When Yes means No – A Tale of Three Referendums – Part 1 – The Fantasy

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“Supporters of Scottish Independence should vote No if there is another Independence Referendum”

That statement seems an oxymoron.  Surely if you support Scotland being an independent country, then you should vote Yes in another independence referendum?  This argument is not just a semantic political one, it is a tale about Scotland today and about how politics is being conducted in the modern Western world.  For me it is also deeply personal.  In this essay I will explain what is happening in Scotland and why I, as someone who believes in Scottish independence and who voted Yes in the last referendum, will vote No in the next one – if it happens.   This is a tale of three referendums and it is a lengthy one so I am splitting it into three parts – I will post one per day over the next three days.

  1. The Fantasy – in which we look at how the SNP adopted the EU as a religion.
  2. The Nightmare  – in which we look at how a party of freedom became authoritarian.
  3. The Dream – in which we look at a better future for Scotland.

1. The Fantasy – 

“Your contributions are disgraceful…no idea where your head is”…(a politician complaining about my writings!)

This is a very difficult article to write. Not least because for me it involves a significant change of opinion and the giving up of a long cherished ideal.   I am also aware that in the current climate in Scotland there is an element of personal cost, and I know the abuse that sadly will follow. I am also deeply conscious of my own limitations and lack of knowledge and so I have to be really careful. However I am off work with the lurgy and I need to think this through and get it of my chestand find out where my head is!…so here goes.

It is necessary to point out that what follows is my own personal opinion and not that of the Church, or of the Bible – although as always, I hope my Christian thinking influences everything.

I am also not writing this from the perspective of someone who hates the SNP or who thinks that everything they have done is bad.  I am actually an admirer of much of what they have done and would be classed as an SNP supporter and voter. I am a socially conservative, economically left-wing, believer in Scottish independence. I voted Yes in the Scottish Independence referendum and well remember the day when we just failed to win that referendum. It was a dull and gloomy day in lots of ways.   But as a democrat (and also someone whose hopes and trust is not placed in political leaders or solutions) I accepted it and got on with life, thinking that one day independence would happen.

Now I have changed my mind.   In an ideal world I would still like Scotland to be an independent country, but in the current climate, if the SNP ever have the nerve, or are foolish enough to go ahead with another Independence Referendum, I will this time vote No.   And I am not alone.  Take this from The Scotsman

“Despite only making up 14% of Scottish voters, over four in ten (43%) of these “Leave+Yes” voters have since abandoned their pro-independence position, with 28% now saying they would vote to stay in the union.”

There are many Yes voters who feel that they have been sidelined, abused and ignored by the SNP leadership.  We feel that the SNP has not only handled this wrongly but has made a fundamental mistake in its current EU policy.   I have spoken to many in the party (including some in power) who would agree with much of the following analysis. Others don’t agree. And the establishment hate it.

1 – The SNP has exchanged the idea of Scottish Independence for the fantasy of the progressive EU – There are those who think that the SNP are just using the EU referendum as an excuse to get Scottish Independence.  I think this is a faulty analysis which does not take into account the changes in the party over the past three years.   They think that the SNP only care about independence and are just using the EU issue to get it.   Whilst the initial change in the original anti-EU stance of the SNP was a tactical change (basically to argue that we would not be on our own), the current passion for the EU is of an altogether different order. It is not some kind of Salmond like Machiavellian plot to get another Indy Ref and Scotland out. I don’t believe that Nicola Sturgeon is either that deceptive or that stupid. I think that the current SNP leadership really do think that being part of the ‘progressive’ EU is more important than Scotland being independent. Which is why when some activists say to me ‘we agree – but let’s get out first and then we can vote on joining the EU’, I have to point out that does not work. The whole current SNP case is that we have to leave the UK, not to be independent, but so that we can join the EU.   Any referendum based on that premise deserves a no vote.

How did this happen?   How did we get to a stage where a party that was committed to the idea of Scottish independence was willing to bargain it away in order to stay within the EU? After the Independence Referendum the SNP membership increased by over 100,000.  It wasn’t just that these were people who were sold on the idea of Scottish independence. No the SNP became the ‘go to’ party for social progressives and those who wanted a fast track career in politics. We received some really good people, but also some who were clearly inadequate and in a political (if not a financial) sense, those who were ‘on the make’.      Somewhat counter intuitively, instead of broadening the party base, the massive increase in membership resulted in an increasingly narrow ideology.  The whole nature of the party as a broad party with a wide range of views united on the one common aim of an Independent Scotland, disappeared almost overnight.  We have become the Lib Dems of Scotland – only with a more Nationalist tinge. Anyone who does not buy into the progressive, EUphile agenda is out.

The EU is presented as the solution for everything. The EU as religion is deeply ingrained in the metro-elitist culture in Scotland. One senior academic told me that of course he, and most academics were for the EU – because the EU paid them.   The arts establishment, the business establishment and the political establishment are the same.  But it is more than finance.  It’s emotion based on a political and historical myth.  The EU is all that is good. It is progressive, the defender of human rights, the Saviour of the world.    That’s why the EU is seen as the answer to everything. Even today I heard Mike Russell, our EU minister state:

‘Depopulation can only be resolved through immigration”. Really? I agree with Mike that we need more immigration in Scotland, but the only way to deal with depopulation? How about supporting families, creating jobs and stopping killing our children in the womb? The 400,000 we were supposed to be short matches the number of children we have killed in the womb.  But that’s another issue.  However it does demonstrate the myopic state of much of the current SNP leadership.   Everything is seen through EUphile glasses.

 2- Independence in Europe is not Independence – The SNP came up with a slogan which was repeated ad nauseam on their social media and press “an independent Scotland in an interdependent EU”. I asked why that was different or any more meaningful than ‘an independent Scotland in an interdependent UK’. And so far no one has been able to answer that.   It appears that whilst it is not ok for Scottish laws to be made in Westminster, it is ok for them to be made in Brussels.  But this is because in the eyes of the new SNP, Brussells= good and Westminster =bad.  One of the things that most depresses me about this – is that every argument they use against Brexit is the same argument that was used against Scottish independence (economic disaster, narrow nationalism, isolationism etc).The SNP have become the anti-English, pro- EU party.

Furthermore the economic case is not as strong as the SNP and others keep claiming. Being in the EU is not all economic joy. Of course the SNP can’t even bring themselves to think this but there are many economic advantages in leaving the EU.  Read Brian Monteith’s superb article in The Scotsman about the disadvantages of Scotland being in the EU – in answering the question what price Scotland leaving the EU, he answered:

 “The price? Only the saving of over £10 billion a year, control over our laws, taxes and borders together with the ability to strike free trade deals with the rest of the world where the real economic growth is.”

 

3- The EU is not the democratic, progressive Nirvana that the SNP propaganda machine and politicians publicly espouse. You will search long and hard for any SNP criticism of the EU at all.   In fact the very opposite. It is beyond depressing to find how many cybernats obediently trot out the mantras from Party HQ, including the astonishing claim that ‘the EU is more democratic than the UK’.   I can understand people who have little or no knowledge making such a claim, but when you have full-time politicians making and apparently believing such nonsense, it makes you despair at the state of politics in our country. One SNP MSP even wrote in public that ‘it could be argued that the UK is not really a democracy at all’, whilst defending the EU!    This is alternative fact, post-truth politics at its worst.

The EU political executive is the unelected Commission, not one of whom is an elected politician; not one of whom can be ‘unelected’.   The EU parliament does not have the power to make laws. As Tony Benn pointed out numerous times, if you can’t vote out the people who make your laws, then you do not live in a democracy.   The fact that SNP politicians, in order to toe and defend the party line, can repeat such demonstrable nonsense, indicates the level of cynicism or ignorance that some of our politicians have been afflicted with (and yes I know the House of Lords is not elected – but it is as toothless as the EU parliament, being only a revising chamber, not a political executive).

Some supporters of independence get it.  For example Gerry Hassan  in The Scottish Review

“This British state of affairs is matched by an unhealthy situation in Europe. The EU is not the benign force of progress and economic advancement that it was seen as in the 1980s and 1990s. Instead, expansion combined with the euro has produced Euro-sclerosis. Monetary union without fiscal union has led to economic and social disaster: a Europe which works for the German economy, but which has left devastation across the Med from Greece to Italy, Portugal and Spain.

 SNP thinking on independence eventually has to move on and catch up with the times. The spirit and hopes of 1988 and independence in Europe: the EU of Jacques Delors and a ‘social Europe’ is no more. Similarly, the plans and aspirations of 2014 and the Salmondnomics vision of independence are dead in the water.”

But it is not just the illogicality of handing power over to an unelected EU commission that bothers me, it is the fantasy view that the SNP hierarchy have spun about the EU today. In the new religion of the EU (and it is believed, preached and propagated with all the fervour of the most fundamentalist religious extremist), the EU is a nirvana of progressive, social beliefs, where the poor are looked after, workers rights are defended, the environment protected, everyone rides cycles and live in a sea of milk, honey and lemonade with sexual, civil and emotional liberty.   To paraphrase Belinda Carlisle, ‘heaven is a place on earth’ and its capital is Brussels.  I don’t think the EU is hell on earth, but I do think it is fundamentally undemocratic, elitist and is close to collapse. It’s a good job we are getting out.  The SNP are twenty years out of date.

4- An Independent Scotland joining the EU is not the slam dunk deal the SNP keep telling us

 Scotland is not a member of the EU. The UK is the legal member state of the EU and the UK voted to leave. Incidentally I wish that the SNP would stop distorting the truth about the EU referendum. Scotland did NOT vote for Scotland to stay in the EU. Scotland did not even have a vote about Scotland staying in the EU. Scotland had a vote to stay in the UK and then the UK (including Scotland) had a vote to leave the EU. The fact that different areas of the UK voted differently has no more significance than the fact that different areas of Scotland voted differently in the Independence referendum. Can you imagine what would have happened if Scotland had voted to leave the UK and Shetland and Edinburgh claimed that because they voted NO, they should be treated differently?   Of course in doctrinaire propaganda, truth and reason don’t really matter and ‘alternative facts’ soon become the story.

SNP supporters genuinely believe that EU governments would be falling over themselves to accept Scotland as a new member. Really? Why? The Spanish government have every reason to discourage Catalonia going the same way. And the SNP idea that we could join as a separate nation without committing to join the Euro, without hard borders with England (a far more important market to us) and with all the current opt outs of the UK, is fanciful. Their much vaunted and boasted about EU document is just the fantasy politics of a government that has NO power to enact any of it. Politics without power is easy.    In fact it seems to have become a speciality of the SNP leadership to put forward as meaningful, documents which they have no power to enact.

You won’t hear this kind of realism from the SNP – Charles Grant from Business Insider

Speaking to Business Insider on Tuesday, Charles Grant, director of think-tank Centre for European Reform (CER), praised the Scottish government for the “weightiness” of the proposals, but said any special deal is unlikely given the lack of appetite from Westminster, the likelihood of a Spanish veto, and the legal difficulties of such an arrangement.

He said: “Obviously they would be politically, technically, and legally very hard to make work.”

“Mrs May would have to push for a deal herself. She would have to say to our partners, ‘We want you to give Scotland a sweetheart deal.'”

“I don’t think she wants to do that, because she is keen on the integrity of the United Kingdom, and creating differences between England and Scotland isn’t what a Tory politician like Mrs May thinks of

The above argues that the SNP has seen a significant change.  It has become the anti-English, pro-EU party.  It has thrown all its eggs in the EU basket and, at the moment they are all getting scrambled!   But the party line is different. In the simplistic black and white world which much of the SNP now inhabit, everything has to be reduced to a Tweet.   Every SNP politician and media source over the next few weeks will repeat the phrase “Tory Hard Brexit” because they don’t want to acknowledge that there is a left-wing, socialist case for leaving the EU and they don’t want to acknowledge that they have been chasing a fantasy.  This tendency to simplify things has other consequences.  Not least the suppression of dissent and an increasing tendency towards authoritarianism.  We will turn to that tomorrow.

Part two – When Yes means No – A Tale of Three Referendums – Part 2 – The Nightmare

Meanwhile you can read my earlier thinking on this The End of the Dream – Why the SNP Have Given up on Independence – Part 1

This article is the second most read I have ever written and explains why the EU is not the progressive Nirvana it is so often portrayed as. – European referendum – The TIPPing Point


91 thoughts on “When Yes means No – A Tale of Three Referendums – Part 1 – The Fantasy

  1. Thank you for expressing almost to the word, how I have been feeling…I say feeling because the uncomfortable feeling about the SNP as an SNP member has been growing since Brexit and my leave vote and the paucity of any voices reflecting this.

  2. You make one very valid point in particular. It’s an aspect of political discussion that has troubled me for some time. I voted remain as the least worst of two options. I was also troubled that the remain campaign had become associated with some pretty nasty right wing politics. At the same time, I was aware that only is the EU frequently undemocratic but that its whole ethos is at odds with my broadly, nowadays old fashioned, socialist politics. There is a long tradition of left wing opposition to the EU, not least by the late and brilliant Tony Benn. I’ve no doubt some of those that voted leave did so based social democratics principles. As you know it’s practically impossible to get remainers to understand that.
    I also take your point that the fact that across Scotland the vote was much more in favour of remain does mot provide a de facto reason for Scottish independence. We already had an independence referendum. The outcome necessarily ensures that where Westminster goes, we go. That’s not to say Scottish MP’s shouldn’t vote against the Brexit bill should they wish too but fairness demands we recognise that one third of Scots voted remain. I was recently told David Mundell was a disgrace to Scotland for voting with the Government on this despite his own very clearly stated position and a three line whip. This is the territory in which we now find ourselves: those that do not toe the supposed liberal line are traitors and worse.
    Our world has indeed become a black and white one and a bullying one at that. Personally Im happy for people to disagree with me as long as their position is a thought out and reasoned one. I ask only that they extend to me the courtesy of accepting thatvI have thougtlht about my own position also. Like you, much of who I am and what I do is affected by my profession of Christianity and my politics. Im finding it difficult maintain the will to keep caring in a world that refuses to acknowledge the validity of disagreement and difference.
    If there is a second referendum, the question of EU membership will dominate. I think you may be right to imply that Scotland hasn’t given this question the degree of attention it deserves due to a semi automatic tendency to reject the position held by the Westminster government, whatever it happens to be. A second referendum campaign needs to set out the advantages and disadvantages of EU membership very clearly. I hope the two sides in the debate are up to it.

  3. Couldn’t agree more. I am of the same opinion and believe the dream for Scottish Independence is fast becoming a nightmare. Praying you make a quick recovery from the dreaded lurgy!

  4. For me all this is rather obvious. I remember free in 93, but the SNP say they were not relying on Oil, but that is what they said then. Also the agenda in EU is set by people who are not elected, in fact the EU is an ideology that started out well among nations who went to war and it was intended to aid long term peace. It has in fact become a monetary union and has become large and unwieldy.

  5. Interesting article. Can I make a small grammatical point please? The phrase is “toe the line”, as in the starting place for a race, not “tow the line”, which means pulling a rope.you are not the only one to get this mixed up.

  6. Why we should leave the UK to “assert our sovereignty”, only to then immediately hand it over to bureaucrats in Brussels, is an absolute mystery and clearly illogical.

    1. Brussels does not collect all UK taxation and then decide how much it’s going to give back. Westminster does that to Scotland. Brussels doesn’t even set the rate of VAT, Westminster does that. Brussels doesn’t have the power to insist we keep nuclear warheads on the Clyde. Westminster does that. We wouldn’t have had to ask Brussels for permission to regulate our broadcasters, but we had to ask Westminster’s permission to set up a Gaelic language TV channel, because Conservative MPs from Surrey need to be consulted before punters in Portree can watch Gaelic soaps. Brussels wouldn’t have been able to commit a Scottish defence force to the invasion of Iraq, but Westminster tells us what countries we’ll go to war with. Brussels doesn’t have the power to tell us how much the state pension for the elderly would be or what administrative hoops disabled people have to go through in order to get benefits, only Westminster does.
      If the UK decided to hold the referendum on the leaving the EU, there would be an outcry if Brussels decided it would determine the timing and question of the vote, yet that’s what Westminster wanted to do in Scotland.
      Eurosceptics say within the EU we’re dictacted to by an undemocratic superstate. Being dictated to by an undemocratic state is a perfect description of the situation of Scotland under the Union.

      Weneed independence, THEN we debate if we want to be in the EU, I’m for out of both.

      1. But Alan – the point of these articles is to show that that is NOT the option being offered by the SNP. They will have a second Indy in order for us to stay in the EU. Whilst it is true that there are enormous problems with the Union to call it an undemocratic state is hyperbolic nonsense. And you do realise that it is Brussls that controls over 50% of our laws – not Westminster.

      2. You say “But Alan – the point of these articles is to show that that is NOT the option being offered by the SNP. They will have a second Indy in order for us to stay in the EU. Whilst it is true that there are enormous problems with the Union to call it an undemocratic state is hyperbolic nonsense”

        The SNP are trying (I think) to get independence, they believe that is the best way, I agree.
        Lets get independence first then we debate the EU.

      3. But thats not what is on offer! The SNP are ONLY offering ‘indy’ in order to belong to the EU. Thats not independence. If they said we will get independence first then have another referendum to see if we belong to the EU I might reconsider!

  7. A well written and Thoughtful Blog , if only all Nationalists would read it Scotland would be so much more informed overnight , the SNP has sold lots of young Scots a dummy on the EU and are misrepresenting “Remain Votes”, this is extremely deceitful, Its not right just to label it “Politics” and pretend it doesn’t matter. Politicians exist to serve us… not the other way around.

  8. I found the leave vote to be rather depressing. As a young person I relished the opportunity to live, study and work in 27 other countries – in what other place on earth do you have this opportunity! To form friendships, relationships and partnerships with people all over Europe. In the course of a night, this was all taken away. I’m devastated, and I don’t know what it was for… to keep foreign people out? For the economy, this ‘omnipotent god’ we must constantly satisfy? To hand democracy back to a flawed first-past-the-post system and unelected House of Lords? I get that not everybody voted leave because of immigration but I honestly feel like someone has told me I can never leave Aberdeen because other Aberdonians are sick of those Glaswegians that keep moving here, it just feels absurd and I am absolutely devastated.

    1. James – thats why you need to deal in facts and not propaganda. You seriously think that we won’t be able to live, study and work in other countries because of Brexit? In what other place on earth do we have this opportunity? All over the world! You need to get out of that eurocentric bubble! None of this was taken away – your devastation is down to post truth fake news – not reality. As for the economy – you do understand that the only reason we were told we had to stay in was the economy? And you think we are handing democracy ‘back’ after giving it over to the EU. You need to take a deep breath and try to look at things in a wider context. Then perhaps you could avoid all this false devastation. Neither leaving or being in the EU is worth that level of emotion. There are things that are far more important. But thanks for the post – it certainly demonstrates the level of indoctrination that has occurred amongst our young people!

      1. The ability to work and study visa free? And the ability for Europeans to come here to work and study visa free? Because that is definitely not what has been promised and restricting movement, beyond vacations, to those with visas means restricting work and study to a privileged few. I have lived in non-European countries and the amount of fear/stress/financial trouble I have had with visas is quite significant. Have you looked at the immigration system in the UK for non-Europeans? My friend wasn’t allowed to have his Canadian partner live with him in the UK until he made a certain amount of money even though he was working full time as it was. Other friends have been excluded from the UK in the middle of their PhDs. If you ever experience an immigration system, you wouldn’t wish it on your worst enemy, and this appears to be what we are heading for with Europe.

      2. James – one of the reasons our immigration system is the way it is is because of the EU. Because we have to have open borders for 400 million people we are far stricter on anyone else. We need a proper immigration system – not an EU only one. Why aren’t you as concerned for the Africans, Americans, Arabs and Australians as you are for the Europeans? As for the privileged few- are you sure that in reality that does not apply today? I wonder how many people in the houseing schems of Scotland can afford to travel round Europe and could get jobs?

      3. I am concerned, but I’m not convinced that because we are now out of the EU we are suddenly going to open our doors to people from Africa or the Middle East, though I think we should. The way this country treats immigrants is horrendous. As for people from the housing schemes, I have met people who grew up in the housing schemes and have been able to study and work abroad because of the European Union.

        I suppose it comes down to identity. I do not see my European friends, many of whom do not meet the current criteria for immigrating to the UK if they were non-EU, as foreigners or immigrants. I am European, they are European, one and the same. The thought that they are now ‘outsiders’ that will potentially have to jump through hoops to live in the place they call home, it is awful.

    2. Do you believe you would have chosen to “live, study and work in 27 different other countries”? Ridiculous concept. And if you want to you can apply.

      Economy is an ‘omnipotent god’. Without it you could afford to do the above that you so disingenuously profess to do.

    3. Where were you planning on working James, mass unemployment is rife among the youth of europe and do you really think in those circumstances they are more open minded to “immigrants” taking their jobs than here in the UK?

  9. David,
    I think you have nailed it where you say,
    ” I think that the current SNP leadership really do think that being part of the ‘progressive’ EU is more important than Scotland being independent………… The whole current SNP case is that we have to leave the UK, not to be independent, but so that we can join the EU. Any referendum based on that premise deserves a no vote.”
    Weesandy above is right too, SNP supporters are being sold a dummy but still haven’t twigged. I suppose none of us like to acknowledge when we’ve been had.
    Appreciate what you’re doing to get the message across. Keep up the good work.

    1. Rubbish, we should get out of this corrupt, Pro England, anti Scottish rotten union. THEN we should debate if we want to be in the EU or not.

      This is not abut the SNP, about the Scottish people.

      1. Again – this is not what is on offer. The SNP are offering Indy Ref2 predicated on us going into the EU. Sadly this is about the SNP and their power games and EU obsession and not about the Scottish people.

  10. It makes a kind of sense especially if you start with the presumption that the EU is a bad thing and that the pro independence movement is an anti-English movement. Both of which views are in reality complete nonsense but i suppose it will appeal to a right wing religious readership.

    1. But I didn’t start with the presumption that the EU is a bad thing, or that the pro-independence movement is an anti-English movement (I am part of it). And I wasn’t writing for a right wing readership. Sadly your post exemplifies the kind of closed minded prejudice that is giving Scottish nationalism a bad name!

      1. It’s more likely people like you, with your fake “I voted yes” nonsenss and Scotsman quotes, that are giving Scottish nationalism a bad name.

      2. Again another example – sadly one of far too many – which demonstrates my concerns expressed in the articles. I did vote Yes and the Scotsman quotes were not fake. Its not me that is giving Scottish nationalism a bad name – its those like you who refuse to engage in rational discussion, name call and abuse. Maybe its time for Scottish nationalism to grow up?

      3. If you genuinely believe in Scottish independence but would vote against it because of one policy from one political party (not to mention quoting anti indepence newspapers to strengthen your case AGAINST independence), perhaps Political blogging isn’t for you?

      4. Thanks for the advice…but you are clearly missing the point. Which is that Scotland being in the EU is NOT independence. We would be ruled over by people we did not elect, compelled to take the Euro and have less autonomy than we currently have in the UK! Also its a little worrying that you seem to want to restrict your sources only to those who agree with your pre-conceived views. (Ps. you posted several posts you may wonder why they have not all been moderated. There are two reasons – 1) I can’t post all the comments I get without this turning into yet another pointless internet spat and 2) for the same reason I don’t post many rude, abusive or ignorant comments. If you have something to contribute (even if it it disagrees with me) fine. If you wish to rant, mock, abuse, virtue signal, do that in your own space and your own time…Thanks..

      5. And I’m not entirely sure what name calling and abuse you’re referring to? You don’t actually know the first thing about me, yet suggest I refuse to engage in rational discussion. Because I think your post is nonsense? Because you claim to support independence but write about why we should vote against it? Because most of your followers seem to be unionists? Telling people they have closed minds and bring shame on a cause they believe in is not rational discussion.

        In fact, little of what you’ve written could be described as rational.

  11. This is one of the few thoughtful posts that I’ve came across from a nationalist Indy blogger. I wish there was more like you. Perhaps “Loki the Scottish Rapper” albeit from a different starting point in life.

    There is a huge dishonesty amongst Nationalists. A cultist approach to whatever is said. I was a Remainer for the EU as I’ve served in Eastern European wars and have seen atrocities that I’d only thought only Africans could commit. I believe that the EU project is a good one, albeit it has went awry with arrogance & no sign of chang. , I’ve enjoyed driving through from UK to Serbia-Kosovo-Greece without hindrance. But the arrogance of non taxpayer leaders chastising British democracy has turned me.

    Be that as it may, I have a question. Why don’t Nationalists ever take a rationalist view of being in the UK? I’m talking economic realism where even when the SNP Gov’s own figures show that it don’ts make sense from a progressive or social justice POV – they “post truth” and “alternative fact” there way as justification?

  12. What about going for an Independent Scotland in an Independent UK as an actual position? In other words, a Union by consent where the constituent parts choose to be in the UK and where they pool sovereignty into the centre where appropriate rather than powers bejng devolved. It probably makes sense for a Island of nations to share responsibility for defence of the realm, protecting its borders and therefore having a common foreign policy.

  13. I’m a unionist, but it seems I believe in your nation more than the current SNP leadership. That’s a pretty sad state of affairs.

  14. Good inside story here. I do feel that the SNP’s obsession with the EU is best explained by a sort of old-left, anti-British kneejerk attraction to any political bloc which could be seen as an antidote to the UK. Precisely the same attitude once prevailed among Labour’s hard-left, who hated the British Empire and anything that smacked of it but were happy to make friends with the USSR.

    I wasn’t aware that the SNP’s membership spike was driven by doctrinaire progressives, but if that’s the case it explains a lot. It also suggests the future is pretty bleak, as I somewhat doubt the Tories – despite recent gains in Scotland – will ever be able to field a serious resistance outside their strongholds of the Borders, parts of Aberdeenshire and a few other localities.

  15. I’m in the same boat. The sheer anti-democratic nature of the SNP since the indyref and their student-level politics of grievance has made me want to throw up. I was Yes but am now No, and I voted Leave because the EU is a failing superstate run by 3rd rate council officials who reply to every legitimate concern with ‘More EU!’

  16. Very good article , with the only disagreement being that the SNP are not progressive or truly left wing , up until the Greens forced the tax policy on Scotland they have never been really left wing or progressive.

    Going as far back as allowing the SVR to lapse to forcing changes to the recent poverty report , the SNP have never really done anything progressive . They have won Tory / Lib dem votes with bribes and freebies from the stolen Annabelle Goldie Council Tax freeze which benefits the wealthy to free prescriptions, they have had a strategy that will now reverse as last Scottish elections show . Even the bedroom tax was done with labour support !

    They are centralising party hunger for control and power at any cost , I would also suggest rather than fail nearly every departmental brief and blame others for doing so , they may find more people would rally to the cause if they could demonstrate the ability to run our NHS education etc !

    Just because the NHS is worse elsewhere does not excuse it failing in Scotland or just because the Tory’s made a hash of the fishing industry does not excuse them for not fighting for fisherman’s rights now . It is slower than the support the SNP got after 2014 but there is that swing !

  17. I will only say this, as a Christian, you say you would vote no against independence in the next referendum. That is a complete disgrace, if you truly are a man of your God, then you should be supporting the SNP in their quest for Scotland to run it’s own affairs.
    The biggest amount of WMDs in western Europe are sitting within forty miles of Scotland’s biggest city.
    These weapons are an abomination and should be removed from Scotland as quickly as possible.
    If Scotland again votes no in the next referendum then hypocrites like you will be responsible for ensuring that these disgusting weapons remain on Scottish soil.

    As for your remarks about abortion, bog off it’s the womans right to choose.
    Aortion, is a effective way of keeping to out of control human population down.

    1. I would suggest you keep out of theology and stop trying to mix it up with politics! To argue that all Christians must vote for Indy is absurd.

      As for your comments about abortion…’bog off’ is the kind of rational, reasoned response one has come to expect. You have a rather simplistic view of life and obviously havn’t quite factored out that there are at least two lives (usually three) involved in every abortion. As for it being an effective way of keeping human population down you are contradicting yourself. Doubtless a few nuclear bombs would also have that effect. Why just kill babies in the womb? Why not kill infants? disabled? weak/ the elderly? the poor? Anyone who is not a productive member of society? Thats where your logic leads you…

  18. “although as always, I hope my Christian thinking influences everything”

    And yet you will vote no, knowing nuclear weapons will be forced on Scotland by Westminster, you’re a con.
    And you have the nerve to condemn the SNP!

    1. Sometimes I despair at the inability of some Nats to make logical sense. Nuclear weapons are already here. I don’t agree that we should have them. But that is not what we were talking about. But I also regard the SNP stance as hypocritical. Their policy is to belong to a Nuclear alliance and shelter under America’s nuclear power.

      1. Define nationalism? I would never call myself a “nat” .

        As for “Nuclear weapons are already here” what the hell is that got to do with it?

        “Britain’s nuclear-armed submarines cannot be moved from Scotland to the Devonport naval base in Plymouth because they do not have safety clearances to dock there.
        The disclosure has huge implications for the Ministry of Defence (MoD) if Scotland votes for independence and a new government demands the withdrawal of the nuclear fleet.
        The MoD has revealed that the safety arrangements for Devonport do not permit the presence of submarines carrying Trident nuclear warheads. The MoD’s safety experts are not considering changing that.
        The problem is that the dockyard is in a densely populated area and, if there were an accident, thousands of people would be at risk. The worst accident scenario envisaged by the MoD would kill up to 11,000 people in Plymouth and would not meet the official criteria for what is acceptable, according to a new report”

        https://www.theguardian.com/uk/2013/jan/04/mod-nuclear-submarines-scotland-plymouth

        I guess your happy that Scotland has to take them?

        Remember NATO has 28 member states, only three have nukes the US, France and Scotland!!

        Your opinion of the SNP is not my concern.

      2. It is the UK that has nuclear weapons. But you miss the simple point. NATO is a nuclear alliance. If you belong to NATO you belong to a nuclear alliance. You are supporting the use of nuclear weapons.

  19. I am aware that the EU and the SNP are far from perfect. However I see the SNP as the best route to Independence and after Independence they will either change drastically or die. I also think there are those in the SNP would rather keep fighting for independence than actually win it. There are many who are doing nicely out of the Westminster establishment, thoug I think they have not yet been corrupted by it and would do alright in the event of independence.

    The primary goal is independence. After that we can see about the EU. I want to retain free movement and for me the rest is negotiable. I have worked and lived in several EU countries and made friends there. I resent the prospect of my right to travel there being taken away by a bunch of racist xenophobes. Yes not all are racist but every racist in the UK voted to leave. And I despair for those who still believe Brexit will not cause economic chaos and that they were not lied to.

    The SNP are right to say it was Scotland’s will to stay in the EU. Just as the Brexiteers can say it was the will of England and Wales to leave.

    But opinions can change. If that was not the case we would not need general elections, only by elections when a seat has no MP. A second EU referendum AFTER independence would satisfy me.

    Independence is not a fantasy. It will come, sometime. It will be hard but worth it in the end.

    The SNP have given free education for my children, free prescriptions, when the cost of collecting the fees exceeded the revenue gained, free bus passes for the elderly and disabled and many other investments in the future of Scotland. I am sure they will vanish within two terms of independence. I am not a member of any political party by the way. I distrust the SNP less than the others, that is all.

    1. Alex – sorry but your views are about a decade out of date. If the SNP takes us into independence on the basis of staying in the EU – they won’t die…they will become even more powerful and I suspect we will be heading towards a one party state. The primary goal is social and economic justice, not independence. But even if it were you do realise that that is not what is being offered. We are being offered a referendum only to make us dependent on the EU.

      1. 1. Even if my ideas are a decade old that does not make them wrong. By that logic every mainstream religion is out of date

        2. A one party state is where only one party is allowed to stand, often, as in the USSR, with only one candidate per seat. You are misusing the term.

        3. After independence the SNP’s main constitutional plank will be gone and they will be competing with a Labour and Tory party with new leaders and have to fight on their policies. With a new constitution and a revised opposition they will have to do what they, unlike the unionist parties, are trying to do now, do what is best for Scotland. I submit they will have to reform or become a rump.

  20. the nhs is underfunded on purpose by Westminster as part of the process of selling it off to profiteering tories with shares in American medical companies The fact that the snp are better at budgeting and running the Scottish nhs than both labour and the tories is only one of the reasons that I will continue to vote snp and for a independent Scotland no matter how many referendums it takes once that happens I will then chose which Scottish party best represents the interests of the people of Scotland

  21. I’m finding it difficult to believe I just read this:
    “How about supporting families, creating jobs and stopping killing our children in the womb? The 400,000 we were supposed to be short matches the number of children we have killed in the womb.”

    Any other argument you may have expressed, whether good, bad or indifferent, lost any validity whatsoever with that one statement. I could make many assumptions based on that comment, none of them particularly PC, but I won’t stoop to that level. There would be no point. For anyone to come up with that comment they must have certain views which are completely against any thought of equality for women.

    Every other comment you have made is now tinged with your obvious contempt for the idea of equality for women, and is therefore being treated with the same feeling of horror I had when I read the comment.

    It makes me wonder if your problem with SNP stance is more to do with misogyny than anything else.

    1. This is a fascinating and really sad comment. Even if your opinion on abortion were true – why would it negate every other statement I make? I disagree with you ion abortion but it doesn’t mean that every other statement you make is false or that they lose validity. The fact that you can say such a thing indicates a disturbing level of irrationality and fanaticism. I actually strongly believe in equality for women – all women – including those in the womb. You choose to exclude them. The fact that you now think that my problem with the SNP is because of misogyny is one of the most absurd and irrational comments I have ever read….If it were not so sad it would be amusing….please try not to impose your ideology upon everyone and try to think and listen to others…(by the way I know many women who are opposed to abortion – would you consider them to be opposed to their own equality?!)…

      1. “Even if my opinion were true”
        As it is my opinion it is neither true nor false. By by golly it is mine and I’m sticking to it.

        “I actually strongly believe in equality for women – all women – including those in the womb.”
        That doesn’t make sense. If the woman whose womb it is doesn’t want the pregnancy to continue you would make her unequal by insisting she continue to carry the child? That is NOT equality.

        “please try not to impose your ideology upon everyone and try to think and listen to others”
        I’ll throw that back to you. When I made my initial suggestions I was not aware of your position in the `Free Church, but I did have you clocked as a religious “extremist”. There are many who would suggest I was spot on.

        “(by the way I know many women who are opposed to abortion – would you consider them to be opposed to their own equality?!)”
        Certainly not. They have a right to their views and I would no more suggest they were wrong than you would. Were they, however, to suggest that women who find the need to terminate a pregnancy are wrong I would consider them to be speaking out of turn. Our right to our own opinions does not give us the right to force those opinions on others.

        Finally, my suggestion of your misogyny might have been proven valid. The whole tone of your response is patronising to say the least. I can picture you trying to pat me on the head and tell me that as a woman my opinion is not as valid as a man’s. Would you use words such as irrationality, fanaticism or absurd were you replying to a man? Or are those words reserved for women, and others, you deem as lesser beings than yourself? No need to answer that question as I’ve read enough of your work to answer it myself.

  22. It’s not very often I say this David, but I want to commend you for the way you have consistently exposed the illogicality of too much contemporary thinking including, or perhaps especially, in politics. You were writing about ‘post-Truth’ a good while before the term entered the common parlance. Holding a rational discussion on issues as diverse as independence, Brexit, Trump, gender politics and above all Christianity is all but impossible. It’s like trying to pay chess with a bee.
    You and I disagree on many things and probably always will. My criticism (not sure this is the right place) is just that you tend to assume some of those that disagree with you do so out of some kind of ulterior motive and can be inserted into a particular box. This is certainly true of contemporary political debate. If one points out that Trump voters are not necessarily evil or stupid, one is quickly seen as some sort of quisling. One might be broadly sympathetic with the principle of idependence yet find pragmatic arguments against it. You are right to point out the hypocrisy of the SNP’s position on Trident (this always troubled me) and I too am concerned that in Scotland we almost live under a de facto one party administration. Im so concerned about this I could almost see myself voting for the Scottish Tories, something I have never done, although I like Ruth Davidson, Murdo Fraser and others and think the Scottish party is a different kind of animal to their English counterparts, just to strengthen the opposition at Holyrood. Labour is a disaster. Kezia who?
    Anyways, credit where it’s due. I’ve spent so much time debating anti-brexiters, feminist gender types and their supporters, snowflakes and others that I’ve often brought to despair. It’s perhaps doubly galling when Rev DAR has been saying the same thing for a while 😂

  23. For those of who see Scottish independence as a journey, I find this “I will vote NO because I dislike the EU” a prominent but depressing line of argument. If Scotland votes NO in the next referendum then the dream of ever being a sovereign nation has gone for my lifetime if not ever. Over, never to be resurrected. However,If we vote Yes then we can start a serious and honest discussion about our status and relationship with Europe and the EU. We can evaluate the benefits for a small nation of staying or leaving the EU/EEA/EFTA over a few years and future elections will decide what we as a nation do. Our choice shaped by us.

    I have to query you assertion that remaining in the UK post Brexit would in anyway support – The primary goal of social and economic justice. Why do you think a Tory UK post Brexit as opposed to iScot in EU would support this goal more effectively?

  24. You wildly miss the position of the SNP. It has good reason to believe that staying in the EU is better for Scotland – in particular the Scottish economy.There is something else, too. It is the serial economic and financial incompetence of the UK government. Let us start with some of that. Thatcherism led to the premature, unjust deaths of thousands of people in the UK.

    https://pcwww.liv.ac.uk/~alexss/thatcherism.pdf

    “Given what we know about the impact of Thatcher’s neoliberal reforms on the social and economic landscape of Britain, it seems clear that Thatcher’s legacy includes the unnecessary and unjust premature death of many British citizens, together with a substantial and continuing burden of suffering and loss of well-being.”

    Take oil and gas industry – mishandled to the point where it had to be taken out of the hands of the UK government.

    https://www.woodreview.co.uk

    The failure to set up an Oil Fund was an example of the repeated Tory Party tactic of putting party before country. The oil money was used to pay unemployment benefit. Unemployment was deliberately created by government, in part as a tactic to weaken the Trade unions. had there been an oil fund its value would be a conservative estimate of £450 billion or £850 billion.

    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/jan/13/north-sea-oil-money-uk-norwegians-fund

    The UK government has caused much of the health inequalities that occur in Scotland.

    “The most important locus for actions on health inequality is therefore policies which determine the distribution of income, wealth and power.”

    and

    “The WHO Commission on Social Determinants of Health made three broad
    recommendations:
    1. To measure and understand the problem
    2. To improve daily living conditions
    3. To tackle the inequitable distribution of power, money and resources”…

    “However, in relation to the third recommendation, inequalities in power, money and
    resources have increased rapidly and to historically high levels in the UK over the last
    30 years [28]. This makes it very unlikely that health inequalities will decline in
    Scotland until these inequalities in power, money and resources are also reduced.
    The rising income inequalities in recent years are likely to be compounded in the
    near future by cuts to welfare benefits which will impact on the poorest and most
    vulnerable groups in Scotland [29‐31]. The Scottish Government has limited powers
    to influence these matters at present as economic and welfare policy is largely
    determined by the UK Government.”

    http://www.gov.scot/Resource/0041/00412226.pdf

    So not only does the UK government mainly cause health inequalities in Scotland it denies any Scottish government the most effective means of addressing health inequalities and has done so deliberately.

    The Brexit referendum is another example of a Tory party that puts party before country. That referendum was conducted to try to resolve Tory party conflict over the EU.Criminally, there was no planning in advance of the decision. The economic strategy is to appear incompetent allowing the pound to drop in value. This will increase inflation and make even worse the position of the poor.

    There is no opposition to the Tory government. The Labour Party is degenerating. It now has a pop-up Shadow Cabinet in which anyone can be a member for a couple of hours.

    I will say bluntly that your choice is stupid and ill-thought through. The Conservative party is malign in intent to Scotland. Independence within the EU, for all the faults, is better than being in the UK under any UK government. Of one thing you can be certain. If Labour ever has power again in the UK it will be a neo-liberal government that will damage the poor. where is your Christianity?

      1. Your reply suggests that you do not get the point.

        In my post I spoke about health inequalities. These are driven by political decisions, mainly by the UK government. The outcome of UK government policies is an increase in poverty throughout the UK. Poverty leads to poorer health and can result in early, premature death preceded by a lengthy period of bad health. It is deliberate policy and policy makers are well aware of the malign effect of their policies on the health of the population. (I can give you more links if you wish).

        There are limited choices for any Scottish government, whatever it’s hue, to address health inequalities. The remedy is the re-distribution of wealth, power and income (a Christian remedy?) Scotland cannot do such re-distribution most effectively without control of welfare and economic policies.

        So an absence of devo max or Scottish independence means Scotland cannot do the best for Scottish people to address health inequalities. That is the choice you would make and I call that lacking Christianity because it is

      2. Ah, the good old blame it all on England approach. Health, social policy and not welfare and some taxation are devolved matters. Its not just Westminster that should take the blame for the Gorbals! And you are completely missing the point….Independence in the EU is not Independence

      3. Once again, the good old “Independence in the EU is not Independence” And the devolved powers for welfare etc.

        Try telling France and Germany that they are not independent. They’ll laugh at you.

        You know as well as I do that the welfare powers already devolved can do very little. Westminster still control the purse strings.

      4. Strange how the same mantra gets repeated all the time. The obvious point is that Scotland is not France or Germany. We are more like Greece! And the welfare powers we have could do a lot – combined with the power over Income tax. But the SNP are refusing to use them. Its so much easier to complain about Westminster than it is to take responsibility for oneself.

      5. Why are we more like Greece?

        In what less obvious way is Scotland not like France or Germany?

        What would be your preferred use of the welfare powers?

        I will assume that you would like to add 1p to Income Tax rates. That seems to be the popular action. Perhaps you will surprise me with something quite radical.

      6. Another one of those alternative facts! GDP of Germany = $3.73 trillion of Greece = $242.2 – that of UK $2.678 trillion. Hardly midway! Unless of course its the new EU economics!

      7. Devolved powers are not of use without appropriate devolved funding. Your comment might be valid if we had full fiscal autonomy.

        And, in what way is independence in the EU not independence?

        The EU is a voluntary union of independent nations. None of the Unions that make up the UK are voluntary. In particular the 1707 act of union was achieved by a mixture of bribery and coercion and was forced on the people by an aristocracy keen on lining her pockets and saving their financial skins.

      8. I think you know little about health inequalities. In his 2012 paper, “What would be sufficient to reduce health inequalities in Scotland? Dr Gerry McCartney says this: . ” The most important locus for actions on health inequality is therefore policies which determine the distribution of income, wealth and power. ”
        He says:
        “Given that income, wealth and power inequalities are the key determinants of health inequalities, it is unlikely that health inequalities will decline if substantial progression reducing these economic and democratic inequalities is not achieved.”
        Also,
        ” The WHO Commission on Social Determinants of Health made three broad
        recommendations:
        1. To measure and understand the problem
        2. To improve daily living conditions
        3. To tackle the inequitable distribution of power, money and resources

        He goes on to say:
        “However, in relation to the third recommendation, inequalities in power, money and resources have increased rapidly and to historically high levels in the UK over the last 30 years [28]. This makes it very unlikely that health inequalities will decline in Scotland until these inequalities in power, money and resources are also reduced. The rising income inequalities in recent years are likely to be compounded in the near future by cuts to welfare benefits which will impact on the poorest and most vulnerable groups in Scotland [29‐31]. The Scottish Government has limited powers to influence these matters at present as economic and welfare policy is largely determined by the UK Government. However, there remains scope for more to be done by the Scottish Government and by local government to create a context in which health inequalities can be reduced.”

        The most effective way to deal with health inequalities in Scotland requires Scotland to have full welfare and economic powers. Meanwhile the economic policies of successive UK governments since Mrs Thatcher have increased poverty in the UK leading to greater health inequalities. You don’t know this stuff, do you?

        Once the UK leaves the EU it will find that in order to access markets it has to comply with regulations from the World Trade Organisation. Whether you like it or not, a Scotland that is independent will not be free from outside regulation inside or outside the EU.

      9. I assume that you are aware that the UK already has to comply with regulations from the WTO? Its the minimum standard for everyone. Its more than a little simplistic and naive to think that the Scottish government have nothing to do with money, power and resources! I think your angry, snide and superior comments don’t really help. You seem more than a little confused….

      10. No Scottish government has control over employment. It cannot stop zero hours contracts. Professor Tannahill gave evidence to the Holyrood Health Committe last year saying that there was evidence that zero hours contracts were more harmful to health that long term unemployment.
        No Scottish government can change employment law to reduce or eliminate the costs of appearing at an industrial tribunal. It can cost up to £1200 to put your case. The effect is to erode employment rights.
        The minimum wage can’t be raised by a Scottish government. VAT can’t be reduced to lower prices. Corporation tax can’t be reduced to encourage growth of companies.

        It would be easier to point you to the economic matters that are reserved. Go here:http://archive.is/vWWlX

      11. What is independence for any country? Do you think if Scotland is independent and out of the EU it will not have to comply with all the regulations of the World Trade Organisation?

        I voted for Brexit and have had to re-consider. For Scotland, particularly its farming and food industry, being in the EU is much better than being in the UK’s version of politics. Brexit will mean more poverty and more health inequalities as a result.

        Nor have I forgotten that the whole Brexit exercise was the Tory party putting party before country as it has in the past. The failure to set up an oil fund has cost the UK somewhere between £450 and £850 billion. Rather than do that it pissed away the money on tax breaks for the rich and paying unemployment benefit for those whose lives were deliberately ruined.

        I am not a member of the SNP or any party and do not look on the SNP uncritically. It has made mistakes but would, in my opinion, produce better government for Scotland than your choice – the Union.

        I have read something of what you write. I can find little of substance in why you think Unionism is a better choice than an independent Scotland in the EU. Mostly what you write about is your encounters with SNP members and the style, though not the substance, of SNP government. It is mostly shallow stuff, with you at the centre. Nothing much about politics.

        The remedy for health inequalities is the re-distribution of wealth, power and income. That means fundamental political changes. Such re-distribution cannot effectively be done without full control of the economic and welfare policies. What is reported in the media is the SNP government’s response to tackling the symptoms of health inequalities – such as the need for more mental health resources. What is never reported are the causes of health inequalities. This is what NHS Scotland says:

        “There is widespread agreement that the primary causes of health inequalities are rooted in
        the political and social decisions and priorities that result in an unequal distribution of income,
        power and wealth across the population and between groups.”

        The SNP government has some influence here but these factors are mainly driven by the politics of UK government. I remember that, following the loss of the Independence referendum, Sir Harry Burns, the former Chief Medical Officer of Scotland remarked bitterly, “The poor have been put back in their box.” Sir harry plainly believed, as do I, that any independent Scottish government is going to do more good for the poor of Scotland than any UK government.

        I cannot really be bothered with you. you’re not a flea – you are a nit.

      12. Is there a reason you have to be so abusive? Its somewhat strange that you think Brexit was a Tory plot and yet you voted for it.. You make a number of unsupported assertions = for example that the poor will be better off in the EU than in the UK. It would be good to see your evidence for that. I wonder if the Greek and Italian poor think the same? I am not surprised that you can find little of substance….maybe your prejudices are blinding you. That would certainly explain the rudeness and abuse.

      13. The use of a referendum by the Tories was a means of trying to heal their own divisions and do down UKIP. The Tories were and remain divided over the EU and Brexit. To conclude, as you seem to do, that I “voted for it” [Brexit -a Tory plot] is nonsense. What makes you believe that I think Brexit is a Tory plot? What makes you think I gave any consideration to the Tories when I voted?

        You say:” You make a number of unsupported assertions = for example that the poor will be better off in the EU than in the UK.” You misrepresent what I said. I said I believed that the poor would be better off in an independent Scotland than under UK government. The remark made by Sir Harry Burns on the day after the independence referendum – “the poor have been put back in their box” is a strong indication that he shares that view.

        I have already given evidence regarding how the UK governments have created poverty and increased health inequalities. Why not read it? It is up the page. There is every reason to believe that a Scottish government would not act in the same way as successive UK governments. First,they have spent money (£100 million or so) on mitigating the effect of the bedroom tax. Their policies are monitored for their effects on poverty by Naomi Eisenstadt. They have strongly criticised the austerity policies of the UK government and the sanctions that are the cause of the existence of food banks.

      14. Did you not say that you voted for Brexit? I just took you at your word! Did you not say Brexit was a Tory plot? As for the SNP government in the EU – paying $3 billion for the privilege, running a $14 billion annual deficit, and without the Barnett formula…somehow I don’t see them doing anything but create more trouble for the poor – and no they have not done a great deal for the poor in Scotland since coming to power – witness for example the fact that poorer students are far less likely to go to University….sorry I don’t share your faith.

      15. I did not say Brexit was a Tory plot. You did. I said, accurately, that there was no reason for a referendum other than to help the Tory party resolve its divisions. Further, Brexit was not the desired or anticipated result. No planning was done for the outcome. Sir Ivan Rogers, the UK ambassador to the EU quit his post with a warning that civil servants should “never be afraid to speak the truth to those in power.”. He pointed to “muddled thinking” in the government. I did vote for Brexit. I have had second thoughts. I encourage you to do the same.

        Where do you get your figures for Scotland’s contribution to the EU? Don’t you think we are, by your standards, such a basket case that we would be a net recipient of funds?

        This “deficit” is meaningless – for a number of reasons. If the figures have meaning it says what a bad deal the Union gives us. The figures include item such as spending on Trident, HS2 which an independent Scotland will not be paying for. Also, your “deficit” assumes that Scotland remains stuck in the time warp of today’s UK. Scotland will be developing its own economy and doing much more of what the people want.

        We have oil. 24 billion barrels recoverable in the North Sea, over 90% in Scottish waters. We have gas, over 60% of which is in Scottish waters. There are frontier areas of exploration in Scottish waters. In 2011, when the oil price was high but the tax regime unfavourable the total tax paid to the UK by the O&G industry was just over £30 billion. This sum is around the annual Scottish budget. Just under a third came from corporation tax. The remainder came from the taxes paid by the workforce including the supply chain. The workforce is split about 50/50 Scots/English. If it stays that way a more healthy oil industry would provide some £16 billion each year to a Scottish Treasury. After independence, England might start fracking more seriously taking with it some of the English people working in the O&G industry.

        You see Scotland as too poor, too wee, too stupid. That lies behind your remark about a deficit that remains forever fixed. There is room for optimism about O&G and other aspects of Scottish life and economy.

        Pinsent Masons’ head of corporate finance, Rosalie Chadwick said:

        ‘The Shell-Chrysaor deal will prove to be the tipping point which leads to the third wave of the North Sea’s evolution and a number of other significant transactions in the months and years ahead. More availability of funding, a stable oil price, better alignment of price expectations for both buyers and sellers, and a fresh approach to decommissioning responsibilities, means that all the chess pieces are lined up with the North Sea poised for a period of productive M&A activity.’

        Companies are buying acreage in Scottish waters because they wish to explore for oil.

        The levels of child poverty in Scotland are shameful but they are the lowest in the UK .In the decade to 2010/11, the child poverty rate in Scotland fell from 31% to 21% after housing costs. From having a higher rate than England and Wales, Scotland now has a much lower rate. The rate for England and Wales is 28%.’ (Rowntree Foundation 2013)

        The Daily Business Group said this: “Productivity in Scotland has grown four times faster than the UK average and the economy is now performing at the same rate, according to new data….Output per hour worked in Scotland – a measure of how much output the economy produces in each working hour – has grown 3.5% in 2015, compared to a UK figure of 0.9%. Scottish productivity has now effectively caught up with UK levels – increasing from 94.5% of the UK average output per hour in 2007 to 99.9% in 2015.”

        Incidentally, I should have said GDP figures per hour worked for the UK lie halfway between those of Greece and Germany. ” Among EU countries, GDP per hour worked in the UK in 2015 (USD 47.74) was approximately half way between that in Greece (USD 31.32, UK-34%) and Germany (USD 58.98, UK+24%).” (Dr Popov Queen’s Uni. Belfast)

        And Dundee? Since 2010 Dundee’s digital turnover has risen by 129% Dundee now has the third fastest growing digital turnover in the UK Since 2010 Dundee’s GVA (Gross Value Add) has grown by 42%Dundee’s GVA now sits at £61.4 million There are now 3,318 jobs in Dundee related to the digital tech economy

        Govanhill’s housing stock is in great need of improvement. A major part of the problems in the area is the neglect of properties by private owners, The first stage of a project announced on the 17th February 2017, will be to bring around 350 homes into public ownership so that repairs and other improvements can be made. The total investment will be £34 million with £20 million coming from the Scottish Government and the remainder from Glasgow City Council.

    1. 1. If we are in the EU and out of the UK we will have the power to veto anything we do not like. This is a power we do not have as a member of the UK. It follows, since the UK has/had the power to veto anything any laws passed in “Brussels” had to have been approved and accepted by the EU

      2. If we are in the EU and not the UK we will have powers over fishing, farming etc which are currently devolved but Westminster are planning to grab back and will almost certainly keep. Furthermore they will be traded to the EU during negotiations. We will also gain control over immigration and taxation.

      3. Generally speaking we will be controlled much less by “Brussels” than by Westminster.

      1. Alex – thanks for your comments. Unfortunately they are inaccurate.

        1. We do not have the power to veto anything we do not like. More than 80% of EU laws cannot be vetoed.

        2. It is not true that if we are in the EU and not in the UK we have powers over fishing/farming etc. Currently we are in the EU and the EU has most power of farming and fishing through CAP and CFP. And it is not true we would have control over immigration – thats the point. THe EU controls immigration and insists on freedom of movement.

        Unsurprizingly your point 3 is thus invalid. In fact we have more say in Westminster than we would ever have in Brussells. We are far more likely to be a region of Germany, than we are to be an equal nation with Germany in the EU….but that is not the mantra you have been sold, and it is not the faith…so I guess you will rubbish it….as I once did – until I started to look at how the EU actually works..

      2. 1. My understanding is that any of the 27 nations can veto the introduction of new laws. Please provide evidence for your assertion

        2. Powers over fishing and farming are currently devolved to Scotland. After Brexit they will almost certainly be repatriated to Westminster

        3. When the EU was enlarged a number of countries barred immigrants from the new countries. Scotland could , if they wished and were independent, do the same.

        4. I agree the EU is not perfect and am not weed to the EU bit I do resent my right to live and work there being taken away by a bunch of racist morons. Yes not everyone who voted to leave is racist but every racist in Britain voted to leave. Personally if I could keep the right to live and work there I would look much harder at the EU that I do at present.

      3. 1. You are the one making the assertion. Its up to you to provide the evidence. All I can suggest is that you look at the EU website itself and read their rules. More than 80% of laws cannot be vetoed by individual nations. You are basing your faith on a fantasy.

        2. No. Powers over fishing and farming are currently run by the EU – the devolved aspects are for minor matters. At the very worst things will stay the same – but in reality much more power is likely to come to Scotland when we leave the EU. No powers currently with the Scottish parliament will be repatriated to Westminster. The question is what will happen to the powers that are with the EU. I suspect some will come to Westminster (involving international trade agreements) and others will come to Holyrood.

        3. Again you are out of date and wrong. When the EU was enlarged some countries were allowed to bar immigrants from the new countries for four to seven years. THat is now past. Freedom of movement is an absolute.

        SO all your ‘facts’ are false. And your last point is just rude and ignorant – as well as being false. Calling those who have a different point of view to you on this ‘racist morons’ indicates a lack of rationality and awareness of facts. Every racist in Britain did not vote to leave. I know for example of those who want to belong to the EU because they think it will save white Europe from Africans and Asians. And your right to live and work in the EU is not being taken away. But why let facts get in the way of your prejudice?

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