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Hamish Milne

Feb 27, 2014 at 19:01

This article gives the Barclays bail out figure, it is very interesting read

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Redundant (Old Timer?)

Feb 27, 2014 at 19:03

Interesting comments. Two minor ones from me:

When Czechoslovakia split in two, they had roughly similiar sized populations around 5 million each (not much smaller than Scotlands) so the debt etc was split roughly 50:50. However before the split all the industry that could move west out of Slovakia did so. This was mainly the light maufacturing type which was seeking to trade in the west, leaving the heavy industry employing many, like steel behind. It took the now predominantly agricultural Slovakia about 10 years to recover from this!!

On an historical note, the Act of Union, uniting Scotland with England came about in the reign of Queen Anne (the last of the Stuarts). Why did it come about? For economic reasons, those north of the border were in debt to those south of it and union staved off bankrupcy! It does make me wonder if the the rest of the UK will at some point in the future have to bail out an independant Scotland by a new Act of Union?

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Hamish Milne

Feb 27, 2014 at 19:13

Roydo, I've given the subject 2 years worth of research and convinced myself around 7 months ago. I believe it will lead to a huge political change in the rUK after we prove what can be done by fixing the economic problems.

The south east have sucked the life out of the rUK for many years, eg. take the North Sea oil industry. It supports 400,000 jobs in the UK, approx 55% of these are located south of the border. I am under no illusion if the oil fields were off the English Coast we wouldn't have seen any of the jobs. Aberdeen is the oil capital of Europe and most the oil company HQs are in London, why?

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Feb 27, 2014 at 19:25

No idea Hamish. But if the oil fields were off the coast of West Wales would you be so annoyed? Bearing in mind that Scotland would benefit from it.

You showed your annoyance in mentioning England and the SE. Take that emotion out, and look at what you are throwing away.

We have been the UK for 400 years. It is not Scottish oil, it is UK oil, that happens to be nearer Aberdeen than Port Talbot.

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Hamish Milne

Feb 27, 2014 at 19:25

Redundant, double check the union of parliaments history. What you say is not correct. The English navy left their union of crown partners to the hands of the Spanish. They throttled trade to Europe by blocking Scottish ports blocked trade. The English gov banned Scottish imports. A group of formerly wealthy scots who had lost a heap on the Darien project were bribed to sign the treaty, they were promised money they never got but did get privileged positions and land. The 95% of Scots that opposed were gifted with a share of the £1.5 million debt. Incidentally Scotland's debt at the time was £18,000.

Sounds more like a hostile takeover to me. Just wanted to correct the incorrect historical account!

This has nothing to do with my yes vote.... It is purely down to building a better future for my family and future generations.

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Hamish Milne

Feb 27, 2014 at 19:30


Under the current Westminster system nothing will change, doesn't matter how Scotland vote, or the rUK for that matter. The UK establishment will always get it's way and we refuse to be a part of that! We'll keep 90% of the NS oil and gas, rUK can keep the cracked gas that George Osbornes's father in law has brought to the forefront and George has rushed through!

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abbass hassan

Feb 27, 2014 at 19:38

It will need to be supported by other countries??

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Feb 27, 2014 at 19:42

Hamish, we will never agree! I wish you well, either way the vote goes. Which I hope, for the sake of the UK, will be a no. But it has been a nice debate with a well informed man. (Apologies if you are of the fairer sex mate!)

And I adore your country btw. I would move to the borders or Edinburgh in a flash. But the football needs a kick, so to speak.

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Hamish Milne

Feb 27, 2014 at 19:50

We will have full support of the 28 EU countries, even Spain has said if it was constitutionally agreed and democratically voted for they would have no problem! EU have never kicked a member out and are fighting to get some less desirables in! The UK governments have done their best to get foreign partners to discredit Independence... Scotland being outside the EU wouldn't be good for trade between the two parts of Britain either!

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Hamish Milne

Feb 27, 2014 at 19:53

Roydo, You never know maybe with a less English based media and some real investment / TV money we might even get a half decent football league!

All the best!

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sean via mobile

Feb 27, 2014 at 19:55

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Feb 27, 2014 at 19:59

What, the Scottish media is biased!! The Daily Hun I recall being a phrase used by Raith and Hibs supporting mates of mine!

Vive le difference mate. And Duncan Ferguson is a hero to me. Walter Smith less so!

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Andy W

Feb 27, 2014 at 20:42

How many people do we really think are capable of making a sound, reasoned decision Yes or No ?

And how many will vote Yes because they hate the English/that toff Cameron, how many No because they're frightened of change/hate that fat smug git Salmond ?

I'm frightened of referenda - equally of the one Cameron promises as to whether to leave the EU : most people are too thick to understand the issues...

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William Cochrane

Feb 27, 2014 at 21:03

Gavin Lumsden in his article suggests that PM Cameron made a strategic mistake by not agreeing to Alex Salmond’s demand for a Scottish Devo-Max option on the 18 September referendum ballot paper. Not so - agreeing such an option would have been dangerous and wrong.

Dangerous because such an option could have split the Unionist vote and allowed the SNP a majority. Wrong because the SNP’s raison d'être is Independence and it is the strength of that which must be tested, uncomplicated by a spurious alternative on which no political party can agree.

Granting the SNP this 3rd option would have given them the tactical advantage starting a bidding war, during the campaign, by ratcheting-up their demands for ever more improvements to a Devo-Max package.

This was a master-stroke by Mr Cameron as demonstrated by Alex Salmond saying that the Devo-Max option that most voters in Scotland would vote for is not on the ballot paper. This seems to indicate he knows that he cannot win the referendum vote.

In fact, the desire to leave the United Kingdom has always been, and remains, a minority obsession among Scottish voters. Salmond is not riding a popular wave but trying to blow up a storm. In the mastery of that he has few equals in UK politics.

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Hamish Milne

Feb 27, 2014 at 21:23


Right now not enough but Fortunately there are lots of public meetings informing everyone bright enough to want to learn what they are voting for. Believe it or not there is support for Independence from voters of all political parties, Salmond and his party are just the people bringing the opportunity.

David Cameron will be as pissed off as many of the people who voted for him, because he has broken virtually every manifesto pledge, it is a bad sign when your government don't have the power to do what they pledge. This is where Salmond and co. have gained credibility, keeping manifesto pledges, council tax freeze maintaining free education a publicly operated NHS a balance budget. Our infrastructure is still crap but when independent will be sorted eventually.

While the Tory owned press shape public opinion making the general public think the EU is bad for the UK. I really can't understand why those who know the truth would risk holding an in out referendum, why break every other pledge and honor that one? I think DCs plan to bring china and the US into the EU single market will be even more damaging to the already depleted UK manufacturers, this will also be a revenue loss from doing away with the import duty....obviously trying to do this in exchange for bail outs/inward investments from their economies, however this idea is so short sighted it defies logic!

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Hamish Milne

Feb 27, 2014 at 21:53


There is no doubt those who have researched the economic / social/ democratic case or have sifted through the unionist scaremongering have changed from No to Yes. There have been many public debates between pro yes and pro no politicians / campaigners, polls before have shown a split in vote similar to the press polls with approx 30% yes, 45% No with the balance undecided. After the debates other polls are done the swings are enormous, with many changing from no and undecided to YES, with the no vote as low as 20% in some cases!

Devo max would have been the preference for many but without that option DC has forced full independence....this is no longer a minority obsession, although 2 years ago it wasn't seriously considered because we all believed it didn't stack up financially as we've been misinformed that we've always been subsidised by English tax payers, regrettably this myth is still believed by many across the UK, including some unionist politicians,TV broadcasters and personalities who unfortunately help shape public opinion.....but we have since found out Scotland's economy has outperformed the rUK since the GERS records began 32 years ago. It is taking time for the truth to come out but it was even admitted in an FT article a couple of weeks ago!

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tony m

Feb 27, 2014 at 22:16

To quote Kevin Keegan a lot of English 'would love it' if Scotland voted for independence and woke up with salmons running the country and found Osborne and the eu president were not bluffing about no currency union and no eu

Be carefully what you wish for

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William Cochrane

Feb 27, 2014 at 22:57

When it comes to scaremongering Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon are in a class of their own. Dire warning of the consequences of voting No pepper their speeches. The Westminster baddies will have us poor Scots on the ropes having blown our chance of escaping the evil yoke of Toryism or the pseudo North London socialist.

The only poll that matters is that on 18 September and the Noes will win by a mile despite all the guff about the gap closing. What is closing fast is the SNP's honeymoon period during which people believed their stories but slowly but surely it dawns that these are mostly fairy stories; especially the one called Independent Nation.

There are no independent nations - all are inter-dependent. Our PM did not force independence but he did shut down crafty Alex Salmond's attempt to slip in the Dev-Max option. Did Mr Salmond care that he was thus watering down what he had promised his troops: Not a bit. Mr Salmond would have been delighted to get Devo-Max which he's still trying to engineer via a Sterling Zone, etc

The last deal that Mr Salmond wants is absolute independence for Scotland.

It's amazing how people that dream of making Scotland a fairer society with smaller income gaps try to justify leaving the UK because we now know that Scotland is a wealthy country. So bye-bye UK you won't get any more of our largesse. There are rich and poor and all variations throughout the UK and there is as great inequality in Edinburgh as there is in London.

The fact is that we live in a special United Kingdom with advantages and possibilities that other people can only dream about but Salmond & Sturgeon army of discontents are determined to break it up. A 300yr success story that stopped two nations fighting each other and the internecine internal factional. tribal and clan wars that had blighted both nations.

By you logic London having performed well over the past 25yrs should now vote to become a city state and leave UK. However they know that some poorer times as they had in the late 60s and 70s can come again. We need each other in this UK and we are going to keep it together.

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Hamish Milne

Feb 28, 2014 at 01:20

London/Westminster already governs itself with little regard for the rest of the UK, that is the problem and will always be the problem. The rest of the UK have contented themselves with that and couldn't care less, people in Scotland are again slowly engaging with politics because it is starting to feel less futile than voting for the same old outcome!

You could argue the US is a more successful union and almost as old as the UK, I wouldn't choose to live there either. You are right "there are advantages and possibilities that some can only dream about" this inequality throughout the UK is a direct result of decades of poor economic policy decimating industries the length and breadth of the country leaving mass unemployment leading to the drink, drug, poverty and broken family problems that are so common now..... and without a dramatic change (which is not even being offered from a no vote) there is guaranteed to be more and more generations without any prospects of a decent job while the UK government promote/encourage the low pay (government/tax payer subsidised) service economy.

Outside of Scotland the rUK relies on London too much because that is where the money and investment goes and it(London) is too reliant on the financial markets and the external ratings agencies. So when there is financial turmoil or uncertainty in the markets the UK is too exposed, hence the rapid runaway debt growth from£700billion to £1.3trillion in 4 years.

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Feb 28, 2014 at 07:53

Hamish, you’ve done a great job of making the case for independence; which I and many people outside London fully support.

After the Yes vote there will be a period of negotiation with the London government of May 2015. Fortunately we can be certain that Cameron, Osborne and Clegg won’t be in that government. If the May 2014 elections go badly for the coalition, Cameron will be gone by Christmas and Clegg by June.

The starting point for the economic case is that everyone (even Alistair Darling) agrees that Scotland is a viable independent state. At one extreme Scotland can function like Norway with its own currency and outside the EU. But it would be mutually beneficial for Scotland and England, especially Northern England, to have a closer relationship. If needs be, a Scottish pound can shadow the London pound (as did Ireland or as does Hong Kong and the US dollar). The international banking ‘guarantee’ issue is being tackled at a global level (ref. recent Mark Carney comments). As regards government debt; Scotland has already paid its share in the £360bn that HM Treasury has taken in North Sea revenues over the past 40 years. Deranged military adventures like the Iraq invasion and what followed are London’s debt, not Scotland’s debt. Expensive, prestige projects like the London Olympics and London infrastructure are London’s debt, not Scotland’s. But this is a matter of negotiation with the May 2015 government.

What people miss is the upside potential. Just look at the sheer size of the area covered by Scotland’s maritime boundary - it’s much bigger than Norway’s. As a retired geophysicist I’m confident in saying the potential that remains is absolutely enormous. It’s not so much the chance of giant fields but the investment and jobs that development will bring.

There will be resources investment from China, heavy engineering investment from India, precision engineering investment from Germany, technology investment from the US, banking investment from Japan, port and airport investment from the Middle East, higher-education campus and research investment from Asia and medical research investment from Europe. There will be business links with North America and northern Europe. It’s a problem of managing success. Besides that, where one company decides to locate its head office is irrelevant.

If, heaven forbid, there’s a rightwing government in London after May 2015 or a Labour Blairite government that has abandoned the welfare state then Scotland can walk away and watch as calls for regional independence from London (especially for a Parliament of the North) grow louder. If regional voices are heard in 2015 then Scotland and the North can benefit together.

Either way, the loser here is London. People inside the London bubble just don’t get it that there’s a problem and the London ‘system’ is the problem. It’s not just the economic issue; there’s a social/cultural/political issue. The London establishment believes everyone shares their values and wants to be like them. No, we don’t.

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tony m

Feb 28, 2014 at 09:45

sandid3 and hamish as an Englishman my friends and i sincerely hope you vote for independance beause we've had more than enough of the anti english retoric and look forward to you surviving without a currency union or the pound and fat alex in charge

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Feb 28, 2014 at 10:01

With respect to some of the earlier comments on this series, Alex Salmond did ask for a third option on the referendum ballot, which was along the lines of Devo Max; but this request was rejected by our Coalition Government.

What is disappointing to someone who lives in Scotland is the lack of respect shown by both sides of the debate, and also the lack of consensus, which should exist on many (but not all) of the issues. A divided nation, whatever the outcome of the two-choice referendum in September, will be the poorer for this.

I look across at Switzerland, which has enjoyed coalition governments since 1959, with four parties sharing in government and regular referenda for the people on issues greater and smaller.

We do not do consensus well in these islands, it seems to me.

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Feb 28, 2014 at 10:18


Through all your twists and turns light eventually emerges.

You don't like democracy; that's the sum total of your views. You want to break Scotland away so that it can be a perpetual workers' paradise, a socialist haven untroubled by the vicissitudes of the ballot box, a totalitarian utopia where any prospect of a change in power is eliminated.

You simply want a one party state.

Your hatred of even the thought of a Tory government is so strong that it blinds you to any other consideration. You are certainly not at all worried about the economic prospects of your fellow Scots. You are a Stalin collectivising the Kulaks "for their own good".

I wonder if the majority of that currently minority of Scots who want separation realise that what waits for them following a post-referendum "Yes" is Chavestan?

God help the poor Scots.

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Feb 28, 2014 at 10:42

tony m: "we've had more than enough of the anti english retoric".

Tony, you must be inside the London bubble. Scotland is very much on the side of England.

What Scotland and the regions are against is the corrupt London Westminster system, the corrupt London financial system, the corrupt London legal system (that supports tax evasion and money laundering), the corrupt London military and security system, the corrupt London media, the corrupt London BBC management... do you get the idea?

If the regions could vote to expel London from the UK it would pass with a landslide.

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Hamish Milne

Feb 28, 2014 at 10:53

Sandid3, Do you post on iii as a different name that sounds similar?

You are spot on in everything you have said except for possibly the colour of the future UK gov. Cameron and Osborne (who incidentally was the third choice for the shadow chancellors position) have bluffed their way to the current positions, their tax payer funded acting lessons will have helped with their public persona and despite reneging on virtually every commitment bar the in/out referendum (which their is time for yet), they are continuing to successfully bluff the general masses that they are doing a good job with the economy, listen to any speech they are full of empty rhetoric, just words for words sake but all that is really happening outside the new housing boom in the south is the banks are getting a little cockier. It was mentioned above perhaps the real reason Standard Life went for the headline grab yesterday was more to do with their year on year profit being down 13% and possibly looking for a neutral reaction from the financial markets, which has partially worked with a bit of a recovery later on yesterday.

People all over the UK, even those considering voting no in Scotland have been told and still believe that Scotland's economy is weaker than the rUKs, despite there being conclusive evidence over the last 32 years to the contrary.

Those of you reading this and thinking the same should do some research (I can include some links if interested in the truth) and ask yourselves why have successive UK governments lied to you about this? We clearly have different political views from the rUK and have too little a say or influence in Westminster with 3% MPs for 8.5% of the population, that aside even if this imbalance was addressed our views would still be lost which is why having a Scottish government fully responsible for revenue, expenditure and policy is really the only way to go...we don't need barriers all that is really being proposed is rolling back the union of parliaments which allows Scotland to be run more democratically with policy shaped to our different political views.

Tony M,

You and the mass media are the only ones speaking about anti-English (anti-Westminster establishment yes, not anti-English), I was born in England myself and have both customers and supplier in the rUK and do not envisage this changing, just like my relationships with customers and suppliers in the EU, this is not at stake, we'll still be part of a single market and with some common sense ensuring a roll out of the independent Fiscal Commissions proposals we will still be part of a currency union.... this is about having a democratic say in how Scotland is run because right now our vote means nothing in Westminster elections....and judging by general election turnouts the rUK seem to share this opinion! Westminster is not working for Scotland or the rest of the UK and we now have a chance to democratically do something about it!


I don't blame you because if can't read about it and only see biased TV reports what else will you base opinion on.....but you have a complete lack of understanding of the whole debate and who makes up the YES campaign (cross party support excluding the leader ship of the parties in opposition who toe the Westminster party line) along with any knowledge of the Scotland's fiscally stronger economy/position from day one of independence, standard and poor yesterday said Scotland would qualify for AAA rating. It is this knowledge I have that ensures I have nothing to fear economically of Independence (not sure the same can be said for the rUK unless the financial crisis resolves and somehow offers sustainable growth). Being a business owner with 20+ employees (not huge I appreciate but represents the back bone of economies across the world, not the focus to financial institutions or minimum wage paying multi-nationals given by Westminster). Scotland has an aspiration for both strong business and social policies and has demonstrated this from what little control we have of our economy. To coin a better together catch phrase we will have the "best of both worlds". Look at the business growth since Scotland voted for it's own parliament, Scotland GDP and population has grown at rates far behind the rest of the UK and similar EU economies over decades....this too was shaped by Westminster political decisions. We are not the socialist backwater you and the mass media persevere us to be.

Strong relationships will remain after Scotland votes for Parliamentary/Fiscal Independence, - this is probably a more accurate description than separation.

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Feb 28, 2014 at 11:16

Hi Hamish. I don't post on iii but I used to post on the Guardian as 'graphic' - but not for a while. It's interesting how the debate has moved on. Independence used to be the gorilla on the basketball court for the London media - but they've noticed now. I expect the dirty tricks will get a lot nastier before this is over.

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Andrew Diggens

Feb 28, 2014 at 11:25

sandid 3- Fine you want to break away from the horrible corruption endemic in the UK system, but lets look at how your new found friends listed in your earlier e-mail compare. Transparancy International publish an annual league table of corruption listing every country and how they compare. Out of 177, India is at 94th, China makes it in at 80, South Korea and Japan 46th and 18th respectively. How about the middle east, about the best is the UAE at 26, the USA comes in at 19. What about the hideously corrupt UK, well we come in at 14th!! making us one of the least corrupt in the world. But hey, lets not let the facts get in the way of a Scot with a chip on his shoulder.

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Hamish Milne

Feb 28, 2014 at 11:40


Sorry I missed your post yesterday! You said

"Hamish the UK government spends about £1800 per year on every man woman and child in Scotland than they do in England. In the trade that is known as being subsidised!" NO IT DOES NOT!

Three things are missing from this line of thought:

The first is how much does Scotland raise in revenue, if it raise more than this per head then it is not being subsidised.

The second is the huge deficit the UK has been running for the last 6 years....a country borrowing more money than another is certainly not subsidising the other, the rUK deficit per head of population was far in excess of Scotland's deficit, which is only in deficit because London overspent over the last 32 years...the Scottish Government have consistently run a balanced budget, this shows fiscal prudence.

The third is (which more or less tells the same story) Scotland raised 9.9% of the revenue for the UK with 8.4% of the population and only recieved 9.1% of the expenditure....when you put figures to these percentages it actually ended in deficit of £7.1billion of which £4billion was debt interest from the UK debt.

WHO IS SUBSIDISING WHO? 9.9% revenue with 8.4% of the population!!

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tony m

Feb 28, 2014 at 13:16

Chips on all 3 shoulders!

If you believe Salmond is anything other than an opportunistic chancer then you're welcome to him

England/ London is far from perfect but our leaders don't say, and I quote Salmond' Osborne will crawl on his belly to scotland to agree a currency union after the yes vote', very mature debate!

The simple fact is that Scotland is more than welcome to independance from the corrupt UK, but it is not in our interests to agree a currency union & support an independant scotlands financial institutions as we supported RBS (for whom Salmond worked as an economist & totally suuported Goodwin) and BOS

This is not negotiating or bullying, it is straight forward financial logic for the UK after scotland, hopefully depart, when we are entitled to look after our own interests

The damage has already been done with many of us no longer interested in scotland or visiting it again

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William Phillips

Feb 28, 2014 at 13:57

Standard Life is a great international company which puts shambolic English insurers such as Aviva and RSA to shame. It won't be cribb'd, cabin'd and confin'd by the Chief Haggis, who has about as much business sense and drive as Tony Benn and whose followers whine reflexively for redistribution and handouts, be they crofters or public sector payroll junkies.

Five years after Scotland went 'independent' in the EUSSR and bust, they'd be squealing for an English bailout-- on the grounds that 'reparations' were due to them for Culloden, nicking the oil, stealing the Stone of Scone etc etc. That would be after they were told by Brussels that half a dozen Eastern European accession states were ahead of them in the queue to milk the Rhineland and the Home Counties.

Not that it will come to that. This risible proposal will be shot down, and many who contribute to its defeat in the privacy of the voting booth will have been shooting their mouths off beforehand like Braveheart.

At the moment of truth they'll think 'Jings! What if I lost ma money by it?' The hard-headedness of the North Briton will reassert itself, and Salmond will collapse like a punctured balloon. Sweeping reform plans always lose traction as campaigns progress. It begins with 'Mmm, it might work' and ends with 'best not risk it'.

Come-uppance time looms for reactionary sentimentalists with an ugly grievance-mongering streak, leeching off the more successful and enterprising parts of the Kingdom while kicking their benefactors in the teeth. They are a subset of the Scotch. The good ones are working in London, the less good ones wallow in their socialistic puddle.

The majority on either side of the border act British. That is what counts, not what they tell opinion pollsters. Nationalists are a noisy minority. What we absolutely must not do is allow them to start nagging us all over again the day after they are beaten, playing brinkmanship like the Parti Quebecois in Canada. There must be zero tolerance: once you lose, you lose for ever. The subject is closed.

And after those Little Scotlanders have been routed, we can hope the tide will turn. We can begin to unpick the wasteful nonsense of devolution and begin to reintegrate Britain as one nation for the global race. The Holyrood white elephant will go the way of County Hall. Its glorified county councillors will have to find proper jobs. The natural movement of north and south towards fusion, begun in the early 1700s, cemented by the Act of Union and now reinforced by English migration to revitalise Scotland, will resume.

We must see the nationalist agitation in the Celtic outliers as an understandable but misdirected reaction against the corruption, careerism and failures of the ruling class in Westminster. But we must not be distracted by looking backward. Ireland shows how smaller states can be even more rotten than a federal polity.

The time is long gone for pandering to Ruritanian daydreams. When we are up against India, China and Japan the homogenous One-British people must be lean, mean and stripped for action under one light-touch government-- and with no entangling alliances or commitments to foreigners either.

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Hamish Milne

Feb 28, 2014 at 14:16

David Cameron accusing Alex Salmond of living off "a perpetual episode of Braveheart" that is equally mature!

This, despite you and your mass media's narrow view, is not about Alex Salmond, it is about Scotland's future.

You say it is not in your interests to agree a currency union. The experts economists from the Fiscal Commission say it differently, backed by Mark Carney, these are credible people who are qualified to offer expert opinion unlike George Osborne who will say anything to save his skin, the depth of knowledge for this doesn't come with a history degree! They are also well aware that bank bail outs are paid by the governments of countries where the defaulted/currupt/dodgy loans occur, in terms of RBS 90% of this was outside of Scotland with the majority in London City and some in the US. In terms of Barclays £500+ billion was in the US which is why they received this amount from the fed. res. - It is important you understand this to avoid sounding foolish in public!

Losing Scotland's balance of payments will be very damaging to the rUKs economy, considering they are already in an eye watering deficit situation with little sign of narrowing! Therefore keeping Scotland's exports contributing to the balance of payments deficit (£30bn) as would occur with a currency union is logical and less damaging for the rUK.

The only logical thing you have said above is that you won't be visiting Scotland again, understanding considering your dislike for the country and it's democratic will....the sad thing is, if the damage has actually already been done, this has occurred by the English based media and unionist politicians who rather than having a grown up debate are trying to portray democratic Scotland as selfish subordinates, doing this only to promote a NO vote which is backfiring spectacularly up here....when a YES vote occurs the reality is England's economy will be detrimentally effected, they will fight tooth and nail for a currency union to ensure Scotland takes more than it's fair share of liabilities.

The reality for everyone in the rUK, unless you live in London and/or are lucky enough to have a well paying job, Westminster will never look after your interests. You really need to be in the London bubble or a fool not to recognise this - this is the reason we are having a referendum nothing to do with dislike of any race or nation which sadly your media/politicians are pretending it is! In no other country in the world is there such a wealth magnet as what London is to the UK.

David Cameron and George Osborne will go down in history as the most incompetent heads of UK Government and the blame for destroying the parliamentary union will be wrongly be their legacy!

Is there really strong support for a national holiday named after Maggie Thatcher? - These guys are bonkers!

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Feb 28, 2014 at 14:33

Republic of Eire GDP in US dollars 210Bn, Scotland's GDP (again in US$) 216Bn.

Have you ever been to the Republic? It's like time travel. You go back to a Britain of the 50s.

No NHS, no unemployment benefits, no free university education, couldn't afford to save their banks (the UK did it for them); when they voted the wrong way in an EU referendum they were simply told to go away and vote again.

No army, navy, airforce. Totally corrupt parliament. Pretty much bugger all except chronic emigration as its best and brightest leave every year.

Scotland would do well to have a look at our threadbare Celtic Tiger neighbour.

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Feb 28, 2014 at 14:44

On reflection, it's not just about socialism, it's to do with the gold at the end of the rainbow. Oil. And its revenues.

The Scots voting Yes believe Salmond when he says they will be the solution to all their problems and difficulties.

The problem for Salmond is that they can only be spent once.

He can spend the oil surplus on benefits (his most likely strategy; got to keep the voters happy).

He can spend it on infrastructure. Not when there's hungry mouths wide open and hands out looking for their reward for getting rid of the English yoke.

He can put it into a sovereign fund for a future raining day. (Not likely, no politician, especially one as shifty as this chancer, every worries about tomorrow.)

He'll piss it away on benefits to his electorate. And blame us when the economy goes tits up.

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Hamish Milne

Feb 28, 2014 at 15:04


Reality check "Nationalists are a noisy minority" The Nationalists were voted in as majority government in 2011.

David Cameron if given his wish would end all UK owned productive industry, with his brainchild to introduce China and USA to the EU/UK single market, fortunately the rest of the EU don't all operate with such a short sighted horizon (next election) and will understand that having the worlds biggest economies with free discounted trade in their own economies ain't sensible...."investment now sod the future" mentality has been the UKs downfall for decades now and what a downfall it has been! Possibly be some stiff upper lip from the establishment come 19th September 2014 and a new political rational to shape the future.

Scotland's economy was/is and will always be stronger than the rest of the UKs. Currently 8th in global terms where the UK is 16th. Despite being 8th and 16th as part of the UK we are the 4 most unequal in the developed world.


Not sure the relevence of the Republic of Ireland?? Our silly wee economy has out performed the rUK for each of the last 32 years (since GERS records began).

I've added a few to your list, this directly applies to the rUK just now

"No public NHS, diminishing social care/unemployment benefits, no free university education, when they vote the wrong way in an in/out EU referendum they will simply be told to go away and vote again. Retirement age higher than average life expectancy in some parts of the country, 1 in 4 children born in to poverty.

A severely cut army, navy, airforce, building aircraft carriers with no planes to put on it?? and frigates without crew to man them, the government and opposition prepared to give the Americans £100bn to replace a redundant nuclear deterrent. Totally corrupt parliament. State media control. this list could go on....

Given the vote why would want to carry on with the above? the common answer seems to be because it is a success? Doesn't look a success to me!

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Hamish Milne

Feb 28, 2014 at 15:15


Whoever the Scottish government are at the time, they could always do what Norway do, which is stashing the revenue to invest (good return), while they borrow money to invest, this makes sense when borrowing rates are so low!

Scotland's economy is almost identical in terms of GDP to rUK without the oil...the oil is a bonus and will probably be treated as such, we'll maybe even invest in a state oil company like Norway too!

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Feb 28, 2014 at 16:39

I for one will be sorry to lose the Scots. Perhaps we would mind less if they took some of their exports with them, David Cameron, Gordon Brown, the Ulstermen planted by James VI, and we think of life without Alex Douglas Home, Elizabeth Bowes Lyon, Arthur Balfour, Ramsey Macdonald and one or two others. We might have to get some Englishmen in charge now to replace them like Harold Wilson, John Major, Margaret Thatcher, whoops is that getting better or worse?

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Hamish Milne

Feb 28, 2014 at 16:48


We are not really going anywhere, we'll just be governed by different parliaments.

Not my favourite news paper TBF this story which might surprise some with wool in their eyes on here. An English town has held a referendum and voted in favour of becoming part of Scotland... so not everyone believes the media hype too wee, too poor and too stupid drivel!

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Graham Barlow

Feb 28, 2014 at 16:54

Lets all face it Scotland just wants all the money for themselves out of North Sea Oil. There is nothing else except Scotch Whisky. The whole Edinburgh Financial business is largely spread and dependant on the rest of the UK. Standard Life would have gone to the knackers yard in 2008 if Lloyds failed to take over HBOS. Standard Life had an 8% holding in this Bankrupt Bank. The skulduggery that surrounds this takeover has yet to be revealed to the done down shareholders in Lloyds.

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Graham Barlow

Feb 28, 2014 at 17:22

If Scotland becomes a seperate state on its own, and it is wonderfully successful as all these Hubris driven Scots claim ,perhaps we can redirect the endless stream of immigrants pouring into England ,especially over crowded London.Perhaps Edinburgh will become the great gilded metropolis or maybe even Glasgow. They could become the City of opportunity and unfulfilled dreams. The place to earn big bonuses and high incomes. Can you envisage it? I cant from my own personal experiences up there.

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Feb 28, 2014 at 17:24

I was taking you semi-seriously until I read these two remarks.

"do what Norway do, which is stashing the revenue to invest (good return), while they borrow money to invest, this makes sense when borrowing rates are so low!"

Mad; crazy housewifey economics. No country in the world saves money on its current account in an effort to build a sovereign fund while running a deficit on its capital account. If the returns on investment were so good then it would make sense to maximise investment there. Putting money elsewhere while borrowing at the same time is just crazy. Why pay interest to lenders when you could simply "borrow" from yourself?

"Scotland's economy is almost identical in terms of GDP to rUK without the oil...the oil is a bonus and will probably be treated as such, we'll maybe even invest in a state oil company like Norway too!"

As any economist - even Alec Salmond - will confirm economies have a mean productive capacity based on productivity, efficiency of investment and capital management, labour market efficiency and so on.

When North Sea oil was first discovered it didn't suddenly increase UK GDP by its net landed value, it simply displaced other activity leaving GDP roughly unchanged.

This is what will happen should Scotland achieve separation and get its hands on all the oil. Its GDP will remain at its current level or thereabouts but unemployment will rise (as the oil money drives out less productive capacity).

Scotland's public sector is roughly - depending on who you believe - about 23% of the workforce while the UK average is roughly 17%. That's where the hit will come.

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Hamish Milne

Feb 28, 2014 at 18:56

It won't take long to balance the deficit if it doesn't occur in the first few years this could be down to set up costs?? Norway is the strongest economy on earth so taking pointers from them would no doubt be sensible given that they have the same natural assets albeit a less diverse economy! They have a huge investment fund and also have a few hundred billion borrowings didn't seem too sensible to me either but it works because borrowing rates are so low and their ROI is so high!

It is more about affordability, Scotland public sector costs are 42.7% GDP, the UKs are higher at 45.5% GDP. Remembering too that every country that has become Independent has seen an instant and sustainable rise in GDP, so our public sector instantly becomes even more affordable! Some of our public sector costs are currently located/paid in the rUK, for the devolved spend which accounts for more than 50% of Scotland's expenditure, these jobs are already attributed to Scotland costs, these jobs being relocated here brings a further boost to the Scottish economy. The same will happen with defence jobs...the full defence budget will be spent here, this adds another £billion. Then of course there will be the reduction in costs as we will no longer contribute to rUK infrastructure improvements etc etc.

The thing thatcher has been criticised for globally is spending the oil revenue, she used this and selling off public services to fund some of her tax cuts she was applauded for and the credit she received for turning the economy, while also using the revenue to pay for the mass unemployment she created! The result of spending the assets and not saving/investing it brought the UK to its knees and it will be years before rUK can return a balance budget, by which time there will be a £2trillion debt, unless of course we are allowed a proportional share of assets and liabilities, in which case you can knock £130billion off that (which is about the same value as the proportional share of the assets- we should maybe just call it quits)

Not really sure why you think unemployment will rise in a growing economy??

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Graham Barlow

Feb 28, 2014 at 20:07

The only thing that might pay dividends to Scotland is to trade like Ireland with large economies that will stand and allow major corporate Tax concessions whilst making profits untaxed next door. Willie Walsh is the prime example at British Airways . He would vote for the Devil himself in exchang for a cut in Airport passenger duties being abolished as hinted by Salmond. This is turning into I vote for Mr Most referendum

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William Phillips

Feb 28, 2014 at 22:11

"Reality check "Nationalists are a noisy minority" The Nationalists were voted in as majority government in 2011."

And the PQ has been in and out of power in Quebec for 50 years. Gesture politics. Most people are not Tories or socialists either. They swing against the incumbent ruffians towards the outsiders, then back again. Labels, ideologies, causes mean little to them. There is no independent Quebec after all these years, despite a more genuinely different culture than North Britain's, because deep down the Canadiens don't want it. Likewise the 'true Scotsman' knows which side his bannock is buttered on, for all the bagpipe windbaggery about going it alone.

Many vote SNP because they think they are more effective at extracting douceurs from the English, that's all. There was deserved nemesis for the complacent and semi-criminal Scots Labour establishment of Strathclyde which Salmond played shrewdly. He is the big bullfrog in a small pond. All the more talented politicians go south like filings towards a magnet.

I agree with your diagnosis of the BRITISH sickness, but the idea that it could be reversed by a new wave of entrepreneurial Scottishness is, as they say, Not Proven. The one industry they had going for them apart from whisky was banking and fund management, and look how full of self-harming corruption that became, and so quickly, when the Haggis was still singing its praises. The SNP is drowning in delusion.

The mentality of mis-sellers and reckless lenders in Scotch finance was akin to that of the Celtic Tiger brigade in the RoI. If a semblance of self-government (which is all it would ever be, also like Ireland's) was to be granted to the Caledonian equivalent of cute hoors and gombeens, the outcome would be the same.

Incidentally, for all the lip service paid to Scotland as one separate nation, it is arguably not a real one when tested. Time and again the Lowlanders sided with the English against their Highland brethren. The ruined post-industrial central belt has little in common with the North (of Donald Trump;-)). Glasgow and Edinburgh eye each other with suspicion. The Shetlands are semi-detached.

An autonomous Scotland would be tailless cats fighting in a very small sack, but these perennial tensions will help ensure it never happens.

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Hamish Milne

Mar 01, 2014 at 09:29

The SNP have the establishment on the ropes on a number of issues despite what your media and politicians tell you....we have leaders from EU criticising the tactics being deployed, not that you'll be able to read about it south of the border and it will most will likely been missed by most north of the border too, this article echos what I said above by broad support for continued membership to the EU for Scotland. It won't be long before those in the know are given air time on why a currency would be in the best interests of the rUK. Scotland are in a strong position and to be honest their position would be strengthened (rUKs weaker) after a YES vote without the GBP. However shielded from the reality of the situation on the ground by the loyal unionist media, people south of Berwick will never get a whiff of this!

I couldn't link the article below which was written by Stephen Goodwin for the telegraph in '97 around the referendum for Scottish parliament which maybe confirms the calls of dirty tricks and scaremongering that at being levelled at the NO campaign now, the accusers then are now up to their necks in scaremongering now because the Westminster livelihoods and Lordships depend on it....

Ian Lang, President of the Board of Trade, was accused of "juvenile scaremongering" yesterday after he contradicted the boss of Scotland's second largest insurance company on the firm's attitude to devolution.

The Conservatives are rattled by an apparent change of heart by both Scottish Widows and Standard Life, from coded warnings of job losses north of the border at the time of the 1992 election to one of business as usual under home rule.

Mike Ross, the chief executive of Scottish Widows which manages funds worth pounds 24bn, has at least twice this year expressed a relaxed attitude to a Scottish parliament.

In March he said in a radio broadcast: "I don't see any particular threats in the winds, for example, from devolution." And on Wednesday the Scotsman newspaper reported Mr Ross as being "happy" with what he knew of Labour's proposals.

But Mr Lang insisted Scottish Widows were "against" devolution. A senior executive at the insurance company, who he repeatedly refused to identify, had told him the company "did not feel comfortable with the proposition".

"I have spoken to a senior executive at the Scottish Widows Fund and it is quite clear that the fund is extremely unhappy about the prospect of constitutional change and the other proposals of the Labour Party," Mr Lang said.

In a deftly-worded response, Mr Ross reiterated Scottish Widows' neutral stance. The company's overriding concern was to protect the interests of policy holders and it was "vital" that under any constitutional arrangements there should be fiscal and regulatory cohesion across the UK for insurance, he said.

In common with any other business, Scottish Widows preferred to have as few changes to contend with as possible, but, Mr Ross concluded: "On the issue of devolution, we neither back it nor oppose it."

In 1992 Standard Life, Scotland's largest insurance company managing funds of totalling some pounds 50bn, and Scottish Widows were accused of trying to influence employees' after indicating that some operations might be moved to England if there was home rule.

George Robertson, the shadow Scottish secretary, said Mr Lang should "put up or shut up. If he cannot name his sources he should not indulge in this rather juvenile scaremongering".

It was clear that the more companies learnt about Labour's devolution proposals the more comfortable they were with them, Mr Robertson said. "If one compares what Standard Life and Scottish Widows were saying at the last election on the record to what they are saying now, it is nothing less than a sea change in opinion."

Widening the charge to industry in general, Mr Lang said Labour's policies would destroy Scotland's reputation as an investment centre. In 1995-96 Scotland had attracted a record pounds 1bn worth of investment and over 1,000 jobs a month had been created or safeguarded. "Within weeks" of a Labour victory, this flow would dry up, he said. But when pressed to name a single company that had told him it would leave Scotland or not invest if Labour devolved power to Edinburgh, he was unable or unwilling to do so."

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Mar 01, 2014 at 10:03

It’s extraordinary to witness the cognitive dissonance of those people (all without a vote on the subject) opposed to Scotland’s independence.

On the one hand all the economists, central bankers and academics that have studied this say that an independent Scotland is perfectly viable and yet those against insist on just asserting it won’t work.

Again, on the one hand those people against independence make all these ad hominem attacks on anyone supporting independence and yet the tagline for the No campaign is ‘Better Together’. As if.

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tony m

Mar 01, 2014 at 11:28

Reealy hope you get independance

A proud englishman

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Mar 01, 2014 at 11:42

Well said.

A proud Northerner, living in Australia.

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William Phillips

Mar 01, 2014 at 13:36

"On the one hand all the economists, central bankers and academics that have studied this say that an independent Scotland is perfectly viable and yet those against insist on just asserting it won’t work."

Quoth a nationalist drumbanger who happens to live 12,000 miles away Down Under, safe from the consequences of the Haggis's folie de grandeur.

On the other hand most folk who have made a success of life in the real world of global cuttthroat competition say the SNP's unravelling scheme is a crock.

Besides, have ALL the economists and central bankers agreed that 'independence' is a goer? (Five-minute time out for laughing at Salmond's ever-shrivelling redefinition of independence). Or just the ones you want to hear?

Oh, let me guess. You wrote of those 'who have studied this'. So all those who say No are 'Nae True Central Banker, Economist', whatever.

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Hamish Milne

Mar 01, 2014 at 14:18

Show me any credible aponent who isn't on the Westminster payroll or believe they stand to be worse off as a result of Scotland becoming Independent! This obviously rules out the OBR and the IFS, Westminster politicians, peers in the Lords, the BBC, all journalists working for billionaire owners who are Tory party Donners which accounts for all bar one of the papers available in Scotland (and possibly the rUK), CEOs of businesses who currently benefit for the UKs slack tax rules, currently leaving loop holes open to avoidance, probably not last on the list is any Spanish or politicians from any country within the EU who might be in opposition to any up and coming Independence referendums in their own countries. This is quite an exhaustive list and maybe helps explain the forces at work against the biggest and most significant democratic change that the UK will ever witness.....without trying to overstate it : )

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Hamish Milne

Mar 01, 2014 at 15:06

This makes interesting impartial reading too for all of you doubters, look at standard and poor's table of GDP and debt ratios now it doesn't take an analytical genius to extract the economic proof that even with a share of the UK debt Scotland will be in a fiscally stronger position than rUK. You'll probably ignore or somehow write this off as Nationalist (or more likely some derogatory term) lies. The truth will get out, then all that will be left for Better Together will be slander and the continued media character assassinations that you have all embraced, by which time the unionist politicians will have been exposed as liars and the yes vote will be an absolute landslide and we will hopefully be allowed to get on with business with our rUK and international partners. The big question is after having exposed the unionist politicians as liars will the rUK continue to elect them?

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Hamish Milne

Mar 01, 2014 at 16:15

Is it any wonder the UK is in the crap it is in when those at the top of the tree are unlikely to do anything to address inequality, I'm not talking about increasing tax rates, just ensuring that everyone pays their share. Like the next man, I don't like VAT returns, monthly PAYE, corp TAX or CGT but it is not right that those that can most afford it pay the least!

Under the current guise the UK government will never attempt to collect the estimated £130billion amount avoided through legal loopholes.... how much is the deficit again???

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Hamish Milne

Mar 01, 2014 at 16:45

Some more reading which more or less confirms everything I've been telling you all over the last few days, the YES campaign are on firm ground, Osborne's credibility (if he ever had any) has just got a whole heap smaller!

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Mar 01, 2014 at 17:29

Hamish, are you simply mad or just trolling to kill time?

The article you reference was written by an American law professor from the vantage point of Chicago.

An American criminal law professor whose specialty is human rights. He is not a constitutional expert, he's not even an international lawyer.

He's a publicity seeking lawyer on the make trying to drum up some notoriety to assist, one can only suppose, his career and his earnings. Or perhaps he is simply an attention seeker? Who knows.

For God's sake, is this the quality of the wisdom and advice the Scots can expect to have to rely on?

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Hamish Milne

Mar 01, 2014 at 20:03

Yeh you got me!!!

I am just trying to educate those of you who have been deprived of facts and after reading a few articles today I thought these fitted nicely with what I've been telling you the last few days. Despite me now providing further evidence just to prove I am not making stuff up, like you said the other day, when the facts didn't fit with your own incorrect knowledge, you now make this nonsensical claim! You'll need to fill in the blanks for me cause I am a clearly does a human rights lawyer living in Chicago (from what you tell me) benefit from "making stuff up" about successor states and at the same time making the chancellor of the UK look like an idiot. How would that help his career????

I don't think he writing it for the benefit of Scots, more likely trying to inform the debate in the rUK, who believed all the BS they've been told by the politicians and mass media!....Who are successfully creating an anti-Scottish sentiment!

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Mar 02, 2014 at 04:09

Let’s be clear, when Scotland votes Yes there will be losers.

Most Scots and many people outside London will be big winners and Hamish is doing a good job of explaining why. It’s important for people just reading this thread to understand these arguments.

But for people posting against; these people have probably realised they will be worse off and they’re not going to ‘take one for the team’.

On the emotional side there are those whose identity and self-esteem are at stake. I worked in Turkey for a while in the 1970s and there were people there with the ‘proud’ attitude: we used to have an empire once, you know. If Scotland leaves, Brits like that fear Putin was right when he described them as “a small island no one listens to”.

On the economic side, this is a real challenge to London. Londoners can forget HS2 sucking in talent and work from the north. They can forget Heathrow being a hub, taking a toll from all other travel in the UK. They can forget Boris’s plan to grow London to 10 million people with ever-rising house prices.

The London media know this and know they will be losers too, so they are actively against independence. But I don’t think most people realise just how their opinion is manipulated.

In all press articles, the headline and standfirst (bit below the headline) are written by a sub-editor, not the person writing the article. In this case, Gavin Lumsden didn’t write ‘Stranded Life’ shows Scottish referendum is flawed; an editor did. Now it’s generally just a bit of marketing to write a sensational headline to pull in the punters (as I’m sure it is here). But for a rightwing newspaper with a rightwing editor it’s a simple matter to make it clear to sub-editors they have to write rightwing-biased headlines. Readers are heavily preconditioned by the headline and standfirst, even though the article itself may list several caveats. The article above has caveats, but did you notice? This is how people are brainwashed on a daily, drip-drip basis.

But if you’re reading this, you’re already slightly ahead of the crowd, so well done.

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Mar 02, 2014 at 07:47

From the Observer today (Scotland covered at the end of the article):-

Cities chief Jim O'Neill's tip for a prosperous Britain: devolve to the north

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Mar 02, 2014 at 08:38


suggest the issues of oil ownership may not be as settled as we may think.

for more (s)oil analysis.

yours aye, George

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Hamish Milne

Mar 02, 2014 at 09:33

Good article, however this problem was being pointed out by people and politicians up and down the UK 30/40 years ago, Is an ex banker going to take the credit for making this obvious observation and putting it in the public domain??

The route cause of all uncertainty lies with the the British government refusing to negotiate in good faith as any administration should when faced with a non-violent, constitutional democratic movement for change, sadly they will not answer question on this while they believe they have a chance in scaring Scotland in to voting NO. These tactics failed to work in the 1979 referendum when a majority voted yes (54%) but the criteria had been changed by the Labour shortly before which meant that 60% of those who were bothered enough to vote (70% of the electorate which is huge in voting terms, far more than we see in general elections) would be required for the majority required....prior to the vote the polls were flat at 20% support for yes.....what the yes campaign now have onside is the internet, which allows the free sharing of information, this will help facilitate constitutional change. What I am saying now will hopefully be common knowledge in 6 months time, the polling stations will be packed and the result will hopefully be a landslide victory for YES, making it democratically conclusive paving the way for open negociations.

If journalist were not being biased in all they write, they would delve a little deeper and look at reasons why a certain person or board might make pointless announcements, as was the case with Standard Life, the board of directors is made of the London establishment.....It is difficult for Tories openly to campaign against Scottish Independence as everyone in Scotland hates them, so they do it with their corporate hats on. This is most of the board of Standard Life:

Keith Skeoch, Executive Director, right wing political lobbyist.

Crawford Gillies, Non Executive Director, Chairman of Control Risk Group, of London, the “security consultancy” of choice heavily peopled by ex MI5 and MI6 officers

Garry Grimstone, Chairman, “lead non-executive” at the Ministry of Defence, London

Noel Harwerth, non-executive Director, Director of “London First” – [Honestly, I am not making this up]

David Nish – Chief Executive, Member of the “UK Strategy Committee” of “TheCity UK”. “TheCity UK” being a body of the City of London.

John Paynter, non-executive Director, was vice chairman of JP Morgan Cazenove until the 2008 crash

Amazing that lot oppose independence, huh?

As mentioned above Standard Life also threatened to leave at the time of the devolution referendum and gave out no campaign materials to staff. “Leave” of course is a relative concept – the above bunch just pop up from London from time to time to check on how the serfs are doing.

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Hamish Milne

Mar 02, 2014 at 09:46


The maritime border move in 1999 was a joke and defies maritime border convention, this was an underhand forward thinking tactic agreed between two politicians in the same party without consultation. I can't imagine there will be a serious challenge to reversing this back in line international convention leaving 90% of the NS oil inside Scotland's maritime boundaries!

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Andrew Diggens

Mar 02, 2014 at 09:49

The whole of the rUk stands to gain in one respect from Scottish independence. It reduces the chance of the Labour party ever again gaining an overall majority in Parliament and being able to carry out their regular acts of destruction on our economy.

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tony m

Mar 02, 2014 at 10:46

I repeat that I and most of my friends in england are fed up with the anti english sentiment coming out of scotland. We want nothing more than for them to gain independance, appoint salmond as president & watch him try to arrange a currency, a central bank , a defence policy etc etc

Why don't we have a UK wide vote which I predict would be massively in favour of the scots departing and leaving us to get on with our flawed model, unlike salmond's & connery's (from california) nirvana

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Mar 02, 2014 at 11:13

... anti-London, surely.

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Mar 02, 2014 at 13:01

The whole currency debate has blown Salmonds cover. Continuing to use the British Pound involves such a loss of sovereignty that it wouldn't be independence.

What he really seems to want is devoMax whatever that means. I suspect more power without responsibility . It's just a power grab. I'm beginning to find myself hoping they do vote for independence.

Here's an idea. The rest of us vote for independence from Scotland. Leave them with membership of the EU!

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Hamish Milne

Mar 02, 2014 at 13:45

Tony M, you said..."Why don't we have a UK wide vote which I predict would be massively in favour of the scots departing and leaving us to get on with our flawed model,"

You'll not get that vote for the same reason the rUK government will agree in a currency union...because without Scotland's revenue and balance of payments the rUK economy is severely weaker....but if you had read any of the articles above you would now realise this.


You surely can't believe it would be beneficial for the UK to exit the EU???

I'd actually thought Citywire might have had a more knowledgable readership, unfortunately don't seem any better informed than the regular, blinkered Daily Mail reader. The daily mail who almost singlehandedly shape the far right opinion in the UK! There is nothing anti-English about wanting our own government, we elect being responsible for revenue and expenditure in Scotland. Think about a scenario where England has 59 MPs which equates to 3% of the UK parliament despite it having 8.5% of the population, England vote for 58 Tory MPs and 1 SNP MP and they end up with a SNP government. This wouldn't be tolerated or considered very democratic would it? This is more or less what happens every general election in Scotland. In every general election since the 2nd world war if Scotland didn't have the vote we would have ended up with the same Westminster government! We are now looking to have politicians looking after our 5.5million population, maybe sounds a little selfish just now but politically it should eventually result in a positive change for the rUK too.

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Andrew Diggens

Mar 02, 2014 at 13:52

tony m/RL Don't hold your breath for the Scots to leave. The latest poll shows the Yes camp on 35% the No's on 53% and undecided on 12%. The first poll taken in May 2011 showed support for independence at 37%, No on 45% and undecided on 18%. The Yes camp have basically been stuck in the 30% to 40% range for most of the intervening period. So desperate are they that they have made the claim that '40% support independence if you ignore the undecided'. Which of course could be viewed the other way that two thirds of the Scots are not backing independence.

This desperation can be seen by Hamish raging in his recent post that the UK government is refusing to 'negotiate in good faith' Quite right to, until and unless the Nats can persuade a majority of Scots that independence is in their interests there is nothing to negotiate about and to do so would simply play into Salmond's hands. The UK government position is to point out all the uncertainty's with independence and to ask the Scots do they think it is worth the risk. Salmond's tactics of bluff, bullying and bluster have got him so far but it would seem that his continual refusal to produce sensible answers to questions regarding currency, the EU and many others are starting to make his case look somewhat threadbare.

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Hamish Milne

Mar 02, 2014 at 15:41

Andrew, As I and others have said above the polls don't count for much, having said that all the articles and reports I've looked at suggest that month on month YES have been closing the gap?? I have no problem for the UK government highlighting potential problems but surely they also have an obligation to ensure the whole of UK are informed of the facts giving we pay their wages? I know we have grown accustomed to being told the minimum, but for those who are elected to be doing all they can to shield the electorate from the truth via media control should be worrying to all!

Take the standard and poor AAA credit rating link above, what are the chances of the general public getting a whiff of that through the mass media....that should be front page news.

Scotland's stronger economy should also be a shared fact, instead of the worlds biggest secret. front page news around the world.

I've not seen George Osborne answer a non vetted question on the currency union, therefore his nonsensical position remains unchallenged. The link I posted yesterday about the criticism of the UK gov and Barroso in general from last weeks EU meeting goes unreported. Should also be front page news Barroso's headline was!

The UK gov are creating the uncertainty, the Scottish gov's position is logical, credible and clear, the two biggest questions seem to hang over the currency and EU and the UK government are the only people who can remove the uncertainty of both and yet refuse to offer their reasoned or logical approach, neither do they point blank refuse to accept the Scottish governments proposals. It is quite a good tactic because they are diverting the debate ensuring it goes over and over the same topics deflecting discussion away from Scotland fiscally stronger position or other positives of Independence.

I am sure you will all remember this exchange on the 19th September when the majority vote is YES and then over the following 3 years when the the economic migrants flow in the opposite direction (from the current norm) on the back of Scotland's growing economy and better social'll be more than welcome providing you leave the xenophobia behind!

You'll be glad this is my last post on the issue, some will have hopefully have learned something of what it's all about along with why Scotland won't fall flat on its face and maybe even understand why, when George Osborne agrees to a currency union he did this to safeguard the rUK economy! There will however still be those of you who disregard all of the above and continue to believe that Independence is wanted because of some narrow minded media created loathing of "the English", if this is you then GROW UP! The Daily Mail is poisoning the UK!

Best regards from Scotland : )

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Graham Barlow

Mar 02, 2014 at 18:13

I said earlier that this is all about money ,particularly revenues from the North Sea fields. The comments from our friends north of the border especially Hamish Milne indicates that the whole exercise is predicated on getting their hands on the cash on the one hand yet at the same time retaining all the advantages of a currency union with a stronger ally. Why in heavens name would they want to stay in the British pound if the new Scotland was so rich and powerful ? The only loser in all this is the useless economy South of the border who will be begging to be allowed to sup at the same table as those able Scots Are they feeling sorry for us?, and have a slight twinge of concience?. Clearly what Standard life fears is access to the enormous UK investment market of which they have a large share, and to continue south of the border in what will be a foreign country they will need to be on shore properly capitalised south of the border. This will not include Edinburgh , but London where the skilled staff is available. It will also be necessary to transfer to the new English standard Life all the existing stirling Liabilities and assets to stop a mass exodus based upon currency exposure. Need I go on?. No let us be sensible about this in any union there are massive compromises necessary by all parties to take advantage of the overall strngths in each part of the union. Britain is still recovering from 300 years of a world empire , of which Scotland had their full share. Just take a look at Edinburgh and Glasgow, and wonder how so many people could afford to live in such style. England as well as Scotland is looking for its new place in the world with a plethora of inept Politicians who have done so much damage over the years, and in my view it is silly to throw the baby out with the bath water, as looking back the Scots and the English didnt make a bad job of it since the act opf Union. Is it all over? I dont think so.

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Andrew Diggens

Mar 02, 2014 at 19:21

I note also that Salmond has recently completely rejected the idea that voters south of the border should be asked, via a referendum, whether they wish to be part of a currency union. The great promoter of democracy and self determination suddenly finds his enthusiasm fading when it comes to those south of the border. There's no need for a referendum apparently because he will persuade everyone of the advantages (to the Scots) of a currency union. So obvious are these advantages that he does'nt have the guts to put the idea to a vote by those who will be affected

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Mar 02, 2014 at 20:46

Played the currency union thing the wrong way round. Osborne and Co (Balls etc) should have said, "Yes, you can have a currency union and these will be the terms...)

Then left it to fat slimy Salmond to wriggle out from under.

This is what the EU does; you can come in but your economy must look like this ... and you must agree to these stipulations ...

Salmond thinks we will offer him a currency union where he is an equal partner sitting in Edinburgh with his tame governor of the Bank of England at his knee listening to his demands.

Deludes himself that England needs the Scottish market. He hasn't, of course, said how much of the Scottish economy is owned by English investors - who will control where their firms buy their stuff - nor has he said how he will replace English imports with less expensive imports from somewhere else.

He hasn't, of course, answered the question if he can replace English imports with less expensive alternatives from other countries why sensible well run Scottish firms aren't doing that already?

He basically lives in a fantasy world where, following separation, he will get everything he wants.

Fat chance.

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tony m

Mar 02, 2014 at 20:48

Sotland please go

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Mar 03, 2014 at 03:53

... but won't Scotland and England be 'Better Together'?

Hamish is right about opinion polls. It's a scandal on the scale of the credit ratings agencies' involvement in the GFC. We can't trust the media and we can't trust opinion polls.

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William Phillips

Mar 03, 2014 at 09:39

"The latest poll shows the Yes camp on 35% the No's on 53% and undecided on 12%. "

And as I said, the tendency of an electorate whenever an upheaval is proposed is to become more and more aware of the drawbacks and risks as the campaign develops.

The slow drip of doubt wears away naive confidence like water on stone.

Too many of the Scotch will be too fearful of the potential harm to their pockets to let this reactionary absurdity pass. We are heading for a 55:45, maybe 60:40, No vote unless the antis blow it.

Let that be the end of it. Let the British go forward in unity with a pro-enterprise government, and let the English move more and more into a revitalised Scotland until it is diluted into a multiracial region of our glorious United Kingdom and brought into full conformity with its guardian, guide and mentor... England. Under our tutelage, in the 18th century, the Scotch showed how quickly they could shed old notions and become a standard bearer of civilisation. From Darien to Adam Smith.

The north of Britain can do it again-- but not if, like Ireland in the 1920s, it were to relapse into a sullen and spurious political isolation, under tenth-rate leaders, while in reality it remained in hock to larger forces.

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Andrew Diggens

Mar 03, 2014 at 09:54

I hope the polls prove to be correct. The last thing the UK needs is a chippy, nationalist independent Scotland on its borders with a good 30+% of its population believing every problem they face is down to the 'great satan' south of the border. The paranoia and delusions of many of these nats is quite scary they are ready to believe any conspiricy story that pops up. Did you know that apparently a 'secret deal' was done by the UK government to 'steal' thousands of square miles of Scottish sea. No neither did I but according to many north of the border its true!!

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tony m

Mar 03, 2014 at 10:03

But if the majority vote to stay we'll still have the 30% wingeing about the rest of the UK but still benefitting from free university places etc

In this case best have them outside the tent trying to p..s in!!

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Hamish Milne

Mar 03, 2014 at 10:04

Sorry, I have tried to refrain from responding but while the drivel continues it is proving a little difficult!


educate me....what was the reason for Tony Blair and Donald Dewar altering the Maritime boundary in 1999? Which just happened to reduce Scotland's North Sea area by 6000 square miles containing oil fields!!

The skeptical along with the not so unintelligent see this as a forward thinking maneuver agreed just shortly after the Scottish parliament was formed....surely your unbiased media would have informed you of this event? maybe not!

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Graham Barlow

Mar 03, 2014 at 11:23

I worked for a Scottish Co from the late 50s to 1970 . This company was owned controlled and financed by one of the Scottish Banks. It had great ambitions to become national, and the Scottish MD was a great believer in picking ambitious young men ,well controlled to provide the energy and momentum to achieve the goals that had been set. The Bank took a back seat and watched the growth with awe. I can tell you the powerhouse for growth was you guessed it The south East of England and especially greater London. Of course there were other successful conurbations providing big business like Manchester, Leeds Birmingham etc , but the massive strength was the South East. The same will apply to any Scottish company with big ambitions. Standard Life is just one. The company I have mentioned was totally absorbed by the Banks when they saw the growth in direct selling of finacial services. Any business man with a good product will wish to have unfettered access to the total UK market. We all believe in free trade even though the concept has now been hijacked as a trading chip for free immigration.. In the British union this concept is acceptable without massive migration.

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Anonymous 2 needed this 'off the record'

Mar 03, 2014 at 12:01

Scots who believe the sum of the parts are less than the output of the whole will vote no! Scots who believe in a scottish nation will vote yes! Whatever the result the earth will continue to turn and peoples and business will make the best of it.

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Hamish Milne

Mar 03, 2014 at 12:55


What you are saying is more of a justification for why we should have been Independent long ago. No other country in the developed world operates this way, where it can only prosper around the capital city, London has ensured it has attracted as many business HQs as possible, closed UK factories and concentrated on importing products (killing UK manufacturing and giving the UK a huge trade deficit), this has been to the detriment of the rest of the UK and longer term London too. How you think this set up and short term politics was good is beyond comprehension as they have now all come home to roost!

Any business with a good product will wish to have unfettered access to the world market not just the UK.

A government with a focus on all things British was more likely to deliver this rather than a government who's primary focus is financial services/London area and who only pay lip service to rest of the electorate when it is approaching election time. If it was more than lip service they would have delivered at least some of their 2010 election manifesto...instead of none of the election winners.

If we can't influence a Westminster government to represent our different political desires then the way forward is to have a Government who's focus is foremost Scotland, promoting Scottish business and acting for the entire population.... there will no doubt be plenty who would want the same for England, Wales and Northern Ireland, which of course would be their population's democratic right!

Scottish Independence will hopefully instigate a re-focus for Westminster, with one less nation to be concerned with (and proportionally less revenue) they might look at developing a sustainable growth strategy for areas other than London....the knock on effect from this, years down the line, could result in a publicly owned NHS, free health care, free University education, reasonable retirement age, lower unemployment, better standard of living for all, no requirement food banks, publicly owned and operated public services instead of the current foreign company run public services that are common place today - resulting in private companies profiting from our tax revenue, depleted/strained/ fragmented public services, which cost the tax payers more and when profits are made in huge quantities every year the UK doesn't even collect any tax. What Government in their right mind would approve this mindlessness?? Only Westminster!

How anyone can defend the successive Westminster government policies is beyond doubt there are many who will continue to ignore what is going on revert back to their programmed settings "Scotland want separation because they hate the English".

With the current constitution, political apathy and the "I'm alright jack" attitude in the rUK, Westminster will never change! Scotland's independence might waken a few folk up. (not holding my breath though!)

Good luck!

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Andrew Diggens

Mar 03, 2014 at 13:18

Hamish, welcome back, you can't keep a good man down!! You asked me to educate you - so I will. Time to lift you up from the slough of paranioa and ignorance to which you have clearly decended to the sunlit uplands of fact based knowledge and opinion.

The 'boundary' to which you refer is I believe the one created by the Civil Jurisdiction Order 1987, which did nothing more than define the areas offshore where the differing civil law of Scotland, England and Northern Ireland would apply. The line was drawn in an approxiamtely north-east direction from the coast at Berwick-Upon-Tweed. So if your boat hit my boat somewhere off Berwick, the exact location of the incident would be the deciding factor on whether Scottish or Englsih civil law would be used to decide any damage claim.

Now we move forward to another piece of legislation The Scottish Adjacent Borders Order 1999. As a result of devolution it was necessary to designate the boundaries for the jursdiction of the new Scottish Parliament primarily in respect of controlling and overseeing fishing and nature conservation. It also repealed the earlier act but, as before, involved England, Scotland and Northern Ireland. In the intervening 12 years the earlier boundary had, for many nationlists, become a defacto 'border' which it never was. The 1999 boundary took a more northerly course, the reason being that it followed the 'Meridian Line' method as outlined in the UN Convention on the law of the Sea. The basis for this convention is that any new maritime boundary should be an equal distance from the coast line of the two states it is drawn between. It is because this later boundary differed from the earlier one that misleading claims of 'stolen seas' have been made.The important point is that Scotland, not being a soveriegn state, does not have a maritme border, only the UK does. Neither of these two lines have any international standing or recognition they are merely internal boundaries introduced by the UK for means of internal governance. Now, should Scotland become independent, a maritme 'border' will have to be agreed. On 22nd September 2013 'The Scotsman' newspaper carried a report on a paper produced by Professor Peter Becker, chair of International Law at Dundee University and Penelope Ware head of energy at law firm CMC Cameron Mckenna. They pointed out that new maritime borders are notoriously difficult and complicated to agree and typically take 3 - 10 years to agree (making a nonsense of Salmond's claim of independence in 18 months) They also stated that the International Court of Justice could become involved and would most likely decide on a route closer to the 1999 boundary as it follows the UN convention. Finally, commenting on the article in the paper, a Scottish Government spokeman said "The establishment of a maritme boundary between an independent Scotland and the rest of the UK will be AGREED in accordance with well established international law". Tacit acceptance that no maritime boundary for the purposes or seperating Scotland and the UK currently exists.

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Graham Barlow

Mar 03, 2014 at 13:49

You go on as though London is an invention of the English Politicians to deprive power to everyone else. Well I can tell you this notion is wrong. London (The great Wen) is a mystery City that generates it own power and kings and Politicians have gone in fear of its uncontrollable power. It is a world magnet for the talented ,oppressed and endless young fortune hunters. It takes on massive amounts of energy every year, and its historical connections world wide are legion and run very deep. It is uncomfortable to have this phenomena as our capital City, but as my Australian son in Law says "Graham you can feel the Buzz as you get off at Heathrow". Prime ministers have tried to cut it down to size, but it has an energy and in built immune system and is able to withstand massive attacks ,disasters and disruptions, and still carry on regardless. This makes it what it is.

You are misguided to blame London as the reason for failure in Scottish industries. The blame rests with unscrupulous Politicians outmoded left wing Labour practices a failure to modernise in companies, and above all the Economic rule of capital flows to the lowest cost of production.. You are deluding youself in your search for easy answers.

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Andy W

Mar 03, 2014 at 14:28

How do I unsubscribe from this discussion ?

My email's getting clogged with new-reply notifications and I've long lost interest...

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Hamish Milne

Mar 03, 2014 at 17:24


Thanks for the UK governments view...allow me to add further to your education as there's actually a few people, who know what they are talking about who have written about this subject..... the author of the first link sounds like he is qualified and says "I should explain that I was the Alternate Head of the UK Delegation to the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, and was number 2 on the UK team that negotiated the UK/Ireland, UK/Denmark (Shetland/Faeroes), UK/Belgium, and Channel Islands/France maritime boundaries, as well as a number of British Dependent Territories boundaries. There are very few people in the World – single figures – who have more experience of actual maritime boundary negotiation than me."

At present The international community recognises the maritime boundaries of Scotland. 99% of oil fields are within Scots legal jurisdiction. The north sea is divided up on the equi-distant principle. straight line east-west from nearest land border. The UK has already agreed with Norway and Demark that this is the correct method so it can hardly claim its not the correct method in Scotland's case. .... These things are dealt with by UNCOLS III which Westminster is a signatory,....... a legal paper published by the European Journal of International Law: Prospective Anglo-Scottish Maritime Boundary Revisited can be read here good luck with that!


Which Prime Minister has tried to cut down London?

If you actually believe London's success is because it has magical powers it is you that is deluded. I am not blaming a magical London for destroying the best part of the, what were, Scotland's sustainable industries, I am blaming successive Westminster governments for destroying most of what were THE UKs sustainable industries.

What you say is true "the Economic rule of capital flows to the lowest cost of production" and that is why governments have the power to set policy which could have influenced industry costs and favoured the productive businesses and their huge numbers of employees, where there is a will there is a way! High unemployment was maybe deemed a price worth paying with new easy revenue streams on tap which gave easy and huge returns.

UK manufacturing is essential and as mentioned above somewhere David Cameron's current wish is to disadvantage the remaining ones further by opening the EU single market to the worlds largest two economies (China and the US), giving their exports/our imports discounted access to the UK while at the same time loosing the treasury import tax and making the UK trade deficit even higher, devaluing the pound further still.

The industrial revolution didn't occur because we were selling debt or lending each other money. We had some of the best engineers and inventors in the world and their factories were active across the whole of the UK, the caliber of engineers is still true in the Oil and Gas sector....but without productive industries the UK is dying on it's feet and is unlikely to be able to produce as many creative people as a result. Almost starting from scratch without the skilled workforce in place won't be easy! The right route would have been investing in what we had rather than selling it off to foreign competition for a huge payoff and a consultancy fee. In the city, where a fast buck gains first prize and if it can't be a multi-bagger it isn't worth considering, my school of thought will be old fashioned and too simplistic.

Andy W,

Apologies, I did try and ignore the chat myself, however frustration got the better of me!

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Hamish Milne

Mar 04, 2014 at 07:14

I'll leave the final word, which has a little pictorial too of the now squed maritime boundary, from channel 4. This to me fully explains the underhand tactics currently at play....

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tony m

Mar 04, 2014 at 09:17

So different from the upstanding tactics of fat alex!!!

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Andrew Diggens

Mar 04, 2014 at 10:29

Yes Tony, Salmond is as slippery as an eel. To be fair, he has not got involved in the nonsense over 'stolen seas' but buried in the Scottish Government paper on 'Independence' is his proposal for the future of the Northern Lighthouse Board which takes care of the navigation aids and lighthouses around Scotland. Surprisingly he proposes that the existing arrangements of funding via Trinity House and overseen by the Maritime and Coatguard Agency should continue, I wonder why? Well, the funding for this comes from shipping entering or leaving UK ports. Scotland accounts for 60% of the UK coastline but a look at the total tonnage of freight entering UK ports shows that in 2011 Out of the top 10 busiest ports the only Scottish entry was Forth in 7th place with 28 million tonnes. The combined total of the other 9 top ten ports was - 327 million tonnes. Now the charges known as light dues are based on the net registered tonnage of each vessel (the more freight the larger or more frequent the shipping). So the Northern Lighthouse Board is clearly massively subsidised by vessels entering UK (mainly English) ports. No doubt he will soon claim that (like the currency) its in everyones best interests to 'share' the costs.

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Mar 04, 2014 at 11:00

Out of all these prolix and meandering discussions some things have crystallised.

Salmond and his racist nationalist cronies are doing enormous damage to the fabric of the UK and stirring up massive antipathy on the part of the English for Scotland; an antipathy that was never there before.

It is about the oil; pure and simple. Salmond with his persistent strategy of lying, confusing or simply ignoring uncomfortable realities, has persuaded a percentage of the Scottish population that getting their hands on the oil will solve all of Scotland's problems - endemic economic failure, obesity, drunkenness, public sector dependence, welfarism, emigration of the brightest and the best, corruption in local government and the executive, accidents of geography and so on - at a stroke.

If he doesn't get his way this time he will use the additional powers he will wring out of the UK govt following the referendum to continue to drive a wedge between the populaces so that he will, inevitably, get what he wants in another, future referendum.

My solution?

Equalise the transfers between London and Edinburgh - basically, end the Barnet formula - and give Scotland the oil they claim. We'll be a few billions worse off but it will be a price worth paying to shut him up and stop the constant drip, drip, drip of poison and venom that comes from the truly distasteful Salmond, Sturgeon and the rest of the mediaevalists that make up the SNP. Remove the Scottish MPs and those lords whose entitlements come from Scottish lands. Give responsibility to an independent body to produce an annual statement of who gets what and who pays what so we can put an end, finally, to Salmond's lying.

Whatever happens in September, we can't go on like this and we can't go through another referendum run-up. As things stand, the damage already done is huge and suits Salmond's (White?) book perfectly.

We may win the referendum battle this time but he is surely winning the war.

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Hamish Milne

Mar 04, 2014 at 12:14

Ooo.... "fat alex" "slippery as an eel" "racist nationalist" "distasteful Salmond, Sturgeon and the rest of the mediaevalists"

...Come on Gent's let not resort to petty name calling...and you guys say it's the Scots who hate the English, hmm anyone reading this might think it was the other way around! Briesmith you think Salmond and the YES campaign are Lying because that is what you are programmed to think. I don't know anyone who thinks undoing the economic and social problems of decades will happen overnight, but it certainly gives Scots autonomy overnight, something we currently don't have while governed by a government we didn't vote for located 400 miles away in one of the richest cities in the world.

The underhand tactics I was referring to were:

- the UK government sending memos to 32 British embassies to seek support for the No campaign, having foolish pact with the Spanish government "help us with our and we'll help you with yours" which both governments have now been highly criticized for.

-Controlling large parts of the media to ensure no difficult questions are answered of the them

-Planting the seed not only in the UK but across the world, that Scotland's economy is weaker than the rUK and will struggle when independent of Westminster...when the opposite is true.

Andrew, re-the ports and UK shipping.....what you have laid out is exactly why it makes sense for the cost to be shared, if the majority of vessels using the lighthouses are landing in ports outside of Scotland and the vessels pay fees based on tonnage £0.41per tonne (the light dues tariff) to these ports to exclusively to cover these costs (which only amounts to £24m, if your tonnage figures are correct they are collecting £145m....I wonder if the surplus is ever attributed to or proportionally shared with Scotland's economic results) why would you expect Scottish tax payers to have to pay these costs, when the running costs are covered 6 times over by the vessels using them.

You'll need a stronger argument than my reckoning rUK will be due us £10.2m, being a proportional share of the surplus collected for this very purpose! How many other examples can you pull up to highlight the unfairness of the current system?

A reasonable program on BBC2 last night (although the purpose of it I think had a hidden agenda, maybe my paranoia!!) about London and the amount of both publicly and privately funded development currently ongoing, they only gave one example of funding for a infrastructure project... the new underground project they said that the rest of the UK (outside London including Scotland were paying £5billion towards this the rest would be funded by fares (no doubt repaying a PFI company a fortune, netting decades worth of profit) fairness this only equates to £500million the Scottish tax payer is contributing but add the cost of the other projects and this explains why Scotland currently runs a budget deficit....nothing to do with Scotland's revenue or running costs, but everything to do with London's expanding infrastructure....what I and the program was highlighting is the disadvantage to the rest of the UK. This has not always been the case.... the balance of wealth was initially in the North of England and was gradually moved to London, it can't just be a coincidence that the Houses of Parliament and House of Lords are there??

One Scottish infrastructure project that has been in abeyance forever is the A9 in Scotland the main road north of Perth (central Scotland), it is not even a motorway, still for the most part a single lane road, more deaths happen on this road every year than any other, this should have at least been dualed years ago if not made an actual motorway. These decisions from 2016 will be made in Scotland and funded with Scottish revenue. I am sure there are many examples like this that are being ignored around the UK and will be the focus for as long as London takes all and if we were to believe Graham this is not the governments fault London has magical powers that makes these things happen of its own accord!

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tony m

Mar 04, 2014 at 13:40

Briesmith agree with you entirely

Whatever the outcome Salmond has irrevocably soured relations between the scots & english (probably his intention), and I and many english people now think its best if scotland departs the uk & becomes a truly independant country without the english yoke round its neck

However, when the scots realise that osborne & the eu weren't negotiating or bullying, merely stating what would happen, I think they will have a rude awakening, but at least then they can only blame themselves

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Hamish Milne

Mar 04, 2014 at 19:36

Two articles (both from a non-Tory doner owned newspaper) which proves Osborne and Boroso were talking crap.

Check your sources and read some independent experts views and draw your own conclusions instead of listening to journalists, a failed journalist's opinion (Osborne) and an outgoing EU commissioner who has no say in the process!

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William Phillips

Mar 04, 2014 at 20:38

The latest poll is 32% Yes, 57% No, 11% Undecided. The Unionists are heading for a two-thirds majority of those who vote, but I'd settle for 55:45.

Watch Salmond's troops melt away like Prince Charlie's forces on the retreat from Derby in the '45, as the lunacy of trying to unpick the Union dawns on those purse-proud folk, issue by issue by issue niggling away at them. 'Och, I hae ma doots...'

That great Scotchman George Cunningham MP introduced the clause which insisted that no devolution measure should pass without positive assent from 40% of the electors. That managed to delay the nonsense of a glorified North British County Council for a good wee while.

We should insist that after 'independence' (ha ha ha ha ha) is trounced, no resubmission of the question will be permitted unless at least half the Scotch sign a petition for another referendum, after a minimum cooling-off period of 50 years,

In other news, the Institute of Fiscal Studies says an 'independent' Region XXVIII of the EUSSR would lose the benefits of UK-wide austerity because the oil revenues are running out fast. The country would be up to its eyes in debt. And no, we won't rescue you this time.( We should slap on immigration controls at Carlisle and Berwick and reactivate Hadrian's Wall too, but the English have always been too kind for our own good.)

We can guess the fallout. Investors would be afraid the People's Auld Socialist Statelet of Salmondia could not stand behind its financial institutions in the event of another crisis. No wonder Alliance Trust and Standard Life are making contingency plans to scuttle if Haggisocracy should come in. I bet most of the remaining business and industry with any interests beyond the border are quietly registering England & Wales companies.

Will the last entrepreneur to make his excuses and leave please leave the key under the mat? Darien v2.

Having shown a Salmond-like attitude to his pledge to pipe down, cue Mr Milne to explain why the IFS are Nae True Economists.

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Hamish Milne

Mar 04, 2014 at 22:59

Pipe down ha..... you know me too well.....Not sure I said they weren't true economists, was trying to point out that they are far from unbiased or independent, the legendary quote comes to mind....

“It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it.” (this is as appropriate for the whole of Westminster MPs and those in the Lords as well as the dumbed down journalists who are mostly doing a bad job of any form of research and just printing stories they are given which has shaped public opinion)

.....the IFS are mostly funded by the government and are doing much the same job as the new OBR, writing reports that on the whole give the government the thumbs up for what they are about to do/are doing regardless if they will be of benefit to the UK tax payer or not ......or sometimes they are named for "proposing" less popular policy that the government are then obliged to implement, or if Osborne announces a ridiculous idea that people shoot holes through, he can blame it on someone else. An older article...but you'll get the gist

The most ridiculous assessment I've seen in recent months was their assessment produced for Better Together / Westminster designed to frighten on Scotland's finances projected from Independence 2016 to 2060, aye okay!!! The biggest failing was to ignore the current investment levels in the North Sea (record spend 2012,2013 and continues this year) also ignoring the new production resulting from the investments. To get to the horrendous 2060 figure they (probably) started with, they assumed Scotland would continue with the same UK failed high unemployment economic model, they also understated oil and gas revenues based on a slump in oil prices, which completely contradicted with other global price forecasts and had forecast an approx 40% reduction from last years recent low (resulting from the highly criticised tax raid in 2010 which was reversed 2012 when the outcome became obvious to the treasury) through to 2018....when the industry themselves have forecast a 45% increase (from 1.35mb/day to approx 2mb/day) between now and 2020 all resulting from the current/new field developments.

Your pal Alex seems to have been received quite well in Westminster this evening! Micheal White (the Guardian) described him as "a class act" and "the most successful politician practicing in these Isles"....which differs slightly from the lack of love I am sensing here : )

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William Phillips

Mar 05, 2014 at 10:10

Why shouldn't the studies which show that Scotland could 'go it alone' (as a minor offshore territory of the EUSSR) not be affected by those who aim to make a very good living out of an Edinburgh-Brussels government, from the Haggis downward?

Every time local government has been reorganised, it has resulted in a longer gravy train: a proliferation of public-sector parasites awarding themselves fancy titles, with pay, perks and pensions to match. Scotland abounds in those who have spent their lives being suckled by productive people, mostly south of the border including the Scotch diaspora.

That is one excellent reason to cease meddling with the UK constitution and concentrate on fighting the desperate struggle for economic survival which this offshore archipelago is being inexorably drawn into with the Far East, Brigadoon dreamworlds won't win it.

All your aspersions on the integrity of individuals apply at least as much to the aspiring irredentists as to supporters of the status quo, and get us nowhere.

The fact remains that a majority of those who have studied the subject, be they observers or practical businessmen, think the risks are too great. And the signs are that a settled majority of those to whom the risky programme will be put agree.

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Mar 05, 2014 at 11:53

This is Alex Salmond's lecture given in London yesterday at the invitation of the New Statesman:

Now compare what was actually said with what, if anything, you've read about it in the London media outlet of your choice.

Then, if you're really keen, compare that with how it was reported in the Scottish media.

If you think you're being properly informed, maybe think again.

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Hamish Milne

Mar 05, 2014 at 11:57

You will struggle with this....try and show me anyone that has properly studied this from a Scottish perspective, analysing Scotland's revenue and expenditure (historical and current) who honestly believes the risks are too great and has confirmed they will leave Scotland, not may or might leave!

Everyone to date that has spoken out against Independence has proved they have misplaced loyalties in unionist political parties or stands to loose the benefits/influence being part of the establishment offers them.

Repeating myself again..... but the problem lies with the misplaced belief that the desperate struggle for long term economic survival needs to be focused and centered around London, people believe this because we have in recent decades grown up thinking it is the solution rather than the problem. Scottish voters and some of the scarce Scottish politicians (3% in Westminster for a population of 8.5%) for years have tried to change this, while some of the Scottish politicians have made the situation worse in an attempt to increase their has been futile and has gotten us nowhere and has left us with the realisation that Scottish Independence is last remaining chance for social change and economic success in Scotland. In the last chance saloon we are being offered more devolution (maybe?? not properly offered or agreed by anyone), hopefully no one will be dumb enough to fall for it! All the offers of industrial security came to nothing after the rigged 1979 referendum.

Westminster have well and truly blown it, through broken promises, greed, corruption, tax avoidance, fraud, pedophilia, underhand tactics...just look at the dirt on Harriet Harman last week, if anyone believes that wasn't done to somehow make Downing Streets involvement in pedophilia somehow seem okay then they are as deluded as those who believe Scotland will ever regret its Independence!

Pushing the boundaries here.....but I am also hopeful that withing years of Independence we will have a different political system that doesn't resemble the childish wasteful pantomime that is Westminster.

Hopefully where:

- real people with real life experience make strategic short and long term decisions to the benefit of the country and not career politicians who requires acting lessons to sound remotely convincing of the rehearsed lines/drivel they spout who look out only for themselves and those who have the potential to line their pockets.

- politicians don't vet journalists prior to interviews and tell them what questions to ask!

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Mar 05, 2014 at 12:22

All governments of whatever colour and flavour have sent billions to the UK regions in an attempt to stimulate economic growth and this has gone on for nearly 100 years. Vast sums have been poured into economic regeneration; most of it to no avail. Public sector jobs have been moved to the regions in an attempt to provide employment but this has again sadly worked against the other initiatives as it has made it impossible for private sector start-ups and SMEs to compete with their generous employment terms and conditions, crippling enterprise. This is a serious problem in Scotland (and even more serious in Northern Ireland).

The idea that any government has deliberately promoted London to purposefully disadvantage somewhere else in the UK is paranoid or simply poisonous dishonesty.

Similarly the idea that a government or governments built London as some kind of plan is equally fantastic.

London is what it is as result of 1,000s of micro decisions made by individual people and businesses.

Amongst all these small decisions will be those taken by the cleverer, more energetic Scots to come and work in the south east. A process that will escalate should separation ever be achieved. (The same problem bedevils Wales, Ireland and the English regions. The best young people go where they think excitement, jobs and prosperity can be found. Twas ever thus. And ever will be.)

If you think other countries have tackled their economic imbalances better, name one. And if you think Scotland will be somehow different have a look at the Irish Republic. Same population roughly, same GDP roughly, same ethnic stock, identical legal and commercial system, operates in exactly the same pool a separate Scotland would swim in.

Take a day off and go and have a look.

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Hamish Milne

Mar 05, 2014 at 12:58

Briesmith, No one has said they have promoted London to purposfully disadvantage the rest of the is just what they have allowed to happen in pursuit for easy (not sustainable) growth, there needed to be a balance.

£2600 per person is spent on infrastructure projects in London to £5 per person in the North of England ....what is paranoid about that, this doesn't quite agree with your mystical 1000 micro decisions argument.

We'd like an economy where the most talented didn't need to move to another country to find a fulfilling job.

From the Standard and Poor's credit rating report last week, it is a shame it destroys your sentiment that Scotland is economically weak and destined for disaster:

"The report compares the GDP (wealth in the economy) on a per head basis with other countries, stating:

Scotland GDP p/capita = $47,369

Germany GDP p/capita = $43,855

UK GDP p/capita = $41,066

New Zealand GDP p/capita =$39,840

All of those nations have an AAA credit rating from at least one of the three big credit rating agencies and Moody’s rates New Zealand higher than it does the UK." - I have every reason to believe Scotland will see a rapid sustainable growth following Independence as well as rapid return to balanced budgets.

The UK government cannot expect to create economic prosperity by "bribing" one employer to open a factory in a deprived area and supplement the employees wages with working tax credits, then use this failure as a justification to through money at London. By your logic everyone should just move to London and leave the rest of the UK as a barren land....or do you think it should only be cleverest in society that are allowed to do that and thickest stay put!!!!

If you feel you wish to make a valid contribution to the debate take a day off and do some real research, that will allow you to add more than just empty rhetoric.

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Andrew Diggens

Mar 05, 2014 at 13:00

Its interesting that the 'No' vote amongst Scottish young people seems to be higher than the general population. In September a survey of Aberdeen schoolchildren recorded a 'No' vote at 75.5%. In November the Nairn Acadamy carried out a mock referendum - result 71% against and in February Dundee University did the same - result 59% against. On 25th February, Shetland News carried an article reporting the views of local 15 and 16 year olds, the majority of which were planning to vote no. As one youngster put it 'there are so many questions asked about independance and the answers will not be known until after the vote' and added 'you would'nt buy a house if you did'nt know what half the running costs will be' very perceptive.

Its probably not surprising, Scottish youngsters look at all the opportunities open to them as part of the UK, not only in London whose attractions are obvious but areas like the West Midlands with world beating companies like Jaguar Land Rover, Rolls Royce, JCB who a crying out for talented motivated people. Why put their futures at risk especially when the SNP are actively looking to find ways, post independence, to continue to discriminate against UK students by continueing to charge tuition fees. Maybe a future UK government would look to see if they wish to maintain free access for Scottish students/job seekers if that situation persists. Yes Ireland is a reminder that apart from a couple of decades up until 2008, the Republic has failed miserably since independence to provide sufficient opportunities at home, forcing many to seek work abroad.

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Hamish Milne

Mar 05, 2014 at 13:25

We all know the polls don't mean much at all....1979 the polls said 20% almost right up to the vote for devolution, the public voted 54%, if we see a similar swing....

Youngsters quite often have to look outside their own country for opportunities, if the UK government play it right these opportunities will still be there for them, while at the same time more opportunities will be available to people looking to live in Scotland.

Is that Jaguar Land Rover who have just opened a massive plant in China....oh wait David Cameron is trying to get China included in a single market removing import duties making it easier and cheaper for these cars to be imported rather than made in the UK!!!!

Why have a UK government that discriminates against it's own students, ensuring only the wealthy can afford to go to University! 10% of English University applications would fill Scotland's if offered free education in world class universities are they going to refuse that and opt to pay £9000 a year? Scotland's stance is logical until the UK offer free education removing the likelihood of taking advantage of Scotland social justice!

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Mar 05, 2014 at 13:35

"... scarce Scottish politicians (3% in Westminster for a population of 8.5%)"

There are 59 Scottish MPs in the House of Commons which includes 646 MPs in total. This equals 9.13% which is almost (just a little more than in fact) exactly the percentage the Scots make-up in the UK population as a whole.)

You're a lot like slimly, slippery, Dishonesty Salmond aren't you? You just make stuff up. Where you get 3% from God only knows.

University fees are either paid for or subsidised by tax payers. Many of these will never go to University nor enjoy the benefits of a university education. It makes sense that those who will gain from it should pay for it. Salmond doesn't care about young people, he just saw another opportunity to twist the knife in the Scottish- English relationship and took it.

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Hamish Milne

Mar 05, 2014 at 13:58

.....apologies never intended to deceive, an honest mistake....I will advise when I can remember where the 3% came from, I assure you it seemed just as unfair!

Having well educated members of the public is an actual benefit to society, therefore all in society gain from it and none are excluded from the opportunity!

The Scottish governments child care proposals maybe best dispute your claim about how much they value education and investment in the future generation.

Forget the hatred it's a none starter!

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William Phillips

Mar 06, 2014 at 13:54

Andrew Diggens: "Ireland is a reminder that apart from a couple of decades up until 2008, the Republic has failed miserably since independence to provide sufficient opportunities at home, forcing many to seek work abroad. "

And the 'Celtic Tiger' boom of the 1980s was an illusion, based on working the Common Agricultural Policy for all it was worth to finance a housing bubble. But that was when the EUSSR did not have a lot of ex-Warsaw Pact supplicants for the west German and southern English bounty. Those impoverished countries would be ahead of Salmondia in the queue in the 2020s.

That is why the threat of flight by Scotch-based financial institutions is a dirk to the SNP's dreams. The milch cow can jump over Hadrian's Wall and leave the Haggis and the Caviare Lassie potless.

Lloyds Banking has now joined the swelling chorus of doubters, saying that the regulations from Salmond's lifeline, the EU, require it to relocate to where the bulk of its business is done... which sure ain't Edinburgh.

The more big businesses speak out about the snags, the more the rest who have cravenly sat on the fence and kept schtum will be emboldened: nae more 'haud yer wheesht'. And the more frightened the Bravehearts will become, though they will keep up the facade of defiance until the moment of truth when they are staring at the ballot paper.

Hamish Milne: "1979 the polls said 20% almost right up to the vote for devolution, the public voted 54%, if we see a similar swing...."

And that plan went down because it had rightly been required to get a positive vote from two-fifths of the electorate. Great British Unionists such as George Cunningham and Willie Hamilton saw it off. Only 63% of the voters bothered to turn out, demonstrating that they cared more about matters of real importance.

Afterwards, support for the SNP declined. We shall see the same after the No vote this year: the pointlessness of the Salmaniacs will be obvious. Edinburgh politics will revert towards the standard UK ideological and class-interest pattern as the assimilation of North Britain to the English model-- a natural and organic process as the populations intermingle-- rolls on. The irrelevant tartan overlay will be eroded.

The independence referendum airs a far more sweeping reform than 1979's, so there should have been a comparable bar, set higher. A 55% Yes from the whole electorate should have been required, but as things stand it should be academic.

Briesmith: "There are 59 Scottish MPs in the House of Commons which includes 646 MPs in total. This equals 9.13% which is almost (just a little more than in fact) exactly the percentage the Scots make-up in the UK population as a whole.)"

After 'independence' (ROTFLMAO) Scotland would no longer enjoy this gross and persistent over-representation. It would send a small body of legislators to a largely impotent Brussels 'parliament' with all the key decisions taken by unseen financiers and unaccountable commissioners and bureaucrats. A democratic deficit would be one of the SNP's gifts to the nation.

Instead of MPs punching above their weight at Westminster, nothing Scotch MEPs said or did in Europe would deflect the German eurofederastic fanatics from pushing on to an 'ever closer union' in which the offshore semi-island region would be a trivial sideshow. Scotland would have to take what it was given while Wee Eck postured as Cock o' the North.

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Mar 07, 2014 at 07:22

Hamish wrote: We all know the polls don't mean much at all....

A good recent example is the US presidential election of 2012. Every day in the run-up to the vote reporters on all TV channels came on to tell the public that the opinion polls say “it’s just too close to call”. Yet Obama won by a landslide.

Not only were the pollsters wrong, they had a rightwing bias. It was true in the US and it’s true in the UK. It’s a scandal and yet the media and politicians that should expose it are sponsoring it.

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Mar 07, 2014 at 09:35


Barack Obama Democratic Illinois 65,915,796 51.06%

Mitt Romney Republican Massachusetts 60,933,500 47.20%

I make that less than a 4% margin. Now this may well be a landslide to the SNP but to ordinary everyday, feet on the ground, folk like me, it shows a hopelessly divided electorate.

And this more or less even division of sentiment has been confirmed by Obama's powerlessness and inability to get anything through the legislature.

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Andrew Diggens

Mar 07, 2014 at 10:23

Briesmith - You have to remember that sandid3 is a master of using selective statistics to support his argument. I suspect the 'landslide' he was referring to is the electrol college votes which went 332 to 206 in favour of Obama or 61.71% against 38.29%. The US is one of the few 'democratic' nations where an elected President can lose the popular vote but win the election, as Bush did in 2000. The college system advantages smaller states and means that in the US not all votes are equal. Of course he then tried to turn this into an argument for rubbishing the accuracy of polls, but again the evidence fails to support that conclusion. The last 19 polls taken from the beginning of November to polling day showed Obama leading in 14, 2 showed a tie and 3 a win for Romney. Those that showed Obama in the lead predicted a vote for him of between 48% and 51% of the vote with a marging of error between 2% to 3.5%. In short the vast majority of the polls were bang on the money in their predictions of the final vote.

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Mar 07, 2014 at 10:36


You are absolutely right; I used the total votes cast figure because that's how the referendum will be decided.

There are very few "swing" districts in US politics; most are "owned" by one of the parties because of the voter registration system they use.

The 2 major parties agree NOT to poach each others' districts. A crazy, corrupt system even worse than that of our Labour/Tory owned "rotten borough" constituencies here in the UK.

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William Phillips

Mar 07, 2014 at 13:52

In other news-- today Scotland's biggest investment trust and growing sharedealing platform, Alliance Trust of Dundee, said it was registering English subsidiaries in case it has to move all or some of its business away from an independent Scotland which might not govern in he best interests of its UK-wide clientele.

At this rate soon only the local branches of the Co-op Bank will be left behind for Eck and Nic to plunder. And what is it going to do for the TSB flotation for this 'challenger bank' to be registered in Edinburgh?

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Mar 08, 2014 at 04:11

On opinion polls, you can’t have it both ways. If you think the polls showed an Obama win before the US election then my point above (Every day in the run-up to the vote reporters on all TV channels came on to tell the public that the opinion polls say “it’s just too close to call”.) tells us the media wilfully and fraudulently misrepresented the poll findings. I don’t remember a headline in the Daily Telegraph along the lines ‘Polls show Obama set to win’.

Just about the only enjoyable moment of the US election coverage was seeing the panel of rightwing fruitcakes on Fox News almost exploding with disbelief as the results came in.

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Andrew Diggens

Mar 08, 2014 at 11:51

Sandid3 - Yes you can. As per my previous post, most of the opinion polls leading up to the campaign gave Obama a (slight) lead. You obviously have no clear understanding of the system used in America for electing their President. As Briesmith pointed out there was a less than 4% winning margin in the popular vote, pretty close to the predictions of the opinon polls. The reason why it was 'to close to call' is due to the effect of the electoral college system. This gives each state a number of votes which they cast for their preferred candidate. To win, you have to gain 270 college votes. As is replicated in many other countries, there are states who will almost always vote for the republicans and others who almost allways vote democrat. There are also states which regularly change sides and can ultimately decide the course of the election, these are known as 'swing states' The effect of this system is that a very slight change in the voting in a swing state (or states) can have a disproportionate effect on the total outcome (hence why so much campaigning is targeted at 'swing' states'). So, to give you an idea of how close it can be, on the eve of the election, Coloradoa, a swing state with 9 college vote polled Obama 48.8% Romney 47.3%. So a swing of less than 1% would lead to the 9 college votes being cast for Romney instead of Obama. Likewise Florida polled Romney 49.7% Obama 48.2% meaning their 29 college votes could be changed by tiny swing (well within the polling margin of error) to Obama. Virginia polled Obama 48% Romney 47.7%, I am sure you get the picture.So just before voting began, the best guess was that Obama had 202 college votes from states genrally supportive to the democrats whilst Romney had 192. But (and here's the rub) the 'swing' states which because of the closeness of the polling were 'to close to call' accounted for a total of 146 college votes which would ultimately decide the election. So as you can see it is perfectly possible under the US system to have one candidate leading in the polls but because of the oddities of their system, being perfectly able to claim the result was to close to predict with any certainty. None of which of course takes away from the fact that the polls measuring the popular vote which is how the independence vote will be held were broadly CORRECT.

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Mar 08, 2014 at 11:51

Obama's eventual winning margin - less than 4% - is almost the same as the margin of error the pollsters acknowledge every time they conduct a poll.

Too close to call in the circumstances was statistically as well as observationally correct.

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Mar 09, 2014 at 04:14

No-one doubts that the polls are numerically, statistically accurate. The misrepresentation is in the question itself and then how the question and response are represented in the media. The question asked here was ‘how will you vote’. But the question that matters is ‘who will be president’. There might be a small statistical error in asking the former question immediately before the vote but that question is irrelevant.

The case you’ve made yourself is that the statistical uncertainty (because of the electoral-college system) in the important question of ‘who will be president’ is enormous. Therefore for the media to claim “opinion polls say ‘it’s just too close to call’” is inaccurate and misleading. An accurate statement is that the opinion polls conducted are of almost no use at all as an indicator of who will be president. The public is misled into thinking opinion polls ask a valid question and that the media are an independent interpreter of the results. Not so.

But let’s not get bogged down in a few polls just before the US election. Let’s look at Scottish independence.

Polling companies are small, unregulated commercial businesses that depend on political parties and the media for much of their income. Opinion polls don’t just happen as a public service; they are paid for. Whoever pays sits down with the pollsters and agrees the questions. It’s true the pollsters wouldn’t agree to a blatantly biased question. But it’s also true that if the client has a political agenda the client won’t agree to a question that might give an unfavourable result.

You surely must agree the London media has an anti-independence agenda. They pay to use surveys and the media’s presentation of the results is what the public see. You never see a link in the media to the raw data.

The question that has actually been asked repeatedly is ‘if the referendum were held today would you vote for independence’. Predictably the answer is no (because people still want to hear questions answered). The media then misrepresent that as Scots being against independence. But the question that should be asked is ‘how will you vote in September’. When it is occasionally asked the majority have said “don’t know” and that is withheld by the media because they don't like it.

A classic example of these white-collar crimes is when the independence movement had their launch day, the media ran a lot of stories on the same day that Alistair Darling has ‘done a survey’ showing most Scots didn’t want independence. The survey was never published; it was just a deliberate spoiling story that the media colluded in. Scots can’t trust the London media. And Scots can’t trust Alistair Darling.

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William Phillips

Mar 10, 2014 at 11:08

All this whining about how biased and corrupt the pollsters, the media, the captains of industry etc etc are sounds like Kevin the Teenager: "That is SO UNFAIR!"

It also sounds as if Hamish Milne and the Aussie expat are already rehearsing their excuses for defeat in the referendum poll.

Funny how whenever a little surge in the Yes vote comes up in a poll, Wee Eck brags about it instead of counselling his subjects that they shouldnae believe a word of yon English pollsters, it's all a trap, ye ken? Or if he is as sceptical about the polls' worth as you two, why don't the SNP run their own?

"the question that should be asked is ‘how will you vote in September’. When it is occasionally asked the majority have said “don’t know” and that is withheld by the media because they don't like it."

Leaving aside the question why the media should care two hoots what the result is... oh puh-leaze. Unlike you, I give most Scotch credit for being clued up enough to know there is a vote on the way, and to have already come to fairly firm conclusions about which way they will jump.

Peter Kellner agrees:

Now tell us whose pocket YouGov is in, from your vantage point Down Under where all these cunning plans and sinister conspiraces are so easy to see.

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Mar 10, 2014 at 11:34

Anyone see the article in the Sunday Times about an impending judicial review of the plebiscite decision to exclude Scots not resident from voting?

Could be very interesting.

Never understood how Slimy Salmond got dopey Cameron to agree to this in the first place. Oh yes, I see it now, dopey Cameron...

A situation where an American on a 3 year contract to work in Aberdeen gets to decide Scotland's future but a 5th, 6th, 7th whatever generation Scot living in Berwick or Carilse doesn't never seemed right to me.

And now it's going to be tested in the courts with the probable outcome that if you are Scottish born and living in the EU then you have to be able to register to vote.

Let's see Salmond wriggle out of this one.

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Andrew Diggens

Mar 10, 2014 at 12:43

William - 'Or if he is as sceptical about the polls' worth as you two, why don't the SNP run their own?'

The laugh is they have, between 18th and 21st February the SNP in conjunction with Panelbase conducted their own poll, the result - Yes 37%, No 47%, Undecided 16%. These two remind me of the BBC director who, when discussing Willaim Hague's assertion that joining the Euro would mean being stuck in a burning building with no means of exit said 'you have to remember that these people are basically mad' She simply could not comprehend that any sane person would come to a different conclusion from the left-liberal concensus endemic at the BBC. Likewise Hamish and Sandid3 simply cannot accept that about 50% of the Scottish people, in full control of their faculties and able to access all the myriad sources of opinion and information open to them could possibly reach a different conclusino than they have. Therefore the answer has to be some dark London based conspiricy to mislead the Scottish people. The arrogance and contempt this view shows for the ability of others to come to an informed decision is quite frightening.

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Hamish Milne

Mar 10, 2014 at 12:50


The reality is of all the debates that have been held, open to the public where both sides are represented and have equal opportunity to put forward their case, the polling done before and after have shown a huge swing.

Last night's latest debate.....

"During a live debate between Humza Yousaf and Anas Sarwar at the university of strathclyde 9th March 2014, a panel with the following make up:

Humza Yousaf(Yes campaign), Shabnam (no campaign), Naeem Raza (host), Yvonne Ridley (yes campaign) Anas Sarwar (no vote)

At the beginning of the event, everyone was asked to vote whether they were in favour of an independent Scotland or not – 52% of the audience voted in favour of independence and 41% voted against with 7% undecided.

There was another vote which took place after the debate and the results were – 68% in favour of independence and the no vote had decreased to 20%

This continues to demonstrate the positive change towards a Yes vote when people have the facts laid out in front of them"

If only the YES campaign were given the same level of unbiased coverage in the press and TV media, I have no doubt the polls (if fair/uninfluenced) would show majority support for YES. It is true what is being said support for YES is growing, it is one way traffic, it's either from:

- undecided to YES

- NO to undecided, then to YES.

I've never heard anyone changing from YES to undecided or Undecided to NO, despite the frequent opinions being misquoted /expressed by CEOs of companies like Standard Life, BP, Shell, Alliance Trust etc.

I usually give most citizens of the UK the credit for realising that Scotch is a drink and not a race....given you can't even get your head around that, it is not surprising you can't understand why having 10% less of a budget might be harmful to the BBC, or having less of a depleting readership to influence with their gutter level of journalism might make brainwashing the electorate that bit more difficult for the Westminster establishment.

You will do well to think logically about what you read in the papers.


"but a 5th, 6th, 7th whatever generation Scot living in Berwick or Carilse doesn't never seemed right to me." honestly don't see what is wrong with this???? how would this voting be conducted? you can't just stop at Carlisle so do you allow the millions of other 7th generation Scots living in the rest of the UK, EU, US, Canada, Australia and in all the other countries around the world.... The whole reason for Independence is to ensure those voting in Scotland are governed by a government located in Scotland, ensuring policies will be set inline with how the 5.5million Scottish residence vote, rather than how the rest of the UK (58million) vote..... why should it be open to people living elsewhere in the world many of whom will be completely unaffected by whatever the outcome is? Is this back to your narrow minded view that Independence is about people living in Scotland hating "the English"?? or maybe you just want it to be as undemocratic as general election results in Scotland????

If you are genuinely interested I will post video links with various debates and talks that have been held up here. You'd be amazed how grown up they mention of Braveheart, English hatred, no xenophobia, just fact after fact from the YES side which the debaters apposing Independence cannot dispute or challenge and can only ever reply with "stronger together" "better together" "shared history" "UK broader shoulders".....these catchphrases have zero substance and get a little boring when said in response to real questions, that real people want answers to, they too try to make Independence an anti English campaign to drum up support offering nothing positive for the union.... which is why when the polls are done immediately after the debates there is always a huge swing to the YES side. You will definitely learn more from these factual debates than your preferred media outlets!

I am very confident the result will be a YES for Independence, I appreciate this will not be the sentiment presented in the mass media!

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William Phillips

Mar 10, 2014 at 13:14

Yes, the Bravehearts seem to rate their compatriots' intelligence and horse sense very low. You wonder what an 'independent' Scotland would be like with so many dupes and dolts inhabiting it, but no doubt the enlightened minority in the SNP, headed by the Dear Leader, would be happy to run it for them.

That paranoid thinking reminds one of the Irish Republican Brotherhood and their IRA/Provo/Real IRA descendants. They reserve the right to bomb and kill their way to a '32-county socialist republic'. Why? Because only the 'false consciousness' of the Irish majority, north and south, makes them oppose coerced unification.

Let us not exaggerate the similarity: the SNP only engage in verbal bullying, but its propagandists' superior mentality is cognate with their Celtic cousins. Take a leap in the dark with us because we know best-- pay no attention to those doomsayers, they're all in the pay of the ENGLISH!

Opponents of Irish independence said it would be a phoney without a separate currency and economic autarchy; nor could it function without the safety valve of emigration to UK and USA.

The critics warned that Ireland would become a complacent backwater, losing the reflected glory of belonging to a wider association of English-speaking federated states and empire. It would fall prey to chancers, windbags and dreamers who would keep it squatting on the fringes of history. The land that had produced so many great writers and soldiers-- its special expertise, battles and books-- would dwindle in the world's estimation as its best and brightest hit the ships for abroad. Trying to unpick centuries of co-operation and intermingling would only damage the Irish themselves.

The bullies won the fight but the critics were right in the long run. The Republic is struggling to escape from decades of living on tick and letting its talent drain away, as well as the moral stigma of sitting on its backside while Hitler ravaged other small nations and Irish Americans in their thousands fought him.

Younger citizens now hold a jaundiced view of the official tale of the 'independence struggle'. The Easter Rising centenary will be full of heartsearching, especially considering what has befallen the state since the housing bubble went phut and the revelations of Roman Catholic abuse of power (and children) began to pour out. There is even talk of Ireland joining the Commonwealth to help purge its poisoned legacy of isolation.

For youthful Scotch with ambitions, escaping from Salmondia will be easier than fleeing from De Valera's Celtic twilight. The prognosis for Scotland as an outlying fragment of the EUSSR would be dim.

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William Phillips

Mar 10, 2014 at 13:26

"I usually give most citizens of the UK the credit for realising that Scotch is a drink and not a race"

The only correct English adjective for Scotland is Scotch; 'Scottish' is a postwar affectation. For me as an Englishman to call things pertaining to Scotland 'Scottish' is as silly as to talk of 'Paris, a Fronsay city'. Scotch was good enough for DH Lawrence, AJP Taylor and George Orwell, and it's good enough for me.

Now I'm off to have some Scottish broth, then Scottish eggs, followed by Scottish pancakes, washed down with Scottish whisky. Hmmm, funny how the best things out of North Britain are all called 'Scottish'. Oh no, wait a minute, they're not.

PS: Forgive me for taking the results of a string of stratified opinion polls more seriously than the outcome of a debate between two Arabs in Strathclyde University.

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Mar 10, 2014 at 13:39

Irish separation in 1936 led to savage ethnic cleansing by De Valera's murderers on a scale no one had even remotely envisaged or predicted. Salmond won't indulge in the same bloodletting but voluntary ethnic self-cleansing will destroy any prospect Scotland has of ever being an economic success.

It will always maunder it its own mediocrity as anyone with anything about them heads off to England, the wider EU and the world beyond.

The problem with the "debate" and poll referred to earlier is that the audience wasn't random and no polling booth I have ever visited has asked me to listen to a debate before casting my vote. So it fails on all counts and can rightly, and fairly, be considered meaningless.

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Mar 10, 2014 at 13:44

I mention Berwick and Carlisle only to add emphasis to my point; just a few yards can rob a Scot of any say in what is to happen to the country of his birth while foreigners with only a passing, temporary interest get to have a vote.

I went on to say quite clearly that the decision when it comes down from the Supreme Court would apply to Scots born people living in the EU.

Read the posts please.

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Hamish Milne

Mar 10, 2014 at 14:14


The accepted term for people from Scotland is Scots! You can't be so ignorant to never have known this?

You really are letting your racist thoughts slip though! The two main speakers in the debate were both Scots, one is a Labour MP (Anas Sarwar), the other is an SNP MSP (Humza Yousaf)!

Why you two and your sources continue to delude yourselves that Scotland's economy is about to self destruct is beyond comprehension. What part of the Standard and Poor report was not understood?


I was ridiculing what you said, which is why I quoted you, not what the paper said. The voting structure and terms have already been agreed by both Governments, it was important that the terms were agreed early doors as in 1979 they were changed prior to the vote resulting in a non democratic outcome! I did see some jumped up Scots unionist trainee solicitor (studying in London) on the news a couple of months or so ago spouting some crap about this....what a waste of money! I can see why the NO campaign would want to change this now though let them hold on to this glimmer of hope! They've already scraped the bottom of the barrel with what has been said....if they were so confident about a no vote why even bother with all this nonsense?....maybe it is another part of the divide and rule tactics! They've had you hating the Irish, the miners, the shipbuilders, the factory workers, the unemployed, the migrant workers, the sick, the disabled now the Scots!

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Mar 11, 2014 at 08:11

William Phillips’ link:

Thank you for making my point so perfectly. First of all, a YouGov “survey” is not a poll; it’s a panel. For a poll to be of any use it has to be random. But a panel is self-selecting. The people that do join YouGov are not representative of the pressured and disadvantaged that don’t join YouGov.

The actual panel results are here:

The very question I criticised above is used: “If there was a referendum tomorrow…”

Look on the second page at the ‘Unweighted no.’ and ‘Weighted no.’ values. You’ll see that the young males are underrepresented (scaled up) and the older males are overrepresented (scaled down). Social Grades AB and C1 are overrepresented (scaled down) and lower social grades are underrepresented.

Independence will help the young and poor but the old and wealthy are afraid of change. If this were a genuine survey, it would make sure to randomly sample all Scots in the correct proportions (without scaling).

Finally, you’ll note: “Our latest [survey] was conducted last week for the Scottish Sun”. That newspaper is a rightwing paper owned by Murdoch’s News Group Newspapers Limited - Registered office: 3 Thomas More Square, London E98 1XY.

YouGov also gets a lot of business from Murdoch’s Times newspapers. ‘Murdoch’ buys the question so that ‘Murdoch’ can write the headline ‘he’ wants to write.

You’re not being informed, William; you’re being brainwashed and this is how it’s done.

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Mar 11, 2014 at 08:25

Just to clarify: I’m not an Aussie; I’m a Brit in Australia on a temporary visa and with a postal vote in the south of England (although I see the Tories are trying to take that away from me now). I support independence for Scotland because it will work. Scots will be better off and people in the North of England will be better off.

There is a problem in the UK and that problem can be summed up in one word: London. I think the only solution is a federal system to give power to the UK regions. And the only practical way to force London to give up its grip on the rest of the UK is for Scotland to become independent.

I see in the news that Gordon Brown and Sir Menzies Campbell have started to come round to that view too:

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Mar 11, 2014 at 10:21

So as a Brit in Australia can I ask two questions?

If Australia were to have a referendum on, say, whether they should keep the Queen or not (doesn't really matter what the question is; just some constitutional issue or another) would you think it OK that you had a vote and Australians born and bred but living in London didn't?


You're not coming back are you?

PS If you think London is a problem try envisaging the UK without it.

PPS The Tories aren't trying to take your postal vote away; they're just trying to rid us of the aspects of Banana republicanism thrown up by recent enquiries into postal voting fraud.

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Mar 11, 2014 at 10:58

As a temporary resident, I don’t have a vote in Australia. Presumably, dinky-di Aussies in London would have a postal vote.

I hope I don’t have to come back. I now know what it’s like to live in a successful, resources-based economy, a diverse and optimistic culture and a society (on the whole) at ease with itself.

The UK without London will be much like Australia without London. London will get along just fine too, like other tax havens do.

Good old Tories, eh – always trying to help.

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Mar 11, 2014 at 11:08

Deliberately or otherwise I don't know but you haven't answered my question. As a foreigner (British or otherwise) living in Australia should you have a vote on Australian constitutional issues when Australians living outside the country don't. It's a very simple question.

As for a resources fuelled economy; that's OK if you've got the resources and you control the secondary markets; ie refining and other manufacturing.

The UK has very little in the way of natural resources and has to live off its wits. That's where London comes in. It's got a lot of wits and is very attractive to people with wits.

There's no government plot to build it up and damn the rest of the economy/country. It's just the way it is. You sell what you've got and we've got wits.

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Mar 11, 2014 at 17:50

Bank of England governor Mark Carney speaking today:

"... a distinct possibility RBS would have to relocate if Scotland voted for independence."

and he went on to add

"Scotland would have to apply to join the European Union [and] that application, as for any new application to join the European Union, would include a commitment to join the euro in the fullness of time."

These titbits were welcomed by an SNP spokesman which just goes to show what an upside down, looking glass world they live in.

There's been nothing from Chief Slime Salmond himself of course.

Tactic choice:




Seems he's opted for number 3 this time round.

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Hamish Milne

Mar 11, 2014 at 18:28

A little selective is the full sentence..."It's a distinct possibility but I shouldn't prejudge it. It depends on their arrangements as well," Mark Carney told the Treasury select committee on Tuesday"

Carney has tried to stay neutral in the political debate about Scottish independence and has said he instead wants to provide analysis on how a monetary and banking union between Scotland and the rest of Britain might work. RBS has also tried to keep out of the matter, saying it is for the Scottish people to decide.

Carney told MPs that the Bank of England would provide "clear and public advice" on any risks if Scottish independence results in a monetary agreement with the rest of Britain.

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William Phillips

Mar 11, 2014 at 21:27

I own shares in Murray International and other investment trusts run by Aberdeen Asset Management, one of Scotland's most successful fund managers.

Today Murray's board commented on 'independence' (EU vassalage):

"The Company is registered in Scotland and the Board is mindful that there is uncertainty arising in relation to the referendum on Scottish independence due on 18 September 2014. The Board considers that a 'Yes' vote, in favour of independence, may prolong this uncertainty until implications for the Company, positive (!) or negative, of an independent Scotland are understood and quantified in relation to the legislative and regulatory environment in which the Company operates."

This is tactful PR-speak for ;Oh my God, what are we being dragged into?'

Businessmen hate getting embroiled in politics. They sit out controversy as long as they can, but they also have to show they are discharging their fiduciary duty to their employers, the company's owners.

Your average director is an 'after you... no, after you' fainthearts, not a Braveheart. But now the dam has burst and more and more movers and shakers are emboldened to deliver barely veiled threats of breaking free, whether the Haggis greets that this is intimidation or not. Employees of these groups have the right to know if their vote and those of their compatriots will jeopardise employment.

It's getting like the oysters in 'The Walrus and the Carpenter': "And thick and fast they came at last, and more, and more, and more." Other than Angus Grossart, how many Caledonian financiers DON'T hae their doots about the great plan?

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Hamish Milne

Mar 11, 2014 at 23:26

The political commentary up in the real world, is now accepting that the Westminster dam busters plan has been a major own goal. While many value and appreciate the contribution financial services adds to the Scottish economy, there are many more who don't, so the banks threatening to up sticks and leave Scotland is music to many ears, especially for those who lost jobs or have faced hardship as a result of the financial crisis!

I heard Ian McWhirter (among others) speak tonight at St Andrews University, he confirmed George Osborne changed the perception for many Scots of what the union actually is when he delivered his bully boy speech in Edinburgh on the 13th Feb, most up until then thought of it as a friendly partnership....not any more!!

If you honestly believe, that after Independence, Scotland won't have a more vibrant, more sustainable financial services industry than it all ready has, then you are more deluded than you are gullible to the bluster....this will come on the back of a successful economic policy which isn't measured in retail foot fall and house prices but economic output and trade surplus.

If you read what has actually been said by most financial institutions....I'd call it hedging their bets, or even looking to ensure the financial regulations negociated won't be less favorable than it already is....I assume paying less corporate tax for many businesses will be a hard gift to pass up too!

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Mar 11, 2014 at 23:45

Let's say a Scottish economic miracle is possible and it has been only the union that has held it back to date.

The question then us how long will it take to achieve.

The first step will be forming a new union to replace the old one that only lasted 400 years and was clearly not up to the job. So bring on the EU and the euro.

I reckon 5 to 7years but if Scotland goes into tax competition with Germany and co I reckon 10 to 12.

What will keep the home fires burning during all time?

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Andrew Diggens

Mar 11, 2014 at 23:49

Recent mock poll by 1500 students at Glasgow Caledonian University resulted in a 63% majority voting to keep Scotland in the UK.

Sogand Azimi, a student at Glasgow Caledonian University, told The Scotsman: "It’s clear that more and more young people are rejecting Alex Salmond’s divisive campaign for separation.

Still probably just a London plot or sandid3 will pop up to give us one of his unfathomable monologues as to why they were being brainwashed!

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Hamish Milne

Mar 12, 2014 at 07:23


If you read the Standard and Poor report or a number of other financial reports you would know the economic strength Scotland already has far exceeds the UK as a whole....this is not a miracle it is a fact.

I can guarantee you we won't join the Euro but will remain in the EU, this, before you say, this does not mean we won't be Independent country!!!


That is funny because in a poll at another Glasgow Uni. It was 68% for Yes and 20% for NO on Sunday night after people were presented with two clear alternatives. You'll remember the post ....the one you made a racist remark about!!!!

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Mar 12, 2014 at 08:06

I’ll stop here. Scots will decide. When they’ve decided, the rest of the UK can choose how to live with it.

It’s a long time until 18th September. Many things could look very different after the May elections and perhaps after a politically ‘hot’ summer.

So, good luck all.

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Andrew Diggens

Mar 12, 2014 at 09:05

Hamish - Apologies due to me please, I think if you check your post of 10th March you will find you have me confused with someone else!

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Hamish Milne

Mar 12, 2014 at 09:46


Please accept my apologies, the ramblings have meant I have lost track of which doubter said what.

It was of course William Phillips that had made the racist comment...this is possibly explainable as his views seem to be all shaped by sentiment commonly expressed in the Daily Mail.


Your voice of reason has been welcome, unfortunately many of your countrymen cannot see the constitutional change happening before their very eyes, I agree many of my countrymen are still to learn of it too.... having been threatened and distracted by the media, however this is changing on a daily basis, with meetings and presentations occurring daily

We have witnessed a dramatic shift in less than one year, from there being only two alternatives.... a YES or NO to Independence, which was thought of by the Tories as a master the now realisation that a swing in opinion from the growing grass routes, where now we have the unionist political parties having failed with scare tactics they are now falling over themselves to talk of offering extended devolution after a NO vote - "too little too late was the cry". these pretend offers would never be agreed by the unionist parties because they have too much to lose!

Even those who were stuck on the what seemed a logical idea of DEVO MAX, which was never being offered (again too much for Westminster to lose) are changing to YES and more so after George Osborne's recent intervention, enforcing his views on how one sided he see the Scottish/English relationship....his opinion might not have surprised those south of the border, but for many up here it was a wake up call! would be highly amusing to keep this going until the 19th of September or at least until the realisation hits home for the doubters that Scotland will be governed entirely by a Scottish Government. It is understandable that this notion is difficult to comprehend given what information you are fed!

All the very best everyone!

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Mar 12, 2014 at 09:55

Extended devolution was always the real target as the incoherent and contradictory policy on retaining the pound has made clear.

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William Phillips

Mar 13, 2014 at 12:39

Yes, the Haggis has copied the Parti Quebecois strategy of asking for the impossible in hopes of getting a lot more feathers for his plumage. But he has alienated so many people whose goodwill he needs in the process that if Scotland does obtain new powers, it will be over a financial and economic wilderness such as Montreal has become, not many years after it was Canada's dominant financial centre. The best and brightest will run away.

I look forward to John Swinney as the new Dr Erhard, unleashing a Scotch 'Wirtschaftswunder'-- with those well known apostles of free enterprise, the public sector unions, leading the way in torching regulations and tightening their members' belts so that Scotch GDP can show England a clean pair of heels. Or will we call it Swinneynomics, like Rogernomics in New Zealand?

Back to Planet Reality:

"A major new poll shows 39 per cent of Scots are planning to vote Yes on September 18 compared with 48 per cent who will vote No.

That means the Nationalists must convince almost all voters that remain undecided – 13 per cent – to back their vision for a separate country over the next six months."

That is from the Daily Record, which of course is ultimately owned by Sassenachs so cannot be believed. All the papers and pollsters are in the plot to force Scotland to stay in the Union, so the Scotch can go on voting on laws for England without reciprocation, bagging the best UK jobs and being subsidised by Londoners. English masochism, och it's a terrible thing.

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Hamish Milne

Sep 10, 2014 at 15:31

Och aye the noo : )

Unfortunately the controlled media still spewing mis-information, as are big business and all of the unionist politicians who frequently contradict the many field specialists who have provided their own analysis in support of Independence.

I know we are not there yet with still 8 days to go....but am just wanting to see if any of you chaps are keeping up with the almost inevitable likelihood that you were wrong and barring some electoral fraud (not beyond the realms of possibility considering breaking the rules of the referendum campaigning this week).....we are likely to see Scotland return a significant majority vote for Independence next week.

I was previously trying to tell you what was happening here....unfortunately like Westminster parties no one was listening and the one flag they wouldn't allow to be flown at public events at our commonwealth games etc is now found flying above Downing street, Why? they really think we are that stupid and they still believe this is a narrow minded nationalistic vote for identity!! Today we see them arrive en mass, with more of the same catch phrases, telling us we are all "better together" as "one family of nations" with Westminster sharing and pooling our resources....what they don't say though is to allow for the further expansion of London!

Hopefully none of you know the guy with £800K on a no vote to win £200K....that was very risky!....considering if he'd piled it on yes, he'd likely bag over £3m!

Not long to go, hopefully catch up next Friday for some humble pie!

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Sep 10, 2014 at 15:59

@ Hamish

"likely to see Scotland return a significant majority vote for Independence next week."


"800K on a no vote to win £200K....that was very risky!....considering if he'd piled it on yes, he'd likely bag over £3m!".

So the bookies are offering 1/4 for a NO win and 15/1 for the YESes to go through. Have they ever been that wrong in what is a two horse race? Wishful thinking?

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Hamish Milne

Sep 10, 2014 at 16:26

The bookies were offering 5/1 (possibly 7/1 at the widest odds) for YES. and have been as wide as tight as 1/7 for a NO vote.

Currently 15/8 for YES and 2/5 for NO, closed significantly in the last 3 weeks.

15/1 would have given him/her over £11m....surely?

The "official" polls are saying 51% YES, 49% NO.....not that ever believed them as they didn't represent what was happening up here...while the street polls are showing 65% YES!

Not so sure it is wishful thinking?

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Sep 11, 2014 at 09:29

After the Yes vote, congratulations and good wishes will come flooding in from around the world - especially from countries that have followed their own path to independence.

No small country ever voted to give up its independence to become part of a much big country with a capital far, far away (in every sense, in London’s case).

Good luck, Hamish.

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